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Hello and welcome to
the Daily Politics.
The Government's publishing
its industrial strategy today,
alongside an announcement that two
big pharmaceutical firms are to
invest more than £1
billion in the UK.
Will it be enough to turn around
the UK's sluggish growth prospects?
We will look at the political
reaction to the other big news - as
it is announced that Prince Harry is
to marry the actress, Meghan Markle.
New Defence Secretary Gavin
Williamson will answer
questions from MPs for the first
time this afternoon,
amid reports he's facing a growing
Tory rebellion over cuts
to the Armed Forces.
Some Labour MPs aren't happy
at being asked to sign what's
being a called a 'loyalty test'
by the Jeremy Cobyn-supporting
Is this part of a sinister
plot, or an innocent way
to hold MPs to account?
And we'll be taking a look at what's
thought to be one of the most
photographed Christmas trees
in the world - it's travelled
hundreds of miles and it's just gone
up outside the Houses of Parliament.
All that in the next hour,
and with us for the whole
of the programme today two MPs
who've managed to take a short break
from planning their Royal
engagement parties -
it's Labour's Kate Hoey
and the Conservative Paul Masterson.
Welcome to the show both of you.
So, it's the announcement
an expectant nation has been
waiting for for months,
breathless with excitement.
No, not the Government's
industrial strategy -
although we'll be talking about that
in a moment - but the even more
between Prince Harry
and the American
actress Meghan Markle.
The party leaders have been
offering their congratulations,
the Prime Minister said on Twitter,
"I would like to offer my very
warmest congratulations to HRH
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle
upon their engagement.
And Jeremy Corbyn was asked about it
on a visit to Scotland.
First of all, my congratulations to
them. I wish them well. I hope they
have a great time and great fun
together. Having met Harry a couple
of times, I am sure they'll have a
great deal of fun together. What
about you? Are you planning to buy
your hat soon?
I am pleased the
engagement's happened because we
have all waited for this and it
takes up a lot of media interest. I,
like any couple getting engaged - it
is great. Cob gratlations to them.
-- congratulations to them. Prince
Harry has changed his image and done
so much. I was involved with the
Invictus Games and he really was so
good with athletes and I think this
will be welcomed by everyone. He, I
think Jeremy was pleased too,
because he's an Arsenal supporter
and Prince Harry is apparently an
You are telling
me a lot of things I don't know! I
what about the effect it will have
on the nation?
I think it will be a
nice, positive mood for poo emto
look forward to. When we look back
to William and Kate and my wife and
I made the trip from Scotland to sit
by the Mall. It is a nice, happy
occasion. There is a lot of doom and
gloom. It is something the nation
will be happy with.
I am sure
Theresa May will be happy too. He's
changed the tone of the Royal Family
- he and his brother talking openly
about the grief of losing their
mother. Has that changed the image
of the Royal Family?
and William have allowed people into
the Royal Family, see them growing
up, feel the Royal Family is more
I think they are
appealing to the younger generation,
which is something we needed to
happen to make sure. Because I am a
great royalist, you see. I want to
see the Royal Family be successful.
I think this is good.
Now to the other big news
of the day, if perhaps
if perhaps not quite as big -
it's the Government's long-awaited
Details of the plan,
which is designed to show how
Government funding and policy can
boost investment from private
firms, will be announced
in the Commons later today.
Alongside the launch,
two pharmaceutical firms have said
they will invest more
than £1 billion in the UK, creating
about 1,850 jobs.
The company MSD will support
a new research centre in London,
while German's Qiagen will develop
a genomics and diagnostics
campus in Manchester.
Here's Business Minister Greg Clark
welcoming the news.
Well, this is going to act on all of
the contributions to improving
productivity, so getting the best
research and development. We have
got the best kit across the country.
Making sure that we invest more in
skills that are needed in training,
transport connections. We need to
connect better our towns and cities
across the country. To make sure we
respect the fact that different
places need different things. And so
we are going to bring them all
together in a long-term plan that
can make sure that Britain takes
advantage of the opportunities of
the new industries of the future.
Simon, how much interest will there
be in this Government's industrial
strategy when we've had the
announcement of a royal engagement?
I wonder if there was a call to
number ten saying, I wonder if you
mind us to announce this today. He
thought he was up against the
volcano in Bali, now there's the
royal engagement. This document has
taken two years to putting to. Five
sectors, five levers the Government
can pull. The idiot's guide is this
- the Government chucks in money,
aligns some academic institutions
around it, puts money into skills
and crucially allows the sectors a
test-bed to twrie out their new
stuff. For life sense r sciences
that could mean early adoption of
new medicines for the NHS. For the
sector it could mean driverless
cars. Hey presto, public investment
ensues. They were looking at this as
the industrial strategy in action.
And basically it's been in the
pipeline for a while. It became all
the more urgent after we had that
assessment of Britain's economic
prospects from the Chancellor and
the OBR last week. They said this is
something we should do, anyway. It
is getting more urgent and with
Brexit around the corner it is
something the Government should get
involved in. You will remember
previous Tory Governments would have
run a mile using the words
industrial strategy, with all the
memories of failed Government
interventions. This Government is
unapologetic saying we can play a
role and get things going, with
Brexit around the corner the need is
as urgent as ever.
The figures of
productivity and growth will this be
transformative in reversing the
fortunes of the UK industry?
at the institute with the Secretary
of State today - this is a
productivity area. Most of the
country is not like that. The
challenge for the Government will be
to look at if areas of the economy
where people are more likely to
drive white vans than wear white
coats - hospitality, retail - they
are more difficult to get at. They
are the bits he has to refresh the
parts of the economy that this
industrial strategy might not reach.
The big banner... There'll be a
pipeline of announcements, which
will say, look it is all working,
just as we had with Nissan, if you
remember. He went to Nissan and
provided reassurances and got a big
amounted of investment there. Since
then, investment in car
manufacturing has gone down sharply.
It will be very interesting to see
if they can keep up the momentum of
this investment. Everyone thinks it
is welcome. Will it unhelp unlock
the pro-tuckive of the economy,
which is the lion's share of it?
Thank you. Is it little, too little,
a lot too late?
I don't think so.
Think I what this document does is
recognise the world is moving
quickly. As a country we need to
make sure we are at the forefront or
we will get left behind. It is a
clear plan for the Government to
invest in key sectors where we have
huge potential and make sure we are
at the forefront and pick up on the
productivity, growth and skills
issues, which were highlighted
Kate Hoey, Michael Heseltine,
a former minister said the best way
is by stopping Brexit?
expect someone like Michael
Heseltine to say exactly that. I
think what he should be saying today
is, brilliant, we are seeing a
large, two large pharmaceutical
companies really investing huge
amounts of money in this country at
a time when people like him are
saying no-one wants to invest. I
mean, it's an industrial strategy,
we've had them before. It is what
happens on the ground, but the new
technology and money going into
making sure we are keeping up with
the rest of the world and being
ahead of the rest of the world is
We are not ahead in terms
of productivity and slower growth.
In terms of investing is really
important. The key thing for me and
I was worried last week when I heard
the figures on apprenticeships
because it has not gone up, it has
gone down. It is crucial. It has to
be a key part of any industrial
The industrial strategy
will be influenced by Brexit,
clearly since that is the biggest
decision that the Government is
grappling with. Again, I ask you,
what do you say to Michael Heseltine
saying the best way to promote
industrial strategy and reverse
slower growth and downgraded
productivity figures is to stop
That is over dramatic.
Brexit changes Britain's place in
the world and we need to decide what
sort of country we want to be post
Brexit. Do we want to be dynamic, at
the forefront, able to attract the
best and brightest from the world or
will we meander through? The
strategy is a clear strategy for the
Government in saying, yes, Brexit
changes things, but we will utilise
what opportunities there are from
Do you think it is difficult
for companies to decide whether to
invest and when to invest when they
say they don't know the shape of
From the north of the border
we saw the run up in the border
referendum and it did place a hinder
rens on investment decisions. It is
wise we move to this next round of
talks getting clarity.
Now it's time for our Daily Quiz.
And as today is apparently one
of the busiest shopping
days before Christmas,
we might be able to help
because the questions
is, which party leader
has been immortalised,
if that's the right word,
with their own annual?
The perfect stocking filler
for someone you don't
Is it, A.
At the end of the show Paul and Kate
will give us the correct answer.
Let's turn to Brexit, as there's
been plenty of discussion over the
weekend about the future of the
Irish border and how that affects
the negotiations in Brussels.
Theresa May has made
clear her desire to move
onto trade talks with the EU
at the December summit.
But, the EU won't move
on until "real progress" has been
made on the Irish border issue -
and have set a deadline
of 4th December.
and have set a deadline
As a continuing EU member
state, Ireland has a veto
on whether the EU-UK talks can
progress on to trade.
And Leo Varadkar,
the Irish Prime Minister -
wants a written guarantee
that there will be no hard border
between Ireland and Northern
But International Trade Secretary
Liam Fox said this weekend that
a final decision on the future
of the border between
Northern Ireland and the Republic
can not be decided until the UK
knows what sort of trade deal it
will have with the EU.
The two governments also disagree
over what a future trading
relationship between Ireland
and the UK should look like.
Irish European commissioner
Phil Hogan told the Observer
that it was "a very simple
fact" that remaining
in the single market -
or allowing Northern Ireland to do
so, would end the stand-off.
But, Theresa May has repeatedly said
Britain will leave the single
market and customs union.
I am joined now by Mr Richmond, who
is the spokesman on EU affairs.
Welcome to the programme Neil. Just
before I come to you, Kate Hoey,
there's been no detail from the UK
on how the Northern Irish border can
work. The Irish Government wants
certainty. What is wrong with that?
. I think they could play a greater
part in getting that certainty
because there is no real reason why,
with goodwill and political will,
that we cannot work out a situation
where certainly there's no problem
with people moving. We've had a
common travel area since 1921. There
is no problem with that. With trade,
there are all sorts of
technological, electronic reasons,
ways of doing it. The Republic of
Ireland is going to be actually even
worse off if they veto this and we
end up with a no deal because they
are going to suffer even more. So I
really think what the Republic of
Ireland should be doing is being
positive, working with us and not
trying to play this sort of idea
that they are going to be stopping
things happening because they don't
like the fact that people have left.
But the bottom line to me is very
clear - there's no way Northern
Ireland will be treated differently
from the rest of the UK. Do you
accept that, Neil Richmond, that
point that Northern Ireland will not
be treated separately, so says the
Government, Kate Hoey has repeated
it, although she's not part of the
Government, that Northern Ireland
will not stay in any separate
Absolutely. I reject
the fact. We set out at the start of
negotiations, as agreed by the
European Commission and the UK
Government that we needed to handle
and get significant progress on
three clear issues before phase two.
We missed the deadline back in
October. The Irish Government has
put out a series of possible
solutions. We would love the UK to
stay within the European Union, the
customs union. I appreciate that is
not realistic. A new customs
agreement will make sure Northern
Ireland is not treated any
differently to the rest of the UK
and the Irish border can remain as
it is, which. Any technological
solutions will be a turn backwards
to a dark place in our history.
return to a dark place, threatening
the peace process, if there were to
be technological solutions for those
customs checks across because, as
has been said by the police force,
as soon as you put any sort of
technological tracker or a roving
customs in check anything like that,
along the border, it will become a
target for a very real paramilitary
We don't want that to go
back, we have gone from a situation
where we have 270, it is a great
place to be in, we have come a long
way, we want to maintain that, the
Irish government are the UK's best
friend when it comes to European
talks and we want to get this
resolved. We want to move on to
phase two as soon as possible but we
have got to stand up for the rights
of all Europeans and Irish people in
Ireland as Britain's best friend and
says there has been a positive
response, are you prepared to risk
the peace process or any sort of
infrastructure along that border for
keeping Northern Ireland separate,
when you'll Richmond says there is a
solution in terms of some sort of
A lot of smuggling goes
on at the moment and we do not have
any border at all, communal activity
at the border, the idea that somehow
because you have electronic tracing
of lorries going forward and back,
particularly those people who trade
everyday, farmers who send milk back
and forward, over the border, there
is no reason why they cannot be
given special status which happens
in other parts of the world where
there are borders. Because they are
going back and forward. People in
Northern Ireland generally, whether
they voted remain or leave, will
find it quite wrong and actually,
quite almost, I can hardly think of
the word, because it makes me
annoyed, somehow the idea that
because the United Kingdom is
leaving the EU, that that is going
to threaten the peace process, and
therefore, we should be almost not
leaving because if we leave, that
could threaten the peace process.
Isn't it a real worry?
are dissidents but they are there at
the moment, operating, crossing the
border, things are still going on,
quite horrible things have happened
even in the last few weeks, they do
not get much publicity over here but
it is important we do not allow
people like the dissidents to thwart
what has been a democratic process
of the people of the United Kingdom,
Northern Ireland is an integral
How responsible is it, Neale
Richmond, of you to bring up the
peace process, why is the Irish
government wanting to revive any
idea that piece may be threatened
while these negotiations are going
on? In order to use a stick against
the British government, to make a
decision that you would like to see
in terms of this invisible border?
The Irish government, along with the
UK Government, our programme towards
the Good Friday Agreement, it is
absolutely our responsibility to
make sure there is no undermining of
the Good Friday Agreement.
should there be?
Well, because if
you put in hard infrastructure, it
is a step backwards and provides a
viable threat or new dissident
terrorists, not smuggling, I'm
talking about targeting the
institutions of a border that we did
not ask for and we did not want and
we have to make sure our small
island maintains its peaceful
disposition at the moment.
This morning, Bertie Ahern said on
radio, he can see the solutions
would happen, one or two things may
be more difficult but ultimately it
can work, the technological
electronic surveillance, and all of
that, it is not have to be at the
border, it is not at the border of
some of the other places.
very close to negotiations finishing
and we have seen zero detail from
the United Kingdom government. We
did not see it from the speech in
Florence, the Irish government has
put in a detailed solution and we
have seen nothing and we cannot be
expected to move on to phase two on
just a promise. We need a solid
agreement with detail that will
guarantee that there is no border,
technological or otherwise, there
cannot be a border. There cannot be
a physical border. I'm been very
straight on that, a return to a
physical border is a step adequate
and a threat to a very fragile peace
process that those that are still
living on the island see everyday.
Why doesn't the government just give
them a written guarantee?
Prime Minister has stated very
clearly, as has David Davis, as have
all of us, are we really saying that
the Irish government does not
actually believe the word of the
British Prime Minister?
We want detailed.
Why don't you
provide a written guarantee?
-- we want detail.
about a hard border... He's thinking
a hard border does not even have
electronic technology, that is
nonsense, a hard border to me is
what was there when the IRA were
bombing and bringing over arms
across the border, that was a hard
border. We are not going back to
that and no talk about ending the
peace process is helpful at all in
Do you not take the
British government's word on that,
no return to a hard border?
absolutely accept the word of the
British government, but what we have
not done, and it was the same when
the tea shop met the Prime Minister
last week, and the Foreign Minister
met the secretary of foreign
affairs, we both asked very nearly
of him, we want detailed, when the
United Kingdom put it in detail, the
European committing negotiating team
will agree there has been
significant and enough progress to
go on to phase two. -- Taoiseach.
That is what we want and what we
need, we do not want to hold this up
for no reason.
Do you take Neale
Richmond's point that there has not
been enough detail from the British
government, that they are asking for
something without setting out
precisely what it is.
At the moment
when it comes to Northern Ireland, a
lot of empty platitudes about no
hard border, treating it as the rest
of the UK but no one is saying what
that means, I think we are seeing
clearly why Northern Ireland was not
a big part of the Leave campaign in
a referendum because they had no
idea how to deal with it if they
won. I agree with Kate and others on
one thing, this is one area where
the solution is intrinsically linked
with the future trading relationship
and this is one area where the EU
insistence on splitting it into two
parts simply does not work.
accept the idea that there could be
a separate arrangement?
comfortable with that particularly,
it gets messy in and of itself.
may solve a problem... But it would
cause lots of other problems.
would cause lots of other problems.
When you talk about a hard border,
describe what a hard border is in
your mind, because if it is not a
return to the infrastructure,
checkpoints, that we associated with
the troubles, before the peace
process, what hard border is it that
Any change to the material
border that we have at the moment is
a return to a hard border, be roving
customs checks, the online
infrastructure, all of these things
that Kate and others have suggested,
we have seen no detailed proposals,
the government have not given us
proposals, I reject the suggestion
the EU has set up the process, this
is an agreement between the United
Kingdom and negotiating issues,
three key issues, citizens rights,
the situation of Ireland, this was
agreed by both sides. We are
sticking to the agreement and the
negotiating timetable. If government
is serious they will give us some
Is it helpful to that
Ireland will pay for a border if it
comes to no deal?
We will not be
putting up a border, so if they wish
to have a border they will have to
pay for it.
What if they chose to
Europe -- you chose to leave the
European union, it is your decision.
We did not choose to leave.
people have made a decision.
did not consider what the result of
the decision would be.
leaving the single market, we must
find a solution.
You made the
decision... You have not thought
about what a border would look like.
Will Ireland use its veto? I really
hope Ireland does not need to use
it, there is no need to use it, if
the UK Government sits down and sets
down their mission, and their vision
for the United Kingdom and the
relationship post "Brexit", it will
make things easier. A lot of people
who painful Eve did so without ever
saying what the future would look
like, this is a top three
negotiating issue for both sides,
critical importance, we want to move
on to the future relationship. -- a
lot of people who campaigned for
Difficult to find a solution
to the border issue without the
trade talks being part of it, it has
been said, if Ireland uses its veto
before the EU and Britain have had a
chance to talk about the shape of
the trade deal, that will destroy it
before we get there.
We have zero
interest in using the veto, the veto
is that hard Brexit, which is a
disaster for us, but the situation
on the island of Ireland is of
utmost importance, we must resolve
that, when we get a clear idea, we
are not looking for a final solution
in the next week or ten days, we are
looking for significant progress
allowing us to do what we want to
do. We did not choose Brexit, we
have got to deal with the mess of
it, it is going to affect the island
of Ireland much more...
It may not
be much longer before the island
Your lack of knowledge is
delusional about the Irish public
voting for leaving the European
Is it delusional?
Lots of options dealing with the
Northern Irish Republic question, by
building a wall and getting the
Irish to pay for it, that is... That
is not one of them.
They are the
only ones talking about a border, we
don't want a border, we can handle
On that we will
leave it, Neale Richmond, thank you
for joining us.
Later today, Defence Secretary Gavin
Williamson will be speaking
in the Commons for the first time
since he took up the job,
and it looks like he's had
a tricky first few weeks.
You may remember on Friday's
programme we talked
about a possible rebellion
within the Conservative Party over
the issue of defence spending,
and at the weekend The Times
reported that Defence Minister
Tobias Ellwood has spoken
of his "deep discomfort"
about the levels of cuts facing
the Ministry of Defence.
He is even said to be threatening
to resign over the matter.
Well here's the former Defence
Secretary, now Trade Secretary
Liam Fox speaking to Sky yesterday.
And there is a review going on at
the present time, I think back to my
own time as Secretary of State for
Defence when we had a similar review
ongoing and there is always a lot of
tension, not just between the MoD
and the Treasury but also inside the
MoD between the different parts of
the Armed Forces. Naturally, there
are concerns about the future shape
of that, but this is an ongoing
discussion, I'm afraid it is not
unknown for some of these tensions
to spill over into the public
domain, I think that we should wait
and see exactly what sort of
compromise we reach, because that is
what it will be, and remember, the
United Kingdom is the fourth biggest
military budget in the world.
Well, we're joined now
by the Conservative MP and member
of the Defence Select
Committee Johnny Mercer.
I thought about reports that Tobias
Ellwood would resign if proposed
cuts go ahead, have you spoken to
I have not spoken to Tobias,
sensible guy, that is a decision for
him, he clearly sees what is going
on in the Ministry of Defence, my
role in this, it is not about me, it
is what we as a Conservative Party
do in defence, we are the party of
defence, we need to get it right,
this is a critical time.
written a letter, and many other
About 30 MPs are there
to hold the feet to the fire of the
government about defence, this is
not about individuals, it is about
arriving at the right answer when it
comes to defence, when it comes to a
lot of the stuff in the budget,
great stuff around artificial
intelligence and 5G, when it comes
to that stuff, cut your cloth
according to what you can afford.
Defence, pay what is necessary to
keep people safe.
You will hold
their feet to the fire, how far are
you prepared to go to stop these
It is interesting, security
does not go to a vote, and so we
need to be clever in how we go about
this, my initial position has been
to make it very clear to the Prime
Minister and to the Chancellor and
the MoD that there is a group of
backbench Conservative MPs appeared
to hold the government to account.
That is where we are at the moment,
no point in doing things which may
not be necessary and hopefully one.
You would go so far as to defeat the
government on these cuts...
prepared to see and the group
standing with me are not prepared to
see a further degradation in this
country's military. We will see
where we get to once all is said and
You think that is a real
threat, what you have outlined?
is not a real threat, it is the
reality of the situation, we are the
party of defence and we are prepared
to see it through.
Is there a threat
of the Armed Forces being shrunken
in the way you describe?
there is a clean threat -- clear
threat, the options on the table are
pretty horrific, we are at a
critical moment with defence forces,
when you look at some of the
proposals, it will change what we
are as a teal one military nation
not only for ourselves but how we
look in the eyes of our allies, and
I'm afraid we are prepared not to
Have you got faith in
Gavin Williamson to stand up for the
Armed Forces in the way that you
would like to see?
He could be, I
know people have said he has no
experience in things like that but
he could be the best Defence
Secretary we have ever had. If we
were to see an increase in the
military capability or at least stay
where we are, then that would be a
good result, I think that the Times
of salami slicing are over, we have
now got to a point, we need to ask
what we want from Armed Forces, what
we expect from them, what the
British public one, they pay for
this, I do not believe they are
prepared to see something like the
size of Belgium in the UK Armed
Forces, it is not something they
recognise and it is not something
that I am prepared to put up with
Will there be a showdown
with the Chancellor?
That is for
Gavin and the Chancellor, how they
work it out in cabinet is nothing to
do with me.
We are a team and it is about coming
to the right conclusion for defence.
We have called ourselves a party of
defence. Let's show that and make
sure we get it right.
You are a
backbench MP, the Government could
choose not to listen to you. What
evidence do you are? . Everyone
knows the Government has a fairly
small majority. Some of us are
prepared to stand pretty resilient
against a further reduction in our
capability and spending on the
millty. Paul, you have had some
experience of extracting money and
funds out of the Chancellor - what
advice would you give? Do you think
they should stand in the way that
Johnny Mercer has described to get
When it comes to defence
mattersly not tell Johnnie how to do
What about money out of the
This is a matter that
matters to you and you will not
budge on. Johnnie is right - the
first call of any Government is to
protect the realm. The world is
changing. Our armed capability has
to reflect that. Scaling it back in
some of the ways suggested will put
our position as a global leader
But the national
security adviser, who seems to have
the time say on the Defence Review,
has said you need to increase cyber,
instead of increasing the size of
the Armed Forces?
I am afraid the
Prime Minister decision's will
decide our configuration. I accept
his decision. He has an insight into
that side of the security apparatus.
I do not deny that. These sort of
decisions rest on the Prime Minister
and it will be her decision to make.
You will understand the Government
heard you say a minority government,
a small majority, with the DUP -
aren't you going to be causing more
trouble for it?
It is about doing
the right thing, like on tax
credits, Universal Credit. The
Conservative Party, I am I frayed,
people don't want to hear -- I am
afraid people don't want to hear it,
but we are a team.
Do you support
the hole being plugged in the MoD
The Government is about
priorities and choices. I think in
terms of security both of the nation
and of our service personnel when
they are out overseas that is not
something which can be compromised
and the money if allocated to other
things needs to be found.
said it will stick to the 2%
spending as a proportion of GDP,
even stripping out pensions, do you
If onin i was to push
his group into a situation where
there was a vote in Parliament I
think a substantial number of Labour
MPs would support it. We do
recognise that for the public this
is absolutely a huge issue. We do,
we should be putting our Armed
Forces at the front of an awful lot
more than we are at the moment. And
I imagine what will happen, because
he's got a good group with him and
there is a minority government, the
DUP I think will wanted to support
more money that's being spent on
defence. This is something where we
will see a way of going back on
what's been said op it.
And you may
have the support of the former
Defence Secretary, who said I hope
to find an early opportunity to
speak outen the the right level of
defence spending to face the threats
our country faces and do so more
freely than the constraints of
Government allowed. Is he part of
He has an insight into
this. When he was at defence, over
the last six/nine months, he was
saying we should spend more on
defence. When you are a minister
your hands are tied. It will be
interesting to get his insight.
is the crunch moment for you on
The review has been pushed
back - a new Secretary of State, it
is coming in February. We will look
and see where we go from there. This
is not about the drama of
rebellions, it is making sure we, as
a party, do the right thing.
Let's look now at the other stories
likely to be making the news
at Westminster this week.
Tuesday marks the deadline set
by Speaker John Bercow
for the Government to publish
the so-called 'Brexit papers',
a set of studies examining
the economic impact of Brexit.
Robin Walker and Chloe Smith,
and Northern Ireland Ministers,
will appear in front
of the Northern Ireland Committee
hearing about the Irish border
And the PM and Jeremy Corbyn
will also face each other
on Wednesday for their weekly
session of PMQs.
The ONS release the migration
statistics in the year
ending June 2017 -
the first full year of data
since the Brexit referendum
- on Thursday.
And in the afternoon,
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt
delivers the keynote speech at
the King's Fund annual conference.
Labour's Afzal Khan will introduce
a Private Member's Bill on Friday
that aims to keep the size
of the House of Commons at 650 MPs,
and to abandon the Government's
plans to reduce it to 600.
We're joined now by the journalists
Jessica Elgot from the Guardian
and Sam Coates from the Times,
they're enjoying the cold
snap on College Green.
The industrial strategy announcement
being talked about on the news, of
course and it has been trialled -
has it been blown out of the water
by the news of the royal engagement?
Yes. If you were uncharitable you
would say it made so few ripples
before the announcement that I
wasn't sure that Greg Clark isn't
grateful to the royal couple for
making their announcement so he can
tell himself it is not getting much
play. The industrial strategy has
been a subject of enormous angst
inside Whitehall. Disproportional
compared to the coverage it gets,
because surprise, surprise it looks
like it makes incremental reform, if
you could call it reform to the way
business interacts with Government
and how we help our businesses start
and grow. I think because it's not a
Big Bang thing toy to play with this
morning, it doesn't really get as
much credit in the media as I think
Greg Clark might have wanted.
that, money is announced -
supporting some of the new
industries, AI and some of the tech
industries. Will this not help in
some way to help alleviate some of
the downgrade in productivity and
The strategy is something
that Government is supposed to do -
it is hard, boring work, they are
unlikely to get much credit from the
public for. The kind of things you
mention, they are dif kurlt for
ordinary people to relate to. You
heard words like "productivity."
What does it mean to the average
person who might vote Conservative.
What Greg Clark is talking about is
so people get better skills so they
can earn more mon nif. That is
something which needs to -- more
money. That is something which needs
to be got across.
Johnny Mercer has
been on the programme sounding
pretty strong and defiant in the
proposaled cuts to defence. It is
Gavin Williamson's first outing
today - will he compromise?
Phillip ham mond compromise? He gave
the budget in which there was no
mention of defence. The timing is a
little curious that this eruption
from sort of people around the MoD
is coming after a big spending and
budgetary statement. There aren't
normally announcements around about
now. So it is interesting to see
where this will build to. Built into
the budget numbers last week was a
little bit of forgiveness for some
spending plan for 2019. I wonder if
there is not a little bit of cash
stored up for this announcement?
There? But ultimately, it will fall
on the shoulders of Gavin
Williamson, as you say. It is his
first big public test. He's never
done a big public role until now. He
has one thing in his favour, which
is he knows a lot of backbench
Tories from his previous job as
Chief Whip. Theresa May will be
conscious that people like Johnnie
can cause a problem in the media and
the Commons Chamber if they don't
feel they are listened to. That is a
thorny thing to come.
Let's move on
to the story that Momentum is asking
Labour Party candidates to sign a
contract to say they are supporters
of the organisation campaign - what
do you make of this?
It is the kind
of thing that is really set to rile
Labour MPs who are not necessarily
natural Momentum sympathisers. If
you look at the statement itself, it
is all motherhood and apple pie.
There's not a lot in it that many
could object to. Do you support the
Labour manifesto, do you support an
com I that works for the many, not
the few? There is not much to object
to there. Many are saying to me,
hang on a minx obviously we gree to
this because we are Labour MPs. Why
sign up to this external
organisation as well? Momentum has
got the most extraordinary
campaigning manpower. Labour MPs I
spoke to over the election said they
were stunned, even ones who are not
sympathetic to Jeremy Corbyn when he
first started as leader, how many
people Momentum could get out in
their constituencies, campaigning
for them and leafletting for them. A
lot felt it had a huge impact on the
result at the last election. If it
means for a Labour MP whose seat is
not the safest that they lose out on
that manpower if they don't sign
this statement, that the a very
Thank you very much
for standing out in the cold for us.
By building on the nerge and
enthusiasm of the campaign. Now some
Labour MPs are not happy. Wes
Streeting said, no way am I signing
up to outsource my thinking to a
third party organisation.
No-one from Momentum was available.
We are joined by Jo Foster. Isn't it
enough for them to support values -
why sign up to the political
objectives of Momentum
important that we look at the fact
it is at the selection process. It
is at the selection process. Often
when people go through the selection
process they want to say we want to
be your MP.
Even for reselected MPs
or those standing again, are you
talking about them being included?
Just the initial selection.
Obviously for any pressure group,
for instance progress or trade
unions, if you want the support of
that organisation you need to say
you support those aims. As Jessica
said they are very tame. Often
Momentum have been attacked in the
press by Labour MPs and so on. If
they want to support an MP it would
be helpful for Momentum to know
those MPs support their aims and
will not attack them in the press.
What do you think of the Stalinist
approach to politics -?
If you meet
most Momentum members they range
from 16 to people in their 50s. My
friend's mother is a small sea
Conservative, but backs those
Will you sign up if you had
A lot has been made of this. I
don't think it is particularly
different from what MPs do at the
moment, anyway. Momentum has changed
the Labour Party enormously just by
getting so many young people I
voveed and so many people who are --
involved and so many people,. Many
people who have joined Momentum want
to see the country change and they
supported Jeremy. It is from the
same ones I would have expected.
you would sign up to it if you were
We all say certain things
when we are being selected. It
doesn't always mean you vote with
the Labour Party, as Jeremy himself
Would you sign it? This is
To be honest I
cannot read the detail. If it to say
do we support the aims of the Labour
Party and whatever, you know, I
think this has been made a big
If it binds you to supporting
everything that Jeremy Corbyn...
Isn't that the point, it is bidding,
you join the campaign of momentum.
Momentum will not turn up at your
house and put you in the back of a
van if you change your vote.
now a political objective of
Momentum? Because it was said at the
Take Back Conference, make it hate
again. I am full of hate these days.
Another said, I am on team hate.
There was a specific mention of
Phillip May, as someone who should
have loads of hate - is that
I do not disagree -- I do not agree
with that, we are moving away from
the politics which was very
mainstream where all parties were
from the same position, it is being
said that it is OK to disagree with
This is specifically
about hate and being full of it,
when the tone of politics is unkind
to say the least in many quarters,
is this the sort of thing which
should be espoused?
I think they are
talking more about anger than hate,
unfortunate choice of words, in the
comments they have made, clarified,
they have been quite clear.
use the word hate, do you think it
is helpful and healthy.
It is one or
two people, I don't think you should
brand everybody on the left or even
in momentum, particularly, in the
same way, but I do think politics
generally and politicians have two
be very careful about the words they
use, because they can be taken out
of context so easily. Mostly, people
who are active and want to change
things get annoyed and angry when
they see policies that are very much
not in the interests...
And that is
justifiable, to disagree and in
quite an assertive manner, against
the policies that have been seen in
the Tory government, in momentum and
in Labour's mind, that have made
There is no problem
with being angry and disagreeing but
the question of whether hate is
inappropriate reaction, no, it is
lazy, it is easy, it is harmful, and
at some point, we have to describe
that there is a level below which we
will not allow political discourse
to fall. -- have to decide. Does not
mean you cannot campaign march on
the streets, does not mean you
should count yourself, but you carry
yourself with a certain level of
This is a Christmas card
That is nothing to what I have been
called! I just ignore them really. I
have been called that they would
like to string me up, all sorts of
things, therefore this came in,
politicians have always got certain
amounts of abuse. Perhaps it got
more during the whole referendum
campaign and since actually I think
it has got worse since but my view
on all of that, I don't go running
off to the police because I get an
Should MPs be
I want to comment upon
that, I have big issues with what
Kato said, I am a Scottish
Conservative, I'm used to this sort
of stuff unless I'm being chased
down the street with pitchforks but
this is the first time my
constituency staff have felt
uncomfortable and the first time my
wife said she feels frightened. Kate
and I are in Westminster three or
four days a week, safe, but staff
and families are not. Simply saying
it is part of the job, get on with
it, ignores the fact there is people
around us who do not deserve this.
Should they be called traitors and
mutineers on your side, and then,
the abuse that has come from the
remains eyed about calling people on
the Leave side stupid, ignorant,
bigoted -- remain side.
exactly what we saw in Scotland
following independence referendum,
so it is not surprising, the
divisions are heated and unpleasant.
As politicians we have a duty to
moderate language with the way that
we speak to one another and
oppressed to a certain extent does,
people take their lead from that and
if you say, just get on with it, it
is nothing, it lends an air of
In terms of calling
people traitors, betraying the will
of the British people, did that mean
someone is a traitor? This was a
phrase you used in the Commons in
September. You said anyone voting
against Brexit is betraying the will
of the British people.
That is not
calling them a traitor.
Does it lend
itself to that kind of language?
was saying it in a perfectly
acceptable reasonable tone of voice
if I recall, but, I... I feel
strongly that all the attention has
gone on those, as if it is coming
from the Leave side, and in fact,
just because some of us have not
gone public, like one of your
colleagues did, about the abuse she
got, it is almost as if we do not
get abuse... No abuse should be
Let's leave it there.
Do you ever feel you've had
enough of elections?
Not a view we'd subscribe
to on this programme,
but how about getting rid of voting,
and politicians, and letting
the public decide how
to govern the country?
Here's the political writer
Paul Evans with his soapbox.
The ballot-box doesn't give
us a very good way
of telling Government what we want
them to do, does it?
It allows politicians
to treat us like dummies.
In elections, we're only allowed
to say what it is we think
that we want in advance.
Businesses don't survive
by giving people what
they say that they want.
As as Henry Ford allegedly
said, "If I asked my
customers what they wanted,
they would have asked
for a faster horse."
If we were redesigning democracy
now, we'd do it very differently,
One change that I would like to see
is for all of us to have
ownership and equal
control over the whole
of the public sphere,
not just one vote every few years.
I'd like to have a personal
say £20 a month, where
we could each allocate
the money that is spent
in the whole of the policymaking
microeconomy of lawmaking
Not just on MRs, but think-tanks,
civil servants, lobbyists and even
the ownership and direction
of the media.
No more press Barons,
dark money, or stealthy bank
rolling of lobbyists.
Could even replace politicians
and political parties with agents
who bid to manage all or part
of our monthly personal
democracy budget for us.
We could move our budget
around at any time.
It would be the job of these agents
to keep their customers satisfied
by working to ensure that we get
the quality of Government
that we want, and if they don't,
they lose the business.
It's as simple as that.
So it's time for us to close down
these polling stations,
get rid of these ballot pencils
and start doing democracy
properly, because we're not
headless dummies, are we?
Paul joins us now. You say in your
book that these ideas may be seen as
a provocation, maybe an
understatement... How would it work?
Imagine we were starting from
scratch, we know everything we know
now about how feedback loops work
and how people make choices and all
of the flaws in representative
democracy and the flaws in direct
democracy, referendums, if we were
doing things again, we would do them
differently and I think this is the
way we would do it.
Getting rid of
the ballot box and not having
elections, how would that make it
I'm not proposing to take
control from people, I'm proposing
to give a much greater layer of
control. A ballot paper, one square
on the box every four years, and
that is the only input you have,
alternatively, politicians choose
and cherry pick a subject, offer us
a rough and on it and all of a
sudden that is what we are stuck
with. I'm proposing that we need to
have total ownership, shared
ownership over the whole of the
Not just MPs, we have seen that a
lot of MPs, Margaret Beckett, for
instance, stood... The Article 50
vote, she said, I will be voting for
this bill, although I fear it's
consequences both for the economy
and for the whole of society are
potentially catastrophic... She has
been 40 years in Parliament, 40
years, and she doesn't yet know what
her job is! The first job of a
politician is not to vote for
something that you think is going to
be catastrophic! It doesn't matter
what an opinion poll says,
politicians this is the argument, I
would have thought every politician
would have had it drilled into them,
the day that they stood for
Parliament, yet MPs... Imagine if
someone had taken out an insurance
policy, paying it for 40 years, the
day the disaster happens, they find,
no, I am not jumping in to help you.
What you think of that description
as MPs taking their responsibility
in the way it has been outlined.
think they take them incredibly
Why do they vote for
things they do not believe in?
think you are misunderstanding what
goes on in Parliament, lots of
things happen, especially between
Do you think signing
Article 50 was good for the country?
I wasn't in Parliament at the time.
I was, I voted for it, I did, I did
I am not clear how this
is better, because you are talking
about agents, who will appoint the
agents, how often are they change?
What happens if they don't do what
you say, you are replacing the words
MPs with agents.
answered in my book!
From all good book-sellers...
few seconds, try to put a little bit
of flesh on the bones. Well...
a back of a fact packet calculation.
The public sphere costs £15 billion
a year to run, every civil servant,
every lobbyist, all these think
tank, all this dark money that comes
in from an adaptable think tanks
like the Adam Smith Institute and
the Institute for Economic Affairs,
-- Adam Smith think tank. -- comes
in from think tanks.
They are not
here to answer the accusation that
they are accepting dark money.
run a website which looks at the
opaque funding of a lot of things,
whofundsyou, is the website.
voted Conservative, for the DUP, who
voted for that, for the DUP to be
part of a confidence and supply
People vote at an election
based on the candidates and party
platforms that are there, it is what
the result is, the leader of the
largest party, there to form a
So you thought it was
good value for money?
unconstitutional about what the
government did, Labour would have
done the same if they had the DUP to
We will end it there,
and you very much for coming in,
good luck! -- thank you.
It's still November,
so most of you probably won't have
thought about putting
up your Christmas decorations.
But here in Westminster they're
a particularly festive bunch,
and this weekend the tree went up
outside the Houses of Parliament.
The Sitka spruce, which is rather
larger than the one in the average
living room, travelled 330 miles
from a forest in Northumberland,
and took the whole day to put up.
Well we're joined now
she's the Christmas Tree Manager
from the Forestry Commission,
which must be one of the best job
titles in the country.
She's in our Leeds studio.
Very exciting that the Christmas
tree has gone up, tell us about this
We are really excited that
it has gone down again this year,
16th year in a that the tree has
come from the forest in
Northumberland, it was identified
one year ago, that tree, and it has
been growing on open ground, and it
has been allowed to flourish,
created a nice tree that we have
managed to transport down there this
What is special about this
Sitka spruce? Why is it the right
tree to have outside the Houses of
It has been growing in
open ground plots, has not been
growing in a plantation, has been
allowed to spread and the branches
have got stronger, so actually, once
we manoeuvre it, it is 45 foot high,
quite a large tree to move, and we
are transporting a 313 miles, so we
need it to be a good quality tree.
How may people does it take to put
up? I'm not sure, actually, we just
take it on the truck.
We leave it
We leave it for them to put
up. Have you seen it up yet?
seen the photos, I think it is a
really nice tree, we are really
pleased with it.
Have you seen it
I hope that it is straight, I
hate it when you see the top going
slightly to the right to the left.
Perhaps you could volunteer to help
to see if is straight. Your first
Yes, actually, I had
been down to Westminster before I
was elected but yes, I wonder if we
can do home visits.
Thank you very much for joining us.
Have a happy Christmas, even if it
is a little early to say.
There's just time before we go
to find out the answer to our quiz,
and sticking with the Christmas
theme the question was which party
leader has their own annual
out for Christmas...
A) Theresa May
b) Vince Cable
c) Jeremy Corbyn
d) Arlene Foster.
So what's the correct answer?
Jeremy! Did you say that because you
saw on the front of the two
annuals... Look, you can have one as
well. I'm sure you will be very
pleased, and there is one for you.
Goodbye from all of us here, they
can look through their annuals. You
are going to be reading that one!
Let's have a look inside...