07/03/2017 Daily Politics


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Hello and welcome to the Daily Politics.


Peers have started their last day of debate on the Brexit Bill.


Will they inflict another defeat on the Government, giving Parliament


a veto over the UK's final deal with the EU?


He's known by some as Box Office Phil.


So, can we expect a blockbuster, or a flop, from Chancellor Phillip


In Stormont, the parties are meeting to try to resolve their differences


and restore power-sharing in Northern Ireland.


We'll talk about the stumbling blocks with the DUP.


And why does the world's most famous bell have such an a-pealing sound?


We'll talk to the experts who've been trying to find out.


All that in the next hour, and I'm joined for all of it


by Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron.


His predecessor used to share power with the Conservatives,


but today he's just sharing the studio with me - sorry Tim.


That is probably better. I am sure it is.


William Hague has used his Telegraph column this morning to urge


Theresa May to call a snap election to try to boost the slender


Conservative majority in the Commons.


And a bigger majority would certainly be handy for the PM


because today the House of Lords could inflict a second defeat


on the Government over the Article 50 Bill that will trigger Brexit.


The amendment, which is designed to force Mrs May back


to the negotiating table if Parliament doesn't


like her eventual deal with the EU, would then have to be accepted


or rejected in the Commons next week.


Well, peers have begun debating in the last hour


And they started by discussing a liberal Democrat proposal. We are


discussing this for the second time, rather better crafted thanks to the


intervention of the noble lord. The Liberal Democrats do not like the


result of the referendum that took place last June. I don't dismiss the


patronising advice he gave to the Liberal Democrats, or to those


supporting this amendment. But, I do believe that the public needs to see


what is on offer. We have heard ger in the course of the bill, whatever


they voted for on 23rd of June last year, it was not to get poorer. I


cannot see that the Government in the end will be presented with a


deal which does not mean they will get poorer.


So that was the Lords a short while ago, and later today they'll


be voting on whether to give Parliament a veto on the


If the amendment is passed then it will be up to MPs to decide


whether to accept or reject it next week.


We're joined now by a Conservative MP who rebelled


on this issue when the Bill was first before the Commons -


Welcome to the Daily Politics. The Brexit bill will come back to the


Commons in a week. Will you support it then? We will need to see come


back -- what comes back and what the response from the Government will


be. There are to macro issues for me. The rights of the citizens and


whether we get a final deal. If many of us do not hear satisfactory


reassurances from the Government, I probably would be minded to back


them. Why think more of your colleagues will join you this time


around? On Euro citizens, definitely. It depends on how it is


packages and what assurances we get. I do not believe any of the most


die-hard remainers believes it is appropriate to thwart the referendum


result. Tampon -- Brexit will happen. Many of us are sympathetic


to that argument. Many of you believe there will be a meaningful


vote. What is your problem? The vote that came through the Has a few


weeks ago, we were promised it would be meaningful. As the debate


unfolded it appeared it would be almost a token gesture of a debate


and a final deal would already have been put to the EU. We need to see


it before it gets there and that will be the sticking point. Do you


think you were misled by the Government? I do not know about


being think it is a moving feast. It is about how strongly some of the


parliamentarians feel in our role. At the 11th hour, a few of us did


vote against it. I am hopeful they will understand that Parliament


should have a greater say. You say you represent a Remain constituency.


My constituency and I represent South Cambridgeshire, which is home


to some of the greatest scientific and academic brains and business


minds in the country. They have enjoyed their success because of


collaboration with the EU. They are worried about this, as am I. It is


important that we have confidence that the deal we have will not


damage those economies because we contribute to the UK economy. It is


not just about South Cambridgeshire, it is the role we play for the wider


UK economy. Is that indication that you have had that the Government


will give ground? Personally, to me, not at this stage. I have not heard


anything. Let's talk about another Parliamentary Bill, the children and


social work bill. You have an amendment down on that as well for


that this is following the decision made by government to close what has


been known as the Lord dubs child refugee scheme. What are you wanting


the Government to do? I want the Government to recognise their offers


of capacity. Some areas have significant fostering challenges.


Some areas like Kent and Croydon have taken the body and that have


come across from the continent. There are still local authorities


with their hands up saying they can take more. I want the Government to


promised to consult on a regular basis to those authorities would it


is a moving feast. This picture will change when offers of help, we


should do our best to match those with vulnerable children,


particularly and Europe, where they are struggling to cope. I think we


should offer those places. They said they were full and did not have the


capacity. Do you think the Government was misled? I think it


was poor admin. I do not think the consultation was done thoroughly


enough. When the Government consulted on the 20,000 refugees


from the Syrian region they use the communication lines of the LGA. They


did not do it this time. It was rushed. Some opportunities have been


missed. There will be some cross-party support. What about


Conservative MPs? Do you think up to 30 Conservative MPs would back you


on that amendment? There are ten who have physically put our names on the


amendment. When you add in those who voted Dubs and joined in a letter


for the Prime Minister recently or joined the backbench motion my name


was on a few weeks ago, we have remained strong about this. Local


authorities have said they could do more. Why should we, as a nation,


say no to them? About schools, there has been an announcement at ?320


million will be made available for new schools. We know the Prime


Minister is in favour of new grammar schools you have called this policy


is toxic. Do you still hold to that? If it is that on its own, I do not


think it works. Free schools have been known to work. We also need to


look at technical education. All the great pupils and teachers have been


pulled into the best schools and risk leaving anyone else behind


four. We need a balanced policy. Personally, Cambridge has been one


of the lowest funded authorities in the country for years. I think we


are at the bottom five now. It should be for the benefit of all


pupils rather than in selected areas? Without being cheeky, what do


you agree with your government on? I plate with the Government about 98%


of the time. It is just that all of these issues have come together at


once. Six of your Tory colleagues voted with you to defy the whip. The


thing that could go up to 20, as has been reported? I think it is


possible. I will be honest with you, I have been focusing on the Dubs


Amendment. I think that debate will pick up towards the end of the week


but I think it is possible. I'm joined now by the former


Secretary of State for work What do you say to Heidi Allen and


their six colleagues who have defied the whip again? -- her six


colleagues? The Government has made already a very big concession over


this. They explained at the time of the last debates they were prepared,


quite happily, to have this debate before. They had finalised it. On


the meaningful vote? It is whether you agree with it or do not agree


with it. I think this is the point about the mess with the particular


are going through now, it is the open-ended nature on whether or not


Parliament can go back and continue to find an agreement. Nothing will


give the European negotiators greater hope than actually they


would end up with a total chaotic end to this. It is not a meaningful


vote? If you do not agree with that, there is no point in the Government


trying to sign a particular agreement. That is the point. The


point is, for the most part, those that at this and the giveaway is the


debate going on right now, they do not see this as an end. In other


words: they would rather see a referendum of something else that


says we don't want to leave the European Union, let's have that


vote. He is talking about you, Tim Farron. What about the idea of


talking about the substantive, meaningful vote? It will allow


European leaders to say they know Parliament will reject a deal if it


is bad enough. We'll Theresa May a very bad deal. The vote at the end


of the process is important. If the vote is going it is a bad deal or a


no deal. It is playing Russian roulette with five chambers filled.


It is a nonsense. What is your talented? It is about the meaningful


vote in the end. Whilst I support their being a meaningful vote, and I


support that, if it is passed, then we as Liberal Democrats will support


that. The problem is, at the end of all of this there will be a deal of


one kind or another and none of us know what it looks like. In the end,


it will either be decided by politicians or decided by the


people. We think there is no arguing for it to be decided and stitched up


by the producers when it could be put to the people. What do you say


to that? To be fair to Tim, he wants a referendum. He has been open about


that. We can debate that. There has been an honest debate in the House


of Lords about the second referendum. I do not agree with it.


I do not think the majority will agree with it. The problem with this


amendment which is likely to be passed, the messy, what does


meaningful mean? It is hiding behind the reality. Ideally do not agree


with it and you want to test public opinion again, I do not agree with


air and I think they have voted. It is a kind of referendum by the back


door. Is that motivation by your Tory colleagues? I was particular


struck over the previous referendum last week and one of my conservative


colleagues tried to like in the position of the EU nationals to


Ugandan refugees. I thought was a bit insulting to Ugandan refugees


who are suffering tyranny and about to be executed and murdered, many of


them, that they would somehow, EU nationals, difficult as the subject


may be, actually associated with that, I thought it was ridiculous


and an amendment was nonsense. It is not an analogy I would have drawn. I


think it is a real issue for our standing across Europe that we have


not allowed those EU citizens who have raised their families, pay


taxes, worked in our NHS, the right to remain. We are not saying, do not


do so now. It is inhumane to have people who are our neighbours,


friends and fellow citizens in many ways, to keep them hanging on like


this. They are a bargaining chip. Otherwise people would say they


should be deported. I was in favour of giving EU nationals are right to


remain and setting a date for it. The difference and what has changed


is we are within weeks of triggering Article 50. Theresa May went over to


Europe that to months ago and said, why don't we kill this stone dead?


If you agree that for UK nationals and EU nationals can set a date and


that is that. Within weeks of Article 50, this amendment passed


last week only talks about a report coming back. The key thing is, get


Article 50 triggered. Theresa May has made it very clear that her


first priority is to settle citizens in the UK and citizens in the EU in


their respective locations with guaranteed rights. I think that can


be done in five minutes. Are you just being sore losers? It is


inhuman to treat European citizens in this way. That is something that


is in the hands of the European Union member states. They will make


those decisions. What we can effect is what we should be focusing on. If


you know my patch, it is not a terribly diverse part of the world.


I can tell you the Catholic primary School in Windermere, the heart of


the Lake District, the majority of young children, primary school age,


are from European and non-UK backgrounds. We have seen several


families leave already. It affects children as well as their parents


and our FAQs that as well. It is not just inhuman we are doing this to


other human beings that it is counter-productive to an economy


like ours in the Lake District. Are you being human? Families could be


left hanging. It could take a few years.


It's not the Government's intention in any shape or form to start


kicking people out, that's not going to happen. She has said, which is


logical and I have had plenty of British citizens living abroad


saying please don't abandon us, because the reality is, as we leave


we have to protect their rights and I don't think that this close to


Article 50 being triggered that we gain anything by a tokenistic


gesture that says we somehow place EU citizens above UK citizens when


it comes to negotiations. This can be settled immediately, if the


European Union really behaved rather better they would have been able to


settle this by now, it's a stroke of a pen, yes, here ale the date,


everybody can stay where they are. It's equally symbolic we choose not


to give EU citizens... We don't choose to do that. We choose to


look... Let Tim talk. You say it's tokenistic, you can say the same in


reverse. What you do symbolises who you are and what country you are.


It's dangerous if we are sending out a message to the countries in which


British people make their home, those UK citizens, that somehow the


reverse, those people from the EU in the UK, can be treated in this


appalling way. What does it say about our British citizens, we don't


really care much about you? You have a second rate value compared to EU


citizens? The point I am making is the UK citizens in the European


Union are more likely to be poorly treated because of the way we are


treating EU citizens in the UK. On this issue, on EU nationals and the


meaningful vote, do you see a standoff with the two Houses? No,


Labour has made it abundantly clear that should these be reversed,


they've been said they will whip the other way, in other words, their


view is we had a go, we didn't succeed, it will go through. I don't


think the Liberals will but they don't make up the majority. You


don't stand a chance of getting anywhere with this When he was


leader of the opposition the Conservatives tended to try and be


an opponent to the Labour Government. I think the real problem


you have, whether you voted for or against Brexit, you have a Labour


Party and a Conservative Party holding hands together off the hard


Brexit cliff-edge, there needs to be a decent moderate alternative to the


Tories t will have to be us. Is it right to use the unelected Lords


where you have many Lib Dem pierce to frustrate this You use the system


in front of you. We support a democratically elected House of


Lords and we are the only party who voted to do that in the last party,


we were frustrated by the Labour and Conservatives. You use the system


that you have got. It might be easier if you had a bigger majority


and the way to get a bigger majority, potentially, is if there


were an election as was suggested by William Hague, what do you think of


his proposal? I don't agree with William on this, I think that I


agree with Theresa May, I think that the British public would have a dim


view of us if, because there seems to be a short-term advantage, we


simply said, I tell you what, let's make the most of this that before we


would start. You see it as a short-term advantage? I think the


point is we were elected to govern. We have had this referendum. The


British people have a right to expect that we govern to get that


sorted, to break that in the middle and say let's have a hiatus for


weeks while we go to the polls, leave all of that hanging, I think


would be wrong. My sense is the temptation is there, but I think


this shows real leadership when you resist a temptation for short-term


advantage and say the interests of the country are that we govern


stably over the next years to get this sorted and then we go to the


polls to say we have done it, what's your view? You say it's a temptation


and the polls are good for the Conservatives at the moment, the


timing could be good. If things get tough other the great repeal bill


will you be thinking we should have called the election? There are


different things, if you hit a brick wall during the course of the great


reform act, the repeal bill, which is to repeal the 1972 European


communities act, and the Lords was intranche yent over that, that's a


different set of examples, then if you get to the point you are trueing


to get something through legitimately that's when you have


the right to say we can't continue to govern, it's time for a mandate.


Until that arrives our job is to govern, I think. A bigger majority


if the official opposition supports you in everything. Let's leave it


there. The question for today


is about a plan by shadow chancellor John McDonnell to foster


Labour Party unity. According to his team he's planning


to launch an 'offensive' to win over colleagues -


but what type of offensive is it? Is it a) A charm offensive


b) A tea offensive c) A military offensive


or d) An offensive smell At the end of the show Tim will give


us the correct answer. Now, tomorrow sees the first Budget


since Theresa May entered Number 10, it will also be the first Budget


for Chancellor Philip Hammond. His colleagues call him


Box Office Phil, somewhat But tomorrow at least


he'll get star billing. So, as the house lights go down


and the opening music starts up, can we expect a mega-budget blockbuster?


There will be new cash Controversially, these


schools could be grammars, and there will also be more money


to rebuild and refurbish Over a billion will be pledged


to ease the pressure on social care and there will be an announcement


of a review into its funding. Businesses could get more help


with up to ?300 million extra to help them deal with revalued


business rates and the Chancellor will also pledge half a billion


to shake up vocational training, including the introduction


of a new T-level qualification. There could also be a few


scary scenes for some - the national insurance rate


for self-employed workers is expected to rise from 9% to 12% -


bringing it into line with the rate employees pay and we could also see


an increase in alcohol duties. Both Labour and the Lib Dems seem


to think there should have Labour are demanding between eight


and 12 billion extra to help fund the NHS and social care


and the Liberal Democrats have called for an extra four billion


to fund health and social care. Speaking last night,


the Prime Minister said the new schools money was aimed


at increasing the opportunity Crucially, what we're announcing


as half a billion pounds of investment in schools,


320 million of which That will create around


70,000 new school places. What this is about is ensuring that


people can know that their child will have a good school place


and all the opportunities that We're joined now by the Conservative


MP Suella Fernandes. Welcome to the Daily Politics. ?320


million for 140 new schools as a one-off payment. Is that right? I


think this is great news. Is it a one-off payment? I think that this


is an investment into new school places... It's not every year,


that's what I am trying to establish, it's a one-off payment


for 140 new schools? We heard the Prime Minister say it will create


thousands more new school places which are needed as the population


increases. What's important is that many of those will be free school


places. We have seen how the free school project has been a success. I


founded a free school myself. With a team of teachers, local volunteers,


I still chair the board of governors. What's fantastic about


this is it is locally led, community-driven. And really a


response to the needs of an area. How many of them will be grammar


selective schools? I hope that many groups will seek to open new grammar


schools. You don't know? No, that's what it's about, it's about choice


and freedom. This is not about some prescription which is coming from


Whitehall and being imposed down on every town in Britain. Except it was


Theresa May who wanted a new generation of grammar schools. She


wanted a more metiocrattic society. So 140 schools with a pot of money


that isn't going to be very much when you divide it up is hardly the


grammar school revolution she talked about. I don't know about that. I


think that the ban which was imposed in 1997 on grammar schools will


hopefully be lifted, that's what is proposed. That will allow the choice


to groups to see whether a grammar school is right for that area. And


there is lots of other options which are attached to opening grammar


schools. We want to see universities open and the independent sector open


them. We want to have grammar schools have a feeder school from a


primary school from an area of disadvantage. This is a really


exciting opportunity for our children in the next generation.


Right. At that point you may be looking at only ten, 20 grammar


schools, so it's hardly anything for the Lib Dems to get too sup jet


about? It seems to me -- upset about It seems a crazy educational


experiment which takes away money when times are tight for Philip


Hammond from what's really important. We know over the next


three years, ?3 billion taken out of schools budgets in real terms, in my


patch that's 625 fewer teachers in Cumbria and some Department for


Education has a bright idea to spend something to add little value.


That's the point, it's the finances and where they should go. The


National Audit Office warned of 8% real terms funding gap for schools


up to 2020. In cash terms, yes, the pot may be getting bigger, but there


is an 8% real terms cut. How can that be the way to fund schools of


the future? Well, actually what we have seen is a protective budget for


schools sips the Conservatives were elected. That's very important


because despite conditions of austerity and difficult economic


conditions per pupil funding has remained the same. That's important


to allow the creation of new school places, we will need new school


places and that's what this announcement is about. If there is


an 8% real terms funding cut to schools funding, even if as I said


there was an increase in cash terms, you are not taking into account the


increase in the number of pupils or at the moment rising inflation. I


say again how can schools be asked to provide the same level of


education with more pupils and less money in real terms? As I have said,


the schools budget has been protected. What we are seeing is by


allowing more freedom to schools to determine their spending choices as


we have seen in the free school I chair we have more cost-effective


decisions made on how you recruit, how you set your salaries. That's


how schools can save on efficiencies and save money and actually be more


cost-effective in the long run. How much more money would you like to


see going into the budget? First of all, you have a ?60 billion budget


Brexit war chest that Philip Hammond... That's difficult to say!


Although we don't know exactly where that's coming from. But it would...


A good question. The point is as an official part of this budget, to be


fair to Philip Hammond, we often talk about black holes in budgets,


it's not a black hole, it's going to put it in the budget, it's an amount


of money, ?60 billion which is about the Brexit war chest, where does the


money come from? The Government has chosen and... You borrow the money


The Government has chosen to set aside ?60 billion to pay for the


cost of a hard Brexit. Outside the single market. It set that up, it's


been very honest. They're borrowing less, aren't they, borrowing less,


about ?12 billion to start with that is used for this Brexit war chest.


In terms of your funding for schools, you would be borrowing that


extra money? No, the money we are talking about when it comes to


Brexit, you can't have good quality schools or indeed a - it's obvious,


even Philip Hammond is stating this, by having this ?60 billion Brexit


war chest, that is there to pay for the cost, even this Government


admits, will happen as a consequence of a hard Brexit. That is not the


result of the referendum. That's a result of a Government choice to


take us out of the single market. We are looking at what the Liberal


Democrats would do in terms of... You wouldn't need the ?60 billion.


You would be spending that money on schools and hospitals? Absolutely.


The borrowing for that would go up? To be clearings, there is ?60


billion put into the budget to pay for a hard Brexit that nobody voted


for because it wasn't on the ballot paper. We would be in the single


market. We would not need the ?60 billion shgsz you could spend that


on health and education. Why is that ?60 billion coming for the war chest


for Brexit? I think that we are laying the foundations for a strong


economy. We are seeing Government spending, sorry, the deficit has


been reduced by two thirds and tax receipts come up. Recently. But


where is the ?60 billion coming from? We have seen the economy grow


over all the quarters by 0. 6% in the last quarter. You don't know


where it's coming from? A strong economy is providing the foundations


for greater public spending like this. On the ?60 billion because


it's a lot of money and if the Lib Dems are going to make claims that's


how they would pay for spending commitments, where is that money


coming from? There are lots of, as I say, we have been, the economy is in


a strong position. That doesn't answer the question. Lots of people


will say it's not completely in a strong position when you are looking


to take out ?60 billion. Well, as I say, we have reduced the deficit, we


have cut public spending borrowing, there are receipts increase, tax


receipt increases from say the cutting corporation tax which


brought through ?43 billion last year alone. There are lots of great


examples of how the Government is balancing the books, providing the


firm foundation for a strong economy so that vital investment can be made


into our public services such as schools and social care and the NHS.


You have talked about fair taxation, what does that mean? That's a good


question, it's about making sure people pay what they can afford. So


tax rises on whom We take the view if you are looking at tax rises you


have to make sure they are loaded towards those people who have most


wealth and most income. We are talking assets We don't want tax


rises, one of the worries I have at the moment is that the... You have


just said you do want to put rises on people who can afford it. If you


are going to increase taxes that's what you would do. We have made it


clear it looks like the area where there is a legitimate strong case


for there to be a form of tax increase and indeed a new form of


taxation, is one ringfenced for health and social care. Politicians


will all agree that our NHS is of immense importance, social care is


important and is in crisis, yet no one will come up with more than a


sticking plaster solution to get through this. We took the view that


William Beforage wrote that report in the 40s... What are your


proposals today to fund that You would put that on tax rises? Not


in this year. We take that from the 60 billion the Gutman does not


need... Let's talk about who you are going to put the tax rises on? What


level of wealth are you talking about? We have an expert panel that


has been set up. It includes people like David Nicholson and leading


experts in health and social care. They are attempting to if I can


state it so grandly, do a beverage for the 21st century. Put together a


plan and offer it to people as a new deal, a new contract. Among the


things coming from those proposals, it would be likely to be a hype of


the Kate, ring fenced tax. I do not want to make it up by fighting on


the back of a fag packet. We need to ask -- if we need to ask people to


pay a little more, we should be straightforward and honest enough to


ask people to so do. It has lost a tenth of its budget since 2010 and


5000 care beds have been lost in the past 18 months. There are more


people growing older who will live an awful lot longer. Do you agree


the system is on the verge of collapse? On the budget, we have


ring fenced NHS spending when we got elected in 2015 foot up that means


?4 billion investment this year and ?10 billion by 2020. That is only


possible because we have been prudent with our fiscal arrangements


in this country. That allows us to show what we have achieved. We have


achieved 10,000 more doctors and 6000 more nurses. It does not say


why social care has lost a tenth of its budget. There are pressures on


social careful that there are 1 million more people over 65 than


there were in 2010. Last year alone there were 23 million and admission


is more to A This is an increase on 2010. There are precious and I'm


sure the chance will take this into account when he gives his


announcement tomorrow. Talks continue at Stormont this


morning aimed at restoring the Northern Ireland Executive


following last week's The parties have just three weeks


to resolve their differences or the Northern Ireland Secretary


could call fresh elections or seek The elections ended the unionist


majority at Stormont, with Sinn Fein now one seat behind


the largest party, the DUP. Crucial to the discussion will be


the role of DUP leader, Arlene Foster, with Sinn Fein


insisting they will not go back into government with


Mrs Foster as First Minister. Let's take a look at


what the leaders of the DUP We want to see the negotiations


working for the people of Northern Ireland,


that's our focus. That's the mandate


that's been given to us. We actually increased our


mandate in the election Our vote was up in every


single constituency Therefore, we very clearly


speak for unionism now. They want respect


in the institutions. I think that we have a job of work


to do in the time ahead. We're joined now by


the DUP MP Sammy Wilson. Welcome to the Daily Politics.


Arlene Foster is meeting her MLAs this morning. What has she been


saying to them? First of all she will be commiserating with those who


have lost their seats. Ten of them have lost their seats, haven't they?


Six of those seats would have gone anyhow because this was an election


to an assembly where there were a reduced number of MLAs. We have lost


about six seats anyway. The other seats were lost because of the


change in voting patterns. The second thing she will say is that we


are still the largest unionist party and our boat did go up in this


election. The third thing she will be saying, which is very important


to make clear, just because Sinn Fein has seen an increase in the


vote it does not mean they can dictate who chairs the talks. They


not only won her rolled out, they want the Secretary of State ruled


out. They cannot dictate who we put forward as our leader and First


Minister. There is a report saying that the third of the DUP MLAs feel


angry and let down by Arlene Foster, no doubt over the ill-fated heating


scheme. Does that sound plausible to you? No, it does not. I am fairly


close to party members. I rang a lot of them over the weekend to talk to


them about the election results. That is not the response I am


getting. The response I'm getting from them is, we are a party in our


own right. We cannot and should not enter negotiations allowing another


party to dictate who our leaders should be. If it is deadlocked... It


should not happen in politics here and is unreasonable for it to happen


in Northern Ireland. If you're going to keep getting the same situation


election after election where you have the two biggest parties and the


issue still Arlene Foster, does she not have to go? The issue of Arlene


Foster is a problem for Sinn Fein and not for us. Except you might


have to hand over to direct rule and not have power sharing. We entered


into government with people who had been accused of murder, accused of


acts of terrorism, who at midday to running terrorist organisations. We


did not lay down preconditions as to who they should choose for the


Deputy First Minister or ministerial team. They are not going to allow


them to do that. I accept that. What about the feeling amongst your own


site, your own team for that is power beginning to seep away from


that? On the record, your fellow DUP member in the House of Commons has


told the DUP he is not ruling out the possibility of Arlene Foster


stepping down. That suggests that that could be an option. It is not


an option for us. I would say that the party is behind Arlene Foster. I


think Governor Robinson Bosma remarks have been misinterpreted and


he has clarified that after the interpretation did become public. I


also say to our opponents in Sinn Fein, yes, we want to see devolution


restored and we will work towards that. We have not drawn any red


lines to see devolution restored. If there is a price to be paid for


devolution, and don't forget there are a lot of other red lines but


down by Sinn Fein, including getting army personnel and police personnel


dragged through this. Sinn Fein on a daily basis is almost bringing the


red lines. The next one will be we want policemen and army men dragged


through the courts. If that is the price to be paid for devolution, we


will not pay and that perhaps means we will have a period of direct


rule. We did ask someone from Sinn Fein to come onto the programme but


they were not available. Can you really see a situation where DUP


accepts the automation that Arlene Foster have to go as the price for


power-sharing to be restored? That is not what they are prepared to


stake publicly. -- state. They have tried to achieve this. It means give


and take. There has been an election, an early election, and


people can agree or disagree as to why that came about. The two largest


parties remain the two largest parties. It is incumbent on them to


work together. I should say that in our sister party, the Alliance


party, led by Naomi Long, which did incredibly well in the elections, it


is a sign of any people from either side of the divide who want there to


be a moderate, consensual way forward in all of this, the message


I really hear from the elections is that the politicians get on with


governing Northern Ireland well and do not undo this good work. If you


were in a position to form a coalition with the Labour Party or


the Conservative Party and they insisted you change your leader or


that they would veto who you could have in a ministerial post, you


would not accept those conditions either? That is a fair point. I say


that Sinn Fein and DUP needs to behave in a grown-up way, as all


members. That is what I am talking about was that we're not going to


get to conclusion here. People putting aside their differences as


they have done so well over the last ten, 20 years, and do so again and


solve this behind closed doors. Thank you very much.


Our guest of the day Tim Farron has in the past compared


the Liberal Democrats to cockroaches, because of their


ability to survive electoral disaster in the same way cockroaches


But even with some local and national by-election


wins under their belt, how will a party that is ovowedly


pro-EU win back Brexit-supporting voters in their former heartlands?


The march is on. The Lib Dems say their fightback is well under way.


It will be an uphill struggle. In electoral terms they have a mountain


to climb. Lib Dems round here love a good hike. Paddy Ashdown even wrote


about it. Why? Because of the view. They conquered this place more than


30 years ago, by the early 2000 is boasting you could stand on the spot


and see only territory controlled by the Lib Dems in Sun level of


government. That is not the pitching. David Moyle 's lost his


seat. The moment the party lost 49 of its 57 MPs and its in Tyre


heartland in the south-west. How is it going? Great. Last year, pretty


much the whole area voted to leave the EU which makes winning back the


seat, located challenge for an explicitly pro-EU party. It is not


the number one issue of people in terms of their daily lives. I think


also there is a huge respect for Liberal Democrats and what we have


delivered in coalition and that people think, we know where we stand


with the Liberal Democrats. We don't know where we stand with Labour.


They are not visible here. The Conservatives and Ukip seem very


similar. When it comes to a general election or they will consider what


you think about Europe and all only be one of a range of issues. That


was not I got outside the office in Yeovil. The Lib Dems do not really


like Brexit. Would you support them even know they do not really like


Brexit? The Lib Dems were very pro-EU. Would that affect whether


you support them or not? In what way? I don't know. Probably not.


Everything is blown out of proportion at the moment that if


they did not talk about it, I would probably vote for them. The Lib Dems


say their strategy for regaining seats will be the same as it was


decades ago, the lashes before people talked about Brexit and


coalition. Since last May, the council has won 30 by-election


seeds, a third of all the seats up for grabs. In recent weeks and


months, the Lib Dems have made spectacular gains at local council


by-elections will start in the last few years as they went into


governance part of the coalition, they have lost thousands of seats.


They are not starting from a strong position. They need to make a lot of


games just to get back to where they were before. The next big test for


the Lib Dems will be the local elections in May that they know that


will give a much clearer view about whether or not Parliamentary success


is on the horizon. Tim, you were out campaigning for


local elections in Cornwall and that was during the Supreme Court vote.


What hope does your party have of winning local elections in part of


the country that went for Brexit? It is very interesting. On the issue of


Brexit as a whole, what is most dangerous it seems to me politically


is to be neither fish nor fowl. That is where Labour finds itself of that


they're not on either side. They are suspected on both sides. We


absolutely accept the legitimacy of the referendum. We're not trying to


block Brexit. We are trying to save British people have the final say


and the ability to reconsider if they so wish. With the by-elections


we have had in recent months, we have gained seats of labour in


heavily lever voting Rotherham. Does that tell you that Dubs voters are


changing their minds? No. It tells you that people who voted Dubs and


Remain the party that is resurgent. We will test that idea. The box pops


are anecdotal. None of them will vote Liberal Democrat because of


your stance on Brexit. Whilst you're wanting to be clear where you stand


on that issue, how can you rebuild in those parts of the country where


they rejected Brexit even though Cornwall, for example, had a lot of


EU money? They are not interested in and you're making it front and


centre. That is not the case. If you look at the elections which have


taken place in Cornwall alone, four by-elections and four Lib Dem gains.


We had 31 more councillors than we had at the time of Brexit. Just shy


of 2000, I think. 1810 or 1820. How much did you have in 2010? Probably


about 4000. You say it is a resurgent party but it is not, is it


that are not wanted me to deprive you of those winds but you are


clawing back a few seats here and there. It is not a big breakthrough.


All of that is correct. I cannot affect elections which have gone by


and if you look at the by-elections since the referendum, it actually is


astonishing. 31 games, I think. Labour, Tories and Ukip all losing


seats. It is not as if we have somebody just behind us. The success


we have been having in places like Windermere and the West Country,


Sunderland, Rotherham, there is no pattern except the Liberal Democrats


gaining seats everywhere. Either you called your party's said in Richmond


a historic victory. Do you think you have any chance of victory in


constituents that were not always Lib Dem beforehand?


Five parliamentary by-elections I think since the referendum, three in


places that voted Leave, two in which voted Remain. The minimum we


have done is doubled our vote, that's the worst we have done in any


of those by-elections since the referendum. I think we are moving to


a place now where, yes, Brexit is hugely important, particularly a


hard Brexit that nobody voted for because it wasn't on the ballot


paper, but there is a bigger issue now, because Britain is bigger than


Brexit. It is about whether or not we have a proper, decent moderate


economically responsible, socialist just opposition that can replace the


Tory. It isn't Labour. It can be, it must be us. Is your focus too


single-minded on Brexit, do you talk too much about the idea of the


European Union, that it obscures every other one of your policies?


It's an interesting point. I listen to that case, we talked earlier


about the budget, though, all these harsh decisions the Government are


taking to underfund social care, and the NHS, to underfund our schools,


they're a consequence of them choosing a hard Brexit. Choosing to


focus on Brexit and choosing to focus on the European Union, does it


in the end just make you blind to the realities of everything else?


Well, the people who are saying that the Everyone perror has no clothes


Back On Top our ice -- the George Osborne himself observed in his


speech in the Commons about a month ago, that the Conservative


Government put the economy second. They have put the economy second.


They would obviously argue differently. George Osborne argued


that. Who is to say... He is not in the Government now, is he? No, he is


a moderate, this is how terrible things have gone. He was on the


losing side. We started off with Heidi Allen earlier, I think she is


a wonderful parliamentarian. She agrees with you on a key issue. On


refugees, on the economy, on schools and the health service, she's saying


things about our country that were mainstream and moderate in the


Conservative Party five or ten years ago. Now she looks like an extremist


pause the Tory Party has been taken over in the same way Labour have.


Except, of course, in polling the Conservatives are doing extremely


well against Labour and against yourselves. It's damaging to the


country. You could say they're more in connection with the voters than


you or the Labour Party. Recent polling has shown an increase in the


number of Remain voters who have now accepted Brexit and want the


Government to get on with it. If Remain opinion is shifting that way,


that they are to some extent accepting that this is the way


forward, your plea and this talk of hard Brexit and harsh decisions is


actually just not going to resonate. I think what the polls show is


things are changing in different directions, they fundamentally show


that a third of people want, to quote, Tony Blair, Brexit at any


cost, I accept that, a third of people are utterly unwilling to


accept, if you like, the outcome of the referendum and a third of people


think however they voted in the referendum, you know what, it all


depends on the deal. That's all we are saying. We are saying the


British people should have the final say t shouldn't be a politicians'


stitch-up. Now, Big Ben, which as all


Daily Politics viewers know is the name of the famous bell


at Westminster, not the tower, will soon fall silent for several


months to allow repairs But before the clock is stopped


researchers have been using lasers to measure the bell in detail


and find out more about exactly how Let's have a look at


a BBC Four documentary That was a clip from Sound Waves:


The Symphony of physics, which you can watch in full


on the BBC iPlayer. And we're joined now by one


of the people behind the project, Amy Stubbs,


from Leicester University, Welcome to the Daily Politics. What


was it that the team were measuring? We were measuring the wave that the


bell was vibrating, we used a technique called laser, it tells us


how fast the surface is moving. How long does it take to set that sort


of thing up? Typically, if we were working in our laboratory it's a


simple operation. To take our equipment up the tower to the top of


Elizabeth To youer to Big Ben makes a more of a logistical challenge.


Tell us about it. Well, we have got for a measurement like that we have


about 200 kilogrammes worth of equipment that we use. Like a good


outside broadcast and we had to split that down into manageable


carries for six people carrying about 30 kilogrammes each to go up


the 334 steps up to the top of the to you ir. A logistical challenge.


Does it explain why it makes a pleasant sound? It helps us by


measuring Big Ben like that, by looking at it in a level of detail


that nobody's done before. It allows us to see what those frequencies are


and you saw the animations just then in the clip that you played. Each


one of those frequencies makes up the chord that together becomes that


iconic sound that is Big Ben. In the papers they're reporting the


repairs might change the sound. Do you think it will go from a ping to


a bong? The thing with the bell is that it is the sound it makes is


governed by its size and shape and the material that it's in it. When


you have a bell the size of Big Ben you have 13. 5 tonnes of metal


that's reasonant and it wants to vibrate. Anything that they do, as


part of the renovations, is going to be focussed on preserving Big Ben


for the nation, for the years to come. If they clean it, if they take


some soot off it it's going to be impersetible compared with the


overall weight and size and shape of the bell itself. Overall, with a


good engineering judgment it's not going to make any noticeable


difference for the generations to come. I think you would be hard


pushed to tell there is a difference in the sound. You are not concerned


are you? Maybe the Government should be allowing about an expert on to


the grounds of the Houses of parliament. You can't get away from


Brexit! Did you know the bell had a crack in it since 1859? I did not


and feel bad about that. Wasn't my fault! Thank you very much.


Now, where is the next big Brexit battleground?


Could it be the Commons or the Lords, again?


Or could it be a battle of the mind and body


as one Ukip MEP takes on a Liberal Democrat


You might not have heard of chessboxing, I certainly hadn't,


but it's a sport that sees competitors fighting


alternate rounds in the ring and then on the chessboard.


Next month sees the Ukip MEP Jonathan Arnott take on a Lib Dem


activist in what's being billed as something of a


It could be a much quicker way of sorting out differences over


Brexit than an all-night debate in the House of Lords.


We're joined now by Jonathan Arnott, who, as you can see,


isn't prepared to take even a moment away from his training.


He is giving it his all there. I like the duck there. I will have to


break into your focus and concentration. Take a seat. Thank


you for demonstrating the boxing bit of the chess. I presume you have to


take those off to do the chess bit? I do, yes, otherwise the pieces go


all over the place. I won't be boxes in a suit. You won't be, thank you


for wear ago suit. Tell us what is chessboxing, tell us more about it?


It's what it sounds like, you play speed chess for three minutes. A


bell rings, you put gloves on. You box for two minutes. Rounds of chess


and boxing and then you win the game either by checkmate or knockout. Now


your Lib Dem activist opponent, we asked him to come on but I don't


think he was available. Of course we have gone one better because we have


the Lib Dem leader. We are not going to do the boxing bit, you will be


pleased to know. Are you a good boxer? No, T... Do you think you can


do the chess and answer the questions? Not well. No one's going


to judge you on that. How good are you at chess, Jonathan? Reasonably


good. Be honest. I was Yorkshire captain for a couple of years. I


played in some international competitions. Fairly decent. You


are. Better than your boxing, you think? Can't be much worse, can it?


What has instructed you in politics, chess or boxing? I think politics is


always a little bit of both. You are doing quite quickly. When was the


last time you played chess, Tim? Years ago. That is checkmate. Is


this about Brexit? Look at that. You are checkmate. Right, you have to


start again. How quickly did you do that? To demonstrate that I have a


done for, there you go. I am good at pop quizzes. Boxing and chess


reminds me of Alan Partridge, monkey tennis. I thought it was about the


mind and body. Tell us why you are doing it. I am doing it to raise


money for charity, a wonderful charity Act for SMA, a colleague


lost their baby daughter in October, and the charity that helped them was


absolutely fantastic so I am trying to raise money for charity and I


thought I could do all sorts to raise money but doing this is not


something that anyone would ever expect for a politician, it's not


something anyone would expect of me. Hopefully people donate a little bit


more because of it. What about the fact that it is all about Brexit,


which will please Tim Farron no doubt since he loves to talk about


it, is it a Brexit grudge match? I am up against a Liberal Democrat,


far be it from me to say it would be nice to have the opportunity to


punch a Lib Dem in the face, I would never... Ukip got into problems with


some of those things in the past! We are keeping this in the boxing ring.


What about you, would you like to see differences over Brexit and


leaving the European Union fought out in the boxing ring? I prefer


monkey tennis. What does it say about your prowess at chess? Not


very good. Was I beaten in four moves? It was not many. This is well


set up for the match. I wasn't paying attention. I hope your Lib


Dem colleague is better at it. Time to find out the answer to the quiz.


The question was about a plan by Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell


He's said to be planning to launch an offensive to win over colleagues


Apart from Labour being genuinely offensive at the moment, it's a tea


offensive isn't it. Sounds more gentle than boxing in the ring. I


have never been to a PPL meeting but I am told it's nothing compared to a


boxing match. The news is starting


over on BBC One now.


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