Question Time councillor attracts applause by claiming there are too many politicians
A LOCAL councillor earned the applause of the Question Time audience – by claiming there are far too many politicians.
Conservative councillor Iain Colquhoun made the comments on Thursday night's edition of the BBC One programme which was filmed in Grimsby.
The remarks surprised some of his fellow ward councillors, who suggested it proved he was in the wrong job. However, Mr Colquhoun's views gained the agreement of one of the politicians on the panel – Business Secretary Vince Cable.
Contributing to a debate about whether the UK should consider becoming a Republic, the Waltham ward councillor said: "I think the general public have had enough of politicians. There are far too many of them around. The last thing we want is to have another failed politician as head of state.
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"Far better to have someone who puts duty before their own personal advancement."
When asked by host David Dimbleby whether he wanted monarchical rule, Mr Colquhoun replied: "You could say that", before adding that the Queen's current role was "quite satisfactory as far as I'm concerned."
The panel on Thursday night's show spoke out in support of the Monarchy, and when Mr Dimbleby asked if there were any Republicans in the audience at the Grimsby Auditorium, only two or three hands went up.
To rapturous applause, Spectator columnist Melissa Kite said the Queen was "terrific value for money."
Labour's Shadow Business Secretary Chuku Umunna said she had done a "superb job" while Conservative MP David Davis said: "Long may she reign."
Responding to Mr Colquhoun's remarks, Liberal Democrat Mr Cable said: "Although I'm a politician, I rather agree with the gentleman at the back. We should let the Queen get on with the job."
The start of the programme was focused very much on Wednesday's Budget, with the first question from Matthew Thompson asking if the Government was right to ask pensioners to pay their fair share.
Novelist Marina Lewycka described the decision to end age-related tax allowances for pensioners as a "theft of money", while Mr Umunna said giving millionaires a tax break was the wrong priority.
Mr Davis said it was a "reasonable policy", and although Ms Kite said she could understand why people were upset, she said: "Today's pensioners have had chances and opportunities that young people coming up will never have."
Sheldon Ellis asked if cutting the top rate of income tax to 45 per cent demonstrated that we were no longer all in it together.
Mr Davis said the Government needed to maximise its tax take from the rich, adding that he would have lowered the top rate to 40 per cent.
Mr Cable said the 50 per cent top rate was a Labour "gimmick" which didn't work. Mr Umunna said those with the broadest shoulders should bear the biggest burden."
Referring to proposed regional pay schemes for the public sector, Georgina Harris asked if teachers in Grimsby should be paid less than their counterparts in the south of England.
Mr Cable said imposing regional pay would be "completely wrong".
However, Mr Davis said that in some areas comparatively high public sector wages made it hard for people to start companies.
But Ms Lewycka said that in places like Grimsby, lowering public sector pay would not create new jobs, but instead drag down the whole economy. George Wilson, who asked if the UK should consider becoming a Republic, said he thought the Queen was doing a good job and added: "Just consider the alternative. God help us if we get President Blair or President Prescott."
Mr Davis raised a laugh when he responded: "I've travelled up on the train with El Presidente Prescott and I'm pleased to tell you his ambitions only extend to police commissioner at the moment. That's bad enough!"