10/07/2017 Daily Politics


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Hello and welcome to the Daily Politics.


Theresa May is to signal a change in approach by calling


for cross-party consensus to tackle the urgent challenges


A mature approach or a recognition or her weakened position?


The European Parliament's Brexit chief, Guy Verhofstadt,


says Theresa May's plans for EU citizens in the UK are a "damp


squib" and threatens to veto any Brexit deal unless she offers more.


Labour has already pledged to scrap tuition fees,


but now the party says would like to go even further


and write off all student debt, costing up to 100 billion.


The Conservatives call it a shambolic proposal.


And it's another big week ahead in Westminster -


we'll have all the details of what's in store over the next seven days.


And with us for the whole programme today are the Conservative MP


Rishi Sunak, and Labour MP Chuka Umunna.


First this morning, Theresa May is making a speech tomorrow -


her first big speech since the election -


in which she will call on other parties to "contribute


Acknowledging her weakened position, she will say this is the "reality


I now face as Prime Minister" and call on opponents to help


Let's get more from our political correspondent, Ben Wright.


Is this desperation, calling on opponents to prop her up? It is


certainly a dramatic change of tone from Theresa May, never known in


Westminster as the most collaborative politicians, but here


she is, considerably weakened, having lost the Tories' majority in


the Commons. All the muttering round here is how long she has got, weeks


or months. This is a speech that has been heavily trial, a couple of days


before she makes it, indicating that she is clearly determined to carry


on with this as long as she can. She says her appetite is not dimmed. She


still wants to tackle all the injustices that she set out to


tackle when she first became PM last year, and making this offer for


cross-party collaboration on the big issues facing Britain. The briefing


suggests she is talking about things like social care reform. I think it


does look like desperation. It is very out of character, and a


substance is very questionable. There is a high degree of scepticism


in the press about this today. In The Times - week and made pleads for


support. Another says - may's cry for help to Corbyn. We need to treat


this with scepticism and ask how realistic this idea of cross-party


working is, but Damian Green this morning was defending the idea and


said it was workable. that politicians can work together


across party lines is actually Surely we can agree on aspects


of counterterrorism policy, or social care policy,


or workers' rights and so on. There are issues where


the Westminster system it is sensible in this Parliament,


if there are things we agree on - and, of course,


we disagree on lots of things - but if there are things we agree on,


then we should do so. Damian Green saying that the public


like the idea of cross-party consensus, and it's true. Voters


think it would be a good idea for parties to talk about the big issues


that you mention, like social care, but in practical terms, how will it


work and is never a positive response from the Lib Dems, the SNP


and Labour? Certainly, Labour have said this smacks of desperation and


they are not interested in the Tories trying to make what they see


as they are perfectly good policy ideas. Damian Green says it is a


practical political necessity but Theresa May because she has no


majority. She will have DUP support on key events like the budget and


the Queen 's speech, but beyond that, she will have to compromise


and have talks. On big issues like social care, on Brexit, where some


MPs have called for a cross-party commission to really try and find a


parliamentary consensus on the way forward for Brexit, I don't think


the Government are very interested in that. Some of the big reforms


that Theresa May wanted to see enacted, that were in the manifesto,


on social care and education, they have had to be dropped because she


didn't get a majority. She has to say this sort of thing, but you get


little sense that Labour are interested. After all, they want to


try to bring Theresa May down, not prop her up. It brings a bit hollow


from someone like Theresa May because she wasn't exactly


collaborative in her previous role in the Home Office. She wasn't keen


on working with the Lib Dems, and you were in Government with them


together. I have always found her constructive and engaging. On the


broader point, Damian Green is right. People do want to see


politicians working together. We won't agree on everything, but it


seems sensible to work together where there is consensus. The NHS,


dealing with counterterrorism, and this isn't about pinching Labour


ideas. These are new challenges facing our country. So where we can


find common ground, it seems sensible to work together in the


national interest. Parties have worked together on things like


social care. The fact that nothing has been achieved very much doesn't


mean that you shouldn't try. I don't think anyone would disagree. It is


nothing new, the idea of different parties working together. We do that


on select committees. I have just launched an all party Parliamentary


group with Anna Soubry today, which we can talk more about. If it were


so imperative and important that we deal with these issues, which, by


the way, existed when she went through the door to ten Downing St,


why wasn't she calling for the cross-party consensus and for


different parties to work together when she gave a speech in front of


number ten? The reason was that she didn't feel the need. This idea that


she really does believe this, that it is a big imperative of our


Government, people will take that with a lorry load of salt. The


circumstances emanate from an election where she thought she would


have a big majority and she has come out without one. Let's leave it


there. Theresa May wants cross-party support on a range of issues, as we


have been discussing, but of course, the biggest task facing her


Government is negotiating the UK's withdrawal from the European Union.


from US President Donald Trump, who said a "very powerful" free


trade deal between America and the UK could be signed


But today the issue of reciprocal rights for EU and UK citizens


after Brexit has once again come to the fore.


The European Parliament's chief negotiator, Guy Verhofstadt,


and other leading MEPs, have said the UK offer on citizens'


rights risks creating "second-class citizenship" for EU residents here.


They imply that even Vote Leave, during the referendum


campaign, were offering a more generous settlement.


But the Government says the letter contains "a number of inaccuracies".


The letter from Mr Verhofstadt and colleagues threatens that MEPs


will veto any UK-EU deal if the offer for EU citizens


Closer to home, a number of MPs from across the Commons have formed


a new All-Party Parliamentary Group on EU Relations to scrutinise


the Government over the next two years.


Its members, like Anna Soubry, from Theresa May's own party,


and Labour's Chuka Umunna, here with us, say they should


be "active players" in the Brexit process.


Yesterday Lib Dem leadership hopeful Vince Cable said he was "beginning


to think Brexit may never happen," a thought which prompted


the Conservative MP Owen Paterson to describe Vince Cable as "behind


Chuka Umunna, this new group, it will be seen as a another front in


trying to stop Brexit by any means, and that is what it is. Geller


McBride -- by hard Brexiters. The three things that unite all of the


MPs involved, and a greater membership of this group, is that we


want to see the UK leaving with a deal. Leaving without one would be


absolutely appalling. Second, we think in the negotiation we should


have all options on the table, going confident, with an open mind. We are


the third biggest economy in the world and we should be ambitious.


And third, we want to see the close as possible relationship with the EU


once we have left. If you look at Anna and myself, we both voted to


trigger Article 50, so the idea that we want to rerun the referendum or


ignore the result, no, we don't. We want to ensure that we have a decent


deal for our constituents. That's why we have come together in the


national interest. Let's pinpoint what you mean. Do you want to stay


in the single market? Personally, I do. Does the group? The members want


to see options. Some people want to be in the customs union but not this


single market, some people the opposite, some people want both. You


will be advocating to remain in the single market? That is my personal


opinion. Wouldn't it be more honest for you in your personal capacity to


say, actually, I am campaigning to remain in the EU because staying in


the single market is effectively remaining in the EU? No, it isn't.


There are a number of countries that are not members of the EU but that


are part of the single market, such as Norway. As part of the European


Economic Area. Some people will say we have not properly left the EU and


you will still be under the jurisdiction of the European Court


of Justice, like Norway, and therefore you will be part of the


EU. In what way with the UK be taking back control? Three things


that are raised as problems with staying in the single market - free


movement, that is definitely an issue. At the moment, freedom of


movement is not unconditional. I believe we could have a system of


their movement, free movement of labour. You are right about taking


back control and asking about that. I will be interested to see what


Rishi Sunak says, but whoever you are, you want to access that market


and sell goods and services into it. And there's no reason we couldn't do


that. I don't disagree, but we would have to comply with rules, standards


and regulations if we had a free trade agreement. But your view... It


was proven a dead duck by David Cameron's negotiation, and it isn't


possible, it seems. Hang on, David Cameron was trying to keep us in the


EU. In the single market and tried to limit one of the four freedoms,


freedom of movement. We can come back to that in a moment. Rishi,


what is wrong with having an all-party group? Theresa May once


you have is consensus, parties coming together, and that is what --


wants to have a consensus. They can add to the debate, but we should be


honest about what is going on. Chuka Umunna is honest, he would like to


stay in the single market and amended the Queen 's speech to that


effect. I tried to! He didn't get it through. We have a clear position.


We voted to leave the EU. Staying inside the single market would be a


betrayal of that though because we would be subject to the free


movement of people, to the European Court of Justice and paying a large


amount of money into the EU budget. I think people would view that as


staying inside the EU, so we need to be clear about that. There are


enough that you can now wants to stay there, and he has made that


commitment to his constituents, but the rest of the country voted to


leave, and that means removing ourselves from those institutions.


On that point, of course, we want to have close relations with the EU


after we leave. There's no reason we can't. You don't have to be a member


of the single market to have access with it and to trade. Briefly,


because we have to move onto other things. David Davies says that your


Government's position is that you want to get exactly the same


benefits as you got a member. He said that while ago. Michel Barnier


has said you cannot get exactly the same benefits if you leave the


single market and the customs union. We want to replica late as closely


as possible the trading relationship -- to replicate as closely as


possible the trading relationship we have within the EU. Canada have just


removed 98% of tariffs. There is no reason why we, fifth largest economy


in the world and the EU's largest trading partner, no reason why we


couldn't do a good trading deal. Who doesn't want that to happen? Let's


look at the European Court of Justice, because Theresa May has


been very clear that part of leaving the EU must be an end to the


jurisdiction of the ECJ in any arbitration issue. A number of


senior Tories, your colleagues, if you're talking about clarity within


the party, have come out and said we should not be as rigid and absolute


as that. Are they right? We need to have our sovereignty, and


having a chord that is sovereign to ours, it is not a sensible position


to be in. And with respect to EU nationals, and this is where it has


come up today, the idea that after we leave the European Union a


foreign court would be supervising the rights to... So what are you


going to do over the institutions, like the nuclear joint bodies that


come under the jurisdiction of the ECJ? If we are voluntarily going to


enter into agreements with the European Union which have a set of


rules attached, of course, that is something we will choose to do where


it makes sense, but having an overarching institution sovereign


over our courts is clearly not a sustainable outcome. Let's talk


about trade, Chuka Umunna, because we had the conversation and comments


from Donald Trump that pretty soon after Brexit the US and the UK would


be able to sign up to an extremely large free trade deal. Nothing to


worry about? Well, let's see. If you look at the comments of the


president of the CBI on what Donald Trump is said, to paraphrase, the


president of the CBI, he said you do not agree free-trade agreements


through bear hug diplomacy, they are very hard-nosed... But there has got


to be a will, and Donald Trump has signalled it extremely publicly, and


that is a good thing, isn't it? Of course, because if we leave the EU,


Haiti knows we will need to do agreements! The European Union has a


huge number of agreements with third-party countries, not least


Japan, and we are walking away from that. If we take out those comments


from the president of the CBI, Minister David Lidington admitted it


would not replace the trade we are currently with the EU. The EU's own


forecast shows that 90% of global demand will be coming from outside


the EU, and we should be looking towards those other countries, and


it is not just the US. It is both. Of course, it is Australia, Canada,


and they have been positive about signing new free-trade agreements,


and you are right, it is not either/or, we can replicate the


arrangements we have with the EU through free-trade agreements. They


have said that is not possible, Michel has said that. But you want


to renegotiate arrangements within the single market, which people have


not said is possible. I should not have reopened that!


Now, in the run-up to the general election,


Labour promised in their manifesto to abolish university


tuition fees and reintroduce student maintenance grants.


But days before the poll, Jeremy Corbyn indicated


that he would want to go further and deal with all student debt.


Yesterday, Shadow Education Secretary Angela Rayner


told Andrew Marr that would cost up to ?100 billion,


and that it was an ambition for the party to announce


when they could afford it. This is what she had to say.


There's three things I call on the Government to do


They can reverse the maintenance grants, abolishing that -


that will help the most disadvantaged students.


They could stop and reduce the percentage rate that students


And they can ensure that the amount that they repay,


goes up in line with average earnings.


Their things that the Conservatives could do before September


Aren't you just spraying around huge spending promises too recklessly?


I mean, another ?100 billion on tuition fees


right at the last minute - that's some sofa you have to find.


Well, like you said, Jeremy said that that is an ambition,


it's something that he'd like to do, it's something that we will not


announce that we're doing unless we can afford to do that.


a senior editor at Novara Media who also lectures in politics.


Welcome to the Daily Politics. Abolishing student debt was not in


the Labour manifesto, did he miss be? I don't think he did, he is


addressing the fact that this country is becoming increasingly


debt burdened, so if you pay 9000 fees, you are looking at being


burdened with 50 grand debt, those from poorer backgrounds, that can go


up to 57 grand, and when you add onto that the increases in household


debt, credit cards and stuff, we are now reaching financial crisis


levels, right? But you are not paying that


money upfront, this is more like a loan that is repaid once you start


earning a certain amount of income, some of it will never be paid back,


so what you're not incurring debt in the same way as with credit cards.


In an ideal world, we would be met with fantastic jobs and we could in


the median wage straightaway, but that is not happening when graduates


get out of university. But then you don't repay if you don't earn a


salary. That seems to me to be a wild way to run an economy, right? I


am not an economic lecturer, but it seems to me if you have got a


funding model for higher education in which over a third of people are


never going to repay that money, that seems to be utterly bananas. So


you think it is suggesting, realistically, to abolish all


student debt, even if it is ?100 million? When you look at tax


collection priorities in this country, things are totally askew.


In 2016, Revenue and Customs announced there was 36 billion in


uncollected tax, and that is before you get to profit sharing. In other


European countries, there are different models. Germany, for


instance, does not charge tuition fees, and these countries also pay


their lecturers and other staff more, cleaners and catering staff


are paid more. They improve conditions for everyone. What is


your view about abolishing student debt? Is it realistic? Having it as


an aspiration has to be a goal for a Labour Party that wants to ensure


that, regardless of your creed, colour or background, you can get on


and it is not a barrier to higher education. But it has not proven to


be a barrier, poorer students are less likely to go to university


overall, but since tuition fees, introduced by the Labour government,


were brought in, it has not actually detailed poorer students - it is now


static, but it has gone up since 2013. Hang on just a minute, I was


about to make the point, about to make the point that what we expected


would happen, which was that you would see a reduction in the numbers


of people from lower income households, that did not happen,


because in constituencies like mine, where one in three is living in


poverty, people are not going to let that be a brake on their ambition.


But this issue about debt, you are absolutely right, Ash, people are


saddled with this for up to three decades before it is written off,


and that is a massive barrier to everything you want to do. But the


language you are using, people saddled with debt, is that a fair


representation of the current policy, which is, as I say, a loan


that is taken out, you do not pay upfront fees, you only pay when UN a


certain amount of money? For low income students, debts of ?57,000,


to me that is saddling young people with a huge level of debt. It is eye


watering, if you think about what young people are having to deal with


once they leave university, if the well-paid jobs were there for the


vast majority of them, to start repaying it back in a reasonable


fashion, because I take the point about interest rates, the loans are


not as expensive as on the market, but it is still off putting. You


have mentioned the fact that, the fact that people from less


disadvantaged backgrounds are more likely to go to university, the gap


has closed, we are in a better situation than Scotland, which


abolished tuition fees, where children from those backgrounds are


twice as likely to go to university in this country. The ?50,000 sounds


like a lot blog well, it is a lot! The benefit of being a graduate is


close to ?1 million, so that is what it should be set against, you will


earn considerably more than someone who does not. If you have the


ability to pay it, you should pay some back. It is progressive, it is


fair, it ensures universities are well funded. Let Ash come back on


that, because it is progressive in the sense that people have a long


time to pay it back. We have to make sure that corporations pay their


fair share, and to come back on the issue of stats, dropout rates have


increased since the introduction of fees. What are they? 6% of first


years will fail to move on to their second year. As a result of tuition


fees? There has been a 0.5% increase year-on-year in that number. When


you look at the attainment gap, especially pronounced for working


class and BAME students, that widens in higher education. So with all due


respect, your stats are meaningless. Was it a mistake for the coalition


government to abolish maintenance grants? Because that has been a big


deterrent to a lot of students from poorer backgrounds to try and reach


university in the first place? The issue with Gran says that when we


have a sum of money to allocate to benefit the highest number of


people, it means we have a cap on the number of people who we can


benefit. Transitioning to the system of loans means more people can go to


university. Ash mentioned Germany, Germany can afford a different


system because only 20% of German students go to university. In this


country, it is closer to half, so in a system with more people going to


university, we need a fair system to pay for it, and loans means we can


offer that opportunity to everyone who wants it.


Now, the summer recess is not far away,


but there's still a busy week ahead in Westminster.


Later this afternoon, Theresa May will update MPs


on the G20 summit that took place in Hamburg.


Tuesday, and as part of Theresa May's speech


on building a fairer Britain, the Government is expected


of employment practices in the modern economy.


On Wednesday, it's the return of the weekly showdown


between Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn


It's also election time for the chairs


Thursday marks Theresa May's first year as Prime Minister


and will see the introduction of the Government's Repeal Bill,


formerly known as the Great Repeal Bill.


That seeks to copy and paste all existing EU law


On Friday, MPs return to their constituencies,


with just one more week to go before the House rises for summer recess.


Let's quickly pick up with one of those stories, 11 select committee


chairs are up for grabs, including the influential Treasury Committee,


until recently chaired by Andrew Tyrie. Who would you like to see as


chair? I haven't actually made up my mind, I am an undecided voter! There


has high quality candidates from across-the-board, both sides, Brexit


and Remain, if that is important. I am not sure it needs to be the most


important factor in it, you want someone who will hold the Government


to account, that is their role, and there are good examples of us


working cross and Parliamentary interests. Will you have Brexit at


the forefront of your mind when it comes to the chairs of these


committees? Nicky Morgan, one of your open Britain colleagues,


obviously thinking along the same lines as you. It is an important


issue for you, and I have said publicly I want to see Nicky on the


Treasury Select Committee, for reasons beyond Brexit. I used to


serve on the Treasury Select Committee, I would like to see a


woman chair it, I think she is the best person for the job, gender is


not striving my vote. Tom Tugendhat is standing for the Foreign Affairs


Select Committee, you could do some incredible things. Norman Lamb as


well. There are lots of you, what about the 2015 intake? Will there be


people from your intake? Tom Tugendhat and Johnny Mercer is


standing for chairman of the Defence Select Committee, I think that is


interesting, as an intake we are a relatively decent sized part of the


party, there should be some of the younger generation coming through.


We will know fairly shortly, I suppose, won't we? Thank you very


much to my guests. If you haven't had enough


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