Andrew Neil is joined by Baroness Smith and Oliver Letwin. The political panellists are Janan Ganesh, Julia Hartley-Brewer and Steve Richards.
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Commons Speaker John Bercow is accused of compromising his
impartiality by revealing he voted Remain in last year's EU referendum.
The EU Withdrawal Bill clears its first Parliamentary hurdle.
But will the House of Lords be quite so accommodating?
Labour's Leader in the Lords joins us live.
And we report from Stoke-on-Trent ahead of a crucial by-election
later this month, where Ukip is looking to give
And in the North West, riding roughshod over rural businesses -
why the countryside is not champing at the bit for rate reform.
And with me a political panel who frequently like to compromise
Steve Richards, Julia Hartley-Brewer and Janan Ganesh.
I'll be trying to keep them in order during the course of the programme.
So, Commons Speaker John Bercow has insisted his ability
to act impartially is not damaged by reports that he voted to Remain
The Sunday Telegraph reveals that Speaker Bercow revealed his views
in front of an audience of students at Reading University
This may not be popular with some people in this audience -
I thought it was better to stay in the European Union than not,
partly for economic reason, being part of a big trade bloc,
and partly because I think we're in a world of power blocs,
and I think for all the weaknesses and deficiencies
of the European Union, it is better to be part of that big
Speaker Bercow speaking at Reading University earlier this month. Does
he not care is this I get that impression, he knows perfectly well,
it states he has to be particularly -- Parliamentary neural. Whether
there are going to be enough votes to force him out, the question, the
last speaker wept out with the 20 vote against him. You yes to have
the command of the support across the House. There is a Deputy
Speaker, waiting, who would be superb. I think even the people who
pretend to support Macis have had enough -- Speaker Bercow have had
enough of his ways. The reason I ask whether he care, he didn't just tell
the students that he voted to Remain, he then gave them a running
commentary on all the issues that will be part of the Brexit
negotiations, workers' rights, immigration, trade policy, everyone
maternity leave got a hat tip from him. He would be a very well
prepared Brexit minister if attendance needs a colleague --
David Davis needs a colleague. I don't think this story makes his
position untenable, what does is the wired pattern of behaviour of
excessive candour on his political views, going back years, this is a
guy who when the Queen visited Parliament described her as theical
lied scope Queen. He had a running argument with David Cameron. We know
his views on Brexit, we know his views on Donald Trump. . He has
given interviews, none of the views are illegitimate but the candour
which they are expressed with is scrupulous. Given Lyndsay Hoyle is a
class accuse. He is the Deputy Speaker. And a fairly ready
replacement, whether there is more of a movement to say, maybe not
force Bercow out but acknowledge he has had a few years in the job and
the question of successor ship comes into play. Has he concluded he is
untouchable? What I can definitely say, is that he is determined to
fight this one out, and not go of his own volition, so if he goes he
will have to be forced out. He wants to stay. Which will be tough. It
will be tough. Likely as things stand. I would say this, I speak to
someone who likes the way he has brought the House of Commons to
life, held ministers to account, forced them into explain thing,
whenever there is a topical issue you know it will be in the House of
Commons. He has changed that. He has. Time has been courageous, Ied a
mire the way he has been a speaker. I would say this, during the
referendum campaign, he asked me Nick Clegg, and Peter Hitchens to
debate Brexit if his constituency. It was a packed out meeting. He
chaired it. I said don't you want to join in? He didn't. He showed no
desire to join in, he was impartial. He goes out to universities and kind
of demyth GCSEs Parliament by speaking to them in a way, he
doesn't gets credit for it and stays on after and drinks with them.
Sometimes he, you know, it is clearly a mistake to have gone into
his views retrospectively on that referendum campaign, I don't think
that, did he try and stop Article 50 from being triggered in the House of
Commons? That would be a scandal. Even that would be beyond him.
Briefly, yes or no, could you imagine Betty Boothroyd behaving
like that? Not at all. None of the recent speakers I could imagine
doing that. It is good he is different.
The bill that will allow the government to trigger Article 50
and begin Brexit negotiations was voted through
Many MPs were in a difficult position - unsure whether to vote
with their conscience, their constituency,
Europe, once such a divisive issue for the Conservatives,
is now causing major divisions inside the Labour Party.
So, let's have a look what happened in a bit more detail:
Thanks to academic research carried out since the referendum,
we now have estimates of how each individual constituency voted.
It's thought that 410 constituencies voted Leave.
On Wednesday night, the EU Notification of Withdrawal Bill
was voted through by the House of Commons.
The bill left the Labour Party divided.
Jeremy Corbyn told his MPs to respect the result
of the referendum and vote for the government's bill -
But 52 Labour MPs defied Mr Corbyn's thee-line whip
That's about a fifth of the Parliamentary Labour Party.
Of those 52 Labour MPs who voted against the bill,
the majority, 45 of them, represent seats that voted Remain.
However, seven Labour MPs voted against the Article 50 Bill,
even though their constituents voted Leave in the referendum.
The Conservative Party were much more united.
The vast majority of Tory MPs, 320 of them, voted for the bill.
Just one Conservative MP, Ken Clarke, voted against it.
His constituency, Rushcliffe in Nottinghamshire, voted Remain.
The bill will now go to the House of Lords -
peers will start debating it on Monday the 20th of February.
Joining me now is Matthew Goodwin, politics professor at
He's got a book out next month called
Brexit: Why Britain Voted To Leave The European Union.
Welcome to the programme. Has Brexit, how you voted in the
referendum and your continuing attitudes toward it, is that now
becoming the new dividing line in British politics? I think it
certainly is contributing to a new dividing line, in western politics
more generally, we know over the last ten years, that the old left
and right division has been making way for a new division, between
essentially social liberals and Conservative, and Brexit was a, an
incident a moment that really reflected that new dividing line, so
it wasn't just the case that Brexit has cut across Labour's base, it is
that dividing line, that deeper division is cutting across social
democracies more generally. Is there a possibility, no higher than that,
that it will reShane our party politics? I think it is too early to
know whether this is a fundamental long-term realignment. If we look at
what is happening in local by-election, what is happening at
by-elections, pictures a bit mixed but if you look at how some of the
Labour vote is responding, I think that potentially reflects the
possibility of a terminal decline for the Labour Party, it is going to
be incredibly difficult for Labour to win these voters back, these are
traditional working class, socially Conservative voters who are leaving
the party, don't forget, since the 1997 general election. It is not
just because of the referendum. If that was the case, Labour would
become more a party of the Metropolitan areas, and less of a
party outside of these area, is that what you are saying? What we are S
seeing across the west can social democracy that retrenchment into the
cosmopolitan, Metropolitan city area, university towns, you can
seeing in many European states populist right parties filling the
traditional socialist area, why are they doing that? Because they are
offering two message, economic and cultural protectionism. Social
Democrats are clinging to that economic protectionism but not
saying much about migration and multiculturalism and that sort of
stuff. Are there deeper forces at work than Jeremy Corbyn? He often
gets the blame for what is happening to the Labour Party now, but if you
look the way the Greek socialist party has been wiped out. The German
Social Democrats are in trouble. The Italian socialist party has lost a
referendum. The French socialist are coming close to being wiped out on
April 23rd, Labour's problems, are part of a much wider problem of
social democracy S Jeremy Corbyn is a surface problem, what I mean by
that is you could replace him tosh with another leader, they would
still have this fundamental tension within the electorate. They are
trying to appeal to two differenter reconcilable groups of voters who
think differently about the key issues of the day. It is very
difficult for any centre left party now to assemble the kinds of
coalitionses we saw in the '90s with Clinton and Blair and Schroeder.
Those days are gone. Does that explain why it is now Labour, rather
than the Conservatives, historically the party divided over the European
Union, does all of that help to explain why its Labour that now
seems, disunited over the EU? I think so, I think also that the
issue of Brexit, and the EU, is so immatly wrapped up with that issue
of immigration, if you look at who has been abandoned Labour since 2015
or the late 90s, the one thing those voters share is a rejection of the
so-called liberal consensus on EU membership and mass immigration. It
is difficult for any Labour lead eer co-bin or Clive Lewis on Dan Jarvis,
to bring those voters back unless they are going to move on that
cultural terrain. If they are not, they may not go to Ukip, they might
go to somewhere more difficult for Labour which is political apathy.
Thank you for that. Attention now shifts to the House
of Lords where peers will begin scrutinising the EU Withdrawal Bill
in just over a week. Brexit Secretary David Davis urged
the Lords "to do its patriotic duty" and resist the urge to tinker
with the legislation. Former minister Oliver Letwin
went one further - mooting the possibility
of the abolition of the Lords if it sought to frustrate
the bill in any way. Here he is posing the question
in the Commons on Thursday. Would he find time, in government
time for a debate, should the other place seek to delay beyond the end
of March the passage of our accession to Article 50, for this
House to discuss the possibility of either the abolition or full-scale
reform of the other place? And Oliver Letwin joins
me now from Dorset. Welcome back to the programme Mr Let
win. Before we come on to the Lord's, can I get your thoughts on a
matter that has been making the news this morning and John Bercow's
remarks about being a remain voter an giving something of a running
commentary on various Brexit issues, has he sqloefr stepped the mark as
speaker? -- overstepped the mark. I think this is slightly a fuss about
nothing. Every person who thinks about politics will have had some
opinion about great matters like Brexit, and I really don't see any
particular reason why his opinion shouldn't be known after the fact.
I, I was there throughout the five days of the Brexit debate, and I
have to say, I thought he was pretty scrupulously fair in the way he
handled the House, so, I, I don't really share the view that there is
some terrible thing that has been revealed this weekend. Let me come
on to what we are here to talk about, which is the Lords. Why have
you raised the threat of the abolition of the Lord for doing its
job of scrutinising what is coming out the Commons? Well, you know,
Andrew, this question of the job of the House of Lords and scrutiny, has
to be looked at carefully. There are all sorts of bills that come out the
House of Commons which are detailed things that relate to, finance, and
expenditure, and the criminal law, and all that sort of thing, and all
of that, I admire the work that the House of Lords does, as you say
scrutinising and we shouldn't use that word loosely, it means looking
carefully at the detail, line by line of complicated legislation,
hundreds of Paps in some cases, and spotting, using the considerable
expertise many, not all be many of the peers have, in any given field,
to identify things where the Commons has got it wrong in the sense that
the legislation wouldn't achieve what the Government of the day is
seeking to make it achieve. That is a serious proper role for an Upper
House and the House of Lords performs it pretty
Now this is a very different case. This is a two clause bill. The first
clause which is the operative clause says the Prime Minister should go
ahead and sign... I understand all that. We haven't got that much time,
this is becoming a monologue. There is nothing to scrutinise, Andrew.
There were plenty of amendments put before the Commons, none of them got
through, it is true. There are eight Labour amendments in the Lords, are
you resigned to this bill coming back to the Commons with amendments?
No, it should not come back with amendments. There were hundreds of
amendments literally put down in the House of Commons, they were all
drunk. They were all trying one way or another to derail the process.
This is a binary issue, should Theresa May sign the withdrawal or
not? What should the Commons do? The Commons has now voted in favour of
it. Node do should tolerate and unelected chamber forcing the
British people... The people voted in a referendum and the Commons
voted. The matter is now signed and sealed and should not be derailed by
the House of Lords. On Labour amendment wants confirmation that
when it is done, the potential Brexit agreement will be put before
parliament before any vote in the European Parliament, that has been
an agreed principle, what is wrong with that amendments? The government
has already agreed there will be a vote, but actually, what the
amendments were seeking was to give the Commons a further vote on
whether we actually leave or not. That is already decided. Neither the
House of Lords nor anybody else has a right in my view, despite the fact
I was a remain, to what the will of the British people. Nobody should
think an unelected chamber should now try to change the course of
British history by asserting amendments in a very effective on
clause bill which says go ahead and trigger Article 50. Are you
concerned that amendments by the Lords which would then have to go
back to the Commons for consideration, are you concerned
that could derail or delay the Prime Minister's timetable for Article 50?
Yes, exactly. That would be the result of a prolonged bout of
ping-pong between the two houses, or much worse, if the House of Lords
failed to give way and the Parliament act had to be used. It
would really be intolerable. It is not good for our country. Those of
us who voted remain would prefer for that not to happen. The whole
country -- it is important for the whole country that this happens in a
rapid way and allowing the government free rein to negotiate,
that is surely in all our advantages? Deed think any efforts
to abolish the House of Lords, an issue you have raised, does that
make it easier because your friend David Cameron stuffed the upper
chamber with donors, lapdogs and lingerie designers? I was among
those who advocated for many years wholesale reform of the House of
Lords, to turn it into a serious elected second chamber. I think we
should have an upper house which commands legitimacy. This is a
second issue. Here we have not got such a House and it seems to be very
clear that it should not seek to derail on delay the action which has
been mandated by the referendum, agreed by the House of Commons, and
what we want to see now is a smooth orderly effect for this bill, so it
becomes law and Theresa May can go ahead and negotiate on our behalf.
One more question on the process, if the Lords to amend the bill and it
goes back to the Commons and the Commons sends these amendments back
again, take them out, how long could this ping-pong between the two
chambers go on in your experience? It is a very, very interesting and
complicated question with the clerks of the two ends of the Palace of
Westminster not always agreeing about this. But through certain
machinations of slightly changing amendments as they go, in my
experience this could carry on for an awful long time if clever people,
and there are plenty of clever people in the House of Lords, want
to do that and that is precisely why I think we should not tolerate it.
Oliver Letwin, thank you for joining us from Dorset.
Joining me now is Labour's Leader in the House of Lords, Angela Smith.
The Commons passed this bill without any amendments... There were
changes, the government did concede a couple of points. But the
amendments did not go through. Does that put pressure on the Lords to do
the same? I think the Lords always feels under pressure to do the right
thing. When I heard Oliver Letwin, I did not know whether to laugh or
cry. We will not frustrate, we will not wreck, we will not sabotage. We
will do what David Davis said was our patriotic duty. We will
scrutinise the bill. We have at amendments from the Labour Party. We
will look at those. It depends on the government response if we vote
on those. There could be amendments asking the Commons to look again.
That is normally what we do. It is not the wrong thing to do. But if
you do this and make amendments, it then goes back to the Commons. If
the Commons rejects the Lords' amendments, what do you think will
happen? I do not see any extended ping-pong at all. It is perfectly
legitimate. We are not talking about the outcome of negotiations, we are
talking about the process. The process of engaging with Parliament
and reporting to Parliament. It would be totally responsible for
Parliament to say, off you go, Theresa May, have two years of
negotiation and come back and talk to us at the end. The has to be a
process where the government can use the expertise of parliament to get
this right. But if you do put in some amendments, it has to go back
to the Commons, they may well say they don't want those amendments and
it may go back to the Lords, could that at the very least delay the
Prime Minister's Brexit timetable? I don't think so. She said the end of
March. Time has been built in for all the normal processes. I think
Oliver Letwin and others are getting a bit overexcited. This is the
normal process. Unless the government get things right the
first time every time, the has to be this kind of process. These are
reasonable amendments. This is a Labour amendment we are talking
about here, you want a vote in the UK Parliament before any
vote in the European Parliament if and when the Brexit deal is done,
the Commons and the Lords get to vote on it first. But the government
I think have already agreed to that so what is the point? It needs to be
on the face of the bill. It is over well if the government have agreed
it. Lord dubs had an agreement about child and look what happened to
that. Does not sound as if you would go to the wire on that? It is
important it is not just about the vote at the end, you have the
ongoing engagement. If it is going to be a bad deal, we need to know
long before we get to that stage? Is it something you would hold out for?
I don't know yet. It is about how the House of Lords votes, Labour do
not have a majority, we never had a majority in the House of Lords when
we were in government. It is wrong to suggest that we cannot debate
these issues... I don't think anyone is suggesting that. They are. It is
not unfair to ask the government to ask the House of Commons to look
again to look at those issues if that is what the House of Lords
decides. Bit of the House of Commons says we looked, we are sticking with
what we voted for, we rejected every amendment by at least 30 votes on
all occasions, the Lords then have to buckle, is that what you are
saying? Some point I think it is clear the House of Commons have to
have its say. I think it is inconceivable that having had a
referendum, which was not overwhelming, but it was a clear
result, the House of Lords has no intention of sabotaging that but
there are things which are not good about the process that we think
could be improved. We have not just have the result of the referendum
which voted to leave, but we have had the will of the Commons that
passed this legislation by a majority of 372. And I am not
contesting that for a second! Could you cite a precedent for the upper
house amending a bill which passed by 372 votes in the Commons? Quite
other things will come to the House of Lords with big majorities from
the Commons and quite often the amendments we get, with that then
forward and the government sees it could do better. Though not
necessarily saying the government has got things wrong, but they could
do things better. That happens time and time again and it is not
unusual. If you were seen to thwart the referendum result and the vote
in the Commons, the elected chamber of parliament, is the threat of
abolition hanging over you? I think that is really ridiculous and
absolute nonsense. We are not tying to what the decision of the House of
Commons, we are trying to do better. It is a bit rich of the government
and Oliver Letwin to complain about getting things through in time when
the House of Commons spent -- the government spent three months trying
to debate this issue. There have been some strong questions put to
the government from the House of Lords on all sides. I don't know if
the amendments have been passed or not. I think we have a good case for
the government to get debate the point. If a traditional MP like
Oliver Letwin is calling for the abolition of the hereditary and
appointed chamber, and the Labour person like yourself was trying to
defend that, that would not be a sustainable position, I would
suggest! We saw this with the Strathclyde report as well, this is
a government like no other. It is the first Conservative government in
history not to have an automatic majority. They do not like challenge
or scrutiny. But you get my point, Labour cannot go to the wire in
defending and an elected second chamber, can it? Actually, Labour
can go to the wire in saying the government does not get it right
every time. House of Lords is going to normal processes and people like
Oliver Letwin are really getting a little bit over excited, and people
who have been anonymously briefing. Who has been anonymously briefing? I
don't know, they are anonymous! I understand people want to make
amendments, that is the role of the House of Lords, but can I just for
the avoidance of doubt, is it still your case that whatever amendments
to make, whatever may go back and forward, it is not your intention to
stop Article 50 being triggered by the end of March? I have been saying
that, exactly that for months and months and months. It is
inconceivable that an unelected House will thwart the will of the
House of Commons and a referendum on this issue. But that does not mean
we will be bullied by Oliver Letwin and others. But the triggering will
happen by the end of March? I very much suspect so unless Theresa May
has second thoughts, I suspect that will happen. Thank you.
Now, just because it's parliamentary recess next week
There are two by-elections round the corner -
one in Copeland, and another in Stoke-on-Trent Central
where the former Shadow Education Secretary,
Tristram Hunt, vacated his seat to take up a role
as Director of the Victoria Albert Museum in London.
But Labour are facing a fight to hold onto the constituency
Seconds away, Ukip's new leader has stepped into the ring
as their candidate in a by-election bout to see
At the last election Ukip came second to Labour here
But now they are confident they can land a knockout blow,
because this place is packed with people that voted to leave the EU.
70% of people voted to leave the European Union.
I'm the only candidate standing in this election
who is a true Brexiteer, who has always campaigned to leave
the EU and therefore I believe I would be the best person
But he has had to fight off allegations
he wasn't living in the constituency when he entered the contest.
Explain to me what is going on with this issue about your house?
Well, we took up the lease the day before nominations.
Everything we've done is perfectly legal and within the law.
The Labour Party are trying to get off the real issues in this election
and focus on something which is banal nonsense.
And there's been trouble as well for the Labour contender.
He's been labelled a Remoaner after he sent a series
of anti-Brexit tweets, filled with words
I can't believe I'm about to ask this question in a nursery
on a Sunday morning TV programme, but did you really tweet that
I tweeted many things about Brexit, that's tweet is out there.
It was done quite after the referendum result and it
was my way of showing my frustration at the fact that months
after the result we hadn't had anything from the government.
Theresa May had failed to produce any plan,
she had failed to give any meaningful statement
about what Brexit meant other than bland statements
about Brexit is Brexit, and it's a hard Brexit, or a soft Brexit.
The context of it was it was out of frustration.
So you didn't mean to insult the 70% of the people who live here
I never mean to insult anybody and you know,
I've made it quite clear, if I'm elected as the member
of Parliament for Stoke-on-Trent Central, I will absolutely respect
the wishes of the people of Stoke Central.
I will make sure my vote in parliament is to trigger Article 50.
While the Tories' man has done little bit of rebranding too.
I voted Remain and I've been open about that, but my top priority
is about the economy and to ensure we still have an
Theresa May has set out clear proposal to ensure we develop
a trade relationship with Europe and make that a success.
It means the Lib Dems and the Greens are the ones battling Brexit.
Well, when the Lib Dem candidate is actually here.
The candidate is a consultant cardiologist.
He is actually at work today doing very important heart surgery.
He will be back tomorrow, back on the campaign trail working hard.
30% of people voted to Remain and nobody else
is representing them, so, you know, it is still a live issue.
It is still something people care about.
We are only at the start of the Article 50 process
We are very a clear that we are standing up for those
who want to remain in the single market, who want to protect jobs
Labour have taken people for granted in this area for a great many years.
Ukip, I'm afraid, all Ukip can offer to politics is division.
I've covered a lot of by-elections where Ukip have come second.
We'll find out if they really got Labour on the ropes this
And here is a full list of all the candidates standing
in the Stoke-on-Trent Central by-election.
They do atract lots of candidates. You can get that on the BBC website
as well. I was trying to think back, here we have the main opposition
party defending two seats in by-elections in the midterm of a
government. All the speculation is where the
opposition party can hold on, that is unprecedented. I can't give of an
equivalent. You wouldn't just expect them to win seats they have held
traditionally, you would expect hem to make inroads into seats held by
the other party, I wonder if they fail to hold on to just one of
these, whether it accelerates the momentum and criticism of the
leadership of the moment. I think they are interesting constituencies.
Matthew good win was talking about the left win coalition over the
years, almost being too broad for its own good, including places like
Primrose Hill and Hackney. Big university towns in Manchester,
Bristol. Diverse ethnically and included places like Stoke which are
more Conservative. With a small c. Less economically well-off, more
diverse, can the left hang on to both bits of country. Recent
evidence suggests it cannot and the opportunity for Ukip is to pick up
the second of those two types of community, the Stokes and the cope
lands. That what makes the by-elections interest I would
suggest. It is not just about Mr Corbyn's future about which we hear
too much, it is about this traditional Labour coalition, can it
still survive, particularly in places like Stoke? Europe clearly is
a test. I think it's a myth by the way that Labour are only split now,
over Europe and it has always been a Tory problem, last time I was on I
mentioned it. That is why we had a referendum in 75. That is why they
had a round then. But they were in chaos behind the scenes over what
they thought about the euro, skillful leadership can paper over
the cracks, and to address the wider issue of whether we are now in an
era where left right issues have disappeared, and there is more of a
regional divide, if you take Europe out of the equation which you can't,
but if you were able to, issues about health, transport housing do
split more left-right than a regional divide, so I think there is
still fundamental left-right issues, but Europe isn't one of them and
Europe has to be managed by a Labour leader skill fully and evidently
that hasn't happened now. How would you see the by-elections in the
current political context? Labour should be walking them, it should be
a sign of the March of the Labour Party taking on the current
Conservative Government. I don't think they raise any questions about
Corbyn's leadership because the people who put him in don't think
that winning elections matter, you have to remember this will be the
mainstream media, it will be our fault why any of those Labour
candidates don't win, the thing that is interesting is whether there is
is a role for Ukip. The argument after the referendum was Ukip has
done its job, it got the referendum, nothing to see here, I remember
speaking to put a Nuttall before he was Ukip leader, on the day after
the battle and he said this is Year Zero, where Ukip starts now, and
this, and this is the interesting thing, does, do we see this one
particular party having a role in the future? And I think it is all to
play for, they could not not have stood in this seat. They have to win
it to be an electoral force. The Labour candidate in Copeland has
made the NHS the issue for her in this, that goes into the left-right,
are we spending enough, are we not? That will be a test of what you were
saying to see if traditional left-right issue, which at the
moment would play Labour's way I would suggest, are big enough to
overcome all the things you have been talking about and Matthew has
been talking about. Maybe at this particular junction they are not,
but I don't think any of those issues will go away, and that is why
I question whether we are see the end of a historic left-right divide.
At the moment with Europe so prominent, clearly these
by-elections are unusual. And they will be a test of leadership for
Theresa May in the coming months if not at the moment, as they have been
in a way that he hasn't risen to, for the Labour leader.
We will be leave on BBC One on the night, February 23rd off back of
this week, we will bring you the result of both these crucial
It's just gone 11.35, you're watching the Sunday Politics.
We say goodbye to viewers in Scotland who leave us now
Coming up here in 20 minutes, the Week Ahead.
First though, the Sunday Politics where you are.
Coming up in the North West: Riding roughshod over rural businesses -
why the countryside's not champing at the bit for rate reform.
But under starters orders in the studio this week
are Lucy Powell, the Labour MP for Manchester Central,
and David Rutley, the Conservative for Macclesfield.
Another bad week for Jeremy Corbyn. Brexit rebellion, rumours of a
leadership contest. How long can it go on? With the country in such flux
and the need for an effective opposition, the last thing we need
is more speculation about the leadership of the Labour Party. The
last thing we need is more navel-gazing. It has been a
difficult period but we got to move on and get back to the job of being
an effective opposition. Totally unfounded? Angela Rayner and
Rebecca's names are being mentioned. Anyone on manoeuvres, you need to
stop it, we got so much going on in these the Labour Party to focus on
the job. And, David, a minor local
rebellion in your party - Antoinette Sandbach backing Labour's
defeated amendment to give Parliament a decisive say
over the final deal. I think it is absolutely vital that
Parliament has a vote on a deal if there is a deal and if there is no
deal, we also need a vote. The vote for Brexit was to bring back control
to this Parliament and I voted for that democratic decision-making in
this Parliament. MPs this week promised a meaningful
vote on the final deal but they will have to back it off back which could
the North West. If voters were the North West. If voters were
looking for the sovereignty of Parliament over Brexit, they haven't
got it. Parliament has decided this week it will back Article 50 and now
everything is to play for. We need to work on a negotiation with the
EU. There are huge opportunities. The Germans wanted rebuttals, the
French want to trade with us. Between a rock and a hard place for
most people want to support the will most people want to support the will
of the British public. Now we need to come forward with the best
vote in parliament. Lucy, Labour vote in parliament. Lucy, Labour
were accused of rolling over for the Government on this. Should they have
put up more resistance? What we had to do this week was give effect to
the outcome of the referendum. That's why I and many other MPs who
campaigned to remain in the EU voted to trigger Article 50 but that isn't
a blank cheque, it doesn't mean we will ball over on anything but what
most people in this region and country want to see is for us to
work together to get the best outcome and not stand there saying,
we told you it would be terrible and actually make that an outcome, we
got to get the best possible outcome for the North West for all the
people we represent out of something many of us didn't want to see
happen, but that's life, that's democracy.
Onto health care now, and it's been a week of ups
There have been worrying death rates, and a high-profile
resignation, but also significant improvements at some previously
struggling hospitals, and plans for a state-of-the
It's not the place to wear a white coat yet.
Before Clatterbridge's new cancer centre can open
on this site in Liverpool, local people are being asked to dig
deep to help pay for it and famous faces have been helping.
Sad subject, really, but it's something that affects us all,
whether individually or through a family or friend
at some stage in your life and having a facility like this
in the heart of Liverpool can only benefit people in the city.
Over ?100 million is due to be spent on all 11 floors of hospital,
which will be built behind me by around 2019.
It seems like a rare good headline for the NHS in a week
where there has been a lot of bad news.
This has been a week where the pressures facing the NHS
in the North West have been laid bare, Royal Blackburn Hospital
There are too many people that come. There's only so much that we can do.
We need beds and staff. It's like banging your head on a brick wall.
Times are desperate. We need more staff and more space.
2,000 doctors warned Theresa May of unacceptable safety concerns this
week and there were reports of unsafe levels of overcrowding
You don't want to be in hospital if you don't need to be.
I would far rather have capacity in the community in terms of nursing
That's the responsibility of council social care and the man who runs
that in Liverpool resigned over funding cuts, warning social care
We don't know where we'll be in two years.
As it currently stands, it will be difficult for us
to get through this year, but I imagine it'll be harder,
but I'm doing everything I can to make sure that people take social
Back in the NHS, more bad news at the Countess of Chester Hospital,
told not to reintroduce neonatal and intensive care because
But despite all the shortages, inspectors recorded improvements
at Morecambe Bay and ten side, two hospitals in special
It has certainly been a challenge for all of us,
but it's about the leadership team supporting the staff to deliver.
For the politicians over the last week, though,
it's been images like this that have been hard for them to avoid.
Some insight into the incredible work done at the Royal Blackburn
Hospital under incredible pressure. This week, Jeremy Hunt has conceded
that waiting times are too long in A but at the same time the Prime
Minister has said we don't need more money for social care. That doesn't
add up. There's no question that they're not unusual pressures on the
NHS at the moment. I've been in hospital for the last two weeks
visiting family who have been through A and been cared for very
well and Macclesfield Hospital, so we got some great care, we got extra
funding going into the NHS and we got extra funding... not enough,
though. We put money where the crisis is. It's not just the money,
it's what we can do to improve health care and social care. The
Liverpool adult social care said he has had enough, I can do this any
more because of the impact it has had on people. He says it's got two
years of life left. There are pressures but we need to look more
innovative ways of doing things. In Macclesfield, we've found within its
best bases in the hospital, an extra 29 beds and we've would have more
domiciliary care, care at home, working closely with GPs and social
so let's get more innovative. It will just be cash alone. Is there
enough cash? 500 million pledged isn't enough. Its 10 billion per
year going into the NHS. What we're seeing now is the aggregate of a
number of Conservative policy is all coming home to roost. It does take a
few years for Government policies to have a direct impact on public
years of a Conservative Government, years of a Conservative Government,
we're now seeing the full force of all of those policies, the cuts to
social care, the changes to primary care, the cuts being made to
hospitals as well, all of those things are now piling this
unbearable pressure on the NHS and my husband is in A Doctor here in
the region and that's what he will tell you, that A and hospitals
cannot deal with the amount of people coming in who should be being
looked after in the community or in social care. David, this bed
blocking, we could have predicted when council budgets were slashed.
There are examples of the strikers were there fewer delays and
discharges in St Helens, for example. We need to look at how much
quicker we can integrate care between social care... but Lucy's
point that the slicing services has led to a reduction in hospital care.
There are challenges but we are putting more money in. Lucy would
agree that it's not just about changes that are taking place or the
money, there is no increasing and unprecedented demand over the last
year and this is about demographics. But those ageing populations and
demographic changes have been coming for a very long time, they've now
been made a cute by the huge cuts to adult social care, which hasn't been
the same everywhere. Some councils, particularly those most deprived
like Manchester and Liverpool have seen absolutely enormous cuts to
their social care budget. Other authorities less so. in some places
that are under an emotional delved -- under intense pressure, there are
improvements. Yes there are places where things can be done
professionally but let's not hide behind that, this is a profound and
deep problem we are facing. The accumulative effect of many
different policy decisions that the Conservatives have made. You need
more demographics to limit all on the Conservatives. We knew the
demographics were coming yet the Government decided to take billions
of pounds out of adult social care. It's false economy. We're putting
7.6 billion in now. In that, there is 900 million extra to help social
care so steps are being taken. Is a bit extra going in in the last year
but that on the backdrop of huge cuts over many years which we're now
just seeing the impact of commerce of these things are false economies
so you have to get early intervention. The money has to go
into prevention and early intervention instead of just saying
we go to plough more than more money into acute services, which is what
has happened, so we could have saved money, actually. There's an
opportunity with devolution and seeing integrated care coming
together in Manchester, we can learn from that.
Rural communities say their way of life is at risk
The amount of local tax paid by companies is being recalculated
in April for the first time in seven years.
And critics reckon towns and cities could benefit
at the cost of the countryside, as Mark Edwardson reports
from a riding school in Cumbria facing a 60% hike.
Ella Wadsworth is a 19-year-old student who's visually impaired.
I can't drive legally so coming here and getting on a horse,
Ella rides 17-year-old cob Jack three times a week
It's one of many rural enterprises facing a business
If the Government are trying to encourage people to go out and do
sports, how do they expect people like me who are students and have
to save money and come and do what we love?
So the costs, you think, could become prohibiting?
Business rates are the commercial version of council tax.
It's claimed rural businesses, which typically occupy more space,
are put at an unfair disadvantage by a bricks-and-mortar tax based
The rise is from ?183 per stable to ?375.
Other facilities at Witherslack hall Farm will push the bill even higher.
We are either going to have to pay it and just carry on as we are,
but it would mean that we weon't grow as a business.
Other possiblities are we will have to put the price of the lessons up.
Do you feel like the business is under threat?
Riding schools will be joined by livestock markets and kennels
and catteries as businesses facing the biggest increases
But there will be winners too - oil refineries, cement works,
bingo halls and even photo booths are looking at reductions
You can easily look at the geographical size
of a business and compare that to their turnover and make sure
you reduce business rate accordingly, but in the end we're
asking the Government to put yet another bit of sellotape
And the industry's not taking the increase lying down.
Why is it the case this is happening now?
Because we don't believe it's appropriate for this
level of increase to have happened right now.
The Valuation Office Agency says it uses, "a wide range
We approach all classes of property fairly and equally."
The riding school's got two months before it's officially saddled
Also with us is Christian Spence from Greater Manchester Chamber
of Commerce, who recently advised MPs on local Government finance.
We sat with you, Christian. On the face of it, this looks fed enough,
your business can make more money, therefore it pays more tax, that is
basically -- basic redistribution of wealth. Not quite, because it is
based purely on valuation property itself and that can be affected by
wider economic conditions and also improvements the business has made
so if you're looking to invest in a property to improve it, even to
install plant and machinery to make it more productive, it adds to the
value as far as an operational system and then you get taxed on
those benefits. that sounds to me like it would not be an incentive
for people to improve businesses or the high street because you will get
lumped with more tax. This is a tax that gets increased the time and it
raises ?29 billion a year. Businesses are used to the Sachs, a
like corporation tax, it's been around long time -- used to this
tax. There comes a point where you have to have a valuation and there
are thresholds in place. For some brutal businesses there are good or
great as well, small pubs and petrol stations, small stores and things.
But in Suffolk, they will see raises a 152% and they clearly are the
victims of their own success and have made it a tourist hub and
because they have done that they will be punished. There are
challenges around. The value of your property is increasing, but again
you can anticipate this stuff. One reform that the Government said it
will put in place is not have these rates revaluation is done every six
or seven years, we will do them more frequently so it is not a big
surprise. is doing it annually less of a shock? It could be. For many
small businesses, they would say that business rates are too high and
that they are not competitive, especially with the development of
so many online businesses who perhaps don't have the same level of
business rates as, say, a high-street provider or another
service with a high overhead so we do need to look at the context of
the overall environment. What do you replace the revenue with if you
reduce the rates? You need to look at how you can better adapt that to
the modern business environment that we had in. It is a difficult issue,
these re-evaluations are always difficult to do so we got to make
sure that we got the revenues coming in to provide the sort of services
we were just talking about in terms of adult social care and other very
important services that local authorities provide, but we got to
make sure that they don't diss incentivise -- failed to act as an
incentive for businesses. I think there are some important reforms
ahead. In the pilot scheme where councils will keep 100% of their
business rates, is that a good idea or two places like Greater
Manchester stand to lose out? In the last figures, it was only Trafford
and Stockport that had a net gain through taxation so why would we
want to go through that ordeal? What you've got is a concept that in
principle is a really good idea. Businesses have complained for the
long term that their connectivity between the business community and
local Government has been strained for a very long time and that
relationship has not been fruitful, so I think devolving is good in
principle. Anything that returns control closer to the places where
the money is going to be spent is inherently and in principle a good
thing. The challenge is for local authority is by retaining rates, how
it will incentivise Government to look after its businesses. The
question is can you go more money from it? From local authorities like
Manchester and London, it doesn't Manchester and London, it doesn't
have a great deal of land to build premises on because it's not about
the number of businesses, it's about businesses occupying large floor
space. Is that a body that Greater Manchester will lose out on
devolution in terms of business trip attention? It depends on business
attention so Labour supporters the devolution of business rates but
it's got to be set in the context of not further cuts elsewhere so the
other grams coming from central Government, if they're going to be
cut alongside it, overall the pot of money available to local authorities
will continue to diminish and then important services like children's
services and adult social care will get cut even further so we have to
make sure that those... There are safeguards in place, for example,
local authorities like Oldham found a big local employer was moving
somewhere else that they would be safeguards in place for that loss of
revenue. David, is it fair that Surrey essentially holds the
Government to ransom and they say you can keep 100% of business rates
worrying about business rates? The worrying about business rates? The
conversation there between Surrey and Government is unusual so I'm not
sure I follow your point. I don't know the detail on the text
messages, but there was no special deal for Surrey, just part of the
normal dialogue between businesses normal dialogue between businesses
and county councils. one minute you've got a leading Conservative
local authority saying they're going local authority saying they're going
to put up council tax by 50% to meet the shortfall in social care. It's
hitting the airwaves and media, creating unwelcome headlines and
next thing you got text messages with special advisers and the call
of their 15% hike. they made the decision but I think there are
people who suffer with text messages from time to time. Let's not go too
far down that track. it's about the substance, not the fact it was
leaked, is the fact they have been offered 100% business trip retention
which hasn't worked across the board. Is that fair? Those
conversations between Government and conversations between Government and
Sally are part normal conversation between local Government and
businesses. With another school closure
and the rest of the week's news, here's Gill Dummigan with 60
Seconds. Standing firm - anti-fracking
protesters forced a concrete company to pull out of supplying
a site in Lancashire. Cuadrilla - which is
drilling for shale gas - We will not be intimidated,
we will not be bullied. A second university technical
college is to close. Oldham's - for pupils over 14 - has
failed to attract enough of them. Burnley's UTC has
already shut up shop. ID checks could be increased
for travellers to and The Manx Government
is considering extending checks for air passengers
to those by ferry. Whosoever shall call
upon the name of the Lord... Cheshire East Council
stood accused of lacking brotherly love after refusing
the Exclusive Brethren Christian Group permission
to build a meeting hall. And the leader of St Helens Council
is back in business. Barrie Grunewald has
recovered after he was put in a medically induced coma
in Gran Canaria in October. the closure of another university
technical college, David, is the idea pointless? I think there are
real opportunities within them but real opportunities within them but
clearly they need to learn more about how to make them work
effectively but we need to focus on technical colleges and education
more broadly. I think it's an area where we have failed as a nation for
decades and we need to put more focus on that, so we will learn from
university technical colleges. You like we've said to the Government
all along that the starting age of 14 was structurally never going to
work because parents and children don't want to swap schools halfway
through school life and unfortunately we've seen millions of
pounds going into several university technical colleges across the region
is now closed so I think let's learn the lessons, but this is a heavy
price to pay and a lot of money that has gone wasted for something that
we all told the Government beforehand was going to be difficult
to make work. My thanks to Lucy Powell
and David Rutley. I'll see you again the week
after next, but for now I'll hand After the excitement and late nights
in the Commons last week, MPs are having a little break this
week as we head into But there's still plenty
in the diary in the near future - let's just remind ourselves of some
key upcoming dates. There they are. We have the two
by-elections on February 23rd. The budget is 8th March. That will be
the last spring budget under this Government because it moves to the
autumn. That round of French elections
narrows the candidates, probably about eight or nine, down to two,
the two who come first and second, then go into a play off round on May
7th. That will determine the next President. Steve, listening to
Oliver Letwin and to the Labour leader in the House of Lords, is
there any way you think that end of March deadline for Mrs May could be
in jeopardy? No, I don't. Andrew Smith couldn't have been clearer
with you they would do nothing to block not just Article 50 but that
timetable, so I would be surprised if they don't make it. Given her,
Theresa May's explicit determination to do so, not to do so would have
become a problem for her, I think one way or another... No before this
vote last week there was a vote nor the deadline, to agree the deadline
by all sides. Plain sailing do you think? There is no serious
Parliamentary resistance and it would be a personal embarrassment, I
think for the Prime Minister to name the the end of March as the deadline
and to miss it, unless she has a good excuse. I I reckon it will
change the atmosphere of politics for the next two years, as soon as
the negotiations begin, people in our profession will hunt for any
detail and inside information we can find, thing also be leaked, I think
from the European side from time to time, it will dominate the headlines
for a solid two years and change politics. Let me just raise a
possible, a dark cloud. No bigger than man's hand, that can complicate
the timetable, because the Royal Assent on the current timetable has
to come round the 13th. I would suggest that the Prime Minister
can't trigger that until she does get the Royal Assent. If there is a
bit of ping-pong that could delay that by receive day, the last thing
the Europeans would want, they have another big meeting at the end of
March which is the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome. They don't
want Article 50 to land on the table... It would infuriate
everybody. My guess is she will have done it by then, this is between the
Commons and the Lords, I mean Andrew Smith couldn't have been clearer,
that they might send something back but they didn't expect a kind of a
long play over this, so. The Liberal Democrats, they are almost an
irrelevance in the Commons but not the Lords, they feel differently.
Now, we don't know yet what the European Union negotiating position
is going to be, we don't know because there are several crucial
elections taking place, the Dutch taking place in March and then the
one we put up, the French, and, at the moment, the French one is, it
seems like it is coming down, to a play-off in the second round between
Madame Le Pen who could come first in the first round and this Blairite
figure, independent, centre-leftish Mr Macron, he may well get through
and that, and the outcome of that will be an important determine napt
on our negotiations. -- determinant. You o couldn't have two more
different candidate, you have a national a front candidate and on
the other hand the closest thing France could have you to a liberal
President. With a small l. A reformist liberal President. It
would be the most French thing in the world to elect someone who while
the rest of the world is elected elitist, to elect someone who is the
son of a teacher, who has liberal views, is a member of the French
elite. It would be a thing for them to elect a man like that which I why
I see them doing it. If it is Le Pen, Brexit becomes a minor
sideshow, if it is Le Pen, the future of the European Union is?
Danger, regardless of whether we are were in or out. I suggest if it is
Mr Macron that presents some problems. He doesn't have his own
party. He won't have a majority in the French assembly, he is untried
and untested. He wants to do a number of things that will be
unpopular which is why a number of people close to Mrs Le Pen tell me
that she has her eye on 2022. She thinks lit go to hell in a hand
basket under Mr Macron. He hasn't got the experience. What I find
fascinating. It is not just all to play for in France, it is the fact
what happens in France and Germany, not so much Holland I think but
Germany later on in the year, how much it impacts what we are going to
get. How much which ex #i78 panting on them. And at the time we are
trying to, withdrawing ourself from European politics it is fascinating
how much it will affect us. You see what Matthew was talking about
earlier in the show, that what we do know, almost for sure, is that the
socialist candidate will not get through to the second round. He
could come firth but the centre-right candidate. If we were
discussing that monthing a we would say it between teen the centre-right
and the national fronts. We are to saying that. Matthew good win who
spent a time in France isn't sure Le Pen will get into the second round,
which is interesting. It is, I mean, it is going to be as important for
the future of the European Union, as in retrospect the British 2015
general election was, if Labour had got in there would have been no
referendum. That referendum has transformed the European Union
because we are leaving and the French election is significant. We
will be live from Paris on April 23rd on the day France goings to the
first round of polls. Tom Watson, he was on The Andrew Marr Show earlier
today, was asked about Mr Corbyn, this is what he had to say.
We had a damaging second leadership election, so we've got
The polls aren't great for us, but I'm determined now we've got
the leadership settled for this parliament, that we can focus
on developing a very positive clear message to the British people
So Julia, I don't know who are you are giggling. I find it untenable
that, he is a very good media performer and he comes on and he is
sitting there so well, you know, things are bad but don't worry we
are looking at what we can do to win 2020. The idea that Tony Blair and
Gordon Brown were sitting in their offices or on TV screens at this
time in the electoral cycle thinking well I wonder if we can come up with
a policy the British people might like. It is a nonsense, this is
Tuesday night book zlufb. I am going to ask you the question I was going
to before. I would suggest that he the right. The deputy Labour leader
Tom Watson is violent the leadership is settled, with one caveat, unless
the Corbynistas themselves to decide to move on Mr Corbyn, if the left of
the Labour Party decides then it is not settled. Settled. If that
doesn't happen that is That would be the worst situation if you are a
Labour moderate. The Corbynistas would be saying the problem is no
Corbynism, it is Corbyn himself, if we a younger person leading the
process we can win the next general election, which means you have
another itration of this, another five year experiment. And that is
worst of all. If you are a Labour moderate, what you want is Jeremy
Corbyn contest the next general election, possibly loses badly and
then a Labour not moderate runs for the leadership saying we have tried
your way, the worst would be Corbyn going, and a younger seven version
of him trying and the experiment being extended. I see no easy way
out of this. That is why he radiated the enthusiasm of someone in a
hostage video in that interview. Maybe he has the Stockholm Syndrome
now. The Labour moderates have had their day in the sun, two days in
the sun and they lost. I suggest they are not going to try for the
hat-trick again. Is there any indication that on the more Corbyn
wing of the Labour Party, there is now doubts about their man. Yes,
just to translate Tom Watson, what he meant was I Tom Watson am not
going to get involved in another attempted coup. I tried it and it
was a catastrophe. That is question enhe says it is set selled. It is
because there is speculation on a daily basis. I disagree, Julia said
I think this lot don't care about winning, I think they do. If the
current position continue, one of two things will happen. Either
Jeremy Corbyn will decide himself will decide he doesn't want to carry
on. He half enjoys I it and half hates it. Finds it a strain. If that
doesn't happen there will be some people round him who will say, look,
this isn't working. There is another three-and-a-half years. There is a
long way to go. I can't see it lasting in this way with politics in
a state of flux, Tories will be under pressure in the coming two
years, to have opinion polls at this level, I think is unsustainable.
Final thought from you.? Yes, the idea it St another three-and-a-half
years is just madness, but the people we are putting up at
replacement for Jeremy Corbyn, and they have been focus grouping them.
Most members wouldn't know who most of people were let alone most of the
public. Angela rain? They are not
overwhelmed with leadership potential at the moment. Very
diplomatically put. Neither are the Tories, but they happened to have
one at the moment. All right. That is it.
Now, there's no Daily or Sunday Politics for the next week
But the Daily Politics will be back on Monday 20th February and I'll be
back here with the Sunday Politics on the 26th.
Remember if it's Sunday, it's the Sunday Politics...
Just back from a very long shift at work...
The staff are losing - they're just giving in.
Panorama goes undercover to reveal the real cost
Andrew Neil presents the latest political news, interviews and debate and is joined by shadow leader of the House of Lords Baroness Smith and Conservative Oliver Letwin. The political panellists are Janan Ganesh from the Financial Times, Julia Hartley-Brewer from talkRADIO and journalist Steve Richards.