Here are the key points from David Cameron’s interview with Andrew Marr Cameron said the Conservatives could end up proposing that Britain withdraws from the European convention on human rights. This would be something that the party would consider including in its 2015 manifesto, he said. He wanted to ensure that Britain would easily deport people who posed a threat (like Abu Qatada, he implied).
As a first step the Conservatives would abolish the Human Rights Act, he said. But, when pressed, he said pulling out of the European convention was an option too. Here’s the exchange.
DC: First of all, we can scrap the Human Rights Act as a first act without actually altering the relationship with the European Convention on Human Rights. But we do need to look at this, and Theresa May and Chris Grayling will both be making speeches about this this week. I think what we need to do is look and think about what’ the outcome we want.
I’m less interested in which convention we’re signed up to. As prime minister, what I want to know is can I keep our country safe. For instance, are we able to chuck out of our country people who have no right to be here, who threaten our country.
I saw we should be able to do that. Whatever that takes, we must deliver that outcome. And that is what I think we have the next 20 months to do, and put in our manifesto …
There are a range of options, as I’ve suggested in the past. You can write a British bill of rights so that when cases go to the European convention of human rights you have a proper margin of appreciation. The judges there can say, ‘The British have got their own bill of rights, they have made their own decision, and we should respect that’ …
But people should be in no doubt – under a Conservative-only government, led by me, there will be the ability to throw out of this country far more rapidly people who threaten us and our way of life. AM: What is the problem with simply saying, yes, we are going to pull out of the convention? DC: It may be that that is where we end up.
Cameron rejected claims that Help to Buy could fuel a housing bubble. Don t take it from me, take it from the Bank of England. We asked them last week for their assessment of the housing market.
They said expressly, there isn t a bubble. The housing market is recovering, but from a low base. If you look at prices outside London and the South East, they re only going up by 0.8%.
Talk of a housing bubble to people here in Manchester or Salford and they will literally laugh in your face. He said Help to Buy was needed because people could not afford deposits for houses. Right now, you can t get, it s very difficult to get a 90% or 95% mortgage.
So that means a typical family, with two people earning 20-25,000, they re being asked to find a 40,000 deposit. Now they can afford the mortgage payments, but they can t get the mortgage. They can t buy the flat or the house …
If we don t do this it will only be people with rich parents who can help them with the deposit that can get on the housing ladder. It s not right, it s not the sort of country I want to live in. He said Ed Miliband’s latest policies were “nuts” because they were anti-enterprise.
When you take his approach as a whole it s anti-business, it s anti-enterprise, it s saying to companies that are investing in Britain I m going to put up your taxes, take your jobs somewhere else . I think that is absolutely the wrong approach. It is nuts, frankly, to put up corporation tax.
You know, Jaguar Land Rover is now making world beating cars, selling them all over the world. And Ed Miliband wants to put up their taxes. That is nuts.
Cameron also said he did not want to have a row with the mental health lobby over his use of the term “nuts”. He said Miliband’s plan to freeze energy prices had “unravelled” within 12 hours because Miliband “when the next day he said he might not be able to keep his own promise”. Cameron was referring to the way Miliband told the Today programme he would consider a plea from energy companies to be allowed to raise prices if there was a crisis.
But Miliband also made it clear that he did not expect that to happen. He seems to rule agreeing to a mansion tax as part of a coalition deal with the Lib Dems after 2015. When asked if he would refuse to agree to a mansion tax while he was prime minister, he said: “That’s correct”.
I ve never been in favour of this idea. I think wealth taxes have been tried in a lot of European countries a lot of them are now repealing them. They re not good for investment, they re not good for enterprise.
He said he would like television leaders’ debates to take place earlier during the 2015 election campaign. He was in favour of the debates, he said. But he went on: I thought they took up too much of the campaign, so I think we could start them a bit earlier …
My only regret is that if you are leading a political party, the election campaign is a moment when you really want to get around the country, you want to have arguments and interviews, and I found the whole election was just the run-up to the debate, the debate, and the analysis of the debate. Now we’ve got a fixed-term arliament, we can stretch those things out a bit. He also said he did not think the Ukip leader Nigel Farage should be included.
I think the debate predominantly should be about people who have a prospect of becoming prime minister. He denied a claim that he regretted legislating to allow gay marriage. But he said that he did not anticipate the controversy the proposal was cause.
He was responding to a question about a Sunday Telegraph story based on an extract from Matthew d’Ancona’s new book about the coalition. No I don t regret gay marriage, and Britain is a more happy and equal country for having done it. I don t agree with that.
It s certainly true to say this is an important change. I don t think I expected quite the furore that there was. It s clearly every difficult for some people to take on.
I completely understand and respect that. I m not sure perhaps at the beginning we got across to people that this was about marriages that would take place in registry offices. This was not going to change what takes place in your church, mosque or synagogue.
I m not sure we got that point across enough. He said he wanted to stop Britain being part of an EU committed to “ever closer union”. He cited this when asked to give an example of what he could achieve through his EU renegotiation.
It means changing Britain s relationship with this organisation. To give you one example the phrase seeking an ever closer union . That is not what the British people want.
It s not what I want. Other people can sign up to an ever closer union. But Britain should not be in an ever closer union and I m determined we get out of that.
We need a treaty renegotiation. I m convinced one has to happen. He also dismissed suggestions that renegotiation was bound to fail.
My goal is to renegotiate our relationship with Europe. People have said to me this is all impossible, you won t be able to do it. They also said you can t cut the European budget.
I cut it. They also said you can t veto a European treaty. I did veto a European treaty.
They said you ll never get out of the bailout mechanism. We got out of the bailout mechanism. He said he supported the right of institutions like schools to have rules about clothing like the niqab.
But in general he was in favour of being people free to wear what they wanted, he said. He said the government would not allow the cost of HS2 to just keep rising. It was budgeted to cost 42.6bn, he said.
And it was essential because the West Coast Mainline was full, he said. We have to build another one. The choice is do we build an old style Victorian one, or do we build one of the new High Speed lines, like others.
He also said the government would be spending three times as much on other transport projects in the next parliament as on HS2.
He suggested Andrew Mitchell could return to govenrment after the “plebgate” investigation is over. “He is a very talented politician,” Cameron said. “I have enormous respect for him.
He was a brilliant development secretary.” I’ve taken some of the quotes from PoliticsHome and from the Press Association.