tv Prime Ministers Questions from the British House of Commons CSPAN January 13, 2016 7:00am-8:01am EST
>> other sources are still not available and the government will look for other places where they can get. >> mr. speaker, i'm aware of the specific issue raised by my honorable who is powerful voice on behalf of his constituents. it will be dealt with marines and take into account concerns. >> loggal businesses across are anticipateed and it
[inaudible] [shouting] >> well, the honorable lady is right. it's also a project that's looking for a very large amount of subsidy and intervention. it's absolutely right. [shouting] >> mr. speaker. the other potential lagoons provide amazing opportunity for export of intellectual property and technology across south wales. would he commit from making it happening and commit as soon as possible. >> i will repeat the answer i gave to colleagues. it's a very significant project in terms of renewable energy
over a long period of time. we need to look carefully at the finances to make sure it delivers value for taxpayers that will be able to put in amount. >> this morning i had meetings with others, i should have further such meetings later today. >> the royal college of mid wives and the honorable member lewis since she's a nurse, for proposed changing, why does the prime minnesota store think it's
right >> additional 10,000 nurses because of this change because the facts are today two out of three people who want to become nurses can't because it's constrained by the birthery scheme. >> our membership of nato are key to our defenses and any moves that would put that at risk would jeopardize our national security? [shouting] >> my honorable friend is absolutely ground. it has been common ground on both sides that the cornerstone is membership of nato and must be replaced and updated.
they are necessary to keep us safe and in a time where we see north korea testing nuclear weapons, we recommit ourselves to both nato and party has serious questions. [shouting] >> thank you, thank you very much, mr. speaker. this week the prime minister belated the acknowledge of the crisis in britain. he announced 140 million-dollar-pound to form housing estate around the country which amounts to $1.4 million and then rebuild them. my math is perfect. [laughter] >> this money, mr. speaker, is a drop in the ocean. it's not even going to pay for
the bulldozers. >> what we have done is double the budget. that comes after having built 700,000 homes since becoming prime minister, we have a quarter of a million more affordable homes and here is a statistic, in last parliament we built more houses than in 13 years of the labour government. [shouting] >> in every estate that he announces he wishes to bulldoze will include tenants and people that have bought their home turned right to buy, would those people, the leaseholders, would they be guarantied homes on the rebuilt estates that he's proposing to do?
>> look, of course, this isn't as carefully thought through. it's still going on. it hasn't finished yet. agree with those local people and make sure tenants get homes and that's exactly what we want. now look at what we've done on housing. we reformed the planning rules. they oppose them. we introduced help to buy, they opposed it. we introduced help to save and they opposed it. they got absolutely nothing to say about people trapped in housing estates who want a with ther start in their lives. [shouting] >> i noticed the prime minister did not give any guaranty so
there's another probably larger group that i have a question to ask him on behalf of. a tenant by the name of derrell will the prime minister guaranty in market redevelopment will be rehoused in new council housing in their current communities with the same conditions as they currently have? >> isn't it interesting, mr. speaker, through here is the small conservative. you're saying to people, stay stuck, have nothing better than what labour gave you after the war. have the right to buy. [shouting]
>> if you want to buy a home, here is help to save. we will help you out and that's the fact of politics today. a party on this side of house that wants to give you chances and a lab our opposition that says stay stuck in poverty. [shouting] >> the prime minister doesn't seem to understand the very serious -- the very serious concerns that council tenant have when they feel they're going to be forced away from the community where they live, where their children go to school and their community is so strong, but there is another area where the prime minister might be able to help us today, his party manifesto said everyone who works hard should be able to own a home of their own. so will families earning the national living wage be able to afford one of his discount start
e homes? >> i very much hope they will. also as well as starter homes we are having shared ownership homes. so if you take -- if you take -- when i became prime minister, when i became prime minister a young person trying to buy a home needed 30,000 pounds for that deposit. >> order, i apologize. i say to the honorable lady, that is not behavior of would be states woman. i want to hear the prime minister's answer. >> 30,000 pounds for deposit on a typical home, because of the schemes we've introduced, that is now down to 10,000-pound. now i want people to own their own homes so let's consider this issue. we are saying to the 1.3 million tenants of housing associations,
we are on your side, you can buy your own home, why does he still oppose that? [shouting] >> well, mr. speaker, i hope that -- i hope this word hope goes a long way because research by shelter found that families on his so-called living wage would be unable to afford the average starter home in 98% of local authority areas in england, so only the 2% that may benefit from this. instead of building more comfortable homes isn't the prime minister branding more homes as affordable which is not a solution to the housing crisis, will he confirm the home ownership has actually fallen since he became prime minister? >> there's a challenge of helping people to buy their own homes. that's what help to buy was for which they opposed. that is why -- isn't it
interesting, he didn't answer the question about the 1.3 million housing association tenants. [shouting] >> i want what is best for everybody. he owns two homes, i own my home, why won't we let those 1.3 billion own their homes. why not? [shouting] >> when noise disappears, leader of the opposition will be heard. >> i think the conservative benches for deep concern of the housing crisis in the country. and it's noted. the prime minister gave no assurances to tenants, no assurances to leaseholders, no assurances to low-paid people
who want to get somewhere decent to live. can i ask him one final question on this and it's a practical question that's faced by many people all around this country who are deeply worried about their own housing situation and how they're going to live in the future. it comes from -- it comes from linda who is a tenant for the last 25 years. and she says, i will eventually look to downsize to a property suitable for our aging circumstances, due to the housing built through parliament at present if we downsize we will have to sign a new tenant agreement. if we say we pay debt and if we downsize we lose our secure home. it's a real problem that linda and many like her are facing. if she was in the prime minister
's, what advice would he give her? >> we are cutting social rent in this parliament. she will be paying less in rent. the second thing i say is if she's concern, it's not paid by pension. it's a point he's going to make. the other point i would make to linda all those in housing association homes is that we believe in giving you chance to buy your own home and helping you to do that. isn't interesting, mr. speaker what this exchange has shown. we have a labour party that has a policy that doesn't support home just like a defense policy that doesn't believe in defense. a labour party that doesn't believe in work and a labour leader who doesn't believe in britain. [shouting]
>> mr. speaker, as someone who grew up in social housing, i welcome the prime minister's commitment to tear down low-quality estate and replace them with affordable homes? he he see this opportunity to make sure the new homes are attractive, well-designed places that people will actually want to live for generations to come? [shouting] >> i think my honorable friend is absolutely right. if labour wanted to have a constructive opinion, they would want to come down and say how can we help, rebuild new houses, help people build their own homes. that's what we want to do. that is what you're going to see, mr. speaker, in this parliament, helping people get on and other side keeping people tracked in poverty.
>> thank you very much, mr. speaker. the economic and intellectual contribution of college and university graduates to the uk is immense, the commission said that the uk and scottish government should i quote, work together to explore the possibility to introducing formal schemes to allow international higher education students graduating from scottish further and higher education institutions to remain in scottland and contribute to economic activity for the -- why do the uk government this week unilaterally rule out return for work visa without discussions and before key parliamentary report. >> we have an excellent scheme that covers, scottland, whales, there's no limits on the number of people that can come and study in british universities as long as they have two things an
english-language qualification and a place of university, that's an incredibly generous offer. there's actually no limit on the number of people who can stay after they graduated as long as they have a graduate-level job. i think that's an incredibly clear message that whether we're involved in the scottish government, the wealth administration or united kingdom administration, should get out and sell around the world. it's a world-beating offer. we want to world's brightest to come here and study here, what a great deal. >> thank you very much, mr. speaker. the return of study visas are supported amongst other, all of scottland funded colleges, many of the organizations and businesses all parties including the scottish conservative party, why does the prime minister think that they are all wrong
and he is right? >> well, for the reason i've given. clarity of our offer is unbeaten, we are say to go people coming to our universities, it's okay to stay with a less than graduate job. frankly, there's lots of people in the own country desperate for the jobs and we don't need to world's brightest and best to come here to study and then to do labour jobs which actually that's not what our immigration system is for. what we want is a system where we could advertise to the world, come and study here, come and work here and that's the system we have. >> gordon henderson. >> thank you, mr. speaker.
bring in the prospect another 400,000 jobs to people. that center is a24a, roads in the southeast of england. could my -- could my honorable friend encourage the department of transport to undertake review of the i24a to show that it can cope with increase traffic being generated by the expanding activities? >> i certainly join him. it's fallen by 39% in 2010. i will take up a point he says because obviously we are owning on a continue to attract investment if we make sure our road and rail network are up to date. >> thank you, mr. speaker, the prime minister will be aware that last week this house discussed the equalization of state retirement age between men and women. can i ask does he feel outrage
of generation of women born in 1950's who feel robbed an cheated out of the state pecks and would he give an undertaking to ask them to look at further improvements to transitional arrangements that he will do so? [shouting] >> i know this is an issue that many colleagues have been written to and important to look at. we look carefully and decided that no one should suffer more than an 18-month increase in the time before they were expecting to retire. what i would also say if you look at what we are putting in place with the pension starting over 150 pounds a week combined with the triple lock that we have, i think we have a very good settlement for pensionists, t affordable for the taxpayer and generous into the future. [shouting] >> thank you, mr. speaker. by the eighth of january, within a period of just eight days,
parts of london had exceeded the annual limit for nitrous dioxide pollution, given the news, would the prime minister ensure that the department for transport's current consideration of expansion prioritize it air pollution concern and will he pledge never to expand -- [shouting] >> nitrous dioxide levels are risking the health of millions of people. >> i think my honorable friend is absolutely right to raise this. there are problems of air quality and air pollution not just in london but elsewhere in the country. that's one of the reasons why we decide today delay the decision of airport capacity expansion because we need to answer the
question about air quality before we provide the answer to that question and that is what the environmental audit committee recommended to this government, they said on air quality the government will need to raise the commissions finding in in air quality strategy. the point she makes is directly taken by on the government. >> can i say to the prime minister the answer on the question of transitional arrangements for those women born in the 1950's -- [shouting] >> i was going to say he seems to have in idea how to rectify the idea. why some countries are not implementing the changes until 1944 and sovereign decisions
about the issue and that's entirely right. what we decided to do is put in place a pension system that is long-term affordable for our country but also sustains a very strong pension right into the future. that's what the single-tier pension is going to make a difference and the triple law never put in place by labour. that increased the pension that we had under gordon, that can never happen again under our arrangement. >> thank you, mr. speaker. since 2010 constituency has seen generation of businesses and youth unemployment falling below 1% with 240 million-pound invest ment for employment in the area, does the prime minister
agree with me that it is the government's stewardship of the economy that has led to constituency? >> i'm delighted to hear the news. we have low interest rates, we are inflation right on the floor, we have real waging growing. people are investing. business invest men has been going up because we are confident of the future of the economy and that's because of getting deficit down and making a country where people can start a business, run a business and expand a business and therefore create the jobs in prosperity for all our people. >> thank you, mr. speaker, figures has showed 117,000 people have died unnecessarily as a result of the cold, 43,000 people tragically died last
winter. so can i ask the prime minister to say, why does he think so many people are dying needlessly in our country and what he's going to do to stop it from happening? >> the honorable member is right to raise this, they are a standing to all governments about more needs to be done. first of all, we've maintain it had cold weather payments. there's also the winter-fuel payment that is we've maintained, increase in the pension going up by pricing earnings 2 and a half percent. falling energy prices because of falling oil prices. i agree they are not falling as fast as i would like, i think it's right that we have the competition requirement in the industry to make sure it's a fully competitive industry. it's come a long way in the last few years. when i became prime minister,
the independent energy companies 1% of the market, now they're 15% of the market. the big 6 are being broken down through competition. so all of those changes plus home improvements and making sure that people have good insulation, all of those things can make a difference. >> thank you, mr. speaker. [shouting] >> implementation of the iran nuclear deal in which british diplomacy was crucial, can my right honorable friend inform the house what steps are being taken to make sure that iran abides by its side of the deal? >> i think my honorable is absolutely right about this. let me pay tribute to secretary of state john kerry for the incredible work that he did but also foreign secretary that was by his side negotiating what is a tough and difficult deal. where we got to is adoption date for this deal was in october and since iran has started shipping
2.5 tons of enriched uranium to russia. now we are getting to the implementation day for this deal -- iran for -- for this deal and the key point is that iran is granted the international atomic agency unprecedented access to make sure it is doing all the things it said it would do in this deal. as i said, it's a good deal. it takes iran away from a nuclear weapon but we should enter into it with a very heavy heart and a very clear eye and a very hot head in making sure this country does everything it said it would. >> thank you, mr. speaker. when the government posted changes in funding four years ago, they said the providing maintenance for the poorer students were key to participation in higher education. no mention was made in the conservative manifesto of ending those grants, is it therefore not completely unacceptable to
make fundamental change tomorrow by the back door in committee without vote of the house? >> it's been fully debated in this house and it's absolutely right because what our changes have showed despite all the warnings from the party opposite that more people are taking part in higher education and more people from low-income are taking part in higher education. i'm confident that will be the case. >> thank you, mr. speaker. thanks to the government's long-term economic plan -- [shouting] >> unemployment in northwest stands low, this saturday will host a job fair with 350 more positions available. will my right honorable friend join me in wishing all the businesses in northwest more success of recruitment of retention than the leader of the
opposition? [shouting] >> well, i'm flight today hear there are only 525 people unemployed in constituency. we have had members that have run job fairs that have made huge differences in terms of people being able to find opportunities. since 201064% of rise in sector employment has taken place out, all have higher employment raytheon london. this is in growing terms a balanced recovery and we need to keep working at it to make sure it is. [shouting] >> last year the energy sector had support under renewable for project which would impact the 3 million pounds investment in my constituency. does the prime minister realize that his attacks on clean energy
are detrimental to green businesses such as miss anne. [shouting] we had extensive exchanges at the liaison committee yesterday. we are going to see another 50% increase in wind investment during this parliament. if we look at offshore wind, britain has got the biggest off-shore wind in the world. if you look at solar which was raised by the leader of opposition, britain has the fourth largest solar anywhere in the world. 98% of the panels have been installed since i've taken parliament. but every single subsidy that you give is extra money on
people's bills for energy expenses. that's what our policy is all about. [shouting] >> thank you, mr. speaker. with the number of workers households in the united kingdom at an all-time low, does my right honorable friend with me agree with me that a nation government is not the amount of money we spend on benefits but is what we do to tackle the root causes of poverty? [shouting] >> my honorable friend is absolutely right. that's what the earlier changes proved. labour's only answer to every single problem is to spend more money. ends up with more borrowing, more spending and more debt where our approach is to look at all the causes of government, all the things that are holding people back. let's reform the failing
schools, let's give people more child care, let's deal with the addiction and mental problems that people have and that way we will demonstrate that this is the government and the party helping people with their life chances while labour just wants to stick you where you are. >> it was overwhelming endorsed in the last referendum. [inaudible] >> constitutional crisis. the clawses do not apply in the case of scottland and northern ireland. why is it treating like a second-class nation? >> what the government has done is hold a referendum so the welch assembly has powers and to make sure there's a floor on the welch level of spending,
effects of continuing low oil prices on our economy and beyond, and particular work out how we can avoid the destruction of her own oil industry in the north sea? >> my right honorable friend makes an important point which is this very big move in the oil price. it as highly beneficial effect for all our constituents were able to fill up their cars for less than one pound a liter, and that is a big increase in people's disposable income and holy welcome. a low oil price is good for the british economy, but, of course, there are other consequences and he made many of them and we need to look very carefully at how we can help our own oil and gas industry. as we were coming to the end of this session you mention one other calamity that the low oil price brings about which is the to complete collapse of the snp's policy.
>> the report suggests -- [shouting] >> the honorable lady must be heard. >> recent press reports suggest some other government backbenchers would agree with me despite the fact that my back will be with the prime minister we consider to be menial -- [laughter] a reduction in the state from 100-pound a minute. the cabinet office seems to be -- [inaudible] can the prime minister assure the public, to into the public that this government will undertake -- an ever-growing problem? [shouting] >> we've looked at this problem in this industry and we did make a series of changes. we did make a series of changes including planning changes but we keep this important situation under review.
[inaudible] 2100 homes and 1300 businesses flooded, for schools either flooded or part flooded. will my right honorable friend agreed to meet with me to discuss how we can help with the 20 million-pound infrastructure damage? and the rebuilding of permanent high schools as well speak with my friend and i discussed the high school on many occasions and i think we should meet again to discuss it again and try to make some progress. first of all let me say my sympathies and the sympathies of the whole house will go to those people and businesses who are flooded. we will do everything we can to help communities get back on
their feet. there's a large blood investment program and that's in place and there's also the maintenance program which has been protected in real terms but a number of other infrastructure pieces of work that needs to be done. i would commend the highway agency that has been quick to examine roads and in some cases take over the repairs to local authority roads because they've got the capacity to act and act quickly. that's what we need to do. as i said last week i think this time the army was invested, the money was distributed faster, the ea worked harder and round-the-clock to demonstrate will want to get these communities back on their feet as quickly as possible. >> order. point of order. lady herman. >> thank you very much indeed, mr. speaker,. >> we believe the british house of commons as members move on to other business. you have been watching prime ministers questions time.
a quick reminder you can see this week's session in sunday nights at nine eastern and pacific on c-span. for more information go to c-span.org and click on series to get every program was aired from the british house of commons since october of 1989. we invite your comments via twitter using the hashtag pmq pmqs. >> british prime minister david cameron appear before a house of commons committee to answer questions on climate change issues and the uk'sn role in sw syria. this is one hour 45 minutes. >> good afternoon, country. thank you very much coming to the first liaison committees public meeting of the session. i first of all want to establish
that you all are going to continue the practice of the tob last parliament at the. three times a session? >> yes. i mean, if we all agree.parliamp i thought less of it worked quite well to have three assions, one of the state, one later in the year. year. i think this idea of picking th subjects by you rather than -- unhappy either way. >> the problem for the session,m as edited of the backbone try to get you for christmas but that was impossible.klog. we are very grateful if you could make two more appearances themas, but that session. if y >> between easter and summer recess and one -- >> i think it will be two before summer. >> i had not been on the. i think that may be more ha't difficult. >> would you like to -- >> let me take that away and it.ld really that >> prime minister, there was ai,
prospect towards a cease-fireh andat negotiations relied on the international community, the gotiati partners to the deal bringing their clients to the table puttingon some pressure on.deal what is your assessment as to whether that willingness for people to put pressure on their own times is still in place the war. >> the good thing is there was a process and there's a process with dates and intentions that i think secretary kerry's done an amazing job by holding that before christmas and saying he wants to see a meeting on the 25th of january. between the opposition and the regime. that would be a great step forward. so, what pressure on the clients
when kind of use that phrase, but certainly, the relationship we have with opposition groups will be encouraging them. to come forward. we helped with the conference that took place in saudi arabia where large number of different opposition groups came together. all had signed up to the geneva principles and obviously, we're encouraging them to form up properly so they can carry out a dialogue with the regime. the warning sign, just all incredibly difficult because to continue to be at a process, you need saudi arabia and iran in the same room. that's difficult. you need opposition groups to sit down opposite regime figures who they rightly blame for the most appalling brew it willtuta. we've seen what's happened in recent days for example, but it's essential. just push as hard as we can and that's what we're doipg.
>> is what saudi arabia has done recently appear to drive iran out of the isg and out of the more constructive place trying to find with the international community. >> i don't think so. to explain why they did and why they did it in the way they did it. i think they have as we do, a great interest in a more stable syria. in a syria that includes the have a government that represents sunni as well as shia. so, obviously, there's deep tensions between iran and saudi arabia, but i think it's in everybody's interest to make this process work. it will become more difficult because of the war of words and more between iran and saudi arabia, but we should do everything we can to try to get them around the table together and i think it's in their interest and i know they know it's in their interest. >> was part of the reason for
your canceling your visit to saudi arabia, express or d disapproval of saudi arabia acting to disrupt international cohesion with this immensely critical time. >> my plans were based around the fact the government has an emerging gulf strategy, supporting area for the country. economically. in terms of security. the gulf strategy is all about. so it's a plan for engagement. one or two european issues. to make a comprehensive gulf trip in some stages in the coming months. >> syrian kurds have been --
talks, the government's view have now requested. >> obviously, it's a very sensitive issue because of the turkish position. is that the -- while playing an important role in terms of the cabinet, i'm sure to talk about the figure of the 70,000 nonextremists forces and of course, that didn't -- kurds, but the inclusion in political processes is more difficult. but let's be clear. a future syria needs to be a syria in which sunni shia christian kurd, all see that
they play a role. >> this is fairly extraordinary. because the kurdish forces both in syria and in iraq are the ones that were cooperating with most closely in military terms and yet, it seems they're not to have some sort of seat at the table. surely, we should be supporting them being present these talks as part of the opposition. >> we want a process that is as inclusive as possible, but we obviously have to go about this in a way that tries to keep it on track as far as we can. >> this, some of this goes to my wider concern about turkey and turkey putting or the turkish government's fight with the pkk, ahead of the wider interest in establish iing the framework fo us to be able to take on the enemy in all of us, which is isil. what can you tell us about, what can you tell us about your
reading of turkish policy and turkish intentions and just how much good faith should we place in getting these talks and a settlement underway so we can fight our common enemy, isil? >> i think the best i can say is the british government along with others will do everything we can to say to our allies and friends, the turks, the enemy is daesh. that is where the focus should be. and of course we don't agree when they jumble up everybody together and just label them one large terrorist group as they sometimes do, so we're very clear daesh is the enemy. in terms of helping to bring about a daesh-free iraq, clearly the kurds have a great role to play there. they've been taking some important action in syria, but
this is a sort of ongoing process of working with the turks to convince them that is the right approach. i think it is important we have to understand their sensitivities and concerns. >> but we've long been an advocate of bringing turkey within the european family of nations and yet now their policy and their intentions seem immensely opaque. it's not a good place to be, is it? >> we would like them to be even more focused than they are on daesh. i think there are signs that is improving and changing. i think if you look at, for instance, the work they're doing along the turkish border the interdiction of oil supplies and oil smuggling, the work they're doing with intelligence services across europe, including britain, i would say they're stepping up the work they're doing to counter daesh. >> is there not a danger that there's a parallel in the behavior of turkey with that of
pakistan with policy over afghanistan with a double game being played by pakistan. is there danger that there's a double game being played here by turkey? >> i don't think that's fair. turkey has suffered directly at the hands of daesh, isil, in terms of losing its own citizens. clearly, if you talk to turkish politi politicians, they do have concerns about turkish inspired terrorism in the past and in the future. but to say they are not fully committed to ridding syria of isil, i don't think that's fair. >> prime minister, i'd like to start with the government's
determination to see assad and his regime removed. and in march 2003 you and i and a large majority of nps from both main parties voted for the invasion of iraq and the removal of saddam hussein, who i think we would easily agree was as brutal, if not more so, than assad. in the light of what we now know what happened afterwards, do you share my view that we actually voted the wrong way and that it was a terrible mistake, even though saddam hussein was a terribly brutal dictator? >> i don't choose to go back over these votes and take that view. i think there are important lessons to learn, what happened afterwards, the dismantling of the entire regime, the
dismantling of the armed forces, meant that there was no state, there was no authority. and i think the biggest problem of all is we need to learn the lesson from there. drawing conclusions between these two dreadful people, they were both ghastly. i think the extent of the hell assad has reigned down on his own people with using hunger as a weapon of war, you can say that is as brutal if not worse than things saddam hussein did. >> i entirely agree. there's little to choose between them and it is precisely that i and other people that i refer to it and the lesson is that
sometimes you can remove a very brutal dictator and you end up with a worse situation. and arguably some might say the same thing has happened in libya. do you accept that in principle if there isn't a choice between a brutal secular dictator and a to tolitarian, it can make sense to live a secular dictator in place? >> where you and i disagree, it's impossible in my view to envision a situation in which assad stays in power and syria isn't a threat to our national interest. it's a threat to our national interest at the moment in two very important ways.
there's the migration crisis engulfing europe, which is clearly a threat to our interest. that migration crisis a large part of the course is assad. as long as you have assad in power, i think you're in danger of having a daesh-style sunni broken terrorist-style state in western syria, so i don't -- i don't really buy the idea that there sort of is an alternative view in which you say, well, let's pick the one that's least bad and sort of make an accommodation with them because i just don't think that would work. i think you'd still have the problems of the migration crisis. you'd still have the problem of daesh because he's been such a recruiting sergeant for daesh. you have to ask yourself, looking at those pictures of people starving to death or
people who have left because that i have been bombed out of their houses by assad, is there any prospect they could be part of a syria run by this man. wanting assad to leave power and saying he can't be part of a future syria is not so much a question of political preference. it's a statement of political fact. i don't think you can have a stable syria with assad in charge. i don't go down your comparison. >> i think the problem sure is -- >> lessons to be learned from previous conflicts in terms of not dismantling states, in terms of having plans for reconstruction, in terms of thinking through political process, i agree with all of that. i think there's a lot of common ground there. >> tit seems to me you still subscribe to the view that there is a third alternative, which is inclusive democracy. some of us take the view that we have to choose the lesser of two evils, but let's assume then
that we are going down the route of saying that there is a third option and that that option are opposition moderates. now we all know in order to be decisive air strikes need to act in support of credible forces on the ground. and you famously told the commons and you repeated today the joint intelligence committee estimate there to be 70,000 moderate fighters whom we can support. now if these people are fighters, there can be little grounds for secrecy about their identity. so why won't you or the defense secretary name the supposedly moderate groups in whose name these fighters are in the field? >> well, first of all, let's be clear about the terminology. the figure i gave to the house of commons is not a figure that
i invented. it's a figure i asked the jic for to give me their best estimate. their estimate was that there were 70,000 non-extremist non-opposition fighters in syria. the largest number is the free syrian army, which we're familiar with. but if you're arguing are all of these people impeccable democrats who would share the view of democracy that you and i have, no. some of them do belong to islamist group and some of them belong to relatively hard line islamist groups, but that's the best estimate of the people potentially we have to work with. the reason for not breaking down in huge amounts of granular detail exactly who they are is simply this. we would be giving president assad a list of the groups and the people and the areas he
should be targeting. >> surely prime minister lists have been published by people supportive of your position on this, which have identified well-known groups of various sizes, including free syrian army, that does have a large number of very small and disparate affiliates to it and the suspicion has to be if the government won't name these supposedly moderate groups, it becomes impossible for any sensible assessment to be made of whether they really are moderate or whether they are islamist and extreme. >> well, our reason for not publishing is the reason i've given. it's different other people publishing to the government officially publishing a list. i've been very frank with you and i always was during the debate. they're not in all the right places. i couldn't agree more. they're not the sort of people
you would bump into at the liberal democratic party conference. i agree with all those assessments, but the point i would make -- you go back to this is there a third way, is there a third way between a daesh-style state and president assad remaining in power. my point is we have to find a third way. we don't want to dismantle that, but to argue that the sunni majority in syria simply are too extreme or too hopeless or too whatever to take part in the future running of their country is a counsel of despair. we have to find this third way. to be fair to these opposition groups who signed up to the
geneva principles is that the large number wants to see a democracyime i and on the numbers, to be clear, 70,000 doesn't include the 20,000 kurdish fighters in syria. the other point i make to people who say some of the 70,000 doesn't properly exist. if it doesn't exist, what on earth of the 240,000 troops that assad has, what have they been replacing with last year's? >> there are large number of troops in syria who have been i should say fighters in syria who have been fighting assad. the question is, are the mobile or not? i would just like to quote you an answer that came slightly
more informative answers than the one i asked who was the groups? this was a question which was answered by the defence secretary. he was asked which moderate non-islamist groups with credible ground force, other than kurds, are fighting daesh in syria? he was asked about on, in october on the 19th. and he replied on the 26th as follows. the are a number of moderate opposition forces focused on fighting assad regime. many are also fighting isil in areas of strategic importance. for example, north of aleppo. the vast majority of these opposition groups are islamists. now, analysts there is mistaken
sector estates and certainly reveals whether government regards as moderate groups are actually in many cases islamist ones. that's what i urge you again if you want people to be able to make an informed choice between the options of a secular, brutal dictator, and an islamist alternative, we really ought to be told more about the composition of the allegedly moderate forces that we are now mounting airstrikes to support. >> i've given you my answer about what we are going to publish and i'm not going to change that answer. what i would repeat again so is there is some of the opposition forces are islamists. some of them are relatively hardline islamists. and some of them are more of what we would describe as more secular democrats. but i would make the point that are groups like the al-nusra front who we wouldn't work with, you know. so i think, but if you are
arguing for or not enough, we need to build up, yes, we do. there are not enough of them. we've got to start somewhere. that's the point. everyday we don't support moderate forces, they are hit by assad and retreat further. >> there may be something between this huge granular detail as you put it that might give assistance to assad on the one hand and some general information that may give more credibility to the number that you put into the public domain? .. domain? >> i've considered it, but i've given the answer i think is appropriate. >> without it, people are going to wonder whether this is a reliable number. >> look. all i can say is we had an nsc