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Last Updated: Sunday, 17 June 2007, 10:43 GMT 11:43 UK
Cruddas credo
On Sunday 17 June Andrew Marr interviewed Jon Cruddas MP, Labour deputy leadership candidate

Please note "BBC Sunday AM" must be credited if any part of this transcript is used.

Jon Cruddas MP
Jon Cruddas MP, Labour deputy leadership candidate

ANDREW MARR: Jon Cruddas, welcome.

JON CRUDDAS: Good morning.

ANDREW MARR: Fair to describe you as the most left wing of the six?

JON CRUDDAS: I think that's probably a fair description, yes. But I think you've seen over the last few months actually things opening up in this contest.

And now people are occupying different positions that arguably they started off on.

And I think that's a good thing because there's been a, quite a fertile debate that we've had over the last few months and that's for the greater good of the Party.

ANDREW MARR: So let's look at some of your particular ..


ANDREW MARR: .. policy positions. You're open to the idea at least of a higher tax rate at, at a hundred thousand pounds, a fifty P rate, something like that.

JON CRUDDAS: Well I didn't say that. What I said is if we're going to stick to our commitments in terms of abolishing child poverty by 2020 - and I think the IFS suggested that would cost an extra twenty eight billion pounds - then down the road if we haven't got the tax revenues coming in we're going to have to look at how we can meet our objectives. And that might mean that some who earn a lot more money make a bigger contribution. I don't want to get too fixated ..


JON CRUDDAS: .. on thresholds and levels. But that's a debate I think we might have to have in the future.

ANDREW MARR: And at the other end of the heap you'd like to see the minimum wage rise, particularly in London when people, where a lot of people feel that they, they can't get a proper living wage.

JON CRUDDAS: Well some of the most dynamic campaigns I'm involved in this city are linked with what we call living wage campaigns, often through the sort of contract culture around for example the financial institutions, the city of London and the like. And there's some really interesting campaigns there, especially among some of the most abused actually in terms of migrant groups.

And I think there's a good role for the state saying in public contracts we should have minimum thresholds in terms of employment rights over and above your statutory minimum. If you bid for public money you should be prepared to pay a wage and holiday or sick pay entitlements above the, you know the legal minimum.

ANDREW MARR: One of your policies that ... you mentioned migrants there. One policy that raised a few eyebrows was your idea that a large number of people who have come here illegally but are now settled here, maybe half a million or so, should be given full British citizenship. There should be a sort of line drawn under all of that.

JON CRUDDAS: Well we're going to have a debate in parliament this Wednesday actually. I think there should be an earned regularisation. I don't want to ... too much of the jargon.

But you know I think this is a legacy of failure of public policy makers for the last twenty years, that we have literally half a million people, many of whom have had kids who've born here, who are not going to be deported. That would estimate it would cost something like five billion pounds to deport them, who make a massive contribution ..

ANDREW MARR: So they're here anyway.


ANDREW MARR: And they're not going away ..

JON CRUDDAS: And we can't ..

ANDREW MARR: .. in your view.

JON CRUDDAS: .. dis-invent them. They are here.

ANDREW MARR: But you, you don't think this would just bring more and more people here?

JON CRUDDAS: No I don't. I think, I see this as definitely a one off. We're introducing a points based immigration system next year. ID cards. We're having an overhaul of the Home Office itself. And I think the time is right to have a sort of one off exercise alongside this overhaul of our sort of Home Office policy. And I think a policy, the time has come.

I know it's very difficult for politicians to stand up and argue this one because it goes against the grain with public sentiment around you know their concerns about immigration. But I think as part of a broader policy mix I think it's a legitimate debate to be had.



ANDREW MARR: On Iraq, explain to me the difference between your position and the position of Blair or Brown. Because everybody talks about timetables and phase and it's quite complicated.

JON CRUDDAS: Well I think the position is changing. I ... with this, Gordon Brown, I think this month, this week for the first time acknowledged pre war failures and I think that, that was quite a significant movement.

I think we have to, I think as Jeremy Greenstock acknowledged last week we have to argue and discuss whether the existence of our troops now is actually not incentivising talks amongst the different elements in Iraq and a more specific route map out might be in the best interests of you know building a liberal democracy for the future.

ANDREW MARR: Now one area of your politics which hasn't come under quite so much scrutiny is that you are a passionate catholic and you've said that you know you think that the right to life debate should go from the cradle to the grave.

So where do you stand on abortion and what would you say to perhaps people on the left of the Party who might otherwise agree with you but may not on this issue?

JON CRUDDAS: Well my view of abortion has always been the same actually. It should be safe, legal and rare. And I, I, you know I stand by that at all. I mean I voted against ..

ANDREW MARR: So you'd want the, you'd want the time of it to come down?

JON CRUDDAS: No not necessarily. I'm perfectly happy with the situation that we have at the moment. I think it should always be kept under review and we need to continuously look at the inter, independent advice in terms of the you know status of a foetus and the like. But I'm perfectly happy with the current situation.

ANDREW MARR: And things like gay adoption. Because you have criticised sort of militant secularists I think you've called them inside the Labour Party.

JON CRUDDAS: Yeah I have. ... my approach, I fully support the gay adoption proposals the government put into place.

My concern was slightly different in that at times in terms of that, the tenor of that debate tended to suggest that it was almost a questioning whether people with faith should not be able to make a contribution in the public domain. And I think that was, I was slightly uncomfortable with that, even though I might disagree with some of the contributions that are made.

The hallmark of a pluralist democracy is that they have the right to make those contributions. And I think there was a sort of under toe that I was quite uncomfortable with which was slightly intolerant in terms of contributions that you might even disagree with.

ANDREW MARR: You are one of the people at the top of the bookies' list at the moment.

JON CRUDDAS: I am now yes.

ANDREW MARR: You are now. If you - yeah, you've come a long way. If you did win would you not be really a sort of inside heckler for Gordon Brown. Because there are so many things where there is pretty much of a big gap between you and him. You're not going to work very seamlessly and closely and easily with him would you?

JON CRUDDAS: Well I think it's going to be challenging if I were to win. We came from I think a hundred and fifty to one to be now one of the sort of I think third or fourth favourite. It's going to be challenging. But by definition it has to be challenging for us as a Party cos we have to change. I mean that's where I do disagree with some of the other candidates.

And I think actually the noises he's making, some of the suggestions he's beginning to put in the public domain suggest that he acknowledges the scale of the problem we're in and that we have to change in terms of how we view the Party and some of our policy priorities. And I also think we have to change in terms of the more c... collegiate form of administration in Cabinet government. I acknowledge ..


JON CRUDDAS: .. some of those things have to be worked through if I were to win. But I ..


JON CRUDDAS: .. do not think it's beyond our political will ..


JON CRUDDAS: .. or ability to do so.

ANDREW MARR: All right. Well we will, we will learn the result by, by a little bit later this time next week. Thank you very much indeed Jon Cruddas.


NB: this transcript was typed from a recording and not copied from an original script.

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

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