Political news and debate with Jo Coburn and guest, former work and pensions minister, Esther McVey. They discuss welfare, the steel crisis and the government's pro-EU leaflets.
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Hello and welcome to the Daily Politics.
After the Business Secretary Sajid Javid says
the Government is willing to co-invest in the Port Talbot
steelworks to keep it open, MPs hold an emergency debate
on the crisis facing the UK's steel industry.
as the new Work and Pensions Secretary.
We'll assess the challenges he faces on welfare reform.
The Government's ?9 million pro-EU leaflet
starts dropping through letterboxes across the UK - and provokes
a wave of hostility on the Conservative backbenches.
And the most unlikely star of musical theatre - Jeremy Corbyn.
We take a peak at Corbyn The Musical, which opens tonight.
# I didn't sell out, I didn't live in
# You need a hero, you got Corbin #. All that in the next hour
and with us for the whole of the programme today is the former
Conservative MP and Work What's life like on the outside?
It's not quite 24/7, seven days a week, so slightly more time back to
myself, but pursuing things that I want to do with a view, which I've
always said, to go back into the housing 2020. Obviously I love
place. You must've been surprised at the time. There can't have been much
time to plan for life outside because this was a night when the
Tories, your party, did better than most people expected but you lost
your seat. It wasn't a surprise. If you followed the Merseyside
election, the fact that it's taken me ten years to win their... It was
always going to be a difficult seat for a Conservative minister to win
on Merseyside. But interestingly, I did actually increased my vote by to
present from when I won in 2010. I got 2000 extra votes. So it was
interesting, the tactics that Labour used both in rural western Chester,
the only two seats they won, and that was that the Greens aligned and
did a deal with Labour not to stand in Wirral West, otherwise I would
have won because I would have taken 3%. It was a couple of hundred
votes. It was very, very close because it went to a recount or sub
I think you asked for a recount on the night. I didn't ask but it did
go because it was so close. We won actually on the vote but it was the
flood of postal votes that came in that changed it and hence there was
a recount. You must be missing the place if you want to be involved
again in politics? I said on the night that I wanted to come back.
There I was, part of the government that had delivered 2 million more
people into work, part of their team and I'd had a wonderful time there.
I'd taken ten years to get into politics because I wanted to go back
to my home turf, Merseyside, which, for anybody, is a tough place to be,
but you got to love the area, love the place, so yes I do aim to be
back in 2020 but it's a long journey and a tough journey so we'll see
what happens. In the meantime? Taking up most of my time at the
moment is an organisation that I'm working with with the British
Transport Police authority and I work with inner-city children on
careers, an role models, on how to get their foot in the door, so
supporting people with career options and that is something I've
done for 15 years and I'm able to carry that on. It's good to have you
here, Esther McVey, and we'll talk more about your previous brief.
And today we're giving you a different kind of teaser -
I said to him he didn't write off the mortgage of the won the
taxpayers were helping to pay for at Oxford.
I didn't receive a proper answer then.
That was the Labour MP Dennis Skinner speaking in the House
At the end of the show Esther will, I'm sure, give us the correct
In the next hour, MPs will begin an emergency debate
on the UK steel industry, after Tata Steel announced a month
ago that they would be selling their UK plants.
Yesterday, the company confirmed the sale of its Scunthorpe plant
to Greybull Capital for a token ?1, and the Business Secretary
Sajid Javid told the Commons that the Government was working very
hard to find a buyer for the Port Talbot
Among options being considered, he said, was the possibility
of co-investing with a buyer on commercial terms.
Last month, Tata announced its intention to sell the plant
and its wider UK assets, rather than to close it.
Since then, I have continued to meet with its executives
I've been joined in this by my right honourable friend the Secretary
of State for Wales and my right honourable friend
And we've secured assurances that Tata will be a responsible seller
and will allow appropriate time to find a buyer.
The formal sales process begins today.
I've been in contact with potential buyers,
making clear that the Government stands ready to help.
This includes looking at the possibility of co-investing
We've been joined from Central Lobby in the Houses of Parliament
The Port Talbot steelworks are in his constituency.
And we did ask the Department for Business for an interview
with a minister about this, but none was available.
Stephen Kinnock, watched you make of Sajid Javid's statement yesterday?
Were you surprised by his suggestion of co-investing in the Port Talbot
plant? Well, it left more questions than answers. I think we need
clarity on what that means. We pushed the Secretary of State in the
debate for more clarity and it didn't really come. I think we
should just be absolutely clear that we need to do everything that we can
now to get a good buyer for the business but if that doesn't work,
the Government has to be ready to step in with a time bound, costed
nationalisation, just to ensure that enough time is in place for a good
buyer to come forward. What does co-investment mean to you, then? Is
that really fulfilling some of the objectives that you've just ate it?
There would perhaps be some time bound investment by the government
until either a full-scale buyer could be found or, at least, it was
becoming profitable again? There's a range of actions they can take, from
giving a soft loan to Tata Steel to helping with energy cost, with our
rent D, even to stepping on the pension. -- with research and
develop. This lack of clarity is not helping the sales process. We need
to ensure that we maximise the attractiveness of the deal for
potential buyers and the shambolic approach that we've seen from the
Government so far was compounded yesterday by what the Business
Secretary said. We need that clarity and in the debate today we need to
see a really clear statement. What does he mean by co-investment? What
is the Government prepared to do? What is it not prepared to do?
Potential buyers out there need to know and the customer base that they
currently have for the Tata Steel business really needs to know. How
long do you think this process can go on for, this search for a buyer?
There will come a point, weren't there, when Tata will say it's
enough? My understanding is that they are offering two blocks of
eight weeks now, so a total 16 week process with expressions of interest
in the first period and then Judah the gems on preferred buyers in the
second. If you look at the sale of Long kart product in Scunthorpe,
that took nine months at least from end to end. This 16 week process is
very tight and one of the reasons it is so tight is because the
government has been asleep at the wheel and has been having the
conversation is an advance that it should have been having, knowing
that a possible so was coming. Sajid Javid should have been with me in
Mumbai. Instead, he was jetting off to Australia, so I think that shows
the priorities were not right and they have been asleep at the wheel.
But it did come as a bolt out of the blue. Nobody was expecting the
announcement from Tata Steel. Well, hang on. Yesterday sided Davitt said
both the all-party group and in the debate that he was one that
persuaded Tata Steel not to close but to go for a sale. -- Sajid Javid
said. How can he say that it came as a bolt out of the blue and then try
to claim the credit for something yesterday, waste on long-term
negotiations? Something in this just doesn't add up. But what's also
worrying is that I pressed the Secretary of State yesterday. What
is he doing to daughter Nissan, Jaguar Land Rover, Honda, the key
customer base that is the lifeblood of the Port Talbot steelworks and
all of the steelworks across the country? The answer was very
wishy-washy. He needs to pick up the phone and start reassuring that
customer base and his lack of action on that was very worrying. But how
do you make this industry appear more attractive, as you said? How do
you make it attractive to a potential buyer if, in the
long-term, it's just not going to be viable? What evidence do you have
that it will ever be viable if there was going to be a continuation of
cheap Chinese steel imports? On the cheap imports, what we also need is
a government that is prepared to stand up. The, rather than roll out
the red carpet for Beijing. They have been blocking the European
Commission's attempts to make anti-dumping measures more
effective, so there is one big problem there. The trading... There
isn't a level playing field and that's because the British
Government have been blocking that. But in the broader picture, steel is
a cyclical industry. If you look at the weakness of the pound, that's
already helping the numbers to go on the right direction for the British
Steel industry. The energy intensive industries compensation package is
also helping. So this ?1 million a day figure that gets bandied around
is no longer the case. We're moving in the right direction. We've got a
fantastic workforce, making the best steel that money can buy. We've just
got to back the industry, give it a level playing field, a chance to
compete, and it will. If you talk to customers like Jaguar Land Rover,
Honda, Nissan, they are getting the best service and the best product
money can buy but we need the Government to help in an -- step in
and make that happen. Has the Government been asleep at the wheel?
Did Sajid Javid not do enough, early enough, to stop this happening? From
what I know about Sajid Javid, he's a very shrewd operator and if he
says that it was a surprise what was announced in Mumbai... Cos, yes, he
had been dealing... Should he have been there? That's for him to
decide. I don't know what he was doing in Australia that could have
been bringing in work to the country. But I think it's important
that those words are vague to a degree, and I'll tell you why. He's
got to be very careful that Europe doesn't intervene, say this is state
aid and then rule out a deal, so the fact that he's said co-ownership on
a commercial basis... He has got to say those things. The fact that he
will be on the phone constantly, saying who is interest rate? What
can we do? And keeping those words vague to attract as many people as
possible. Should this steelworks be saved, what may, because it's such
an important part of our manufacturing? What you do whenever
you go into any deal is say, how do we make it work? What are the things
we need? We need something for the local community, something for the
industry, we need to make sure it is workable, and how do we get the best
deal for everyone? That is the Government, taxpayers, all of the
supply chain, whether it's the car industry, British Aerospace, but
first and foremost you think, what do we do to stabilise the situation?
What do we do to attract as many people as possible to want to buy
this and go forward? Should they do something about pension liability?
Should they be doing more, the Government, to bring down energy
costs, which is what labour and the industry have been calling for?
There are many layers to that. The 2008 climate change but was brought
in, which is now making these energy bills so onerous, that Labour
brought in, because was looking at climate change. You have to look at
flexible to. You have to look at tariffs. We can't have Chinese
dumping cheap steel in the UK. Should there be tariffs put on
Chinese imports? I think that's something we have to look at, as we
look at the flexibility for everything. Stephen Cain, Labour has
called for this debate. What more are you hoping to achieve? --
Stephen Kinnock. We are looking for clarity on what co-investment means.
We are looking for a proper U-turn on this position on anti-dumping is
the Government simply hasn't done enough on that, and we're looking
for a real extension of support to Tata steel to get them beyond this
16 week period, because I don't think that it's long enough. What we
need really, overall, is a sense that the Government is actually
stepping up to the plate and standing up for British Steel,
rather than rolling out the red carpet for Beijing. Stephen Kinnock,
thank you. Now, Work and Pensions
Secretary Stephen Crabb will give his first major speech
in the job this afternoon. He took over from Iain Duncan Smith,
who resigned over proposals in the Budget to cut the personal
independence payment What are the main issue Stephen
Crabb has to deal within his new role?
The new Work and Pensions Secretary has already
dealt with one major issue at the top of his in-tray.
Last month he confirmed that controversial disability cuts
to personal independence payments would be scrapped.
That leaves a ?4.4 billion hole in the budget -
but will he resist more cuts to welfare?
Then there's Universal Credit - his predeccessor Iain Duncan Smith's
The project aims to streamline existing working-age benefits
into a single monthly payment - but it is six years behind schedule.
And critics say "salami slicing" of the project leaves it at risk
of failing to achieve its key aim of incentivising people into work.
Crabb is expected to use his first speech today to outline
plans to tackle "the root causes of poverty".
But does this mean further changes to the welfare system?
I'm joined by Owen Smith, Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary.
Before I come to you, Esther, do you share the concerns of Iain Duncan
Smith around salami slicing? Has it been cut too much? What we are
looking at is the juxtaposition between what all the changes are. I
think that is the right position. How can you have extra taxes for
some people and benefit cuts for others. What is affordable for the
whole country? Other departments are looking for money. Whether it was
the Department of Health wanting more money, transport, the arts, you
have got to say how do we get the best deal for those people looking
at the budget? In the context of the budget, George Osborne was wrong for
more money to be taken from the welfare budget when tax breaks were
given to better off people, do you think? He stated clearly in the
manifesto going into the election which people voted on and delivered
a Conservative government on, they knew there were going to be these
changes to the benefit system. Actually, the government and the
country voted on that and elected a Conservative government on the back
of that. You said you didn't think it was fair in that overall
envelope, the juxtaposition, was the word you used, making more cuts to
some disabled payments when as you said in the manifesto it said there
were going to be tax breaks. Was Iain Duncan Smith right? Then the
government came back and said, actually, hence you had George
Osborne and Stephen Crabb coming to the house and saying we are going to
relook at this. We have changed our mind. That is how democracy works,
how grown-ups were, they had the strength of character to come
forward and say we are going to change those things but be mindful
of the fact that country had only just voted in a government on those
pledges that they had put forward merely months before. Grown-up
politics by the government? They made a mistake, they said, and they
changed it. They changed it in respect of the PIP cuts, and that is
very welcome and that is largely because of the fast we made of it.
And Iain Duncan Smith's resignation? If he had really been concerned
about the plight of disabled people, he could have resigned on many
different occasions. He put through millions of pounds of cuts for
disabled people. Esther is right that the Tory party said they were
going to cut ?12 billion for disabled people, they didn't say
they were going to cut universal credit for people out of work, 10
billion coming from them, the other big losers have been the disabled
and I don't think that was clear to the country. Nor have they succeeded
in getting down welfare spending, it has gone up under the Tories. Did
you know where those cuts were going to be? We couldn't get any minister
to say where the axe would fall. Did you know? You wouldn't know. That is
when you come forward with all of the plans. I wouldn't and I didn't
know the specifics on that. Did you ever feel under pressure? Iain
Duncan Smith said, too often my team have been pressured to make cuts.
What you do at a time when there are more outgoings than there is money
coming into the country, like in any business, household, government, you
say, how can we make our budget work? Every department, including
DWP, would have been asked what the options were to get the spending
down. You would have looked at where the money was needed into the
support. We got 2 million people extra people into work when I was
working there. Where you ever pressured as part of that team to
make cuts to working age benefits? Pressured? You say, what are the
options and the whole team sets about giving a whole array of
options. Some of these you would say, these make the numbers work but
we don't want to do these. Right the way across to what you can do. Every
department would have done that and every department would be
challenging for more money. Health, transport, education, you have to
sit in there and justify your stance. Iain Duncan Smith did
incredibly well for the duration you was there, fighting on behalf of
disabled and unemployed people to get the best deal. Remember, we were
left as a government without any money, as we so well know. Do you
think people would trust a Labour government under Jeremy Corbyn to
tackle the welfare budget? Yes because we would tackle the
underlying problems. Low wages, high rents, inability to get into decent
jobs. The living wages coming in. But it will not offset the cuts for
low paid people brought by cuts in tax universal credit. It is going to
offset by five times any uplift for a full-time worker on the new
national living wage. So you wouldn't support any cuts? You would
look at the underlying causes of poverty. I certainly wouldn't be
cutting the budget for disabled people. I would be reversing the
bedroom tax. That has been a pernicious and discriminatory policy
and I would be looking to make work pay in this country and get back to
the fundamentals that universal credit was meant to address and has
been undermined by the cuts. It is revealing that Esther, a minister in
the DWP, didn't know that ?12 million of cuts were going to fall
on working people and the disabled. I am incredulous that she didn't
know that. What do you say to that? You know how budgets are done and
you go forward with a whole array... You go forward with a whole array of
ways which you are going to do that. Obviously, that was in the budget
the year later, what was going to happen. Can I just say that what we
did the entire time was balance up the support that went people to get
into a job. You said it was a mistake to make the cuts that were
proposed by George Osborne into disability benefit. The budget was
always going up, the only difference was in the rate. It was just not
increasing at the rate it was. I listen to the words that are bandied
about carelessly, that wasn't what happened. Looking at universal
credit, can still work? What they are setting out, what they are
intending to do, yes. This will be Stephen Crabb's position to go
forward and make sure it works. The whole narrative and motivation to
get people back in work. It is six years behind schedule and it no
longer incentivise is people to find work. The Office for Budget
Responsibility has significant concerns about the scheme. It feels
like a fell project before it has got underway. It was always a very
slow roll-out and started at the end of the last parliament. It is not
six years behind. The premise of what it is about, how it is going to
be rolled out, obviously, the combinations of different people's
lies, has to be worked through. You are confident it is going to be
rolled out in the way you envisaged under Stephen Crabb? I am not there
now, ... You have an expertise. You would need the people involved to
explain where it is going. Do you think it will happen? I hope that it
does and I will be cheering on Stephen Crabb all the way. You have
root and branch review of universal credit. What does that mean? I went
to old, at the heart of the biggest experiment, 30,000 people have been
an universal credit for a while. It is clear that, talking to people on
it, it is not working. The system is not perfect by any means. But it is
a good idea. I fundamentally support the notion that you simplify and get
rid of disincentives. The problem is, it was meant to be a better
resourced system than the current one. It was meant to be ?2 billion
more generous than what we had. It is now ?5 billion less generous.
They got rid of some of the cliff edges, at 16 weeks for example, but
anybody... 16 hours, rather than weeks. There is always going to be
imperfections. They have got rid of some minor problems around 16 hours
but everybody is going to be worse off, on average, ?1500 per year
worse. Single mothers in particular are going to be even bigger, 2.5
?3000 worse off per year. Iain Duncan Smith said some cuts would
the justified if they could protect some pension benefits? He is wrong
to say that the Labour government didn't do even more than they
proposed. It is a false choice. There are other ways we can improve
the system. They didn't have to take the decision to cut corporation tax,
cut capital gains tax, those things cost billions of pounds and they
could make different decisions. Instead, they can't yet say, PIP and
it tells you everything you need to know about their priorities. Stay
with us. The tax returns of our leaders have been put under the
microscope. The Chancellor and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn released
their tax returns yesterday just as Jeremy Cameron -- just as David
Cameron faced Parliament for the first time since the Panama papers
were published. Mr Speaker, I accept
all of the criticisms for not responding more quickly to these
issues last week. But as I said, I was angry about
the way my father's memory was being We should think carefully before
abandoning completely all taxpayer confidentiality in this
House, as some have suggested. If this were to come
in for MPs, people would also ask for a similar
approach for those who ask us questions, those who run large
public services or lead local government or, indeed, those
who edit the news programmes or The Prime Minister has attacked tax
dodging as immoral but he clearly failed to
give a full account of his own involvement
in offshore tax havens until this week,
or to take essential action... Or to take essential action to clean
up the system, whilst at the same time blocking
wider efforts to do so. We risk seeing a House of Commons
which is stuffed full of low achievers,
who hate enterprise, hate people who look
after their own family and who know absolutely
nothing about the outside world. The biggest multinational
company earns more income in a single week
than the combined incomes Now, the Prime Minister has spoken
about transparency before and today and that is why many of us
across this House, from all parties, want to make sure that the country
by country information that multinationals will be obliged
to provide to HMRC should be put Has David Cameron succeeded in
putting this issue to bed? I don't think it will be put to bed for a
long time because people do want to know that your thoughts, words and
deeds all aligned. Talking about trust and integrity and
authenticity. What we have got here now through technology is the
ability to find out some of these things. Therefore, transparency and
being able to justify what you are doing and saying will be at the four
and I don't see that going for some time yet. It is a national motion to
want to know what you're saying is really what you are doing.
Transparency will be the most important thing for a little while,
I think, going forward. Do you think it is right for anybody who wants to
be prime ministers Chancellor to publish their tax returns? I think
it is probably the way of the world going forward. We won't be like King
Canute on the shore saying, hold that back. I am a conservative if
you look at market forces, it is probably the next market force
coming forward is transparency. You can't run, you can't hide, this will
be the shape of things to come. Did they miss handle it with the drip,
drip effect of number ten giving one statement that David Cameron had to
clarify and expand. Was it a mistake?
He said that himself. He said wasn't his finest hour. He's done
everything right. Is done every been legal. But equally, it was a big
shift that he was introducing in a relatively short base of time, that
no Prime Minister before him has had to do. He changed that. I can see
the reticence and he said he was defending his father but, as he
says, it wasn't his finest hour and he should have been quicker doing
what he did. What does it say about politicians' ability to govern by
publishing their tax return? Not a lot, I think, is the truth. I've
heard lots of suggestions that Churchill's tax returns and affairs
were pretty murky. I'm sure many readers through the ages have not
been great at managing their personal finances and yet managed to
have a public role that stands up to scrutiny. I think it's a
destruction, to be honest. I'm happy to publish mine if I need to but I
think it is truly a destruction from the wider issues that this affair
has exposed about the way in which our tax system internationally has
become divorced from nation states. Taxes are there in order to be able
to allow us, as politicians, to gather in the money to run essential
public services, and if we've got a supranational set of tax rules and
tax dodgers and tax avoidance, tax havens at the heart of these, and
Britain at the heart of organising that, we are undermining our ability
to the services that people in the or Pontypridd need or want. So I
think there is a massive cultural issue at the heart of this. But the
genie is out of the bottle. Do you think Labour should really be
pressing this further, so that we do, and have seen now, the
Chancellor's tax return, Jeremy Corbyn's found and published his.
Should we be seeing every senior politician? Calls by the SNP for the
Cabinet to publish theirs. Do you want to see that? I don't think that
would add a huge amount. The newspapers would love it and there
would easily be public interest in it. Would you constituents like it?
My only income is my Parliamentary salary so if I publish mine, it
would be extremely tedious for everyone. You could work it out
right now. I've got no problems with doing it. But I think that is a
destruction and some in the Conservative Party might like it to
be a distraction from the bigger question we're trying to address.
The newspapers might like it to be a bigger destruction. Let's get down
into the weeds about to file their returns on time or who earned a
little bit extra. But, actually, that is distracting from the much
bigger question about how we reform internationally our tax system, such
that countries can run properly and governments can govern properly. Is
it a problem if you have a government that is imposing
austerity, which you are busy supported as part of that
government, and then revealed in their tax returns that maybe they
are benefiting from tax planning or minimising their taxes? Is there a
contradiction at the heart of that? First of all, what I was about and
what the Conservative Party was about is living within your means,
so it's not all stared at it. It's if you can't afford that, how way
you going to bring more money into the country to be able to afford it,
or how you going to do without it? Service austerity, it wasn't that.
It was, how do you live within your means? This government has taken 4
million people out of paying tax, those low earners. That's right. At
the same time, they have brought in more money from people and companies
paying into the tax system and that's right. The top 10% now are
paying more than they've ever played. They are now paying 50% into
the system. It might not be going as quick as people might like and there
might still be more money that could be brought in but it is a process
from start to finish and this government has done a lot in getting
more taxing from those people who can afford it and those who can't
not having to pay tax. I think S2 is doing a good job of trying to defend
the indefensible. The two big issues are this cultural problem of tax
avoidance and crucially, the other thing... What is the difference
between tax avoidance and tax planning, as somebody said
yesterday? ISA our tax planning, rather than tax avoidance. Where do
you draw the line? You have to understand that there have to be not
what we've got right now, which is one rule for people who may be put a
few quid into an ice or into their pension, and one rule for the
super-rich, like the Prime Minister and the Chancellor of the Exchequer.
These are the very people who benefit from having the wherewithal
and the skills on the money to take advantage of this nexus of tax
havens across the world and we've got to address that. Which is legal.
Perhaps that's the problem. That we have allowed to grow up like Topsy
this combo gated web of tax avoidance and people like the Prime
Minister, the super wealthy, can take advantage of it and ordinary
people in my constituency could never dream of it. Just one thing.
What he did was correct and he paid his tax on what was a unit trust
and, actually, unit trusts are not only used by the trade unions but
also by the guardian, pension funds, so careless words... I'm not care
less, I'm careful. You weren't because this was about saving money
and he's paid all his tax. Should the system need to change? Yes,
that's what we are doing. He is trying to make sure there is greater
transparency, that people with beneficial owners are now being
exposed but this is something that will take time and I agree with you
- people who can afford to pave more money into the tax system to support
people who can't is the right way to go and that's what Conservatives
believe in as well as the Labour Party. Thank you.
Conservative backbenchers have called it an "insult" to voters,
and an action worthy of Robert Mugabe.
The decision by David Cameron to authorise a Government leaflet
to be sent to everyone in the country, setting out why
the Government backs Britain remaining in the EU.
We'll discuss the ?9 million leaflet in just a moment.
First, though, here's a flavour of the debate in the House
Whether the United Kingdom should remain in or leave
the European Union is a huge decision for this country.
It is right that this should be a decision for the British
people as a whole and, equally, it is right that people
have the facts in front of them and understand the reasons
for the Government's recommendations before they go to the poll.
Does the Minister agree with me that some of the reaction to this
publication has been more about trying to silence
the arguments for remaining than trying to counter them?
Does my right honourable friend agree that it is an absurd
proposition that the government of the day is not entitled to form
an opinion or policy on the role of the government
in the modern world, or is not allowed to communicate
the reasons for having that policy to the electorate?
Does the Minister accept that this is not so much Project Fear
as Project Slightly Worrying, because it's been dumbed down?
But isn't it an abuse of public money, an insult to the electors,
and does he realise it's going to drive many more
The Minister will try as hard as he can to bluster this
but the reality is that the public will see through it
and they will realise that this is deeply, deeply unfair.
Furthermore, I was very fortunate enough to get my copy of the leaflet
this morning and I was slightly disappointed that it was printed
Had it been printed on something a bit more absorbent,
then at least my constituents would have been able to put it
As a member of the Council of Europe, part of my responsibility
is election observing and I go round and I have a look
at the conduct of the campaign prior to polling day,
and if I witnessed in any of the countries that I go
to the sort of spiv Robert Mugabe antics that I've seen by this
government, then I would condemn the conduct of that election
We've been joined now by the Conservative MP Nigel Evans,
who you saw there at the end of those clips, and by James
McGrory, chief campaign spokesman for Britain Stronger in Europe.
Welcome to both of you. So there is the leaflet. Not really for
absorbent purposes. But why shouldn't the Government explain
their official position? Well, we hear that David Livingstone is
saying 85 is under the public want more information for stock they want
more information from both sides, not just one of the sites. When he
says the Government is giving its view, part of the government is in
favour and part of the government actually wants to leave. There are
six Cabinet ministers campaigning to leave the EU. There are a lot of
ministers and half the Parliamentary backbenchers want to leave the EU.
But those Cabinet ministers that you mentioned are voting against the
Government's position and that's the official position, isn't it? As I
mentioned in that piece right at the end, and I toned it down, as you may
have seen. I was very, very calm. Calmer now. I'm a member of the
council of Europe. I will be very shortly going to Serbia to observe
their Parliamentary elections and I'll be looking at the run-up to the
election, as well as how the conduct of the poll takes place on the
Sunday. And if things come to my attention whereby the Government is
promoting itself, spending money on pushing itself, as opposed to the
other side, then I'm not going to say it's fair. And that's what it
all comes down to. People want more information but they wanted from all
sides so why didn't the Government just allow both sides to have more
money to spend instead of, I've got to say, spending ?9 million of
taxpayers' money, when I've got potholes into the row. That's where
the money should be going, not on this. ?9 million is an awful lot of
money and there will be an awful lot of taxpayers who will say, I didn't
want it spent on that. It works out at about 30p per household. Believe
campaigns will get money to spend on their own leaflets. -- the Leave
campaigns. The Government has a right to articulated position. The
Government is firmly on the side of remaining in the EU. But did they
have to do it in this leaflet here, which is a fairly weighty, you might
call it, in terms of leaflets, anyway, spelling out that the
government believes are voting to remain in the EU is the best
decision for the UK. It's a fairly weighty issue. At an important
issue. There's a lot to the issue. Jobs, the economy, our place in the
world, security. There's a lot to get through and it's a relatively
small leaflet when you think of the big debate we're having in this
country. People want to hear from their government on a range of
things. The Government spends millions of pounds communicating
with the public, whether it's on welfare, health, Home Office
policies. They're doing it on what I would argue is the biggest issue
facing the country today. It's not worthy of Robert Mugabe, though, is
it. Was that not an overreaction? Absolutely, but it was emphasis to
make a point, which is that it is loading the dice, and part of the
problem is that if it is a tight result in favour to remain, a lot of
people are going to say, "Hold on, this was an unfair election and the
dice was loaded in favour of the Government". They are tried to make
out that these are all facts. They're not. They are opinions.
There is no mention in this document that we've got a ?60 billion deficit
with the rest of the EU and that's one of the reasons they will want to
carry on trading with us. There is not a hope in hell that Angela
Merkel is going to say, we don't want to sell Britain BMWs and
Mercedes. Did you complain about it when they did it in the Scottish
referendum. I didn't realise they were doing it for the Scottish
referendum but I understand why the Scots felt so angry about it. They
did it twice and I didn't see any Conservative MPs complaining them
because you were on the same side of the argument. You don't like the
fact that your Conservative government has taken a different
position from yourself. They should be allowed to to give it that the
people. Why not give ?9 million to the other side to do the same?
Because the Government is a neutral. The Government has a clear position.
Nigel doesn't like it. What about the issue of fairness? In the
campaign, both sides get an equal amount of taxpayers' money to spend.
But you've got an extra 16 page leaflet. Because the government
isn't a neutral actor. The Bank of England... I don't spend ?9 million
in doing so. I don't mind Cameron come the dispatch box and saying, "I
want to stay in," but what I do resent is the dispatch box and
saying, "I want to stay in," but what I do resent is the spending of
?9 million. If you weren't making outrageous claims about your own
government, comparing them to Robert Mugabe, when they did it in
Scotland... You say that this looks as if they're giving facts and you
disagree with some of the facts, but this has also been put through
people's letterboxes, UK and the European Union - the facts. And,
actually, when you read it, in very small print, which I could hardly
read, it's been sent by vote leave. This also gives the impression that
that that is a factual document was top they should have made it clearer
that it was from Vote Leave. I haven't read that. You can have that
copy as a gift from me. You are still doing the same thing as you
complain about on the other side. Vote Leave paid for this, taxpayers
paid for that. But is the crucial difference. If you feel so strongly
about taxpayers' money being used, would you say that the Leave side
shouldn't take a grant for their own leaflets? It's not ?9 million. If
it's being delivered to every person... How can it be cheaper? Why
don't you allow the Leave campaign to raise a further 9.3 million from
subscribers and then they'd be able to use that to get the message out?
It's not really in my gift. Would you do it? Of course not because he
wants it loaded for the Remain side. Is this about the process all the
arguments? It's about the process of getting the units across. People
need the information. I agree with that. There are people sitting at
home without the faintest idea whether we should be in or out. They
probably feel a bit perplexed that a Prime Minister who, just a few weeks
ago, said that if he didn't get a deal he would be believing the --
leading the cannot relieve campaign, and now Armageddon if we leave. Does
the Government have a right to be putting leaflets out like this? I
was surprised that a couple of facts were left out, like the deficit with
Europe, and also the cost of membership, so for something that
was meant to be a fact sheet, I would've thought those two key
points should have been there. They were omitted because they wouldn't
have gone in the camera crew remain campaign's favour but I think
individuals want a sense of fair play. If the polls are as tight as
people say they are, 50% would have wanted some more information. When
you were at the DWP, you didn't articulate the opposition's position
in your press release. There wasn't a referendum. There was an
opposition who was doing exactly the same and we had the exact same
period of time. You pulled out. You've put out an extra leaflet.
Comfortingly, we've got weeks and weeks of this to go. You can take
that with you, Nigel. Thank you very much.
Most new MPs in the 2015 intake have settled
returned to parliament after taking time off to fight breast cancer,
with which she was diagnosed shortly after her election
The Labour MP over-turned a majority of 11,000 to win her Bristol West
Here she is in action on the campaign trail.
If you didn't know, my name is Thangam Debbonaire
and I'm the Labour candidate to be the member
I've got to say, this is one of the most exciting cities to live
Any newcomers in the audience today, that's you guys at the back,
I can really recommend this fantastic city.
Now, she is here with us. You've been back a couple of weeks. How
have you been settling in? My hair doesn't look like that any more! I
wouldn't say it has been painless because I am still suffering
post-operative pain but I have had a warm welcome from colleagues and
members of staff across the house. It is a little difficult because I
don't know the entrances and exits but I am getting there. How
different is the atmosphere from June last year? I was caught up in a
very strange environment having won a seat with a reasonable majority
but discovering we weren't the party of majority in parliament. That was
just as I discovered I had breast cancer. I carried on working as I
was being treated but all in the constituency. How supportive have
your constituency and Parliamentary colleagues been? Brilliant. I think
I've had the time to read all the briefings about all the debates.
There were times watching debates I thought I was the only person who
had watched all the debates and read all the briefings and the Daily
Politics every day. Who was the most helpful? I had help from all across
the house. I wouldn't want to pick one single person out. I really was
quite overwhelmed about how good a place it was to working with a
serious illness. Do you think remote working from Westminster can be
done? I think it can be considered. I'm hoping that in the process of
changing premises we consider things like voting and in second and -- and
in certain circumstances I could have voted, having read everything
about the issue and the only thing I couldn't do was to vote. It was
frustrating that there was no mechanism. Having that degree of
time to study all the topics as serious as they are, do not think it
should be an option that if people are not able to come, they could do
it remotely? The technology is there. You followed all the debates
and had the information to hand, so I think it should be an option. I
would also say in defence of doing it in person, when I was there, I
asked why we were still doing it. It is your only time to see all of the
secretaries of State, the Prime Minister, etc. But if you are happy
to give that up because you want to do it because it is so important to
be at home, then you can. It is the 21st century, we should find
different ways to meet with our colleagues. I was able to pick up
the phone and call and e-mail colleagues. I do believe in debate
in the house but I think it is an issue and I would like it to be
considered as part of parliamentary reform. Can I just say, what a huge
inspiration, they you are, everybody welcome you back. Just as a woman
coming back, living through that and being in parliament, all credit to
you. And you were actually promoted to Shadow Minister for culture,
media to, -- and sport. I am doing the art and culture bit because I am
not familiar with sport! My constituency is a very arty area. I
am a professional cellist. I come from a family of musicians. I am
going to enjoy it. I think it was a good move to appoint someone to a
brief lecture you know something about it. A revolutionary idea! It
is great to have you back. Nice to meet you.
It's Jeremy Corbyn as you've never seen him - an all singing,
all dancing sensation on the London stage.
We're not talking about the man himself - of course -
but the actor who plays the lead role in Corbyn, the Musical,
a new off-west end musical comedy about the Labour Leader's
supposed motorbike holiday through East Germany
Here's Giles with a sneak peak ahead of tonight's opening night.
If I don't hear back, I'm going to go to the council
and have the lleylandia ripped down and shoved right...
# They said I couldn't do it, they said I couldn't win
# There'd never be a PM called Jeremy Corbyn
# Now I am in power, the clouds will disappear
# The sun will shine upon us, hope will conquer fear...#
A satire about Jeremy Corbyn, his fans should like this.
# The world's in my hands, sleep safe at night
# Now you're with the left, we're getting it right
# I didn't sell out, I didn't give in
# You needed a hero, you got Corbyn.#
# Taking on big business, I'll supertax the banks
# I've got rid of the bedroom tax and cancelled all the tanks
# I don't live at Chequers, my palms are never greased
# I've opened up the state rooms to migrants from the East.#
Whilst Labour is the focus, no party or person escapes ridicule.
# Women only carriages, a manifesto vow
# All children have to learn about the works of Chairman Mao
# My career was always stalling, now I am in the driving seat
# Today the red flag's flying above ten Downing St.#
It has Diane Abbott, President Putin, and Jeremy Corbyn
portrayed and it always helps if you pick a lead actor who,
# You needed a hero, you got Corbyn.#
I don't really have such a big beard but I've got...
I think I'm a little more handsome but, who knows?
But here's the key, he's no fan of singing the praises of one
side and bashing the hell out of the other.
No one is safe, everyone is getting some stick from somewhere.
Whether you're in power or you're not in power.
I think the most important thing is that it will,
But it's worth noting that some of the characters are, in real life,
political characters, so how do you avoid caricature?
I've studied a lot of how Diane speaks, her mannerisms,
funnily enough, I think we share a few, so...
Yeah, it's been a really interesting process trying to put
And, on top of the music, there are the odd video inserts.
Mr President, what does this have to do with, sexuality?
Here's the bizarre thing, I'm not only covering it for
the Daily Politics, somehow I'm in it.
And if you're remotely interested in my fate,
And we've been joined by the two writers behind this production -
Why, Jeremy Corbyn the musical? I don't think there is anybody else in
British politics who would justify it. The reaction was astonishing. We
sold out all the tickets in record time. I think it may be because of
the subject matter. What gave you the idea, making it a musical, as
well? Very few politicians have such a colourful back story. Jeremy
Corbyn travelled a lot, went abroad with Diane Abbott, allegedly, to
East Germany. It is very interesting that the young Jeremy Corbyn
probably found it a fitting place to be. How long did it take to write?
About six months. The plot outline took about 20 minutes but then an
awful lot of work after that. Putting the flesh on the bones.
Exactly. It was really quite intense. We didn't realise quite how
much work it would be. Here we are, the day we start this evening,
opening night, we are running off to continue doing things
behind-the-scenes. It is a huge amount of work. You have finished
it? It is not like a Budget Statement? Yes, but there was time
to put in a joke about Jeremy Corbyn finding his tax return. Are you
going to see it? I think I will. It looks fantastic. Is it a comedy. A
fun night, people will go. A few years ago, I went to see Tory Boys,
by the National youth Theatre and that was a fantastically
entertaining night. We have invited him. It pokes fun but it is not
mean. He didn't even reply which wasn't very kind. He might once he
has seen an interview. It could be lit a suicide for him to come so he
could come in a couple of weeks. It is described as James Bond meets the
Kama Sutra, why? We had to Celtic it's! There is a nuclear plotline
and a bit of romance. -- sell tickets. We also invited Diane
Abbott but she hasn't been in touch either. We would be delighted to
send over tickets on a motorbike courier. Any chance of it being
transferred to the West End? We would love it and this is our first
play and we don't really know what we are doing. If you know how to do
it, given as a call. You know who to write to. Giles had a cameo role.
Was he right? I couldn't possibly say. He isn't here today, I think
that says everything. There's just time before we go to
find out the answer to our quiz. The question was -
what happened next? He didn't write off the mortgage of
the one the taxpayers were helping to pay for at Oxford.
I didn't receive a proper answer then.
Well, he wouldn't withdraw dodgy from dodgy David, so obviously John
Burke, the Speaker of the house, it was in the first time he's been
injected, so he left the chamber, not to be able to return for the
rest of the day. I must ask the honourable gentleman
to withdraw the word... Under the power given to me
by standing order number 43, I order the honourable member
to withdraw immediately from the House for the remainder
of this day's sitting. Were you surprised? Were you
surprised that he refused to retract it? No. He is one of the great
characters of the house. He is formidable and he's not going to
change. He's in his 80s and he's not going to change and doubt. That's
what happened. If you say something that isn't acceptable behaviour in
the house, then you will be sent off. Card. Off you go. He was never
going to retract it. The speaker did seem to send him away with sadness
rather than anger. He is always so thoughtful when you have to deliver
something like that so precisely. Thank you
Jo Coburn is joined by the former work and pensions minister Esther McVey to discuss the latest news from Westminster, including a debate about welfare with the shadow work and pensions secretary Owen Smith, the latest on the steel crisis and a discussion about the government's £9 million pro-EU leaflets. The writer of a new production, Corbyn the Musical, also joins Jo.