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Hello and welcome to the Daily Politics.
The two people challenging Jeremy Corbyn for the Labour
leadership will be making their pitch to fellow MPs today,
but will a unity candidate emerge and if so, who?
The Labour leader seems to be taking the threat to his position as a bit
We'll be looking at what happens next in this battle
The vote on whether to replace the Trident nuclear weapons system
could hardly have come at a worse time for Labour.
Is the government forcing the issue just to divide their opponents?
Politics has been a pretty rough business recently,
but can some of the blame for that be laid at the door
And as Boris Johnson takes to the world stage for the first
time as foreign secretary, we'll be asking is he the right man
And things may be hotting up here at Westminster,
in more ways than one, but I'm joined by two MPs who are
always as cool as cucumbers - it's the Conservative MP
Nicholas Soames and the Labour MP Lisa Nandy, both sheltering
from the heatwave in our studio for the rest of the show.
First today, Theresa May is in Cardiff this morning meeting
with the first minister of Wales, Carwyn Jones.
We're told the new Prime Minister will emphasise her strong personal
support for the union, and repeat her commitment to working
with the devolved governments of the UK ahead of negotiations
The man who'll be responsible for those negotiations
is David Davis, the Secretary of State for exiting the EU,
and he talked to Sky News yesterday about his hopes for new trade deals
Liam is going around the world and he is going to be making huge
trade deals all over the place and we'll get a very,
very large trade deal, much bigger than the European Union,
I'm not going to set Liam targets, but a multiple of the size
And the moment we leave they will all come in.
That is actually an enormous upside to this thing.
He sounded very confident, do you think this Brexit idea from a remain
perspective may succeed? Let's hope for all our sakes that it does.
David Davis is right, there are big opportunities for trade, but the
problem is it is all very well to get agreement in principle on a
trade deal, but to get from point a to point B is a very complex and
difficult matter. That will be a factor in the speed at which these
transactions will be undertaken. Do you think this optimism is not going
to be genuinely felt when it comes to former negotiations? No, we have
to be optimistic about the future, but it has to be optimism tinged
with realism. Australia has already called for a free-trade deal with
Britain following our exit from the European Union when it comes, so
people are up for it. It is right we should be exploring all of the
opportunities, but I was worried when I saw David Davies claiming
they would have a trade deal that was perhaps bigger than the whole of
that world trade that is available to us. It seems we have learned very
little from the Brexit campaign which made claims that did not stack
up and which they later abandoned. What we want to see in a job like
that is somebody who is optimistic but realistic and he does not fit
the bill. In terms of scaremongering, some of that came
from the remain side, particularly from people like George Osborne, and
Liam Fox, the new International trade Secretary, he says he is
working on about a dozen trade deals and out of that welcome something
that will benefit us. I agree with the idea about being entirely
realistic. I think David Davis is right to be optimistic and to get
people to lift their eyes to the hills and to see what is going to
come, but it will be a long, hard slog. Of course the Canadians and
the Americans will all want to do trade deals with us and it does not
happen overnight. We will have to be realistic about how long this will
take. How long will it take? David Davis has already set out a broad
timetable, trigger article 50 and it is all set up by January 20 19. None
of these things go like rail lines and a train on rail lines and I
think we need to press on as quickly as we can. You would go for a quick
starts I would do what Liam Fox is doing, which is to get on with
overtures to our friends. The Trade Minister, together with Mark Price,
the former Trade Minister, they will go round all our potential partners
getting in place the architecture so that we can press forward. If we
cannot formally negotiate until Article 50 is triggered... No one
knows when that will be. Is he the right man for the job? When I was
Minister for the Armed Forces David Davis was a minister for Europe and
he is a very confident, clever, tough negotiator. You were shaking
your head. What we need to hear from David Davis, or whoever Theresa May
chooses in this critical position, him and Liam Fox and Boris Johnson
have all been tasked with major relations with the rest of the
world. We need to hear about the terms of the deals and who they
benefit. They cannot be conducted behind closed doors and they must
benefit the workforce here and not just be done on the basis we will
take whatever deal we can get. Deals have been consistently one of the
ways that the UK has been a force for good in the UK and the rest of
the world. I have not heard anything from any of the people she is
accounted about anything like that. The UK could continue to get tariff
free access to the European market whilst allowing it to impose rules
on immigration. That sounds like having it all. There is no such
thing as having it all. We are at the beginning of this very long
process and Lisa knows that very well. These trade deals need to be
good trade deals. Would that be a good one? That would be wonderful if
we could get it. But one does not assume that it is all going to be
plain sailing with the European Union, but we have to make our case
for the best possible deal we can get.
The question for today is about Labour leader Jeremy
He learnt about a new playground craze thanks to Adam
on the Sunday Politics, but what was that craze?
At the end of the show, Nicholas and Lisa will give
I know this one. I have never seen you so excited. There is no prize.
MPs will vote this afternoon on whether to renew the UK's Trident
In one of her first acts as Prime Minister, Theresa May
will move a motion in the commons saying that Trident remains
essential to the UK's security and to protecting our way of life.
The Trident weapons system currently operates
To maintain this requires four submarines, one armed
The current fleet of submarines is due to become obsolete by the end
of the decade and will begin to end their working lives some
MPs need to decide now whether to replace them
as new submarines could take up to seventeen years to develop.
The government says it will cost ?31 billion to renew,
but opponents like the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament put
the estimate far higher at over ?200 billion.
The Conservatives committed to renewing Trident in their 2015
manifesto, but the Labour party is split over the issue.
While leader Jeremy Corbyn opposes renewal and will vote
against the motion he has given his MPs a free vote
and many look set to support the Government's renewal plans.
Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry, however,
says she will abstain because the Government
is using the decision to "play games with the Labour Party".
The SNP are unanimous in their opposition to Trident
and all 54 of their MPs will vote against today's motion.
Speaking to the BBC this morning defence Secretary Michael Fallon
insisted the vote, which isn't binding,
We have postponed this vote for several months now
because of the referendum and the elections before it.
There will be a large number of Labour MPs,
I hope MPs from all sides of the House, who have always
supported a nuclear deterrent and I hope will be voting
We don't see this as a party political issue.
I hope we will get the largest possible majority from Parliament.
That was Michael Fallon. We are joined by the Green Party MP
Caroline Lucas. Welcome. Lisa Nandi, which way will you go? I will not be
supporting the motion because having read it, it has become very clear
that what Theresa May is doing is abandoning the commitment to
multi-natural disarmament which my party has believed in ever since the
beginning of nuclear weapons. This marks a shift in the Tory party's
position. I will listen to what she has got to say, but if I do not hear
a plan around multilateral disarmament, I will be voting
against. You had been in favour, you are changing your position. I am not
a pacifist, I believe there are reasons to think we may need a
nuclear deterrent now and Trident may be that solution. But the truth
is just you recognise the conditions
for disarmament do not currently exist, it does not mean we should
not aspire to rid the world of nuclear weapons and take concrete
steps to do that. What Theresa May has done in the wording of this
motion today is to take that off the table, definitely for 20-30 years,
but potentially for good, and I am concerned about that. There was a
phrase that said, we commit ourselves to nuclear weapons for as
long as the global security situation demands. That is an open
ended, vague statement which goes back on the commitments we have made
as a country and for my party in government and I cannot support
that. What do you say? Of course I respect views like that and there
are very honourable views held on both sides. I was a defence Minister
for five years in the 90s and nothing has changed my views since I
was party to the information that I knew about them. I think the world
has become more dangerous, not less dangerous, and nothing that I have
seen that I can usefully forecast myself as far out as I can possibly
see leads me to believe that would be the case. What about the point
about in terms of removing some sort of commitment are looking at this
idea of disarmament if the world becomes more secure? I do not think
that is the case. If there was an opportunity for us to decide on an
equal, sane, sensible, Safeway, I am quite sure we would. That moment
does not exist now and we must take the decision to get on and that is
why the Prime Minister has brought this motion today. We have made the
decision to get on. Parliament had about several years ago. Part of
that was that Margaret Beckett at the time made concrete steps that
the government would take to lead the world in multilateral
disarmament. Whichever way you look, the behaviour of the Russians, the
nuclear situation all over the world is becoming more and more difficult.
Do not go ahead with this would not be a safe thing for our country. In
the past you have sent thousands of jobs would be at stake. Have you
changed your mind? Will you let down those people whose jobs would be at
risk? This is something I have to make a decision about as every
member of Parliament does today. If I was in Theresa May's position and
in my civil servants brought me a motion, a plan that said, we will
renew Trident, we will not consider any alternatives, we will not
consider how much it costs because we do not know over the lifetime how
much it will cost because the government has not done a
projection, and we are not going to do that alongside any multilateral
disarmament. I would say to them, take it away and bring me something
better. The Labour Party does not know what its position is and are
you disappointed that Jeremy Corbyn, who will vote against it, as he has
done, but he has not taken the party with him, it will be a free vote? I
am disappointed. Jeremy Hunt is a fantastic record on nuclear
disarmament and nobody could have any doubts about where he comes from
and it has been a challenge for him to bring his party with him and that
is a shame. There is a process going on right now at the UN, 130
countries are engaged in discussions about banning nuclear weapons. Our
government has boycotted even being involved in those discussions which
is unacceptable. Meanwhile, nuclear weapons make us less safe, not more
safe. There was a scary report from Chatham House a couple of years ago
talking about 13 near misses which you do not hear about much of the
time. There is always the possibility of accidents and
materials falling into the hands of terrorists and that is a far greater
risk. The government's own Strategic Defence Review put nuclear war at a
tiered two risk, below international problems. But we are still living in
unstable times if you look across the world from the Middle East to
Russia to perhaps even closer to home with Turkey and this would not
be the time to send the wrong message?
It is the time to send a message we will not be threatening the rest of
the world, one submarine could wipe out 10 million civilians and the
moral arguments, they are huge. We live in an uncertain world with
terrorism and the more countries that aspire to get nuclear weapons,
the more likely terrorists will get hold of it. We are a mature nuclear
weapons state, we have had the nuclear weapons for very long time.
We are of Nato. Fully integrated into the American and global Nato
system. Is it the right answer? Yes, in my view. Lisa said something, an
important point. There is an enormous amount of work going on for
years about the alternatives, it is not true to say they have not done
that, that work has been done. As the conclusion that the Prime
Minister has drawn and the government is that it would be wrong
to gamble with the safety and security of Britain and we must go
ahead and ordered the new generation. The bigger gamble is
nuclear weapons. The Chatham House report mentions Jimmy Carter left
the nuclear code in his trouser pocket when they went to the dry
cleaners! This is the madness of nuclear weapons. I do not think that
is a serious point. It is a very serious point. Let's not bring it to
the dry cleaning. There is another point about safety. In 1968, we
struck a bargain with other countries who did not have nuclear
weapons that I would not look to acquire nuclear weapons on the basis
we would take steps to disarm. Whichever way you look at it, we
have not done that. We have not done it in the last decade. We are
breaking a bargain with other countries and that makes is
fundamentally unsafe. The Chilcot report in Iraq, what did we learn?
When you break the international rules binding us together, you
create new threats and make everybody fundamentally unsafe. Do
you think other countries will disarm if we do? Only if Britain
takes a read Will we see a world free of nuclear weapons. Like
Margaret Beckett, I am not sure we will see it in my lifetime. The idea
we now take this from the table which is what this motion does
today, is something nobody... Will the let Eber MPs change their mind
-- other Labour MPs change their mind? I genuinely do not know. You
said the Labour party is split and I think a number of MPs were going to
the chamber as I will do is listen to what Theresa May has the same.
The motion and the way it is worded is so hard. It is very difficult. If
that is the case, what respectable opposition goes into an important
vote like this without a policy one way or the other? The policy... We
do have a policy. You are allowed a free vote. The Shadow Foreign
Secretary and Shadow Defence Secretary will abstain. How you
abstain on such an important issue? Emily and Clive have written a piece
together saying they believe this is a game and they will not play a part
in it. Part of the reason, let me make this point, is because
Parliament has already voted for this so the fact Theresa May has
chosen as the first act as Prime Minister... Is it incredible to
abstain or not? The reason I am going into the chamber today and
likely will vote against is because I do not agree with the wording of
the motion. You still represent a party that does not have a view one
way or the other that has been agreed upon. Looking at that article
that Clive wrote, essentially, it is saying they think it is a game
because they assume it will definitely go through. If we had an
opposition opposing, it would not necessarily need to be that way,
this is an opportunity for Labour to join with the Green Party and the
SNP and Plaid Cymru and oppose this policy and it could make a
difference and the idea this is a game does not stand up. Can I
endorse that? I agree, it is not a game. It is not going to change
anything. The final sanction of going ahead is going to go ahead.
Everything is reduced in commentary to politics being a game. This is
not a game, this is one of the biggest decisions any government has
to make. To provide for continuous deterrence. They need to get on with
it. The Prime Minister will also shortly make a statement about other
stuff the government needs to get on with. This is not a game, this is
fundamental and of primary importance to the safety and
security of this country and of course I respect the views of those
who have strong views against it, it is a complex and difficult decision.
But it is not a game. If it is not just a game, is it strange Theresa
May has brought this forward with any projections about the cost and
plan for disarmament and answers to questions like, if Scotland was to
vote for independence, whether submarines would be based? Critical
questions. She literally has no answer! What does happen in the
event of Scotland? The SNP is clear in their position, we do not know
what will happen in terms of a second referendum, what would happen
to where they will be based and built? I cannot answer that. Sadly,
the Prime Minister did not make me a Defence Minister! Maybe that will
happen! We will have to do the cost another day. Thank you.
In less than an hour, the two MPs who are challenging
Jeremy Corbyn for the leadership of the Labour Party will make
their pitch to their fellow MPs at a hustings in parliament.
The two hopefuls are former Shadow Business Secretary Angela Eagle
and former Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Owen Smith.
Mr Smith says there needs to be a unity candidate to take
on Mr Corbyn, but Ms Eagle says it's too early to talk about that idea.
Here they both are sharing a sofa together on the Andrew
How do you decide between the two of you who is the more
That is one way which we could do it, or we could make
an agreement between ourselves, but my view is whoever is the person
who commands the largest degree of support in the PLP is the unity
candidate and that is the person who should go forward
I think we have to have the person who is most likely to beat
You are not standing aside, under any circumstances?
The restaurant is still open, you know.
We're not going to do a deal here on your sofa,
So will there be an anyone but Corbyn candidate,
Our correspondent is on College Green.
Predictions are hard these days and we do not get them right! Is it a
case of just one candidate going forward eventually? I do,
eventually. I do not think one candidate will emerge this week.
Owen Smith might like one candidate after these hustings but I think
Angela Eagle wants a slightly longer time frame to see what support she
gets from constituency parties before they agree any deal. I think
both of them recognise it would be disastrous for two candidates to go
up against Jeremy Corbyn, apart from the risk of splitting the
anti-corporate vote. Inevitably, they will take each other on,
criticise each other and there will be a lot of collateral damage to the
anti-corporate and wing of the vote. There is a recognition they will
have the do a deal. There are issues around, do they have a joint ticket?
And my understanding is nothing has been sorted out. Both gradually
feeling their way. The one thing that might change it is once we have
had these hustings and we know how Labour MPs have nominated and we
will get that in black and white on Wednesday evening, if one candidate
was to have many, many more nominations than the other, you
could be in a Theresa May, Andrea Leadsom situation whether one with
fewer decides to bull out. If they are very close, it could go on for
quite a bit yet. Reaction in the Jeremy Corbyn camp?
I think they are quite relaxed. It goes back to the Trident vote. That
has come as a god's gift to Jeremy Corbyn because he has said he is
going to make his stands on Trident, opposition to renewal, central to
his campaign. It reminds me of the last leadership contest when he did
the same with his opposition to the benefit changes which Andy Burnham
and others supported. And that was used to drive his grassroots
campaign. It got momentum going and widespread support. And I think they
think they can do exactly the same with the issue of nuclear weapons,
which Angela Eagle and Owen Smith have said they were back.
We come up for it to a long, hot Summer with this going on.
Who will you back? Owen Smith. Why? I want the leader of the Labour
Party and ultimately Prime Minister with real socialist values and a
plan to put them into action. I want somebody relentlessly focused on the
future and not interested in fighting former battles. And who
understands that to unite the party and to win a general election, you
need to draw on the best traditions from the entire Labour Party, from
the left to the right. I think Owen Smith is by far the best candidate.
You think nobody at the moment could bring those sides together. Do you
accept that unity candidate as you describe but I want should go for it
and Angela Eagle should drop out as soon as possible? It would be
preferable to only have two candidates, Jeromy and one other.
For me, very preferable that is Owen Smith. He is best placed to win the
leadership election and I think he has ideas about the future of the
country and is capable of uniting a very divided nation. He is in favour
of Trident renewal. Yes, we have discussed this and I have known him
for quite a long time since I was first elected to Parliament. We both
passionate about multilateral disarmament. Not unilateral like
Jeremy. We not pacifists. Would we do want to see us moving to a
situation where we take steps to step down the ladder of nuclear
weapons. Most of their colleagues -- do you think your colleagues will
have mostly made up their minds before the hustings? I think some
colleagues have some opinions about it and others probably will go into
that hustings at one o'clock today and listen to what the candidates
have got to say. The key thing is that people feel very confident that
the candidate they have chosen is somebody who can unite the Labour
Party. That is a very difficult thing to do. Looking at the group of
people that have come together around Owen Smith, he is in a very
strong position to do that. He has managed to attract many of the
younger, new MPs, relentlessly focused on the challenges we have
got now, whether it is an ageing population, child poverty, clean
energy jobs and how Britain redefines itself after Brexit with
the rest of the world. That is the thing is Owen is talking about and
why he has attracted people from the left to the right. Would you -- you
resigned from the Shadow Cabinet saying Jeremy Corbyn could not form
a team, how would Owen Smith bring the Jeremy Corbyn side of the party
into his side? It is about culture as much as anything. I have no Owen
well about five years now and he has always been somebody who has worked
with every bit of the party, who has respect for different parts of the
party and he is a socialist at heart but not an idealist, a realist. He
believes in things like renationalisation of the railways
which is one of the most popular policies of Jeromy, he believes
austerity was a mistake as an economic programme and morally
unsustainable. He says the policies of Jeremy Corbyn, they are not
wrong, it is just the messenger? It is not good Saint you want austerity
and you want renationalisation of the railways, you need an idea of
that and I think Owen is that person. Jeremy Corbyn has a very
good chance of winning again, what happens then is the mark the job of
everybody trying to save the Labour Party at the moment is to have a
candidate who can unite the party. It is a real possibility he can win
again, it is a real proposition, he cannot fill a front bench team
completely now, would you serve under Jeremy Corbyn if he wins
again? I resigned from Jeremy Corbyn's bench because I left a
private meeting with him attended by John McDonnell and it became very
clear that not only was the current leadership not able to unite the
party, but not willing either. That in my view is completely
unsustainable, I cannot defend and support it and I cannot see any way
I would serve on his frontbench again. So the party would have to
split at that point? I could sit and wildly speculate about the end of
the Labour Party but we cannot allow that to happen. Not least because
for most of my constituents in Wigan and around the country, that would
leave them with no forceful voice in British politics and we cannot allow
that to happen. France Maude, your former colleague, was on the
programme and he voiced a beer that many Tory MPs feel that without a
working opposition, it is bad news for the Serbian government, however
much it may seem like it is a wonderful thing to have an
opposition not functioning. Francis was absolutely right. Our
unwritten constitution depends on an effective opposition holding the
government to account in the House of Commons. The House of Commons is
where it has to be done. Lisa did a very good job when she was in the
Shadow Cabinet and all of us were sad to see her go. But the fact is I
do not think the Labour Party can pull it together and I am very
worried about the next few months because I think there will be a
split in the Labour Party. It may lead to the formation of something
stronger and better, but at the moment, although I am glad to say it
is one of the few decisions in the last few weeks where I do not have
to do anything, I want to see a proper labour opposition led by a
proper labour opposition led by a good sound leader.
Now, staying with Labour, from today until Wednesday,
members of the public can pay ?25 to become a registered
supporter of the party, giving them the chance to vote
either for Jeremy Corbyn or a challenger to become leader.
More than 100,000 new members who've joined since the EU referendum
won't get a say, thanks to rules agreed by the ruling
National Executive Committee last week.
But some in the party aren't happy, including Mr Corbyn.
Here he is taking a walk in the park with our Adam,
There is going to be some quite intense discussions over the next
few days and I hope our party officials and national executive
will see sense on this and recognise that those people who have freely
given their time and their money to join the Labour Party should be
welcomed in and given the opportunity to take part
in this crucial debate, whichever way they decide to vote.
Well, I'm hoping there will be an understanding that it is simply
not very fair to say to people who joined the party
in the in the last six months, sorry your participation is no
longer welcome because we are having a leadership contest.
So, with another meeting of the National Executive
Committee due tomorrow, could the new membership
rules, which some think will favour Mr Corbyn's
And could it all get even more confusing?
Well, we're joined now by Christine Shawcroft,
Welcome back. Do you think there should be another routers? It is not
really the rules, it was a decision made on the timetable. Should be
overturned? I do not know if we can overturn it. I will be raising it
tomorrow because we have had so many complaints, whether we can overturn
that I am not sure. The ?25 and the six months together, one of them on
their own might not have been so bad. But it is really people joined
on the promise on the website that they would have about in any
leadership election. If you overturn it, you will be accused of a stitch
up again if you reopen it to maybe people who have not been in the
Labour Party long enough and who have not been vetted properly. No
one knows the people who have joined since January. It is not in the last
few weeks, it is people since January who will not be able to
vote, no one knows how those people will vote. It is a simple question
of democracy. What do you say about the ?25? It is a lot more than ?3
which is what people had to enter to vote in the leadership contest. It
looks like you will be accused of a stitch up by trying to restrict the
rules. It is very steep but my understanding is part of the reason
the NEC reached that conclusion is because we had so many problems when
we changed the system last time. One of Nicholas's colleagues, Tim
Loughton, he signed up to join the Labour Party to vote for Jeremy
Corbyn. My understanding is it was designed to try and stop that. On
the general point about six months and the fee, being a member of a
political party is a long-term commitment and you have to stick
with it, debate and listen as well say your piece and compromise. That
is the reason that parties like Labour and the Conservatives have
lasted for such a long time. Do you think people who joined the first
time round do not hold those sorts of values? No, we have always had a
freeze date. When I was selected as an MP, the NEC decided that people
had to be a member of the party for a year. It seems to me it is not
unreasonable to say that you have to have been in the party for a while
and to have taken part in party activity before you get a chance to
vote for whoever is our leader. That is not what it says on the website
unfortunately. But there needs to be a cut-off point? I was a supporter
of a cut-off date. The original recommendation was for ?12 of
registered supporters. Somebody suggested ?10, but it was moved by a
member of the GMB that it should be ?25. When people have paid ?4 in the
middle of January and then they are being asked for another 25... A lot
of members have knocked on doors and delivered leaflets in the rain and
supported the party through thick and thin when they were pretty
depressed about the director of the Labour Party and for those members
who have stuck with it and worked hard and kept going and shown
loyalty to the party, it is not unreasonable to say that you have to
have been in the party for six months before you can vote. Does not
show that the divide in labour cannot even be bridged, you are even
arguing over these rules? We always argue over the rules. That does not
mean there is a huge breach in the labour loyalty. There is. The other
we have debates and we all come together at the end of the day. You
say that but John McDonnell has said he is convinced the Labour
leadership contest will be amicable. And was a brick not thrown through
Angela Eagle's office with John McDonnell accusing the useless
plotters who failed to get rid of Jeremy Corbyn. A constituency
meeting had to be stopped because of violence. There have been no threats
or problems at all in my constituency. Why was immediately
put out that they had to be stopped? It was nothing to do with people in
the Labour Party anyway and it was exaggerated. This is coming from
members of the Labour Party who are saying it. The person who was
trolling one member was the neo-Nazis professional troll. But
this has happened in the time that Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell had
been in charge. As a being saturated? I do not think it has. We
met in my party a couple of weeks ago and we had to have the police
present because of the number of threats and abuse that had been
flying around not destiny, but to the chair of my party and other
members. Absolutely there are threats from the far right and I
have had those since I was elected and many of my colleagues as well.
But what is recent is the threats from the left as well and Jeremy
Beadle is right to go out and called for a calm and comradely debate, but
let's not seek to pretend it is not happening, it is and it is
troubling. Not just because nobody should have to live in fear of
threats and intimidation and violence, but the effect it has is
so many MPs, Labour MPs, particularly women, feel they do not
want to get out and engage in public life and say the things they want to
say. We cannot allow people to be silent. We will talk more about
Politicians from different parties have been attending a conference
in London today called 'Reclaim the Internet'.
It claims that political debate online has seen rising levels
Well, in today's Soapbox, the journalist and Conservative peer
Matt Ridley gives us his take on how the internet is shaping the way
The world of social media has given us exciting ways
of communicating with politicians, our idols, and of delving
But it's also fuelling abuse and driving us apart.
Schisms of hatred seem to be fracturing the political landscape
The police versus the black community in America,
Sunni versus Shia, Trump V Hillary, Brexiteers V the Remainers -
all are glaring at each other across cyber chasms
Social media is polarising our discourse more
It amplifies the personal and the extreme, hots up the echo
Communications technologies can decide the political temperature.
After decades in which they aided moderate discourse outside
autocracies, now they're inflaming it.
Opinions boil down to a single shout.
Not all of this is spontaneous, some of this is the result of deliberate,
coordinated and well funded action, creating armies of online trolls.
Critics are abused, threatened and misrepresented to silence them.
After the shootings in Dallas, terror attacks across the globe,
the murder of Joe Cox, and even brutal fear tactics
within the Labour Party, we may be entering a more dangerous age.
We need to find a way to tame Twitter, fence in Facebook,
insist on net neutrality and revive moderation.
To do so while respecting free speech and without handing
government the power to propagandise and censor, will not be easy.
But it must be attempted before the mutual shouting gets worse.
What is the evidence that politics has become more polarised as a
result of a contributing factor from things like twitter? It is pretty
anecdotal so far, but we do have evidence from the past from the way
road radio inflamed people in the 1930s, the way radio made the Rwanda
crisis worse. We have pretty good evidence, sector by sector in a
country that communications technology can have an influence. It
did in Nancy Germany and in Rwanda and radio was important because it
was controlled by the state. With Twitter it is free, everyone can
have a go. That is right, but in the early days of technology it gets
violent and extreme and then it gets tamed and calmed down. Television
became a centralising force for the latter half of the 20th century and
the same may happen to social media. We may be over worrying. Blogs were
pretty nasty ten years ago, now nobody minds about them. Perhaps it
may tame itself. But I am worried at the moment and it may not be
specifically Twitter or Facebook, but the way people seem to be so
much more easily polarised on issues and they get very cross very
quickly. Is it polarising on a political front or is it personal
abuse? If you look back at Margaret Thatcher and Michael Foot, that was
polarised politics, ideological and, perhaps what you are talking about
is more personal anger and abuse, less to do with politics in that
sense. People quite close to each other on the political spectrum can
flare-up quite badly on Twitter and social media. Do you agree with
that? Have you had any examples? I am a twitter user. I agree entirely
with what Matt says. It is the equivalent of the introduction of
the breach leg rifle which blew military operations apart and
enabled a supreme dominance. I think it is a very dangerous
manifestation. We are also worried about how angry people get with each
other. It is almost like road rage, and immediate reaction to someone
you do not agree with. If anyone is remotely rude to me, which they are
the whole time, I delete it. Or you block it? I block it and if you
allow the debate to go on it gets more aggressive. I think I can tell
when your tongue is in your cheek, but other people might not. But I am
not rude offensively. I am not trying to pick a fight with them. I
had a fight with Boris on twitter and he got very angry. That is
picking a fight. But on a serious point, what can actually be done? I
know anecdotally female MPs, particularly on the Labour side, but
I am sure it is happening across the board, they are suffering with awful
abuse, death threats of the time and it is mainly on twitter. Twitter is
a bit different to other forms of social media. Most of my
constituents are on Facebook and the debate on Facebook is more about
people's lives and families and it is much kinder and with a sense of
fun. Twitter attracts many more people, including politicians, who
are obsessives, and we get into that world and cannot stop it. There is a
problem, what can you do to tackle it? You say it could happen
organically. Is there anything else we can do? When I wrote this last
week, lots of people got very cross with me on Twitter because they
thought I was suggesting censorship because I said we must tame Twitter.
What I mean is not government intervention, but social change,
cultural change. Fining people? Government might have a role to play
in nudging people to being nicer on twitter. I do not know how they will
do that. We used to have something called the behavioural team and it
was privatised and maybe we can get it back on this case.
We could change the debate on Twitter with people in positions
like my making sure when we have debates on Twitter, we behave in a
way as we would in the real world. You often see people genuinely nice,
decent and normal people who would never dream of using the language
they do on Twitter. The distance helps. We could set an example. A
debate became furious within seconds, do you remember that? Thank
you very much. Now, the appointment of
Boris Johnson as Foreign Secretary raised some eyebrows
in the chancelleries of Europe, not least because he's said some
rather disobliging things about European politicians
in the past, and they've sometimes Well, Mr Johnson seemed to be trying
to put all that behind him today as he made his debut
on the international stage. Here he is arriving at a meeting
of EU foreign ministers in Brussels. Very, very good to be
here for my first overseas trip and the message I'll be taking
to our friends in the council is that we have to give effect
to the will of the people and leave the European Union,
but that in no sense means abandoning our leading role
in European cooperation I had a very good conversation
to that effect last night with high representative Mogherini
and she agreed very much that that was a role Britain should
continue to play. Boris Johnson speaking
earlier today in Brussels. So, can a man who has in the past
managed to offend everyone from Barack Obama to Hillary Clinton
to the President of Turkey really get on in a top job that requires
a sensitive diplomatic touch? Well, we're joined now
by the Spectator He's written a book called the Wit
and Wisdom of Boris Johnson. Can he? I think he can. You can see
in that clip, he is already trying to be serious. In the day's
Telegraph, he has stopped his column and he has paid back half ?1 million
in an advance for a biography of Shakespeare so is making a big
effort to be serious. It is going to be really hard work for him, it is
not his natural domain, you have conceded that. How long before that.
Art? There are two forces in the mind of Boris. One is to use. He
sees a joke and he is logging to amuse. The other force is to be
incredibly ambitious. As a little boy, he said he wanted to be world
King. This is his step to becoming world King. Is that the right person
to be on the diplomatic stage after an attempted coup in Turkey? I have
had my differences with Boris and I agree entirely, he will be a very
good Foreign Secretary. Because he is a very clever man. Secondly, we
need people who can get on with people in politics. He is very
affable, Boris. We are going to open a new world. And we need people like
that who are recognisable, understandable and company and
support. I will make a forecast that he would be an outstanding Foreign
Secretary. What did you mean when you said, Mr Johnson was seriously
adrift in the argument when he blames Barack Obama of the cup -- of
hypocrisy for telling British voters to remain in the EU and he
questioned his part union ancestry, and you said he was wrong and
everything. This was during a referendum campaign -- Kenyan. You
said stupid things about President Obama and my grandfather. How will
he become a good Foreign Secretary? He is reverting to type. He will now
be bringing all those... I did have a big fight with him. But he will be
an outstanding Foreign Secretary. Is it all right to say stupid and
offensive things about our allies. And remember the comparison he made
with EU constitutions that they would carrying on God expansionism
of Adolf Hitler. Can people get over that? Boris makes joke, some of
which are deeply offensive, the part Kenyan ancestry is bordering on
racism and disgraceful for any politician. I am not concerned
whether he has offended many people, he clearly has, but whether he is
capable of telling the truth. And listening to what he said in the
referendum campaign. Riding around with that figure on that bus. He has
written things that he must know if he is very clever, that is not true.
Being a buffoon is one thing but a Foreign Secretary that is
fundamentally dishonest, this country is in real trouble. What
about those claims that people including Boris Johnson distanced
themselves from? The thing about Boris is that for 20 years, he was
on extremely successful journalist and columnist and you have to
attract leaders and so he entertains. We are talking about the
truth. No, the supposed gaffes ways to entertain leaders. He has to make
the transition to a serious Foreign Secretary and he can leave
journalism behind. People will be offended and it was very
uncharacteristic, the comment Barack Obama coming he is not malicious,
that was wrong. Will he be truthful about what he
says? The claims about the Turkish people coming to the EU, 75 million
joining now, the ?350 million a week is sent to Brussels, and that amount
will be spent on the NHS, is that true? It was like the build-up to a
general election when people sex up what is going to happen and the
manifestos do not necessarily take place. He did not just bring up that
figure of the ?350 million, it was put out by the Brexit campaign. But
he is the Foreign Secretary. We will see, I think we will be going
through transition Boris. He will still be amusing, you cannot help
that. But he will say goodbye to the supposedly gaffes. How will the
Russians greet him? He described Putin is a character from Harry
Potter and a manipulative tyrant. You could produce endless examples.
I can! They recent things. You could produce endless examples but
business is business, he is now the Foreign Secretary, he would behave
like a Foreign Secretary and he will bring charisma and excitement and
more than anything else, Britain needs a recognisable figure as
Foreign Secretary. What if that recognisable figure is a disaster?
You do not know that. You seem to be arguing he will be fantastic on the
basis of no evidence. The evidence points to the country. I hope for
the sake of Britain that he does get serious and discover the truth for
the first time in his life and stop needlessly offended our allies.
Nobody is denying his abilities, he is a very clever and brilliant man.
But I make this forecast to you that he will be a fantastic Foreign
Secretary. We will get you both back on. Thank you very much.
Now, we're saying goodbye to Lisa Nandy at this point
in the programme because she's got to dash off to the hustings
between the two candidates who want to challenge Jeremy Corbyn
Thanks for being with us, Lisa, and have fun.
Now, politics continues to surprise everyone,
In a moment, we'll talk to a journalist who will be hoping
as she covers all the big developments this week.
But first, let's take a look at some of the big events in the diary.
Tomorrow, US State Secretary John Kerry arrives in London on his first
Also, on Tuesday, Prime Minister May holds her first Cabinet meeting,
with plenty of new faces and some rather old ones too.
Another first for Theresa May on Wedneday - PMQs against JC.
Live on the Daily Politics, of course!
Wednesday also sees the close of nominations for challengers
to the Labour leadership and is also the last day for non-members to sign
The Prime Minister will travel to Berlin for a "working dinner"
The following day, she will meet President Hollande in Paris.
And Parliament doesn't even make it to the end of the week,
as MPs and peers finish up on Thursday.
They'll all be back at work on 5th September.
Isabel Hardman, from the Spectator...
The camera supporters had been sent to the backbenches, will that be a
problem for Theresa May? I was surprised given she had a reputation
for being cautious that she had such a brutal clear out of the goblet
frontbench and there are threats from Cameron supporters and those
around George Osborne that there will be revenge for this and she has
a small majority and it has not changed and when you have a
reshuffle, it you upset people who have lost their job or want a job.
Perhaps she's not intending to get through controversial legislation
during the Premiership, she will struggle to do that practically.
What about Scotland? The talks with Nicola Sturgeon and this idea of, I
am going to give Scotland a say, says Theresa May. What does that
mean in practice? Nicola Sturgeon does not have a veto on the decision
to have left the EU although she would like Scotland to stay as part
of it. Theresa May's UK wide approach as she calls it has
concerned people that Scotland's does have a veto that would cause
resentment and upset Tory Eurosceptics, which the reason may
need to worry about. Downing Street have denied this is a veto --
Theresa May. It depends on the talks with the devolved administrations
and how well her ministers for six mat like David Davis get on with the
officials from the devolved administrations. What about Labour,
will Angela Eagle drop out? She seems to be bleeding support to Owen
Smith for MPs minded to support somebody like Angela Eagle but they
want to dislodge Jeremy Corbyn and think that is the most important
thing. If Owen Smith can win amongst the Labour membership and is more
appealing than Angela Eagle, even though she has done the brave thing
and went and did the challenge first and is also a women -- a woman which
a lot of female MPs want a female leader at some point this century,
you may feel they have two abandon her to get rid of Jeremy Corbyn
which is the most important problem. Plenty to be chasing over the
Summer! Have a good break if you get one!
There's just time before we go to find out the answer to our quiz.
The question was: Which new playground craze did our Adam
introduce to to Jeremy Corbyn on the Sunday Politics?
It has to be Pokemon Go. No flies on year!
Let's have a look and see if you're right.
So you are holding up the Pokemon and you have to move aside.
Seamus is blocking the Pokemon, no, the Pokemon is OK.
So there's Crabby, he's jumping up and down.
And then what you do is you use this ball and you throw it at them to try
Well, my work this morning has not been in vain.
We might be the judge of that! How did you know that? I have a teenage
son. Yes. What does he think of it? I saw in the papers it was becoming
a craze so I assumed your man would not be behind the curve. Indeed, and
now the is Jeremy Corbyn. Well done, you got the answer right. -- and now
the is. The One O'clock News is starting
over on BBC One now. I'll be here at noon
tomorrow with all the big