12/02/2017 Sunday Politics Northern Ireland


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12/02/2017

Andrew Neil and Mark Carruthers with the latest political news, interviews and debate.


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Commons Speaker John Bercow is accused of compromising his

:00:41.:00:44.

impartiality by revealing he voted Remain in last year's EU referendum.

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The EU Withdrawal Bill clears its first Parliamentary hurdle.

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But will the House of Lords be quite so accommodating?

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Labour's Leader in the Lords joins us live.

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And we report from Stoke-on-Trent ahead of a crucial by-election

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later this month, where Ukip is looking to give

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And coming up here: They formed an opposition in Stormont.

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Now I'll be asking Mike Nesbitt and Colum Eastwood to set

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out their own visions for moving into the Executive Office.

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And with me a political panel who frequently like to compromise

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Steve Richards, Julia Hartley-Brewer and Janan Ganesh.

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I'll be trying to keep them in order during the course of the programme.

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So, Commons Speaker John Bercow has insisted his ability

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to act impartially is not damaged by reports that he voted to Remain

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The Sunday Telegraph reveals that Speaker Bercow revealed his views

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in front of an audience of students at Reading University

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This may not be popular with some people in this audience -

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I thought it was better to stay in the European Union than not,

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partly for economic reason, being part of a big trade bloc,

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and partly because I think we're in a world of power blocs,

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and I think for all the weaknesses and deficiencies

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of the European Union, it is better to be part of that big

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Speaker Bercow speaking at Reading University earlier this month. Does

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he not care is this I get that impression, he knows perfectly well,

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it states he has to be particularly -- Parliamentary neural. Whether

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there are going to be enough votes to force him out, the question, the

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last speaker wept out with the 20 vote against him. You yes to have

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the command of the support across the House. There is a Deputy

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Speaker, waiting, who would be superb. I think even the people who

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pretend to support Macis have had enough -- Speaker Bercow have had

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enough of his ways. The reason I ask whether he care, he didn't just tell

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the students that he voted to Remain, he then gave them a running

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commentary on all the issues that will be part of the Brexit

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negotiations, workers' rights, immigration, trade policy, everyone

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maternity leave got a hat tip from him. He would be a very well

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prepared Brexit minister if attendance needs a colleague --

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David Davis needs a colleague. I don't think this story makes his

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position untenable, what does is the wired pattern of behaviour of

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excessive candour on his political views, going back years, this is a

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guy who when the Queen visited Parliament described her as theical

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lied scope Queen. He had a running argument with David Cameron. We know

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his views on Brexit, we know his views on Donald Trump. . He has

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given interviews, none of the views are illegitimate but the candour

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which they are expressed with is scrupulous. Given Lyndsay Hoyle is a

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class accuse. He is the Deputy Speaker. And a fairly ready

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replacement, whether there is more of a movement to say, maybe not

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force Bercow out but acknowledge he has had a few years in the job and

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the question of successor ship comes into play. Has he concluded he is

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untouchable? What I can definitely say, is that he is determined to

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fight this one out, and not go of his own volition, so if he goes he

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will have to be forced out. He wants to stay. Which will be tough. It

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will be tough. Likely as things stand. I would say this, I speak to

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someone who likes the way he has brought the House of Commons to

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life, held ministers to account, forced them into explain thing,

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whenever there is a topical issue you know it will be in the House of

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Commons. He has changed that. He has. Time has been courageous, Ied a

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mire the way he has been a speaker. I would say this, during the

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referendum campaign, he asked me Nick Clegg, and Peter Hitchens to

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debate Brexit if his constituency. It was a packed out meeting. He

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chaired it. I said don't you want to join in? He didn't. He showed no

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desire to join in, he was impartial. He goes out to universities and kind

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of demyth GCSEs Parliament by speaking to them in a way, he

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doesn't gets credit for it and stays on after and drinks with them.

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Sometimes he, you know, it is clearly a mistake to have gone into

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his views retrospectively on that referendum campaign, I don't think

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that, did he try and stop Article 50 from being triggered in the House of

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Commons? That would be a scandal. Even that would be beyond him.

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Briefly, yes or no, could you imagine Betty Boothroyd behaving

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like that? Not at all. None of the recent speakers I could imagine

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doing that. It is good he is different.

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The bill that will allow the government to trigger Article 50

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and begin Brexit negotiations was voted through

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Many MPs were in a difficult position - unsure whether to vote

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with their conscience, their constituency,

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Europe, once such a divisive issue for the Conservatives,

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is now causing major divisions inside the Labour Party.

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So, let's have a look what happened in a bit more detail:

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Thanks to academic research carried out since the referendum,

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we now have estimates of how each individual constituency voted.

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It's thought that 410 constituencies voted Leave.

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On Wednesday night, the EU Notification of Withdrawal Bill

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was voted through by the House of Commons.

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The bill left the Labour Party divided.

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Jeremy Corbyn told his MPs to respect the result

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of the referendum and vote for the government's bill -

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But 52 Labour MPs defied Mr Corbyn's thee-line whip

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That's about a fifth of the Parliamentary Labour Party.

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Of those 52 Labour MPs who voted against the bill,

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the majority, 45 of them, represent seats that voted Remain.

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However, seven Labour MPs voted against the Article 50 Bill,

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even though their constituents voted Leave in the referendum.

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The Conservative Party were much more united.

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The vast majority of Tory MPs, 320 of them, voted for the bill.

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Just one Conservative MP, Ken Clarke, voted against it.

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His constituency, Rushcliffe in Nottinghamshire, voted Remain.

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The bill will now go to the House of Lords -

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peers will start debating it on Monday the 20th of February.

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Joining me now is Matthew Goodwin, politics professor at

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He's got a book out next month called

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Brexit: Why Britain Voted To Leave The European Union.

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Welcome to the programme. Has Brexit, how you voted in the

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referendum and your continuing attitudes toward it, is that now

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becoming the new dividing line in British politics? I think it

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certainly is contributing to a new dividing line, in western politics

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more generally, we know over the last ten years, that the old left

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and right division has been making way for a new division, between

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essentially social liberals and Conservative, and Brexit was a, an

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incident a moment that really reflected that new dividing line, so

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it wasn't just the case that Brexit has cut across Labour's base, it is

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that dividing line, that deeper division is cutting across social

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democracies more generally. Is there a possibility, no higher than that,

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that it will reShane our party politics? I think it is too early to

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know whether this is a fundamental long-term realignment. If we look at

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what is happening in local by-election, what is happening at

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by-elections, pictures a bit mixed but if you look at how some of the

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Labour vote is responding, I think that potentially reflects the

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possibility of a terminal decline for the Labour Party, it is going to

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be incredibly difficult for Labour to win these voters back, these are

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traditional working class, socially Conservative voters who are leaving

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the party, don't forget, since the 1997 general election. It is not

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just because of the referendum. If that was the case, Labour would

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become more a party of the Metropolitan areas, and less of a

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party outside of these area, is that what you are saying? What we are S

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seeing across the west can social democracy that retrenchment into the

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cosmopolitan, Metropolitan city area, university towns, you can

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seeing in many European states populist right parties filling the

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traditional socialist area, why are they doing that? Because they are

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offering two message, economic and cultural protectionism. Social

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Democrats are clinging to that economic protectionism but not

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saying much about migration and multiculturalism and that sort of

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stuff. Are there deeper forces at work than Jeremy Corbyn? He often

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gets the blame for what is happening to the Labour Party now, but if you

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look the way the Greek socialist party has been wiped out. The German

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Social Democrats are in trouble. The Italian socialist party has lost a

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referendum. The French socialist are coming close to being wiped out on

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April 23rd, Labour's problems, are part of a much wider problem of

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social democracy S Jeremy Corbyn is a surface problem, what I mean by

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that is you could replace him tosh with another leader, they would

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still have this fundamental tension within the electorate. They are

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trying to appeal to two differenter reconcilable groups of voters who

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think differently about the key issues of the day. It is very

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difficult for any centre left party now to assemble the kinds of

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coalitionses we saw in the '90s with Clinton and Blair and Schroeder.

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Those days are gone. Does that explain why it is now Labour, rather

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than the Conservatives, historically the party divided over the European

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Union, does all of that help to explain why its Labour that now

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seems, disunited over the EU? I think so, I think also that the

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issue of Brexit, and the EU, is so immatly wrapped up with that issue

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of immigration, if you look at who has been abandoned Labour since 2015

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or the late 90s, the one thing those voters share is a rejection of the

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so-called liberal consensus on EU membership and mass immigration. It

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is difficult for any Labour lead eer co-bin or Clive Lewis on Dan Jarvis,

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to bring those voters back unless they are going to move on that

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cultural terrain. If they are not, they may not go to Ukip, they might

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go to somewhere more difficult for Labour which is political apathy.

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Thank you for that. Attention now shifts to the House

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of Lords where peers will begin scrutinising the EU Withdrawal Bill

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in just over a week. Brexit Secretary David Davis urged

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the Lords "to do its patriotic duty" and resist the urge to tinker

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with the legislation. Former minister Oliver Letwin

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went one further - mooting the possibility

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of the abolition of the Lords if it sought to frustrate

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the bill in any way. Here he is posing the question

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in the Commons on Thursday. Would he find time, in government

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time for a debate, should the other place seek to delay beyond the end

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of March the passage of our accession to Article 50, for this

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House to discuss the possibility of either the abolition or full-scale

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reform of the other place? And Oliver Letwin joins

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me now from Dorset. Welcome back to the programme Mr Let

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win. Before we come on to the Lord's, can I get your thoughts on a

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matter that has been making the news this morning and John Bercow's

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remarks about being a remain voter an giving something of a running

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commentary on various Brexit issues, has he sqloefr stepped the mark as

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speaker? -- overstepped the mark. I think this is slightly a fuss about

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nothing. Every person who thinks about politics will have had some

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opinion about great matters like Brexit, and I really don't see any

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particular reason why his opinion shouldn't be known after the fact.

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I, I was there throughout the five days of the Brexit debate, and I

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have to say, I thought he was pretty scrupulously fair in the way he

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handled the House, so, I, I don't really share the view that there is

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some terrible thing that has been revealed this weekend. Let me come

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on to what we are here to talk about, which is the Lords. Why have

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you raised the threat of the abolition of the Lord for doing its

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job of scrutinising what is coming out the Commons? Well, you know,

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Andrew, this question of the job of the House of Lords and scrutiny, has

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to be looked at carefully. There are all sorts of bills that come out the

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House of Commons which are detailed things that relate to, finance, and

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expenditure, and the criminal law, and all that sort of thing, and all

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of that, I admire the work that the House of Lords does, as you say

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scrutinising and we shouldn't use that word loosely, it means looking

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carefully at the detail, line by line of complicated legislation,

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hundreds of Paps in some cases, and spotting, using the considerable

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expertise many, not all be many of the peers have, in any given field,

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to identify things where the Commons has got it wrong in the sense that

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the legislation wouldn't achieve what the Government of the day is

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seeking to make it achieve. That is a serious proper role for an Upper

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House and the House of Lords performs it pretty

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Now this is a very different case. This is a two clause bill. The first

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clause which is the operative clause says the Prime Minister should go

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ahead and sign... I understand all that. We haven't got that much time,

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this is becoming a monologue. There is nothing to scrutinise, Andrew.

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There were plenty of amendments put before the Commons, none of them got

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through, it is true. There are eight Labour amendments in the Lords, are

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you resigned to this bill coming back to the Commons with amendments?

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No, it should not come back with amendments. There were hundreds of

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amendments literally put down in the House of Commons, they were all

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drunk. They were all trying one way or another to derail the process.

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This is a binary issue, should Theresa May sign the withdrawal or

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not? What should the Commons do? The Commons has now voted in favour of

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it. Node do should tolerate and unelected chamber forcing the

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British people... The people voted in a referendum and the Commons

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voted. The matter is now signed and sealed and should not be derailed by

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the House of Lords. On Labour amendment wants confirmation that

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when it is done, the potential Brexit agreement will be put before

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parliament before any vote in the European Parliament, that has been

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an agreed principle, what is wrong with that amendments? The government

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has already agreed there will be a vote, but actually, what the

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amendments were seeking was to give the Commons a further vote on

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whether we actually leave or not. That is already decided. Neither the

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House of Lords nor anybody else has a right in my view, despite the fact

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I was a remain, to what the will of the British people. Nobody should

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think an unelected chamber should now try to change the course of

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British history by asserting amendments in a very effective on

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clause bill which says go ahead and trigger Article 50. Are you

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concerned that amendments by the Lords which would then have to go

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back to the Commons for consideration, are you concerned

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that could derail or delay the Prime Minister's timetable for Article 50?

:18:43.:18:47.

Yes, exactly. That would be the result of a prolonged bout of

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ping-pong between the two houses, or much worse, if the House of Lords

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failed to give way and the Parliament act had to be used. It

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would really be intolerable. It is not good for our country. Those of

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us who voted remain would prefer for that not to happen. The whole

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country -- it is important for the whole country that this happens in a

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rapid way and allowing the government free rein to negotiate,

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that is surely in all our advantages? Deed think any efforts

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to abolish the House of Lords, an issue you have raised, does that

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make it easier because your friend David Cameron stuffed the upper

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chamber with donors, lapdogs and lingerie designers? I was among

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those who advocated for many years wholesale reform of the House of

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Lords, to turn it into a serious elected second chamber. I think we

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should have an upper house which commands legitimacy. This is a

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second issue. Here we have not got such a House and it seems to be very

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clear that it should not seek to derail on delay the action which has

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been mandated by the referendum, agreed by the House of Commons, and

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what we want to see now is a smooth orderly effect for this bill, so it

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becomes law and Theresa May can go ahead and negotiate on our behalf.

:20:12.:20:16.

One more question on the process, if the Lords to amend the bill and it

:20:17.:20:19.

goes back to the Commons and the Commons sends these amendments back

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again, take them out, how long could this ping-pong between the two

:20:26.:20:32.

chambers go on in your experience? It is a very, very interesting and

:20:33.:20:37.

complicated question with the clerks of the two ends of the Palace of

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Westminster not always agreeing about this. But through certain

:20:42.:20:46.

machinations of slightly changing amendments as they go, in my

:20:47.:20:50.

experience this could carry on for an awful long time if clever people,

:20:51.:20:53.

and there are plenty of clever people in the House of Lords, want

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to do that and that is precisely why I think we should not tolerate it.

:20:57.:21:01.

Oliver Letwin, thank you for joining us from Dorset.

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Joining me now is Labour's Leader in the House of Lords, Angela Smith.

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The Commons passed this bill without any amendments... There were

:21:09.:21:14.

changes, the government did concede a couple of points. But the

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amendments did not go through. Does that put pressure on the Lords to do

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the same? I think the Lords always feels under pressure to do the right

:21:25.:21:28.

thing. When I heard Oliver Letwin, I did not know whether to laugh or

:21:29.:21:34.

cry. We will not frustrate, we will not wreck, we will not sabotage. We

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will do what David Davis said was our patriotic duty. We will

:21:41.:21:44.

scrutinise the bill. We have at amendments from the Labour Party. We

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will look at those. It depends on the government response if we vote

:21:49.:21:51.

on those. There could be amendments asking the Commons to look again.

:21:52.:21:56.

That is normally what we do. It is not the wrong thing to do. But if

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you do this and make amendments, it then goes back to the Commons. If

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the Commons rejects the Lords' amendments, what do you think will

:22:07.:22:10.

happen? I do not see any extended ping-pong at all. It is perfectly

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legitimate. We are not talking about the outcome of negotiations, we are

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talking about the process. The process of engaging with Parliament

:22:21.:22:24.

and reporting to Parliament. It would be totally responsible for

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Parliament to say, off you go, Theresa May, have two years of

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negotiation and come back and talk to us at the end. The has to be a

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process where the government can use the expertise of parliament to get

:22:35.:22:39.

this right. But if you do put in some amendments, it has to go back

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to the Commons, they may well say they don't want those amendments and

:22:46.:22:48.

it may go back to the Lords, could that at the very least delay the

:22:49.:22:53.

Prime Minister's Brexit timetable? I don't think so. She said the end of

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March. Time has been built in for all the normal processes. I think

:22:59.:23:02.

Oliver Letwin and others are getting a bit overexcited. This is the

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normal process. Unless the government get things right the

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first time every time, the has to be this kind of process. These are

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reasonable amendments. This is a Labour amendment we are talking

:23:15.:23:18.

about here, you want a vote in the UK Parliament before any

:23:19.:23:32.

vote in the European Parliament if and when the Brexit deal is done,

:23:33.:23:36.

the Commons and the Lords get to vote on it first. But the government

:23:37.:23:38.

I think have already agreed to that so what is the point? It needs to be

:23:39.:23:42.

on the face of the bill. It is over well if the government have agreed

:23:43.:23:45.

it. Lord dubs had an agreement about child and look what happened to

:23:46.:23:49.

that. Does not sound as if you would go to the wire on that? It is

:23:50.:23:54.

important it is not just about the vote at the end, you have the

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ongoing engagement. If it is going to be a bad deal, we need to know

:24:00.:24:04.

long before we get to that stage? Is it something you would hold out for?

:24:05.:24:10.

I don't know yet. It is about how the House of Lords votes, Labour do

:24:11.:24:15.

not have a majority, we never had a majority in the House of Lords when

:24:16.:24:18.

we were in government. It is wrong to suggest that we cannot debate

:24:19.:24:23.

these issues... I don't think anyone is suggesting that. They are. It is

:24:24.:24:30.

not unfair to ask the government to ask the House of Commons to look

:24:31.:24:33.

again to look at those issues if that is what the House of Lords

:24:34.:24:37.

decides. Bit of the House of Commons says we looked, we are sticking with

:24:38.:24:42.

what we voted for, we rejected every amendment by at least 30 votes on

:24:43.:24:46.

all occasions, the Lords then have to buckle, is that what you are

:24:47.:24:51.

saying? Some point I think it is clear the House of Commons have to

:24:52.:24:55.

have its say. I think it is inconceivable that having had a

:24:56.:24:59.

referendum, which was not overwhelming, but it was a clear

:25:00.:25:04.

result, the House of Lords has no intention of sabotaging that but

:25:05.:25:06.

there are things which are not good about the process that we think

:25:07.:25:11.

could be improved. We have not just have the result of the referendum

:25:12.:25:15.

which voted to leave, but we have had the will of the Commons that

:25:16.:25:21.

passed this legislation by a majority of 372. And I am not

:25:22.:25:27.

contesting that for a second! Could you cite a precedent for the upper

:25:28.:25:32.

house amending a bill which passed by 372 votes in the Commons? Quite

:25:33.:25:36.

other things will come to the House of Lords with big majorities from

:25:37.:25:39.

the Commons and quite often the amendments we get, with that then

:25:40.:25:43.

forward and the government sees it could do better. Though not

:25:44.:25:49.

necessarily saying the government has got things wrong, but they could

:25:50.:25:52.

do things better. That happens time and time again and it is not

:25:53.:25:57.

unusual. If you were seen to thwart the referendum result and the vote

:25:58.:26:02.

in the Commons, the elected chamber of parliament, is the threat of

:26:03.:26:07.

abolition hanging over you? I think that is really ridiculous and

:26:08.:26:10.

absolute nonsense. We are not tying to what the decision of the House of

:26:11.:26:13.

Commons, we are trying to do better. It is a bit rich of the government

:26:14.:26:18.

and Oliver Letwin to complain about getting things through in time when

:26:19.:26:22.

the House of Commons spent -- the government spent three months trying

:26:23.:26:27.

to debate this issue. There have been some strong questions put to

:26:28.:26:30.

the government from the House of Lords on all sides. I don't know if

:26:31.:26:34.

the amendments have been passed or not. I think we have a good case for

:26:35.:26:43.

the government to get debate the point. If a traditional MP like

:26:44.:26:50.

Oliver Letwin is calling for the abolition of the hereditary and

:26:51.:26:54.

appointed chamber, and the Labour person like yourself was trying to

:26:55.:26:58.

defend that, that would not be a sustainable position, I would

:26:59.:27:03.

suggest! We saw this with the Strathclyde report as well, this is

:27:04.:27:06.

a government like no other. It is the first Conservative government in

:27:07.:27:09.

history not to have an automatic majority. They do not like challenge

:27:10.:27:14.

or scrutiny. But you get my point, Labour cannot go to the wire in

:27:15.:27:20.

defending and an elected second chamber, can it? Actually, Labour

:27:21.:27:22.

can go to the wire in saying the government does not get it right

:27:23.:27:26.

every time. House of Lords is going to normal processes and people like

:27:27.:27:33.

Oliver Letwin are really getting a little bit over excited, and people

:27:34.:27:36.

who have been anonymously briefing. Who has been anonymously briefing? I

:27:37.:27:43.

don't know, they are anonymous! I understand people want to make

:27:44.:27:46.

amendments, that is the role of the House of Lords, but can I just for

:27:47.:27:50.

the avoidance of doubt, is it still your case that whatever amendments

:27:51.:27:54.

to make, whatever may go back and forward, it is not your intention to

:27:55.:28:00.

stop Article 50 being triggered by the end of March? I have been saying

:28:01.:28:05.

that, exactly that for months and months and months. It is

:28:06.:28:08.

inconceivable that an unelected House will thwart the will of the

:28:09.:28:12.

House of Commons and a referendum on this issue. But that does not mean

:28:13.:28:15.

we will be bullied by Oliver Letwin and others. But the triggering will

:28:16.:28:20.

happen by the end of March? I very much suspect so unless Theresa May

:28:21.:28:26.

has second thoughts, I suspect that will happen. Thank you.

:28:27.:28:29.

Now, just because it's parliamentary recess next week

:28:30.:28:31.

There are two by-elections round the corner -

:28:32.:28:35.

one in Copeland, and another in Stoke-on-Trent Central

:28:36.:28:37.

where the former Shadow Education Secretary,

:28:38.:28:38.

Tristram Hunt, vacated his seat to take up a role

:28:39.:28:40.

as Director of the Victoria Albert Museum in London.

:28:41.:28:44.

But Labour are facing a fight to hold onto the constituency

:28:45.:28:46.

Seconds away, Ukip's new leader has stepped into the ring

:28:47.:28:52.

as their candidate in a by-election bout to see

:28:53.:28:55.

At the last election Ukip came second to Labour here

:28:56.:29:02.

But now they are confident they can land a knockout blow,

:29:03.:29:07.

because this place is packed with people that voted to leave the EU.

:29:08.:29:13.

70% of people voted to leave the European Union.

:29:14.:29:17.

I'm the only candidate standing in this election

:29:18.:29:24.

who is a true Brexiteer, who has always campaigned to leave

:29:25.:29:27.

the EU and therefore I believe I would be the best person

:29:28.:29:30.

But he has had to fight off allegations

:29:31.:29:33.

he wasn't living in the constituency when he entered the contest.

:29:34.:29:35.

Explain to me what is going on with this issue about your house?

:29:36.:29:39.

Well, we took up the lease the day before nominations.

:29:40.:29:41.

Everything we've done is perfectly legal and within the law.

:29:42.:29:43.

The Labour Party are trying to get off the real issues in this election

:29:44.:29:49.

and focus on something which is banal nonsense.

:29:50.:29:56.

And there's been trouble as well for the Labour contender.

:29:57.:30:01.

He's been labelled a Remoaner after he sent a series

:30:02.:30:04.

of anti-Brexit tweets, filled with words

:30:05.:30:06.

I can't believe I'm about to ask this question in a nursery

:30:07.:30:17.

on a Sunday morning TV programme, but did you really tweet that

:30:18.:30:20.

I tweeted many things about Brexit, that's tweet is out there.

:30:21.:30:24.

It was done quite after the referendum result and it

:30:25.:30:27.

was my way of showing my frustration at the fact that months

:30:28.:30:30.

after the result we hadn't had anything from the government.

:30:31.:30:35.

Theresa May had failed to produce any plan,

:30:36.:30:37.

she had failed to give any meaningful statement

:30:38.:30:39.

about what Brexit meant other than bland statements

:30:40.:30:41.

about Brexit is Brexit, and it's a hard Brexit, or a soft Brexit.

:30:42.:30:44.

The context of it was it was out of frustration.

:30:45.:30:48.

So you didn't mean to insult the 70% of the people who live here

:30:49.:30:52.

I never mean to insult anybody and you know,

:30:53.:30:55.

I've made it quite clear, if I'm elected as the member

:30:56.:30:57.

of Parliament for Stoke-on-Trent Central, I will absolutely respect

:30:58.:31:00.

the wishes of the people of Stoke Central.

:31:01.:31:01.

I will make sure my vote in parliament is to trigger Article 50.

:31:02.:31:06.

While the Tories' man has done little bit of rebranding too.

:31:07.:31:08.

I voted Remain and I've been open about that, but my top priority

:31:09.:31:11.

is about the economy and to ensure we still have an

:31:12.:31:14.

Theresa May has set out clear proposal to ensure we develop

:31:15.:31:18.

a trade relationship with Europe and make that a success.

:31:19.:31:28.

It means the Lib Dems and the Greens are the ones battling Brexit.

:31:29.:31:31.

Well, when the Lib Dem candidate is actually here.

:31:32.:31:33.

The candidate is a consultant cardiologist.

:31:34.:31:39.

He is actually at work today doing very important heart surgery.

:31:40.:31:42.

He will be back tomorrow, back on the campaign trail working hard.

:31:43.:31:44.

30% of people voted to Remain and nobody else

:31:45.:31:48.

is representing them, so, you know, it is still a live issue.

:31:49.:31:52.

It is still something people care about.

:31:53.:31:54.

We are only at the start of the Article 50 process

:31:55.:31:56.

We are very a clear that we are standing up for those

:31:57.:32:02.

who want to remain in the single market, who want to protect jobs

:32:03.:32:05.

Labour have taken people for granted in this area for a great many years.

:32:06.:32:09.

Ukip, I'm afraid, all Ukip can offer to politics is division.

:32:10.:32:12.

I've covered a lot of by-elections where Ukip have come second.

:32:13.:32:15.

We'll find out if they really got Labour on the ropes this

:32:16.:32:18.

And here is a full list of all the candidates standing

:32:19.:32:37.

in the Stoke-on-Trent Central by-election.

:32:38.:32:48.

They do atract lots of candidates. You can get that on the BBC website

:32:49.:32:57.

as well. I was trying to think back, here we have the main opposition

:32:58.:33:05.

party defending two seats in by-elections in the midterm of a

:33:06.:33:07.

government. All the speculation is where the

:33:08.:33:14.

opposition party can hold on, that is unprecedented. I can't give of an

:33:15.:33:19.

equivalent. You wouldn't just expect them to win seats they have held

:33:20.:33:25.

traditionally, you would expect hem to make inroads into seats held by

:33:26.:33:31.

the other party, I wonder if they fail to hold on to just one of

:33:32.:33:35.

these, whether it accelerates the momentum and criticism of the

:33:36.:33:40.

leadership of the moment. I think they are interesting constituencies.

:33:41.:33:44.

Matthew good win was talking about the left win coalition over the

:33:45.:33:50.

years, almost being too broad for its own good, including places like

:33:51.:33:57.

Primrose Hill and Hackney. Big university towns in Manchester,

:33:58.:34:02.

Bristol. Diverse ethnically and included places like Stoke which are

:34:03.:34:11.

more Conservative. With a small c. Less economically well-off, more

:34:12.:34:16.

diverse, can the left hang on to both bits of country. Recent

:34:17.:34:20.

evidence suggests it cannot and the opportunity for Ukip is to pick up

:34:21.:34:24.

the second of those two types of community, the Stokes and the cope

:34:25.:34:28.

lands. That what makes the by-elections interest I would

:34:29.:34:31.

suggest. It is not just about Mr Corbyn's future about which we hear

:34:32.:34:36.

too much, it is about this traditional Labour coalition, can it

:34:37.:34:40.

still survive, particularly in places like Stoke? Europe clearly is

:34:41.:34:45.

a test. I think it's a myth by the way that Labour are only split now,

:34:46.:34:52.

over Europe and it has always been a Tory problem, last time I was on I

:34:53.:34:56.

mentioned it. That is why we had a referendum in 75. That is why they

:34:57.:35:03.

had a round then. But they were in chaos behind the scenes over what

:35:04.:35:08.

they thought about the euro, skillful leadership can paper over

:35:09.:35:13.

the cracks, and to address the wider issue of whether we are now in an

:35:14.:35:17.

era where left right issues have disappeared, and there is more of a

:35:18.:35:22.

regional divide, if you take Europe out of the equation which you can't,

:35:23.:35:29.

but if you were able to, issues about health, transport housing do

:35:30.:35:33.

split more left-right than a regional divide, so I think there is

:35:34.:35:38.

still fundamental left-right issues, but Europe isn't one of them and

:35:39.:35:44.

Europe has to be managed by a Labour leader skill fully and evidently

:35:45.:35:47.

that hasn't happened now. How would you see the by-elections in the

:35:48.:35:52.

current political context? Labour should be walking them, it should be

:35:53.:35:57.

a sign of the March of the Labour Party taking on the current

:35:58.:35:59.

Conservative Government. I don't think they raise any questions about

:36:00.:36:03.

Corbyn's leadership because the people who put him in don't think

:36:04.:36:06.

that winning elections matter, you have to remember this will be the

:36:07.:36:12.

mainstream media, it will be our fault why any of those Labour

:36:13.:36:16.

candidates don't win, the thing that is interesting is whether there is

:36:17.:36:20.

is a role for Ukip. The argument after the referendum was Ukip has

:36:21.:36:23.

done its job, it got the referendum, nothing to see here, I remember

:36:24.:36:29.

speaking to put a Nuttall before he was

:36:30.:36:30.

speaking to put a Nuttall before he speaking to put a Nuttall before he

:36:31.:36:33.

was Ukip leader, on the day after the battle and he said this is Year

:36:34.:36:38.

Zero, where Ukip starts now, and this, and this is the interesting

:36:39.:36:42.

thing, does, do we see this one particular party having a role in

:36:43.:36:46.

the future? And I think it is all to play for, they could not not have

:36:47.:36:50.

stood in this seat. They have to win it to be an electoral force. The

:36:51.:36:54.

Labour candidate in Copeland has made the NHS the issue for her in

:36:55.:36:58.

this, that goes into the left-right, are we spending enough, are we not?

:36:59.:37:04.

That will be a test of what you were saying to see if traditional

:37:05.:37:08.

left-right issue, which at the moment would play Labour's way I

:37:09.:37:11.

would suggest, are big enough to overcome all the things you have

:37:12.:37:15.

been talking about and Matthew has been talking about. Maybe at this

:37:16.:37:18.

particular junction they are not, but I don't think any of those

:37:19.:37:24.

issues will go away, and that is why I question whether we are see the

:37:25.:37:30.

end of a historic left-right divide. At the moment with Europe so

:37:31.:37:34.

prominent, clearly these by-elections are unusual. And they

:37:35.:37:38.

will be a test of leadership for Theresa May in the coming months if

:37:39.:37:41.

not at the moment, as they have been in a way that he hasn't risen to,

:37:42.:37:45.

for the Labour leader. We will be leave on BBC One on the

:37:46.:37:49.

night, February 23rd off back of this week, we will bring you the

:37:50.:37:53.

result of both these crucial by-elections.

:37:54.:37:54.

It's just gone 11.35, you're watching the Sunday Politics.

:37:55.:38:06.

Hello and welcome to Sunday Politics in Northern Ireland.

:38:07.:38:08.

The campaigns have been launched and the gloves are off.

:38:09.:38:11.

In this extended programme, we'll hear from the

:38:12.:38:13.

Ulster Unionist leader, Mike Nesbitt, and SDLP

:38:14.:38:16.

Has social media made the candidate mug shot on a lamp post redundant?

:38:17.:38:29.

People know anyway without the posters. They don't need the

:38:30.:38:36.

pollsters. They have been doing this for years since I was a girl, it

:38:37.:38:39.

must have some effect on people. And with their thoughts

:38:40.:38:41.

on all of the above and much more, my guests of the day are columist

:38:42.:38:44.

Fionnuala O Connor and the political editor

:38:45.:38:46.

of the News Letter Sam McBride. They've formed an opposition

:38:47.:38:50.

together, spoken of their great working relationship and now

:38:51.:38:53.

want to convince the electorate that they can do a better job

:38:54.:38:55.

in Government than the DUP and But both the leader of the UUP

:38:56.:38:58.

and the SDLP need to boost their election fortunes

:38:59.:39:02.

on March 2nd. In a moment, I'll be asking

:39:03.:39:05.

Colum Eastwood how all his talk of co-operation and compromise

:39:06.:39:08.

with the Ulster Unionists is going But first, I'm joined

:39:09.:39:10.

by Mike Nesbitt. Welcome to the programme. You are

:39:11.:39:25.

running 24 candidates, you have said you are confident and can come out

:39:26.:39:29.

as the lead Unionist party. How many of those 24 seat candy when? Nearly

:39:30.:39:37.

all of them. We look carefully at last May and realise we need some

:39:38.:39:42.

tactical errors and running too many candidates and probably knocked

:39:43.:39:44.

ourselves out in a couple of constituencies. We have done the

:39:45.:39:49.

strategy and thought very hard about it and we have just enough to get

:39:50.:39:54.

there this time. When you see nearly all of them, what does that mean? We

:39:55.:39:59.

have a strategy and was too weak till the election and you wouldn't

:40:00.:40:04.

expect me to put the strategy out on the table. We have thought about

:40:05.:40:08.

this very hard and we are confident if people react in the way we expect

:40:09.:40:13.

them to react, we will do well. When I say react in the way we expect

:40:14.:40:17.

them to react, this will be a test of how mature a democracy we are. In

:40:18.:40:22.

what I would call in normal democracy, people would go to the

:40:23.:40:25.

polls and Xavier going to reward the Government because I like what they

:40:26.:40:29.

have done or I am going to punish them and give the opposition a

:40:30.:40:33.

chance. This is the first time since 98 they have that opportunity to

:40:34.:40:37.

give the opposition a deterrent. You say he would when nearly all of

:40:38.:40:42.

them, although you did put number on the last time. Are you going to do

:40:43.:40:47.

the envelope check? I have an envelope here. I am happy to give it

:40:48.:40:52.

to you. You don't want to do that again. You got your fingers badly

:40:53.:40:56.

burned last time. You said you would when 8919 and ended up with 16 which

:40:57.:41:02.

is what you had the time before. You ran 33 candidates and 116 seats,

:41:03.:41:08.

less than 50% strike rate. Seriously, you expect this time to

:41:09.:41:14.

run 24 and when all of them are? The environment is different. People are

:41:15.:41:20.

angry. They understand the RHI anyway they didn't understand react

:41:21.:41:24.

to red sky or any of the previous scandals. This is ?85,000 today it

:41:25.:41:30.

needlessly going up in smoke as it did yesterday and will do tomorrow

:41:31.:41:35.

and tomorrow and tomorrow. On the doorsteps, I was expecting apathy

:41:36.:41:38.

and I'm not getting very much. I am getting more anger than I had sense

:41:39.:41:43.

I would get. Let's remember what I did EU PCN? Vote for us so you get

:41:44.:41:51.

them in the First Minister's office. Those who could have voted last time

:41:52.:41:54.

did not vote and we can assume they do not care who was the First

:41:55.:41:58.

Minister but they do care about 85 grand a day up in smoke. The care

:41:59.:42:05.

about money for education, the social investment fund. The DUP and

:42:06.:42:12.

Sinn Fein said the plan to spend 80 million tackling poverty over a

:42:13.:42:15.

three-year period and they spent less than five. What extra support

:42:16.:42:20.

is going to come from the people who didn't vote last time rather than

:42:21.:42:25.

from do you people chose? Last May, your party secured 87,001st

:42:26.:42:32.

preference votes, 12.6% but the DUP 200 and 2000. That is almost 150%

:42:33.:42:37.

more than you. I am not saying it's only coming from the 45% who didn't

:42:38.:42:42.

vote last time but it is clear is significant number of those people

:42:43.:42:46.

are angry enough to have registered or sent to media going to vote.

:42:47.:42:51.

There are people who weren't registered you are registering. It

:42:52.:42:54.

is like a confessional on the doorstep. You knock the door,

:42:55.:42:59.

somebody goes, yet, I have been voting DUP. Are they going to switch

:43:00.:43:05.

to the Ulster Unionist Party huge numbers? That's what I'm being told

:43:06.:43:10.

on their own doorsteps. You think that will hold and on March two,

:43:11.:43:15.

more people are going to vote and also people who voted DUP will

:43:16.:43:19.

switch allegiance to the Ulster Unionist Party? With two and a half

:43:20.:43:24.

weeks to go, it is positive for the UUP and that the SDLP. But there are

:43:25.:43:30.

two and a half weeks to go. You are running 24 candidates, the DUP

:43:31.:43:37.

running need to win every seat and the DUP me to have a meltdown for

:43:38.:43:40.

you to overtake that party and become the pre-eminent party of

:43:41.:43:43.

unionism. You accept is a huge mountain to climb. It would be

:43:44.:43:47.

unprecedented in Northern Ireland. Every action and the anger to the

:43:48.:43:54.

RHI is unprecedented. Since the last election, we have had Brexit and we

:43:55.:43:58.

have had Donald Trump. Unusual things and unexpected things are

:43:59.:44:02.

happening in the polling booth. You sit at your party conference last

:44:03.:44:08.

summer, vote might you get Colum, but Colum and you get Mike. How hard

:44:09.:44:13.

are you selling that on the doorsteps? I don't have to sell it

:44:14.:44:17.

because people get it and wanted. We have had 19 years of dysfunctional

:44:18.:44:22.

relationships in Stormont Castle. The DUP Sinn Fein have been there

:44:23.:44:27.

for ten years. Let me go back further and acknowledge back in 98,

:44:28.:44:32.

the relationship was not as good as it might have been. The recent

:44:33.:44:37.

relationships between Arlene Foster and Martin McGuinness, Peter

:44:38.:44:41.

Robinson and Martin McGuinness were not fantastic. I think people are

:44:42.:44:44.

noticing there are quite nostalgic about the relationship between Ian

:44:45.:44:47.

Paisley and Martin McGuinness, the chuckle Brothers. If you asked what

:44:48.:44:51.

they achieved in terms of job creation or shortening waiting lists

:44:52.:44:55.

in the NHS, I don't think anybody could tell you that the achieved

:44:56.:44:58.

anything but what they did was they showed a willingness to work

:44:59.:45:02.

together and people like that. They want it again and they would get it

:45:03.:45:07.

from me and Colum. We will be willing partners and we will not

:45:08.:45:09.

share the space of the Stormont Castle simply because the law says

:45:10.:45:13.

we have too. We will do it because we want to share space and with it

:45:14.:45:17.

the power and responsibility that goes with showing that space. You

:45:18.:45:21.

have got to sell that relationship on the doorstep of its going to

:45:22.:45:25.

work. You said previously in October if the opposition is going to offer

:45:26.:45:33.

an add-on to to the current DUP Sinn Fein Government. The DUP your

:45:34.:45:39.

opponents, the Sinn Fein are your opponents, you have got to sing that

:45:40.:45:43.

from the rooftops. You have got to say vote UUP first and then

:45:44.:45:47.

transferred to the SDLP. Are you saying that? If you don't vote

:45:48.:45:56.

darling, you get Martin McGuinness. -- Arlene Foster. I haven't heard

:45:57.:46:01.

you say vote for the Ulster Unionist Party and then give you a second

:46:02.:46:06.

reference as SDLP. I am seeing vote for UUP and then vote for any

:46:07.:46:09.

candidate you trust will deliver for your community and for this country.

:46:10.:46:16.

Not specifically the SDLP? Your Mac not specifically. Is that not a

:46:17.:46:20.

mistake? How can you sit there and see this but you are not prepared to

:46:21.:46:24.

clarify that the voters and say vote with the UUP and then vote for SDLP?

:46:25.:46:30.

No one party has a monopoly of all the best candidates. Colum Eastwood

:46:31.:46:38.

doesn't have a monopoly on good candidates? There is no logic to

:46:39.:46:47.

what you are suggesting. What I am saying is people are going into a PR

:46:48.:46:52.

election, they are going to cast their vote, one to seven and that

:46:53.:46:58.

will go beyond the UUP and the SDLP and I am saying you should vote for

:46:59.:47:02.

any candidate you trust will do the right thing for your community and

:47:03.:47:06.

constituency and for Northern Ireland. They hired a preference the

:47:07.:47:12.

more power the transfer has. If you want to get as many Ulster Unionist

:47:13.:47:15.

Party is returned and Colum Eastwood to get as many SDLP candidates

:47:16.:47:21.

returned as possible so you can be serious chance of moving into

:47:22.:47:24.

Stormont Castle, you need to be encouraging UUP voters to vote for

:47:25.:47:29.

the SDLP, not leaving it open ended otherwise it looks like a bogus

:47:30.:47:32.

offering. It looks like you don't have the courage of your own

:47:33.:47:37.

convictions really stand square behind the notion of an alternative

:47:38.:47:41.

Government. I will be standing square behind that notion and

:47:42.:47:45.

transferring from my UUP votes to the SDLP. You personally well? Hill

:47:46.:47:53.

I don't think we should be talking about constituencies. In your

:47:54.:47:58.

constituency you will vote UUP and then SDLP? Yes. But you will go as

:47:59.:48:02.

far to see other Ulster Unionist Party should do the same thing? Your

:48:03.:48:11.

premise for being in a Government actually is shot in the fruit. It is

:48:12.:48:16.

not shot in a fit. I understand UUP voters you don't like being told

:48:17.:48:21.

what to do or like vote management where it is situation where we want

:48:22.:48:25.

you to vote for this UUP first and the other UUP second because we've

:48:26.:48:29.

got a vote management plan in operation. You don't think that's

:48:30.:48:34.

confusing? I am very happy. It's not that you want DUP transfers and

:48:35.:48:41.

certain constituencies. Your Mac one of the last transfers was a man who

:48:42.:48:46.

stood up and made it clear it would be very difficult for them over the

:48:47.:48:49.

last ten years because they didn't even want to share power with Sinn

:48:50.:48:57.

Fein. I am saying and offering something different willingly going

:48:58.:49:00.

into partnership with the party of National is because it's the right

:49:01.:49:04.

thing to do and it is the only way to make Northern Ireland work and

:49:05.:49:07.

you will hear Colum Eastwood saying he wants to make Northern Ireland

:49:08.:49:11.

work and we measured in the same way and if you want one word to sum it

:49:12.:49:16.

up at his prosperity, economic prosperity and mental health and

:49:17.:49:21.

well-being. That is what you talked about a lot and you have during the

:49:22.:49:26.

campaign. There are differences between you and the SDLP on Brexit,

:49:27.:49:32.

on the Irish language, on legacy. Last week you indicated you think

:49:33.:49:35.

James Brokenshire is the man to chair talks but Colum Eastwood has

:49:36.:49:40.

made it clear he is not an honest broker. Yaha everyone has made it

:49:41.:49:47.

clear after the election will have to be a negotiation, talking about a

:49:48.:49:51.

very long and detailed settlement. What this is about in my mind is our

:49:52.:49:56.

away a proper democracy and if we are people who go to vote on the 2nd

:49:57.:50:00.

of March will treat it as a referendum and how the two parties

:50:01.:50:05.

at Stormont Castle have handled the RHI Tobacco more generally ten years

:50:06.:50:10.

of Government is either led by the DUP Sinn Fein and existing

:50:11.:50:16.

exclusively of those two parties. What about the Irish Language Act?

:50:17.:50:22.

There is a clear gap between Europe future of an Irish Language Act

:50:23.:50:27.

specifically and Colum's. He thinks there needs to be comic you are not

:50:28.:50:32.

so convinced. You making difficult for him when he is trying to

:50:33.:50:35.

persuade Nationalist voters to back his candidates and not Sinn Fein.

:50:36.:50:41.

Clear gaps in the challenge. That is the challenge of a devolved

:50:42.:50:46.

Government. Managing clear gaps. The way to begin is look for areas where

:50:47.:50:50.

you agree and we and we agree we need to make Northern Ireland work.

:50:51.:50:56.

The Irish language, I have no difficulty with people who want to

:50:57.:51:00.

speak it, learn it, promote it, cherish it, it is part of culture

:51:01.:51:04.

and I consider myself to be Irish as well as British. Nobody has told me

:51:05.:51:12.

why we need an Irish Language Act. In those days when you were cooling

:51:13.:51:16.

your heels during the talks at Stormont Castle, I asked Sinn Fein

:51:17.:51:20.

particularly on occasions come and tell me why you want an Irish

:51:21.:51:23.

Language Act and they never did which makes me quite suspicious. I

:51:24.:51:31.

have been to the Irish language school, met Irish language groups so

:51:32.:51:33.

I am building understanding of what they want and what they want

:51:34.:51:38.

primarily is respect but nobody has persuaded me that it needs to be an

:51:39.:51:42.

act to advance what they want to advance. There is a legal challenge

:51:43.:51:46.

at the moment on his strategy and there is a legal obligation to bring

:51:47.:51:49.

forward a strategy, if we are in power we will meet our obligations.

:51:50.:51:56.

Do you want to see the ATT return to complete its job? You didn't think

:51:57.:51:59.

it was given an opportunity to finish what it started? Your Mac I

:52:00.:52:03.

can't do this. Dealing with the past can't be done that way. If you

:52:04.:52:10.

did... If it wasn't finished by now, it would be close to it rather than

:52:11.:52:14.

as set in your potentially looking for a new set of processes which,

:52:15.:52:19.

when the begin, will take another ten years. My children could be

:52:20.:52:23.

grandparents before this is all finished. Even though they were a

:52:24.:52:28.

major criticisms of the H E T? Yaha which is why said it needed to be

:52:29.:52:30.

reformed. Thank you for joining us. Let's hear what my guests

:52:31.:52:34.

of the day, Fionnuala O Connor What what do you make of the

:52:35.:52:49.

partnership approach on paper at least, between the Ulster Unionist

:52:50.:52:54.

Party and the SDLP? It is a lovely idea and ideally it will work,

:52:55.:52:57.

whether it will work for either of them in the selection is... The

:52:58.:53:06.

circumstances are always wishful thinking and that is what it is.

:53:07.:53:13.

There is the basic dichotomy of Colum and Mike Nesbitt wanting in

:53:14.:53:18.

the end something which is a different end for politics in

:53:19.:53:24.

Northern Ireland. They are taking the soft gentle approach of, let's

:53:25.:53:29.

work together and let's not talk about the differences or as Mike

:53:30.:53:35.

puts it, the gaps, clear gaps, those are the challenge. The Irish

:53:36.:53:39.

language that you honed in on at the end is the main one. Mike Nesbitt

:53:40.:53:45.

says I have every respect for people who speak it, it is part of me as

:53:46.:53:49.

well, but you can't have what you say you want for it. He says Sinn

:53:50.:53:53.

Fein couldn't explain to them why they needed an Irish Language Act. I

:53:54.:54:00.

doubt anybody in the enterprise as he talked to didn't say they wanted

:54:01.:54:04.

an Irish Language Act because they do because they cannot trust the DUP

:54:05.:54:08.

Government to give the Irish language respect. That is the basic

:54:09.:54:14.

reason. Let's talk about the electrical -- electoral challenge

:54:15.:54:17.

Mike Nesbitt has here turnaround from the disappointment he had last

:54:18.:54:22.

May. He says he is hoping to win 24 comment nearly all of the 24 seats.

:54:23.:54:28.

If he does that goes from 16 to 24. A 50% increase, a huge ask. Last

:54:29.:54:34.

time he was predicting a 20% uplift and got nothing. If it happens it is

:54:35.:54:37.

the story of the election and it is pretty unlikely. We are in a pretty

:54:38.:54:42.

unusual situations in terms of the level of anger about the RHI

:54:43.:54:47.

situation. This election is an opportunity and risk for Mike

:54:48.:54:51.

Nesbitt. He has been leader for long enough now where he has created the

:54:52.:54:55.

party and his image are in opposition with the SDLP. He has a

:54:56.:55:00.

clear vision he has articulated of actually putting number two for the

:55:01.:55:05.

SDLP after UUP candidates. That is a very significant thing for a

:55:06.:55:09.

Unionist leader to see possibly without President in history of

:55:10.:55:12.

Northern Ireland. He has said he will do that in his constituency.

:55:13.:55:19.

But he has not specifically told Ulster Unionist Party that it's --

:55:20.:55:23.

voters they should follow his example? There is a mixed message.

:55:24.:55:28.

The more significant thing is as a Unionist leader is not saying

:55:29.:55:34.

transfer to other. I think if that works, he will take the credit for

:55:35.:55:39.

it, if it doesn't as happened last time the Ulster Unionist Party 's

:55:40.:55:44.

level of opportunity in 2010 after the Robinson scandal, after that

:55:45.:55:48.

election where they were expected to make big breakthroughs, the didn't

:55:49.:55:50.

and the leader paid the price. Now, elections usually mean

:55:51.:55:51.

lamp-posts plastered with the beaming faces of those

:55:52.:55:54.

on the hunt for your vote. But in Lagan Valley, the candidates

:55:55.:55:56.

have agreed not to put up We visited the constituency,

:55:57.:55:59.

and one alongside it, to see if the voters feel

:56:00.:56:02.

it makes a difference. I think the posters need to go up to

:56:03.:56:40.

get it into people's mind to who they are voting for. Lagan Valley I

:56:41.:56:44.

take no notice, I have no interest, it is a waste of time. We have been

:56:45.:56:49.

doing this for years, even since I was little. I think a lot of social

:56:50.:56:57.

media and people's opinions formed elsewhere and is quite nice to have

:56:58.:57:03.

a social area that hasn't got bombarded messages about political

:57:04.:57:08.

agendas. Lagan Valley if you want to go, you need posters up so people

:57:09.:57:15.

know you are running. Most of the people in this area are very

:57:16.:57:18.

politically aware and would know who most of the candidates are. We are

:57:19.:57:25.

not stupid by any means and we are quite sure they have enough leaflets

:57:26.:57:30.

coming in the door. People want to get in, they will ignore it. If

:57:31.:57:35.

people do their thing on social media, they will be more attracted

:57:36.:57:41.

to it on a look into it more. I don't use Facebook or Twitter. You

:57:42.:57:47.

need to posters up. People should know anyway without the posters.

:57:48.:57:51.

They don't need them. It is a waste of money.

:57:52.:57:55.

Back to the main business of the day, and the SDLP has shared

:57:56.:57:58.

power with the Ulster Unionists at Stormont before,

:57:59.:58:00.

and now Colum Eastwood wants the electorate to give his party

:58:01.:58:03.

and the UUP another chance. Colum Eastwood joins me now.

:58:04.:58:10.

We have just heard from Mike Nesbitt who says he will transfer after his

:58:11.:58:18.

own candidates to the SDLP but he will not tell UUP voters to follow

:58:19.:58:23.

his lead. Is that he disappointment? We are campaigning to get number one

:58:24.:58:27.

son number two is in constituencies and fighting very hard to gain

:58:28.:58:31.

seats. Our job is to get people to vote for us, it is the same for

:58:32.:58:35.

Mike. After that we are asking people to vote for change and it is

:58:36.:58:39.

up to others and individuals to decide how they vote. We are not

:58:40.:58:45.

going to convince people to vote... We also think it's important the

:58:46.:58:49.

electorate comes out and vote this time. I understand why people have

:58:50.:58:55.

been so fed up and frustrated and now so angry at our politics and why

:58:56.:58:59.

they haven't voted in a long time. I talked to a man last night who

:59:00.:59:03.

hasn't voted in 16 years and he was taking a registration form for the

:59:04.:59:07.

two major he can vote this time because people aren't just fed up,

:59:08.:59:11.

the other furious. I think if people want to see that happening and

:59:12.:59:15.

continue to happen, they should vote for the Government parties but they

:59:16.:59:18.

want to see something different, vote for something different. Mike

:59:19.:59:22.

Nesbitt was clear about he wanted to do it. Let's see if you will be as

:59:23.:59:27.

clear. In your constituency where you are voting, would you vote for

:59:28.:59:32.

SDLP candidate and then give you a second preference to UUP? I will

:59:33.:59:41.

vote for myself one, and then... You haven't decided? Yellow mac you are

:59:42.:59:44.

puzzling yourself as an alternative Government and you cannot looked me

:59:45.:59:47.

straight in the IMC will support a UUP candidate next? What it is it

:59:48.:59:57.

about? Because it has a higher value. We are running to Ulster

:59:58.:00:03.

Unionist Party that it is enough oil. You are putting yourself for a

:00:04.:00:09.

writ as an alternative Government. If we are to take seriously the idea

:00:10.:00:17.

that the UUP could replace Sinn Fein and the DUP the message you need to

:00:18.:00:23.

send to people is vote for the SDLP and then vote for Everett would-be

:00:24.:00:28.

coalition partner the UUP? You want to work out how people want to vote

:00:29.:00:33.

and transfer. I want to test the plausibility of your offering as an

:00:34.:00:37.

alternative Government. We are two parties that to work together and

:00:38.:00:41.

you have worked together in opposition. We are not forced to

:00:42.:00:45.

work together. There is not one opposition around the world who

:00:46.:00:49.

actually work together and the joint motions down, very similar policies

:00:50.:00:53.

on many issues, we did that because we thought it was important to show

:00:54.:00:57.

an alternative. We will work with any party that wants to see changed.

:00:58.:01:02.

In order to format Government, we need other people involved as well.

:01:03.:01:07.

People have a choice. Vote for the same old and you get the same old

:01:08.:01:10.

are you vote for something new and something different and I am asking

:01:11.:01:15.

people to for change which will make a big difference. We need a

:01:16.:01:19.

different type of Government about partnership and cooperation. We

:01:20.:01:22.

struggled hard to get this type of arrangement. We have nationalists

:01:23.:01:26.

and unionists in Government. Of course we are all different and have

:01:27.:01:30.

different perspectives and ideas. I want to see a united Ireland and

:01:31.:01:34.

Mike Nesbitt doesn't. That doesn't support is -- stop working together.

:01:35.:01:40.

Vote for something people that can work together or vote for people who

:01:41.:01:44.

have proven time and time again that they can't and even when they do

:01:45.:01:49.

they don't deliver. Even before we get to a situation of having an

:01:50.:01:54.

alternative Government or next Government in place after the

:01:55.:01:58.

election on March two, there will be some period of negotiations and Mike

:01:59.:02:02.

Nesbitt has made it clear he thinks James Brokenshire ire is the man to

:02:03.:02:06.

cherish such discussions. You have made obviously disagree and you

:02:07.:02:11.

think James Brokenshire I is not an honest arbiter, I think is the

:02:12.:02:17.

phrase you used. Here are two political parties with different

:02:18.:02:21.

policies, different manifestos, different backgrounds and visions of

:02:22.:02:26.

the future. They have a disagreement on a particular issue. We know that

:02:27.:02:31.

but you are also trying to tell people you can be trusted to work

:02:32.:02:35.

together. You are doing my job for me. It would be ridiculous to

:02:36.:02:41.

pretend we are the same party. We are not. What we are seeing is

:02:42.:02:45.

despite the differences we can work together because we want to. We have

:02:46.:02:49.

these systems are called power-sharing. We do what any other

:02:50.:02:56.

coalition Government has to do, get together respectfully and honestly,

:02:57.:03:02.

solve the problems. You can't agree on who should share the talks. Bell

:03:03.:03:06.

is that the biggest issue? I don't think the British Government should

:03:07.:03:10.

be sharing talks when they have acted as an activist in the last

:03:11.:03:14.

number of weeks and months rent legacy. The biggest problem we face

:03:15.:03:19.

right now is we either vote for parties who want to have a

:03:20.:03:22.

Government or parties who are very clear that the heading towards

:03:23.:03:30.

disaster. If you vote for Arlene Foster and Michelle, you're going to

:03:31.:03:35.

get Theresa May. Vote for something different and people who want to

:03:36.:03:37.

form a Government and get over their differences. Vote Colum, get Mike,

:03:38.:03:48.

get -- vote Mike and get Colum. That seems like a joke now. You need to

:03:49.:03:53.

do a lot better than you did last May. Let's talk about Mike Nesbitt

:03:54.:04:00.

conceded the amount for the Ulster Unionist party to climate, it is an

:04:01.:04:05.

even bigger amount for your party. The election last year was bad for

:04:06.:04:09.

the SDLP, the worst result ever in terms of Assembly representation.

:04:10.:04:15.

What chance is there if you're resting that slide in the selection?

:04:16.:04:22.

I think there is a good chance. Back it up with evidence. The evidence

:04:23.:04:27.

will be on March the 2nd and third and fourth. I can only tell you what

:04:28.:04:31.

I am hearing. People are fed up with politics and thinking there is an

:04:32.:04:35.

opportunity to do something different. We have a strong

:04:36.:04:38.

offering, a fantastic team who have proven themselves. You don't have a

:04:39.:04:44.

new team. You have had to go back to people who have retired and bring

:04:45.:04:47.

them to stand yet again. I don't want to be a jest, but Dolores Kelly

:04:48.:04:54.

standing at 57, John Dallat at 69. The hardly represent fresh blood.

:04:55.:04:59.

You have got a row in East Londonderry about your outgoing MLA

:05:00.:05:03.

and a previously outgoing MLA who wants to come back again. It is

:05:04.:05:07.

hardly perfect preparation to do well at the polls? Yaha can you

:05:08.:05:12.

imagine, a political party has a selection route. Sinn Fein have

:05:13.:05:15.

people running against them in North Antrim, West Tyrone, right across.

:05:16.:05:22.

Those things aren't talked about. We have competition, that is neither

:05:23.:05:30.

the SDLP. There are new people right across the north who have been

:05:31.:05:34.

standing up for the public and standing against the ravages against

:05:35.:05:37.

the public purse in the last number of months. People are so fed up and

:05:38.:05:41.

angry at what's going on. How many seats are you going to win? I have

:05:42.:05:47.

made predictions before and they don't do that any more. I think we

:05:48.:05:53.

are working very hard to retain and gain seats in a reduced Assembly we

:05:54.:05:58.

can do very well. You have got it all order to come anywhere near Sinn

:05:59.:06:07.

Fein. Last May, Sinn Fein 167,000 votes, 24%, 28 seats. Look at the

:06:08.:06:12.

SDLP, half the number of first preferences, have the percentage

:06:13.:06:16.

points, 12 seats, fewer than half the seats. You won't come anywhere

:06:17.:06:22.

near close. Lets see how we do. People are very angry at the DUP

:06:23.:06:27.

Sinn Fein not delivering. Sinn Fein are outputting posters about the

:06:28.:06:32.

anchor -- Irish Language Act. They have the opportunity last May to

:06:33.:06:36.

create a programme for Government that would help those things. We are

:06:37.:06:43.

bringing through the Assembly before it collapsed. Arlene Foster says

:06:44.:06:46.

there will never be an Irish Language Act. That is why you should

:06:47.:06:51.

never vote for Arlene Foster and why we need a different type of

:06:52.:06:55.

politics. We can argue with her about the merits of an Irish

:06:56.:06:59.

Language Act but it is not acceptable for hire or anybody else

:07:00.:07:02.

to talk about the Irish language and culture in the way that she has. If

:07:03.:07:07.

we can inject stability into the conversation we can get over these

:07:08.:07:11.

hurdles. The problem isn't that we disagree about a particular policy,

:07:12.:07:14.

the problem is that she treats people who care about the Irish

:07:15.:07:17.

language like the second class citizens and that is not in any way

:07:18.:07:21.

to do Government. If people want that again they should vote for

:07:22.:07:27.

that. What is your position on Arlene Foster's potential role in

:07:28.:07:32.

terms of Government? Michelle O'Neill was on the view on Thursday

:07:33.:07:36.

night, she said her party will not support Arlene Foster having a road

:07:37.:07:41.

and the Executive Office unless or until the RHI enquiry is reported

:07:42.:07:45.

and cleared her name. Yellow like I said a few weeks ago Arlene Foster

:07:46.:07:52.

should not be the First Minister. That looks to the DUP trying to have

:07:53.:07:57.

an influence over who lead their party. I would take part in a

:07:58.:08:00.

Government were Arlene Foster refuses to step aside until the end

:08:01.:08:05.

of the public enquiry. She has done nothing wrong, she says. Let's see

:08:06.:08:10.

what happened to step aside until the end of the public enquiry. She

:08:11.:08:12.

has done nothing wrong, she says. Let's see what happens in. This

:08:13.:08:15.

public enquiry is something we called for along with other parties

:08:16.:08:19.

which Sinn Fein refused to call Fat Andy ended up into such a difficult

:08:20.:08:22.

position it had to call for it and now we have... -- refuse to call for

:08:23.:08:37.

it. People are fed up of that. Do you believe in your heart of hearts

:08:38.:08:42.

we are more than likely looking at an extended period of direct rule

:08:43.:08:47.

after the selection? If people vote with the DUP and Sinn Fein in the

:08:48.:08:51.

same numbers as last time, of course that's where we're heading. It seems

:08:52.:08:56.

to meet Sinn Fein now strategically wants to have the Tories running

:08:57.:09:00.

Northern Ireland. I want a Government to get things done here

:09:01.:09:04.

and all the challenges we have, Brexit, let's get down to dealing

:09:05.:09:08.

with them because that's what people care about. The word about the

:09:09.:09:13.

waiting lists on the NHS, access to the GP, their children having to

:09:14.:09:16.

leave Northern Ireland to find a university place our work. Those are

:09:17.:09:21.

things we need to deal with. If we form a Government we can deal with

:09:22.:09:25.

them but if we don't, if we go back into an argument with the DUP Sinn

:09:26.:09:31.

Fein, and inevitably direct rule, doesn't anybody want that. What is

:09:32.:09:35.

somebody gives first preference to the SDLP voting for in the

:09:36.:09:40.

selection? Some issues there is not a blade of grass between yourselves

:09:41.:09:44.

and Sinn Fein, on other issues there are big differences. The voting for

:09:45.:09:51.

the SDLP policies. What makes the SDLP unique? We are a party that

:09:52.:09:58.

wants to work with unionism. Sinn Fein has just been working with

:09:59.:10:06.

unionism in the Executive Office. I am getting trolled on Twitter by

:10:07.:10:10.

Sinn Fein supporters saying it's ridiculous I am even considering

:10:11.:10:12.

working with the Unionists. We have all signed up to this process which

:10:13.:10:17.

means that Catholics and Protestants, Unionists have to work

:10:18.:10:21.

together to solve our problems in our common interests. No matter how

:10:22.:10:25.

difficult it is, no matter how new differences we have, we have to work

:10:26.:10:29.

together. That is the only tell of future I believe in, the only take

:10:30.:10:32.

the future the public believe in and it gets is over that hurdle and

:10:33.:10:35.

begins to deal with some of the problems.

:10:36.:10:36.

Let's hear what my guests of the day make of that, Sam and Fionnuala.

:10:37.:10:42.

What do you make of May Eastwood's take on the relationship between the

:10:43.:10:53.

Ulster Unionist Party and the SDLP? It would be lovely if it worked. But

:10:54.:11:00.

like Mike Nesbitt's pitch, Mike Nesbitt's pitch depends on how DUP

:11:01.:11:05.

do is break this time and Colum's pitch depends on how Sinn Fein

:11:06.:11:12.

voters vote. They both say if people want to change the to vote for us

:11:13.:11:15.

but people say they are angry and then they look again at the

:11:16.:11:20.

respective strengths of the parties. How Mike Nesbitt's pitch with May

:11:21.:11:27.

Eastwood affects voters is hard to say and is the reason why he won't

:11:28.:11:30.

call for transfers publicly because he knows Mike Nesbitt might dammit.

:11:31.:11:41.

Colum is careful on that. When you pushed him on Colin for transfers,

:11:42.:11:48.

he made a good case about who he is going to transfer to, but when it

:11:49.:11:53.

comes down to the differences and similarities, I see the big

:11:54.:11:59.

difference between the STL P and the UUP in that the Ulster Unionist

:12:00.:12:02.

Party are meant to be and are a Conservative Party and the SDLP have

:12:03.:12:06.

always said the social Democratic and more to the left. I can see big

:12:07.:12:11.

difficulties there for them in working anything together on the

:12:12.:12:15.

Irish language and mutual respect. What about the issue of both Mike

:12:16.:12:23.

Nesbitt and May touched on it, the 45% of people who historically have

:12:24.:12:31.

not voted? They are critical. One of the frustrations I have is a

:12:32.:12:34.

political journalist is when you hear people saying they are all the

:12:35.:12:38.

same, there is no choice. We have an array of choice in Northern Ireland,

:12:39.:12:42.

hard-line socialists to Jim Allister to everything in between. There is

:12:43.:12:46.

more choice than there has ever been in the selection as you are voting

:12:47.:12:50.

for a Government, opposition, a whole array of opposition parties.

:12:51.:12:57.

It is very interesting that Mike Nesbitt and May Eastwood or openly

:12:58.:13:02.

presenting this is not a joint ticket. If people want that and the

:13:03.:13:06.

vote that that is significant but I don't think people will be able to

:13:07.:13:10.

do after the selection turn round and say the politicians drive us

:13:11.:13:13.

into a certain position. People have a choice and history shows us the

:13:14.:13:17.

likely to go what they've gone for before. It will be interesting

:13:18.:13:22.

between now and voting day. That's it from Sunday

:13:23.:13:24.

Politics for this week. I'll be back on Thursday night

:13:25.:13:26.

with The View at 10.40pm on BBC1 when I'll be talking to the DUP

:13:27.:13:29.

leader, Arlene Foster.

:13:30.:13:32.