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Morning, folks, and welcome to the Daily Politics.
It was a damning indictment of his conduct.
But, after the Chilcot Report, Tony Blair insists we would be
in a worse position if he hadn't taken us into the Iraq War.
But is his reputation damaged beyond repair?
Morning, thank you so much for coming.
Do you think Mr Blair should be prosecuted?
Silence on the issue from Jeremy Corbyn this morning.
So, can Labour get over its Iraq legacy?
Conservative MPs are voting to decide which two leadership
candidates will be be put to the party's membership.
Will Gove or Leadsom survive the day?
Alcohol has oiled the cogs of politics for as long
But does it help or hinder the machinery of Government?
Cheers! What do you think?
And sitting here in the studio stone-cold sober for a whole hour
today, how will we cope, is the former Conservative MP
Tony Blair was not on trial and Sir John Chilcot does not
the headline writers have made their own mind up this morning
The Chilcot Report is perhaps the most comprehensive account
of the build-up to a war, its conduct and its
So, what do its 2.5 million words say about the role of politicians,
the intelligence services and the military?
Sir John Chilcot's report spans almost a decade of UK
Government policy decisions between 2001 and 2009.
On military action, Sir John said the UK chose to join the invasion
"before the peaceful options for disarmament had been exhausted".
Tony Blair wrote to George W Bush eight months before the Iraq
invasion to offer his unqualified backing well before UN
weapons inspectors had complete their work,
saying: "I will be with you, whatever."
On weapons of mass destruction, the report found that judgments
about the severity of the threat posed by Iraq's weapons of mass
destruction or WMD were made "with a certainty
On the legal case, the circumstances in which it was decided
that there was a legal basis for UK military action were "far
On military preparedness, Sir John found there was "little
time" to properly prepare three military brigades for
The risks were neither "properly identified nor fully
exposed" to ministers, resulting in "equipment shortfalls".
On the aftermath, despite explicit warnings, the consequences of the
invasion were underestimated. The planning and preparations for Iraq
after Saddam Hussein were wholly inadequate.
I'm joined now by Labour MP Ben Bradshaw.
Tony Blair said yesterday, I made the right decision and the world is
better and safer, do you agree? Yes, I do. If we had left Saddam
Hussein in place and his sons, the most brutal dictator the world has
seen since the Second World War, who had used chemical weapons, who had
invaded two neighbouring countries, the last group that went in off
inspectors said he would reconstitute his weapons programme,
Tony is probably right. At the same time, we need to learn the lessons
just outlined, many of which are serious and critical.
How can the world be safer when the whole Middle East is in chaos? And
spawning terrorist groups that threaten all of us.
You know as well as I do, Islamic terrorism goes back far beyond Iraq.
It has never been worse. Long before 9/11. Look at Syria...
Appoint Tony was making was these judgments are always really
difficult. In the end, prime ministers have to make judgments.
Those who do not agree with those judgments need to reflect on what
the alternative would have been. Saddam Hussein was not behind
Islamic extremism. You are right. The context at the
time, soon after 9/11, was not just about whether he supported Islamic
extremism, it was about the danger of weapons of mass destruction.
But he didn't have any. We now know that. But the consensus of all the
intelligence agencies, not just our own, but across the western world,
Germany, France, was that he did. They moan more equivocal.
-- they were. We knew from the UN he had no nuclear programme, that could
be rolled out. There were reports he had some chemical capability, that
turned out to be false. Where was the threat it is true Iraq was not a
land of Islington liberalism when he was there. Nor was it a threat to
us. It is possible to argue that there have been far more deaths and
far more misery in Iraq since the invasion than before it.
We know there were millions of deaths before. That he invaded two
countries. He had used chemical weapons. He murdered the Kurds in
the north, the Marsh Arabs in the south.
What Sir John Chilcot made clear yesterday, one of the allegations
levelled at Tony, was that there was some fabrication or deceit around
the intelligence. That has been put to rest.
Chilcott says the intelligence should have been challenged.
And it was but not enough. Not challenged by Mr Blair. That is
not what he said this morning. In the end, we rely on our intelligence
services to give us accurate intelligence that they have tested.
You are right the intelligence was wrong but we have known this since
the Butler report. The intelligence was across the
developed world. We took it on good faith and made that decision on good
faith. The other allegations made against
Tony that somehow the Cabinet was misled or there was a secret prior
agreement to go to war, all those things in the report had been laid
to rest. I put it to you the Cabinet was not
involved. At no stage did it take a decision to go to war.
I am sorry, the Cabinet was involved in discussions. I wasn't a member so
I wasn't there. There was a parliamentary vote and for the first
time in British history the Prime Minister gave Parliament a vote.
Knowing what we know today would you still have voted the way you did?
Yes. With the benefit of hindsight, I am not one of those people...
That is a cop out. Explain that. The motion that took us to war was full
of references to WMD and the threat of those. We now know today there
were no weapons of mass destruction. How could you have rated given what
you know today, voted that motion? Because my prime motivation for
voting to that motion was a humanitarian one, to uphold the
integrity of the UN. You are going against the UN, they
didn't back you. There was a record 17 mandatory
resolutions against Saddam Hussain, unique in modern history.
But, I am amazed that you say you would still vote for emotion full of
references to the threat of WMD even though you know now there was no
WMD. People will find that bizarre. You may find it bizarre. I am not
the only one. Many people including my colleagues, good people, who have
spent their life time focusing and working on Saddam's abuse of human
rights, who would have done exactly the same. Their main motivation, if
you look at the debate on that day, it did not focus on the intelligence
but on the UN resolutions and upholding the integrity of the
resolutions. Even though you couldn't get a
resolution through paving the way to war which is why the French wouldn't
go for it. Even though the report shows you
haven't exhausted the options for war, there were other options.
That there was no proper post-war planning for the aftermath.
No WMD. And we didn't equip our army properly to fight. Despite all that,
you would still proceed with what you did then.
Those last three criticisms are legitimate and should be taken on
board. But I do not agree with his finding. If you listen to what Sir
Gerry Greenstock said today, do I agree there was somehow more time we
could have given Saddam -- Jeremy. We could have given him more time?
30 days to comply and he hadn't complied.
Sir John Chilcot himself said we might have had to go to war. It is
easy for him to say that but when you are Prime Minister and faced
with this decision, the decision you take is based on a judgments. Given
the history of Saddam Hussein, all the games he played with the UN, and
his record, that was the decision Tony Blair faced, and I still think
you took the right decision based on what we knew at that time in good
faith. After the invasion of Kuwait when
the collision kick him out, much of his army was broken. We now know he
ended his attempt to have WMD. His status in the region was in decline.
If we hadn't invaded, in what way would Saddam Hussein have been a
threat? Look at what has happened in Syria
as a result of non-intervention, where you have a similarly brutal
dictator, where far more people have died. We have the biggest refugee
crisis since World War II. We can't be sure that would have happened.
Given Saddam's record and what happened in the Arab Spring...
In what way would Saddam had been a threat to our allies in the region
or to us? If he had stayed in power? We know from the last report of the
Iraqi inspection group he would have tried to redevelop his nuclear
weapons of mass to programme. You know what they found, one disk.
But they talked to people in his regime, and it was quite clear from
their report, it is in the Chilcot Report if he had stayed, he would
have done this. He had done it before. The idea if we had left him
in place, Iraq would have been some great, peaceful...
No one is saying that. You are asking me to say with certainty what
would have happened in Iraq if we have left Saddam in place. The
closest parallel is what we have seen in Syria. That is why we must
learn the lessons of this report but please let us not learn the wrong
lessons which is that it is never right and justified to intervene.
Matthew Parris? Listening, I get some sense of why the Labour left
and the Jeremy Corbyn faction are so angry, of what drives them at this
denial of a total catastrophe. I was against the Iraq war from the start.
But it was not a crime. It was worse, a huge blunder, a chapter of
miscalculations and incompetence. Two charges laid against Tony Blair
go too far, however. That he knowingly lied. I don't think he did
and I didn't think the Chilcot Report suggests it. And that he had
private understandings with the US president, I don't think it is wrong
for statesmen to have private understandings with other statesmen,
even if in this case they lead to a catastrophe.
The wedding, I will be with you what ever. But... Remember, at that time,
Tony's priority was to get the US to go down the UN route. We did go down
the UN route. There were no caveats to the word,
what ever. What follows in that memo is the need to get a wider coalition
together. Nope caveats to, I will be with you, what ever.
Any fair-minded person reading the rest of the note would see it in the
context of a British Prime Minister trying to persuade the American
Government when we knew that Donald Rumsfeld wasn't interested in going
down the UN route, and it did happen.
But he did say, if we don't get UN support, I am not with you.
In a further note from Bush, he made quite clear that if the UN route
succeeded there would be no military action. That was the context in
which Tony Blair was persuading the Americans.
Stay with us because there are developments in this attempted slow
motion coup in the Labour Party. Len McCluskey, the biggest union leader
in their country was questioned about reports
asked Owain Smith and Angela Eagle to hold off a leadership challenge.
we are seeking time, we are asking people to give us time. There is no
haste here, no rush for anybody to declare. We are asking people to
give us a little bit of time to see what we can do. It looks like they
have agreed to that, so this isn't just a slow motion coup, it's a coup
without a leader. I would not call it a coup when the majority of your
Shadow Cabinet and people who have served you loyally for ten months
have decided you are not the right person to lead the party. It's more
like a strike. I hope he succeeds for the sake of the country.
Succeeds in asking Jimmy Corrigan to stand down? Absolutely, we need a
competent and well lit progressive centre-left party to speak for the
48% of the population who voted to remain. Why won't anyone step
forward? I think what people are trying to do is give Jeremy that
space to be persuaded... I don't get the feeling Len McCluskey will try
to tell Jeremy Corbyn to step down. It was said that talks have been
productive and they need more time to reach a resolution over the
weekend and you must be hoping that Len McCluskey says it is time to go
to Jeremy Corbyn. It sounds to me that Len McCluskey is thinking they
could build bridges? We are trying to read the mind of Len McCluskey
which is not always the easiest thing. The vast majority of those
colleagues, Labour MPs who have worked very hard with Jeremy to try
to make this work would like and hope that he can persuade Jeremy to
do the right thing for the party. If somebody doesn't step forward we
have a dysfunctional opposition don't we? I have no doubt this can't
go on for much longer and if somebody doesn't... If Jeremy cannot
be persuaded to step down and do the right thing there will be a
challenge. It would drag on indefinitely. Is it not remarkable
that even though after the referendum the Tories formed a
circular firing squad and behaved in a way that made even the Oxford
University will up that they may resolve, they will probably resolve
their leadership problems before your party? That wouldn't be for the
first time, the Conservatives tend to be much more effective and brutal
in how they deal with their leaders and settle leadership contests. Ben
Bradshaw, thank you very much for being with us.
Earlier this morning, Tony Blair expressed regret
that he didn't challenge intelligence about Saddam
Hussein's supposed weapons of mass destruction.
But he insisted he still believed he was right to overthrow
He was speaking on Radio 4's Today Progamme.
I agree completely when you go back over it, for example
on intelligence, yes, in retrospect, it would be
I understand the mistakes of planning, there are lots
of things I will take responsibility for and express deep regret for.
It was the biggest decision I ever took in Government.
But, sometimes, the problem is that I feel, until I say to people, OK,
I wish we had not joined the American coalition,
that we had not got rid of Saddam, until I say that, people will not
I can regret the mistakes, many things about it.
But I genuinely believe not just that we acted out of good motives
I sincerely believe we would be in a worse position
These are incredibly difficult judgments.
Why don't they just see the disagree? Tony Blair this morning,
they should turn that into a TV show.
I'm joined now by the George Galloway, the leader
The Chilcot report has been described by many as robust and even
damning, do you share that judgment? Utterly damning and even more so
because it came from the heart of the establishment. When it was
appointed I described it as a parade of establishment flunkies which they
did not turn out to be, but they the establishment. John Chilcot has
performed a National Service and in the neck of time, the British state
was rocking after Brexit, the expenses scandal. I would say give
him a knighthood but Tony Blair already gave him one, Sir John
Chilcot has pulled some iron is out of the fire for us. He has recovered
some national honour although as we have been listening to their are
some like those Japanese soldiers who used to be found on the mort
islands coming out of a Vauxhall still declaring their undying
loyalty to the Emperor. There are such people still around and one has
just been on your programme. But the will of the people is that John
Chilcot was right and with all the Augusta language and demeanour that
he displayed yesterday it seems to me utterly damning and no road back.
Do you therefore accept that Chilcot does not show or claim that Tony
Blair lied? You can only know what is in somebody's heart and mind if
you are the mighty. The fact is whether he was the idiot or a nave
the same results. I think it has opened up now and I am sure as we
are speaking lawyers are working on it. Joshua Rosenberg wrote in The
Guardian this morning, it opens up the door for Tony Blair having to
appear in court. What would be the basis for that since Chilcot does
not opine on the issue of whether this was an illegal war? Perhaps it
does not provide evidence that it was an illegal war, what would be
the legal basis of the walk in charge? Misconduct. I don't think it
would be war criminal charges, it would be misconduct in public
office. There is plenty in Chilcot to demonstrate that the use of his
primer studio towers were reckless. To establish a case of misuse,
misconduct in public office. I am sure the wide, mothers, fathers and
even children of those who fell in the British forces are examining and
exploring these options. You think the war, no road which many on the
left have talked about, that that is pretty much for closed at misconduct
in public office could still be a legal route to pursue? Yes, the ICC
doesn't have the power to punish aggressive war, even unlawful war
although I have asked the Pope to punish it today. It is established
in Chilcot that Tony Blair waged what we call on just war, the
catholic teaching is very clear from Saint Thomas on this. Unjust war
where all other options have not been explored. You are bringing the
Pope into this? Yes, I think Catholics all over the world deserve
the holy Father to opine on this but that's perhaps are rarefied issue
only for Catholics. But the ICC cannot because its statutes don't
allow it to prosecute war prior... It does not define what an
aggressive war would be. What do you make of, not the war, no road, many
will not be happy until he is, what you make of the misconduct in public
office route? I think if proceeding on the basis of only partial
evidence, not giving the electorate or the media the whole story
amounted to misconduct there is hardly a Prime Minister who would
not be guilty of misconduct in public office. Not with the same
scale of cost. Ben Bradshaw's statement, Tony Blair's statement
that the world is safer because of what he did does not even past the
straightfaced test, never mind any legal test. The world is in flames,
fanatic extremism cascading everywhere, exploding everywhere
even in our own streets. Iraq is in pieces, Syria is in pieces, Libya,
Yemen, Saudi Arabia may soon be. The idea that the world is saved her now
because of these jokers is utterly ridiculous. The cost of this
misconduct is far greater than getting the marginal rate of income
tax wrong or the DVL regulations. What are the foreign policy
implications? Let me put a point I pity somebody else yesterday, we
intervened in Iraq and occupied Iraq, it's a mess. We intervened in
Libya but we did not occupy and it's a mess. We did not intervene or
occupy Syria and it is a mess. What are the foreign policy implications?
They were afraid to repeat the Iraqi experience. Which would have
happened if they had occupied Libya. It's flying in the face of the
reality, it almost leaves one speechless. Al-Qaeda in Iraq was a
response to the invasion of Iraq, they moved into Syria and became
Isis. You ask about foreign policy implications, I think they are about
containment is often a better way of dealing with dangers in the world
than trying to go in and destroy and remove people. In the memo, the
whatever memo he does say we could go for containment. Incidentally the
next word is not but as Ben Bradshaw wrongly stated, there are a series
of caveats but not the word whatever and it isn't but. Where does foreign
policy go from here? It is in a dreadful mess, the policy options we
poor sued -- we poor sued -- per sued it's hard to see how we put
these pieces back together. One thing ought to be a lesson, that
supporting dictators like Saudi Arabia and Iraq before it, because
the Iran war was fought with our weapons and our taxpayers gave
export credit guarantees. British weapons? British weapons, German,
American. Remember the super-gun. That was a con. What British
weapons? British arms companies work heavily involved in supplying Saddam
Hussein. I don't know which particular calibre of gun but they
were definitely... When I was in Iraq all the weapons were Soviet. Of
course the Soviet Union supplied a Lot. They denied, they blamed Iran
464 months after it. -- for six full months after it. The moral authority
of these people is gone, a period of ashamed silence would be in order.
George Galloway, thank you for being with us.
Yesterday, the Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn apologised
on behalf of the Labour Party for the disastrous decision to go
to war but he did not attack Tony Blair personally.
Politicians and political parties can only grow stronger
by acknowledging when they get it wrong, and by facing
So, I now apologise sincerely on behalf of my party
for the disastrous decision to go to war in Iraq.
Apologies are owed first to the people in Iraq.
Hundreds of thousands of lives have been lost and the country
is still living with the devastating consequences of the war,
They have paid the greatest price for the most serious foreign policy
Apologies are also owed to the families of those soldiers
who died in Iraq or who returned injured and incapacitated.
They did their duty but it was in a conflict they should
We're joined now by the Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry.
Should Jeremy Corbyn have cited and condemned the actions of Tony Blair
personally? No, I think that would be a mistake,
the lessons from the Chilcot Report are much wider. We have to be very
careful not to get ourselves into traditional scapegoats mode. If we
focus on Tony Blair, and say he made all the mistakes, then we don't, the
lessons are so much wider. And they apply today, two actions in the
future. We cannot take a short cut. The Chilcot Report is very
challenging for all of us, we have decisions to make on Libya coming
up, on Syria. Those decisions should be informed by the report.
But will the supporters of Jeremy Corbyn in the Labour Party, a lot of
the membership will have been disappointed not to have heard his
direct condemnation of Tony Blair. You can't blame one man, but he was
the thread running through this whole report.
The thread running through was that we went into war without thinking it
through properly. The failure was a collective
failure. My question was about the supporters being disappointed.
I think they understand Jeremy is a thoughtful man. He does think these
things through and he speaks the truth as he sees it.
Does this go to the root causes of the divisions you are experiencing
now in the Labour Party in terms of Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters,
people like you, and the other MPs who would like to see Jeremy Corbyn
stand down. Does this still divide the party?
No, I don't think it does. When Jeremy apologised on behalf of the
Labour Party yesterday, I think he did apologise on behalf of the vast
majority. Not so Ben Bradshaw. Nor for Austin who shouted at him to
sit down. We are a collision on the left,
there will always be dissenting voices.
He spoke on the vast McCutcheon on behalf of the vast majority, and
generally. Does this still infect the Labour
Party at times when it is imploding? We need to think carefully about
intervention. One of the things we have did -- Heated debates.
On domestic policy there is little disagreement in the Labour Party.
There is a difference of interpretation in foreign policy,
whether we should or should not intervene.
You saw that in the vote on Syria. On domestic policy, we are much more
united. The idea that it still doesn't still
divide the party? It does.
It is a fatal stain if one can have a fatal stain on the Labour
moderates, their involvement with that part of Blairism for invading
Iraq. They have as it were diminished themselves by that. Some
of them like Ben Bradshaw are still sticking by it.
I am interested in your view that you take collective responsibility.
You don't talk about individuals. But he was Prime Minister, Tony
Blair. Are you saying any Labour leader would have behaved in the way
Tony Blair did? No, you know I'm not saying that.
But it was a collective decision, and we need to look at the
intelligence. Why did they get it so wrong? Why did it end with
parliament being misled? Whether it was done on purpose or not doesn't
matter. The fact is Parliament was misled.
How did it happen? Why was evidenced not looked at more carefully?
Why was there and not more collective decision-making?
That is Sir John Chilcot. We don't have to go through that again.
I am re-emphasising. Tony Blair was in charge but these
things are collective decisions. Sir John Chilcott said these things
must be collective. From a point of view of your own
internal therapy I can see you don't want to point fingers. For the rest
of the world we are still quite interested in whether Tony Blair
made some very serious mistakes. He has apologised for making
mistakes. Clearly he made mistakes but he was not the only one.
Still the Labour Party is in stalemate, can it carry on for much
longer? Yes, the Labour Party can carry on.
We have enough people with good will to find a proper future. The country
is crying out for a proper opposition.
Can you carry on where there is a case of the bulk of the Parliament
tree party still at odds with Jeremy Corbyn being leader?
As I said last time I was on, we have two sort something out.
Should there be a leadership challenge?
We have a great advantage of having had quite senior people whose
professional job is as negotiators, Len McCluskey...
How did you read Len McCluskey's comments earlier about talks with
Jeremy Currin. Owen Smith has said he is there will be a resolution,
will it be that Jeremy Corbyn stand down?
The best way of conducting negotiations is to do it behind
closed doors in an of trust. Do you understand the resolution is
he will go? The resolution is we need to talk
together and find a collective decision.
Is that what Len McCluskey is negotiating?
I have not been directly involved, it is not for me to comment or
second-guess. I know Len McCluskey is going in without a predetermined
outcome. He wants to draw people together.
Owen Smith says he is reassured, he is one of those who considered
challenging Jeremy Corbyn, that is the outcome he wants. Should Angela
Eagle challenge for the leadership and get this going?
I think it is a good idea to allow Len McCluskey to have time to
conduct discussions properly. We need to back off and be sensible and
see where this takes us. You may be back on the programme
before too long. We have a bunk bed in the corner for
you! Saves you from going home.
Now, Conservative MPs are voting in their party's leadership contest.
Theresa May, Michael Gove and Andrea Leadsom.
The candidate with the fewest votes after today's round
The final two being put to a ballot of the entire Tory membership.
This morning, Andrea Leadsom has been making a final pitch
She spoke to us about criticisms that she had embellished her CV of
her experience in the City before becoming an MP.
None of my colleagues have misrepresented I was managing
investments on behalf of pensioners and savers. I was not a fund
manager. I have been very clear, I have
worked in the markets, I have worked in banking, I have worked in funds
management as head of corporate governance working closely
with the chief investment officer. You don't regret how your previous
experience has My CV as I have presented
it is exactly accurate. My CV is accurate that
I have set out with the We're now joined by the Conservative
MPs Daniel Kawczynski And Matthew Parris doesn't
have a vote any more but, if he did, We have all candidates covered.
Heather, let us talk about that CV. Had she overstated her experience of
her CV? It is incredible that here we are a
week into everything and the dirty tricks have started. Of course not.
She is Constable with her CV. I am comfortable she is the fresh start
our party needs. Let us look at the claims. The Times
reported Andrea Leadsom had no role in managing funds or advising
clients during ten years from 19 at 9-2009. Is that the case or not?
I have no idea, I wasn't in the City on that side, I was in the insurance
side. She has answered it clearly. You believe her and the experience
she put down on that CV is true. I am appalled the dirty tricks have
started. Who is responsible? You will have to
ask another person. Is that coming from the Michael Gove
camp? All I am interested in is who will
be in the final Dawlat. It is important it should be Michael Gove
and Theresa May. I have been supporting Michael Gove because of
the leadership he showed over Brexit but I am comfortable with either as
our next Prime Minister. And the responsibility for dirty
tricks, are you as appalled about this?
The contest could have been done in a better way, with maybe fewer
personal attacks and dirty tricks, of course. Unfortunately, when there
is a lot at stake, of course, tempers will fray. People are very
emotional. We are doing a very important thing, selecting the next
Prime Minister. This isn't student politics, this is
incredibly important. Also, it is incredibly important,
and trust is important, so is accuracy in terms of personal
details. To return to the CV again, Andrea
Leadsom said she was a managing director at her brother in law's
investment fund. When you look at companies house documents, she is
referred to as marketing director. Is it important she is accurate? Her
spokesman said they updated the CV to prevent any further
misapprehension. Misapprehension or misconstruing.
That is done. The team have explained what happened.
I am comfortable with that. We need to talk about the policies and why
Andrea will be the fresh start our country needs.
People don't know who she is. She is and is tested.
Her speech was superb. -- She is not tested.
It is about policy which is why the speech this morning was important. I
hope the BBC will show all of that speech.
In terms of tempers running high, emotions out there in the Tory
party, is that why Nick Boles sent a text message to fellow MPs
suggesting they vote tactically to stop Andrea Leadsom being in the
final Dawlat? That is regrettable and he has
issued an apology for that. He has stated Michael Gove was not aware of
that initiative? I am glad he has apologised, that was inappropriate.
Is there something frightening about Andrea Leadsom as he says?
An important point. I would like to tell you there are members of my
association in Shrewsbury who have approached me, senior members, who
have genuine concerns about Andrea Leadsom becoming Prime Minister
because of the lack of experience. Highly competent but only an MP for
six years. She has never held a senior position in Cabinet.
She has more experience than David Cameron when he became Leader of the
Opposition. What is her experience? Two years as
a minister, she has been at the dispatch box goodness knows how many
times. David Cameron going the Leader of
the Opposition, as opposed to Prime Minister, does that make a
difference? Absolutely not. She is a lead -- She
is a lady of steel. Michael Gove is running scared.
We are not running scared. We want to reflect what our own members are
saying to us. I spent last week in my constituency
of Shrewsbury listening to my executive Council and members. They
want two alternatives to be put to them from different perspectives but
they want experience. By members have said to me they are concerned
that this lady, very competent though she is, does not have the
experience of running major Government departments, to be
catapulted into becoming our Prime Minister.
I hope this process ends with her getting a very senior position.
What would you like to see in a Michael Gove Government?
That is something for him to decide if he becomes Prime Minister. She is
a raw talent, she ought to be utilised. She is not yet ready to be
Prime Minister. Isn't that patronising? I wonder
whether the good old boys are having a go.
She is not part of the metropolitan elite, but a Midlands MP. How
refreshing would that be, to lead the country?
You think it is student politics, why?
Such is the atmosphere of intrigue and mistrust, I even begin to wonder
whether Nick Boles and his text was a loose cannon straying off brief,
or whether it is one of those, because it was only Nick Boles, it
can be denied by the Michael Gove camp.
Can you imagine Michael Gove being involved?
He might have guessed it would be helpful and was careful not to ask
for permission. Does it fit with the Machiavellian
view of Michael Gove? My experience of Michael Gove was
when he was Chief Whip and I think he's one of the most dependable and
articulate politicians I have come across. That is not what I asked.
The media have tried to perceive him, show him as... We did not make
up that he stabbed Boris Johnson... I have heard two versions of this
story and only those in that dispute will know the truth. The media loves
disputes of this nature. My own experience is he is dependable and
trustworthy. Matthew Parris, Theresa May riding high out in front, what
do we know of her outside the Home Office? Not very much, she has stuck
to her brief and colleagues say she does not open intervene in areas of
government outside of the Home Office so we don't know much. We
know she is what you might call a fairly progressive conservative who
thinks the party needs to appeal more broadly. Remarks about the
nastier party have been endlessly... They have dogged her for years. What
about her stance on the future and security of EU foreign nationals
living here at the moment? Has it been a mistake? I think it's been
phrased mistakenly, I think what she should have said was that it was her
fervent wish and she was pretty confident she could achieve it, that
foreign nationals here would be able to stay but this must be a matter
for negotiation when we have our own nationals on the continent to thank.
That would've been a better way of putting it. It has been condemned by
the others saying they shouldn't be bargaining chips. Everything is a
bargaining chip in politics. We have just been interviewing the Foreign
Secretary and it's right that the government has too privatised
British citizens living in the EU but there are 800,000 Polish people
here, hard-working and dedicated people and they need to have the
reassurance they will be allowed to stay in the UK as soon as is of
thank you to all of you. A senior Labour MP said the move against
Jeremy Corbyn is finished according to reports. After a lengthy
discussions between Tom Watson and union officials failed to solve the
impasse. Now, the Government was defeated
last night after an Opposition debate in the Commons calling
for them to commit to giving EU nationals currently living
in the UK the right to remain Conservative MPs were whipped
to abstain on the vote. But the Government tried to make
clear that they had no intention to some of the exchanges
during that debate. Let me start by inviting the House
to join me in sending a very clear message to the EU nationals
living in the UK that You are truly valued
members of our society, I think it is absolutely right
to issue the strongest possible reassurance to EU nationals in this
country, not just for moral or humanitarian reasons, but for very
sound economic reasons as well. They are welcome,
they are necessary, they are a vital part of our society
and I would be passionately We fully expect the legal
status of EU nationals living in the UK and that of UK
nationals of EU member states will Given that both the UK
and the EU want to maintain a close relationship,
we are confident that we will work together and that the EU and British
citizens will be protected through Joined by Nick Ross and, and
emigration lawyer, welcome to the programme -- an immigration lawyer.
If Parliament votes to give everybody the right to remain here
who is already here and in EU national isn't that it, it is done?
It should be, there will be more complicated issues about
transitional arrangements once the UK leads the EU, about people who
are here or just arriving. There will be complexities around that. If
there is a decision to allow all those EU nationals already here from
a certain date to stay then that's the end of the story because when we
leave the EU, EU rights cease and it's just a matter of national law.
Do we have any idea what the rates of EU nationals would be as
currently constituted if we were leaving? We know what the rates are
if we are in the EU, they have the same rights as we have effectively,
to be here, what happens if we leave? It depends on what the
statisticians now under EU law and how that's recognised in British
law. Typically, as James Brokenshire said yesterday, in EU national who
has been here for five years can in principle apply for Premarin
residence and get confirmation, that is in EU law status but it's very
similar to the UK status of indefinite leave to remain which you
would get here if you are living here for five years. It also has
legal implications that are very similar to indefinite leave to
remain in terms of access to British nationality, access to benefits and
other things. If individuals have acquired that status and can show
that they have obtained it over five years, they would carry that status
board and I am sure it would be respected beyond the UK leaving the
EU. Certain protections, no one is ever quite sure how strong they are,
the Vienna Convention has been called into this argument but also
the EC HR and the UN are clear on being opposed to collective
expulsion so you can just kick a whole category of people out?
Absolutely, I think it's unthinkable to think we would get to that stage,
it just wouldn't happen. But Joe Reitz, it is not allowed under
international law, if there was collective expulsion or even
individual expulsion, based on whether you meant certain
requirements it would be so complicated to try and unravel what
are the right people have, they may own property, they may have allsorts
of rights to property under international law and the dreaded
word, human rights that you would accrue over a period of time would
complicate any sort of attempt to try and send you home. I think it's
unthinkable we would get to this stage where there would be any sort
of individual deprecation or mass deportation. It would seem to me
there is an overwhelming majority in the House of Commons to give those
already here continuing rights to be here on the same basis. Yes and to
that extent this is a little bit of a storm in a teacup. I can't imagine
Parliament ever voting to expel EU nationals who are here but there is
a lot to discuss, Theresa May is right about that. The axis of 1
million or so British people in Spain to the Spanish health system,
these things have to be negotiated. We will leave it there, thank you
for being with us. Now, international events,
political ideology, personal animosity,
all these can change I never touch the stuff, of course,
but I'm told plenty of alcohol is consumed here at Westminster
and it's a help to some politicians # Hey, bartender,
give that man a drink! I was enjoying a drink in the Red
Lion when Tony Blair phoned me Obviously, I couldn't speak
to the Prime Minister in a pub. Even now, I can't say
what he said to me. That is the sweet taste of remaining
in the European Union. Mr Joyce had been drinking,
and look possessed and completely out of it,
according to one witness. After shouting, there are too
many Tories in this bar. The former Labour MP told police
officers that he nutted a guy. Not everyone who drinks
get involved in fights. I don't gossip about
people over lunch. I don't go drinking
in Parliament's bars. And we're joined now
by the political correspondent Ben Wright who has just written
a book about politics and drink for which, I am told,
he conducted extensive research! He has only just got out of
hospital! Are lots of this you see politicians drinking pints of beer,
it's a photo opportunity, to show I am a man or woman of the people,
Harold Wilson used to do it in public and he had a pipe, the minute
he got into his private quarters out came the cognac and the cigar. Yes,
politicians love being pictured with pints because it sends a signal that
they are like them, they share their vices. They have been doing it for
as long as we have had politicians, go back to Hallgarth in Georgian
England, he will be depicting elections awash with booze. You
couldn't bribe voters by buying the drinks back then, now they just go
behind the bar, pull pint and hold it to the camera. Nigel Farage is
not putting it on. He is also seen drinking wine at times which the
other politicians would rather not. It is said the drinking culture, and
still is one in parliament, but it's not as bad as it was is that right?
The book I have written is largely a story of drinking decline certainly
amongst senior ministers, Prime Minister's and the House of Commons
and the bars are not as packed as you might remember. 20 or 30 years
ago the smoking room, the strangers bar where a rant, and they are
tribal as well, strangers rammed full of Labour MPs. Now it feels
like that on a Thursday night because of the change in hours and
an awareness of the damage that drink does and the fact that MPs are
working much harder it means they are not renting might be used to. I
was on the terrace for research purposes a couple of days ago one
evening and it was rammed. Drink fuelled gossip, everyone talking
about the labour and Tory leadership races. A conveyor belt of drinks
coming from the bar. Does politics need it, does it need that in order
for the wheels of political chat and debate and discussion to continue? I
think it has always been and remains a very important ingredient in the
way politics works. Among MPs on the bar of an evening but also for a
Prime Minister relaxing at the end of the day. Margaret Thatcher having
a glass of bells with his friends and advisers, it's the same for
American presidents. FDR had Martini hour every evening for an hour on
the oval office desk. It's important to them. It can go too far when I
was in the House of Commons I took Sheila Faith, the MP for the
adjoining constituency to mine, I took her into the Kremlin as we used
to call it, she was teetotal and hadn't been in and and want to go in
on her own. So we went in and she had a lemonade and a Labour MP whose
name I will not die vulture got down onto the floor and pretended to be a
dog -- whose name I will not die vulture. He started barking and
biting her ankles until she beat a hasty... I'm not surprised! Don't
miss out on that book. The 1pm news about to start on BBC One, and have
now because we are off a little earlier. I will be back.
And I will be back tonight for This Week with Michael Portillo.
David Lammy, Isabel Hardman, Omid Djalili, Douglas Murray,
Depending on the football timings, we should be on around