13/04/2014 Sunday Politics West


Andrew Neil and David Garmston with political news. Including a debate ahead of the European elections with members of UKIP, Labour, the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats.

Similar Content

Browse content similar to 13/04/2014. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!



Aternoon folks, and welcome to the Sunday Politics. As MPs head off for


their Easter break, campaigning for the European elections in six weeks'


time gets underway. In a Sunday Politics special, we'll debate the


issues at stake on May 22nd with senior party figures from the


Conservatives, Labour, Liberal Democrats, and UKIP. And as ever


we'll be discussing the week ahead with our panel of top political


In the West, he said he would run commentators.


In the West, he said he would run the greenest government ever, but


after controversy over fracking and nuclear power, have


newspapers which some claim are politically slanted and not


impartial about informing people of local services.


So all that to come between now and quarter to four and for the next


thirty minutes or so we'll be debating the European elections


Here in the studio we have Syed Kamall, leader of the Conservatives


in the European Parliament, Richard Howitt, chair of the Labour group of


MEPs, Sarah Ludford, deputy leader of the Lib Dems in Europe, and


Patrick O'Flynn, UKIP's director of communications. Welcome to you all.


In a moment, all four will give us their opening pitch for the


elections. A little earlier they drew lots to decide who'll go first.


And that privilege goes to Syed Before that, though, here's a quick


reminder of what all the fuss is about.


The vote to choose members of the European Parliament takes place on


Thursday the 22nd of May. The same day as local elections are held in


England and Northern Ireland. The UK sends 73


England and Northern Ireland. The UK sends NTP is to Brussels. And the


vote is a form of proportional representation. In total, there are


751 MEPs from the 28 member states. What do they do all day? The


European Parliament's power has grown. A vet of the EU commissioners


and they can amend, approve or reject nearly all EU legislation and


the EU budget. Some laws MEPs have been responsible for include price


caps on mobile phone chargers, banking regulation and cover food


regulation two -- labelling. Syed Kamall, you have 30 seconds.


Europe cannot go on as it is. Europe needs to change. And our


relationship with Europe needs to change. Only the Conservatives have


a plan to deliver that change and of the British people and in-out


referendum. Labour and the Lib Dems will not and UKIP simply cannot


Only the Conservatives will offer the three yards, with Conservative


MEPs working alongside a conservative Prime Minister. For,


really is and above all a referendum. Sarah Ludford is next.


Your choice is simple. If you think Britain is better off in Europe


vote for the Liberal Democrats. The Lib Dems are the only party of Ian,


fighting to keep Britain in Europe and in work. There is nothing


patriotic about UKIP's desire to pull-out. That is playing Russian


roulette with Britain's economy and jobs. The Conservatives are flirting


with exit and Labour lacks the courage to speak up. Thought Liberal


Democrat on May the 22nd to say in Europe for jobs and security. Sarah


Ludford. Next, Richard Howitt from Labour. The European elections are


about who represents you. They are not a referendum on a referendum.


Labour MEPs believe in putting jobs and growth first. A guarantee to


help young people into work, reforming energy markets so that


bills are brought down for good Labour believes in reform in Europe,


but within. It is David Cameron who is risking your job and Britain s


prosperity because of divisions in his own party. Labour MEPs put


British interests first. Our fourth opening statement from Patrick


O'Flynn. The EU is old hat. It is a declining regional trade bloc in an


era of global trade. It is a 20th-century political project


designed to prevent conflict in Europe that is now reawakening old


hostilities. It is an attempt to force on the European people


European this as their primary collective identity. It has hollowed


out British democracy and now we do not even control our own borders.


That is why you should vote UKIP. That is the opening statements.


Let's get on with the debate. Why should people vote in the


selections? If you vote UKIP, we can deliver an earthquake that will rock


the foundations of British politics and the European political class. We


can send a signal to Europe that Britain has had enough, that Britain


wants to retain its nation state status and regain political power


and the ability to forge trading deals across the world. Britain


leading Europe to freedom twice in the last century through bloodshed.


We feel that a UKIP win in those elections could help Britain set an


example to lead European nation states back to free assembly again.


Syed Kamall, isn't it the case that many Tory voters will vote you clip


to keep you honest, to keep your feet to the fire? Whatever you think


of the European Parliament or the EU, the fact is that the European


Parliament as equal power with the 28 governments of the EU. When David


Cameron delivered the first cut to the EU budget, the first ever cut,


he needed a strong team of Conservative MEPs working alongside


him. But many of your supporters will vote for UKIP for the reasons I


gave. Many will vote Liberal Democrat. Not very many. Many of our


supporters will vote for us because we are the only party trying to


change the EU and offer reform. We have offered renegotiation and a


referendum. And how would you vote in such a referendum? We have no


idea whether he would vote yes or no. Let him answer. I will answer


that question. If the EU continues on this road, towards a United


States of Europe, and if there was no change at the time of the


referendum, then I would probably vote to leave. You have no


confidence in David Cameron? We Javier Culson opportunity to read


negotiate our relationship with Europe and the Conservatives are at


the forefront of that agenda. David Cameron have not given a list of


demands. He said that if things do not change, he will probably vote to


leave, is that right? If at the time of the referendum, things had not


changed, I would vote to leave and we have a golden opportunity to


perform the agenda. Richard, the last time the British people had a


say on this was over 40 years ago. Under a Labour government. Which was


deeply divided on the issue. And that was a say on the common market.


Today's EU is a very different animal from the common market. Why


can we not, under another Labour government, have another vote? First


of all, we want it to be more than a free trading area. We make no


apologies about that. But in the elections because this is half of


Britain's exports and investment. If you care about your job and


business, you cannot hear from the party of government that they


probably want you to leave because the CBI, the engineering employees


in Federation and the chimp of commerce, 80% of them say it is


necessary to stay in. So why not give us a vote? When David Cameron


says he wants to repatriate social powers, he means takeaway maternity


rights and holidays. If the case is so strong, why not give us an in-out


vote? David Miliband has said that there will be a referendum if there


was a proposal to change powers Why wait? This is based on a series of


reforms. Labour has a set of reforms. David Cameron is silent


about what they would be. That is because he knows that if he put them


forward, they would either be unsatisfactory to his Eurosceptic


backbenchers and he would be out of a job, or they would be unacceptable


to European leaders. Why is your leader missing in action? Ed


Miliband is unable to say even the positive things that you are saying.


He has run away from the argument. He actually said there would not be


a referendum in his time. For a conservative to say they will


have a referendum but not give the reforms, it is a mistake. Nick Clegg


gave Nigel Farage a huge opportunity in that debate. He said that the


Eurosceptic view was to leave Britain like Billy no mates. I can


say that he is the best qualified person to say that. Sarah Ludford,


you have said that lots of people are going to vote Lib Dem but that


is not what the polls are saying. You are 7% in two polls this


morning. Eclectic's decision to champion Europe has been a disaster


for you. You face wet out. We swayed a lot of people our way with Nick


Clegg's debate. Where is the evidence? We are the only party that


is completely united, saying that we are wanting to stay in. It is


essential because formally and jobs are supported by our trade with the


EU. Linked to the EU. We are finding a lot of moderate conservative


voters are actually fed up with the Tories being split and divided all


over the place. Syed Kamall saying that we might vote in rout. -- in or


out. We are consistent. A poll in London showed that 18% would vote


for us. I am delighted about that. London is not the whole country it


may surprise you. We need to move on to immigration, an important issue.


We are a member of the EU and the rules say that with a few caveats,


our fellow EU citizens are free to come here if they want. Why can we


not just accept that? Britain has a proud record when it comes to


immigration. We have been open to people across the world for


centuries. But we welcome people who come to our country to contribute to


pay taxes and two wards are a society positively. But there are


three real concerns that we have to address. The first one is numbers,


and secondly people who may come here not to work but for benefits,


and thirdly, getting a hang of the numbers. I think it is shameful that


only this week the office for National said that they did not


collect sufficient figures under a Labour government. 350,000 extra


people came in and they did not count the numbers. That is the size


of a city like Cardiff. That is shameful. 350,000 came from all over


the place. Do you accept the free movement of peoples within the EU? I


accept and am open to people who want to come here and contribute. In


the same way... Do you accept the free movement of peoples within the


EU? In our manifesto, we have said it is an issue for reform. We have


to make sure that people are coming here to work and contribute


positively, not simply to come here and take advantage of the system. I


will tell you what else is shameful. What is shameful is David


Cameron making a pledge to the British people on an issue that they


really care about, to bring net immigration down to the tens of


thousands a year, having no means of fulfilling that pledge. And we see


now it is back up to 212,000 a year because we have no volume control


and no quality control from immigration from our neighbours And


that is a disgrace. How could UKIP address that issue? Because we would


leave the EU. How? Tell me how. You do not have a single member of


Parliament. He will not get a single member of Parliament. How are


you... ? TUC are hoping to get an MEP. What do you say? -- he is here


today hoping to get an MEP. All of -- almost 2 million Brits live and


work in the rest of the EU. Is that worth having? The majority are


wealthy, retired people. Why do not object to bilateral agreements with


countries with similar living standards to us. France, the


Netherlands, that works fine. But these three people want Turkey to


join the EU, 75 Na Li and people running our country, only 10% of


which... Syed Kamall is Michael year to say whether they are in favour of


free movement for work, not for benefits... That is what I'm


saying. You said you were unable to be clear. That leaves 2 million


British people absolutely unsure as to whether they would have a right


to continue to live in other countries. It is a two-way street.


You are putting those people in a state of uncertainty. EU migrants


have been good for the British economy and contribute far more than


they take out in services and benefits. One in seven businesses


were founded in -- by migrants. And they cannot just turn up and claim


benefits. The coalition government has legislated to make sure that


they cannot claim for three months. They will not be able to claim for


more than six months. Richard Howitt, Jack Straw said it was A


spectacular mistake for Labour to allow EU migrants from Poland and


Hungary to work in the UK from 2004." Why should we trust a party


that makes spectacular mistakes and hasn't apologised for it? We accept


it is a mistake and I apologise We make a firm commitment for new EU


states we will put down transitional controls. When I listen to the


Conservatives and UKIP trying to re-write history, saying immigration


was out of control, uncontrolled, open door, we hear it over and over


again. It is not true. Anyone who was around at the time... Come on,


Richard. Hold on, you undercounted by 350,000. You were letting 2


million in over the years, an under-counted by 350,000 people you


didn't know came in. You should have tightened the benefit rules. The


Conservative MEP today has, in four years in government in Britain, is


trying it blame the previous Labour Government over the fact they won't


count people in or people out. Yvette Cooper - it is not easy for


people to come to the country and benefits are changing, changing the


habitual residence test and we are going to say that migrants can't


come and claim child benefit if their children are outside the


country. Labour a has shown they have listened to concerns but we say


it is a stronger, better, country because it is diverse and


multicultural snoo.d this is fantasy politics from all the Peters. They


are committed to a system with no volume control and no quality


control. You talk about benefits as if it is only out of work benefits.


In work benefits cost a lot of money for the British taxpayer. Big


businesses bring in minimum wage workers. It is ?5,000 per perschool


place What are you going to do? Have all the pensioners come back to


Britain? How will will you fund the health care? Do you really think


Spain and pour tu ghal their current situation, are going to turn their


backs on British property owners with wealth? -- Portugal. They might


not wanting pensioners to use their health service. Pensioners often


come back to Britain to use the health service. You have shown it


represents wealthy people's interests. A second Conservative


Party. Hang on a minute... Blue collar wages were down. They want it


character for the National Health Service, have cuts that go farther


and comprehensive education. This is a debate on the wider politics


between Conservatives and UKIP and Labour will... You can't both talk


time. UKIP - they haven't thought it through, thousand they will have


trade access in the EU, hasn't thought how they will have trade


deals that the Liberal Democrats support, like with the United


States: Would you have a cap on non-EU immigrants? We are not in


favour of a cap. No cap on either. No. Well it is a target. It is a


moving feast, as it were. Would you have a limit on non-EU limits? We


have limits on quality. We have people who are skilled migrants


coming in. Lip its? . By quality, not by quantity. -- Limits.


How do you do that? We need to move on to foreign affairs.


Should we pool more sovereignty to give the European Union more clout


in foreign and defence matters? I'm Labour's defence and foreign affairs


spokesperson. No we don't need to pull more powers into Europe. As we


undertake this live debate there are guns being fired in Ukraine as we


speak. Europe is facing, for the first time, since the end of the


Second World War, Armies crossing national borders and floatening


peace. Doesn't it -- threatening peace. Doesn't it need to come


together of the We don't need more powers. We need political will. With


Vladimir Putin, in my view, he has -- we have fallen short in the


sanctions. But it is Europe, not Britain. Remember Putin calling


Britain little England a small island with no influence. Labour


doesn't agree with that. But if that's the mindset that allows


someone like Vladimir Putin to send troops across borders threatening


peace, it is worrying. And when we have, in UKIP a party that say they


admire Putin and support his policies, that is no recipe for how


Europe should be wrong. I was waiting for that. Let me ask him. We


don't admire Putin as a leader. . Oh. No we don't. What Nigel Farage


said, was he admired him as a political operator. Testifies


Franklin D Roosevelt who said a good foreign policy was speaking softly


but carrying a big stick. The EU shouts its mouthed off while


carrying a matchstick. It is fantasy that you wiebl it stand up to Putin


over the Ukraine. -- that you would be able to stand up. Do you admire


what Putin is doing in the Ukraine? No. What matters in foreign policy


is the outcould. We have a terrible outcome in the Ukraine, like Syria,


and Georgia... What would UKIP do? What u skip would do, would be to


keep our people safe -- UKIP. How? And not commit our Foreign


Office and troops Foreign wars. Patrick O'Flynn. You brought up this


issue of foreign wars. Now Nigel Farage said in previous debates that


Britain should leave the EU because, "We have had enough of endless


foreign wars." Which wars has the EU taken us into? The EU has ban very


important factor in the push towards trying to get military intervention


in Syria, for example. What wars has the etch U taken us into it -- EU.


Fortunately the EU doesn't have its own army yet. It has wanted to sign


up to an expansionist agenda. Did it want Iraq? No, that was Labour. UKIP


opposed Iraq, so did most of the mainline Europeans. Germany was


against Syria and Libya. No EU policy. We had an Anglo French deal


on Syria. A by lateral deal. A European dimension. No, buy lateral.


We have a European Union that wants to expand ever-more into other


people's spheres of influence. If we are going to stand up to what Putin


is do, which obviously Nigel Farage has no intentions of doing, you have


to get your act together on economic sanctions and diplomatic force and


in trade matters, in supporting eastern European countries. Sayeria,


who and whose army? And NATO and working transatlanticically, is


important through NATO. I will come to you in a moment. Nick Clegg said


that the idea of an EU Army was "A dangerous fantasy that is simply not


true ""Why then, are we already working on etch U-owned and


controlled drones -- EU-owned and the President of the European


Parliament has said that the majority of MEPs want the EU to have


"deployable troops." He is not speaking for me or Liberal


Democrats. The EU does not and will not have an army. Our defence is


mainly shaped through NATO. He is President of the Parliament What we


must do is to get equipment which can operate together. We waste an


awful lot of our spending in Europe because we duplicate equipment. We


don't get the bang for our bucks that we should. It is a useful role


for the EU, to get equipment working together. That doesn't make sense.


You say military equipment, a NATO job. No, the EU, there is a kind of


dimension of the EU members of NATO, in working together on a common


quument o o so they can talk to each other -- on common equipment, so


they can talk to each other. The EU has a role but not an army. So a


European defence agency, that helps our defence industries and those


jobs are extremely important and would be threatened if the


Conservatives and UKIP took us out of Europe but it is 100 years since


the start of the fist world war Remember that Europe was set up to


try to get a secure peace within Europe T succeeded. Now look on


Ukraine but also on the southern borders to the Arab Spring countries


in North Africa. It is more important than ever that we work to


keep keep peace and stability on our borders. Can I say to Syed and the


Conservative MEPs. You talk about the three Rs, I have a fourth,


retreat. If you take us out of the European Union, it will be the worse


retreat by Britain since Gallipoli. Let him answer If he wants answers


-- the British Parliament is the right place with a British Foreign


Secretary to decide our foreign policy. You say that, but can I


quote David Cameron, this is germain to what you are saying, David


Cameron said "There is no doubt that we are more powerful than


Washington, Beijing and Delhi, because we are a powerful player in


the European Union." Do you agree? He is saying that there are times


when it comes to international foreign affairs when you have to


cooperate with partners. Often they are EU partners but often they are


not. The problem we have... Washington have made it very clear


that it wants Britain to talk through Brussels. No, not at all.


Talk through the French and Italians, come on, wake up? Through


the EU collective. I'm vice chair of the EU delegation. I hear it from


the American counterparts. They want the EU to get itself together and


not least on Ukraine. Why should our sovereignty be at the behest of .. ?


I want to hear from Syed calm amplgts the British Parliament is


the right place to decide our foreign poll sinchts sometimes we


work with our European partners sometimes we work with our


non-European partners. It is our choice to pull sovereign trito work


together. G, we move on to our foirt area. We hear a lot in this country


about MPs expenses. Snted the real scan dalt MEPs gravy train. -- isn't


the real scandal, the MEPs gravy train? You all have your snouts The


trough? I don't think so. There is transpancy. The way we use our


expenses is online and anyone can ask to examine those. We have


actually voted to reform MEPs' allowances. We regularly vote but


unfortunately the majority in Parliament don't. Have you voted to


cut them? Yes. By how much? About 5%. A 5% We hoped to have economies


I never fly except across the Atlantic. Difficult to do it any


other way. I didn't swim. But we voted for economy flutes We


voted for European Parliament policy of transparency which other groups


haven't. UKIP don't turn up to vote. They don't earn their salaries.


Dhoent do anything. They should hand their salaries and allowances back.


You can't ause UKIP of being on the gravy train and the other that we


don't claim our attendance allowance because our MEPs are not there. Your


attendance allowance is if you are there, you are saying we don't turn


up You are in the building and claim the allowances. You are not an MEP,


UKIP are so ashamed of what their MEPs have done in Brussels, they


didn't field a sitting MEP for today's debate. I think each party


decides who it wishes to field. I have the honour of being the UKIP


representative. I would say by going in the past few weeks, xeeming to me


saying - we are sick of the others. -- people saying to me. : We are


quite excited. Can I ask Patrick O'Flynn. He says he touched a chord


and his party is strong in the polls today, between 18% and 20%. Haven't


you also struck a chord with hip crasscy. Two of your MEPs were


jailed for expenses and benefits' fraud. Two more asked to pay back


?37,000 for using European funds. Nigel Farage has boosted about


getting ?2 million in expenses and he went on to employ his wife as a


secretarial allowance after telling other members not to People who do


wrong and break the law, go to ja. I have no time. -- go to jail. People


who spend money they are not entitled to should pay it back and


that's right. But what UKIP does and the good UKIP MEPs do, is use the


allowances they are given to pursue the political agenda they put up


when elected which is to get Britain out of this superstate. Instead of


using it for parliamentary work Very interesting. Richard Howitt. We


were the first British political party to have independent audits of


our MEPs' expenses, from 1990, way before the expenses crisis blew up.


The Maria Miller scandal has of course hit David Cameron and the


Conservative Party hard as it should do. But you are right, even in my


own region you have UKIP candidates and councillors who have been


charged with fraudulently filling out election papers and other shot


lifting. Another independent inquiry found he made racist comments. We


had a European candidate last week in Hertfordshire who got a parking


ticket from the police and called the police fascists. These people


aren't here. I'll let you have a quick reply We


can bring up parochial cases. Let him answer. Not so long ago a


Liberal Democrat councillor was sent down for firebombing, I don't say


they are a bunch of arsonists, but now I think, Nick Clegg might have


burnt some cactuses, once. I'm glad you pronounced that word carefully.


Syed Kemal, the EU's auditors, they are strongly critical of the EU s


financials saying "Errors permist in all main spending areas", the


financials are poorly managed. It is a shambles And that's something that


all parties agree on. As we agree on expenses, the British parties are at


the forefront of transpancy. Every year when we vote for the discharge


of the budget, the Conservatives also vote for it but we don't get


enough MEPs from other countries to investigate in favour. The Liberal


Democrats have put forward to make each Finance Minister, George


Osborne and his counterpart to sign a declaration to say all EU money is


properly spent in my country. Funnily enough they don't want to do


that but I look forward to you confirming that George Osborne will


sign it. All the time we hear it is about the money we pay in, about


?150 per family per year. What about the money that comes back? ?1.


billion that comes to Britain's regions because of being in Europe.


I myself helped to negotiate a fund to help Britain's food banks to


ensure so. Poorest and most destitute people... Isn't it our


money that went there first. Can I tell you the Conservative-led


Government have blocked us from claiming that money. If you want to


have the clearest choice at these European elections, it is between...


Tell us why. It affects our rebate. Tony Blair gave away our rebate He


is quite right. Lib Dems fought to make sure that we apply for money to


help with flooding. That is what the Tories were blocking. If you want


the clearest example at the European elections, the Conservative Party


and MEPs blocked the cap on bankers bonuses, and then blocked a Labour


victory to get money for free banks. We need to move on to the


future. It is important and people are watching. The EU's Justice


Minister says that we need to build a United States of Europe with the


commission as its government. Is she right? Not at all. But the future,


if we take the next ten years, thinks about climate change and the


fact that we are not going to hit of the two degrees target. Europe has


led and needs to lead towards getting a new sustainable world It


is the political will to use these powers, so she is wrong. It is about


the threats from abroad. Labour reforms like getting a commissioner


for growth and rebalancing the budget, reforming the common


agricultural policy, all of those things will need to happen to make


Europe more democratic and open But against the rise of Brazil and


China... We do not need more treaties and powers. We need more


action with more Labour MEPs. Sarah Ludford, you would sign up to that?


No. Unless they do not think that should concentrate on institutional


matters. What we need to do is concentrate on making Europe


progrowth and competitive and create more jobs in a competitive world. We


need more trade deals to open up our exports, we need to streamline the


EU. We need less red tape and Liberal Democrats have done a lot on


that. We need better scrutiny of EU legislation at West Munster because


the national parties... More powers or less for the EU government? In


some areas, I would like to see it slimmed down. Including, I am not


sure whether the EU should be funding food banks. I think that is


a national responsibility. Dearie me. The EU have to concentrate on


the economy and climate change. This is the coalition talking. If we want


to fritter away political capital on things which are interfering in


national matters, then we do not have the support to tackle those big


challenges. Would you still want to join the Euro one-day? Now is not a


good idea. We wanted the Eurozone to still be sound, which is why... Did


not ask you that. Do you want to join the Euro one-day? If it is a


success and it did the economy. Now is not the time but in principle,


the idea of a single currency has advantages. That was a yes. We are


not ruling it out for ever but not in the foreseeable future. It is not


on the horizon. What would our relationship be with Europe in the


future if UKIP got its way and we left? We would be trading partners


with Europe and we would seek partnership in specific serious I'd


tell you what, can I just say.. Would we be Norway? We would be


stronger than Norway because we are the biggest export market in the


Eurozone. We can negotiate a bespoke trading agreement reflecting our


enormous importance. Not on services, which make up 80% of the


economy. We are the biggest export market in the Eurozone. Our biggest


exports are services and they would have to agree to free trade and


services. They still have not. Can I read you something? Let me read you


something. There would be a free trade agreement in place the day


after our exit. Germany would demand no less. Who said that? Not somebody


from UKIP, but Digby Jones. Mr business. He is talking about


goods, not services. Norway has that and they have no say. You would have


to accept the EU rules without any say. No MEPs are commissioners. Let


me give you another. Enough. One is enough. Syed Kamall, is it not


looking forward pretty much Mission: Impossible for Mr Cameron to get


anything like the repatriations of powers that would satisfy your


irreconcilables? My father was a bus driver in the 50s and one of the


reasons I am here today is because he told me that you can achieve


anything if you work hard. He said to me, do not listen to the


doubters. When people tell you that something cannot be done, it is a


sign of their limitations, not yours. They said that we could not


pull Britain out of the bailout mechanism but we did it. He said we


could not be to a -- veto European treaty and we did that. They said we


would never cut the budget and we did that. The first ever. But


overall, we are paying more into the European budget. And they are not


sticking to it. More, not less. They say that we cannot achieve reform


but we have achieved reform and we are at the forefront of that.


Science's father came to Britain because Britain was open and looking


outward. What the Conservatives now have, with leaderless Cameron, is an


inward looking attitude. They are allowing the rise of UKIP. They are


putting so much at risk. People should vote Labour. We are going to


have to stop now. No point talking because we are about to finish. I


think you all for a spirited debate. I'm sure Nigel Fries and Mr Clegg


will have learned a lot about how to debate. -- Nigel Farage.


It's just gone 3pm, and you're watching the Sunday Politics. We say


goodbye to viewers in Scotland who leave us now for Sunday Politics


Scotland. Coming up here in twenty minutes, the


Scotland. Coming up here in twenty Good afternoon to you and wdlcome to


the later edition of the Sunday Politics here in the West Country.


Coming up, we will examine the Government's promised to be the


greenest on record. The Prile Minister went to the Arctic to show


just how green he was beford the last election, but after backing


fracking and going nuclear hn Somerset, his opponents clahm it was


just green wash. Our guests this afternoon are the Liberal Ddmocrat


MP Tessa Munt and Molly Scott Cato who is the Green candidate hn the


European elections. More from them in a moment. Let's turn our


attention to trust in polithcians. On the same day that Maria Liller


resigned from Cabinet over her expenses, a Bristol MP was `lso in


hot water over her parliamentary paperwork. The Conservative


Charlotte Leslie failed to record the nation Star constituencx


association in the register of members' interests. `` faildd to


record donations. Charlotte Leslie offered this apology.


Although I'm registered dyslexic and sought to put in place additional


administrative support as a result, I take complete responsibilhty for


this. I'm unspeakably sorry that despite all the efforts I m`de as a


new MP to get things right, I have nevertheless made this very serious


error. And I want to reiter`te my heartfelt apologies to the House and


have sought the earliest possible opportunity to do so.


She now faces an investigathon by the Standards Commissioner which


could last months. She's also called on Parliament to offer new LPs more


support when they take office. When you first come into Parliament


as a new MP, you don't have an office, you often struggle to find a


secretary, you have to find somewhere to live, you have to find


a constituency office, therd is a lot going on. I had a brand`new


secretary who had never dond this before either. I was new, she was


new. It would be useful at that point have someone who is


experienced, perhaps a civil servant, just in that first month to


take MPs through and just m`ke sure that right at the outset whdn


everybody is new that things are done as they need to be dond and


guide people through. Tessa Munt, you were a new LP in


2010. Are things really that complicated?


I think they are unnecessarhly bureaucratic. I think all of us know


that we have to declare all of our donations and this sort of thing.


This is what this relates to. You declare donations to the Eldctoral


Commission. Then you have to declare them all over again. She is claiming


that new MPs can't cope with this. I have said this is a completdly


different thing from the Maria Miller thing, because Charlotte had


declared what she had received, it's just that she did not know, and it


could happen to any of us... It's all about trust, though, isn't


it? Yes, but declaring it twice is a bit


daft. You're good mates, aren't you? How


will she be feeling? She will be feeling horrendous.


Because this will feel in the current somewhat febrile clhmate as


though she has done something dishonest, she has not. She has made


an administrative slip, I wouldn't be quite so generous if there was


anything wrong, but she has declared to one body without realising that


you have to declare to the other body. Why we don't just declare to


one body and everybody else taps into that, I don't know.


Molly, are you so sympathethc? I think even if we accept this might


be an innocent mistake by Charlotte Leslie, when we allow rich people


and big companies to fund politics there is always a suspicion it is in


exchange for favours and lobbying interests, and the obvious way to do


that is to tax rich people `nd companies properly and then fund


political parties through a public funding system like they do in


Germany. It seems to be the rational way to proceed.


So taxpayers should pay for your campaign?


Not taxpayers, no. These rich companies who at the moment are


choosing which parties to ftnd. They should be forced to fund you?


To fund a democratic system. If we believe in the democratic sxstem,


then I think that should be publicly funded, and I think companids and


rich people should pay enough tax to enable that to take place.


That would mean taxpayers. That does mean taxpayers because


effectively they put their prices up. Are you suggesting that


companies should fund the BNP? I think parties should be ftnded


relative to how much support they have. That's the system thex have in


Germany. Then you never allow parties to


grow, that's the trouble. That is exactly how parties do grow. For


example, the German Greens were publicly funded and they were able


to grow as a consequence, whereas we are struggling all the time.


The Liberal Democrats, we h`ve always existed on a relativdly small


night of money, and over a period of 30 years we have gone from... They


used to say that all of us could get into one taxi to a point whdre. .


But all parties have got into trouble over funding, haven't they?


You have to take funding from big corporations to enable that, and


that is the problem, I think. And I think it would be much bettdr to


have... If we want to have ` democracy, we have to pay for it.


And you could stomach it evdn if it was funding a party on the far left


or the fascist right? Well, we might question UKIP. I find


UKIP completely unpalatable, but if people want to vote for thel, that


is what democracy is about. Thank you.


Remember David Cameron's plddged to be the greenest government dver


Four years on his government's track record is under attack from those on


the other side. It was a PR coup. Eight years ago


the Conservative party's new leader used huskies to boost his claim that


we should vote Lou to go grden. `` we should vote loser. `` vote blue.


That was before he joined forces with environmentally minded Liberal


Democrats in government. Clhmate change is in my view, a revhew, the


greatest challenge of our thme. We in both of our parties made a


commitment to go further and faster than ever before. I want us to be


the greenest government ever. A very simple ambition, and one th`t I am


absolutely committed to achheving. The coalition, though, have changed.


Some more than others. In opposition, George Osborne joined in


with the jolly green stuff, like promoting low`energy light bulbs.


But as Chancellor, he has t`ken strikingly different tone.


We are not go to save the planet are putting our country out of business.


So let's at the very least resolve that we will cut our carbon


emissions no slower but also no faster than our fellow countries in


Europe. That is what I have insisted on in the recent carbon budget.


What of the government's tr`ck record? Green measures incltded


ruling out new runways at Hdathrow and elsewhere, raising greenhouse


gas reduction targets and introducing rising taxes on big


carbon emitters. But against that, critics point to a rise in carbon


emissions in 2012, and thosd same taxes on big carbon emitters have


been frozen. Visiting a tid`l energy firm in Bristol on Thursday, the


energy secretary was bullish. We've actually done amazing things


on the green agenda. Look at renewable electricity, we h`ve


doubled the amount of power going to people's homes from renewable


sources, and we are set to hncrease that, we are set to beat our own


targets. Internationally we have been leading the way in the way the


world tackles climate changd. Being green means different things


to different people. The government, including the Liberal Democrats


believe that kicking off a new generation of nuclear power stations


is crucial to cutting carbon emissions. The Greens emphatically


disagree. They protested at the Somerset plant on Thursday.


The hypocrisy at the heart of this government's energy policy hs


immense. Leading the charge, the MP Caroline


Lucas, recently called to opposition over fracking. `` recently hn


court. If you look at the latest btdget,


more subsidies to things like fracking, oil, the Chancellor


himself said we will get evdry drop of oil out of the North Sea, he said


proudly during his budget statement. I don't think anybody could be in


any doubt at all that this government would not now grden if it


saw it in the face. Next month the diggers are going to


prepare for the new reactors. These fields, a bit like government


policy, soon won't appear so green. Merlin Hyman keeps close tabs on the


government's green credenti`ls. He's the chief executive of Regen


SouthWest. It helps promote renewable energy projects. Hs this


the greenest government ever? It's a pretty mixed record. If you


look at renewable energy, some of the policy framework and wh`t has


been achieved is actually pretty good. But a lot of the mess`ge has


been pretty confused, and coming from the Treasury or the pl`nning


department, you have heard some pretty mixed messages. For companies


who are thinking of investing millions or billions of pounds into


major project or a range of projects, that kind of sign`lling is


not helpful. I think we havd missed out a little on the opportunity to


pioneer a new renewable energy sector and create jobs and


opportunities because of th`t confuse messaging that sometimes


comes out. Is there an appetite among the


general public to pay for rdnewable energy? To pay the excess that you


have to? At the moment we pay about ?50 on


our energy bills to incentivise renewable energy, and I think most


people, and I do spend a lot of time going out and talking to colmunities


I think most people say the fact that in an uncertain world, when we


say things like the Ukraine crisis and Vladimir Putin threatenhng to


turn off the gas, when we h`ve some natural and clean resources, and we


can generate our own energy locally, that is pretty much common


sense. What we see is the price of that coming down pretty raphdly In


the Telegraph just today we saw article suggesting that sol`r power


would soon be cheaper than fossil fuel sources.


But talk to you, Tessa Mont. Lib Dem in charge of liberal policy, how are


you greener than Molly from the Green party?


We have taken the power we have been given as Secretary of State running


that department and we have brought in some green policies. If xou


compare it to governance from the past, I don't think you can deny...


Fracking? Fracking is Matt.


But you are part of the govdrnment! Going hell`bent for fracking?


Norway! Molly, are you greener?


If they think this government is not living up to expectations, the


Liberal Democrats should le`ve the coalition.


We have got the green deal, we could do it better.


The green deal has been a dhsaster. That happened 30 schemes funded and


they were looking for 10,000. You are against nuclear, yot are


against fracking, you are against call, you are against a barrage


What are you for? The main thing we need to do is


reduce our energy demand. In terms of the energy we need to


generate... Does that mean not using my washing


machine or not driving a car? Does that mean?


Increasing the efficiency of all products people use, that is


important, but also changing our communities so that people have to


travel less. Flying abroad less for business trips, that is part of


its. But we also want to sed more renewables onshore and offshore And


as Merlin Hyman already pointed out, if you support nuclear and support


fracking, you are taking funding from renewable funding.


We see conversations coming up to manifestoes and elections, there is


a risk of making a terrible strategic mistake. The rest of the


world is going rapidly towards renewable energy. 70% of new


electricity capacity in Europe last year was renewable. China h`s


massive investment in renew`ble energy, and we have a huge


opportunity. We have great resources, opportunities,


companies. But you always need the back`up for


when the sun does not shine and the wind does not low.


The idea is to have the European interconnected system. Somewhere in


Europe they are generating electricity, no need to better


interconnectivity to deal whth that.


Germany have gone to renewables their emissions have gone up as they


have had to use coal to fill the gaps.


That is true, but over time that'll be resolved because of the


investment. Important thing to remember is that a lot of it is


owned by communities, some of the people that own the wind farms are


benefiting from them. That is important. As we develop


renewables will need to eng`ge local people and local communities much


more. That is happening. Thanks for coming in.


The Liberal Democrat MP for Taunton has compared his party to a shopping


trolley with a wonky wheel but always veers towards the left. Now


he has written a book that `ppears to pool that trolley sharplx to the


right. The Race Plan calls for the top rate of tax to be cut, he wants


more free schools, and on transport feedbacks big investment in


infrastructure with a huge new airport. He has accused his fellow


Liberal Democrat of being too timid. I asked him if he was talking


down his own party. I don't think I am being disdainful


of the Liberal Democrats. I recognise that we have got some


difficulties at the moment but we have made very substantial


contribution to the governmdnt of this country.


It doesn't sound as if they are doing anything right in your book.


I am trying to make a big argument, and that is that the whole world


order is changing quite dralatically with the rise of countries hn Asia,


China and India and others, and the question for countries like Britain,


one of the established powers, is what do we need to do in order to


overhaul ourselves in order to make sure we continue to be prosperous


and influential in a much more competitive world.


You are calling for the top rate of tax to be reduced to 40p.


I am in the same place as Gordon Brown and Tony Blair were. H think


40p is a reasonable rate. I think it is easy for people to understand, it


is a fair burden on people hn different incomes.


The Tories don't dare do it. I can speak for the Conserv`tives,


all I'm saying is what I thhnk will make Britain a competitive country.


But people will say, this gty is in the wrong party.


I don't see why favouring the top rate of tax the same as Tonx Blair


makes me conservative. Tony Blair was a labour Prime Minister, and I


am Liberal Democrat. The West Country is a Liber`l


Democrat stronghold, so what are people in the West supposed to think


of this? Nick Clegg is therd saying that he is the break on number ten


stopping the Tories doing something that is too radical. And now you are


being more radical than all of them.


I want the Liberal Democrats to be the accelerator rather than the


break. Do you accept they are the break at


the moment? Sometimes that is the mode we going


to. In politics there is a place for stopping people you disagred with


from doing things they want to do, but I think generally it is a


mindset I am uncomfortable with to think that the main defining role


you have is not to put forw`rd your own ideas for how to make the


country a better place but stop people using their ideas. I want the


party to be more self`confident more outward looking, more bald. I don't


see liberalism is being a ddfensive ideology about splitting thd


difference between others, trying to download the ideas of other people.


I think liberalism can be a radical and progressive policy.


But you are fundamentally ott of step with the party.


I don't accept that. Is that why you are fired?


Nick Clegg made the decision, you will have to ask him.


Is it a bid for the leadership? There is no vacancy for the


leadership. I won't argue, why, if the Liberal Democrats did not exist,


why would it be necessary to invent us? And I don't think it is to have


a party that dilutes the vidws of other political parties, but I do


think that having a bold, ottward looking and authentic liber`lism is


part of the solution to the country's predicament and l`wmakers


more prosperous in the future. Tessa you have brought his book You


have been queuing in the shops for that. Is your poster boy, or is the


outsider? I think some of the points he makes


are probably good in that hd would probably have to invent the Liberal


Democrats if we were not here already. I would say that I possibly


disagree with some of the things he is saying. I have not read the book,


but I feel we have offered our own acceleration.


He says that Nick Clegg alw`ys says, I have stop them doing that and I


would stop maybe doing something else, and that is not very


inspiring. Absolutely, but look at what we have


done in government. Jeremy hs talking about the future, btt look


at what we have done. We have thousands of people in Somerset


having had a tax cut, millions of pounds going into schools.


Are you a left of centre party? I don't think we are, we ard


liberal. Would you support the top r`te of


tax as 40p? After we sort out the shambles of


National Insurance attributhon is that people start paying at ?8, 00.


We need to make sure that N`tional Insurance conurbations don't get


charged... Molly, part of his thesis is how do


you prepare for the emerging world which is very competitive. Lakes the


point that while we have bedn faffing around about a new runway at


Heathrow, the Chinese have built easy to airports. What is the green


response to that? The green response is to protect us


where we are and protect people at home and not focus so much on being


globally competitive and focusing on growth.


What would that do to stand`rd of living?


It would improve it because we would create more luckily `` more locally


based jobs. His idea is to get government OAS are competing with


people with Laura working conditions and that's not something I would be


part of. Without the command economy?


It would be a command econoly. Liberalism was always about small


government, and the reason ht failed because people suffered at work


Rampant capitalism meant th`t they had very poor conditions and also


destroyed the environment. We have seen other political movements come


along to respond to that. Let's take a look back at the


political week as we set thd stopwatch 46 the second. `` 62


seconds. The Mirror Swindon apologisdd over


remarks about disabilities. An independent panel found him guilty


of breaching a code of condtct. A former Mayor of Cheltenham has also


had to say sorry. She says she was not thinking when she made ` remark


about rape during a debate on housing. Motorists face a hhgh end


tools over the Clifton Suspdnsion Bridge. The Transport Secretary


approved arise from 50p to ?1 after an enquiry. Money will be spent on


repairs and maintenance. Grden belt campaigners in Gloucestershhre lost


out in their battle on houshng. Councillors have improved the plan


which will see 40,000 homes built in Gloucestershire and Tewkesbtry. And


the West has its first schools Commissioner. Former music teacher


said David Carter takes up the post and will decide where new academies


are built on behalf of the government.


Molly, 30,000 new houses in Gloucestershire. You must approve.


We think local communities should maintain the power to decidd where


houses are built, and that has been completely centralised and Dric


Pickles is overturning our decisions locally, so we have lost control of


planning. How many committees would s`y,


building next to me? It is not in favour of the


committees, it is in favour of their builders and that is what is ruining


planning. People still do not have enough


places to live. Thousands of people on waithng


lists, we have to make sure houses are affordable and built in a really


sound environmental way so that people have good standards `nd have


space to live. If I had my way, what I would do is let every comlunity, I


would give them the right to choose where it goes, but the


responsibility of making sure they provide for it.


And that's just about all for us. Are thanks to Molly Scott C`to and


Tessa Mont. We are back in Lay to follow all the twists and ttrns of


particular candidates. Back to you, Andrew.


The sun's out, Ed Balls has run the London Marathon, and MPs leave


Westminster for their Easter break. Let's discuss what's coming up in


the Week Ahead. We will get more of what we have


just seen. Let's look back on the debate. What did we learn from the


argument is? That it is going to bore and irritate whole lot of


people, this election campaign. Four parties shouting at each other about


things that most people do not know much about. They know very little


about how the European Parliament works, what an MEP is supposed to


do. A lot of heat and not a lot of light. I've updated well, all of


them, but the net effect is not going to encourage people to go out


and vote and not many do. One thing that struck me was that on Europe,


the Labour and Lib Dem positions are not that far apart. They are pretty


much the same. And yet the knocks lots of each other. I suppose they


feel that they had to do that because that is the format. I'd


agree with Polly. Their word UKIP and the Tories to attack two we try


to make it exciting, and we know the issues are important. But people out


there have not heard of these individuals. It is not very


exciting. That is worrying because these are huge national questions


for us. We need to find a way of making it more fun. People may not


know these MEPs, they may not know the detail of the debate, but it is


an issue on which people have strong opinions. It is a visceral thing for


many people. Especially on the immigration issue. The debate took


off and became more vociferous at that point. To a large extent, you


wonder whether not only this European election but the eventual


referendum will be a referendum on the issue of immigration and free


movement. If we did not learn much from the argument, the thing we did


learn is that the structure of these televised debate influences the


outcome. One of the reasons that Nigel Farage did well in the debate


is that in a two-man debate, each man has as good a chance as the


other. If it is four people, one man can be ganged up on. Patrick O'Flynn


did well for a man who is not an elected politician yet. At times, 40


came under attack and did not hold the line as well as you would


expect. Does that create a perverse incentive for the main parties to


agree to a four way debate before the general election? I do not think


the David Cameron has nearly as much to worry about from a televised


debate in the run-up to the elections than his spin doctors


believe. When you put him up against Ed Miliband, and we have not


actually seen Ed Miliband in that format, I think he will come off all


right. This is an election which the polls would have us believe that the


battle for first place is between UKIP and labour. It certainly is.


Obviously, it is neck and neck and we will not know until we are


closer. And it matters a lot to both of them. If Mr Miliband does not


come first, that is not good news for the main opposition at this


stage. Except to some extent all of the people will put it to one side


and say that this is a bizarre election. A plague on both your


houses, let's vote UKIP. It is not clear how much that translates into


the next election. It is not too disastrous for Labour. It would be


better if they came first. If Mr Miliband comes first, not a problem,


but it becomes second and UKIP soars away, what are the consequences I


think there is a widespread expectation already at Westminster


that UKIP is very likely to come first. If Ed Miliband fails to come


first, there will not be a great deal of shock in the West Mr


village. Else think what is remarkable about Ed Miliband is that


despite consistently poor personal leadership approval ratings, the


overall Labour poll is consistently very high. We have seen that budget


blip, it seems to have taken us back to where we were before. Leadership


is not everything. Mrs Thatcher was miles behind James Callaghan but in


the end, it was the party politics that mattered more. If Mr Cameron


comes third and the Tories come third, maybe a poor third, is it


headless chicken time on the Tory backbenchers? It has often been said


that the Tory Party has two modes, complacency and panic. You will see


them shift into panic mode. By June, I think. Many of the stories in the


sun will be about David Cameron s personal leadership and his grip on


the party. There will be pressure on conference by the time that comes


around. It is a natural consequence of being the incumbent party. The


Lib Dems are 7% in two of the polls today. It was widely thought that in


the first and second debates, Nigel Farage won both. In retrospect, was


the challenge strategy a disaster for Mr Clegg? I do not think it was


because he had nothing to lose. But he is lower in the polls than when


he started. He has not lost a great deal. The polls were quite often


that low. I think it was a good thing to do. It raised his profile.


It made him the leading party in. That may be a difficult place to


be. That is how you end up with 7% in the polls. The reason he is


fighting with Labour is that he knows very well that all he has to


do is to get his votes back that have gone to Labour and labour have


to fight hard to make sure that they do not go back. Every party looks to


where it is going to get it support. If it is a wipe-out for the


Lib Dems, and they lose all their MEPs, not saying that is going to


happen but you could not rule it out for, are we back in Nick Clegg


leadership crisis territory? One of the astonishing things about this


Parliament is the relative absence of leadership speculation about Nick


Clegg will stop at the first couple of years, his position seems


tricky, but maybe that is because Chris Hughton is gone and he was the


only plausible candidate. This cable is not getting any younger, to put


it delicately. That was not delegate at all! And we have reached a


desperate stage where Danny Alexander is talked about as a


candidate. That was not delegate either! Maybe he is holding onto


power the lack of alternatives. If they ended up with no MEPs at all,


and a less than double digits score... With Danny Alexander, it is


clear that Scotland, one way or another, will be moving further


away. You could not have the leader of a national party be a Scot. But


he does not have the following in the party. I'm glad you're liberal


attitudes to immigration extends to me. I would not have been here for


43 years. There will be leadership talk after that holes. It has been


bubbling in the background, but you have to talk to the grass roots


activists. -- after the polls. The grass roots activists are


despairing. If things are bad, they lose their network of activists who


they need to fight the next election. I think you mean, not that


you could have a Scot, but that it would be more difficult to have a


Scot from a Scottish constituency. Absolutely. I think a Scottish


constituency, so many things will be different. Or to hold the great


offices of state. Let's come onto the Crown Prosecution Service is. It


is an English institution. Where does the CPS and after losing yet


another high-profile case come this time Nigel Evans? They had nine


counts against him and they did not win on one. It is obviously very


embarrassing. They will have a bit of explain to do but I guess the


threshold for bringing these cases is high. There has to be considered


at least a 50-50 chance of actually winning the case. We do not know


what went on behind the scenes when they weighed up whether to bring the


case. Nigel Evans makes an interesting point about whether it


is legitimate to bundle together a number of stand-alone relatively


weak accusations, and when you put them together to militantly, the CPS


uses that to make a case. Is that a legitimate thing to do? He was a


high-profile figure, not just because he was a Tory MP. He was the


deputy speaker of the House. And yet the CPS are certainly the police, to


begin with they did not have that many people to testify against him.


And then they trawled for more. You wonder if they would have done that


if it was not for the fact that he was a public figure. The trouble is,


they are dammed if they do and dammed if they do not. Particularly


with politicians and the reputation they have these days, if there is


any suggestion that they let somebody off because they are a


high-profile politician, and they are saying that about Cyril Smith,


that is the accusation. A strange story. Most unlikely and very


bizarre. But that is the accusation. If there is any with of that, I can


see why the CPS says, we better let the courts try this one. Also, they


are in trouble overrated cases because their success rate on


bringing people to court for rape is so thin. When it looked as if his


accusers were not really accusing him, it looks quite weak. You cannot


help but feeling that they are falling over backwards now in


high-profile cases because of their abject and total failure over Jimmy


Savile. I think this is exactly the kind of case that happens when you


are trying to make a point or redeem a reputation or change a culture.


All of these big things. As opposed to what criminal justice is supposed


to be about, which is specific crimes and specific evidence


matching those crimes. The CPS has no copper a fleet joined in this


list of public and situations that has taken a fall over the past five


or six years. We have had Parliament, the newspapers, the


police will stop I think this is as bad a humiliation as any of those


because it is Innocent people suffering. You are the most recent,


being a lobby correspondent in Westminster, and we now see on


Channel 4 News that basically, Westminster is twinned with Sodom


and Gomorrah. Yes. I know. Is this true? It is all rather the red. I do


not move in those circles. And you were in the lobby at one stage? Not


that long ago. Is it right. Is it right to be twinned with Sodom and


Gomorrah? I'll ask him for his opinion. Being technically a member


of the lobby, I can observe some of this stuff. And what surprises me is


that journalists, when the complain about Sodom and Gomorrah, write


themselves out of it. It is as if it is just MPs. We are unalloyed and


unvarnished. Actually, the fact is it has always been a bit like Sodom


and tomorrow. Of course it has. Think about how we have had wave


after wave of stories and scandals. But less of it recently. It was I


think that attitudes have slightly changed. I'll also think that if you


get 650 people in any organisation and you put that much scrutiny on


them, you will find an awful lot going on in most people's officers


of a scurrilous nature. Even in the BBC


In 2013, the public voted for a portrait of


At times he's interesting, at times he's very funny,


My life is a very happy life and I'm a very happy person.


Will you feel nervous when this is unveiled?


I suppose being the centre of attention but for ever.


Andrew Neil and David Garmston with the latest political news, interviews and debate. Andrew chairs a special debate ahead of the European elections with representatives from UKIP, Labour, the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats.

Download Subtitles