13/01/2017 Daily Politics


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Senior Labour MP, Tristram Hunt, announces


he's leaving politics to head up the V museum in London.


He insists he's not trying to rock the Labour boat


but his decision triggers a tricky by-election for Jeremy Corbyn.


We report on the power struggle going on within Momentum -


the grassroots organisation set up to support Mr Corbyn's leadership.


Just one week before he takes office, what do we know


about Donald Trump's plans for the presidency?


And you might know what hard Brexit is


but what about grey Brexit, clean Brexit and red,


We've got the Daily Politics guide to Brexit terminology.


All that in the next hour and with us for the duration


Guardian columnist, Gaby Hinsliff and Isabel Oakeshott, political


So, earlier this morning the senior Labour politician Tristram


Hunt confirmed he will stand down as a Member of Parliament to become


the director of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.


In a letter to his local party, Mr Hunt says the job was too


good to turn down and that he has "no desire to rock


the boat" and that "anyone who interprets my decision to leave


Let's talk to our political correspondent, Carole Walker.


He says he is not rocking the boat and we shouldn't interpret it that


way but that's what many people will do. There is no doubt that tris Tam


hunted's departure is a big loss to the Labour Party. People on all


sides of the party know that. 'S charismatic, well-known figure and


his departure follow that of Jamie Reid, another Labour MP who is also


standing down. Triering a by-election in Copeland. Labour will


have to face a tricky by-election in Stoke. As you mention there, tris


Tam hunt in his resignation letter says he doesn't want to rock the


boat and talked about how his new role in the V will enable him to


combine his passion for education, his train public engagement but he


talks, too, about his frustration of 23409 being able to tackle


inequality and poverty particulars will you now Labour is out of power


and he has been hugely critical in the past of Jeremy Corbyn's


leadership. He was opposition spokesman on education and stood


down when Corbyn cosh became leader. -- Corbyn cosh became leader. After


the referendum in the summer, he wrote scathing criticism on Jeremy


Corbyn's role during the referendum campaign and said that Labour voters


need a different Labour Leader. He called on the Labour Party to act,


this was, of course before Jeremy Corbyn fought and successfully


stayed on as Labour Leader. I think the concern from many of those who


used to be in the mainstream of the Labour Party, who now feel that they


are out in the cold under Jeremy Corbyn, will see this as a further


sign of how disillusioned many who represent that wing of the party


have become and I think it'll reinforce the concerns that the


Labour Party is shifting, in Jeremy Corbyn' direction, and that many


those whose views are different to the Labour Leader, now see their


futures outside Parliament. All right, thank you very much for that.


At least it is windy, but it is good to seat sun is out. It was snowing


when I came in. Gaby, not entirely unexpected? No but still a shock. He


has decided to stop banging his head against a brick wall. The Labour


Party is not going in his preferred direction, Corbyn cosh is not going


anywhere, so leaves MPs with a choice - do you sit around and be a


prophet of doom for the next ten years or decide there are other ways


to serve the public. It is only 18 months since a general election and


there use to be a convention you don't b bail out in the middle of a


Parliament. Some will see it as dereliction of duty. But a problem


already a tricky by-election in Copeland in the North west, where


the Labour majority is small. Now another by-election in Stoke in the


Midlands much his majority is a little bit bigger there, but Ukip


and the Conservatives were strong seconds, and it was baying


eurosceptic constituency in the referendum. I don't think any


additional by-election is welcome by Jeremy Corbyn at the moment.


Certainly, Tristram hunt's departure is a damning excitement on the


leadership. It is not going to be the last. What is happening is that


recruitment agencies are actually swirling, like vultures, over the


most talented members of the moderate wing of the Parliamently


Labour Party. And they are getting a lot of very tempting approaches. And


I think that there will be other high-profile departures because for


many Labour MPs, who are frustrated with the direction that Jeremy


Corbyn has taken, there are other ways they feel they could more


effectively do a job to serve the public. Well, Paul Flynn, a Labour


MP tweeted, "Thinker, Tristram schaunt stumbled into the alien


world of politics, blinked, baffled, he retreats back into his natural


habitat of academia." Mr Flynn then deleted that tweet, for reasons that


some may find obvious, others woented.


-- others won't. The point, I'm not sure he was make, but point that


comes out of this is that someone like Tristram Hunt had a hinterland


beyond politics. He was a distinguished academic, written many


books. And Jamie Reid had habiter land, I think he has gone into Seoul


afield. If we want to look at the Labour MPs in the moderate wing of


the Labour Party, who could have other jobs to go to? I would look at


people who have track records in other fields, talents they can use,


most MPs came from something. It is interesting to me that both of those


two have small children. I think if you have a family that you are away


from during the week, there is a question of - what am I really doing


this for? Could I be, frankly, having a nicer life all around and


not banging my head against a brick wall. I think there are a lot of MPs


who feel the same as Hunt, intensely frustrated, the word he used in his


letters but don't have job offers at the door. I guess the truth that


Paul Flynn was trying to get at and maybe why he deleted the tweet, that


Mr Corbyn and people around him, may be glad to see the back of him? Yes,


I'm sure they are, they will, in their small-minded world see this as


some kind of little victory but at the end of the day none of it looks,


good, does it? We shall see. Politicians always like to be


at the cutting edge and we learn today that one party leader


is planning to give an address b) French Presidential


candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon? At the end of the show Gaby and


Isabel will give us the correct Now, after a tempestuous press


conference and lurid claims of compromising material


in the hands of the Russians, President-elect Trump is putting


the finishing touches to his plan Next Friday Mr Trump


will become Mr President, at the traditional inauguration


ceremony on the steps So what do we know about how


Donald Trump plans to govern as President and what impact


will his nominations Donald Trump's choice


for Secretary of State - the American equivalent


of the Foreign Secretary - is Rex Tillerson, the former chief


of Exxon Mobil who is said to have had a close relationship


with Vladimir Putin. He has done a lot of business in


Russia Tillerson raised eyebrows yesterday


by saying the US would have to send "a clear signal" that China should


be barred from accessing islands it has built in disputed territory


in the South China Sea. James Mattis, Mr Trump's choice


for Secretary of Defense, is known for taking a hard-line


position on Iran and yesterday said the US needs to "forge a strategy


to checkmate Iran's goal But critical rhetoric of Nato


was scaled back yesterday, with General Mattis saying he wants


to see the US maintaining the "strongest possible


relationship" with America's "most Donald Trump has chosen several


climate change sceptics to join his top team,


including Rick Perry as Energy Secretary,


who described climate change I guess that doesn't make him a


sceptic, but a denier. And what about the President-elect's


key election pledge - to build a wall on the border with


Mexico? In his press conference on


Wednesday, Mr Trump confirmed work on the wall would start soon


after his inauguration, with the central American state


reimbursing the costs later. Donald Trump also used his press


conference to welcome his If Putin likes Donald Trump,


guess what, folks, that's called Now, I don't know that


I'm going to get along with Vladimir Putin,


I hope I do. And if I don't, do you honestly


believe that Hillary would be Does anybody in this room


really believe that? We're joined now by Sir


Give us all a break. Christopher Meyer, our former


ambassador to the United States. Welcome back.


I guess a lot of people will think - what is the point of continued


Russian-American hostility, aggression, return of the kold war,


why not have a -- return of the Cold War. Why not have a goal -


rebuilding a relationship with the Kremlin? I think it is a very good


goal. In and of itself there is nothing objectionable to rebuilding


the relationship which has deteriorated seriously and actually


is some kind of threat to world peace. I think the problem we've had


with Trump's remarks about Russia, they tended to be linked with


extreme scepticism with the use of Nato. You put those #20g9 and it


becomes, I think, dangerous to the British national interest and to


members of NATOs' interests. If, however he is going to take the


Mattis line... And he is pro-NATO And as a military man that would be


typical, he is in favour, he will drop the scepticism about Nato but


still say - I'm going to work Bert with the Russians that President


Obama did, I see no objection. Mr Trump takes over when there is


criticism over the Obama foreign policy. Mr Obama has shown little


interest in Europe. He has done several U-turns in the Middle East,


indeed many say he has created a vacuum which the Kremlin have


filled, without resolving any of the issues there and it was all meant to


be, as part of the American pivot to the Pacific, and he hasn't really


done that, either, as we see the growing naval power of China and


these islands. So, he's not inheriting a form of policy, I would


suggest, that has been a great success? I actually - I'm a bit of a


dissident on this. I actually think will the passage of time people will


look back on Obama's policy and say - it wasn't so stupid at all. He


made mistakes, talking about a red line with the Syrian regime's use of


chemical weapons, that was a mistake, he looked like he was


wheeling back on something he himself has said but in the Middle


East overall I don't find anything particularly objection objectionable


about Russia a regional power in that area, taking more of the


responsibility for outside intervention in the Syrian civil


war. I think the United States and the United Kingdom, for that matter,


other Nato Allies, have nothing to gain by getting deeply involved in


what is going on in Syria. Except that on the one hand the Americans,


you take that view, but if the American position was that Assad has


to go but you create the circumstances where Mr Putin comes


in as Assad's biggest backer, you are facing both ways at once There


are contradictions. Let us not deny T I think this is the weakest area


of Obama's foreign policy. And the UK is worse, actually on this very


point that you just made. Something in a sense, I feel that all this


Russian stuff is a bit like - look, there is a squirrel, let's talk


about Russia, talk about Putin, talk about his different attitudes. It


seems to me that everybody I have learn interested Trump's transition


team and listen to his Secretary of State, that the real hardline he is


going to take is against China. If I was the President in China I


would be really worried because there has historically been a kind


of triangular game over decades, China, Russia, United States, we saw


that in the days of the Soviet Union. If I was a member of the


foreign policy planning staff of the Chinese Foreign Minister I would be


saying oh-oh, it looks like there could be a US-Russia axis which is


going to develop, it might not, but it could develop and it's going to


have one feature in common, and that will be a hostility towards China. I


think the kind of Russian-Chinese raproachment vaguely seen is a


fragile thing. Trump has spoken about building a 350 warship


imperial Navy. That Navy is overwhelmingly, Wye suggest, for


deployment in the Pacific. To counteract a rise of Chinese Naval


power. If you square off the Russians, which is essentially about


troop deployment, any standoff with Russia is about boots on the ground.


Any standoff with China is ships in the sea, not boots on the ground. So


there is a kind of sense in his part that let's square that off because I


need the money to build this imperial Navy. Well, when I was in


Washington people were talking about a 450-ship Navy which would be


necessary to keep, 350 sounds relatively modest. But I agree with


you that if you are a Naval strategist what you are worried


about is development of the Chinese Navy, although if you are in Beijing


you are saying we haven't had a blue waters Navy historically. Please may


we have secondhand Russian aircraft carriers so we can... Only one. Only


one, you are right. There may be another after that trip through the


channel. If I was looking at my crystal ball which is particularly


misty at the moment, I would say if there is a raproachment it will be


fragile. Let us say it solidifies out of that triangle China becomes


the loser. Do you detect any changing focus in terms of foreign


policy from what Trump was saying on the campaign trail or even in the


early days post the election and to what he is thinking of for a Trump


administration? I think that Russia still seems to be the main theme,


that there is so much noise about. I think this whole issue about what's


going on in the south China seas which is getting a lot less


attention in the global media, it's something I am beginning to look at


at the early stages of a book on defence at the moment, it's


absolutely fascinating and people don't really realise how aggressive


China is getting in its strategic positioning, essentially almost kind


of creating air strips built on little rocks that are nr the middle


of nowhere, building up positioning which is an incredibly aggressive


way of behaving. It's not getting a lot of attention at the moment but I


am sure that is something that is going on in Trump's mind. The other


thing we didn't really talk about, the wider context of this is what's


going to go on in the Baltic states and clearly if the relationship


between America and Russia is going to get any warmer that is crucial,


what are Putin's intentions there? I am told that there is almost no


doubt he will attempt to introduce tariffs against the Chinese. He may


not get it through Congress but he is going to try? China isn't just


key to his foreign policy, it's key to his domestic policy. What does


Trump stand for? It's bring back jobs, make America great again, stop


the country being flooded with cheap Chinese imports. That is the single


most important thing in a way about - that's the single most important


thing about his relationship with China, it's a trading relationship


and whether he is prepared to launch really a trade war with China. Let


me go back to the squirrel. This business of the dossier and the rest


of it. What do you make of the involvement in this of MI6, not just


their ex-agent but giving permission for this agent to speak to the FBI,


even though he was no longer with MI6 and the involvement of a former


British ambassador, as well, what do make of it? At one level it's


absolutely delicious. This is wonderful stuff. Great story.


Another level it feeds Russian paranoia about the wicked British.


Since the days of the revolution they've been paranoid about British


intelligence. They have overrated us a lot which has been useful to us, I


have to say, so they will say that Chris Steel, who I have never met by


the way... Donald Trump has called him a failed spy by the way. It


shows that possibly we have got the worst of all the world's in this


because... Upset the Russians and Donald Trump, as well. So, the idea


that Tony Blair once had of straddling the Atlantic didn't quite


mean this in mutual insults to the Russians on one hand and the


Americans on the other. I don't know what to make of this. I am told he


was a good MI6 operative. He seemed to have become obsessive as he was


paid to compile this report and he seemed desperate to get the report


out in some shape or form. This was a private operation, originally


bankrolled by Republican billionaire who wanted to stop Trump becoming


the nominee for his party. Then taken over by rich Democrats to try


to stop him becoming President of the United States. This was paid for


propaganda-information. Paid for is the key phrase here, because I think


when you move out of a Government bureaucracy and you start going into


the wider world and trying to make money running a consultancy of the


kind he ran, then you are very keen if you offer your product to become


known because it increases your own, you hope, reputation. So I guess his


keenness to see this reach a wider audience was very much driven by


perfectly normal commercial motivation because he was


co-partners, being... Being paid. His company in London had been hired


by an American company which in turn had been hired by first of all as I


say the Republican billionaire and then the rich Democrat fat cats.


Contracts will now come powering in, I assume he thought, he is running


for his life! If he was such a smart MI6 operative would he not have


worked that out? He had worked with - been connected with what is the


one with the polonium poisoning. You would have thought if his


fingerprints were over this dossier, that life would not continue as


nrmal. Some would say in the Foreign Office and I can not speak for the


foufs, some would say if you spend too long in MI6 you could slightly


bonkers. Your former colleague, Andrew Wood say he helped bring


attention to the dossier compiled by Chris Steel, by bringing attention


to Senator John McCain, indeed I am told John McCain sent somebody over


and was told you look for someone holding a copy of the Financial


Times. Clearly they didn't meet in the Stock Exchange because that


wouldn't really set you apart. Would you have done that? I don't think


so. But I think this happened at some international security


conference, in Canada? Correct. Who knows. It could be Andrew Wood


saying to John McCain, hey, have you seen this funny report? It could be


just like that. Were you subject to KGB stings when you were in Moscow,


honeypot traps? I was, I am pleased to say I thought of the Queen and


resisted all. No pictures. They tried three games, one was a gay


assault if I can put it in those terms. The other two were


heterosexual. I resisted all of them in the name of my country. They


didn't resist your red socks? I didn't wear them! Thank you.


What's the best way to sort out a classic political power struggle?


Could it be eating cupcakes and thinking about butterflies?


That, apparently, was the response of a senior figure in Momentum


to a sudden plan to revamp the pro-Jeremy Corbyn campaign


group's entire constitution, minutes before he was pushed out.


Without so much as even a nibble of a cupcake.


In what's being described as a "coup d'email",


Momentum founder Jon Lansman has taken back control of


the organisation which he hopes will one day affiliate


Look at this Momentum members having so much fun.


They are a Christian youth group in America.


My choice is I stand on the rock of Jesus.


I choose to be the only one for the only one.


But for the organisation of the same name, in praise of Jeremy Corbyn,


Jill Mountford, an Alliance For Workers' Liberties Supporter,


was one of the most senior people in Momentum until three days ago.


She has told the Daily Politics that a sudden shake-up this week


was a coup d' e-mail to take over the organisation, with no


discussion, no debate and she complained that people


are being taught some appalling lessons in how you build


As far as coups go and the Labour movement has had a few


attempts recently, this one appears to be


Here is what happened, on Tuesday night at 7.39,


with no prior warning, this e-mail was sent to Momentum's


Attached was a proposed new constitution, ripping up


the current rules and structures, that had handed control to a few


hard-left delegates last month in what some then called a coup.


Within minutes of this countercoup, approval came from several members


So by 8.54, just 75 minutes later, they had a majority.


Just before it was time for a hot cup of cocoa and bedtime,


Momentum's existing democratic structure has been dissolved.


So a victory for both the man who sent the original e-mail,


Momentum's founder, John Landman, who crucially maintains control


of a database of members' details and his allies.


I don't think we need to be talking about coups and countercoups


and it is all getting a bit Game of Thrones, this is just


the Labour Party where we are trying to organise for Jeremy Corbyn's


Christine Shawcroft, a left-winger, seen as a moderate in the current


spat was also on the scooped momentum steering committee


Jeremy Corbyn put under consultation and we based


the new arrangements on the results of the consultation.


You basically flushed out the Trotskyists, didn't you?


But the new constitution says all members of Momentum must join


the Labour Party by the summer, a move endorsed yesterday


I want all Momentum members to become members


of the party and I want the party membership to continue to grow.


So, some members of Momentum who have been expelled


from the Labour Party, like Jill Mountford, could soon find


In addition, so-called moderate MPs, like Hillary


Benn, who staged a failed coup against Jeremy Corbyn last summer,


could suffer from Momentum's growing influence.


Jeremy Corbyn was asked yesterday if he would step in to


defend his former Shadow Cabinet colleague, if local party activists


I do not, as a leader, dictate or interfere in


I want justice, I want democracy, I want fairness, I


The victors of yesterday's coup d'e-mail also


want Momentum to affiliate with Labour.


Just ask the Communist Party who were


refused entry, when they tried over half a century ago.


Let the happy times roll on for these Momentum members in America


but there's not much of a festive atmosphere right now, amongst Jeremy


With me now is the Momentum member Paul Hilder, who was also


a co-founder of the online crowd-funding platform


Crowdpac and Luke Akehurst, Secretary of the centrist Labour


Some are saying that this move by the Momentum chairman to impose this


new constitution is like a coup, is it a coup? Absolutely not. I think


that what's happened here is long overdue, actually, but they've laid


stronger democratic foundations for the movement. It's happened through


a democratic consultation which they had over 40% turnout in, which was


more than a movement like one got in Spain in similar consultations and


that consultation, that vote, found an overwhelming majority of Momentum


members believing in a par days paintery model of democracy rather


than the old-fashioned model of committees and so forth which some


people are more attached to. What do you make of Jill Mountford doing


about it's a disregard of struck sturs? The membership has


demonstrated that they don't believe in the model of democracy which Jill


is advocating. They believe in a more participating approach. The new


constitution is fascinating, it has an election for potentially every


post on that new co-ordinating group, if there is contestation of


elections and this extraordinary group, 15 members selected by lot


randomly from the movement as a whole who also play a role in


decision-making. Sqa Isn't this what centrist figures


like Tom Watson have been wanting, making with sure they clean up their


act and make sure they are an aphysicalaited o and that's what


they are doing? The moderate wing of the Labour Party, believes it is


appropriate whether it is a faction or any of the centrist factions to


be formally affiliated to the Labour Party. That's my fear, it's kind of


institutionalisation of the factionalism. It's quite ridiculous


that we are sat here on national TV debating the internal structures of


a faction within the Labour Party. It just shouldn't be that parties


within a party like that... But isn't Labour First a faction? Well,


we don't have all this rigmarole of kind of branches and votes and


meetings and structures that mirror the Labour Party's structure. We are


a network of people... But you are a faction. People could call you a


faction. We are a network of people that agree with each other. You


could call that a faction. Sthant what Momentum is, except for the


hard left ones? A group of people that broadly agree with each other.


I have no problem with the existence of networks of people within the


Labour Party that agree with each other but when that becomes


fundamental to the internal dynamic of the party, that everyone feels


you are either for or against Momentum and you are either in


Momentum or outside, that's very you think haeltedy and a lot of Labour


Party members don't want to be badged up like that. What would you


say? I agree with the morns of a broad church and much more open


exchange and debate. I think that what is going on here in Momentum,


though, is really about them trying to lean into a positive engagement


with the Labour Party. One of the risks of what Jill Mountford and


other people, the direction in which they were leading things, some


people were warning - this is going to lead at some point to Momentum


splitting off and becoming a separate party. Full engagement


here, with the Labour Party, which I think at one level I have seen


people on the right of the Labour Party welcoming. OK. Gaby, what do


you make of it? It worries me slightly that the Labour Party has


so little to say, that we are down to discussioning whether the You


dayian people's, people's front of Judaea is in control of Momentum. It


is an inward looking debate. I don't think people care. It is probably a


good thing if they've kicked out the Trots, but it is a long way from


many people who joined Momentum think it was. It was if you have


never been interested in politics before, you can come into this big


party and ended up about a low about logistics. Have you, Gabby's phrase,


kicked out the Trots. I'm not in any desuggestion-making role in this


movement. I wasn't asking you about the decision. I don't believe that


anybody has been kicked out at this point in time. There is a rule that


you won't be able to be a member, except under exceptingal


circumstances, through appeal, if you have been expelled from the


Labour Party and everybody is being encouraged to join the Labour Party


but the other thing about Moment up, you have a broader supporter base of


200,000 people. I think Gabby is right to say - you know, there are


more important things going on in the xun trithan the internal


constitutional arrangements of different political movements. --


going on in the country. But I think what they have done is broadly


constructive and opened up the possibility for it to live up to the


promise it articulated on in the beginning. Well, moderate Labour MPs


would say thil straits with the hard left, put five of them in a room and


you get at least six rows. A bit like Ukip? Well, very like Ukip, I'm


sure would them you would get ten rows with six in the room. I think


Gabby is right - there is an interesting question about that this


says to the young, enthusiastic people who signed up to Momentum and


thought they were getting engaged in some exciting new form of politics


and just find it is all consuming itself, the party is eating itself.


This is the ultimate example. Look, Akehurst, if you have to be a member


of the Labour Party, now to be a member of Momentum, shouldn't they


be allowed to affiliate to the Labour Party? No affiliation isn't


for faction s or groups of a particular viewpoint. It is for


trade unions or for socialist societies I w like the Fabian


Society think-thank that or Labour Students or Christian Socialists, it


is for groups that are open to anyone, left or right of the party.


It's completely inappropriate to have formal recognition in the


structures for groups. It would open them up to reselection of MPs and


give them delegates to local parties. The party here is


institutionalisation of factionalism and of division, when actually the


Labour Party needs to unite, and not have these divisions around what


labels people attach to themselves. What is your reaction to Tristram


Hunt's regular Is nation? -- resignation? Well he has decided to


do other things, fair enough. I think toeps up an extraordinarily


interesting by-election, a big challenge for Labour -- it opens up.


A big challenge, given how that constituency in Stoke is and a


challenge and an opportunity for Momentum and the Labour Party to see


what it can do in a constituency like that. I don't think anyone


would predict the outcome. And finally, Luke, your reaction to Mr


Hunt's resignation? I'm disappointed. I think we need


fighters rather than quitters. Both people who'll stay and fight to


bring the Labour Party back to electability in a moderate


standpoint and people who will fight against the Tories. He has made his


choice but it is not one I'm very impressed by. We'll leave it there.


I didn't get into John Landsman resigning as director of skament


moiment scam campaign service, and being replaced by his ally,


Christine Shawcroft who sits on the national committee I wouldn't go


there. As the weekend approaches, I'm not. Thank you for joining us.


At the start of the new year, how are the political parties faring?


If you believe the opinion polls, the Conservatives have a commanding


lead over Labour across the UK, and the SNP are maintaining


But another measure of party support is actual votes in ballot boxes


and every Thursday local council by-elections are held


which can give an indication of the parties' fortunes.


The last time we looked at what was happening in ward


by-elections was back in October, so let's take a look


Since the local elections in May last year, there have been 190 local


council by-elections, held across England,


In total, around 70 seats have changed hands.


So how have the main parties been doing?


Since October, the last time we looked at what was happening


in ward by-elections, the Conservatives have lost another


seat, making a net loss of 15 seats since May.


And there's more bad news for Labour.


They're down another 4 seats, and have lost 12 seats in total.


Ukip have lost another councillor, and 3 seats in all.


But with the Lib Dems it's a different story.


Since October, they've increased their gains


Elsewhere, the SNP have lost two seats and Plaid Cmyru


And to discuss all that we're joined now by the academic Tony Travers


from the Department of Government at the London School of Economics.


First of all, tony, the principle - are local Government by-elections a


guide to how the parties are fairing? They are not a bad guide.


Like by-elections, you have to be a bit cautious with individual ones.


But certainly if you look at the aggregated local election results,


particularly on all-out days which we get in May each year and look at


the way the parties perform in those and you adjust them to represent


what local elections are taking place in a particular year, they


give you a very clear sense of whether or not an opposition party


is likely to win at the next general election. So they are, in many ways,


a better guide now, in some ways, than opinion polls. Well, the be Lib


Dems have gained 26 seats. Obviously following a period when they were


pretty much wiped out in #35r789ly terms, not wiped out but decimated


in parliamentary terms. -- in parliamentary terms. Does it amount


to a fightback? It certainly is. You catalogue the significant shift to


the Liberal Democrats in the local by-elections there is a pattern over


time. Yesterday there were two more, one in Sunderland and one in Hemel


Hempstead, where in both cases there were significant swings, in


Sunderland... 42%. To the Lib Dems. Actually, Sunderland. So this tells


us that there is something going on out there, I'm in the exactly sure


what it is, but something is going on. Well, Sunderland is interesting,


because Sunderland was one of the pivotal moments on the right of the


referendum and we knew it was going to vote for Brexit but it voted by


more than we thought and yet there is a 42% swing to the Lib Dems that


want to undo Brexit. How does that happen? Well, it probably isn't all


about Brexit, is it? A number of things are going on. A lot of


Liberal Democrats will be recognised, as happened in the


Richmond parliamentary by-election, as putting forward a pro-Remain or


anti-Brexit view, but I think in other election, they have a lot of


things going on here. The response to the Labour Party's internal


troubles and at the same time, you know, remember the Conservatives


have now, one way or another been in power for seven years and a sort of


mid--term anti-Government view probably tangled up in this as well.


People are not going to Ukip it would appear in places like


Sunderland, they are actually going to the Liberal Democrats, it is an


interesting phenomenon and it may have an effect on the by-elections.


I don't know if that will happen in Copeland or Stoke on Trent but it


could affect the result. Well, the Liberal Democrats took control of


the Three Rivers District Council by winning a seat from the


Conservatives last night as well. And yet when we look at the two


by-elections coming up for Westminster, cleaned in the


north-west and Stoke-on-Trent, central in the Midlands, Labour


seems to be on the back foot there. You would expect a Government to


lose by-elections midterm, you know this is what happens and Labour,


obviously is in a mess nationally, so that's not - but what is


interesting, the Liberal Democrats seem to be picking up all over the


place, they are picking up Labour voters who can't vote for Corbyn,


obvious, they are picking up Tory voters who were Remainers or


dismayed by Theresa Mays inner who ways and less, the usual coalition


of Liberal Democrats, because they can't figure out where else to put


their vote. They become a grab bag for all sorts of things. That will


not work in Copeland which will be much more of a conventional fight


and it'll not work in Stoke where it will be Labour verses Ukip but from


talking to people t seems people are more confident about holding Stoke


than they are about holding Copeland. The majority is bigger.


But Stoke is a very Brexity place. And Ukip was a strong second. They


were nip and tuck with the Conservatives for second place. But


you would normally expect in a seat like Copeland, held by Labour, and


at times the as Tony says, the governing party has been in power


for seven years but opposition parties hold on to their seats so


the loss of Copeland would be huge if it happened. It certainly would


be, it is difficult to read much into the statistics we looked at at


the beginning of this section on who has gained what so far, because if


you are look agent those as a guide as to what might happen in 2020, it


is reunreliable. At the moment we are in this incredibly unusual


interim period before we presumably leave the EU, so people feel as they


perhaps did in Richmond, that voting for the Lib Dems might influence in


some way the ways we come out. By the time we get to 2020, we will be


in entirely different territory. I'm not sure any of these cases really


are much of a good guide. The Labour Party would be thrown into crisis if


the Conservatives were to win Copeland. And Ukip -- this is a


bigger stretch, both are a bit of a stretch but this is a bigger one -


if Ukip was to win Stoke? I think that's right. It is very difficult


for the Labour Party if they start losing by-elections in the midterm


of a Conservative Government. With crisis in the NHS and... All those


things playing. We are running up to a full sweep at local elections.


Councils in England and Wales holding local elections in May. That


will give us a national sense of how well the Liberal Democrats are


doing. I do think that - and I take the point we are a long way away


from a general election, but truth is unless an opposition party is


doing really in local elections through the period of a Parliament,


it is very, very unlikely they are going to win the next general


election. That's what the locals do tell us, they sell us more about the


opposition than the Government in some ways. We'll keep an eye on them


and monitor the results. Thank you for your help in this regard.


You'll have heard the terms 'hard brexit' and 'soft brexit'.


But what about 'grey brexit', and 'clean brexit'?


If the terminology used in the brexit debate has been


giving you a headache, we've got just the thing


Here's Adam Fleming's guide to the language of Brexit.


The language of Brexit can be baffling and some words


Let's try and shed some light anyway.


Proponents of leaving feel this is used in a pejorative way


by former Remain campaigners to describe the worst possible


outcome of the Brexit negotiations, ie, where trade and travel


are difficult and there's little or no co-operation on justice,


Leavers much prefer the phrase clean Brexit.


Clean Brexit is defined by the campaign group Change Britain


as removing the UK from all parts of the EU that prevent us


signing our own global trade deals and writing our own regulations


and with everyone knowing what's going to happen when.


It's the opposite of dirty Brexit which presumably means no one


knowing exactly what's going to happen when.


The clearest version of this is the UK staying


in the single market, designed to allow goods and services


to travel around the EU with as few barriers as possible,


although you have to stick to the rules of the single market,


possibly including the free movement of people.


In fact, Michael Gove has christened it fake Brexit.


It actually stands for pay as you go Brexit, the idea that we take


programmes and elements of the EU we still quite like and pay


For example, the Brexit Secretary, David Davis, hasn't ruled out


the idea of paying money for access to the single market.


This is a scenario designed to bridge between two extremes.


They are, black or disorderly Brexit, which is is us leaving


without any kind of exit deal in a fairly chaotic fashion,


and white Brexit, which I think means leaving but inheriting


Grey Brexit is a sort of Goldilocks mixture of the two.


What do you think about that, Prime Minister?


Actually, we want a red, white and blue Brexit,


that is the right Brexit for the United Kingdom.


Coined on a battleship in the Gulf, red, white and blue Brexit


was Theresa May's attempt to paint the process in her own terms,


patriotic, optimistic, uniquely British.


Now obviously the BBC doesn't have a view


about which phrase is the right one because they're all judgments.


But hopefully you feel a bit more switched on about what people


And we've prepared a cut-out-and-keep guide


If you'd like to get your hands on it, check out our Facebook page


A viewer pointed out we coined a new phrase this morning, Brexitee.


During the campaign itself I don't remember anybody talking about hard


Brexit or soft Brexit, it was Brexit or not Brexit. Brexit in terms of a


hard Brexit, though, was coined by the Remainers who had lost after


June and it's been a very clever phrase for them. I agree with that,


I think it was a hostile rebranding exercise. It was an attempt to use


the language of Brexit to try to clutch victory from the jaws of


defeat, to try to frighten people into thinking that hard Brexit was


something they hadn't voted for. In fact, soft Brexit I think for most


people that backed Brexit is a kind of synthetic Brexit, it's not a real


Brexit. For me all this terminology, but particularly the two simple


phrases we started out with, hard Brexit and soft Brexit, is a


nonsense. Brexit is Brexit, as Theresa May has said, it means


Brexit. . I think her red, white and blue thing, although it got a laugh


from the particular way we presented it there, is a Goodway of putting


it. What she means is the Brexit that people voted for, one that's in


the best interests of Britain. Most of the people who ran the vote Leave


campaign, as Adam said, they seemed to think that what is called a soft


Brexit is really not a Brexit at all. The trouble with this whole


debate is when Brexit means Brexit, everyone knows what they means, they


don't. There is about 14 different ways you compute it. For the


campaign it was imperative not to talk about that, because you can get


a majority for just Leave. The minute you start breaking it down


into what that means because everyone has different ideas about


what they meant by Leave, some immigration is important, trade has


different meaning for different people, it's better to forget about


that and get the maximum number of people under the Leave umbrella.


Once it's happening you have to be specific about what kind of Brexit


and that's the reason Theresa May takes refuge in let's have a red,


white and blue Brexit which means kind of nothing, because the minute


she is specific someone will be unhappy, half the Tory Party will be


furious because it's not their version. Half who voted Leave will


say that's not what I meant. It's to keep it kind of vague for as long as


possible while sounding like you are saying something. The Leave side


didn't like the invention of hard Brexit but they then hit back


because we have now had words like Remoaner. In the first few weeks


after Brexit and probably the few months after the referendum result


Brexiteers and supporting MPs were very nervous about this kind of


language. I sense that people are more relaxed about that now. Leave


supporters now feel they're a little bit less anxious about this


terminology and where it way lead us because there is more confidence


that Theresa May, who was a Remainer, will actually deliver the


kind of Brexit, vague as it may be, that most people who voted for Leave


had in mind. You mentioned that Theresa May has kept it vague, Gaby,


because the moment she stops doing that someone will be upset. This


speech is now on Tuesday. There surely has to be some substance in


this speech now? From what we understand she's going to be clear


about things we sort of knew, which is her priorities are reduce


immigration, get out of the European Court of justice, but do that in a


way that preserves as good trade relations as possible. But it's less


now about what her negotiating objectives are, what you want to


know is how is she going to get there? We understand she wants the


least damaging deal, fine, who doesn't? How do you think you are


going to get that exactly? I don't think we will hear a great deal


about that on Tuesday. She's been specific at some points, weirdly


specific. She said at one point we will have the right to label our own


food which tells you something very specific about what she wants. Then


she backs away from it... What does label your own food mean? God knows!


It implies for a start, that we are not going to be told to put on food


labels by Brussels which implies outside the single market, probably


outside the WTO rules. That's weirdly specific. Then there is a


hurried retreat away from that. You thought you knew where you were, oh,


hang on, you don't again. Because of the vacuum the Government's created


as a tries to work out what Brexit actually means, she said Brexit


means Brexit, but hadn't yet worked out what that means, others have


filled the vacuum. If she does not do something to fill this vacuum in


this speech next week there will be despair on both sides. The people


who wanted to stay will despair but people who wanted to leave will


despair, as well. She doesn't have to stumble on for that much longer


before she triggers Article 50. So why bother with a speech at all?


Well, she's doing the speech because she's under so much pressure from


all sides and I think it will be a kind of bizarre exercise in


stringing out for as long as possible saying as little as


possible with possibly one top line to satisfy the broadcasters and the


media. I have always thought that if you haven't really - if you bill a


big speech, you better have something to say otherwise it's


better not to give it. Other people will say the trouble is we are close


enough now to the triggering of Article 50 negotiation, before long


we will get stuff leaking out of 27 other member states capitals about


what they think the British position is and their position would be in


response. This is their last chance to sort of have control of the


narrative a bit before it slips away. I agree, there is only so many


speeches you can give where there is a big build-up and then it's like,


is that it? Exactly. Time now for our high-speed round-up


of the week in politics Theresa May launched her vision


of what she calls the shared society promising extra money for local


mental health services. For too long, mental illness has


been something of a hidden Jeremy Corbyn attempted


to reboot his leadership, announcing Labour were no longer


wedded to freedom of movement, before flip-flopping and saying


he could support free Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt


came under pressure over He says the NHS is getting more cash


than it asked for but the boss It would be stretching it to say


that the NHS has got more Strikes disrupted travel around


Britain with workers from London Underground,


British Airways and And, outgoing US President Barack


Obama delivered an emotional final speech in Chicago,


while President-elect Trump held a conference attacking fake news


and dirty dossiers. Someone added true Brexit and fake


Brexit to the lexicon. Gaby, we have talked about Theresa May's brings


problems and the need to, not give away her negotiating strategy, but


to fill out her vision of a post-Brexit Britain. She has two


immediate problems, though, the rash of strikes, particularly in London


and the south-east, affecting transport at a time when the weather


is miserable, and this simmering and probably growing crisis in the NHS.


I would suggest that it's not clear on either front if MrsMay has a clue


what to do. I think the tensions particularly on the NHS, which is


moving from simmering to boiling point now, the tensions between


Number 10 and Simon Stevens, head of NHS England, are very clear now.


Simon Stevens is not someone I would go to war with unless I knew what I


was doing. The idea that you are fighting with your most important


senior civil servant in terms of delivering at the same time as the


papers are full of awful stories about people dying on trolleys in


corridors and Little Children spending hours in A waiting to be


seen, I think there needs to be a sense of something from the


Government other than just insisting the NHS has money and it's going to


be fine, because it's Patently not fine. Strikes causing disruption and


we don't really know what the Government's response or attitude or


- we know the attitude, not the response. A growing crisis in the


NHS. Yet, MrsMay's 14 points ahead in the polls. If there was a real


opposition in this country she would not be 14 points ahead at all.


Indeed I would suggest she would be behind now. Absolutely. It tells you


everything you need to know about the state of the Labour Party and


whether they are capable of being an effective opposition at the moment.


I think Gaby is right on the NHS, it's not a problem that's going to


go away but the problems are so fundamental they're not something


that she can correct at the same time as tackling getting Britain out


of the EU. Let's come to the quiz. I think our guests will struggle on


this! The question was which party leader


is planning to address his b) French Presidential


candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon. Or d) outgoing European Parliament


President Martin Schulz. You don't know, do you? I am saying


it's a trick question and Tim Farron is a hologram. The Jean-Luc


Melenchon. Thanks to Gaby, Isabel


and all my guests. I'll be back on Sunday


with the Sunday Politics when I'll be talking to Lib Dem leader


Tim Farron and press regulation


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