21/09/2016 Daily Politics


Jo Coburn is joined by former Labour minister Chris Mullin to discuss the future of the party as voting for the leadership closes and Theresa May's speech to the UN.

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Hello and welcome to The Daily Politics.


The Government should cut the numbers of EU workers allowed


in to Britain to 30,000, once we leave the bloc.


So says the campaign group Migration Watch.


But opponents say the plan will damage the economy.


Voting in the Labour leadership contest has ended -


the result will be announced on Saturday.


But the stalemate between the party's warring factions


The fragile ceasefire in Syria looks all but dead after the US accuses


Russia of involvement in an attack on an aid convoy.


Meanwhile, a group of MPs criticises the Government's


AS MARGARET THATCHER: Betrayed by my one-time


friend and colleague, Sir Geoffrey Howe.


We speak to the characters of a play focusing on the man


All that in the next hour, and with us for the whole


of the programme today, the former Labour MP


First today, Theresa May delivered her big speech at the United Nations


It was her debut set-piece appearance on the world stage.


She used the opportunity to send a message that Britain was very much


open for business in the wake of the EU referendum.


British people voted to leave the EU.


They did not vote to turn inwards or walk away from any


Faced with challenges like migration, a desire for greater


control of their country and a mounting sense that


globalisation is leaving working people behind,


they demanded a politics that is more in touch


with their concerns and bold action to address them.


But that action must be more global, not less, because the biggest


threats to our prosperity and security do not recognise


or respect international borders and, if we only focus on what we do


at home, the job is barely half done.


Theresa May. Chris Mullin, isn't there a contradiction at the heart


of what she says, that, while she recognises many people in the UK


felt left behind by globalisation, she said our response needs to be


more global, because current problems don't recognise


international borders. That's what people voted against. Whether they


voted against it or not, and there are many reasons why people voted as


they did, she is right. If you take climate change or global migration,


these things don't stop at borders. One of the ironies is that those who


are most against admitting more refugees or migrants are also the


very same people who don't want us to spend anything on overseas aid


but actually, one of the things we do with international development


aid, is help people stabilise their countries to make them habitable


again or, indeed, contribute to maintaining the camps in Jordan


Lebanon to stop people coming here. She wants to do more of that. Yes, I


agree. As you say, people voted for all sorts of reasons, of course, but


there was a theme running through the Brexit vote according to


politicians like her, which is that people felt left behind by


globalisation, ignored. How is she going to address that? That brings


us to the discussion we are going to have later about controlling the


number of migrants. That is what I think people did vote for, whether


it is good or bad. We can have an argument about the extent to which


our economy needs qualified or unqualified people in the years to


come and what the numbers should be but I think people did vote for


having some limit on it, for better or worse. Perhaps frivolously, she


was compared to Gordon Brown. That was for dithering on issues like


Hinckley and airport expansion, couldn't make a decision and nor


could he, according to the journalist John Redwood. Do you


think that is fair? I don't think so because, let's face it, she got


elected rather sooner than she thought she would. There were a


number of big decisions in the intro and she asked for a few months to


give it further thought was given the size of the decision and the


implications for the future, I thought it was perfectly rational to


have a look at it before she settled in.


Now it's time for our daily quiz. The question for today is...


In his speech yesterday, Lib Dem leader Tim Farron


voiced his admiration for Tony Blair, but which music


band did he compare the former Prime Minister to?


At the end of the show, Chris will give us the correct answer.


A tough permit scheme is being recommended to Theresa May


to limit the number of EU workers coming to Britain after Brexit.


Migration Watch UK want to cap the number of skilled workers


which they say would support UK economic growth by ensuring British


employers get the staff they need while putting the brakes on years


Just 30,000 skilled EU workers a year


should be allowed into Britain, according to the group


which campaigns for tighter immigration controls.


Migration Watch UK said a tough permit-based plan would keep


out unskilled workers, who make up up to 80%


of all new arrivals from the European Union.


Net migration - those arriving minus those leaving -


from the EU is estimated to stand at around 180,000 a year.


And Migration Watch said a cap on unskilled workers would cut it


The campaign group said there should be no restrictions


on tourists, business visitors, students or retired people coming


To discuss this are Alp Mehmet from Migration Watch UK


and James McCrory, the Executive Director of Open Britain.


Welcome to both of you. Let's look at the figures first of all. The


current annual net EU immigration figure, those arriving minus those


leaving, is 180,000. Your proposal would take 100,000 from that net


figure, leaving 80,000. 30,000 of the 80,000 are skilled workers. Who


is making up the other 50,000? What we've got at the moment, when we've


looked at those who come in over the last ten years, 1.25 million have


come in to work. If you compare them to those who come in from outside


the EU and how they have had to qualify, then you've got the


percentages you've described. 20% come in to the sort of jobs that


require a degree level sort of qualification and 80% don't. We've


got to get numbers down. That's what the government is mandated to do.


Saying it and being able to achieve it requires a forensic look at the


figures as to who is coming to do what sort of work. If you are saying


there should be no restrictions on tourists, business visitors,


students or retired people coming to the UK from the union, do they make


up the remaining 50,000? No, no. There are no restrictions on


tourists, business people, students, the retired, unlike the Times, who


got it wrong today. We are saying there shouldn't be restrictions on


those people. That will continue. We want the minimum of disruption. We


are not coming out of Europe, we're coming out of the EU. What we are


proposing will bring numbers down significantly. We reckon, in the


medium term, by about 100,000. Do you agree? No, not surprisingly. I


think it would be damaging for our economy, because it would guarantee


that we leave the single market and it would also restrict UK businesses


from employing the skilled and semiskilled Labour they need. This


report suggests that people who come over who are not highly skilled, not


engineers, people taking graduate roles, are not making an important


contribution to our society, care workers, hospital porters, bus


drivers. They are not degree qualified but there are lots of them


in this country making a huge contribution, paying taxes, working


hard, keeping the economy going and benefiting society. We have had a


big report today on the crisis in the care industry. Even ministers


who have worked in the area say, if we lost the EU workers in those


industries, it would collapse. We've got to get numbers down. That has to


happen. This is a sensible and reasonable way of doing it. With


regard to care workers in that report, that was saying there was


going to be a shortage in years to come. Whatever immigration we have.


What I would suggest is, having been involved with parents and in-laws


having care over the last ten years, what they could do is pay people a


bit more, change their conditions of service so it's more attractive


rather than look for the cheap option, the option they can push


around and go for overseas workers. Do you accept this is about getting


numbers down? If you take the main point, that there has to be a


reduction in the number of people coming here from the EU and even


from outside it, as a result of the Brexit vote. I accept that people


want to see free movement reformed, but just having a crude number, just


saying, 30,000, that'll do, isn't the way forward. You get to a Dutch


auction on numbers which I do think it's healthy for an open and honest


debate. We have looked at the numbers over the last ten years and


those who have come in with the sort of skills that industry says it


needs only consisted of about 20% of the 1.25 million. Do you accept that


figure? Last year alone, the qualifications required to meet


Migration Watch's target were larger than the 30,000 they have put the


cap on, it was 33,000 even by your estimate. 25,000, and we've added


5000 to allow for growth. It's still a small number, when you take


180,000. There will be an argument to say, why would you plan to cap


the number of migrants Britain needs, in terms of skills, whether


it is high skills for engineering or slightly lower skilled in other


areas, but you want to have limitless numbers of students?


Students from the EU go. We don't know that, we don't know how many


people leave the country. Our analysis shows that EU students


leave. Non-EU students tend to come and stay. That's a separate issue.


In terms of getting the numbers down, there has to be an attempt at


taking radical action so people will see the evidence of fewer people


coming. I think you can look at reform of free movement as a whole,


set specific emergency brakes, tying it to the free movement of Labour,


for example. But not a crude thing, 30,000, and if we get one more


engineer in November he can't come in. What I think is damaging is that


this suggests that, unless you are very highly skilled, you have no


role to play in our economy. People who work in our agricultural


industry, people in the hospitality industry, people driving buses and


working in hospitals and care homes, this report says these people


shouldn't be allowed to come to this country and make a contribution and


pay their taxes. I can't agree with that. You are talking about manpower


and planning. Do you have businesses to set these figures for? Why don't


we hear from them? From non-EU, for the last six years, we've had a


limit of 20,700 visas, work permits per year. At no point has that


figure been reached on an annual basis. Never. Occasionally, one


month to another, there have to be carry-over numbers. We know that we


are able to bring in the sort of skills that businesses say they


want. We have had businesses on here who say they would have liked to


bring more people over from outside the EU and they were stopped from


doing so, which has meant certain industries have suffered. Why will


you not have industries setting the figures? What are you afraid of? I


don't think... Turkey being given the opportunity to say whether or


not we have Christmas or not is the right way to do it. It's not the


approach. What we are saying is they will be up to choose whoever they


want so long as it is within certain limits, and we believe those limits


are perfectly reasonable. Even Stephen Kinnock, writing in the


Guardian yesterday, said we've got to manage migration from the EU in


some way. This is a reasonable and generous way of doing it. Both of


you agree it's got to be managed, it's about the numbers and how many


people we are talking about. If you're not keen for business,


turkeys voting for Christmas, to set the limits, at least open to


businesses in agriculture about the number of farm workers they need to


pick the fruit, for instance, in seasonal weather? All of those who


are here doing those jobs now are not going to suddenly disappear


overnight. That isn't going to happen. But it's about guarantees.


We know it isn't going to happen. Going back to what I said earlier,


we need to pay people a bit more and look after them a bit better, then


perhaps we will attract from within our own labour force market rather


than going overseas. What do you say about the limit on skilled EU


workers? It an arbitrary figure but nobody knows how it work out. I


assume that Migration Watch isn't wedded to it and if it doesn't look


like it is working out, perhaps, let's wait and see, they will agree


to adjust it. The interesting thing is what the impact will be an


unskilled and low skilled areas. I do actually agree that's one thing


that should happen is we should start enforcing the minimum wage and


protecting British citizens already doing those jobs and making those


jobs more attractive to British citizens.


You asked about business a moment ago. One of the things business has


been doing at the lower end of the trade is recruiting in the far east


or in Eastern Europe. Without even making the jobs available, here.


They aren't even on the market here. Then you've got people living, ten


people into rooms, and they'll be able to undercut British bus


drivers. And that's where the undercutting happens. It's the fact


the living costs are so much blubber, they can afford to charge


less than those jobs whether they are builders or plumbers and that is


where the low skilled end of the jobs market suffers for Brits. I do


think anyone is against raising wages in any sector particularly


amongst the low paid. It's enforcing it, though. I completely agree that


adverts that only advertise in foreign countries before in Britain


first, that should be banned. Look at how the relatively low rates of


unemployment. The idea we are not benefiting from EU workers in low


skilled jobs in agriculture, hospitality and public services is


just not true. These people are making a very valuable contribution


and to suggest we aren't going to need any of them in the future is


ridiculous. If the government listening to you on this? I hope so,


yes. Do you have confidence Theresa May will deliver Brexit? She said


that in China not so long ago. I believe she will deliver Brexit,


yes, absolutely. In a way here we are arguing about the referendum


debate, really. What was going on. What we're talking about now is a


situation but we are going to leave the EU. What we are proposing is a


sensible and measured way of controlling numbers coming in work.


Thank you. Let's turn now to the situation


in Syria, because the United States has said it holds Russia responsible


for a deadly attack on an aid convoy in the Syrian city


of Aleppo on Monday. The attack left around 20 civilians


dead and has further complicated efforts to maintain a ceasefire


in the ongoing civil war. Meanwhile, here, the House


of Commons Defence Select Committee has criticised the Government's


strategy for combating the so-called The UK has been taking part in air


strikes against Islamist militants in Iraq since 2014 and Parliament


authorised their extension But one of the main points


in the Committee's report is the disparity between the number


of UK air strikes between The report says that,


since December 2015, UK air strikes have been


predominately in Iraq, with 550 attacks, yet just 65 UK


airstrikes have happened in Syria In the first two weeks of September,


there have been nine UK air strikes in Iraq,


mostly near the Iraqi town of Qayyarah, with attacks also


in the Iraqi regions There have been two UK


air strikes in Syria, at a Daesh strong point in the east


of the country and also over In a statement, the Ministry


of Defence said: "We have conducted over 1,000


airstrikes, which is second only to the US in both countries,


and have helped train more As a result, Daesh is losing


territory in Iraq and Syria." Let's speak now to our defence


correspondent, Jonathan Marcus. What are the main criticisms in the


report? Essentially the main criticism is that they point out


that this can't be won by military means alone. The fear is that whilst


Di Esch, so-called Islamic State, is being pushed back particularly in


Iraq but also to an extent in Syria, the fear is that if there isn't a


proper political transition in place in both countries then of course,


the victory if you want to call it that could be squandered and there


will be a vacuum and other, maybe more extreme groups, could take


over. There is a clear difference between a rock and Syria and it


actually underlies why the overwhelming predominance of air


strikes have been in Iraq. In Iraqi have a functioning government, for


all of its faults. You have Armed Forces and so on. There it is very


much a question of bolstering but the Iraqis are doing, trying to


persuade them to be less corrupt and more inclusive, to pursue the sorts


of policies their Western allies would like. In Syria it's completely


different, not only are you trying to push back Islamic State but you


are also trying to remove the Assad regime and back the formation of a


new so-called democratic, Western leaning government in the country.


But as we've seen through the past few days, the failures of the


putative ceasefire and so on, is a hugely tall order. That's what the


committee is particularly concerned about. There are difficulties in


Iraq but the situation in Syria seems to lack an overall clear


political strategy altogether. Does the report then have any suggestions


in terms of what the endgame should be as far as Syria is concerned with


the civil war raging there? It doesn't have any clear answers and I


suppose to be fed to the British government, Britain although it's


the second largest contributor of air strikes is clearly a small


player compared to the United States. I do think anybody has any


clear idea what can be done in Syria. The move at the moment has


been to try and get a ceasefire, to stabilise the situation, to relieve


some of the besieged areas. And then perhaps in the wake of that to try


and get some political and diplomatic dialogue going. The


difficulty of course is that the underlying Western aim has all along


been essentially the hope that the Assad regime would be pushed aside.


Almost a year ago now, the Russian intervention with its airpower and


also to some extent operations on the ground, has really altered the


dynamics and made sure that the Syrian regime is very much in place


for the foreseeable future. Thank you very much.


We did ask the Ministry of Defence if a minister


was able to talk about this, but no-one was available.


Joining us now in the studio is the chair of the Defence


Welcome. Just listening to Jonathan there, having a sort of double aim


of trying to get rid of Assad and tried to deal with Daesh, which


should we be prioritising? There are differences of view. My personal


view all along has been that there is no third way in Syria. That is


not the view it must be said of the committee as a whole. I believe that


the reason why we find so few air strikes, and it's right that there


should be few air strikes if we are not sure of the target and who we


are supporting, the reason why there are so many in Iraq and so few in


Syria, nine to one is the ratio, is that in Iraq we know what we're


doing, there is a government we are content to see victorious, there are


forces fighting on the ground that can benefit from our air strikes. In


Syria we not only want Daesh to lose, we also want Assad to lose as


well, and the great dispute about the time when we voted to extend the


air strikes from Iraq, which was uncontentious and voted through with


a huge majority, into Syria which was much more contentious, was


whether there was a third force of 70,000 moderate fighters who would


benefit from the air strikes. If there are tens of thousands of


moderates, why aren't we doing more air strikes? Do you have a list of


who these people could be? Or the government say they are trying to


connect with? We repeatedly asked the government to let us have a list


of these groups. The government took the view, and a majority of


committee members agreed with it, which is that if the government were


to confirm which groups we are helping, that would somehow endanger


them and assist Assad or I. -- assist Assad or Isil. The report as


a whole did conclude that by not naming the groups it casts a degree


of doubt as to how real this third force of tens of thousands... You


don't believe they exist, do you? I don't. I believe we are in an


analogous situation in Syria to what we were in Libya. I voted for the


Libyan one because I was told it was air cover to protect the citizens of


Benghazi. Had I been told it was to remove the dictator, atrocious


though he was, I'd have voted against it just as I did in Syria.


The committee of the whole takes the view it would be helpful if we could


have more information about this because that would add credibility


to the government's position. You take away from this report that we


are not actually doing anything in Syria, it really is a fig leaf to


the Americans. We are doing this because we are in a rock, it's not


actually achieving anything. That has been my view all along. I agree


with Julian's analysis. I don't see there are three ways, I think there


are two. We surely have learned by now but when you take the lid of one


of these regimes, be it a rock, Libya Syria, you take the lid of the


fires of hell. Here we are yet again trying to remove an admittedly


dreadful regime and perhaps really... There may eventually have


to be some sort of division of the country and safe zones for those who


are of a different persuasion to the regime. We don't want to see more


massacres. The Turks are doing something like that along the


border. Do you think the latest fallout from the attack on the aid


convoy near Aleppo which the Russians say was not down to the --


not done to them, the US said it was. How does that relate to that


situation? In relation to that disastrous attack and the other


disastrous attack which killed 62 Syrian army forces, which apparently


the West was responsible for, those sort of attacks are precisely the


result of the fact we haven't basically faced up to the fact that


it's hard enough to intervene in a civil war to get one side to win and


one side to lose. When you want both sides to lose, you've got to be in


dead trouble. Until we can get an agreement with Russia over exactly


what we are going to do in Syria, incidence of this sort on both sides


are likely to be repeated. Unless you were to send in ground troops?


There's no support for that but is that the only way you could deal


with the situation which of course we didn't do in Libya? No, that


would be entirely the wrong thing to do. The wrong thing that unites all


of these Muslim factions against us is to have infidel boots on Muslim


territory. The answer is, you can intervene, you can do support, in


support of indigenous local forces. That's why it's working in Iraqi but


in Syria. Because of course apart from the magical 70,000, who we


can't seem to find anywhere, the moderate forces we can't seem to


find, apart from that either Assad's side or someone like him is going to


win, or the Islamist is going to win. One thing the report does say


is the fact that we say we mustn't get too hung up just over this


group. Because the al-Nusra Front is if anything a more dangerous threat.


We hadn't heard of Isil a few years ago. Once they are disposed of don't


think that's the end of the process, there's plenty more out there. Thank


you. Now the polls have just closed


in the Labour leadership race. But with Jeremy Corbyn the clear


favourite to defeat Owen Smith and be re-elected on Saturday,


many are focusing instead on the ongoing power struggle


between the Labour leader Rule changes proposed


by Mr Watson were discussed at a marathon meeting


of Labour's National Executive The proposals included a possible


return to Shadow Cabinet elections. But, after almost eight-and-a-half


hours of talks, the meeting ended So which side holds


the upper hand today? Our reporter Mark Lobel has been


finding out and joins us now. You spent much of the day outside


that meeting. Has any side won it? Tom Watson's attempt to put the band


back together it a bum note. The main offer on the table, elected


shadow cabinets, seen as a way of bringing dismayed MPs back into the


party, a more respectable way for them to return if they were elected,


has been kicked into the long grass. There will be another attempt on


Saturday night at the NEC meeting at the Labour conference to vote on


this, but an attempt to make that the final vote, the knife edge vote


was lost by the anti-Corbyn wing of the NEC rather than the pro-Corbyn


wing. It looks like that could go on for some time. Many were looking for


this measure for party unity, and it goes to show you how important the


balance of pro-and anti-Corbyn MP 's are. There was some good news for


the anti-Corbyn members, because representatives from the Scottish


and Welsh Labour parties are likely to be given two new places on the


committee, which will be seen as anti-Corbyn members, which would add


to the vote for that site. But we recently had elections at the NEC,


so two new pro Corbyn members are about to come in. We are left with a


divided ruling body. So do you think that peace will ever break out in


Labour? The ballot has just closed in the election and we have just


learned that 630,000 people voted in the election, an electorate of


640,000, so that turnout is enormous. It's widely expected that


Jeremy Corbyn will win. I was talking to the anti-Corbyn wing of


the party, so-called centrists, and they were saying the leadership


contest should never have been held this early in Jeremy's tenure. They


were saying that many of the members have seen this as the Parliamentary


Labour Party stabbing Jeremy Corbyn in the back, so it's self-defeating


for them. They say they are hearing on the doorsteps that many Labour


members now want to see Labour MPs making party unity is a priority, so


there will be a lot of pressure on who work counter Corbyn in the party


to come into his tent. I am told by the Corbyn camp that we should


expect an olive branch to be held out at the conference if he wins


next week, and we will be very surprised, I'm told, by the type of


people they are asking to come back into his tent. I am waiting with


bated breath. Well, we can hear now from someone


who was at that marathon meeting. Darren Williams is a member


of Labour's NEC and Also here with me in the studio


is Luke Akehurst, a former member of the NEC and now secretary


of the Labour centrist Luke Akehurst, Jeremy Corbyn has


won, presuming he is going to win the leadership. That would be my


assumption, that he is going to win on Saturday. And he has won for


control of the party as well. I don't think so. I think the decision


yesterday that the rule change to give seats on the NEC that are


specifically for Wales and Scotland is unlikely to produce people that


are his supporters, which throws a spanner in the works of the quite


outrageous plan that seems to have been patched to try and sack the


general secretary and key staff members. That won't happen. In terms


of conference, we already know that, for instance, there won't be a


debate on Trident, so none of the big overseas that Corbyn supporters


would like to change are going to change for another year, and the


delegation -- the conference make-up is quite good for the anti-Corbyn


members. You voted against this change, to give the NEC votes to


representatives from the devolved administrations in Scotland and


Wales. Why? I voted against it because, as far as Wales is


concerned, it's an workable. The idea that a front bench Assembly


Member or any Assembly Member would be able to go to an NEC meeting in


London on a Tuesday when the assembly is sitting and we only have


29 AMs is an workable. There is a practical problem. I'm in favour of


the principle of Scotland and Wales having ring-fenced representation,


but those people should be elected by the ordinary members. You wanted


them to be elected by ordinary members. Does that tip the balance


of power away from Corbyn and his supporters, that it isn't going to


happen? Other proposals are under discussion is -- discussion that


were too contentious to be agreed yesterday, but they will be


discussed after conference, which will potentially change we made up


of the NEC. So I don't think we should see it is just adding two


more people for Scotland and Wales. There is more to be done. So it


isn't going to throw a spanner in the works in terms of getting rid of


the general secretary of the Labour Party, Ian McNicol. Nobody is


talking about getting rid of the general secretary. Yesterday, there


was a general message that there should be no threat to sack or


anything of that nature. Well, there you go. It's been widely reported


that there was a meeting at Unite's offices in Esher to plot the removal


of key members of staff, and even when an assurance was made at the


NEC, Jeremy Corbyn needs to make that very publicly that he has


confidence in the general secretary, whose behaviour, I think, has been


impeccable during the leadership campaign, trying to uphold the rule


book in difficult circumstances. That is what discussed at that


meeting in Esher, wasn't it, that there were discussions about getting


rid of people who hadn't been legal -- and been loyal to Jeremy Corbyn,


including Ian McNicol. I wasn't at that meeting, Jeremy was. He told


the meeting clearly yesterday that that wasn't part of the discussion.


Do you think that Ian McNicol should stay? Luke Akehurst presented that


there is no question about decisions made by officials during the


election. A lot of the decisions were controversial, such as the


decision to challenge the High Court judgment about members


disenfranchised by the six-month freeze date. I don't think you can


simply say that every decision made by party officers, with the


involvement of... Should he stay or should he go? It's not for me to


say. But you have a view? That decision has to be made in the round


by the NEC if there are concerns about actions made by party


officers. I would not get into talking about individuals. Last week


you said the changes to constituency boundaries presented an opportunity


to replace Labour MPs with other candidates more in tune with the


views of ordinary party members. Can the party come together when senior


members like you are effectively calling for a selection? I was


saying that, in my view, we should be in a position where elections


should be as open as possible and members have a genuine choice. --


selections. I was not suggesting a purge of anybody who differs with


Jeremy Corbyn. It's a decision for members in every constituency to


make. Members in each constituency, when a selection contest comes up,


should be able to change from the widest range of candidates. Given


the evident disconnect between the views of many of our MPs and


ordinary members that we have seen emerging, it would be a positive


thing for that choice to be made available. It's not that a purge or


a witchhunt, it's about wider democracy. Actually, what he is


described is a purge or a witchhunt. It's to frighten MPs into not voting


or speaking according to their conscience. And saying, you could


sacked by activists, and he can dress it up in whatever technical


language he wants, but this is effectively a call for mandatory


reselection for every MP. It's a recipe for chaos. How can Jeremy


Corbyn be expected to lead the party when there are groups like Labour


First actively organising to get rid of him? It's the right of people in


a democratic party to want to change the direction of the party it is


exactly what left-wing groups like the Labour representation committee


did all the time when they disagreed with the direction that Blair or


Brown was going in. People cannot put their conscience on ice and not


speak up about the fact that they think that Jeremy is leading the


party in a disastrous direction. We have a duty, if we believe it is


going in the wrong direction, to say so, and he should have listened when


MPs no-confidenceed him. We are in this situation because he didn't do


the right thing and step down after that vote. What do you say to that?


I think that's a very arrogant position. Jeremy Corbyn has the


biggest mandated in any leader's history. I am confident he will get


a similar mandate as a result of this vote. 172 Labour MPs tried to


overturn that mandate. I think we are going to see that their views


have been rejected. To return to what Luke Akehurst was saying,


nobody including myself is suggesting that anyone who differs


from Jeremy Corbyn on matters of policy should be regarded as... But


that is what is said publicly, but privately when you speak to people


these things have been set in meetings. Of course it isn't the


public statement of Jeremy Corbyn or any of those around him, but you


have to accept these things have been set in individual constituency


meetings. There is an important difference between disagreeing with


the leader of the party on policy, nobody is suggesting, as Luke


Akehurst was saying, that people shouldn't be true to their


consciences. Those disagreements have to be aired. Jeremy Helan did


clear that he feels there is room for a wide spectrum. -- Jeremy has


certainly made it clear. Where MPs have been consistently and publicly


disloyal and hostile, briefing against him in the media and openly


plotting against him, I think if I were a party member in those MPs'


constituencies, I would be interested in alternative


representation. The party membership at the moment is completely


unrepresentative of Labour voters, let alone the voters we need to win


over to win a general election, so we have people that demographically


and politically are not a representative sample of the public,


that have lumbered us with a leader who frankly is unelectable and it


looks like they want lumber us with unelectable MPs as well. Chris


Mullin, we have just had a report which says that Owen Smith, the


challenger to Jeremy Corbyn, as appeared to concede repeat. Asked in


an interview whether he would serve in a Jeremy Corbyn Shadow Cabinet,


Mr Smith at -- Mr Smith said he would not be serving but he would do


what he had always done, he would vote Labour lawyerly and served from


the backbenches. Should people like Owen Smith, if Jeremy Corbyn has won


it, which we expect, go back and served in a Shadow Cabinet? Should


those MPs who said they had no confidence serve him? That up to


them but they shouldn't spend the next year or two trying to undermine


him. -- backed up to them. I respect Jeremy but I am not a Corbyn


supporter. I think it's unwise to elect a leader who has the support


of perhaps only 10% of the party. But we have now had two elections.


If he wins twice, that result has to be respected for the duration. Last


time, when he won it by a considerable margin, the plotting


and scheming against him started within 24 hours. I just despair if


that is going to start all over again. We can't go on like this. The


party needs to get its guns facing outwards. There are all sorts of


open goal is to be kicked out -- at that require a functioning


opposition. Do you believe these claims of entryism, that the people


supporting Jeremy Corbyn are not true Labour Party supporters? There


might be a bit of it but it doesn't account for the huge numbers that


have joined. There has always been a bit of it but it is not a decisive


factor. When it comes to internal strife


in the Labour Party, Chris Mullin has been there,


done that and probably got Ellie Price has been


delving into the archives. 22-year-old Chris Mullin stood


against the Liberal leader I wouldn't ever want to fight


an amorphous slab like perhaps Hull where I lived before,


and this strikes me as a very lovely way of beginning


a career in politics, But he had to wait another 17 years


to start that career as a Labour MP. So in the meantime he set


about becoming a journalist, It took him to conflicts in places


like Vietnam and Cambodia, and to war zones closer


to home like the one waging in the Labour Party


in the early 1980s. Chris Mullin was a leading Bennite,


and edited Tony Benn's speeches when he stood against Denis Healey


to become deputy leader. He also wrote a pamphlet entitled


How To Select Or Reselect Your MP. It was fundamentally


about democracy, no doubt we were a bit over the top at times,


but it was about making leaders When the deputy leadership bid


failed he became editor of Tribune, Shifting its direction


further to the left, falling out with senior party


members along the way. The tradition of Tribune's


rebelliousness, which is correct and must be maintained,


has moved to the point where it has simply become a vehicle


for opposition to another I think what has happened


in the last two or three years is it began to enjoy rather a too cosy


relationship with the establishment. We suddenly found ourselves


in danger of becoming part And I certainly am not keen that


that should be the case. It's not good for a campaigning


paper, I don't think. But in 1987, Chris Mullin did become


part of the establishment, elected as an MP


for Sunderland South. It might be a good idea


if the United States called By the time Labour got


into government in 1997, Chris Mullin was signed up


to the New Labour project. He even served as a minister


in three departments. His journey from the Bennites


to the Blairites is a different approach to that of one


of his contemporaries. This picture of the newly-elected MP


Jeremy Corbyn was taken in Chris Mullin's garden three days


after the 1983 election. Jeremy is a saintly figure


of enormous personal integrity, and a man who lives his life


in accordance with his beliefs. So for example, if you run into him


on a train, as I have done on one occasion,


he'll immediately get out his box of sandwiches, which are vegetarian


of course, and cut them in half Do you see him as electable


as a Prime Minister? You hesitated there but you do feel


he is not the right man to lead the party? I do, yes. As I said a moment


ago, it's a high-risk strategy in a system that is a parliamentary


system to elect a leader who has the support, for good reasons of bad, of


only 10% or so of the Parliamentary party. It is a recipe for problems.


But actually, isn't this what you've always wanted? A leader who wants


party members to be more involved, to have more democracy in the party,


that they would make the decisions about who is appointed, who is


sitting on the National ruling executive? Why aren't you supporting


Jeremy Corbyn? I still support reselection. I'm still a member of


the campaign for Labour Party democracy. I've consistently voted


to get rid of nuclear weapons. I haven't changed as much as you think


I have. But I do think we ought to be in a position to form a


government and I am in favour of that. One of the reasons I supported


Tony Blair in 94 is, having lost four general elections in a row, my


feeling was that we couldn't even take a little punt on the outcome of


a fifth general election if we wish to remain relevant. So why is Jeremy


Corbyn doing so well? If you cite that he can't win an election and


somebody like Tony Blair, but he won elections? He's one internal


elections in the party. One thing we have learned is to be popular in the


party doesn't necessarily translate into votes in the country. And


actually what ordinary punters complain about is not whether


somebody is left or right, on the whole they're not that bothered


about that. But if you are disunited, they say you are fighting


each other, how can you function as a government? That's a reasonable


point. You read this pamphlet about the reselection of MPs and you stand


by that but isn't the truth now that that is used as a weapon and it's a


weapon to oust centrists, in this case, rightly or wrongly, who are


deemed disloyal to Jeremy Corbyn. As Len McCluskey has clearly said, that


it's not for making the party more democratic, it is a weapon. Both


sides have always tried to occasionally undermined their


opponents. But actually I was new Labour ahead of my time. Safe seats


for life is old label and a contract renewable every five years is new


Labour. This situation has not been brought about by people in the


Labour Party, it's been brought about by the government's


determination to have a boundary is reorganised. That is what has given


the opportunity and inevitably some Labour MPs will lose out. But it


could be used as a weapon, to take this opportunity... If you look back


all of these points were made in the 1980s. Very few people were


deselected for ideological reasons. I can think of two in the 1980s.


Despite the hysteria in the media, two is all I can think of. Is this


situation now worse in your mind than the 1980s or the same? Slightly


worse. Nobody ever doubted that Benn was capable of governing. Aren't we


supposed to be talking about my memoirs? Go on then, tell us about


it. The Hinterland. It's all a thread through, your political


journey. You made a political journey, are you saying Jeremy


Corbyn hasn't made that political journey? There's no doubt about


that. It's about my life, for better or for worse. I believe that the


most useful MPs are the ones who have done something before they get


elected. Young people come up to be sometimes and say, I'm interested in


Parliament, what's your advice? My advice is go away and do something


first, and then you might be useful if you get elected. I was 39 when I


got elected. I'd been a reporter in Vietnam and travelled all over.


Taken part in a major battle against the establishment it about


correcting miscarriages of justice. The trouble is there the cult of


youth in politics although it has come to a rather grinding halt with


the election of Jeremy, hasn't it? Theresa May isn't in her 30s either.


Not to say that she's old, of course. Yes you could say leaders


are a bit older rather than younger. I'm not against that. The route that


happened lot under New Labour, you went to Oxford, studied PPE, got a


job working for a minister. You then used your contacts to be levered


with patronage into a safe seat and jewel on the front bench or indeed


in government by the age of 30. By the time you were in your late 30s


very often you burned out. Whereas you are an example of how a career


can span the decades! Things are not yet so desperate that they are


saying, send for Chris Mullin! As we get used to political life under our


second female Prime Minister, memories of our first abound.


Not least how she too had Europe to blame for many


Her divisions with former Chancellor and Foreign Secretary Geoffrey Howe


are revisited in a play currently touring the country.


In a moment we'll talk to the playwright Jonathan Maitland.


But first Mark Lobel got the hot ticket to


Sir Geoffrey Howe, Mrs Thatcher's longest serving colleague


throughout her years in power, turned on her in the Commons today.


It's rather like sending your opening batsman to the crease only


for them to find the moment the first balls are bowled


that their bats have been broken before the game by the team captain.


I never expected him to say what he said in the way that he did.


The surprising events that brought Margaret Thatcher down are closely


examined in writer Jonathan Maitland's play.


It depicts how the man Denis Healey once compared debating with to being


savaged by a dead sheep - the title of this political drama -


went on to deliver one of the most effectively brutal Commons


Or, as Thatcher, played by Steve Nallon, who provided her


voice for Spitting Image, might have put it...


AS THATCHER: It was about how I was betrayed, betrayed,


by my one-time friend and colleague, Sir Geoffrey Howe, aided and abetted


I was stabbed, stabbed in the back and the front.


AS SELF: The physicality helps to create the voice,


so it's actually much better to be wearing the frock.


I'm dressed like this now for rehearsal, but it is good to get


What's unique about this play is that it puts Geoffrey Howe


centrestage after he finds an increasingly Eurosceptic Thatcher


AS THATCHER: Monsieur Delors said that he wanted


the European Parliament to be the democratic


body of the community, that he wanted the Commission to be


the executive and the Council of Ministers to be the Senate.


AS SELF: Those three words a story tell.


Dead Sheep depicts the moment Geoffrey Howe delivered his


resignation note to Thatcher, highlighting their


AS SELF: He is divided between loyalty to the values


that his wife holds and also to his country and party


The production's three-month UK tour will arrive in Birmingham


next month, coinciding with the Conservative


When you heard Theresa May's first Prime Minister's


Questions, did you hear the voice of Thatcher?


Mrs Thatcher, towards the end, used to use her glasses to lean


She didn't like wearing glasses, so she used take them off and lean


Theresa May didn't exactly do that, but she put a hand on the dispatch


But, with Europe dominating the agenda once again,


this drama reminds us that a Prime Minister should take care.


It even brought the Iron Lady down in the end, with a little


And the man who wrote the play, Jonathan Maitland, joins me now.


Fantastic mimicry going on of Margaret Thatcher. Why a man for the


role? He was the best person for the role, actually. It was famously said


she was the best man in the Cabinet. He is unbelievable, it's pure


Stanislavsky. He's got the 1981 voice, the 1984 voice... He changes


with her! One might say, surely we know all of this drama in terms of


Margaret Thatcher and Geoffrey Howe, and how she was brought down,


there's nothing left to say. You might know it, Jo, but I'm not sure


everyone else does. There's been lots of plays and films about her.


When I had a chat with John Sergeant he said, you are wasting your time,


everyone knows it. But actually I think the Geoffrey Howe 's story is


the best bit of the tale. He was the mouse that roared and he ended up


stabbing her in the back. He went from being the world's worst speaker


to making one of the greatest speeches of all time. Also, his wife


couldn't stand Mrs Thatcher and she couldn't stand her. You've got this


podgy bloke in between two powerful women. The Iron Lady films treated


Geoffrey as a walk one pompous buffoon, he was much more than that.


It was devastating in the House at the time. You are saying it makes


for great drama. These political events do make for fantastic stage


plays? Judging by the reaction of the audiences it makes for great


drama and break comedy as well. You've got Margaret telling Geoffrey


to shut up in front of Cabinet and he keeps on humiliating her. It's


interesting because there were tragedies along the way. The glue


that bound them together was the late Ian Gow MP for Eastbourne. In


the play he dies which is what happened. He was assassinated by the


IRA. You've gone from a seen before whether they are laughing about


being at school together, to this terrible tragedy. You had a front


row seat to this. Not quite on the front row but I was there, yes. It


was a dramatic moment. If you read Jonathan Aitken's biography of


Thatcher, it documents how she treated... Actually it's true of


Charles Moore as well, it documents how she treated Geoffrey Howe. It


was her who humiliated him and this was the payback. She said in front


of civil servants, that paper you submitted is twaddle! And the


private conversations are interesting. That's the point. I


like to think the play personalises politics because politics is all


about personalities. I am trying to make the political personal.


Geoffrey was quite every man, he was like a plump country solicitor with


a really good brain. It's the quiet once you've got to watch! Thank you.


There's just time before we go to find out the answer to our quiz.


The question was which music band did the Lib Dem leader


Tim Farron compare former Prime Minister Tony Blair


to in his conference speech yesterday?


I am going to go for the Stone Roses. That was a good and educated


guess. It is right. I'm not just a pretty face! What do you think about


Tony Blair deciding he's going to give up the money, or give up making


any more money? To be honest, he runs four charitable trusts, that's


where quite a lot of the money has gone. I never see that point made.


Yes, he's earned himself a lot of money... Grudging, here! I'm saying


he employs something like 180 people and that's where the money has gone,


it hasn't all gone into his pocket. Andrew and I will be back at midday


tomorrow. From all of us here, goodbye.


Jo Coburn is joined by former Labour minister Chris Mullin to discuss the future of the party as voting for the leadership closes and Theresa May's speech to the UN, including the calls for a cap on skilled workers coming into the UK.

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