10/06/2011 The Record


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Hello and Welcome to the Record Review. The PM is for turning. This


week it's been Ken Clarke's sentencing policy. David Cameron


says he's listening to the people. But Labour doesn't quite see it


like that. After another week of chaos from this coalition, is it


any wonder that the Archbishop of Canterbury is now on his knees in


despair? One man has been talking quietly to all the top people in


the Coalition and he tells us it's working like a well-oiled machine.


This coalition has proved remarkably stable, united and very


effective in terms of quick, firm decisions. Also, two new MPs


celebrate their first anniversary with some frank things to say about


life at Westminster. And politics meets art - we reveal the paintings


the politicians choose for their offices. But first, there was no


shortage of items filling David Cameron's in-tray this week. First,


the Prime Minister gave apparent concessions to the Liberal


Democrats on changes to the NHS. Next, the liberal plans of the


Justice Secretary, for a 50% cut in sentences for offenders who plead


guilty early, was unceremoniously dropped by David Cameron. On


Thursday, Labour totted up the U- turns and wondered what had


happened to the Coalition's agenda for public service reform. Back in


February the Prime Minister proclaimed we will soon publish a


White Paper setting out our approach to public service reform


that will signal the decisive end of the old-fashioned top-down model.


Bold words, soon, decisive. What's happened? Nothing. First it was put


off until May. Now, we hear, it's been delayed until July because of


another coalition split. One Lib Dem official said, "Nick does not


want there to be any sense that the public sector can't be a provider


of good quality public services." We can all feel another pause


coming on. Finally, Baroness Thatcher famously possessed no


reverse gear. This Prime Minister has a car stuffed full of them and


a reverse gear as well! It does make us wonder what exactly goes on


inside Number Ten when the Prime Minister approves of all these


policies only to reverse in the opposite direction scattering his


Cabinet colleagues in the way. So after another week of chaos from


this coalition, is it any wonder that the Archbishop of Canterbury


is now on his knees in despair? the question of the Archbishop, I


haven't seen the full text of what the Archbishop has said. I hope he


has found time to balance any criticism of the coalition with


commendation for some of the things we have done. The 0.7% of GMI


commitment on overseas aid making sure the poorest people in the


world don't bear the burden of solving our problems. I hope he


also finds time to commend, to commend our action on the pupil


premium, taking lower income people out of tax. The Archbishop said


that the coalition was rushing things through which nobody voted


for. You could turn the coin over and say in a Parliament where no


one party has a majority there is much less likelihood of that


happening. Hilary Benn poking some fun at the Government. Sir George


Young fighting back after the Archbishop of Canterbury has said


no-one voted for the Coalition. Well, no-one did vote directly for


a Con-Lib Dem Coalition. But that's what we've got and could in fact


have all the way to the Spring of 2015. But, regardless of its


policies, has this two-party coalition, something pretty unusual


in UK politics, actually been working effectively? A detailed


study of the way the Coalition has been operating in the power


corridors of Whitehall is being carried out by London University's


Constitution Unit. The project's led by the constitutional expert,


Professor Robert Hazell. When he came into the Record Review studio,


he told me about the way his team had gone about its research. Well,


this is a 12-month study. We began in January. Over the spring, we


have interviewed 90 people, mainly in Whitehall, in Cabinet Office, in


Number Ten... This is at all levels of seniority? These are all pretty


senior people. In three case study departments in Whitehall, which are


DEFRA and DEC and the Department of Communities and Local Government.


And in Parliament, we have interviewed a lot of MPs on the


Conservative and Lib Dem benches and also in the House of Lords we


have interviewed a lot of Conservative and Lib Dem peers.


have all got our own ideas about Coalition Government and academics


have had theories about how our Coalition Government might work.


What surprises would you say there have been in the year of Coalition


Government that we weren't really expecting at all? I think the big


surprise for the British people, who were pretty prejudiced against


coalitions, and thought that they would be weak and indecisive, is


that this coalition in its first year has proved remarkably stable,


united and very effective in terms of quick, firm decisions, some of


which admittedly they are now going wobbly on, but no-one can say this


Government has been indecisive. large part of the strength of the


coalition has been the two people at the top, Cameron and Clegg?


Absolutely. That relationship is crucial and they do get on famously


well together. They have very regular meetings every Monday


morning and they also chat together on Sunday evening and sometimes


they have an additional meeting during the week. Every one else at


the top, especially at Number Ten and Cabinet Office, takes their


tune from Cameron and Clegg and so around them they have top advisors


who also get on very well together and have very, very regular


informal dealings with each other, some of them several times a day.


little bit of resentment from Conservative MPs that the Prime


Minister, the leader of their party is doing so much talking to a


Liberal Democrat? Of course. That is a natural outcome of a coalition,


that the backbenchers feel excluded because their frontbench as it were


has got into bed with someone else. In both parties it is important for


the leadership also to keep closely in touch with the Parliamentary


Party and with the party outside. Do you think that has led to more


rebellions than would have been expected because of that point?


This Parliament has been the most rebellious we have ever seen, in


fact in the first nine months of this Parliament there have been


more rebellions on the Government benches than in the first four


years of Tony Blair's first Government. So there is an


extraordinarily high degree of rebellion. One of the key findings


that you have discovered is that the Lib Dem identity has been lost


as a result of this coalition. What do you think the Liberal Democrats


can do about that? I think it is very difficult for them. In the


coalition agreement, they did really well and in an analysis that


we did of the two manifestos against the coalition agreement


shows the Lib Dems got more of their manifesto, 75%, into the


coalition agreement compared with the Tories who only got 60% in. So


in terms of the underlying policy for this Government, it is arguably


more Lib Dem than Tory. But the public I think will never see how


much influence the Lib Dems have because they are making lots of


small wins across the whole of Whitehall most of which are


invisible to the media and to the public. The Lib Dems, there is an


inherent problem here. As the Lib Dems try to show their distinct


identity, that must come at a slight cost to the stability of the


coalition? It's a classic dilemma for coalitions that they have to


demonstrate unity in Government, but enable both the parties also to


demonstrate their distinctive identity to the public, especially


as we look to the next election. It is much harder for the junior


partner. Do you think the Lib Dems made a mistake by pressing on with


the AV referendum and Lords reform? It was a mistake, particularly on


the AV referendum. I have been warning if they held the referendum


on the timetable which they did it was going to be lost. The main


reason why they suffered that defeat was reckless haste. On Lords


reform, they partly learnt the lesson and they are going very slow


on that, in that it took a year for them to publish their proposals.


They are now going to be considered by a Joint Committee and that may


take another year. What did you notice about divisions between


members of the Cabinet? The Cabinet, we haven't found many divisions


across the coalition divide. Interestingly, several of our


interviewees said to us the strongest disagreements in this


Government have been between ministers of the same party.


Examples given, and these aren't secret, are the big tussles there


have been between Ken Clarke as Justice Secretary and Theresa May


as Home Secretary over justice versus security and law-and-order


kind of issues, or on the Lib Dem side between Chris Huhne, batting


for climate change, and Vince Cable, batting for business. There's an


obvious tension between these two. That reminds the Lib Dems are


sprinkled across - I think they have 22 ministerial posts - across


the departments. Do you think it would have been better if they had


one or two departments that would have been exclusively Liberal


Democrat? Would that have worked? That is a really good question.


That is something we are going to explore much more in the next phase


of our project. You are quite right, the Lib Dems did decide at the


beginning of this Government to go for breadth rather than depth. And


as a result of that breadth, it is really difficult for them to


demonstrate significant impact on specific areas of policy so that if


there is a reshuffle, and if I were offering advice to Nick Clegg, I


think I would say if you can, regroup your ministers in much more


concentrated areas so that you can show to the public where the Lib


Dems are making a difference. Another finding that you have made


is that the Deputy Prime Minister's office is under strength. What can


be done to make amends there? largely it has been strengthened in


terms of numbers, but Nick Clegg's team will never be as senior or


experienced as the people in Number Ten and that's their underlying


difficulty so it is never going to have the same clout as Number Ten


working for the Prime Minister. And I think all that Nick Clegg can do


is look for support from some of the people in Number Ten, which he


does get, but also carve out for himself very clear strategic


priorities which the public can know and understand. Do you think


the Liberal Democrats have enough time? 2015, the next general


election, have they got enough time to turn things around because


electorally they have just had a bit of a mauling in the recent


local elections? It's always difficult for the junior partner


and the junior partner in a coalition suffers electorally


because they can't distinguish themselves sufficiently to the


electorate. But they have got four years. If they do begin to carve


out some very clear strategic priorities so that they can go to


the electorate in 2015 and say, "Look, this is the difference that


we have made, in this area, this area and this." At the moment, if


you look at the Lib Dem website and you see the policy documents where


they analyse the difference they have made, when I last looked they


had 140 different items. They are never going to convince the


electorate if they have that many policy items. On the general


political landscape, because there's two parties in Government


and one party in opposition, does that change the dynamics on every


issue and how the public perceives it because you have one main party,


namely Labour, that is in opposition each time, do you think


that has an effect on how the public perceive each issue?


would be very interesting to know how many members of the public know


that the Lib Dems are in Government. What they see is a Government led


by David Cameron. So, I suspect for a lot of the public we have a Tory


Government. That's another difficulty for the Lib Dems in


convincing the public that they are having an impact and to some extent,


sometimes they have to come out almost in opposition to the


Government of which they are members. Finally, history is not on


the Liberals side, when they have taken part in peacetime coalitions,


it has been a complete disaster for them at the next election. That


must be weighing heavily on the minds of Nick Clegg and his senior


Lib Dem colleagues? Indeed. The Liberals, as they were, have been


in coalition three times in the last century or so. And on each


occasion it's led to a split in the Liberal Party. The key lesson for


Nick Clegg, what he's got to watch out for, is that when the party


becomes uncomfortable about being in coalition, the rot as it were


starts from the tail not from the head. So it's the members of the


party or the Parliamentary Party who become really unhappy and begin


to split away and he needs to keep his party and his parliamentary


colleagues strongly on board. Professor Hazell. It's one year on


for the class of 2010, and the Hansard Society has just published


a survey of the attitudes of the new Commons intake. MPs complain of


being overworked and unimpressed with some of Parliaments'


procedures. Many have taken a big pay cut. Our reporter Emma Murray


asked the Conservative MP Simon Hart and the Commons' first Green


MP, Caroline Lucas, if they'd known what they were letting themselves


I did know it was a pretty weird and wonderful place. It has lived


up to that assessment. What shocked me most is the amount of time that


MPs have to waste, whether it is sitting in the chamber for hours on


hours on the offchance they might get the speaker's eye or and the


queuing up in order to vote much we calculated over the lifetime of a


four-year Parliament MPs could be wasting 250 hours waiting to go


through the aye lobby or the no lobby. That inefficiency has been


shocking. I think most of my voters expect me to be in the chamber


listening to debate. Standing around talking to colleagues while


you are waiting to vote, which is the last thing we do often in the


day's work, isn't a bad use of time. I'm an evolutionist, not a


revolutionist. Many new MPs complained about being overworked.


Can you be effective when you are working a 74-hour week? We went


into it with our eyes open. It's tough. I'm not whingeing about it.


It's an exhilarating place to work. Yes, it's demanding. Yes, it's long


hours. It's not particularly socialable from a family point of


view. We'd like to think it's valuable work. Valuable work for


the people we represent. If we didn't like the hours which we were


going to work we shouldn't have applied for the job in the first


place Can you be effective? I too take nart debates and sit and


listen to debates. To wait six hours not know if anything you will


get into a debate day after day is not, I would contend a good use of


time when you have constituents contact you on issues. I think the


issue here is how we organise our time. The way Westminster does it


is not very efficient. You wouldn't look at any other institution in


this country and think thiss with a good way of acting. The amount of


hours we work are many. That is not a surprise. I do think we should be


looking at other ways ever operating. For example, I attracted


much mirth when I suggested the idea of job sharing for MPs. I'm


serious about. It more women could get involved. Younger people could


get involved we could make this job a meaningful and febgive job rather


than it being the boys late at night. It's an old boys club. That


needs to change. I don't think I'm that old. I don't see it as a club.


I think what we do, it's prot duct. Are we providing value-for-money?


Are we doing what they want us to do? Sometimes, when we have


conversations like this it looks pretty self-indull gent. We spend


years trying to get elected, we get elected and then we complain about


how the system doesn't work. It does work quite well. There are


quite a lot of checks and balances in there which make sure in the end,


no matter how frustrating it is, it stops us making stupid decisions.


Well, mainly stops us taking stupid decisions. We have to be cautious


about saying, it's all rubbish, let's get rid of it because we


kfplt I'm not saying it's all rubbish or get rid of. It I say


look at reforms that I proposed. We have had debates in Westminster


Hall we will have a debate on the floor of the House. There is


concern about how we make Parliament more efficient and more


effective. I hope that translates into effective reforms very soon.


There is going to change? I'm sure it can change if the political will


is there. I might have to work on him first.


The views there of two spring chickens in the Westminster


farmyard. Now, a look at some of the other


stories around Parliament in the last seven days.


The Home Secretary, Theresa May, has given details of the new


National Crime Agency, which will replace the Serious Organised Crime


Agency, set up only five years ago. It'll cover drugs and gun crime,


and will also have responsibility to tackle the exploitation of


children on the internet. National Crime Agency will be a


crime fighting organisation. It will tackle organised crime, defend


our borders, fight fraud and sieb cyber crime and protect children


and young people. The Government is pushing ahead with American-style


plans for -- that nobody wants much they are dogged by chaos and


confusion. There is no sign the Home Secretary has got a grip.


A financial crisis at the care provider Southern Cross prompts


some peers to attack the involvement of private companies in


the care sector. Given the latest revelation that is Southern Cross


traded the care of older people for short-term profit. Given the


revolution that the quality care commission failed to come to the


help of suffering people in a home in Bristol, can I urge him to take


the most urgent steps, as soon as possible, to relieve the suffering


of people old and frail and dependant, who are currently


suffering much neglect? problems besetting Southern Cross


are an object lesson in the dangers of market failure attending the


privatisation of public services. The newest Royal of all, but could


the phone messages of Kate Middleton, before she became the


Duchess of Cambridge, have been hacked into?


A Labour MP alerts the Prime Minister. The Metropolitan Police


are in pocession of paperwork that details the dealings of Jonathan


reest. It strongly suggests that on behalf of News International he was


illegally targeting members of the Royal Family, senior Pol Pot


titions and high level terrorist informers. In the case of phone


haging, which is illegal and wrong, there have been prosecutions, there


have been imprisonments. If that is where the evidence takes them, that


is what will happen in the future. A home grown crisis of a rather


green nature. Can we convince everyone that the


British cucumber is safe to eat, following the E-coli outbreak in


Germany? Despite British produce being perfectly safe many farmers


are seeing a fall in sales of 30% to 50%. Some are on their way to


bankruptcy. Account Government redouble their efforts to fair


access tolts 150 million euros of EU compensation and for Russia to


lift its unfair ban on UK cucumbers. I share his concern about UK


cucumber producers. All the evidence is that it's perfectly


safe to eat them. Sir George Young rallying to the


defence of the British cucumber. Food for thought.


From Whitehall to the Whitechapel Art Gallery.


Did you know the government owns a massive art collection, worth many


millions? The art is used to adorn the


offices of Ministers and Mandarins. Yet the public, which owns the


collection, has never seen it. Until now.


Five exhibitions over the coming years are going to be put on around


the country. Emma Murray has been down to the


first exhibition in East London to take a look at what we've been


buying all these years. From 16th century monarch arks to 21st


century politicians. Where the political elite are to be found so


too is art. Now, for the first time, in its 113th year history, a small


slice of the government art collection is open to the public.


The exhibit features work choosen by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg


and Culture Minister. Labour's Lord Mandelson and Lord Boateng have


also made selections from the government's pieces. I asked Daniel


Herman where the connection lies between art and politics? I think


politics and art has long been a connection. We can't think of


politics without art. Ever since the Romans who had their heads of


state embossed on coins, do we have picture politics. Of course, there


is a strong connection between what you put up in your room. What you


put up in an official building and how you carry yourself and how you


represent yourself. It's about putting your best foot forward.


This particular painting is very popular because it is by one of the


best British artists of the post- war generation. It shows a scene of


post-war austerity. A group scene of lots of people aseming at the


Lancashire Fair, the painting was painted in 1946. It was acquired by


the government art collection for �120. Even though it's quite a


substantial sum of money at the time has been a tremendous


investment. These paintings are ambassadors for Britain. This is is


the first of five displace and is on at the Whitechapel Art Gallery.


It will finish in the Ulster Museum in Belfast.


You're watching the Record Review, after a week when the coalition


government found itself under double attack from


and the Archbishop of Canterbury., cooling and Labour.


The Duke of Edinburgh is 90, and MPs and peers have been paying


tribute. Prince Phillip is the longest-


serving Royal consort in British history.


He's spent more than six decades talking to people, all kinds of


people, on, literally, thousands of official Royal visits, sometimes in


his own right, but often alongside the Queen.


The Duke has made several hundred speeches and is, perhaps, best


known for his quirky, unpredictable comments, some of which might be


called 'politically incorrect'. His world-renowned Duke of


Edinburgh's Award Scheme has helped children achieve skills and self-


reliance. The Prime Minister described the Prince's naval record


and his great support for environment charities. He has a


down-to-earth no nonsense approach that the British people, I believe,


find.endearing. Of course, many of us who give public speeches would


be honoured to have a book published of our most famous


sayings. There have been several published of his. My own favourite


was when, after a long flight, the eager to please official asked him,


"how was your flight?" He replied, "have you been on a plane, you know


how it goes up in the air and comes back down again, well, it was just


like that". I would like to go on for longer I'm reminded about his


remark about certificate mons who overrun. The Duke put it, "the mind


cannot absorb what the backside cannot endure". With that in mind


let me give the final say to the person who knows him best of all


Her Majesty the Queen. She said in a speeched he had been, "her


strength and stay all these years" that she and his whole family and


this and many other countries owe him a debt greater than he would


ever claim or we shall ever know. The Duke has been a Prince amongst


consort is a King amongst characters. His unique turn of


phrase has become a-loved feature of modern British life. There are


two repeatable examples that I want to share with the House today. To


the matron of a hospital he visited in the Caribbean he commented, "you


have mosquitos, I have the press". I think that's a sentiment which


many of us should share at various times in politics. Legend also has


it that following the Coronation in 1953 he turned to Her Majesty and


say said, "where did you tkpwhaet hat?" We should, in this House, and


we do, feel gratitude, respect and pride for Prince Philip's service


to his country and to recall that he is indeed part of that


remarkable generation that served with distinction during the war,


who did their duty and just got on with it then with the rebuilding of


Britain afterwards. He certainly is, Mr Speaker, a formidable man and


refreshingly does not suffer fools gladly. As I know to my cost.


2001 he was invited, as I think was the Prime Minister and others


elected, it was our tenth anniversary yesterday, we were


invited to Buckingham Palace and the Duke of Edinburgh came up to


Panjit and said, "what did you do before you got this job?" He said,


"I worked in a trade union". The Duke of Edinburgh immediately


replied, "bugger all then". To which, he thought he could


retaliate with force said, "what did you do before you got this job"


to which he replied, "fought in the Second World War". There are


occasions when I think a little bit of humility from this House towards


his Royal highness is appropriate. In a BBC documentary for his 90th


birthday I understand the Duke says of his role, "it's all been trial


and ror," as his son says in the programme, "that view is typical of


him, he is modest about himself". While the Duke of Edinburgh may


indeed be modest his achievements are not. For many people, all over


the world, the words Duke of Edinburgh are linked with the award


scheme which carries his name. While confounding all the


stereotypical views we hold of someone facing his tenth decade,


the Duke retained his bounce and interest in life. His robust sense


of humour added a welcome informality to official occasions.


A reported conversation at a press reception to mark the Golden


Jubilee in 2002 went something like this, "who are you?", "I'm the


Editor in Chief of the Independent". "what are you doing here?" "you


invited me, sir ." "well, you didn't have to come". He likes to


cut to the heart of the matter. The current Bishop of Norwich the Duke


asked him, "are you happy clappie?" To hi he reresponded "no, I'm


smells and bells". I'm pleased to say following this robust exchange


This week saw a special sitting of the Northern Ireland Assembly at


Stormont. David Cameron became the second Prime Minister to address


the Assembly since the Good Friday Agreement of 1998. The Prime


Minister was driven to Stormont, on the outskirts of Belfast on


Thursday afternoon meeting officials as he arrived before


stepping inside the famous and historic building. A short walk


through Stormont and then, Members of the Assembly got to their feet


as the Prime Minister entered the debating chamber. David Cameron


first struck a historical note. I also say what an honour it is to


stand here and speak in this historic chamber? Of course, I


recognise this is not a place without controversy. In the past,


it was for some a guarantee of their place within the Union. For


others, a symbol of a state and a system from which they felt


excluded. I don't intend to ignite that debate, but I am reminded of


the words of King George V in 1921 and his appeal to all Irishmen and


women, "To stretch the hand of forebearance and conciliation and


to forgive and forget." It was time to revive the private sector and


attract investment. Northern Ireland is too dependent on the


state. Three quarters of your GDP is accounted for by state spending.


At a time when we are dealing with the biggest budget deficit in our


peacetime history, that is unsustainable and has to change. We


recognise the difficulties facing Northern Ireland as you chart a new,


more sustainable economic future, it requires us in Westminster to


act responsibly. That is why we made sure that Northern Ireland did


proportionately better than other parts of the UK in the Spending


Review. By the end of this Parliament, the Northern Ireland


Resource Budget will have gone down by 6.9%, that is 1. And he


concluded. 7% a year. Let us work together to make devolution a


success. Let us work together to revive the economy. Let us work


together to build a shared future. In working together, be assured


that you have a Prime Minister, a Secretary of State and a Government


that will always stand by the people here in Northern Ireland.


Thank you. APPLAUSE David Cameron. Now they're springing up in ever


greater numbers. And they're increasingly important for the UK's


energy mix. But are wind turbines friendly for us if we're near them?


Peers have been told that there's growing evidence that wind turbines


are having an adverse effect on those who live in their shadow.


Wind farm noise differs from other continuous forms of noise for


example the noise from a nuclear power station. It has a rhythmic


pulsing quality with a vibrating effect which many have found too


invasive and disturbing to live with. It can quite obviously


seriously damage people's health. My experience is that people mind


very much indeed at this persistent noise. It is painful, it is harmful.


I recently was at one station and it has larger wind turbines but far


fewer of them which is the way that they tend to, the movement is going


at the moment, less individual turbines but larger ones which are


much more efficient. I walked around that wind farm and I have to


say I can't remember hearing the noise while being at the site. I am


sure they do on occasions, there is those noise issues, but I would


suggest that noble Lords here stand by them and see what noise there is.


It is extremely low. Certainly far less than a main road. It is


bizarre that the environmental worriers support this programme


when what it does to the visual environment as has been pointed out


is quite appalling. I object to the fact that they are described as


"wind farms". I think the farms and the farming community contribute


enormously to our environment and to our visual environment. These


objects are quite the opposite, they scar, I think we need a new


collective name. I think "wind blight" is one that could be used


in the future. Views about wind turbines. Talking about heat and


light, Prime Minister's Questions was back on Wednesday after a two-


week break, so no shortage of issues for Ed Miliband to focus on.


The Labour leader claimed the criminal justice policy was in a


"total mess" following news that David Cameron had blocked the plans


to give 50% reductions in sentences to criminals who plead guilty early.


The Labour leader said he knew why David Cameron was in effect


"tearing up" Kenneth Clarke's original proposal. We read in the


newspapers today that the Prime Minister's torn up the Justice


Secretary's proposals because he felt he had to step in and I can


see why. There is widespread public concern around this country about


this proposal to cut by 50% the sentencing for those who plead


guilty. I just ask the Prime Minister again, the consultation


ended in March. The Justice Secretary was advocating the policy


two weeks' ago. Has he torn it up, "yes" or "no"? I think the right


honourable gentleman ought to do something more useful than read the


newspapers. One response to the consultation paper came from his


Shadow Justice Secretary, the man sitting next to him, who said this


in response to the consultation paper. He said this: "It is a


perfectly sensible vision for a sentencing policy entirely in


keeping with the emphasis on punishment and reform that Labour


followed in Government." Why the sudden U-turn? Mr Speaker, he knows


and the whole country knows he is in a total mess on his sentencing


policy. Just like on all of his other crime policies. I now want to


ask about another area where he is in a complete mess. Can the Prime


Minister tell us why he has made such a mess of his health plans?


I'm not surprised he wants to move on. On the first subject he was


found guilty. And as regards NHS reforms, the Prime Minister again


quoted the words of Labour's John Healey, the Shadow Health Secretary.


This is what he said: "Looking at the evidence of what works,


listening hard to those who know the NHS and learning from the views


they get, that is not rocket science, it is simply good


Government." So, what he calls a shambles, his Shadow Health


Secretary calls good Government. He is not in command of the ship.


did he tell the Royal College of Nursing a year before the election?


There will be no more of those pointless top-down reorganisations


that aim for change and instead bring chaos. Why did he say that?


If he wants to look at what is happening in the NHS, there is only


one part of the country that is controlled by neighbour, that is


Wales. In Wales, waiting lists are massively up and health spending is


being cut. That is what Labour would do to the NHS. Mr Speaker, I


will tell him why he made promises that he then broke because he is


shameless and he will say anything. And the second reason he's made a


mess of the Health Service is because he didn't think the policy


through. Last June, he ordered the NHS to stop enforcing Labour's 18-


week waiting time target. As a result of that, the number of


patients waiting more than 18 weeks has gone up by 69%. Why did he


scrap that instruction to enforce the waiting time target? I think


the best that can be said about this performance is obviously...


Quite rightly, he wasn't thinking about politics on his honeymoon.


Look, the point I would make is waiting times, what matters is the


time people wait. Medium waiting times are down. That is what's


happened in the NHS, that is something he misled the House of


Commons about a fortnight ago and still hasn't...


THE SPEAKER: Order. I know the Prime Minister will be a follower


of parliamentary protocol and he won't suggest the Leader of the


Opposition misled the House of Commons. I am sure he will withdraw


that remark. I'm grateful. He gave an interesting use of facts


in terms of waiting times which are down in the NHS. David Cameron and


Ed Miliband with the weekly ritualistic exchanges. Backbench


MPs raised a variety of subjects with the Prime Minister. One


focused on the age of magistrates compared with the age of Kenneth


Clarke, the Justice Secretary and Lord Chancellor. Why do magistrates


have to retire at the age of 70 when the Lord Chancellor who


appoints them is 71 this year? point I would make to my honourable


friend is, it is important - and I speak of somebody whose mother


serve as a magistrate - it is important you get turnover in the


magistrates so new come can come in. He's only been in his job for a


year. He is doing a superb job and I can tell you there is plenty more


fuel in his tank. Abroad, and a Conservative asks about the


worsening situation in Syria. Speaker, we are reminded on a daily


basis that not everyone in the world is as fortunate as us in the


freedoms that we enjoy in this country. In particular, I would


like to highlight the horror of the images of the 13-year-old boy who


was tortured by forces of the Syrian government in the recent


weeks. Will the Prime Minister give me his assurance that he will use


every influence he has to ensure the international community condemn


the activities of the Syrian government and the demand that


their reign of terror ends? I think the honourable lady has spoken for


the whole House in what she said about those dreadful pictures of


that poor boy. There are credible reports of 1,000 dead and as many


as 10,000 detained and the violence being meted out to peaceful


protesters is completely unacceptable. Of course, we must


not stand silent in the face of these outrages, and we won't. We


have frozen assets and banned travel by members of the regime and


we have added President Assad to that list. We need to go further


and today, in New York, Britain and France will be tabling a resolution


at the Security Council condemning the repression and demanding


accountability and humanitarian access. If anyone votes against


that resolution, or tries to veto it, that should be on their


conscience. And time for a comment about


football. I am sure the Prime Minister will agree with me that


there should be no place for corruption in football, given the


re-election of Sepp Blatter has brought FIFA into disrepute further,


will he take this opportunity to voice his support for those who are


calling for the reforms we need to show Mr Blatter the red card?


feel personally I have seen football governance at an


international level and I wasn't that impressed by what I saw.


FIFA's reputation is now at an all- time low and obviously the election


with one candidate was something of a farce. It has to become more


transparent and more accountable. They have to prove that they are


capable of doing the job that they are meant to. Change has got to


come from within football and I am sure the FA will want to play a


very major role in helping to bring that about. David Cameron. Now who


chooses what gets debated in Parliament? Well, historically,


it's the Government, apart from Opposition Days. But in the last


year there's been a change in the rules. And ordinary MPs, in the


form of a Backbench Business Committee, also get to decide on a


section of the timetable. First, individual MPs have to make their


own pitch to the committee. Here's the former Shadow Home Secretary


David Davis arguing on Tuesday why time must be found for a debate on


super-injunctions. The last time I spoke to this committee I was here


to talk about prisoner votes. That was a pretty clear-cut


straightforward black-and-white issue. This is absolutely the


opposite. I am looking at Mr Hemming, he knows it is the


absolute opposite. We have a series of competing rights and privileges


which have now become confused in the last five or ten years after


the effects of judicial law-making effectively on the back of the


Human Rights Act. It's an area where Parliament rather than


Government should have or at least as well as Government should have a


major say. We have got so little time and we are never sure when it


is going to be taken away from us and the first day we have isn't


until 23rd June. It is very topical. The Government will be setting up


in short order two Joint Committees. I think one's already set up. One


on privacy and one on the super- injunction issue. I think it is


important that Parliament rather than Government effectively sets


the criteria by which those committees will address their task


and they will be reporting within a year so they will be set up shortly.


That is the primary deadline if you This committee can only allocate


the time given to it by the government. That is limited,


especially in the chamber. I know you want a whole day, if we were


able to offer you two to three hours would you take it? I would


say no. This is to point to have an effect. If it can't have that


effect I'd rather steal that time from somebody else.. I'm a big fan


of what the backbench committee does and the new role it created


for Parliament. I wouldn't want to take us and use time effectively


when someone else could use it effectively. Another pitch as an


MPs argues argues for time for a debate on the proposed new high-


speed rail line between London and Birmingham. Those directly affected


in their own constituency have as yet formed a view. This is �30


billion plus project, more expensive than replacing Trident.


If you ask the House 550 members wouldn't have a view. We are keen


to have the profile that a debate in the chamber would give us, a


three-hour debate in the chamber. You pressed us to have a votable


motion. The transport Select Committee inquiry into the business


case and the national consultation it would not be appropriate for the


House to divide until after the consultation. The need to put that


issue out into the public domain, in a high profile way, is


absolutely urgent. The Attorney General, Dominic


Grieve, has rejected calls for an inquest into the death of the


government scientist Dr David Kelly. The scientist was at the centre of


a huge row between the BBC and the Labour government over the use of


intelligence on Iraq. The Hutton Inquiry in 2004 found


that Dr Kelly had committed suicide, but a group of doctors says there's


plenty of evidence it wasn't suicide.


Dominic Grieve spoke first about the large amount of paperwork he'd


received concerning Dr Kelly's death. Having given all the


material that has been sent to me the most careful consideration, I


have concluded that the evidence that Dr Kelly took his own life is


overwhelmingly strong. Further, there is nothing I've seen that


supports any allegations that Dr Kelly was murdered, or that his


death was the subject of any kind of conspiracy or coverup. In my


view, no purpose would be served by my making an application to the


High Court for an inquest. Indeed, I have no reasonable basis for


doing so. There is no possibility that at an inquest a verdict other


than suicide would be returned. Attorney-General's decision


substanciates the post-mortem and toxicology reports and published by


the Ministry of justice last October in the interest of


maintaining the public support. We accept the Attorney-General's


decision today on the basey he has carefully and clearly outlined his


detailed reasons for not applying to the High Court to request an


inquest into Dr Kelly's death duer duh to the lack of new compelling


evidence that Dr Kelly did not commit suicide. As a member of the


Foreign Affairs Committee that took evidence from Dr David Kelly I


never doubted he committed suicide. I leave Lord Hutton was right on


this even though his conclusions on the war have been challenged. I


have known the Attorney-General for many years. I know he would have


done a thorough job. Will he accept that the evidence on this is clear


and it a's's time to bring closure to that matter and move on.


questioned Dr Kelly two-days before he died, I formed the view that a


very distinguished public servant was deeply distressed by the


situation in which he had placed himself. Although I'm wholly


unpersuaded by any of the theories put forward as an alternative to


suicide could the attorney spell out what he thinks would be lost by


allowing the process of inquiry to be completed by an inquest?


first problem I have to say is that there is no basis on which the High


Court could possibly order an inquest. In my judgement, if I were


to go to the High Court and make such an application it would be


dismissed. Dismissed I would say, on the basis of my reasoning, with


a certain amount of irritation. Would the Attorney-General agree


with me that his statement today should put to bed some of the


outrageous speculations that members of our security forces


might have murdered Dr Kelly? On Monday, a Labour peer spoke of


the bravery of women who served in the Special Operations Executive,


or SOE, during the Second World War. The women were deployed behind


enemy lines and lived as ordinary citizens while helping the


Resistance. Agents for the SOE were taught how


to get out of handcuffs with a pencil, and how to kill with their


bare hands. They acted variously as couriers, wireless operators


saboteurs. They found places for planes to land, bringing more


agents and supplies. They established safe houses and worked


with resistance movements to disrupt the occupation and to clear


the paths for the allied advance. They did these things after given


wartime pressures, my lords, a very brief period of training.


Apparently, they had each been told, when recruited, that there was a


50% chance of personal survival. Yet, my lords, to their credit off


they went. They became the unofficial meeting place for SOE


people on leave. I do know that one brave woman stayed on over two


years after the war had finished. Every night she drank her two gins


and tonics and ate her dinnerment she never asked for or was given a


bill. That was the way that small hotel honoured our heroes. It is a


pity that those in charge never saw fit to do the same. My LordS, is it


too thriet put right this wrong? There are a number of memorials


around the country. Actually, what we sneed a memorial for all the


women in the SOE, not just those who were recognised post hue


mousely. I felt a great deal of shame when Eileen Nern was found by


herself, no family and the local authority in Torquay had to bury


her. What an indictment on a nation that owes so much to such a small


number. Comparison with the French may be difficult because the war on


their soil. They recognised the work of women. The key message was


universial reinforced throughout the museum. The service of these


women was of the highest order and undoubtedly militarily. I have seen


the brief displays where SOE agents, men and women were trained, barely


a mention of women. My LordS, it is clear that the outstanding


dangerous and sometimes deadly service of these women needs to be


recognised and at the highest level. I ask the Minister to consider


reevaluating the medals awarded to these women, both alive and post


hue mousely to be sure they reflect the highest military contribution


possible. We need tone sure there is a permanent archive in place.


Otherwise, we will forget. At this small regional museum every sheet


on the display about the women have these words - I'm refrain to our


youth. Now, when a grandmother talks to you of the resistance here


in the lot, watch her eyes. If she shares her story, they'll tell you


she is always 20. Listen to her. The Business Secretary, Vince Cable,


has again been criticised for failing to force banks to lend


money to small businesses. Some months ago, Britain's four


biggest banks agreed to increase lending in an arrangement known as


'Project Merlin'. New figures show the banks are


already falling short of their lending targets by several billion


pounds. Vince Cable faced MPs on Thursday


during questions to the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills.


There is a genuinely difficult problem here of trying to get


previously highly over extended banks to lend to small and medium-


sized businesses. The Secretary of State was very critical of the last


government's performance on this issue much he said the banks ran


ring around that government. Given that the first indication of


Project Merlin show a 2.2 billion pound shortfall between what the


banks are doing and what the government agreed they would do,


how would he describe the performance of his government on


bank lending? Of the lending banks two of them have met the targets.


Which demonstrated that the demand is there for banks that are able


and willing to change their culture of lending. Where we have taken on


the arrangements which the last government had was bringing in the


private banks, which are not owned wholly or partly by the taxpayer,


into this agreement. They are taking it seriously. We are making


it clear that we expect this agreement to be delivered and the


volume of lending to SME's will increase. Is he ready to do a


little more than monitor this situation. In particular, not allow


banks to get away with the excuse that the demand isn't there, when


it's the price of the loan and the terms attached to it that so often


is too difficult for struggling small businesses who need the


credit? The Minister must realise that the agreement is a busted


flush. No good coming from it. The continued failure of the banking


sector to meet the minimum targets set, continued net, no new lending


is not acceptable the terms and conditions, as his own member has


said, under which the loans are made are really very penal very


often. Can't he get into that? No point monitoring it. We want him to


examine what is going on and come forward with concrete proposals to


improve it. We finish with the very first


speech of the newest Member of Parliament.


Jon Ashworth was recently voted in as MP for Leicester South.


By tradition, Mr Ashworth's maiden speech acknowledged the work of his


predecessor, Sir Peter Soulsby, and also contained plenty of


interesting facts about his constituency. My constituency can


boost of much cultural and sporting heritage. The 6 '30s playwright


grew up there. I believe at one time the singer Engelbert grew up


in Leicester South as well. Mr Ashworth, please release me


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