19/04/2017 Daily Politics


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19/04/2017

Damian Green and John Healey join Andrew Neil and Jo Coburn to discuss Theresa May's decision to call a general election in early June.


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Good morning from Westminster, where, following Theresa May's

:00:00.:00:00.

stunning call for a snap poll, MPs are preparing to vote

:00:07.:00:09.

24 hours in, how is this election campaign shaping up

:00:10.:00:13.

and where will the battle lines be drawn?

:00:14.:00:25.

The parties are scrambling to write their manifestos.

:00:26.:01:00.

So this afternoon, MPs are likely to give Theresa May the go-ahead

:01:01.:01:05.

There's the economy, the NHS, but will this campaign really

:01:06.:01:10.

Jeremy Corbyn says he can win a snap election.

:01:11.:01:16.

But one of his own MPs said he could not countenance him

:01:17.:01:19.

as Prime Minister and called for him to stand down.

:01:20.:01:22.

So how do Labour MPs feel about their job prospects?

:01:23.:01:26.

It is the right time for a second referendum on Scottish independence,

:01:27.:01:29.

but not, according to Nicola Sturgeon, for a UK general election.

:01:30.:01:36.

Why are the SNP trying to block Theresa May's plans?

:01:37.:01:39.

And the Prime Minister says she won't debate

:01:40.:01:41.

Jeremy Corbyn in a TV studio - but she will today.

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We'll bring you one of the last PMQs before the election, live at midday.

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And with us for the duration today, two of the people who will be

:01:54.:01:58.

out of a job in two weeks' time if and when Parliament prorogues.

:01:59.:02:01.

But I think both of them will hope to get their job back

:02:02.:02:04.

If not, as Work and Pensions Secretary, Damian Green knows

:02:05.:02:08.

And John Healey should be able to keep a roof over his head -

:02:09.:02:12.

he's currently Shadow Housing Secretary.

:02:13.:02:13.

So MPs are expected to vote shortly for a general election on June 8th.

:02:14.:02:20.

In the old days, it was entirely down to the PM to call an election.

:02:21.:02:23.

But the last Coalition Government changed the rules, and you now need

:02:24.:02:26.

a 66% Commons vote to call a snap poll.

:02:27.:02:29.

But with just about everyone but the SNP on board,

:02:30.:02:33.

Battle lines are already being drawn in the coming contest.

:02:34.:02:37.

So what can we expect in the seven weeks until polling day?

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It's going to be busy, I can say that.

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This afternoon, after PMQs, the Government will put a motion

:02:50.:02:52.

before MPs asking them to authorise an early general election

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in exactly 50 days' time - on Thursday, June 8th.

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Because of the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act, ministers need to

:02:57.:02:59.

secure a two-thirds supermajority in the House of Commons.

:03:00.:03:03.

But, with the support of opposition parties,

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We'll then enter the so-called wash-up period.

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This is the time, just before an election,

:03:12.:03:13.

when the Government tries to pass outstanding legislation.

:03:14.:03:17.

It's thought that the top priority will be the Finance Bill,

:03:18.:03:20.

which sets out the Government's tax and spending policies.

:03:21.:03:25.

And there are several other outstanding bills

:03:26.:03:26.

on a wide range of issues, such as higher education,

:03:27.:03:29.

In each case, ministers will either have to rush the bills through

:03:30.:03:36.

or start the legislative process from scratch

:03:37.:03:40.

in the next Parliament - if they're re-elected.

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Meanwhile, on Saturday, April 29th, the leaders of all EU countries,

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apart from the UK, will meet to try and agree their Brexit

:03:48.:03:50.

Back in Westminster, the dissolution of Parliament

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This is when the election campaign begins in earnest.

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One day later, it's the local elections.

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This will see councils elected across England,

:04:06.:04:08.

Wales and Scotland, and mayoral elections in several cities.

:04:09.:04:12.

The Manchester Gorton by-election is currently scheduled to take place

:04:13.:04:15.

on this day, but it's now likely to be cancelled,

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In fact, we have just heard that it will be cancelled.

:04:21.:04:29.

And it's not just us going to the polls.

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On Sunday, May 7th, we'll know the identity

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And polling day here in the UK should be Thursday, June 8th,

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with the result announced in the early hours of Friday, June 9th.

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There we are. We are off to the races, the parties will be working

:04:46.:04:51.

on and releasing their manifestos very soon. See if we can get a

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flavour of what might be in them. Damian Green, will the Conservative

:04:56.:05:01.

manifesto commits to privatising the NHS? I am sure you will be trying to

:05:02.:05:07.

get me to release the manifesto, but I can guarantee that the

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Conservative Party has never been about and is not about privatising

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the NHS. OK, that's clear. What about imposing VAT on children's

:05:19.:05:23.

clothes? Well, as I say, I'm sure you are going to spend a lot of time

:05:24.:05:26.

trying to get the manifesto out of me... Is that a runner, do you

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think? You can come up with any number... You have brought out

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private in the NHS, so what about VAT on children's clothes of food,

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will you rule that out? I'm not going to go into what might be in

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the manifesto. If you are going to put a series of faintly ridiculous

:05:48.:05:50.

propositions to me, we could happily go through them. It's a bit silly.

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What have let's file both of these as under, using your words, faintly

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ridiculous. What about keeping the triple lock on pensions? I'm not

:06:00.:06:05.

going to go through the manifesto. But it's your area. The manifesto

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will be published in a few weeks and I'm sure you can contain your

:06:11.:06:16.

patience. But you are the pensions minister, aren't you? I am. But what

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is your view? You won the election in 2015 on the triple lock on

:06:23.:06:28.

pensions, whether it is inflation or average earnings or 2.5%, whichever

:06:29.:06:32.

is the higher. Would you like to continue with you will see what we

:06:33.:06:37.

are going to say on pensions and everything else when the manifesto

:06:38.:06:42.

is published. What are you arguing for in the manifesto? It is your

:06:43.:06:46.

area of ministerial irresponsibility. We have both been

:06:47.:06:49.

around long enough to know that my private views which I might be

:06:50.:06:53.

expressing in private in the run-up to the publication of a manifesto

:06:54.:06:58.

should and will remain private. Let me put it another way. What would be

:06:59.:07:03.

the logic of putting the triple lock into your manifesto in 2015 and not

:07:04.:07:09.

putting it in in 2017? You will have to wait see the manifesto. You can

:07:10.:07:14.

put it in a number of ingenious ways, but I'm not going to

:07:15.:07:18.

pre-release any part of our manifesto. Have you got any

:07:19.:07:23.

policies? You will see in the manifesto. Of course, there will be

:07:24.:07:28.

a full set of policies... Should you not have decided them before you

:07:29.:07:32.

decided to call an election? You will see the manifesto when it is

:07:33.:07:36.

published but I'm not going to give you the fun of partially releasing

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it. I'm trying to find out if you had actually made these decisions

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yet. You will see when it is done but these are private discussions

:07:47.:07:49.

that go on and they made public when should make them public, which is

:07:50.:07:53.

when the campaign has formally started, and I'm not proposing to go

:07:54.:07:58.

into either the process or any of the decisions that have been made.

:07:59.:08:03.

Is Labour committed to the triple lock? Yes. So that will be in your

:08:04.:08:09.

manifesto, to the best of your knowledge? Yes, there was a strong

:08:10.:08:13.

logic to this. These are people who have retired, they don't have the

:08:14.:08:17.

capacity to supplement or to earn additional income, and so therefore

:08:18.:08:21.

the triple lock makes sense. How much will it cost to maintain the

:08:22.:08:28.

triple lock between 2017 and 2022? Like with the Conservatives, the

:08:29.:08:32.

detail of the policy plans and the evidence to support that will be in

:08:33.:08:36.

the manifesto. So you have made a promise you haven't yet costed. This

:08:37.:08:41.

has been a promise from Labour for some time. Like a ?10 minimum wage,

:08:42.:08:47.

like free school meals for all primary kids, like a big boost to

:08:48.:08:51.

affordable house-building... And more money for the NHS and social

:08:52.:09:00.

care. Yes. Because some of this... It's always about the record as well

:09:01.:09:03.

but if people want to know about the NHS commitment from the Labour

:09:04.:09:07.

Party, look at what we did in 13 years. At you costed any of it? How

:09:08.:09:13.

much? This is not the detail I'm going to go in. Jeremy Corbyn

:09:14.:09:18.

promised to keep the triple lock last November, so this was a long

:09:19.:09:22.

time ago, but you are telling me that here, in April 2017, you still

:09:23.:09:29.

don't know the cost? We have made the commitment and it's part of our

:09:30.:09:33.

fiscal and spending plans. They will be set out in the manifesto. You

:09:34.:09:36.

will see the detail. What people need to know for the commitment of

:09:37.:09:40.

this campaign is that the triple lock stays, there is a commitment to

:09:41.:09:44.

the NHS and a boost to the adult social care fund, which we have

:09:45.:09:48.

costed at an immediate need... And tuition fees are going as well is to

:09:49.:09:54.

mock you have to see this in the round. Lets see it in the round trip

:09:55.:09:58.

because money does matter here. You have said you are going to keep the

:09:59.:10:01.

triple lock. At this current spending. You're going to spend more

:10:02.:10:04.

on the NHS, that is current spending. You are going to spend

:10:05.:10:08.

more on social care, that is current spending. There are a number of

:10:09.:10:13.

other current spending promises you have made, but John McDonnell, your

:10:14.:10:15.

Shadow Chancellor, has something called a fiscal credibility rule

:10:16.:10:21.

which says that he will balance current spending with revenues of

:10:22.:10:25.

helping you spend all that and balance the budget? Some of this is

:10:26.:10:31.

capital investment... Everything I mentioned is current spending. How

:10:32.:10:35.

can you balance the budget with all of that extra current spending? You

:10:36.:10:39.

and the public will see the detail in the manifesto and you will be

:10:40.:10:43.

able to make your judgments. In housing, I have shown 18 months ago

:10:44.:10:48.

how we can be building 100,000 affordable new homes by councils and

:10:49.:10:52.

housing associations each year and how we could pay. That this capital

:10:53.:10:56.

spending but crucially, savings on housing benefit bill, despite

:10:57.:11:04.

punitive cuts under the Tories. You are going to add about 2 million --

:11:05.:11:11.

?2 billion to ?3 billion per year to the NHS, another ?2 billion to

:11:12.:11:15.

social care, you are going to save on the triple lock and abolish

:11:16.:11:19.

tuition fees, which is also current spending. You are going to add

:11:20.:11:22.

billions and billions to current spending. They married -- they may

:11:23.:11:27.

well all be good causes in your view. How do you do that and balance

:11:28.:11:32.

current spending? You will see the detail and the planned in the

:11:33.:11:37.

manifesto. You don't know. My point is that any election is about a

:11:38.:11:41.

government's track record. When we look at the track record of the last

:11:42.:11:46.

seven years, Theresa May can't duck the decisions made by Conservative

:11:47.:11:49.

ministers and she has been at the heart of them. But you are unable to

:11:50.:11:55.

tell our viewers about Labour policy by simply attacking him. Is it true

:11:56.:12:00.

that Mrs May at officials in Downing Street looking at the feasibility of

:12:01.:12:05.

an election since last autumn? I don't think so. Gary Gibbon -- Gary

:12:06.:12:09.

Gibbon, Channel 4 News, excellent report. He said that Stephen

:12:10.:12:15.

Parkinson, a veteran of the Vote Leave campaign, was in charge of a

:12:16.:12:19.

secret Downing Street unit working from last autumn on the feasibility

:12:20.:12:24.

of an election. I haven't heard anything about that. It goes to the

:12:25.:12:30.

heart of trust, doesn't it? Mrs May has tried to build a brand of trust

:12:31.:12:34.

and her people like to compare her to Tony Blair or David Cameron. She

:12:35.:12:39.

is more of a straight shooter. But, if she's looking at the feasibility

:12:40.:12:43.

of something, while telling the British people she wasn't going to

:12:44.:12:48.

have an election, that goes to the heart of trust. I have never heard

:12:49.:12:52.

that, and I think she has been completely upfront. She has said she

:12:53.:12:56.

has changed her mind. She reluctantly changed her mind because

:12:57.:13:00.

it became clear that, with these hugely important Brexit negotiations

:13:01.:13:04.

coming up, Tim Farron was saying he was going to grind parliament to a

:13:05.:13:09.

halt, more than 100 Lib Dem peers in the House of Lords were going to

:13:10.:13:12.

make it difficult... You have got everything through! Yes, but the

:13:13.:13:20.

negotiations are coming up. And 21% ahead in the polls is nothing to do

:13:21.:13:26.

with it?! Is in the interests of the British people that we get the best

:13:27.:13:29.

result in the strongest government. A Prime Minister with a new mandate

:13:30.:13:36.

will be able to negotiate better with the EU. And the Prime Minister

:13:37.:13:38.

accused the others claim political games. I don't say anything at this

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point! Now, the speculation has already

:13:43.:13:43.

begun as to which MPs might try There has also been backtracking

:13:44.:13:46.

from some who had previously said they'd stand down

:13:47.:13:50.

at the next election. So where are we with some

:13:51.:13:52.

of these personalities? We are still waiting for to hear

:13:53.:13:56.

from some Conservatives, like Ken Clarke, who had said he'd

:13:57.:13:58.

stand down at the next election. And could George Osborne bow out,

:13:59.:14:02.

now he has his new job After trying several times to get

:14:03.:14:05.

a seat in Westminster, could the time be right now

:14:06.:14:12.

for the former Ukip leader Nigel Farage, and where

:14:13.:14:14.

would he choose to stand? The party's current leader,

:14:15.:14:17.

Paul Nuttall, has said Another battle to watch will be

:14:18.:14:19.

in Clacton, where Ukip's biggest financial backer,

:14:20.:14:24.

Arron Banks, has confirmed he will stand in

:14:25.:14:27.

former-Ukip-now-independent-MP He's refused to rule out rejoining

:14:28.:14:31.

the Conservatives again. Some of the big Lib Dem names have

:14:32.:14:37.

already confirmed they will return to stand again on an

:14:38.:14:40.

anti-Brexit platform. And Simon Hughes

:14:41.:14:43.

in Bermondsey Old Southwark. For Labour, the former

:14:44.:14:49.

Home Secretary Alan Johnson has said he will stand down after 20

:14:50.:14:51.

years in Parliament. And Tom Blenkinsop has said

:14:52.:14:56.

he will not stand again, citing "significant and irreconcilable

:14:57.:14:59.

differences" with Jeremy Corbyn. Another Labour MP, John Woodcock,

:15:00.:15:04.

has said he will stand but will not In a video message, he said,

:15:05.:15:08.

"I will not countenance ever voting to make Jeremy Corbyn

:15:09.:15:12.

Britain's Prime Minister." And last night, one MP,

:15:13.:15:17.

on leaving the weekly gathering of Labour MPs,

:15:18.:15:20.

told reporters, "Go back to your constituencies and prepare

:15:21.:15:22.

for the Guardian jobs page". Not exactly a ringing endorsement,

:15:23.:15:38.

John Healey. How do you feel about your job prospects when the

:15:39.:15:41.

Conservatives, according to two poles, are 21 points ahead of you?

:15:42.:15:47.

You get these stories in Westminster, this kind of humour all

:15:48.:15:52.

the time. You know that as well as Damian and I. We are not strong in

:15:53.:15:57.

the polls, seven weeks of an election campaign, so a big

:15:58.:16:03.

challenge ahead of us. But I am confident, moving into the campaign,

:16:04.:16:07.

day two, and this will not be a narrow campaign about just Brexit,

:16:08.:16:12.

it will be which party has the best plan for Britain after Brexit. Who

:16:13.:16:16.

is going to rescue the NHS? Who is best for family living standards?

:16:17.:16:28.

Who will raise the standards in schools for all of our kids? Who is

:16:29.:16:31.

going to build the affordable homes to rent and buy that we badly need?

:16:32.:16:35.

Do some MPs think this is a chance to get rid of Jeremy Corbyn. Is it

:16:36.:16:42.

time for him to stand down? No, he was recently elected, he leads us

:16:43.:16:50.

through to June 8th. End of story. For all parties, the principal

:16:51.:16:52.

concern is to make sure the voters will support us in the election. And

:16:53.:17:00.

get the message across. But why should the voters support Labour if

:17:01.:17:04.

Labour MPs and candidates standing for election, in the case of John

:17:05.:17:08.

Woodcock, cannot actually say they want to see Jeremy Corbyn as the

:17:09.:17:13.

next Prime Minister? Because first and foremost, everybody votes for

:17:14.:17:17.

their local MP. Second, led by Jeremy Corbyn, and people like me

:17:18.:17:21.

from the Shadow Cabinet and the party, we will put forward an

:17:22.:17:24.

alternative to what we have seen in the last seven years of the

:17:25.:17:27.

Conservatives. This will be a choice. Do people want five more

:17:28.:17:32.

years of the same or a fresh start under Labour? That is the choice

:17:33.:17:37.

people will have, and Theresa May will find it is very difficult to

:17:38.:17:40.

keep seven weeks of attention just on Brexit. Politicians come onto

:17:41.:17:44.

programmes like this and say there is nothing worse than a divided

:17:45.:17:49.

party, in terms of the electorate. Is it acceptable that anyone seeking

:17:50.:17:53.

to become a Labour MP can stand on a platform and say, I will not

:17:54.:17:59.

countenance ever voting to make Jeremy Corbyn Britain's Prime

:18:00.:18:05.

Minister. Is that acceptable? Divided parties always struggle to

:18:06.:18:09.

win elections. That is why, from today onwards, we are into the

:18:10.:18:14.

campaign... John Woodcock has said that since the announcement of a

:18:15.:18:18.

general election. Should a party like Labour accept that sort of

:18:19.:18:23.

insubordination? Yes, because our concentration and our main focus

:18:24.:18:29.

now, the one concern must be winning over the public. These are internal

:18:30.:18:33.

arguments. We set those aside and the argument now is with the

:18:34.:18:38.

Conservatives, and to win support on June 8th. So I presume you can see

:18:39.:18:47.

him as Prime Minister? You will see Labour MPs devoting themselves over

:18:48.:18:50.

the next seven weeks to that. Of course I can see Jeremy Corbyn

:18:51.:18:53.

winning this election. Will his picture be all over your literature?

:18:54.:18:59.

Of course I can see Labour winning this election because we will set

:19:00.:19:02.

out a very different picture from the last seven years of the

:19:03.:19:06.

Conservatives, a plan to deal with the matter is that concern people

:19:07.:19:12.

every day. Will you put Jeremy Corbyn's picture on your election

:19:13.:19:17.

literature? I will do it the way I have done before, to get support

:19:18.:19:22.

from my local voters. That is not an answer. Well Jeremy Corbyn, elected

:19:23.:19:26.

twice as Labour or the Labour Party, feature on your election literature?

:19:27.:19:33.

I can't tell you yet. That doesn't sound like a ringing endorsement. I

:19:34.:19:39.

haven't written it yet. This is day two of the election. Would you like

:19:40.:19:46.

some help? I could always do with a sharp word or two! Maybe I will come

:19:47.:19:50.

back to you. I thought you were going to offer... ! I just asked. If

:19:51.:19:58.

I offered, I would have to offer it to every party, as you know! Have

:19:59.:20:03.

you seen his drawing? If Labour loses the election, would you expect

:20:04.:20:08.

Jeremy Corbyn to stand down. I'm not going to go into that. We have seven

:20:09.:20:13.

weeks of an election campaign. It is wrong at the start to ask at Weston

:20:14.:20:17.

that might or might not be relevant at the end. -- to ask a question. We

:20:18.:20:26.

want day voice and an alternative, as a Labour government. That is our

:20:27.:20:29.

task and Jeremy Corbyn's task. Now, the SNP have said they will

:20:30.:20:32.

abstain in this afternoon's vote. Party leader and First Minister

:20:33.:20:35.

Nicola Sturgeon called it a "huge political miscalculation"

:20:36.:20:37.

and an "extraordinary U-turn" Let's talk to the SNP's John

:20:38.:20:50.

Swinney. He is the Deputy First Minister. He joins me from

:20:51.:20:54.

Edinburgh. The SNP say they are going to add stain. Why? -- to add

:20:55.:21:02.

stain. Because we are believers in the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act. We

:21:03.:21:06.

have it in the Scottish Parliament and we supported the legislation for

:21:07.:21:09.

that in the House of Commons as well. It's very clear that the Prime

:21:10.:21:14.

Minister has decided to abandon the legislation is she supported for a

:21:15.:21:20.

Fixed-Term Parliaments Act to essentially seize the opportunity of

:21:21.:21:24.

the Labour Party's weakness and call a quick election. If you support the

:21:25.:21:28.

Fixed-Term Parliaments Act, why did the Scottish Nationalists attack

:21:29.:21:32.

Theresa may when she became Prime Minister, saying she had not been

:21:33.:21:37.

elected and she had no mandate? It is a statement of fact, she had not

:21:38.:21:41.

been selected, not even by the Conservative Party. But that is a

:21:42.:21:45.

consequence of the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act. It is a consequence

:21:46.:21:49.

of the fact that David Cameron got into such a political mess, a

:21:50.:21:53.

disastrous referendum with the European Union, which he managed to

:21:54.:21:58.

lose, that he had to leave office... So why can you attack somebody for

:21:59.:22:01.

having no mandate and then when that person seeks a mandate, you attack

:22:02.:22:07.

them? Quite simply because we are believers in the Fixed-Term

:22:08.:22:08.

Parliaments Act. We don't believe the Prime Minister should be able to

:22:09.:22:15.

play political games... So if you take that position, it does follow

:22:16.:22:19.

that whenever there is a change of Prime Minister, by definition, they

:22:20.:22:23.

have no mandate if they can't call another election and they haven't

:22:24.:22:29.

been elected. That is a feature of the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act that

:22:30.:22:31.

you support. So it is surely an unfair criticism to have a go at

:22:32.:22:36.

somebody by saying the PM is not yet collected by anybody. Why would you

:22:37.:22:41.

make that criticism? Is a fair criticism because it is a statement

:22:42.:22:44.

of fact, based on the fact the Prime Minister has not been collected so

:22:45.:22:49.

far by anybody. She is obviously going to the country and we won't

:22:50.:22:54.

stand in the way... But you are against it. People will regard this

:22:55.:23:00.

as an absurd position you are in. Parliament decided there should be

:23:01.:23:03.

fixed Parliamentary terms and everyone thought that was a great

:23:04.:23:08.

idea. The reason we are departing from that in the vote today is

:23:09.:23:11.

because the Prime Minister sees a political opportunity, a lead in the

:23:12.:23:16.

opinion polls ahead of the Labour Party, to entrench long-term right

:23:17.:23:31.

winger Tory rule. But she is sticking to the act. It allows for

:23:32.:23:39.

the road to be called if 66% of the Commons votes for it. She is

:23:40.:23:42.

entirely compliant with the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act. -- the

:23:43.:23:49.

vote. She is seizing on the weakness of the Labour Party and that will be

:23:50.:23:54.

exposed in the campaign. A political party seizing on the weakness of

:23:55.:23:57.

another political party... When did that last happen? The Prime Minister

:23:58.:24:03.

was very quick to come to Scotland and lecture us about politics not

:24:04.:24:08.

being a game. And what she is doing today is playing a political game,

:24:09.:24:11.

seizing the opportunity of the Labour Party's weakness to try to

:24:12.:24:17.

entrench long-term right wing Tory rule in the UK and the SNP would be

:24:18.:24:22.

a bulwark against that on behalf of Scotland by promoting Scottish

:24:23.:24:27.

interest. If Labour is so weak as you say in Scotland and England as

:24:28.:24:31.

well, Nicola Sturgeon has been talking about the possibility of a

:24:32.:24:35.

progressive alliance involving Labour, the Lib Dems and the SNP in

:24:36.:24:40.

Westminster. Is that a road you would consider going down? We want

:24:41.:24:44.

to make sure we have a Parliament elected that will not be a pro

:24:45.:24:49.

austerity Parliament, that will not be a Parliament that is going to

:24:50.:24:54.

deliver a hard Brexit upon the citizens of the United Kingdom. So

:24:55.:24:58.

we will be arguing in this election campaign in Scotland to be the

:24:59.:25:03.

protection against... What about the progressive alliance point? We are

:25:04.:25:07.

certainly happy to co-operate with people of like minds if the electric

:25:08.:25:13.

gives an outcome that supports that proposition. The voters will have a

:25:14.:25:17.

chance to have their say on remember is Parliament and obviously the SNP

:25:18.:25:21.

will work very hard in every constituency in Scotland to win

:25:22.:25:23.

Parliamentary support and make sure we have enough MPs to protect

:25:24.:25:28.

Scottish interests and to be a bulwark against austerity. Thank

:25:29.:25:32.

you. Do you fancy a progressive alliance with the SNP? No, I see no

:25:33.:25:38.

circumstances at all of that sort of coalition. We are fighting to win

:25:39.:25:41.

this election as a Labour government. Coalitions over the last

:25:42.:25:46.

Parliament have got a bad name and going into any sort of arrangement

:25:47.:25:49.

with a party like the SNP, which is set to break up Britain as their

:25:50.:25:54.

sole purpose, and failing as a government in their own country in

:25:55.:25:58.

Scotland, is not for us. A clear enough answer. I may have been a bit

:25:59.:26:03.

hasty... The cancellation of the Manchester, Gorton by-election. They

:26:04.:26:09.

are actually seeking legal advice. We will have to wait.

:26:10.:26:14.

It would be true to say that there is some excitement

:26:15.:26:17.

here in SW1 at the prospect of a general election.

:26:18.:26:20.

has become a tented media village overnight - a sort of Glastonbury

:26:21.:26:26.

But it has come to our attention that some might be

:26:27.:26:37.

less delighted at the prospect of what's at least the fourth

:26:38.:26:40.

opportunity to go to the polls in little more than two years.

:26:41.:26:44.

Brenda from Bristol, for example, has become a social media

:26:45.:26:46.

sensation after giving Theresa May a piece of her mind

:26:47.:26:49.

If you're watching, Brenda, don't let the election

:26:50.:26:56.

campaign wear you down - put the kettle on and enjoy

:26:57.:27:05.

a traditional British past-time, a nice cup of tea

:27:06.:27:07.

If you want a chance to win one, let us know when this happened.

:27:08.:27:16.

# And you cast your fears aside...#

:27:17.:27:30.

# Dreams can come true Look at me, babe, I'm with you

:27:31.:27:33.

# You know you've got to be strong... #

:27:34.:27:39.

# Take me up to a place So far away in your heavenly space

:27:40.:28:01.

# One night One night

:28:02.:28:04.

# In the middle of the night I go walking in my sleep

:28:05.:28:13.

# Through the desert of truth...#

:28:14.:28:16.

With regret, I have accepted his resignation.

:28:17.:28:18.

# We all end in the ocean We all start in the streams

:28:19.:28:24.

# We're all carried along by the river of dreams

:28:25.:28:29.

# I go walking in the, in the middle of the...#

:28:30.:28:40.

To be in with a chance of winning a Daily Politics mug,

:28:41.:28:43.

send your answer to our special quiz email address - dpquiz@bbc.co.uk

:28:44.:28:46.

Entries must arrive by 12.30pm today.

:28:47.:28:49.

You can see the full terms and conditions for Guess The Year

:28:50.:28:52.

on our website - bbc.co.uk/dailypolitics

:28:53.:28:58.

And they don't change in a general election! Thank goodness, because I

:28:59.:29:04.

would never cope reading them! BBC compliance will have heard that and

:29:05.:29:06.

think, we have to change it! You know it is a big day because

:29:07.:29:19.

there is a helicopter over Westminster. More than one! A lovely

:29:20.:29:25.

helicopter shot over the millennium wheel. Modern Britain and

:29:26.:29:28.

19th-century Britain together. A lovely shot.

:29:29.:29:31.

Prime Minister's Questions today, obviously it will be all election

:29:32.:29:45.

oriented. And probably another one next week, and then that's it? We

:29:46.:29:51.

think so. We expect dissolution on the third, that would mean the House

:29:52.:29:56.

would sit... Parliament would be gone by that Wednesday? Precisely.

:29:57.:30:02.

But this afternoon's packing up business has to be dealt with. The

:30:03.:30:09.

SNP will abstain. -- technical business has to be dealt with.

:30:10.:30:13.

Goodbye, Fixed-Term Parliaments Act. It didn't last long! It will still

:30:14.:30:18.

be on the statute books, but Theresa May will demonstrate today that as

:30:19.:30:21.

an idea, if a Prime Minister wants to get around it, you can do it.

:30:22.:30:27.

Because no opposition can really say no? Basically it wasn't worth the

:30:28.:30:33.

paper it was written on, some might say. At the time, it was very

:30:34.:30:37.

important for the stability of the coalition. Changing the constitution

:30:38.:30:43.

to keep the beautiful rose garden together, the Lib Dems and Tories

:30:44.:30:47.

both wanted the guarantee that the other would not flounce out when

:30:48.:30:50.

things got pretty. But when the polls look good, you can still do

:30:51.:30:55.

what you always did. Indeed. A few Labour MPs have been a bit nervous.

:30:56.:31:01.

They were already on record as saying they would be up for an

:31:02.:31:07.

election. Mrs May made a big deal of the need to get a bigger majority to

:31:08.:31:11.

get a mandate for her form of Brexit, to be able to push that

:31:12.:31:17.

through, and the Lord's, whatever. Those of us old enough to remember

:31:18.:31:22.

when Ted Heath called an election in February 1974 on who governs the

:31:23.:31:27.

country... Within a week, that had ceased to be the issue, and he went

:31:28.:31:32.

on to lose. Certainly echoes of that very direct call for an individual

:31:33.:31:36.

mandate, and that hasn't happened from a party leader for quite some

:31:37.:31:41.

time. In terms of how Parliament had been frustrated, it has been a bit

:31:42.:31:45.

tricky over Brexit, doing their job, but they have not been blocking

:31:46.:31:49.

things left, right and centre. So one of the things that actually

:31:50.:31:58.

changed was EU response to the exit letter. There was hope to have talks

:31:59.:32:02.

at the same time about the trade deals and the divorce, and the EU

:32:03.:32:06.

said not a bit of it. So guess what, this might be as difficult as the

:32:07.:32:12.

critics warned, and that is one of the factors that changed the balance

:32:13.:32:16.

of the decision, if you like. However your Western, unlike me to

:32:17.:32:20.

rattle on, was, will the campaign be about what Theresa May promised

:32:21.:32:25.

yesterday in Downing Street? Brexit is the context for this election.

:32:26.:32:29.

But campaigns take on lives of their own. Exactly. Even things you have

:32:30.:32:36.

never even thought about. Definitely things that might be very

:32:37.:32:38.

inconvenient for the Government. We are going to be in a strange

:32:39.:32:43.

situation, as your guests have already demonstrated. Both parties

:32:44.:32:46.

will go into this with pretty flimsy manifestoes. We have proved that

:32:47.:32:51.

this morning! I was being diplomatic! We will have a very

:32:52.:32:56.

strong manifesto, I can tell you that. Do you want a hand?

:32:57.:33:10.

Mr Speaker, I am sure that members across the house will wish to join

:33:11.:33:16.

me in offering our condolences to the families and friends of Andrea

:33:17.:33:22.

Christie, who died following the London attack, and Chris Bevington,

:33:23.:33:26.

who was among those killed in the terrorist attack in Sweden, and our

:33:27.:33:29.

thoughts are also with the Army and friends often -- of Hannah Bladon,

:33:30.:33:36.

murdered in Jerusalem last week. This week, I had meetings with

:33:37.:33:42.

colleagues and others. I shall have further such meetings later today. I

:33:43.:33:45.

would also like to join the Prime Minister in offering the condolences

:33:46.:33:52.

of the people of south C and myself to the individuals and their

:33:53.:33:54.

families. -- South Leicestershire. Strong countries need strong

:33:55.:34:00.

economies. Strong countries need strong defences. Strong countries

:34:01.:34:10.

need strong leaders. As the nation prepares to go to the polls, as the

:34:11.:34:17.

nation prepares to go to the polls, apart from my right honourable

:34:18.:34:24.

friend, who else in this house can provide the leadership that is

:34:25.:34:25.

needed at this time? My honourable friend is absolutely

:34:26.:34:41.

right. There are three things that a country needs, a strong economy,

:34:42.:34:43.

strong defence and strong, stable leadership. That is what our plans

:34:44.:34:48.

for Brexit and our plans for a stronger Britain will deliver, and

:34:49.:34:52.

that's what the Conservative Party will be offering at this election,

:34:53.:34:58.

and we will be out there, fighting for every vote. Whereas the right

:34:59.:35:02.

honourable gentleman opposite would bankrupt our economy, would weaken

:35:03.:35:07.

our defences and is simply not fit to lead. Thank you, Mr Speaker.

:35:08.:35:23.

Thank you, Mr Speaker. I concur with the condolences the Prime Minister

:35:24.:35:27.

just sent to the families of those three people who so sadly and

:35:28.:35:29.

needlessly died, and it's important we recognise that as a cross-party

:35:30.:35:35.

proposal today. I think the Prime Minister for that. We welcome the

:35:36.:35:43.

general election. But... But this... But this is a Prime Minister who

:35:44.:35:53.

promised there would be one. -- there would not be won. A Prime

:35:54.:35:59.

Minister cannot be trusted. She says it is about leadership, yet he is

:36:00.:36:08.

refusing to defend her record in television debates. -- yet she is

:36:09.:36:12.

refusing. And it's not hard to see why. The Prime Minister says we have

:36:13.:36:22.

a stronger economy. Yet... Yet she can't explain why people's wages are

:36:23.:36:28.

lower today than they were ten years ago, or why more households are in

:36:29.:36:41.

debt, 6 million people earning less than the living wage, child poverty

:36:42.:36:48.

is up, pensioner poverty is up, so why are so many people getting

:36:49.:36:56.

poorer? Well, I can assure the right honourable gentleman, first of all,

:36:57.:37:03.

I would point out to the honourable gentleman that I have been answering

:37:04.:37:08.

his questions and debating these answers -- debating these matters

:37:09.:37:11.

every Wednesday that Parliament has been sitting since I became Prime

:37:12.:37:14.

Minister, and I will be taking out to the country in this campaign a

:37:15.:37:18.

proud record of a Conservative government. A stronger, -- a

:37:19.:37:29.

stronger economy, and economy with the deficit down, 30 million people

:37:30.:37:34.

with a tax cut, 4 million people taking out an income tax altogether,

:37:35.:37:40.

record levels of employment and ?1250 more per year for pensioners.

:37:41.:37:48.

That's a record we can be proud of. Mr Speaker, if she is so proud of

:37:49.:37:56.

her record, why won't she debate it? Wages... Wages are falling. More

:37:57.:38:03.

children are in poverty but in the last Tory manifesto, page 28, it

:38:04.:38:10.

said, we will work to eliminate child poverty. They only eliminated

:38:11.:38:18.

the child poverty targets, not child poverty. In 2010, they promised to

:38:19.:38:24.

eradicate the deficit by 2015. In 2015, they promised to eradicate the

:38:25.:38:29.

deficit by 2020. Austerity has failed. So does the Prime Minister

:38:30.:38:34.

know which year the deficit will now be eradicated? The right honourable

:38:35.:38:44.

gentleman, I know that it's taken... I know that it's taken the right

:38:45.:38:48.

honourable gentleman a little time to get the hang of these Prime

:38:49.:38:52.

Minister's Questions, but I have to say to him that week in, week out,

:38:53.:38:57.

he stands up and asks me questions and I respond to those questions,

:38:58.:39:06.

and what... Order, order. The Leader of the Opposition must be heard and

:39:07.:39:09.

the Prime Minister must be heard. Prime Minister. A stronger economy

:39:10.:39:16.

with a deficit two thirds down, but people will have a real choice at

:39:17.:39:20.

this election. They will have a choice between a Conservative

:39:21.:39:22.

government that has shown we can build a stronger economy and a

:39:23.:39:25.

Labour Party whose economic policy would bankrupt this country but what

:39:26.:39:31.

voters know is that, under Labour, its ordinary working people who paid

:39:32.:39:37.

the price of the Labour Party. They hate it with their taxes, -- they

:39:38.:39:44.

pay it with their taxes, with their jobs and their children's futures.

:39:45.:39:52.

Only this year, the new Chancellor pledged to eradicate the deficit by

:39:53.:39:56.

2022. I do admire Tory consistency but it's always five years in the

:39:57.:40:04.

future. Another Tory broken promise. The Prime Minister leaves a

:40:05.:40:05.

government that has increased national debt by ?700 billion, more

:40:06.:40:12.

than every other Labour government in history put together. Debt has

:40:13.:40:16.

risen every year that they have been in office. We know that their

:40:17.:40:21.

economic plan was long-term. Does the Prime Minister want to tell us

:40:22.:40:27.

how far into the long term it will be before we get debt falling? The

:40:28.:40:34.

right honourable gentleman stand up and he talks about debt. This is a

:40:35.:40:39.

Labour Party that will be going into the election pledged to borrow an

:40:40.:40:45.

extra ?500 billion. And what does that mean for ordinary working

:40:46.:40:50.

people? Well, I'll tell the right honourable gentleman what it means

:40:51.:40:53.

that we know what Labour's lands would entail, because we've been

:40:54.:40:56.

told either former Labour Shadow Chancellor. -- Labour's plans. He

:40:57.:41:04.

said, if Labour were in power, you'd have to double income tax, you'd

:41:05.:41:07.

have to double national insurance, you'd have to double council tax and

:41:08.:41:14.

you'd have to double VAT as well that Labour's plan for the economy.

:41:15.:41:21.

All that her government has delivered, Mr Speaker, is more debt

:41:22.:41:24.

and less funding for schools and hospitals. Schools funding has been

:41:25.:41:29.

cut for the first time in a generation. The Prime Minister is

:41:30.:41:34.

cutting ?3 billion per year from school budgets by 2020 fourth she

:41:35.:41:38.

says they have created a stronger economy. So why are their tax

:41:39.:41:45.

giveaways to the richest corporations, while our children's

:41:46.:41:50.

schools are starved of resources that they need to educate our

:41:51.:41:56.

children for the future? He talks about levels of funding into schools

:41:57.:42:01.

and the NHS. There are record levels of funding going into schools and

:42:02.:42:05.

record levels of funding going into the NHS. But let's just talk about

:42:06.:42:10.

schools, because it's not just a question of funding, it's actually a

:42:11.:42:13.

question of the quality of education provided in the schools. 1.8 million

:42:14.:42:21.

more children are in good or outstanding schools under this

:42:22.:42:25.

Conservative government. That's 1.8 million more children with a better

:42:26.:42:28.

chance for their futures. What would Labour give us? He same old, one

:42:29.:42:33.

size fits all, authority run schools. No choice, good or bad,

:42:34.:42:40.

trust your luck. We don't trust to luck and we won't trust the Labour

:42:41.:42:44.

Party. We will provide a good school place for every child. Parents

:42:45.:42:49.

taking their children back to school for the summer term, many will

:42:50.:42:52.

receive a letter from the school begging for funds to buy books and

:42:53.:42:57.

to fund the school. The Conservative manifesto promised the amount of

:42:58.:43:01.

money following your child into school will be protected. It isn't.

:43:02.:43:08.

It's another Tory broken promise. For the first time in its history,

:43:09.:43:13.

NHS funding per pupil, per patient will fall this year. The NHS has

:43:14.:43:17.

been put into an all year round crisis by this government. Why are

:43:18.:43:24.

more people waiting in pain, and millions of elderly people not

:43:25.:43:29.

getting the care and the dignity that they deserve? I'm proud of the

:43:30.:43:35.

record we have on the NHS. We see more doctors, more nurses, more

:43:36.:43:43.

midwives, more GPs, more people being treated in our National Health

:43:44.:43:46.

Service last year than ever before, and record levels of funding going

:43:47.:43:51.

in the NHS. You only can do that with a strong economy. What do we

:43:52.:43:56.

know we'd get from the Labour Party? Bankruptcy and chaos. Mr Speaker,

:43:57.:44:03.

that's a very good reason why we should have a debate about it.

:44:04.:44:10.

Because that is another Tory broken promise, a broken promise of a Tory

:44:11.:44:17.

manifesto which said, they will continue to spend more on the NHS in

:44:18.:44:23.

real terms say that to those waiting in A departments, say that to

:44:24.:44:27.

those who can't leave hospital because social care is not

:44:28.:44:32.

available. Mr Speaker, isn't the truth that, over the last seven

:44:33.:44:37.

years, the Tories have broken every promise on living standards, the

:44:38.:44:41.

deficit, yet, the National Health Service and schools funding? --

:44:42.:44:47.

debt, the NHS and schools funding. Why should anyone believe a word

:44:48.:44:54.

they say over the next seven weeks? I can assure the right honourable

:44:55.:44:57.

gentleman that I will be out campaigning and taking to voters the

:44:58.:45:04.

message of the record of this Conservative government, but

:45:05.:45:06.

crucially, of our plans to make Brexit a success and to build a

:45:07.:45:12.

stronger Britain for the future, and every vote for the Conservatives

:45:13.:45:15.

will make it harder for those who want to stop me from getting the job

:45:16.:45:21.

done. Every vote for the Conservatives will make me stronger

:45:22.:45:25.

when I negotiate for Britain with the EU, and every vote for the

:45:26.:45:28.

Conservatives will mean that we can stick out plan for a stronger

:45:29.:45:33.

Britain and take the right long-term decisions for a more secure future

:45:34.:45:34.

for this country. Thank you, Mr Speaker. For years, I

:45:35.:45:45.

have been campaigning for fairer funding in Wiltshire schools. Will

:45:46.:45:49.

Prime Minister reaffirm her commitment to this? And to a review

:45:50.:45:55.

of pupil premium to encompass other forms of key disadvantage, such as

:45:56.:46:00.

being a health carer, mental health problems and other bereavement? This

:46:01.:46:03.

way, we can create a country that will work for everyone. My

:46:04.:46:08.

honourable friend raises an important point. I know she has

:46:09.:46:11.

campaigned long and hard in her constituency and worked hard on this

:46:12.:46:16.

and other issues. We want to ensure young people irrespective of

:46:17.:46:19.

background at the opportunity to make the most of their talents, and

:46:20.:46:23.

the point of our reforms is to end the postcode lottery in school

:46:24.:46:27.

funding and support our plans for a fairer society where success is

:46:28.:46:33.

based on merit not privilege. The pupil premium is worth ?2.5 billion

:46:34.:46:38.

per year. It is an important part of policy because it gives schools

:46:39.:46:42.

extra support for pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds. But I

:46:43.:46:45.

think it is right that schools are best placed to prioritise the needs

:46:46.:46:49.

of their pupils and can use their funding to ensure they support any

:46:50.:46:53.

pupil facing disadvantage, financial or otherwise. May I join in the

:46:54.:47:01.

condolences extended by the Prime Minister and the leader of the

:47:02.:47:06.

Labour Party. Mr Speaker, the tone and content of Democratic debates,

:47:07.:47:11.

including a general election, is very important to all of us. Does

:47:12.:47:16.

the Prime Minister Trudeau political opponents are not saboteurs, and all

:47:17.:47:20.

electric mainstream parties and parliamentarians have a mandate, and

:47:21.:47:24.

that should be respected? -- elected mainstream parties. In this House

:47:25.:47:30.

and in this Parliament, it is right that we have proper debate and

:47:31.:47:34.

scrutiny of proposals put forward by the Government, and that arguments

:47:35.:47:38.

on both sides of the House are rightly challenged. And those

:47:39.:47:42.

discussions take place. But I said to the right honourable gentleman

:47:43.:47:46.

that what the British able, the people of the UK voted for last

:47:47.:47:49.

year, was for the UK to leave the European Union. -- the British

:47:50.:47:58.

people. There is no turning back. But it is clear from statements made

:47:59.:48:01.

by the Scottish Nationalists and others that they do want to use this

:48:02.:48:06.

House to try to frustrate that process. I will be asking the

:48:07.:48:09.

British people for a mandate to complete Brexit and to make a

:48:10.:48:16.

success of it. It's disappointing the Prime Minister didn't take the

:48:17.:48:18.

opportunity to condemn the intemperate language when describing

:48:19.:48:25.

either Democratic politicians. There is heckling from the other side and

:48:26.:48:29.

the Prime Minister should take the opportunity to underline something

:48:30.:48:32.

we should all agree on, that describing people in the way we have

:48:33.:48:37.

read in some daily newspapers by leading politicians is not

:48:38.:48:40.

acceptable. Most people know that the reason why we are having a

:48:41.:48:45.

general election is because of the woeful state of the Labour Party. If

:48:46.:48:50.

the Prime Minister is so confident that her hard Brexit pro austerity,

:48:51.:48:56.

anti-immigration case is right, she should debate it with opposition

:48:57.:49:00.

leaders during the campaign. We look forward to the straight fight

:49:01.:49:04.

between the SNP and the Tories, can the Prime Minister tell the people

:49:05.:49:08.

why she is running scared of a televised debate with Nicola

:49:09.:49:16.

Sturgeon? First of all, can I say to the right honourable gentleman, one

:49:17.:49:20.

of the crucial thing is we have in this country that underpins

:49:21.:49:23.

democracy is a free press. I believe that is important and that people in

:49:24.:49:28.

this chamber should stand up for the freedom of the press. As for the TV

:49:29.:49:32.

debates, I can assure the right honourable gentleman that I will be

:49:33.:49:36.

out there, campaigning in every part of the United Kingdom, taking our

:49:37.:49:41.

proud record of a Conservative government that has delivered for

:49:42.:49:45.

every part of the United Kingdom. And I might suggest to the Scottish

:49:46.:49:49.

Nationalists that actually now is the time for them to put aside...

:49:50.:49:57.

Wait for it. Now is the time for them to put aside their tunnel

:49:58.:50:05.

vision on independence. And actually explain to the Scottish people why,

:50:06.:50:08.

under the SNP, they are not putting as much money into the health

:50:09.:50:12.

service as they have been given from the UK. They are not exercising the

:50:13.:50:16.

powers they have been given, and Scottish education is getting worse.

:50:17.:50:19.

It's time they got back to their day job.

:50:20.:50:29.

Thank you, Mr Speaker. I also welcome the announcement from the

:50:30.:50:35.

Prime Minister yesterday and I look forward to the general election, and

:50:36.:50:38.

taking my positive message to my constituents. Over the last two

:50:39.:50:46.

years, I have pressed for first-class transport infrastructure

:50:47.:50:50.

in Cheadle, and this week I launched a transport survey so my

:50:51.:50:53.

constituents can have their say on what is needed to keep them moving

:50:54.:50:56.

and for us to be at the heart of the Northern Powerhouse. Does my right

:50:57.:51:01.

honourable friend agree that residents in Cheadle need to vote

:51:02.:51:09.

Conservative on June 8th to continue getting investment in transport and

:51:10.:51:12.

infrastructure, not only in Cheadle but across the Northwest? I

:51:13.:51:17.

absolutely agree with my honourable friend on that point. I know she has

:51:18.:51:22.

been working very hard for her constituents in Cheadle on this

:51:23.:51:25.

transport issue and others. It is under this government that we are

:51:26.:51:31.

investing ?290 million to improve transport links to Manchester

:51:32.:51:35.

Airport through Cheadle, and ?2.1 million committed to improving

:51:36.:51:37.

walking and cycling routes around the Cheadle Hume district centre.

:51:38.:51:42.

That is why the choice is clear. If you want to see that funding into

:51:43.:51:46.

infrastructure, we need a strong economy and only the Conservatives

:51:47.:51:53.

can deliver that strong economy. Because of the Prime

:51:54.:51:55.

Minister'schanges to education funding, every school in the country

:51:56.:52:00.

will face real terms cuts. Manchester is hit harder than

:52:01.:52:05.

anywhere outside London... With Chorlton high school and another in

:52:06.:52:12.

my constituency each losing the equivalent of over 30 teachers. So I

:52:13.:52:16.

asked the Prime Minister the same question a head teacher asked me.

:52:17.:52:20.

What would the Prime Minister cut to balance the books? What subjects

:52:21.:52:23.

which you choose to sack teachers from? As the honourable gentleman

:52:24.:52:30.

knows, there are record levels of funding going into our schools.

:52:31.:52:36.

Everybody across this House has recognised for many years that the

:52:37.:52:42.

current funding formula is not fair across the country. And it's

:52:43.:52:46.

necessary for us to look for a fairer funding formula. We have

:52:47.:52:51.

consulted on that and will be responding to that consultation. But

:52:52.:52:55.

I say to the honourable gentleman, as he faces up to the election, I

:52:56.:52:59.

note that last year he failed to back, he opposed the leader of his

:53:00.:53:03.

party... If he wasn't willing to support him as leader of his party,

:53:04.:53:07.

why should his voters support him as leader of the country?

:53:08.:53:13.

Thank you, Mr Speaker. The only way to fund crucial infrastructure is

:53:14.:53:19.

with a strong economy. To that end, does my right honourable friend

:53:20.:53:24.

agree that the St James link road in Northampton would help with traffic

:53:25.:53:28.

flow in the town and on the development in the enterprise zone,

:53:29.:53:31.

and will the next Conservative government continue to support me as

:53:32.:53:37.

the MP in backing the scheme? My honourable friend is absolutely

:53:38.:53:40.

right that you need to have a strong economy to be able to fund that

:53:41.:53:45.

crucial infrastructure. That's why, since 2015, we have increased annual

:53:46.:53:48.

investment in economic infrastructure by almost 60%, ?22

:53:49.:53:55.

billion by 2021, including ?2.6 billion for improvements in

:53:56.:53:59.

transport projects. I am happy to see the link road proposal being put

:54:00.:54:02.

forward by his local LEP, which I think will improve access to

:54:03.:54:06.

business and unlock development in the area. My honourable friend has

:54:07.:54:10.

worked hard to see this happen and I am sure he will continue to campaign

:54:11.:54:13.

on issues like that which matter so much to his constituents. Recent

:54:14.:54:21.

changes to housing benefit entitlement for 18-21 olds will

:54:22.:54:26.

affect 195 young people in Merthyr Tydfil. The Government is constantly

:54:27.:54:31.

challenging people to leave benefits for the world of work, but we are

:54:32.:54:35.

concerned these changes will be a major barrier to learning and

:54:36.:54:38.

training for youngsters who do not have a safe and secure environment

:54:39.:54:41.

at home. Does the Prime Minister agree we should do everything we can

:54:42.:54:46.

to help young people in the job market, including offering financial

:54:47.:54:50.

support for housing? And will she pledged to strengthen the guidelines

:54:51.:54:53.

so no more young people risk falling through the net and ending up on the

:54:54.:54:57.

streets? The principle behind what is being done in terms of the change

:54:58.:55:00.

in housing benefit is right, which is to say it's only fair that people

:55:01.:55:08.

who are not able to make decisions when they are on benefits, that they

:55:09.:55:12.

wouldn't be able to make when they are in work. But it is right that we

:55:13.:55:16.

ensure for those young people for whom staying at home, for whom there

:55:17.:55:21.

is a particular difficulty are supported through the system, so

:55:22.:55:24.

significant exceptions have taken place, and we recognise that need.

:55:25.:55:28.

Closed question, Mr Philip Hollobone. I would be happy to visit

:55:29.:55:38.

the Kettering constituency in future if my diary allows. I suspect in the

:55:39.:55:42.

next few weeks I will be visiting quite a few constituencies. Life for

:55:43.:55:49.

ordinary working families is harder than many people at Westminster

:55:50.:55:55.

realise. You have a job but not necessarily job security. You are

:55:56.:55:58.

just about managing but you are worried about the cost of living and

:55:59.:56:02.

getting your kids into a good school. You are doing your best and

:56:03.:56:06.

a Conservative government will do all it can to make sure you have

:56:07.:56:10.

more control over your life. Mr Speaker, these were the inspiring

:56:11.:56:13.

words of the Prime Minister when she took office last July. Will the

:56:14.:56:18.

Prime Minister come to Kettering, Britain's most average town, and

:56:19.:56:24.

repeat these, her core beliefs? Because if she does so, I know she

:56:25.:56:28.

will be warmly and widely acclaimed as the Prime Minister this country

:56:29.:56:30.

needs for the next five years. Well, my honourable friend is

:56:31.:56:40.

absolutely right to highlight ordinary working families who do

:56:41.:56:43.

rely on the Government to provide stability and certainty for them.

:56:44.:56:47.

And that's what this Conservative government has done. We have

:56:48.:56:51.

supported jobs through significant new investment in skills. We have

:56:52.:56:56.

invested in public services like childcare and the NHS. And we have

:56:57.:57:00.

enhanced consumer protections. I am happy to repeat the words I said

:57:01.:57:04.

outside Downing Street on July 13th last year, but it's Conservatives in

:57:05.:57:09.

government that have delivered strong and stable leadership and

:57:10.:57:12.

that is the message I will take to the country during this election.

:57:13.:57:17.

Does the Prime Minister support the people of Darlington when they

:57:18.:57:24.

oppose the downgrading of their A and maternity services? They want an

:57:25.:57:28.

answer they can trust, Prime Minister. Is it yes or no? The

:57:29.:57:35.

proposals for the configuration of health services in local areas is a

:57:36.:57:39.

matter that is being determined by local permissions in the best

:57:40.:57:46.

interests of services in the local area. But I am interested, the

:57:47.:57:50.

honourable lady refers to the views of her constituents in Darlington.

:57:51.:57:55.

She has said, the Leader of the Opposition, the leader of her party,

:57:56.:57:59.

my constituents in Darlington have made it clear to me they cannot

:58:00.:58:04.

support the Labour Party under your leadership. How can they possibly

:58:05.:58:06.

support him as leader of the country?

:58:07.:58:12.

Thank you, Mr Speaker. Can I welcome the fact that because the

:58:13.:58:17.

Conservatives have managed the economy so well, there is record

:58:18.:58:22.

funding... In East Sussex, for example, some of the best performing

:58:23.:58:25.

schools in the country, they are set to receive an increase of 3%.

:58:26.:58:31.

However in Lewes in my constituency, many small, normal primary schools

:58:32.:58:35.

are set to see a reduction. Could the Prime Minister look at the issue

:58:36.:58:39.

of rural primary school funding so we can even out fairer distribution

:58:40.:58:44.

of the money? She is absolute right to point out the record levels of

:58:45.:58:47.

funding going into schools. It is also the case, as I said earlier,

:58:48.:58:52.

that there has been over the years a general acceptance across this House

:58:53.:58:55.

that the current system of funding is not there in certain parts of the

:58:56.:58:59.

country. That is why we want to end the postcode lottery and look at a

:59:00.:59:03.

system that is fairer and more up-to-date. A system that will

:59:04.:59:09.

support our plan for a society where progress is based on merit, not

:59:10.:59:14.

privilege. I am happy to look at the concerns, I recognise small rural

:59:15.:59:16.

schools have particular issues and I am happy to look at those two ensure

:59:17.:59:22.

we get funding right and we can spread the money as fairly as

:59:23.:59:29.

possible. Every school in my area is facing a massive budget cut. Why is

:59:30.:59:35.

a child there worth less than a child in Tory heartlands in the

:59:36.:59:44.

South? We currently have a situation where there are significant sums of

:59:45.:59:49.

money going into children in certain schools, sometimes double the amount

:59:50.:59:53.

of money going to a child in another school. We need to find a fairer

:59:54.:59:58.

system. We have consulted on that system and we will be responding to

:59:59.:00:02.

that system. But I note from the honourable gentleman about what he

:00:03.:00:07.

has said about his leader, the leader of his party, the Leader of

:00:08.:00:13.

the Opposition. He said, he's not fit to rule. The public see this is

:00:14.:00:17.

a man who doesn't take responsibility serious lie. And he

:00:18.:00:20.

can't take the party forward other than in a divisive way. -- serious

:00:21.:00:25.

and dry. If we can't take the party forward, how can he hope to take

:00:26.:00:33.

Small businesses provide the lion's share of jobs in Cornwall and the

:00:34.:00:39.

Isles of Scilly. The difficulties of attracting credit, rising

:00:40.:00:42.

operational costs and red tape make running a small business

:00:43.:00:44.

increasingly difficult. What can the Prime Minister do to help these

:00:45.:00:50.

small businesses so that they can continue to be the engine of rural

:00:51.:00:56.

economies like west Cornwall's? My honourable friend is absolutely

:00:57.:01:00.

right that small businesses are the engine of the economy. I know he has

:01:01.:01:04.

been a champion for small businesses in his constituency, and he

:01:05.:01:09.

recognises that, if we are going to insure we can create those jobs, we

:01:10.:01:12.

want to encourage small businesses. That is why at the budget the

:01:13.:01:19.

Chancellor provided ?435 million to support businesses in England facing

:01:20.:01:22.

the steepest business rate increases. It is why we have cut

:01:23.:01:26.

business rates by nearly ?9 million, we will do over the next five years,

:01:27.:01:31.

and why we have listened to small businesses and given an extra year

:01:32.:01:36.

to prepare for making tax discs -- making tax digital for over 3

:01:37.:01:40.

million businesses. I recognised the importance of small businesses in

:01:41.:01:43.

Cornwall and I look forward to visiting Cornwall and being able to

:01:44.:01:46.

talk to him and others about the importance of small businesses in

:01:47.:01:52.

there. Can I join with the Prime Minister, with the expressions of

:01:53.:01:57.

condolence led by the Prime Minister early on? This election can change

:01:58.:02:04.

the direction of our country, from the consequences of potential hard

:02:05.:02:11.

Brexit outside the single market to the future of our NHS and social

:02:12.:02:14.

care. Our schools and our environment. The British public

:02:15.:02:20.

deserve to hear the party leaders set out their plans and debate them

:02:21.:02:25.

publicly, but the Prime Minister has refused to take part in televised

:02:26.:02:30.

leaders debates. The Prime Minister and I, back in 1992, debated

:02:31.:02:36.

publicly, forcibly and amicably when we were both candidates together.

:02:37.:02:45.

Indeed, Mr Speaker, the Prime Minister called out the then

:02:46.:02:50.

incumbent, who didn't show up for the debate. Why will she not debate

:02:51.:02:57.

those issues publicly now? What is she scared of? I can assure the

:02:58.:03:04.

honourable gentleman that I will be debating these issues publicly

:03:05.:03:07.

across the country, as well every single member of the Conservative

:03:08.:03:12.

team. We will be taking a proud record of the Conservative

:03:13.:03:14.

government but, more than that, we will be taking our plans for the

:03:15.:03:19.

future of this country, for making Brexit a success in delivering a

:03:20.:03:23.

stronger Britain. He talks about the possibility of changing the future

:03:24.:03:27.

of this country. What do we know that the leader of Labour, the Lib

:03:28.:03:30.

Dems and the Scottish Nationalists have in common? Corbynite, Farron

:03:31.:03:39.

and sturgeon. They want to unite together and divide our country and

:03:40.:03:45.

we will not let them do it. The government wishes to pursue a

:03:46.:03:52.

national industrial strategy. Cumbria has some specific strengths,

:03:53.:03:56.

such as tourism, agriculture, nuclear among others, but also some

:03:57.:04:01.

weaknesses. In the next parliament would the Prime Minister agree that

:04:02.:04:05.

any industrial strategy must take into account regional and

:04:06.:04:07.

subregional factors, and would she be receptive to a Cumbrian strategy

:04:08.:04:14.

that works within a national one? My honourable friend 's body to an

:04:15.:04:17.

important part of our plans for the future of Britain, the modern

:04:18.:04:22.

industrial strategy. We want an economy that works for everyone,

:04:23.:04:25.

that delivers good, high skilled, high-paid jobs and create conditions

:04:26.:04:30.

for a competitive, world leading business to prosper in the UK. But

:04:31.:04:36.

he is right, as we look at that industrial strategy, we need to look

:04:37.:04:39.

at the particular factors in parts of the country. He has long been a

:04:40.:04:44.

champion not just for Carlisle but for Cumbria, and I recognise the

:04:45.:04:48.

need, as does the business department, as we look at that

:04:49.:04:50.

industrial strategy to tailor it according to the needs of particular

:04:51.:04:58.

areas. The Prime Minister yesterday said she was calling a general

:04:59.:05:00.

election because Parliament was blocking Brexit but but three

:05:01.:05:07.

quarters of MPs and two thirds of the laws voted for Article 50, so

:05:08.:05:10.

that isn't true, is it? A month ago, she told her official spokesman to

:05:11.:05:17.

rule out an early general election, and that wasn't true either, was it?

:05:18.:05:21.

She wants us to believe that she is a woman of her word. Isn't the truth

:05:22.:05:24.

that we can't believe a single word? Order, order. The house is rather

:05:25.:05:48.

overexcited. The question has been heard. The answer will be heard.

:05:49.:05:57.

Prime Minister. This house and this Parliament voted to trigger Article

:05:58.:06:03.

50, but the Labour Party made it clear that they were thinking of

:06:04.:06:06.

voting against the final deal. The Scottish Nationalists... The

:06:07.:06:15.

Scottish... The Scottish Nationalists... The Scottish

:06:16.:06:18.

Nationalists have said that they will vote against the legislation

:06:19.:06:21.

necessary to leave the European Union. The Liberal Democrats say

:06:22.:06:26.

they are going to grind government to a standstill, and the House of

:06:27.:06:29.

Lords have threatened to stop us every inch of the way I think is

:06:30.:06:35.

right now to ask the British people to put their trust in me and the

:06:36.:06:39.

Conservative Party to deliver on their vote last year, a Brexit plan

:06:40.:06:42.

that will make a successful this country and deliver a stronger,

:06:43.:06:49.

fairer global Britain in the future. Mr Speaker, I see rats and

:06:50.:06:55.

fly-tipping as a result of beans having not been emptied for up to

:06:56.:06:59.

three weeks across Lib Dem Ryan Sutton. -- Lib Dem run Sutton. That

:07:00.:07:08.

follows a shambolic change to refuse collections. Does my right

:07:09.:07:11.

honourable friend agree that accepting greater delegated powers,

:07:12.:07:17.

elected councillors must plan changes carefully and take full

:07:18.:07:21.

responsibility as accountable representatives when things go

:07:22.:07:27.

wrong? I don't know about the howling of derision coming from the

:07:28.:07:31.

opposition benches, because my honourable friend raises an

:07:32.:07:34.

important point on an issue that actually matters to people up and

:07:35.:07:38.

down the country, and it is our goal to dues littering in England to make

:07:39.:07:42.

sure that our high streets and villages, our parks and green

:07:43.:07:47.

places, that they are pleasant. We have published the first ever

:07:48.:07:49.

national litter strategy for England and we are supporting comprehensive

:07:50.:07:54.

and frequent bin collections, but from what he says, that the Liberal

:07:55.:08:00.

Democrats run Sutton council is doing, it shows that the Liberal

:08:01.:08:02.

Democrats charge the highest council taxes but, under the Lib Dems, you

:08:03.:08:09.

pay more and you get less. Will the Prime Minister join the Scottish

:08:10.:08:16.

Government, North Ayrshire Council and all Ayrshire local authorities

:08:17.:08:21.

and pledge today to support the Ayrshire growth deal, requiring ?250

:08:22.:08:26.

billion of investment targeted to regenerate Ayrshire and improve the

:08:27.:08:32.

lives and prospects of all the people of Ayrshire? -- ?250 million.

:08:33.:08:36.

Is the honourable lady will know, we have already shown our commitment to

:08:37.:08:39.

growth deals in Scotland from the deals that have been agreed. I

:08:40.:08:43.

understand the Secretary of State for Scotland has met with the

:08:44.:08:46.

Scottish Government to discuss the growth deal for Ayrshire she has

:08:47.:08:49.

referred to, and we are in discussion about it. We have already

:08:50.:08:53.

shown our commitment through the deals that have already been struck,

:08:54.:09:01.

for example, for Aberdeen. As part of Southend's celebrations as the

:09:02.:09:04.

alternative city of culture, on the morning of Monday the eighth --

:09:05.:09:10.

Monday the 1st of May, stilt walkers will book nonstop from Southend to

:09:11.:09:15.

number ten Downing St to raise money for the region -- the music meant

:09:16.:09:21.

project to help people with Downing -- people with learning difficulties

:09:22.:09:24.

and a charity for child refugees. Would my right honourable friend

:09:25.:09:26.

arranged on the morning of Tuesday the 2nd of May for somebody on her

:09:27.:09:32.

behalf to receive the stilt walkers and accept from Southend's town

:09:33.:09:40.

crier the proclamation that, in this, the 125th anniversary of the

:09:41.:09:43.

founding of the borough, Southend be declared a city? Can I say to my

:09:44.:09:54.

honourable friend that, when I first heard this issue of the stilt

:09:55.:09:57.

walkers, I thought it sounded a bit of a tall order myself. But I am

:09:58.:10:02.

sure they will be making great strides as they approach Downing

:10:03.:10:05.

Street, and we will look carefully at that. I am pleased to hear what

:10:06.:10:10.

he says about Southend's celebrations but also the efforts

:10:11.:10:13.

being made to raise money for important causes, and we will

:10:14.:10:16.

certainly look into what can be done in Downing Street when they arrive.

:10:17.:10:25.

Will the Prime Minister give a guarantee that no Tory MP who is

:10:26.:10:33.

under investigation by the police and the legal authorities over

:10:34.:10:38.

election expenses in the last general election be a candidate in

:10:39.:10:46.

this election because, if she won't accept that, this is the most

:10:47.:10:51.

squalid election campaign that has happened in my lifetime? I stand by

:10:52.:11:02.

all the Conservative MPs who are in this house and who will be out

:11:03.:11:08.

there, standing again, campaigning, campaigning for a Conservative

:11:09.:11:11.

government that will give a brighter and better future for this country.

:11:12.:11:23.

I am proud that my party in government has ensured that we

:11:24.:11:26.

fulfil in this country our commitment to Nato, to spend 2% on

:11:27.:11:31.

defence, and our commitment to the UN, to spend 0.7% of GDP on overseas

:11:32.:11:37.

aid. Will my right honourable friend please omit a future Conservative

:11:38.:11:43.

government to do the same? -- please commit. My right honourable friend

:11:44.:11:48.

is correct. We have committed to meet our Nato pledge of 2% being

:11:49.:11:53.

spent on defence every year this decade. We are to bring on it. We

:11:54.:11:58.

have a 36 billion defence budget, rising to almost 40 billion by

:11:59.:12:03.

20-21, the biggest in Europe and the second-largest in Nato. We are

:12:04.:12:09.

meeting our commitment to spend 0.7% of GM eye on overseas development

:12:10.:12:13.

assistance, and I can assure my honourable friend that we remain

:12:14.:12:15.

committed as a Conservative Party to ensuring that we ensure for the

:12:16.:12:21.

defence and security of this country and work for a stronger world.

:12:22.:12:32.

Schools in Westchester already underfunding by ?400 per pupil on

:12:33.:12:37.

average before the new fair funding formula came in, and now every

:12:38.:12:40.

school in Chester is cutting staff and racing class sizes. That is the

:12:41.:12:48.

education budget. Can she explained the house why is it that the

:12:49.:12:52.

national fair funding formula provides neither fairness nor

:12:53.:12:59.

funding? As I have said in this chamber before, we need to look at

:13:00.:13:02.

the funding formula. We have published proposals and consulted on

:13:03.:13:06.

them and, in due course, the government will respond to those

:13:07.:13:11.

proposals for fair funding. I was interested to see the honourable

:13:12.:13:13.

gentleman being interviewed yesterday and being asked whether he

:13:14.:13:18.

would put a photograph of his leader on the election literature, and he

:13:19.:13:22.

said that the only photo he wanted on his literature was his own. He

:13:23.:13:25.

wasn't prepared to support the leader of his party.

:13:26.:13:37.

So Prime Minister's Questions comes to an end. House has some other

:13:38.:13:42.

business to get through but then we hope to go back to the House of

:13:43.:13:46.

Commons when Theresa May will move the motion to dissolve this

:13:47.:13:50.

Parliament and pave the way for a general election on the 8th of June.

:13:51.:13:58.

The Commons has to vote with a 66%, 66% of the Commons has to vote on to

:13:59.:14:02.

the fixed term Parliament act for an election to be called outside the

:14:03.:14:04.

fixed term of this Parliament, which was meant to run through till 2020

:14:05.:14:10.

until Mrs May surprised us yesterday. She could just call it,

:14:11.:14:14.

she had to say that she intended to call it once she got the support of

:14:15.:14:18.

the Commons. We had some breaking news while that was going on, George

:14:19.:14:22.

Osborne, the former Chancellor, has decided not to contest Tatham, his

:14:23.:14:26.

constituency in the north-west, in Cheshire. The only source we have

:14:27.:14:32.

for that if the Evening Standard, so we are going out on a limb! On the

:14:33.:14:37.

other hand, he is about to become the editor of the Evening Standard,

:14:38.:14:41.

so I assume he would give them an accurate scoop in that regard. But,

:14:42.:14:44.

you know, we always like to make sure. Laura is onto it. It is good

:14:45.:14:53.

to see the Standard getting a scoop from its editor to be. He did say

:14:54.:15:02.

the interesting words, "For now". Maybe he will go back into politics

:15:03.:15:06.

after he makes a success of the Standard, who knows. That was a bit

:15:07.:15:11.

of breaking news. PMQs, an interesting question from Dennis

:15:12.:15:18.

Skinner on the status of those Conservative MPs from constituencies

:15:19.:15:21.

currently under investigation, potentially maybe even charged,

:15:22.:15:28.

because of electoral misspending, overspending in the last election.

:15:29.:15:32.

We have covered that story many times, because a lot of the work

:15:33.:15:36.

that was done by Channel 4 News, but it was an interesting question and

:15:37.:15:39.

the Prime Minister didn't confront it. She said she supported full

:15:40.:15:43.

Conservative candidates, but I think that will come up again. The matter

:15:44.:15:47.

remains to be resolved, and the police have been talking about

:15:48.:15:48.

moving on this before the end of now all what did our viewers make of

:15:49.:16:02.

it? Paul said, Jeremy Corbyn outlined what is important to the

:16:03.:16:05.

vast majority. If Theresa May and the media think it is just going to

:16:06.:16:09.

be about Brexit, they are going to get a shock. An obvious win for

:16:10.:16:15.

Prime Minister May against Corbyn. But I suspect the Lib Dems will do

:16:16.:16:19.

much better than current polls. Martin says, no one ever won an

:16:20.:16:23.

election by telling a country how terrible things are. That is why

:16:24.:16:27.

things can only get better work test for Labour in the past. Seven weeks

:16:28.:16:31.

of running country down will not cut it and will drive most of the

:16:32.:16:34.

country completely doolally. And, if Theresa May think she will get away

:16:35.:16:40.

without TV debates, she is living in cloud cuckoo land. A lot of e-mails

:16:41.:16:44.

like that. If Jeremy Corbyn will make a useless Prime Minister and

:16:45.:16:49.

Bob bankrupt the country, why is Theresa May so terrified of engaging

:16:50.:16:59.

in a live TV debate with him? -- and will bankrupt. George Osborne hasn't

:17:00.:17:04.

quite got the hang of this journalism thing yet. He got the

:17:05.:17:09.

story online in the Standard but missed the deadline for the print

:17:10.:17:13.

edition, which is handed out on every street corner in London. Looks

:17:14.:17:17.

like he missed his own deadline there. These things happen. Laura,

:17:18.:17:23.

what would you like to talk about? It is very clear that Brexit has set

:17:24.:17:28.

the context for this election. Very cleared limbs is on both sides of

:17:29.:17:32.

what the leaders are going to try to push beyond Brexit. -- clear

:17:33.:17:39.

glimpses. Theresa May came back to Jeremy Corbyn's leadership every

:17:40.:17:43.

chance she had. Every Labour MP, she would make a scathing remark. And

:17:44.:17:48.

she said very strong words, that he was not fit to lead. On the other

:17:49.:17:52.

hand, Jeremy Corbyn, with some meandering questions, in his final

:17:53.:17:55.

question he did get to what seems to me to be a theme, which we will

:17:56.:18:02.

hear, that the Tories stand for broken promises. Whether it is

:18:03.:18:05.

Theresa May's first broken promise, that she wouldn't have an election,

:18:06.:18:11.

or promises on the NHS, schools funding... You could see he was

:18:12.:18:15.

building that case. That is the main takeaway for me. On one side,

:18:16.:18:19.

Theresa May will do everything she can to make it about his leadership.

:18:20.:18:23.

He will be trying to do everything he can to make it about the Tory

:18:24.:18:29.

record and policy. Labour knows that when people look at their policies,

:18:30.:18:34.

with their taken off, looking at them blind, rather than looking at

:18:35.:18:38.

Jeremy Corbyn, some of them have been quite popular. If they have

:18:39.:18:46.

their of Labour, they have a different result. -- their of

:18:47.:18:53.

labour. Theresa May will be pushing to keep it about Jeremy Corbyn's

:18:54.:18:59.

leadership. What is the argument for not having leadership debates? It is

:19:00.:19:04.

not the way the Prime Minister has ever done politics. She is slightly

:19:05.:19:13.

unusual, she likes engaging with people on a normal basis as it were.

:19:14.:19:17.

You saw the picture of her acting as a martial in a road race. That

:19:18.:19:21.

wasn't a gimmick done as Prime Minister. She has done that ever

:19:22.:19:25.

since she has been the MP there. She likes getting out and talking to

:19:26.:19:31.

people. TV debates are rather artificial. The other point, you

:19:32.:19:35.

have had e-mails from people, a select and wonderful group of people

:19:36.:19:40.

watching this programme, but nevertheless out their most people

:19:41.:19:43.

do not think the election will be about whether there is a TV debate

:19:44.:19:47.

or not. But it is interesting, because almost every major democracy

:19:48.:19:53.

in the world now has leadership debates -- leaders' debates. They

:19:54.:19:58.

ran incredibly highly. There was one night when the US Republican Party

:19:59.:20:05.

debate, that got higher ratings than the American Football League, the

:20:06.:20:11.

NFL. I have just come back from France, there were two big debates,

:20:12.:20:17.

three hours long by the way... Huge ratings. The Italians have debates.

:20:18.:20:22.

Even the Germans, which have more of a Parliamentary system, they have

:20:23.:20:26.

debates as well. If you want to reach a wide audience, broadcast TV

:20:27.:20:30.

is the medium of the modern democratic election. So what is the

:20:31.:20:34.

calculation that you wouldn't do it? Particularly since neither Mrs May

:20:35.:20:43.

or Mr Corbyn, neither of them have been in government before... Would

:20:44.:20:46.

it not be a good chance for the country to see them perform? I think

:20:47.:20:52.

the country will see them perform hugely over the next six weeks in

:20:53.:20:56.

all sorts of environments. As I say, the TV debates have become almost

:20:57.:21:02.

artificial mouth. The amount of preparation and rehearsal that goes

:21:03.:21:07.

into them. You are not seeing the person in a real environment. And in

:21:08.:21:12.

a sense I suspect they would have been more useful 50 years ago, when

:21:13.:21:16.

you just had two parties. How many parties would you have to have? We

:21:17.:21:20.

had debates in the last election with six or seven people, and

:21:21.:21:26.

everyone agreed they were less satisfactory. Hold on, the

:21:27.:21:34.

Republican -- hold on the Republican primary had 14 candidates. The

:21:35.:21:40.

French debate, 11 candidates... Of course the numbers are greater, but

:21:41.:21:44.

in the 21st century not everything is a binary choice any more.

:21:45.:21:49.

Absolutely. That is the difference. And the other interesting point, TV

:21:50.:21:55.

is in a sense passed its peak as a medium... Really? Social media has

:21:56.:22:05.

taken over hugely. But why were the ratings so big, so huge in France

:22:06.:22:11.

and the US? As you have alluded to, in France and the US, they have a

:22:12.:22:17.

presidential system. We have a Parliamentary system. So there is a

:22:18.:22:21.

huge mediation... But surely people want to see and hear from the

:22:22.:22:24.

politicians putting themselves up for election, to be potentially

:22:25.:22:29.

Prime Minister? This raises further questions about Theresa May, just

:22:30.:22:32.

like going back on her promise not to call the election. A desperate

:22:33.:22:39.

attempt to get that in! This is not a Prime Minister that thinks this

:22:40.:22:43.

election is a done deal. Seven weeks to go. If she is so confident of her

:22:44.:22:48.

position, if she is confident about the propositions she wants to put to

:22:49.:22:52.

the people, why would you turn down the medium that gives the public the

:22:53.:22:55.

best view of what she has got to say? I can guarantee the public will

:22:56.:23:01.

not feel... Will not feel that they are deprived of the views and the

:23:02.:23:07.

performance of the Prime Minister or Jeremy Corbyn, Tim Farron, Nicola

:23:08.:23:10.

Sturgeon, anyone else over the next seven weeks. I suspect the real

:23:11.:23:15.

reason is why David Cameron turned down the head-to-head debates,

:23:16.:23:19.

choosing a studio audience format. The incumbent, the people out in

:23:20.:23:23.

front, have everything to lose by taking part in a debate. The

:23:24.:23:27.

underdogs have everything to gain. So on a simple calculation, last

:23:28.:23:32.

time around, Lynton Crosby, who will direct this campaign as in 2015,

:23:33.:23:37.

will think, what do we stand to gain? Not very much. What do we

:23:38.:23:44.

stand to lose? Potentially a lot. Let's not do it. He was the main

:23:45.:23:46.

voice against Mr Cameron appearing in 2015. Many people think the only

:23:47.:23:53.

reason they had to do a coalition in 2010 was because Nick Clegg was new

:23:54.:23:58.

to many members of the TV audience and he shone and David Cameron fell

:23:59.:24:03.

back. Although TV debates is only a small part of what is going to

:24:04.:24:08.

happen or not in the next seven weeks, in previous elections,

:24:09.:24:11.

particularly 2010, they are thought to have been a major contributor to

:24:12.:24:15.

the dynamics of the campaign that led to the eventual result. What

:24:16.:24:19.

does this say about the confidence and quality of her leadership? Tony

:24:20.:24:25.

Blair always turned it down too. Incumbents never want them. If she

:24:26.:24:30.

has the courage of her conviction and she has a plan for post-Brexit,

:24:31.:24:35.

which is what this election will be about, she should set that out. If

:24:36.:24:39.

you have confidence in your leader, will you put him on your election

:24:40.:24:43.

literature, if we are talking about confidence in leaders? You spend

:24:44.:24:47.

five minutes avoiding the question. Will you put Jeremy Corbyn on your

:24:48.:24:51.

election literature? Don't underestimate Jeremy Corbyn. I'm not

:24:52.:24:57.

going to put him on my election literature, that's not a secret.

:24:58.:25:02.

People will see his passion, his consistency, his commitment. They

:25:03.:25:05.

will see the way he is not ignoring the issues that face people

:25:06.:25:11.

day-to-day. ITV say they will hold a leaders debate, so it will be up to

:25:12.:25:17.

Number Ten to respond. Will they go ahead if the Prime Minister says she

:25:18.:25:22.

will not attend? It will be a stand-off. No doubt ITV will issue

:25:23.:25:27.

the invitation and see the response. Presumably Jeremy Corbyn will say

:25:28.:25:32.

yes. I am certain he will say yes, and Theresa May should say yes. It

:25:33.:25:37.

doesn't seem now like it will take centre stage but it could sour the

:25:38.:25:40.

mood depending on whether the opposition parties decide to act

:25:41.:25:45.

together, whether they somehow have a joint campaigning stance to

:25:46.:25:48.

embarrass Theresa May. We saw not just Labour asking this, but the SNP

:25:49.:25:53.

leader trying to push on this. First Minister versus potential Prime

:25:54.:25:57.

Minister... That is another completely different dynamic. I

:25:58.:26:01.

would expect that probably in the next couple of days, this will not

:26:02.:26:07.

take off, but it may well do. Is it just in the Westminster bubble we

:26:08.:26:12.

are worried about debates or is there a public appetite? It is hard

:26:13.:26:17.

to tell. The ratings are really high, and that is important. We say

:26:18.:26:21.

people don't care about politics, but they rated particularly well,

:26:22.:26:25.

particularly with the younger demographic as we understand it. In

:26:26.:26:32.

2010 and 2015, seeing leaders tested on TV against each other was a

:26:33.:26:35.

really big way that some people got involved. You say TV is past its

:26:36.:26:42.

peak, which I'm not sure is verifiable, but let's not go there.

:26:43.:26:45.

The point is that social media, which you think is overtake --

:26:46.:26:54.

overtaking, it feasts off the debates. All media these days is

:26:55.:27:06.

symbiotic with itself. Who is MP for that constituency? Ashford is a

:27:07.:27:14.

great place... Let me interrupt. We are going back to the House of

:27:15.:27:19.

Commons. Theresa May is moving the motion to dissolve Parliament and

:27:20.:27:20.

call a general election. Every member of this House has a

:27:21.:27:29.

clear and simple opportunity. The chance to vote for a general

:27:30.:27:32.

election battle secure a strong and stable leadership that the country

:27:33.:27:36.

needs to see us through exit and beyond. It invites each one of us to

:27:37.:27:39.

do the right thing for Britain and to vote for an election that is in

:27:40.:27:44.

our country's national interest. My priority when I became Prime

:27:45.:27:50.

Minister was to provide the country with economic certainty, a clear

:27:51.:27:52.

vision and strong leadership after the long and passionately fought

:27:53.:27:55.

referendum campaign. This government has delivered on those priorities.

:27:56.:28:06.

Despite... In the time-honoured fashion, my right honourable friend

:28:07.:28:10.

has called election in what she considers and I consider to be the

:28:11.:28:14.

national interest. It will be a brave man or woman who votes against

:28:15.:28:18.

this motion. And therefore, the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act is seen

:28:19.:28:21.

to be an emperor without clothes, it serves no purpose. Many of us have

:28:22.:28:27.

questioned it. Will the first part of our manifesto be to scrap it? My

:28:28.:28:33.

honourable friend is trying to tempt me down a road. What is clear is the

:28:34.:28:39.

Fixed-Term Parliaments Act gives us an opportunity, notwithstanding the

:28:40.:28:42.

Fixed-Term Parliaments Act, to have elections at another time. But it is

:28:43.:28:46.

of course for this House to vote for that election. I think it is very

:28:47.:28:50.

clear that every member of this House should be voting for this

:28:51.:28:58.

election. I will take one more... The Prime Minister pledged time and

:28:59.:29:01.

again not to call an early election. In her Easter message, she talked

:29:02.:29:06.

greatly for Christian values. Could the Prime Minister Trudeau why she

:29:07.:29:09.

has such a loser and complicated relationship with telling the truth?

:29:10.:29:17.

-- the Prime Minister explain. The Prime Minister is perfectly able to

:29:18.:29:21.

fend for herself, but in terms of order, what the honourable gentleman

:29:22.:29:25.

has said is a breach of it, and I must ask him... He is versatile in

:29:26.:29:30.

the use of language, and he used to write articles as a journalist.

:29:31.:29:34.

Withdraw and use some other formulation if you must. Withdraw. I

:29:35.:29:40.

am very happy to withdraw and reformulate. Why does the Prime

:29:41.:29:43.

Minister have such a complicated and whose relationship with giving the

:29:44.:29:48.

country a clear indication of her intentions? Just to say to the

:29:49.:29:55.

honourable gentleman, I think yesterday I gave the country a very

:29:56.:29:59.

clear indication of my intentions. If he has a little patience, he will

:30:00.:30:03.

hear the reasons why I have done that. The Government has delivered

:30:04.:30:08.

on the priorities I set out last year, despite predictions of

:30:09.:30:11.

immediate financial and economic danger, since the referendum we have

:30:12.:30:15.

seen consumer confidence remaining high, record jobs and economic

:30:16.:30:19.

growth that has exceeded all expectations. At the same time, we

:30:20.:30:22.

have delivered on the mandate we were handed by the referendum

:30:23.:30:26.

result, by triggering Article 50 before the end of March, as we

:30:27.:30:30.

pledged to do. As a result, Britain is leaving the EU and there can be

:30:31.:30:33.

no turning back. Doesn't it takes some brass neck to

:30:34.:30:42.

call a general election when you are facing allegations of buying the

:30:43.:30:48.

last one? I have to say, that intervention was not worthy of the

:30:49.:30:56.

honourable gentleman. Can the Prime Minister clarify, does she support

:30:57.:31:02.

fixed term Parliaments? We have a fixed term Parliament act that

:31:03.:31:06.

enables us to have fixed term Parliaments. I believe that, at this

:31:07.:31:10.

point in time, it is right for us to have this debate and this vote in

:31:11.:31:14.

this house and I believe it is right for members of this house to vote,

:31:15.:31:18.

and I will explain why, to have a general election at this stage. No,

:31:19.:31:22.

I'm not going to take any further interventions for a while. This is a

:31:23.:31:26.

limited time debate and honourable members wish to make their

:31:27.:31:30.

contributions. Today, we face a new question. How best to secure the

:31:31.:31:35.

stability and certainty we need over the long term in order to get the

:31:36.:31:39.

right deal for Britain, in Brexit negotiations, and make the most of

:31:40.:31:42.

the opportunities ahead, and I have come to the conclusion that the

:31:43.:31:48.

answer to that question is to hold a general election now in this window

:31:49.:31:52.

of opportunity before the negotiations begin. I believe it is

:31:53.:31:56.

in Britain's national interest to hold a general election now. A

:31:57.:31:59.

general election is the best way to strengthen Britain's and in the

:32:00.:32:02.

negation is a because securing the right deal for Britain is my

:32:03.:32:07.

priority and I'm confident we have a plan to do it. We have set out our

:32:08.:32:13.

ambition, a deep and special partnership between a strong and

:32:14.:32:16.

successful European union and a United Kingdom that is free to chart

:32:17.:32:20.

its own way in the world. It means... Just a minute. It means we

:32:21.:32:24.

will regain control of our own money, our own laws and our own

:32:25.:32:29.

borders, and we will be free to strike trade deals with old friends

:32:30.:32:31.

and new partners all around the world. I am grateful to the Prime

:32:32.:32:37.

Minister for giving way, and I can understand she wants to give the

:32:38.:32:39.

house the opportunity to determine there should be an election but, if

:32:40.:32:44.

the house determines now is not the time, why is it that the Prime

:32:45.:32:48.

Minister stands in the face of the Scottish parliament and the Scottish

:32:49.:32:52.

Government, that have voted for a referendum on Scotland's future? If

:32:53.:32:55.

it is right that the people here have a voice and a vote on the

:32:56.:32:58.

future this country, why shouldn't the Scottish people be given a vote

:32:59.:33:04.

as well? Now is the time for a general election because it will

:33:05.:33:07.

strengthen our hand in the negotiations on Brexit. Now is not

:33:08.:33:13.

the time for a second Scottish independence referendum, because it

:33:14.:33:16.

will weaken our hand on negotiations on Brexit. Strength and unity with

:33:17.:33:22.

and seven seats, division with the Scottish Nationalists. National

:33:23.:33:26.

strength and unity with the Conservatives. I believe this

:33:27.:33:30.

delivers on the will of the British people but it is the right approach

:33:31.:33:33.

for Britain and it will deliver a more secure future or our country

:33:34.:33:37.

and a better deal for all our people, but it is clear, Mr Speaker,

:33:38.:33:41.

that other parties in this house have a different view about the

:33:42.:33:45.

right future for our country, while members of the other place have

:33:46.:33:49.

vowed to fight the government every step of the way. The people of

:33:50.:33:55.

Rossendale and Darwin in the referendum gave her and her

:33:56.:33:58.

government a mandate to exercise Article 50. She has done that. We

:33:59.:34:04.

are grateful to have the opportunity to strengthen the Prime Minister's

:34:05.:34:07.

and so she can go out there and get the best possible deal for the

:34:08.:34:11.

people who live in Rossendale and Darwin, our manufacturers and every

:34:12.:34:16.

family there. We should be united in this Parliament in wanting to get

:34:17.:34:22.

that best possible deal, not just for the country as a whole but for

:34:23.:34:25.

everybody across the whole of the country, and I commend my honourable

:34:26.:34:31.

friend for the work he has done in Rossendale and Darwin in supporting

:34:32.:34:34.

his constituents on this. I will give way to the right honourable

:34:35.:34:38.

gentleman and then I will make progress. I can see how it suits the

:34:39.:34:43.

Prime Minister's purpose is to make this election all about but can she

:34:44.:34:48.

accept the possibility it may just become a referendum on hope model

:34:49.:34:52.

cuts, which have left older people that care, schools sending begging

:34:53.:34:55.

letters to parents and a record number of homeless people on the

:34:56.:35:02.

streets of greater register? -- Greater Manchester. Of course, the

:35:03.:35:06.

general election, when we come into the campaign, people will look at a

:35:07.:35:10.

wide range of issues. They will look at the fact that pensioners are

:35:11.:35:14.

?1250 per year better off because of the Conservatives, they will look at

:35:15.:35:17.

the fact that we have 1.8 million more children in good or outstanding

:35:18.:35:22.

schools, but if the right honourable gentleman wants to talk about impact

:35:23.:35:26.

on the economy I suggest he searches in his memory for the time that he

:35:27.:35:30.

spent as Chief Secretary to the Treasury when Labour were trashing

:35:31.:35:33.

the economy of this country and leading us to virtual bankruptcy.

:35:34.:35:39.

I'm going to make some progress. I have set out the divisions that have

:35:40.:35:44.

become clear on this issue. They can and will be used against us,

:35:45.:35:48.

weakening our hand in the negotiations to come, and we must

:35:49.:35:52.

not let that happen. I believe that, at this moment of enormous national

:35:53.:35:57.

significance, there should be unity here in Westminster, not division,

:35:58.:36:00.

and that is why it is the right and responsible thing here for all of us

:36:01.:36:07.

today to vote for general election, to make our respective cases to the

:36:08.:36:11.

country, to respect the result of the mandated provides to give

:36:12.:36:15.

Britain and the strongest possible hand in the negotiations to come.

:36:16.:36:22.

The mandate it provides. In the last election, the Conservatives gave a

:36:23.:36:25.

manifesto commitment to stay in the single market. Will she be

:36:26.:36:28.

withdrawing that commitment from the new one investor and, if she does,

:36:29.:36:34.

will that not weaken her negotiation position as well as removing two

:36:35.:36:39.

months from the negotiating window? We gave a commitment in the last

:36:40.:36:42.

manifesto to provide the people of the UK with a vote on whether or not

:36:43.:36:47.

to leave the EU. That was supported by Parliament. We gave them that

:36:48.:36:51.

vote and they gave a clear message that they want the UK to leave the

:36:52.:36:54.

EU. That is exactly what we are going to do. I fully support the

:36:55.:37:03.

fact that the Prime Minister needs a stronger hand going into the

:37:04.:37:06.

negotiations, as we leave the EU. Does she not think it perverse that

:37:07.:37:09.

some people who didn't want a referendum in the first place now

:37:10.:37:13.

want a second referendum at the very end of the procedure, just in case

:37:14.:37:19.

the British patent doesn't get a good deal from Brussels? Doesn't she

:37:20.:37:23.

believe that, if we were to have a second referendum, it would deeply

:37:24.:37:27.

weaken the position of the Prime Minister in the negotiations that

:37:28.:37:31.

she has with the EU? My right honourable friend is absolutely

:37:32.:37:33.

right in his description of what would happen. For those who say they

:37:34.:37:40.

want a second referendum, actually, that is denying the will of the

:37:41.:37:44.

people, because people voted for us to leave the European Union and we

:37:45.:37:48.

are going to go out there and get the best possible deal. Waiting to

:37:49.:37:51.

held the next election in 2020 would mean that the next negotiations with

:37:52.:37:56.

which their most difficult and sensitive stage at an election was

:37:57.:38:01.

looming. A general election will provide a country with five years of

:38:02.:38:04.

strong and stable leadership to see us through negotiations and to

:38:05.:38:08.

ensure we are able to go on and make a success as a result, and that is

:38:09.:38:13.

crucial. That is the test. It is not solely about how we leave the EU but

:38:14.:38:18.

what we do with the opportunity that Brexit provides that counts. Leaving

:38:19.:38:23.

offers us a unique, once in a generation opportunity to shape a

:38:24.:38:31.

brighter future for Britain. We need a strong and stable and to seize it,

:38:32.:38:35.

a government with a plan for a stronger Britain, a government with

:38:36.:38:38.

the determination to see it through, and one that will take the right

:38:39.:38:42.

long-term decisions to deliver a more secure future for Britain. The

:38:43.:38:46.

Conservative Party that I lead is determined to be that government. Is

:38:47.:38:53.

the Prime Minister at all concerned that, having tried her best to build

:38:54.:38:58.

up a reputation for political integrity, both as Home Secretary

:38:59.:39:01.

and Prime Minister, she is now seen, after all the denials that there

:39:02.:39:08.

will be a snap election, simply a political opportunist? I have not

:39:09.:39:14.

denied the fact that, when I came into this role as Prime Minister, I

:39:15.:39:19.

was clear that the country needed stability, and they need a

:39:20.:39:22.

government that was going to show it would deliver on the vote taken in

:39:23.:39:25.

the referendum on leaving the EU. We have provided that over the last

:39:26.:39:30.

nine months. Now it is clear to me that, if we are going to have the

:39:31.:39:34.

strongest possible hand in the negotiation, we should have an

:39:35.:39:39.

election now. Leaving the election until 2020 would mean we would be

:39:40.:39:42.

coming to the most sensitive and critical part of the negotiations in

:39:43.:39:47.

the run-up to an election, and that would be a nobody's interest. I said

:39:48.:39:51.

that the Conservative Party that I lead is determined to be that

:39:52.:39:54.

government that has the determination to see through its

:39:55.:39:58.

plans a stronger Britain. We are determined to provide leadership, to

:39:59.:40:01.

bring stability to the UK for the long term, and that is what this

:40:02.:40:05.

election will be leadership and stability. I thank the Prime

:40:06.:40:13.

Minister for giving way. Does she, like me, appreciates decisiveness,

:40:14.:40:18.

and does she agree that voting yes in this motion signifies strength,

:40:19.:40:21.

whereas abstaining is a symbol of weakness? I think absolutely that

:40:22.:40:29.

voting yes is a sign of strength. I would say a little more about

:40:30.:40:34.

abstaining, but I think anybody that abstains and thinks we should have a

:40:35.:40:37.

general election presumably is endorsing the record of the

:40:38.:40:42.

Conservative government. Would the Prime Minister agree with Lord Hill,

:40:43.:40:49.

who was commissioned in Europe, when asked in front of the Foreign

:40:50.:40:52.

Affairs Committee what the best strategy for negotiation is, is

:40:53.:40:55.

response was, we have to come together because our interlocutors

:40:56.:40:59.

would be watching this place and they were absolutely exploit any

:41:00.:41:07.

weakness in our political system? My honourable friend is absolutely

:41:08.:41:10.

right, and I'm grateful to him for reminding us what Lord Hill, with

:41:11.:41:13.

his experience, said in relation to this. It is important that we come

:41:14.:41:18.

together, that we don't show the divisions that have been suggested

:41:19.:41:22.

in the past, and that we are able to show a strong mandate for a plan for

:41:23.:41:26.

Brexit and making a success of that. We are determined to bring stability

:41:27.:41:29.

to the UK for the long-term, and that is what this election will be

:41:30.:41:34.

about, leadership and stability, and the decision facing the country will

:41:35.:41:37.

be clear. I will be campaigning strong and stable leadership in the

:41:38.:41:43.

national interest, with me as Prime Minister. And I will be asking for

:41:44.:41:47.

the public's support to continue to deliver my plan for a stronger

:41:48.:41:51.

Britain, to lead the country through the next five years and to give a

:41:52.:41:54.

complete the certainty and stability that we need. I thank the Prime

:41:55.:42:01.

Minister for giving way. On the timetable before yesterday, but I

:42:02.:42:06.

Minister would have concluded her negotiation by 2019. We would have

:42:07.:42:13.

gone into the general election in 2020, a year later, talking about

:42:14.:42:15.

the Prime Minister's deal. That would have given the country and

:42:16.:42:19.

outlook as to what they would be voting for. The Prime Minister is

:42:20.:42:23.

asking the country to strengthen her hand. What she is doing, does she

:42:24.:42:27.

not agree, is asking the country to vote for a blank cheque? I am not

:42:28.:42:35.

asking the country to vote for a blank cheque. We have been clear

:42:36.:42:39.

about what we intend in terms of the outcome of the negotiations. I set

:42:40.:42:43.

out in January, it has been set out in the White Paper and in the

:42:44.:42:46.

Article 50 letter when we triggered Article 50 and submitted that to the

:42:47.:42:50.

president of the European council. I say to the house that the choice

:42:51.:42:56.

before us today is clear. I have made my choice. It is to do

:42:57.:43:00.

something that runs through the veins of my party more than any

:43:01.:43:05.

other, a choice to trust the people, so let us vote to do that today. Let

:43:06.:43:11.

us lay out our plans for Brexit. Let us put for our plans for the future

:43:12.:43:15.

of this great country. Let us put our fate in the hands of the people,

:43:16.:43:16.

and then let the people decide. We overran a bit today to bring you

:43:17.:43:26.

a flavour of the debate going on in the Commons, opened by the Prime

:43:27.:43:30.

Minister to get a boat to dissolve the current Parliament and for a

:43:31.:43:35.

general election on the 8th of June. If you want to watch more of that,

:43:36.:43:40.

it is live on BBC Parliament. We have one more thing before you get

:43:41.:43:44.

to the snooker. That is coming up in a few minutes. Apologies for that

:43:45.:43:45.

for you. There's just time to put

:43:46.:43:47.

you out of your misery, and give you the answer

:43:48.:43:49.

to Guess The Year. You get to press the red button.

:43:50.:43:52.

It's an honour and a privilege. Sam Warburton in Nottingham won. You

:43:53.:44:07.

have won the mark. The one o'clock news has already started on BBC One.

:44:08.:44:13.

Snooker is coming up on BBC Two. We will be back tomorrow. I will be

:44:14.:44:17.

back. With all of the big political stories of the day and maybe a bit

:44:18.:44:20.

more about the election. Bye-bye.

:44:21.:44:22.

Work and pensions secretary Damian Green and shadow housing secretary John Healey join Andrew Neil and Jo Coburn to discuss Theresa May's decision to call a general election in early June. Plus full coverage of Prime Minister's questions.