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Page last updated at 14:37 GMT, Sunday, 1 June 2008 15:37 UK

Simon Burns interview

On the Politics Show, Sunday 01 June 2008, Jon Sopel interviewed Simon Burns MP

Simon Burns MP
Simon Burns MP

JON SOPEL: Simon Burns, welcome to the Politics Show.

Thank you very much.

Obviously you know Hillary. Does Hillary know you.

I mean there was a photo there but the American campaigns are so vast.

SIMON BURNS: Yes, no, I wouldn't have thought she had a clue who I am. But that doesn't stop me from supporting her or ?

JON SOPEL: Right. And clear up something else for us because I'm sure a lot of people were thinking, hang on you're a Tory, shouldn't you be supporting a republican and isn't it Labour people who support the Democrats.

SIMON BURNS: No, I think that's too simplistic because the Democrats are very broad church and the old days that if you're a Democrat, you're automatically Labour or Liberal Democrat, if you're Republican, you were Tory, has gone.

Both those parties are fully supportive of the free enterprise system. They believe in free health care. They believe in helping people when they're in trouble and those are the sort of philosophies that the Conservative Party is totally at home with and supportive of.

JON SOPEL: Okay, let's go back to the campaign itself. In view of what we were hearing about in the news about this sort of carving up of the delegates from a couple of states which were disallowed originally and all else that's going on, it is the end of the road for Hillary, isn't it.

SIMON BURNS: It's looking very bleak. I mean obviously, she's going to have a good win in Puerto Rico tonight. She'll probably do badly on Tuesday, but the bottom line is that even with the Michigan-Florida decision, she just does not have the votes, unless there were to be a significant shift between now and the convention if it were to go on that long, in the super-delegates. Because what they've got to look at, given that this will almost certainly be a Democrat year, is that they pick someone who's going to win.

JON SOPEL: We like on this programme to decipher politician's code. When you say it's very bleak, for a very bleak read, it's over.

SIMON BURNS: Probably. But if the super-delegates, were to change their mind, because of course she has won most of the largest states in the primaries.

JON SOPEL: So what is the game now. Is it about the exit strategy or is it about, I don't know, being on the ticket as vice presidential candidate. What would you think is going on.

SIMON BURNS: Well, it could be either. But being on the ticket, if she wanted to be, and if Mrs Obama would be prepared to have her, would bring the benefit that exit polls have showed that some of her core vote, say that they will not vote for Obama in the November election, they'll vote for McCain.

And there's got to be a way of stopping to hemorrhage that and if the Democrats want to win, if they decide to put her on, to try and stop that hemorrhaging, it might be a smart move.

JON SOPEL: You said in an article that you've written for us on the Politics Show web site and we'll give a trail for that in a moment - that the US is a nation of misogynists. More misogynistic than racist?

SIMON BURNS: Yes I think so now actually. I think that for some people, they find it difficult to conceive a woman as their President of the United States. They haven't made the jump that we made twenty five years ago with Margaret Thatcher.

JON SOPEL: Right. So you think - but then, if, you know, you were saying about Barack Obama not attracting voters. Hillary Clinton is going to alienate certain voters as well.

SIMON BURNS: Well Hillary Clinton has always alienated certain people cos she is a polarizing figure. The fact is though that she appeals to core democratic voters in a way that so far during the primaries Obama hasn't.

JON SOPEL: Right. If you were to bet a few dollars or even a couple of dimes, on what the outcome is going to be, would you imagine that she would be on the ticket.

SIMON BURNS: I think it really does depend on what Mrs Obama thinks. I suspect that relations between the two camps may have deteriorated in recent months but if they want to win, they may be forced by just real politic to put her on, if she's prepared to go on.

JON SOPEL: Okay, Simon Burns, I was saying, when we were talking a moment ago that he's written a piece for us about why Hillary is the woman for him. It's available on our web site and it's already prompted quite a stir among our American readers.

John from the USA says, Obama is winning because he is a better candidate, period. Better organized, better funded and runs on a better, more inclusive platform. We've got enough divide and conquer nonsense coming from Clinton supporting politicians, stateside. No more is needed, thank you very much.

Nancy, she's friendlier, she says, great article. Hope you can convince the Democratic Party to choose Clinton. The press and the old boy Democrats were determined to bash her it seems. It's a terrible loss for our country if she is not on the ticket.

We're going to give the final word to Brad, who simply says, in his email, mind your own business Limey. What have you got to say to that.

SIMON BURNS: What I've got to say to that is whoever is president, will affect us as much as it affects the rest of the world and I think that what we need is the best president and that's why I support the candidate that I still think would make the best President of the United States in November.

JON SOPEL: Is it more fun campaigning in the States than Chelmsford West.

SIMON BURNS: No, I love campaigning in Chelmsford West, but it is different and it is more exciting in certain ways in America. There's much more razzmatazz.

JON SOPEL: Simon Burns, thank you very much for being with us.


Please note BBC Politics Show must be credited if any part of these transcripts are used.

NB:These transcripts were typed from a recording and not copied from original scripts.

Because of the possibility of mis-hearing and the difficulty, in some cases, of identifying individual speakers, the BBC cannot vouch for their accuracy.

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The Politics Show Sunday 08 June 2008 at 1200BST on BBC One.
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