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Hello, and welcome
to the Daily Politics.
The Prime Minister is meeting EU
leaders in Sweden today
as Brexit Secretary David Davis says
it's time for the EU
to compromise in the Brexit talks.
But are European leaders in the mood
to give ground?
Are the Russians coming?
Or are they already here?
As new evidence emerges of Kremlin
interference in elections, how
worried should we be
here in dear old Blighty?
As the EU signs what
leaders have called
an "historic" agreement
on defence cooperation,
are we edging closer
to the much-vaunted EU army?
And do you know your
from your high yield gilts?
Where are you on the market
equilibrium price index?
With Philip Hammond due
to give his Budget on Wednesday,
we'll bust the economic jargon.
All that in the next hour.
And with us for the programme today
is Rachel Sylvester from the Times
and Toby Young from the Spectator.
They are here to offer informed,
incisive and intelligent analysis.
Well, just days to go
to the Budget - widely
seen at Westminster
as a last
chance not just for
the Chancellor but for Mrs May
to reboot her government
and talk about something
other than Brexit.
Among the likely measures,
we are promised a singificant
announcment on housing.
-- significant announcement.
Indeed Mrs May yesterday said it
remained her personal mission
to solve the housing crisis.
Secretary Sajid Javid,
who last month suggested
borrowing £50 billion
to boost house building,
took on the Nimbys.
My message to campaigners,
whether they are in the west
of England area or anywhere else
that are, let's say,
anti-development, is, really,
think about your children
and your grandchildren.
I've found as an MP,
people will come to see me
and the person that's come
to see me one week will say,
"The house prices are too expensive,
my granddaughter can't afford
anything - what's your government
going to do about it?"
And a few weeks later the same
person is writing to me and saying
they don't want that development
across the road.
So we need to get more
people to really think
about the consequences
of what they're saying.
Well, big, bold talk on housing but
if we are honest, how many times
have we heard prime ministers and
others talking about tackling the
housing crisis? Do you get any
sense, Rachel, that this time is
going to be different?
Yes, I think
there is a genuine desire in
government to do something and the
politics of this fascinating. I
think the Conservatives understand
that they are in devastating
position with young voters did at
the election, young voters voted in
droves for Jeremy Corbyn and the
Tories in one recent poll were for %
in the polls among young voters on
housing and there's a sense that
they are almost in danger of losing
a generation. David Willetts, the
former cabinet minister, compared it
to me recently to a film where a
French farmer plugs up a spring
hoping to improve his own chances
and ends up destroying his own
livelihood, and the Tories are
blocking up their source of voters
by preventing young people from
joining the property owning
Toby, that is a high-risk
strategy and away Sajid Javid was on
the front page saying, come on, you
oldies, but the oldies are the young
people who vote for the Tories.
think that isn't dramatic of a
broader problem the Tories have
which is that they want to stimulate
house-building in the budget along
those lines, 220,000 houses have
been built on last year, the highest
number since the 2008 credit crunch.
Things are beginning to head in the
right direction but the difficulty
the Conservative Party is that one
of the main obstacles to housing
development is the opposition of
locals who don't want new houses in
their backyard, particularly in the
green belt and other areas of
metropolitan open land and so forth
and it doesn't feel like there's
going to be any changes to the
planning regulations, any major
changes, and Sagittarius Road bar,
so all he can do, he is reduced to
applying moral pressure.
danger that he and Mrs May raise
expectations so high in the budget,
which at the end we could get a mini
announcement, which is good news,
but it doesn't crack the housing
problem because it is so massive?
Absolutely and also calm before the
election and to some extent now,
Theresa May is one of the main
roadblocks to planning laws on the
green belt. So Sajid Javid has been
pushing for more radical reform and
I wonder whether an attack on a
selfish baby boomers is actually not
too disguised appointed dig at Mrs
May who is the most important baby
boomer and maybe the most
significant NIMBY in the country.
are going to leave it there.
So, as we move to the sharp end
of the Brexit negotiations and ever
closer to the December deadline
for deciding whether the EU
will agree to move
on to trade talks,
both sides appear to be digging in.
The EU Council President Donald Tusk
in effect telling Mrs May today
that it's time she got a move
on and agreed to hand
over more cash.
Mrs May has so far agreed to pay
£18 billion - amid signs the EU
is looking for nearer
to 50 to 60 billion.
Well, this morning there
was a concerted push back
by the British side -
with Brexit Secretary David Davis
telling my colleague
Laura Kuenssberg it was time
for the EU to compromise more.
In a negotiation, you want
the other side to compromise.
I want them to compromise.
Surprise surprise, nothing comes
for nothing in this world.
But so far in this
negotiation, we've made quite
a lot of compromises.
On the citizens' rights front,
we've made all the running.
We've made the running in terms
of things like the right to vote,
where the European Union then
doesn't seem able to agree
that everybody involved,
the 3 million Europeans in Britain,
the million Brits abroad,
should be able to vote.
They can't do that.
So we have been offering some quite
We haven't always got that back.
Well, at the same time,
also enduring an early-morning
round of media inquisitions
was the Foreign
Secretary Boris Johnson.
He too seemed intent on pointing
the figner of blame at the EU.
Asked about the vexed
and unresolved issue of the border
between Northern Ireland
and the Republic,
Mr Johnson suggested any
breakthrough depended on Brussels
agreeing to move on to trade talks.
Nobody wants to see
a return to a hard border.
Nobody wants to see a hard border.
We must work on it and we've got
to work on it together and I think
what I would say to you is that
in order to resolve those issues
and get it right for our peoples,
it's necessary now to move
onto the second stage
of the negotiations, which really
entail so many of the questions that
are bound up with the border issue.
The Prime Minister, in Gothenburg
for an EU social summit -
and no, that's not dad dancing
and party frocks, it's all
about jobs and employment rights -
was rather less forthright
but nevertheless urged the EU
to respond positively.
We look forward to the European
Council and we're continuing
to look through the issues.
I was clear in my speech in Florence
that we will honour our commitments.
But, of course, we want to move
forward together, talking
about the trade issues and trade
partnership for the future.
I've set out a vision for that
I look forward to the European Union
responding positively to that
so we can move forward together
and ensure that we can get the best
possible arrangements for the future
that will be good for people
in the United Kingdom
and across the remaining EU 27.
So how is this tough talk
from the British Government likely
to go down with other EU leaders?
Well, we're joined now
from Gothenberg by our Europe
correspondent Kevin Connolly.
Do you get the sense that, as we
approach December, other EU leaders
are in a mood now to cut Mrs May
I think part of what is
going on on it goes to the heart of
a problem which has been hovering
over the Brexit process all along,
and that is where the UK tends to
see this as a negotiation between
equals, a moment of mutual
opportunity even, if you like,
sometimes, the other EU countries
see it as a problem of Britain's on
making and they clearly, you
sometimes get the impression, don't
feel very much impetus to help
Britain out of a hole which, in
their view, Britain has dogged by
deciding to leave. So you had all
sort of talk this morning which
doesn't imply that nothing has been
done, doesn't imply that nothing is
happening. There is an acceptance
that Britain has moved, but a pretty
universal sense, Al, that Britain
has to move a bit more and I thought
the most cutting remark in a sense
came from the generally pretty well
disposed and support of Irish Prime
Minister Leo Radtke, who said that
when you look to the whole thing in
the round and considered all of the
various problems that remain to be
resolved, he sometimes wondered if
supporters of Brexit had thought
everything through before they
embarked on the project.
Is there a
possibility that the EU could say no
in December, we are going to have to
wait until March? We understand they
are preparing informal grounds for
moving to trade talks, so is the
reality that despite all the
language, they will in the end move
on in December?
No, I think a no in
December is a real, looming
possibility. The signal they are
trying to send is that if the UK
really wants that move in December,
wants to stop talking about divorce
issues and start talking about trade
and transition, then the EU's
position is not changing, it is that
you've got to get those divorce
issues finalised - saids' writes,
the Irish border and money - before
you get trade and transition and
what they are trying to say is that
any attempt to pick them off one by
one in bilateral meetings, any
attempt to try to meld the two
issues together, future trade for
example and the Irish border, they
just won't accept. Leo Varadkar was
saying to me early on that he
thought it might be desirable to
write that commitment about the
future of a hardboard at in Ireland
into an agreement and that is
something we've not really heard
before and would potentially be
problematic and would been there is
still quite a lot of detail to be
talked about. We started talking
about progress in December because
there was no progress on October. It
is not really a deadline in any
meaningful sense and the real
problem for the UK side is that the
EU would seem much more merit in
sticking together on this than it
will in trying to engineer a
Thank you. We are joined
by the Conservative MEP David
Campbell Bannerman. We are going to
have to pay more and probably quite
a bit more.
Depends on the
commitments. The question is, what
are we paying for? The EU wants as
much money as possible and are doing
the same as Switzerland. They are
desperate for cash. But what are we
Lizard is past
commitments for things like
pensions, programmes we've already
signed up for, and that could go up
to 50, 60 billion, provided as is
past payments, that is OK?
goodwill reasons, it makes sense to
fund the multi-annual financial
framework until 2020.
already agreed to.
I think that does
make sense. There will be some
ongoing liabilities, such as
pensions etc, I understand that, but
you're not talking about 50 or 60
billion, but a lot smaller.
we talking about?
20, 30, possibly
but that is three times our net
What of the EU say,
thanks very much but we are not
interested, you've got to increase
It puts us in no deal and I have
no problem with no deal. Most of the
world trade are no deal. United
States, China, Japan, India, Russia,
is EU rules. We would have to
compensate about £5 billion of
tariffs but the EU will have to find
13 million of tariff compensation.
Are you unhappy with the direction
of travel in these negotiation is by
the Brexit secretary? Because we are
getting indications that probably
more than what you are talking about
will be put on the table and we know
the European Court of Justice is
continuing to have oversight during
the transition period, indeed there
will be new rules and judgments we
will have to accept. There will be a
transitional period, might be two
years, might be longer. How do you
feel about that approach to
I think David Davis is
doing a great job.
Even though he
has conceded all that?
negotiating. The point about the
ECJ, I did look into this and asked
President Jean-Claude Younger about
it, and he said, you have to get a
divorce before even going to a new
relationship. I don't like the ECJ
being subject to it but during the
transitional period it is the only
way we are going to do it.
you respond to someone like Jacob
Rees-Mogg, who is clear on this. If
you are taking laws from Europe you
have not left Europe?
transitional period is less than two
years but what you have to look at,
and I've looked into this recently,
the EU law states you have to be a
third country before you can even do
a deal with the EU, so you do need a
transition. The ECJ has to agree
this deal under EU law. So I'm more
relaxed about it. I don't like it
but I'm more relaxed about it and I
think it is the right way to go.
Toby, I read in one of the papers,
some German businessman who David
Davis was talking to saying he
expected unconditional surrender
from Britain. At the end of the day,
aren't we going to have to cough up
lots of money?
I think we are going
to have to pay many billions if we
are going to secure a deal. I'm
optimistic of making more
progress... It looks like there
might be a Cabinet consent for about
40 billion. Maybe somewhere between
20 and 40. I'm optimistic that there
will be progress because this baby
from the EU's point of view the
optimal time to make a deal about
the money. If Theresa May doesn't
get a deal and it has to be
postponed until March, her political
position becomes precarious and
there is a risk that she could be
replaced by someone who is much less
willing to come up with those sort
of numbers. From their point of
view, this is the prime time to
strike a deal.
Our one card is cash,
if we play it now when it comes to
trade talks, we've played our big
I don't think it is our only
card. We export more to the EU...
Sorry, we import more than we export
to the EU. I'm optimistic. On the
ECJ point, I think within the
Cabinet even Michael Gove said he'd
be prepared to accept Britain being
subject to ECJ rulings during the
transitional period providing it's
made clear that following exit we
are no longer subject to them. That
would be difficult with potential
trading partners if they thought we
would be subject to those
regulations after departure.
Brexiteers seem to be on board about
things a few months ago they would
have been up in arms about. We see
it on cash, transition, what is
The Brexiteer dart are not
united. David Davis said yesterday
don't put politics above prosperity.
The real politics involved in this
is the politics of the Tory party.
You have Brexiteers who are willing
to strike a deal that will lead to a
better result in the end but there
are some who are absolutely not
willing. Theresa May is having a
very difficult time striking that
David Davis in his
interview this morning said to --
seem to be pointing the finger of
blame at Europe.
Eight countries in
the EU have 90% of all the trade. A
lot of the other countries Denmark,
the Dutch, do want a trade deal. I
think they are getting it. The
Germans are getting nervous,
industry is getting nervous in
Germany. No deal hurts the EU far
more than it does is because we are
the second largest importer of goods
and services in the world after the
Thank you very much
Now, are the Russians coming?
Or, more to the point,
are they already here?
Earlier this week,
the Prime Minister accused Moscow
of "planting fake stories" to
"sow discord in the West".
The Kremlin have denied
all accusations of election meddling
but new data this week showed
Russian Twitter accounts posted more
than 45,000 messages about Brexit
in 48 hours during
last year's referendum.
So, should we be worried or is this
all much ado about nothing?
So I have a very simple
message for Russia -
we know what you are doing
and you will not succeed.
The Prime Minister was talking
about this sort of thing -
a tweet posted after
the Westminster Bridge
The user, who describes themselves
as an American patriot,
posted an image of a young Muslim
appearing to ignore
the mayhem behind.
Although shared thousands
of times, it was a fake
and the account came from Russia.
The tweet was by no
means a one off and MPs
are investigating what they describe
as a widespread problem.
They've asked the likes of Twitter
and Facebook to give details
of Russian accounts they suspect
could have been used
to try to interfere in the EU
referendum and general election.
We have to recognise
that there are people within Russia
seeking to use the social media
platforms to not just influence
the way people think and vote,
but also to divide communities,
incite racial hatred,
and this is really serious stuff.
Is it your belief that the Russians
have played any role in British
elections and referendums?
This was the Foreign Secretary's
answer a few weeks ago.
I haven't seen...
Not a sausage.
Some critics say the Government
needs to take a firmer stand.
What worries me slightly
is that the Government,
because it may be reluctant to do
anything that might cast any doubt
on the legitimacy of the referendum
result or it might feel nervous
about upsetting or embarrassing
President Trump, when it hopes
to get this fantasy trade deal
to rescue it from a disastrous
Brexit, may be pulling its punches
in terms of getting
to the truth on this.
Of course, there are plenty who say
the idea it was the Russians
what won it when it comes to the EU
referendum is ludicrous.
Have I seen any evidence that Russia
in any way played a significant role
in the UK referendum?
The answer is a big no.
There is a crackpot conspiracy
theory that Brexit and Trump
could only have happened
because of some extraordinary
outside external event.
It couldn't possibly have
been ordinary people
making their minds up,
rejecting the European Union
and rejecting the Democrats,
and they're all looking desperately
for some excuse to
explain what happened.
Earlier in the week,
the Russian Embassy reacted
with characteristic wryness
on the internet, with a response
that said, "It would be most
unfortunate to see British policy
towards Russia informed
by wrong intelligence,
as it was the case in the Iraq war."
It goes on, "Accusations
have the fundamental flaw of being
non-transparent and biased."
But there's little doubt
the suspicion is there and experts
have singled out Russia.
There are some very active countries
involved in cyber attacks,
including China, including
North Korea, including
Iran, for instance.
I think what distinguishes Russia,
maybe, from those other three,
is that Russia is deliberately
trying to undermine our democratic
system and our institutions,
whereas the others are perhaps not,
they're trying to steal secrets
maybe, industrial secrets
or government secrets.
Our security services, then,
have Russia in their sights.
If you thought the Cold War
was over, well, it looks
like it just went cyber.
Jamie Bartlett is the is director
of the Centre for the Analysis
of Social Media.
Is this a crackpot theory or is it
I think its crackpot
to say it was Russian patrols and
box that swung either the American
election or the Brexit referendum
and there are critics of those
decisions who find it easier to
blame this on outside influence but
that is slightly different from what
is increasingly clear that people
involved with the Kremlin, or the
Kremlin itself, or the Internet
research agency, a Kremlin backed
body did indeed have both automated
bots and paid operatives who were
posting content about Brexit likely
in the interest of people voting for
Brexit or more generally to so
discard, disharmony and confusion.
Is this marginal tweets from Russian
bloggers sponsored by the Kremlin or
are we talking about something much
more significant, coordinated,
designed to promote Russian policy
Somewhere between the
two. In the case of the research
released in the last week or two by
Swansea University, something like
150,000 accounts that they believe
were Russian controlled bots or
operatives. Other research has
placed it a little bit lower than
that. It's a decent number. Those
researchers found that it was
something like 20% of all tweets
that were on the hashtag Brexit were
on these accounts. So it was a
significant volume. Most people tend
to believe that this was a warm up
act for the American election where
there was a lot more of a concerted
effort to use these techniques to
try to influence that election. You
got to remember that this is very
cheap and easy to do. It's not hard
or complicated. You can have a room
full of a few dozen people who are
able to, using bots, put out
incredible volumes of stories and
Is there anything anyone
can do about it?
we have created an international
communications network that is
without Borders. It is not going to
go away and can be very easily
manipulated by people from all
around the world.
What about the
social media companies? Can they say
this is suspicious, this is run from
There are something
social media companies can do to
identify certain IP addresses, for
example, that are associated with
particular agencies and share it
with the government but in the end
you can use all sorts of clever
spoof addresses and...
Do we do it?
I don't know if our government does
anything of this sort but it is
pretty easy to do. Ordinary Russian
citizens without backing of the
Kremlin can get involved in talking
about our politics as well and there
is nothing to stop that.
conspiracy war or serious trouble?
think it's fascinating to think that
the Kremlin has common goals with
Brexit. To think this is a
revolutionary act. The Kremlin wants
to destabilise western institutions,
it would like nothing better than to
see the collapse of the EU. While I
think it is a mistake to say somehow
Rasha stole the Brexit result, there
is an unsettling common cause in
that. Michael Gove talks about being
in favour of creative destruction
but the Russians just want the
destructive side of that. There is
the destructive side of Brexit which
is incredibly appealing to that.
These academics at Swansea found
some pro-remain tweets that they
attributed to Russia and bots as
well. I think it is an attempt by
remain as to delegitimise those who
voted to leave. If they were these
credulous idiots whose vote could be
purchased by a Russian bot, why
couldn't they have been purchased by
the extraordinary resources of the
remain campaign who had the backing
of all the institutions? If they
were as uninformed as easily
manipulated as these theorists had
it, why didn't they vote for remain?
Is their analysis to suggest
regardless of how many social media
postings there are, it has any
This has been a big question
for a long time, the extent to which
the stuff people read online has
influenced the way they vote. We
don't know exactly. There is no
evidence to suggest it has
decisively swung even one person's
vote. But this is not necessarily
the purpose. It is to soak
disharmony, confusion and
frustration. Yes, they weren't
posting remain stuff as well. Not as
much. But it is often very divisive
content. We have an increasingly
divisive politics wherever one is
furious at each other and in that
this can make a difference.
Russians realise the potential of
using Twitter and Facebook to spread
propaganda on the dirt cheap?
Absolutely not. China employs
thousands of people to post
pro-China stuff. The Mexican
government is doing it. Governments
have realised that social media is
an important fulcrum and can be
manipulated one way or the other.
It's obvious that it isn't
incredibly difficult to do. The
Russians have a head start but
everyone is catching up quickly.
you think Vladimir Putin uses
I don't think so.
leave it there.
Now, the Environment Secretary,
Michael Gove, has apparently been
using lots of "long,
economic words" and
mentioning obscure financial
terms during Cabinet.
Might he be trying to show how well
suited he is to replacing
Philip Hammond as Chancellor?
Perish the thought.
Politicians have always used words
to show. Listen to Lord Heseltine
using economic jargon and having a
dig at Ed Balls in the process.
Here the game. Our new economic
approach is rooted in ideas stress
the importance of macroeconomics,
neoclassical endogenous growth
theory and the same biotic
relationships between growth and
investment in people and
unambiguous... There you have it.
The final proof, Labour's brand-new
shining modernist economic dream but
it wasn't Brown's, it was balls.
Well, we are a public service
broadcaster so we thought we would
do a better jargon busting for any
Cabinet ministers are feeling a bit
out of the loop. To help us, we're
joined by the financial writer
Louise Cooper. Let's start with
politicians and jargon - are they
particularly prone to use economic
jargon because they are actually
skating on very thin ice and really
most of them are bluffing and don't
know the economic details?
biosis is actually a biological term
but we don't generally use it. From
my experience, I am always quite
aghast at how little politicians do
understand about many aspects,
particularly finance. Economics,
some of them over a background but
particularly financial markets,
there is an extraordinary lack of
Why use those terms? The
danger is you are showing up to be
frankly a bluffer
To be fair, the
financial industry uses an awful lot
of Cobbler gated jargon to charge
very high prices so everybody is
guilty of using jargon. --
complicated jargon. Can I point out
that in your opening line you taught
about high yield gilts, high yield
gilts is an oxymoron. Sorry about
that but you are guilty.
going to see how you do with some
other phrases which people might
have difficulty with, so have a look
at this one. I am going to ask our
guests. This is the Gove utterance
at Cabinet as he was trying to
showboat on his potential as a
Chancellor. Toby, you might get this
but let's have a go, markets and
financial instruments directive. Any
thoughts on where we are going with
Is it to do with things like
It is actually MFR
IDE one, MS D2 came out in 2007. It
comes in on January three, the
entire financial world is obsessed
with it because it is enormous
regulation as a result of the
financial crisis. The idea is
increased transparency and greater
protection for investors. The
extraordinary thing about MFID two
is that it is so all-encompassing
that it gets right down into the
detail as to how things are traded.
We have overdosed on MFID! Let's try
this one... Rachel, I think you
might... What about this? We have
already had a nudge at gilts and
We were told we were wrong.
I was told that was some sort of
borrowing. Is that the right
ballpark? Gilts are gilt-edged
securities, government debt,
government debt is. They issue it by
the debt management office and the
yield is the interest rate, the
borrowing cost, and currently, shall
I just throw it out there? What is
the 10-year borrowing cost? What
does it cost the Government to
borrow for ten years at the moment?
Anyone want to guess?
No idea. This
one, we will hear plenty of it from
the Chancellor, Toby, I expect you
to back this out of the park, it is
too easy. Productivity.
That is the
amount of product produced by a unit
Surely that is right?
Spot on for productivity, dubbed the
economic problem of our age by
research analysts today but frankly
I think we have an awful lot of
economic problems of our age.
my own guide to jargon busting, just
confidently, brook no questions and
plough on regardless. Thank you very
For the next half an hour we're
going to be focusing on Europe.
We'll be discussing EU plans to beef
up defence cooperation,
Polish anger at the threat of EU
sanctions and whether Brussels can
do anything about tax havens.
First, though, here's our guide
to the latest from Europe
in just 60 seconds.
As the great philosopher David
Hasselhoff once sang, "I've been
looking for freedom,
still it can't be found."
And there was similar
frustration for the German
Chancellor as talks to form
a workable government coalition
She missed a self-imposed deadline
The European Parliament
named its press room in Strasbourg
after Daphne Caruana Galizia,
the Maltese journalist killed last
month after reporting
allegations of corruption.
Have reports of a Brexit exodus been
exaggerated? The latest figures from
the offers of national statistics
show the number of EU nationals
working in the UK continues to rise.
They say a cold shower
is character building.
It's not something
MEPs are keen to try.
There was uproar this week
after it was announced the hot water
in their offices would be
permanently switched off because of
Where did you get
that hat, Mr Juncker?
The answer, a number
of academic institutions
where the EU president has received
honorary degrees in recent months.
Let's pick up on that element about
the ONS figures.
Is talk of a Brexodus -
ie EU nationals fleeing
the UK after Brexit - a myth?
Well, figures releasd by the ONS
suggest that the number of EU
nationals working in the UK has
actually reached a record high
of 2.37 million migrants.
What do you make of this, Rachel? I
am confused. I thought other figures
from the ONS showed a dramatic
slowdown in the number of EU
nationals coming here post Brexit.
The problem is, we need a lot of EU
nationals working in the economy,
particularly in low skilled jobs,
and I think there is a real danger
of expectations not being met.
People voted for Brexit because they
were cross of bout low skilled
immigration but I think a lot of it
is going to continue after Brexit
and the government will need a lot
of it to continue because business
and farmers will demand and
inevitably, the economy will mean it
Does that mean, Toby,
that despite these figures there are
real problems around the corner in
terms of EU migrants coming home?
That is often the move made by
Remainers who predicted that merely
by voting to leave we would trigger
this mass Brexodus and, as it turns
out, it hasn't happened. As you say,
there was a record number of EU
nationals currently working in the
UK, over 100,000 more than there
were this time last year, including
more in the NHS, so they moved to
say, yes, it hasn't happened yet
because we have left yet but it
might happen when we leave.
thing we do learn is that the people
coming now, the biggest increase is
in Bulgarians and Romanians, which
rather suggests as low skilled and
may be doctors and professionals are
thinking, I don't think so.
are more working as doctors here
than there were in June 2016. The
way in which remain usually present
their case is the numbers leaving
without the numbers of people
arriving being taken into account it
took Boris calculating the 350
million a week figure, that wasn't a
net figure but was just about
outflows are not in close. If you
include outflows, net there are more
EU nationals working here than ever
Rachel, a Ramona sleight of
The issue is that the people
who voted for Brexit are going to be
furious because they feel they voted
to bring down immigration and will
feel betrayed by the Brexiteers who
But isn't there
upward pressure on wages?
they vote on what they perceived to
be too many people coming, even
though they are needed?
This week was described
as "historic" by one EU
foreign policy chief as the EU moved
closer to deeper defence integration
between member states.
The Permanent Structured
or Pesco for short, should come
into force next month.
23 countries have declared
they'll take part so far -
with Portugal and the Irish Republic
eventually expected to also sign on.
Only Denmark, Malta, and -
of course - the UK will
The pact was originally proposed
by France and Germany,
keen to bolster the EU
after the Brexit vote.
The agreement requires
countries to increase defence
budgets in real terms,
and also tasks them with providing
"substantial support" -
including personnel -
for EU military missions.
Nevertheless it falls short
of the full EU army Commission
President Jean-Claude Juncker
envisioned in his State of the Union
address this year.
Estonian Defense Minister Juri Luik
said even with Pesco in force,
"collective defence will
always remain in Nato."
Despite traditional British
scepticism about further
integration, Boris Johnson
has welcomed the move
and said the UK was supportive,
and would be "like a flying buttress
to support the cathedral".
Well, to discuss this
here in the studio
we have the new Ukip leader,
Henry Bolton, and in Cambridge
is the Labour MEP, Alex Mayer.
Alex, if I can start with you first,
Labour government as well as
Conservative governments have always
been very iffy about Europe getting
its act together on defence and
basically, we've been accused of
blocking it. Is Labour now in favour
of closer EU defence cooperation?
Yes, we are and I think that what
has happened over the last few
months and years is that the whole
geopolitical situation has changed.
When I took particularly to my
Eastern European colleagues in the
European Parliament, they are
particularly worried about Russian
aggression and want to make sure
that European defence is
strengthened and I believe that
working together will enable us to
Surely that is a good
thing, Henry Bolton, if the EU
begins to look after itself rather
than having to rely on others, above
all the Americans?
There are two
aspects that maybe I can start by
saying that although we didn't sign
up to Pesco on Monday, it is quite
clear that we are going to be
participating in principle in other
areas of this, such as the European
defence fund and various other
mechanisms that government secures.
Those in turn are going to be
governed by Brussels-based political
and regulatory decision-making that
we won't be fully participating in
post Brexit, so we will be
subordinating elements of our
military-industrial and scientific
and research, as well as our
military, to EU policy.
threat we now seem to be facing from
Russia, you think of Crimea and the
Ukraine, surely it makes sense for
the UK to start putting more oomph
behind its military capability?
Cooperation and EU member states
co-operating and ensuring their
command and control can work
together so they are compatible with
each other, yes, but centralised
political direction, policy and
regulatory frameworks is not the way
to go. Nato is the alliance that has
kept the peace up until now.
Stannard burgers entirely OK with
Well, I am not and
Ukip is not. We have seen a whole
range of areas where it implies
deeper political integration with
the EU, when we have compromised on
our ability to deploy capability
unilaterally, the problem here is
that Nato has managed to survive and
work effectively as a military
deterrent for decades without that
the real danger of this that it is a
paper tiger. At the end of the day
there is a lot of talk about Europe
getting its military act together
but basically, it is a sort of
bureaucratic getting your act
together, rather than real tanks on
I just think this is
being blown out of all proportion.
This is a Ukip storm in a teacup. It
is good news if European countries
wish to cooperate with each other on
defence. Nobody is forcing anybody
to be a part of it, as we heard
early introduction to this reporter
Doug Britain is not part of it,
Malta is not part of it. You can
choose whether you want to so what
is wrong with EU countries choosing
to work together on defence, just as
we choose to work together in the UN
or in Nato? And as you rightly said,
the Secretary General of Nato has
welcomed this move. We don't want to
do anything to duplicate Nato but
European countries choosing work
together I think is a good thing and
will help strengthen our defence.
Where is your leader on this, Jeremy
Corbyn? He is generally iffy about
He is in favour of making sure
people collaborate with each other
and making sure we have successful
mission is to try and keep a more
peaceful and stable world.
Donald Trump has always argued that
Europe cannot keep relying on the
Americans. Surely this is just a
natural political development that
at the end of the day Europe is
going to have to turn its attention
His concern is the
amount people are spending on
defence. The problem with the whole
Pesco concept is that member states
will not to any great extent, we
cannot expect them to increase their
military expenditure. The deal for
Nato is 2% and they don't maintain
that. They are not going to increase
national capabilities to support
Pesco. They are going to pool assets
and save costs. This is one of the
things driving it. What concerns me
is at the moment member states who
are members of Nato pledge military
assets and capability to Nato. They
are going to be pledging those to
the European Union and you can't do
Toby, how do you read this? A
serious move for Europe to get its
act together on defence or just
It seems like some of the
ground clearance they need to do in
order to create an EU wide army.
that a good thing?
It was one of the
things that the leave aside flagged
up as a risk and it was always
dismissed by remain as as in the
same category fake news Turkey
joining. The differences, if we
remain in the EU and an EU army gets
created, it's not clear that we
would have a choice if our troops
were called up to fight in an EU
war. In Nato, we have a right of
veto. Every Nato country has to
endorse military action before
One aspect of
Brexit, with France we are the big
player in European defence. Now we
are out, is that what has driven the
Europeans to get their act together?
Yes, exactly. Britain has been a
block on further integration. If it
leaves, the rest of the EU is going
to more and more gather together. I
don't see we can complain about
that. If we choose to leave, that's
their right to do so.
Brexit has led
Brexit has taken away and
-- an obstacle to achieving it. Full
European Union, military union is
the direction of travel. It's
absolutely where we are going.
that where you would like Europe to
I don't think there is likely to
be a European army. I don't think
that is the end goal and I don't
think anyone is going to be forced
into it. This is a union of
countries of Europe who want to get
together and share ideas and
resources on defence and that's what
happening. No troops are going to be
called up from different countries
without their say-so. This is just
people collaborating together to get
the best from the resources that
Henry, a voluntary
arrangement that people can take or
That is what Nato is and this
is not. This will be regulated, as
the government made clear in their
paper of September, regulated by the
European Union and we won't be part
of that. I would agree with Boris
Johnson's analogy about a flying
buttress to an extent, but a
buttress supports from the outside.
If we maintain our full military
capabilities we will always want to
support our allies abroad. Including
in the EU. Ukip doesn't believe that
we need to be subordinate to EU
decision-making either within the
community or politically. We are far
better able to do that if we are
outside the building but supporting
Thanks very much.
Now, could we soon see
the EU impose sanctions
on one of its own member states?
MEPs voted this week to start
official proceedings against Poland
over concerns that the nationalist
government in Warsaw
is clamping down on
the independence of the judiciary.
In a resolution adopted
by 438 votes to 152,
the European Parliament voted
to launch the so-called
Article 7 process which could lead
to the suspension of Poland's voting
rights in the council of the EU.
In a debate in Strasbourg,
MEPs said the country had conducted
"serious violations" of the rule
of law - but the vote didn't go down
very well with one Polish MEP.
Why you are leaving?
No, because I have to
say something to you.
I have to say something to you.
Your attack on Mr Lewandowski,
I find it outrageous.
If there is one sensible...
If there is one sensible,
reasonable colleague of us,
sometimes even a little bit boring,
then it is Mr Lewandowski and to say
that he is losing his senses, well,
I think it's the Polish government
that has lost its senses
and not Mr Lewandowski.
It's interesting. There is a tension
it seems between the old Western
European countries and the new
Eastern European countries and this
symbolises it, doesn't it?
The EU has to uphold the rule of
law, Red Bull democracy...
is a big step. -- liberal democracy.
This is a big step. I think
ultimately the house to uphold those
values that it stands for.
counterargument is that the polls
say they are a democratically
elected government and what they
choose to do with their country is
none of their business. Leave them
For someone on my side of the
Brexit debate who believes in the
rule of law and in universal human
rights but also believes in national
self-determination, this is a tricky
one. PE would have more credibility
as appalled as of the rule of law
and universal human rights if they
hadn't supported the Spanish
government in their brutal crackdown
for the independence movement in
Is it possible that down
the line we could see Eastern
European countries looking to
Britain and thinking, I think we
want out of this club?
Or becoming a
block within the block perhaps?
There is definitely a different
culture. That Franco German axis of
closer integration, EU, the faith,
the true faith. Definitely driven
from that side of it. You could
easily see a different culture and
the block within a blog developing.
It seems interesting that much of
the argument around Brexit is that
we are going to teach the Brits a
lesson so no one upstairs do it. But
there hasn't really been any sign of
anyone else looking to exit.
always thought that was a slight red
Herring on the part of the EU. One
of the reasons I'm optimistic that
there will be movement in December
is because if we are actually forced
by the EU through intransigence to
crash out without a deal and end of
trading with the rest of Europe via
WTO rules and we make a success of
that, then there might be a stampede
for the exit.
Earlier this week European
Parliament called an urgent debate
on the so-called Paradise Papers -
a leak of 13 million documents,
reportedly tying major companies
and political figures to secretive
overseas financial arrangements.
MEPs called for a step up
in the fight against tax evasion -
Adam Fleming has the details.
Papers, papers everywhere.
But the documents MEPs cared
about this week were ones that
revealed how the rich pay less tax.
The so-called Paradise Papers.
When I consider
that this cup of tea,
when I bought it, I paid more tax
than an international sporting
company pays its entire turnover.
Then it's really outrageous.
It's not just an individual case.
From the Queen to Facebook,
from George Soros to Uber,
from Shakira to eBay,
all of them are mentioned
in the Paradise Papers.
More than 60 billion euros a year
are being lost to the EU.
The leader of the centre-left group
called tax avoidance a "cancer"
on the European economy.
States are imposing
austerity whilst, at the same time,
multinationals are taking billions
out of the economy and
not paying tax, thereby depriving
people of this income.
And we have drawn attention to this
repeatedly, as socialists.
The Paradise Papers
originated here, Bermuda,
a British Overseas Territory,
thrusting the UK into the spotlight.
Another day, another leak
of embarrassing documents
about the role of the City of London
as the global centre
for tax avoidance.
Successive British governments
have postured about leading
on transparency but it's easy
to play the good guy when you have
so many post-colonial territories
to do the dirty work
at your bidding.
Avoiding civilised rules on tax
was always part of the Brexit agenda
but any attempt to turn Britain
into the Bermuda of the North
is likely to flounder since the EU
will surely make cleaning up
the overseas territories a condition
for any future trade deal.
But the rest of
the EU got the blame, as well.
Remember, it was an EU directive
in the 1980s that let multinational
companies pay tax in any
European headquarters country,
rather than where revenues
and profits were really made.
Remember, tougher action has been
taking against the Lux Leaks
than against the accountants,
or politicians involved.
Remember that the commission's
own president Mr Juncker
was Prime Minister of Luxembourg
when his country was conniving
with big accountancy firms
to erode the tax bases
of larger EU economies.
Jean-Claude Juncker and his
commissioners decamped to Strasbourg
as usual and have their weekly
meeting in this very room.
And they say they are
gripping this issue.
For example, they want every company
to publish every activity
it does in every country,
so they can be taxed properly.
And they want to publish a blacklist
of global tax havens
at the start of next month.
But some MEPs say the hold-up
comes from the member states.
Which countries are blocking it?
Oh, so many.
Of course, you have
the inner European tax paradises,
like the Benelux countries,
Ireland, Malta, Cyprus.
But, then, surprisingly,
you have a number of big
countries and, of course,
I forgot to mention
the United Kingdom,
all these Crown dependencies,
but then you have big
countries like Germany.
when he was finance minister
not long ago, was the key opponent
to public country-by-country
reporting for multinationals
because he wants to preserve
the reputation of the big
So, there is no holy
finance ministers there.
And this week, the Parliament,
Council and commission
failed to agree
a new law on money-laundering
after eight attempts.
Looks like the murky
world of tax avoidance
will stay murky for a while.
I have a slight sense of deja vu.
David Cameron was going to crack
down on tax avoidance. Without being
cynical, do you think anything is
going to change?
EU should be the
vehicle for dealing with this. It
has to be done internationally. One
country on its own cannot sort out a
global tax problem but it seems to
be caught up in the weeds yet again
of individual self-interest.
Politically, it's like manner from
heaven for Jeremy Corbyn. This plays
to his narrative about the rich
doing terribly well and the poor
people on posterity.
They could do
something on Crown dependencies and
publication, transparency, that sort
of thing. It would be a brilliant
way of demonstrating they are not
the party of the rich.
As part of
the Brexit negotiations, the might
say Crown dependencies, you've got
to get a grip on them.
It's going to
it be easier to make that case if
they are flexible about a trade
deal. MEPs would be more credible on
this if they weren't subject to a
low tax rate, lower than any of the
member states tax rates in cell.
Being an MEP is a form of tax
avoidance. Let's not forget that the
top 1% of earners are paying 27% of
the total income tax take, higher
than it's ever been before and
higher than under any Labour
That's all for now, thanks
to all my guests and goodbye.
Norman Smith is joined by Toby Young from the Spectator and Rachel Sylvester from the Times to look at how Brexit negotiations are going and speak to Jamie Bartlett from Demos on the threat of Russian cyber-attacks. Business journalist Louise Cooper helps to bust some of the economic jargon ahead of the budget, plus Labour MEP Alex Mayer and UKIP leader Henry Bolton discuss the EU's new defence agreement.