Andrew Neil is joined by Ed Vaizey and David Lammy. As Parliament enters the summer recess, they discuss the Brexit timetable, the Liberal Democrat leadership and summer reading.
Browse content similar to 20/07/2017. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!
Hello and welcome to the Daily Politics.
We've reached the end of the first full round of Brexit
As we come on air, chief negotiators David Davis and Michel Barnier
Barring any last-minute upsets, Vince Cable looks set to be
crowned the new king of the Liberal Democrats,
so what next for the party and why didn't anyone else want the job?
MPs leave Westmister for the summer recess today,
but can you always believe what they claim they're getting up
Everybody that's actually going to go to Aruba or something
is pretending that they're actually going to go to Aberystwyth.
And we've given up asking the pollsters or the pundits
what next for politics, so today we'll see if the fortunes
of the party leaders are written in the stars.
Even the music is running out of steam!
Yes, I forsee all of that next hour of this final Daily Politics
before Parliament rises for the summer recess.
And I'm joined for all of it by two MPs who behave like it's the end
of term most of the time anyway - it's Labour's David Lammy
First today, the new leader of Kensington and Chelsea Council
in London was officially appointed at a meeting last night,
she's taken over following the fire at the Grenfell Tower
Elizabeth Campbell said she was "deeply sorry" for the grief
and trauma caused by the fire, which left at least 80
But the council has been accused of being slow to respond
and re-house residents, and many members of the public
Councillor Campbell, would you like to address the chamber?
The victims of this tragedy have been let down. We did not cope well
enough in our initial response to the tragedy, and I know that you
have heard me apologise for our inadequate response. Tonight I
reiterate that apology to you directly. No ifs, no buts, no
excuses. So that is the new leader of
Kensington Council. There were protests in the gallery last night.
David Lammy, you have been vocal in your response, is the council now
getting a grip? They have got to, because in the end they are directly
responsible for the people of North Kensington, so they've got to get a
grip and do that with huge support from the Government. My own view is
that there should have been commissioners brought in. You think
the council should have been forced to step aside? I think so, because
there is a view that the council is too small to cope with this crisis.
But she was right to apologise and we have to move forward. In the
weeks in the aftermath, Ed Vaizey, of the Grenfell Tower tragedy, aided
seems that in Kensington Council you had to have a double-barrelled name
and looked totally out of your depth. There was a case the central
government taking over. And I think Elizabeth Campbell has apologised
and made that point. I don't think the council itself has to be
disbanded and replaced with commissioners, but it is clear that
a small council like this, any council, regardless of political
control, single barrelled names double-barrelled names, couldn't
have coped with this terrible, unprecedented tragedy. So the
Government should have stepped in sooner, and it has now stepped in.
And the London mayor lays a key role as well. But clearly it is a
national tragedy which deserves a national response, which is now
happening. The central government response, Mrs May apologised and
there was clearly something wrong with the central government response
as well. I don't think anyone is going to shy away from the fact that
the powers that be didn't get it in the first few days after it
happened, what a tragedy this was on the scale of the response. David
Lammy, do you still claim that the official death toll is far too low?
Andrew, I never claimed. What I sought to do and continue to speak
to do is speak for the victims and survivors, many of whom I know and
you know I lost a friend. It came at last night. People watched people
jumping out of windows. People knew their neighbours in this tight-knit
community, and they don't recognise the number of 80. Police have
confirmed that that is the number. They've said they think the number
will rest at 80, but they have also said there are 23 homes that they
are unsure about, and it is going to take some many months to work out
who was in the building. But you talked about suspicions of a
cover-up, the police I would take it in this situation, they are not part
of the cover-up? You are asking me a question I can't answer. Why would
the police cover it up? What I have said, and I'm clear in this, is that
there have been situations like this in the past, Hillsborough is the one
we all remember most recently, and the truth has taken 30 years to come
out. And I'm afraid many of the folks down there, me included, are
worried, and therefore my job as an elected backbencher in the Labour
Party is to be extra vigilant, extra cautious. Again, you have said the
official death toll is, quite, far, far too low. You have no evidence
for that. My evidence is something you don't have, because I suspect
you haven't spoken to as many victims as I do. With respect, that
is not evidence. Testimony of people who live in the block is pretty good
evidence. It would be evidence in a court of law. We need evidence to
show that the official death toll is far too low. And you don't have
that. Even the victims don't have it. They have their suspicions, and
a stand that, and they are right to be suspicious... Have you had
Cressida Dick on that show and asked that very question? The police have
said, the BBC have asked... Don't turn it back on me. Do you have
evidence that the official death toll is far, far too low, because
you have stated that. Do you have evidence to back it up? Andrew, as a
backbencher, I have spoken to survivors and victims. You have not
put that question to the person in charge, don't put that question to
me. You cannot make official statements like this unless you have
the evidence, otherwise you're just playing politics with a really
difficult, tragic situation. I resent the suggestion that I'm
playing politics when I have a friend that has died, and I'm
concerned that the BBC, your show, has not put the question to the
person in charge, and you are putting the question to me when I'm
speaking on the half of victims. The BBC has interviewed Cressida Dick.
Don't make claims that are untrue. I have seen no interviews with
Cressida Dick on this issue where she has talked about numbers. You
need to talk to TV a bit more, then. You have got it wrong. At least you
are on the show. You have got it wrong. You say I have got it wrong
does not make you right. And it doesn't make
you right. Once again, you are playing politics with a tragic
situation. I am not playing politics, and I resent the
suggestion about this tragedy in which I lost a friend, Andrew. Yes,
that is tragic, and it doesn't mean you get to play politics. The
viewers will make up their mind. That is very cheap. We will move
onto something little lighter. The question for today
is about the Brexit talks Last week we learned that
David Davis' briefcase has been fitted with a device which blocks
electronic signals to protect Now we've learned that
the EU side is worried about eavesdropping,
too - so what have they started Was it a) Hidden cameras b)
Fingerprint scanners c) Invisible At the end of the show,
David and Ed will give Let's stick with those talks
because today marks the conclusion of the first full round of Brexit
negotiations in Brussels The two sides are meeting
for four days each month, and Brexit Secretary
and the EU's Michel Barnier have this morning been talking
about the progress they've made - Mr Davis and Mr Barnier have been
reviewing four days of talks that have taken place
between their negotiating On the table this week have
been the thorny issues of citizen's rights,
the Irish border and Britain's financial
liabilities once we've left. By December this year,
Michel Barnier has the initial discussions to finish,
which may then lead to the start of talks on a new trade deal
with the EU starting Also by the start of 2018
the Government will want to have passed its Repeal Bill
which will convert all EU law into British law,
although opposition parties in both the Commons and the Lords
could stall its progress. By October 2018 Mr Barnier has said
he wants to have an agreement on the UK's exit deal and this
will then be put to a vote in both the Lords and the Commons
before then going to the European Parliament
for approval. Once this happens it's down
to the European Council to endorse the deal and then all being well
the UK will be out of the EU We agree on the need for certainty
on the part of citizens both in the EU and the UK, but we obviously have
different views on how we achieve that. On financial settlement, we
both recognise the importance of sorting out the obligations we have
to one another, both legally and in the spirit of mutual corporation.
We've had a robust but constructive talk. Clearly there is a lot left to
talk about and further work before we can resolve this. Ultimately
getting to a solution will require flexible at you from both sides, but
as Michel said, we shouldn't expect incremental progress in every round.
Let's speak now to our Europe correspondent, Kevin Connolly.
This press conference has just been taking place. What have we learned
so far? I had to tear myself away, so I'm not entirely sure how that is
going to end, but I think the take away from the earlier part of the
conference, which I suppose we can say would have been the message that
they both went in with was that they want to emphasise there has been
progress. Half the issues on citizens rights resolved, so
generally I think a positive take on the first really substantial talks,
getting to know the detail of each other's positions, but also of
course that overall impression that there is a tremendous amount left to
do, and that the obvious difficult issues like the European Court of
Justice are exactly that, obviously difficult and not solved yet. And
somewhere below that kind of mutual note of positivity, just a faint
note of chippiness, I think. David Davis at one point turned to Michel
Barnier and said to him, to coin a phrase, the clock is ticking, that
of course being the phrase that Michel Barnier was using earlier in
the process to imply that Britain was just not getting down to
business, and was underprepared for these talks. Mr Barnier said there
were still fundamental differences on Citizens' rights in the UK and
the EU. That was something they were hoping for progress on, but still
fundamental differences? Yes, the reality of citizens rights is that
it is on two levels, there is the political level, where the European
Union is adamant that the European Court of Justice should retain a
role in all of this and oversee those rights, even for what will be
caught the protective cohorts, the EU citizens currently living in the
UK. That would give the ECJ role in British life, for the future, you
think about people being born this year into a family living in
Britain, possibly for 100 years. And the Theresa May, any role of the ECJ
in Britain is a red line, so they have a big political and legal
problem, but alongside all of that on citizens rights you have these
tremendously conjugated issues about whether people will be able to vote
in local governor to elections in different jurisdictions in future.
What about the rights of posted workers, fun -- frontier workers,
children bought -- born into families where the older children
already have the protections and younger children may not, see you
have both of those sets of difficulties in parallel. Overall
the message is that a lot of progress is being made on a lot of
those issues, and the British viewers that the European idea that
Britain is underprepared is just wrong, but that issue of the ECJ and
its future role looms in the background. Someone is going to have
to give way on that and make a major concession, and it's not really
clear yet who that's going to be. Kevin Connolly, thank you for that.
Bringing us up-to-date on the press conference in Brussels between David
Davis and Michel Barnier. We're joined now by
the former deputy chairman Are our expectations too high? Are
we wrong to expect some kind of breakthrough on major issues at this
stage? Yes, I think our expectations are far too high and that is the
problem I have had with the whole approach to Brexit. The country has
voted to leave the EU and we are going to leave but suddenly the
interpretation of what that means seems to be held by a particular
small cabals of people who say it all has to happen by March, 2019, no
transition, and anything with the E in it or Europe, cannot have a role.
The ECJ will be an independent tribunal adjudicating on matters of
law where we have a continuing relationship with the EU which we
will have if we want to trade and if we want to give European citizens
rights and we want British citizens to have rights in Europe. It can be
tailored, it can have British judges on it, but what worries me is the
ECJ redline, people seem to confuse it with the European Court of Human
Rights. Nothing to do with the EU. Suzanne Evans, and then David Lammy.
It does look now we are heading for quite a long transition period. Let
me take apart a couple of things Ed said. I will take it apart. It is
the EU is that set the timetable, it is no good you complaining about...
It is Article 50. We triggered Article 50 under EU law. Which we
agree to. We are members of the EU. If she is going to take me apart,
she had better do it effectively! We have not even heard from David
Lammy, we will come back to you. 52% of the people voted for it and you
do the voters and your former constituents no good by claiming...
The classic trick of claiming to speak for... We have got sucked into
the quagmire of the EU, it just shows how much sovereignty we have
given away. Do you accept their will in addition to the two-year period
which is now under way under Article 50 that on a number of these issues,
there will now have to be potentially prolonged transition
periods? This is my worry. There is a deadline and we have to meet it.
We do not want this to go on and on forever. It is not in the country's
best interests. The sooner we can break free of the EU, the sooner we
can make our own trade deals and control our own borders and be
certain we are under British law. Do you think we are in for a prolonged
transition deal? If we do not get a transition deal, there is a terrible
cliff edge that while -- that will ruin our economy and jobs. It is a
myth. For business and industry, there is a cliff edge, a lot of
people in Britain will suffer. When you talk about a soft transition,
you mean joining the EAA, all of the things I have just said, is control
of borders, control of immigration, sovereignty of Parliament, that will
not be possible if we stay in the single market. Some of it depends
whether you put that control, the fantasy control, above the economy.
I know the Labour Party thinks... It has promised to control immigration.
I'm in disagreement with the bench on this. But I am saying it is a
very peculiar thing to put immigration above the economy and
without transition, we will crush the economy. Ed Vaizey, people like
Suzanne Evans and people in your own party are suspicious of a long
transition period because they think people like you will use it to be
effectively endless so that we do not me. Exactly. It is a completely
ideological approach to Brexit, completely barmy, takes no account
of people's lives, jobs, British businesses. I am a remainer but we
accept the result, there should be a transition period, we could be part
of the EAA and sensible Brexiteers are coming to that opinion. But the
Suzanne s do not give a monkeys about people's jobs. Quite
extraordinary. It shows your arrogance. Why is it arrogant to...
It is two of you against one. Show some respect and fairness here.
Boeing, yeah! You do not think we should have fairness? -- oh, yeah. I
do not think you showed me fairness earlier. Let us show fairness to
Suzanne So much has still to be decided, there will inevitably loose
ends that will require some kind of transition period now. Do you deny
that? The analogy often given is that of divorce. In some ways, it is
a bad analogy. There are children, the decree nice eye, when it is
absolute, there are inevitably consequences but go on. We have
always said we want to continue a good working relationship with the
EU. The point is we need to do this in a spirit of harmony,
communication, and what is best for our country. Let us be clear, is
leaving the EU and getting a good trade deal in particular will be of
benefit to the EU too. We have to be like responsible parent and discuss
sensibly and look at what is in both our best interests. If you look at
it logically, as a sensible Brexiteer, I do not like the fact
you are saying some of us our sensible or some not depending on
whether we agree with you. There is a potential for this to be in both
our best interests and that is the deal we should be heading for and I
hope that will come out of the press conference today. What would be left
unresolved in a transition period and how long would it be? My view,
my overview, is that we should be members of the EAA for a
transitional period. Transitional time limited... It is the... I am
trying to help people by explaining what bit EAA is. Tell our viewers
what it is and why it would be... The European Economic Area, being
part of the customs union and single market for a transition period to
trade. There is no doubt it would be time limited and we would come out.
What I want to avoid most of all is a cliff edge that takes us out of
the European Union completely in the March, 2019. How long would it take?
I have suggested five years. We remain in the single market and the
customs union... While we work out the free trade deal that we want.
You do not think the deal can be done by March of 2019? I would be
staggered, if I am proved wrong, I am proved wrong... David Lammy, is
that your position too? Would we do like to see a transition in which we
remain in the single market and the customs union? I think it transition
is essential because I absolutely disagree with Suzanne, I see no way
on the timetable in which we can negotiate a free trade deal with
Europe and negotiate our exit. There are too many big things to get
through and you have seen just in this initial week the huge disputes
over the cost of the bill and the huge dispute over what will happen
to EU residents. The idea we can move on the trade is just
impossible. Any lawyer will tell you who has negotiated on trade, it is
impossible. For that reason alone, there has to be transition. Barry
pessimistic. -- very pessimistic. We are in unique circumstances. Most
trade deals negotiated from scratch. This would be a deal which
inevitably would be less free than the current arrangement. Does that
change things in your view? We have already seen what the benefits to us
and the EU are of a free-trade deal because that is effectively what we
have at the moment, it should not be too difficult for responsible adults
to negotiate something very similar. With respect to both of you, start
to be a bit more positive. There is a part of you that thinks you want
Britain to fail on this. That is rubbish. I am not allowed to
interrupt or whatever, but that is incredibly offensive. The idea that
we want Britain to fail is ludicrous. We want to secure British
jobs. Let us agreed that we want British dogs. -- British jobs. Thank
you. If you're someone who always waits
until the last possible day before filling out an application
or your tax return, you'll know how They often wait until the last day
before the summer recess to release details of those tricky decisions
they've been thinking about. They're sometimes even accused
of trying to bury bad I am one of those people so dare I
suggest I have a little bit of sympathy for the Government. The
Government say they are trying to finish things up and the opposition
say they are trying to sneak things out. There are 22 written statements
today trickled out on the Parliament website, generally pretty normal for
this time of year for the end of term, but quite technical stuff. For
example, we find out today from Michael Fallon that one of the
Navy's new frigates will be called HMS Glasgow. Another one, the
transfer rate will remain at 12% in 2019 and 2020. Me neither. It is
significant if you are involved in farming. Interesting nuggets have
come out today for example on the railways. The electrification of the
Midland mainland and parts of the great Western Railway in South Wales
will not be electrified. The Government says it is too avoid
disruptive works that does not need to happen now because of new
technology. But many people hoped it would happen. All of this comes when
yesterday we had the announcement the state pension age will rise to
68 and that will be brought forward. It was always going to be 68 but it
was going to happen nine years later. That will affect 6 million
extra people between 39 and 47. That was pretty controversial, the
Government was accused of trying to sneak out but bad news yesterday. As
ever, Andrew, nothing much gets passed us.
Indeed. Quite right. Thanks for that.
Let's talk now about the race, if that's the right word,
to become the next Liberal Democrat leader, because nominations
for this keenly-watched contest close later today.
You will remember that Tim Farron announced his resignation
from the job last month, saying he felt his Christian
faith was incompatible with leading the party.
Here he is speaking to 5 Live last week.
Well, we've heard about people shedding tears
I'm somebody who does shed tears occasionally if things move me.
Generally not things to do with myself.
Well, actually, no, I completely held it together,
I knew what I was going to do, I made the little statement
in party headquarters, and was about to head off up north,
and I just got this lovely text from my 15-year-old saying,
"I'm very proud of you," and I had a cry then.
But that was more really the fact that it's nice being reminded
So, with nominations closing at 4pm, who are the runners and riders
Well, the first to throw his hat in the ring was the former
seat back from the Conservatives at the general election,
and he's dismissed suggestions that at 74 he is too old for the job.
Yes, Vince was the first and only one of the party's 12 MPs
to say he wanted to stand, so barring any last-minute
upsets, my professional opinion is he's fairly likely to win.
Well, we're joined now by one of those who didn't stand.
She's the party's new Education Spokeswoman, Layla Moran.
Good to see you. Why it has no one else decided to stand? Some people
considered it, I think. In the end, it has to be about who is right at
the time and a number of people thought about it in the context of
young families, for example, and decided it was not the time for them
right now. It has to be a job you want. The answer for a left-wing,
Progressive party that preaches diversity and representing
21st-century Britain is a 74-year-old white guy. Yeah, a
74-year-old white guy who also want other people to have the best
possible opportunity. You have to judge someone on what they do and
not what they looked like. The fact he is older does not matter so long
as he is championing the causes of young people. The fact he is white
does not matter so long as he is championing the causes of minority
backgrounds. I would much rather seen a woman... Why didn't you
stand? I was elected weeks ago, are you mad? That is very flattering. A
lot of MPs have a tradition of going for leadership when people do not
expect it. Maybe next time. Why has no woman decided to stand? I don't
know. I can tell you why I didn't. I was just elected. There are four of
us. That is an issue. We do definitely need more MPs if more are
going to throw their hats into the ring. If you look at the position of
the Lib Dems at the moment from where they were when they joined the
coalition in 2010, it is clearly a long fight back you are going to
have, it is not going to... The last election, you got a few more MPs,
but your share of the vote fell, no breakthrough at all. It will be
several elections before you can re-establish your position. Don't
you need somebody who was going to be there for the duration? Mr cable,
he will be, if this parliament goes its full round, he will be 80 by the
next election, almost. No future in that for you, is there? We will see
where it goes. I bought his book quite early on when I joined the
party, Free Radical. I think there are lots of progressive, young ideas
in that book. The party itself is not just one person and the Liberal
Democrats are very good at having a multitude of people feed into the
direction of the party. I agree with you, it will take us a long time to
come back, but there are signs we are. Vince Cable has said we want to
overtake the Conservatives in our membership, we are not far off, so
we are coming, Ed. The number of MPs customer not yet. You start where
you are strong. We certainly have a strong, young, vigorous membership.
From there, we will get a new crop, myself being one, and we will have
more and more people come forward and I hope the lot of them are women
and from ethnic minority backgrounds. When you go to the
conference which I have done many times... You bought me a drink, I
remember it well. You have to pass the time somehow! It is geriatric
city, isn't it? I would not say so, I was there. That is why I bought
you a drink! If you look at the make-up of 50% of members who have
joined us in the last election, it is a huge number of young people who
have joined the party who are very excited over where we are going.
What about the policy on Brexit under Vincent cable? Will that
change? No, we are proudly pro-European, we always have been
and we stay that way. I think he is taking it even further than Tim
Farron has been, and saying that he doesn't see it happening, and my
first few weeks in the house, I can see how that might work out. Your
new leader, or at least will be at close of play today, he previously
argued against a second referendum on the outcome of the Brexit talks,
but that is still your party's policy? Yes, that is the party
policy and we are strong on that. So he has changed his mind? I don't
know if he said that before, but it is certainly where we stand now, and
it looks like public opinion is coming across. A recent poll showed
that 53% with the increasingly difficult circumstances under which
these talks are taking place, I do think that there is a case, and
increasingly growing case in the eyes of many people, that is to have
a say on what finally comes out of this mess is the right thing to do.
OK. David Lammy, what do you make of the return of Vince Cable? I have
always personally got on with him as a fellow London MP. I think the Lib
Dems need a grown-up, to be honest, and he is definitely a grown-up. He
is seasoned, he has been around Parliament a long time, he knows
what he's doing. These are incredibly difficult times for our
country, and you know, the Lib Dems are currently a small party. I
suspect he's the right person at this time, but I hope that others
who are bit younger will come through in the next short while, the
next period, and we will see those people prominent in his team. I've
got a lot of affection for their position in Europe. Mr Cable...
Don't we call him Sir Vince? You don't get titles on this show. It
may be a stretch of Labour to win an overall majority in another
election, but they could do the largest party. There is room for
deals, negotiation with the Lib Dems, is that not a threat to the
Tories? Might well be room for coalitions. We will fight Labour and
the Lib Dems equally vigorously. I think they are scarred by their
experience of coalition with us, but of course we are going to win the
next election hands down, so it is a hypothetical question. Like you did
last time?! I was one of Vince's ministers in the Department of
business, and I do have a lot of time and respect for him, and I
think he will be a good and effectively do. I want to ask the
question of why the Lib Dems have broken through, and I say that in
the spirit of enquiry. I was surprised at the last election that
they didn't make the kind of breakthrough I thought they might do
with Remain voters perhaps effectively punishing... That was
the strategy, but it didn't seem to... We can't talk you into a
last-minute bid? I'm very flattered, thank you, but no. From you, that is
very flattering. The drinks are on you next time! Absolutely.
The Commons and the Lords rise for summer recess today,
leaving Westminster to the tourists until September.
Of course, MPs have plenty of work to do back home
in their constituencies, but most of them will probably be
taking a holiday too and Theresa May has been telling the Tories to go
Cynics might suggest that's in part so they don't spend the summer
Jeremy Corbyn had a different message.
He told Labour MPs that they needed to help him mount a summer election
He really knows how to enjoy himself.
That's the question Emma Vardy put to MPs.
# We're going where the sun shines brightly
# We're going where the skies are blue
I hope it's a summer of beauty, kindness,
everyone getting on with each other, resolving our differences and trying
Well, everybody has a break, don't they?
Do think the plotting against Theresa May may calm down,
or do you think it's going to rumble on over summer?
I don't think people want to plot against the Prime Minister.
I think what we want to do is have a Government that is driving
forward with a strong agenda as well as dealing with Brexit.
I think everybody needs a summer break.
I don't think MPs are underworked or they take too long
I suppose you would think of me as part of the union
I think a lot of people are heading off.
Everybody that's actually going to go to Aruba or something
is pretending that they're actually going to go to Aberystwyth, because
Are you a sort of cocktails on the beach man, or a walking
Our constituency has some fantastic beaches,
so I suppose I'll be doing a lot of that, walking on the beach.
We've got a food festival in September as well,
But actually, above all, it's just an opportunity
to spend time with residents in the constituency.
And we're joined now by Julia Hobsbawm.
She's the author of a book called Fully Connected -
Surviving and Thriving in an Age of Overload, and she's been
writing about the important of switching off on holiday.
Welcome to the programme. Hello. There is a time of great political
change, Labour hopes there will be a slap election -- snap election. The
Government mired in bricks and negotiations. Is this really a good
time from holiday. Probably not, and even if it is, it is difficult to
do, because Every has got their smartphone, which they need to board
the plane with, or they need their smart maps. 60% of us go online on
our mobiles, so even if we want to disconnect, it's actually really
hard to do. But as you are pointing out, psychologically, we are now
pretty embedded in these networks, and it is very difficult to say,
thanks, I'm taking a break. It is difficult in the sense of just
switching off and not looking at the smartphone or consulting the iPad
while we are away, at least for a period of time. Do you recommend
that we do? I think each person, it is a bit like diet and fitness. You
have to find your own strategy. But having no strategy is a bad idea.
We have infobesity like we have a obesity. It is not easy to do, but I
certainly think that having rules and regulations saying I will be
online for this amount of time per day, or I am going to actually have
some time when I just turn my mobile off. I have a day when I turn my
technology off, and one day a week, I am disconnected. Of course I cheat
sometimes, but I try not to. And it really makes a difference. It really
makes a difference to just read and talk and be face-to-face and not on
Facebook. I would definitely say nobody should be on Facebook over
the holidays. You have to cut the cord. Politicians are exhausted at
the moment. This has been an exhausting period. We all are, we
are all completely overloaded. There is more data now produced in a
single year than in the whole of human history. We are drowning. So
the answer isn't to stuff ourselves with more information, and these
rolling feeds and rolling news make people edgy, so I think that our
social health, as I put it, which is everything to do with how we
connect, you have to, because actually politicians that lack
social health, and I exclude these two fine gentleman, time and time
again you see an absence of social health where people are so
overloaded, they are not making sensible decisions, and they are
tuning out anyway. David Lammy, will you switch your phone off? I think I
want to take Julia as my therapist! This is fantastic. I would
definitely be literally putting the phones in a drawer and chatting
away. And the reason for that is we have had a general election which
went on for a very long time. We have then had a very tough period in
politics, and certainly Grenfell has been at the forefront. I want to
spend time with my wife and kids. I have a three-year-old. I want to
read the Gruffalo, more than once. And that is a very good aim indeed,
but how long will the phones be in the draw? Half an hour!
LAUGHTER I feared you might say that. To be
fair, you have a little luck in the morning after breakfast, and then
you put them away, and there are staff, wonderful staff, who are able
that only, you can be away, and if summary said to me once, if a plane
falls on your constituency, the Prime Minister will deal with it.
Good luck with that! That's true! According to Mr Corbyn, you are
meant to be campaigning in 75 marginal seats. Are we? Yes! He
can't do it all himself. It is going to be minus David Lammy friendlies
two weeks. Didn't you go to the Parliamentary Labour Party meeting
this week? I have to confess I wasn't there. You were looking at
your mobile phone! That is what he said, he said that they are looking
forward to a long recess, but my bad news is that they are not getting
one, that's you, not you personally but Labour MPs, because they have
got to go campaigning. I want to disagree publicly on that. I
honestly think we need a rest, we need a quiet, we need a period where
it is not politics, we are talking about EastEnders or something.
Productivity around the world is stagnant, stress levels are soaring,
so this fully connected life is not yielding the benefits we have been
promised, but we have to want to make behavioural changes, and I'm
reminded about that joke, how many Californian psychoanalysts does it
take to change a light bulb? One, but the light bulb has to want to
change. You have to want to disconnect, or you will find a
million reasons not to. You will want to disconnect, otherwise how
could you continue to plot with fellow Tories against Theresa May? I
hate holidays anywhere! I get so bored on holiday, so my phone comes
out the minute we arrive on holiday, and a good holiday for me is using
my phone and not seeing my children for two weeks. Absolutely perfect. I
would be plotting against Theresa May, but after my row with Suzanne
Evans, I will have to spend the next three months on Twitter batting off
the Ukip is coming for Mr letting my country down. He is a lost cause! He
isn't, he has bought my book and he is halfway through it. He wants to
change, here's the light bulb. I haven't had a chance to read it, I
have been on Twitter! We will leave you to it.
So, assuming MPs do get at least some time off over the summer,
like the rest of us, they'll be looking for a good book to read.
And if they don't fancy the latest Dan Brown,
then luckily for them, the MP Keith Simpson produces an annual
OK, not all of us were on the BBC's talent rich list yesterday,
but who needs Honolulu when you've got the Costa del Thames?
Besides, doesn't matter where you are when your
Making the list this year, three authors whose other
Ann Clwyd's a very personal memoir, Johnny Mercer writes
about his time in Afghanistan, and Chris Bryant critiques
If the process of government is your thing, you're in luck.
There are, for example, three titles which look
into what the Cabinet Secretary does and one about the Prime Minister's
As ever, there are some good reads on the world wars,
from the battlefield of Passchendaele,
the resistance to the Nazis, and turncoat Gestapo agents.
Of course, there are authors who have done plenty of digging
into history and unearthed some real factual gems.
There are diamonds and Romans and husband hunters,
Theresa May told her MPs to relax this summer.
For those who really can't take their minds off
plotting, there is also a book about Machiavelli.
Now, you might need a longer holiday than you thought.
The list covers all sorts of subjects and there are 42
It's pretty heavy going, so you may consider packing a little
There are 40 books on your list, do you present this to your fellow MPs
as a selection or they should read the 40? It is a pick and mix. The
whips like to think they will read the 40. David has just said it
should be fiction and my wife would agree. Every MP invariably says to
me, I do want to read one proper nonfiction book. All I do and I have
read a lot of them is draw a cross-section. You do this every
year? It started ten years ago when I was working with William Hague and
I did it as a joke and it caught on. Have you read all 40? I have read
two thirds. Why are you recommending once you have not read? They are
ones other colleagues have read and I have looked at them and thought, I
am going to get around to reading them. If you had, say, only one book
that you had to recommend. An MP says, I have only time for one book.
What would it be? It would actually be my colleague Johnny Mercer's
book. I always look out for books written by colleagues. Johnny
arrived in 2015, Central office said he would never take a seat off
Labour, he got re-elected, he was a regular soldier. I thought, I knew
what it would be like. I had no idea he was brought up in an incredibly
strict Baptist household. All kinds of problems with his parents.
Eventually went into the army, served three tours in Afghanistan.
He writes brilliantly. He had a very good friend shot next to him which
traumatised him. He decided he would go into politics the Conservative
Party and he has worked hard at it. Afghanistan has dropped off our
vision. Seven, eight years ago, we were all concerned with it. I can
really recommend it. It is pretty earthy. One soldier's story about
brutal combat. It came out at the beginning of the general election
and his agent managed to get it listed and extracts from it in the
Daily Mail in the middle of the election. The list is quite serious.
Quite heavyweight. Don't MPs deserve a bit of light relief as well? Yeah,
they can do that. They can dip into a well-known book shop or go on to
Amazon and get novels. I have... I don't know if it is sexist. Several
female MPs have said to me, including recently a Labour MP,
look, Keith, when is your book list coming out? My husband is pretty
good with the kids on the beach for the first week, but after that, he
wants one heavyweight book to read. What about a history book? I would
recommend One Hot Summer. The author has taken 1858 and it is relevant
because she weaves together three great characters. Disraeli,
Chancellor of the Exchequer, Darwin, Origins Of The Species, 1858, he
rushed it out, and Dickens, going through a rather messy divorce. It
is about Parliament as well and 1858 was a horrendous hot summer. The
Thames stank. There were no proper sewers. As often the case,
Parliament panicked and we brought through a whole series of bills
which enabled the engineers but the embankment and everything else. It
is funny as well. They are building a new super sewer down the Thames
these days. We hope it will work. David Lammy, have you decided, any
of these books catch your fancy? I thought it was all a bit heavy but
you have now persuaded me I have got to buy Johnny Mercer's book.
Otherwise it is Lee Childs for me. I want something like, nonfiction,
easy. Heavy politics put to one side. I can understand that. All of
this effort... Understandably... It is also quite hard to read a heavy
book in the sun. You need something... What is your reading
list? This is why you bring David and I together. My answer is
identical. Johnny Mercer's book, it has had incredible reviews and I am
definitely now going to read it. I will obviously take that free copy.
Not before I do! Lee Child is my default option on holiday. Keith
sticks to politics. East-west Street I am also very keen to read and a
must read if you want to sound sophisticated about the future of
the planet. The other one I would mention, your rival from another
organisation, The Women Who Made Politics. Absolutely excellent.
Sophy Ridge from Sky. Some of your fellow parliamentarians find time to
write books as well. They do indeed. In one case, their researcher wrote
it. Name them! Not Johnny Mercer. Our great collie, the man known as
the Prime Minister's brain, Oliver Letwin, he has got a book coming out
about hearts and minds this October -- our great colleague. Partly
autobiographical, Thatcher up to... And another... Ann Clwyd brought out
a memoir recently. They've lot do. Is Jacob Rees Mogg going to write a
book? The parliamentarian first elected in 1834 is too busy deciding
whether he wants to be Speaker or leader of the party. He probably
will write a book but it will be in Latin!
At this point in the political year, we often ask some pundits
for their predictions about the fortunes of the party
leaders when normal service resumes in September.
But as the pundits have proved so comprehensively
useless in recent years, today we're looking
elsewhere for guidance - specifically, to the stars.
As I'm not, you may be surprised to learn, a great expert in studying
the significance of celestial objects, we're joined
now by the astrologer Alison Chester-Lambert.
Alison, what are your predictions for Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn?
Well, thank you. So, let us start with Jeremy Corbyn. This guy has a
son in Gemini and a moon in Taurus. This makes him very young at heart
and he has great appeal for the young. This year, he cannot do a lot
wrong. He has some very good transits on his side. He is one to
watch and definitely for the foreseeable future. Then we turn to
Theresa May. She has a sun in Libra and a moon in Virgo. Her sun has
echoes of Margaret Thatcher's sun in Libra but Theresa May has a little
more compassion and a little less intransigence. Theresa May is not
having a good year, astrology can only describe what it finds, and
what we see is that she is struggling with vulnerability, she
is disempowered and absolutely her strength is dwindling all of the
time, especially in August of this year. She is going to struggle. We
have this description of people as fatally wounded and it does not seem
to get much better in the foreseeable future. Ed Vaizey,
astrologically speaking, your leader is in trouble. In August! What are
you going to do about it? Ask peace. I am sure she will recover -- ask
Keith. She will come back fighting. I have a lot of respect for our
resident astrologer. Theresa May has had difficulties. I think it can be
beaten over the August... What is it? See how quickly I adapt? You
pick up the lingo very quickly! I have noticed that for a while, Ed
Vaizey. Many years! Not a bad astrological outlook for Mr Corbyn?
The runes look good for Jeremy Corbyn, good summer and good year. I
think the idea that August might be so bad that... Another general
election but quickly. Your heart just sings! There we go. Back to
Alison, the Brexit negotiators, David Davis for the UK, Michel
Barnier for the EU, what do the stars behold for them? Right, OK,
David Davis's chart, I opened his chart and I saw he had not one
planet in Capricorn, four planets in Capricorn. I was thinking, there we
go, strength, perseverance, power, this man has it all. Great, he is on
our side. That will do. Then I opened Michel Barnier's chart and I
was amazed to see he also has four planets in Capricorn. That is some
coincidence. Michel Barnier seems to have the edge because his moon is in
Aquarius and this can be quite intransigent and very fixed and he
is a very clever strategist, quite brilliant. Oh, dear. Next year, it
appears David Davis pulls through, he gets a huge boost from Pluto, as
if he has been plugged into a nuclear power station, and at that
point, he powers ahead. Certainly one to watch anyway. Very
interesting. There you go. Remainers like you, you had better send a new
computer! I have always said that David Davis was a four planets in
Capricorn kind of guy. Did you know Pluto was his ally? Watch out for
the nuclear power Pluto, it will take off. I think it is more Pluto
in Mickey Mouse. Pluto the dog! He has the dog on his side as well! It
is uncanny, four planet Capricorn man meets another. It obviously
means for tight negotiations. Give us a prediction for the summer? What
can we expect? I understand there is a coast-to-coast solar eclipse in
America, what does that mean? Absolutely, there is. On the 21st of
August, we have a coast-to-coast solar eclipse across America. These
things usually happen once a century. But strangely, America has
two, one on the 21st of August, another in seven years' time. This
is an interesting one because if we go back to a bar baloney and times,
eclipses always foretold of the fall of nations and the fall of leaders
-- Babylonian times. It hits Donald Trump's chart very keenly. He is
rattled by this and he looks considerably weakened by the
eclipse. Who knows, another one to watch, could be exciting. Cracking
stuff! You should do this every week! Yes, I agree!
LAUGHTER Can you tell us, will there be
another election this year? I have not looked at the astrology. I would
not have thought so. I am a big fan of your analysis that surely Vince
willpower to centre stage, six planets in his Capricorn. Thank you
very much. Thank you very much, I enjoyed it.
There's just time before we go to find out the answer to our quiz.
The question was, "David Davis' briefcase has been fitted
with a device which blocks electronic signals
But what have the EU side started using to stop espionage?"
Was it, a, hidden camera, b, fingerprint scanners,
c, invisible ink, or, d, an underwater car?
So, David and Ed, what's the correct answer?
Underwater car. Yes. The correct answer. No. It is fingerprinting.
They have not got an underwater car. The one o'clock news is starting
over on BBC One now. I will be back tonight with the
final This Week of the season. Tried to join us.
Promise me that you'll come and find me.
Andrew Neil is joined by Conservative MP Ed Vaizey and Labour MP David Lammy. As Parliament enters the summer recess, they discuss the Brexit timetable, the Liberal Democrat leadership election and political summer reading.