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Hello and welcome to the Daily Politics.
Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness, the former IRA commander
turned Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland has died.
Labour's internal divisions burst into the open last night,
with one MP even referring to Jeremy Corbyn as
Mr Corbyn says spirits are running high because Labour
We'll be talking about the French presidential election as the main
contenders clash for the first time on TV over immigration,
And we'll be asking whatever happened to plans for a Holywood
All that in the next hour and with us for the whole
of the programme today, someone who knows a thing or two
about taking politics to the big screen.
Michael Dobbs is the creator of House of Cards, a former chief
of staff to Margaret Thatcher and a Conservative peer,
Welcome to our rather smaller screen, Michael.
First today, let's talk about the death of Martin McGuinness.
The former IRA leader, who went on to be Deputy First
Minister of Northern Ireland, died this morning at the age of 66.
It's understood he had been suffering from a rare heart
He stood down from his post in January in protest at the DUP's
handling of an energy scandal, a move which triggered a snap
Well, let's go now to our correspondent Chris Buckler.
Chris Buckler, how would you characterise the life of Martin
McGuinness and his remarkable journey from paramilitary to
politician? Well, all of his political beliefs and that
paramilitary truth were all born here in Derry, in the Bogside of
Derry, the city where he grew up and lived his entire life. It was during
those years of turmoil, those years of violence, on a civil rights
movement that grew up here that Martin McGuinness not only became
interested in politics but he became involved in the IRA. When you take a
look at the statements that have been made about his life, they show
the contradiction that exists there. He was a man who was involved in
violence. He was a man who was senior within the IRA. But he was
also a man who reached out. Whenever you think about his political gross,
if you look at what he contributed to the peace process here, you can't
escape that relationship that he built with Ian Paisley. Just like he
was loathed by unionists, Ian Paisley was loathed by nationalists,
yet, somehow they came together and they built that unusual relationship
where they would smile, they would laugh, they would joke. They became
known as the Chuckle Brothers. A big part of that was just the fact that
it was a genuine relationship. The two men saw something in each other
that they could work with. I think that's the key point. Martin
McGuinness was someone who was prepared to work at developing
relationships and ultimately that did lead to the peace process being
a lot more successful. But he was a divisive character, too. Obviously
in the early days in the Troubles you have talked about but even
latterly, I mean how will he be remembered by the local community?
Well, I think it depends where you are. There is absolutely no doubt
that those divides that existed for so long Northern Ireland have not
gone away and ultimately if you ask about Martin McGuinness in a
unionist area or if you ask about him in a nationalist area you will
get different reactions. That's particularly tru, of course, among
those who suffered at the hands of the IRA. Those who have relatives
who were killed by the IRA, those who feel that Martin McGuinness was
someone who wrecked their lives and that cannot be taken away from all
of the years whenever there has been this work to achieve something,
where nationalists and unionists can work together in government. There
are people who still cannot forget what happened during years of
Troubles. Ultimately that's an important part of the legacy of
Martin McGuinness and something that will not be forgotten and that's
particularly true in unionist areas. Thank you very much.
So as we've been saying, Martin McGuinness was a former IRA
chief of staff who went on to be a key player in the peace process.
Can you say whether the bombing is likely to stop in the near future
Well, we will always take into considerations the feelings
I am proud and honoured to be with you here today
to commemorate the peace tribute to the volunteers of
the Irish Republican Army from this historic county,
who gave their lives in every generation,
in our legitimate struggle for freedom and justice in Ireland.
I don't know whether he is five-star...
Well, senior politicians have this morning been giving their reaction
The Prime Minister, Theresa May, has released
"While I can never condone the path he took
Martin McGuinness ultimately played a defining
the Republican movement away from violence."
And the Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has tweeted:
Martin McGuinness played a huge role in bringing about peace
He was a great family man and my thoughts are with them.
He's covered Northern Ireland over many years.
Welcome to the Daily Politics. Your memories of Martin McGuinness? I
first melt Martin McGuinness way back in 1972, a few days after
Bloody Sunday. -- I first met McGuinness. Which is when British
paratroopers shot dead 13 civil rights marchers and John Hume the
nationalist politician pointed out Martin McGuinness touring a
torch-lit, candle-lit vigil that he was the man I should be speaking to.
At the time he was 22. I met him for the first time shortly after Bloody
Sunday in the Gas Works, at the time, the IRA head quarterings in
the Bogside. I was struck by several things. First of all how bright and
articulate he was. How passionate he was about what he was fighting for
but also what I remember him saying to me is that he'd much rather be
mowing the lawn, assuming he had a lawn, on saund and cleaning the car
than doing what he was doing. -- on a Sunday. I didn't pursue what he
was doing with him at the time. But it was significant, at that time he
was number two in the IRA in Derry. He rose quickly. Only a few months
after Bloody Sunday, he was part of the IRA delegation that met the
British Secretary of State, Willy Whitelaw along with Gerry Adams and
he rose in the IRA from then onwards. I was always regarded
Martin McGuinness as being the most senior and powerful IRA leader on
the island of Ireland. Did he give off that impression? He was
identified early on as somebody who would rise up the ranks, first of
all as a paramilitary and perhaps then politically, but he gave the
impression of being steely and tough and that must have been the case as
a hard man who persuaded the IRA to give up weapons? He was a
contradiction, he had enormous charm and charisma but he was steely.
Behind the affable facade, the Chuckle Brothers if you like was a
hard, hard, dedicated republicans. I have interviewed him on more times
than I care to remember over the past 40 years. Occasionally when I
would ask a tough question, like over the Canary Wharf bombing after
Tony Blair was elected Prime Minister and I said to him - you
must have known about the bombing Mr McGuinness. Inhe said "Why would I
know about the bombing?" I looked him straight in the eye and said -
because you are Martin McGuinness. That's what I got what I call the
death stare. He is a contradiction but his role in bringing us to where
we are now is critical. He had the confidence and support of the IRA
rank and file to bring them on board to join remarkable political
accommodation. And that was one of his key roles in terms of persuading
them to come on board. We talked a little bit about how divisive he
was. And remained so in the unionists community for many people.
You were in Brighton at the time of the bombing at the hotel, at the
Conservative Party Conference which killed five people and left many
injured, including Norman Tebbit and his wie. Can you understand why he
could never forgive Martin McGuinness and is actually still
quite bitter? Oh, absolutely. I had several friends murdered by the IRA.
IRA as well as those at the hotel. I could so easily have been collateral
damage to all of that. It makes you think of the purpose of politics and
how much you are willing to give. I can never forget what happened. I
used to see Martin McGuinness and Gerry Adams literally outside the
studio. I could not physically be in the same room as them. That's what
it meant to me, but, having said all that, what do my feelings matter?
What happened in Northern Ireland is so much more important. It's moved
on. It changed, McGuinness changed. And rather than going back and
dwelling on the past so much, which is all too much of a problem with
Irish politics, I think the importance is to move forward, look
to the future and build on what has changed there and so much changed
and wasn't it absolutely crystallised by the trip to Ireland,
the state visit to Ireland tlat Queen made. That was inconceivable
before that. Well many people thought that really was the bridging
there of two communities and also going back to the history? I think
his so-called conversion was genuine. People thought it was an
act that was not sincere. I think it was absolutely sincere but you have
to remember it was all part of the republican movement, the IRA-Sinn
Fein strategy, to achieve a United Ireland in the end, in the long
term, having realised that the so-called arms struggle had gone as
far as it could. Brits had made it clear that the IRA were not going to
win in the late 1980s because of the offensive by the SAS and others but
it was part of the long-term strategy, which was to bring the
unionist majority on board because the penny finally dropped with the
republicans that if there was to be a united Ireland, it had to be with
the consent of the majority population. That was the
recognition. Would there have been a peace process, or a successful one,
as it turned out, without Martin McGuinness? It's impossible to say
no. I think it is unlikely because it was Martin McGuinness and you
have to remember, it was a duo with Gerry Adams. Yes he was the more
political man I think Gerry Adams persuaded Martin McGuinness that
this was the way forward, that the arms struggle had gone as far as it
could. And it was Martin McGuinness crucially who persuaded the rank and
file of the IRA that this was the way forward. And I remember talking
to IRA "volunteers" about the tearing up the policy of never,
never having any sharing power in Stormont and they said - if it's
good enough for Martin, it's good enough for us. And that, of course
for many people was the proof that politics in the end can bring two
sides together, you know, implacable foes, like Ian Paisley and Martin
McGuinness. We've mentioned the Chuckle Brothers, those pictures of
them shaking hands and genuinely using your term, laughing together,
as if they general lineally worked together and liked each other. Do
you think it is a model for parties of the world if you are looking to
the future that you can be successful? Absolutely. What we have
now is peace in Northern Ireland. It's not secured but it is there.
And that is something to build on and it is a great lesson for
everybody who looks around the world and sees these hotspots, resentment
of civil war. Things do change and with appropriate leadership, yes we
can be in a better world. The The problem is, when you are dealing
with Alliedia and the so-called Islamic state, it is much much more
difficult, their agenda runs over 1,000 years, rather than 50 years.
We knew what the aim was. The problems in Ireland had been going
on for centuries But there was a political agenda on which there
could be discussions and negotiations. With regard to
Al-Qaeda and the so-called Islamic State, it is very difficult to
envisage that. Thank you for coming in.
The question for today is which former MP has announced
he is going to try and make a come back in the Manchester
At the end of the show, Michael will give us
Jeremy Corbyn met with his MPs at Westminster last night and it
didn't sound like an entirely harmonious affair, following claims
that a left-wing group is attempting to take over the party.
The row began yesterday morning with the deputy Labour leader
Tom Watson accusing the Unite union of being involved in
a "secret plot" to help the Corbyn-supporting Momentum group
take control of Labour after secretly recorded comments
made by Momentum's founder, Jon Lansman, were published saying
"Unite will affiliate to Momentum" rather than just to Labour.
Last night, the Unite leader, Len McCluskey described Mr Watson's
This is extraordinary behaviour by Tom Watson.
I've not had any meetings at all with Jon Lamsman,
on anything, including this latest nonsense that Tom's come out with.
The Unite boss spoke out at the same time Mr Corbyn addressed an angry
meeting of the Parliamentary Labour Party.
There was said to be shouting over the leadership's
handling of the issue, with one Labour MP referring to
Mr Watson was reportedly "cheered to the rafters"
as he arrived at the gathering, with senior figures challenging
claims he had been isolated and condemned at a "robust" earlier
In acknowledgment of the day's bruising rows, Mr Corbyn released
Sometimes spirits in the Labour Party can run high.
That's because we're a passionate party.
So I want to send a message to all party members.
I want to make absolutely clear - members are an asset.
As a party we must do more to involve and
Let's speak now to our political correspondent Carol Walker.
She was listening outside last night's meeting
of the Parliamentary Labour Party - and it sounds like she didn't have
Absolutely. There was an audible cheer at one stage and we learned
that that was when Tom Watson walked in. We heard that there were shouts
going on and we understand a lot of the anger was about a briefing which
had emerged, claiming that Jeremy Corbyn had slapped down Tom Watson
for his reckless intervention. Many Labour MPs were very angry indeed
about this. Some senior members of the Shadow Cabinet said that Tom
Watson had not been slapped down and at an earlier meeting of the Shadow
Cabinet there had been a lot of support for his view. There was
anger, with one MP talking about Jeremy Corbyn as a so-called leader.
He had sat there looking at the floor for quite a bit of the meeting
and then had to stand up at the end and appeal for everyone to start
talking about the issues which voters wanted to talk about rather
than internal issues within the Labour Party. Afterwards, one senior
figure a veteran of previous battles said it was like 1985 all over
again. Another very senior figure around at the time came out shortly
after and said, in fact, it was much worse than that. We have had this
appeal for unity from Jeremy Corbyn, something we've heard quite a few
times before, but I'm not sure that will be the end of this row. It
doesn't sound like it. Much of the row, as you've explained, centres on
the claim that the Unite union and Len McCluskey are planning to
affiliate to Momentum. Those were claims made by Jon Lansman. What has
happened with that. This matters because Unite is Labour's biggest
donor, so if it was going to switch allegiance or at least part of its
funding to Momentum, this left-wing activist group, that would be a very
big issue indeed. Unite has its own contest going on for leadership. Len
McCluskey is hoping to get another term as general secretary and has
dismissed the claims earlier as preposterous and has gone back on
the attack. Today he has written a blog for the Huffington Post website
in which she accuses Tom Watson of living in a world of skulduggery,
smears and secret plots, saying that when Labour needed loyalty Tom
Watson was sharpening his knife and looking for a back to stab. What we
are seeing now is pretty open warfare within the Labour Party.
Extraordinary as Tom Watson and led McCluskey used to be close but are
at one another's throats -- Len McCluskey. There are some struggles
with Labour MPs wanting Jeremy Corbyn to do more to stand up to
Momentum, as Tom Watson has done, whereas others say Tom Watson is
stirring up trouble and laying bare the wounds when we should be trying
to pull together. I think this one will run and run.
Let's speak now to the Labour MP Toby Perkins.
He resigned from his job as a shadow minister last year saying Mr Corbyn
wasn't destined to be Prime Minister.
You have listened to Carole Walker. Open warfare between two sites in
the Labour Party with Tom Watson being accused of skulduggery and
backstabbing by Len McCluskey. What is going on? I think that is
inflaming language and is not helpful. My county council
candidates are facing election and they are furious to see that at a
time when the entire party should be focused on getting good results in
the elections there is, first, Momentum apparently planning for a
future leadership election and supporting the Corbin leadership at
the moment, and this continues to go on. What we need is everyone to be
united on getting the best results in the election and I think there is
a lot of support for the fact that Tom Watson is the deputy leader of
the party and he sees a threat to the future of the Labour Party and
the tape that Jon Lansman was featured in was clear on seeing
money move away from the Labour Party towards Momentum and I think
he was right to speak up. You think Tom Watson was right to go public?
So what do you say to Len McCluskey? I would like Len McCluskey and I
will be voting in the Unite election, and I want to say that if
he is re-elected there is no question that they will affiliate to
Momentum. He said it was not planned but he has not made it clear that if
I'd vote for him in the leadership contest, he will prevent that
happening and I would liken to say that. You voted for him in that
contest? Probably not, but I think all voters have a right to know what
they are being asked to vote for and I think Len McCluskey should end a
lot of this speculation. What Jon Lansman has said, that if Len
McCluskey was re-elected that Unite would be affiliated to Momentum and
also the sensible measures that Jeremy Corbyn put in place to make
sure Momentum only allowed Labour members to join it were actually
being flouted under his leadership. These are serious allegations and
all others should be focusing on the elections. The chair of the
Parliamentary Labour Party, John Cryer, was reported to say last
night that he is convinced that Momentum is a party within a party.
How concerned are you about that influence? I am very concerned about
Momentum's influence. Jon Cryer is a left-wing voice who is a party
loyalist. He is absolutely on record as saying that we should have a very
wide body of opinion in the Labour Party, it's always been there. He
was critical of many things that Tony Blair did. But there was always
a place for John Cryer in the party and they should be in any sensible
political party, recognising people right across the spectrum within the
party. They should be united in trying to get the best results in
the elections. You sound angry about what is going on. And presumably
that was expressed at the Parliamentary Labour Party by you
and others last night? I walked out that meeting and see Seamus Milne
addressing the media about what is supposed to be a Private meeting.
It's not helpful. Seamus Milne, who is the chief aide to Jeremy Corbyn.
He was doing what? In previous meetings he is effectively holding a
press conference on what has just gone on in a private meeting and
it's not helpful. That is a Private meeting but it's fair to say that
the overwhelming mood of the meeting is that we should be united on
supporting county council candidates and the local government elections
in Scotland and Wales, and people close to Jeremy Corbyn and we should
not be looking at the next election it should be about the party now.
This is all about reflecting somebody with similar views to
Jeremy Corbyn taking over. You can draw your own conclusion if you
listen to the tape from Jon Lansman. In terms of what happens to the
Labour Party now, if you are cross about briefings going on from
Private meetings such as the Parliamentary Labour Party meeting
last night, what did you make about briefings against Tom Watson being
slapped down by the Shadow Cabinet? Again, I don't think that is
helpful. I think Tom Watson is speaking up for the party when he
sees and existentialists threat. It's the job of the deputy leader to
allow the leader to get on and do the politics and for the deputy
leader to deal with party matters. That is why Len McCluskey and Unite
were behind Tom Watson becoming deputy leader about 18 months ago. I
just wish everybody would get on with the job that they have. I think
Tom is absolutely right to speak up the party when he sees an
existential threat and I think Shadow Cabinet and the rest of the
PLP should support him. So we can stop talking about this rubbish and
talk about things like the Derbyshire County Council campaign
for a Labour authority. Labour is 19 points behind the Conservatives
despite what people have described as another on the shambles of a
budget. It does not look good. We are not pretending it is good. In a
really bad place. But we are only going to get in a better place when
organisations like Momentum spend their time talking about what goes
next rather than focusing on supporting Jeremy Corbyn. County
council candidates and local election candidates in Scotland and
Wales need support in what really important clashes coming up.
Well, speaking on Newsnight last night, Emily Thornberry,
the Shadow Foriegn Secretary, expressed frustration
at the in-fighting within the Labour Party.
When we have discussions on policies, actually it is quite
easy, relatively easy for us to come together.
Because this is a dreadful Government and we know that we have
to be an alternative to it and we want to be able
to put out a policy offer, and then we descend into personality
politics and fighting amongst ourselves and we have
and we have to focus on what the Labour Party
We're joined now by the shadow international trade
Welcome back to the programme. Isn't it somewhat hypocritical Jeremy
Corbyn in his video to call for unity when his people are briefing
against the deputy leader? Let's be clear. There was a joint statement
yesterday from both Tom and Jeremy. And what that said was that we must
focus on unity, absolutely right. It said that it was good that the
Labour Party was a broad spectrum of views from the centre-left of
British politics. That was right. So why were journalists briefed that
the deputy leader of the Labour Party was slapped down in the Shadow
Cabinet meeting? I never discuss what goes on Shadow Cabinet or what
goes on at the PLP for a very good reason, because they are Private
Reed -- meetings, and in private meetings you have to have the
freedom to express yourself. But there were off the record breath
freedoms to journalists who said Tom Watson was slapped down. -- off the
record briefings. You are trying to get me to say what is happening at
the meetings and I never comment on it. All I can say is, they should
not be any briefings Private meetings outside. Because what it
does is damage the process of free and open discussion. Was it right
for Tom Watson to talk openly about his fears about momentum taking over
the Labour Party? Part of the joint statement that was put out about
this said that every group within the party has the right to try and
influence the party and the policies. That is right, whether it
is progress, tribute, the Fabian Society. That is not what was said
in the recordings by Jon Lansman. Let's be clear, that is not what Tom
Watson was referring to. Jon Lansman was saying that Unite, the big donor
to the Labour Party was going to move some of its funding to Momentum
rather than keeping it with the Labour Party and that there were
plans to take over regional party selections, and influence
candidates. Was it right the Tom Watson came clean about that? Let me
be clear because you've asked a number of specific questions. The
first thing I would say is, the joint statement that Tom and Jeremy
put out also said that no group speaks for the leadership except
themselves. So the claim by any faction within the party that they
are speaking for Jeremy or the leadership is wrong. They made that
very clear. That is the question I ask you, was it right the Tom Watson
went public with what he sees as a battle for the core of the Labour
Party? I think every group within the Labour Party, as Tom himself
said in a statement, has the right to try and influence the party. What
they don't have the right to do, and this is the nub of the argument, is
they don't have the right to have people in their membership who are
not members of the Labour Party. So what do you say to Jon Lansman who
say they will not kick anyone out? That presumably includes people who
are not believers in the Labour Party? That would be absolutely
wrong for them to be a group that has people who are not Labour Party
members who are trying to influence the Labour Party policy from within.
Do you agree with Jon Cryer? Let me just ask this. It is also out with
the party rules. So they are not entitled. So what will you say to
Jon Lansman? I don't know Jon Lansman and I've never met him. What
should the leadership do? What must happen is that the general
secretary, if there are credible reports here, and don't forget that
this general secretary has been very energetic in making sure that
anybody who he believes is not a Labour Party member is expelled from
the party. Or, you know, who have a track record of being against the
Labour Party. And he has made sure that a number of people are not able
to join the Labour Party. That is the process that is already
happening within the Labour Party, and it's a matter for the general
secretary to address and look at, not actually for the leader. The
structure of the party puts that responsibility on the general
secretary. He is busily worried about it and feels there is a battle
for the party and he supported by the chairman of the Parliamentary
Labour Party, John Cryer, who says Momentum is acting as a party within
a party, and we are back to the 1980s. When Militant was infrared --
infiltrating the Labour Party. Do you agree with John Cryer and Tom
Watson? I believe that anybody who is trying to gain entry into the
Labour Party who is not a Labour Party member or sympathiser and is
trying to influence the Labour Party should not be allowed to do it. Is
it as bad as the 1980s and Militant? I remember the 1980s and I was a
member of the party in those days. I don't believe it is. But it doesn't
matter whether it is as bad or less bad, it shouldn't happen. And that
is what the party must properly addressed through the rules that we
have, if it's happening, and I don't know whether it is. But if it is, it
must be done. Could I interject and ask a
question. You couldn't make 24 up about the Labour Party although
perhaps I did at some stage but it is a very serious case of political
in-fighting. Now, there's been a lot of talk recently about the poblted
of an early election being called. -- possibility. In order for that to
happen in most circumstances, the Parliamentary Labour Party would
have to vote for support of an early election. Jeremy Corbyn has always
said that he would do so if he were asked, if the question were put to
him, would the Parliamentary Labour Party support him on that? Would
they back an early election right now? Can I just say that there are
elections in this country. They are going to be happening in May and all
our energies quite rightly should be focussed on that. I'm talking about
a general election, we have had front pages and lots of speculation.
I am very happy to answer the question. This is a Government that
has a ?2 billion black hole in its Budget from last week because of the
national insurance contribution U-Turn. I don't hear you supporting
Jeremy Corbyn. This is a point that Jeremy has made himself. This is a
Government that took ?4.6 billion out of social care and a Government
that has had its own party fined the largest electoral fine... So would
you back a motion? Would you sporan early general election. I would like
to get rid of this awful Government adds quickly as possible and,
therefore, of course, I would sporan early general election because I
want Theresa May out and a Labour Government in as quickly as
possible. -- I would sporan early general election. Before we end, on
Len McCluskey, we heard the General Secretary of Unite, standing for
election again, accusing Tom Watson of skulduggery, is that helpful?
Given all I have said about the chaos going on in the Conservative
Party. And you are 19 points behind in the polls. I have children in my
school because of the funding formula, in my schools in my
constituency, will beeds 900 percapita. Why are you 19 points
behind. -- ?900. That's why we need to attack this Government not each
other. I don't care who it is. I don't want to see members of my
party attacking each other. I want to see them focus on the people
undermining this country, that's this Government.
Later today, the Scottish Parliament will begin a two-day
debate on whether to call for a second
If, as expected, MSPs back the motion, it will
from First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to Prime Minister
Theresa May for a rerun of the 2014 referendum.
Let's go to Edinburgh now and our Scotland Editor, Sarah Smith.
Sayeria, although they don't have an overall majority, Nicola Sturgeon's
SNP party will get this motion throw, won't they? They will because
the Scottish Greens will back them. They are also an
independence-supporting party and have made clear they'll vote with
the Scottish Government. So even though you have Labour, the Tories
and the Liberal Democrats all voting against t the SNP will carry the day
because in the Parliament there is an independence majority, even
though the SNP don't have an overall majority. Presumably Nicola Sturgeon
will then be able to say that the Prime Minister's position of
blocking a referendum in terms of timing, during the Brexit irrelevant
negotiations, will be democratically indefensible in her view? Exactly.
And this is the point at which the SNP will try and transform this from
a political argument between the SNP and Tories, into a constitutional
struggle between the Scottish Parliament and Westminster, saying
that the Scottish Parliament has spoken, they've asked for another
referendum and that, therefore, it is democratically indefensible, as
you say, for the Prime Minister to refuse it. And Nicola Sturgeon will
clear clear in the debate this afternoon, she is prepared to talk
about the timing. The preliminaries hasn't said never, she's said not
now. Nicola Sturgeon says she's not saying, now, she is asking for it to
be at some point just before or just after the UK leaves the EU and made
clear there is room for discussion there. It is not at all clear that
number ten are prepared 206 that conversation. So -- prepared to have
that conversation. So once this is done today and positions restated.
What happens next? Well, Nicola Sturgeon will go ahead and make that
formal request to the Prime Minister for a referendum. She needs the
parliamentary vote to give her the authority to do that. #1450e knows
what the answer is going to be -- she knows what the answer is going
to be the Prime Minister has made her position clear but she'll
continue to make the request and continue to make the argument say
saying they don't allow a referendum now the Conservative Government in
Westminster, and they will keep telling you a Government that only
had one Tory MP in Scotland are denying the will of the Scottish
Parliament. But the question is where is public opinion. The
unionists are convinced that the Scottish people don't want another
referendum and it depends where you stand on the independence question.
Yes, supporters are eager to have another vote. A lot of no voters say
they don't want to be dragged back into another divisive battle.
Whether or not the Scottish Government can win out this vote
with Westminster and get the referendum they are asking for will
largely depend on the public response after tomorrow.
Voting for the next President of France begins in just
over a month's time, a result that's likely
to have a major impact not only on France but the rest of Europe.
Last night saw the first TV debate between the main contenders,
and it focused on the economy, terrorism and immigration.
TRANSLATION: I want to put an end to immigration,
that's clear and I completely stand by what I'm saying.
I want to put an end to legal and illegal immigration.
TRANSLATION: I've said it very clearly.
It has nothing to do with secularism.
The trap you're falling into Mrs Le Pen,
with your provocation, is to divide society,
to make the more than 4 million French people, whose religion
is Islam, and the great majority, who are not into communitarianism,
but who live in our Republic, is to make them enemies of the Republic.
TRANSLATION: I may have committed some errors, I have faults,
TRANSLATION: The classic divide, the traditional parties,
those who have for decades failed to solve yesterday's problems,
won't be able to do it tomorrow, either.
Excerpts of a long debate last night.
We're joined now by Benedicte Paviot.
She's the UK correspondent for France 24.
Who won? I think, and the polls seem to agree with me, Mr Macron. He had
the most to lose and the most to prove. I think that he didn't lose
very much and I think that he mostly impressed people. Because this is an
unprecedented debate. Three hours and 25 minutes. There will be two
more. And five top candidates which some of the kands dates actually
were not happy about. There are 11 altogether standing for the
presidency. -- candidates. The biggest clashes between the two
frontrunners in the polls. The centrist, unelected, never elected
before, unproven, unelected Mr Macron, a centrist who doesn't want
to be from the left or right and madam Le Pen who was clear on who
her target was and Mr Macron was. She said he had an incredible
capacity to talk for seven minutes and say nothing. It is a great
talent for politicians, generally He said it was devoid of political
content. So she knows he is the man to beat. I didn't watch all but the
bit I watched, Francois Fillon, once the favourite, centre-right
candidate, he appeared pretty low keep and not edge gauged? I thought
he looked tired -- not engaged. Subdued. When I spoke I thought he
was clear and concise but he is dogged by the legal woes of this job
that his wife and that his children had. It is legal, in France, as it
is in the UK, to have members of your family who work for you as
parliamentary assistants, what isillegal is for them not to do the
work and get paid and those are the allegations. Some people will say it
is amazing he is still standing literally in this contest, Francois
Fillon but the result of this presidential election will be
critical, as we said not just for France but the rest of Europe? In a
which it is, of course it is. You have such polarised views. It is
interesting, looking at the grouping there, as we can see on the monitor,
all of the member look as if they have come out of central casting,
you have to look at their socks to see the slightest bit of difference
between any of them. The question I have for Benedicte, in this
election, the accepted view is that Macron will beat Le Pen in the
run-off but if that's the case does it resolve anything? Doesn't it
still cast France into another few years of uncertainty as these force
that is are apparent in this election are still carrying on, it
won'tp end up with things going back to normal because there there is no
normal any more? There is no norm A of course France is still in a state
of emergency. -- no normal. And the pictures described by Marine Le Pen
of a divided France and a France that needs to bring jobs, in a sense
quite Trump-like, back home. She obviouslip wants a Frexit. Mr Macron
would not agree with you if he were here to answer that question. He
would say that he is the man for the time and the situation and that he
has the solution because he believes that you can't have the same old
faces. He has made it clear that he will have new people in his
government. He has a small problem, though, what he needs to do and
indeed let's be clear, it is historic, if Mr Macron and Madame Le
Pen go through to the second round it will be unprecedented. Why?
Because it will be the first time that the two socialist, central
parties don't make clue to the next round and if Mr Macron makes it
through, at 39, an unelected man, he will need a majority in the
parliamentary elections that follow afterwards but he will have proven
that for the first time ever in France, a centrist can win, that
will be unprecedented. It is always left or right. Brief li, April 23rd,
the fist round and the second round, the run-off is... 7th May. A Sunday
in France. Always. And briefly, too. If it is Madame Le Pen and Macron,
the difficulty for him he has to attract voters for other parties but
she has a solid vote. They are not going to waver now Interesting you
point that out. We see in the polls people who say they are going to
vote for Marine Le Pen, won't change their vote, they know they'll
already vote for her. The problem for Mr Macron, trying to plough a
new thorough, his vote is much more of a waving vote so. When it comes
to the second round will the traditional holding your nose and
voting, as happened with Marine Le Pen's father, be it OK the
socialists think OK he is not ideal but he is better than Le Pen.
Results on the night of the 7th May. Thank you.
It's definitely not the largest sector of the economy but it played
a big role in the EU referendum campaign - fishing.
And when it comes to negotiating the UK's
departure, it's got it all - regulations, money, imports,
exports, British boats fishing in EU waters,
Adam's been to Aberdeenshire to find out.
Very, very early in the morning in Peterhead, the biggest market
I'm meeting skipper, Aaron Brown who runs the campaign
They organised the imfamous flotilla during the referendum campaign.
Now Aaron has penned a 100-page plan for the industry when it leaves
Europe's Common Fisheries Policy, the CFP.
First thing on his mind isn't fish, it's the Great Repeal Bill
which will copy EU law into British law.
Article 50 gives us a clean slate to leave.
If we readopt all the legislation, then we've effectively re-agreed
to it and nailed our feet to the floor.
So when the Great Repeal Bill happens you just want them to edit
Fishing needs to be exempted from the Great Repeal Bill or we'll
Who do you think should have access to our fishing waters?
Well, to begin with, only UK vessels should have access.
Thereafter we can do the same as what Norway, Iceland,
Faroe do and negotiate on an equal exchange barter basis,
with the EU, but as we have the lion's share of resources
in north-western European waters don't need EU waters.
So that's haddock, that was caught under a quota, all of this.
What do you want to happen with quotas?
Well, the Government's got - when we get out of Europe -
That vessels will be able to catch more but land less.
You will be able to retain all the fish you catch,
instead of having to discard, like you do under quotas,
where you have steam all over the sea, catching more and more
and more fish just to find what you are allowed to keep
Days at sea, a vessel goes out, it is limited by its time
That means better science, better profitability
Personally, I just hope they ditch the rules forcing
The UK Government hasn't said much about its plans for the fishing
industry but there was a clue in the Brexit white paper, where it
says it wants to reach a deal that's mutually beneficial
for the UK and the EU, which suggests they're not aiming
for the hard Brexit that campaigners would like.
And the Fishing to Leave vision isn't shared by everyone
in the industry, an industry that's so entwined in Europe,
that what happens to it will tell us a lot about the whole process
We're joined now from Edinburgh by the SNP MSP Stewart Stevenson,
and from Brussels by UKIP's Fisheries spokesman Mike Hookem.
Can I start with you, Mike? The government and the Brexit White
Paper said they wanted to reach a deal on fishing that was mutually
beneficial, so is anything going to change? Obviously not. As a party,
we are saying this is a red line and this should not be crossed. These
are our Al Waters and we want these fish back. This has to be in the
wrecks of negotiations and has to be got across and it is a red line and
we are not going to retreat on this -- the Brexit negotiations. But you
are confident it will be a red line? It could be that the government
regard fishing is one of those areas it could negotiate a way to get a
better deal overall? Absolutely. Let's not forget that it was Ted
Heath who gave the fisheries away back in the 70s and it will be a
Tory government that does the same this time. I've no confident
whatsoever in David Davis or Theresa May in negotiating this. As I've
said, for us it is a red line and we want the fisheries back and we want
the waters back. Stuart Stevenson, what would you like to see? We heard
in the film talks about who should have access to British waters. Who
should have access to British waters for fishing? There are two vital
things for fishing. First of all we need to repatriate the economic zone
in which the fishing responsibilities are discharged,
that is for certain. But equally we need to have access to the European
market and we need free movement of people because there is no point in
simply catching large amount of fish when we deprive ourselves of the
economic opportunity that comes from processing the fish. The food
industry in Scotland is a ?5.5 billion industry. It is dependent
heavily on exports, so we need to be in the kind of position that we get
the fishing rights back but we also continue to have a good and fruitful
relationship with the European Union. So in terms of getting the
rights back in the waters back, you have common ground with Ukip? I
don't have much common ground with Ukip at all. On that issue you do.
They are talking about keeping people out of the country on which
the processing industry in his area, in a hole and Grimsby and in
Peterhead and Fraser Brown, so there is a fundamental difference. The
Scottish Government in its compromise with the UK Government
has made the point that we expect to be out of the Common fisheries
policy but we must retain the rights to free movement people, and that is
a fundamental difference from the isolationist position that Ukip
preparing today. The fishing industry currently only directly
employs some 11,000 people in the UK. Do you see that drastically
increasing after Brexit? This is a multi-billion pound industry we
could regain. We need reinvestment in the ports and in new vessels.
It's quite astonishing that Mr Stevenson is standing there now when
we know that over 90% of Scottish fishermen voted to leave the
European Union, and he wants a referendum to leave the United
Kingdom but he wants to go into the European Union. And hand the fishing
fleet some waters to the European Union. We want to rebuild the
fishing vessels and fleets and rebuild the industry. It is a
massive industry and let's not forget that for every one man at sea
there are ten jobs onshore. 90% of Scottish vitamin voted to leave? Is
that the case? -- fisher men. I think it's absolutely clear that the
SNP have opposed the common fisheries policy from day one.
Indeed we campaigned in 1975 for a no vote in the EEC. The important
point is that we need to have the ten people onshore in our area of
economic interest. Our paper proposed to the UK Government says
we are out, and I think that is the right compromise for us to move
forward. We've heard nothing whatsoever from the UK Government in
response to the paper we produced in December. It is time they read it
and responded. And as you say, we've not heard much in terms of what the
government intended to do. Do you think Michael Dobbs will prioritise
fishing in the Brexit negotiations? I think it's a wonderful
opportunity. We talk about the great repeal bill but it's actually a
continuity bill because the laws will be the same as D+ one. That is
not what the fishermen in the film wanted. They want a break. But the
laws after that bill will be British laws, not European laws, meaning we
can do what we think is right. And continue the practices of the common
fisheries policy? I would be astonished. One thing that will
continue is the rights of EU residents, which everyone is trying
to cause a fuss about, but clearly there will be major changes to the
current fisheries system. What makes you think there will be major
changes? Do you think the government will go to war over fishing if it
gets tough in the negotiations? This is not a 0-sum game. We will get a
better deal because we are in a strong position, as we have heard.
British waters are very much more extensive than European waters. Are
you reassured by those words from Michael Dobbs about what the
government will do? I'm not. We have been betrayed in the past by a Tory
government and we will be betrayed again. For the waters back, we need
the fish back, and it's a multi-billion pound industry that we
would be gaining and it needs a massive investment. The government
needs to promise that. I want them to promise it will not be a
bargaining chip with Brussels, to say hands of our fish. It seems from
what the government said is that everything is potentially up for
being bargained over or negotiated over when it comes to these two
years, but Stuart Stevenson, your comments about the common fisheries
policy, and you would like to do that, but you are pro-EU. Do you
welcome Brexit in the regard that you might be able to get rid of the
common fisheries policy? I don't know what Brexit means. The UK
Government has given is very little insight. The important thing is that
over the next couple of years we get to a position where we understand
what the UK Government is taking us into. The danger is we will block
free movement of people and will damage the fishing industry and many
other industries in Scotland than through the UK. The Scottish
Government has an alternative offer and that is the contrast and
opportunity that we will have in two years' time, or at a time that is
appropriate to decide whether to endorse what looks like a very
unfavourable outcome from the Brexit negotiations coming from the Tory
government and an alternative where we simply make the decisions in
Scotland that matter to this industry and to all the people in
industries that operate in Scotland. Thank you both very much.
Now, you may remember reading
newspaper reports suggesting that Warner Brothers,
the Hollywood studio responsible for films including
is considering making a movie about Brexit.
That was at least according to the spokesman for Arron Banks,
a leading donor to the campaign to leave the EU.
It was even suggested that our guest of the day,
Michael Dobbs, might be asked to write the screenplay.
It's not clear if these reported talks with Hollywood executives
have proved fruitful, or if they've approached anyone
But if the project does ever get off the ground, what would it look like?
Sometimes it is the true stories that we love the most. Even when we
know what happens at the end. But what kind of a film is Brexit the
movie? If Boris Johnson had his way, it would probably be a war film.
There was, after all, an invasion on the Thames, with each side trying to
torpedo the other's campaign. A romantic comedy, perhaps? He was the
Prime Minister who never realised how much he had in common with the
Lib Dems and Labour and the Green party. OK, maybe not a romance, but
quite a comedy sometimes. Mid range, the worst case, the mid range is a
?30 billion hole in the public finances. For others, there were
bits worthy of a horror film and plenty of people thought he was a
nightmare. Then again, maybe it could be a silent movie. That is,
after all, how some Labour MPs described Jeremy Corbyn during the
campaign. But is any of this realistic? I just can't envisage a
serious drama about Brexit and about leaving the EU generally. I can see
maybe some kind of satirical comedy. You could almost imagine maybe like
Will Ferrell playing one of the parts or Riki ger rays. A broad
comedy, maybe. A musical, I would like to see the Muppets go Brexit or
the Muppets Brexit caper. I can imagine Kermit the frog playing
Nigel Farage and Fozzie Bear playing Boris Johnson. It almost works.
We're joined now by the journalist Isabel Oakeshott.
She edited the book by Arron Banks about his campaign to leave the EU.
So, fill us in. Is there any truth to any of this or is it just
fanciful? I don't think it's 100% bluster. Not 100% because I was
actually in Washington a couple of months ago where there were
definitely talks involving some quite high-level producers but as
everybody knows, lots and lots of books get looked at with a view to
these things and half the time it results in nothing. That said, I
think this would make a fantastic farcical series. We don't stand to
gain anything from it personally, but I think it writes itself. It's a
little series you could have, a kind of Brexit themed Thick Of It. What
about Michael Dobbs writing the screenplay? I was supposed to have
been hiding according to Aaron Banks's spokesman, hiding in the
toilet, writing the script. Actually I was at home in Wiltshire. You can
kiss and tell all. Would you like to write the screenplay? No. I'm more
looking forward to next Wednesday and the triggering of Article 50 and
getting rid of this nonsense and looking forward rather than going
back and analysing who said what in the past. That to me is already
ancient history. But you are a man who likes political drama. For
goodness sake, you wrote House of Cards. Surely this is great material
for the next big political drama? It may be but there are more serious
issues out there. And having been told that I was going to be writing
this without anybody having mentioned it, I took a smidgen of
offence at that. I see. You keep mentioning the word serious but you
are barking up the wrong tree. Nobody is suggesting it needs to be
serious. You say it is all over, but we have another two years of toing
and froing and goodness knows what happens after. I just think it's an
extraordinary story, and you look at the character of Aaron Banks. How
did this insurance broker who is working in a David Brent style
office outside Bristol somehow become such a key player in the
whole campaign and end up in the Golden lived with Donald Trump? How
the heck did it happen? -- the Golden lived. Is it to Beltway? It
all comes down to writing and you need somebody of your calibre to do
it. She is softening you up. And the Americans are interested in the
story, that's another selling point. That is true. Do you think the
Americans would actually engage? They have no understanding
whatsoever about Brexit. They think the European Union is something like
a pale reflection of the United States, and when they get close to
it, they draw back in horror. They would have to laugh about it but I
don't think they could take it seriously. Who would you have is
Nigel Farage? James Nesbitt. But who would play Andy Wigmore? A
lesser-known character but actually the much more colourful character. I
know Andy would love it to be somebody like George Clooney.
Suggestions on a postcard. There's just time before we go
to find out the answer to our quiz. The question was which former MP has
announced he is going to try and make a come back
in the Manchester Given that the other three are
earning great sums of money elsewhere, I would think it has to
be gorgeous George. It was George Galloway,
who predicted The One O'Clock News is starting
over on BBC One now.