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Hello and welcome to
the Daily Politics.
Theresa May's Government
is thrown in to crisis
following the resignation
of the Defence Secretary,
I realise that in the past may have
fallen below the high standards that
we require at the Armed Forces. I
have reflected now on my position in
government and I am therefore
resigning as Defence Secretary.
Mr Fallon announced his departure
from Government last night
as stories about sexual impropriety
and harassment in Westminster
continue to surface.
In a surprise move,
Gavin Williamson -
until now the Government Chief Whip
- is announced as the
new Defence Secretary.
It means a mini reshuffle
has been underway.
We'll have the latest.
A Parliamentary victory
for Labour as they call
on the Government to publish
its Brexit impact studies.
So, will ministers now have to put
them in the public domain?
And is Boris Johnson's brand
of humour an important
foreign policy tool,
or a bit of a joke
on the diplomatic circuit?
All that in the next hour.
And with me for the whole programme
today is the Conservative MP
and Chairman of the Foreign Affairs
Select Committee Tom Tugendhat.
Welcome to the programme.
So, in the last couple of hours,
Number Ten announced that
Gavin Williamson is to become
the new Secretary
of State for Defence.
He replaces Sir Michael Fallon
who announced his departure
from Government last night
as the row over sexual impropriety
and harassment continues to sweep
Well, Laura Kuenssberg -
our political editor -
Joins us now. You interviewed
Michael Fallon and broke the story
Has again is he to he was one of the
main people for Theresa May's and
footer he had huge experience. He
has been pretty well liked and
respected in Westminster and Theresa
May did rely on him to some extent.
The cabinet has been very delicately
balanced, not just in terms of
Brexit and backwards and forwards
club are also in terms of experience
and the generations. For her to lose
somebody who was vital in the
critical balance and someone who has
been around with real presence
certainly is a loss. In the roller
coasters of politics, he was always
meant to be Mr reliable.
pair of hands as he used to be
He is more used to defending
errant colleagues than himself.
he is gone. In a big surprise to
some people, Gavin Williamson, also
in a key role in terms of managing
the minority government, has now
been promoted into the Cabinet. He
is the new Defence Secretary.
is the reaction? It is pretty mixed.
Gavin Williamson is seen as a smart
man. He's a very effective operator.
He was the PPS for Cameron and the
connection between the backbenchers
and the Prime Minister. He knows the
1922 inside out and the backbenchers
and everyone's secrets he was the
manager of Theresa May's leadership
campaign. He has been in a very
important position for a long time.
He is smart and talented and
ambitious. However, some people I
have spoken to this morning are
furious. He has never been a
minister before. Some people said it
was appalling. Theresa May is so
weak that she has allowed Williamson
to appoint himself. Another minister
has said it is outrageous to put
into this plum job particularly at
such a crucial time, not only when
the Government does not have a
majority but when they are in the
middle of the harassment allegations
mess as other political parties are
trying to do with some more of their
number are going to have to quit
their jobs as well.
As a former Army
officer, is he suited to the job of
I think he is.
Laura made some interesting points
but I would disagree. This is
evidence that the Prime Minister
takes defence seriously. She has put
in one of her most trusted aides,
most trusted advisers, into a
crucial job, as her time when she
realises there are critical
decisions coming in about the
defence. The MoD is getting its case
heard at the highest levels of
What is his experience
in that role? Mr Dunnett has
questioned the appointment. He backs
it broadly but questions whether he
is suited to that role. We can just
hear what he had to say.
I would like to have seen one
of the junior ministers in the
Ministry of Defence promoted to be
the Secretary of State for Defence,
because coming from a defence
background they knew the big issues
which are really critical to defence
at the present moment.
But all that said,
Theresa May is Prime Minister.
She's got the job of
leading our country.
She needs support in the Cabinet
and therefore I fully
respect her decision
to appoint her former Chief Whip
as the next Secretary
of State for Defence.
I wish him well in
that difficult task.
But as well as supporting his
Prime Minister, he has to make sure
he really battles hard for defence
and probably argue, as sir Michael
Fallon has started to do,
from what his increase
in the defence budget.
He does not sound convinced. He
knows extremely well the technical
experts in the MoD wear uniform and
the politicians are there to take
the political decisions. What he
will be surrounded with, the new
secretary of defence will be
surrounded with our people like the
Vice Chief and the CGS and the first
Sea Lord and the chief of the air
staff who will come up with
absolutely essential advice he will
listen to and he will be making the
political decisions. He is not a
technical expert will stop
implication what she did it from a
position of weakness and not
There are positives and
negatives with this appointment. He
is a smart and talented guy who is
very loyal to Theresa May. There
will be people in the Tory Party who
are very unhappy about. This
decision is not risk free. She could
have taken a safety first decision
and promoted someone from within the
of defence and moved someone across.
-- the Ministry of Defence. No
surprise move might have big
benefits but it is not just a safety
first move. Remember right now, the
Tories, like other political
parties, cannot be sure there will
be other people who have to move.
They have taken a calculation right
now they can do this limited one up,
one out and a few other things
around the edges with Julia Smith
and estimate they being promoted at
it is not a safety first decision at
a time when the Government cannot
know it is out of danger. When it is
a precision reshuffle. It did not
want to do a wide-ranging reshuffle.
It is a precision reshuffle.
Gavin Williamson has become Defence
Secretary and Julian Smith has
become Chief Whip. He has been
promoted and will attend Cabinet.
Estimate they, the newly elected
Tory MP, re-elected, has become
deputy Chief Whip. Gavin Williamson
has vacated the role of dealing with
the ongoing sexual harassment and
Brexit and Universal Credit in a
minority government that is fragile.
Very tough. Julian Smith has been
Gavin Williamson's Deputy. MPs are
not going to be an used to having
Julian Smith text in them, knocking
at the door and saying, come on,
this is what you will do. It is not
a huge move for him to go up but for
Esther McVey to go back into that
senior position in terms of party
management is a big jump. Looking at
the three of them lined up, it is in
part perhaps a bit of an answer to
some of the problems that many
people in the Tory Party has, partly
about the younger generation but
also about geographical reach.
Victory for Yorkshire today and
promotions for Julian Smith and
Gavin Williamson. That is one of the
other factors, it will change the
look and feel of the Cabinet.
Perhaps a woman could have become
the Chief Whip. For Defence
Secretary. And Chief Whip. You said
at one stage would be great to be
Prime Minister or Foreign Secretary.
It would be great to serve in any
You are talked about as a
potential Defence Secretary amongst
your colleagues. We waiting by the
phone for a phone call?
I have been
getting on to be chair of the
Foreign Affairs Committee. Esther
has a rare talent. He is of two
intakes and that is important. She
spent the first few months getting
to know us and again with the second
intake. She really does reach across
the party in a particular way. That
is a fantastic appointment.
discussed this before but it is a
really important feature of the Tory
Party. The 2015, 2010 and 17 intakes
are now in the majority. People in
the context of the emerging scandal
around harassment and the
allegations around them, the
generational difference and shift in
the power base really matters in
terms of that context. There are
more people in the 1922 now who see
allegations which have been swirling
around as obviously unacceptable and
from a different era. They are the
ones who are increasingly in charge
of the party. We will discuss that
in a moment. Thank you very much.
So, as the revelations continue
to come, senior politicians
in Westminster are scrambling
to get their house in order.
Yesterday, the Prime Minister wrote
to all the other party leaders
in the Commons inviting them
to a meeting next Monday
to come up with the
serious, swift, cross-party response
this issue demands".
Mrs May went on to call for a
"common, transparent independent
for all those working in Parliament
and said a dedicated support team
should be available to all staff
that would recommend
all criminal allegations be
reported to the police.
The proposals come after further
revelations appeared in the press
including a former parliamentary
intern telling the BBC
that he was sexually assaulted
by a former MP in 2012, and a report
in the London Evening Standard
about a woman alleging
she was sexually assaulted
by the Conservative MP
she worked for.
Meanwhile, First Minister Damian
Green, who's been accused
of inappropriate behaviour
is being investigated by the Cabinet
Secretary over whether he broke
the ministerial code.
However, there are claims some MPs
are being unfairly accused.
Conservative MPs Rory Stewart
and Dominic Raab, whose names appear
on a spreadsheet of unverified
accusations, both went public
to deny the allegations
levelled against them.
Speaking earlier today,
the former Conseravative
leader, Iain Duncan Smith,
said the culture of Westminster
had to change.
At the end of the day, yes,
there are sexual issues
and there are some charges that
are not as powerful as
other charges, but the key element
here is about abuse of power and I
think that's a book
point to dwell on.
In any organisation that people use
power to coerce people to do
things that they would not normally
do, that is offensive behaviour and
that is what this is really all
about, which is to say, you know,
even if that was sort
of tolerated in the past,
it will not be tolerated
from here on.
I'm joined now by the Shadow Women
and Equalities Minister,
Dawn Butler, and by the Conservative
peer, Ann Jenkin, who founded
the Women 2 Win campaign which aims
to elect more Conservative women
Michael Fallon said when he resigned
that what was acceptable ten, 15
years ago is clearly not acceptable
now. Was it ever acceptable and you
first started out in Parliament?
That is a good point. I started
working in Parliament in 1976. Like
many of the young women who are
there today. I was hit on pretty
regularly. There was definitely
nobody could have gone to, nobody to
talk to. But the point I am very
struck by is that in those days
there were 4% of women MPs, 27 women
in total in Parliament, and it was
sort of an acceptable way of
behaviour. Cecil Parkinson and all
that happened around my date.
I was never
really assaulted in a way I felt
deeply upset about.
Asked to go back to MPs
houses but I would not have dreamt
of doing that. We slapped them down
and moved on. I'm not suggesting
that some bus stuff is really
serious but with more women in
Parliament, which has been Theresa
May's a as well, not only other
better decisions but a better
environment and culture.
still goes on. Not all the
allegations are historic. Some of
them are relatively recent. Do you
think there has been a sense that no
one wants to rock the vote in the
past and that is why people have
been, to some extent allowed to get
away with it?
It is difficult for me
to say. I don't hang about the
sports and social club and do not
think that is the case. I would like
to make the point about these
allegations. I was contacted by
young woman who found herself on
that list totally innocently. No
inappropriate behaviour. This list
is ruining peoples lives. Whether
you deny it or not, you Google
somebody in their careers are going
to be destroyed as a result of this.
There is a difference between
allegations on the kind of swirling
innuendo and rumour that
everybody... We are just in the
middle of this sort of terrible
period. We have to calm down and
sort out the difference between
proper predatory behaviour, rape
allegations and so on, and the kind
of touching of a knee and consensual
acts, which are also on that list.
Do you think this list which has
been doing the rounds with various
MPs on it, Tory MPs, do think it has
been helpful when a lot of the
allegations, they are not
allegations they are about
extramarital affairs or sex between
two consenting adults?
I'm not sure I would describe it as
being "helpful." Obviously to the
whips it is the way they operate in
terms of these are the situations
that might embarrass the Government,
so they keep a list and so I
understand that to happen all the
time in the Whip's Office. I used to
be a whip. We did haven't a list
like that. I wouldn't say it's
helpful. I do agree with Ann in
terms of if it's consenting adults,
then that's different from predatory
behaviour, which needs to be tackled
and it was never acceptable. It
might have been that women didn't
feel they could speak out about it,
but it was nevering acceptable in my
Has the bar been set too
low in judging politicians and
whether they have behaved
inappropriate or does "zero
tolerance" need to be enacted hooer?
I think it will be going forward.
Maybe things people thought they
could get away with will no longer
be the case, not just by the action
the Prime Minister is taking with
the speaker and so on, I think the
fear now will make a difference.
That is the way we break the culture
in Parliament. It was never
acceptable. I think the Prime
Minister has been slow to react, to
be honest. I think she should
suspend her ministers who haven't
denied some wrongdoing.
Stephen Crabb. Once an investigation
has taken place, then I think MPs
should be suspended while this
investigation takes place. I think
that should be standard practise. I
will be at the meeting on Monday
with the Prime Minister. I look
forward to working across all
parties. I also think there's a
valuable role for trade unions and
the role that they play in
Parliament that's often overlooked
and dismissed maybe too easily.
mention Stephen Crabb - he's not a
minister. Do you think Damian Green,
the First Secretary of State being
investigateded by the Cabinet
Secretary, should he be suspended or
resign while this is going on?
cannot comment on it until I hear
the results of the investigation.
These are allegations at the moment.
But Dawn is right. It was never
acceptable for people to be afraid
for any reason to go into a
workplace to demonstrate the
fullness of their talents. It is
something which has held back the UK
that people have not been feeling
comfortable in workplaces over
previous years. They should do now.
We should all feel safe and express
oural lents whatever they are.
you frustrated by the some of your
older colleagues? Do you think
there's a generational issue in the
Houses of Parliament that behaviour
that some of your older colleagues
in the House might think was
acceptable, for you and your
contemporaries is not?
It would be
absolutely unfair to blame an older
generation, most of whom are
blameless of this. And the action
the Prime Minister has taken has
been very quick because she realises
that this is not only
Fallon said what happens what was
acceptable 10-15 years ago is not
now. What did you think of that?
Michael Fallon has resigned. I will
not comment on his statement. The
Prime Minister has answered it. What
I will say is...
What does it say
about that generation?
on his generation are for him to
make. The comment I am making is
that generation wasn't all guilty it
would be wrong...
It is about a
difference of behaviour in how you
actually set new standards and
whether it will be possible.
Do you think there'll have to be
more resetting in order to reset
The new conduct which
is coming will be very clear.
Anybody can now make allegations
about anything. I mean they could
make completely false ones. They
could say I was in a lift with
someone and he pressed up against
me. You have to be careful going
Do people have to have
someone they can speak to?
Because of how MPs are self-employed
you can not go to anybody apart from
the managers who are political in
that strict sense of the word and
they will do what they can to
protect, wrongly,s many people
think, their own side.
exactly what's going to be sorted
out going forward.
If you are
looking ahead and the line which has
to be drawn, do you think, Dawn
Butler, now that anything like hands
on knees, which was the allegation
and the claim made about Michael
Fallon, that all of that now has to
stop and will stop?
I think if it's
not consensual it's harassment. Not
whether you put your hand on their
knee, whether it is with permission.
If you brush that arm away and say
whatever to that person, that is not
the point or issue. That is how we
break the culture. We break the
culture by tackling all of the
harassment cases. If you don't start
with the little things, it makes it
harder to deal with the bigger
There have been fairly
serious allegations that obviously
Labour are having to deal with.
Firstly the case of Jared O' Mara.
He has lost the whip. Aallegation
made against a Labour Party
official. What is Labour doing at
this point? ?
As you said Jared has
been suspended from the whip while
the ingestgation takes place.
long will it take?
I don't know.
It's an investigation. So we have to
let the investigation take its
course. The Labour Party has very
strong, robust procedures, which
it's had for years. But it's been
improved oh d over the last 12
months. This week there's been a bit
ratified by the executive committee.
We take this very, very seriously.
We have worked with the trade
unions. We have worked with ACAS,
with leading legal experts to make
sure our policy is robust. In
relation to Bex Bailey, who had
confidence to talk about
herpublicly, she talks about the
independence of our policies and
reviews, and there is independence
built into our policies. We are
looking how we make it even more
independent. As you said, you need
to feel comfortable and that it will
be taken seriously.
was horrendous, but the other part
of her story was she went to speak
to somebody within the Labour Party.
Someone senior. She didn't feel her
concerns were taken on. In fact,
quite the opposite. She was told
that her career may be harmed. What
do you think about that as a woman
in the Labour Party?
that could ever happen. But the
policy that the Labour has now and
the procedures wasn't in place then.
Are you saying it could never happen
I'm certain the policies in
place now would ensure that wouldn't
happen. But what happened needs to
be investigated. We're going to be
breaking the culture of, you know,
that we tackle whatever happened, to
make somebody think it was OK to
give that information.
came to you now saying they had been
sexually harassed, what would you
say to them?
I think now the
procedures will be in place.
Actually, it's more likely I'm
getting people at the moment who say
I haven't been andvy the highest
respect for the MP I work for and we
find ourselves in this terrible
storm. In the old days, before there
were new procedures I would have
gone to the Whip's Office and made
sure that whoever it was that was,
who had the allegations made against
them was properly looked into.
you this I the people who feel they
have been wrongly accused and there
is some anger and fear, will they
take legal action? Do you think we
will see action taken?
rumours there might be. Of course
that is very expensive and there are
probably not many MPs in a position
to be able to do that. We have to be
really careful about getting this
right and that people who are
innocent and are not going to be
witch-hunted as well as the people
who are guilty.
Thank you very much.
Now some breaking news. As we came
on air, the beaning confirmed that
interests are to rise by 0. 25% to
0.5%. That is a significant moment.
This is the first increase in just
over a decade. And it had been
speculated about over the last few
months. What will it mean for
mortgages and saving accounts,
inflation exchange rates. I am
joined now by Simon Gompertz.
It is the first rise in over 10
It is a big moment. Interest
rates have doubled to just half a
per cent. So they are still very
low. It's been eight years since
they started being ultra low. During
that time since the financial crisis
the Bank of England judged the
economy needed cheap money to prop
it up. Recently unemployment's been
very low. Inflation's reignited. So
they have decided this is the moment
to push them up. And it's a
watershed. But in the financial
markets, first of all there was an
increase in the pound. Since then
it's been up and down. That is
because it's not just the increase
in interest rates that they are
looking at, it is the sub text,
what's written behind that and what
the bank has said is that further
increases will be gradually in their
pace and limited in their extent. So
once the markets look at that, the
pound fell back again. It's all
about what sort of return you get
from holding your money in sterling
and they are thinking perhaps that
won't rise very fast, that limited
extent and in some of the forecasts
that the bank has issued, it seems
to indicate that there might be
another increase, but a small one,
another 0. 25% next year and we
wouldn't get to 1% interest rates.
Still very low in historic terms
until about 2020.
It is still low in
historic terms. Obviously over the
last ten years that has been the
status quo, if you like and people
have got used to it. And there'll be
many people who will worry about
going, mortgages going up, about an
increase in their monthly payments
and that will spread a certain
amount of concern, won't it?
will. You can say well mortgages are
cheap in historic terms because
mortgages are so low, but so many
people have bought assuming their
mortgage rate will be low so they
have borrowed more. If interest goes
up they could be up against this.
This small increase of 0. 25%, there
are around 17 million people with
mortgages. Around nine million
actual mortgages - a lot of those
are couples. The people with
variable rate mortgages, the ones
affected might see an increase of
around £12 a month. So some people
say that that's the straw that
breaks the camel's back. For others
it will not be very big. What they
will look at is whether there are
more coming along. That is a concern
for many people. You have savers -
45 million savers in this country
will hope that after years of small
returns on their savings they will
get more back. The ISA is around
£10,000. The average interest rate
would have got you £30 a year on
that. With this increase, maybe £50
a year. So, some light at the end of
the tunnel for savers there.
you very much.
Do you welcome this rise?
the fact the Bank of England has
taken this decision. I think it is
right to recognise that the economy
is progressing well. And that
therefore a bit of a rise in the
There will be many
people who say, actually from their
perspective, the economy is not
progressing well in terms of wage
stagnation and the fact that
inflation has reached 3%. They will
say that 0. 25% will make it harder
to meet monthly payments.
Gompertz just said, a lot of people
are savers and it will make a big
difference for them. Of course we
now have record employment levels
and a record low unemployment level.
So for many the indication of a
strong economy are definitely there.
Ministers are under fresh
pressure to publish a series
of Brexit impact studies
following a Commons
Some Conservative MPs joined Labour
in calling for the 58 documents,
which focus on different sectors
of the economy, to be put
in the public domain.
Labour is seeking to use an arcane
known as a 'humble address',
to try to force
the Government's hand.
Ministers say they will now consider
the matter although they have argued
that publication could undermine
the ongoing negotiations
with the EU.
Here's a flavour of
last night's debate.
Looking at the list, which I have
here, two things are obvious.
The first is that in many ways it's
unremarkable and could and should
have been published months ago.
The second is that the wide range
of sectors analysed demonstrate why
it's so important for members
of this House to see the
It is normal for Select Committees
themselves to request
information, not to get
the opposition, the official
opposition, to do it
on their behalf.
This is gameplaying.
Every time, every time
somebody raises a legitimate
question, it's suggested
that somehow they're
frustrating or undermining
The House will appreciate the more
information for that is shared more
widely, the less secure our
negotiating position and the harder
it becomes to secure the right deal
for the British people.
The House has the right
to require the
release of documents,
but I sincerely hope
in what is requested in terms of how
they guarantee the
going forward and how much
is requested by the opposition
spokesman, the Select
Committee and the House will be
mindful of the job that ministers
need to do.
That job is to secure the vital
national interests of the
United Kingdom as we negotiate our
departure from the European Union.
THE SPEAKER: Traditionally,
such motions have been regarded
as binding or effective, consistent
with that established pattern
I would expect the address to be
presented by the Vice
Chamberlain of the Household
in the usual way.
However, I would add that I think
it's sensible for us, for
the House, to wait for
the Government's response.
We're joined now by
Matthew Pennycook, who's
a Shadow Brexit Minister.
Welcome. What do you think we will
learn from these impact assessments?
Hopefully we will only impact of
different Brexit scenarios on a
range of sectors of the economy that
this covers. Covering 29 million
people at work, 88% of the economy.
That is why to assemble and that the
select committee has sight of them.
They need to have more grip around
the process and look at what the
impact would be for businesses,
communities and individuals.
doesn't the Government just
I spoke to my whip
yesterday and said I was encouraging
him to do so. He listened and
I do think it is
important to be open about this?
much as possible we should be
opened. We are representatives are
not rulers will are here to try to
make the best decisions we should be
as open as possible. We should not
be so open that we damage
negotiations that we are conducting
damage any form of secrecy that
protect the nation. The lives it is
not that, I am in favour of
openness. -- so long it is not that.
They say it will undermine the UK's
negotiating position? Sign that is
why the Government has agreed to
publish it with certain reductions.
They might say their hands are
We have always said, and we
accept the principle, you should not
reveal anything where a case could
be convincingly made that it
undermines the national interest. If
the Government felt so strongly
about it, it was their defence if
they felt publication of these
assessments in any form would have
compromised the negotiating
position, they should have voted
against. They accept the principle
that the report should go to the
select committee. I welcome the
moves that were made this morning.
He has spoken to the chair of the
select committee. They will come
together and decide how the select
committee publishes it in a format
does not undermine negotiations.
Surely the Government would have
opposed the vote.
David Davis has a
long history of campaigning for
human rights and the rights of
Parliament and the rights of the
British people. I'm sure he will
take the right decision in there.
Hilary Benn is of high integrity.
I'm sure they will come to the right
answer that reveals as much as
possible, which is important but
also make sure negotiations are
In terms of redacted
information, if so much of it is
blocked out that we will not learn
very much, will we?
I think the
select committee, the Brexit select
committee, should get the studies in
full. It should be up to them to
decide how it should be published in
a wider sense. The Brexit select
committee has a government majority
and serious parliamentarians who
have been scrutinising the whole
process in minute detail they should
be odd to see the studies. It is
about us representing our
constituents and only impact of
different scenarios and being able
to make a considered judgment on
their behalf. It is about Parliament
taking back control of the process.
There were reports that the Queen
would have to make a statement on
I read that story myself.
A government source suggested that.
As Jacob Rees Mogg said yesterday, a
long-standing, Parliamentary power
that we exercised last night to
court papers and information
forward. This should not have been
controversial. The Government, as in
many aspects of the process, has had
to be dragged, kicking and
screaming, rather than taking it on
board as a critical friend and
taking the information which could
legitimately have been seen by the
You said you would
like to see these documents
published. Do you think the
Government is not giving Parliament
generally enough say on Brexit?
seem to be speaking about Brexit
every day and for several hours each
day. It is not including not only
the Brexit select committee which is
covering very specifically the
negotiations actually the Defra
committee, the home affairs
committee and many other committees
which are covering other elements
within the process.
You have had
success. The Government did not
oppose the vote and the documents
will be published. I don't know the
timescale. Do except what is being
said in general that Parliament is
having a substantial say over
Brexit? Parliament is having a lot
of discussion about Brexit. Whether
the select committee has the
information it needs to have a
thoughtful debate about the economic
impact of different scenarios,
Brexit, on different sectors, that
is what last night was about. We did
not have that the forefoot of it has
been going on since late last year.
The Government has been forced by
parliament last night, people joined
with us to say this have to happen.
This humble address will make sure
it has. We will look forward to
speaking to you or Hilary Benn about
the contents of those assessments.
Since we have been on and the Prime
Minister has welcomed her Australian
counterpart to Downing Street.
He's in the UK to mark
the 100th anniversary
of the Balfour Declaration -
the pledge by the then
British Foreign Secretary
which paved the way
for the creation of Israel.
Israel and Jewish communities view
the pledge as momentous,
while Palestinians regard it
as a historical injustice.
The UK has rejected calls
to apologise and has said
it is proud of its role.
We'll discuss all that in a moment,
but first Elizabeth Glinka reports
on the significance of the Balfour
The modern state of Israel was born
in 1948. For the Jews, the
realisation of a dream. For
Palestinians, the great catastrophe.
Many see the roots of that birth in
a short letter that was written here
at the Foreign Office 30 years
earlier, on 2nd of November, 1917.
The then Foreign Secretary Arthur
Bower for road to Rothschild, a
leading member of the British Jewish
community is then the Government
would give its best endeavours to
create a homeland for the Jewish
people in Palestine.
It was the
moment that then most powerful
country on earth, Britain, when it
still had an empire, just before the
end of the First World War,
recognised the right of the Jews to
a national home in Palestine. It was
then part of the Ottoman Empire and
was about to be occupied in
conquered by the British.
As the war
on the Western front raged, it
fulfilled a political necessity to
fill the void created as the Ottoman
Turks withdrew. It allowed men like
Balfour and the Prime Minister,
David Lloyd George Glad to act on
the digits convictions, supporting
idea that the Jews might once again
make their home in the promised
land. While a significant number of
Jews were living in Jerusalem, 90%
of the population in the rest of the
territories where Palestinians. They
think persecution elsewhere, the
declaration meant the rate of Jewish
migration sped up. By the time the
league of Nations approve the plan
in 1922, more than 100,000 Jews had
arrived in Palestine. And yet, the
language of Balfour's to does not
begin and end with support for the
Jewish state was it does not use the
words Jewish state at all. It
includes qualifications that nothing
should be done to prejudice the
rights of non-Jewish communities and
that it should not affect the status
of Jews living in other countries.
The majority view amongst
Palestinians is that the declaration
spells catastrophe. Some argue that
need not have been the case.
Britain had here to the language of
the Balfour Declaration, in my
opinion things would have been very
different. The Middle East and
probably the world at large would
have been a happier place. I want to
acknowledge that while we cannot go
back, we also have a moral
obligation to do something, to make
The birth of a much
longed for homeland for people
persecuted and despised elsewhere.
All the root cause of destitution,
suffering and destitution. Hundreds
of years later interpretations of
the Balfour Declaration are as
divided as the conflict itself.
To discuss this, I'm
joined now by the former
of the United Nations
and former Foreign Office Minister
under Gordon Brown,
Welcome to the studio. Is the
Balfour Declaration of 1917 piece of
British foreign policy that should
Strangely it is two
claims that it should be a home for
Jews in the Middle East even though
it is not described as a state and
yet the rights of the Palestinians
and other Arab groups should be
protected actually remains an
extraordinary consistent framework
for policy. There have been many
deviations from it in the years
between. I am sure that Balfour,
when he wrote the 67 word letter,
had no idea how it would echo down
the years and beset the
consequential document 100 years
later. So, it has had its ups and
downs and it should be recognised as
a significant document.
see that it was in some ways
duplicitous because of the promise
also to the non-Jewish communities
and the other ethnic groups that
were there at the time, that their
rights should not in any way be
marginalised. And yet has never
lived up to that.
Policy has not
lived up to the promise of the
letter at all. There have been a
hundred years of duplicity go much
wider than this letter. The other
thing to be understood as we look at
it through this narrow frame of a
letter to Lord Rothschild from the
British Foreign Secretary, as though
it was cooked up in the Westminster
bubble of the time, and the
financial bubble in the city at the
time. In fact, it was really
produced by much broader issues, the
collapse of the Ottoman Empire, the
potential division of Labour between
France, or division of influence
between Britain and France in the
Middle East. There was a lot more
cooking behind that letter than just
protection of the rights of Jews.
Right. Do you agree with Mark
Malloch Brown in the sense that the
promises that were in the letter, it
is a piece of British foreign policy
which has not lived up to what it
intended to happen?
absolutely with Mark Malik Branfoot
gets written at a certain time in
the First World War, at time when
Britain was fighting for national
survival and was not at all sure of
winning on the Western front and was
looking for allies and friends
everywhere. That is why it is a
piece of paper that is written in a
very careful way. As lord Malik
Brown puts it, with competing
interests. It is a moment when, for
the first time, the United Kingdom
government recognises that the
people of Israel, the Jews, have a
right to self-determination and a
homeland in that sense it is a very
Some say it is
very important for there to be a
homeland, the state, for Jews to go
and live. There are those who say
the Balfour Declaration was a
mistake, are they saying that Israel
doesn't have a right to exist?
two things. I would hope there are
very few left to claim that Israel
does have a right to exist. I know
there remains the outstanding
diplomatic issue of how the
Palestinians fully recognise and
acknowledge that. I think, to be
honest, today's to system is much
more about the other half, the
promise of protecting the rights of
Palestinians and the failure to
deliver on that. It is a tragedy
that on the one hand you have the
one Democratic state of the region,
Israel, and yet, the cost of that is
5 million Palestinians in their
fourth or fifth generation of Exxon
living in camps and an unsolved
Do you agree with Jeremy
Corbyn, the Labour leader, he won't
be attending the dinner tonight,
that not enough has been said by
successive British governments about
If I were invited to
dinner, I would certainly go. It is
in every way a significant event. If
one went, it would be to remind
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of
Israel that he cannot turn his back
on finding a solution to this
crisis. Frankly, the problem today
is of the impetus for a negotiated
solution to the Palestinian issue
being much less than it has been for
some decades. We are at a moment
where it has frankly been beached
and put aside.
Isn't that then a
strong statement being sent by the
Labour leader that he does not want
to grace this dinner because of his
opposition to what he says is
obviously occupied territory,
expansion of illegal settlements in
the West Bank? That that is a
stronger signal to send to Benjamin
The signal that Labour
has been sending to the Israeli
people of the last few years has
been concerning. I'm sorry that he
has decided not to attend the
dinner. It would have made a for
some of the incidents we have seen
in recent months. I think we should
recognise that many of the soldiers
I had great privilege to serve with
in Afghanistan and Iraq are alive
because of Israeli technology and
counter IED is they shared with us
as allies and friends.
How do you
view the Israeli, Palestinian
conflict in terms of the wider
It is quite clear it is an important
important issue to resolve. We have
to recognise that we are one of many
countries now who have a voice in
the region, but not the colonial
over-Lord we were pre-1947.
wrote the Arab-Israeli conflict
didn't matter in terms of the Arab
What did you mean
If you went to Cairo and to other
places around the area, if you saw
Beirut they didn't talk about
Israel. They talked about
empowerful. The word Israel never
crossed the mouths of people.
Do you agree some way, politically,
in parts of the Arab world, that
that conflict, which so many people
want to see resolve is often used to
deflect attention away from very
serious issues within the countries
that Tom Tugendhat has talking
I do, actually. I would say
that the seeds of all the problems
in the Middle East, strangely, or
many were set in the same period as
this declaration where we have got a
whole set of sort of half-baked
national borders through the region.
The whole issue of national
determination and the
self-determination in the Middle
East is much wider than just
Israel-plain. We have a dangerous --
Israel Palestinian. We have
dangerous conflict and behind it
conservative regimes failing to sort
of embrace and include their ever
younger, larger larger demography.
It faces jeopardy from a very
think, are we ever going to see a
Palestinian state in the next sort
of ten years?
As I say, I think
temporarily at least the goal has
been set one. There will not be one
which does not include a Palestinian
state among other political things
which have to be achieved as well.
Let's return to our main story:
the appointment of Gavin Williamson
as the new Defence Secretary
following the resignation
of Michael Fallon last night.
I'm joined now by Tom Newton Dunn,
political editor of The Sun,
and Kate McCann, political
The Daily Telegraph.
Welcome to both of you. Your
reaction to Gavin Williamson. Were
surprised. No other way of putting
it. It is a fascinating appointment.
High risk. We have seen some quite
verbous reaction from people within
-- vicious reaction from people
criticising it. It is the sort of
move a Prime Minister makes knowing
very well that the first thing we
all end up writing about is House of
Cards comparisons. Is he plotting a
secret rise? To do that and go
through that Theresa May has to be
quite sure this is going to work out
in the long-term. I think there's a
lot of interesting reasons. Brexit
negotiations is an important one.
The Defence Secretary has a key seat
on the Cabinet negotiation sub
committee, which will decide what
happens, what we ask for. It is
those long-term long-term
Gavin Williamson has
been put in post, promoted from
Chief Whip to that role of Defence
Secretary. Were you surprised to
hear Michael Fallon had resigned
Yes. We were surprised
last night and again this morning.
There were some surprised noises
come from the press gallery
corridor. Michael Fallon is an
interesting case. The Sun's
front-page looked incredibly bad for
him. There's not been anything else
come out since then. What was
interesting listening to friends of
Michael Fallon last night saying
maybe some of his behaviour from 15
years ago, which at the time might
have been seen as flirting may not
be seen the same way now. If that is
enough for a senior Cabinet minister
to resign their position what does
it mean for others on this list?
What does it mean for the other
high-profile names that we are
asking questions about that? This
might be the start of something
bigger. There are definitely
questions for people like Damian
Green, who is facing an
The that is
the bar which has been set from what
we know and from what Michael Fallon
he himself has said about this
unacceptable behaviour as seen
through today's prism, do you think
there'll be other Cabinet ministers
I think there will be
other ministers resigning, but I
don't think for that reason,
strangely enough. The bar hasn't
been lowered. Michael Fallon went
not because he touched a knee 15
years ago at a drunken dinner. There
are worse examples of inappropriate
behaviour by him. He went for that
reason alone. I think we may find
out in the next few days exactly
what those further allegations were.
I am now sure there are further
allegations. That doesn't
necessarily mean any other ministers
have to go for mildly inappropriate,
still wrong behaviour. I do think
there are at least one or two
ministers, who we know the names of
and you know the names of two, who
are known for this sort of
behaviour. The proof hasn't emerged
yet. I will be amazed if the proof
doesn't emerge and they end up
There could be a further
reshuffle. This was done as a
precision reshuffle so there didn't
have to be a wide-ranging moving of
the chairs. But in the end Theresa
May have to do more. . She may well.
There have already been some
questions about, previous to this
and previous the Westminster assault
allegations which have come out
whether there might be some movement
there. I think what people have been
saying in the background is the
decision she's made today may
encourage some other people who have
allegations or who have, you know,
things have been said about them, to
come forward. Gavin Williamson has
been moved from the Whip's Office
into a Government department. That
could shake things up and mean that
Theresa May will have to make more
big changes. Thank you to you both.
In the grey world of politics,
Boris Johnson brings
a flash of colour -
so his fans say.
And in the serious world
of international diplomacy,
the Foreign Secretary brings humour.
Tom Tugendhat claimed that his brand
of humour is not translated on to
Yesterday Mr Johnson was asked
by an MP on Tom's committee
about promoting English wine
and was then challenged over jokes
about Italian prosecco.
I think, actually, telling jokes
is often very effective way
of getting the message across.
I'll just say that in parenthesis.
Sometimes people greatly appreciate
that you're are talking
to them in that informal way whilst
subtlety getting your point across.
I think that's actually a bit
condescending to think they don't
get the point.
Where does Boris Jonathan stand in
Well, he's the current
How would you
view him against the -- view him
against the giants of the Foreign
He doesn't have
responsibility Brexit, not for trade
N that sense, the Foreign Office is
doing a lot less than those Foreign
Secretaries were doing.
Is that a
It is a reality because
the focus on Brexit has to be so
entire that a single minister has
taken it on.
How do you see him as
defending joke telling as diplomacy?
We have different perspectives on
this. My views have been made clear.
My views having spoken to people in
Paris, Rome and other parts, who
have received some elements of the
humour than others. -- less than
others. It is to influence and get a
positive outcome. I am always
cautious we should do so in the most
a dishous way possible.
Do you think
he has stop the jokes? . It is not
for me to tell the Foreign Secretary
how to conduct his foreign policy.
It is for me to advice on areas I
think it could be improved. You have
said it is not working - it is not
judicious. You are the chair, and
you are to scrutinise the Foreign
Secretary. Is he an effective
ambassador in the middle of these
He's not doing the
You have spoken to
people in the European capitals.
That is why I welcome David Davis is
doing the negotiations. He is a
steady pair of hands and done well
over the last year in making sure
our relationship is good.
Do you agree with Boris Jonathan
that it's condescending to think our
foreign allies cannot understand or
take a joke.
I read their papers and
Is it damaging
Britain's standing in the world
having Boris Jonathan behaving this
He's a man with a great passion
for the UK. A way of communicating
which carries further than many
other people. With that comes a
Does it concern
you that the Foreign Secretary
reaches so readily for what people
call insulting stereotypes?
those are not the terms I would use.
That is the point I am making.
you prefer him to be a host of have
I got news for you?
It's not for me.
You must have a view. The great
Vy to serve my country
over the last 15 ways, occasionally
in diplomatic roles. I am merely
saying how I would do it and expect
Foreign Office officials to do it.
Are you embarrassed by him.
very pleased we have a Government
with a lot of talent.
In European capitals, do you think
they consider him a a foon?
-- bafoon? I can not tell you what
people tell me. We have a range of
ministers who can speak effectively
to our European partners.
That's all for today.
Andrew will be on BBC One
this evening for This
Week, where he'll be
joined by Michael Portillo,
Harriet Harman, Shazia Mirza,
And I'll be back at noon tomorrow.
Jo Coburn is joined by chair of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, Tom Tugendhat to discuss Michael Fallon's resignation from the Ministry of Defence and whether Tom would like the job. Also there is analysis of a possible interest rate rise and a look at the implications for the government of having to publish their Brexit impact studies after Labour secured a Commons victory.