Jo Coburn with the latest political news, interviews and debate. Jo is joined by former Downing Street director of communications Alastair Campbell.
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Hello and welcome to the Daily Politics.
Theresa May delivers her big conference speech
So do we know any more about the woman herself
and the direction she wants to take the country in?
And do Conservatives at their conference think we will be
richer or poorer after we leave the European Union?
We talk to two former spin doctors about life
at the top in Downing Street and whether the era of spin is over.
And after Diane James sensationally quit as Ukip
leader after just 18 days, we speak to one of the contenders
putting themselves forward to replace her.
All that in the next hour, and with me for the whole
of the programme today Tony Blair's former press supremo
Alastair Campbell, who's just released the fifth volume
Thank you. Don't sound too enthusiastic! Oh, I am.
Now, Theresa May is splashed on almost all the front pages -
all except Alastair's old paper, The Daily Mirror.
The Telegraph headline is: "It's time to remember the good
The Mail says: "We're coming after you!", in reference
to Mrs May's message to tax-avoiding multinationals and energy giants.
The Guardian declares that May has consigned Cameron to history.
And The Times headline says: "May takes centre stage
Well, someone who knows all about staking out the centre
Do you agree that she now owns that territory? Know, and I don't think
she should be allowed to either. I think a lot of what she said and
done since she took office and stood on the steps of Downing Street is at
odds with the sentence she set out then. I think it has been a very odd
week. Seeing Amber Rudd, who I was campaigning with during the
referendum campaign, coming out with that stuff about making foreign
companies list foreign workers. Jeremy Hunt trying to suggest if we
get rid of a few foreign doctors and get a few more Brits in there... I
thought it was becoming borderline and even crossing at times,
xenophobic. We will talk about that a little later on. In general she is
sort of parking her tanks on the lawn that people might have said
Tony Blair occupied, because there's no one elsewhere at the moment. Ukip
on the other side are in disarray. She has plenty of room to manoeuvre.
And I think what she was doing, there were parts of it... I know you
have Allister Heath coming on from the Telegraph later, I read his
column and he was talking about how she's trying to get too far over to
the left on business, but I think in other parts of it, the whole feel of
the week has felt like a Ukip tribute band. She's doing both, yes,
trying to park a tank on Labour's lawn but also Ukip, which is
difficult. Jeremy Corbyn has drawn criticism because we haven't heard
anything from him all week. There has been no counter argument put
forward by Labour, do you agree? Yes. Should he be more visible? It's
not just about the leadership of the Labour Party. Back in the day when I
was a journalist there was this thing where you give each party a
week to go for it. I think that has changed. I think it changed a while
ago. I think it did, and the reality is that conservatives are yet again,
looking at the headlines, you see the advantage of you have most of
the press ready to beat your Drogba. The Guardian saying she took the
underground... they said as she is trying to stake out the centre
ground, it's what you then do in terms of policy. That is when it
will get difficult. I think a lot of Tories who have kept quiet this
week, I think there are quite a lot of Tories are very unhappy with the
way Brexit is played out. We will talk about that as well, but we're
looking at the response of Labour to what has happened. Nothing from
Jeremy Corbyn, and MPs admitting she is, in terms of talk of fairness and
working people, the party of the workers, from a rhetoric stance...
You have to be careful. People can criticise new Labour and Tony Blair
all they want, but we set out a strategic course, new Labour,
modernisation, and we made sure the policy worked for that. I think with
Theresa May, she's pointing both ways at the moment. I've seen some
of the papers today say that we see what she stands for now, I'm still
not 100% sure what she stands for at all. Let's talk about Jeremy Corbyn.
What is your view of him and now, now he is back in power and the
leader again? He's not in power, he is leader of the Labour Party. Yes,
leader of the Labour Party. Is your objection to him one based on policy
or competence? I've always believed the policies and politics the Labour
Party has to pursue, to win power, which is a legitimate and necessary
aim, that you've always got to be in touch with the people who don't live
inside the political bubble, who do live in the centre ground. I worry
that an policy and on politics, and by that I mean this whole kind of...
The idea of turning the Labour Party within, wing against swing. But
these are your voters. He Griezmann ship. I know, but a lot of them
didn't vote for us. But there are people who are now fairly senior, in
terms of the direction of the Labour Party, who have been hostile. I
think an policy there are fundamental disagreements but I
think he's saying a lot of the right things. You think is a competence
issue? No. At the moment... I saw Kerry MacArthur give an interview
and she said I want to hear stuff you can't just sit on a T-shirt. The
same criticism of Theresa May, it's about policy. You all about slogan
politics as well. The conference should have been the time to set it
up. Owen Smith says he thinks Labour should be a centre-left party. Do
you agree with that? Yes. If you like the policies of Jeremy Corbyn,
surely you can work on the politics or competence and he could be a
future Prime Minister? He could, but the point I'm making to you is you
can't just... What I felt about the Labour Party conference, it felt
almost like it was operating inside its own bubble. It's about the
public in the end. Theresa May I don't think has put forward the
policy platform, and I think one she takes us down this Brexit path I
think she has all sorts of obstacles. For Labour, the Labour
Party, the Labour leadership seems to be defining itself as much
against labour as was, as the government doing all sorts of
things. Was Owen Smith the wrong candidate to go up against Jeremy
Corbyn? Give me an alternative. There were plenty of people to
choose from. But they didn't get nominations, you have to deal with
what you have. He lost an Jeremy won and now the Labour Party and PLP
have to make a decision about how they work with him, to try and take
us forward, at a time when people sense of vacuum and are worried
about what this government are doing.
The question for today is what has Jeremy Corbyn
Alastair Campbell says he knows the answer but will have to wait until
the end of the show to give it to us.
Conference season is a tough time for politicians,
their phalanxes of advisors and of course us political hacks -
the endless rounds of talks, press appearances, late nights
and, of course, cheap wine and terrible fried finger food.
And though everyone else might have a bit of a conference
hang over, and there's still the SNP's to go,
Theresa May and her kitchen cabinet haven't been indulging...
Instead they've been hard at work clearing out the Conservative policy
cupboards, and over the conference season they've detoxed the previous
administrations big ideas and introduced their
The first thing the government announced was their plan to be
Brexit ready by next year - promising to trigger
They also announced they'd blitz existing EU law
with a 'Great Repeal Bill' - turning European legislation
into British law so it can be sieved out by government.
Theresa May vowed she'd keep the UK out of the European Court
of Justice and wouldn't hand over any control on immigration,
signalling the Government's priorities in any negotiation over
Home Secretary Amber Rudd picked up on the immigration theme,
She said she wants firms to list all their foreign employees
The Government was also keen to bulk up
it's fibre content - pledging ?3 billion
for a Home Building Fund, though not all of that is new money.
And of course, the Government has done it's best
to cater for fussy eaters in education - repeating it's mantra
to allow more selection of pupils with new grammar schools.
Although it's not a medical concept, the Government doesn't want
you to detox without medical supervision - Jeremy Hunt has
announced an additional 1500 doctor training places per year, and called
for less reliance on foreign staff in the NHS.
Chancellor Hammond has warned about overdoing it. He's Paul George
Osborne's promise to get rid of the deficit by 2020 down the sink.
We're joined now by the Conservative MP Kwasi Kwarteng.
Let's talk about the announcements on foreign workers, are you happy
with their approach and tone? You have to remember it is not as
radical as people are saying. Some elements of the media very excited
about it. Listing foreign workers is something that happens in the US.
The policy referred to non-EU migrants, not EU migrants. It's not
as controversial policy as... Are you happy with naming and shaming
companies who employ too many foreigners, making a distinction
between British-born workers and foreign workers? Are you comfortable
with it? I think there is not a problem with saying... It doesn't
cross the line? It was your own Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, who
said British jobs for British workers. It's so interesting now to
see people like Alastair, defenders of Gordon Brown, saying this is the
most extraordinary policy. I think it's totally legitimate in the light
of the Brexit vote, finding employment for people in Britain. He
coined the phrase, British jobs for British people. Ed Miliband went
even further. It is totally unfair to say with shock and horror that
this is patently xenophobic. If you get the next volume of my diaries...
I think you'll find I wasn't very happy about British jobs for British
people. Because I thought that was then... The thing about this debate
about immigration, and this does come through both in the last few
years... We recognise the growing political problem and struggle with
the solutions. I think once you locate the solutions in angry,
divisive rhetoric, as opposed to policy that might work, I think it
gets very... I you're right, there is a party platform at the party
conference, but also a legitimate look at the policy. You said
yourself both parties in government have failed to really address this
issue. We want to reduce the numbers and if you are going to reduce the
numbers are not serious about that, you have to look at interesting and
very tough policies. You do accept the numbers have to be reduced?
We'll do. Do they? A large a majority of the Conservative Party.
You talk about the policy solutions... Would those policies,
for instance having fewer foreign doctors, being self-sufficient with
British doctors, will that help or hinder our NHS? I think it can help
it. How? There will be tension between freedom of movement and
economic growth. If you wanted economic growth regardless of
freedom of movement, this country could have a population of 100
million. But as a politician you can't responsibly accept that. You
have to have some sort of degree of control. What we have learned over
the last ten years, look at Europe, there are far white parties growing
in Europe because of this issue and is absolutely responsible, the right
thing for the government to do, to look at this issue and try and
restrict... -- far right parties. Is that the solution? Is it about the
number of foreign doctors, or doctors where ever they come from,
or is it a funding shortfall? I think both elements are important.
Funding is obviously important for the NHS, but also an issue in terms
of giving opportunities for people in Britain to contribute to British
society. There is no real social benefit, I think, to importing
hundreds of thousands of people every single year and displacing
people who are home-grown people. What is wrong with that, what is
xenophobic about that? What I said was xenophobic is day by day through
the conference week, that there was a clear and deliberate effort with
Amber Rudd and the Prime Minister herself to make this sort of theme
for the conference. Without bringing forward policy. I don't think this
foreign workers thing will happen, it was all part of the positioning.
I think with the health Jeremy Hunt has also awful lot on his plate and
he could have made the biggest use of it for as conference but he
focused on this narrow point. I was hospital a couple of years ago, I
came back from the Balkans and had dysentery. I tell you, if you pushed
out... Let me tell you. They are saying they want to develop
home-grown doctors. That's fine, they can do that anyway, it's a fact
they're trying to pit them against doctors who are already there. Camp
Nou so this is more about rhetoric -- can you say this is more about
rhetoric, I think there will be some attempt to bring about policies.
That's what governmentdo. I think getting, training new doctors is a
good thing to do, they could've done that anyway. Low skilled workers.
Theresa May said I know a lot of people don't like to admit this,
someone who finds themselves out of work what an low wages because of
low skilled immigration. Is that absolutely true?
There is an issue. But is it actually true? I speak to people who
are builders all the time and they will tell you, and you have probably
had the same conversations, they haven't had a weight increase in 15
years. Part of the reason is we are importing low skilled people who are
doing those jobs, that's a fact. We wouldn't import them if they weren't
keeping wages down. Even Ed Miliband admitted this as a reality, so for
Labour to shy away and point the finger and say these are issues that
aren't actually going to solve... I think the and contempt of wages is a
real issue, minimum wage, living wage, these are designed to help the
people break the law. What we have to be careful about, which is why
others borrowed about the tone of the whole, is making process
emotions without really sitting at the reality about how big a problem
is. I do worry, particularly if you think about, the country was very
divided with the set vote, and the message from Theresa May is, it's
not divided all -- with the Brexit vote. It wasn't that clear, it was
very complicated. I think she should be doing more to unite, she's making
the same mistake David Cameron. He think that is to binary? She also
sees a greater role, that's it as one of the more interesting things
about her speech in terms of good government, people were surprised to
hear that from a Tory Prime Minister. Is that something you
would support? Of course, a referendum, we don't have often in
this country, there is a reason, they are binary, it's a yes or no
answer and you will get 52, 48, it could have gone the other way and
that's a difficult position for any government to be in but I think she
has the fantastic job in trying to project steady government, mature
government, she's a national figure. Her polling is strong on this. But
do you embrace this side of her, this state intervention, good
government? The plant she is try to make and has made effectively is
they were people who felt left out, we have two little the Brexit vote
and say, there are people for whom this economy isn't working, and she
says she will make an economy work for everyone. That means some more
government legislation looking at workers' rights, looking at things,
education... The conversations I have had it with you in the past,
you would not have supported that. I tend to be more on the free market
side of things, that we have to look at the proposals as they come. I
think the government has made a good start, she has admitted what a lot
of people on your side haven't acknowledged, but there is a
disconnect between the Metropolitan elite and the country. You and I are
members of it. The Tory party has been presenting itself as the party
of the working classes, we're putting up straw men here. The thing
about picketers, that you only patriotic if you follow this mission
that Theresa May sets out for what Britain is, is nonsense. I thought
she has done a good job of protecting herself at a national
leader. That's a different thing. I also signed up to abandoning the
deficit reduction plan or reaching a surplus? I am a deficit hawk but I
came into Parliament in 2010, and we said we would eliminate it in five
years and we missed all those targets. So you have converted on
that? Hammond has a moral realist approach, committee wants to reduce
the deficit but there is no point having targets you miss every year.
Like the immigration target. Or the NHS target. You have two stick to it
and that's what the Chancellor has recognised.
Now, Brexit has been the hot topic of this party conference season.
But what did the delegates at the Conservative conference think
the outlook for the UK economy will be in a post-Brexit Britain?
We sent our Adam out with his balls to ask them.
Will dissolving the UK's marriage with the EU leave the country
I think richer in the long-term, but there's a lot of challenges
I think there will be some people who are a little bit better off
A quick question, aren't you at the wrong conference?
I get a better welcome here, than I do at the Labour Party one.
Just having our own seat at the top table again.
I think we won't notice it this early on, but eventually
Because we haven't left yet, so we don't know yet.
Why do you think it will lead to us benig poorer?
I don't think we're going to negotiate the right deal.
If we get that fair immigration system, which is basically that
anyone either from Europe or outside of Europe coming to Britain with no
discrimination based on colour of passport,
it's going to make us richer, a better workforce.
Absolutely, I have no doubt about it.
I think in the long-term we''ill be richer, but there may be
Is the turbulence a price worth paying?
Andrea, you're going to love the question today.
Will Brexit leave us richer or poorer?
Oh, she's not denying it would leave us poorer.
Is that how we interpret that silence?
Owen, is Brexit going to leave us richer or poorer?
What do think Andrew Mitchell will vote?
I think Andrew Mitchell will vote richer...
We've seen the country before, we're old enough to remember it
We weren't very rich in the 1950s, were we?
We had a good life, even though we were children then.
I'd say probably slightly on the poorer side.
Because it will take as a bit of time to get back into it.
Is Britain going to be richer or poorer as a result of Brexit?
Don't you want to answer that question?
He's got time to do a selfie, but not time for the moodbox, sad!
There we go, which when will he go for?
I just think culturally it's going to be a big mistake,
to have left and make ourselves more isolated from the rest of the EU.
There we go, the last moodbox at the Tory conference and it's
a whopping majority that thinks Britain will be
richer as a result of Brexit.
A clear majority, you agree with them? Completely. I was just reading
a guy for coming on the show, the head of the German industrial... He
said that within three to five years, Britain will be richer, doing
better than the rest of Europe. That's a German businessman! But,
beyond that, do you think that's true or will it take longer? I think
the economy can adjust quickly, we will have different trading patterns
and a relationship with the EU, no one is saying we can't draw up...
Sure. But broadly, we will have more control, more flexible economy...
And that will make us richer in the long term. You have mentioned him,
but there are big employers, Nissan, Jaguar, risks to jobs. Are they
wrong? They are producers, they make things in this country and have a
vested interest in the status quo, absolutely. I would expect them at
the beginning of negotiations to set out their stall and say these are
the dangers. They expect access to the single market. But we're talking
about membership to the single market, Theresa May has said we
can't have it, you can still have access... The thing is we don't
know. I'd also, I think having triggered said she's going to
trigger Article 50, that is when the tough stuff is going to start. Is
this you doing Project Fear again, warning about the economy taking a
downturn? It's about warning what I think is going to happen, the
European Union will see us now... It's not a divorce commits a
resignation, we have decided to leave. Is it a threat from them? It
matters much worse than it does to them. We are about a six of the
whole economy of them. There is no point in them having a
retaliatory... It doesn't have to be forced to take years and years to
get the trade deals we need. I wasn't in favour of the euro, I was
of the EU. Tony Blair. He told us it wouldn't be a disaster if we didn't
join. Philip Hammond, the Chancellor, repeated the Treasury
forecast that was done during the referendum campaign of a 4% hit
overtime to GDP. He repeated it again this week. Is he right? I
don't believe these scare stories. The Chancellor is scaring people? I
don't know what his particular position was. We had a lot of data
from the Treasury, the punishment budget, that had a Treasury thing...
And that hasn't happened? It was completely. Wrong. What Philip
Hammond was doing, I find it incredible that I was looking at him
and thinking, seems to be a voice of almost reason... He is the
Chancellor, looking at the state of the whole time. And the idea... The
trouble is, we have a media which has a sense of everything is going
to be wonderful, they want to be proven right so they pick on every
bit of data... So does your side. My point is, the big, difficult stuff,
is yet to come. It's going to come when these companies to make their
hard-headed decisions and the idea that they are all going to say,
that's fine would have access to the single market, don't have to worry
about freedom of movement... We're going to face the got choices. You
talked about Philip Hammond being the voice of sanity, but the same
voices were warning of apocalyptic economic downturn, that was wrong,
wasn't it? I don't accept that, it hasn't even begun. These deposits it
would be a recession in 2016. Thankfully that hasn't happened. We
are still in 2016. I don't... I don't think there will be a
recession. Cameron and Osborne said it. I said, there still believe,
that leaving the European Union will damage as politically and economic
Lee and culturally. And you would be wrong. Can we agree that we won't
really know until Article 50 is triggered in March and then we might
have a clearer idea. It'll take years. So it will take years to take
the trade deal? Who don't even know what skin to happen in five, ten, 40
years. -- that's going to happen. The longer time goes on, a lot of
your doom mongering will be proved wrong. And the newspapers will say
that Brexit, blaming Britain is the going strong. Used to work in the
newspapers! I am out of it, thank God!
Ukip's immigration spokesman who announced he would be running for
the leadership of the party, there will be a contest, has this morning
collapsed in the European Parliament in Strasbourg. The ten out our
political correspondent. Tell us what's gone on. This is a developing
story, we note the first reports came in half an hour ago that
Stephen will first left about in the European Parliament in Strasbourg,
currently sitting, he collapsed. We have confirmation from a Ukip
spokesperson that he was taken ill suddenly in Strasbourg and has been
taken to hospital for tests. We haven't got any more information
about the severity of this incident, no further update on his health but
as you might imagine, other MEPs and Ukip colleagues are putting their
support for him. Their rivals in that leadership contest I wish him
the best for his recovery. He was doing the media rounds yesterday
when he announced he would be a candidate in this leadership race,
saying he was the first went put his name forward now that the contest
will be rerun following the unexpected resignation of Diane
James, now this latest element that he has been taken ill, very scant
details at the moment. I suppose the leadership contest at
the moment will be put on hold old until we know about Steven Woolfe's
position? The only other candidate so far to declare he will be
standing is Raheem Cassandra. He said out of respect for Steven
Woolfe at this stage you won't continue with media appearances
until the situation becomes clearer. The board across Ukip, there seems
to be broad support for Steven Woolfe, who is a very well-known
character in Ukip, is a man who has been their immigration spokesman and
an MP in Parliament. People wishing him the best and hoping he gets
well, but this seems like it will bring about a pause in campaigning.
Thank you for updating us. We were hoping to speak to Raheem Kassam,
who was also going to stand for the leadership, but no more media
appearances at the moment as it is not appropriate, bearing in mind
Steven Woolfe's position. Now, as well as attacking
the "socialist left" in her speech, Theresa May also rejected
the ideology of the Unsurprisingly, it hasn't gone down
too well with everyone on the right. Let's have a listen
to what she had to say. It's time to remember the good
that government can do. Time for a new approach that says
while government doesn't have all the answers,
government can and should be That the state exists to provide
what individual people, communities and markets cannot,
and that we should employ the power of government
for the good of the people. Time to reject the ideological
templates provided by the socialist left and the libertarian right,
and to embrace a new centre ground in which government
steps up and not back, Joining us now is the Deputy Editor
of the Daily Telegraph, Proud libertarian I would say. Your
view has been rejected by Theresa May. Yes, that's the point I made in
the piece today. I think for years the Conservative Party has been
moving away from the ideas of Thatcherism and Reagan. What she did
yesterday, I think, was quite important. It was an official
rejection of that world view. It's building on what happened in the
past, building on what happened under that coalition, but more
comprehensive and more explicit than anything I've ever heard before from
a Tory leader. In many ways... A worldview Lord Heseltine would have
embraced. It's about an industrial policy, about the state doing things
I'm trying... That's because she feels she is right about it, more in
tune with public sentiment, that actually people like you who are
supportive of bankers and big business, rightly or wrongly, global
elites, which motivated many people to vote for Brexit are completely
out of fashion and people feel have done a lot of harm? Like Brexit, of
course. But that's the conundrum, isn't it? It is a conundrum, yes.
And a lot of people think that. But we shouldn't forget the biggest
group of Brexit voters were Tory voters, something like 60% of Tory
voters voted for Brexit. Of course a lot of Labour voters did and Ukip
voters and former Labour voters, but it's wrong to see Brexit purely as a
populist rejection of globalisation. It's not that. Some aspects were
that but some weren't. People like myself, free marketeers, rejected it
for completely different reasons. As deregulation not failed in the eyes
of many people. I disagree with that. There has been a massive
productivity problem, stagnant wages, I think the answers are not
state intervention, there are about finding market solutions to these
problems, finding conservative solutions to these problems. The
sort of solutions that shall all Reagan would have found. It does
show because the ideas I like on the way, I hope it won't last. Are you
happy Allister Heath is out on a limb, isolated on mainstream
politics and the Tories, the Conservatives are occupying good
government, state intervention, all the things Labour leaders have long
since loved? I think you are slightly overdoing the doom and
gloom from your side of the argument. I think what you saw
yesterday was Theresa May feeling under competing pressure. Her speech
reflected the same backdrop as Jeremy Corbyn's. Essentially saying
the public feel that the crash, those who caused the crash have kind
of got away with it. Don't you think that's true? I do think that's true,
I think that's what fuels a lot of the anti-politics, anti-government,
anti-business feeling. I think where she has to be very careful is where
she ends up... Once you are the Prime Minister, you can't sort of be
all things to all men and women repeatedly. Yesterday a little bit
for Labour voters, a little bit for Ukip voters... I don't think she's
as committed. Does that reassure you? I am a very optimistic person!
One of the key points to me is this, we are going to have Brexit. I'm
very happy we will have Brexit. I think Theresa May will try to
negotiate the best settlement. So the opportunities of Brexit to be
realised, you need a very competitive economy, free market
reform and attract capital. That is key. The Prime Minister and
government needs to remember that. Bashing business all but I'm calling
for greater state intervention and same businessmen created all of
this... It was a more popular speech I expected. On the conundrum I was
speaking about, isn't that the problem? Who wanted to remain said
there are two types of Brexit, people like you who believe in more
globalisation, deregulation and the power of the free market, and many
people who voted for the opposite but still for Brexit. How will she
be able to marry those? The remains I'd also had people who love the EU.
Referendum is about coalitions, you had two coalitions. Of course it is
quite difficult to reconcile those two, but what she needs to do is
create an economic success story. She needs growth, jobs, investment,
rising wages. If you start to achieve these kinds of things and a
more democratic and reject certain aspects of the old elite rule, I
think you can make some leeway and start to grow your share of the
vote. I think she could get over 40% of the vote, in theory at least,
with those policies. I don't think she needs to engage in a wholesale
rejection of Thatcherism. Labour has to be careful about bashing bankers
and business, that was Ed Miliband's problem before Jeremy Corbyn, being
seen as the anti-business party. You do have to tread a fine line if
you're going to blame the people responsible for the crash? The worst
thing for recent years for me in politics is the Conservatives
managed to pin the causes of the economic crash on Labour and labour
ventilated that attack rather than challenged it. I think this
discussion shows the difficulties she has, in terms of where she will
position herself strategically and politically going forward. I don't
think she has rejected a fairly right-wing approach to the economy.
I think she's talking the talk of the centre ground, but we will see
what sort of policies come forward. You will have to wait and see. Thank
you. Alastair, this one, joined us today to launch the next instalment
about the final one of his diaries, following his departure from Downing
Street as Tony Blair's director of communications.
Yet his is not the only book written by a former 'Spin Doctor' to hit
Craig Oliver became David Cameron's press man in 2011 and has
just published his book 'Unleashing Demons:
Before we chat to the two of them, let's look back
# Now what you going to do when you're caught
# And who's going to tell 'em that you won't when you probably will?
# Who's the only man can make you look like you're nearly
# Somebody better get me a spin doctor.
# Somebody won't you call me a spin doctor.
# Napoleon wasn't short, he was only of diminished size.
# The Krays loved their Mother and a politician never lies.
# If perception leaves a nasty stain he can make you white again.
# He's a master of illusion turning dirty water into wine.
# Somebody better get me a spin doctor.
# Somebody won't you call me a spin doctor.
# I know when I'm wrong that he'll make it right.
# My image is short, don't wanna drown in this sleaze.
And that man you saw there, following David Cameron around
and leaving Downing Street, joins us now in the studio.
Welcome. Hello. In strategy terms, do you stand by everything you did
during the referendum campaign? Not at all, we made some mistakes and
the book is very clear about that. Some serious mistakes and we need to
take responsibility for them. You made bloodcurdling predictions in
what would happen in the immediate aftermath of what would happen in
the result of a vote to leave, a recession, drop in house prices,
they were mistakes? I don't accept we said immediately afterwards, we
said when we left it the EU. We are still members of the EU on the same
terms as the 23rd of June. You think it could still happen? I think there
could be problems for the economy going forward. There is an industry
at the moment saying everything is fine with the economy at the moment.
We have seen the currency drop dramatically, growth forecasts for
next year downgraded dramatically. The Chancellor of the Exchequer
saying he's going to reset fiscal policy, which sounds like more
borrowing. So decided that the economy is all fine I think is a
little far-fetched. You are still predicting Project Fear, as was
called... I'm not. It is. I'm simply saying. You're saying these things
could still happen in March when we invoke Article 50. I'm saying it's
hard to find a respected economist who don't think it's going to be a
bumpy economy here for the next three years. You were involved in
the campaign, would you do things differently? Less of it will be a
nightmare if we leave Basra might a campaign needs three things. A sense
of where you are going to go forward, you need to attack your
opponents. I felt there should have been more attacking of the opponents
and Boris Johnson got away with murder in that campaign and still
is, to be frank. This off to Turkey to say we now support Turkey joining
the EU... I'm afraid I agree with Craig, I'm not at all complacent
about what is going to happen to Britain and the British economy once
this economy is seen through. You failed and we have yet to see the
result. In terms of attacking opponents, you were prepping Angela
Eagle ahead of the debate with Boris Johnson and Amber Rudd attacked
Boris Johnson but it didn't work? The vote was lost. You don't know
the impact... That style didn't work in the end. The style both of you
seemed to back in that campaign. You need two things. It made people had
in their view against being told by the establishment. I'm totally
confused by the questioning. On one hand you said we didn't attack and
another you said we did. I think I can have my cake and eat it. People
said they didn't want to trust experts, they didn't want to be told
what to do by the elite. I think that was one of the worst parts of
the campaign, the idea that people who know what they're talked about
-- talking about should be derided and ignored... It's absurd. You
lost. Exactly. You reveal it in the book David Cameron refused a
conversation by the general director of the BBC, and also put pressure on
the Corporation over its coverage of the referendum. Is that an abuse of
power? Absolutely not. Tony Hall, the director-general of the BBC,
asked for a conversation with the Prime Minister about charter
renewal. Perfectly legitimate for him to do that. The BBC is an
important organisation in the country and legitimate for him to
make his point. It is legitimate for a Prime Minister to say he is
concerned about some aspects of BBC coverage, and by the way, he was
absolutely right. Too often BBC coverage, particularly regarding
economics, mistook balance for impartiality. And put pressure on
the BBC to address that? It was a concern, he the economics editor of
the BBC... Business opinion in this country was split, it was, and that
he was also making clear that when a few economists came on and made one
point, that somehow there was an equivalence there. That was a
problem on an issue the BBC struggled with. And they admitted
it. It was about the timing. Was it right to link that to conversation
about charter renewal? Tony Hall, the director-general of
the BBC, asked for and received a conversation with the PM in order to
lobby him about the charter. That is perfectly legitimate. And you used
that as an opportunity to talk about concerns he had about coverage.
People will think that and say that was undue leverage... Should have
waited and had another meeting and of. This is nonsense. The idea you
aren't allowed to race concerned, it's what happens in discussion. I
didn't say that particular content, it's about linking it to charter
renewal. He asked for the conversation. He then moved on to
other subject. I think it is utter nonsense to say they were linked to
charter renewal. By the way the BBC got an amazing deal. 11 years, with
inflation busting terms. The idea that they were put under the
screw... Let's just stick to what was seen by some as potential abuse
of power. There was a chap you employed in 2014 who was
investigating the Lamela's expenses using her links to the Levenson
enquiry, is that fair? Totally unfair. I am surprised you're
bringing that up. The Today programme had to issue a statement
making clear that if anybody repeated that libel, it would be
wrong, and within minutes of that interview, I did not put any undue
pressure on the Daily Telegraph and it is wrong with you to suggest I
did. So you completely and utterly say that none of that was linked to
either charter renewal of the BBC all the Levenson enquiry's coverage?
Of course, what is being suggested is that somehow I was suggesting
that if they didn't investigate Maria Miller, we would have an
influence on an independent judge, not true in any way. I have been
very clear about that. Nobody has come back after I cleared that up
and I am slightly surprised you would raise that now. Well, I have
raised it in your surprise. Let's talk about the inner of spin. It
seems that the reason may is trying to give the impression that Spain is
over, the sort of spin that you and to some extent Craig, indulged in.
You agree? Know. I think we have seen a hell of a lot of spin this
week. But I define is where you set out a message, we're going to take
the centre ground and you put out policies, that are like the rise and
Ukip. So you you have to communicate... In terms of trust,
the accusation has been levelled at you continually that because of the
era of spin, you saw trust in politicians and media operations, it
has died. Well, this excellent poem begins... I have had to put the
mixture each other. It begins with the Hutton enquiry. If the media,
large parts of it, only ever say one side of the story, at that was a
situation where... Having a go at at great... You have tried to control
the media! I tried to make sure our message was understood that the
public and unit resented the fact that we did it so successfully. This
starts off with the BBC in a state of collapse because he did not apply
even basic rigour to a piece of reporting which should never have
happened. People can read the diaries... You say, and all of us
continually say things, if you only ever get one side of the story, do
not surprised if the public believe one thing. I don't think anyone
could say we have only had one side of the story. Even John McDonnell,
was not a close friend of yours, had this to say to you.
I think it's a disaster for the Labour Party.
Because you are the person above all else who created a
political environment where no one believed a word a politician said.
You lost us 5 million votes in that process and set us up to fail.
The reason Jeremy was elected was because they wanted some
Look, John, I have come on here tonight to be nice
And I tell you why, because I care about
I really care about the Labour Party, and I worry
that you and yours are destroying it.
And what's more, I actually worry you don't even care.
We're trying to restore honesty and confidence in politics again,
All the Labour Party! What do you say to that? You chastise me for
continually going on about it but that is because that is how people
feel. Some people do! And as I said to him that day, I understand why
the media, particularly the right wing media, go on about new Labour,
and by the Tories do it... Let me finish the sentence if I may! I set
the John McDonnell for the Labour Party to trash the record of the
Labour Party is not only wrong, it is strategically stupid. What I said
to him and I will keep saying to him, is that until they understand
why we won elections in this period, even after the Iraq war, they will
not gain in a position where they might win again. You agree with him
about thats in terms of winning elections. In the end the PR machine
was part of it. You say you want elections. By doing strategy
properly and having proper communications. What about the
erosion of trust that people now feel they have lost that in
politicians? You feel part of that? Politics definitely has a part to
play in this and so does the media. You all here to talk about you. I
am, we can have an interesting discussion here about the impact of
persistently behaving in a certain way for politics and the media. Or
you can simply say, J at number ten, you were just trying to set the
agenda, you are terrible pantomime villains, we have no responsibility
at all. That's what I find depressing talk to journalists
sometimes, if it was an honest and open discussion about how sometimes
they make mistakes, just as we in politics too. I think the media is
under that scrutiny. But where is it? You make that statement, where
is it, can you give me an example. No, we have run out of time!
We've just received a statement from interim
Ukip Leader Nigel Farage regarding the situation
Mr Farage said: "I deeply regret that following an altercation that
took place at a meeting of Ukip MEPs this morning, that Steven Woolfe
subsequently collapsed and was taken to hospital.
Party insiders have also told The Daily Telegraph that Mr Woolfe
was punched by a Ukip colleague - that detail has not been confirmed.
Rail commuters across Surrey, Sussex, Kent and Hampshire have
seen travel chaos over the past few weeks.
Southern Rail staff have been striking, following proposed changes
The Rail, Maritime and Transport workers' union, or RMT,
has been threatening further industrial action.
With fresh walkouts due to start next week, the RMT has been locked
in talks with Southern's parent company, Govia Thameslink Railway.
Our correspondent Marc Ashdown is outside the talks in central
No sign of a deal just yet. They have been here since ten a.m., a few
cigarette breaks but that is the only sign of any white smoke from
this building. The fact they are still in there after three hours,
some will see as good news, such as been the animosity surrounding this
dispute. The last we heard, the RMT put forward a set of proposals that
they would agree to, Seven went away to look at those, as far as we know
the two sides are still talking. These peace talks, aimed at trade to
avert a fresh round of strikes, this is all about who closes the doors on
those Southern rail services that serve most of southern England, into
London. The Garter Ball was closed doors, historically, seven Roman to
the service and once the drivers to do that, the RMT say it has safety
indications. In the middle of all this, passengers, commuters are
suffering because of these disputes. We are now joined in
the studio by Mick Lynch, Assistant General Secretary
of the Rail, Maritime I have just come from the talks, it
has nothing to do with closing the doors, it's about the safety
critical role of the guards. We have put a set of proposals to the
company that will settle this dispute if they want to pick it up.
And what's your impression so far? Our impression is they are thinking
about it, if they want to come to sensible position, they will take
forward we have said. We have given the concessions that would deal with
all the things they want and we'll deal with the things we need. You
have rejected the proposal? Their proposal is they will sack and that
if we don't accept everything they have put forward. What have they put
forward? They have put forward that the safety critical role of the
guard is removed immediately. There are 35 different competencies that a
guard carries out, look at the Watford accident last week, the
guard if they could all the passengers, co-ordinated emergency
services, nothing to do with doors. That was a train in a tunnel. You
have rejected the offer they have put on the table and put forward a
counter offer? We have put forward a counter offer which is positive.
We're not interested in money, we never wanted money, we have never
asked for money, we told them they don't want their money. Do you think
there's a backlash against this now, bearing in mind the destruction that
has gone on for commuters? There is a backlash against this company,
they have launched a disastrous PR campaign, they are proposing to
spend ?1.5 million on this dispute, the put a backlash against them is
phenomenal, Everton they open their mouths, they put their foot in it.
They want to get around the table and get to a reasonable settlement.
So are you optimistic they will be a deal and this 14 days of strikes
will be avoided? I don't want to clear the picture that I'm never
that of the mystic because they are being driven by the DFT, Peter
Wilkinson has publicly they want to smash the RMT -- I am that
optimistic. The compromise on our side is that we have dealt with the
offer to migrate people to the new grade, offered to have a new train
dispatch procedure and to give them method of competencies without
costing them any money, that will secure disabled people, the
vulnerable, having access to the trains and assistance at all times.
This has caused unbelievable disruption over a long period of
time, what needs to happen? I don't know enough about what is going on,
but something I've always thought about the way we cover industrial
disputes in this country, they just tend to become a scene in the
reporting of this issue, a real focus upon these guys as the bad
guys. That is not true on this programme. That was a direct lift
from their press release, but opening and closing doors, there was
a fire on a training of Wales yesterday, landslip and a crash in a
tunnel and a guard took care of that. The reason they will help you
now! Now I know what you're thinking -
hasn't it been ages since we had There's just time before we go
to find out the answer to our quiz. The question for today is what has
Jeremy Corbyn been buying this week? Mr Corbyn was walking Hadrian's wall
- and stopped off to buy his wife That's all for today.
Thanks to our guests. Andrew will be BBC One
tonight at 11.45 with Michael Portillo,
Liz Kendall, John Pienaar, I'll be here at noon
tomorrow with all the big
Jo Coburn with the latest political news, interviews and debate. Jo is joined by former Downing Street director of communications Alastair Campbell to discuss the policy announcements from the party conference season, the latest on the rail strikes and how to be a spin doctor.