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Hello, and welcome
to the Daily Politics.
The Government is warned it could be
in contempt of Parliament unless it
hands over full details
of its assessment of the potential
impact of Brexit on the economy.
We'll have the latest.
Is Momentum carrying out a hard-left
purge of Labour's centrists?
Or is the organisation putting
some much-needed lead
in the party pencil?
We discuss with one of Momentum's
most high-profile supporters.
On his first outing in the Commons,
the new Defence Secretary is warned
by his own MPs that he faces
a "substantial rebellion"
if there are more cuts
to the Armed Forces.
We'll be speaking to the chairman
of the Defence Select Committee.
Who are the key people
behind the scenes?
We have the latest in our
Westminster Village series.
All that in the next hour.
And with us for the whole
of the programme today
is the Guardian
columnist Owen Jones.
Welcome to the show.
Now, this morning, the Bank
of England Governor
Mark Carney has said Britain's
biggest banks could cope
if the country leaves the EU
in a "disorderly" way.
For the first time since
the financial crisis,
all of the UK's biggest lenders have
passed the bank's stress tests.
Here is Mark Carney speaking
earlier this morning.
Despite the severity of the test,
for the first time since the Bank
began stress testing in 2014,
no bank needs to strengthen
its capital position as a result.
Informed by the stress test
and our own risk analysis,
the FPC also judges that the banking
system can continue to support
the real economy, even
in the unlikely event
of a disorderly Brexit.
The balance sheets of British banks
are strong enough, are you
It shows how low the bar has been
set. We're not talking about
imminent financial Armageddon. We
have seen the weakest growth in
Britain of any major G-7 country,
the longest squeeze in wages since
perhaps the 18th century, and a
prospect of a no deal Brexit which
means everything from dairy and meat
product prices surging, aeroplanes
being grounded, the economy grinding
to a halt.
Aren't they the worst case scenarios
you prepare for?
They are not a risk I would like to
It is not as bad as you won't be
shot in the head but you may be
What we are talking about because
the Tories have bungled Brexit
negotiations are they are going very
badly, we have a chronically weak
Government, we have the longest
squeeze in wages for 200 years. Weak
economic growth and the prospect of
a disastrous no deal Brexit which
will cause huge hardship.
People might say you are doing
project fear in the way that remain
as said ahead of the referendum. In
terms of warnings, Morgan Stanley
says Jeremy Corbyn becoming Prime
Minister would cause more damage to
UK business than Brexit.
I would be more worried if they
started lauding Jeremy Corbyn. This
financial elite plunged the world
into economic disaster, they got
saved by the state, one of the many
lavish benefits claimants. They
caused huge economic ruin which many
were forced to pay for. The truth of
why the Labour Party is doing so
well is because of the damage
inflicted on our economy by the
So why a 20 points ahead if they are
doing so well?
Older people haven't been won over
because the Labour Party have a 20
point lead the people over those
under 65. We have to do more for
those who haven't suffered the great
squeeze in wages. Issues like social
On the economy they are not trusted
They have closed the gap. You said
you would expect them to be further
ahead, even the Shadow Chancellor
has said there could be a run on the
pound and a flight of capital from
the UK, thinking there is a worst
case scenario if Labour come to
You would see a sharp decline...
He thinks there would be a
You have to prepare for all
That is what Mark Carney is doing.
I said we wouldn't have if a natural
apocalypse doesn't mean in a deal
Brexit wouldn't be ruinous.
If you look at the Tories's economic
record where they said they would
wipe out the deficit by 2015.
2031. They have added more debt than
any Labour Government put together.
A terrible decline in wages.
That is why an alternative, saying,
let us have a genuine living wage,
ask those at the top to pay more to
invest in our crippled public
services, bring our utilities back
under the ownership of the people,
that has resonated with millions of
What Usain about... About the record
levels -- what do you say to mark --
what do you say about the record
levels of unemployment?
What we have seen in this country is
most people in poverty are in work.
They get up every day to earn their
poverty which is bad for the
economy, they don't spend, bad for
the taxpayer because wages have to
be topped up. Instead, as we are
arguing, you need an interventionist
policy to support industries like
renewable energy and high-tech to
create skilled, properly paid jobs
which are sustainable.
Should Labour reverse all the cuts
by the Government rather than 4
I would like to see them go further.
I would like Labour to go further in
lots of ways, a more radical
programme including reversing every
Labour has accused the Government
of treating Parliament with contempt
unless it hands over full details
of its assessment of the potential
impact of Brexit on the economy.
The Government sent over
its documents to the Brexit
Committee last night
but with crucial details edited out.
The Brexit Secretary David Davis
said the papers had been redacted
because there was no guarantee
they would be kept secret.
Well, the Brexit Committee has been
meeting this morning to discuss how
to respond to the Government.
Norman Smith joins us now
from Portcullis House
where the meeting has
been taking place.
Bring us up to date? The committee
has decided to summon David Davis to
appear before them, I suspect, on
Monday, and have written to him
saying it is not acceptable he has
flouted the will of the Commons by
not handing over all the
documentation, challenging his view
he has been given no assurances how
the committee would respond. Jacob
Rees Mogg tabled an amendment to the
letter to include the possibility Mr
Davies might be in breach of
parliamentary Prevc which would open
him up to being in contempt of
Parliament -- privilege.
What happens next?
The select committee today has
decided to ask David Davis to appear
before us. I have written to him to
say, because the Government in its
better to me yesterday said it had
withheld certain information, I
don't think that is consistent with
the resolution Nijhuis past, and I
have said the committee will need to
consider whether this is potentially
a breach of privilege. We are asking
him to appear as a matter of urgency
to ask him about the process by
which the Government decided to
respond to the resolution which led
to an edited version of the
material, and so we can ask him the
question of the arch lever files of
material given, is there anything
which in your view might undermine
the negotiations because the
committee will take the decision
about what to publish.
The Government is clear the
documents you have seen do not
exist, they are not there. They say
the committee has not given him
assurances over how you will treat
The second of those suggestions is
incorrect. I made it very clear to
the Secretary of State how the
committee would deal with this. The
members will look at the material
released, they can't take copies
away. I gave assurances how it would
be handled. I said we would ask the
Government are there things in here
you think our commercial in
confidence or very sensitive, and
the committee takes its
Ultimately I made it clear to him,
Parliament instructed the material
be released to us, it is the job of
the committee to decide what is
published having considered what
ministers think. For the material
released, one reason why we are
calling him is, is there anything
you have concerns given you told us
you have included a lot of stuff you
were concerned about.
What happens if David Davis says, I
am sorry, I will not hand over the
additional documentation I am wary
of giving over.
The committee will have to consider
whatever answers he gives, and
decide how to take it further.
I am not prejudging what the
committee might decide. The question
has been raised whether potentially
this is a breach of privilege. The
committee has taken no stance at
all. Ultimately it will be for the
committee to decide what happens
This might look like a tussle over
paperwork but it is more profound, a
tussle over who is going to run the
Brexit process. Ministers or can
Parliament grab hold of it? So much
of the whole tussle has been about
this from the first day.
I'm joined now by the Conservative
MP John Whittingdale who sits
on the Brexit Committee,
and was in the meeting this morning.
And by the Labour MP Paul Blomfield
who is a Shadow Brexit minister.
Welcome to you. John Whittingdale,
David Davis is in breach of
Parliament. There was a vote,
Parliament decided to seek the
papers in full and he failed to
Parliament had also said the
Government should not release the
material which could jeopardise our
negotiations, and the important
thing is we get the best possible
deal for this country, it is the
biggest issue facing us and I would
not want the Government to release
anything which could put that at
Is he in breach of Parliament by
failing to supply the papers in
full? We will come onto what could
be adapted. Has he failed to do what
was demanded of him?
In my view, no, Parliament has said
we should not release documents...
What would you say to Hilary Benn?
The committee was not unanimous. I
support summoning David Davis, he
needs to answer questions about
whether there is information in the
documents we have been given, which
are sensitive and we should not even
If he has released those, why not
In his letter, he says he hasn't
supplied all the information because
he has withheld some that could put
at risk our negotiations. And said
even within the documents he has
given there is some sensitive
material he would prefer not to be
Has the committee overstepped its
All Hilary Benn has done is said the
committee may wish to consider. That
is not overstepping the mark. It is
reasonable to say that. The question
is whether we conclude there has
been any breach of privilege, my
view is that there has not.
We are in the middle of one of the
most important sets of negotiations,
why should the Government be forced
to give away sensitive information
that would not be in the national
interest and might undermine
I wound up the debate for the
Liberal Party on the 1st of November
and made it clear we do not want to
seek commercially sensitive
information released or the
negotiations compromised. But we do
want to see the 58 impact
assessments released to the Select
If they are not adapted, how can
they include the 60 -- sensitive
We want them to be released to the
committee who can decide what
publications can be made more
Es Do you trust the members of
Select Committees, bearing the mind
David Davis' letter was leaked and
ended up in a newspaper?
think it is good if we start from
the premise we can't trust Select
Committees, which work across a
range of issues and areas. Our
accountability begins to break down
if Government are marginalising
Select Committees in this way.
obviously a point, John
Whittingdale. Do you not trust your
fellow parliamentarians, either we
have a system that works and you can
deal with sews sensitive
information, otherwise you are going
to see information that we can all
see in the public domain.
? In this
case you have a Select Committee of
20 members, and the information is
also beingp given to the Lords'
Select Committee and being given do
the devolved administration. This
information is going to a lot of
Do you trust your fellow
I have chaired a
Select Committee in ten years,
during that time we had to have leak
inquiries because information was
leaked. I am afraid there are
precedents for this happening and on
a committee of this size, when one
has to say that perhaps not every
member is as committed to obtaining
a good deal as I am and my
colleagues, in those instances, I
can see why the Secretary of State
What do you say to
that, Paul, Blomfeld?
I think it is
an important principle here, you
alluded to it at the outset. At
every point during this process
Government has tried to marginalise
Parliament. Parliament is central in
what are the most important
negotiations facing this country. I
made it clear, at the end of the
debate, if the Government didn't
wish to release, as the Commons
wanted the to, those papers,
unredacted, they should have voted
against that motion or amended it.
They chose not to and the motion was
very clear - that the papers should
be released in full to the Select
You haven't answered the
question about the problems of leaks
and leaks of sensitive information
that could damage Britain's position
in these negotiations. We know that
leaks happen all the time. So why
would we risk it with these
Well, I have to say
some of the most damaging leaks that
have come out of the negotiations
are from the Cabinet with Government
ministers briefing against each
other which caused enormous damage
to the process and confidence in
where this Government is taking us.
I think we have to work on the
principle that our Select Committees
are to be trusted and to fulfil
their responsibilities properly.
Once Government starts saying we are
not going to give them this
information, because we have to
worry about it or not going to give
them that information, the system of
parliamentary accountability breaks
Right but even the EU
themselves have said they wouldn't
give away potentially sensitive
information. On their fact street
they say, "A certain level of
confidentiality is necessary to
protect EU interests and to deep
chances for a satisfactory outcome
high." Are they wrong?
No they are
right. What we have said and we made
it clear, I made this point in the
Commons, when we were concluding the
debate, we do not want to seat
public release of information which
is confidential or compromising the
negotiating position but we want to
see that full information made
available to the Select Committee
responsible in the House of Commons.
Right. I mean, David Davis is making
this up as he goes alock, isn't he?
-- along. There weren't any
assessment impact papers in the
first place and Parliament in the
end called his bluff?
haven't yet seen the documents we
have been given. There are 850
pages, I only got them last night.
We only have one copy. Until I have
had a chance to look the a therges I
don't know quite what they will
consist of. -- to look at them. We
won't know what the material that
has been withheld is, so we don't
know if they are complete or not. It
is a political game. You are saying
its a short-term political game but
the Brexit secretary, David Davis
said to a committee of MPs in
December last year, "We have carried
out o or are the midst of carrying
out 57 sector analysis which have
amplcations that 85% of the economy
and some of those are still to be
concluded." Yet, when course the
vote was lost, nobody could seem to
put their hands on these, in
detailed papers written about
different sectors of the economy
Well, as I understand it, this is an
ongoing process, they are documents
that are continually having new
information added to them, the has
now said that they will give us the
documents at the time the vote was
carried but they continue to go on
That's the point they
don't exist in the form you have
outlined That case there is (
serious question about trusting
Government. David Davis told the
break it Select Committee in
December, as youlight, that that
work was being done, and then he
provided in October the Lords'
committee with a list of 58, he had
added one to the 57 in December,
sectorial impact assessments he said
had been undertaken. If they have
knot been undertaken we are in
Well, if you
don't know they existed in the fist
place, what are you criticising
here? You have not actually seen the
contents of the documents so far,
you don't even know if they existed
in the fist place so, what is this
Well, I take the
Secretary of State's word at face
value. He said this work was being
undertaken and he reported on the 58
reviews that had taken place. I'm
not doubting that. All we want to do
is see them.
Right, but you haven't
seen them and yet you are
criticising the process, criticising
the content of papers that you
haven't yet seen.
Well the Secretary
of State said that the Government
had undertaken 58 sectorial impact
assessments. The House of Commons
voted that they should be released
in full to the Brexit Select
Committee, that's what we are
concerned about. Either that work
hasn't been undertaken, which is
very serious for the country if they
have not taken the economic impact
assessments on the negotiations that
they are deeply involved in, which
will affect everybody's jump in
livelihoods or they have and they
are not releasing them in full.
Either way, this is serious
Right. The question is
one of transparency John
Whittingdale and the Tory MP, Jacob
Rees-Mogg is supporting Labour and
Paul Blomfeld in this, because he
says that they have to be published
these papers, in full to the Brexit
Select Committee. The motion does
not allow for redaction and a happy
chat across the Despatch Box between
the shadow spokesman and ministers
and it doesn't reduce the right of
this House to seat papers. He is
correct -- see the papers
that is his view. I don't entirely
agree with him. In this instance, I
think there is a bigger issue at
stake. Getting the right deal for
this country is imperative.
Transparency can be pushed to the
If it involves releasing
information that could potentially
undermine the negotiation, yes.
Right. What is your view, Owen z
they exist and is there a question
A question of honesty,
David Davis seemed to imply or
suggest, that they were there in
detail. The wider point about
transparency is this - we were told
by the leaders of the Leave campaign
that this ex-Brit was about
restoring parliamentary sovereignty,
and yet they undermine parliamentary
scrutiny of this proriver single
step of the way. The other point,
John Whittingdale talked about a
good deal. I wouldn't trust this
Government to wash my windows never
How do you get a good deal
if you give awane reveal...
question is, do we have
parliamentary sovereignty, where
there is proper parliamentary
oversight on a cross-party basis or
do we entrust the future of our
country to Liam Fox, Boris Johnson
and David Davis, where we had a
Leave campaign that promised all
sorts of things, getting a deal
would be a walk in the park, the
boreder in Ireland wouldn't be a
problem, it is and we would get £350
million extra a beak for the NHS.
That got lost in the post. Now if we
don't trust them over and over
again, why should we allow them to
have complete oversight without MPs
on the cross of had party basis
We have lost John
Whittingdale. He had to go back to
the Houses of Parliament for an
urgent question on this subject. We
will bring that to you, when we get
Now it's time for our daily quiz.
An SNP MP called Douglas Chapman has
managed to secure a Parliamentary
debate suggesting that the UK should
appoint a new ambassador.
But to where?
Is it a) The Arctic?
b) The Antarctic?
Or d) Mars?
At the end of the show,
Owen will hopefully give
us the correct answer.
Now, unless you've been hiding away
for the last couple of years,
you've no doubt heard
about Momentum, the campaign group
set up to support Jeremy Corbyn.
Owen here is a high-profile
supporter, and is involved in some
of Momentum's campaigning.
Yesterday, we reported on Momentum's
new political objectives document,
which it is asking prospective
parliamentary candidates to sign.
It got a few in the
party a bit irked.
One Labour MP
tweeted that Momentum
was like a "Stalinist cult".
So, is that true?
Or is the criticism overblown?
Today's Times reports that some
Labour councillors around
the country are being deselected
or pressured to stand down
in favour of candidates more
sympathetic to Momentum's aims.
The in-fighting is particularly
intense in Haringey,
in north London.
One of the councillors
there, Tim Gallagher,
says there is an "aggressive purge"
happening in the local party.
He added that the atmosphere
is "inflamed with division,
distrust and what at times
feels like hatred".
Meanwhile, the founder and chair
of Momentum Jon Lansman
is running for a place on the ruling
body of the Labour Party,
the National Executive Committee.
At Labour's recent conference,
Momentum successfully pushed
for a change to Labour's leadership
election rules, which means that,
in future, candidates running
to lead the party will only need
the support of 10%, rather
than 15%, of Labour MPs.
But Jon Lansman said that the change
to the rules "doesn't
go far enough".
He also wants to see further changes
in the Labour Party, in particular,
"giving members more
influence over policymaking".
Momentum says it has
31,000 paying members
and a further 200,000 supporters.
Many think that the organisation
played a key role in helping
Jeremy Corbyn and Labour to gain
seats at the election back in June.
With us now is Richard Angell,
director of Progress,
a centre-left pressure group.
Are you concerned with the
situation, particularly in har ingay
Utterly ludicrous. Momentum played
an historic role in the election. I
hope Richard would agree.
the har ingay
It is about what
member Labour put forward to
represent the party adds councillor,
you have seen a handful of examples
in har ingay. And I should point out
what a thriving party it is. In
Hornsey and Wood Green do you how
many members of the Labour Party, it
is 1 in 14, a thriving Democratic
Party. The problem s har ingay is
the Labour council there is
proposing a mass sell-off of council
housing and public land including
both MPs, including David Lammy, no
Corbynite. And poe o opposed by
consit City Council r os and some of
those, when they support come up
from election, there has been a
handsful where members themselves
democratically decided they would
like to replace them with swuvenlt
they might be disappointed with
losing elections, they always are,
but it is democracy.
Is it democracy
in action or a purge?
It is a the pa
earn taking place. The first woman
leader of Leeds council has been
triggered in her local party, a city
with two women MPs for Labour in its
whole history. You have it in
Manchester, where the former Mr Gay
UK has been deselected. You have a
young, black lesbian woman in
Southwark where it is taking place.
There is a pattern across the
country, Owen, this is now going to
come to our Labour MPs potentially
down the road. The Tory opponents
don't have to deal with this, they
are having to deal with different
challenge, in Haringey, it isn't
true, you have fallen for George
Osborne's trap. He wanted to impose
big swinging cuts on local
government so, Labour people would
take it out on Labour councillors
rather than a Tory Treasury. That's
why Momentum, not its membership,
hover working really hard, but the
Momentum leadership is taking it out
on Labour councillors for decisions
made by George Osborne. Why are you
falling for their trap?
terms of falling for traps, it is
disappointed if you are talking
about factions, for your faction to
go to the Murdoch press and try and
-- that's what happened in the Times
It happens in the
To portray democratic
selections by members as a purge. It
is not, it is democracy in ction a.
Your own, honoury President, Stephen
Twigg, who I happen to like very
much by the way he himself won his
seat by deselecting...
Yes he did.
He had no role in
Yes, he znchts
your faction that's what they did.
-- he Z
That's not true
finish In terms of Richard's record
on diversity it is excellent.
are they deselecting people already
in position, it is not so much about
the diversity issue, it is about
trying to get rid of people
representing Labour already?
Grassroots members of the Labour
Party in handful of incidences, they
have made themselves a democratic
choice, look, if you get selected as
a candidate for the Labour Party in
any position, it is a huge honour,
but it doesn't mean you have it for
life, whatever you do. Members have
the right to judge you on your
record and values, if they
themselves democratically decide
they would prefer somebody else in
their place, that is their role. The
need to portray that as undemocratic
manoeuvring when Labour now, I have
to say before 2015n many places,
local Labours were husks with very
little activity, with council r os
selected with very few members,
Labour now is one of the biggest
parties in the Concern world, is a
thriving dome Western World is a
thriving Democratic Party.
come on to how they've manage to
swell the numbers but back to haring
game. You adduced Owen Jones of --
you accused Owen Jones of falling
for George Osborne's trap but do you
accept in Haringey there was a great
strength of feeling against what the
council was proposing?
This is what George Osborne wanted.
This is not just Haringey.
This is what the Tories wanted. In
Haringey, what is wrong with local
members saying, we don't agree with
our representatives backing council
proposals to make swingeing cuts,
whoever you want to blame, that is
They have no choice. They can't run
a legal -- a deficit budget.
When they put a motion to the
Council on anti-Semitism, there were
people who work in the chamber
hounding those people and
threatening them with deselection if
they voted to tackle anti-Semitism.
Jon Lansman is Jewish.
Does that mean there is no tone of
hatred as said by this young Labour
councillor. Gallagher says he
doesn't want to stand again because
the atmosphere is poisonous,
inflamed by distrust and what feels
We are seeing candidates who are
very disappointed their brand of
politics is no longer in the ascent,
there is a mass democratic party
full of optimism.
And full of hatred he says.
That is not true. I saw Richard
Angell where your fellow -- your
fellow travellers were leaving
The vast majority of people as you
would accept who have joined the
liver party are decent, honest,
I did not say that.
The people I campaign with, they
were brilliant. I enjoyed getting on
with them, we disagreed, we talked.
There is something in the leadership
actively supporting this. We have a
loyalty test, any revisions to the
manifesto... Momentum does not
practice what it peaches, it does
not have internal democracy, it
decided who the candidate in Corby
is without a ballot.
On the loyalty test, we had a
discussion, Richard brought this up,
do you think you would have passed
it at all stages in recent history?
In spring this year after using the
Copeland election, you called for
Jeremy Corbyn to resign. You would
not have met at contract.
Yes, after voting for him, I was
publicly disillusioned. Why am I
working so closely with the Mentor?
Momentum is a very broad church of
members united by wanting to have a
radical socialist Government to
build a socialist society.
The loyalty test, the Mentor
supports candidates in internal
What we are proud of...
Progress is a tiny group in
comparison. Momentum have thriving
democratic local groups which
democratically selects their own
Why are you so much smaller in terms
Compared to Momentum. You have to
accept they have been hugely
successful in terms of getting new
members, injecting enthusiasm. Your
branch of the party is running
We are recognising our politics is
at a low ebb and we had to renew
ourselves because, clearly, people
think our ideas have run their
course, people can't move on from
the last Labour Party.
I am allowed to believe what I
believe and renew my politics.
We are a growing organisation. Let
me make this comparison. What
Progress does in selection is
provide training for people so they
know the process, Labour makes it
cloaked in secrecy. We don't donate
money to campaigns, we don't get
together to say you have two
pre-select a candidate. We support
as many as we can.
Do you want everybody to be saying
exactly the same thing on exactly
the same issues so there is no
deviation? Is it discipline to get
your man into number ten?
In the general election, I
campaigns, including four MPs who
have different politics from myself.
Should they be deselected? No, that
is not the case. In terms of the
loyalty test, the Mentor is
supporting certain candidates, as
other organisations do, asking them
to sign up to their values. There is
The former head of compliance...
I remember being active when Tony
Blair was leader and the atmosphere
them towards people of my politics
was often bitterly hostile. We were
blamed for destroying the Labour
Party, and the reality is now the
Labour Party is far more open and
democratic than it has been for a
generation. It will mean elements of
the old order who believe in what
many people now believe is a failed
orthodoxy, they will find that other
people who join will maybe replace
That is part of democracy. The
Labour Party did far better than
many expected even within the Labour
Party itself. Do you accept the
values and policies being espoused
by Jeremy Corbyn struck a chord?
It did. But also in that manifesto
it aligned economic security and
national security, the best of
Jeremy Corbyn and Tom Watson, but in
the days after the election, he said
they would still get rid of Trident.
He didn't do that.
Very briefly, in the end, Labour
were still two points behind, 20
years ago Tony Blair came in 12
points ahead. In order to win do you
not have is to be in that position
of Tony Blair and a more centrist
Labour Party to win an election?
Those who support those politics on
the continent are doing far worse
for Labour's sister parties. Labour
got 40%, New Labour at its peak got
Labour started on 24, within six
weeks ended up on 40. In the next
election if we going with 42%, what
many Tory MPs fear is the only way
is up. Because of the Mentor Labour
did far better.
If only that were true.
Some say behind the door of Number
10 Downing Street lie
the real power brokers -
those who advise the Prime Minister
on issues such as strategy,
communications or policy.
Emma Vardy has been having a look
at who's in, and who's out.
After the general election,
Theresa May faced something
of an exodus of staff.
Some who were blamed
for the disastrous result
were shown the door.
New faces came in.
Others rewarded for their
loyalty were promoted.
She reshaped her inner circle
and braced for the challenges ahead.
Here were the two main casualties
of the post-election clear-out.
Former joint Chief
of Staff Fiona Hill,
and Nick Timothy, decided to walk.
This man occupies the most
position in Government.
Gavin Barwell got the job
after losing his Croydon seat.
He is now the Downing Street Chief
of Staff, a highly influential role
at the heart of Government.
This is now the most senior
female in Mrs May's team,
Deputy Chief of Staff Joanna Penn,
known as Jo-Jo, who worked closely
with Theresa May in the Home Office.
Another member of staff
who followed Mrs May
from the Home Office is Alex Dawson,
now the political director
of Number Ten, someone who has risen
in prominence since that election.
It's just so tiresome when you're
trying to run the country and this
lot is popping up with questions.
So behind every Prime Minister
there is hard-headed press team.
It's a round-the-clock
job, you know.
Here's someone whose
name you might remember
from the credits of this programme.
Robbie Gibb left his job
as the boss of the BBC's live
political output to become
Theresa May's Director
Another former BBC
journalist, Tom Swabrick,
deals with the broadcast media
while Paul Harrison is the current
And what about those
set-piece media appearances
which show the public the human side
of the Prime Minister's personality?
Overseeing those is Liz Sanderson,
a former feature writer
for the Mail On Sunday.
Prime Ministers' careers are often
later remembered for some
of their key speeches.
And that's where the
wordsmiths come in.
Help a PM to nail that podium
moment and you might
just go down in history.
Although this speech might go down
for all the wrong reasons,
with Philip Hammond being the chief
provider of cough sweets,
Keelan Carr is Theresa May's
new speech writer.
is another journalist
turned political aide.
The former Political Editor
of the Daily Mail, James Slack,
is the Prime Minister's official
spokesperson - he has the daily
job of briefing lobby
journalists at Parliament.
Working behind this door, well,
there aren't many jobs like it,
but you never quite know how long
it will last.
We're joined now by someone
who mixes with the movers
and shakers on a daily basis,
the political editor
of The Sun, Tom Newton Dunn.
Welcome back. Changes in personnel
after the election, how has Downing
Considerably, a 180 degrees U-turn.
There are some new names, Robbie
I remember him.
I understand his
staff still get Molly King text
messages despite the fact he has
still moved on. -- rollicking. The
two figures missing are Nick Timothy
and Fiona Hill who drove the
operation, and some say had a fair
hand in driving the Prime Minister,
very adversarial people. Without
that, number ten is a lot more
adversarial, less adversarial.
Has it weakened the Prime Minister?
After the election we talked about
the possibility of those advisers
having to load which they did, and
it would be like losing a leg or an
Has that been the case? Sort of. An
interesting dynamic. Number ten now
has no majority and still have no
money. Now they don't have much of a
The entire job of this number ten is
to build alliances in cabinet and
Parliament, to be consensual and
build bridges and a group effort
which is the opposite of before when
it was about driving through
policies. Today, number ten is
delivering on the mandate it has
which is getting policy and
governing without any majority.
Does it make any difference who is
behind the throne in terms of
advisers, or is it still very much
led by the Prime Minister, and her
closest advisers who are elected?
This is a directional lists -- a
Government without direction.
And the personnel Quetta but we have
gathered you are not a supporter of
this Government. Does it make a
It does, Nick Timothy, cut a
figure. He is widely ridiculed often
as the architect of a disastrous
manifesto. But what that manifesto
accepted was the free market
consensus had collapsed T spoke how
the state needed to take a far more
actedive role and how things had
failed. I think he was an
interesting figure in that sense, he
understood that. The problem with
the Tories at the moment is they are
flitting between either the position
of saying let's double dog on free
market dog marks we have not sold it
properly, or to say the system isn't
working. -- dogma. And that was the
camp he was in.
Do you accept that,
this has been more about state
intervention, un-Tory, but you have
The rhetoric, not
The rhetoric, then, in
that case. If somebody like Nick
Timothy who has gone, was seen as
the brain, if you like, behind the
policy, do you need a person like
that to actually
Absolutely. I think
Owen - I think some of the policies
were recently interventionist. Ed
Miliband's policy, price freeze,
kicking corporate governments around
boardrooms and more shareholders
having greater rights, workers on
the board, etc, all of that was very
un-Tory and certainly very
unlibertarian Tory and you needed a
character like Nick Timothy who
fervently believed in it to drive it
through, quite dogmaticically and
swatting opposition aside.
need that sort of force behind
politics,er is eial, everybody says
it is about the 24-hour media. Is it
important to have that narrative
going through in a main or the
You need a vision and
this Government doesn't have a clear
vision whatsoever. The problem now
with the Government is it is about
day-to-day survival rather than a
long of had term clear project for
the country which meets its
challenges, obviously it went
horribly wrong for the Tories in
that snap election but you did have
someone like Nick Timothy who z I
mean it was disastrous in terms of
the dementia tax and election
falling to pieces but in the overall
society we have lived in, yes it has
been stripped away completely and it
is about how Theresa May survives,
will she make it to the end of the
They shaping events the current
team now, and if it is a broader
circle, they have managed to keep
Theresa May in power at times when
people have said it'll all fall
And that is the number one
goal of number ten at the moment,
keep Theresa May in power and
somehow get Brexit through without
the Tory Party imploding, I think
events also shame personle. The
single most important person,
Tuilagily the most important person
apart from Mrs May, is Mr May, when
history books are written, the role
and effect and guidance he gave to
the Prime Minister will be huge. We
see very little of him. But
certainly her most important
advisor. After that it is Gavin
Barwell the Chief of Staff and Gavin
was chosen very much because he was
nice guy Gavin. Tory MPs like him.
He doesn't have an enemy in the
House of Commons, you need that to
build bridges and keep the PM where
she is, try hard it get a minuscule
policy, through like a stamp duty
cut on first time buyers but really,
the game is survival.
The new Defence Secretary,
Gavin Williamson, has been warned
that he faces a "substantial
rebellion" if the Government allows
any more cuts to the Armed Forces.
Mr Williamson was facing questions
for the first time in his new role
in the House of Commons yesterday
and he was left in little doubt
about the widespread anger
among his colleagues over further
possible defence savings.
Let's look at some highlights:
What we have in terms of our
national security and capability
review is the opportunity to step
back, look at the threats and
challenges that this country faces,
whether it is from cyber, whether it
is more conventional threats,
and make sure we have the right
resources in place so that we can
deliver for our Armed Forces.
It was surreal last week to hear
the Permanent Private Secretary
say that the man in charge had made
no formal pre-Budget request
to the Chancellor for more money.
It is one thing to ask and not
get, Mr Speaker, but
another not even to bother asking.
Above all, will he speak
to his right honourable friend
the Chief Whip to remind him
if he does not do so he will face
a very substantial rebellion.
It might seem illogical
to have a defence
capability review that could
decrease our capabilities at a time
when we need to do everything we can
to increase the fighting power
of our Armed Forces.
I think my honourable
friend makes a very
valuable point in terms of making
sure we have the right
capability for all our Armed Forces.
I am taking the opportunity to look
at all the work that has been done,
and making my own judgment of
the best way to go forward on this.
Joining me from Central Lobby
in Parliament is the Chairman
of the Defence Select Committee,
How do you think the new Defence
I think he got off to
a good start. He showed himself to
be open minded about the central
issue - which is: Are we spending
enough on defence. He knows the
answer to, that not nearly enough.
Is he going to do anything about it?
We had Jonny Mercer here yesterday
saying he is not prepared to see
another degredation in this
country's budget for the military.
So say all of us. The problem is we
are now spending barely the Nato
minimum of 2% GDP on defence. The
last time we faced the scenario of
an acertive Russia, coupled with a
terrorist threat, the 1980s. Do you
know what we were spending then? Not
2%, 3%, generally 5% of GDP on
defence, a similar sum to what we
were spending on education and
Why aren't you advocating 5%
of GDP being spent on defence, you
are only asking for 3?
I think a 50%
uplift in the defence budget would
be a pretty good start. The reality
is now we are spending nearly four
times on health what we spend on
defence and two-and-a-half times
what we spend on education what we
spend on defence and six times on
welfare what we spend on defence and
what's more for every £3 we spend on
defence, we have to spend £1 on
international aid. So defence has
fallen too far down our scale of
So, are you one
of the 30 MPs who are prepared to
hold the Government's feet it the
fire on the defence as Johnny Mercer
Signed his letter at
the first asking Avon been pressing
now, until I'm blue in the face, as
well as in the ideology, that we
need to get defence up the spending
order of priority.
But how far are
3% is a start.
far are you prepared to go. Holding
the Government's feet to the fire is
one thing and as you say you have
been talking about this until you
are blue in the case, how can you
ensure that those cuts don't go
Well, I think it remains to
be seen whether the cuts would be
put in a situation in the Commons
that would have to result in a vote,
but I cannot see people who think as
I do, and as Jonny does and as James
Grey and Leo Doherty, who I think
you showed in hour cuts, can't see
us voting for ku.s the main thing,
it took the previous Secretary of
State, right up until the last few
weeks in office, before he started
to talk in terms of 2% was a base
and not aing target or a egg Crookes
whereas the -- not a ceiling,
whereas the new Defence Secretary
stated in his first outing that this
was his stance. And so, he's got to
build on that. He may not be a
defence expert, but he is a pretty
good infighter and an infighter is
what we need to get the defence
budget back to whering it ought to
I suppose you see this, do you,
as a point of maximum leverage?
Because your colleagues and you are
speaking out now? I know you have
consistently, over the last few
years, the Spending Review has been
delayed until January or February,
the Budget was last week, you know
the Government has a fragile Commons
'majority. Do you think you will get
Well, we have been trying
to get this case across for a very
long time, as you say. The previous
Defence Secretary said that the
review was being held, because of an
intensification of the threat. Now,
if you have an intensifying threat,
that means you have got to spend
more money on de-Phelps, not make
defence cuts. So it's not a question
of trying to blackmail the
Government when its back is in a
But it might work
question of persistently carrying on
with the campaign, in the hope that
we will, at last, begin to make
All right, thank
Let's return now to our main
story, the row about
the Government's Brexit reports -
edited versions of which have
been given to the Brexit
Labour has managed to secure
an urgent question on the issue
which ministers have been responding
to in the last few minutes.
Let's take a look:
Mr Speaker this is not a game. This
is the most important set of
decision this is country has taken
for decades. They need to be
subjected to proper scrutiny. In my
experience, the biggest mistakes are
made when decisions are not
scrutinised. Can I remind the
minister and the Secretary of State
that until this House passed the
motion on 1st November, ministers
routinely claimed that these
analysis were extensive and there
are at thattive. -- and
authoritative. They say they have
put them together. In September they
answered a free dom of information
We were clear that the
documents did not exist in the form
requested. We've collated
information in the way that doesn't
include some sensitive material but
the documents which he freely admits
he hasn't seen, do not contain
redactions. It is noticeable that
the original suggestion of
redactions in the debate on 1st
November, came from him. And came
from him speaking for the front
bench of the Opposition. He said in
the debate he had accepted all along
with the Government should not put
into the public domain any
information that woop undermine our
negotiating position and that he
accepts that there is a level of
detail and confidential issues and
tactics that should not be
Robin Walker and Kier sfarmer there.
-- Kier Starmer.
There's just time before we go
to find out the answer to our quiz -
Douglas Chapman, the SNP MP
for Dunfermline & West Fife has
suggested that we should
have an ambassador to where?
We'll ask Douglas because we have
him down the line. We can talk about
it. But do you know what the answer
I'll go for a wild card,
is it Mars?
No, funnily enough. That
got a laugh out of Douglas Chapman.
Can you give us the correct answer?
It is on the actic.
Why do you want
an ambassador to the Arctic?
create a greater focus around Arctic
issues. I think we had our
contoastic conference in Edinburgh
this time last week talking about
how we can collaborate more with the
Arctic nations to secure issues
around the environment and energy
and you know there are economic
opportunities there, that we need to
manage and steward in a way that
protects the environment. So there
is lots of different reasons, and as
you have discussed with Julian
Lewis, on issues around defence and
security, so there is a whole range
of issues we think, having an Arctic
ambassador would make sure there was
a complete focus on the area and
making sure that our relationships
with Arctic countries are spot on.
And where would this embassy be?
Well, I think it's more a post for
What about you?
thanks very much for the offer of a
Not in my gift actually,
I have an important job
being an MP. But nevertheless, there
is eminently qualified people out
there who can fulfil this role and
while we do have ambassadors for the
UK in the likes of Norway and
Iceland and so on, somebody who is
focussed on Arctic issues, would be
a great bonus and would give us a
level of credibility amongst other
Arctic nations to make sure they
knew we were serious about taking
the Arctic seriously.
So when is
Tomorrow, 11.00. I'm
hoping we will hear from the
minister, and while I'm not
expecting him to give a big thumbs
up and a big yes to this, I hope it
puts the idea in his head and that
we can make some progress over the
next few years.
Chapman, thank you very much. Do you
like the idea?
It is a bit nippy, as
it is. I have cold ears in on the
You need the correct clothes.
That's what they say. Douglas
Chapman thank you very much and
thanks to all of my guests today in
the warm studio, particularly to you
Owen Jones for being guest of the