27/01/2017 Daily Politics

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Andrew Neil is joined by Rachel Shabi and Peter Hitchens for the latest news and debate from Westminster. Nigel Evans MP discusses Theresa May's first meeting with Donald Trump.

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Hello and welcome to the Daily Politics.


Theresa May signals a shift in UK foreign policy as she rules out


future military action unless it's in our interests to intervene.


The PM meets Donald Trump in the White House later today -


the first foreign leader to meet the new president.


We'll discuss her hopes of an early trade deal with the States.


Jeremy Corbyn's Brexit problems mount up as his stance on Article 50


prompts one frontbencher to resign and more signal they'll


And it's the EU's answer to House of Cards, a new political TV drama


That sounds like my kind of television.


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


of the programme today the journalist and author


Rachel Shabi, and Peter Hitchens, who writes for the Mail on Sunday.


So, Theresa May arrived in the States yesterday for her meeting


She kicked off her visit, though, with a speech


to Republican politicians during which she asserted the need


for a strong Nato alliance, urged President Trump to engage


but beware of Russia and reiterated the UK's


opposition to the use of torture in


But Theresa May made headlines with a section of her speech


in which she signalled a change of approach towards


It is in our interests, those of Britain and America together,


to stand strong together to defend our values,


our interests and the very ideas in which we believe.


This cannot mean a return to the failed policies of the past.


The days of Britain and America intervening in sovereign countries


in an attempt to remake the world in our own image are over.


But nor can we afford to stand idly by when the threat is real


and when it is in our own interests to intervene.


We must be strong, smart and hard-headed and we must


demonstrate the resolve necessary to stand up for our interests.


Philadelphia yesterday. I think both of you would be pretty radical of


what you might call the Blairite interventionist policy, Mr Cameron


did not go down that road although he did in Libya. You must be quite


pleased by what you have heard there? Pleased, no. There is a wider


picture here which isn't necessarily what she says or doesn't say about


military intervention, given that whatever she says is with a mind to


placating Donald Trump. It is the fact that she is getting engaged


with the US president in this way, I'd US president who at best can be


described as a lying, off right-wing populist who has no respect for the


current institutions and mechanisms in the global sense that maintain


stability and security in any meaningful way. So too allied


herself in any way with a US foreign policy, given the direction it is


likely to take, I think is dangerous and not good for Britain. Is only


saying this to placate Donald Trump? Do you think she would not be saying


it anyway? I do not think she is saying it's too but Kate Donald


Trump but on the other hand, it is not as good as good as it looks. A


large chunk of the speech mentions the fact that we are sending 800


troops to the Baltic republics in Poland, which is a mad thing for


Britain to be doing. Our policy towards Russia has become almost as


insane as our former policies to Iraq. It is a different type of


lunacy. She has drawn the distinction between wars of


intervention and supporting Nato. She has but I am not sure distinct.


This suppose Russian aggression, involving a voluntary departure


along hundreds of thousands of square miles of territory, into an


area with economic insignificance. And we still go on about it as if it


was a terrifying superpower about to squeeze the continent, and act


accordingly by building up the fears in Eastern Europe and the Baltics


which we claim through Nato to be soothing. It is a very odd posture


and one of the very few sensible things which Donald Trump has said


about foreign policy is that he thinks Nato is obsolete. It is


obsolete, as obsolete as mounting an alliance against the


Austro-Hungarian Empire or Napoleon Bonaparte. The Foreign Secretary has


also said that we need to think afresh on how we handle Syria,


hinting that Mr Assad could be allowed to run for election, if he


wants. That is just recognising, I would suggest, that Mr Assad is safe


as long as the Russians are backing him and that we really have no


influence there. I think there is a danger. When we look at what


happened over the last few months in terms of the Foreign Secretary, and


what has been said, and it all started with Nigel Farage being the


first to meet to Boris -- Donald Trump. And it is setting us on a


course of normalising Donald Trump, although his intentions are not


normal. Syria might be a reflection of realities on the ground but when


you look at something like Trump's statements regarding Israel, and


Theresa May displeased many in the region by ally in Britain to the US


president in a way which was a change of tack for the UK, and the


wrong change. I would suggest that the Foreign Secretary's statement is


a recognition that Syria is now a Russians are at it. It is an


extraordinary pull-back from a policy which has been defeated.


There are talks of safe stones being set up in Syria this morning which


some people say is a dangerous return to attempt to intervene. That


is for refugees? Supposedly but it could develop into more calls for


no-fly zones, but we note the military convocations of that. I


don't think it is entirely over yet but certainly it seems to be one of


the most dangerous policies which we have adopted over the past several


years has come to an end. And the absolute refusal to even begin to


see the possibility that the Assad government might survive has been


rather quietly stitched. I'm going to stop you there because we have a


lot to cover. We will return to some of these themes.


Theresa May is the first foreign leader to meet Donald Trump.


But which leader has been the first to cancel a meeting


First Minister Nicola Sturgeon of Scotland.


Or President Enrique Pena Nieto of Mexico?


At the end of the show, Rachel and Peter will no doubt give


Later today, the Prime Minister will meet President Trump


for face-to-face talks - as the first foreign leader


to visit the White House since he became president.


The PM's trip comes at the end of a frenetic first week


for Donald Trump, who has been busy putting pen to paper.


Among the dozens of executive orders he's signed so far,


he's instructed officials to begin planning the border wall he promised


to build, and to scale back Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act.


Maybe as a precursor to getting rid of it altogether.


So what are Mrs May and Mr Trump likely to discuss this afternoon?


A possible US-UK trade deal is likely to be


While the UK can't begin to negotiate new trade deals


until it leaves the EU, Mr Trump has said he wants


Mrs May is also likely to remind the new president


of the strategic importance of NATO - an alliance that he has


The PM may also want to discuss how the US and UK deal


Mr Trump has been full of praise for Russia's President Putin


and says it's "an asset, not a liability" if he has


a relationship with him - a stance that has alarmed some


Mrs May is also under pressure to reject Mr Trump's


She has already suggested that the UK could scale back


on intelligence sharing if the US reintroduces torture.


She's also said she won't be afraid to challenge the president,


who continues to court controversy, telling the BBC:


"Whenever there is something that I find


unacceptable I won't be afraid to say that to Me Trump."


We've been joined from Strasbourg by the Conservative MP Nigel Evans,


who attended Donald Trump's inauguration last week,


and in the studio the joint leader of the Green Party,


Nigel Evans, you have met Mr Trump. You were in Washington before Mrs


May, what is his attitude to Britain? Well, I think we have a


great opportunity to rekindle the special relationship which Theresa


May spoke about to the Republican congressional retreat in


Philadelphia. I think she mentioned the special relationship about eight


times and the warm welcome that she had by those congressmen and


senators was absolutely superb. I spoke to a lot of congressmen,


Senators during the four days I was in Washington during your


inauguration and whenever I mention Brexit, they were lapping it up. --


during the inauguration. It did not matter whether they were Republican


or Democrat, the thumbs were up. They were keen to get a speedy trade


deal done between the UK and the US. If President Trump we have a man


whose mother was Scottish, who has got a couple of businesses in


Scotland in golf courses, who was in favour of Brexit and wants to do a


trade deal with the United Kingdom as quickly as possible. He put the


bust of Winston chill back in the Oval Office as one of his first


acts. What is there that we need to do? Engage with Donald Trump as much


as we can. Theresa May is the first world leader to meet Donald Trump


since becoming president. And we have said that about four times now


so it must be true. Angela Merkel has asked to see him, and he has not


even reply to her. But the fact that he wants to be their... Don't get


sidetracked. We're leaving the EU, which many people feel leaves us a


little bit without friends. There is a powerful man in the Oval Office


who wants to be our best friend. Why would we not take him up on that?


Because it puts us in a very weak position. We are the junior partner,


looking quite desperate. Theresa May looks quite desperate, falling over


herself to be the first in the queue. I think she should've bided


her time and gone with some clear red lines, particularly around


torture and Paris climate talks. We were on torture. She is in favour of


the Paris climate deal. Britain is not going to unsigned that. But she


should have gone saying that it was a red line for us. She needs


leadership. Rightly or wrongly, he is against it and the British


government cannot change his mind on it. So suddenly we have not any


influence? Either we are going to show leadership or we are not.


Mexico are showing us up at the moment, playing hardball. What we


have is a situation where we put ourselves in extreme Brexit context,


going cap in hand to America saying, what can you give us in terms of the


trade deal? Of course Donald Trump is welcoming her with open arms


because he knows he can ride roughshod all over her. He sees a


desperate Prime Minister asking what they can give her. Donald Trump is


at the best unpredictable, uncertain, possibly unreliable. Is


it wise for British Prime Minister to put all your eggs in this basket?


She is not putting all her eggs in one basket. She's going to be out


looking, she said to the congressmen. But trade with the US


will be massive in terms of leverage when we are talking about a trade


deal with the EU. Our neighbours in Europe, after we have done a deal


with the US, are they going to punish us? Because that is the voice


we are hearing at this moment in time. Donald Trump is a different


sort of president, we know that. He says things in a different sort of


way. The fact is, on building the wall, between Mexico and the United


States, the fact is that he has started the progress on that


straightaway. I think he is likely to be the first politician in


history to be roundly criticised for keeping its promises. He has said


that that was what he was going to do and he was elected by over 63


million people. We have to recognise that he is the President of the


United States. Influence is what I wanted to come onto. One of the


tests for Mrs May's influence will be whether from her point of view


and from Europe's point of view, particularly from the Germans, can


she bring him round to her way of thinking on Nato or not?


That is one thing that she did clearly speak to the congressmen


about, which was, yes, Nato may not be as effective as it should be,


that is an understatement in itself, but we will spend 2% on defence and


it will increase in every parliamentary year up to 2020, and


she would use her influence with other European leaders to be able to


do just the same. Nato is in need of reform and she stated that the


congressman, it is not like we will sit back and say everything is


hunky-dory, we have already pointed out, there is that gaping problem


with Nato. The fact that we are spending 2% of our GDP on defence


and a lot of other European countries are basically taking a


free ride on the backs of the United Kingdom and the United States of


America will simply not be tolerated, they have to wake up and


realise that they had to pay their contribution towards their own


defence. Jonathan Bartley, do you care if


Nato is modernised? Are you in favour? We have been very


critical of Nato and there is common ground in what Peter said earlier


about Nato, it is a relic of the Cold War. When Donald Trump calls it


obsolete, you agree? In a time when we see increasing insecurity, it is


not the time to make drastic or snap decisions around Nato. You called it


a relic, Donald Trump called it obsolete, you agree with Donald


Trump? In some cases there will be common ground... Another one that is


common ground, Donald Trump has essentially canned the trade Pacific


partnership, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and TTIP, the north


Atlantic equivalent, is dead in the water. You approve of that? We will


see TTIP on steroids coming back, we will be handed a trade deal with


very little say over it. Donald Trump is now against multilateral


trade deals, your party has campaigned against multilateral


trade deals. We are looking at a bilateral trade deal with the


States. What will that look like? TTIP might be the blueprint. If we


go there without much to negotiate will be just accept free access to


the NHS from American countries? That was part of TTIP, presumably


becomes part of the debate which the British House of Commons will have


to decide. It is very hard to the special relationship with the


country talking about America first, America will try to squeeze


everything out of the UK they possibly can. That is what they do,


the United States' relationship with this country has always been one of


straightforward hard self-interest, the fantasy of the special


relationship does not standard to an examination. The only real special


relationship United States houses with Saudi Arabia, that is truly


close. They are baffled by our insistence on including this phrase


in documents, they are slightly embarrassed but will do it on


occasion. This is a glorified selfie whether British primers to the White


House, gets him herself photographed with the American president and


hopes to bask in reflected importance. This comes back to risks


involved? It is not glorifying selfie, that is the problem. I do


not know what shade of immoral you have to be to look at what President


Trump has done in the last week, among the highlights are announcing


that he to build a wall, announcing a partial ban on Muslims and


announcing that he wants to monitor the crimes of migrants, that is


straight out of a Nazi handbook. I don't know how... Is the implication


of all this, we know this is what he stands for, is it that the British


Government should have nothing to do with him? I don't know how you can


look at that in talk in terms of shared values, which is what Theresa


May has... That is the answer to your question. We should have


nothing to do with him? I agree we should bide our time and not rush to


make friends with him and born and thereby normalise what he says. If


he does not change his views... We are the first leaders to go in, we


have a responsibility to the world... Or do you recommend we have


nothing to do with him? It is not a binary option, it is whether we bide


our time, go in in a dignified manner, say we are worried you would


pull out of the Paris agreement, potentially threatening world trade


for decades. Those are the occasions. We are talking about


trade deals which will affect five or ten years, what about the 20 or


30 year picture? It will make as economic worse off if we cannot sort


out the biggest threat affecting humanity -- it'll make this economic


we were soft. We have a picture of you with Mr Trump, Nigel Evans,


shaking hands. That is when he was President-elect. British prime


ministers, Labour and Conservative, have always placed great store since


Churchill onwards by the special relationship. Is it not the highest


of high wire acts to play such store by it when it is Donald Trump in the


White House? I tell you what, I would rather Donald Trump in the


White House who wants to do a deal with United Kingdom, a trade deal,


and I listen to what Jonathan Bartley at has said, that man is


clearly not interested in any trader whatsoever, rather than President


Barack Obama who came and lectured the British electorate and said


Betta vote to stay in the European Union otherwise you will be at the


back of the queue for a trade deal. Now we have a president who wanted


Brexit, we voted for it, he wants to the congressman this trade deal


between the USA and America will not be easy. There is a continuity of


interest bringing the UK and USA together. We stood shoulder to


shoulder over decades on those areas where we have great interests


together. We will not walk away like the Greens want us to do, or Peter


Hitchens, or anybody else. He is the president of the United States, we


have the opportunity to have influence with him and work with


him, that is what we should do. We have run out of time. I have just


said we have run as a term that we are coming back to the special


relationship, so behave yourself rather than mumbling in the


background. The Green Party websites is your policy is to pull out of you


know -- Nato unilaterally. You want to get out of Nato and the something


better in its place, but now is not the time to mess around with


international institutions as the world gets more insecure daily. You


are not in favour of pulling out unilaterally? Not now. Peter is


still mumbling, but he does a lot of that.


Over the years, British Prime Ministers have enjoyed distinctive


The friendships forged between leaders have helped to shape


world history and brought varying degrees of political fortune.


But just how well can Theresa May get along with President Trump,


and does the personal chemistry have to be right for the special


# Thank you for being a friend. # Travelled down a road and back


again. This is known as the Allies bench,


it captures the friendship between the American and British wartime


leaders. It is also a popular stop on the London to wrist Trail.


-- tourist trail. The concept of the special relationship first came


about because of President Rousseff valves and Winston Churchill. The


British prime ministers first came up with the phrase in a speech after


World War II and over 70 years since then, the relationship has seen its


ups and downs. -- because of President Roosevelt and Winston


Churchill. Reagan and Thatcher were political


soul mates, both supporters of Private business and free markets.


But things almost went pear shaped when the US invaded grenades, a


British Commonwealth country, until the President run-up to apologise.


Margaret Thatcher here. If I were there, Margaret, I would tilt my hat


in the door before I came in. No need. Listen, we regret very much


the embarrassment that has been caused you and I would just like to


tell you what the story is from our end out here.


The Blair and Bush bromance seemed an unlikely friendship, a Labour


leader with a right-wing Republican president. At first it seemed they


had little in common apart from using the same brand of toothpaste.


Yet Tony Blair ended up being dubbed as America's poodle by the press


because of his strong support for President Bush and the Iraq war.


Let me thank President Bush for coming here.


We are strong allies. The Prime Minister is a man of his word. He


has my admiration. And he has the admiration of the American people.


Jonathan Pelissie Tony Blair's chief of staff and saw first hand how the


Prime Minister got on with George Bush and Bill Clinton -- Jonathan


Powell was. So how much of a coup is it that Mrs May is the first leader


to meet the new president? Traditionally the first meeting is


with the Canadian Prime Minister, Prime Minister Trudeau seems not in


a hurry to get to the White House, Angela Merkel is biding her time.


Theresa May has won the race but nobody else's competing,


so I don't think she can take great pleasure.


What would be your top tip to Theresa May? A joint press


conference can be very tricky, Tony Blair was tripped up with the one


with Bill Clinton on Monica Lewinsky and found the one with George Bush


very difficult, talking about Colgate and sharing toothpaste.


Theresa May will want to avoid any appearance of being President


Trump's golf caddy. She has criticised his remarks about women


and Muslims and made it clear that she is not afraid to challenge him.


Whenever there is something that I find unacceptable I will not be


afraid to say that to Donald Trump. The body language of the two leaders


at their first meeting might give away clues to any personal


chemistry. Will they ever appear as Paoli as David Cameron and Barack


Obama, flipping burgers at this Downing Street barbecue, although


differences of opinion on big issues like torture marker cooling in the


special relationship -- will they ever appear as pally as David


Cameron and Barack Obama? Just as you think it goes away, it


always come back, at least on this side of the Atlantic.


Barbara Plett Usher, our Washington correspondent, joins us from the


White House. Good to have you. We have a rough idea of what Mrs May


wants to achieve, any idea what the Trump administration hopes to get


out of this? Not really, they have not said very much about the meeting


other than Mr Trump's statements at about, yes, Britain is very special.


He said yesterday I have been meeting Theresa May and I don't have


a commerce Secretary yet but I will have to deal with it, I think that


is OK. We have no serious sense of what they want to get out of it. I


think it is fair to say that the special relationship is more


important to Britain than the United States, I think it has always been


that way but particularly so now because the other strategic


relationship with the European Union is in flux, so this one... Theresa


May can't afford to have this one we can, she has to come through and


make a point of saying, yes, we still have other options as world


players after Brexit, she wants to get a strong endorsement on that


from Mr Trump that he takes Britain seriously and particularly he is


willing to do a trade deal with Britain quickly, once the Brexit


negotiations are finished. I think that will be the main point of the


talks, the discussion about a possible trade deal.


Is the trump administration is serious about a trade deal? I have


heard some people in the administration say they know that


Britain can't sign a deal until it leaves the EU but they would quite


like to do heads of agreement. Looking at all the other things Mr


Trump is doing and the firing on all sides at the moment, has he got the


time to focus on this which, for him, is not imperative for


immediate? Does he have the ability to focus on much for any length of


time altogether, that is the question. The signal is important.


President Obama said Britain would go to the back of the queue if it


went to with Brexit, Mr Trump has essentially said we will put you to


the front. The details of negotiating another trade deal are


quite fraught and will be quite lengthy because they can't sign


another deal until Britain has sorted out its relationship with the


EU. Although Mrs May has said that we can have talks about what


barriers we can remove so we are ready to go on the day, I think the


American trade negotiators, who are very tough, will want to see what


sort of relationship Britain has with the EU market, what sort of


access, before signing a trade deal. That will take years before that is


sorted out. It is more about sending a signal.


One all-important question, before you go, has the White House yet


learned how to spell the Prime Minister's first name? I have heard


that they got it wrong on the first attempt, but presumably once that is


corrected it will stay corrected throughout the day, but watch this


space. We will leave it there, we will know


if they can spell her name that the special relationship is alive and


well act summation thanks for joining us from the White House in


Washington, DC. Now, speaking of special


relationships, yesterday Jeremy Corbyn announced


that his Labour MPs would be under a three-line whip to vote


through the government's Article 50 Bill when it reaches


the Commons next month. Since then, though,


all hell has broken loose. Overnight two Labour whips


responsible for party discipline have said they will likely vote


to block Article 50. But neither Thangam Debbonaire nor


Jeff Smith said they would resign their position,


which could force Jeremy One person who has quit,


though, is Tulip Siddiq - seat borders that of Jeremy Corbyn -


and Brexit spokesman Keir Starmer. She quit as Shadow Early Years


Minister last night saying her loyalty to her constituents meant


she had no choice but to resign. Other frontbenchers


who said they will vote against the Labour whip


are Shadow Transport Minister Daniel Zeichner and Shadow Foreign


Minister Catherine West, Sources have said between 60 and 80


Labour MPs could rebel, though so far only a handful have


said publicly they will vote And the highest profile


potential rebel - Shadow Defence Secretary Clive Lewis


- yesterday withdrew He said he respected the result


of the referendum and would vote To discuss all this we're joined


from Cardiff by former Labour And I should mention that we did ask


the Labour Party for an interview with a member of Mr Corbyn's Shadow


Cabinet but none was available. So we go to Owen Smith. Thank you for


joining us. Good morning, Andrew. You have said he will vote against


Article 50. The country voted to leave the European Union, so why are


you doing that? Because I cannot in all conscience vote for something


that I think is in my view going to make the constituents that Ira


present poorer, and our country poorer and more isolated in the


world. -- the constituents I represent. It will compound the mere


politics we have in the West. The Shadow Home Secretary says that MPs


like you are undermining democracy. -- the meaner politics. I do not


think democracy started on June 23. That was not your zero. We have a


long-standing mandate as MPs to be representatives of our constituents


and use our judgment in representing them. I'm not a delegate for my


constituency. In my constituency, I know there is one piece of academic


research that has been done looking at which way my constituents voted,


suggesting they voted 55-45 to remain within the EU, so in that


regard, I am reflecting their view. My view is that this is bad for


Britain and the Labour Party needs to speak up for our convictions as


pro Europeans, and more importantly as people who will defend jobs and


opportunities and growth in our GDP in the UK. We think Brexit is bad


for those things, so we should vote against it. How many do you reckon


like-minded Labour MPs are? I do not know. It could be between 20 and 50.


People will be making their minds up over the next few days. There are


obviously will be other opportunities for people to express


their views in respects to aspects of it, the customs union, the single


market, but for my money we should be seeking to get another


referendum, at the end of the process, and that is one of the


amendments that I have tabled yesterday. I will also be voting


against Article 50, I imagine, because I doubt very much whether my


amendment will pass. Let's be generous and say you have got 50


Labour MPs that think the way that you do. You have one conservative,


the Lib Dems, one green, and the Scottish Nationalists, of course. So


the rebellion has already failed on take-off. A bit like a Trident


missile. I not anticipating... Off in the wrong direction and then into


the sea. Too demure slightly, I think we're going in the right


direction but you might be right in that the end point will be that we


land in the sea. I am not anticipating that we will stop


Article 50. There is a majority in the Labour Party and the Tories to


get that past. The right thing for me to do, and I think the right


thing for Labour to do is stand against it. But I appreciate that I


am in a sizeable minority on that point. I understand, but the reason


why the government can bank on a clear majority for Article 50,


without even having to hold its breath or by tits nails, is because


your party has opposed a 3-line whip to vote for Article 50. -- by its


nails. If it fails to get its way, that will be down to your party.


Yes. That is the best answer I have had in weeks. Is it not fair to say


that Jeremy Corbyn is between a rock and a hard place on this? He opposes


a 3-line whip and he gets to rebellion and we all say, he cannot


even do that! If he does not propose a 3-line whip, we will say that on


this vital issue, the biggest issue that Britain has had to take, you


have not even got a policy. I would suggest that no matter who is leader


of the Labour Party at the moment, this would be a real problem. I


agree with that. It is an unpalatable decision, like any


decision would be horrible for different reasons. And that speaks


to Labour's problem trying to bridge its voters who are in both remain


and leave camps. But I think that a lot of this would be avoided by the


Labour Party having a much clearer tone on the kind of Brexit that it


wants. And that come through. There are not many things they could do


about policy. There is no white paper, no plan. But a lot of it


relies on optics and tone. And I am not sure, I am not convinced that is


something the party is getting right at the moment. What do you make of


this, Peter? It is quite funny that Jeremy Corbyn, often derided as on


the edge of madness, has done something so sensible, and is now


being opposed by people whose attitude seems to be little short of


crazy. The British public have voted to leave the European Union and any


party which publicly stands to defy that decision is putting itself in a


position of derision, and use and we cannot do that. However you want to


oppose what has happened in the referendum, saying that we do not


accept this result and we will carry on sulking until you give us another


cake is not going to work. Jeremy Corbyn's decision was the only


conceivable move. And these poorer desperate playwrights have seen


their raison d'etre seized by the Conservative Party, because they do


not know what to do. I think they should join the Conservative Party.


I am not holding my breath for that. Sensible thing is so seldom happen


but it would be the right thing. I understand that and that is your


view. Owen Smith, Labour has some crucial by-elections coming up on


that the 23rd, we will be live bringing the results to you. I want


to run you a clip from Jeremy Corbyn, which is to do with the


Copeland constituency in the North West of England. This is what he had


to say. Do you support the building


of a new nuclear power plant There's going to be a mix of energy


production in this country for a long time to come,


because we haven't invested in renewables at the same


rate that Germany has. The issue at Moorside


is clearly important. Our local candidate


strongly supports Moorside. You say your candidate supports it,


my question was do you support it? I recognise that there has


to be a mix of energy You're saying you don't


support Moorside? The Government is going to have


to make that decision on the basis of the issues facing the company


and the area at the time, That was on ITV yesterday. Owen


Smith, in the Copeland constituency you have a very small majority and


nuclear power is an enormous issue. A lot of jobs depend on it. There is


talk of a new nuclear power station they are, as you have heard. The


leader of the Labour Party could not really and the question because his


long-standing view has been that he is against such things. -- answer


the question. And in Stoke, the other radio or you are defending a


majority, larger but not huge, you have picked a candidate who was


enthusiastically pro remain in a constituency which is basically the


Brexit capital of the Midlands. Does Labour know what it is doing? I'm


not in charge of the Labour Party, Andrew. We know that, you failed on


that one. As we all know, I did. And therefore I am just a backbencher so


you need to ask people in the current leadership of the Labour


Party that question. Are you going to lose Copeland to the Tories and


Stoke to Ukip? I hope we're going to win both of those seats and I am


going up to Copeland to campaign there in a week or so myself.


Nuclear is a very important issue there and the Labour Party's


position, my position is that we are pro civil nuclear. There is a very


good case for building a new plant there. I know there is huge support


for it locally and I'm sure we be on the doorstep doing delete my getting


our message out there during the campaign. Are you going to stalk as


well? Hopefully, if I have time. Surely you must make time, to save


this seat for your party. Unfortunately, the Tories are put to


the Brexit bill right in the middle of our campaign but I am sure I will


go. It also looks like the Tories will not fight Stoke very much and


will put their emphasis into Copeland in the hope that if Labour


loses in Stoke, it will be to Ukip, and the Tories will try to take


Copeland. You have challenged Mr Corbyn once. Even if he loses these


two by-elections, which I think would be pretty unprecedented in


modern times, in the midterm of a government, for the main opposition


party to lose two by-elections. The tradition in our country is that


opposition parties win by-elections. Does that threaten Mr Corbyn in


anyway or has that horse left the stable? If you mean is that going to


be another challenge, I think that horse has left the stable, to borrow


your phrase. I see no prospect of that, certainly none of mine doing


that -- my doing that. If we lost those seats, they have been Labour


seats for the best part of 80, 90, even 100 years in one case. That


would be disastrous. But I hope and expect that we will retain them.


Owen Smith, thank you for joining us.


You could be forgiven for thinking that all the legal wrangling


over the UK's departure from the European Union is now over.


After all, the Supreme Court brought an end to the long-running Brexit


case on Tuesday with its judgement that only Parliament, not ministers,


can trigger Article 50 - the formal method of kicking off


But as of today a new legal challenge is underway.


A case has been filed with the Irish High Court


about whether Article 50 is reversible or, as some


In other words, you can turn it back.


The litigants are hoping that the case will be referred


to the European Court of Justice and that judges there will rule that


even after Article 50 has been triggered we could,


in theory, just change our mind and maybe even decide to stay


When the Secretary of State for Exiting the EU,


David Davis, appeared in front of the Brexit Select Committee last


month, he said that even he didn't know whether Article 50


As recently as October, at least one head of government was saying,


And many of the others still feel it can't really happen.


So that's partly the sort of mindset that's still...


As we get further into this, once we've served the Article 50 letter,


one of the virtues of the Article 50 process is it sets you on the way.


It's very, very difficult to see it being revoked.


It may not be revocable, I don't know.


And I expect at least at that point people's calculation will change


from "How can we make them change their minds?"


And we've been joined by Jolyon Maugham, one of the people


bringing the case in Dublin, and by Gunnar Beck from


Lawyers for Britain - a pro-Brexit campaign group.


One thing our viewers will want to know first of all, why Dublin?


Because the essence of the complaint is that by excluding the United


Kingdom from cancel meetings in advance of serving Article 50


notice, the United Kingdom has been disadvantaged. That is a complaint


that can only be taken in the courts of the countries that have


disadvantaged the United Kingdom so you are looking at the remaining 27


courts and of them, Ireland is the natural choice, similar legal


system, same operating language, and also Irish courts are very


accustomed to dealing with the court of justice in Luxembourg. That


explains Dublin. What is it that you hope to establish? Well, look, this


is a very, very uncertain world we live in. Donald Trump has come on


Andy he is changing everything. He is talking about Nato being obsolete


and we are going to see a whole new trade arrangement. Let me accept the


uncertain that, what are you hoping to achieve? What I want is a free


option for the United Kingdom on hasta siding with the benefit of


further evidence that remaining is the right thing for the country. So


the government could change its mind and the process of the Article 50


negotiations? The government, as always, will be led by what the


electorate wanted to do. And if the electorate changes its views about


Brexit, then the government will follow. There are many MPs who


accept that the result of the referendum requires that we trigger


Article 50, but who still have doubts about the wisdom of that


course. If they hear loud and strong from voters that that is the right


thing to do, I'm sure they will put pressure on the government. The


issue in dispute here is whether that would be legal or not. Does it


not make sense to establish the legality of that? Well, the fact of


the matter is that at present we simply have not got a dispute. The


British government have voted to leave the European Union, and the


supreme court has stated that it is up to Parliament and the onus is on


Parliament to confirm that vote. Once that has happened, Article 50


is entirely clear that the United Kingdom will notify its intention to


withdraw. Do you believe Article 50 is


irrevocable or not? It proceeds on the assumption that when a country


notifies its intention to withdraw it means what it says. You think it


is irrevocable? It proceeds on the assumption that a country means what


it says, just as when any country applies to join the European Union,


negotiations for accession are conducted on the basis that that


country too means what it says. The man credited with writing


Article 50 told the BBC that Article 50 is not irrevocable, if the


country was to decide we do not want to leave after all, everybody would


be very cross but legally they could not insist. Article 50 does not


provide any support for that view. In any event the issue has not


risen. Legally speaking, the situation is entirely clear. The


Court of Justice has ruled more than 30 years ago that it will not accept


references on entirely hypothetical questions. The question not whether


the UK wants to reassess its intention to withdraw hasn't arisen


yet, we haven't got a dispute, the European Court of Justice shouldn't


even look at that. I understand that is your point.


Jolyon Maugham, the judgment and as a bream Court of Article 50, it said


it cannot be given in qualified or conditional terms and that once


given it cannot be withdrawn. That would seem to be something of an


Exocet through your case? It would be a powerful Exocet if it was a


good point, but it is not. Are you saying the Supreme Court has not


made a good point?! Whoever has given you that quote has given you a


bad point. I will explain why. If you look at paragraph 26 of the


Supreme Court decision, it says very clearly we're not deciding whether


Article 50 is bookable, the Government and the claimants both


phones are politically convenient to proceed on the assumption that it


was but we're not deciding the point -- we're not deciding if article 50


is revocable. Rachel? I think it is great, it is one thing to accept the


democratic votes, and the public as to respect that, but it raises all


kinds of constitutional questions, and I think it is great that we have


a system that works, that we have checks and balances on Parliament


that work, that is a good thing and we should celebrate that. Peter? It


is a good diversion. The serious opponents of our departure from the


European Union really need to stop thinking -- start thinking in a


broader way. I don't want to offer advice or help them but it would


seem to me that they have a much better prospect of frustrating


departure from the EU by salami slicing it so much June the


negotiations in Parliament but what we end up with is that we move from


being as we are now, half-out of the European Union, to being half in it,


which would seem the most likely result. These legal diversion seem


to be trading on the success of the Supreme Court, which was notable but


did not make much difference to the outcome of events, trying to divert


us from the centre of this, the negotiations between this country


and the EU, and what Parliament then with those, which still seems to be


in a great deal of doubt. Do you really think there was a


cat's chance in hell that the Government will change its mind? The


Government is a political creature, if people change their minds, the


Government bill. I think it is a very, very real possibility. I


recognise what the political mood is today. I am not stupid, I read the


papers, I listen to you, I watch the Daily Politics religiously, of


course. But I also believe that the world is changing fast, I believe


there is a lot of evidence for what Brexit means that we are still get


to see, we don't even have a white paper and I think it is very, very


plausible that people will revise their views, and if they do, the


Government will fly. Is it your view that Dublin High Court is likely to


pass this to the European Court, or do you feel that the Dublin court


will throw it out? That is for the Dublin court to decide. It should


throw it out, I think the law is quite clear that we have a


hypothetical question, it may be interesting, but a hypothetical


question should not be referred, that is quite simple. Can we all


come to Dublin and watch this unfold? I will buy you a pint. I


thought you were going to buy my ticket, the BBC will not!


Fans of political TV dramas have feasted on some great


series in recent years - from the US remake of House


Who would ever have thought that Danish coalition building could


become so popular in Britain? Now the Dutch are getting


in on the act with a political drama set in the heart of the EU's


Brussels HQ. The kind of show covering


treating... Treaty negotiations on trade deals, can it ever get the


pulses racing? Year is a clip. And because it is an idea,


we should be willing to welcome any nation which is special enough


to share our values. This is my empire. It has my


attention and I'm not even sure what it is about yet!


We can talk now to the series writer, Leon de Winter,


That is in the Netherlands, of course. What story are you trying to


tell, what is the narrative? The narrative... Of course, the


background is politics, Brussels, but what is politics? The art of


balancing what you wish for, what is necessary and what is possible. It


depends upon the characters which one of these three elements is most


important to them. Basically you could say every story is about these


three elements. The main thing is, let us say, the original idea is


nothing to do with politics. We know what original sin is, the oldest


profession, the oldest lie in my definition is a female light, who is


the father of your child. In which case -- in this case the woman


becomes an EU commissioner, had an affair 25 years ago with a young,


up-and-coming Russian politician who is now a billionaire and they are


both in Brussels, they are conferences, they have their


interests and the rest speaks for itself.


In house of cards and even in Borgen there was a clear good guy and bad


guy, who is the good guy in this series? I have always problems of


defining good and bad guy. Maybe you know them, the good guys and the bad


guys? I am afraid I couldn't work with these stereotypes. Even the


Russian billionaire who is in Brussels talking to his friends in


the commission, in parliaments, trying to arrange the best deal for


his interests, even he has interesting aspects, even he is not


completely evil. And the Dutch Euro Commissioner, the female


protagonist, she should be the hero but she is a stuff, and an alpha


woman. We know alpha males, this is an alpha female. It is not clear-cut


bad, evil, there are many grades of grey and colours, as you know.


Absolutely right, and all the best series... What is noticeable about


TV drama now, because it is allowed to breathe, it deals in shades of


grey now, not black and white. House of Cards had the advantage that it


was all based around a position, a person, a pinnacle of power that we


all know, the president of the United States. We are not quite sure


the pinnacles of power in Brussels, what is the pinnacle of power, what


is this all revolving around? All revolving is, of course, the


confrontation between interest, ambitions, ego. They fight to gain


position, to be wealthy. And people told me even about sex. Yes. Dear


me! Things like that happen, I was surprised as well ex-commissioner


sex in Brussels?! No wonder this is fiction! The big question we want to


know here, in this series, do the British get a punishment beating? I


had already finished writing the screenplay, suddenly there is a


Brexit and I talk about 28 nations in my story. So should I take one


out?! No, let us say it is a bit of an historical series, because I


could not see that that was going to happen.


Leon, I think it sounds great. The big question is when and where do we


see it in the United Kingdom? Well, of course it is produced for a


Dutch streaming platform, one of the biggest productions ever in the


Netherlands. I would be very shocked if it would not be shown in the UK.


Quite right. I will have a word with the director-general of the BBC, we


are very close, you know? I met him in 1961, leave it to me! Leon de


Winter, good luck with the show, I will seek it out on the web even if


it is not shown here, but I'm sure it will be. Thank you for joining


us. It started with news of a rogue


Trident missile and ended with Theresa May's meeting


with Donald Trump. Here's Adam with the lowdown


on the political week Theresa May launched her modern


industrial strategy on Monday by taking her Cabinet to Warrington,


but that was overshadowed by a row over whether she should have told


MPs a Trident missile test had All eyes were on the Supreme Court


on Tuesday where Lord Neuberger lay The Supreme Court rules


that the Government cannot trigger Article 50 without an act


of Parliament On Wednesday, Theresa May


announced there would be And on Thursday the Government


published its one-page Jeremy Corbyn told his MPs to back


the bill, prompting Tulip Siddique And the Prime Minister jetted off


to the States to meet President Donald Trump,


saying opposites attract. It's going to be beautiful,


just beautiful! There's just time before we go


to find out the answer to our quiz. The question was, which foreign


leader has cancelled a meeting President Hollande of France,


President Raul Castro of Cuba, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon


of Scotland or President Enrique Rachel, Peter - what's


the correct answer? President Enrique Pena Nieto, via


Twitter. Correct. You beat me to it. I was going to get it, I had no


idea, I am not on Twitter. Good place. Mexico has elections coming


up in a couple of years, this will play big-time into it, we will see


how that works out. Thanks to Rachel, Peter


and all my guests. The one o'clock news is starting


over on BBC One now. I'll be back on Sunday


with the Sunday Politics - The clue is in the name! I will be


talking to Nigel Farage. Should've seen Hillary's face.


She was stood there with Bill.


Andrew Neil is joined by journalists Rachel Shabi and Peter Hitchens for the latest news and debate from Westminster. Conservative MP Nigel Evans discusses Theresa May's first meeting with Donald Trump and Jenny Kumah examines past relationships between prime ministers and presidents.