Labour's Stephen Kinnock and Suella Fernandes from the Conservatives join Jo Coburn. They look ahead to Theresa May's statement on the Brexit negotiations.
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Hello and welcome to
the Daily Politics.
Theresa May gathers the Cabinet's
big beasts to talk about the UK's
post-Brexit relationship with the EU
- will they be able
to agree a way forward?
A "culture change" is needed
to ensure safety is prioritised over
costs in the construction industry -
that's according to the author
of an interim report
into the catastrophic
Grenfell fire disaster.
Are poor regulations
still putting residents
of tall buildings at risk?
Labour had all women shortlists
in 1997 to increase the number
of female MPs, so why not introduce
all-disabled shortlists to get more
disabled people into parliament?
We'll hear from the campaigner
who says that's exactly
what should be done.
OK you can vm buttercup. Not sure
what mum will say about it.
Theresa May is how to negotiate.
And some say British
Politics has been a bit
like Pantomime this year -
so that's where we're taking
the Daily Politics later...
All that in the next hour
of knock-about yuletide
entertainment for the whole family.
And joining us for the duration,
Labour's pantomime Dame,
Stephen Kinnock, and Westminster's
Prince Charming, Suella Fernandes.
Welcome to the show.
So, Theresa May has
another busy week ahead
in the run up to Christmas.
Following the agreement in Brussels
last week that 'sufficient progress'
had been made on Phase One talks,
the Prime Minister will today be
meeting with her 'Brexit cabinet'
to discuss the next phase.
But tomorrow, she will meet
with the whole Cabinet to discuss
the 'end-state' for the UK's
relationship with the EU
and they aren't exactly singing
from the same hymn sheet.
Her Chancellor, Philip Hammond,
said that the UK's relationship
with the EU would be 'largely
unchanged' and that we will
the status quo'.
Boris Johnson, meanwhile,
believes the UK needs something
'new and ambitious' giving 'zero
tariffs and frictionless trade'
as well as the 'freedom
to decide our own regulatory
Theresa May herself has said
that she wants a 'new,
deep and special partnership'
with the EU and ruled out
The EU have their own ideas
for Brexit, where the EU's chief
negotiator Michel Barnier said
there is 'no way' the UK will be
allowed to 'cherry-pick'
and have a bespoke deal with the EU.
Jeremy Corbyn is also under pressure
from his Shadow Cabinet over
the issue of a second referendum.
'The Labour Party does not
support' one, claimed
Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott.
But on the same topic,
Deputy Leader Tom Watson said
'you shouldn't rule anything out'.
Let's speak to our political
correspondent, Ben Wright.
Another busy Brexit week. What will
be agreed and changed this week?
Very little I think. These are
preliminary discussions by the
Cabinet. Amazingly, it is the first
time that the Cabinet has formally
got together and talked about its
view regarding the final trading
position the Government wants
between the EU and the UK after
Brexit. 18 months on from the
referendum. This easy are
discussions which might make the
discussions around phase one, the
money, the rights of EU citizens
look like a picnic. There are big
disagreements within the Cabinet
about the fundamental trading
relationship the UK should look for.
There is also a big disagreement at
the moment, it seems, between the UK
and the EU's starting points. The
UK, Theresa May is clear she wants
something bespoke, something which
combined Norwegian-style access with
a Canadian style trade agreement.
The EU say that is not on the cards.
You have to take something based on
a model which exists. They are
starting far apart. Time is short.
The EU will come forward with their
proposal, their starting position by
March. So the Government has to work
pretty quickly on this.
the Cabinet? How far apart are they
in terms of that future
Well, we believe there
are some significant differences,
crucially around the question of how
much convergence there should be
with the EU's regulatory system
after Brexit. At the moment there is
complete convergence because we are
in the single market. The
fundamental issue is how much EU,
sorry our Cabinet ministers are
willing to accept that in the
future, after we have left, the two,
well the EU and the UK will start to
diverge and how that will be
managed. What mechanisms will be in
place. This is big fundamental
stuff. I think there are those on
Philip Hammond's side of the
argument who want as much single
market access as possible, with the
po ten sham conditions and --
potential conditions. And others
like Michael Gove who want more of a
clean break and as a consequence
have more freedom for the UK to do
trade deals as a country no longer
in the European Union. There are
fundamental differences on how they
will approach this question.
you very much.
Suella Fernandes, Philip Hammond
said our future relationship with EU
will leave us largely unchanged and
effectively recreate the status quo.
Do you agree with him?
respects there will be things we
want to maintain with tesmt U. We
want to maintain our commerce with
the EU. We with are one of the
biggest customers to EU countries of
their goods. We want to keep that
going. But there are definitely
areas that we will want to diverge
on. We want to come out of the
common commercial policy which
restricts our ability to design our
own trade vision for the UK.
Hammond was saying that in reality
won't happen. He said the UK won't
technically or legal I will be in
the customs union or single market.
But we have committed the agreement
at the end of last week an
environment which will effectively
recreate the status quo - what we
To correct you the
Chancellor has said we will be
leaving the customs union.
what he said.
He has said we will
leave, we will leave the single
Technically and legally, but
in reality it will be effective I
will be the same?
The effect of
leaving the customs union is we will
have freedom over our trade policy.
We will not be bound by the common
commercial policy. We will not be
subject to the common external
tariff which applies to goods coming
into the EU.
Will we during the
implementation period, I should say,
which is all contingent on what the
end state is. So it is almost
impossible to design an
implementation period before you've
agreed the final outcome. That is
all subject to negotiations.
signed letter in September saying
the UK must not pay into the EU
budget during the implementation
period and must be able to sign free
trade deals from March 2019, but we
will pay into the EU budge and we
will not be able to -- EU budget and
we will not be able to sign trade
deals in 2019.
I didn't sign a
A letter was circulated,
asking for support from Conservative
MPs to back those points.
What's been agreed is we are going
to be contributing as part of the
financial settlement, which has been
agreed by Theresa May. I suppose the
agreement that's come forward in the
last week or so from Theresa May.
That represents progress. It enables
us to move on to the next stage and
nothing is agreed until everything
is agreed. That is a crucial part of
the whole deal.
You have accepted
that we will pay into the EU budget
and not be able to sign the free
trade agreements in March 2019?
we are making contributions as are
legally required by us under the
financial framework and other
basises founded in law. We will be
leaving the customs union in 2019.
As we will hear from Theresa May
later today, or from the Government
later today, there will be clarity
on what our position is in terms of
designing that trade deal. Otherwise
the work of Liam Fox is redundant. A
whole department has been set up,
extensive energies have been put
into scoping out our potential deals
with other third party countries.
All of that is necessary and it's
not in vain. The Prime Minister
herself took a trip to India very
recently on a mission to look at
what option there are for a trade
deal. None of that means anything if
we are not out of the customs union
and not look at trade deals after
So look at trade deals but
there will not be any signed until
I open to what, I will
not sit here and tie the Prime
Minister's hands on anything. This
is all subject to negotiation. What
is agreed, is clear Government
policy and garnered the unanimous
support of the Government is we are
leaving these blocks which do tie
our hands, which do restrict us from
exploring other trade routes.
did set out some red lines
beforehand, so you will not make
that a red line about Britain
signing free trade deals during the
next few years?
I think it is very
important that we are, after 2019,
able to make concrete progress,
tangible progress and advanced
negotiations with other countries
outside the EU. That is one of the
biggest prizes that we stand to gain
from our departure from the EU. I am
confident that the Government is
pursuing that aim as well.
think Brexit has actually been
softened up in the last few weeks?
think we have seen a series of
reality checks and the Government's
approach to Brexit has been a
mixture of bluster, posture and then
They have an agreement.
But every single red line goes up in
smoke when it comes to the first
contangt with reality. First --
contact with reality. They said the
divorce talks should be in parallel
with the trade talks. That row was
going to be the row of the summer.
It lasted until about lunch time on
the first day. They now recognise
the need for a transition deal limit
be a carbon copy of the status quo.
The only thing we will not have is a
seat at the table. If that is to
take back control I am not sure what
We know that the Prime
Minister is sticking to her guns
that she set out in Lancashire
house. The UK will leave the single
market and will leave the Customs
Union and she will not sign up or
sign the country up to anything that
looks like the European Economic
That is not going to happen.
The transition deal will be a carbon
copy of the deal. That is not up for
negotiation. The European Union has
been clear, if you read the...
said not part of the European
Beyond the transition
which could last longer than two
years, by the way, I think that is
up for negotiation. I think that we
would, we would be much better off
committing to the European Economic
Area. It does actually give you
maximum market access but also the
opportunity to control free movement
of labour. Articles 112 and 113 of
the EEA agreement set that out
David Cameron failed to get
further when it come to migration.
Do you think the Labour Party is
moving to your position now, beyond
the implementation period of
actually remaining in the single
market and the Customs Union in some
sort of replica to the area?
European Economic Area is not the
same as, you are not subject to...
You cannot sign the free trade?
you move into EFTA as well, European
free trade association, they can
sign bilateral free trade deals.
Iceland has a trade deal with China.
We have to understand there is a way
through this. It is about squaring
the circle between market access and
regulatory control. EFTA ETA is the
best way to do that. There is a
majority for it in Parliament. I
hope that is the way to do it
otherwise we will go off the edge of
Do you think that is
acceptable, bearing in mind the
To my mind it is not
acceptable. That has been ruled out
by the Prime Minister, because with
that coming free movement of people
and that was an important aspect.
You say that article 112 is a
mechanism to control free movement T
only example is Lichtenstein, a
population of 37,000 people. A very
small mileage of Square Mileage of
space and used in very exceptional
circumstances, where there was a
serious risk to the economy of the
society in which case controls over
migration were allowed. It is not
the same as Britain's population -
65 million people, a larger
It is an emergency...
cannot say there is a serious risk
posed by EU migrants. Our employment
is very high. I don't think 112,
what you make out is a viable option
for the UK.
Isn't it the case we
could end newspaper a situation
where the UK becomes a vasel state
of the EU. We take all the rules and
regulations but we don't have any
input. We don't sit at the table?
Two points T transition period we
will take absolutely everything from
the single market and the Customs
union, we will not have a seat at
the table. I campaigned passionately
for remain. I think it is a great
pity that the UK will not stay in
the EU. What do we do now we must
respect the result of the
referendum? There is a way through
this, which does actually give us a
real opportunity to reform free
movement of labour but also doesn't
wreck the British economy by coming
out of the single, out of access
from the single market.
Labour's policy on having a second
We're not supporting a second
referendum, there are valid reasons
for not supporting one, if it was
52% remain, 48% lead, we would have
expected those on the Leeds side to
accept the result.
White is deputy
leader Tom Watson think that nothing
should be ruled out when it comes to
a second referendum?
When the facts
change, I change my mind, is the
saying. New facts are coming out
tonight. If we leave the EU, if we
leave in March 2019, and we see a
massive damaging impact on the
economy, which many people predict
would be the case, I do not believe
so much and forecasting predictions,
I think we had to see where we are
but we are seeing thousands of jobs
going down the drain, we are seeing
foreign direct investment drying up
and seeing market access being
Then you would
change your mind?
government, whoever is in government
at the time, is the responsibility
of them to act in the national
Michel Barnier, Suella,
said that the government would not
get a bespoke deal. UK cannot cherry
pick, we cannot have a no way of
style agreement without freedom of
movement and aspects of the Canada
deal taking in services. What do you
say to him?
This is the first time
that a nation has left the EU.
think that we have to be open to
building what might not be... There
might not be a particular model for
it but I do think that Canada, that
agreement struck with the EU last
year, I think it does provide some
really good grounds for optimism.
says you are not going to have that?
Well, I don't know. He says that
that it depends on a lot of people
involved in the process. The Canada
agreement was mutually signed up to
by both sides. It is beneficial for
But it did not take in
That's true, and that is
why we cannot just copy and paste
Canada and say that it applies to
the UK. It does have some good
points, like an illumination of some
tariffs but it does not quite cover
services. 80% of our economy is
services. That's a great opportunity
Are you worried that we will
not get it?
I'm not worried at all.
I'm very optimistic, contrary to how
Stephen feels. I think there has
been huge progress made in showing
both sides want to strike an
agreement on what has been said to
be complex issues. I think it bodes
well for the future.
And what do you
make of the arguments that some of
your colleagues should be deselected
for rebelling on the EU withdrawal
bill last week, are you supportive
No, I am not. I think they
are our colleagues and I take them
at face value. They've said that
they wanted to improve legislation,
it is disappointing that the
government lost the vote on
amendments seven, but I do think
that we can all move forward. It's a
continued dialogue and the
government is listening to many
members who had tabled amendments,
responding substantively and, as a
result, producing a bill which I
think reflects many concerns in
Say you do not see them
I do not think it is
fair to demonise them at all for
carrying out something they feel
constituents vote for a continuation
on what Labour is calling the free
movement of easy people, if that's
what it means?
No, for those who
voted Leave, there were concerns
about free movement of labour, but
there is a real opportunity through
the economic area to pull the
emergency brake and put a reformed
system in place. There is clear
legal precedent for doing this and
we would be coming out of the EU, so
really negotiating on a different
basis to the one that David Cameron
was trying to push through back in
2016. I think there is a way of
allaying concerns but we need a
sensible and pragmatic approach, not
one driven by the ideology of
certain backbenchers in the
And for more reporting
and analysis of Brexit,
check out the BBC News website
- that's bbc.co.uk/Brexit.
A month after the Grenfell tragedy
the government set up an independent
inquiry into the risks of living
in a tower block.
Today preliminary results of that
inquiry are being published.
The report's author,
Dame Judith Hackitt says a "culture
change" is needed to ensure safety
is prioritised over costs
in the construction industry,
that building regulations
are confusing and the profession
suffers from "competence" issues.
The interim report tells us that
what we have in place today is a
system which is evolved
over a number of years,
it's overly complex,
and that complexity doesn't lead to
it being as effective
as it needs to be.
We're talking about a system where
there's too much
prescription, where there is a very
heavily layered system of guidance
currently, which is not helpful
in terms of leading people
to the right answer.
So, my aim for the future
is to create a much simpler and more
straightforward system that would be
easier for people to follow.
But that needs to be
re-enforced with a
number of changes in behaviour,
which will include a major culture
change across all of
the players in this.
And the Chairman of the Local
Gary Porter, joins us now.
Why is it so complicated at the
moment? It's the way that the
regulation and guidance has been
drafted. We have several years of
additional regulation and guidance
being added, and no simplification.
It's been a problem since 2006.
it going to be easy for local
authorities? Are they in a position
to change the rules or at least put
into practice recommendations?
cannot change the rules, the
government has too.
Ayew in a
position to implement them?
we do do building control, they will
be renewed. Within a week or two of
the fire, we called for the
regulations to be looked at. It was
clear from test results coming in
that there was a systemic failure
across the country, that cannot be
down to one or two individuals that
were incompetent but the system
Or were regulations
interpreted to suit themselves?
have only quickly read the report,
the draft report. And out of the
recommendations, there's only one I
would disagree with not being strong
enough, that's the ability for the
industry to do desktop surveys and
do a study not of real materials in
real life circumstances but on
computer modelling. That's one of
the areas where we need to get to
grips with this. Put in limited
combustible materials on high-rise
buildings will be full of
difficulty. It's not for me to
rewrite the rules but no
None at all but will
that be what happens?
I doubt it.
you get what you pay for when it
comes to these sorts of things?
Definitely not. In some cases, some
of the materials used would be more
expensive and more dangerous. This
isn't about cost-cutting, that's a
red herring. Anybody who thinks that
these buyers take place because
people are saving money on materials
used are incorrect.
Do you accept
that? That it isn't just about
I think we've had a culture
of privatisation of contracting out
austerity. It creates a toxic
combination which, I do not know
whether there is a direct link from
that culture to the tragic events of
Grenfell. But I welcome what the
report says about the need for a
culture change. I do think our
public services need the resources
and empowerment to be able to take
control of the process because the
more you contract it out, the higher
the risks to come.
But we have heard
that you can have more expensive
materials and they can be more
combustible. The link that you are
talking about, if you cannot see a
link between austerity and safety,
why mention it?
I think it is how it
is managed and implemented.
Companies will look to cut corners
to cut costs, not in terms of
materials but how they do their job.
Can I refuse that point, there are
no councils in this country who
would endanger their lives of their
residents to save a few pounds. No
matter how hard done by and the fact
that we are a couple of billion
short on what we need to deliver
services properly, fire safety is
not an area that councils would
compromise on. More buildings in the
private sector are at risk of this
than councils alone. There are 15
councils with buildings caught up in
this. That's not to downplay that it
is 15 councils but that's out of
400. The vast majority of buildings
affected by this fire, and going
beyond this fire, they have safety
concerns with high-rise buildings
and will be in the private sector.
So it isn't a case of public versus
private, but private sector
buildings, or people who own their
own homes, they are in as much risk?
In the case of Grenfell, there were
a lot of red flags bring down by the
residents and they felt that there
were things happening in that
building which caused serious
concerns and action was not taken. I
think the key challenge we have is
making sure that accountability is
right, that the report looks at this
in the broadest possible terms, and
we never see the awful and tragic
mistakes happening and Grenfell ever
Stephen has a point in so far
as until October this year, they had
not released funds to make tower
blocks safe according to some
councils when asking for funding for
cladding and sprinklers. Why not?
date, I know that the government has
responded extensively. There's
nothing anyone can do to bring back
the people who died.
But they have
The government set up
a fund where if councils need help
setting up installations there is a
process where they can go to
government and requests would be
considered. I think that is the
right thing to do.
Are you reassured
that there are not tower blocks in
this country that are still at risk
from these kinds of fires? There are
people living in tower blocks that
are in danger?
I am reassured that
tower blocks in the ownership of
councils and housing associations
have been identified and appropriate
measures have been taken in the
interim, like fire wardens with
24-hour cover, one with a fire
engine permanently outside of the
building. The ones the state owns, I
am perfectly comfortable that we are
doing as much as we can to make it
safe but the vast majority of
buildings in the private sector, and
some that we do not know where they
are. We have called for those who
did the testing to release all of
the test failures they have got.
They are refusing to release test
failures. We do not know which
materials are safe and what
buildings are clouded with which
The report from Judith
Hackitt describes a mindset of doing
things as cheaply as possible, and
passing on responsibility for
problems and shortcomings to others.
What do you say to that?
That is what she has
As a private sector person as
well, I can guarantee that councils
around the country are paying more
than the private sector equivalent.
Let's not look at the equivalent,
are you trying to do things as
cheaply as possible because, in all
fairness, councils claim they have
had budgets cut to the bone?
efficiently as possible, not as
Is that value for money?
the report, as it comes out, if she
implicates councils on the basis of
saving a penny to risk a pound, that
is not what councils do. They take a
long-term view of the investment
they make in those homes. Grenfell
had £8 million invested in it. If
they were not spending money on the
building, the fire would not have
What do you say about the
efficiency of councils? And the one
that oversaw the Grenfell Tower?
Obviously there is a real need to
ensure that standards are met, which
is why a review of what standards
are applicable is necessary. If
those standards are higher than what
is currently in place there's an
added burden on councils to meet
Should the government
put fans behind it?
This funding is
available on a discretionary basis
but if this is council owned
property, tenanted out to
individuals, then there is a burden
on councils to undertake that cost.
Would you be happy to do that?
part of day-to-day cost pressures,
councils should account for that and
it should be done so through the
rent book. Unexpected issues, that
is an unexpected issue, nobody would
have covered that building and
expected that, the government will
have to mobilise funds, even if it
is only with the local and national
governments standing shoulder to
shoulder, suing those who have
broken rules to make it happen, this
is not going to be about a few
million or even today's numbers of 1
billion, this will be into billions
before we'd managed to resolve the
issue from across the whole country.
It's the most serious issue facing
our housing stock since before the
Is the Treasury prepared to put
out this money?
As I've said, the
funding is available and
case-by-case councils can make
applications. There's that backdrop
but as Gary recognises comedy
private sector and private rented
properties in the whole area, which
are as of yet unidentified, we do
not know the extent to which fire
safety regulations are being met.
Gary Porter, thank you.
Now, Theresa May told the Commons
last week that she wanted to make
sure that disabled people who wanted
to work are able to do so.
But do disabled people feel able
to go into political life and why
are so few of them represented
in our parliaments, assemblies
and council chambers?
Here's disability rights campaigner,
Alice Kirby, with her soapbox.
Let's go next door for
Prime Minister's Questions.
Thank you, Mr Speaker.
At the last election,
the Liberal Democrats made history
by becoming the first political
party to select
a candidate using an all-disabled
shortlist, now we need every
to follow their lead.
There are over 30 million
disabled people in the UK.
means we make up 21%
of the British population,
but only six of our MPs define
themselves as disabled, that
is less than 1% of
the House of Commons.
And that's just not good enough.
But the solution is simple.
All disabled shortlists
counter the over and
blocks disabled people
from getting elected,
or even putting themselves
forward in the first place.
Some people say we
should just choose the
best people for the job.
You can still do that,
it's just the people
being picked are disabled.
And the word disabled
is not a synonym for
incompetent, incapable or unskilled.
In the 1990s, the Labour Party
revolutionised politics by adopting
It was controversial
at the time but it
clearly worked, as there are more
women than ever in the Commons
and not only in seats
where they are used,
and not only by parties who
use them, because they've brought
about a cultural change.
Disabled people do not
need mouthpieces or
champions, we need MPs and ministers
who truly understand the
discrimination we face.
Politicians need to
reflect wider society.
It's time MPs started
the UK's biggest minority group.
And Alice Kirby joins us now
from our Sheffield studio.
Alice, it is your position that
Parliament can only truly represent
disabled people if the Commons is a
complete microcosm of wider society?
That needs to be the goal. If we
look at, it seems like we're always
aiming to have gender equality in
the Commons. I don't see why it
should be different for disabled
Do do you accept there may
be more than six MPs who may not be
visually disabled they may have
dyslexia or hard of hearing and they
are aware of the many struggles that
disabled people face as a result?
only know of six MPs who have said
they are publically disabled. Are
probably more. That speaks to a
larger issue of why politicians are
not comfortable saying they are
disable and is it because of this
culture of disability that makes you
weak and not a good politician?
Something like an all-disabled short
list will bring about a cultural
change there, like all-women short
lists, that would make these people
more comfortable being identified as
Do you agree it
would help balance reputation?
have to say I really want more
disabled people to get involved in
public life and generally
employment. But I do disagree with
the principal of all short lists
based on personal characteristics
whether on disability, on gender,
whether it is race or anything else.
I just feel it doesn't really, it is
not robust enough to enable the best
people to come through. I think that
people don't need favours being
done, they can thrive on a level
playing field with more
encouragement and more engagement.
That is really the challenge for us.
They have not thrived so far.
would disagree. We have millions
more disabled people in work. We are
seeing progress. That should be
encouraged and built upon rather
than saying short lists for people.
What do you say in response?
don't think so. We have six MPs out
of 650. If there was true reputation
there would be 130 disabled MPs. I
don't see how we will get there
without the help of all disabled
short lists. I don't think they are
ideal, we should not use them
long-term, but for now it is the way
When you talk to disabled
people, Alice, what are the barriers
they say that put them off trying to
get into Parliament?
I think there's
a variety of reasons. I think, comes
back down to discrimination. I don't
feel parties feel confident
selecting disabled people. I don't
think disabled people feel confident
to put themselves forward to be
elected. There is the access to
office fund which provided financial
support for disabled people running
elections to cover adjustments like
taxi fare and sign language
interpreters. A key area would be
job sharing for MPs to allow MPs who
wouldn't be able to work full-time
to still run for office
Do you take
the point like funding which would
help accessibility should be
reinstated by the Conservatives?
is not always about money. It is
more about engagement. I think
providing opportunities for work
experience, for internships, for
apprenticeships in Parliament, for
including more people in the party,
whether it is Conservative, Labour,
Lib Dems, from a wide variety of
backgrounds should be encouraged. My
experience in the Conservative Party
is that people of all abilities are
welcome. And we have champions for
disability rights. People who are
disabled and also people who are not
disabled, who don't have to have
Party used all-women short lists -
should they do it for disabled
It is an interesting idea.
E-I would like to see it piloted.
Democrats selected their candidate
from an all-disabled short list.
would very much like to see it
piloted in the Labour Party. I think
it would be, because you are looking
for candidates who have experience
of campaigning, knocking on doors.
Ideally a good connection to the
local area and political experience.
So we do want to make sure that we
have all of that. Now, as you say
there are 13 million disabled people
in this country. So no doubt within
that talent pool we have it. But
there is also a problem with getting
people to come forward into politics
in general. I think they look at the
amount of abuse that politicians get
on social media, the very polarised
nature of the political landscape in
which we live at the moment, at the
complexity of it. Sometimes the very
long working hours. So there are a
lot of other barriers to getting
people into public life. This is an
Perhaps you could
work with the Labour Party, help
them do that pilot?
I would love to.
So, just seven sleeps
until Christmas and if you're
exhausted, you can bet Theresa May
is after the Advent she's had.
We know there are boy's
jobs and girl's jobs
in the May household,
so while Mr May is making the mince
pies and wrapping the presents,
the Prime Minister has
the un-enviable task of getting her
cabinet to agree on Brexit.
the un-enviable task of getting her
Cabinet to agree on Brexit.
I expect she'd prefer to be peeling
the Brussels sprouts -
though maybe she's had
enough of Brussels....
This afternoon Theresa May
will make a statement
to the Commons on last week's EU
summit in Brussels.
She'll tell MPs there is a "shared
desire" to make rapid progress.
Tomorrow morning, the Cabinet meets
and it's expected they will discuss
for the first time just
what the final deal with the EU
should look like, and on Wednesday
MPs will debate whether the date
and time should be put on the Brexit
bill, it was expected to be a tricky
moment for the government,
however Conservative MPs
are expected to rally around
a compromise amendment
proposed by Oliver Letwin.
It's a busy day on Wednesday,
because in the afternoon
Theresa May is in front
of the Liaison Committee,
made up of chairs of each
of the select committees,
it will grill the Prime Minister
on a range of issues.
Finally, as Parliament
breaks up for Christmas
at the end of this week,
it's likely that at some point
we'll finally hear back
from the Cabinet Inquiry into Damian
The First Secretary is being
investigated over claims he made
towards a political activist
and over allegations that
pornography was found on a computer
in his office.
And it's wall-to-wall Christmas
parties here in Westminster,
but we've managed to drag away two
journalists from the mulled
wine and warm prosecco -
Heather Stewart of the Guardian
and the Financial
Times's Sebastian Payne.
Welcome. What sort of clarity do you
think we will get as a result of
these meetings with the smaller
Cabinet and then the wider Cabinet
about Britain's end state with
To be honest, I fear not
very much. Already those around
Theresa May are playing down the
idea that we will get any definite
answer. We may be well into the New
Year before we have anything too
specific. We may get some mood
music. We will hear a constructive
discussion and they have bared some
of their differences. I don't think
we will get a clear outline of the
trade deal they want to end up with.
Do you agree? Will it be a case our
relationship will remain unchanged
as Philip Hammond has indicated, not
just during the implementation but
The key question is this
issue of regulatory divergence, how
much ability does the UK want to
have to change rules after we leave
the EU? The whole of the Cabinet
wants the ability to change
regulations. The question is, where
do we start from? Do we start from a
place of being exactly the same, or
from day one, we will start to heave
regulations out of the window and
cutting that red tape? It will begin
with a constructive discussion, that
is how they will describe it, really
it will not be until mid-or late
January until we have any idea on
where the Cabinet agrees on this
issue. There are, there is no
consensus. They have different
opinions on this. Some side will
have to give way. I think the
Euro-sceptics have given away so
much on the exit deal. They will be
very firm on not giving away too
much on what comes next.
We've had a
Government defeat over the
meaningful vote. There is another
row expected, although it may have
been defused over the weekend by
offers of a compromise over the date
and time being written on to the
face of the bill. Do you think that
has meant the Government is safe in
that vote, Heather?
Yes, I think it
probably S it is very odd, this was
an amendment the Government tabled,
to declare to make law that we would
leave in March 2019. That outraged
some of the sort of pro-EU MPs who
felt, hang on, what if we have not
done a deal which that date? What if
the Government needs more days,
isn't it crazy to lock us into that
timetable? They looked like they
could face defeat on this. Labour
were readying themselves to defeat
the Government. At the end of last
week we had an amendment from Oliver
Letwin, which looks as though
probably he was doing that with the
say so of Downing Street. He's
managed to persuade the Brexit
rebels in the Tory Party led by
Dominic Greave. Do we expect the
Government to have that amendment
and hopefully we can go away without
Or another amendment.
We will not have a Christmas
amendment. Let's talk about Theresa
May, Sebastian Payne, because during
this year there were those who
thought she wouldn't make it to
Christmas, but she has made it to
Christmas as Prime Minister. There
are now reports saying she could be
asked to stay on until 2021 by the
Conservative Party, what do you
think of that?
It was Jeremy Corbyn
who said he would be in Downing
Street by Christmas. He's not got
long to fulfil that prediction after
the general election. This story
does have a lot of sense because the
Conservative Party really wants to
try and get as much of Brexit as
locked and loaded before the next
general election in 2022. If Theresa
May stays on to secure that
comprehensive free trade deal they
need to have to make Brexit look
like a success, then see how it
goes. The odd thing about Theresa
May is we say this situation is
unsustainable and it proves
sustainably. Over and over again she
hangs on. Will she make it through
next year? And it looks like she
will. If she makes it through next
year she will probably make it
through until the end of Brexit.
Then it is where the party is at -
how confident is it feeling?
Conservative donors will not let her
fight the general election. So I
think she could go a year or two
years in the run-up to that. They
will not want to take the risk again
of putting her in front of the
ballot-box because all of those
problems with her personality and
what have you, are still there.
Thank you very much. Do you think
Theresa May should fight the next
I think she should
continue as the leader of the
Conservative Party until she decides
she want to step down. She's proving
all the critics wrong. Everyone
predicts gloom and crisis. Actually
she defies them wrong. We have seen
in the last week how she has managed
to strike this agreement. People
said it would be impossible. She's
managed to bring yun in the party.
-- unity in the party. You would
like to see her there until 2021?
For as long as she wants to stay in
And there's something exciting
coming up this evening -
and it's happening in
this very studio.
My colleague Chris Mason
is here to explain...
R We are turning a podcast into a
live event tonight. I know this
studio is well known for the
nerdometer going north-bound...
It goes to the moon
and back. We are talking Brexit from
45 minutes, from 6. 15pm. Going live
on Radio 5live and on the News
Channel later, and globally
tomorrow. We have Laura and our
Europe editor, Tony Connolly from
RTE, around the issue of the Irish
border and a panel of
Brexit-casters. The people nerdy
enough to devote clicking on their
phone something which says
Do you listen to this podcast? It is
a red letter day!
Have you heard of
I have, but I haven't
been invited on!
We will rectify it
in the New Year! That's my Christmas
promise to you both!
On the record!
A lot of talk of amendments I am
Some said he wouldn't survive
for more than a few months,
but Jeremy Corbyn is set to enjoy,
or endure, his third
Christmas as Labour leader.
Our Guest of the Day Stephen Kinnock
was one of his critics.
And here's the moment British
politics went full Borgen,
as Stephen received some political
advice from his wife,
the ex Prime Minister of Denmark,
after the surprise result
on election night.
Stephen Kinnock receiving advice
there. Wouldn't that have been the
time to say what a great night that
Labour had said and it was as a
result of Jeremy Corbyn's
That is what I went on
to say in the interview but also the
story of the night is that it was
complete humiliation for Theresa
Jeremy Corbyn, if he had
suffered losses at that election
rather than Labour gaining seats,
would he have put himself forward
for the leadership? No. You wouldn't
have considered it?
going to launch a leadership bid?
No, I've only been an MP for five
minutes! I don't think that excludes
you from standing for leadership!
But did you realise at that point
that everything was different in the
way that you imagined before the
We spent a lot of that
campaign being many points behind in
the opinion polls, and even on the
last night, there was only one poll
predicting the result we got. I
think that everybody was pretty
surprised and taken aback by the
result. I am the first to say that
we underestimated Jeromy and
overestimated Theresa May. What I
thought was interesting about the
programme was that it shows politics
in its unvarnished and slightly
chaotic, confusing state. Also, some
comedy as well. With all due respect
to you, Joe, sometimes these
interviews, it is politician comes
on and says what they are going to
say and get their point across and
you try and catch us out. What I
like but Light on the wall
documentaries is that it shows the
reality. And a lot of time in the
constituency seeing my brilliant and
wonderful activists and constituents
-- a fly on the wall documentary.
That is politics.
It is about
revealing the truth and finding out
what politicians genuinely think
rather than what they present in
public. Maybe we should come to your
constituency and film! Do you think
Jeremy Corbyn has had a good year?
think so. I think we've pushed the
government so hard on things like
Universal Credit, we've seen the
government falling to pieces over
Brexit. The keys to say, yes, there
are two jobs for the opposition,
hold the government's feet to the
fire and say look, we are the
government in waiting. We are able
to answer the questions and we have
a brilliant manifesto to build on.
But we need to put more flesh on the
bones and we need to take that
Do you accept Jeremy
Corbyn's position is clear?
Unassailable. He delivered on the
campaign fantastically and I believe
that he is tapping into the anger
that people feel after seven wasted
years of Tory failures and we need
to build on that and turn it into a
positive vision for the country.
Yesterday, Michael was interviewing
Tom Watson. About who would be
Labour won the next election. How
long do you reckon before you are
bridging's Deputy Prime Minister?
have no idea whether that would come
to pass... I doubt it but if you are
You think that Labour will
never win or you will never be given
If I'm honest I think
they will give it to Emily
It's interesting to hear him said
that, would you support Emily
Thornberry being Deputy Prime
Emily is a very talented
politician, she's done a great job
as Shadow Foreign Secretary. In the
end, it's a matter for the democracy
of our party, something that, I
believe passionately in. I did not
hear that interview, I have to
admit. I am slightly taken aback
hearing it right now, I think that
Tom is an absolute star of our
labour movement. He is doing a
fantastic job as deputy leader. I
hope that was not an indication of
his own plans or mindset. He is a
brilliant deputy leader.
to that, do you think he feels
I must admit that
hearing that for the first time as
I'd have done so now, it sounded a
little like he was a bit resigned,
and I find that both surprising and
disappointing. As I say, he's an
absolutely brilliant MP, deputy
leader of our party and I think that
he is the kind of guy that we
desperately need to be having at the
heart of our decision-making process
as we shake a manifesto and shape
the campaign to return a Labour
government in the next election.
he was also wrong about Jeremy
Well, who really
knew? He saw that coming? We all
made the mistake of believing the
opinion polls and we made the
mistake of thinking that Theresa May
is a competent politician, and a
competent campaign when clearly she
is not. She is an absolute
liability. Nobody really saw that
coming until it happened. We had a
brilliant manifesto full of sensible
mainstream party policies and we
were facing the most inept
Conservative campaign in living
Has the party triumphed in
terms of candidate elections? And
aback actually, there's a very
lively debate going on in the party
but it's a mixed bag in terms of
selections, I have seen selections
for marginal seats where there has
been mixed... The secret is, bring
this together and that is the magic
of the Labour Party and the labour
movement, that's what we've done in
the campaign. We have a little more
magic for you in the show...
Now - politics has been pure
pantomine this year.
Oh no, it hasn't!
"Oh yes it has".
And come to think about it.
She's behind you!
Oh yes, there she is....
Hello! Hello ladies and gentlemen,
boys and girls, here I am wanting to
tell you an interesting fairy tale
today. It is a fairy tale about an
MP who wanted to talk about her
local theatre in a far-away,
mystical and magical land called
Enfield North. That MP went all the
way to Parliament to talk about the
pantomime, like all good stories
things did not go to plan...
Enfield is very fortunate to benefit
from three local theatres. Indeed, I
will be taking my grandchildren to
the Millfield to enjoy Dick
Whittington over Christmas.
order, Jane Ryan. I feel that I have
inadvertently misled the house, Mr
Speaker, during business questions,
when I suggested that honourable and
right honourable member 's could
enjoy the pantomime of Dick
Whittington at the Millfield Theatre
That was the last
pantomime Izod there. If honourable
members wish to the Millfield
Theatre, it would be to enjoy Jack
and the Beanstalk!
I would be very
grateful to the honourable lady,
that is an extremely helpful
clarification! Moreover, in the
process of offering that
clarification to the house, the
right honourable lady has served
further to highlight the important
work done by, and the continued
pleasure brought about by the
theatre which I believe to be in her
Oh, no, it isn't!
Joan Ryan is with me, through the
magic of television!
I wanted to raise a point about
funding for the arts, and in
particular for local theatres, who
have suffered a great deal from the
local authority cuts imposed by the
government. I did this in the
business question, and I thought
that I would mention Millfield
Theatre, this fantastic local
theatre, that we have in Enfield and
the fact that we are having a
fantastic pantomime again this year!
But I got the name of the pantomime
wrong! Oh, no, you didn't. Oh, yes,
Have you seen it yet?
yet, I have tickets for myself, my
husband and our grandchildren on the
20th of December and we are so
looking forward to it. I've been to
pantomime is here before and they
It was pretty funny.
Would you take a role if they
decided to ask you next year?
are those who think that MPs appear
in pantomime on a daily basis in
parliament, but I can assure you
that we don't, it's a serious
business and I do not think that I
could match the performers that we
What are you doing here?
It is Mr Fleshcreep. We are all
forgetful from time to time, you
should not be held responsible.
you have any politics?
Yes, we have
important lessons about community
spirit and being true to yourself
and what would happen to you if you
are a naughty, naughty man... Nigel
Farage! Sorry, I have a cold.
a busy time of year for you?
optional to go for Matilda, and one
doesn't like to be typecast when one
is naughty and green.
difficult. Food for thought...
Nothing left to say, really!
done and the puns, I got the fright
of my life!
I had the privilege of
being at the rugby club in my
constituency, their Christmas
pantomime. They did Cinderella.
It was absolutely
hilarious. It was the least
politically correct thing I've ever
seen in my life, refreshingly so!
Are in pantomime?
I'm not, I do plan
to go to one, I'm not sure yet, I
could go to one in my constituency,
a great place for pantomime.
you to both of you. But before we
go, back over to you, LE.
# Ladies and gentlemen, boys and
girls, it's what you have all been
# Greetings each and everyone
# Young or old
# In the giant's lad...
# I'm a simple lad from good stock
# Saying that we don't have a large
# Greetings each and everyone
# Young or old
# Nobody dares...
# It's the place to be
# Living here
# Is the only time
# You can hear the giant roaring...
MUSIC: Stayin' Alive
by Bee Gees
It was more than just a dance movie.
Labour's Stephen Kinnock and Suella Fernandes from the Conservatives join Jo Coburn throughout the programme. They look ahead to Theresa May's statement on the Brexit negotiations to the Commons and speak to disability rights campaigner Alice Kirby, who wants political parties to introduce all-disabled shortlists.