13/03/2017 Daily Politics


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Hello and welcome to the Daily Politics.


In the last few minutes, Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has


confirmed she will seek approval from the Scottish Parliament for


Meanwhile, the Brexit Bill is back in the Commons and looks set to gain


Parliamentary assent by the end of the day.


The Prime Minister will then have the green light to begin


As we celebrate Commonwealth Day, we debate whether Brexit will mean


the rebirth of the Commonwealth and be a new era of trade


And should the crown skip a generation?


The journalist and writer Geoffrey Wheatcroft tells us why


he thinks the next king should be William.


God Save The Queen. God bless the Prince Of Wales. And long live King


William V. And with us for the whole programme


today, the former Secretary Of State For International


Development Andrew Mitchell. And the former Shadow Health


Secretary Heidi Alexander. First, today, some breaking news


in the last few minutes. Scotland's First Minister


Nicola Sturgeon says she will seek approval next week


from the Scottish Parliament for Ms Sturgeon said she wanted a vote


to be held between the autumn of 2018 and the spring


of the following year. I know that there are some who want


me to roll out a referendum completely, or delay the decision


until much, much further down the line.


I understand why some take that view and, of course, these views do weigh


heavily on me. But so does this. And this for me is


a key consideration. If I ruled out in referendum, I


would be deciding completely unilaterally that Scotland would


follow the UK to a hard Brexit come what may, no matter how damaging to


our economy and our society it turns out to be.


That should not be the decision of just one politician.


Not even the First Minister. By taking the steps I have set out


today, I am ensuring that the Scotland's future will be decided


not just by me, the Scottish Government or the SNP, it will be


decided by the people of Scotland. It will be Scotland's choice.


And I trust the people to make that choice.


The First Minister Niklas Ajo. What is your reaction?


She can't really not do that. I very much if Scotland votes again it all


vote to remain part of this union. It seems very much in Scotland's and


England's interest, and I think since the last referendum, opinion


has moved more strongly towards the union and I think some of the events


in the European Union has suggested to people in Scotland there is merit


in this ancient union with England. I hope it will survive. What


evidence is there for the fact more people have moved in favour of the


union as opposed to supporting independence on the basis more


people voted to Remain in the European referendum Bantu Leave?


The European referendum, that has led to a greater degree of


understanding about what leaving the union means. If you look at the


surveys which have taken place in Scotland in the last year, the merit


of this union with England is more strongly seen.


The Ipsos MORI poll published last week for STV found Scots are split


50-50. Can you be supported it will be in favour of the union?


It is the triggering of Article 50, and the stark realisation of what is


now going to happen which may have increased temporarily support for


splitting. But in the longer term if you look at the other surveys, it is


more likely than it was before Scotland will vote to remain.


Do you agree? I think the First Minister is wrong


to issue ultimatums at the Moto -- the moment. She is right to


highlight the problems of leaving the single market but in a period of


economic stability, I do not think another referendum in Scotland is


what the country needs. If you look at opinion polls out this morning,


there are more people who are against a Scottish referendum a


second time than for it. She would do well to get back to the day job


of looking after the things that she is responsible for in Scotland.


We will talk hopefully to someone from the SNP. Did you agree with


Jeremy Corbyn a second referendum on Scottish independence would be fine?


The Labour Party is clear we will vote against a second referendum in


the Scottish Parliament. And so there is a question about


what happens going forward, should legislation come forward in the


British Parliament? But I think in terms of the vote in Scotland, we


would be opposing the second referendum, a position we have made


clear. Should Westminster block an attempt


to hold a second independence referendum, Theresa May would have


two Sachin the idea in the face of the Scottish Ponte voting for it as


well Kopczak would have two sanctions the idea in the face of


the Scottish Parliament. I do not think Westminster should


stand in the way. We have to wait to see what happens. I do not think


Westminster can stand in the way if Scotland wants another referendum


and democratically decide that is what they want. It would be wrong


for Westminster not to agree. Which is what Jeremy Corbyn said.


His point is we do not want to be fuelling grievances.


Were there to be a vote in the Scottish Parliament, the British


Parliament Stott there is going to buy the sound of it.


There would need to be a range of items, the date, the franchise,


questions to which we do not have answers.


On the issue Brexit, timing is crucial, one thing Theresa May will


not want is for a second independence referendum to take


place in autumn of 2018 or at any point ahead of a deal having been


done if there is a deal over Brexit. I don't think there is a logic of


holding a Scottish referendum until they can see the nature of the deal


for Britain's exit. She wants to pre-empt a hard Brexit.


It would not be logical until she can see what the cards are on the


table. Until the gauche Asians are concluded with the EU, she can't do


that. The Government's new aircraft


carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth? At the end of the show,


Andrew Mitchell and Heidi Alexander Now, the Brexit Bill is back


in front of MPs today, for the first time since the Government


was defeated twice in the House The bill could pass its final


Parliamentary hurdles by the end of the day,


leaving the way clear for Prime Minister Theresa May


to trigger Article 50, and so start formal negotiations


for leaving the EU, later this week. Secretary Of State For Exiting


The EU David Davis is expected to stand up at around 3.30pm


in the Commons to kick off the debate on the EU


Notification Of Withdrawal Bill, or Brexit Bill as it is


more commonly known. Up for discussion is whether to keep


two amendments passed One to guarantee the rights of EU


nationals living in the UK. And one to give Parliament


a "meaningful" vote But the Government is expected


to have a majority to remove these amendments from the Brexit Bill


when MPs vote between six The bill then returns


to the House Of Lords again, with peers expected to start


their debate at around 8.30pm. Should MPs, as expected,


remove the Lords' amendments, peers could take this opportunity


to reinstate their amendments, although Labour Leader


of the Lords Baroness Smith has said Either way, we will know the result


of that debate at around 10.15pm. If the Lords vote to reinstate


the amendments, the bill will once again return to the Commons,


and could then "ping-pong" between both Houses


throughout the night But if the Lords decide


not to block the bill then it will go for Royal Assent,


paving the way for Theresa May to trigger Article 50,


the formal process for the UK Our correspondent Ben Wright


is outside Parliament, Let us assume it is passed, and


Theresa May decides to trigger Article 50 this week or next, what


happens after that? The Parliamentary process is


comparatively simple compared to how Article 50 then we'll proceed.


What will happen first is that Theresa May will write to the


president of the European Council Donald Tusk, the body that


represents EU heads of Government and state, informing her Britain


wants to leave the EU, a letter that has never been written before,


triggering Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty that has never been used


before. Then the European Commission which has already been thinking


about the sorts of things it will be prepared to negotiate, will write to


the European Council, the 27 Member states, saying these are the things


we want to negotiate, do you give approval to negotiate on your behalf


with the UK? There will be a discussion over


several days. And then a summit in Brussels of the remaining 27 EU


countries where they will agree what that negotiating mandate will be and


give the European Commission the green light to go ahead and set


round a table with the UK. That summit could happen as early as


April the 6th, or early May. We expect a lull after Article 50 is


first triggered, then talks finally beginning with in about six or seven


weeks. We know negotiations couldn't start


until the formal Article 50 bill was trickled, but we do have a sense


already of what Michel Barnier the chief negotiator is wanting in terms


of how these negotiations should progress -- Bill was triggered.


He wants to hammer out the divorce part of these talks before there is


proper discussion on the future relationship. The trade deal. What


is not helpful if the wording of Article 50, it isn't very extensive,


only 206 words, five short paragraphs, it says a withdrawal


agreement needs to be figured out taking into account the future shape


of the relationship between the EU and departing state. The UK will go


into these talks, and we have two discuss this in its totality, money


we still owe to the EU, the rights of EU and UK citizens, the shape of


future trade relations. The European Commission may want to do the


divorce first and talk about the future relationship. Once Article 50


has been triggered, that ball is in the EU's court, they set the


negotiating mandate. What about the European Parliament?


The meaningful vote amendment has been debated in the past in the


House Of Lords, and again in the House Of Commons. There is a


meaningful vote for the European Parliament.


You are right, this is a part of an overlooked. The European Parliament


will have a massive role, Article 50 gives a two year window for the


withdrawal agreement to be approved, it might happen before.


The European Parliament has a man who will liaise between the


Parliament, and commission and Council, who talked about the idea


of giving UK citizens some right to have some benefits of EU membership.


He is not in negotiator but will be on the periphery of discussions. At


the end of the process, once there is a draft deal, before the European


Council, EU leaders, have their final vote on whether to accept, the


European Parliament will have a vote also and they have a veto, they


could decide we don't want any of this, we want to throw it out. A


very important role at the end of all of this.


Andrew Mitchell, coming back to here in the Commons, do you expect David


Davies to offer assurances to rebel MPs and peers to head off any


discontent? I do but I expect him to stand firm


on rejecting these amendments from the House Of Lords and leaving the


bill as it is. I think that he has earned the right to do that he has


explained why on both issues what some of the rebels and supporters of


the amendments fear, is not an issue which should bother them further.


I expect Parliament to reject the Lords's amendments and with the


balance between both houses on what has been said about our unwritten


cost you should, I expect the House Of Lords to accept it.


Will you be reassured by words from David Davies you should not be


worried about the rights of EU nationals, it will be dealt with


quickly and that there will be a vote for Parliament to mark I will


vote to retain the amendments the House Of Lords have put in for the


rights of the 3 million EU nationals to remain in the UK, and for that to


be unilaterally decided before the negotiations start, and for this


meaningful vote at the end of the process.


I do not think Parliament should be left with a Hobbs and choice at the


end of the negotiating period, that you take the terms of the deal or


you fall out of the EU and have two rely on WTO trading terms because I


think that would do enormous damage to the British economy. It is vital


Parliament and not just Theresa May in Downing Street, has a genuine say


on this at the end of the period. What is the point of just having


about at the end that either is to come out with nothing or accept the


deal however bad or good it is? Verse double there is no chance deal


won't be cut between the EU and Britain about EU nationals here and


British nationals in the European Union. So why not do it now? You


don't concede a negotiation before negotiations have started but we all


know what the reality is, there is no threat to EU nationals in Britain


or British nationals in the European Union. On the second point, I'm a


former Government whip, there are numerous ways in which Parliament


can challenge the executive, whether or not... But not on those issues.


Whether or not on the face of the builder is a meaningful vote, there


will be several meaningful votes the Government needs to win in


Parliament so I have no fear about that amendment being revoked this


afternoon because Parliament have the power to put down motions, the


opposition have the power to put down motions, and they can do so at


any time and the Government will have to win them. Could we be in a


situation where EU nationals could be deported if the negotiations


don't quite go the way the Government would like? I don't know,


nobody knows. The EU citizen that come to my advice surgeries in tears


about the uncertainty that this has caused for them and their families,


it is all very well for Andrew to sit here and said there is no


conceivable way in which those people would be allowed to stay, but


I know that EU citizens are very fearful at the moment and I think


providing them with a guarantee at this stage is a reasonable and


humane thing to do. You set out the arguments for and against but in


reality the Government is going to win, it will be able to remove those


amendments because the numbers do not add up, unless you know of about


26 Conservative rebels that will join your side. Let's see what


happens, Conservative MPs can just sit on their hands. They could


abstain. Nobody knows what is going to happen. Are you worried about the


number of colleagues on your side that could decide to abstain, which


would mean, in effect, that those amendments remain in the bill? I am


pretty confident that those amendments will not stay in the


bill. I think David Davis has, in a very persuasive way, managed to


persuade virtually all of my colleagues have the merit of the


Government's case and I would expect the Government to win comfortably


this afternoon. One other important point about what happened in the


event of a deal not being reached, if you listen to Conservative MPs


such as Nicky Morgan, and a super, Dominic Grieve, who have pointed out


that it is imperative that Parliament, should a deal not be


reached, have a say about what happens then with respect to the


country going forward, and I find it inconceivable that Parliament


wouldn't be involved at that stage. Anna Sue Brie has said that will


stop let's say in six to 12 months negotiations are going badly and the


Government decides to cut its losses and come out of the EU without a


deal, World Trade Organisation rules, should there be a vote at


that point to decide what happens next or would there be a general


election? There would be a vote in Parliament because the opposition


would put down a motion. You know there are differences in the


thoughts of votes that take place in Parliament, there are binding vote


put forward by the Government and there are also votes that the


opposition can seek to have. If you are so sure Parliament will have a


say at the end of this process, and meaningful say, I don't understand


why it can't be on the face of the bill today. Because the bill has


been produced by the Government and the Bill is only there to Greg


Article 50, it is not getting into these subclauses. We all know


Parliament, when negotiations are done, faces down the executive and


says the deal, as it is set, is not acceptable, that would be a serious


moment. When Parliament have a vote on this it will be meaningful.


Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party, should day-to-day be making speeches


and debating on the merits of keeping those amendments within the


Bill or will they just go ahead and vote through Article 50? I think


Keir Starmer will be making the case for retaining the Lords amendments


today because I think the reassurance they would provide to EU


nationals and reassurance to the country in terms of elected


representatives being involved at the end of this process is


absolutely crucial. In the end, though, we already know from the


leaders in the Lords, from Angela Smith, the leader of Labour in the


Lords, that they are not going to vote on prolonged ping-pong so


Article 50 will pass, probably tonight, if not fairly soon after.


Should Article 50 be triggered immediately by the Prime Minister


then? I think there is no reason to delay, she has the bill at that


point and I would expect her to trigger it at some point in the next


few days after that. Or even tomorrow? It could be as soon as


tomorrow, she has a statement in the house tomorrow but I would expect


her to trigger it when she is armed with the legislation to proceed


fairly quickly. Do you agree the Lords will not go for prolonged


ping-pong? I think Angela Smith, Labour's leader in the House of


Lords, has said they will not drag out the process. I voted against the


Article 50 bill, even I don't think there is merit in just read running


the same argument to get the same outcome, so I don't think that we


will see protracted ping-pong, but that is not to say I


am happy with the Bill. There is speculation about whether the UK


will get a good enough deal and Theresa May will accept, how likely


do you think that is in terms of statistics, more likely we will get


a good deal or we will come out and rely on WTO rules? I think we will


get a good deal, and a good deal is one both sides are happy with. In


Theresa May and David Davis you have got the best possible team to


negotiate this for Britain and I'm very confident that once


negotiations are ongoing a sensible, mutually advantageous deal will be


done. Boris Johnson said no deal would be perfectly OK at the


weekend, do you agree? It would be the second of my options... It would


be, by dint of logic! I think there will be a deal, but the Government


would be ill-advised not to plan for there not being a deal because that


is part of the various scenarios that the Government must face. Are


you worried that has not been enough contingency? No, David Davis said


Whitehall is well abreast of the legalities. The Foreign Affairs


Committee did not seem to agree. Are you being overly pessimistic? It is


likely a reasonable deal will be struck between the two sides. I wish


I had Andrew's optimism about this, to be honest. If you look at what


Liam Fox, Boris Johnson and David Davis were saying yesterday on


television, one was saying it would be fine, as you said, Jo, to fall


out on WTO terms, Liam Fox was saying it would be a bad thing. I


think the Government are all over the place on this and I'm really


worried about what the outcome of these negotiations will be in terms


of the future prosperity of our country and the jobs and trade,


investment that people depend upon. I want to reassure Heidi that


negotiations are being done by Theresa May and David Davis, they


are in the lead and they... The other two are involved? They are a


superb team. The former Lords Speaker has


admitted she abandoned an investigation into peers


who enjoy House Of Lords perks without doing any work,


for fear of causing what she called Baroness D'Souza was investigating


which peers clocked in to claim their ?300 daily allowance


without making a contribution However, she then dropped the probe


for fear of having to name and shame She makes the claim in the final


episode of The Lords, What I wanted to find


out in the research that I did a few months


ago who was attending, And you know it is very


difficult to quantify. There are some who make no


contribution whatsoever and nevertheless claim


the full amount. This is not a daycare


centre or a club. It is actually a House,


a legislative House. And I do firmly believe


that the people who attend ought to be in a position to be


able to contribute. I abandoned this research because it


would have involved a degree of naming and shaming


which I certainly But also that would in turn have


provoked some kind of a press storm I mean, the reputation of the House


is not that great anyhow. Well, we did ask Baroness D'Souza if


she would like to do an interview, But we have our two guests here.


Heidi Alexander, what do you make of the fact she was carrying out her


own piece of research into Lords claiming the daily allowance and


whether they were doing the Brexit were? I don't know whether this


so-called investigation was actually a formal inquiry on the part of the


Lords, it seems to me it was more a personal research project. I think


that all representatives, whether in the House of Commons or the House of


Lords, should always think very, very carefully before claiming


expenses. I think we all have a responsibility to be getting value


for money for the taxpayer, I'd also say, though, I do think the vast


majority of people, perhaps not the vast majority, but the majority in


the House of Lords are doing is really important work. If you think


about the work on child refugees by Lord Dubs, they can make a great


contribution to the legislative... But what about those who are not


doing that, Andrew Mitchell? Would it have been useful and pertinent to


know who was not actually contributing the work but still


claiming allowances? I completely agree with what Heidi said, and I


would make two points on Baroness d'Souza's report. The first issue


will have had to look at voting records to see whether on the day


peers were there they were voting, but that is not the only word Lords


do, they do all sorts of things around the Lords on committees,


formal as well as informal committees, so her research may have


been flawed. The other point I would make it as the former Speaker if she


thought some peers were not behaving as they stood in respect of public


money then she should have used her good offices to go to them and stop


them from doing it. She said she did not want your name and send them and


cause a press conference by discussing it she has done that, in


essence? I think that if you are going to make these sorts of


allegations, it needs to be a formal inquiry, there needs to be proper,


comprehensive research done, I'm not an expert on Lords procedure but I


would have thought that if there was a genuine, real problem there the


laws themselves would want to investigated thoroughly and not a


partial piece of personal research, and I'm not clear how comprehensive


this work was. You admitted it has caused a press storm anyway to a


certain extent, will it hasten the call for reform again? I think there


will be more reform of the Lords, the Lords themselves are looking at


it, and I have great confidence in the new Lord Speaker, who I think is


an enormously experienced parliamentarian, and I think you can


be relied upon to be sensible about reform. But I think what you have


got here is a story without evidence, which of course the press


love but I'm not sure it advances the knowledge. Brexit might push the


issue down to the bottom of the agenda with regards House of Lords


reform. It is a problem for the day-to-day business of Government.


The point I would beg on the House of Lords, there is a case for making


the House of Lords smaller. David Cameron in the last parliament was


actually increasing the number of peers on those benches, so I would


be up for looking at reducing the number of peers in the Lords. It


certainly is fall in there if everybody turns up.


We're expecting a busy week here in Westminster,


and further afield, let's take a look at what's coming up.


As we discussed earlier, the EU Withdrawal Bill will be back


MPs will vote on two amendments that were put in by the Lords.


And the bill could then get final approval from


Tomorrow, Theresa May will make a statement telling


Parliament about the EU summit in Brussels last week.


Some of the papers have been speculating that she could trigger


Article 50 on Tuesday, but others think later


On Wednesday, Jeremy Corbyn will face Theresa May for PMQs.


As ever, we'll broadcast the session live and in full


Also on Wednesday, there's a general election in the Netherlands.


All eyes will be on Geert Wilders - it's thought that his


Party For Freedom will significantly boost their number of seats.


Sticking with foreign affairs, we'll get an outline


of Donald Trump's budget plans on Thursday, although the full


details of his tax and spending plans aren't expected for another


And on Friday, Nicola Sturgeon will address the SNP


The First Minister will be able to tell the party


faithful why she now wants a second independence referendum.


We're joined by Kevin Schofield from Politics Home and Alison Little of


the Daily Express. Kevin, give us your reaction to what


Nicola Sturgeon said about seeking approval for the second independence


referendum? It is not much of a surprise, she has been threatening


it, talking about it being highly likely, very likely, ever since the


Brexit vote, so now has been the time for her to put her cards on the


table and to her credit she has done that this morning, the ball is


firmly in the Prime Minister's court. Has she been forced, if you


like, to announce the date, obviously it was in their manifesto,


something she has talked about doing if certain conditions were not met


by Theresa May, is it something she really wanted to announce today,


though? I think she said before that she wouldn't call another referendum


unless there had been a sustained poll lead for independence, clearly


that has not been the case, I think another poll out today shows a


slight advantage to the pro union side, so in a way she has been


backed into a corner, she has a lot of members who joined in the wake of


the last referendum who are desperate to have a second one so


she has to try to keep them on board and the Brexit vote has provided an


opportunity to give them what they want. Addison, she has done it of


course before Theresa May has the opportunity to trigger Article 50


but that will happen soon. Should she go ahead or block any second


independence referendum? Theresa May has made a very big


thing of respecting Scotland and devolved assemblies, Nicola Sturgeon


has made great play of the fact Scotland has been ignored by the


Government. If Theresa May ordered Westminster


to block another referendum if that was overwhelmingly backed by the


Scottish Parliament, I think that wouldn't help relations. It would


play into Nicola Sturgeon's hands. It is very dangerous as we know, a


very dangerous time for the UK. She has announced this today Nicola


Sturgeon. When do you think Theresa May will trigger Article 50 if it


gets Royal assent later? As Liam Fox said, it will be this


week, next week or the week after! Her self-imposed deadline and


Downing Street is sticking to this. It is a big moment. The invoking of


Article 50. It is the last really big, clear thing that will happen


with Brexit for a couple of years at least. If I were Theresa May I would


want to make sure that I completely chose the venue and the timing,


there is talk whether she might mention it in the House Of Commons


tomorrow. The problem that is, it is a bear pit full of people who hate


the idea of Brexit. She would have to take questions. She is very good


at giving preprepared statements which set the right tone. When she


answers questions, sometimes she can muddy the clarity of that message.


She may well do it tomorrow. What do you think if you were a betting man?


Or will she avoid the bearpit of the House Of Commons and do it somewhere


else? She can't avoid that bearpit, she is


making that statement. I would be surprised if it wasn't Wednesday by


the latest. She now wants it to happen. It is entirely in her gift.


It is significant the statement tomorrow is a little bit later than


we would otherwise have expected, at 3:30pm, Parliament sits tomorrow


morning. That would give her enough time to trigger Article 50, come


into Parliament and take as many questions as she can.


Let us talk about Labour spending, there has been a contradiction,


Jeremy Corbyn disputing to some extent his own Shadow Cabinet Member


Rebecca Long-Bailey who talked about reversing tax cuts by the Government


to raise ?70 billion but would then be put to public spending.


Tell us the significance? It is significant, if I had ?1 for


every story over Labour confusion, I would have ?14?


It happens quite a lot. There is definite confusion, Jeremy Corbyn on


the radio today saying he did not recognise this ?60 billion figure


despite the fact Rebecca Long-Bailey tipped by many to be the next Labour


leader saying those figures were broadly accurate.


The problem Labour has is people are not taking them seriously especially


over the economy. People look at the opinion polls and see they have a


mountain to climb and they are not well placed at the moment unless


there is a dramatic change in public opinion, to be a Government in


waiting. All these browsers seem to confirm


that idea the voters have, that Labour are in a real mess.


Thank you to both of you, enjoy the sunshine.


Back to that breaking News, the First Minister of Scotland Nicola


Sturgeon has announced she will seek approval for a second independence


referendum. Let us talk to the SNP Europe spokesman Stephen Gethin


welcome back to the Daily Politics. Why did she make the announcement


today? It is important people in Scotland


are given a choice McGivern Article 50 looks increasingly likely it is


going to be triggered, I think the people of Scotland need to know


their options and make a choice of their futures, isolationist future


with the UK, or is it securing a relationship with our partners in


Europe? She hasn't trickled Article 50, it


is still being debated in the Commons, we will go back to the


Lords later this evening. Isn't this rather presumptive? Wait


a minute. We have had several months, nine months on from the


European referendum, we are several months on from when the Scottish


Government came forward with a compromise document. In that time


the promised has rejected the single market which could cause the


loss of tens of thousands of Scottish jobs, rejected the customs


union, we are looking at an increasingly hard Tory Brexit. It is


right the First Minister has taken the opportunity to set out the


options the people of Scotland now have.


Negotiations have even started, we don't know whether there will be a


hard Tory Brexit as you call it, a deal has not been put either to


other parts of Parliament. Having already in website running by


the SNP, it all smacks like you have had this long prepared and this is


the moment you have been waiting for, the excuse to launch the


process for a referendum, otherwise why you -- Why do you have a website


ready to go. We have had nine months from the


23rd of June referendum. During those months, we are seeing a huge


amount of uncertainty the business, for universities, we have seen the


only substantial piece of work from the Government is the Scottish


Government zest compromise undermined by the UK government. It


is right the First Minister sets out the options for the people of


Scotland. What evidence do you have a majority


in Scotland would vote for independence?


We have seen the most recent opinion polls showing 50-50.


One poll has said that. You have had the average of three


polls over the past weeks. We also in a situation, bear in


mind, the independence referendum previously when it started off at


27%. If you put polls to one side, the people of Scotland voted


overwhelmingly to remain part of the EU. They are being taken out against


their will. That could cost tens of thousands of jobs. The Scottish


Government has a responsibility to do everything in its power to


protect those jobs, protect our economy and protect our relationship


with Europe. In the manifesto, I remember it was


done on the promise of a second independence referendum if there


were times not in the interests of Scotland and if there was


overwhelmingly support for that second referendum. There was that


support at the moment. The manifesto says there could be


another independence referendum in the circumstances Scotland was taken


out of the EU against its will. The SNP was re-elected with an


increased vote on that manifesto. They have the mandate, something


recognised by other parties as well. On that basis they take it forward.


You are right, it is for us to go in and make these arguments but we are


in a situation whereby we have a choice and the people of Scotland


have a choice between a hard Tory Brexit or protecting jobs by


maintaining our relationship with our European partners.


We have a Government response, I won't read the whole thing, it says


over, only a little over two years ago people in Scotland decisively


voted to remain part of the UK which the Scottish Government defined as a


once in a generation vote. Evidence shows the majority in Scotland do


not want a second independence referendum, another would be


divisive and caused huge economic uncertainty at the worst time.


Presumably indicating you want it to happen in autumn 2018 when


negotiations will be going on for Brexit.


Do you accept you did say it would be a once in a generation vote last


time? That is why you stand on a


manifesto. The Chancellor is in difficulty for failing to live up to


the Tory party commitments. You put something in a manifesto and people


vote on it. The SNP was voted on its 20 16th manifesto commitment which


was very explicit. Government rise and fall in terms of their


commitments, something we are finding out after another


catastrophic budget here at Westminster. They were very clear


about the manifesto, the people of Scotland had a choice and the SNP


were re-elected on that basis. When would you like the second


independence referendum to be? The First Minister set at a temple


-- Set up a timetable. That makes a lot of sense. By that stage we will


have a lot more information about what Brexit means. Others are not


hopeful about what it means. It gives the people the opportunity to


make a more informed choice. Thank you very much.


Now, it may not be in your calendar, but today is Commonwealth Day.


Marked around the world, the idea is to promote


the Commonwealth's "shared values" and to celebrate the diversity


of the organisation which has 52 members across six continents.


But while the pomp and pageantry is the focus of today,


since last year's vote to leave the EU many have been


talking about a new era for the Commonwealth club.


The Government has talked optimistically about the possibility


of striking new trade deals with the likes of Australia


and Canada, while last week Commonwealth trade ministers meeting


in London agreed to strengthen economic ties between members.


So, could these potential trade deals be new economic


Or has their importance been exaggerated?


We're joined now by the Conservative MP Andrew Rosindell,


who has come to the studio direct from a Commonwealth flag-raising


And by Tom Brake, Lib Dem spokesman on foreign affairs.


I think we know which side both of you are on this argument.


Britain has a free trading agreement with the EU where we export 228th


Battalion pounds of goods and services. Our export trade with the


Commonwealth is worth around ?47 billion. Less than one fifth of


that. In a way, new trade deals with the Commonwealth is a side deal


compared with getting a trade deal with the EU?


The reality is we have so many opportunities to trade with the


Commonwealth it is an expanding market for Britain.


It would have to expand an awful lot.


We have been in the EU for over 40 years, in a straitjacket. By having


Brexit, we can do our own trade deals, negotiate independently based


on our common heritage, rule of law, common legal system, and the fact we


speak the same language. So many opportunities. It's not about not


trading with Europe but doing both. We can do both, a trade deal with


the EU and deals with India, Australia, which we have been


prohibited from because of our membership of the customs you.


The EU has just struck a deal with Canada. The issue is, as you stated,


the size of what we do with the EU versus the Commonwealth is an issue.


And we could do both. Another issue is actually in terms of specialists


within the Department for its national trade, there are very few


that can deal with these. There are many Commonwealth countries who


threw the ACP countries already have a relationship with the EU,


countries like Belize, Members of the Commonwealth who are worried the


arrangement they have currently with the EU, if that were to be damaged,


and they weren't able to draw up a similar arrangement with the UK in


future, if the UK was doing a deal with Ecuador, that would wipe out


their industry. We have the potential but the Commonwealth is


much smaller, and I know from having lived in Australia that Australia is


much more focused on the far east in terms of its markets than the UK.


There is a point about priorities, surely the UK was very attractive as


an open door to the EU that those Commonwealth countries which we will


no longer be once we have left. First, the Commonwealth is an


expanding market, the EU is a decreasing market.


My point is their view of us, they may not view us as appealing if we


don't have an open door to the EU. We are going to leave but we will


still trade with Europe. But we wouldn't be that open door as


part of the EU to other countries. I think we will be, we are a low tax


economy, we have a flexible Labour market, we are a chat live for


countries to invest. Europe will want to trade with us. It is about


doing both. We have neglected the well, we haven't done our own trade


deals. Canada, we could have had a deal decades ago but because of the


EU we have been prevented. And of course it is these


multilateral agreements that are so hard to strike, bilateral may be


easier? But of course we may get less than when we get deals from the


European Union. With countries like India, for instance, India may want


to achieve a bilateral deal with a much greater degree of penetration


of the UK market of Indian nationals, for instance, so from an


immigration point of view those deals may require the UK to concede


more in allowing Indians to come to the EU. But the EU countries demand


whatever they want, so instead of doing a British deal with our best


friends, we are stuck worrying about what France wants or what Romania


wants, or Greece. So we are going to be free and able to do our own


thing, trading globally, as we have done throughout our history, a


seafaring, free trading nation with our best friends once again. Let's


pick up on India, we covered the visit not long ago and it was very


clear that any deal from the Indian side would be far more visas, would


you accept that? That is the great thing about Brexit, we can make our


own immigration policy again. If it is immigration the country needs, I


welcome that, but it should be controlled by the British


Government, not anybody from Europe and nobody from the Commonwealth,


which is what we have at the moment. Clearly the UK needs to attract


people with the skills that we need but I think Andrew has just revealed


something I suspect not many people who voted for Leave are aware of,


which is one of the prices to pay for Brexit might actually be more


immigration from India. I can't remember that being a big campaign


slogan. I didn't say that at all, we should control who comes in and if


there is a skilled person in India why should they not have the same


opportunities as a skilled person from Italy? I don't understand why


we have a system where the Commonwealth are second best but we


only really give total access to Europe. That will change with


Brexit, we need to reboot our relationship with the Commonwealth,


have a stronger relationship, because historically they are our


best friends so why not work more closely with them. What I keep


saying is fanciful, I have a large Jamaican population in my


constituency, we export more to Lithuania than to Jamaica. I looked


on the Department for trade's website this morning about expanding


trade with Jamaica, do you know what came upon the website? It said the


country guide for Jamaica is currently not available. The


Government talk the talk when it comes to expanding trade


opportunities but they clearly do not have the capacity to deliver


and, as Tom says, we already have trading arrangements with a number


of Commonwealth countries so we are just reinventing something we


already have. Do you agree, are we prepared to take up the


opportunities if they exist with, most countries or is this symbolic?


We want to trade with everyone, Andrew was right in what he said,


this is an opportunity to greatly expand trade with the Commonwealth


but where there are lots of nations growing at the highest rate anywhere


in the world, but also to continue to trade, I hope, in a very open


way, with the European Union, so it should be a win-win. Thank you both


very much. Commonwealth Day seems a good day to


talk about the royal succession. Elizabeth II is of course our


longest-serving monarch, and attention is inevitably


beginning to focus There is a growing number of people


who question whether the throne should skip Prince Charles and go


straight to his son William. The journalist and monarchist


Geoffrey Wheatcroft says Charles has too many controversial views,


and the throne needs Beyond most people's


retiring age already. His mother, the Queen,


is 90, and already our If she lives anything


like as long as her own mother, the Prince will be approaching


the age of 80 by the time Plenty of people have begun


to wonder whether he should or whether the monarchy


could survive the reign Criticisms of the Prince


of Wales tend to come So, let me just say that the House


of Hanover has no more loyal No stronger adherent


of the principles of the glorious revolution, the Protestant


succession, and the But one essential feature of that


constitutional monarchy as it has evolved is that the monarch has


what the great Victorian writer Walter Bagehot called


the right to be consulted, the right to encourage,


and the right to warn. But the monarch does not


have the right to express The Queen has famously never


said anything in public That is, she never says anything


which is the opinion of Her Majesty, as opposed to Her Majesty's


Government. Her son the Prince Of Wales just


as famously never tires of writing letters to Cabinet ministers giving


them advice, and letting the rest of us know what he thinks


about every known subject, from genetically modified crops,


to grammar schools, It is said that he now


hopes to become king, that he very much wants his wife


the Duchess of Cornwall And that he intends to go


on expanding his own But if that is true,


then he has simply failed after all this time to grasp


the essential nature The Prince Of Wales


is a fundamentally decent and serious man with a strong


sense of duty. Mightn't he express his duty best


by relinquishing his right It could then pass directly


to his son Prince William, the Duke Of Cambridge,


who is an engaging young man The Prince, or rather the Duke


of Highgrove, or whatever he'd be called by then,


could continue to express his personal views on any subject


he liked quite harmlessly. He must be the best hope for his


dynasty and indeed for all of us. And Geoffrey Wheatcroft


joins me now from Bristol. You are saying that we should skip a


generation, leave out Prince Charles and go straight to Prince William.


Is that possible, though? What is the historical precedent? I can't


immediately think of one but anything is possible under the


constitutional system, that is another of the aspects of its


genius, it would take an act of Parliament and it could pass as


quickly as the abdication was in 1936. The prince would simply


relinquish his right to succeed his mother and would pass their 40s


eldest son. You said you are unhappy with the fact that the monarch


shouldn't express public or personal -- shouldn't express personal


opinions in public and Prince Charles has done that, but why are


they not allowed to have a point of view? Because if it was completely


harmless or uncontroversial, there would be no problem. But he doesn't,


he has chosen a large number of subjects, it is not that he even has


a particular political standpoint, the funny thing is on subjects like


his dislike of contemporary architecture and his love of the


book of Common prayer he is what you could call Daily Telegraph, then on


his criticism of genetically modified crops and his respect for


Islam he is more Guardian. He's not that political, as you say. Have all


previous monarchs are obeyed the rules? Oh, yes. Gradually the power


of the monarch, 200 years ago, 250, the reign of King George III, the


monarch was very much his own chief executive, like the American


president today, he didn't even require a parliamentary majority,


the genius of our system as it has evolved as you have on the one hand


Parliamentary Government with the Prime Minister at any given moment


with a Commons majority and the monarchy does not have a political


personality. Stay with us because we have two lawmakers here in the


studio. What would you do, Heidi Alexander, would you support a bill


that said, let's skip a generation and go to Prince William? That is


probably for Prince Charles and Prince William to decide amongst


themselves. I personally have not spent a lot of time thinking about


this issue, I can't get too excited about Prince Charles expressing


views. Where I would be concerned is if decision-makers were unduly or


inappropriately influenced by things that Prince Charles had said, but my


motto in life, really, is everything in moderation, and so I think I


don't really have an issue with it and at the end of the day we have


had a situation where the Queen has been the monarch for an incredibly


long period of time and Prince Charles is a human being and will


have views like other people. Why shouldn't he express them, does that


exclude him from becoming the next monarch? Geoffrey Wheatcroft is


probably one of our greatest living journalists but on this issue I


think he is mistaken. We are not entitled as subjects to a Paul King


or short king or literate Queen or illiterate queen, we get the eldest


child of the sovereign and I don't think there is any chance of


Geoffrey 's eloquent proposal gaining traction. I fear it will


deprive him in future of the Sir Geoffrey Wheatcroft! You have been


warned, Geoffrey Wheatcroft! The original justification for the


Monaco was the divine right of kings and to take on a point from Andrew


Mitchell, if Prince Charles has been chosen by God then we should not let


his views on GM crops, for example, getting the way. King Edward VIII


chosen by God, would have been if he had been crowned, which he wasn't.


But that was his personal choice. The abdication was a very brave


constitutional crisis in deed, and I foresee some such crisis arising if


the prince inherit the throne and is publicly at odds with His Majesty's


Government on some highly contentious issues. That is what he


has threatened himself. I just don't think you will be. Everything about


Prince Charles suggests he accepts the conventions which have governed


the British monarchy for the last 100 years and I think he will make a


very fine king. And also, Geoffrey Wheatcroft, the Queen has


scrupulously avoided expressing personal opinions in public but they


have slipped out or others have said it on her behalf on things like


Brexit and Scottish independence and it has not harmed her, it is not a


constitutional problem, is it? It is different because she has not said


it in public, people beat what she says sometimes as they leek anything


else but I don't think, that does not compare with the ceaseless


expression of controversial opinions by the Prince. I will have to leave


it there but thank you for talking to us. Just time before we go to


find out the answer to the quiz. The Government's new aircraft


carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth. So, Andrew and Heidi,


what's the correct answer? We have conferred and we believe


that it is Boaty McBoatface. Well, you are both right, well done, there


it is. That is Boaty McBoatface, but the vessel from which it will be


launched in the future is Sir David Attenborough. Well done both be.


The One O'Clock News is starting over on BBC One now.


I'll be here at noon tomorrow with all the big


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