18/11/2016 Daily Politics


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Hello and welcome to the Daily Politics.


Theresa May meets Barack Obama, Angela Merkel and other European


leaders in Berlin for talks on Russia, Isis and trade.


Should sanctions against Russia be extended, or now that Donald Trump


is moving into the White House, should we follow his lead and


Would UK trade be better or worse off if we leave


After Boris Johnson says we'll "probably" leave it,


And as Barack Obama finishes off his farewell tour of Europe,


we'll discuss the President's legacy.


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


the Guardian's Rafael Behr, and Rachel Sylvester,


Now, the Prime Minister is in Berlin today


for meetings with Barack Obama, Angela Merkel, Francois Hollande


They're expected to discuss Donald Trump's election


That is fascinating, captivating, and in some cases threatening


everybody. For the latest, we're


joined from Berlin by our Diplomatic Correspondent,


James Landale. James, said the scene for us, what


are they hoping to achieve today? This is one of the summits were you


can't have a proper conversation, just six people around the table and


only one or two officials, so unlike the G20 this is when leaders can't


have a proper conversation, they may be addressing the issues like how to


counter Islamic terrorism and deal with Syria and obviously Russia and


Ukraine yet overlaying this is the election of Donald Trump. This is


one of those meetings where it is the first chance for European


leaders to have face to based talks and ask how we respond to that. And


the underlying tension is that on one hand they want to respond to


populist forces and acknowledge them, yet at the same time say, we


need to lay down some barriers and some lines in the sand over key


foreign policy issues, of which the most important is America's attitude


to Russia. So the message we will get today is one saying, sanctions


against Russia over Ukraine must be maintained. They come up for renewal


next month so I think they'll want to say to the Americans, Europe


stands firm on this because one or two European leaders are a bit


softer on this for example the Italians so they'll want to get the


Italian leader on site to present a united front on that. They'll have a


problem because of the changing of the guard in the US. They cannot


really determine their future policy towards Russia until they know what


Donald Trump's policy will be and I don't think even President Obama can


tell that. And on trade it seems quite clear, one thing that they


will have been the signing of this duty was the transatlantic trade


deal between the EU and the US, it is over, gone, it's not going to


happen! On that latter point they will certainly discuss trade, as you


say it's very much a holding pattern because they know that deal is


pretty much dead now. They are openly acknowledging that. Yet on


the Ukraine - Syrian front I think they feel that there's an


opportunity here because Donald Trump won't be doing anything until


January. They have an opportunity now, window, they think, to lay down


some lines and establish some positions so that they at least can


say, this is where we are, this is why we think these sanctions need to


be maintained, this is why the European Union will have to make a


decision next month to formally row over these sanctions. It must happen


before Donald Trump becomes president Trump -- roll over. They


will have to send a signal to Washington to say, we are united on


this and we will stick to it. Whether that affects the way the


president elect thinks down the line remains to be seen but they want to


present a united front here. I see that our Prime Minister is meeting


Angela Merkel. No doubt they will talk more about Brexit. And the


German finance minister is still talking about giving Britain a


punishment beating in the discussions. Is that mood music


because they have to be seen to be tough before the German elections


next year, can anything come out of the bilateral between the British


Prime Minister and Angela Merkel? I'm expecting no shock news to


emerge. They are saying, it's just a meeting we'll have to build as much


relation to pursue when the hard talks begin next year and after that


you've got a bit of a relationship in the bank. That is what they's


meeting is about. In terms terms of their response to the interview by


the German finance minister, it is interesting that whenever you try to


ask questions of Theresa May on this issue of contributions to EU covers


in the future, there is silence. Absolutely nothing said about this.


Because what a lot of Tory MPs think is, because there's now more and


more talk of a transmission period after the divorce and before we


establish what our future relationship with the EU will be,


during that transition period there is a belief that contributions to


the EU will have to be one of those issues on the table. That is why


they think Downing Street is silent on that. That's why they has not


been a negative violent response to it because the idea of contributions


might have to be sold to the British at some stage so I don't think they


will find it helpful if the German finance minister raises it now.


James, thank you very much. The government is criticised widely


for being very elliptical and vague as to what its negotiating position


is. I wonder, as we listen to James, does it matter? The French elections


are coming up in April, May, there is an Italian referendum before that


which could start a new ball game more important than Brexit and


German elections next September. You feel nothing much can happen until


that is resolved. It feels like leaders in limbo, Tony Blair said


the kaleidoscope has been shaken and we don't yet know how the pieces


will land, some are in place but you have a president Obama who will not


be in power in summer months and we don't know exactly what President


Trump thinks. Elections coming up in other European countries. Brexit yet


to be determined. Britain itself in limbo. So it's difficult to know how


these things will shape up in the end. One interesting thing I learned


this week was that people who had worked on David Cameron 's team and


supported him through the Remain campaign have advised Theresa May


and her team to hold their nerve on this position of simply saying


Brexit means Brexit. They feel they walked into that trap and they did


give a running commentary, there were clear about some of the things


they wanted and that simply invited every sceptic from left or right to


say, you will never get that, you said you wanted that and you've only


got theirs. It will make it much harder to sell any final arrangement


to the public. So there's a good reason to say, we aren't just going


to hand over these hostages to fortune. The problem you get is that


Theresa May's position is reduced to, just trust me and give me


maximum benefit of the doubt. In the current climate no one is giving


politicians the benefit of the.! I wonder where this will end, will it


increase pressure on her to say, I need my own mandate? I don't think


there is pressure on her to call an election but if she wants to say


just let me get on with it, don't ask questions, can she do that


without a mandate of her own? Leaders in limbo, a perfect


description of where we are at the moment, she has created a vacuum,


and from the Marmite story to so-called Deloitte report story,


others, not with her best interests at heart, filling the vacuum. The


first rule of politics, if there is a vacuum others will step in. Nigel


Farage rushing straight to Mr Trump, photographed in a selfie. In a gold


elevator, do you have one? In Hackney, we don't have gold elevator


is, funnily enough! In cases like this people will fill the gaps that


she leaves and does not fill herself. There is always time for


our daily quiz. The question for today


is which of Jeremy Corbyn's possessions is currently


being auctioned off for charity Is it a) His prize marrow b)


His favourite tracksuit c) His bicycle or d)


A signed pair of his shoes? At the end of the show Rafael


and Rachel will give That sounds like an Italian


restaurant, Rafael and Rachel. Future career options if the world


really falls apart. Or a hairdressers.


So, will Donald Trump's election herald a new era in relations


And is that desirable, given Russia's activities in Ukraine


Here's a reminder of what's been happening.


In 2014, pro-Russian separatists, allegedly with the help


of Russian special forces, and others, took control of Crimea


The Ukrainian government, and many world leaders, think this


was an illegal annexation - but Russia disputes this.


In response, the EU, the US and others introduced a range


of sanctions against Russia, including travel bans and asset


freezes on individuals and restrictions on the country's


In 2015, Russia began its major military intervention in Syria.


International observers have accused Russian war planes of bombing


hospitals and killing thousands of civilians - but Russia says


And last month, the US government formally accused Russia of hacking


the Democratic Party's emails and trying to "interfere"


But President-elect Donald Trump has signalled that he wants a less


confrontational relationship with the Russian president


Vladimir Putin - so what will the future relationship be?


Vladimir Putin has welcomed the statement from Mr Trump. It is hard


to tell what the future relationship will be.


Well, joining me now is Alexander Nekrassov, a former


Welcome to the programme. Is it your feeling that the victory of Mr Trump


is the start of a new relationship for Russia and America? It will be a


change, that is for sure row because under Obama it was a disaster. He


did not really have a foreign policy towards Russia. I think that the way


America handled the situation in Ukraine, when you started explaining


what happened in Ukraine, you forgot one little matter. Just one, but a


crucial one. The armed coup in Kiev which overthrew the legitimate


government. That is what the Kremlin calls it. You've made your point and


I won't argue with that, it is not how many others see it. What I am


trying to get, because one thing we know about Mr Trump is that he is a


bit of a ricochet. One moment he could take one position and suddenly


he's at the opposite end of the position. How consistent do you


think Mr Trump will be in relations with the Kremlin or how soon before


they have a bad falling out? First of all if you look at the position


of Western governments at the moment, the British government, the


French government, their position changes every day. We have Boris


Johnson saying one thing one day, and another thing another day.


Towards Russia? Towards everything! File has our position changed


towards Russia in the past 24 hours? -- how has it changed? Boris Johnson


said that Britain has to deal with Russia and talk with Roger and then


he suddenly changed and said that there should be a no-fly zone and


all of that. So that changes practically all the time -- deal


with Russia and talk with Russia. You could want a no fly zone and


still be prepared to talk. We always talk to Russia. A no-fly zone is war


with Russia. Let me get that right, a no-fly zone... Over Syria. Or even


over part of a leper, that means war with Russia? - Even over part of


Aleppo. When you hear those statements, you don't really know


how to respond to them. When I listen to Theresa May's speech in


the Guildhall, I could feel that was a vacuum, they don't really know how


to... What I am still trying to grasp because it is important in


Europe to see if there is real substance to a rapprochement between


the Kremlin and the White House, if there is one, what would it be and


what should Europe do? These are the big questions we are trying to


resolve. We should first conclude that if the American voters said No


to Hillary Clinton and to Obama, it means they will not support the


anti-Russian position of that administration. That comes out of


the vote. Having been there to cover the election I can assure you that


attitudes towards Russia were not uppermost in the minds of the


voters. I'm still trying to get you to address, I don't want to go back


to Ohio and Pennsylvania and the way people voted, I want to go forward,


I am trying to find out what the shape of a possible rapprochement


would be between Vladimir Putin's Kremlin and Donald Trump's White


House because following that Europe would have to make its dispositions.


Would Europe at the moment is behaving in a strange way. Answer


the questions about America You cannot ask me to answer a question


without giving a background. You want me to what, to say things are


going to change with Trump a Russia and America are going to fall in


love with each other. I'm just trying to find out. Of course not.


Tell me what they will be like. There are powerful forces in America


n Britain which do not want, that which are blocking that. So, of


course there will be compromises, there will be flexibility. Nobody


yet knows what is going to happen. What I started to say is that


Europe, already, is trying to create a certain anti-Russian situation,


even more Trump goes into office. That meeting that we saw in your


report before, they are already discussing how to be anti-Russian,


how to put pressure on Russia, even though Obama at the table is a


nobody. He doesn't decide anything. All right. Do you buy this


reproachment? I think there is a strange obsession among certain male


leaders, a strong man, if you like, I remember interviewing Bernie


Ecclestone once, he said - Hitler go the things done. It is that thing


amongst politicians and people... He made the trains run on time. There


is a fetishisation of the strong man in politics, which Vladimir Putin is


an example. And Nigel Farage has talked the of


one. I'm not sure it is to do with Russia, it is almost an infatation


with Putin and the strength of him but nothing has changed with the


Kremlin and the situation in the Ukraine. Nothing significant has


changed. It is, clear, though, in Syria - I say clear now, it may not


be in two months months' time - Mr Trump's general view in Syria is


really to let the Russians get on with it, with the Syrians, to beat


off the rebels that the West has been supporting, get rid of them,


then in the hope that Syria and Russia turn on Islamic state. That's


Mr Trump's view of Syria. You correctly pointed out


inconsistencies in the Trump position, one broad consistent


aspects of his temperament, his position, the idea is he likes to


cut a deal and one of the things that is Liberal opinion and opinion


in the European Union is worried about that he will bring a by


lateral Real poll teak approach to these things at the expense of rule


space, multilateral governance that has operated since 1945. That system


has failed in Syria. So there will be an appetite for the American


president who will ignore that and cut deals by laterally. I think


where that is a problem with Russia is the Russian strategic position


underpinning the uncertainty, is the sense of what they call the


neoabroad, the cops aft Soviet Union, it is seen as more ambiguous


of what Russia's influence in what are Sovereign countries than a lot


of people in the West would necessarily think. So the idea you


accept the annexation of Crimea as a fait accompli or the way you border


the boundaries of other states, it is not clear what Trump's position


is. The things going rather well for Russia at the moment. You have got


your way, Mr Trump has won in America. You helped reveal all the


e-mails from the Democrats. There is really no Western response now in


Syria. You have got your way there. People are uncertain what a Nato


response would be on the eastern borders of Europe and there is a


Russian loan helping to bankroll Marine Le Pen's campaign in France,


which would also help. It all adds to the destablisation of Europe,


which is one of Russia's aims? Well, Russia does not need to unstable


Europe, because that is a danger to Russia, so I don't be scrubbed stand


those arguments. I also -- so I don't understand those arguments. I


find it bizarre, that we had a situation, where Russia was accused


of helping Brexit to win... I didn't mention that I'm mentioning it,


because it is on the table. Maybe I missed that one out And, of course,


the bizarre, bizarre idea that Russia could actually influence


American elections by supposedly, you know hacking into a Democratic


website. Tried to, whether you did or not is another matter Well, it


does sound a bit Harry porterish. The American intelligence agencies


came to the same conclusion. They hardly ever agree. They didn't


provide any proof. They just said - we have something, but we don't have


T as regards Syria you are saying Russia is doing what it wants in


Syria, no it doesn't. Unfortunately the arms and munitions are coming to


the rebels in eastern Aleppo. And if they didn't have that support, they


would have been wiped out a long time ago. The problem is, that it is


a hostage situation. They are holding hostages people, and the


Russian corridors when they opened several times now, nobody goes down


them because these rebelses are not allowing people to leave. So that


situation continues because of the support for these rebels from


outside. All right. We'll have to leave it there. A big subject. A


developing story. Will you come back and talk to us again on this? Of


course, with pleasure. Since the EU referendum we've heard


a lot about whether we should remain in the Single Market once we've


left the EU. But not so much has been said


about another EU arrangement -- The question of whether we should


remain in or out of the Customs Union was raised by Boris Johnson


earlier this week, when he told Czech journalists the UK


is "probably" going to leave. But what exactly


is the Customs Union? As a member of the EU customs union,


the you UK gets shiny German cars, tariff-free. Britain resip skates


with goods, including these London-made bicycles, which are


cheaper to buy in other countries right now, thanks to the weak pound


this. Company's CEO welcomes how the customs union gives customers the


confidence they are getting, a fair price, wherever they are in the EU.


Having consistency of how we approach imports and taxes is right


for the consumer. The product standards here, assessed and


regulated by the EU. They are an essential part of being in the


customs union but when these bikes are sold to countries outside the


union, it is more complicated Every part, every light, wheel has a


different code. You have to go through the book, define the code so


when it goes through customs they can apportion the right income duty


for that little koe.d it is all doable but it adds more time,


energy, somebody has to do t sometimes they get in a muddle then


we have to ring it up and tell them why they have got it wrong. What


would be the cost of doing business with EU countries if Britain were to


leave The average trade weighted bound Taif as it is called is about


3%, so fairly low. The cost of supplying with regulatory measures


can be anything up to 20%. The tariff equivalent, when the UK


leaves the EU, there will be a divergence and so the costs of


complying with these regulatory provisions will increase. But


thereby benefits from leaving the customs union, too. What are the


UK's options? It could stay in the single market, but it won't have


taken control of immigration T could leave the single market but stay in


the customs union but it won't have taken control of trade policy T


could have free trade agreements instead but loose the benefits of a


customs union or it could rely on the World Trade Organisation's terms


and get lumbered with mortar I haves. Foreign Secretary, Boris


Johnson, told a Czech newspaper this week, the UK would probably have to


leave the customs union. The Prime Minister said sheent made a decision


about it and confused many by saying it was not a binary decision, though


did not elaborate. So, if Boris Johnson is right, how could free


trade agreements work? Most free trade agreements, these days, remove


up to 98% of tariffs. A free trade agreement can also include mutual


recognition agreement but in certain sectors, so he can have a mutual


recognition agreement in cars, the EU Korea agreement includes a mutual


recognition agreement in cars, so European cars can be sold in Korea


and Korean cars can be sold in the EU. This company sells 44,000 bikes


a year, many to the UK but of its exports, half go to Asia. One-third


to the EU and just under one-fifth to America. But, and let's ask its


CEO, how would leaving a customs union affect your business? I think,


in fact, Europe will stay together. So, we will still have the advantage


of whatever is that trade deal we have across Europe with 26 countries


but we are not a as powerful because we are not part of that European


bloc. Is there any market you are looking forward to negotiating with,


were the UK to leave? We have free trade agreement with South Korea and


Japan isn't far behind but divoent have a free trade agreement with


Japan T would be great if both these countries had a free trade


agreement. It confuses the consumer because one has a hire import duty.


The fate of the factory floor lies in the hands of the politician s.


And joining me now from our Shrewsbury studio is the former


Conservative cabinet minister and Leave campaigner, Owen Paterson.


The Prime Minister said at PMG membership of the customs union is


not a banery decision, ie not an either-or? Do you understand what


the Prime Minister means? Think she is being canny and in the revealing


her hand. What came out of that clip t didn't really emerge, is that the


customs union sets up a tariff role around Europe, sets up a fortress. I


said that. It prevents British consumers and industries, so the


manufacturing company I'm talking about, could probably buy raw


materials cheaper outside the customs union, so I'm quite clear we


would benefit immediately on a domestic market by leaving but also,


very importantly, we get our full rollback on the WTO where we can


negotiate deals pain we can ensure that world regulation, which is


incredibly -- and where we can ensure that world regulation is


negotiated. It could work to our advantage. I understand your case


for leaving the customs union, I will come on to that in a minute,


that wasn't my question. My question was the Prime Minister's description


of being in or out of the customs union is not a binary decision. It


is not an either-or. I I don't quite understand that. I'm asking you if


you understand that, what she means by that? Well, sadly, Andrew, I


missed PMQs this week as well, I didn't see the circumstances in


which that question was put... I told you what she said she said it


is not a binary decision Well, put the question to her, I was not


there. So you don't understand it either No. As far as I'm concerned


we voted to leave the European Union, that means leaving the


customs union because if you stay in, you might as well remain until


the whole thing altogether. I also think there is this woolliness about


what the single market s but I think we would be better off... Let's


leave the single market this morning. We have done a will the but


this is thanks to Boris Johnson, the customs union, at least for the last


48 hours or so has taken centre stage. Do you accept that if you


remain in the customs union, that you cannot, the United Kingdom


cannot do its own free trade deals with other countries. No, it can't


because we have agreed to pull the negotiating power to the EU which


negotiates trade and actually does it very badly. I remember going when


I was in DEFRA, grinding on with the United States, meeting the trade


agricultural secretary, with him I agreed on a lot of issues where we


could do a deal but the EU limps along as slow as the lamest donkey


in the caravan. The time I was there the row was about the Greek


definition of feta, and this 3 billion deal held up with the


definition of Greek cheese I'm clear at the moment we are not allowed to


negotiate trade deals and one of the hugep advantages if we left, is we


could. If we stayed in the customs' union, to get this clear, there is


talk about the transition team at the moment, among those close to Mr


Trump, that they may want to begin negotiations with Britain on a free


trade deal. They know they cannot complete one until we have left, but


they could begin talking about T you are clear, that if we were to stay


in the customs union, that is a job for the EU, we wouldn't be able to


do that ourselves? It was encouraging, I thought what


the Trump team said, rather than what Obama said about Britain being


at the back of the queue, or the back of the line, we can immediately


negotiate with them in an open manner which would be great. The


Prime Minister was in India last week going back to the land of your


fathers, there are huge opportunities selling whiskey to


India, when I was in Defra there were enormous duties and we


calculated that if we got them down to the December said there wouldn't


be enough whiskey in Scotland to supply discerning Indian consumers.


So that our massive opportunities outside but remember our trade with


the EU has declined, it's forecast to go down to 35%. So we already do


the vast majority of our trade around the world, outside the


customs union, mainly on World Trade Organisation terms. It does seem


that in some ways you can be a half- pregnant when it comes to the


Customs Union! This is the possibility of doing deals sector by


sector so that in some sectors we would remain in the customs union


and in others we would not and that would leave us free to do our own


free trade deals. Turkey has an arrangement like that, two others do


although they are not huge global players in trade, Andorra and San


Marino. Perhaps that is what the Prime Minister means by "It's not


binary". Maybe she means that we could have one foot still in the


customs union? You make a very good point about deals, by sector, if you


took pharmaceuticals that our massive savings to consumers if we


could coordinate our regulation of pharmaceutical products. There was a


move last year to coordinate an tyres which was scuppered by the


Americans. You are right, there are possibilities around the world to do


deals by sector. It would be so much better, however, if we were in the


driving seat and working with like-minded allies as I said before


on the World Trade Organisation. Thank you, Owen Paterson. We will


see how this develops. It's very complicated. Your brain begins to


Fussell at the idea of deals sector by sector! -- it begins to frazzle.


Turkey has such an arrangement, I think it is uncertain manufactured


goods but I don't think Andorra and San Marino can really be Avatars for


the way Britain is going. To throw in another metaphor I spoke to a


cabinet minister who said you cannot have your cake and eat it but you


can cut the cake in different ways. So that's one way of thinking of it,


you might not want the entire customs union with all the


regulations which would have to be governed by the European Court, plus


the tariff arrangements but you could come to arrangements either on


particular industries or particular products with the EU and that would


leave you free to do deals with other countries. You do wonder what


would be the point of Liam Fox travelling the world saying we are


ready to do trade deals, get ready, if, in the end we were to stay in


the customs union? Switzerland is not in the customs union and has


three times as many trade deals as the EU. That is what Liam Fox and Mr


Johnson one. You get a strong impression around Westminster that


what we you must this deplete call friends of Liam Fox -- what we call


friends of Liam Fox, a euphemism, that they are agitating on his


behalf and actually he doesn't have a job and needed to be given this


position in the government by the hard Brexiteers, as we have come to


call them, so that they would be represented around the Cabinet


table. Actually he's twiddling his thumbs while this is decided. To go


back to what Rachel was saying, the prospect of this sector by sector


process of dismantling bits of the customs union, the hazard is that it


becomes a lobbyist 's dream. We don't know what conversations were


had between No 10 and Nissan, saying, Sunderland is important,


that is where they make cars, we must protect you. That sends a


signal to every industry, form an orderly queue, demonstrate what you


can do for the UK economy, present us with your demands and we will see


what we can do. It's not very transparent, nor is it necessarily


regaining control in the way that the original Brexit proposition was


offered. Speaking of Europe, we had some developments. We've just heard


from the Supreme Court. The High Court ruled against the government,


and in favour of the petitioners that Parliament needed to have a say


in the triggering of Article 50. The government has appealed and that is


now going to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court has confirmed that


applications to intervene in this case have been granted to the lord


advocate in the Scottish Government, so that's the Scottish Government


now involved, the council general for Wales is another Welch


government will be involved, the expat interveners, someone called


George Clooney and others will be alleged to have a say, and the


independent workers union of Great Britain. -- they will be allowed to


have a say. And to a lesser extent but still to some degree, the


Supreme Court has said that the Attorney General for Northern


Ireland will be able to have some sort of intervention as well in


this. I'm not quite sure what the legal implications of this are. It


suggests that it would be a very quick decision if everyone has their


say. Anyway. Next Wednesday the Chancellor,


Philip Hammond, will get to his feet in the House of Commons


to deliver his first We'll have live coverage


here on BBC Two from 11.30. It's not a full budget,


we'll have to wait until March for that,


but that hasn't deterred MPs from all parties from


lobbying the Chancellor. Last night the Shadow Chancellor,


John McDonnell, staged a protest in central London demanding


Philip Hammond abandon planned cuts to the Employment


and Support Allowance. ESA replaced Incapacity Benefit


and is paid to people who are having difficulty finding a job


because of a long-term The issue was discussed in the House


of Commons yesterday after the SNP secured parliamentary


time for a backbench debate. From April 2017 new Employment


Support Allowance claimants who are placed in the work-related


activity group, will receive ?29.05 less than current ESA


WRAG claimants do. During the passage of


the Welfare Reform and Work Act, which legislated for this


cut, the Government "New funding for additional support


to help claimants return to work." This afternoon I intend to set out


why, in this context the Government should use the opportunity


of the Autumn Statement, a new Prime Minister,


a new Chancellor, a new set of DWP ministers to pause the cut to


the ESA WRAG and the corresponding Universal Credit work


allowance elements - at least until the new system


they are to propose has been always listen to the loudest voice


in your head. You might try to drown it out


with distractions or other In fact you can sometimes see it


when you look in the mirror. I think we all know


what that voice is saying - The ?30, ?30 - represents 29%


of the weekly income It's big money for


relatively few people. What kind of a Government


do we want to be? Good policy cannot be created


in a vacuum. We must also think about how


something will be delivered, how it will work in practice and how


it will affect a person concerned and as the honourable lady


for Neath said "The welfare but if it works well,


it should also be focussed in helping someone's


ambitions in the future Proof we have listened


and understood will be in our actions and a person's


experience of the system and the support they receive,


is the only thing that will assure So, we must deliver


and we must deliver well. So, I have no intention


of pausing our proposed support coming into effect in April,


but I will assure this House that the work that we are doing


and the announcements that we have made and reiterated again today,


will meet that need. The Shadow Work and


Pensions Secretary, I know you have to dash back to the


House. The government 's position, as I understand it, is that if


someone on ESA is assessed to be capable of work, then they are in


the same position as a job-seeker and should be on jobseeker's


allowance. What is wrong with that argument? That is incorrect, they


have gone through the very flawed work capability assessment which the


government themselves have accepted is not fit for purpose and they have


been found not fit for work although they may be in the future and they


are then put in the work-related activity group. And it is that half


million people who will have about ?1500 a year taken from them and


support. That is because they would move from ESA to jobseeker's


allowance, which is lower? No, they are already in the work-related


activity group. They are not fit for work although they may be in the


future, they have been put the equivalent of job-seeker allowance


rate. The evidence is, Andrew, that this counter-productive. One of our


arguments against what the government is doing is their own


research as well as a good report by Lord Lowe showing it is less likely


to help people into work, making these cuts. What sort of work


capability test would you have? What we have at the moment is assessing


eligibility for Social Security support. We think that is the wrong


way of doing it. We would like a more personalised, more holistic


approach which looks at somebody's needs overall. Certainly out whether


there are skills related shortages, whether there are health and her


concerns, if they have housing issues, gain the Secretary of State


has announced this, this week. Look at the issues that may contribute to


them not being able to find work. If they did that, what a change would


that make if they did it that way? It would be fairer in the first


place, more constructive in terms of enabling people to get into...


Before I became an MP I did some work across Europe as part of the


employment strategy there. We looked at international evidence, it's


going back a few years, I must say, and we want to do a similar process.


In Australia and New Zealand they have this approach and it is far


more effective. It's back to the evidence. The amount of money at


stake, I've heard a Conservative MP said that, as well, I think. If the


government was to proceed with this policy, it saves, I am told, about


?640 million by 2021. There could be some other costs, I understand that.


It's not a huge amount if you are talking about 20-21. But I did not


get the impression from the Minister that the government was moving, are


you? I hope that they are listening. You know what I asked you. We were


away Tansey. This is disappointing, -- we will wait and see. Disabled


people are twice as likely to live in poverty as non-disabled people.


This extra support enables them, it's about their condition, this


enables them to live as independent lives as possible, when they are


judged as fit and able to get into work. There are shades of what


Labour called the bedroom tax in this. You end up in quite a fight


over money to some of the most vulnerable people in the country.


And the political cost is much higher than any potential economic


gain, even, and I emphasise the word even, you are right. The bedroom tax


is a good comparison. Many Tories wish with hindsight that when they


won majority last May they had come in and said, we recognise that this


is potentially costing more than it saves because of the social


consequences down the track. Another factor in this is that, whereas in


the last parliament, the whole of the political argument has been


organised very deliberately and effectively by George was around


this question of the absolute imperative of fiscal consolidation


and saving money whenever you could, it seems to me that the Brexit


earthquake has changed the way that we debate politics. So much that


this does not have the same imperative. So when you are talking


about relatively small amounts of money which would have a horrible


impact on people, any sensitive human being what have some


compassion... The politics on this will change it would be difficult


for the Chancellor to say, I'm sorry, I'm going to be as


hard-hearted as I can because fiscal consolidation... We're not


discussing fiscal policy like this any more because of Brexit. Rachel?


The politics of this is fascinating because Theresa May has made it


clear that her priority other people who are not poor, but just about


managing. The JAMs, as we're calling them. These people are no longer a


priority, it is interesting, there are lots of conservatives, like


Heidi Allen there who is worried that she will lose her reputation


for compassion. We need to let you go. We did ask for a minister from


DWP to come on, nuns is available. What's the next stage in the


parliamentary resistance -- manner seemed available. We will keep on


pushing, we help the government will listen on Wednesday. Wednesday is


the next stage? In the Autumn Statement. If you are not in the


chamber make sure you are tuned into BBC Two. Thank you for joining us. .


Now, if you've taken a look at our on-line Manifesto Tracker,


you'll know that one of the Conservative Party's


commitments at the last election was to reduce the number of MPs


You'll also know that the government is on course to meet


its promise by the time of the next election,


But this morning the Labour Party set about trying to torpedo


the changes in the Commons, with a Private Members Bill


what is the best in our current system, like the MP constituency


link, which is envied in democracies across the world,


whilst ensuring that we do not lock out 2 million voters who have


registered to vote since 2015 but under the current system, are not


counted and therefore, effectively have no voice in this place.


Surely no sensible government would deliberately discount


2 million voters, simply because it does not suit their


We can talk now to Pat Glass, and to the former Conservative


-- welcome to the programme. The promise to cut the numbers of MPs


from 650 to 600 was in the manifesto. Don't we expect


governments to live up to their manifesto commitments? Well, I think


what wasn't in the manifesto was the increase of 250 Lords at the same


time. So we have this ludicrous situation where Government is


cutting the elected House of Commons, with all of the additional


work that's going to come from Europe, as we leave Europe, at the


same time as it is stuffing the House of Lords in order to suit its


own purposes. I see the condition tra diction. I'll take that up after


I have interviewed you, with a Conservative MP. But as


contradictory as that may be, my point was, it was a manifesto


commitment and we all expects governments, I mean we come down on


them like a tonne of breaks if they don't meet their commitments. All


they are doing, is what they said? And equally we expect oppositions to


deliver a good opposition to deliver a good democracies which is what we


are doing. Isn't part of a good democracies that most constituencies


be of roughly equal size and at the moment, the average number of voters


in a Labour constituency is smaller than the average number in the


Conservative constituency. They are not equal Well, that is true in some


cases. However, my Bill is very clear about saying - yes, we do need


to have equalisation but it has to be sense I will. In constituencies


like mine would stretch - and I want to say it is not about me because I


will not be standing at the next election - but constituencies like


mine would stretch from the banks of the Tyne to the Tees. The whole of


western Durham, right in the middle of the Pennines, for a constituent


who wanted to see me if I had a surgery in the south and given


communication goes East West it would take a whole day on public


transport and probably an evernight stay. I don't think that's fair on


my constituent. That is clear. That would be an argument to take to the


boundary commission to rethink. The boundary commission, as you know,


the political parties appear in front of that. Mr Blair's Labour


Party was actually rather good in front of the boundary commission,


got a lot of changes done but the principle that at the moment Labour


is overrepresented, because it has, in general, smaller constituencies,


and the Conservatives underrepresented, isn't that one you


concede? Well, I think that's exactly what the boundary commission


should be looking at but cutting number of MPs at the same time as we


are bringing all the work back from Europe and getting a much-bigger,


unelected House, I think that makes no sense and this is a worry for all


of us who care about democracy. I understand that. And people will


think - it's to the advantage of Labour that these things don't go


through, but as you will know as well as as I do a number of


Conservative MPs are worried about the consequences so my question to


you is - do you have a chance of winning with this with Tory rebels


on your side? Well, it looks as if what the Government has done is


united the whole of the UK, because MPs from right across the country


are here today and I think Conservative MPs are voting with


their feet. They are simply not going to be here today. All right.


Well listen, we will let you get back and see what is happening,


thank you for joining us. Also in Central Lobby, we have the former


Conservative Chief Whip, Mark Harper. There you are, he joins me


now, by partisan cooperation as the Labour moves out and Conservative


moves N your boundaries change on a regular basis and there is clearly a


principle for now and there is inequality between Labour and


Conservative. Let's concede that for the moementd but why do you plan to


redraw them on the 2015 vote Erroll when there are now another 2 million


people on the roll, why don't you include them? It is a civil point


and came up in the debant Pat raised and I enned her clearly. If you look


at the independent analysis, I quoted some from number crunches and


another colleague quoted the House of Commons' library. That increase


in 2 million voters who registered for the referendum was broadly


evenly spread across the whole country so it doesn't make, if you


included them all t doesn't make a material difference in the


distribution of seats. Why not include them all. We live in the


world where there are constant demands for more voter


participation, to encourage people to be more involved. We have two


million more people registered to vote, why not just recognise that


and divide up the constituencies on the basis of the latest figures?


People will suspect you don't want to do that because a lot of the 2


million may not be Tory voters As I said, the spread across the country


will not make a difference to the distribution of seats. The problem s


if you do what the Bill does and say the boundary commission has to be


finished by 2018 but start using a register for 2017, the practical


consequence is that this register, this boundary review won't happen


and what Labour is really trying to do is make sure the next election


will be fought on boundaries which are 20 years out of date. They don't


want any boundary change. They don't want more equal seats. They want the


situation to continue being stacked in favour of them. They are also


worried about having boundary changes at all because Labour MPs


are worried they will be de-selected by all those new Labour members, run


by Momentum and they are worried about that. Could you explain to our


viewsers the logic of cutting our elected representatives by 50 and


increasing our unelected representatives by 250? First, since


the last election, the number of Lords is only a net increase of 15.


But there was a lot more before that under the Conservatives Well, I of


course and you remember Andrew I think I was probably on your


programme, I was the minister who tried in the last Parliament to


reform the House of Lords and have a much more elected House of Lords.


That didn't get the support of MPs in the House of Commons. So now you


are back to 250. I know what is happening at the moment is peers in


the House of Lords themselves, led by the Lord Speak remember trying to


look at ways they can reduce the size of the House of Lords to take


account of the fact that it is too large but interestingly, since the


last election, in fact since 2010, the cost of running the House of


Lords has actually fallen by 14% in real terms. How much will it cost to


add 250 peers? We are not added. I don't know where this - this is


Labour number the number of peers since the last election has


increased by 15 and I think since... The election was only a year ago and


a bit Since 2010 I think it has increased by 100 but of course most


of the costs of the House of Lords is fixed. Increasing the number of


peers doesn't actual Lynne cease. Well they all sign on, so you add


more on a daily ranchts the cost has fallen, since 2010 but I don't


disagree with you about the need for House of Lords' reform. I was in


favour of it before the last election. I tried to introduce a


bill. We didn't get the support to get it through Parliament. You have


made that point. Thank you for joining us. What do you think? I


think the point you made about the Labour MPs is a fair one. A lot of


them don't like the boundary review, partly because individual MPs are


going to lose their seats or have seats merged and also for the


moderate MPs or for lots of MPs they will find themselves up for


re-selection and they will find themselves... Yes, that is a factor


It is a more complicated factor. Do you accept the point he made if you


do move to include the 2 million on, that would delay it until after the


next election? Certainly I belief so technically because of the way the


legislation is written you can enagent the changes through


statutory implements as long as you use the premise of the original


legislation, the boundary commission and the decision to use as it were


the old roll is sort of bundled up with that. So you would have to do a


lot of unpicking. One pointed that I thinking Pat Glass didn't raise was


when you reduce the number of MPs 20600, the proportion who are


Government pay roll MPs, ie more whipable, rises There are quite a


lot of them. Yes, there are. I'm sorry I have to move on Another


time. There will be another time. There's just time for a quick look


back at the big political stories Here's Ellie with a review


of the week in just 60 seconds. The PM told banqueting business


bosses on Monday that Britian should champion free trade in the world


and it was up to them The Shadow Business Secretary,


Clive Lewis, said school and university leavers should ask


more questions, as he launched Labour's mission-orientated


industrial strategy. Government plans to take away peers'


rights to veto secondary legislation were dropped on Thursday,


but there was also a hint that the Lords need


to behave themselves. In the week that saw wall-to-wall


coverage of Nigel Farage standing in front of a lift,


questions of whether the four-time Ukip leader should be made


a Lord did not go away, and Theresa May didn't


rule it out either. Such matters are normally never


discussed in public. And Barack Obama wanted to reassure


world leaders that there was nothing to worry about when it


came to the future of It was part of so long,


farewell, auf widersehen, The reason for that scoul on Angela


Merkel's face yesterday is that Mr Obama seemed to take about eight


minutes to answer each question. I think he is getting into the roll


now of being a pundit, rather than a President. He was really relaxed


when he explained what was going on. I was in America in 2008 when he


won, we thought it was the start of a new America in 2008 when he won


and got re-elected four years later. What did we know?


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


The question was which of Jeremy Corbyn's possessions


Is it a) His prize marrow b) His favourite tracksuit


c) His bicycle or d) A signed pair of his shoes.


The shoes. Are you bidding for them? I'm afraid not. I might just sneak


up and grab a pair when he is not around.


Thanks Rachel, Rafael and all my guests.


The one o'clock news is starting over on BBC One now.


I'll be back on Sunday with the Sunday Politics ...do join


corpse of American democracy and poke around inside with a boat hook.


As spaceship Earth spirals towards its finale,


what the hell happened in that election?


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