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Hello and welcome to
the Daily Politics.
EU leaders have formally agreed
to move Brexit talks
onto the next stage.
So does this mean Theresa May
will get her wish to start
talking trade anytime soon?
Is it the future of money?
Or a dangerous currency
bubble about to burst?
We'll delve into the secretive world
of Bitcoin and ask whether it
needs more regulation.
What's your national identity?
Welsh, Northern Irish?
Yes, the good people of Cornwall
want their own tick-box
in the next census.
Could it happen?
And, was the donner almost a gonner?
A vote in the European Parliament
this week almost skewered the humble
"frozen vertical meat stick" -
or kebab to you and me.
We'll chew over the details.
All that in the next hour
and with us for the whole programme
today is Anne McElvoy
from the Economist and the Daily
Mail's Andrew Pierce.
First today, the UK's most senior
military officer has warned that
Russia could turn off the internet
to Britain by tampering with
the undersea cables in the Atlantic.
The Chief of Defence Staff Sir
Stuart Peach said Russian ships
had been spotted close to the cables
and this posed a new
threat to UK security.
Russia, in addition to new ships
and submarines, continues to perfect
both unconventional capabilities
and information warfare.
And there's a new risk to our way
of life, which is the vulnerability
of the cables that crisscross
the sea beds.
Can you imagine a scenario where
those cables are cut or disrupted,
which would immediately
and potentially catastrophically
affect both our economy
and other ways of living
if they were disrupted?
How vulnerable is Crypto- Britain to
underestimate how much goes on
behind the scenes thinking of
unconventional warfare. It sounds
from the Borne Id dentity. Attacks
on cyberstructure, which we have
seen and are repelled by
Governments, a lot of them in some
way are connected to China, some to
Russia and some to other states in
the Middle East. These are things
they worry about a lot. Particularly
these big cables. We sort of forget
they are down there because they
have been down there so long. There
is a poem writ no-one the 1920s
about -- written in the 1920s about
It is the infrastructure which keeps
everything on the road. It would
signal this is not just a flyby
night idea, that they do think there
might be some sort of planning that
could possibly aim towards an
And if that is a real
threat, an attack from Russia on
these cables, Britain doesn't really
have the ships, submarines or
aircraft to mount constant watch of
these cables. Are you happy and
reassured to rely on Nato to do it?
Defence cuts have been made so much.
Siber warfare is the new cold war.
No doubt about it. It would be sad
to rely on Nato to patrol our
waters. That would be the only way.
It would be a crippling blow if we
were attacked in that way in
I am not
sure whether I agree whether I
agree, we have to think about what
is joint security at the moment and
particularly when we look at the
fragmented Europe, where I think
that Nato alliances is one of the
things which might help to glue the
countries with similar values back
together. Actually having that view,
which is not something we were
saying picking a fight with Russia,
not trying to do manoeuvres. To your
question about what would follow,
well, I am afraid I can only follow
what we heard there - they probably
have a better idea than I do. What
they are worried about is something
which causes panic and would cause
the internet to go down. Of course
people's devices would stop working.
As you would well know, the run-up
to this programme, all of us, not
saying the worst thing in the world,
It would be dramatic.
everyone's lives. Of course hospital
machinery depends on it. Things more
important than The Daily Politics
going out on time depend on it. That
sense, how much of our domestic life
and security, personal security on
line depends on it all working.
Let's leave it there.
Now, EU leaders have given
the green light to the next
phase of Brexit talks.
They're meeting on the second day
of the European Council
Summit in Brussels.
Theresa May isn't there -
she's flown home -
but at a four-hour working dinner
last night she told European leaders
she was keen to "get on to the next
phase" of negotiations and discuss
Britain's future relationship.
We can speak now to our old friend,
Adam Fleming, who has been
at the summit for the last two days.
Welcome back. In terms of timing
when do you think we will move on to
these trade talks? The indications
indicate it will not be in the
Good to be back.
Yes, it has happened, sufficient
progress has been declared. Notice
that is sufficient progress, not
phase one completely done and
dusted. There's been a collective
sigh of relief over the last couple
of days they have reached this
symbolic milestone. It is the
question of when the trade talks
will start. We have seen the
guidelines which are the blueprint
for phase two. They have been
published by the European Council.
The first thing which will happen is
the formal negotiations about the
transition period oh or what the UK
Government call the implementation
phase, what happens next Street the
chief negotiator will publish a new
document, probably as soon as next
week, fleshing out what those
negotiations will involve, the terms
which they will be conducted. He
told me when he arrived they will
probably start negotiations about
the transition period in January n
the New Year, as soon as they can,
basically. Now the issue of the few
our partnership -- future
partnership, the co-operation on
trade, defence, security, climate
change, you name it, it will
probably not get started until March
2018 at the earliest. Because the EU
27, the 27 remaining countries want
the UK Government to have a
Cabinet-level discussion about what
they want from that future
partnership. Only then will the EU
put out more detailed guidance about
what they want from the future
partnership and how those
negotiations will unfold. A little
one though, there has been a change.
Says the EU 27 can start work. It is
not a dead stop on that until March.
There'll be work happening in
Brussels towards those talks
starting in March.
Theresa May was
applauded after addressing EU
leaders last night. Does that mean
the EU counsel is full square behind
It has been amazing to see the
support she's had from continental
colleagues. It exists for a few
reasons. First, they want to give
her help because they know she's got
a difficult political situation back
home. They want her to stay in
position and be able to deliver the
final Brexit deal and get it tloo u
the British Parliament. Second of
all, these are all professional
politicians, many of whom find
themselves in a far more precarious
political position than Theresa May
does. There a has been a lot of
fellow feeling for her as well. It's
been quite amazing seeing the
solidarity that people have been
laying it on quite thick, some
It is the season of
goodwill and thaul. So -- and all
So relief for the Prime Minister
in Brussels, but where does it
leave her with Parliament
and her party, especially
after this week's defeat...
What do you think of the
The rears, a
lot of former ministers who were
fired. I still think they are
intent, some at least, in trying to
destroy Brexit. Dominic Grieve has
told me it's the worst thing which
has happened in this country. Think
I he would like to junk the whole
thing. The Prime Minister may back
off this idea of actually writing
the date into legislation because
she cannot afford another defeat. It
is too embarrassing.
It has enraged
people. Dominic Grieve has received
death threats do. You feel
responsible for whipping up that
I am sorry he's received
death threats. It is nothing to do
what the Daily Mail has put on their
page. The reason she is applauded is
because they are dealing with her.
The last thing they want is Boris
Johnson or Michael Gove or a
hard-line Brexit tear leading the
Does it do anything to
lessen the likelihood of it
Not to my mind. I can see
the case for arguing for Parliament
to have a greater say and
sovereignty. That is actually the
strongest plank in the argument and
those of his fellow wreckers, as
Andrew says, as a bit of a joke.
There is something there about the
role of Parliament which is quite
difficult in this situation.
However, there is a problem. There
is a problem from this viewpoint -
which is, what do they think they
would like. It is not a menu where
you can go I would like it with the
pork! You have to take it with the
direction of travel and you see from
your package there is a sense the EU
is behind the direction of travel
that Theresa May has taken f they
have to have Brexit at all, I should
say. If you don't go this route,
most of that, you end up with a
resort of WTO rules, which is the
so-called hard Brexit, which most
people who oppose Brexit don't want
most of all. Their own strategy is
unclear beyond inflicting damage on
Looking beyond next
week, we have heard from the lobby,
where the press were gathered at
number ten to say they have no plans
to withdraw it. Is that code for,
they might be?
That is code for they
might change their mind. The whips I
don't think handled it this week.
There was rumour that the Chief Whip
was threatening action against some
of the rebels. They have to improve
it this week. If there is a risk,
they'll back off. If they do keep
pushing this, the EU has said they
will not reopen negotiations thus
far. We could walk away with no deal
at all. That is the last thing they
What about the op sigss in
this? They joined with the Tory
rebels. Are they emboldened or do
they actually now seem to think they
do have to go along with
negotiations because there isn't
much more they can do at this point?
It depends who you are asking. If
you look at Kier Starmer trying to
move his party in the single market
access as much as possible, what you
want to do from his perspective is
make life difficult for the
Government. You don't want a
full-frontal assault on the
Jeremy Corbyn said things which
didn't commit Labour to anything at
And I think Keir Starmer has got
Jeremy Corbyn in his team be I
saying, please don't say anything
unless you mean it it is unclear
what Labour would actually do. If we
were to go into an early election
that question would loom from day
one that Labour's position is
What might be intriguing to the
voting public is the Cabinet doesn't
have an agreed position yet, well
not publically in terms of how the
future relationship with the EU or
what it will look like - why not?
The Prime Minister has not permitted
the discussion to take place. She
wants the first negotiations out of
the way. It has actually stopped the
Is that because the gulf
between the likes of Phillip Hammond
on one and Boris Johnson and Michael
Gove is too wide that it cannot be
There is a big gap between
them. The Chancellor knows we are
leaving the European Union, we are
leaving the customs union, that is
How far apart do you think
they will be. We have heard from
Brussels the sort of threat, until
you have an agreed position, and
until we know the view we will not
move on to the trade talks.
May can be a rid gid leader. She's
not being too unclever about this.
Last week in the run-up, when things
were going badly with that meeting,
that problem with the DUP, and all
those things, what she did cleverly
is got Michael Gove on side to sign
up to sort of some sort of plus,
plus, minus and add to take away
one. That seems to be going. So
Michael Gove seems to be coming on
side. She got Boris Johnson on side
separately to say, could you advise?
She's good as picking off one by
one. She doesn't want to have
everyone around a table and say, OK,
what would you like? Then those
splits would open up again. The
mixture and desire to get there and
internal competition, she ended up
with her Chancellor and Defence
Secretary having a stand-up fight
Which didn't get that much
coverage because there was so much
talk about Brexit.
She doesn't want
that again. She picks off the
naughty boys and girls one by one,
like a good head.
transition because that and the
terms of transition seems to be the
next priority. How urgent is that
now for business that those terms
It's pretty much going to be a
two-year transition and no more. I
was at a conference in Reading and
talking to businesses and they said
they're much more relaxed now about
Brexit. They feared the uncertainty
but they think clarity is coming.
Don't you think that would be open
if this issue with the date keeps
slipping? It's one thing you can
save you can check out whenever you
like but you can only leave in cue
years just that. As soon as there's
an odd little about the date, I
think that will make the hard Brexit
crowd go crazy.
Let's move on.
It's the new goldrush.
The digital currency bitcoin has
been making headlines this week
after its huge increase in value.
But now ministers are to introduce
tighter regulations on the virtual
currency because of concerns it's
being used to launder
money and dodge tax.
Some MPs believe the Government
should help bring digital currencies
into the mainstream,
and say it could have advantages
for our public services.
Here's Emma Vardy.
Bitcoin is one of a number
of so-called crypto currencies.
Unlike the notes in your pocket,
it largely exists online and isn't
printed by governments
or traditional banks.
You store bitcoin in a digital
wallet and it can be used to pay
for all sorts of goods
and services online.
And some businesses accept
payment in bitcoin, too,
like this soup restaurant
here in Old Street, which also
has its own bitcoin cashpoint.
There is an advantage and that's
lower transaction fees.
If you compare the fees
of accepting bitcoin compared
to credit card fees,
which - especially AMEX -
can be very high.
It's quite nice being the underdog
against the banking system.
Until now, people have been able
to buy and sell bitcoin
So apart from just buying your lunch
with it, police say it could be used
on a much bigger scale for money
laundering by criminals.
Now the Treasury wants to regulate
bitcoin and other crypto currencies.
Regulators need to look at consumer
protection and I think that's
probably one of the issues
that we really need to address
and take seriously.
There is no protections,
actually, in bitcoin.
So if you go to the bank,
you've got a £70,000 buffer
that they will guarantee for you.
No such thing with bitcoin.
You are effectively your own bank.
At the moment, the new regulations,
which are expected to come
into force by early next year,
will focus on giving
authorities greater oversight
of crypto currencies under
and counterterrorism legislation.
The identities of bitcoin users
will no longer remain anonymous.
But some say the government
should go much further.
We ought to be leading the way
in how we can apply this for social
good as well as for economic gain.
By encouraging bitcoin and that side
of the crypto currencies and that
side of this new technology wave,
by regulating it properly
and allowing it to expand,
we are actually doing ourselves
a big favour as a country.
John Mann, a member
of the Treasury Select Committee,
says he wants to see the government
carry out a much fuller enquiry
into the potential use
of alternative currencies for public
services And believes
the government should look at how
they and the underlying technology,
called blockchain, could be used
in future by authorities.
I'd like to see our health records
put on the blockchain,
so if an ambulance turns up,
they've got immediate
access to my records.
Also property transactions,
a really good one to be
carried out on there.
It would actually help
get rid of fraud.
It needs that push from government
and that would allow this
whole new technology wave
to dramatically expand.
The value of a single bitcoin has
increased 12-fold this year,
from around £700 in January
to around £8,000.
Part of its charm, some argue,
was the fact it wasn't
part of the mainstream.
Now government regulation could pave
the way for that to change.
Well, here to discuss this with me
are Dominic Frisby, author
of Bitcoin: The Future Of Money?
And Dr Savvas Savouri,
chief economist at
Toscafund Asset Management.
Welcome to the programme.
Dominick, do you think we'll all be
paying for our shopping and meals
out with bitcoin in the future?
I don't. Bitcoin is another currency
and it was designed to be cash for
the Internet. If you think about
what we use cash for in the real
world, we use it for small
transactions, we use it for quick
transactions, we use it for direct
transactions and we use it for
private transactions. Now, they're
all sorts of transactions and the
aim of bitcoin was to replicate that
for the Internet. So I can send you
money without involving a bank or
any kind of middleman. That was the
original purpose of bitcoin and it
wasn't to kind of replace the US
dollar or anything else or the
British pound, so the idea that
we'll use it and it will be the only
money system in the world is
fallacious. But the technology
behind it, which am as your show
just showed, morphed into something
much bigger than an alternative cash
system. It used for record keeping,
all sorts of things. The technology
behind it is a breakthrough
technology and future money systems
might actually be based on block
Why don't you
think, that the future of it is with
You mentioned block
chain. You don't own block chain by
owning bitcoin. If you look at those
who have been buying bitcoin of late
and those who think John McDonald
would be a good Chancellor, they
overlap too closely. You cannot deny
the graph. You cannot deny the
exponential growth in the price of
bitcoin, but we mustn't confuse the
price of something with its value.
It's a bubble. I'm short Dominic's
book is a great work of fiction. A
work of fact was written in 1841
called extraordinary illusions.
We've been here before. This will
Your acidic, clearly, but is
your book a book of fiction in the
way it's been described?
rather damning indictment from
someone who's never even read my
book. Interestingly, you down the
technology, you've never used it.
You've never bought bitcoin. You
find this with the bitcoin
doomsayers. It's always inevitably
people who are not familiar with the
familiar with it?
I have a Ph.D..
I'm a capitalist. I would hate to
stand in the way of people making
People will have made money
There is a theory
creeping in here. Let's not conflate
owning bitcoin with owning block
The greater argument, bitcoin
has been the greatest moneymaking
opportunity any of us will ever see
in our lifetimes. Who's the greater
fool? The guy who's made money or
the guy who's stood aside?
about people who have lost money?
Because they have. It is extremely
vulnerable and prone to illegal
activity and to the Lord.
absolutely right and you're looking
at somebody who has lost money in
Why do you still believe in
As I originally said to you, it
is cash for the Internet. The reason
those bitcoin were stolen from me
was my own ignorance in security.
What you say about financially
ignorant people currently
speculating on bitcoin, I would go
along with that. It is a mania.
People are investing in bitcoin who
have no experience whatsoever with
it. And anyone who does speculate it
should familiarise themselves with
the technology first and be aware
that by holding bitcoins you are
doing the Internet equivalent of
holding cash. If you held large
amounts of cash, you would put it in
a safe, a bank...
My 12-year-old son
was trading with his friends two or
three years ago, football picture
cards. He got bored of it and the
current generation who are trading
bitcoin will get bored.
come if they're making money?
keep holding on to the position
saying it will go up again. No one
is suggesting there haven't been
profits but it's a zero-sum. You
make money because flog it.
were regulation, could it work and
more of a fad?
No. We have enough
currencies in the world will stop
the fact that western grizzlies have
no yield because interest is zero,
that will change. Normal service
will resume shortly.
I don't see how
it could ever be a replacement as
cash or as another currency.
suggesting that, I'm saying it's
cash for the Internet. That was its
original purpose but it's morphed
into something much bigger. The
current system of money is there are
all sorts of false with it. It's
broken. You said it's a zero
interest rate situation that will
fix itself. We'd been there for
nearly ten years and there's very
little sign of it changing. This is
a system of money backed by
mathematical proof. It cannot be
debased or quantitatively eased. You
can't suppress interest rates. You
can't print it. It can be stolen,
It hasn't caught on in a
Its tulips. The base is
It's interesting, because
the 17th-century bitcoin of its day
work tulip bulbs. People invested
massively and suddenly the interest
There is no underlying
function to tulips.
Will the bubble
As always I take my leave
from the Economist and I do because
people spend a lot of time working
on it. Bitcoin, I wouldn't spend too
much time on it. You have to get in
and out and it is difficult. The
underlying theory of crypto
currencies will be a development in
our lifetimes I think there is
denying its mania and it's gone in
way excess of what its value is, but
it has real world use. .Com was a
And it burst!
Now, it's panto time
and we all know the story
of Cinderella and how she's
desperate to attend the ball.
Well, my next guest was also hoping
to go to the ball, but has been told
by the Conservative party -
rather than the wicked
step-sisters - that he can't.
And just a warning -
the pictures you're about to see do
contain flashing images.
from Pimlico Plumbers
and Conservative party supporter
and donor, has been told he can no
longer attend the exclusive
Black and White ball,
held to fundraise for
the Conservative Party.
Pictured here attending last year's
event, Mr Mullins had wanted
to have a table at the
event costing £15,000.
But when he went to book he was told
he was no longer welcome.
He believes it's due
to his criticism of Theresa May,
but hasn't been given an exact
reason by the party.
We did ask the Conservatives
if they could tell us why
Charlie Mullins had been declined
a table at the ball but they did not
want to comment or provide
anyone for an interview.
Charlie Mullins joins us now.
How disappointed are you?
really that disappointed. At the end
of the day, I think it's very
childish, necessary. I've been a
Tory donor for many years, gone to
various different parties with them
and all of a sudden, they're telling
me you're not welcome.
Do you its --
do you think it's because of your
support to remain in the EU?
happy about that but evidently it's
because of my views that I don't
think she's doing a great job at the
And you been quite explicit
in those views. We certainly aren't
a fan of Theresa May. Tell us some
of the things you said.
I think we
need a stronger leader or will end
up with Jeremy Corbyn.
She's got to
go over her own sake, it's
embarrassing, she's not only weak
but her is hobbling the UK. This is
totally your entitlement to say
these things, but do you think that
is what led to this?
I've been told it's because of
outspoken comments. Let's be fair.
Andrew, you're very outspoken and
you and Kevin argue like man and
Are you talking about Kevin
Yes! I'm sure you still
invite you to his Christmas party.
Is it childish of the Conservative
Party not to accept money from
I certainly don't
think it's anything to do with
Charlie's views on the EU. Some of
the Cabinet are remain as will stop
they'll be there en masse.
you think the reason is?
It to do
that with that, Andrew. Brexit leave
or stay, what they're saying is they
don't like what you're saying about
her. I'm only saying what a lot of
people are thinking and she needs
people like me to put the point
across that if you aren't doing the
job right, everyone else is being
lovely, lovely. She should get on to
Boris and these people who are
backstabbing hair and not me.
you want to go if you think it's a
disaster? Why do you want to go to
the Conservative fundraiser?
to put money in and make sure they
stay in power will stop when she had
the snap election we put quite a few
quid in for a few MPs. I'm very much
behind the Conservatives. I'm just
saying I don't think she's the lady
to be the leader.
You said on a blog
that she is politically dead, maybe
some will do the decent thing and
take her out. Perhaps party
officials may not want you sitting
near her at the dinner.
bullied. At the conference she was
being bullied, everything was going
wrong for her, and people are
backstabbing hair. .
government be doing more to
encourage business people?
they should. Charlie has a
You think you
should be allowed to go?
it's a hideous do, it's so ghastly.
That's your choice. I think you
should go because you live it up.
is about being a critical friend,
It is, I sent ambiguity
and I think it's a mixture of a
fundraiser and a social event. Most
people go, they're going to have
criticisms of Theresa May. They
might want another leader, the Yate,
Boris crowd who rattle their
jewellery. If you are of the view
that she's a complete disaster, it
seems funny. This is an event she
will be the big guest.
The summer party a couple of
months ago, David Davis on the
table, but in 15 grand, spent a few
quid and was being told to f-off.
that note, thank you.
Now, as you'll know -
when you fill out the census,
you have to tick a box
to state your national identity.
At the moment, the options available
are English, Scottish,
Northern Irish and Welsh.
But could that be about to change?
This week a delegation from Cornwall
council came to Westminster to call
for Cornish identity to be
recognised with their own tick-box
on the next census.
Welcome to The Daily Politics. What
are you calling for?
We'd like to
see Cornish identity recognised the
same as Welsh, Scottish and Irish
identity. In 2014 the
recognised the Cornish as the
national group. They told us we
would be treated the same as the
Irish, the Scots the Welsh. We
should have that come forward as
well as the other Celtic groups.
What material difference will it
make having a tick box on the
First about fairness. What
is the point about the Government
saying they will recognise the
Cornish as a group if we are there
after ignored. It is about
statistics showing if you are
Cornish in Cornwall you are more
likely to be in a deprived community
than if you are not. 14% of the
Cornish population wrote Cornish in.
We want to be able to record
everyone who is Cornish so we can
understand the factors of our
How do you think the
campaign is going? Do you think
you'll get your way?
It is a
difficult campaign,ly not lie.
There's a lot of groups of different
ethnic origins looking to get some
sort of inclusion within the census.
So we are working hard. We've put
further information to the accepts
can. They have promised further
meetings. We are hopeful they will
follow through. The real key thing
is the UK Government has recognised
the Cornish officially I was done
through David Cameron, supported by
the Chancellor, right through to
local MPs. We want to see the action
that should follow from.
that, giving them recognition
officially, what should it mean in
That is the difficulty
that quite often Governments will
come under pressure from various
groups of people who have very
strong identity, as your guest is
lining there. I suppose gathering
material for the census it would be
fine to say you can have as many
boxes as you like. People might
laugh about it. I can see front
columns in the Daily Mail. If people
have an identity and want to express
it. When you say, oh, this group of
people, by virtue of being Cornish n
this case, are suffering. How do you
then balance that against incomers
into the area? It could end up being
divisive. I wouldn't like to see us
go down the road on that one.
is your response to that?
that is completely wrong. The point
of the census is to find out all
manner of information so politicians
can put forward policies and
initiatives. Maybe they find that
certain things are not what we
anticipate them to be. The reality
is you need information to go
forward to do what is right for the
communities and everyone who lives
in those communities.
Thank you for joining us today.
For the next half an hour we're
going to be focussing
even more on Europe.
We'll be discussing.
First though here's our guide
to the latest from Europe -
in just 60 seconds.
Theresa May began the week
with a Brexit spring in her step
following that deal to move talks
on to the next stage.
But by mid-week, she'd suffered her
first defeat in the Commons,
when MPs voted to give parliament
a legal guarantee of
a vote on the final deal
struck with Brussels.
The European Parliament passed
a motion of bringing
the move to phase two,
but not all MEPs were so supportive.
Theresa the appeaser has given
in on virtually everything.
Elsewhere, the new Polish Prime
Minister has said his dream
is to re-Christianise the EU,
calling for a return to proper
values in an interview
with a catholic TV channel.
The European Commission president,
is facing an investigation over
a case involving an alleged
illegal wiretap when he was
Prime Minister of Luxembourg.
And Emmanuel Macron hosted 50
countries and one cool little kid
at a climate change summit
in Brussels, warning the world
is losing the battle.
A notable absentee from
the gathering was the US
President Donald Trump -
but don't worry, Arnold
Schwarzenegger was there instead.
One of the stories
we saw there was about
the new Polish Prime Minister -
who wants to 're-Christianise'
The EU. What do you think about
It is the no-mates category in
Europe. It is a big country. It has
turned in toward. It does have
problems within its legal system.
Its politics has become rather
hideous and views of minorities is
not good. It is funny we are
focussing on it, given we had this
argument when Germany opposed
Turkish entry to the EU. If there
was an in fairness to Poland clause
here, Angela Merkel had a strong
Christian identity. To be Christian
to go to church. It meant there was
a Christian underpinning to the EU,
which historically was true. That is
one of the reasons why she kept, the
Austrians, and others kept the Turks
out. It doesn't feel like it is the
right language to be talking now.
you agree with that? As Anne has
said, it seems a far cry from the
days we were talking about accession
for Turkey. That was an issue during
the EU referendum. Now we have the
new Prime Minister in Poland saying
he wants the EU to return to
traditional Christian routes?
A as a
good Catholic boy I ought to welcome
it. But the politics in Poland has
turned very far to the right and I
think it's got an unhealthy
undertone. Sounds like it could be
an unhealthy undertone. I would be
Now European Union leaders have
formally agreed to allow Brexit
talks to progress to the next phase.
Lots of issues including trade,
justice and the list goes on. The
BBC's Adam Fleming caught up with
Brexit negotiate after the...
You will get your new guidelines.
Your new instructions.
When do you think we'll have the
transition period agreed?
transition, the beginning of next
And when will we know for
definite what it is? Will we know by
Wait and see.
And joining me now to discuss
all this is the MEP Seb Dance,
the deputy leader of Labour
in the European Parliament.
He's here in the studio,
whilst the Conservative leader
in the European Parliament,
Ashley Fox MEP joins
me from Bristol.
We want a deep and special
partnership with the European Union.
During that transition period I
think we want to maintain
equivalence with the customs union,
equivalence with the single market,
so that during that two-year period
firms don't need to adjust their
rules again. And then...
that mean still taking rules from
the European Court of Justice and
freedom of movement?
I think that is
something to be negotiated.
is your view?
Well, it is something
to be negotiated. I would expect
freedom of movement to continue from
the two years after we leave to the
end of the transition period.
Seb, Ashley says that needs to be
negotiated. Formulating the
transition will be part of that. It
requires the approval of the
European Parliament. What is the
mood in Brussels and Strasbourg from
Well I suppose the
mood is one of caution. There is a
slight air of relief we've managed
to get some progress now, obviously.
There was a stage towards the end of
last week where panic stations were
setting it in because it looked very
bad indeed. At least there is a
sense of progress. Ultimately the
Government has caved in on so much
already, the expectation is the
transition period will be another
example of that and it will be the
status quo and the only difference
is we will not be able to make any
of the rules, we will be applying.
In what way has the Government
Full regulatory agreement,
that is the post France session
stage. That, in effect, means the
customs union. In order to get
regulatory agreement covered by the
Good Friday Agreement you need to
imply meant a lot of the rule rule
the single market and the customs
Do you accept there is a
strong possibility that Britain
remains in the customs union for
No I think he's talking
complete nonsense there. We will
leave the customs union and the
single market. We'll have a bespoke
agreement between the UK and the EU.
It is interesting that the Italian
Prime Minister has already said we
need a tailor-made solution for the
United Kingdom. I have to say it
must be difficult being a Labour MEP
at the moment because you have to be
permanently miserable, permanently
talk down our country. And Mrs May
has done really well. She's a
like to know what magical way of
squaring the circle you have come up
with. That is what the text says.
Unless you can come one a way of
achieving full alignment through
another means which does not involve
that. You've had 18 months to come
up with this magical solution and
nobody has. I am not miserable. I am
fascinated to how this magic trick
will be performed.
Seb has not
clearly read the agreement. It says
we will maintain alignment for those
areas where there is north-south
co-operation. 12 areas, some are
fair lay minor, by waterways and --
fairly minor, like waterways.
So there are challenges relating to
agriculture, that we absolutely will
not be staying in the customs union.
Isn't the truth that actually Labour
wants to remain in all but name
within the single market and the
customs union and actually you
welcome the debate around this issue
of full alignment regarding the
border between Ireland and Northern
Ireland because this is Labour's
game plan, is not to recognise the
Brexit referendum outcome.
say game plan all you like. I would
like to stay in the European Union.
I am not making any bones about
that. That is obviously up to the
British people, if they decide what
they get at the end of this process
is not what they voted for on 23rd
June, I think there is a case to
say, is this what you want to do? It
is up to me and others like me to
make the case.
Isn't that Labour's
It is to effectively
minimise the effect of what Brexit
to do. A hard Brexit - that is not
in the country's interest.
a difficulty that during that
transition period you will not be
able to strike any free trade
agreements with other countries, not
EU countries - that is correct,
I anticipate we will be
able to par take in trade
negotiations. Until the transition
period is concludes, which I would
imagine to be the first quarter of
2021 those new trade arrangements
cannot take effect.
Do you know what
the Government's vision will be for
that trade between Britain and the
It has been described as Canada,
plus, plus, plus. If you look at the
free trade agreen you will see that
98% of tariff lines are abolished
and set at zero. We see no reason
why it cannot be zero. We want an
ambitious service chapter on top of.
Sptd isn't that the problem -
when you think what the British
services make up and Canada, I take
your point about plus, plus, plus,
but the deal with Canada did not
We are in complete
regulatory alignment with the EU.
All our financial service providers
have equivalent regulation to the
That is the point, we are come
from a totally different starting
point to Canada and therefore, this
idea that it is going to be
impossible, that it might take eight
years is wishful thinking on that
part. Not at all. That is the point,
but applied from the other way. We
have regulatory alignment because we
are in the EU. Those regulations are
decided by the EU. Do we think we
will be deciding what the European
financial services regulations will
be once we are outside of the
institutions that set those? Of
course we won't. But we will be
applying them. That is the point.
This is not taking back control at
Do you think they will accept being
part of the court of justice for a
few years, for a few years in that
I think most of them, they're
unhappy about it but have accepted
it because it's pretty minuscule. I
think Labour is in real difficulty
because John McDonald said the other
day he wants to not be the single
market, to be in a different single
market. They bit keep changing their
position and I think they want to
keep us in the single market and the
What do you think
phase one agreement has effectively
done in terms of the customs union?
Fox talks about north-south
alignment, the DUP ensured it was
east-west, as well. The Good Friday
Agreement, that's a huge chunk of
what the Brexiter is said we would
do trade deals on.
How do you see
this term full alignment influencing
our future relationship? In a
nutshell, it will sort of dictate
how closely aligned our rules and
regulations and standards are to the
ones of the EU.
I think it depends.
It's a great phrase, it reminds me
of the variable geometry. It can be
made to be anything you want it to.
In the position you're coming from,
it makes no difference, if you want
full alignment you might as well not
have bothered, but of course you
wouldn't have bothered as you would
have remained at you've been very
You have to have a language which
allows people to make deals which
isn't at the same time saying, well,
you might as well just accept
customs union and single market. You
don't have to be very far on the
Brexit curve to say those things are
not acceptable to me. I think you're
right that it's a bit of a forge but
your colleague on the other side in
Brussels also has a point. You do
actually have to come up with
instruments which are going to make
this at least as less likely to lead
to any future big problems, even if
you can't use it to cut every
problem through right now.
Fox, do you think the EU blinked in
the end in order to get to the end
of phase one?
I don't think either
side blinked. I think these were
difficult negotiations. Mrs May
showed herself to be a formidable
negotiator and we've reached a
compromise. Mrs May is doing a good
job stopping white --
do you think
David Davis is a good negotiator?
Yes and he's doing a good job. MEPs
and politicians who pretend to
support their country take delight
in every small difficulty.
didn't you vote for the motion
approving progress to phase two. You
say we oppose it.
We voted in favour
of the paragraph that called...
Because it was full of a whole load
of nonsense put in. That is not the
purpose of the European Parliament.
Lets leave it there for the moment.
There have always been tensions
in the EU between federalists
who want deeper integration
in the bloc and those
who value member state
sovereignty above all else.
Britain traditionally sat
in the second camp -
but now that we're leaving,
could plans for European federalism
be moving ahead at pace?
Today at the European
Council Summit, leaders
are expected to discuss ways
to deepen eurozone integration.
On the table is the possible
creation of a budget for
the eurozone, as well as a finance
minister to represent the bloc.
Earlier this week the
European Council adopted
the creation of a permanent
defence and security
known as PESCO.
25 EU states have signed the defence
pact, with only Malta,
Denmark and the United Kingdom
choosing not to take part.
PESCO will integrate military
planning, weapons development
and operations that will rely
on a 5 billion euro defence fund.
Last week Martin Schulz,
the leader of Germany's centre-left
Social Democrats or SPD and former
European Parliament President,
called for the creation
of a United States of Europe.
Schulz told SDP delegates
that he wanted EU member states
to sign off on a "constitutional
treaty" committing them to take
steps towards a federal Europe.
Do you think it'll catch on, this
idea of a United States of Europe?
It has always been there in the
minds of advanced federalists. I
know it depends on what you call a
federalist but it was there and it
was there for the vision of Europe
stretching back over 20 years. I
spent a lot of time in Germany
recently looking at Angela Merkel's
situation and possibly life after
her. Martin Schulz who was sat on a
low percentage, very bad election,
he need something that from his
perspective, he's very pro-European,
Brussels is where he's come from
into this part of German politics.
He wants to offer something bold and
visionary and I think his view is
you go full tilt for it, stop saying
you don't want it, that helps you
get on with Emmanuel Macron and you
can move something forward.
think greater integration is the way
In many areas, yes,
and in many it isn't. I think we
will probably see the emergence of a
Do you support
that quiz Siam at the end of the
day, the EU is member states
states decide what they are
comfortable with at any given point.
Frankly, there will always be
federalist and always those who want
the sovereignty of member states
above all else. The buck stops with
As a result of that
conflict, do you see it happening in
terms of having a budget Minister
and there is already a sort of
Foreign Minister, but that sort of
close cooperation on defence? In the
end, national values will trump for
many countries within the EU.
would agree with that. My concern
over this structured colons --
script should defence is to Nato. If
it results in European nation state
spending more on defence than that
is to be welcomed. What we don't
want are several more divisions of
bureaucrats who don't actually add
to defence capability.
it make sense to have those
countries remaining in the EU coming
For the Eurozone,
you're probably right. Because the
euro was set up initially very
badly, with economies that went
convergent and too many states,
we've seen a great many problems.
They're probably does need to be a
greater fiscal capacity for the
Eurozone. I'm just delighted the UK
isn't part of that.
Right. Would you
like to be part of it if Britain
were to stay in the EU? Would you
have been a fan of being part of
that closer integration?
integration in defence makes sense
given the levels of threat we have.
We got to counter this idea that
it's somehow undermines Nato.
Britain and France for example have
already conducted operations under a
joint EU flag. That hasn't
undermined our contribution to Nato
or the security of the North
Atlantic Treaty organisation in any
way shape or form. You can have
Would it be a good
Know and if this line would
have been around before the
referendum, I think the referendum
result would have been even bigger
for Leave. We don't like the idea of
Brussels taking even more power away
from sovereign Parliament.
also a problem with Germany, or it
seems like from Martin Schulz in the
position, that he is to control
everything within the EU? Do you
think that's the problem?
there's a problem with Germany, they
run the whole show
there's a problem with Germany, they
run the whole show?
obviously the economic powerhouse
and has tried. The Franco German
relationship is not at his strongest
and there is a challenge for France
but this is not the position of
Angela Merkel. The CDU is likely to
head the government as we go
forward, it is a position of the
You take offence of
this idea that Germany runs the
Germany is the largest economy
full stop incidentally, we were on
course to be the biggest economy in
the EU if we had stayed. You could
see Britain -- say that Britain runs
the show but we'll never know. The
idea Germany runs it is absurd. Look
at it through German eyes. Here we
have the biggest military power in
the EU leaving at a time when we
have threats from Russia, less than
concrete assurances from our good
allies the USA and president trump.
There is a lot of nervousness
We have Anglo German
And we will
The layer of
Corporation makes sense will stop
David Cameron spent a lot of time
negotiating tracks get concessions
in the EU, spent most of his time in
Will have to say goodbye to
our two guests.
Now, were donors almost goners?
Who writes this?
A vote in the European Parliament
this week seeking to ban phosphates
from frozen kebab meat fell just
short of the majority needed.
There were three votes in it
and the British MEPs did their bit
to save the frozen vertical meat
spits - or kebabs as they're known
by us ordinary folk.
Here's a flavour of the debate.
Instead of saying
the EU's banning kebabs -
that's not right -
the media and companies should be
asking the commission why
the commission is making our food
less healthy and worse
because that is ultimately
what the whole story's about.
and the Social Democrats
are simply spreading panic.
The reason why that's not
the case is that phosphates
are allowed in many foods,
but they're obviously naturally
present in many foods.
If they were such a great
risk to human health,
we'd all have been ill long ago.
And Ibrahim Dogus, the founder
of the British Kebab Awards
is here to chew this all over.
Those ponds! Are you relieved?
are indeed. We welcome the decision
taken by the Parliament to let
kebabs be made the way they wear.
What are phosphate is used in making
Within a very small
industry in the frozen kebabs
industry stop macro -- they don't
use phosphates in it. It is to keep
meat moist and give it a bit of
flavour will stop its an additive
and there are many others used in
many other industries.
If it was
only being used for a small number
would it have had that much of an
impact if it has been banned?
huge impact in Britain but in
Germany, the frozen give out
industry is bigger than in Britain.
In Britain we have more restaurants
and takeaways who make their own
kebabs in-house rather than buying
frozen. The frozen kebabs is still
part of our industry and it would
have been bad to ban the use of
Basta band phosphate,
but how unhealthy is it is to have
phosphates as part of the process?
The European Food Standards Agency
made an assessment is back in 2013
and they confirmed there is no
health risk for any products that
are using phosphates, it doesn't
cause any direct health risks to
consumers at all-star white are you
celebrating with a big plate of
everybody is feeling hungry
at this moment. What's your view on
this great Donna kebabs debate?
not a great eater of them but if
you're happy, I'm happy.
Do you eat
I have from my
teenage son so if they could get rid
of the ones with as many additives
as possible I'd be happier, if you
could nudge the industry in that
British MEPs helped the
industry here. They are forming a
function in the EU.
Two more years
to go and they can carry on doing
good work and then our own
Parliament can sort it out.
can't underestimate the work they're
doing at the moment. Did you lobby
No direct lobbying, but we
knew our MEPs would be sensible
What made you think that
Most of our MEPs have done
great work for many years so we
expected them to
great work for many years so we
expected them to.
That's all for now, thanks
to all my guests, and goodbye.