06/07/2017 Daily Politics


06/07/2017

Andrew Neil is joined by Labour donor and Brexit campaigner John Mills to discuss the latest news from Westminster including the anniversary of Sir John Chilcot's Iraq War report.


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Transcript


LineFromTo

Hello and welcome to the Daily Politics.

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The Chairman of the Iraq Inquiry, Sir John Chilcot, says Tony Blair

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was not "straight with the nation" about his decisions in the run

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He's been speaking to the BBC exactly a year after

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As Jeremy Corbyn addresses business leaders we speak to one of Labour's

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biggest donors about the party's relationship with business.

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We've always known about the Conservative's historical

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Now Labour politicians can't agree either.

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First it was ties, now the Parliamentary modernisers have

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something else in their sights, which is really getting

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up the noses of more traditional parliamentarians.

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Yes, when Wimbledon is on we know our place.

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And with us for the whole of the programme today

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is John Mills, businessman, economist, Labour donor

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Quite unlike eclectic mix, an unusual combination. It is a bit.

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Are you still given the election did not produce the result that Theresa

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May wanted are you confident that Brexit is going to happen? It is

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going to be more difficult. The government had a pretty clear way

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ahead coming out of the single market and the customs union,

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negotiating a free trade deal, but to get their Britain has to be

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prepared if it could not get a reasonable deal to walk away and

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trade on WTO terms and I do not think WTO terms would get through

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Parliament so it weakens our position. A huge chunk of the

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Parliamentary Labour Party is for the remain. We saw 50 rebels last

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week for an Amendment. Is not one of the things that helps Theresa Maythe

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fact that Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell asked on she was kept the?

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Historically they have been. They have been under enormous pressure to

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draw the line on the general line the Labour Party has taken and I

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think they are not exactly trapped but held in that position. Their

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capacity for manoeuvre is quite limited. On the crucial issue of

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membership of the single market as opposed to access, many, like Chuka

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Umunna, want to still be members of the single market. Jeremy Corbyn and

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John McDonnell are not arguing that. Although they would not say so in

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public they are closer to the government's position that we can be

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members but we need to try to get as much access as possible. That is

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right. You cannot be outside the European Union and still have free

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movement of goods and particularly... That Chuka Umunna is

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asking for. Trade is a different matter. That is the access part that

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is very important. After seven years in the making

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the Chilcot Inquiry into the Iraq war was finally published this time

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last year, and it made rather uncomfortable

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reading for Tony Blair. Now a year on Sir John Chilcot spoke

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exclusively to the BBC about the report, and yet again

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Mr Blair is likely to be feeling The Chilcot Inquiry was announced

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in 2009 by the then Prime Minister Gordon Brown

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with the remit to "identify Among the findings the report found

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that military action was in fact not the last resort and other peaceful

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means could have been tried first. The inquiry went on to say

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in March 2003 Saddam Hussein was not an imminent threat,

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arguing the intelligence had "not established beyond doubt" that Iraq

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had continued to produce chemical weapons and that the legal

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basis for military action In terms of the aftermath of the war

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the inquiry found the planning and Speaking exclusively to the BBC

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today Sir John said Tony Blair was "not straight with the nation"

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about his decision to go to war and argued that the former

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Prime Minister made the case "pinning it

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on belief, not on the fact". Let's take a quick look at some

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of Laura's interview. I hesitate to say this but I think

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it was from his perspective and standpoint emotionally truthful and

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I think that came out in his press conference after the launch

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statement. He was under very great emotional pressure during those

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sessions, far more than the committee. He was suffering. He was

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deeply engaged. In that state of mind than mood you fall back on your

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instinctive skills and reactions I think. He was relying therefore on a

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motion of fact? Both. I'm joined now by Conservative MP

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John Baron, who voted And Matthew Doyle is a former

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special adviser to Tony Blair The quote that makes the headlines,

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not straight with the nation, referring to Tony Blair, many people

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will be watching and say why did John Chilcote not say this at the

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time? In a way he did. He made it clear in his report that the

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peaceful options had not been exhausted at the time before

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committing troops to war and given that committing troops to what is

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the most serious Acte Parliament can take many of us said there was not

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enough evidence at the time. Which is why a good number of others voted

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against. Did he pull his punches the way Rob Butler dead? Is this a

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typical senior British civil servant who wants to have it both ways? Does

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the reporter does not make too many waves and a year later gives the

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colour quote. I would suggest that had come out at the time the report

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would be much more devastating. Personally I think the reporters

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devastating anyway. If you read the report at the time, which we all

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did, it was clear that despite good intentions there was not evidence.

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We went to war on a false premise. All peaceful options had not been

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exhausted and there was the shambles afterwards. That was laid out. Maybe

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Sir John Chilcot feels he had to clarify that but for many of us it

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was in black and white. Not straight with the nation, that is the damning

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criticism. It is the bit you have chosen to take out of the interview

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to run as a story. You could also look at the fact he said that Tony

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Blair had not departed from the truth. You could have chosen that as

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your headline. You could have referred to what he said that the

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liaison committee in 2016 when he said he absorbed Tony Blair from any

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charge of misleading Parliament or the public. What does he mean by not

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straight with the nation? Is he saying contradictory things? He is

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talking much more about the style than the substance under way in

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which Tony Blair addressed the hearings. He referred to the

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emotions of it. It is hardly surprising that an elected

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politician is going to take a different approach to these things

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than a senior civil servant but on the point of substance the thing we

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have learned from the Chilcot interview is that Tony Blair went to

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the chair of the joint intelligence committee on the evil four and said

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it is this beyond reasonable doubt? The chair said it was and Chilcot

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says Tony Blair was entitled to believe that. Indeed. He went to the

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chair of the joint intelligence committee, the most senior

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intelligence officer in this country, can you tell me beyond

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reasonable doubt that Saddam Hussein has weapons of mass destruction? The

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answer was yes I can. Even Chilcot says he was entitled to rely on

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that. Yes. But we went to war on false premise. There were no weapons

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mass destruction. We also have to look at the evidence presented to us

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on the day. We all remember the dodgy dossier and the evidence or

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lack of it. There was a lack of concrete evidence with regard to

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WMD. That is not that the head of the joint intelligence committee

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told him. You cannot blame Tony Blair for him being wrong. You ask

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questions that you want a positive answer to in some respect and you go

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hunting for those. The most senior intelligence officer at the time

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simply told Tony Blair what he wanted to hear? If you look at what

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evidence that exchange was based on, what evidence was actually there

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available to the intelligence services, it was not enough to make

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the case for war. Many of us looked at that evidence in very close

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detail under was hardly any there. The spin doctors had a field day. It

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is not true to say there was no evidence. There was international

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consensus that Saddam had an active WMD programme. That sadly turned out

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not to be the case. Focus on the substance of the report rather than

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trying to start with conspiracy theories about what was agreed when

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and all the rest of it. I do not think we have mentioned any of that.

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The fundamentals of the report that have not changed, volume one

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concludes there was no secret deal in April 2000 and two. William four

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concludes the intelligence was not used in a false or misleading way.

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The cabinet was not deceived or misled. Focus on the substance. Let

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us look at the evidence. The United Nations at the end of the day made

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it very clear and Chilcot referred to this that the were not going to

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give it carte blanche, they wanted the arms specialist to do their time

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and complete their role which they never did. They could not find the

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WMD because they were not there. The UN did not claim at the time there

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was no WMD. They asked for more time. You have to base your

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interventions on some sort of legitimacy otherwise we are going to

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be living... In a world where you intervene... Whether it was right or

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wrong or whether Tony Blair believes there was WMD or not,... You cannot

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dismiss it like that. We know these statements were truthful at the

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time. They turned out not to be true. He may have believed them to

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be true. Only he knows that. That is not semantics. The fact is, there

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was no WMD and secondly we had no real preparations for rebuilding a

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country that we were invading, which in a sense seems to me, that is a

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more damning criticism, because you could have done something, you could

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be genuinely wrong about WMD but you cannot invade... When you look at

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the plans this country made with America for the rebuilding of

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Germany after 1945, it was made a mile from here,... It was wrong in

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the end. No question. There was clearly a sell you are in the

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planning. I mean the invasion was wrong. That is a different argument

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whether you believe it was right to get rid of Saddam Hussein and his

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two sons. There is always a consequence to not taking action.

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Libya, where we did something. Syria, we have done nothing. Iraq,

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we have done a lot. I will come back to these. In all of those

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interventions you could argue we have failed because we have not

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created a stable democracy and Libyan intervention has not worked.

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Iraq, the evidence was exceptionally thin, this was reflected in the

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United Nations who were urging caution because there was weapons

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inspectors who had not been given enough time. We were marching to an

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American military timetable and there were no WMD and the

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follow-through was a disaster. We should have learned the lessons of

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1945 and instead we disbanded the infrastructure around the country

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went into shambles. People on both sides of this argument are always on

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lessons to be learned but as I look at Iraq, where we intervened and

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occupied, a mess. Libya, we intervened but did not occupy, a

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mess. Syria, we have not really intervened or occupied, a mess. What

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other lessons? It is difficult to drop any conclusions about the best

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thing to do in these circumstances. My view about the Iraq war at the

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time was I was against that not because I was concerned about

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principles of getting United Nations support, it just seemed to me to be

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a risky enterprise, I'm clear what the outcome was going to be or what

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would be achieved. Too risky. On the hole that was a good reason for not

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supporting the war. I think you have to leave open the

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possibility of limited intervention. The lesson from Iraq and subsequent

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interventions is that these large interventions in the hope we will

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create a liberal democracy, we've got to be very careful about that

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because one we don't have the resources, two the intelligence is

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usually bad and we don't plan thoroughly. Brief and final word, we

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only have a half-hour programme. Let's look at the substance of the

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report rather than what John Chilcot has said today which is more about

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style. Don't forget in this interview John Chilcot said Tony

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Blair did not depart from the truth and that is fundamental. Good to

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face both of you at once, thank you both very much.

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This morning Jeremy Corbyn has been addressing the British Chambers

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In his speech he says Labour must embrace technological

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change and that he wasn't a "doom-monger" about mechanisation.

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Jobs have and would continue to be "lost, replaced

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After the election Labour may be on a high, but are they now trusted

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Ellie has been taking a look at Labour's tricky

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In 1998 Peter Mandelson said he was intensely relaxed about people

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getting filthy rich. But he did add as long as they pay taxes. It was a

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phrase that rightly or wrongly would come to symbolise new Labour's

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approach to big business. But the wooing of the city began long before

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Tony Blair, in what critics called the proper cocktail offensive. Never

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have so many crustaceans died in vain. In the mid-80s Neil Kinnock

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set up regional policy Forum on a Friday afternoon when members of the

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front bench would meet with people in the business community. By 1983

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when I became leader the party had gained a reputation because of its

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internal conduct for being reckless and feckless. We knew it was no good

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just trying a charm offensive, or to try and do it through propaganda, it

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had to do with substance. So very early on we started developing very

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practical prosaic policies for the improvement of industrial training,

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the financing of infrastructure, the encouragement of research and

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development and new technology. And our task then was to communicate

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that to the people who were making decisions. Labourers close

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relationship with business was a key part of the party 's success in the

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late 90s and 2000's but it began to be criticised as too close. By the

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time Ed Miliband made this speech in 2011 the rhetoric had changed.

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Growth is built on sand if it comes from predators and not our

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producers. The former CBI chief described that as a divisive kick in

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the teeth for business. But there was more than a nod in this years

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Labour manifesto some of Ed Miliband's policies. We are asking

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the better off under big corporations to pay a little bit

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more. So what the business think of that? A lot of what got the

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attention were comments around nationalisation, deep intervention

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in business and the message coming out of that is government is going

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to be bigger and more visible and that is a hard sell to business

:19:02.:19:05.

people. But on the other hand would you have got our specific

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commitments around business rates and reforming local business

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taxation on vocational education, guaranteeing residency rights for EU

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nationals so it's a much more nuanced picture. But do voters even

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mind if Labour policy is not overtly pro-business? The pendulum swung in

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the other direction, zero-hour contracts, I think, I don't think

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trade unions are the biggest problem in the workplace today, it's more

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likely to be an overbearing manager so I think the pendulum has swung

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more in the direction of the left on these issues and you can see that in

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the way Theresa May has changed her standards converter David Cameron.

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People applaud the policies are sensible, necessary and realistic,

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the components of policy, Jeremy and John McDonnell have yet to get the

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credibility that will give that the assurance to working class people as

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well as owners and investors that this is the core of the policy. It

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is patriotic, it's practical, it will be implemented, it's for sure.

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And our guest of the day, John Mills, is an entrepreneur,

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If you are in business and you are working really hard every hour God

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sends to build things up, accumulate wealth for yourself and your family

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through hard work, why would you vote for Jeremy Corbyn's Labour

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Party? Why would you vote Conservative? The trouble is both

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parties don't have clear idea about how to get the economy to grow fast,

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we have low levels of investment. But I have got you today so let's

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stick with Labour, you raise a good point that a lot of business people

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do not bind the Conservative Party business friendly at the moment and

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if you were a Tory that is what I would ask but I'm here to ask you

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about Labour. I don't think the Labour manifesto said a great deal

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about business and I don't think what it was proposing would be a

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huge threat. The crucial thing about the British economy is if we can get

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it to grow better and get living standards up. If you have to choose

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between what Labour are offering and the Conservatives are offering an

:21:27.:21:28.

economic policy there is not a huge difference. Labour needs to develop

:21:29.:21:31.

sweeter policies to convert the electorate they can get the economy

:21:32.:21:34.

to run better and I think that is the big challenge over the next few

:21:35.:21:42.

years. Jeremy Corbyn's manifesto was going to add seven percentage points

:21:43.:21:46.

to corporation tax so if you are in business he will taxi more on the

:21:47.:21:52.

profits. And if you, through your hard work, managed to earn more than

:21:53.:21:56.

?80,000 a year everything above that he will take over half of. And

:21:57.:22:04.

there's going to be a lot more regulation and controls and state

:22:05.:22:08.

intervention. None of that is particularly appealing to business

:22:09.:22:13.

is it? I'm not sure it is but I think the country can afford to be

:22:14.:22:16.

taxed about more than it is at the moment and there is a strong urge in

:22:17.:22:20.

the economy to get a bit more redistribution than we've seen.

:22:21.:22:25.

Would you do it the way the manifesto suggested? I would do it

:22:26.:22:28.

slightly differently but I think the basic objectives are exactly right.

:22:29.:22:35.

Are you now reconciled to Jeremy Corbyn's leadership of the party? He

:22:36.:22:40.

did well during the election and I think what is now happening is more

:22:41.:22:43.

moderate elements in the party are falling behind him. Or being purged.

:22:44.:22:51.

Maybe but I think most will stick around. What needs to be done now is

:22:52.:22:55.

fill out the aspirations of the party set out in the manifesto with

:22:56.:23:00.

policies which will deliver if the Labour Party becomes elected. So

:23:01.:23:06.

what would be top of the list of those policies? I think what we need

:23:07.:23:10.

to do is get the growth rate up, get the investment level up. These are

:23:11.:23:17.

not policies they are aspirations. My personal view is that the main

:23:18.:23:20.

reason the economy is in such bad shape is it is uncompetitive, we

:23:21.:23:27.

have got exchange rates which are a lethal for manufacturing so we have

:23:28.:23:31.

the industrialised, even as late as 19 seven

:23:32.:23:39.

America is 10%. 20% or something. Where? In America, I think it's 13%

:23:40.:23:56.

compared to less than 10% here. What has happened is a whole of the

:23:57.:23:59.

Western world has the industrialised and this is one of the problems. Are

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you confident Jeremy Corbyn will give more, what word should I use,

:24:05.:24:08.

more concern about the needs of business? I think the Labour Party

:24:09.:24:14.

understands too clearly that the business world, if it does not

:24:15.:24:16.

flourish everything else goes wrong so that's a given that operates

:24:17.:24:21.

across all political parties. I don't think the whole business world

:24:22.:24:25.

will beat the stabilised by some relatively small increases in

:24:26.:24:28.

taxation but the crucial thing across the piece is to get policies

:24:29.:24:32.

in place which will produce more economic growth and more equality.

:24:33.:24:35.

Rising living standards. Yes, the snuff box was introduced

:24:36.:24:56.

over 300 years ago when smoking was first banned in the House of

:24:57.:24:59.

Commons. It is the property of

:25:00.:25:01.

the Principal Doorkeeper, who personally funds the supply,

:25:02.:25:06.

and his name, as well as all his predecessors for the last 70 years,

:25:07.:25:10.

is inscribed on the lid. Here are the Clerk of the Commons

:25:11.:25:13.

and the Principal Doorkeeper trying it out, from the Inside the Commons

:25:14.:25:16.

documentary broadcast last year. The principal doorkeeper Robin Fell

:25:17.:25:19.

has worked here for over 40 years and they share a delight in customs

:25:20.:25:23.

from the past. Until recently snuff

:25:24.:25:28.

was provided free to members. I don't have it as serious, what I

:25:29.:25:38.

refer to as weapons grade snuff. And we are joined now

:25:39.:25:48.

by Michael Cockerell, How many did you make, two, three?

:25:49.:26:09.

Four parts. If the snuff was taken away would anybody noticed today?

:26:10.:26:15.

There are a few MPs including a Tory minister who goes to the principal

:26:16.:26:19.

doorkeeper and says get the snuff box out. He says it keeps him awake

:26:20.:26:31.

for Jeremy Corbyn's questions. Is it good for you? It's not terribly good

:26:32.:26:35.

for you but that is what if you take what the principal doorkeeper called

:26:36.:26:44.

weapons grade snuff in every couple of hours, that would not be a good

:26:45.:26:50.

idea. So it's down to one or two, that's the democratic choice. That's

:26:51.:26:56.

right, a box of snuff lasts for two years. Doesn't go bad? Now it's very

:26:57.:27:05.

finely milled. Have you tried it? Yes, I was making this film. Just as

:27:06.:27:09.

well you're not making a about Colombia! What you make in general

:27:10.:27:19.

of not wearing a tie, talk about constituency names, snuff boxes, is

:27:20.:27:22.

it right Parliament should move with the times or should we still keep

:27:23.:27:29.

things that do no harm in our British tradition? I'm a bit

:27:30.:27:32.

schizophrenic about it, I love going to the House of Commons and walking

:27:33.:27:37.

through Westminster hall and going back to the time of William the

:27:38.:27:39.

Conqueror, you get that feeling but some of it is daft. It passed.

:27:40.:27:51.

Snuff? Snuff is harmless. And not too expensive. But there are other

:27:52.:27:55.

things in terms of whether an MP should call each other by their name

:27:56.:28:00.

you know? Everything has to go through the chair of the house so

:28:01.:28:05.

when you say you you are talking to the speaker. That was meant to make

:28:06.:28:09.

it more civilised discourse rather than to say you, what do you make of

:28:10.:28:14.

it, should we keep these things, good for tourists and tradition or

:28:15.:28:18.

should we become thoroughly modern? I think keep some of them but I

:28:19.:28:22.

think some of them are getting a bit and don't enhance the prestige of

:28:23.:28:28.

the House of Commons and look a bit daft. When you think to the start of

:28:29.:28:32.

the days preceding, though bag your seat you have to put down your prey

:28:33.:28:38.

card. We are definitely no role for modernisation for good or ill.

:28:39.:28:42.

The 1pm news is starting now. I will be back with this week.

:28:43.:29:02.

MUSIC: Hoppipolla by Sigur Ros

:29:03.:29:09.

Andrew Neil is joined by Labour donor and Brexit campaigner John Mills to discuss the latest news from Westminster including the anniversary of Sir John Chilcot's Iraq War report, Labour's relationship with business and updating parliamentary traditions.


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