With Evan Davis. Labour's rebellion over Brexit. Plus, the US attack in Yemen, Trump's relationship with Congress and pension rights for unmarried couples.
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The ayes to the right, 494. The noes to the left, 122.
Now the question is - will the House of Lords dare
Government sources muttering veiled threats tonight about abolition
of the upper house if they don't get their way.
We'll look ahead at how easy the politics of exiting
And - the agony of Labour MPs over tonight's vote.
52 of them defied their leader Jeremy Corbyn -
I have been a supporter of Jeremy Corbyn's politics for many decades.
I thought Jeremy Corbyn becoming leader was an important turning
point for the Labour Party and I would not do anything to undermine
What should be the difference between modern marriage
The Supreme Court today allowed one half on an unmarried couple
We'll look at the rights that go with different
kinds of relationships - and debate the right policy
In Washington, another busy Newsday, I'm on Capitol Hill where I have
been talking to senior Republicans about just how far they will support
President Trump and his inimitable use of language.
And this exclusive footage of the aftermath of Donald Trump's
first military action - a special operations and drone
attack in Yemen ten days ago on what the US says
The villagers took out their weapons and began to shoot at them. That's
when the fighting really began. Many of the people who ran out of their
homes for cover were killed. The Commons has done its work, voted
on the Article 50 bill and voted for it in overwhelming numbers.
That was always the easy bit - it now makes its journey over
to the House of Lords for a potentially more
But the Commons was not that easy for the Labour Party.
19 front benchers voted against invoking Article 50, and it
lost its Shadow Cabinet someone tipped as a future leader.
Clive Lewis, Shadow Business Secretary, resigned tonight,
because he did not feel able to vote for Article 50.
Diane Abbott, who seemed to be keeping everyone guessing
as to her intentions, did fall behind the party position.
Well, our political editor Nick watt is with me.
Unamended, the bill, good for the government, amended Shadow Cabinet
with Clive Lewis going such a difficult few weeks for Jeremy
Corbyn and Labour. It has been an agonising process for the Labour
Party with those resignations on the front bench and Clive Lewis
resigning from the Shadow Cabinet because Jeremy Corbyn said you
cannot remain in the Shadow Cabinet if you could not abide by the three
line whip on the Bill. Some senior Labour sources were impatient with
Clive Lewis. One of them said he has been trailing his conscience around
the television studios in recent weeks but in a statement tonight
Jeremy Corbyn responding to the resignation by Clive Lewis who
supported him in both leadership contests, said he understood the
dilemma facing Labour MPs ins constituencies that voted Remain and
this takes us to be startling fact which explains why it is now Labour
and not the Tories that is experiencing such grief over Brexit,
and that is that two thirds of Labour voters voted to Remain but
two thirds of Labour MPs represent constituencies that voted Leave. But
there was one non-resignation, Diane Abbott, we had a clip of her in the
menu. She was undecided but didn't go. As we heard earlier in the
interview with Diane Abbott she was in supporting the bill with any
great enthusiasm and it is pretty clear the reason she voted the way
she did was out of loyalty to Jeremy Corbyn. I think it is fair to say
she felt that if she, such a long-standing friend and a member of
that campaign group, they never believed he would become leader all
of those decades ago, she felt if she resigned as Shadow Home
Secretary that would have been really damaging for him. In my
interview, interestingly, Diane Abbott had quite a message for
supporters of Jeremy Corbyn on the left who are perhaps relaxed about
Brexit, thinking perhaps they are implementing the will and legacy of
Tony Benn, they're great hero, who was one of the great leaders on the
No side on the EC referendum. This is what she had to say.
I respect the results of the referendum and no one wanted
to thwart it in a perverse kind of way.
This is not Tony Benn Brexit, this is Donald Trump Brexit.
Donald Trump Brexit, the phrase of the evening. It will go to the House
of Lords now and then what happens? The government says the bill goes to
the House of Lords with two resounding message is. Message
number one, it goes unamended. Message number two, in the two big
votes, second and third reading, it was passed with overwhelming
majorities, nearly 500 MPs supported it. What ministers are saying is
that as we reported last week, if the Lords trying to thwart this bill
and seriously delay it the government could be tempted to hold
an election with two pledges, taking it out of the European Union and
abolishing the House of Lords. Won the senior member of the government
said to me, and I think I might edit these words on a family programme,
this person said their message to the Lords was: if you muck with our
build we will muck with you, you can guess what he was saying. One pro EU
peer said this in response: abolition of the House of Lords
seems a small price to pay to keep alive the prospect of finding a way
to keep us in the EU. Crucial to say the Labour leadership in the Lord
Snowdon there is only so far they can push this. Thank you very much.
-- in the Lords, no there is only so far.
We're joined by Peter Hain - now Lord Hain.
And the Conservative MP and Brexiteer, Suella Fernandes.
What would you propose to do to the Bill? I would propose to keep the
border with the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, crucial to the
peace process. If you went back on that and started having blockages,
it could unravel in a serious way. I say that as a former Secretary of
State for Northern Ireland. Secondly, to keep the UK in the
Single Market. Ken Bishop of? Membership of the Single Market not
the Article 50 bill -- membership of. To protect jobs and prosperity.
When people voted to leave the European Union, I understand they
voted to leave, but they didn't vote explicitly to leave the Single
Market and some of the Brexit leaders, Boris Johnson included,
said they wanted to keep the Single Market. Boris Johnson did say he
would leave the Single Market. He did seem to support the Single
Market. If you do not get your way on the amendments, you have a good
argument and bash it around, if you don't get your way how would you
vote on Article 50? I will vote against. On principle and in
conscience I cannot support something that I think will damage
the country and damage especially the people who most need support
from the government. Does that raise any red flags? That is an abuse of
power, Peter. It is arrogant snobbery. Who are you actually
voting for? Who do you represent? Most of your labour constituencies
voted to leave, you have a three line whip from your leader to
support Article 50. And you don't have any mandate or the jitter messy
to do what you are doing. There is a blindingly clear message from the
Commons -- legitimacy. It was passed with a huge majority sending a clear
message to the Lords. They need to discharge their duty and to do
otherwise would reduce this country to nothing more than an autocratic
regime which trampled over the democratic will of the people. Look
what the House of Lords has done on previous occasions. We amended the
bill to protect 4 million people who were going to lose their tax credits
in legislation you voted for in the House of Commons, as a result of
which the Government had to do a U-turn and keep those tax credits.
That's the role the House of Lords plays. It isn't going to be some
attempt to wreck the Bill. There was a manifesto pledge to stay
in the Single Market, it was in the Tory manifesto. As the referendum
was also in the manifesto people were entitled to think the policy
was to stay in the Single Market whatever the result of the
referendum. Firstly, this bill is not actually about... This is about
the process of giving the Government the mandate to send the notification
to Brussels to trigger Article 50. It's not about anything else, that
is why it has passed through totally unedited and unaltered. Secondly, we
had months of debate and campaigning and discussion and argument about
what Brexit would mean. Both sides agree that leaving the European
Union would mean leaving the internal market. It doesn't make any
sense... That was never made clear. The official campaign made that
clear. Michael Gove made it explicit. Not all of the leaders.
When I knocked on doors, two things were said, the 350 million a week
would come back to the National Health Service, that resonated on
the doorstep and it was like. That was not a lie at all. Are you
promising it now? It is incontrovertible that this country
since approximately ?350 million however you calculate it to the
European Union. The second thing was immigration, the Single Market never
came up on the doorstep. When people realised that, say Jaguar car
makers, or a Nissan, will face tariffs and barriers and British
industry and our exports and jobs and prosperity will be badly damaged
by that, then I think there is an opportunity for the House of Lords
to say, hang on, we can amend this Bill. There is no intention to wreck
the bill. The House of Lords has never said we are going to
absolutely try and... What you are proposing would fundamentally alter
the nature of the bill as proposed. It would change the effect and it
would have the effect of delaying the process, exposing the
government's judicial review and weaken our position when it came to
negotiating with the European Union. It is about the procedure of
withdrawal, nothing more nothing less. And my amendment says the
question of the Single Market, the Single Market has to be part of that
process. You can leave under Article 50 but the Single Market has to be
retained. I will not vote for anything which impoverishes this
country, especially the low income poorer members of this country.
Points made. I don't want to carry on with that, I want to ask whether
this would provoke a constitutional crisis. Would this be an issue about
abolition of the House of Lords, or is this a bluff? My sense is the
Tory MPs don't want to abolish the House of Lords and they will not do
it over one-vote. This would call into question the Lords. Really? The
constitutional significance is important. You could get a majority
in the house to abolish the House of Lords? Think about public trust. I'm
more concerned about our voters and people who put their trust in us to
go to Parliament to deliver on their instruction. You've seen the
referendum, they voted for a referendum and got a result and they
have seen the Commons vote in a particular way. And then by some
quirk of abuse of procedure or constitutional technicality, a
completely different outcome emerges because of Lords like you not
honouring the instruction, the clear instruction and direction from the
British people and now the Commons to do the right thing and follow the
lead of your Labour MPs who voted with the government tonight. I would
like to be elected to the House of Lords, I believe in an elected
chamber but the existing system is appointed. I was appointed by the
Labour Party and two thirds of Labour voters voted to remain within
the European Union. They need to be respected. This country was split
down the middle. If your government had been acting in a one nation
fashioned to find a way through this that respected the 48% who voted to
remain as well as the 52% who should be respected, I agree, for voting to
leave, if they found a way of bringing the country together that
might be very different but they are going for a hard right-wing Brexit
and that I cannot support. Follow the lead of your Labour MPs who
joined us in the eye lobby tonight and they did the right thing and
they are adhering to democracy. You will hear that argument in the House
of Lords over the coming weeks. Thank you for joining us.
Now, over in the US, politics as abnormal continues.
A day that saw President Trump attack Nordstrom the department
store for dropping his daughter's fashion range, and attack the judges
But perhaps more significantly there have been repercussions
from a US raid in Yemen ten days ago.
For that, and more, Mark Urban is over in Washington for us.
As you say, just over a week since that raid in Yemen by US special
operations forces. They were targeting and Al-Qaeda in the
Arabian Peninsula leader's compound but some things went wrong. Several
local people were killed, one of the naval personnel on the mission also
lost his life and they had to destroy an aircraft as well. Despite
that today the White House said the mission was successful and there was
the sacrifice of the Navy SEAL on the mission. In order to better find
out what has happened at Newsnight sent a journalist to the scene of
the raid. Some of the images she captured were distressing, and may
be to some viewers as she gathered eyewitness testimony.
This is what was left behind following the first counterterrorism
operation approved by President Donald Trump.
A US raid on the small village of Yakla southwest of Yemen
According to the locals 25 people died that day.
Amongst them an American marine and an
It's hard to ever call something a complete
success when you have a
But I think when you look at the totality of what was gained to
prevent the future loss of life here in America
and against our people and our institutions and probably
throughout the world in terms of what some
of these individuals have
done, I think it is a successful operation by all standards.
But from exclusive interviews with conducted
with eyewitnesses on the ground, here is what we understand happened.
At 1am US drones were heard hovering low over the village.
Shortly after, three targets, a clinic, school and
They were suspected of harbouring Al-Qaeda militants.
At 2am and Osprey aircraft that took part in the operation similar to
this one crash landed around three kilometres away from the village,
The US later destroyed their own $75 million aircraft.
These exclusive pictures showed the wreckage of the
Osprey, which we've had verified by an arms expert
from the Royal United Services Institute.
Approximately 30 marines then approached the village.
TRANSLATION: They came by foot and they were allowed.
When the soldiers got here they spread out and the
villagers took out their weapons and began to shoot at them.
That's when the fighting really began.
Many of the people who ran out of their
The American government says they stormed a
terrorist base and that the majority of those killed were Al-Qaeda
But this local man believes that that's not the case
TRANSLATION: This is the catastrophe that was committed by the American
Marines and this is a new graveyard that was opened for the dead.
The women were with their husbands and
the children were with their parents.
Locals who believe that of the 24 people killed just one was a
Seven of the others were men believed to
have been armed and firing on the soldiers.
The other 16, unarmed women and children.
This is an image of one of the children believed to
Some believe that what happened in this
village indicates a dramatic change of gear
for US foreign policy in the
This really looks like a much more aggressive American stance
in terms of putting boots on the ground and trying to take
Al-Qaeda militants out directly face to face
rather than doing what they've done in the past which is either to use
drones or allied Yemeni forces on the ground.
They've only really launched one other operation where
American troops have gone in and led the charge,
and that was an attempt to rescue an American journalist
which led to the death of that journalist.
So it's certainly a high risk strategy and it feels like
So was this, as Trump's spokesman says, a successful
There may be questions in Washington about the
planning of the operation but villagers here believe something
That was Nawal al-Maghafi. I should have pointed out that Newsnight
centre cameraman to the scene and she did her report based on those
pictures. Until recently he was
Senior Director for Counterterrorism You have intimate familiarity with
these raids. We can start with the business about the Yemen government
today saying that as a result of this mission, US forces are no
longer going to be able to operate in this way. Is that a blow to the
US capabilities? I think so, we have consistently relied on the support
of the Yemeni government to do the things he wanted. But this type of
ground operation for something other than a hostage rescue is unusual
compared to the past so it might inhibit abilities to do this going
forward but we have to wait and see but it is not surprising I would say
that. Is it believable? I can many times when the Pakistani government
said under the Obama administration we. Drone strikes and that was not
exactly true. Compared to the cases of drone strikes, US boots on the
ground and in a firefight that apparently broke out and significant
reports of civilian casualties that the Pentagon is acknowledging that
took place, so this is a different dynamic than drone strikes. Some of
your colleagues have tweeted and spoken about the way this operation,
one essentially with the same mission, was worked out what
President Obama was still in office. How close to President Obama,
himself to authorising such a mission? According to that, not very
close, the deputies of the US government officials from across the
security community said, we want to make sure this is something that the
President's successor can take on and the President agreed. Did they
feel this was much too risky? There is significant risk to forces but in
these type of operations and a process that would have been run in
the Obama administration would have looked at the range of factors. What
are the risks to diplomatic relations in the region? Were doing
this in the middle of an ongoing campaign from Saudi Arabia and the
United Arab Emirates that is not popular and what was the
intelligence value? There will be various things we need to work
through before making this decision. People on the other side of politics
say you are saying this to make Donald Trump look bad and you were
involved in lots of operations, Libya and Somalia, in which similar
risks were taken and they could attack on wrong. Is this about
politics or are you after something else? No, this is certainly not
about politics, or criticising the operation itself. The people who
plan these operations and put their lives on the line to conduct them
are very brave and take all appropriate measures to mitigate the
risks. We are concerned about making sure that when we send people into
harms way, we consider all considerations and the President has
also asked his team to prepare for contingency plans. If there are
accusations of civilian casualties. What is the message? Those types of
things will have been worked out. We will eventually see a report on the
follow-up operation. Thank you. We are talking in one of the office
buildings of the Senate and you might hear some are coming here but
this is really one of the front lines of politics. Yesterday there
was a very remarkable occurrence, the first time in American political
history that the Vice President had to cast his vote in favour of one of
President Trump's nominees, Betsy DeVos, and that happened because
Trump has a thin majority in the Senate. I have been looking at the
question of just how far Senate and Congress will be the first real
breaks on President Trump's ambitions.
You can come here promising to drain the swamp or dethrone
But this city has a way of protecting its interests.
Slowing down those who challenge its ways.
So the Trump administration's process of nominating a Cabinet
This level of obstruction at the beginning of an administration
is really record-setting in a very unfortunate way.
While the senator blamed the Democrats for the go-slow,
they don't have the numbers to wreck Trump's agenda.
Rather, it is doubts among Republicans that could pose the most
Keen to impress the people who voted for him, President Trump has signed
some highly significant and emotive executive orders.
But you cannot run the country by those alone, particularly when it
comes to spending money or changing existing laws.
For that, you need to go up to the Hill and get people
Thousands of people work on the Hill.
In offices so widely spread, the place has its own subway.
Things here travel at the speed legislators can work with.
As many presidents elected on a reformed
John Feary has been a Hill insider for the best part of 20 years.
With a Republican majority of just two in the Senate,
he sees particular risks there for the White House.
The members of the Senate, especially because they have
six-year terms, they have tremendous power, they can gum up
the works any time they want and you will see that,
especially for some Republicans who don't really like Donald Trump,
who don't really trust Donald Trump, they are going to step up
There is no obedience with this Congress, there never has been.
But especially with this President, I don't think there ever will be.
The combination seen with the nomination of Betsy DeVos,
of Democrats keen to thwart Trump voting with a small number
of dissident Republicans, could pose all manner of problems
To avoid them, he must stick to policies where
he and Congressional Republicans are on the same page.
I believe on the need for bilateral agreements,
with the UK or Japan, I think there will be a partnership.
We can work with him on tax reform, we all agree the tax
There is over 70,000 pages in our tax code, it is too complex,
people want a simpler affair and in many respects, flatter.
So that is something we should be focused on and I think
we'll find common ground with the administration.
Among those on powerful Senate committees, there are already key
figures who now challenge Trump on issues such as the handling
of his immigrant ban or his professed admiration
What do you think, realistically, you can do in the Senate to stop
I believe the kinds of hearings we had this morning are important
As we heard Senator Portman do, Russia has not been a partner
And there are other opportunities that we will have.
On Putin or the immigration ban, are you worried
about what the President has been saying?
Look, there has been a lot of things said that I would not say.
But, you know, I think as time moves on, there will be a much more coming
I think the administration is just getting going and my sense is that
in the very near future I think we will be in the
Several leading Republicans, including former Presidential
candidate Marco Rubio, have already put down a marker
Do the President's comments about Putin worry you at all?
I am not worried about words as much as actions.
What do you need to see in terms of...
Right now we have sanctions and as long as they are in place
Do you think sanctions should be put in law,
And I am open to making them permanent without
Once the President puts forward budget plans,
the political machine here will really swing into action.
Many will want to grab new spending but there is also a powerful caucus
among Republicans who see Trump's pledge of tax cuts and big spending
We're not talking about any kind of changes to the mandatory
Which is where you need to save money.
And that is where most of the spending is.
And we will learn a great deal more about that when the President
I'm not sure exactly, but over the next several weeks
And perhaps we will get some answers then because right now
it is hard to reconcile all these competing demands.
On nominations, healthcare or Russian sanctions,
Trump campaign trail pledges are already being modified
As the President starts to spend money, that will intensify.
Mark Urban there, over in the US with Republican lawmakers.
There is certainly thinking going on, on that side as to how
But perhaps the bigger challenge is for the Democrats.
Despite having won the popular vote in six of the last seven
presidential elections, with the demographics running
in the party's favour, it has remarkably managed to lose
the presidency, underperform in governorship races,
and it is in a minority in the House and the Senate.
How will rebuild and where did it go wrong?
The man who was campaign manager for Hillary Clinton,
Robby Mook has been speaking at the Oxford Union
Good evening to you. Thank you. Where do the Democrats go from here?
How do they rebuild? I think the future is potentially bright for our
party. As you outlined we are already seeing that rather than
focusing on creating jobs the Republicans are looking at how they
can cut taxes for the wealthiest people in this country, cut taxes
for corporations. I don't think that's the bargain the voters
counted on. The other thing to keep in mind is I remember back in 2005
after John Kerry lost his bid for President and less than two years
later Democrats took back both houses of Congress, I also remember
2009 just after President Obama won people said the Republican Party was
dead and less than two years later they had the biggest pick-up since
70 years. We have had swing elections for the last so many years
and I don't see why the Democrats cannot fare well in the midterms.
Let me tell you why perhaps, the traditional coalition of Liberals on
the coast and the rust belt workers, the Democratic base, the coalition
has fallen apart because those two groups of people don't agree on
anything and one what are more inclined to vote for populist
nationalism as you are seeing in lots of countries. Is difficult for
the centre-left parties to hold back coalition together and it is true in
the US, isn't it? I think that's a bit of an exaggeration for a few
reasons. First of all the number of votes that Trump won Michigan,
Wisconsin by was a small amount of votes, Hillary Clinton won the
popular vote, the congressional elections in the house happened
across the country. I disagree with the premise that people can't agree
on anything, I don't think that is true at all. I think this was a
change election, there were gale force winds coming at Hillary
Clinton, not just because people were looking for change generally,
but also because of what Vladimir Putin could delve -- Vladimir Putin
did. I think Americans agree we need to focus on jobs and look at what
the first thing is that Donald Trump does in this election. He is holding
people up at airports. It is a poor policy, most people don't support
it, and I think he will be held accountable for not focusing on what
he promised, which is creating jobs and raising wages. I think Democrats
are in a fantastic position to hold him accountable. You are focusing
quite a bit of your comments on what Trump is doing wrong and I seek that
is a big hope of how the Democrats will rebuild. Just looking back on
the campaign, though, the gales did blow and there was a lot against
Hillary. Is there anything you would do significantly differently that
you think might have won the election? It is hard to say, such a
small margin, as we discussed, that anything would make a difference. Of
course we wish we had had more resources in Michigan and Wisconsin.
We probably had four times as many staff in Michigan as President Obama
did. We increased it quite a bit but we absolutely could and should have
done more with that. I think I would have thought a lot longer and harder
about how we could break through with our message. Great analysis was
done by Vox looking at what candidate said on the stump, Hillary
Clinton talked about jobs and the economy a lot more than Donald Trump
but because of the sum of headwinds we faced that wasn't reaching the
voters. I wish they had more of a chance to understand what Hillary
was really running for, not the Republican opposition dump that was
happening on the Hill through the farcical hearings that were held, or
through WikiLeaks and Vladimir Putin. Do you think a fresher faced
Democrat candidate, because basically it felt like a change
election and it was somebody up there who was 25 years in the public
eye. Do you think a fresher faced candidate could have done it more
successfully? Look, I don't think we have ever had a more qualified
candidate, grittier candidate, than Hillary Clinton. She would have been
a big change, she would have been the first woman President in our
history. Obviously we need to focus on the future now. I think you are
going to see a lot of new faces coming into our party, I'm talking
about a lot of young people planning to run for the first time whether it
be for Congress or local office. You will see lots of people run for
President that you and I wouldn't necessarily think about right now. I
think we have a lot of opportunity and I have been encouraging people
in our party to look forward, to remember that we actually won a
majority of votes, that the margin was so close in those states and the
headwinds were so unprecedented. We have a more favourable environment
when Donald Trump must answer for his actions and our prospects will
be brighter and we have a lot of good talent to carry us over. Just
give us some advice in this country. We have been debating and there has
been lots of controversy about inviting President Trump over and
giving him red-carpet treatment and royal carriage. Do you think we
should give him the royal carriage ride down the mall, or should we
hold our noses and say we don't want to do business with you? I'm going
to leave it to the British people to decide what kind of welcome they
want to give. That is not my place. Our two countries have an important
relationship and I don't want Donald Trump or any other President to
damage that relationship so I'm glad that our countries are going to
continue to maintain close ties and work together. I think people around
the world need to speak up and listen to their conscience, the
rhetoric happening whether it is from Donald Trump or any other
politician around the world that is trying to divide people and trying
to pretend to focus on helping families, when really they are
helping a very limited segment of the population. Again, I have not
seen what Donald Trump is doing to deliver for some of those families
that are really hurting that put a lot of faith in him and that is
where we have to keep our focus so I hope people here in Britain will
speak out if he comes. We will continue to speak out in the US and
I really do believe the world is going to work through this and our
best days are still ahead. Robby Mook, thank you for joining us.
Thank you. Cohabitation took a step
towards marriage today with the Supreme Court finding
in favour of an unmarried woman, and her spousal right or non-spousal
to her late partner's pension. It was a public sector pension that
would have paid to her if she had been married to him,
or if he had specifically nominated her as a partner -
but neither of those worked, and yet they had lived as man and
wife for a decade before he died. Sometimes the state treats couples
as couples regardless of marriage; sometimes it treats them as couples
only if they are married. For example, cohabiting couples
are treated as married for the benefit system -
which counts the joint Which happens to save
the state money. But the inheritance tax
system treats cohabiting couples as unmarried,
which also saves the state money. You can always get married
if you want to avoid the bill, but not everybody does -
such as Matt Hawkins And Sir Paul Coleridge,
Chairman of the Marriage Foundation Good evening to you all. Why don't
you want to get married to Matt? I think some of his family is
horrified about the idea that we are publicly speaking out against the
idea of marrying Matt. I very much love Matt but I don't see us as
husband and wife. Do you see yourselves together for life? Is
that the plan? Yes, we first met ten years ago and first got together
nine years ago so we've been together a long time but I think
it's just that I don't feel inside that I am a wife, I am not Matt's
wife and he is not my husband. Matt, do you think you have the
responsibilities of marriage? You can walk out on clear and as I
understand it with cohabitation there would be no kind of, whoever
was earning money or if you jointly made money during the time you are
together you could just take it away, there is no responsibilities,
is that right, Matt? There is only the responsibility in the sense that
I love Claire and I want to do right and we are a team and I want to stay
together, absolutely but I also want legal and financial protection. We
don't see marriage as being for us but it is for lots of people. Is the
state not entitled to say we define the difference between couples who
do sign a contract, if you like, and those who say we love each other but
not willing to sign? It is up to couples to have the right and safe
how they want to have a relationship and is not right for the state to
say there is only one way you can do that. We have heard the situation
there. What is wrong with the argument they are making? Well, this
is international marriage week so you wouldn't expect me to downplay
the importance of marriage this week. But it is very interesting
what they said. Because the essential ingredient of marriage,
and indeed, it seems, of their relationship is that they have made
a commitment. They have made a decision to stay together. Your view
is the state shouldn't recognise it because it they haven't gone for
half an hour to a local authority office. I think their position is
that they would like to have a legal arrangement, namely a civil
partnership, but for a principal reason which I don't know they would
prefer it wasn't a married arrangement. So they would like to
draw this supple, and I would say rather semantic distinction between
the two. -- this subtle. The essential ingredient is they have
made the decision to stay together and if people have made the decision
to stay together it is important that it is recognised by some kind
of legal agreement. If one of them died with pension rights, in this
case law should make sure that the pension rights are transferred even
though there was no marriage? I think if you are thinking about the
Supreme Court case today, if ever there was a case of bad cases make
bad law that was a terribly borderline case, they had been
living together for ten years and they were engaged and he failed to
get round to the paperwork. So it would have been grossly unfair for
her not to have benefited in the same way. But I think it is most
important for the state to retain a distinction between the unmarried
and the married because a lot of people don't want to give each other
obligations. When should we say you are properly responsible for each
other and we are going to take you seriously? Is it six months, is
kids? We are part of the equal civil partnership campaign and I think
that there is a difference between cohabiting and having a legal...
Piece of paper, a certificate. Yes, saying I want my relationship
validated in law because we cannot assume what the cohabiting couples
want. In this case it was clear that Denise has gone through eight years
of pain and it was clear what they wanted, they were engaged, and in
our case it is clear what we want, we want legal recognition for our
partnership but you can't say that for all cohabiting couples. Some of
them may see themselves as partners. We should say you have the right to
cohabit with a minimal set of entitlements, more entitlements with
a civil partnership and then people can do the full English and have the
marriage, is that the kind of picture Matt? I think what we want
is to see civil partnerships as equal to marriage. You will get the
same rights but it is a different institution and a different way of
getting those rights. Can we not forget the children in this
discussion? The children is what matter, the children is what the
Marriage Foundation is about. The most important thing in a child's
life is stability and stability comes with a decision and commitment
and legal arrangement. And that will come with the arrangement and
becomes even more so with marriage. Thank you all very much.
That's it for tonight. We leave you with 14-year-old
Kyra Poh from Singapore, who took part in the Wind Games
in Catalonia at the weekend. This is a sport that involves
performing in a high-power Kyra unexpectedly trounced
the mostly adult male line-up to win gold in the the freestyle section
ans be crowned world's fastest flyer, performing in winds of up
to 230 kilometres per hour. # But for now it's time
to run, it's time to run! Plenty of cloud for the remainder of
the weekend it will feel cold with a nagging easterly breeze