27/02/2017 Daily Politics


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Hello and welcome to the Daily Politics.


The Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell says a "soft coup" is under way


against Jeremy Corbyn by "elements in the Labour Party".


We'll ask former leadership contender Liz Kendall


The Government faces criticism for changes to disability benefits


after the head of Theresa May's policy unit said the payments should


only go to "really disabled people", not those "taking pills at home,


The Home Secretary Amber Rudd all but confirms the Government


will introduce curbs to freedom of movement from the EU


once the Prime Minister triggers Article 50.


And while the world of showbiz was glued to the Oscars last night,


MPs in Westminster celebrated the British Kebab Awards -


we'll hear from the MP who had the mouth-watering job


And with us for the whole of the programme today the former


Labour leadership contender Liz Kendall, and the


Let's start with the government's plans for controlling


The Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, was asked on ITV's Peston On Sunday


programme about speculation she's looking at introducing


A lot of different options that the Home Office is working on.


It would be a mistake for me to go any further than that at the moment.


There's going to be two years of negotiations and preparation.


We can't give comments every week, but we're looking at all


One thing I can confirm is we will be ending freedom


Otherwise, we're looking at all sorts of different alternatives.


John Redwood, is freedom of movement is going to end as we know it once


Article 50 is triggered, how would that work in practise? What we'll be


looking at Is a scheme. We discriminate with the rest of the


world in a way we can't with the EU. We are not trying to block talent.


That is not going to be a problem. The problem is, too many people


coming in to pick up very low-paid jobs, keeping our wages down and


making it more difficult for us to get people settled here into jobs.


I'm sure there'll be a work permit system there. It won't be ready by


March 16th, let's take that as the day after Article 50 is triggered.


How will that work as a process being able to tell who arrived after


that date? I think it would be a good idea to say to anyone thinking


of coming to Britain from the EU after we've sent the Article 50


letter that once we have left, there will be new rules applying and you


could keep a list of the people if you wish to do so. We'll have to see


how the Home Secretary wants to proceed. It will be difficult for


police and Immigration Services how to know who to deport if people have


arrived afterwards and are still able to get the jobs and in-work


benefits perhaps at that point, if they don't know who has come in and


when? They'll need to know who has come in obviously and there would


have to be a system where you say to people, we have left the EU so apply


for a work permit for the future. As we have heard, the Government is


still working on this and in due course they'll announce policy.


They've got a bit of time to put it in but it would be good to have it


up and running for a time when we have left the EU. Are Labour in


favour of a move that stops British workers being undercut? I don't want


to see British workers undercut. What I think is interesting is some


of the proposals being put forward by backbench Labour MPs like Liam


Byrne. He's looked at how you might extend the points-based system for


people outside the EU to people inside the EU. He published a paper


last week and that called for the independent migration advisory


committee to set quotas for low-skilled jobs sector by sector,


backed up by a transformation of skills and training for British


workers, for example through the apprenticeship levy to make sure


they can get jobs. But crucially, it also called for freedom of movement


to remain for scientists and students because that's vital if we


want to build the knowledge economy of the future and for the Government


to do far, far more on helping refugees, particularly child


refugees. So there are a number of proposals around at the moment and I


think Liam's proseles are ones that are worth looking at -- proposals.


Do you back John Redwood's view? I don't think John is clear what the


Government is going to propose, neither is Amber Rudd. She implied


the kerbs would start immediately. Are you broadly in favour of that?


Freedom of movement is going to change when we... End she said? A


system which keeps the high skills we need to Go grow the economy in


the future which is also fair and enforceable. There are proposals out


there at the moment which, building on Labour's points-based system, is


one option that should be looked at. Do you think John Redwood there


needs to be a database of some kind so that we know where all the


foreign nationals from the EU are coming in from and when they


arrived? Well, you may need to do that or it may be that you just say


after the date that we have left the EU, people who're not British


citizens will need a work permit whether they come from the EU or not


and you could ask the employers to check whether they have one.


Ministers have been clear on the record, we have made clear we want


to keep ourselves open to tall enand people coming in with well-paid jobs


and big businesses. That is not the issue. The issue is the sheer


numbers and weight of the numbers coming in to take low-paid jobs. How


do you think immigration will fall after we trigger Article 50 from the


EU? No idea. It's fallen a little bit in the run-up to it. They said


it was a statistically unimportant... Unrelated to Brexit


and Article 50, no evidence that it's anything to do with that. I've


no idea and I'm reluctant to forecast a firm number. I can


understand that on the basis of the tens of thousands... If it's fallen


before we leave the EU, that is welcome. But if we have a workberg


mitt style system, the numbers will fall. If there are limits to in-work


benefits which of course the Government would be able to do once


we leave Brexit, what impact do you think that will have on the numbers


of EU nationals coming here, will it deter people? I think a lot of


people will still want to come and live and work in this country


because we are an amazing country with great opportunities. I think


the Government's promises of reducing immigration to the tens of


thousands, people just don't believe It because it hasn't worked. We need


to get a fair balance between the economy and what is happening in the


country. David Davis said he thought it would be years. Didn't think


levels of immigration would go down in the short-term. He said it


wouldn't happen for a long while. People will rightly feel that the


promises aren't being delivered as quickly as hoped. Many people will


want to see levels of net migration or immigration come down. If it does


deter tens of thousands of EU nationals coming here when we look


at the numbers in the NHS in the care industry and retail, that will


have a detrimental effect on the sectors, won't it? We have just


agreed that we don't want to put people off who have qualifications.


So you are going to make allowances for those? We'd make special


arrangements for people with qualifications and who're coming in


for high value-added jobs. Seasonal workers for agriculture may be a


case for that. It's construction though, there's services,


hospitality, and I think this is the problem here, is that many companies


fear they are going to face this cliff edge, they are not going to


have the workers they need. Their businesses will suffer. At the same


time, we are seeing the Government cut things like the NHS bursary


scheme which is so important to training British young people to get


the jobs they need in the future. The devil really is in the detail


here. And will British workers do the jobs that are left vacant? Yes,


I think they will and there has to be a reduction after we left the EU


and there'll be a work permit or similar system to make sure there is


a reduction. But of course it needs to be flexible, where there is real


need, and we can not supply the labour internally. We need to put


the wages up in some cases though because people aren't doing it


because the wages aren't very good and we need to train and educate


people to a better stand so they can do the jobs. So you would call for


higher wages for those sectors? That is the way to get staff if you are


short of staff isn't it. Yes. But they have to be earned, so you need


a more productive workforce and may need more technology and investment


behind that workforce. A lot of big companies are generating huge


amounts of cash at the moment, maybe they ought to think about investment


in training and standards for their staff where they are not doing


enough and putting enough machine and computer behind them. All right.


Ukip donor Aaron Banks has told the party's leader Paul Nuttall


he wants to be party chairman to "sort out" the party


Today's question is, in his interview with


the Sunday Express what did Mr Banks say the party cannot


Or D - a poorly organised party in a brewery?


At the end of the show, Liz or John will give


The Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell has claimed that a soft coup has


been launched against Jeremy Corbyn by elements in the Labour Party.


In an article he wrote for the Labour Briefing website


before the Copeland by-election, but only published on-line last


night, Mr McDonnell says the plotters are distorting


the media coverage and using an exceptionally well-resourced dark


arts operation to destroy Jeremy Corbyn and all


His comments come after a weekend of public argument at the top


of Labour over how to respond to the by-election


Deputy Leader Tom Watson told the Scottish Labour Party conference


now is not the time for a leadership election, that issue


But he added that those at the top of the Labour Party "need


to have a long hard look at ourselves at what's not working.


The former acting Labour leader Harriet Harman told last night's


Westminster Hour that the thing about being leader is,


the buck stops with you Shadow Attorney-General Shami Chakrabati


Shadow Attorney-General Shami Chakrabati


I think sometimes we haven't had the fairest or most balanced


Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has asked for more time


to develop his policies, telling the Guardian newspaper that


policymaking is longer and slightly more cumbersome than calling


in a few experts into my office to tell me what the policies should be.


And speaking at Scottish Labour's spring conference in Perth


yesterday, Mr Corbyn said it's not the time throw in the towel.


We haven't done enough yet to rebuild trust with the people


who have been ripped off and sold out for decades and don't always


But now is not the time to retreat, to run away or to give up.


We've been joined by the shadow international trade


Welcome to the Daily Politics. Is there a soft coup under way against


Jeremy Corbyn, as John McDonnell alleges? Not as far as I'm aware,


Jo. So why has he said it? I think this was frustration. You will


recall that there were the interventions by, you know, the


Labour grandees just before the by-elections. I think he... Talking


about Tony Blair and Peter Mandelson? John obviously got on the


late-night typewriter, as it used to be, and out of frustration penned


this. It came out at that stage, I think everybody in the Parliamentary


Labour Party that I know from Liz right the way through to Jeremy is


saying, look, let's get together, let's show unity, but more


important, let's go out and talk to the public. Right. Let's listen to


them and talk to them. But you say he didn't really mean it and that


might have been credible if he'd written a tweet in frustration, as


you say. He has penned a fairly lengthy and extremely detailed


article which he would have had to have thought long and hard about, so


I ask you again, why does he say there is a soft coup under way


against Jeremy Corbyn? Look, I think he was very frustrated, I think he


has retracted it since then, saying this was something that was borne


out of frustration, that it was because... . So it's not true that


he believes there is a soft coup, he isn't saying it's been perpetrated


by an alliance between elements in the Labour Party and the Murdoch


media empire, both intent on destroying Jeremy Corbyn and all


that he stands for. He retracts that, does he? Well, look, I haven't


had the distinct pleasure of reading the Labour Briefing, I'm not a


normal reader of it and I haven't read the article, but I think this


was written for a section within the Labour Party and clearly it was


written out of frustration that John felt. He has retracted it, he's said


look, it was wrong to put that out and he wants now to focus on what I


think all of us in the PLP ought to be focussing on, and that is uniting


the Parliamentary Labour Party and listening to the country so we can


better do our job of opposing the Government. Do you think it was


responsible for John McDone to pen this article when he did and talk


about elements in the Labour Party? Coup perpetrators at this time round


pursuing a covert strategy? This is the first I've heard of it


and I've no idea what he's talking about. Nobody should be fighting


phantoms. I think that there is a desperate yearning in the country


for a strong and effective opposition. Absolutely. People are


crying out for a Labour Party that they can trust on the economy and


who has got a clear plan and alternative on jobs, wages and


public services. Are Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonell providing that?


That's what they need to do now. We all know the difficult situation


we're in. We need a clear strategy to change where we are going forward


because people do want to see a Labour Party that they can trust,


who shares their values and who they believe can set out a positive and


unpatriotic vision for Britain's future. How helpful is it, then, to


have these words printed by the Shadow Chancellor post the Copeland


and Stoke by-election, Copland which Labour lost after 80 years, where he


says the coup is not being waged upfront in public but strictly


behind-the-scenes? Having learnt the lesson of the last coup attempt at a


direct attack on Jeremy Goggin and his policy will ensue a backlash...


How helpful is that? He was the it is helpful but Casey has retracted


it. Is it helpful as Shadow Chancellor to make these sort of


accusations against people in his own party? What I really want to see


our Shadow Chancellor doing with a budget coming up next week is


showing our alternative, how we are going to spread jobs and growth at


every part of the country, how we are going to make sure the half of


households who face a decade of stagnating wages will be able to get


on in life, how we are going to transform our NHS and fight the Tory


cuts to school funding. That is what John, the shadow economy team and


every member of the PLP should be laser focused on over the coming


days. You are not part of a soft coup? S no. Do you know anyone who


is? Identity top is he making this up? I don't note it up is he deluded


to make up his accusations in such detail? You are trying to get me to


say something and I'm not going to. We have got to meet people's


desperate desire. What effect will this have on the Parliamentary


Labour Party when he talks about elements within Labour? Was he


talking about Clive Lewis, who has had to deny that there were websites


put up talking about his leadership bid very shortly after he joined the


Shadow Cabinet? I don't think so. I think is talking about people who


are no longer part of the Parliamentary Labour Party. I think


he was frustrated that the Labour grandees from yesteryear had come


out publicly before the by-election in a way which, actually, not only


to John but too many members of the PLP thought was unhelpful to have


done that immediately before Stoke and Copeland and I think what you've


got to understand is that John McDonell is somebody who has history


with those people and he probably conceived of it and perceived it as


an aggressive act to which he wanted to respond. More importantly, he now


thinks it is a mistake. Chitty come out in praise of the PLP to my? He


has already publicly said he retracted. I think Liz is absolutely


right. We as the Parliamentary Labour Party need to focus not on


ourselves any more. We are double talking about ourselves. We want to


focus on the things that mattered to the public. Let's talk about those


because is Copeland a freak result as far as you're concerned? Many of


the Labour leadership team seem to imply that. Or has the party under


Jeremy Corbyn become more repugnant than a Tory government closing a


local maternity centre, as the head of Progress? I don't think it is a


freak. I hope it is a freak result but I don't think it is in anyway


something that has simply just happened by chance. This a long-term


process of those seats, that part of England, where we've seen more


automation of jobs, more insecurity in jobs, more zero hours contracts.


But this is a Labour heartland, as you know. Is this a failure of the


party, just not taking responsibility of its own failures?


There have been seven years of a Conservative and Coalition


government and austerity measures throughout, yet how do you explain


that Labour is still trailing 14 to 18 points in the polls? Gob of you


quite rightly say this is seven years of Conservative


administration. The Conservative administration has seen those wages


for those people stagnate. And they are angry. But in areas like


Copeland and the North, Labour is often seen as the party of


administration, the party of government, because it has been an


local government for so long and they have had a Labour MP for so


long. Many seats like that are associating the pain that they are


feeling, the insecurity that they are feeling, with the party. They


blame Labour and not the Government? Exactly. What we need to be doing is


coming up with not just saying it is all the government's fault, we need


to be coming up with the answer is that they believe are credible.


Clearly they don't believe you will come up with the answers or they


would be voting for you. Jeremy Corbyn says you need more time to


develop policies. Is he developing the right sort of policies? Are they


going the right direction? Sometimes I think we in the Labour Party love


lots of policy detailed. Don't get me wrong, unless you've got


something clear, simple and credible, people won't back you but


I think it is more about whether people believe we stand for them,


whether we share their values about work, responsibility, about


fairness, about paying in before you get out, about decent support, great


schools and how we are going to run the economy in a way that is fair


and makes sure everybody sees their benefits of growth. And Labour is


not doing that? From my conversations with people, they


don't believe we are a strong and effective opposition and they are


not convinced they can trust us on the economy and on security. Do you


think Jeremy Corbyn should be given more time to do that? Do you think


it will come to a state of play where people will trust Labour on


those issues? I think he will be given more time and the


responsibility on all of us is... What's happening at the moment isn't


working. We are not doing anywhere near well enough in the polls on the


by-election results were catastrophic. Something has to


change and I think that is showing people, what is Labour for? How will


we back people's aspirations for themselves and their families and


deliver great jobs and decent public services? Unless they trust us on


that and believe we are a proud unpatriotic party that stands up for


Britain at home and abroad, they would support us. -- proud and


patriotically atop do you agree with Harriet Harman, who said the buck


stops with Jeremy Corbyn was I think the buck stops with all of us who


are in leadership positions in the PLP. No Labour MP should think, it


is the leadership of the Shadow Cabinet. We are, all of us, the


leaders of the Labour movement, in particular the leaders in our own


constituencies and areas. We have to show the leadership and unless we


all do that, I don't think there is any point in blaming one or two


individuals at the top. It is our responsibility. Unity is strength is


a mantra which has to cut both ways. Thank you.


The Government is facing criticism today from all quarters over plans


announced last week to make changes to who qualifies for a benefit


Personal Independence Payments, or PIPs, are weekly payments that go


to people with a disability or a long-term health condition.


The Government is rolling out PIPs to replace a former payment known


The Government was required to widen the eligibility


criteria around PIPs, to include more people


with psychological problems, after two tribunal rulings.


But ministers say that doing so would cost the taxpayer


So instead they're legislating to change the rules around PIPs.


Ministers say that there will still be a strong safety


net for disabled people after the changes.


George Freeman, the Conservative MP and head of Theresa May's policy


unit, got into hot water on this issue yesterday.


In a BBC interview he said that money should go


to "really disabled people", not those "taking pills at home,


Those comments were condemned by the Labour Party.


John McDonnell said they were "an insult


And the shadow minister Louise Haigh accused the Conservatives


of being "in the gutter trying to shame those in desperate need".


But George Freeman hit back at those critics.


He said he had suffered from mental health problems in the past


and didn't "need any lectures on the damage anxiety does".


And he's also said this morning that he "regrets" it if his comments


Let's get the latest on this now from our assistant political


editor Norman Smith, who joins us from Central Lobby.


So, an apology of sorts from George Freeman because of all the flak that


he and the Government have received over his comments. Yeah, he says he


hugely regrets any offence caused. In a way, Mr Freeman, it seems to


me, almost by the by, and the government are in an almighty mess


regardless of his comments in part because disability benefits is one


of those issues where the Government has repeatedly come a cropper. You


think most recently of George Osborne's budget when he had to


backtrack on his plans for cutting PIPs and I think that began the


unravelling of the Cameron - Osborne government. They are in trouble


because of the way they have done this. They announced this on the day


of the Copeland and Stoke by-election. Whether by design or


default, that looks like they were trying to sneak it out when all of


us were looking elsewhere. And they're in trouble, out, because of


the way they've tried to do this, by amending regulations. What that


means is they are acutely vulnerable to the House of Lords putting down a


fatal motion and what that means is if the House of Lords voted against


these changes, they're dead, it is over, which would mean the


Government would have to introduce primary legislation to carry through


these changes and I was speaking to one former Cabinet minister who said


to me, there is no way of this parliament approving any legislation


on benefits. So the stakes really are hugely high for the Government.


There has been criticism from all quarters, including Tory MPs. Will


that put enough pressure on perhaps them deciding to widen the


eligibility in the way that they've been told to do by the tribunal? I


think this is a moving picture in the sense that as of now, they're


saying this costs far too much money, ?3.7 billion, which is an


upward ratchet, if you are going to give PIPs to people suffering from


dementia and other mental illnesses, it has gone to go up and up, and


disability has been going up and up for decades so they don't want to do


that. Then again, if you're going to lose anyway, and I think there is a


real chance they will lose in the Lords, in part because peers, if


they have to cave in over Brexit, will want to show they're still


tough and independent and willing to stand up to the Government, they


choose to put down a marker on this. If you are going to lose anyway,


better to concede in the budget and lose in the Lords and have to pay up


the cash anyway. Should the Government widely eligibility, as


they've been instructed to, by the tribunal rulings that they should,


in the future, include people with mental illnesses? I'd want to see


the detail and I think the Government accepts people with


mental illnesses often have a very serious condition and we need to


help them. They haven't accepted it in terms of letting them have money


through PIPs. I think they have. The issue is which group of


circumstances qualified. I don't think they're saying that we don't


want anybody with mental health illnesses qualifying. One of the


reforms announced was to have people with mental conditions equally


eligible to those with physical conditions. I've got an assurance


from ministers that nobody who has received a PIPs payment from the DWP


so far will lose it or have it cut. These are about future payments. It


is important to tell your audience out there that nobody who has


approved payment is going to get it cut and I certainly wouldn't be


voting for cutting existing payments. The issue is whether we


widen the criteria, compared with those which the government thought


it had put in. I would like to see the details and I'm sure my


colleagues were. But they are spending 50 billion a year and we


need to be generous to those with serious disability, weather and


mental or physical condition, and let's see what they come up with by


way of a specific proposition. They just feel it is going to wide.


Wasn't acceptable for George Freeman to say it shouldn't go to people


taking pills that time who suffer from anxiety? As I understand it,


George has said he didn't mean any harm by that. He didn't mean any


harm but he didn't retract what he said. You must ask him. They were


not my words. But I'm asking you for your reaction to those words. Do you


think that is acceptable by someone who was the head of policy unit at


Number Ten to say money should go to really disabled people, not those


taking pills that I'm? They are not my words and I don't wish to repeat


it and he must explain that. Liz Campbell, you are shaking your head.


I mean, the polite way to put it is that George Freeman's comments were


ill-advised and ill informed. I have looked at the detail of this and the


people who the tribunal are saying should get a PIP are people with


dementia, schizophrenia, epilepsy, learning disabilities. And instead


of ignoring the very serious criticisms of PIP that the tribunal


is have made, the Government should be listening. But the whole PIP


system is a mess. I have had a constituent who was diagnosed with


terminal cancer. He had to wait eight months before he got anything.


He was told at that stage he would not get extra help for daily living,


then he had a stroke. As circumstances change, they


reassessed and got rid of his enhanced mobility component. I have


been fighting this for a year. That was presumably an error. This


happens time and time again. But this is about eligibility. There are


mistakes that me but let's be clear, this is about the criteria that will


be used for future claimants. At the moment, nobody will lose PIP money,


as it stands. This is about the Government being asked to widen the


eligibility rules to include people with the sorts of conditions you're


talking about, rightly or wrongly. Do you think they should widen it?


Nell to pen this article when he did and talk about elements in the


Labour Party? Coup perpetrators at this time round pursuing a covert


strategy? Yes, I do. But my point is wider, the PIP system isn't working,


the Government needs to have a fundamental review of that as well


as accept the tribunal courts rulings about extending eligibility.


You would extend the money then by ?3.7? Yes. Where would you find the


money? The Government has a huge budget that it can look at. There


are all sorts of different decisions they could make, I think this is


just and fair and right and they should do it. The Tory MP has said


she'd find the money come what may. Isn't there a level of hypocrisy


John Redwood when the Government and Theresa May herself say there should


be parity of esteem between physical and mental illnesses and then the


Government sneaks out, which is how it will appear, to the public and to


the Houses of Parliament on the day after the by-election, the fact that


they are going to change the rules so they don't have to widen the


eligibility? I think the Government will say that they are trying to


keep the rules as they intended them to be and as they thought they were


being applied. There is now the issue posed by the court - should we


be more generous and I'm open-minded, I would want to see how


generous, what it would cost and what cases it would cover.


Individual cases may have been wrongly judged and we all feel very


sad about that and that's about competence, it's not about the


rules, and then there's this separate issue about the rules. I


didn't come into politics to be unkind to the disabled and I'll want


to be persuaded by the Government that this change... Does the


Government look like it's being unkind with the changes? That's


where I would want the see the detail but having listened to them


today before doing this programme, that is not their intention. Their


intention is to have more generous benefits for those who're disabled


and the PIP system now is better than the previous system was. Liz


Kendal, you have said you would want to find the extra money. Who would


do that? Government could make huge numbers of different decisions...


Sure but there would be a choice here? May I say the Government's


taken a choice to cut inheritance tax for the very wealthy. What is at


the heart of the tribunal's decision which the Government hasn't grasped


is that physical and mental disabilities are not two separate


things, you need to look at the two together. Unless the Government


grasps that, it's not going to get the support that people rightly


need. As you understand it, John Redwood, what is PIP for, what is


the allowance actually supposed to do for people who're disabled? Well,


it's to pay for the extra costs that the disability creates that they can


have a more normal life like the rest of us but they need extra


support. Daily living and mobility and the tribunal made decisions


about both the issues. For people with schizophrenia and severe


depression. What will the money do? Give them the enhanced mobility


component which may include support for somebody to help them go out and


standard daily living, people need to medicate at home or monitor their


health at home say for instance with diabetes, people need support with


that. It's simple if you understand the reality of what it's like having


a physical, mental or learning disability. You need extra support


to live with that condition at home and to get out and about. That's


what the court's said. Do you think this is going to be difficult to


actually introduce because of what Norman Smith said, that if they are


going to introduce change rather than primary legislation, it could


be guillotined in the Lord's? I think they've got to have a package


which enough people think is fair and reasonable and these are


difficult judgments. It isn't you've got one party that doesn't want to


pay money to the disabled and others do. Liz Kendall would clearly pay


that money? That's my view. We all agree we want to be sensibly


generous to disabled people who have serious problems and compensate them


to the extent that money can. But there Haas to be a limit, you have


to be able to say, you qualify for the lower rate, so we are arguing


about the marginal cases at the edges of the current PIP


allocations. I'm sure a lot of fair minded people in the Lords and


Commons will want to look at what the Government has to say and say


yes, that's a sensible view or it's too tough and should be looser.


The imposition of a sugar tax on some soft drinks will move


a little closer in next week's budget, when the Treasury


announces how much the rate of the levy will be.


Celebrities like Jamie Oliver will be happy -


they've been campaigning for action against childhood obesity such


But for Dia Chakravarti of the TaxPayers' Alliance,


the proposals are regressive and don't actually make any sense.


In just over a week's time, the Chancellor,


in his budget statement, will tell us exactly how much


tax he will be slapping onto some sugary drinks.


A great win for the nanny state champions but the rest of us?


For a start, this tax will hit the poorest families hardest.


The so-called consumption taxes, like this one and ones on,


say, tobacco or alcohol, hit poorer families harder


because they pay a greater portion of their income in these taxes.


Hardly a recipe to help hard-pressed families.


What makes the plans even worse is that evidence suggests


So, while the consumption of drinks like these might go down,


these drinks are exempt from the scheme even though


People will just get their sugar fix from somewhere else.


There's plenty of evidence from abroad that it doesn't work.


They introduced a tax on sugary drinks in Mexico


not that long ago and, yes, the consumption of these drinks


did go down and the number of calories also went down -


People simply got their calories another way.


You can potentially tax people away from cigarettes


because the alternatives to them, like e-cigarettes or nicotine


patches, are actually healthier than tobacco,


but that's not necessarily the case for the alternatives


A study in America found that a similar tax resulted in a rise


in the sales of beer - hardly the alternative we're after.


And even if it did work, is it really necessary?


There is plenty of evidence to suggest that obesity has actually


peaked and it is public information campaigns that actually are more


effective in bringing about a real change in people's lifestyles.


This is just an ill-considered way for the Treasury


to raise some money, but hurting the poorest


So, while our politicians, in their smugness, can pick up one


of these sugary drinks on their way to more nannying, tax-free,


anyone buying these sugary drinks will be penalised.


A lot of drinks manufacturers have already lowered the amount of sugar


in their drinks to avoid higher taxes so in effect the levy has


worked. This has been happening for a long time so by DEFRA's own


figures, sugar consumption peaked around the 70s and since then we


consume about 20% less sugar, since 1992, we consume 22% less sugar so


that's been happening for quite some time. We can't say it's happening


because of this. Is it necessary to have a sugar tax? Yes, I would like


to see stronger restrictions to advertising, a public health


advertising campaign and more investment in things like child


support. Look, the reason we have to do this is obesity related illnesses


are costing the NHS ?6 billion a year and obesity is a huge problem.


This isn't a silver bullet but I think as part of a measure of things


it could make a real difference in bringing obesity levels down. As the


Taxpayers' Alliance, surely you would be happy at any move reducing


costs for the NHS and obesity Kay cording to public health England


costs the Government billions? If it worked there would be a good


argument for it. What is your evidence that it doesn't work?


People who are bringing this in think it wouldn't work. In the words


of one of the most vocal advocates of it, it's just a symbolic slap on


people's lifestyle. We know it's not going to work because the


Government's already spent the ?520 million it wishes to raise from it


because we know that people's lifestyle doesn't change that way.


The alternatives here are not necessarily healthier, as is the


case with say alcohol for example and tobacco. The alternatives may


well be healthier, that's not necessarily the kiss here. Although


we have seen a massive drop in the number of people who smoke. If you


look at the figures in Mexico which you cited, there is a 5.5% drop in


the first year, 9.7% drop in the second year and actually, from what


I've read, the health impact is not yet known but that severe drop in


consumption must be a good thing? It would, but again it doesn't work to


the extent that we wish it to work. Another example would be the fat tax


in Denmark which they spent about 200 million Kroner in bringing it


in, it simply didn't work. 15 months later, they completely scrapped it.


They found that people had gone into neighbouring countries. I don't


think it's a silver bullet but it's part of what we have to do. People


like your good severals are always against any good intervention by the


state. My preference is always to limit sugar, fat and salt in food.


If you want to sprinkle more shuck a ah on your Frosties, fine but what


is the alternative? Public health campaigns which have worked. The


money's been cut from quite a few public health campaign budgets. This


is the point, if sugar consumption peaked in the 70s, we have been


doing something right. Our sugar intakes are rampant. This is an


important point here Jo, the politicians with the greatest


respect to the both of you, get seduced by the idea of being seen to


do something. Let's... John Redwood...


ALL SPEAK AT ONCE. The evidence is though that the


poorest families are going to get hit the hardest. Reseduced by the


pressure lobby campaigns on this issue of putting a tax on sugary


items like fizzy drinks? We have heard two very powerful advocates


today and there's good in both and I think it's absolutely right, we have


got a major obesity problem and diabetes problem and anything to


highlight that will help to deal with it. Will it work? It's quite


right that before the Government takes action, it's got to make sure


there is evidence to say this will have the desired impact. What it's


clearly doing is creating the public conversation. I think you agree with


me that that's probably even more important to have the public


conversation so people understand they're damaging their own health if


they go to extremes. The evidence is stark, you got it from health


professionals and also celebrities and Cancer Research saying what the


numbers are of those who could avoid getting diabetes. Would you support


this being broadened further to include other items with high levels


of sugar? There is some impact. I respect expertise but there are an


awful lot of the spot forecasts as we have seen with Treasury and Bank


of England and IMF forecasts that are wrong and you have to be


critical about what they do when trying to apply knowledge. This may


be another case where it might be unlikely that they have the exact


number right. Milk shakes, high sugar coffees and other drinks are


exempt? That is a proob. One other big issue is how much sugar is in


anything, a lot of it is hidden -- that is a problem. Unless you obsess


about the nutritional information. I would like to see a simpler way of


labelling food. You are talking about fruit juices as well. How many


things are going to tax. Jamie Oliver said it was a symbolic slap.


To people like Jamie Oliver, that bit of extra money paid in tax


doesn't really count but it does to many poor families and that's the


issue here, I can't believe the politicians aren't hearing this. Are


you proud that it's a Conservative Government bringing this in? I'm


proud that they are looking at the problem but I find in the


supermarket I value the extra information but it makes it a


long-winded task trying to buy things because it's not presented in


a similar way on each packet and there are so many things that


experts say are damaging to us, it's tempting to say I'm in a hurry, I'm


going to just buy this. If the extra tax goes on something that's really


important, I think that would make a massive difference. Sports for


example. We have make sure the extra tax, the revenue is tied with


getting kids active and moving again. It can't possibly do both,


can't raise the revenue and have an impact. It could. Greater proportion


of the poorest families money in tax, that's all it's going to do.


Let's take a look at the main political events expected this week.


This afternoon, members of the House of Lords


continue their consideration of the Article 50 Bill,


which paves the way for Theresa May to kick off Brexit negotiations.


Votes on amendments are expected on Wednesday.


This evening, former Conservative prime minister John Major


makes his first public statement since the referendum


last summer in a speech billed as being about "the realities that


Britain and Europe face in the future".


On Tuesday, the British Chambers of Commerce


John McDonnell and George Osborne will be there.


Wednesday, as ever, brings Prime Minister's Questions.


Watch it live here on the Daily Politics.


Thursday is polling day in Northern Ireland


after a scandal brought down the last government there.


And on Friday, we turn to Scotland, where the Scottish Conservatives


And to talk about all that, we're joined


by Kate Devlin from the Herald and Harry Cole from the Sun.


Welcome to both of you. Sorry about your umbrellas and being outside.


Hope it's not freezing! Harry Cole, what about the Lords and the


amendments that they are going to be looking at? Do you think those are


going to pass in terms of Article 50 changes? I expect they probably


will. The Labour and Lib Dem peers, with the help of people like Lord


Heseltine, are increasingly confident that they have the numbers


to attach a fuel amendments back and send the bill back to the Commons


but the Home Secretary let the cat out of the bag and confirmed


yesterday live on TV, it is not going to make the slightest bit of


difference and it is very unlikely the Prime Minister will accept these


amendments. I don't think there's a huge appetite for an extended ping


pong, as they call it, so I think we will see the Lords their point, add


an amendment, whether the government accepted or not is up to the


government, but I don't think it will drag on in quite the epic


battle song would like to see to it there is more Brexit news. Are we


likely to see a Tony Blair style intervention from John Major or


something less controversial? I think probably a bit more supported


it up they are speaking to different audiences. Tony Blair was speaking


to primarily Labour and Lib Dem voters who did want Brexit and voted


against it it up John Major argued very, very strongly against Brexit


but he knows as a former Conservative Prime Minister, he will


be speaking mainly to Tory voters who overwhelmingly backed leaving


the European Union. It will be a slightly more subtle argument trying


to set a bit of a pass for the kind of Brexit that the pro-European


Conservatives want to see. Do you think, or how much, do you think it


is going to anger Brexiteers in the Conservative Party? Brexiteers in


the Conservative Party ten to get angry at the drop of a hat. We've


had one Tory MP declare that Heseltine should be fired from his


minor role advising the government on business strategy. Brexiteers are


going to get angry regardless of how sensible their case is and that's


been the case for many years and one person who knows how angry the Tory


party get on Europe is John Major. Yes, he has a bit of experience in


that regard! When a former Prime Minister speak... John Major really


pixies moments and he will be heard with a dignity. -- picks his


moments. Is he howling at the moon? I think he probably is. He said the


case for a second referendum is very credible. I don't think that will


happen. What do you think the atmosphere will be like at the


Parliamentary Labour Party meeting tonight? The first after the


by-elections? We are not expecting Jeremy Corbyn to be there and even


if he was, it wouldn't be the kind of bloodbath I think you would


expect. Lots of Labour MPs really now believe that what they have to


do is kind of quietly oppose the leadership and not cause these big,


massive rows between the PLP and Jeremy Corbyn that you've seen in


recent months. One of them said to me today, when somebody is failing


this badly you just let him get on with it. I can hear the rain coming


down and you are probably drowning out their! Sorry about this. Harry


Cole, what do you think it is going to be like tonight? Cake is right


that everyone has been told not to mention leadership elections.


Absolutely. They call it the Gareth strategy because one of Jeremy


Corbyn's aids in a candid moment in a documentary, called Gareth, said


that if any of his enemies want to fail, they should just keep quiet


and let him do it himself. There are some die-hard Corbyn critics like


John Woodcock who is in a neighbouring seat to Copeland, who


is very angry and worried about his own future prospects but we have


seen a concerted efforts to keep a lid on it. It is so the core


blisters can't turn around and say, it is just the evil, right wing PLP


unsettling Jeremy. It will show it is the incompetence of their own


leadership. Today in another example, we've had Shadow Chancellor


John McDonell who yesterday called for unity, saying everybody should


get behind the leader, and then last night and article was published


accusing Labour of being in cahoots with the media for a soft coup. I


think the Parliamentary Labour Party should sit back and watch the chaos.


We've heard from Barry Gardiner that he has retracted that article. That


makes everything all right! Just to inform you. Many people including


myself will have woken up to the sad news that Gerald Kaufmann has died


aged 86. Have you managed to speak to MPs at all today? They will be


coming back to their constituencies -- from their constituencies, and


Ken Clarke will take his place of the longest serving father of the


House. One of the things MPs are paying tribute to is the wit of


Gerald Kaufmann. Something that in more modern times in the House of


Commons has appeared to be lacking. He really was one of those MPs who


showed how much you can achieve in politics by a sense of humour. Thank


you very much. To rush inside! Gerald Kaufman, because obviously


you knew him. Yes. It was very sad news. He was very waspish and witty


but he was also, in person, very kind and always very willing to give


advice and you learn a lot from him over his years of experience. It was


always very measured and balanced but as that reporter said, he was


very waspish and witty and always a joy to listen to. I felt very sad


about that this morning. Quite a colourful character in the House,


not just in the way he dressed. Will you be listening with bated breath


to John Major's speech? I doubt it's. We spent the whole referendum


campaign with most of the big names, all the experts and institutions on


the wrong side, as far as I was concerned, and the fact that a few


of them haven't switched back doesn't surprise me and I doubt if


there will be new arguments. I think the Government is doing a very good


job on Brexit, we need to get across our message that we want to be


friends with everyone on the continent and trade with them and


have all sorts of collaborations with them but Leave does mean no


European court, no budget contributions, no open borders that


we don't control. I think what will be interesting is that there are


many people who supported Remain who now want to get onto, what does a


good Brexit look like for jobs growth, workers' rights and


environmental standards? My hunch, although I don't know, is that that


is what he will focus on - how do we get the best? Because there are very


different views and options for what kind of Brexit there is. Not


stopping Brexit? There isn't just one option. I know you've got an


option you want but there isn't just one option. I think what John Major


and others who love the EU and these kinds of institutions could do for


us as a country is to direct their comments to the European Union


because, in practice, whether we have to impose minimum tariffs or we


go tariff free will be a call that they make. We would like to be


tariff free. But there might be some momentum with Tony Blair... Can you


just listen to me for a minute? An issue where the Vote Leave and pain


felt very strongly. We want to assure everyone in Britain who has


come here illegally that they can stay to talk we have no wish to try


and get rid of them and I think it is probably illegal in international


law. Why can't be EU say the same thing? We must stand up for EU


citizens living on the continent. Mrs May is quite right about that.


John Major should address his remarks to the EU. You are meant to


be a Bastia decent values and you can't even say that you will secure


the rights of Britain's settled on the continent. Why couldn't she have


done it unilaterally? She has to represent Britain's interested top


the tone of both sides is important to adopt we are in a negotiation.


Why is it... Let Liz speak. Some of the things she has said have really


riled up Europe and vice versa and if we're going to get through this


and have a deal that works for Britain and the rest of the EU, the


is very important and I think that maybe what John Major tries to set.


And you can watch the entire Lords debate on Article 50 from 2.30 this


afternoon by pressing the Red Button on your TV remote.


While the showbiz world was glued to the Oscars last night,


in Central London, MPs flocked to another glitzy awards ceremony.


The annual British Kebab Awards took place in Westminster with dozens


of politicians in the audience and two on the judging panel.


Hopefully they didn't make any mistakes in this one.


MPs were keen to say they weren't supporting the event just


Really importantly, a lot of employment,


a lot of opportunity, and it's wonderful to actually


But, also, this helps fund a really important think tank,


the Centre For Turkish Studies, as well.


I think they're an amazingly important awards ceremony,


celebrating what is very good about Britain and that is


eating takeaway food and supporting the local economy.


This is the second time I've come to the awards and I'm


delighted that I was able to nominate my


I can't hear anything because everyone is looking at the food! Who


says MPs are not attracted by the offer of free food?


The Conservative MP Nadhim Zahawi, one of the judges at the awards


last night, is with us, as is Ibrahim Dogus


At least you didn't make any dreadful, jaw-dropping mistakes, I


assume! It ran like clockwork! Maybe you could give some advice to the


people who run the Oscars. Ibrahim Mihlib make that sort of the six.


Five years ago, he approached me with an idea. He is a brilliant


entrepreneur, restaurateur, sadly a member of the Labour Party but we


won't hold that against him! We are talking about the kebabs at this


point! He, five years ago, said, I've got this idea, the industry


employs about 20,000 people, ?2.8 billion. Lots of entrepreneurs,


manufacturers of products. We have the first one in Parliament,


standing room only, in a committee room. Now it is many people in the


Plaza hotel. Is going to continue? It will. This is just the fifth


year. Why are they so successful? Wires the British kebabs... This


poor man can't speak! Why are kebabs are so important? It has been


important UK for many years. The first kebab restaurant in Soho was


established in the 1940s so it is about 70 years now so it continues


to become a national dish in the UK and those enrolled in the business


are mainly small and medium enterprises. You are a fan of


kebabs, aren't you? I made it about last night and it is not winning any


awards but it did the job. John, any of these take your fancy? I'm sure


they will. No, I'm not sure they will. You might have to fight with


everybody else! What is it that pomegranate? It is a mixed salad,


which goes well with the mixed grill, Donner kebab. Oh, look,


fingers! Good for you! You are supposed to eat it with your


fingers. Are you feeling a bit peckish?


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


The question was, in his interview with


the Sunday Express what did Ukip donor Arron Banks compare


Or D - a poorly organised party in a brewery?


I have no idea. Whelk stall. You think it is the whelk stall? I think


it is deep. It is the jumble sale! At least you are concentrating!


Thanks to Liz, John and all my guests.


And to you for bringing in the kebabs. Well done for a fifth


successful event. At


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