25/11/2016 Daily Politics


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Hello and welcome to the Daily Politics.


It's the day after the day after the Autumn Statement,


but the Government's still being criticised over


forecasts suggesting a big squeeze on living standards.


But have the economic forecasters taken too gloomy a view


of what might happen post-Brexit, and do they have a record


We'll talk to the head of the Office for Budget Responsibility.


MEPs have voted to freeze EU membership talks with Turkey.


That's not pleased Turkey's president, who says if it happens


he'll open the gates for migrants to enter Europe.


It's the first ever conference of the Women's Equality Party,


and they say membership is growing fast.


But can it win many votes in a crowded political marketplace?


Tony Blair's coming back - no, we really mean it this time.


He says he's going to find a home for millions of the "politically


homeless", and could campaign for Brexit to be reversed.


And with us for the first half of the programme today,


a journalist so knowledgeable about all things political he thinks


Black Friday refers to a stock market crash rather than early


It's the political editor of the Sun, Tom Newton Dunn.


First today, let's talk about a bill being debated by MPs today that,


if passed, will make it an offence for people to wear military medals


Those found guilty will face a maximum penalty of six months'


Well, normally a private members' bill brought forward


by an individual MP would stand little chance of getting


But you might remember that when we covered this


earlier in the week, we spoke to the Armed Forces


minister, who confirmed that the Government will be


The hurt of someone as being as deceitful as wearing a Gallantry


Medal. It is not just like the Northern Ireland medal but that I


won, this is somebody who has gone beyond the call of duty in getting a


Gallantry Medal, and somebody is impersonating them. I will make sure


that I'm in the committee to present the Government's view.


Had bigger problem is this? We have medal fraud for awhile. We used to


get quite a lot of good copy out of hunting down and exposing these


quite appalling fruitcakes who would turn up at parades, normally with a


droopy moustache saying that they had done all these things. What has


increased as the number of medals that people now have because of Iraq


and if Khalistan, a whole load of people did a lot of things, and


maybe they are trying to keep up with the pace. It really is


incredibly offensive if you have been through all of this, and I


think it should be, and I am pleased that the Government is looking at it


as a type of fraud. You used the word fruitcakes. Isn't the risk of


having a risen sentence or a very large fine, is that really


disproportionately harsh on people who may have a mental health


problem, for example, or even though it is offensive, would people want


to see others going to jail? If you have mental health problems and are


a disturbed individual, they will not send you to prison, because they


never do anyway. But it is useful to have as a penalty, as a hard drop


background, to stop this type of fraud being permitted. It is conning


people into giving you respect or sometimes even money if you are


raising Fred Charity for something you haven't done. We will leave it


there, we will come back to it. And there's been a lot of talk this


week about Donald Trump's suggestion that Nigel Farage should be made


the UK's next ambassador to the US. But one Labour MP has come up


with a novel suggestion for who should be the next US


ambassador to Britain. John Mann has tabled an early day


motion in Parliament to ask fellow So, who does he think should be


America's man or woman in London? And a bit later on, Tom will give


us the correct answer. Now, it may be Black Friday


at the shops today thanks to an imported American marketing


gimmick, but is it also a bit of a black day for the economic


prospects of British workers? That was the view of several


think-tanks and forecasters, who yesterday gave us their now


traditional post-match analysis of Chancellor Philip


Hammond's Autumn Statement. And they were pretty gloomy


about what it all meant. The Institute for Fiscal Studies


described the outlook They say that workers will,


in real terms, earn less in 2021 That's the worst decade for living


standards "probably since Downing Street didn't like that,


saying that living standards The Prime Minister's spokeswoman


said that "real household disposable income" is the best way


to measure living standards, and that it's rising


under this Government. The impact that Brexit will have


on the economy has been a bone of contention since the independent


Office for Budget Responsibility published its forecast alongside


the Autumn Statement on Wednesday. It said the Government will have


have to borrow an extra ?58.7 billion over the next five


years because of Brexit. The OBR has come under fire from


Brexit-supporting Conservative MPs. Jacob Rees-Mogg said the forecasts


were based on "lunatic" assumptions And the former Cabinet minister


Iain Duncan Smith said the OBR was "very close


to the Treasury" and "pretty And this morning, leading Leave


campaigners including Michael Gove and Gisela Stuart have said


that the OBR's figures also reveal a "Brexit dividend"


of over ?10 billion a year. That's the money we'll no longer


send to the EU after we've left. They say that the money should be


spent on the NHS. Joining me now is the chairman of


the Office for Budget Responsibility, welcome to the daily


politics. Let's go back to the forecast during the referendum


campaign, because many people said they all turned out to be wrong,


because a lot of the economic institutions, the Treasury, the Bank


of England, the IMF, said that a Brexit vote would cause an immediate


downturn, and that hasn't happened. It hasn't, and we were not one of


the organisations that try to produce a forecast. As you say, some


people thought the impact of greater uncertainty would have a much more


dramatic and instantaneous approach, but then the picture would get


clearer in terms of the outcome of the negotiations as things went on.


The instant reaction has been less painful in terms of the economy, but


people are nonetheless not as much the wiser in terms of what the


Government's objectives are in negotiations and what the likely


outcome is going to be, so I think that will take some time to clear


up. And there has been a wave of criticism about so-called guessing.


You had a caveat that you didn't have that much information to go on,


so how seriously could we take this? It is a best estimate of what we


have managed to interpret current Government policy. We asked


explicitly in the run-up to the Autumn Statement, whether the


Government wanted to tell us and implicitly every body else any more


about their aims are expectations for the negotiations than was


already in the public domain, and they said they didn't want to do


that, so we have had to make some broad assumptions that you would end


up with imports and exports growing less quickly, that net inward


migration would be lower, so we have had to do it on that basis and we


can see when there is more information about the results of the


negotiations on what the Government is trying to get out of it to refine


that. But I don't think we will be much the wiser very quickly. David


Cameron said at the time that a lever vote would put a bomb under


the British economy, but looking at your growth forecasts, you do see


growth continuing. There is a deep in 2017/18, but it picks up again,


so in a way, even those forecasts don't see a great downturn. We are


somewhat on the more optimistic end of the spectrum, more optimistic


than the Bank of England and the average of outside forecasters.


There are two main thing is driving the weakening most people expect,


one of which is that uncertainty out of where we will end up on things


like trade and migration will weaken investment, and the other thing is


we have already seen a sharp fall in the pound which will push up import


prices and mean that the pound and the consumer's Hobbit will go less


far, so it is those things carrying on that leads to the weakness next


year. Isn't this playing politics by the Leave campaigners, they don't


want to hear this information because it undermines the whole


campaign and the drive to leave the EU? I think you will also find a few


Remain campaigners, strangely enough, politicians play politics.


The IFS agree with Robert Osman prognosis. How busy got to growth by


2019 when we are leaving the EU? My personal point of view, he was


supposed to forecast something that nobody had any clue how it could


work out, and he gave his own forecast only a 50% chance of coming


true, so I think he is beaten up to hard. I don't know how you are


wounded by criticism, I'm sure you are tough when this stuff is thrown


at you, but they are accusing you of being too close to the Treasury


leading Leave campaigners, and wrong on everything. Do you think you will


be the one that is caught between the two sides? You have to recognise


that we have seen this for months, and extremely heated debate, hotly


contested, and it is not surprising that tempers and emotions are


running high. All we can do under those circumstances is to set out


the assumptions we have made as transparently as we can. If you take


a more less optimistic view of where the negotiations will end up, if you


think the Government is going to exploit or not exploit the


opportunities to move policy in a more growth friendly direction, you


can take the numbers we have started with an go in one direction or the


other, so hopefully it is a useful exercise even if people don't why


the central conclusion. Jacob Rees-Mogg has said that you assumed


after we leave the EU we will apply the same tariffs to the rest of the


world that we currently apply, his point being that those tariffs may


not be there, that is the point of leaving the EU, we will have free


trade deals. Do you think that is a mistake? The consensus of people who


are experts in the way trade is modelled, the middle of the pack and


not the most optimistic or least as a mystic, there is a general


consensus that you would see imports and exports growing less quickly


over a 5-10 year period than you otherwise too, partly because you


have to get to the new set of trade arrangements, but then will it be


more difficult within the EU even if it is easier somewhere else? So you


are right in saying that if people like Jacob Rees-Mogg, Patrick


Minford though I think you were talking to recently, would favour a


much more liberal trade regime. Whether in a global context that is


the direction in which the trade policy will go, it is not our


decision but others' too, that remains to be seen. And there are


many views about how Brexit will actually be done, and that makes it


even more difficult to predict. There is no agreement at all on what


Brexit will look like. We don't think the Government still has a


plan yet, they are still doing their thinking. But it does beg the


question, Robert, if there is no conclusive path for all of this at


all, why do you not model several different outcomes, perhaps a soft


Brexit at, they hard Brexit outcome, because all Philip Hammond has done


is taken your numbers and borrowed a extra something that you say is


unlikely. I think the uncertainties around the broadbrush forecast, and


people's very justifiable realisation of how much trust you


should place in any forecast, if we were coming up with precisely


calibrated differences between what would happen if it was WTO or Canada


plus or Norway models, I'm not sure, I think the differences between each


of those scenarios would be dwarfed by the uncertainty around any one of


them, so the best thing for us to do is to take some broad assumptions


consistent with the bulk of external analysis and then we have to wait


until the fog clears in order to come up with something that is more


specifically tied to a particular outcome. Robert Chote, thank you


very much. There was much talk in the run-up


to the Autumn Statement about what the Chancellor might do


for low-income families. He took limited action in one


controversial area, by softening cuts to Universal Credit,


the new umbrella benefit gradually He offered claimants


partial respite by changing The Resolution Foundation said this


would save claimants up to ?300, but previous cuts may have cost them


more than ?2000. So what do Conservative MPs


who campaigned successfully last year against previous proposed


cuts to tax credits? Well we're joined by one of them


now, and Johnny Mercer Has the Government done enough? I


think they've made a strong step in the right direction. Would I have


liked more, clearly yes I would have done. But the Chancellor made it


clear that he thought about the evidence, he listened to everybody.


We made a step in that direction. He's done what he can. So I welcome


that. Would I have liked him to have done more, obviously I would have.


He has a huge balance to - a huge budget to balance and he has done a


good job. If you remember the rhetoric by Theresa May on the


doorstep of Number 10 where she said she wanted to help those people who


were just about managing. Even though he has put a certain amount


of money into mitigate the cuts to universal credit, they in no way


reverse them and those families are still going to be worse off. Yeah,


if this is taken in isolation you are right. Not even in isolation,


even if you take it in the round, the Government and the Treasury put


opt a statement to say you have to look at higher lf living wage, money


for child care, they'll still be worse off some of those families.


Some of those families, I believe, in particular percentiles will


struggle. That's why I say as far as I am concerned I would like it to go


further. I think it's disingeneralous to say we are not


looking after the just about managing or doing what we can for


the bottom 20% of society that people like me are involved in


politics for. I think if you look at somewhere like Plymouth, we keep


talking about it, but the single biggest driver in improving life


chances for our most vulnerable is having a job and that unemployment


has halved. Is there more we can do, of course there is, there always is.


I welcome this on Thursday and the fight goes on. Would you, right, the


fight goes on. What are you doing in terms of the fight? It sounds like


you would like George Osborne's cuts to work allowances to be ditched


altogether because then people can earn more before they actually lose


their benefits s that what you would like to see? I would like to see is


for the income tax threshold to continue to go up as it is, for


people to keep more of the money they earn and that is the direction


of travel we are taking. We are also balancing that against a very


difficult fiscal position against going through a transition, if you


like, from a high welfare state to making people less dependent on


state welfare and in places like play Moth that's transforming -- -


Plymouth. That's transforming. Could we have quicker? We have a huge


balance to - a huge budget to balance for and we are in tricky


times with Brexit and all of that. Philip's clearly working to that, as


well. Although he has loosened the target for balancing the books. So


he has a little bit more room Father manoeuvre in those terms. You


mentioned the fight goes on. What are you doing, are you lobbying the


Chancellor to try and go further in the next year or so on this? We just


need to make sure that as a team of Conservative MPs we follow through


on the promise to look after the most vulnerable in society. That's


across the pitch. Whether it's to do with universal credit or it to do


with halving the disability gap, for example, which is something we are


working on at the moment and there's a report out in January about this.


We are doing a good job on this. But we are not going as far as we said


in the manifesto. When I say the fight goes on, there are - most


Conservative MPs believe we judge ourselves by how we look after the


most vulnerable in the society and the fight goes on to make sure our


policies work for them. All right, but the criticism was pretty


damaging, the assessment from the resolution foundation, once they


crunched the krm numbers and the institute of fiscal studies, no


wonder Downing Street will be unhappy about it because they


haven't lived up to the rhetoric. I think Downing Street will be quite


cross somehow the narrative going into this Autumn Statememt was it's


going to be about helping just about managing. This new study says


something interesting which got lost amid the whole terrible headlines of


a lost decade of wage growth, which was Philip Hammond has prioritised


what money he had to spend on capital investment, fiscal stimulus


for the economy, road-building, etc as to helping the just about


managing. I think Johnny is being polite here, what he would like to


say if I am not putting words in his mouth is, I am sick to the back


teeth that the Government I want to support put 700 million of the


universal credit cuts back into what should have been 3. 4 billion.


That's barely a fifth of the reverse of the cuts. Is that what you think?


Can I come back on that. I would say is what Tom indicates there around


infrastructure, that is all towards growth. That's towards closing the


productivity gap which is all towards raising higher standards. So


I don't think these things are actually contrary to each other.


There are many ways of having this fight against poverty. One is to


improve the infrastructure. If you look at Plymouth and the railline


it's integral to getting jobs for opportunities for young people in


Plymouth and that's infrastructure. I see what Tom is saying but as much


as I always agree with Tom, on this occasion I may decline. You don't


always agree then. All right, thank you very much.


Is Tony Blair planning on making a comeback. It's been written about


more times, but this time it seems like it really might be happening.


The former Labour Prime Minister has announced he's


But this time the political driver wants to take a back-seat role


and build a platform for the political centre


In an interview in the New Statesman, Mr Blair explained


he wanted to provide "a service" to political leaders, in the form of


"I think in Britain today, you've got millions of effectively


"I think the absolute essence is to revive the centre."


"What I'm doing is to spend more time, not in the front


"There are elements of the media who would literally move to destroy


"But in trying to create the space for a political debate


about where modern Western democracies go and where


the progressive forces particularly find their place."


We're joined now by Matthew Doyle, he used to work for Tony Blair


at Number 10, and by the Ukip MEP Tim Aker.


Welcome to the programme. Explain exactly what Tony Blair wants to do.


I find it fascinating that nearly 20 years after Tony was first elect as


Prime Minister there is still so many column inches dedicated to what


he is doing, what he is saying, who he is thinking. Not favourable a lot


of course. There is also something depressing, it speaks to a bigger


problem in politics for the centre ground which in the problem he has


in a sense identified, why I think it's right that he uses the platform


that he gets through being a former Prime Minister to express a view on


this. Look, the 48% in the referendum lost but that doesn't


mean that the 48% should be denied a voice in the debate. I think it's


important that as we go forward with the discussions around Brexit, the


debate about what that looks like and what it means, is held in a way


that does give the 48% a voice. Does he want to reverse Brexit? Look, he


thinks it's a bad idea we are leaving the European Union, no


question about it. In terms of what ends up happening in terms of the


decision, then my personal view is I think it's clear, we are on a track


to leaving the European Union. The question is what the nature of that


happens. There are all sorts of promises that were made in the


course of the referendum campaign that said don't wrory it will be


fine, the Germans will still want to sell us cars, French will still want


to sell us cheese or whatever it was. If it turns us there is a


different scenario, just as John Major is also saying in the papers,


it's right the public gets a chance if it wants to, to say is hang on,


this isn't what we were told at the time. Are you pleased to see Tony


Blair return to politics in some form? It's Christmas come early. For


who? For my side of the argument surely. He is known for Iraq and the


mess that caused. And also it's the... And winning three elections.


He didn't create imdprags controls when the EU expanded. All of this


talk of centre ground and so on ignores the debate. There is the


Common Ground. Things have moved on. It's noticeable him talk being the


forgotten in politics. I remember the Welsh devolution referendum was


closer for the Brexit one. I think he is back to quell the Brexit


revolt and you will find that more people will look at Tony Blair's


record and see he is telling us what to do again, we are going to fight


back. I think he is a drain on those people that want a single market or


soft Brexit. Do you think he will help the people, the 48%, the 16


million, many of whom would not only like to stay in the EU but would


like to stay as a member of of the single market. I think it's a


problem that we haven't got more voices that are vocally speaking on


behalf of the 48%. Frankly, I think - part of the problem that the


Labour is in at the moment and I think it would be good for the


Labour to step up more and be more vocal. He doesn't believe Jeremy


Corbyn is the right man, but is Tony Blair the right man I would say he


is, he has the experience of Prime Minister and experience of previous


European negotiations, just as I would argue it's good that we hear


from John Major as he is quoted in The Times today on this debate. I


think the Government would be wise to listen to former Prime Minister


who is have been part of European negotiations and get a sense from


them of where they should proceed because they're making a mess at the


moment. What do you think in terms of Tony Blair trying to come back in


and add his voice to perhaps Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband, the Remain


side, the 48% and do you think the Government wants more help? It's had


a suggestion of Nigel Farage to help in America and now Tony Blair on the


Brexit negotiations. Tony Blair for Washington DC ambassador, that would


be a way of solving that problem. Tony Blair's motives are


interesting. He is clearly a passionate pro-European. He spends


his entire premiership signing us up to all the great pro-eu causes,


probably would have been included in the single currency. So, clearly he


has belief by it. However, I do have to say I was in the press conference


room after the chill cot inquiry where Tony Blair was painfully aware


of how his entire reputation was going straight down the plughole


because of that one report. I wonder whether he now thinks Brexit is


something he can perhaps try and rehabilitate himself on. Tim


wouldn't see it that way. Make he can reverse some damage and make


this the flag he can be remembered for. Are you worried that big


personality, a big figure like Tony Blair throwing his weight behind the


discussion on Brexit could move to a softer departure from the EU? I


don't think so. During the referendum we had all the big


establishment figures, former prepare Ministers, big opinion


formers who said, no, Brexit will be terrible don't vote for it. This


reinforces the view that the establishment are fighting back,


they don't accept the result ap doing everything they can. On the


point just mentioned about Corbyn. There was a poll, we should not take


much emphasis on polls given how wrong they've been. They haven't had


a good record recently. One point separated them and that was a poll


in October, I believe. So, if he thinks he is more popular than


Corbyn and will change the mood of the country he has another thing


coming. Thank you to both of you. Now, the Women's Equality Party


was launched last year to campaign for gender equality


for the benefit of all. So far it's stood candidates


in London, Wales and Scotland without success, but it says it has


gained 65,000 members and registered supporters, and this weekend


is holding its first But with a female Prime Minister


in Number 10, does the public think We sent Ellie out with


the moodbox to find out. Welcome to Maidenhead,


the home of Theresa May, Britain's second ever female Prime


Minister. Evidence, surely, of equality


in the sexes in the upper What we're asking today is does


there need to be separate political party that deals with the issues


and interests of women? There is, it's called


the Women's Equality Party. You think it's


a good idea? No and the reason being


is you shouldn't stigmatise one particular part of a community,


so be it women, be it So it's all part of one


community, therefore, no. I think there should be more women


involved in the politics and constitutional rights


of everybody for equality and they should also


get a fairer wage. It's 2016, it's


all about equality, Sorry, I am being


a lady who lunches. We are about halfway,


it would seem the nos Women have different views to men,


I suppose. Good idea then to have a women's


party? I don't know, because it gives them


a voice, doesn't it? Should there be a separate political


party for women's I think multitasking


is the important thing. So a separate political party


would be a good idea? Sorry, I remember,


actually. Don't tell anyone


I gave you two votes. If you have a separate party


for women, then you would have No, because women and men shouldn't


be separated from each other. It was close and lots of people said


that politics is still far But, on balance, the good people


of Maidenhead say no. There need not be


a separate political party. # Sisters are doing


it for themselves... And the leader of the women's


equality party, Sophie Walker, joins me now from our


studio in Salford. Welcome. Theresa May has recently


become our second female Prime Minister, we have women running


devolved administrations in Scotland and Northern Ireland. Do we in


really need an equality party? The 1500 people gathering in Manchester


this weekend would certainly agree with you, and so with the members


and registered supporters of this party. There is a big difference


between having a female leader and a female leader who understands with a


leading of women's needs and experiences and prioritises that. We


have been working with the what women want survey, and we hear loud


and clear from thousands of women who are still asking for equal pay


and affordable childcare and still asking for fair pensions why none of


these things appear to be important enough for mainstream Westminster


politics. Tom Newton Dunn, why are these key issues still not been


resolved? I think Sophie put it very well. There is a huge dichotomy


between male and female workforces. Peya, especially coming back into


work if you have been away looking after a child. I suppose I can't


really answer that question. So do we need a party? There are male MPs


who maybe care about traditionally more male dominated things such as


defence, maybe we should have a female party to campaign for women's


issues. Except of course so far in terms of representation, Sophie, you


are not making any ground. You came sixth in the London mayoral


election, beating George Galloway. Did you expect to do better? We got


a quarter of a million votes in London for the London mayoral


election about ten months before we approved membership, and we just


narrowly missed out on getting an assembly seat, and we were pleased


with that result. The impact that had is being seen today because the


London mayor Sadiq Khan is today announcing the results of his gender


pay audit, that was our policy. We are the party that aims to get this


done by all means, so to see the other parties take on our policies


and start doing this and see that they will lose votes if this doesn't


become more of a priority, is effective. Imitation is the highest


form of flattery, so does it matter if you don't have that much


representation electorally if you can pressurise existing groups and


parties into taking annual policies? More representation of women in


politics is very important, and one of the things we want to do by


having this party be as effective as it is is to say to women, there is a


space for you in politics, you can make your voices heard. And that is


why we are so pleased that more than half of our membership say they have


never been a member of a political party ever before, and they are


coming to us because they are saying things like, finally, somebody sees


me and understands me and can help me to participate in politics. And


briefly on Hillary Clinton, do you think more women had a duty to vote


for Hillary Clinton in the election? I think the success of Donald Trump


is incredibly sad. It was a vote to say that misogyny doesn't matter,


racism doesn't matter, sexism doesn't matter, and it was also the


successful campaign of someone claiming to be antiestablishment who


is about as establishment as it gets. The idea that this person who


lives in a gold-plated penthouse who is representing the masses is


ludicrous. But the fact that that is out there now means that our job in


some ways is easier, because we can stop discussing whether sexism


actually exists. Enter your conference.


It's time now to find out the answer to our quiz.


The question was - who does John Mann MP think


should be the next US Ambassador to Britain?


What is the correct answer? The correct answer is the Boss, Bruce


Springsteen himself. Thank you, and well done.


Coming up in a moment it's our regular look at what's been


For now, it's time to say goodbye to my guest of the day, Tom.


So for the next half an hour we're going to be focussing on Europe.


We'll be talking about the vote by MEPs to freeze EU


membership talks with Turkey, the reaction in Brussels to a visit


by the Brexit Secretary, and we've been to Latvia to find out


First, though, here's our guide to the latest from Europe


In France, former PM Francois Fillon surprised winning the first


round in the centre-right Republican Party's contest to pick


a candidate for next year's presidential election.


He will face Alain Juppe in a one-off this weekend.


Former president Nicolas Sarkozy came a disappointing third.


The non-binding vote called for multinational forces and a joint


German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she'd run for a fourth term


One challenger might be Martin Schulz.


The president of the European Parliament said he would swap


Ukip face multiple investigations after claims they misspent EU funds


And Brexit secretary David Davis met with Guy Verhofstadt, the EU


Had Mr Davies really called him Satan?


And with us for the next 30 minutes, I've been joined by the Conservative


MEP Ashley Fox and the Ukip MEP Gerard Batten.


Let's take a look at one of those stories in more detail,


and that's the visit by Brexit secretary David Davis


Ashley Fox, Manfred Weber says our Government has no idea what Brexit


means. Guy Verhofstadt said the process would be tough and very


intense. David Davis said it had all been rather fun and very useful. So


who isn't quite being straight? This was a getting to know you session,


the first time David Davis has been across to Brussels and Strasbourg to


get to know the key players. This is about loving relationships. The


negotiations don't start until March, so I am happy with how things


are going. In our way, we know what the leaders of the EU think, so


nobody should be surprised with what they say so far? The Government


doesn't have a plan. It doesn't want to leave anyway, in my view. What


makes you think that? Misses me was a remain, and if remain had won, she


would be saying that that was good. I wrote a plan two years ago on how


it would work, and Guy Verhofstadt confirmed to David Davis that the


four tenets of the EU are non-negotiable, so they have already


told us we can't have control over immigration, so what kind of plan do


we have? Jean Lambert is agreed MEP. What do you think of the tone of the


meeting between Guy Verhofstadt and David Davis? When you listen to


reports, you almost wonder whether they were in the same meeting. It is


true that my understanding is that at least their agreement is there


needs to be a strong European Union going into the future. So that has


implications I think Fathauer the EU handles their side of a negotiation.


I think it is also very clear from what I have been hearing that the UK


still hasn't really got its head around the magnitude of what it is


doing here, and even some of the technicalities, it would appear the


David Davis hadn't even realised the European Parliament gets a vote on


the article 50 outcome, so there are some of these things which you


really think the Government should have a handle on. Fairly basic. Do


you think David Davis didn't know? That is simply not true. Do you know


that? Yes, I do. I met him before he met Guy Verhofstadt, he was well


aware of the position. That would be pretty unbelievable, Jean Lambert,


who told you that? Somebody else who was actually in the meeting.


Somebody else in the meeting! Yes, the meeting with Verhofstadt. It is


the understanding of what is going on here, the timetabling of it, the


magnitude of it, the fact that you are not going to have everything


neatly wrapped up with a ribbon on it by 2019. You are still going to


have a transition period after that, I think it is still not really there


and clear in the negotiations. Is that the problem, though, with


Theresa May's mantra, that she is not going to give a running


commentary? If you don't give some detail and flesh out some of the


broad negotiating points, then, Jean Lambert quite rightly, and some of


her other colleagues and those on both sides of the political spectrum


will fill the gap for you. Lets just wait until March. People want, that


is my point. The smoke and noise in the media really doesn't matter.


What matters is the result at the end of the negotiations, and what we


will see is in the run-up to the negotiations, people like Jean


Lambert and others will create a lot of noise in the media, I am


concerned with getting a good result for Britain, and so is Theresa May.


There is no way that the EU is going to presenters with a mythical deal,


they have no reason to because they don't want us to leave. They might


let us leave but they might want to punish us. I think what Theresa May


wants to do is delay and delay in the event present us with something


like a Swiss or Norwegian model, where we still have open borders and


a large percentage of the laws, so we might not have bothered at all,


but there is a much easier way to leave, repeal the 1972 act, and all


the EU directives will remain in the UK Parliament, and we can repeal and


amend them as we go. Guy Verhofstadt, chief negotiator for


the EU, has spent his whole life campaigning for closer EU


negotiation, so was it sensible to appoint somebody as hardliners that


in terms of a federalist viewpoint, rightly or wrongly, to the role of


chief negotiator? One of the key negotiators is also Michel Barnier


of the commission, and it will be national governments that are


included in this. Verhofstadt is there to ensure the interests of the


European Union. The idea that you can somehow pull the plug and create


a whole sense of legal uncertainty in terms of even which jurisdiction


applies to things like cables between the UK and mainland Europe,


any of these other things, I think is absolute fantasyland. There needs


to be something here that is absolutely concrete in terms of


legal certainty, and that has to be part of the outcome, and we have to


engage not only the European Parliament but our national


parliament within this. The idea you can sideline elected buddies is


outrageous. But is it acceptable if there are going to be these


negotiations that Manfred Weber, for example, calls the Foreign


Secretary, Boris Johnson, unbelievably arrogant and say what


they like about the British government. Will that help smooth


the way? You could also argue whether Boris Johnson has been


smoothing the way. What Ashley is saying in terms of a lot of the


rhetoric is correct. There will be position taking, there will be


stretching things on either side, but in terms of the actual


negotiation, there are a lot of nuts and bolts that need to be sorted


through. This is not a quick and easy job as some seem to think.


There are things here which have enormous imprecations for business,


people's daily lives, and that needs to be taken seriously. And on the


other side, Boris Johnson threatened sales on prosecco if the Italians


didn't come on is that acceptable? Boris Johnson is a star. So you


think it is? He was illustrating the point that those countries in Europe


will want to continue to trade with us, and I'm confident we will get a


good deal. And do you think you will still have to apply as pretty well


all EU leaders have said, and the premise to Malta, you would have to


have some freedom of movement if you wanted full tariff free access to


the single market, and you would have to pay some contribution to the


EU? You need to distinguish between being a member of the single


market... I said full tariff free access. Canada has just negotiated


98% tariff free access, and I think we can do better than that and


retain control of our borders. This is a problem solved quickly, the


British government can now say to the European Union, we could


negotiate forever, but your choice, do you want continued tariff free


trade with the UK, or do you want World Trade Organisation rules, and


let's give them month to think about it, and they make the decision,


because ultimately they will do that anyway. Do you think the Alliance


for direct democracy in Europe, of which you are part, will end up


having to repay the 173,000 euros of allegedly misspent funds? I am not a


member of that, I was very briefly a member of it. There is a double


standard here, I have been assured by the people in charge of this that


all money was spent in accordance with the rules, and other groups


under... Have you been misled? I haven't been misled about anything.


The EU Parliament act as judge and jury and executioner in same case.


Other groups have spent the money in the same way on polling for example


which was available to everybody. So you are admitting it has been


misspent? No, I'm not. You said other groups are done the same


thing. I'm saying that it wasn't against the rules for them, and


political activity has not been funded, but there is a double


standard because there is a big six scandal growing in the European


Parliament, number of assistants have gone to the Brussels police and


made complaints about sexpert jobs, and it is a big scandal that affects


particularly EP EP... Police have gone to the parliament and they are


being impeded by the authorities. We will look into that, but I wanted to


just focus on... It is a double standard. We were living a


specifically about the allegedly misspent funds. It is nothing to do


with Ukip. Thank you. Jean Abbott, thank you very much.


Now, let's talk about one of the most significant votes of the week


in the European Parliament, and that was the decision by MEPs


to back the suspension of EU membership talks with Turkey


Politicians from right to left back a symbolic resolution condemning


the Turkish government's "disproportionate repressive


measures" after a failed military coup in July.


Well, our correspondent Damian Grammaticus has been speaking


to Gianni Pittella, the Leader of the Socialists and Democrats


in the European Parliament, and asked him why


After the coup, he put in jail thousands and thousands of people,


journalists, lawyers, politicians, leader of parties, everybody.


But without motivation in front of the situation we have decided


to take initiative and with other groups we reached a large,


a very large majority on this resolution.


But isn't it right that at this point in time what the people


on the other side of the debate say is that Europe needs Turkey,


Now is not the time to stop dialogue?


Absolutely, but the dialogue is not stopped.


We freeze the talks for accession, not the dialogue.


We need talking but we want democratic talk.


We want a country in which the citizens are free,


are free to discuss, are free to criticise,


are free to oppose themselves to the Government.


But the view of Erdogan is a liberal and -


If he wants to introduce the death penalty, the relationship


between the EU and Turkey will finish for always.


And what about refugees, because Europe relies on Mr Erdogan


for his side of the deal to stop the refugees coming?


One thing is not linked with the other things.


And I don't think, I don't believe that Erdogan


In any case, EU doesn't accept blackmail by Erdogan.


Ashley Fox, did you vote for the suspension of EU membership talks


with Turkey? No, my group abstained on this resolution. We think it's


unhelpful because we regard Turkey as a strategic ally, important in


NATO. We don't want to push them towards Putin. At the same time, we


are really concerned about what is happening in Turkey at the moment.


The arrests of journalists, opposition MPs, but the main


opposition party in Turkey say this is unhelpful in their help to


re-establish, in - in their trying to retaken democracy in Turkey, this


move is unhelpful. Do you not need to make a stand against the things


you have listed, 471-37, most MEPs voted to suspend those talks. We


regard this megaphone diplomacy by the European Parliament as


unhelpful. We want to carry on talking to the Turks, explain that


they are important to us. But that we want them to come away from the


autocratic system they're developing. This is non-legislative


resolution, it's no effect. You called it symbolic, I would call it


pointless. It temporarily freezes and everything will be all right in


the future. Turkey doesn't even fulfil the EU's own criteria for


being a member, it isn't a European country. When there is a progress


report on Turkish entry which there is every year or so, we always vote


against it, the Ukip MEPs and the Conservative, Lib Dem, I believe the


Greens vote for it, I am surprised at Ashley's position because the


Conservative Party haven't decided they're leaving the EU, why would


you bother to tell the - to tell the EU that Turkey would be a member in


the future. You would like Turkey to be a member? In the future? I


wouldn't and I think a... Why support accession talks at all? It


is a channel of communication to Turkey to encourage them along a


democratic path. The point of that is that Erdogan is extremely


important. His country is sitting in an extremely important decision,


sorry a position. He has already said that if this were to become


binding and I take your point that it's not at the moment, that he


would open the borders and allow the migrants that he has taken in from


the Middle East across into Europe. Why are we leading Turkey up the


garden path? They have continual progress reports the Conservatives


vote in favour of, including the... It probably suits the Turkish


politicians as much as the other politicians. No intention of letting


them in. Is there any intention... It's been going on 30 years now.


They even less fulfil the criteria for membership now than they did


ten, 15 years ago. They're going backwards in terms of human rights


and democracy. It was false to say during the referendum campaign


accession was about to happen? You have to ask the Conservative, Labour


and Lib Dems who always voted for Turkish... It was incorrect to


always claim that Turkish accession and 75 million Turks were coming to


Europe, because as you have said it's never going to happen. It was


true they are being asked to apply and that every time we have a


progress report it's voted in favour. It was legitimate of us to


say if they did join 75 million boo have -- would have a right to come


here. Is it a worry Erdogan could use the stick of opening up borders


even if it is not a binding vote against the EU? That is one of many


worries, so is Turkey's move to an autocratic system. It's a worry


people have been purged from their jobs since the coup in July. We need


to maintain a strategic dialogue with Turkey and this megaphone


diplomacy is unhelpful. We need to establish a proper talks with Turkey


about where their position is in relation to the European Union. I


very much doubt that is full membership. I don't suppose that


would ever get through the European Parliament. All right. We will leave


it there. Now, what does the election


of Donald Trump as US president mean It's a member of both the EU


and Nato, but during his election campaign Mr Trump suggested that


America might no longer defend Nato allies against military action


from neighbouring Russia. In the latest in our Meet


the Neighbours series, Adam's been to Latvia


to find out more. Friday 11th November and it's a big


day in the Latvian capital Riga. Lacplesis was a hero,


he was a man with bear ears, He killed a bear and he put those


ears so he had more power. Also known as Bear Slayer Day,


it marks the moment in 1919 when Latvians saw off foreign


fighters ensuring the But it's also their equivalent


of Remembrance Day and a chance for the Ministry of Defence to talk


about modern day threats. This is a Scimitar tank


from the Latvian Army. Here you will also find


troops from the US Army from the 107 3rd Airborne,


that's because in the last few months NATO has been


bolstering its presence in all three Baltic states to send a clear


message to their next Meet the Defence Minister,


a former Olympic weightlifter. Now grappling with what he sees


as a Russian build-up on his border. We saw what's happened around


borders and the scale of exercise We see strategic


bombers, not just close to our borders but close to UK


and Portugal borders too. Of course, this is real


rattling of sabres. For the adults, Russia provokes


a mixture of fear and resignation. We always between two big


enemies, Russia is one. Donald Trump is elected,


he said great things about Russia. 40% of the population


is ethnicically Russian Miroslav runs a small political


party that campaigns for them. I think that the industry


in United States and maybe in Europe also is interest in this tension,


because it will allow to sell more Second reason, European democracy


now is in some sort of deadlock Lacplesis Day ends with thousands


of candles laid by Riga Castle. It's to remember fallen soldiers


and it's really quite impressive. Latvia has been on the frontline


of history before, now its found Adam Fleming reporting. Can you


understand the fear of the Baltic states like Latvia since Donald


Trump's been elected? I am not a fan of Trump nor Putin. I think Donald


Trump won because he wasn't Hillary Clinton. That's about the best you


can say. I think he made a mistake by not backing NATO. Putin doesn't


have an ideology, but he is interested in winning prestige at


home by perhaps winning back the territories... So do you understand


the fear? I think Donald Trump needs to say he is 100% behind NATO and we


will protect NATO countries under the clause which says one attacked,


all day tacked. On that basis do you think why they're worried about the


future policy and relationship between Putin and Trump? Very much


so. It underlines the importance of NATO and unlike Trump and unlike


Nigel Farage, I don't admire Putin, I think he is a menace. What about


the problem of Russians, ethnic Russians or those who speak the


language in a state like Latvia, could you see it going the same way


as Ukraine? I think what happened the Russian who is wanted to return


to Russia when the Soviet Union broke up went back and I understand


the Russian speakers who lived there were happy by and large to be part


of Latvia, I am in the an expert but that's my understanding. Putin


doesn't need reality, it's like Hitler and Czech in 1938, he doesn't


need reality. He needs propaganda messages. He is dangerous. He is


rationale. He is a criminal. He works on the basis of increasing his


power and how much money he can steal. He might decide the West is


weak enough in order to try and take back some territories formally owned


by the Soviet Union. One of the potential solutions would be for


increased spending by other NATO members. That some people have said


would be enough to allay Donald Trump's reluctance to come in on


behalf of other states. Do you think that would work and do you think


that should happen? I think it's important all NATO members pay their


fair share, if don't made one valid point it was that Europe is


freeloading within the NATO all liance so United Kingdom, Poland,


Estonia, Greece, only four countries meet the 2% target and all of them


should. Would you like to hear a commitment from Donald Trump that he


would actually or America would come in on behalf of another NATO member


state in the event of any sort of aggression? Absolutely. It's very


important that NATO stands by all its members and the United States


stands by its European allies, we don't want to detach European


security from the security of the United States. But all European


countries that are members of NATO have that responsibility to pay


their fair share. We do that in Britain. All members should do so.


All right, thank you both very much. We agree. It's a good point to end


the programme. Thank you very much. From all of us, bye.


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