03/03/2017 Daily Politics


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Theresa May tells Nicola Sturgeon, stop obsessing with independence


and focus on improving health and education in Scotland.


We'll hear from the Secretary of State for Scotland


and the SNP on the tussle over a second independence referendum.


Vote counting is underway in Northern Ireland in the snap


election called after the collapse of the power-sharing administration.


Plaid Cymru hold their spring conference in Newport,


with a call to "rebalance Wales" as we head for Brexit.


The party's leader, Leanne Wood, joins us live.


There are over a hundred of them in the UK government,


We've got the lowdown on what makes an effective government minister.


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


of the programme today, the Political Editor


of the Financial Times, George Parker, and Claire Fox


Let's kick off with the latest twist in the story of


Donald Trump's Attorney General, and conversations he had


with the Russian ambassador to Washington last year.


Yesterday Jeff Sessions announced he would excuse himself from an FBI


probe into alleged Russian meddling in the US election after mounting


pressure from all sides over allegations he'd lied on oath


about his contacts with Russian officials.


I have now decided to recuse myself from any existing or future


investigations of any matter relating in any way to the campaigns


Mr Sessions went on to describe the nature of his meeting


We talked a little bit about terrorism, as I recall.


And somehow the subject of the Ukraine came up.


I had had the Ukrainian ambassador in my office the day before


and to listen to him, Russia had done nothing


that was wrong in any area and everybody else was wrong


It got to be a little bit of a testy conversation at that point.


That is the US Attorney General under some pressure at the moment.


What exactly is wrong with him having met the Russian ambassador?


The context is everything, which is that it seems extraordinary that is


so much hysteria about the fact that somebody has met the Russian


ambassador and it would seem to be, that seems to be what diplomacy is


about but the context is a toxic, nasty, vicious atmosphere of almost


McCarthy read under the bed and the Russian sentiment. This time being


led by the left whereas McCarthy was on the right. And also it is not the


soviet Union, it is a different regime. But if you ever say you have


talked to anyone from Russia now in America, presumably you are a bad


guy will stop and it is not just that, the fact of the meeting but


the cover-up. It is always the cover-up that get you in American


politics and the fact that he appeared before Congress and said he


did not have them. He was asked a convoluted question, not a clear


question, in the cause of the campaign did you meet the Russian


ambassador? It was a more complicated... His answer was still


not convincing but it is open to nuance. He would have expected


questioned about his contact with the Russians and it would have


helped if he was frank and upfront about it but the question of perjury


which has a vision is a hard charge to make stick in America. -- which


has arisen. The cover-up is one thing but because the atmosphere is


so the pro in relation to this issue, the indication is that Putin


is pulling the strings of American politics which I think is the thing


which is dangerously conspiratorial and a very defensive way of trying


to explain why Tom got elected rather than the fact that he did


because he won the election -- white Trump got elected. Do you think it


is conspiratorial, you think the Russians were not hacking? I am sure


the Russians wanted to interfere in the political process but I think


that the reason why Donald Trump won is because, for example, Hillary


Clinton led the most uninspiring campaign. The issue is not if the


Russians were trying to interfere in the campaign, the intelligence


agencies are sure that they were, the toxic issue is if the


Republicans were complicit in this attempt to interfere. That is why


the Attorney General's, to put it lightly, nuanced answer to Alf


Rankin's question is now such a big issue. That is the trouble, he has


already lost his national security adviser. And Toulouse two... And


this is the tip of the iceberg because reducing himself might draw


a line under this for now but Congress had got their teeth into it


-- and to lose two. He has rightly said and others have said, he was on


the armed services committee and members that meet ambassadors, that


is what they do. We have a former Republican congressman saying that,


Senator Claire McCaskill has tweeted as well and she said that she hadn't


and then it turned out she had met several times with Russian


ambassadors. If you watched the performance of the Attorney General,


all of it, I would suggest it does not engender confidence. If doesn't


but not because of the relationship with the Russians. But you wonder


why he is Attorney General. That is a different point. There might be


queries about the statesman-like, judicious choices of the Trump


administration and if you want to talk about that, it's fine but doing


it all through the prism of this Russian question... The only reason


I refer to that, there is this idea that is being put about that the


Russians have also altered the result of the Brexit vote and we are


all being brainwashed. That is a bit of a stretch. I'm concerned there is


a broader thing which would mean that if anybody said to you in a


position of authority in America, have you ever met a Russian


ambassador, that you go, no, possibly... That is not healthy. The


French political elite is in no doubt they are trying to implement


the French presidential election. There are stories on the website of


Mr Macron that it has been hacked 4000 times. What would you expect


the Russian intelligence services to be doing? If there is an American


election where one of the candidates is pro-Russian in the case of Trump,


of course you try to include it and the same with the French elections,


Fillon is pro Russian. It is not just a straightforward, we like the


Russians, it doesn't even have depth in relation to Trump's relationship


with it, there is a big admiration, critical of Nato. We have to move


on, Mr Trump has treated in favour of it as general, probably in favour


of the reasons you give. We will see if it helps.


announced plans to recruit new staff with a tap on the shoulder


to try to help them avoid a workforce dominated by white,


or d) The Department for Exiting the European Union?


Or the BBC?! I just add about myself!


At the end of the show Claire and George will about


So, the Prime Minister, Theresa May, was in Glasgow this morning,


telling the Scottish Conservatives' spring conference that the SNP


should stop obsessing with independence and concentrate


on improving Scotland's public services.


The PM's speech comes as the First Minister of Scotland,


Nicola Sturgeon, continues to suggest she will demand a second


Earlier this week, Nicola Sturgeon said a second referendum would be


a "legitimate" and "almost necessary" step, unless Scotland


is able to secure its own special relationship with the EU.


She added that it would be a "gross betrayal" if Theresa May does not


devolve powers over fishing and farming that will be


repatriated to the UK as part of the Brexit process.


And in a newspaper article, she said that if there is a second


independence referendum, it will be the result of "sheer


intransigence" on behalf of the Conservative government.


And it's not just pro-independence politicians.


Tony Blair said in a speech last month that the case for Scottish


independence is now "much more credible" after the Brexit vote.


But the Scottish Conservative leader, Ruth Davidson,


accused the SNP and Nicola Sturgeon of manufacturing a "synthetic


And in her speech this morning, Theresa May has hit out at the SNP


She also said that public services in Scotland are being "neglected"


by the SNP government, because of their "obsession with


Here's some of what the Prime Minister had to say.


As Britain leaves the European Union and we forge a new role


for ourselves in the world, the strength and stability


of our union will become ever more important.


We must take this opportunity to bring our United Kingdom


Because the union which we all care about is not simply


It is a union of people, affections and loyalties.


It is characterised by sharing together as a country


the challenges which we all face, and freely pooling the resources


The existence of the union rests on some simple


but powerful principles - solidarity, unity, family.


The Secretary of State for Scotland, David Mundell, joins


Nicola Sturgeon says that you are showing intransigence in the UK


Government's attitude towards Scotland's relationship with Europe.


I know you have talked a lot but what policy concessions made to the


Scottish Government? We have been very clear with the Scottish


Government that we take the document they produced seriously and that is


why we are engaged in such detailed discussions with them all stop but


the Prime Minister, for example, when she made her Lancaster House


speech, highlighted the fact that education and research was one of


the issues that became a priority in her speech because of


representations that had been made from Scotland. As you know, that is


a really important area here in Scotland. So we are listening, we


want to engage with the Scottish Government, we want them to work


with us so that we can get the best possible deal for Scotland and the


whole of the UK as we leave the EU. You say you are listening, that you


are engaged with the Scottish Government so that we ask again, in


this process, what concessions have you made to the Scottish Government


in policy terms? It is not a case of making concessions, it is a case of


understanding the very large areas of common ground we already have in


terms of workers' rights, in terms of security and criminal justice


issues, and looking at what the end point that both sides want rather


than focusing on the means. The Scottish Government wants to the


access to the European single market, we want easy access... They


want to remain members... Let me just ask again... You are dancing


around this, you have listened and listened but you can't give me one


example in which you have acted, one example which you have met a policy


position of the Scottish Government. I think I said in my opening


remarks, Andrew, that education and research and the importance to be


placed on that in the European negotiations with a direct result of


representations made from Scotland. I have also set out areas like


workers' rights and criminal Justice and security where we are in


absolute agreement with the position that the Scottish Government has. We


are also clear that we both want to see businesses from Scotland trading


in the European single market, we both want to see people still being


able to come to Scotland to take up job opportunities here. It is just


how you go about doing that that is the important thing. So you would


not have made education and research a major priority in the negotiations


it had not been the Scottish Government? What we have recognised


is that it's a priority and vital area here in Scotland. One of the


areas where representation, of course we didn't need the Scottish


Government... So it's not a concession... What we wanted to do


was to work with them to take on broad issues and concerned that they


have raised and that is what officials are in a very detailed


dialogue. But do we believe that Scotland should have a separate and


different arrangement? No, we have not been convinced of that. We are


still open to that argument but we don't see the issues around access


to the market or migration as being a particularly Scottish issues,


these are issues that affect the whole of the UK and we believe that


still working on a United Kingdom -based is it the best way forward.


So let me get this clear, as things stand at the moment, you are not


minded to look at the possibility of Scotland remaining a member of the


single market as the rest of the UK leaves? Is that correct?


I don't see a basis in which Scotland can remain a member but I


see a basis in which Scotland can achieve the sort of access


businesses in Scotland want to that single market. That is what I think


ourselves and the Scottish Government should focus on. The S NP


manifesto, which won them the Scottish Parliamentary elections,


says, should there be significant and material change in


circumstances, which of course, the EU referendum was, we have the right


to hold another referendum. She says it's a cast iron man date. Why is


she wrong? I have always said there could be another independence


referendum. The debate and the argument is, should there be another


independence referendum? The people of Scotland are quite clear at this


time they do not want another divisive referendum. We had one less


than three years ago. It had a decisive outcome. What we need to do


is seek independence taken off the table at this time as we go forward


in the Brexit negotiations and ensure we work together to get the


best possible deal for Scotland and the whole of the UK. If the Scottish


Government does call for another referendum, what will the


Westminster government say? We know what the process is for a


referendum. There would have to be the equivalent of the previous


Edinburgh Agreement. That is not on the table. What proposition is not


on the table? Another referendum. The proposition for a request for


another referendum. It could be by the end of this month. Nicola


Sturgeon says it is very likely, very, very likely. What if that


happens? She has not made a formal approach to the UK Government. If


she does, what with the attitude of the British Gutmann B? Our attitude


is very clear. We do not think there should be another referendum. --


government be. You would say to the Scottish Government, it could not


have a second referendum? That is not what I said. You are perfectly


aware of that. As I said in my earlier remarks, that could be


another referendum between do not believe there should be. We will


continue to make the case there should not be won and Nicola


Sturgeon should not bring forward a case for another referendum. Things


may be moving on on this. We will find out from Nicola Sturgeon later


this month. What I want to ask you is this... If Nicola Sturgeon says


we will have a second referendum, would the Westminster government be


prepared to allow that to happen before the Brexit negotiations have


concluded? We are going to continue focusing our argument in line with


what the people of Scotland want. That is the independence issue is


taken off the table and we are not subjected to a request for another


independence referendum. That is an interesting answer but it does not


relate to the question I asked. Let me try once again. With the


Westminster government contemplated Green to a second referendum before


the Brexit negotiations are concluded or would you tell the


Scottish Government they could not have one macro until Brexit was


concluded? We're in a position where there was a process for requesting


another independence referendum. That would be a matter for the


Scottish Government to determine whether they make that request. We


will continue as the Prime Minister has today to focus our efforts on


making the case there should not be such a request and there should not


be a second independence referendum. The people in Scotland are quite


clear, they do not want another referendum. Thank you very much for


joining us live from Glasgow. Let's get some reaction now from Angus


Robertson. I do not think he could hear the interview but let me go


straight into this. If the Scottish Government, the British government,


sorry, as was indicated, does not think that Scotland can remain a


member of the single market in the Brexit negotiations, does that


trigger a second referendum in your mind? Thank you very much for having


me on the programme. My reaction to the Prime Minister's beach is one of


disappointment. We are running at the time to get an agreement between


the gods -- Scottish Gutmann and the British government before Article 50


is triggered. Scotland voted to remain in the European Union and


they are well aware we have a government in Scotland elected with


more votes than the Labour Party. What is the answer? We have limited


time. You're asking me to get ahead of the triggering of Article 50. Be


in no doubt. If the UK Government does not negotiate with the UK


Government to try to protect the interests of Scotland and Europe,


the Scottish Government will have to look very seriously at using its


cast mandate it got in the Parliamentary elections to hold a


referendum to protect our place in Europe? The major issue is the


Scottish Government's request, demand, policy, that even if the


United Kingdom leads the single market, Scotland should remain a


member of the single market. All the mood music, you're based in


Westminster for a big chunk of the week, is the British government will


not agree to that. It is a key SNP demand. If they do not, does that


trigger a second referendum? You have been reporting on the Prime


Minister's beach was she was talking about how important the union was.


How important it is we respect different nations the UK. If she


does not give you the single market, will there be a second referendum?


If the Prime Minister is to be taken at her word, as a Democrat, surely


she will recognise that she has a problem given that Scotland has


voted to remain in European Union. We will respect the fact the rest of


the UK voted to leave. The Scottish Government has put forward a


compromise paper and the UK Government has come back with


absolutely nothing to deal with the challenge of how to protect


Scotland's plays in the single market. If there is no compromise,


will you call a second referendum? If the UK Gutmann cannot reach an


agreement to protect Scotland's interests, there will be another


referendum. The UK Government want Scotland to remain a member of the


single market, even if the United Kingdom is leaving the European


Union. What major EU figure agrees with your position? This is an issue


that needs to be negotiated between the member states. That would need


to be the UK Government and other partners we have not heard a single


member state of the European Union saying this is not possible. They


have not said it is impossible for Scotland. The Secretary of State


said if the UK leaves the single market, the whole UK will leave the


single market. There is only one negotiator. If the UK negotiates on


behalf of Scotland in Europe it is an outcome that can be pursued if


the UK leaves Scotland, that is true. You were saying leaves the


single market for the back is why we are trying to persuade the UK


Government to argue Scotland's case to protect interests in Europe. If


the UK Government says that Scotland is a partnership of equals who


respect one another, that is great. Do it. The people who are being


intransigent on this question are the UK Government. They have not


agreed to a single thing in the negotiations. I'm moving on now to


find out who supports the Scottish position within the EU. Has anybody


in the commission supported your position? Has anybody in the council


of ministers supported you? Nobody has said it is possible for Scotland


to remain within the single market. The head of the Spanish delegation


of MEPs in the majority EEP party has said it is not possible. He has


said it is not possible. Scotland, while part of the United Kingdom, is


to be the same as the UK. We are not going to accept Scotland in the


single market without the rest of the UK.


It is clear. Which head of state or government has said that? Not an


MEP. The Spanish Prime Minister has also made it clear he does not think


you should have a special single market status. Which government has


ruled out a possible at is gotten remaining in the single market? I


ask the questions. You said an MEP has said. The head of a Spanish


delegation of MEPs, the Spanish Secretary of State for the European


Union has said so, the Spanish Prime Minister has said if the United


Kingdom leads, Scotland leaves Square he has said that in the


context... Any number of quotes from the previous European president has


said... He is not that any more. You cannot name a single head of


government. You are the one with the policy. Tell me a single ally you


have in trying to get Scotland to remain a member of the single


market. Not a single government has said this is not possible to do.


That is why it is imperative on the UK Government to work with the


Scottish Gutmann to make our case in Europe. If they are not prepared to


do it, we will have to get on with it ourselves. What would you do, Mr


Robertson, if a referendum is called. All right, you can have the


second referendum but you cannot have it until the Brexit initiations


are concluded. I do not think that would be fair, would it question if


the intention is to try to find a way for Scotland to remain in the


single market before the UK finalises and leaves the EU, that


would obviously will allow Scotland's position of having


continuity in a European context. That would not be fair with what the


majority of people of Scotland have voted for. If it believes the UK is


a partnership of equals and we respect them, if that is true, the


UK Government will respect the cast-iron mandate the Scottish


Government has and respect the 62% vote in Scotland of remaining in a


European context, and will, as Democrats agree, as they did in the


run-up to the 2014 referendum, that it should take place on the mandate


that was approved by the Scottish parliament. Still a lot to go on


this story. Thank you for having me on. What do you make of all of this?


You can tell the British government does not want to have this


referendum and I'm not sure the -- the SNP are all that sure. Activists


want a referendum. They have cause for a second referendum and that is


Brexit. The circumstances for winning a referendum could become a


lot harder. When out of the European Union, Scotland may be forced to


adopt the euro. There could be an external border. They may have to


say at some stage they would accept the euro. Sweden still has not got


the euro and so on. There is a problem here for both the British


government, which does not want a second referendum, and the Scottish


Nationalists, who do. If the British government says, no... It will not


say you cannot have one but the Scottish people need to know what


Brexit looks like before they can make a choice of staying in the UK


or trying to get back into the EU. The danger is that Nicola Sturgeon


would then have a referendum in which it would take Scotland out of


the UK but could not guarantee it would go back into the EU. I thought


the argument, oh, no, that wouldn't be fair, we must have it before we


know the Brexit vote. What we would be discussing in the referendum


period would be the single market. This is hardly Braveheart. Suddenly


the whole issue around Scottish independence has become quite narrow


and technical and about the market in that way. I do not think that was


a very inspiring answer on his part stop Scotland want to go it alone,


which I completely disagree with. It is galling to keep hearing this


Scotland voted to remain. There is something disingenuous about that.


The UK had a referendum. On the figures, it is still less


numerically. It did vote differently. It voted differently in


the sense it was a different place but it is not a constitutional


mandate. We will move onto the SNP conference


on what the minister will say. The Scottish Conservatives aren't


the only party to be holding In Wales, Plaid Cymru members


are gathering in Newport to hear their leader's keynote


speech this afternoon. Like the Scottish Nationalists, you


also want Wales to remain in the single market as a member, not just


access. It looks like that ship has left the harbour and you will not


get that. You may be right, but that doesn't stop us advocating the best


interest of Wales and it is in our best interests, we firmly believe,


and the Welsh government agrees with us, for our relationship with the


single market to continue. There are 200,000 plus jobs reliant on our


relationship with the single market and that is why we are saying very


strongly that we should remain a member. And countries like Norway


are outside the EU and in the single market so it doesn't mean that we


cannot see through Brexit, but it is the way in which we see through it


and I am certainly determined to try to put the case for Wales as


strongly as I possibly can. I understand, but isn't your position


weaker than the Scottish Nationalists' because, unlike


Scotland, Wales did vote to leave the EU? You are right. It is more


difficult for us in Wales because of that but there are reasons for


people voting to leave the EU. I have been knocking on doors ahead of


the local elections where we expect to make some gains in May but people


on the doorsteps are talking about their concerns and they feel left


behind under the Labour government here. We have an imbalanced country,


and an equal country, where the capital, Cardiff, is over congested


in the city centre, and we want to see investment and prosperity


throughout the country and I don't think that is too much to ask. Let


them onto some of the issues you have been raising in the local


elections coming up in early May in Wales. You have talked about


rebalancing Wales, which would seem to mean moving to economic activity


and jobs away from Cardiff so how is that going down in Cardiff? Cardiff


is very important to us, of course, it is the capital city and we want


to see it thrive. But we want to see other parts of Wales thrive as well.


We have in the pipeline big Cardiff City deal which is excellent


investment for Cardiff and the surrounding areas. What would you


like to move away? We want to see the work start the furthest point


away from the city centre and work back in so that those places that


have been left behind for such a long time now feel some benefit from


the investment coming to Cardiff. One of your assembly colleagues said


it was shameful that was government based on new tax office near


Cardiff. Is that your attitude as well? The new Welsh revenue


authority will be based ten miles north of Cardiff and for that


community it is very good and other communities have lost out of course


but when I asked the First Minister about the availability of local


labour to fill those posts, he told me that we don't have the skills in


Wales to fill them from Wales and we will be looking to recruit expertise


from London. From the First Minister who is responsible for skills, I


think that sells a lot about their ambition for Wales, don't you? I


don't know, we're only talking about 40 jobs is hardly an existential


crisis. At the moment. It is 40 jobs at the moment but we are expecting


that to expand with time and of course, 40 jobs in a town like


Porthmadog or another rural town would have a much bigger impact than


a town close to Cardiff but the point is that jobs are coming from


London anyway and that is the problem. We will see. The


rebalancing, that would suggest you take something from one area and


give it to an area that doesn't have as much. I would say again, what do


you want to take from Cardiff to put elsewhere? I'm not about splitting


up and dividing communities and having different areas fighting


amongst each other for different developments. But in the future, in


future capital investment, when you have 21% of the population in the


north of Wales for example, the only see 17% of the capital investment


and that is what has got to change. You are pretty much in local


elections a distant second to Labour in terms of the number of


councillors you have, you don't have an overall control of a single


council in Wales. After these elections, will you? We are


currently leading four local authorities in Wales and we are


looking to increase the number of councillors after that election. It


is very difficult to say at this point because we don't know who else


will be elected and in all likelihood we will have to work with


others to take control of councils. But there are opportunities for us


in many places in these local elections and I'm looking forward to


maximising those opportunities. We will see how you do. Thank you for


joining us. Counting is under way


in Northern Ireland's assembly election


which was called after the power-sharing administration


fell apart following It's the second time voters


in Northern Ireland have gone to the polls to choose a government


in ten months. We'll get the latest


from Belfast in just a moment. First though, Ellie Price profiles


the new leader of Sinn Fein, Michelle O'Neill, who


could soon be running Northern Ireland in partnership


with her Unionist opponents. If anyone had ever said to me that,


at some stage in the future, you'll be leading Sinn Fein


in the North, I probably For me, being a Republican


is a way of life. It's truly the biggest honour


and privilege of my life. I feel an enormous responsibility


on my shoulders and while I don't underestimate my task,


given the changing political world, locally, nationally


and internationally, Martin McGuinness said


Michelle O'Neill's appointment was part of a generational change


within his party and, unlike her predecessor,


the 40-year-old has no past But that doesn't mean


she is immune from controversy. Speaking to the BBC


during the election campaign, Michelle O'Neill defended her


decision to speak at I attended the commemoration


of four young fellas who I knew and grew up with,


four young fellas who found themselves


in extraordinary circumstances. But they were also four young men


who were involved in an IRA attack And we'll always have a different


narrative on the past but that's where we need to get to in society,


where we actually understand So is Sinn Fein's first female


leader, who has already been a minister for agriculture


and for health, really In a sense she is a fresher,


maybe happier face of Sinn Fein that other people can


actually engage with. On the other hand, the guys in dark


suits are still around and the rest of the party hasn't quite changed


so she is sort of leading from the front but whether or not


she has the power... There will be a worry


that she is perhaps a puppet and she doesn't actually


have the authority that goes with her role and that she will


receive instructions and it may take time for her to kind


of get her elbows out and actually become the leader rather than just


the spokesperson at the front. Michelle O'Neill's leadership


will be tested from the outset. Her first challenge will be to find


some solution to the deadlock with the DUP that led


to the election in the first place. There is nothing like being thrown


in at the deep end. Let's get the latest from Belfast


now and speak to the BBC's political correspondent,


Enda McClafferty. He is at the count. We here at the


turnout has been relatively high, 60% compared to 55% last time. Does


that higher turnout did any particular group and advantage? It


does feel as if we have turned the clock back here in Northern Ireland


some ten or 15 years, looking at the level of interest in this particular


election this time round. In some constituencies, Michelle O'Neill for


example, the turnout is up 13 percentage point and the average is


ten percentage points. There are two factors for the botched energy


scheme which has brought us to this situation and triggered the


circumstances that led to the election. This is the first time


voters are getting a chance to have their say and give their verdict on


how everything has unravelled and how that botched energy scheme was


managed by our politicians. The second and most significant factor


is that this campaign was fought along tribal lines, very much the


two larger parties using fear tactics are people to get them out


and we know in the past in Northern Ireland, nothing motivate voters


more than the fear of the other side. It looks like those are the


buttons that were pushed and they have worked for the DUP and Sinn


Fein in terms of getting people out. We are waiting on the result, we can


see the people counting behind you but if the result, it may be


different but not materially different from the assembly that


went to the polls. Talk us through what happened next. When we know the


result, what happens next in Belfast? Before I do that, the


crucial factor here is that there are 18 fewer seats to go around in


this election so it means business about damage limitation for the


politicians, not about making gains but managing their losses because


they know at the other end of this that their parties are going to be


smaller in Stormont and they will not be able to wield as much power.


In terms of how they restore the institutions here, we have a


three-week period before we decide if we need another election or if we


have put... Another election?! That is the option available. If there is


no agreement after three weeks and no government in place and no thirst


or debit the first Mr, they can trigger another election. -- Deputy


First Minister. They might pass some emergency legislation to cut the


Stormont institutions into cold storage and bring back direct rule.


The parties know that the language they have been using was asked to


change radically in the three weeks after the election if they are to


find some kind of common ground and be able to come together and cobble


some kind of agreement to allow the institutions to be restored but we


are a long way off that and the indication seems to be that we are


heading for a long period of stalemate here after the election.


And part of the stalemate as I understand it is that Sinn Fein has


been saying that they want -- they won't work with Arlene Foster as


First Minister who was at the centre of the renewable energy scandal.


Will they stick to that now the election is out of the way? Is it


really a deal-breaker that they simply will not work with Arlene


Foster of the DUP? Sinn Fein have backed themselves into a corner on


that because they have been explicit in saying they will not work with


her while there is a cloud over her harassment in the botched energy


scheme. We know there is an enquiry to set up and look at that and Sinn


Fein seem to indicate that until that inquiry returns it findings and


there is a clean bill of health for Arlene Foster, they will not do


business with her. Although it has been suggested in the final weeks of


the election that there is some talk of a caretaker First Minister being


brought in to allow us to get over this difficult phase. One thing is


for sure, Sinn Fein will be in a difficult position because they have


to decide if they want Arlene Foster in charge or if they want the


Conservative government in Westminster in charge through direct


rule and that does not sit easily with their voters. You better tell


them not to be tabled away even after the count, they might need


them again! Talking is through what might happen. This is the issue of


what is on the British government's lap, which is Brexit, which is


enormous on its own, and now the possibility that some would say the


probability, of a second Scottish referendum which would be enormous


on its own. And a potential political crisis in Northern Ireland


continuing, coupled with the issue of how open will be with the Irish


Republic. These are three huge things to have on any government's


plate. And the Northern Ireland situation is vexing people in


government and in Brussels. It is one issue people have been unable to


resolve. I was speaking to a minister and asked if it had any


idea about the border. Trying to sort that out is a big problem and I


think we will end up with the reintroduction of direct rule. We


had that dilemma facing Sinn Fein, if they go in with the DUP or back


to direct rule and in some respects they could get more of what they


want by going back to direct rule because there is disagreement about


same-sex marriage with the DUP, the status of the Irish language and


there is a view that Sinn Fein could get more out of Westminster than out


of the DUP. The broader issue, does the Theresa May government have the


breadth and depth to deal with three major got additional issues at once?


There is a query on that and we should be wary of seeing it also


negatively -- major constitutional issues. No doubt that Brexit has


created this but in some ways it is the implosion of a political


alliances of old that were unravelling anyway both the innate


-- power-sharing has always been under the factory and has


consolidated sectarianism in some ways. Best unsatisfactory. There is


no identity politics thrown in and it is a bit gruesome. I don't think


direct rule would be the same as in the past even though it would be


feared by many in the nationalist community. There is a generational


thing. I have been to Derry and I know many people see Michelle


O'Neill in a different way. It was interesting in the package you


showed that somebody said that she is a puppet which is a bit


patronising. But a puppet of whom? She is her own woman as well. She


won the position but also, you can see they are tired with the old


parties, people want a new arrangement. And on your question


about if the government can handle several constitutional crises at the


same time, I have been asking that myself and I looked at how Theresa


May when the government which is a centralised operation and big


decisions have to go through the centre and so far has been fined


because they have dealt with Brexit but I have always wondered how they


will be able to cope in a centralised operation if you have to


or three big things happening at the same time.


Speaking of whether they are competent or not to handle the


issues... There are over a hundred of them,


and they're responsible for driving the machinery of Whitehall


to deliver the But Government ministers are not


like normal managers. They're hired and fired


at the discretion of So, what makes someone good


at being a minister? The Institute of Government has been


beavering away at this subject and this week produced a report,


including a handy six-point guide First on the list,


the IFG recommends having The former Conservative Climate


Change Minister, Greg Barker, told researchers, "you are there to drive


a political agenda". Chris Huhne, former Secretary of


State for Energy and Climate Change, recommends identifying a "very


limited number" of priorities - Even when limited information


is available, decisions must be made Fourth, they recommend encouraging


teamwork and being prepared Former Minister of State


for Pensions Steve Webb says Fifth, it is important to win public


support for your actions and be As Mark Prisk, former Minister


of State for Communities And last, but not least,


earn the respect of Parliament - That is the tips. Nicola Hughes is


the author of the report. Let me be unkind and say, you could file all


six of these points just under a file called the bleeding obvious. I


think one of the things is it is remarkable with ministers, they do


these incredibly difficult busy jobs. They are thrown straight into


them. You get a call from Number 10 and a car ride down to a Department


and then that is it. You are in charge of a big department.


Ministers do not have a lot of time to pause and think, how could I be


good at this job and what does it involve? One thing we are saying is


it is worth ministers listening to people who have done the job before,


to get some advice, think about what they will do. Are there any training


programmes for prospective ministers? Politicians are pretty


resistant to anything that looks like corporate H R. If we compare


that to CEOs of a big company. You would not expect a chief executive


in the corporate world not to do any training or induction. There are


ways that ministers can, if not to fall on HR training, at least take


some time out. That is one thing we do at the Institute, to think about


roles and learn how Whitehall works. If you were a backbench MP, we would


go, you have got ambitions. Damian Green, the Work and Pensions


Secretary, he said, ministers should be treated like company managers and


subjected to corporate appraisals and hired or fired according to


achievement levels. Doesn't that make the classic mistake to think of


a minister as a corporate chief executive? They may need executive


responsibilities... Competence. They may need to know how to run things


being the chief executive of the company is very different from being


a government minister. Absolutely. Ministers are pulled in all sorts of


different directions. To be a good minister you do not just have to be


a good policymaker and executive leader, you also have to be good on


the media and come on to programmes like this and not make gaffes. You


are still a politician when you are a minister. You still have your


constituency to think about and work political networks. You are held to


much more account than chief executives. Chief executive is of


companies hardly ever give interviews. I cannot remember the


last one was that they made do the odd business niche programme but


they are never subjected to the kind of interviewing that politicians


are. Some interesting interviews we have done have been business people


who have come into the Government as ministers. They said about the


pressure of the 24/7 operation and being in government is quite


overwhelming. What are you take of the IOT advice? Great anecdotes.


Well worth reading. I have read it. Thank you. What makes me nervous is


we are already dominated by technocratic elite in politics.


Anybody who is kind of suggesting that our corporate appraisals and


goals. If they have ever worked in the corporate world, they will know


what a load of smoke and mirrors that is in the corporate world. I


have a dread of well-trained, very smooth people who do not believe


anything when you say about a clear sense of purpose, knowing and


believing in your brief. Politically. The worst ministers are


the ones who think they do not want this job. There are a few where you


think, they did not want this job but they got it as the minister. You


want them to get into it but they also need a broader, political


vision. That cannot be trained into someone and is the problem is


slightly with the emphasis... I understand where you're coming from.


One of the things we tried to reflect in our work is, as I was


saying before, these are not managers elsewhere. The political


instincts is developed from opposition MPs and on campaign trail


without all very good skills. But you can learn about some of these.


If you are a minister you might be a really effective opposition MP, a


really effective campaigner. Going into a huge bummer when you are


overseeing big operations, huge amounts of people, it does help to


know how Whitehall works. Whatever we think about the


policies, Michael Gove and George Osborne, they all had a clear vision


and got on with it. I wonder how important the much fabled special at


Pfizer is to be able to deliver that political vision. They are much


criticised. -- special visions. Special advisers have a bit of a bad


reputation in the media. We'll think of The Thick Of It. There have been


incidents of bad behaviour by special advisers but the secretaries


of state we interviewed found special advisers as a helpful way of


getting political advice in these big department is full of civil


servants. It is an ear to the ground and away to stay connected to the


party. They can be challenged by ideas. Often when special advisers


are appointed, it is summer may have a good, trusting relationship with


and they can say, that is a terrible idea. Gerald Kaufman wrote a book


about how to be a good minister. How have things changed since the days


when he wrote that book? One thing is what you alluded to before. Media


scrutiny has always been part of the role. To say we have a 24/7 media


operation, a gaffe on telly or misplaced tweet could ruin a


ministerial career pretty quickly. Aren't the most successful ministers


those who have clear policy objectives and a clear road path to


achieving them, and they leave the management of the Department to the


civil service? That is not the job of the ministers. Civil servants are


paid to manage. It is a minister prospect job to determine the


policy. I remember Peter Walker, when he became the first Secretary


of State for the environment when he began every morning meeting his


political advisers. Civil servants were not allowed in. That is where


he established the political priorities and then expected the


civil servants to do that. Civil servants who are decisive and will


set out a vision, or make the decisions and the calls and the


civil servants will follow that. A minister who get involved in the


micromanagement of the executive side of the department is not


focusing on the right things. They are often not equipped to do it


either. Y. If you've been too busy


this week to stay up to speed with political


developments, stay tuned. We've got our handy Daily Politics


recap of the political A voice from the past


was worried about the future. A little more charm and a lot less


cheap rhetoric would do much to protect the interests


of the United Kingdom. Critics derided Sir John


Major as a bitter man. The Shadow Chancellor identified


a new form of insurrection, a soft coup, and said there was one


afoot to unseat Jeremy Corbyn. Nothing soft about the machinations


within Ukip as ex-leader Nigel Farage turned on the party's


only MP, Douglas Carswell. He has tried to undermine


everything we have stood Retail tycoon Sir Philip Green


is to spend ?363 million filling Good news for the pensioners


but will it be enough And the Lords inflicted their first


defeat on Government plans Ministers will resist the changes


when the bill ping-pongs We are now entering the famous


ping-pong period between the Lords and Commons over Article 50. Do you


think that because Labour's heart is not quite in it, there will only be


one round of ping-pong thing? I would suspect the Lords would amend


the bill to protect the rights were nationals and get a vote for


Parliament over EU negotiation stop it will go back to the House of


Lords and that will be it. That is why we have heard so John Major


speaking out, almost to despair at the lack of Parliamentary opposition


going on. On the issue of EU nationals, I agree with the Lords on


this but I do not think the Lords have any right to amend the bill. I


might agree with them back, who the hell are they? How many more people


are saying things like, who are the Lords? They are undemocratic. BBC


documentary was an eye opener. One of the good things is people are now


talking about democracy the whole time, partly because so many people


have been anti-democratic in response to the vote. I must


interrupt you. I must give you the answer to the quiz.


Which Government agency has announced plans


to recruit new staff with a tap on the shoulder -


to try to help them avoid a workforce dominated by white,


Thanks to Claire, George and all my guests.


I'll be back on Sunday at 11am on BBC One with the Sunday Politics.


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