Andrew Neil and David Garmston with the latest political news, interviews and debate.
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Morning folks and welcome to The Sunday Politics,
live from the Conservative Conference in Birmingham.
There will be one less Conservative MP here after Mark Reckless defected
He joins us live from his constituency, where he has
It has not been the best of starts for the Prime Minister, as he
arrives in Birmingham for the last Tory conference before the election.
On top of the Reckless defection, a junior Tory minister has resigned
RAF jets have carried out their first mission over Iraq
In the West ` keeping it in the family.
Now the neice of this Somerset MP has been chosen
So is blood thicker than water in politics?
In London, how the richest 1% are pulling further away, and why those
priced out are choosing to move away.
And joining me, three of the country's most loyal journalists,
who sadly have yet to resign or defect to our inferior rivals.
Nick Watt, Polly Toynbee and Janan Ganesh.
And, of course, they'll be tweeting throughout the programme.
And you too can get involved by using the hashtag #BBCSP.
At the current rate of Tory resignations,
Mr Cameron could be speaking to an empty hall when he makes his keynote
address to the Tory conference here in Birmingham tomorrow.
It's been a classic car crash of a start to the conference, with a UKIP
defection, a minister shamed into resignation by a sex scandal and
Ed Miliband's memory lapses now look like a little local difficulty.
Here's what the Prime Minister had to say
These things are frustrating and frankly counter-productive and
rather senseless. If you want to have a European referendum, if you
want to get the deficit down, if you want to build a stronger Britain
that we can be proud of, there is only one option, which is to have a
Conservative government after the next election.
And Mark Reckless joins me now from Rochester.
Welcome to the programme. Why did you lie to all your Conservative
colleagues and mislead those who elected you? Well, I am keeping
faith with my constituents and keeping my promises to them. You
heard the Prime Minister saying that the Conservative led government was
dealing with the deficit and cutting immigration. The reality is, we have
increased the national debt by more in five years than even Labour
managed in 13, and immigration is back up to the levels we saw under
Labour. I believe in the promises I made in 2010, and I want to keep my
words to my electorate, not least to deal with the deficit, cut
immigration, reform the political system, to localise powers back to
the community, particularly over house-building. The government has
broken its word on all those things are. I want to keep my word to my
voters here, and that is why I have done what I have done, by moving to
UKIP. You have not kept your words to your Conservative constituency
chairman. You assured him 48 hours ago that you would not defect, and
you left his voice mail on the Conservative Party chairman's office
telephone, missing to come to Birmingham to campaign for the
Tories. This is your voice mail .. I have just picked up your e-mail ..
So, Friday night, telling Grant Shapps you are coming to Birmingham
to campaign for the Tories. The next day, you are joining UKIP. Why did
you are a? I sounded a bit more hesitant on that call than I usually
do, and I am not sure if that was the full conversation. But you
cannot discuss these things in advance, you have to make a
decision. I have decided the future of this country is better served by
UKIP then it is by the Conservative Party under David Cameron. I made a
lot of promises to my constituents, and I want to keep those promises.
That is why I am moving to UKIP so I can deliver the change this
country really needs. In May of this year, you said that Nigel Farage,
quote, poses the most serious threat to a Tory victory at the election.
So, you agree, voting UKIP means a Labour government? I think voting
UKIP means getting UKIP. While in the past a disproportionate number
of UKIP people were ex-Conservatives, now, they are
winning a lot more people, from all parties. People are so disillusioned
with the political class in Westminster, that they have not
voted often for a generation. Those are the people Nigel Farage is
inspiring, and frankly, he has also inspired me. What he has done in the
last 20 years, building his party, getting people from all walks of
life, sending up for ordinary people, I think deserves support.
That is a key reason why I am moving. UKIP are now the agents of
change. You said it poses them a serious threat to a Tory victory? My
ambition is not a Tory victory. We made all of these promises in 2 10
as Conservatives, and they have been broken. We now hear from David
Cameron about English votes for English laws, supported by Nick
Clegg as well, but that is what we said in our manifesto in 2010, and
we have done absolutely nothing about it. It is not credible now to
pretend that you are going to do those things. They have omitted to
give every Scot ?1600 per year in definitely. If you want to stand up
for the English taxpayer, and really tackle the debt, then UKIP are the
party who will do that. But there is nothing principled about this, this
is just an attempt to save your skin. You said UKIP stopped you
winning in 2005 - UKIP did not stand in 2010, and you won. You are
frightened that UKIP would beat you in the next election, this is to
save your skin to me you think I am doing this because I am frightened,
you think this is the easy option, to abandon my position in
Parliament, but my principles on the line? On the contrary, you look at
MPs who have moved party before almost none of them have given their
voters to chance to have a say on what they have done. I am asking
permission from my voters, and I am moving to UKIP because I believe
many of the people in my constituency have been let down by a
Conservative led government, and that what UKIP is saying appeals to
decent, hard-working people, who want to see real change in our
country. If they do not agree, then they can vote in a by-election and
have their say on who they want to be their MP. I am being open and
honest, giving people a say. I am trying to do the right thing by my
constituents, and whatever the risk is to me personally, I think it is
the right thing to do. It is what MPs should be in politics to try and
do for the people they represent. Your defection, coming after Douglas
Carswell's, confirms the claim that UKIP is largely a depository for
disaffected right-wing Tories like yourself, isn't it? On the contrary,
the number of people I met in Doncaster yesterday was
extraordinary. When I first went to Conservative conferences 20 years
ago, there was some enthusiasm for politics, I remember Norman Tebbit
speaking against Maastricht, people fought they could change things
there was real politics. But I do not think you will see that at
Birmingham this week, it is PR people, lobbyists, corporate, few
ordinary members of. At Ancaster, people had saved up for months just
to get the rail ticket to Doncaster. People who believe in UKIP, who
believe in Nigel Farage, who believe in the team, as agents of change,
who can actually deal with a political class at Westminster which
has let able down. We want proper reform to the political system,
which David Cameron promises but does not deliver. Final question -
after the next election, the Prime Minister is going to be either David
Cameron or Ed Miliband, that is the choice, one or the other - who would
you prefer? Well, what we would prefer is to get the most UKIP
policies implemented. We want a first rate we want to deal with
immigration. I asked about who you wanted to be Prime Minister. We will
look at the circumstances. We need as many UKIP MPs as possible, to
restore trust in politics. If people vote UKIP, they will get UKIP. How
serious is this? I think it is very serious. It is the old Tory disease,
destroyed John Major, and it has been bubbling away again. It is
beginning to feel like the worst days of Labour in the early nineteen
eighties. It matters, because people care passionately. It is nothing
like Labour in the early 1980s, it is bad, but it is nothing like that.
There are these very strong strands. People like David Davis
writing a large piece in the Daily Mail attacking the leader on the
first day of the conference. That is the kind of thing that Labour used
to do. That is what David Davis does all the time! But this is authentic
in the sense that there is a real, genuine dispute about Europe. Some
of us were not around in the 19 0s, but I imagine it is pretty bad.
There is the short-term problem of the by-election they might lose the
media problem of the general election which they cannot win if
UKIP remain anywhere near their current level of support. But in
many ways the longer term question is the most pressing, which is, does
it make sense for the Conservative Party to remain one party, or would
it not be better for the hard-core of 20-30 intransigent Eurosceptics
to essentially join UKIP or form their own party? At least the
Conservatives would become more internally manageable. And probably
lose the next election. Probably, yes. That is what you are advising
them? If the reward is to have a coherent party in 15 years' time. It
is just as well you are a columnist, not a party strategist. I
was an anorak in the 1980s, who watched the Labour conference on the
TV. Were you wearing your anorak? Of course I was, that is how sad I am.
But once again the crisis from UKIP has forced the Prime Minister to
step in an even more Eurosceptic direction. Said on television what
he was trying not to say, which is that if he does not get his way in
the European negotiations, he will recommend to the British people that
we should go. He began by saying, as I have always said, and when they
say that, you know they are saying something new. He basically said,
Britain should not stay if it is not in Britain's interests. I think this
is big stakes for both the Tories and four UKIP. The Tories are able
to write off Clacton. Rochester is number 271 on the UKIP friendly
list. If the Tories win it, big moment for them. If UKIP lose it,
this strategy of various will be facing a bit of a setback.
To what extent are Mark Reckless's views shared by Conservative
The Sunday Politics commissioned an exclusive poll of Conservative
Pollsters ComRes spoke to over ,000 councillors -
that's almost an eighth of their council base - and Eleanor Garnier
There is not a single party conference at the seaside this year,
and Sunday Politics could not get through them all without a trip to
the coast. So here we are on the shore in Sussex. There are plenty of
Conservative councillors here, and Tory MPs as well, but one challenge
they all face is UKIP, who have got their sights on coastal towns.
Places like Worthing East and surer and, with high numbers of
pensioners, providing rich pickings for UKIP. In West Sussex, the Tories
run the county council, but UKIP are the official opposition, with ten
councillors. We cannot lose any more ground to UKIP. If we lose any more
ground, if you look at the way it has swung from us to them, it is
getting near to being the middle point, where we might start losing
seats which we have always regarded as safe seats. So, it has got to be
stemmed, it cannot go any further. Our exclusive survey looked at the
policy areas where the Conservatives are vulnerable to UKIP. If an EU
Referendum Bill is called tomorrow, 45% say they would vote to leave,
39% would stay in. Asked about immigration...
It was those issues, Europe and immigration, that Mark Reckless said
were the head of his decision. I promised to cut immigration while
treating people fairly and humanely. I cannot keep that promise as a
Conservative, I can keep it as UKIP. When asked if Conservative
councillors would like an electoral pact with UKIP in the run-up to the
general election, one third said they support the idea. 63% are
opposed and 7% don't know. Conservative councillors who left
the party to join UKIP say it wasn't easy. I left because basically the
Conservatives left me. I saw it as a difficult decision to change, but
what I was seeing with UKIP was freed. Me being able to speak for my
residents. Back to our survey and on climate change 49% said it was
happening, but that humans are not to blame. Our survey showed that 60%
think David Cameron was wrong to pursue legalising gay marriage, with
31% saying it was the right thing to do and 9% not sure. In Worthing
councillors said gay marriage was divisive. That has really been an
issue here, it might have damaged the party slightly, and I think in a
way by setting a rule like that it is a very religious thing and it is
almost trying to play God to make that decision. But some of the
party's toughest decisions have been over the economy. 56% in our survey
thought the spending cuts the Government has so far announced have
not gone far enough. 6% were not sure. They are prepared for
difficult decisions, but local activists say the party's voice must
be clearer. I think the message has to be more forceful, it has to be
specially targeted to the ex-Conservative voters who now vote
UKIP, especially in this area, the vast majority of UKIP people are
disillusioned Conservatives. The message has to be loud and strong,
come back and we are the party to give you what you want. With just
eight months until the general election, the pressure is on and
local Conservatives are searching for clues to help their party stem
the flow of defections. Joining me now is William Hague, the former
Foreign Secretary and the Leader of the House of Commons.
Tories like Mark Reckless are defecting to UKIP because they don't
Tories like Mark Reckless are trust the party leadership to
deliver on Europe, do they? They believe people like you and David
Cameron will campaign to stay in and they are right. They said before
they defected that people should vote Conservative to get a
referendum on Europe, and that is right of course. The only way to get
a referendum is to do that and this is the point, the people should
decide. However a future government decides it will campaign, it should
be the people of the country who decide. Can you say to our viewers
this morning that is not enough powers are repatriated back to
Britain, you would want to come out, can you say that? Our objective
is to get those powers and stay in. The answer to the question is I
won't be deciding, David Cameron won't be deciding, you the voters
will be deciding. But you have to give us your view. If you don't get
enough powers back, would you vote to come out and recommended? Our
objective is to get those powers and be able to stay in. You just get
endless speculation years in advance. I will decide at the time
how I will vote. Surely that is the rational position for everyone to
take but I want a referendum to take place. I understand that. As you
pointed out to Mark Reckless just now, unless there is a Conservative
government, people won't have that choice. Under a Labour government
they will not get a choice at all. Our survey of Tory councillors shows
that almost 50% would vote to leave the EU in a referendum. I think it
showed, wasn't it 45, and 39%, but again, I'm pretty sure they will
decide at the time. They will want to see what a future government
achieves in a renegotiation before they decide what to vote in a
referendum. Unless David Cameron is Prime Minister and there is a
Conservative government, there will not be a renegotiation. That is a
point you have made four times. I think they have got it. Your Cabinet
colleague says we should not be scared of quitting the EU, but you
went native in the Foreign Office, didn't you? You used to be a
Eurosceptic, you are now the Foreign Office line man. No, I don't think
so! We brought back the first reduced European budget ever in
history. Even Margaret Thatcher .. Leaving the EU scares you, doesn't
it? Not much scares me after 26 years in politics but we want to do
the best thing for the country. Where we scared when we got us out
of liability for Eurozone bailouts? We were not scared of anybody.
People said we couldn't achieve things but we negotiated these
things. We can do that with a wider negotiation in Europe. Mr Reckless
says he cannot keep the Conservative promise to tackle immigration. You
have failed to keep your promise to keep net immigration down. You
promised to cut it below 100,00 , you failed. It is over 200,000
people. We have cut it from 250 000 in 2005, the last figures were
240,000. I think we can file that under F four failed. It includes
students, we want them in the country. You knew that when you made
the promise. But has it come down? Yes, it has. Have we stopped
the promise. But has it come down? coming here because of our benefit
system? Yes. None of that happened under Labour. If Mark Reckless had
his way, it would be more likely we would have a Labour government. They
have an open door policy on immigration. You are not just losing
MPs to UKIP, you are losing voters. Polling by Michael Ashcroft shows
that 20% of people who voted Tory in 2010 have abandoned youth and three
quarters of them are voting UKIP now. We will see in the general
election. Politics is very fluid in this country and we shouldn't deny
that in any way but UKIP thought they were going to win the
by-election in Newark, we had a thumping Conservative victory, and I
think opinion polls are snapshots of opinion now. They are not forecast
of the general election and we will be doing everything we can to get
our message across. Today we are announcing 3 million more
apprenticeships in the next Parliament. I think this is what
people will be voting on, rather than who has defected. Your activist
base once parked with UKIP. Our survey shows a third of Tory
councillors would like a formal pact with UKIP. Why not? It shows two
thirds are against it. No, it shows one third want it. I read the
figures, it showed 67% don't want it. We are not going to make a pact
with other parties, and they don't work in the British electoral system
even if they were desirable. You are sharing the Cabinet committee on
English votes for English laws. Is further devolution for Scotland
conditional on progress towards English devolution? No, the
commitment to Scotland is unconditional. We will meet the
commitments to Scotland but we believe, we the Conservatives
believe, that in tandem with that we have to resolve these questions
about fairness to the rest of the UK as well. That will depend on other
parties or the general election result. Are you committed to the
Gordon Brown timetable? Yes, absolutely. So you are committed to
producing draft legislation by Burns night, that is at the end of
January. Will you produce proposals for English votes on English laws by
then? We will, but whether they are agreed across the parties will
depend on the other parties. There was no sign that they were agreeable
at the Labour conference. We will produce our ideas on the same
timetable as the timetable for Scottish devolution. You will
therefore bring forward proposals for English votes for English laws
by the end of January? Yes. And will you attempt to get them on the
statute book before the election? The commitment in Scotland is to
legislate after the election. You will publish a bill beforehand? We
will publish proposals beforehand. I don't exclude doing something before
the election, but the Scottish timetable is to legislate for the
further devolution after the general election, whoever wins the election.
Have you given thought as to what English votes for English laws would
mean? I have thought a lot of it over 15 years. I am not going to
prejudge what the outcome will be, but it does mean in essence that
when decisions are taken, decisions that only affect England or only
England and Wales, then only the MPs from England and Wales should be
making those decisions. You can achieve that in many different
ways. Is that it for English devolution, is that what it amounts
to? That is devolution to England if you like, but within England there
is a lot of other devolution going on and we might well want to extend
that further. We have given more freedom to local authorities, there
is a lot of scope to do more of that, but that in itself is not the
answer to the problem of what happens at Westminster. You haven't
just given Scotland more devolution or planned to do it, you have also
enshrined the Barnett formula and that seems to be in perpetuity. It
is widely regarded as being unfair to Wales and many of the poorer
English regions. Why do you perpetuate it? It will become less
relevant overtime if more tax-raising powers... It goes all
the way back to the 1970s, we made a commitment on that, we will keep our
commitments to Scotland as more -- but as more tax-raising powers
devolved, the Barnett formula is less significant. If you transfer ?5
billion of tax-raising powers to Scotland, 5 billion comes off the
Barnett formula? It will be a lot more complicated than that, but yes,
as their own decisions about taxation are made, the grand from
Westminster will go down. And you can guarantee that if there is a
majority Conservative government, there will be English votes for
English laws after the election Yes, I stress again that there are
different ways of doing it but if there is no cross-party agreement on
that, the Conservatives will produce our proposals and campaign for them
in the general election. Don't go away because I want to move on to
some other matters. Now to the fight against so-called
Islamic State terrorists. Yesterday, RAF Tornado jets carried
out their first flights over Iraq since MPs gave their approval for
air-strikes against the militants. When you face a situation with
psychobabble -- psychopathic killers who have already brutally beheaded
one of our own citizens, who have already launched and tried to
execute plots in our own country to maim innocent people, we have a
choice - we can either stand back from this and say it is too
difficult, let's let someone else try to keep our country safe, or we
take the correct decision to have a full, comprehensive strategy but
let's be prepared to play our role to make sure these people cannot do
not trust harm. And William Hague is still with me -
until July he was, of course, Why have only six Tornado jets being
mobilised? Do not assume that is all that will be taking part in this
operation. That is all that has been announced and I do not think we
should speculate. Even the Danes are sending more fighter jets. There is
no restriction in the House of Commons resolution passed on Friday
on what we can do. So why so little? Do not underestimate what
our Tornados can do. They have some unique capabilities, capabilities
which have been specifically asked for by our allies. When you are on
the wrong end of six Tornados, it will not feel like a small effort.
But there will be other things which can add to that effort. We are
joining in a month after the operation started, we are late, we
are behind America, France, Australia, Jordan, the UAE, Bahrain,
Qatar, one hand tied behind our backs cause of the rule about not
attacking Syria - why is the British government leading from behind?
First of all, we are a democratic country, and you know all about
Parliamentary approval. You could have recalled parliament. We have
done that, with a political consensus. Other European countries
also took the decision on Friday to send their military assets. Our
allies are absolutely content with that, and Britain will play an
important role, along with many other nations, including Arab
nations. General Sir David Richards Sheriff, who just steps down as the
Nato Deputy Supreme Commander, he condemns the spineless lack of
leadership and the absence of any credible strategy. It is
embarrassing,isn't it? Of course, they turn into armchair generals. We
are playing an important role, we are a democratic country. Your
viewers will remember, we had a vote last year on military action in
Syria and we were defeated in the House of Commons, a bad moment for
our foreign policy. We have taken care to bring this forward when we
can win a vote in the House of Commons, and that is how we will
proceed. The air Chief Marshal until recently in charge of the RAF, he
says, it makes no sense to bomb Iraq but not Syria. He calls the decision
ludicrous. Of course, it DOES make sense to bomb Iraq, because the
Iraqi government has asked for our assistance. This came up a lot in
the debate on Friday, and the Prime Minister explained, similar to what
I have just been saying, that there is not a political consensus about
Syria in the House of Commons. When we did it last year, we were
defeated, and it was described by all commentators as a huge blow to
the government and to our foreign policy. So, we will bring forward
proposals when there is a majority in this country to do so in the
House of Commons. Professor Michael Clarke, one of the world top experts
on military strategy and history, he says there are very few important IS
targets in northern Iraq, that they are all in Syria, and we are
limiting ourselves to the periphery of the campaign. First of all, just
because you are not doing everything does not mean you should not do
something. Secondly, the United States and other countries are
engaged in the action against targets in Syria. This is a
coalition effort, with people doing different things. Thirdly, if we
were to put their proposal to the House of Commons tomorrow, and it
was defeated, we would not have achieved a great deal. You do not
know it would have been defeated. The Labour Party has given no
indication they would have supported that. So, you are hostage to the
Labour Party? We have to win a democratic vote in the House of
Commons, and the Labour Party is a very large part of the House of
Commons. You are asking us to pursue a policy which at the moment could
be defeated in Parliament. Is it not embarrassing to be on the wrong side
of so many of these military experts? Why should we trust the
judgment of here today, gone tomorrow, politicians? We have the
military experts with us now. We have a national security council, we
do not have sofa government, unlike the last government. The national
security council is chaired by the Prime Minister. Alongside the Chief
of Defence Staff and the heads of the intelligence agencies. And we
take decisions together with the people who have the information
now. So, you will know what British and American intelligence says about
Syria. The Prime Minister has said there is a danger that the
British-born jihadists will come back and attack us. But the
intelligence reports which you will have seen are clear - Al-Qaeda and
its associates are selecting, indoctrinating and training
jihadists in Syria, not Iraq. Does that not make the Syrian exclusion
even more ludicrous? I cannot comment on intelligence. Is the
situation in Syria I direct threat to this country? Yes, it is. Have we
excluded action? No, we haven't Could you come back to the House?
The Prime Minister said, it was in the motion put to the House of
Commons, that if we want to take action in Syria, we will come back
to the House of Commons. But we have not taken any decision about that
and we would not do so if we thought we were going to be defeated again.
The government supports US strikes on Syria, show you must relieve they
are legal. Either way the legal basis differs from one country to
another, according to their reading of international law. But you have
supported it. We do believe that they and Arab countries are taking
action legally and we support their action. But I understand your
legitimate questions. But it comes back to your basic question, why in
Iraq and not Syria. Nonetheless it is important to take action in
Iraq. We are also engaged in Syria in building up the political
strength of the more moderate opposition and in trying to bring
about a peace agreement, and we do not exclude action in Syria in the
future. If we propose doing something, then we ask for the
specific legal advice. Why would you not ask for the legal advice
anyway? Because you have to be sure of the legal advice at the time and
also we do not comment on the advice given to us by the Law officers Mr
Blair ended up publishing his. That was because there was a huge legal
dispute. So you have not had legal advice yet that Britain attacking
Syria would be legal? The legal situation is unlikely to be the
barrier in this case, let me put it that way. Within international law,
you can act in the event of extreme humanitarian distress and elective
self-defence, so one can imagine strong legal justification, but of
course, we will take the legal advice at the time.
watching The Sunday Politics. We say goodbye to viewers in Scotland, who
Scotland. Coming up here in 20 minutes, The Week Ahead.
We go to the best school in the world.
A new film by a Bristol graduate lampoons the life of toffs
but might it soon be harder for them to get ahead in the jobs market
Labour wants a crackdown on class in the workplace.
Joining me today are two men I happened to bump into
who then proceeded to tell le their life stories.
The sort of thing that happdns all the time to Ed Miliband,
as he told us at the party last week.
Like Gareth, who is high up in a software company.
He has got a five`year`old daughter
and is earning a decent wagd but cannot afford to buy a home
I mentioned earlier on that I spent a couple days in a hospital
While I was there, I met an amazing man in his 80s,
I met someone called Elizabdth the other day.
Earlier on, I mentioned Gareth who works at
a software company, who is worried about his daughter and the future.
Yes, Ed Miliband talking about Gareth and Elizabeth
He did his entire speech from memory and then left ott some
Let's talk about that with Darren Jones,
and Conservative councillor Mark Weston.
And also here, I am pleased to say, is Chris Scott, head of acthng at
How hard is it to memorise an 80 minute speech?
And I think also the pressure that you're trying to remember those
words, with all those peopld watching you, with the confdrence
going on, with the television cameras recording every hiccup,
every slight pause you have, I think it is a great stress and strain to
I suppose there is a sort of feeling that if you can speak
off`the`cuff for so long yot really are passionate about it.
It does mean that you can gdt a lot of eye contact, which is good.
If you can actually talk to people, I think that is impressive.
So I think rather than being anchored behind a podium he wants to
seem fresh, spontaneous, purposeful, passionate.
I agree with everything that has just been said.
I mean, you guys jibe Ed and that editing
didn't show one of the policies that he was talking about in his speech.
We were more interested in the characters he mentioned.
You should be interested in the policies, David...
That is up to him, then, to get that message across.
Well, he did but you didn't put it in the film.
I don't think he really did, if we are honest.
I think he did a whole speech to the audience there, rather than
And what he tried to do was create this artificial sense that he is
communicating with people bx listing all the people that he had let.
I hope in the last few months he has met more than those thrde.
Well, Mark, you told me you turned it off after half an hour
so I'm not sure you can say that you saw the speech.
I did, and the reason I did is because it was that dull.
I have read the transcript `nd I watched the first half an hour but I
am afraid after that it failed to engage, and I am a political geek.
Did it remind you of Iain Duncan Smith?
Oh, it is right up there with his disastrous speeches!
Mark is a very good Conserv`tive party staffer,
I was there as well and as H was filing out of the hall I asked those
people in the red, the stew`rds I said, "Marks out of ten?"
And there was one woman who said 9.5 but for most it was six.
When Ed was talking about those people, he was trying to
put in context the policies he wants to bring to this country to help
You might make jokes about him or the delivery the way you have
edited that, but when he was talking about the NHS, jobs and
apprenticeships, when he was talking about housing, these are thd
He wasn't talking about the deficit or immigr`tion.
That's the danger if you don't autocue or teldprompt
And what about your Rochdald MP I forget the chap's name.
Mark, here, trying to conduct the interview
Ed has spoken about the mistake that he has owned up to in the speech,
it doesn't mean he doesn't worry about the deficit and if yot look
at the Ed Balls speech, the Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer, he was
very clear that we wanted to balance the books by the end
We are going to make that a legal responsibility and `ll the
policies are fully costed, with no increase in debt or spending
As a performer, what did yot think about this technique of dropping
What we want to know are sole of the macro aspects of the politics.
We also want to see some of the micro aspects of the policies
Those are good and seeing the people...
But is he doing it for the conference centre or is he
Is it a precis of the whole week at Manchester?
It is quite a tall order for one single speech.
Content`wise, he has absolutely set the agenda, has he not, on cost
of living in a way that Mr Cameron simply hasn't, even
though I am sure he will deliver a very polished speech from attocue?
No, I think he has set out ` vision but
it is their eighth in three years.
He seems to keep changing the vision and plan every thme
It was supposed to have been fully costed but it is not.
There are ?20 billion worth of commitments but only ?2 billion
Thank you so much for coming in and giving us your acting thps.
Now, Labour has announced plans to tackle class discrimination
The party wants the social background of candidates to be taken
into account by public sector employers.
We are at the top universitx in the world.
But there are no more than ten in The Riot Club.
It is an image the Tories are desperate to ditch
but in cinemas everywhere rhght now, The Riot Club portrays a prhvileged
few as champagne`swilling btllyboys who see themselves
as masters of the universe.
And there's been lots of talk about the importance of class
Here in East Bristol, the chosen Conservative candidate is
a privately educated expert in Russian art, Theodora Cl`rk.
She happens to be the niece of the wife of the North East Somerset
MP Jacob Rees Mogg and famotsly his sister, Anunciata, ran for ` nearby
But all three have been chosen through the party's
own rigourous selection process so why should any of this m`tter?
I don't know that people outside the Labour Party really think
I think the electorate in North East Somerset thinks
about individuals, people as they are and as they meet them.
I am very fortunate in that my family is deeply rooted
there and I have met many pdople who have known members of my falily who
I think being rooted in your community is much more
important than these rather outdated issues of class.
And it's not just the Tories who have been criticised for making
This week, the Bristol Labotr councillor Fabian Beckles l`shed out
at his own party for giving children of former MPs face the.
There is Will Straw, fun of Jack, now standing in
And Stephen Kinnock, son of Neil, running in south Wales.
And finally, Emily Benn from the line of Tony and
They all argue they have earned their place but opening up
the top jobs to more people is one of the key seems to emerge
There are ladders that can be used to climb up and get on, but they are
Politics, law, journalism, business, wonderful jobs but still opdrating
Three quarters of senior judges nearly half of journalists,
are from private schools whhch educate just 7% of the population.
Labour now wants public sector employers to monitor the social
I lived at number four, the groundfloor flat.
Their candidate in Bristol North West is keen for people to know he
Darren Jones may sound like he has had an expensive education but in
So is his accent is stopping him connecting in the working class
As long as they can speak plainly to anyone,
I don't like being talked down to, I don't think anyone else does.
As long as they communicate well I don't think Porsche is so mtch
It doesn't matter whether he's posh or whether he is
It just depends on the results he gets.
Just because he's got mace chinos on and a pair
of boat shoes doesn't mean that he's not in touch with society.
You know, the thing is guy, if he wants to be in touch with society,
it doesn't matter what he looks like, it matters on what he is
I looked up to him because he is upper`class but I let down
on him because he is lower class. `` look down.
Perhaps, then, those traditional class divhsions
With Labour's new policy, knowing the place you came
from could be crucial in climbing the ladder at work.
Well, we are joined by Nigel Costley from the TUC.
Nigel used to be the of Equality South West, which
campaigned for a more equal society.
Is class much of an issue these days?
I forgot my class cap and mx whippet but we mustn't stereotype pdople.
Trade unionists, now, represent all classes, if you like.
Last week, the hospital consultants bordered
by 80% to take industrial action. ``voted.
They will be joining with cleaners, construction workers,
So we represent a wide spectrum of people but it does remain
the big divide in society, where you were born matters hugely.
If you are born in South Bristol your chances
of getting into higher educ`tion and a decent job, let alone politics
or journalism, hugely different from if you were born in Clhfton.
And the answer is we must r`ise awareness of those divisions
and we have to do something about it, because it's getting worse.
The top 1% is soaring away from the rest of us,
Do you accept that politici`ns aren't doing enough to deal with
this issue of class, which seems to be particularly British?
I am not sure, if I am being utterly honest, that there is
I mean, I listened to Glori`'s speech and I have to say I `m not
convinced that what she is suggesting is remotely practical.
I think people, and you heard, they are far more interested in how
people perform and their abhlities than about their backgrounds.
Can you really imagine that all of the public bodies out thdre are
going to monitor your socio`economic backgrotnd?
Ultimately, if we are being truthful, where you come from
doesn't matter at all, it's how good you are that makes the diffdrence.
The reason I am in politics is because I have done
I was the first in my family to go to university.
I am very proud to be running for parliament,
And one of the things that fundamentally annoys there hs
the lack of equality and opportunity and the right for kids in Bristol
So what sort of social engineering can you do,
It is just about balancing out the playing field.
That was the way and for many people.
A lot of people from Lawrence Weston are in see new places today
But actually the issue is m`king sure that a comprehensive education
I am saying that we need to do more with comprehensive
schools to be able to support them to deliver that.
And this is the fundamental issue about why am wanting to be the MP
Have you noticed that, that it is who you know?
I am sure in all parts of politics if you are born
into a political family that is going to be in your life blood.
I don't think we should stop people getting chances because of that
But I do think that the question of inequality is getting worse.
If the minimum wage had gond up at the same rate as the top FTSE
It affects so much of OUR lhfe, where you were born
And we do need to do somethhng about that.
We don't want to divide people at 11 so that some man in the factories
and typing rules as opposed to the managers and the people who are
But the problem with what L`bour was suggested
at the conference seems to be that your background matters mord.
If you are working`class and you make a success and you have said
Do your children have to be`r the brunt of that because suddenly you
are doing well for yourself and living
are not going to get a break because your social economic background in
these topic affairs indices and some public body is sayhng that
you are from a wealthy family. ``public bodies.
My wife's grandfather was a coal mine.
If we go far back, we can find these.
I am sure we can all find our working`class roots if we look.
But why do you make such a big thing of it?
You often say that you are from a council house in Lawrence Weston,
Where I lived isn't the reason I say that.
Actually it is because that is what drives my politics.
One of the things I do freqtently as the candidate is both local kids to
to local businesses to understand what jobs they are in Bristol for
them to aspire to and to understand how their work at school makes the
to their jobs and I am glad that Mark recognises
that young people today see their futures and note that they light not
`` they do not know that thdy are going to get the opporttnity
Did you get your break by not appearing to be workhng`class
You are as posh as Jacob Riis morgue in manx ways.
I don't think I am, quite frankly, and it has nothing to do with that.
I was good academically in skill and thanks to Ian Labour Government
I was the first in my family to go to university.
So it worked for you so why can it not work for millions of others
and actually isn't it, in rdality, people just getting on with it?
You just need to look at the evidence, David.
It is an increasing problem in this country and we have just got
to take steps to do this and the point on measuring social
background in professions, the Law Society does that for l`wyers
You might have a situation where you go for
a job and to equal candidatds, one who came from a middle`class area
and the other from working`class, and the working class kid gdts it?
I do not think that is what she is saying.
That is exactly what she was saying stop at my law firm,
we measure those backgrounds and we can make strategic ddcisions
on how we can support young people to understand...
So you go for the working`class kid, rather than the middle`class kid?
Oh, it doesn't come to this decision about who you employee
but we run a mentoring programme with kids from a local school..
We are in the thick of the party conference season
and the Conservatives who g`ther in Birmingham today will have been
keeping a close eye on UKIP's get`together at Doncaster
UKIP has already made a bre`kthrough in council elections, taking seats
Now the party's hopes are phnned on Westminster.
Welcome to Doncaster racecotrse wear this weekend UKIP have been
No coincidence that this happens to be justified the constituency
It is Labour heartland and the party are very deliberately going out to
In the West Country, that means place of Lake Swhndon,
Bristol, Gloucester, where they hope to pick up ports.
Probably the biggest target of all is the Forest of Dean, wherd they
picked up the council seats in the county council elections last year.
They also did very well in this year's European elections.
With me is 1 of their newly elected MEPs, Julia Reed.
Let's just ask you about thd Forest of Dean.
Important seat for you but xou have not got a candidate yet.
No, they are going through the selection
process now and our selection process is very rigorous, so they
are going to ensure they have a really good candidate in place.
The selection process than last time because Tim, your candidate, had to
stand down and they said he had been a hypocrite over windfarms.
He passed the selection process that he was
But because of his involvemdnt in windfarms, and he did decide
There will be lots of MEPs that have in the past fallen out
with the leader are left thd party, councillors or candidates who
Are you confident this time the UKIP is getting itself together
and not having strange people who will fall out?
I am certain that we will go on and on and do better and better
Quick question about taxation, a big issue at the conference.
You want to drop the top rate of tax for the wealthiest,
that is going to take ?3,000,00 ,000 out of public coffers.
At the moment, we have a lot of aspiration`l people
in the middle classes who are trying to better themselves
and they are hitting the cehling of the tax rate very, very puickly.
Osborne actually did lower ht by ?2000 from the level that
We intend to increase the t`x eventually for that the better
off paying a bit more but that those who are trying to better thdmselves
We will see more, doubtless, as we get
More details to come over the next 8 months.
Let's turn to our guests in the studio.
There was one very good lind that Ed Miliband had
at the party conference, he said the Prime minister did not lie awake
at night worrying about the UK, he was awake at night worryhng
I think it is a good line for that speech.
David Cameron has been quitd passionate in this whole Scottish
referendum debate and he thhnks about the entirety of the UK.
The whole party is running scared of UKIP.
And via the tail wagging thd dog, aren't they?
What they are, they are a political opponent that we aim to beat
No, euroscepticism, if you want I would define myself
as eursceptic and I would be delighted to have
You are becoming more like them because that is the way you see
I think that has been a gradual devolution all along.
If you look at William Hagud and the two does not 2005 c`mpaign,
we have always campaigned on European issues. ``2001 `nd 005.
And look how well that turned out for you.
Actually, one of the things that Ed Miliband forecourt was immigration,
which is obviously a great driver for a lot of the population.
Immigration is a huge issue and Ed Miliband forgot about it.
UKIP are absolutely going to target that like a missile.
They will target immigration and low taxes.
In a way, they are clever, they have got their eyes on you both
I always enjoy watching Torhes squirm over the UKIP question
and Mark's ward election last May was the only 1 without ` UKIP
I don't know whether you were in a packed with them or not
but it was interesting that you get a receipt in that situation.
Let's be clear, UKIP is getting votes from people that are
disenfranchised from politics and are angry about the world.
What we need to be doing as the Labour Party is showhng
people that we have the answers to the challenges and UKIP havd been
They have been talking about a flat rate of tax that will get another...
Do you think the address working class issues and worries?
They announced today, at the start of the conference,
a flat rate of tax, which whll give another tax cut to millionahres
They want to privatise the NHS, they want to charge you to see the GP, as
does my opponent in the north`west, the Tory MP Charlotte Leslid. They
Now let's take a spool back through the political
Ed Miliband picked a fight with one of Bristol's biggest employdrs after
A spokesman for Imperial Tobacco called the tax on just
and said it would put presstre on jobs and livelihoods. ``tnjust.
# If there is something that you want to hear...
Buskers in Bath were told to turn the music down.
The Abbey complained after Dvensong had to be abandoned.
Councillors are now thinking of banning the use of amplifiers.
It was people power that stopped contractors painting a resident s
A barricade was hastily erected and a stand`off and shoot.
Why should we pay for parking in our street?
We already pay road tax, what is this for?
The local authority voted will be back.
And there was fresh hope for the criminal Tropicana
North Somerset Council, which had wanted to knock it down,
has now sign off ?750,000 to bring it back to life.
Thank you to Mark Weston and Darren Jones for coming in and Inshde Out
West will be looking again `t the topic of inequalities in Brhstol in
From now, I will say goodbyd and invite you to watch the
Let's return to Andrew, who this week is that the Conservative
My thanks to you both. Andrew, back to you.
Here we are back in Birmingham with the Conservatives. The Tories
thought all they had to do was come here, have a rally, a jamboree, and
off they go to the races, or in their case the general election Two
races later it hasn't quite worked out like that. Let's look at the
state of this conference as it gets under way. On our panel we are
joined by David Davis. You wrote an article in the Mail on Sunday this
morning which was an Exocet at the heart of David Cameron's modernising
strategy. It was designed to act as a lever. It was designed to cause
trouble. No, we are in the running for the next general election. One
of the characteristics of having a five year fixed term Parliaments is
that the last year is about campaigning. It is important we beat
Miliband, he would be a disastrous Prime Minister. You think the whole
modernising strategy was a wrong turn, that is what the article said.
Yes. Has that opened the door to UKIP? It has left a lot of people
disillusioned with politics. What do you do to get it right? Who was
listening to you? Frankly we need to take a more
robust series of policies. How many more UKIP defections will there be?
I do not think there will be any more. I would be very surprised I
know Nigel Farage has a brilliant sense of timing, but I do not think
he has got the resources to do that, namely, another Tory MP. So it could
be another Labour one, maybe? I think an awful lot will hinge on
what happens in Rochester. Because that is not a slam dunk. Clack and
unfortunately looks like it will be a walkover for them. But Rochester
is a different scene. And so, there could be a kind of Newark situation.
When I campaigned in Newark, two labour families I spoke to said they
would vote Tory to keep UKIP out. How bad was the Labour conference
last week? One politician said after he had a really bad performance that
his television performance was suboptimal. I think that would be a
good way of describing Ed Miliband's speech. The problem for
Ed Miliband in memorising speeches is that we are not auditioning for a
new lines Olivier, we're rehearsing for Prime Minister. He failed the
Laurence Olivier test, and therefore failed the Prime Minister test. I
think the real problem for him was forgetting to mention the deficit.
He spoke from the heart about issues which she really cares about, the
NHS, the rupture between wages and inflation, and forgot the deficit.
Those issues are important, but if you are not addressing things
Those issues are important, but if the deficit, then people are really
not going to be listening to your messages on the areas that matter.
not going to be listening to your Was it bad? Yes, suboptimal, I am
afraid. I hope that this ends the nonsense of leaders wasting their
time learning speeches off by heart. You could learn a Shakespeare
play in the time it takes to learn 70 minutes of a leader's speech I
think we should just go back to sensible reading what you have
written. You can then alter it just beforehand. A lot of things were
changing, which is not surprising, but he did not have time to learn
it. It is a silly gimmick, it worked once or twice, but that is enough
for that. Despite some of the derision of Mr Miliband, the Tories
are flat-lining in the sun decks, they have been there almost since
the disastrous budget, the omnishambles, of 2012, Labour is
still several points ahead, nothing seems to change? And David Cameron
is now the leader in trouble. It is almost as if a week is a long time
in politics. I thought the Labour and friends was Saab --
sub-suboptimal. It was so parochial. You could've watched the top
speeches without knowing that the borders of Ukraine, and Iraq and
Syria were in question. I hope, because of Friday's discussion in
Parliament, that this conference will raise its sights a bit, and we
will have something in Cameron's speech, possibly that of George
Osborne as well, which is a bit more global. People hoped UKIP had gone
away during the summer, people at this conference, I mean, but it is
back with a bang. They are still up at 15% in the polls, the Tories
languishing on 32 - what is going to change? UKIP won 3% of the last
election, I always thought they would get about 6%. If, by the turn
of the year, they are still in double digits, I think at that point
you can begin to wake of his party's chances of winning. I have
had three people say to me so far, come election day, it will be fine,
people will sober up and so on. It will be all right on the night is
not a very good strategy, frankly. When they get past 5%, I start to
bite into our 3-way marginal seats, with liberals, Labour and Tories,
and we have got about 60 of those in the Midlands and the north, so it
really is quite serious. And if I may steal one of David's lines, when
you were interviewing Mark Reckless this morning, and was not talking
about the EU referendum, he was talking about how he felt he had
broken his pledges to the electorate because the Conservatives he said
had failed on immigration and on the deficit, and those sort of
bread-and-butter issues could be really potent on the doorstep, which
means the Tories have got to run the kind of campaign they ran in Newark,
which is a real centre ground, Reddan but a campaign, in which they
would hope to get Liberal Democrat and Labour voters out to vote
tactically against UKIP. I think today we have seen Cameron been
pushed to the right. He has had to say, yes, I would leave Europe,
which he has never said before. It is a huge stepping stone, a big
difference. It takes the Tory party somewhere else. May be get them a
lot of votes. But it has not so far. But I think it loses a lot of
people. The industry organisations, for example. The prospect of going
out of Europe, but is quite a fight for them. Is it not the lesson that
you can out UKIP UKIP? Well, you do not need to, really. I agree, last
week was sub-sub-suboptimal. Hold on, that is enough subs! I would not
be crowing too much! But what I was going to say, he left out something
incredibly important, the deficit. But how many people outside the M25
are thinking about the deficit? One problem we face with Miliband is, he
is good at politics and bad at economics, in a way. He comes up
with bonkers policies which people love, price-fixing, things like
that. Our problem will be about relevance on the doorstep. I do not
think at the end of the day it will be about Europe. But was there not a
moment of danger for you at the conference, that one area where
Miliband is potentially vulnerable is not having credible team with
business. Who turned up at the Labour conference, the head of
Airbus, saying, we have got to stay in the European Union? The danger is
that Europe allows the Labour Party to gain credibility with business.
There is some truth in that. But we are in effectively the home
straight, the last six months, and people will be fussing about prices
and jobs. Very parochial. They will not be saying, what does the CBI
think about this? It is, what is happening to me, in my town, in my
factory, in my office. That is where the fight will be. Is it not the
truth that if UKIP stays anywhere near around this level of support,
it is impossible for the Tories to win an overall majority? I would
say, if it is this level of support, it is impossible for the Tories to
finish as the biggest party, even in a hung Parliament. The Tories keep
trying to win back UKIP voters with cold logic - witches it makes Ed
Miliband becoming prime minister more likely. UKIP is basically a
vessel phenomenon, coming from the gut, and David Cameron has never
found the emotional pitch in his rhetoric to meet that. I wonder
whether we will see that moron Wednesday. It is just not him. I
hope we do. -- more on Wednesday. I hope you're right that we do
actually engage on emotion. So far with UKIP, our policy has been to
insult them. It does not work. I know that from my constituency. We
have to say to them, there is a wider Tory family, we understand you
are patria, we understand you are worried about your family, and we do
the same. What does it tell us about the state of the Tories, seven
months from the election, the economy is going well, they are not
that far behind Labour, and yet there is all sorts of leadership
speculation? It is extraordinary. They are doing well, they are in
with a shout. It depends. UKIP has to be kept below 9% of. -- below
9%. I think David Cameron is one of the few who speaks human, actually
talks quite well to people and does not look like a swivel-eyed loons.
Whereas a lot of people behind him do. You look at Duncan Smith and
Eric Pickles, they are all kind of driven, ideological men, with very
right-wing policies. And nice people! Don't hold back! He is not
the Addams family, he is basically quite human. I think a lot of people
do not realise how ideological he is himself and how well he has led his
party in the direction they all want to go. You go on about him being
this metropolitan moderniser, I do not think that is what he is,
really. It may not be visible from the guardian offices in the
metropolis! Everybody where you are, Polly, is a metropolitan moderniser.
And where you are, too. That is the nature of living in London. The
trouble is, when these people get into Westminster, they are part of
Westminster, too. If you could only win by being an outsider, the moment
you get in, you are done for. All teeing up nicely for Boris Johnson
to be the next leader? I do not think so! The point of my Exocet, or
lever, this morning, is that I think this is winnable. If we are good
Tories for the next six months, we can do this. It is by denying ground
to UKIP, not giving in to them, not buckling. Denying ground. Thank you
to our panel. They did all right today, but the normal. That is your
lot for today. I am back tomorrow. We will have live coverage of George
Osborne's speech to the conference. I am back next week in Glasgow for
The Sunday Politics at the Labour conference. How could you miss
that? Remember, if it is Sunday it is The Sunday Politics. Bye-bye
of statutory press regulation in sponge cake may be a bridge too far.
I think I've overdone it with the pistachios
and somehow, the custard's split, but it's too late!
of statutory press regulation in sponge cake may be a bridge too far.