Jo Coburn and DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds discuss power-sharing in Northern Ireland with Sinn Fein, and the impact on the Irish border of the ongoing Brexit negotiations.
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Hello and welcome to
the Daily Politics.
More money is being offered
by Theresa May to break the deadlock
in the Brexit negotiations,
but will it keep
everyone happy at home?
One key sticking point in the talks
is the Northern Irish border.
we'll speak to the Democratic
Unionist Party on how
a solution might be found.
In case you hadn't realised,
tomorrow is budget day.
Many economists are warning
more must be done to
So what needs to be done
to get the economy going?
And the art of a good deal.
Donald Trump says
he's an expert at it.
What about our own politicians?
We'll look at how to get the best
out of political negotiations.
All that in the next hour.
With us for the whole
of the programme today is the DUP's
deputy leader Nigel Dodds.
Welcome to the show.
First this morning, it appears
Theresa May has managed
to get her ministers
to agree on something.
it's concerning Brexit.
At a special Brexit Cabinet meeting
last night it was decided to offer
more money to the European Union
in order to break the
deadlock in the talks.
The proposal is conditional on the
negotiations moving onto trade.
Here is what David Davis said this
morning. It is clear in negotiating
rounds that we need to start talking
about future negotiation
The Northern Ireland
border cannot be fully addressed if
we don't take into account the
future partnership with the European
Union. The final resolution on
financial settlement depends on it
because nothing is agreed until
everything is agreed. It might be a
familiar phrase to some of you, and
the future of Europe requires a
satisfactory resolution to the
critical economic issues at stake
and we are ready to begin the
conversation about the future
partnership as soon as the European
Do you support the agreement to up
the offer of money to the EU to 40
billion to unlock the negotiations?
We've always supported the UK
Government meeting obligations and
commitments and we would like to see
it set out, the commitments that we
are legally obliged to pay, what are
the pensions arrangements and what
are the commitments in terms of the
budget. We don't believe in paying
for access to the single market.
Other countries like the US do, so
we don't see why we should. But this
is a negotiation. And as I
understand it no figure was
discussed in Cabinet so I await with
interest to see the way the
negotiation takes place.
you like to see upfront at this
stage? The government, David Davis,
have spoken about there being
concrete proposals from the EU, a
response before that money is given.
What conditions would you like to
I think we need a firm
assurance we will move to the next
phase of discussions on the trade
deal that needs to happen because
Northern Ireland, on the border
issue, and on the financial
settlement, as he said, and he's
quite right, nothing is agreed until
everything is agreed and we need to
see the whole package in the round.
Therefore the EU, and certainly the
Irish, if they are encouraging the
EU in this, they are doing
themselves a great disservice by
holding back talks on the trade
They say it is held back
because the UK Government has not
given on the divorce settlement. Do
you think the offer should be on the
table first before and taken on
faith that Michel Barnier will move?
The Prime Minister in the Florent
speech put an offer on the table and
clearly what is going on is a haggle
for money and that is what it comes
down to. Clearly Brussels would like
to use the leverage of moving the
trade deal to extract more money.
The government is right to take a
cautious approach. This is the
biggest card we have to play and the
EU will suffer a massive in the
budget going forward, and it would
be madness to commit a firm figure
upfront in terms of the final deal
at this stage.
Are you happy to see
a continued role for the European
Court of Justice during the
We are clear
that as long as it is an
implementation period with a fixed
date for a final withdrawal, and we
know it will happen in 2019 in
March, but this implementation
period, we take the view that
whatever happens with the transition
is a matter for negotiation and we
will judge it and we are not
doctrinally on the issue, as long,
at the end of the day, after a
defined period, we are free in terms
of making our own laws, controlling
borders and money. Those are the key
issues for us.
Would you entertain
the idea of the ECJ continuing in
some role, overseeing the rights of
EU citizens in the UK beyond
I think that is a
difficult one. I think we have voted
to leave the EU and the jurisdiction
of European law. To continue to have
a role for the European Court of
Justice in setting laws or rules
about immigration, or whatever it
might be, would be contrary to the
expressed view of the people in the
Is it a red line for
you? We are careful when it comes to
negotiations when it comes to read
All of it needs to be looked
at in the round in terms of the
overall package but we are clear
that one of the objectives should
clearly be getting rid of the
European jurisdiction of the bodies
there, including the European Court
of Justice intervention in the
affairs of the UK.
It was decided
that it was part of getting a good
trade deal, would you not do it?
Let's see the outcome.
Is this an
ideal time, bearing in mind what is
happening in Germany and Angela
Merkel's failure to create a
coalition government, is this an
ideal time to exploit German
political weaknesses and withhold
any more money?
I think it is
interesting what is going on because
Germany is in an unprecedented
position. But I think Angela Merkel
is the Chancellor and she will give
direction to Germany's input into
the talks and in the relationship
with Michel Barnier and all the rest
of it. My view is that we need to be
sensible about this. I think talking
about exploiting Germany's weakness
on the helpful.
Could it work in the
favour of the UK?
We need to adopt a
sophisticated approach to this by
saying we are prepared to meet our
obligations and commitments in the
context of reciprocal guarantees,
whether or not Angela Merkel is
another minority position or a limbo
position in terms of transitioning
or whether she has a majority
coalition or not.
But is this an
opportunity for the UK, her
I am not sure that it
necessarily will be, because at the
end of the day Angela Merkel remains
Chancellor and in charge of the
Now it's time for our daily quiz.
Yesterday saw the decision
to relocate the European Medicines
Agency to Amsterdam -
after the European Banking Authority
was confirmed to be moving to Paris.
Both agencies will leave
London after Brexit.
But with stiff competition
between EU cities and several rounds
of voting, how was the deadlock
on the European Medicines Agency
Was it a coin toss?
A tug of war?
A game of rock-paper-scissors?
Or a game of five-a-side?
At the end of the show, Nigel
will give us the correct answer.
One of the big sticking points
in the Brexit negotiations
is the issue of what to do
with the border in Northern Ireland.
Currently there is an invisible
border between Ireland
and Northern Ireland.
The European Union has said
throughout negotiations there should
be no return to a 'hard
border' after Brexit.
And the UK Government agrees -
and has said it is also aiming
for a deal which will
avoid any physical
infrastructure at the border.
But the EU and Dublin doesn't see
how that can work as the UK has
committed to leaving the customs
union and the single market.
On Friday Irish Prime Minister,
Leo Varadkar demanded a written
commitment from the UK
that there would be no hard border
between the two countries,
before trade talks can begin.
And a recent European Commission
paper implied the only way a hard
border could be avoided
was for Northern Ireland to remain
inside, or as close to as possible,
the EU customs union
and single market.
This would take the border off
the island and place
it in the Irish Sea -
between the rest of the UK
and Northern Ireland.
The DUP, who support
the Conservative on key issues, say
a border between Northern Ireland
and the rest of the UK
is "just not acceptable".
And Brexit Secretary David Davis has
also rejected the proposals -
saying he wants to preserve
the constitutional and economic
integrity of the United Kingdom.
The UK Government and the DUP
want to keep the border where it is.
David Davis has suggested that
a new, undefined customs arrangement
using technology such as trusted
trade schemes to create
a 'light-touch' border,
will avoid a hard border.
Joining me now is the
Shadow Northern Ireland
Secretary Owen Smith.
You said Northern Ireland could
remain part of the EU so should it
be in the sea?
I agree with Brussels
right now that the only way I can
see us is practically avoiding the
problem of the hardboard are coming
back in Northern Ireland, between
Northern Ireland and the Republic,
and we concede that would be very
damaging to the very difficult and
hard-won peace process we have in
Do you accept it
is a solution?
It is if you want to
separate Northern Ireland from the
rest of the UK and you think damage
to the economy of Northern Ireland,
and you believe in a project about
following the EU position on the
customs union. The reality is, and
if you talk to some of the leading
remain people in Northern Ireland on
the business front, the people who
run the ports, yes, we want to stay
in the European Union, but now we
are leaving, to create a border
between Northern Ireland and the
rest of the UK where three quarters
of our trade is with the United
Kingdom would be madness. Never mind
the political consequences. If you
care about business, jobs and
investment, you will do nothing
which cuts Northern Ireland off,
between the UK and the rest of the
When the UK Government say they
are not prepared to discuss the
economic and constitutional
integrity of the UK, what you say to
I don't think it will
challenge the constitutional
integrity as Northern Ireland will
remain part of the UK. I completely
agree that nothing can change that
it is by consent from the people of
Ireland and Northern Ireland.
about the economic argument?
we are talking about the least worst
option. In either regard we will end
up doing economic damage to Northern
Ireland. That is my view on where
this is likely to lead. The question
is, which damage trumps which. My
view is that the principal danger we
face is reintroducing a hard border
between North and South, with all of
the political problems I think that
will potentially give rise to and
that has to be avoided above all
else. That is my view and the view
of many people.
It seems that the
political considerations are above
the economic considerations. In my
view both of them are important, but
the economic one, whether you are
nationalist or unionist, people want
to ensure that you have a good
future and there is good trade. To
cut yourself off and create
differences and barriers between
trade of your biggest traders, that
is economic vandalism. In terms of
the political side of it, the
British government in its August
paper on Ireland and the border put
forward practical solutions. Radical
solutions which ended Kenny was
working on and when Leo Varadkar, he
stopped the work on the practical
solutions, when he came in. He wants
to keep the whole of the UK in the
customs union, and I understand that
that is good for the Republic of
Ireland but that isn't going to
How difficult do you think
the Irish government is being on
this? When I interviewed one of the
MEPs, she said it would be
traumatising for Ireland if there is
anything that destroys that
relationship between Northern
Ireland and Ireland and she says
that is what you are doing.
the Irish Republic who decided to
break with sterling, that parity we
had, and the Irish government
decided to create that union and
create barriers between the South
and Northern Ireland in terms of
currency and they're all sorts of
differences. Our view is that we
need to work together. The Irish are
in grave danger of doing damage
their own industry and the Irish
farmers Association came out to
criticise Leo Varadkar, saying that
what you'll end up doing is that the
EE you and Ireland, creating that
hard border, cutting us off from the
But the farmers also said
there should not be a hard border on
the island. They've united with the
trade and business leaders.
are not the ones putting it up
We have to make sure we have
a practical to solution taking it
forward. David Davis brought forward
sums solutions and then rode
backwards and said we could not have
a technical fix.
Let's talk about
the practicalities. There is an
issue because there are so many
people, Wise heads, who say that
technological solutions will do it
but they say that won't work and
there has to be a way of checking
customs and goods and having
regulatory equivalents, and the
easiest way in the eyes of the EU
would be to keep Northern Ireland in
the customs union. What is your
solution if technology is not going
to cure all, what else is there?
Let's be careful.
David Davis wrote
back on the issue that was about a
new preferred customs arrangement
and said there were difficulties but
on the technology side, go to Sweden
and Norway. They are inside the
single market, but outside the
customs union. Go to Switzerland,
evidence given by the authorities
and there are technological
solutions, so the idea it cannot
work is wrong. If we get a free
trade deal and move on to the second
phase and get a tower if free deal,
we will not have to worry so much
about this. Bowen, I hope and his
MEPs in Brussels. Voting against
moving to the second stage of talks
and actually get on and support the
British Government's view it is
necessary because until we get to
the second stage we cannot get to a
Have you got Brussels'
backing for the idea of Northern
Ireland remaining part of the EU?
have not asked for it. What I am
trying to point out is there has to
be a practical solution that avoids
a hard border on the island of
Ireland. Northern Ireland remains as
close to part of the customs union
as is possible and I don't think
that damages the constitutional
integrity of the UK nor offers put
-- political advantage to Brussels.
Then simply transfer to the border
of Northern Ireland and the UK...
we were to end up with a border down
the Irish Sea, how difficult would
It went. The government has
been clear and we are clear because
both politically and economically,
it would be catastrophic. It would
be catastrophic economic theory
because businesses, trade with the
What assurances have you had
from the government? Would it be so
important that you would be prepared
to pull out of the confidence and
It would be gravely
destabilising to the government and
they know that but secondly it would
be gravely destabilising to Northern
Ireland. Barry is going into words
because market would be disastrous.
From the political point of view it
will not happen.
As you said early
in our discussion politics in a
negotiation is important and the
government said it was not prepared
to move further than the Florence
speech amount of money and it has
moved and there could be a situation
where they say they will seek some
sort of regulatory equivalence for
Northern Ireland and Ireland and if
that happened, would you pull out of
This is the Lee
Varadkar idea that you do not stay
in the customs union and single
market but mirror everything. Which
would lead to greater difference and
it would be Northern Ireland economy
and the rest of the UK and that is
not acceptable and the government
know it would be a red line for the
If Brexit talks collapsed as a
result of what some critics might
say would be your intransigence,
there could be another general
Is that something you
would like to see? We are committed
to supporting the government in its
main objectives of achieving Brexit
and the security and stability the
country needs and I am confident the
government will get to that.
not think the pressure you will
exert to make sure the government
sticks to what it has promised in
terms of Northern Ireland would not
collapse? A general election could
bring an alternative government.
do not have to exert pressure on
There is not going to be any
move towards what you're suggesting
as a result.
We do not know that
because we are in fluid negotiations
and I agree with Nigel, we need to
move to the next stage and I hope we
will make progress, because it has
been disastrously slow. Nigel
revealed, he used the word
intransigence, but he is revealing
it is politics driving his position.
I have pointed out the economic. Leo
Varadkar offered a simple and
practical way in which we could
solve problems but the DUP are not
prepared... They feel it changes the
nature of Northern Ireland within
You have yet to address
and you have not answered the
central point, what do you do about
most of the trade going to the UK?
You would want to create a barrier
in terms of customs differences and
regulation tariffs between Northern
Ireland where most of the trade goes
to the UK. You do not even want to
Let him address it.
Millions of pieces of trade occur
between Ireland north and south and
the huge Mac goes from the south
through the North into GB and huge
amounts of trade goes from within
the UK between Northern Ireland and
GB and that is true. Whatever way
around we solve the problem we
aren't going to see in my view a
lessening of the economic
performance of Northern Ireland,
indeed of the UK and that is the
reality. We have to get right the
perspective on Northern Ireland, not
returning to a problem with a border
dividing the island that gave rise
to conflict in Northern Ireland. The
answer is the politics has to trump
the economics because the danger in
Northern Ireland is so great. The
politics and a political solution
have to come first.
Why do you see
the DUP as the block in this, isn't
it the government to hold the same
position, or are you say they are
blocking the government moving on?
am not sure they hold the same
position. I think you can get a
large bit of paper between what they
have said and what Nigel has said
and we do not yet know where the
government are going to land on this
and it may there is a compromise to
be found that is unique, special
status for Northern Ireland
reflecting the unique nature of the
Good Friday Agreement.
result in the DUP pulling support?
That is not our concern, that is for
the DUP and government to worry
about. My concern is maintaining the
cost Jewish and integrity of the UK
and making sure Northern Ireland and
the Republic do not a hard border.
Arlene Foster accuse the government
of using the issue is blackmail in
the Brexit negotiations. Why should
the Irish public not comment?
no problem on the Irish government
standing up for its own position and
national interests. What I have
problems with is people who
represent the UK and UK parties,
they back the Irish against the
interests of their own people. So
that the Irish can have free access
to Northern Ireland. Let's create a
barrier between Northern Ireland and
the rest of the UK...
Ireland voted to remain.
referendum. As did London and as did
other regions of the United Kingdom.
The United Kingdom is one country.
Representing the people in the way
you expressed you could say you are
out of step with the views in
I could point to
constituencies in Northern Ireland
that voted to leave. We could all
drill down into micro-areas and
regions. This was a UK national
referendum and as we joined the EU
we will leave together and there is
talk about the DUP and government,
we are on the same page and the
Prime Minister made clear today and
David Davis has spelt it out and
James Brokenshire in Brussels made a
strong speech because they recognise
that it would do such economic
damage to Northern Ireland it would
What did you think
when the Labour Party front bench
walked through the lobby with the
Tories yesterday in voting down a
bid to keep Britain in the single
market and customs union?
I was back
in my constituency on business but
my understanding is it was a one
line whip and a couple of members of
Labour Party front bench walking
through the lobbies. The important
Not our Brexit Secretary.
John McDonnell and Jeremy Corbyn. My
view is we should be in the customs
union for the transitional period
and that Northern Ireland should be
in the customs union or something
akin to it and I would have been
tempted to vote for the amendment
had I been there but as I understand
it I would be free to do that.
it a betrayal by the front bench to
go through the lobby with the
I do not think so but people
have different views in different
parties and that was reflected in
last night's vote.
So, today, we're covering
sorting out Brexit and
the Northern Ireland Assembly,
both tough jobs but spare a thought
for someone with another tricky one.
Richard Leonard was elected leader
of the Scottish Labour
party over the weekend,
and squeezed between Nicola
Sturgeon's SNP and a resurgent
Scottish Conservative Party under
Ruth Davidson, he has quite a task
to turn his party's fortunes around.
Just to make life harder for himself
he's now admitted he would support
England over Scotland in football
or rugby, he clearly
doesn't like an easy life.
And I'm pleased to
say Richard Leonard
joins me now from Edinburgh.
Welcome. To win big in Scotland you
need to win back Labour's old
heartlands in Glasgow and
Lanarkshire. How does a privately
educated England supporter do that?
My response was to a question in
which I thought it was right to give
an honest answer and so it may not
be popular in all circles but I
thought it was the right thing to
do. The reason why I have been
elected as leader of the Scottish
Labour Party is because I stood on a
radical programme calling for an
extension of public ownership and
ends to austerity and a
redistribution not just of wealth
but power. Those were traditional
Labour messages perhaps, and once
that which have their roots in a
manifesto which we fought the
general election and people are
turning to the Labour Party in
Scotland more as a party that
represents the hope of a different
future so it is a positive,
optimistic Labour Party in Scotland
we are building.
Use say the
Scottish Labour Party will be a
movement for socialism. Are you
Jeremy Corbyn's man north of the
I am a bit the tooth to be a
Corbynista. We have both been in the
party a long time and I have been in
the party 35 years and I have
largely stuck to my views and
principles and that has meant
occasionally I have been a bit off
message and maybe out of fashion
occasionally, but I have been
consistent and that lends
credibility in articulating this
radical Socialist democratic renewal
of Scotland, which I am looking for.
That is in line with what Jeremy
Corbyn is doing broadly. Would you
be prepared to challenge the Labour
leadership and policies put forward
in London to set your own individual
It is not so much an
individual agenda. It is a Scottish
Labour Party agenda and I have been
clear the mandate I got at the
weekend was from the membership of
the Scottish Labour Party and it is
to those members I will be
accountable, not beholden to any
individual in the Labour Party
previously and I will not start now.
There have been differences for a
while in the prospectus offered by
the Scottish Labour Party rather
than at UK level on things like
taxation where we have argued there
needs to be a more progressive
approach using powers of the
Scottish Parliament to combat
How does that differ from
what the SNP are probably going to
do? They have hinted at tax rises.
There will not be that much to
distinguish you and at the moment
you are behind, both the Tories and
The distinction is this, the
SNP has been empowered the last ten
years and during that time they have
instituted a council tax freeze and
almost done nothing to change income
tax rates and bands and there is now
an opportunity to build a consensus
in the Scottish Parliament for more
progressive approach of I hope they
will come along with other parties
including the Labour Party to
promote that agenda. The distinction
is this, the Scottish Parliament has
extensive powers, many of which the
SNP has not used in ten years in
They may be about to do so,
which would blunt your attempt to
try to grab the initiative. Unity is
important in a party. The public do
not like this within politics and
you will be the fourth leader of the
Scottish Labour Party in three years
of most of your colleagues voted for
your rival in the recent leadership
contest and your predecessor said
there were internal problems within
Labour, plotting and bullying. How
will you unite the Scottish Labour
I will unite the party
because I have a mandate not just
from the trade union section but
grassroots membership and I have a
majority and have had a majority of
members of the Parliamentary Labour
Party from Scotland supporting me. I
will reach out to all parts of the
party, Parliamentary, local
government, activists, trade
unionists, and build a unity, but it
will not be a hollow call for unity
but a unity of purpose and that is
about building that movement for
real change because after 20 years
of devolution and ten years of the
SNP in power, people are hungry for
radical change and are increasingly
turning to the Scottish Labour Party
to be the vehicle for realising
Are you going to
suspend Kezia Dugdale for taking
part in I'm A Celebrity without
The group is about to
meet in Holyrood in the next half
hour and there will be a discussion
at that meeting about our course of
action on that. I have said already
that I do not support hasty calls
for Kezia Dugdale's suspension but
it will be a decision taken
So you will be bound by the decision
if they decide she should be
I will be bound by the
decision the group takes,
Nigel Dodds has been a busy man,
this morning he was at Number 10
discussing the restoration
of the Northern Ireland power
The Northern Ireland government
collapsed after the then Deputy
First Minister Martin McGuinness
resigned over First Minister
Arlene Foster's role
in a heating subsidy scheme.
There is now talk of direct rule
from London and last week
Northern Ireland's budget had to go
through the UK Parliament
because there was a risk public
services in Northern Ireland
could run out of money.
Sinn Fein also met the Prime
Minister this morning,
and speaking after the
meetings Mrs May said
She is determined to see the
inaugural Ivan government back in
action. I've said that the
determination of the government is
there to make sure we see the
re-establishment of the fully
functioning, inclusive devolved
administration that works for
everybody in Northern Ireland. I
have almost -- always said our
steadfast support for the Belfast
and its successive agreements and
the leadership of the DUP and Sinn
Fein have committed to seeing
Stormont back up and running.
We can get more on this
with Northern Ireland political
correspondent Gareth Gordon.
Were there any signs of progress
made this morning in your view?
so often with the Northern Ireland
peace process it is one step
forward, three steps back. Not that
we've really had a step forward, but
the interesting thing out of the
Theresa May interview which I
carried at view minutes ago was that
she said she wanted to see talks
between Sinn Fein and the DUP resume
next week and that came as something
of a surprise to us because Sinn
Fein last week said they believed
the current phase of the talks
process was over and there had
essentially been four phases which
yielded very little, if anything and
Sinn Fein said they were prepared to
go into a phase on the same basis.
The DUP say like they are happy to
go into talks any time anywhere but
I simply cannot get an answer out of
Sinn Fein yet as to whether or not
they would be prepared to go back to
talks as soon as next week but I
would be surprised, as we speak, if
that was the case. Theresa May also
said she thought that the issues
that divided the party were quite
narrow, although she was aware of
the challenges. A new challenge
might have emerged this morning
because Arlene Foster and Nigel
Dodds came out of the meeting and
criticise what they called the
glorification of terrorism at the
weekend Sinn Fein annual conference.
The one where Gerry Adams said he
would stand down as Sinn Fein
president in the near future. They
said that that would make, if
anything, a deal to restore
devolution even more difficult.
Nigel Dodds said things like that
had to stop. Gerry Adams, when it
was put to him, when he came out, he
said he had not seen the
glorification of anybody at the Sinn
Fein conference but what he had seen
was a respectful, comradely
acknowledgement of the role of
Martin McGuinness. He refuted the
use of the word terrorism and said
that was pejorative. Whether that is
a storm in a teacup or a more
serious issue, we have Tousiq, but
it does point out the difficulty of
getting a deal between these two
parties. -- we have two C.
pick up, because Theresa May said
they want talks between you and the
DUP to resume next week.
Will you do
that? We've made it clear to Theresa
May today that Sinn Fein will
reflect not just on reflects --
events of the last few days and
today's discussion but the progress
of the talks over the last ten
months. We want a deal we want to be
able to talk but there's no point in
having endless talks for months or
months with no rhyme or reason or
meaning behind them this is a simple
solution, for Theresa May to stand
up and ensure that rights are
delivered to people in Belfast like
they are in London and Liverpool.
But can you give us a straight
answer as to whether you will meet
the DUP next week as the Prime
Minister has said you should all
stop I've given you a straight
We will reflect as a party
on the progress of the talks and the
discussion today, the frank and
robust discussion that the Sinn Fein
leadership had with Theresa May. We
are open to talks on all sorts of
matters, but let me be clear again
that we do not want to have endless
talks for months and months. The
public need confidence in the
process thus far it has not been
We are getting closer to a
state of direct rule. Just last
week, the budget passed ball
Northern Ireland by Westminster. Ie
You really going to hold up
power-sharing over an issue like the
Irish language act?
It is not Sinn
Fein holding up power-sharing.
DUP said they would do it any time,
anyplace, anywhere. Like the Martini
The DUP needs to stand up, and
as I said before my first answer,
deliver rights to all of the people
across these islands. It is
absolutely not sustainable that
people in the north of Ireland do
not have the same rights as they do
in places like London, Liverpool,
Edinburgh and Dublin. It is not
sustainable going forward. To
suggest that Sinn Fein is holding up
power-sharing is not an accurate
So how do you envisage this
ending in anything other than direct
Theresa May publicly
said today that she is committed to
the previous agreements.
And you are
talking about the agreement to
introduce an Irish language act?
are talking about the agreement
about protection for the Irish
language that was made. We have
issues around marriage equality, and
is DUP and Tory access has been
regressive for politics in the area
of Northern Ireland. We are talking
about rights being held up by a
group of religious zealots that
block progress in society. People
are simply not content to move
forward like this and that is the
expression Sinn Fein has given to
Except you could argue
that that access you say is
regressive has delivered 50 million
extra pounds to health and education
across Northern Ireland. Is that
something to be celebrated?
additional funds into our resources
are to be welcomed but it has to be
put on record that the Tories since
2010 have gutted our public
expenditure, so to suggest that
being given money is good, you have
to look at the whole picture.
accept that the SDLP leader Colin
Eastwood says it would be poor
negotiating if Northern Ireland ends
up with direct rule. He's not wrong,
The Irish government and Sinn
Fein have also given the agreements
were previously reached that direct
rule is unacceptable. Direct rule is
not a consequence of the negotiating
position. We are talking about
rights that have been demanded by
White sections of the community and
it's the Tories and DUP who are
blocking rights that people have in
Liverpool, Edinburgh, Dublin and
London, but people in Belfast or
not. That's not sustainable going
What you say about the
criticism on the glorification of
terrorism conference recently making
the deal more difficult?
I was at
the conference and I did not
recognise this at all. I think it is
important to remember that we are
only a few weeks pass Remembrance
Sunday here where MPs of all
persuasions stood in remembrance of
those in the British Armed Forces,
so it would be hypocritical to
suggest that MPs and political
parties can do that, and Irish
people cannot stand with the same
remembrance and dignity and respect
for their dead as well. I think a
little bit of common sense needs to
be brought in.
Chris, thank you very
much. Nigel Dodds, you were shaking
I think the public will
have heard Chris Hazard of Sinn Fein
make an equivalence between the dead
who served in the police services
and the armies in world Wars to
secure liberal freedom to be equated
with IRA terrorists. There is no
equivalence between those two groups
of people. It really saddens me to
hear people in 2017 talk like that.
And that is one of the problems.
Chris is talking about not seeing
any glorification of terrorism at
the conference but there was video
played where the new MP for foil and
others stood up and praised Martin
McGuinness's role in the IRA and
said the rebels and it got the
biggest cheer of the weekend. This
denial. Gerry Adams said he resented
the term terrorism. You talk about
But they have a right to
have the same rights as expressed
there. Your party signed up to the
St Andrews agreement and it
contains, in black and white, a
provision for the introduction of an
Irish language act, so why don't you
honour the commitment?
First of all,
the rights he talks about are for
the Northern Ireland assembly and we
do not have any veto, so get the
assembly running and we can get them
up and running. In terms of the
Irish language act, that was a
commitment by the British
government, not by us. We played no
role in that commitment. That is for
the British government of the day,
Tony Blair, Peter Hain, to answer
for their commitments.
So you are
not going to one that? You don't
support the idea of an Irish
language act? So you are blocking as
a totemic issue, preventing
We offered a way
forward which was illegal and
balanced approach. There are two
communities and cultures in the
Irish community, and we have said
that on cultural issues, identity
issues there needs to be parity
legislation for both. Sinn Fein want
a one-sided agreement come and that
is not fair.
But they were promised
it. You say it was a side issue and
you weren't involved, so they were
promised it, so can you see why it's
an important issue?
I can see why
they feel they were outmanoeuvred
and out negotiated by Tony Blair and
those men of the day, but that is
their problem. We have entered into
agreements in things with them that
we have honoured. Sinn Fein never
raised the issue of the Irish
language with us. They never put it
into the draft programme of
government. This has emerged as an
issue. Some of us believe this as a
fundamental point that Sinn Fein,
and you heard him equivocating about
getting back into talks but he
wouldn't give a guarantee.
he says there have been talks about
talks and you have not moved and
that is because, he will say,
perhaps there is a feeling on the
DUP side that you are happy to go to
We want devolution and
think it is in the best way forward.
I've been in a devolved government.
Would you be happy with direct rule?
But you wouldn't be unhappy?
think it's not the best option but
it's interesting to hear Chris
saying the government should
implement their agreements in terms
of the Irish language, which is
direct rule, but he says that is
unacceptable. They all over the
place. But what is happening in Sinn
Fein is they have their eyes on the
southern election in the Irish
Republic and people in the
leadership simply want to sit out
Brexit and sit out difficult
decisions at Store Montt and keep
the devolved institutions down until
they get the Irish election out of
way -- Stormont.
Do you accept the
deal with the Conservative Party,
the confidence and supply agreement
has yielded extra money and he
accepted that, but has also been to
the detriment when it comes to
power-sharing, to getting the two
sides back together? He called the
axis regressive. I forget his exact
words but pandering to religious
zealots. What do you say to that?
is nonsense. The deal we have done
to the Conservative Party is about
getting infrastructure, health and
education spending for all
communities in Northern Ireland.
Money that will help mental health
and deprived communities.
are signing up to the Conservative
cuts that Chris was talking about?
No we are not. When you get £1.5
billion to stop senior citizens
having the benefit cuts and ensuring
pay cap is lifted for nurses and
make sure there is movement on
tuition fees, that's not an agenda
for austerity. That's an agenda that
shows the DUP is delivering not only
from Northern Ireland but the nation
Just finally, it is true if
Jeremy Corbyn was in number ten you
would find it rather more urgent to
get back to Stormont?
devolution now. We wanted to happen
now. We not the ones up barriers.
But a different leader in Number ten
would focus your mind?
focusing on what will happen in what
is going to happen in the next few
years, and we are confident that
prospect will not arise.
Productivity, or more
precisely the lack of it,
is one of the great problems
of the British economy
at the moment.
The amount of stuff that the UK
can produce per person,
per hour has been stagnant
for sometime, and is particularly
poor compared to our international
competitors like Germany and the US.
So what's holding us back?
Emma Vardy's been taking a look.
It's called the productivity gap.
If you measure how much each
employee makes over a period
of time, it takes a German worker
four days to produce what a British
worker makes in five.
And it's been puzzling economists
and politicians for years.
Productivity is the most important
thing in the economy.
Productivity is why we are rich
and some places are poor and it's
why we're rich now and in the past
people used to starve to death.
Over the last 200 years productivity
has grown about 2% a year and it's
just stopped over the last ten years
and we don't really know why.
Think of Britain like
a giant car-wash business.
Broadly speaking, productivity
is often higher when industries
use machinery to make
jobs more efficient.
But where companies opt instead
for a greater use of people power,
and efficiency is reduced,
productivity will be lower.
There are ways to increase
productivity, such as investing
in new equipment, or adopting
new processes so workers can improve
the speed and quality
of what they're doing.
Economists believe Britain's poor
productivity could in part be down
to the supply of cheap Labour.
Because, in uncertain times,
employers are choosing cheap
and disposable man-hours over
the capital cost of new equipment.
And there is a huge
on where you are in the country.
If you look at the greater
south-east, it's 44% more productive
than the rest of the UK,
so quite a substantive.
And when you get into our cities,
places like Slough and London
are nearly twice as productive
as places like
Doncaster and Swansea.
East London is the UK's
most productive area,
partly down to high productivity
rates from banks in the city.
For me, the biggest
problem is housing.
People can earn a lot more
and produce a lot more doing
the same job in a more high-growth
area, whether that is a Uber driver,
plumber, a small business,
or a solicitor even.
But the high rents in places
like London, Oxford,
and other places people
want to move to are dissuading
them from increasing
their own productivity.
Solving the productivity gap
in the UK won't be easy.
And could face another setback
if trade is disrupted after Brexit.
Experts say there is no single
solution, but a whole range
of things we need to address
simultaneously, if we want to see
the amount of stuff we produce
per person per day,
per year, go watch.
It's not so much the policies that
we've got, whether it is R&D
and innovation, or transport
or housing and skills.
What really matters is how we bring
those together and that's why
I think we need to see our cities
as the platform, the means
by which we can bring more
of these things together.
That's why thinking about things
such as Metro Mayors has been
an important element
of the industrial strategy
and productivity response.
It is the mix and the magic,
by bringing those things together,
that actually will get some
of the benefits we desire.
It is sort of a perfect
storm hitting now.
It is one of the reasons why
politics feels quite
nasty at the moment,
because when you have
everyone's getting richer,
there's lots of things
to spread around.
When you haven't got
wages aren't going up and there's
a lot of people at
each other's throats.
Over the long-term,
economists expect productivity
to eventually recover.
But it's a question of how long
we'll have to wait for that.
Watching that was TUC
General Secretary Francis O'Grady
and Tej Parikh who's a senior
economist at the Institute
Welcome. Productivity, 22% less than
the US and 23% weaker than in France
and 26% less than the Germans, can
it get worse?
There is a number of
things to look at with this puzzle,
a tendency to simplify it down to a
set of specific solutions. We need a
ballistic and long-term approach
when we look at productivity.
afford that? We have had low levels
for some time.
There are ways to
boost productivity. In our
consultation we are looking at ways
to boost investment in the private
sector and one way to do that is to
raise the investment allowance for
firms to replace Plant and key types
Why are your members not
investing now? Is it not their fault
there has been a lack of investment
over recent years? You could say
workers are lazy, but isn't it down
to poor management and lack of
Management is an issue
and businesses need to look at
organisational structure in trying
to boost Labour efficiency and wider
productivity but it is looking at
wider economic environment. There is
a high level of economic uncertainty
at the moment which makes it
difficult for businesses to plan
ahead and that means it is harder to
invest in technology and people.
What needs to be done is to provide
greater certainty and also support
France is more
efficient in production but the
trade-off is it employs few of them
and their unemployment rate is 9.6%
compared to 4.3% of the UK. Is it a
trade-off worth making?
It is not
the trade-off you need to make. The
three problems for the UK, that have
run years before Brexit, but Brexit
is creating more uncertainty,
long-running problem of
underinvestment public and private,
in the bottom three alongside
Portugal and Greece and secondly
Labour is too cheap and we would
like to see the minimum wage closer
to the London living wage of £10 20
an hour. And we have not had an
industrial policy to create the
well-paid jobs, particularly in
export industries that could help
the balance of trade but also put
money in pockets to spend.
you say about increasing wages?
is a chicken and egg problem cars to
increase wages, businesses need to
boost productivity in order to give
themselves a capacity to do so and
we need to be careful that trying to
intervene in the market and raise
wages might have a counter effect
where businesses are not able to
support a workforce. In fact, one
third of members said if their
revenues were squeezed, they might
have to consider reducing headcount.
So there is a trade-off.
We are seeing record profits. There
is perhaps a bigger question about
corporate governance and why they
are not investing in new plant but
also people'swage packets.
UK afford pay rises to public sector
and private sector before
productivity goes up?
afford not to. We produced a report,
the TUC, showing almost 50 billion
has been sucked out of the English
economy by the public sector pay cap
alone, money not being spent in
shops and local businesses and it is
not encouraging private employers to
start investing in skills as well as
Why is productivity worse
in Northern Ireland?
Nerve it -- it
is the worst performing region and
something we recognise and we are
working on strategy. Traditionally
Northern Ireland has had a lot of
people working in agriculture,
retail, manufacturer of food and so
on and textiles, which has also been
labour-intensive, so there is an
issue investing public key, which is
what our package was about,
infrastructure, skills, but
companies you are right should be
doing that. In terms of Northern
Ireland, investment in
infrastructure is key.
with Frances O'Grady on this broadly
rather than the government?
a balanced approach. In Northern
Ireland we take the best of all the
arguments. We will put forward the
best of the arguments available.
Would you like to see the Chancellor
increase wages for other parts of
the public sector other than police
and prison service?
I do not think the Chancellor will
increase pay but he could relax
restrictions in terms of the pay
cap. I think Matt is right. We made
that clear in terms of nurses and
public sector pay generally. The
policy has gone on long enough and
too long and I hope we see movement.
What if he does not give departments
extra cash to do it, there must be
There are ways the
government can manage this and he
has extended the deadline for
reducing the deficit and we will see
what he does on that.
Do you think
it is the right way to go? Even if
austerity is not over in that sense
he relaxes deficit targets and put
some sort of resource behind
allowing their to be more money for
Members are for
fiscal responsibility and we know
the Chancellor has committed to
specific fiscal rules and it is
important for businesses that there
is a semblance of policy continuity
to allow businesses and investors to
anchor expectations around. There is
no doubt with Brexit and potential
consequences, there may be need to
set aside money to support the
Do you think it would be
more important if there were to be
something that might hamper the
economy while the Brexit
negotiations are going on, keep the
fiscal rules, put money aside for
that, before giving the green light
to more pay rises?
It is clear
austerity policies have not
delivered higher productivity and
investment and on the contrary, we
need to invest in public
infrastructure including services to
get Britain match fit. What do you
want to see? We have one in seven
workers in the public sector
skipping meals. They have had seven
years of pay cap and they need a
real pay rise. It has to be fully
funded. Nurses do not want to see
porters and cleaners going without
to fund their pay increase. It is a
team, a family, and I hope the
Chancellor will do the right thing.
Well tomorrow instead
of your usual Daily Politics
Andrew Neil will host a
special budget programme
bringing you all the top
analysis and reaction
to Philip Hammond's statement.
That's on BBC Two
starting at 11.30.
Time now to find out
the answer to our quiz.
The question was how did EU
countries break the voting deadlock
over which city would get to host
the European Medicines
Agency after Brexit?
A coin toss?
A tug of war?
A game of rock-paper-scissors?
Or a game of five-a-side?
So Nigel, what's the correct answer?
I think the correct answer was a
toss of the coin, but I would have
loved to have seen any of those
scenarios. It is a good argument for
Doing Rock, paper
scissors. It was a coin toss with
Amsterdam beating Milan after three
rounds of voting and a coin toss.
The old ways are sometimes the best.
My guest of the day
Nigel Dodds has plenty
of experience in negotations,
and many felt the DUP managed to get
a particularly good deal
with the Conservatives
when they agreed to help them stay
in government earlier this year.
We can see the signing of the deal
in June. They are flanked by the DUP
leader Arlene Foster. And Theresa
May and Nigel Dodds and Damian
So what makes a good negiotator?
And are there rules that politicians
should follow in order
to get the best deal?
Sir Christopher Meyer was the former
Ambassdor to the United States
and was also Chair of the Press
complaints commission so he knows
a thing or two about delicate
diplomacy and he joins us now.
First role in getting a good deal?
No deal is better than a bad deal.
You to that? Absolutely and it has
nothing to do with Brexit
particularly. I have seen it work in
action. It is the other side of a
coin that says decide what your
bottom line is, stick to it and if
the other side try to push you below
it you walk out.
What if you cannot
get agreement on your side about the
bottom line? You will. In terms of
walking away, should the government
walk away now?
Would that be your
strategy? I would not walk away now,
I would be tempted to suspend my
participation if come a new offer
from Theresa May with a hint of more
money at the December European
Council, the EU 27 do not decide to
move to the next stage, at that
point I would say maybe it is not
worth it after all and we will go
back and think about this.
it should be a case of jumping
together when it comes to more money
and moving onto trade talks?
is a principle which the EU has
enshrined and that is, I'm sorry,
nothing is agreed until everything
is agreed. If that principle is
there, by definition we should move
forward in parallel talks on all the
different bits of it.
Do you think
the British Government have been
I do not think they
have, they were too quick to accept
the motion of the sequence
negotiation because that has
structured to enable PE you to win.
Thank you. Thank you -- enabled the
European Union to win.
That's all for today.
Thanks to our guests.
The one o'clock news is starting
over on BBC One now.
Jo Coburn is joined by the DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds to discuss power-sharing in Northern Ireland with Sinn Fein, and the impact on the Irish border of the ongoing Brexit negotiations.
Plus does the UK government need some lessons on how to negotiate?