Jo Coburn with the latest political news, interviews and debate.
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Hello, and welcome to the Daily Politics.
Christmas cheer could be in short supply
if you want to use a post office, train or plane this week.
So, how serious are the latest round of strikes?
And how should the Government respond?
There's been a mass walk-out in the Stormont Assembly
in Northern Ireland this morning, where First Minister
Arlene Foster is facing a vote of no-confidence over
I am the only candidate who has pledged to defeat Isis.
We'll be talking about this unusual campaign to win election
It's been a roller-coaster of a year.
We'll look back at the pictures that have defined 2016,
and ask what the year ahead could have in store.
And with us for the whole of the show are the Conservative
And, having failed in our bid for a Christmas Day special
to replace a rerun of Dad's Army, this is the penultimate
No need to answer, that's more of a rhetorical question.
First today, let's talk about the wave of strikes
hitting a range of services in the run-up to Christmas.
Postal services, railways and airlines are all affected,
which could add up to a miserable time for many members of the public
and has sparked renewed calls for the Government to do more
to curb the impact of strikes, following claims that at least some
Around 3,000 staff at hundreds of Crown Post Offices,
the larger branches usually located in high streets,
are expected to strike today, tomorrow and on Saturday,
in a dispute over jobs, pensions and branch closures.
UK airports are also set to be hit by a 48-hour
strike from December 23rd, with about 1,500 check-in staff,
baggage handlers and cargo crew involved in a row over pay.
In a separate dispute, some cabin crew at British Airways
have also called strikes for Christmas Day and Boxing Day.
Meanwhile, strikes continue on Southern Rail services today,
with conductors from the RMT union beginning two days of walk-outs.
So, how close are we to a Christmas of discontent?
Well, the number of working days lost to workplace
disputes is up this year, but industrial unrest is still very
low by historical standards, and only a fraction of the levels
The Conservatives have already introduced the Trade Union Act
in May, delivering their manifesto pledge of strike ballots having
to achieve a 50% turnout in order for industrial action to go ahead.
Ministers also introduced a minimum threshold of at least 40% support
for industrial action in "important public services" like health,
But not all of the strikes taking place this month are covered by this
Some Conservative MPs are calling on the Government to go further,
and introduce stricter laws on strike action.
And there were questions about whether some of the strikes
were politically motivated, after a video emerged
of one union leader, the RMT president Sean Hoyle,
saying unions were seeking to "bring down the Tory Government"
and "replace the capitalist system with a socialist order."
Suella Fernandes, do you think these strikes are justified in the run-up
to Christmas? Identity top I think the unions are holding a gun to the
head of the management and, actually, the commuters and baby but
you need to use our postal service. Hundreds of thousands of people are
going to be affected severely by these strikes. My constituency in
Fareham, I hear from communities every day who are suffering. They
can't get to work, can't get home to see their families and are in the
middle of this dispute which is now unfair and disproportionate. Do you
agree with your colleague, David Lammy, Meg Hillier, chair of the
Public Accounts Committee, who has suggested the unions need a bit of a
wake-up call and the impact of the strike action could be shooting
themselves in the foot? I do want to make a generalised statement about
the unions because, actually, in each situation you've got something
very different. With Southern Rail, frankly the government should have
done something about the nightmare of a company now making huge profits
but running a line terribly and obviously now in a very disagreeable
situation and this stuff. BAE, it is about a deal struck in 2010 and what
a percentage of those who are on the airlines, their terms and
conditions, which are not fantastic by anyone's standard and the
situation with Royal Mail, which is not really about the government, is
an internal dispute. So are those strikes justified? I don't know the
detail of the Royal Mail situation. What about the RMT or the athletic
train drivers? Is it justifiable for them to be still on strike? -- Aslef
train drivers. I am deeply frustrated with Southern Rail so, in
a sense, the mess, I think, sits with the Government. It really
should act. But what about the unions? The row is about who closes
the doors! I understand a third of our rail franchise, the doors are
closed by the driver. It feels like, obviously, an incidental dispute but
it is serious to the terms and conditions of the conductors. And
surely it is down to the company to have actually resolved this strike
and the company that hasn't invested, Southern Rail, and hasn't
actually got enough staff to cover these disputes, or even when there
are no dispute, they don't have enough staff, it seems, to actually
be on the trains. Do you think they don't bear any responsible to? The
fact is that these strikes are... No jobs are going to be lost, no wages
are going to be cut, there is no safety issue. The independent
regulator has said there is no safety issue, despite what the
unions say. Do you think the company has any responsibility? These
strikes could end tomorrow if Aslef and the RMT called them off. That's
where the fault lies. It is not the Government's fault. The whole
responsible as he is politically motivated and unfair. So you don't
think the committee has any responsibility? You may make the
accusation that it is politically motivated. Isn't it politically
motivated, though, David Lammy? We can listen to the RMT president Sean
Hoyle and what he said about whether politics is involved.
The great newspaper the Times, they did a spread the
other week where they were talking about the left trying to bring the
Government down and it had the National Shop Stewards
Network, the RMT, other left-wing organisations,
coordinating to bring the Government down.
Any trade unionist with any sense wants to bring down this bloody
working-class-hating Tory government.
He couldn't have been clearer, could he? It is politically motivated, so
says Sean Hoyle. Is he right? There is no surprise that the union of
Crow has deep animosity towards a government that has pursued
austerity. I don't think it is surprising that his agenda, of
course, is to bring down the government. That's the position of
the RMT. Is that fair on union members, to use that union to pursue
an agenda to bring down the government... I don't think that's
news. But is it right, is it fair that travellers on these trains are
suffering because unions have gone on strike, motivated by the
political agenda of the union leaders? I think you've got to
distinguish between a stated RMT position, and the RMT is not
affiliated to the Labour Party, so they've always been in a very
strong, extreme position, and this dispute, and in the end, when Suella
Fernandes says it has nothing to do with the government, this is a
company that has made 100 million. Its profits have gone up by 27 and
was the worst rail franchise country. It should be in the control
of the mayor, Sadiq Khan wants it and we find out the Chris Grayling
doesn't want to do it because he is a Labour mayor so what is the
Government doing about this franchise which is out of control
and causing huge chaos to the south and to London? Think of our GDP and
how it is affected. The fact is, there is no reasonable basis for
this strike action. Unions say that is not the case. They say there are
safety issues. And we see what their motivation is, to bring down the
government. Has Southern Rail been a successful franchise? Southern Rail
has... There have been a lot of problems with cancellations, delays
and poor service, absolutely, and this is a dispute between unions and
the management. The Government can take action but that takes a long
time. We need action now and the way it can stop now is if the unions
call off the strike and if Labour condemns this action. It is
unsurprising that Aslef pays ?100,000 to the Labour Party and yet
Jeremy Corbyn will not come out and criticises an acceptable strike
action. What did you think of the letter Chris Grayling wrote a Boris
Johnson to say that he wouldn't be happy, in 2013, for the suburban
rail lines to be given to a Labour mayor, but it was politically
motivated, to use your words? Ideology became involved over a
decision over who should run the suburban rail lines. This is a
dispute between the company and the management and the unions and the
Government has assisted to try and ensure negotiation. As far as I
know, those talks are not taking place today and yet industrial
action is proposed. What about Suella Fernandes's point that you
could condemn the strike and of Jeremy Corbyn came out and condemn
the strike action, particularly on Southern Rail, that would actually
help bring it to" book she didn't answer your question. You're not
answering my now. It is crystal clear in the letter, she didn't
answer it. In relation to the strike itself, there is a genuine dispute
about who should shut the doors when you accept that two thirds of our
train doors are shut by conductors. The bottom line is, this franchise
is failing and the Government have failed to act. People are suffering
and the Government has failed to act, so it's not just a situation
between management and the union. Let's talk about some of the
suggestions about what might be done because Chris Grayling said he
wasn't ruling anything in or out and the Conservative MP Chris Gayle has
suggested new laws to make strikes reasonable and proportionate, things
like maintaining a 50 cents level of service when strikes take place in
public infrastructure and making it mandatory to attend mediation talks
at Acas when a strike is ongoing. Would you support that? I did the
Government can take action and it takes a long time to get act of
Parliament through the Lords and we need action now. We need to look at
lots of options. We need to consider what is right. The trade unions act,
which has gone through the last parliament, was very effective in
trying to limit some of the powers of the unions. Southern Rail passed
the threshold that was required so would you like to go further? I
think what needs to happen is that the unions take responsibility and I
accept that the effect of their actions is unfair, disproportionate
and unacceptable. And you want to repeal the trade union act. You
would make it even easier to strike. Strikes are down compared to the
1970s and 1980s. That was a long time ago and they were not good
decades.. Why are we wasting time taking bill through parliament on
trade unions when, relative to where we were in the 1970s, nothing like
the scale of strikes. It is much harder to strike in Britain. Yes,
we've got problems and disputes but that will always happen between
those who run public franchises and those who work for them. That is
part of the grist. We shouldn't just dismiss strikes as politically
motivated when there are genuine issues between terms that could
change within companies and that is certainly the case with BA. We will
leave it there. We are going to go to Stormont and
told our correspondent because there has been a walk-out in the Northern
Ireland assembly and let's try and get some of the background and talk
to Mark Devonport. What actually happened? Arlene Foster, the First
Minister, has been able to make a statement but that was after other
members of the Assembly walked out. We've had a lot of drama here at
Stormont. The background to this is this renewable heat scandal, which
is set to potentially cost the Northern Ireland taxpayer ?400
million over the next 20 years. The reason our First Minister Arlene
Foster has been in the firing line is that she was the Minister in the
department responsible for this scheme when it was introduced in
November 20 12th. There has been growing concern, both in the media
focus on this and public attention, about this. It has come to a head
here today and she went ahead and made a statement setting out her
version of events but the reason that was controversial is that we
have a very particular kind of power-sharing here, whereby she is
meant to act in no way, shape or form without the approval and
authority of the Deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness, and he
didn't want her to go ahead with that statement and thinks something
more of the nature of a judicial inquiry is required and that's why
there was a walk-out. What about her standing as First Minister?
Obviously, there were calls for a vote of no-confidence in Arlene
Foster. What has this to her leadership? I think politically, she
is undoubtedly damage, as is the stability of the Stormont Coalition
but she can still stay on because under the Stormont rules, to have
her excluded from office, and that is what opposition politicians were
asking for, you need a majority of both nationalists and unionists and
on her own, Arlene Foster can still command a majority of unionists. She
has enough members of the legislative assembly in the DUP to
stave off any attempt so any kind of motion that will be heard this
afternoon will have a symbolic impact, rather than a practical one,
but it is a seriously damaging impact on the Stormont power-sharing
Coalition. Thank you very much. Now to the latest part in our series
looking at the issues faced by key Government departments
in the run-up to Brexit. We've already covered
the Home Office, the turned our attention to another
department that was created It's the Department For Business,
Energy And Industrial Strategy. The Business Secretary's top protein
will be to ensure British firms benefit from free trade deals and
continued access to the single market after Brexit. His recent
glitter to Nissan provided enough reassurance to the Japanese giant to
not just maintain but expand UK production. What other sectors will
require similar guarantees? A central plank of the vote Leave
campaign was Brexit would allow us to be rid of many EU regulations.
Now ministers will have to decide which should go while maintaining
access to export markets. This possibility for employment law rests
with the business department. Will ministers looks to change rules
governing time limits on working hours and rights for temporary
workers? Will London remain an international arbitration centre?
Some believe leaving the EU will provide an opportunity to amend
English law emanating from the EU that could make the UK more
attractive for international arbitration.
The UK has led the way on reducing harmful emissions but will Brexit
give the UK a chance to reset its policy? Potentially moving away from
the complex EU carbon trading programme. The EU sets stringent
targets for production of renewable energy across member states. Our
climate change at goes even further so Brexit won't lead to a reversal
but it will mean the UK won't be response both are cutting more if
other countries in the EU failed to meet obligations.
The EU requires member states to recycle 50% of household
waste by 2020 whilst Scotland and Wales have similar targets set by
their governments but England does not. Leaving the EU could give
ministers leeway to be more lenient. These are some of the issues for the
Government as we move ever closer to triggering article 50 on our x it
from the EU by next March. And we're joined now
by a former Business Secretary, the former Lib Dem MP,
Vince Cable. No one knows what exactly was in the
glitter to the Nissan but if you had been Business Secretary what would
you have written? Or what Nissan wanted and the
current minister wants, all the supply chains want, is an assurance
they can remain within a customs union arrangement because that
doesn't just exempt them from tablets but means they don't have
the bureaucracy associated with the so-called rules of origin. Something
like that must have been in the glitter.
Does he have the power to do that, Greg Clark, when we know nothing has
been ruled in or out in terms of negotiation?
Nissan seems to have been persuaded. They are very smart operators. The
argument going on in Government and even Doctor Fox the ultra among the
Brexiteers, seem to accept a customs union arrangement is necessary. He
has cited Turkey as a role model. Whether it can be done on a sectoral
basis, we don't know. That is pretty top of the lift for Greg Clark.
Is that what you have written or given more assurances?
That isn't the only thing, but one of many.
Quite a few key industries to depend on single market rules, we are
talking about life sciences, pharmaceuticals, a key issue is a
common testing standard which operates at European level.
Things like that throughout our industries which are critical to
retain. Will it be the first of many letters
written to industries in different sectors?
It looks as if the Government is going down that road, piecemeal
guarantees for particular industries. I was told they have 95
sectors they are working on. It begins to look unmanageable.
We have no idea how the EU will react.
They recognise most of our key export industries to depend on EU
rules. Is that how you see it? To keep
businesses in the UK is an assurance they will be in a customs union even
though we weren't make the free trade deals the gun that has talked
about? It is great news and a vote of
confidence in the British economy Nissan has committed to maintaining
their plants in Sunderland, 150,000 jobs staying here. Other businesses
have made real commitments, defying the negative predictions.
What was promised to them? I don't think promises, I am not
party to those negotiations. It is really clear Theresa May has
said she wants Britain to be a leader in free trade and we want a
pro-market strategy. Greg Clark is in favour of making
Britain competitive in terms of regulation, allowing more
productivity and competition. We can only do that because we have
an opportunity for Brexit. I don't think what Vince says is
right. Both are not compatible.
There is no way companies like Nissan will commit themselves to
expanding their operations in the UK unless they are exempted from
bureaucracy. That thinking is clear. The idea by
leaving the EU we will have less regulation actually goes contrary to
the way the arguments are going. One thing Britain will get out of
leaving, it is a positive thing, it's to interrupt corporate
takeovers and apply tougher rules in the public interest, something
Theresa May wants to do, the Daily Mail is keen to do it. We need it
for our science -based industries. This is more national controlled
than less European. Let us look at red tape, you say you
want to be free from EU regulation. Six months on you properly have a
list. Which otherwise you would like to
see the end? The import tariffs, not quite
regulation. There are 2000 costing ?3 billion a year. That price gets
taken on by the consumer. Products coming into the customs
union from outside the EU which... Let us talk about regulations. The
Leave campaign talked about the yards of EU regulation they wanted
to get rid of, which would you like to get rid of?
I am glad the ports directive will not go ahead, one example of an
unhelpful, ill thought out directive which would have damaged our ports
which the trade unions were against, which were anti-competitive.
The reach chemicals directive which would have burdened our biochemical
industries. But that has already been
implemented. A damaging directive. Placing huge
costs on that sector in this country.
She is saying there will be some, they may be here but they will be
dumped. It is interesting to see which will be.
They are common standards for the chemical industry. If you get rid of
common standards how do British chemical kind is toucher -- how do
British chemical industries trade in Europe?
We have a chance to decide what those regulations will be as opposed
to being imposed. We can, our parliaments, our
decision-makers, will have a say. We negotiated them, I was involved,
we reached a common decision, that is how the EU functions.
Do you agree, even if some regulations are dumped, others come
in their place, at least the UK will have decided, we will have taken
back control? Yesterday, Liam Fox refuse to fall
at leaving the customs union. It is argued we have to leave the customs
union and I suspect Nissan and other manufacturers will be out the door
because they will be subject to tariffs.
How would you do free trade deals if...
I am not in the Government. They are making these rules up as we go
along. What is the point of having a fancy
trade department striking free trade deals if Liam Fox says we might be
staying in the customs union? Why will Europe give us this pic and
make steel? Let us let us listen to Liam Fox.
There would be limitations on what we could do in terms
of tariff setting, which would limit what kind of deals you would do.
But we want to look at all the different things.
I hear people talking about hard Brexit and soft Brexit
as though it's a boiled egg we're talking about.
So Turkey, for example, is in part of the customs union
What we need to do before we make final decisions
How do you interpret that? There will be people like David Lammy who
say that was an indication we are not going to leave the customs union
or we will opt back into certain sectors that might make it easier
for agriculture or financial services. You are clear we are
leaving the customs union. I would like us to gain all the
benefits of the freedom to strike trade deals.
I think Liam Fox is right, at this stage, there are lots of options. It
is not a binary choice. Theresa May has been right in setting out the
fact there are many options and we will have to consider what is best
for Britain. Did he really say anything, Liam
Fox? What did he really say?
Nothing is what he said. He talked about it not being binary. The man
who before Somerset we are striking out free trade deals, now talking
about staying. They are making it up as they go along.
44% of our exports are to the EU, we should be very worried.
Let us return to regulation, and employment laws, we are bound by
European standards. Should the Government rollback
limits on working hours? It needs to be considered in the
mix. We need to take into account the needs of our employees,
businesses and industries. Different sectors have different needs for
their workforce. That needs to be part of a
discussion. Do you agree?
We have spent five years looking at this. The working Time directive was
a risk but Britain got an opt out. There are bits we have opted.
Are we suggesting we suggesting we go back to junior hospital doctors
having a 100 hour week? There is no appetite for that. The
agency workers directive, there was unhappiness in business. They agreed
a deal with the trade unions. They don't want to reopen that.
There was little in employment law is considered so I must Britain has
to get out. On climate change, the UK has been
ahead of its European neighbours on cutting carbon emissions. There has
been criticism of the effectiveness of the carbon trading programme.
Does Brexit allow us something new? Britain led the way with the climate
change act. The biggest cost on British business
is the carbon price floor introduced by... It was not a European measure.
Some say it doesn't work. So there is an opportunity for the
UK to do something? The Government could change, it
would be retrograde, would be to get rid of the radiation on coal-fired
power stations. If the Government wanted to undo the 30 years of work
and bring back coal instead of gas, that is one of their freedoms they
could gain. Most of the measures are already
British. Before we let you go, any plans in
the New Year for a return to politics?
I am working with my party already, I have helped in the by-election.
I may well get involved. Standing? I am already the candidate
in Twickenham. You may see me back as an MP.
Thank you. According to one popular theory,
voters around the world have this year rejected
the so-called "liberal elite". It's a distrust of this group
of affluent and powerful people that is said to be the driving force
behind some of 2016's biggest electoral upsets,
with the possible exception of Ore But our next guest, Ryan Shorthouse,
director of the Conservative think-tank Bright Blue,
says it's time for the liberal metropolitan elites
like him to strike back. Here's the life lesson that
I and countless others learned Work hard at school, go
to university and chase your dream But when you successfully do
all of this, you get lambasted for being a member
of the liberal metropolitan elite. And being against the elite,
specifically the liberal metropolitan elite, is now such
a common and winning narrative The left have prodded at this,
arguing that only an elite have prospered from years,
decades, of neoliberal orthodoxy. This is not true on a whole host
of things - education, Most people's lives have got better
and most people, apart from those who are still struggling,
are generally happy. But, surprisingly, those
on the right have indulged in this nonsense, too,
arguing that a disconnected and decadent elite have imposed
social liberalism and political But this idea of an elite
versus the people is a Marxist myth. It's simply not true
that society has become an elite and people,
both with united Every day in the newspapers,
for example, politicians And denouncing the existence
of an elite is indulging in class If a member of an elite has acquired
their position undeservedly, If someone in the elite behaves
irresponsibly or anti-socially, But just being a member
of the elite is not something These are people who excel
in a particular field. The right should want more
people to join the elite, You know, we shouldn't sneer
at or stereotype anybody and that includes people who live in cities
and have done well in life. What's wrong with a popular revolt,
a revolt against the status quo? People will be taking back control
of their lives. Well, I know this might not make me that popular...
Don't worry about that! The anti-elite story has been so
dominant and winning this year in western politics that I think we
need to expose it for what it is. It is quite ugly. We shouldn't blame
complexes were problems on any particular social group -
immigrants, the white working class and the liberal metropolitan elite.
It's the stuff of angry, ugly tribalism. The second thing to say
is, it is just that there is a kind of elite behind the scenes pulling
all these strings, imposing a dystopia on everybody. Every day in
the newspapers, we see businesses against government, government
against businesses. For example, government is trying to introduce a
higher minimum wage and an apprenticeship love. This doesn't
sound like an Ely all in it together imposing their agenda on everybody.
Let me put that if Suella Fernandes. This rather ugly, if it is a revolt
against the status quo and blaming immigrants or blaming your
neighbours or blaming the liberal metropolitan elite, it's an angry
reaction and is not actually true. I think representing a constituency
which is outside metropolitan elite area, speaking to my constituents on
a daily basis, their concerns are about the impact of uncontrolled
immigration on wages, jobs and services and I think, for them, they
need a voice for that and I feel that sometimes members of this
elite, this metropolitan group, do not take those concerns enough and
there is a disconnect between some of the voices that we hear and
actually people who are voting with their feet on the ground. Are you
standing up for the liberal metropolitan elite, David Lammy? The
liberal metropolitan elite, if it exists, is a long way from
Tottenham, where average incomes are about ?20,000, where you certainly
can't buy a house in a regular job. In fact, you probably can't even do
that if you're a junior consultant in London. So, in a sense, I'm with
you, I don't like the tribalism, but I do think that the Westminster
village and successive governments - this runs across knowledgeable
parties - are detached from quite significant sections of the
population and that's not a north/ south thing because I represent that
-- recognise that representing Tottenham, but there is a detachment
where the concerns of many people have not been addressed. Is it the
fault, though, of what we call the liberal metropolitan elite? Ryan
says in his film but just because people have been successful, they
may live in a city, may have acquired wealth and a certain
status, is it their fault that your constituents and Suella Fernandes's
constituents are feeling this disconnect? We got to examine the
liberal in that. There liberal games but we got on 20th century in terms
of rights that I would welcome but we've had a liberal laissez faire
economy in which many people have got rich but the majority have not,
wages have stagnated and you can't get on in life and access the good
life. I hold your party responsible for a lot of that but that's the
consensus that shut people out. Do you accept that, that actually it is
liberalism's fault? Some of the problems constituents are suffering
from today or complaining about is the result of liberalism, but it has
been foisted on them to some extent, being told what to believe and what
to think, particularly with the issue of immigration, that it is
always a good thing, and not everyone agrees with that? Actually,
the elite, which is the Government, technically, which has been in power
since 2010, has wanted to control immigration so it's untrue that
we've had uncontrolled migration. The Government have sought ways to
reduce it. But they've failed. They have failed to meet the target it up
I think that target is indiscriminate and not the best way
to control migration but you look at polling. Most Londoners, for
example, most people in the higher social groups, one some form of
control of migration. So it's not true that Londoners think very
differently from the rest of the country. That's a myth. On your
point about liberalism, I agree that people have certainly been left out,
there is a minority of people who feel left behind, and that requires
clever policy-making. I don't get the fault of liberalism. Over the
past few decades, on most indicators - education levels, health
standards, living standards - the majority of people in this country
have got better and someone will probably tell me I am out of touch
and don't understand how everyone else is living, but I can't talk to
everybody, but the Office for National Statistics does an annual
survey and asks how satisfied people are with their lives and most people
are generally or fairly satisfied. I want to take you to MPs and you've
got different constituencies but you are privately educated barrister, a
graduate of Harvard who became a London MP, you went to a private
girls' schooling pinna, where I was brought up, you may not be
metropolitan or liberal but you are part of the elite, aren't you? I did
not go to state school. I went to a very, very good state school. I've
been to Harvard law school. Of course I am part of an elite group.
My income puts me in part of an elite group but believe me, from the
working class background I've got, I've got many family members who
have not benefited in the way I have. What about you? This is about
aspiration. I come from a working-class background in Wembley,
where my father was unemployed for many years and we've had to struggle
as a family. But I'm a Conservative because I believe it is about rising
up the ladder of opportunity and true meritocracy, through hard work
and endeavour, it doesn't matter where you come from, the
Conservative Party values enable people to start where ever they are
and to realise their potential. You will both be sticking up for the
liberal metropolitan elite, then? I'm with you on immigration but I
think that probably there are some liberal, particularly the economic
liberal, arguments that are problematic to huge swathes of the
country. We have to end it there but thank you very much.
Now, even politics usually stops for Christmas.
And it's nearly time for the Parliament and even
the Daily Politics to pack up for a week or so.
But let's have a quick look at what's happening in the last few
Theresa May will deliver a statement to the commons this afternoon
to tell MPs about her trip to Brussels for last week's meeting
Tomorrow, the Prime Minister gives evidence to the Liaison Committee -
that's the super-committee made up of the heads of all the main
care and, of course, Brexit.
Tuesday sees the last Daily Politics of the year.
And the Commons also rises for the Christmas break.
Peers linger on until Wednesday, when you can also see the final
ministerial outing for Lord Freud, who is stepping down as an unpaid
Work And Pensions Minister after more than six years.
Friday sees the release of the Christmas singles
Will the cover of You Can't Always Get What You Want,
recorded in memory of murdered MP Jo Cox, get to number one?
And on Saturday, Theresa May will release her first Christmas
We're joined now by Kate Devlin from the Herald.
And Christopher Hope from the Telegraph.
They are probably demob happy! Crist of hope, what do you think the
challenge will be for Theresa May in the New Year? One word, Brexit. It
all starts really the second or third week of January when the
government will probably lose its appeal in the High Court in the
Supreme Court and then it is a race against the clock to try to get this
vote through the Commons and Lords to trigger Article 50. Then we are
almost straight into this great repeal bill, which will be the bill
of all bills, the mother or legislation, looking at repealing or
shifting EU law for Europe into this country, about 40% of all laws are
made in Europe and that will all have to get into one massive bill
about a foot deep. It will be an epic. You sound like you are looking
forward to it! What about Jeremy Corbyn? The polls of Babe grim
reading recently for the Labour Party, 17 or so points behind the
Tories, although an opinion poll today seems to but that gap at the
close at about seven points. What does he have to do? It is quite
strange to Jeremy Corbyn. In some ways he has backed himself into a
corner. One thing he probably does have to do is rely on strife with
his own backbenches because that is currently what Corbyn and his
supporters are claiming is the reason for these opinion polls being
so bad and were that to fall away without a rise in the opinion polls,
I think a lot of serious questions would be asked. He's also got quite
serious elections, local council elections, coming up next summer and
he probably needs to do a little bit better in those than he did last
year. That said, to his detractors, he didn't do as badly as was
expected last year. If the opposition isn't posing a huge
threat to Theresa May at the moment, that is what they feel certainly in
Conservative headquarters, is the threat going to come from within the
Tory party? Almost certainly, yes. You've seen George Osborne doing
very well on the Andrew Marr programme yesterday, Nicky Morgan
and other big beasts on the Tory backbenchers will start to sharpen
their clause once this whole issue of Brexit starts to get in the House
of Commons and they've got a mandate to start talking about it. I imagine
these guys in the Commons will support triggering Article 50 by the
end of March but the real battle starts in the summer, when you can
amend this huge bill, this great reform bill, great repeal bill,
however you put it. I totally agree with Kate, Jeremy Corbyn has become
irrelevant -- has to become relevant but that will take a few years and
in the meantime, the Tory backbenchers will flex their
muscles. What about the relaunch the Jeremy Corbyn in the New Year? When
everyone talks about a relaunch, you think they are in trouble. Very
true, and it's not usually a good thing to have said about someone,
especially when you consider what the relaunch are supposed to be
about, it is supposed to be about tapping into an idea of
authenticity, anti-politics, which has been incredibly popular this
year. We've seen it in a lot of popular campaigns. I would suggest
it is probably a fake authenticity, certainly from the likes of Donald
Trump presenting himself as a man of the people when he's a billionaire
businessman. And of course when you are going for authentic, relaunch is
kind of the kiss of death. Let's look back. Christopher hope, give me
your thoughts on -- 2016. I think it is the year of the peasants' revolt
it up if you think about 1381 when what Tyler marched on the capital,
it is basically that, the voters were told not to vote for Brexit by
politicians, most politicians, most ecologists, all the boss is big
companies, celebrities, everyone said, don't do it, and the people of
Britain gave a massive up yours to the establishment. I think it is
rather a moving moment, the fact that people felt they could say, no,
you are the servants of the people, you do what we say, we are going to
leave the EU. I think it's been an amazing year, which I will never
forget. I don't think anyone will ever forget it. What about your view
of 2016, Kate? I agree with Chris, it is a year in which everything has
been dominated by politics. I was very excited at the start of the
summer when Northern Ireland qualified for euros for the first
time in my living memory. Of course, a couple of weeks later we were put
out by Wales, two days after the referendum, leading to the joke at
home that Wales had but Northern Ireland out of Europe twice in one
weekend. The Christmas break! Now, we've already talked about some
of the year's biggest elections, that's the EU referendum and the US
presidential vote, But now, we're going to talk about
one you might just have missed. And that's the elections
for this year's delegates to One candidate from Durham University
swept to victory with this rather unusual pitch to his
fellow students. I'm running to be an NUS delegate
at this year's conference. Here are the pledges I'm
going to deliver for you. I pledge to construct
a giant statue. A giant statue of NUS
president Malia Bouattia so that students in Durham can see
how vitally important I pledge to cut back
the foliage so that our beautiful students' union building
is even more visible. I pledge to make sweeping
sw-sw-sweeping agrarian reform - a national priority.
Vote for to me to take out the rubbish.
I am the only candidates who has pledged to defeat Isis.
But, seriously, if you vote for me, I will vote against all irrelevant
grandstanding, self-aggrandising, self-defeating NUS policies that
only serve to discredit students as a whole.
And Tom Harwood, who won election as a delegate to the NUS conference
thanks in part to that campaign video, joins us now.
Congratulations. You are trying to poke fun at the state of student
politics, what are your issues? The NUS doesn't represent students
anymore. It is run by a narrow group of
people who come from a narrower spectrum of opinion who are not
representing the issues that matter to students.
You are trying to undermine the NUS? They do a good job themselves, with
their banning of newspapers on campuses, with their boycotting of
Coca-Cola because they have factories in Israel. The issues
which have nothing to do with the lives of students.
Students must have supported some of those issues?
That is a good point, the NUS sees itself as a legislator. Most
students see it as irrelevant, only 4% bothered to turn out. At Durham
we had delegates who have had identical opinions for years. As
soon as I ran my campaign, turnout was up 200%. People who are offered
a change go for it. Students have always campaigned on
global issues whether or not they could affect change. That is what
being a student in student politics is about. Many heads of the NUS have
gone on to be politicians. What is wrong with that?
Nothing is wrong with campaigning on global issues but you need to pick
the avenue to do it. Don't present -- Don't pretend to
represent all students. What are you going to do, put your
money where your mouth is and go along to conference with this?
Absolutely. I said as long as we are in the NUS I will work hard to make
it slightly less terrible. My weight is pushing forward
democratic reforms, hopefully one member one vote through.
The current resident has faced accusations of anti-Semitism and has
said some distasteful things, calling the University of Birmingham
a Zionist outpost for example. I hope to get more representative
people. What you think of his view of the
NUS? I am reluctant to get dragged into
student politics at seven -- Except to say I am with you in part.
I wasn't hugely involved in student politics at university. I found a
certain group of people would hijack a cause, political careerists in
their own party. I recognised that. Some of the anti-Semitism that has
gone on particularly I think is very worrying.
Do you support what Tom is trying to do.
I know there are some real issues around the cost of student housing.
That is something you would hope to see the NUS is taking up much
louder. It has campaigned on expensive
housing. The NUS is undermined on legitimate
issues when it uses covers as a platform to call for bringing down
the Government as every single president seems to do.
Sometimes perhaps they should focus on presenting a broader spectrum of
student opinion. Sadly, the NUS has lost credibility
and legitimacy because of a Kabbalah of people who do not represent the
body of students and have given it a bad name.
I was involved in student politics and saw it as a great opportunity to
learn more. It was an opportunity, it was fun,
we campaigned, helped in elections. Do you have any support?
Nationally? I won a landslide victory at Durham.
Generally there was a 300% increase in turnout but it was only 10%. I am
trying to highlight this. Up and down the country more people
are emulating campaigns like this. We might see a good batch of
antiestablishment delegates at the conference in April.
Thank you. Now, are you getting a bit tired
of hearing news programmes talking Because, at about this
time every December, that have defined the year,
as seen through the lens of the chief political photographer
of the Press Association. And he's had plenty
to keep him snapping. Welcome. What is your image of the
year? It is a hard one. A picture at the
beginning of the campaign in April. David Cameron, Paddy Ashdown and
Neil Kinnock, in a phone bank, making calls, campaigning. It was so
early, I think David Cameron thought... I don't think it was a
problem for him. Everyone is quite relaxed. It was a good campaigning
picture, a lot of fun. It changed as the campaign went on.
I don't think we would have seen that later closer to June the 23rd.
They all looked as if they were having fun representing the
different parties. Physical photographers are
effectively flies on the wall. You said it did get more uptight as the
months passed. On the subject of the campaigns,
with the results, talk us through one of the pictures you took the
morning after? First of all, 4am, I was with Nigel
Farage. I soon realised I needed to move and find out where Nigel Farage
was, and at four Rayaheen was declaring the result himself. He
came out punching the air, a very strong picture of him.
He looks pleased. He took no encouragement to do that.
He had been making his victory speech since 3:30am.
How things change. We did that. Suddenly a couple of hours later the
Prime Minister announced he would resign.
An hour later, the press conference with Boris Johnson and Michael Gove.
It was difficult to know where to be. Do I find where David Cameron
is? Boris? The results caught us by surprise. Where do I need to be now?
A busy morning. How would you describe the atmosphere? Where were
you on the night when the result came through?
I was in my constituency for the vote. The vote came through at 3am.
It became clear my considers the voted to leave the EU. I was with my
campaign is, I drove to London in the early hours and went to the Vote
Leave headquarters. Another big story, the reaction of
Jeremy Corbyn for a second time. How did that compared to last year?
I thought it would be the same but it wasn't. Last year, a huge
fanfare, a big deal, in central London. Lots of triumphalism. It
ended up with a rally in a pub around the corner.
This year, it was over in 15 minutes, Saturday morning. The
announcement would be at 12 noon. All done very quickly. They wanted
to get it out of the way before conference.
What about your recollection of the second?
I didn't engage. I found the biggest story of the year was Brexit. At the
time I felt very low that the Labour Party were caught up in this. I
didn't engage. I had engaged big-time in Brexit.
For me, the photo has to be of Michael Gove and Boris Johnson, who
should be celebrating, but are standing there like schoolboys who
have wrecked the room, looking really sombre and depressed at what
they have created. That is what struck me, at that news
conference, thinking they would come on with a certain amount of
smugness. They walked on ashen faced. The whole 20 minute press
conference, the same mood throughout. This was odd. They were
in shock. Some said they were thinking, what have we done? I don't
think that was the case. I think the result may have caught them by
surprise. An hour before David Cameron had announced he had
resigned. Maybe that had shocked them. They did not want to appear
victorious having lost their leader. Shock was the word for many during
these events. We can show you the Changing of the
Guard at number ten. You had a classic photo of David
Cameron and his departure. Here he is announcing he is going.
We had seen him come out with his resignation speech on the 24th of
June. This is the moment he left. The same day we knew Theresa May
would walk in. He/she is going in.
I did that picture an hour after photographing David Cameron.
I photographed him from the side because I realised his close
advisers were close to tears. I focused on them.
All the time I was concerned about getting inside number ten. I knew
she would be front page next day. Thank youth are taking us through
those key moments. And to our guests.
The One O'Clock News is starting over on BBC One now.
I'll be here at noon tomorrow for the last
Hello, I'm Charlie Brooker. Please join me for 2016 Wipe,
looking back at a year containing nothing but hard Brexit,