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Hello, and welcome
to the Daily Politics.
Theresa May declares war
on plastic, as she wraps
the Conservative Party in policies
that promote conservation.
But is her new-found
politics or principle?
Not such a happy New Year
for the Health Secretary,
as the NHS records its worst
performance in more than a decade.
Is more cash the answer
to the health service's woes?
They may have the most MPs,
but the Conservatives are only
the fourth biggest political party
in the UK.
Does it matter if they've fewer
foot-soldiers than their rivals?
And, leading Brexiteers pay
a visit to the EU's chief
negotiator in Brussels -
and they came bearing gifts.
But how well did the contents of
the hamper represent modern Britain?
All that in the next hour.
And with us for the whole
of the programme today,
one of the few Conservative MPs
who wasn't given a job in
Conservative headquarters this week.
But he did get the consolation
prize of a Knighthood.
Sir Graham Brady,
welcome to the programme.
Thank you very much.
First today - you can't
accuse the Government
of lacking long-term thinking.
Theresa May has launched
a 25-year plan to improve
the natural environment.
At the centre of it a commitment
to eliminate all avoidable
plastic waste by 2042.
She also wants to see plastic-free
aisles in supermarkets,
and today's announcements come
on top of an extension
of the 5p plastic bag charge
to include smaller shops,
and a ban on mirco-beads used
in cosmetic products.
Let's hear what the Prime Minister
said this morning.
In our comprehensive 25 year
environment plan, we are setting out
how we would protect and renew our
natural inheritance for the next
generation. How we will make our air
and water cleaner, and our natural
habitats more diverse and healthy.
How we will create a better world
for ourselves and our children. It's
a national plan of action, with
international ambitions. But what it
really speaks to is something much
more personal for each of us as
human beings. That is the impulse to
care for and nurture our own
Theresa May. Graham
Brady, I don't remember the Prime
Minister talking with such fervour
about the environment. Is this
really about principle and genuine
concern, or political expediency?
I'm sure it's genuine concern, and I
think it's something we all feel. We
all saw the pictures a few months
ago of the island of plastic in the
oceans. It's a disgrace.
oceans. It's a disgrace. I saw it
myself some years ago visiting Hong
Kong, I saw a whole tide of plastic
coming up on what would otherwise be
a beautiful beach. It's something
that is unacceptable and something
that could get worse. We must make
sure we do something to tackle it.
Do you Black Mole regulation on
companies and on consumers, to a
certain extent, to deal with this
Well, I want to see
the plastic going, and I'm glad the
Government is setting a target, we
will do it by whatever means
business are to achieve it.
you support more regulation and tax
It is clearly unacceptable
to have this plastic building up, we
need to tackle it, it's so
unnecessary, many of us are driven
mad when we go to the supermarket
and we end up buying four apples in
a plastic packs, it's crazy.
need legal backing? If you are
driven mad by it and see it as
unnecessary, it you are prepared to
see higher taxes, should there be
legal batting and sanctions for
companies that don't abide?
happy to see that if it proves
What proves necessary?
want to see progress. If what it
takes is legislation, if what it
takes is taxation, then, yes, we
should do something about it. I want
to see a return to the paper bags at
the greengrocer, when he used to do
Some of them still do!
25 years, that's not a very speedy
plan, is it? Nothing is going to
happen immediately. When do you want
to see progress by?
to see progress by?
The evidence of
all of these things through history
is that you set the target, a
direction. I think the public is
really quite engaged with this. I
think there's a lot of sympathy with
action to tackle this. People are
encouraged in a direction, steps are
taken, targets are set, it is quite
likely these targets will be
You do think 25 years
is too much of a long-term plan?
Look, it's a start, it's a
direction, like the plan to phase
out the internal combustion engine.
The fact the Government has said it
and the direction is clear is very
You obviously feel
strongly about it. Do you think it
is enough to solve the party was my
collection problem in terms of
attracting different kinds of
-- the party's election
problem. I have said before here in
the studio that pretty much
everything that could have gone
wrong did go wrong in the campaign.
But we still attracted 2.3 million
more voters and got a share of the
vote which gave Tony Blair and
Margaret Thatcher big majorities.
But you've lost your majority and
there were groups of voters...
lost the majority and we had much
stronger support in some parts of
the population than others. Clearly
we want to use some of these
different narratives, we want to
make clear that we are not only
talking about exit from the European
Union, as important as that is, we
want to make it clear that we do
engage with some other policy areas,
and the announcements this morning
are very important.
You feel this is
part of an electoral campaign and
strategy to attract...
are there to govern, but it is
always helpful if we do so in a way
that the the public approves of.
Now it's time for our daily quiz.
Yesterday, former Ukip MEP
Steven Woolfe led a delegation
of pro-Brexit business figures
in a meeting with Michel Barnier.
And to show off exactly
what Britain has to offer
after leaving the EU,
they gave the EU's Chief Brexit
Negotiator a basket containing some
of the best of Britain: The complete
works of Wiliam Shakespeare,
a biography of Winston Churchill,
and some of this country's tastiest
But our question for today is:
What wasn't in the hamper?
Was it Cheddar cheese?
PG Tips Eccles cakes?
At the end of the show, Graham
will give us the correct answer.
Now, reports last week suggested
that it had been a dire week
for the NHS in England.
Today we got the
figures to prove it.
A&E waiting times during December
in England were the worst since
the target was introduced in 2004.
Official figures show 85.1%
of patients were seen in four hours,
which is below the 95% target.
Last week, 55,000 non-urgent
operations were cancelled,
as winter pressure puts the NHS
system under strain.
And there is a growing consensus
among health care professionals that
a new long-term funding
solution for the health
service needs to be found,
and now some politicians
are joining the debate.
Tory MP Nick Boles has called
for taxes to be increased
to pay for NHS funding.
And at Prime Minister's Questions
yesterday, Andrew Murrison called
for a Royal Commission
on its future.
He proposes re-branding
National Insurance as
National Health Insurance,
with funds going
directly to the NHS.
At the same time, the NHS
Confederation has commissioned
a comprehensive study
into the funding needs
of health and social care
over the next 15 years.
And Chris Hopson, the Head of NHS
Providers, which represents
the majority of NHS Trusts
in England, had some strong
words for the Government
about the future of funding, too.
We have now reached a watershed
moment where it is clear the NHS can
no longer deliver the standards
of care set out in
the NHS consitution.
We therefore have a really
important decision to make -
do we abandon those standards,
which were incredibly hard-fought
to gain those standards
in the 2000s, or do we make
the decision on the long-term
funding of the NHS and social care
to ensure the NHS has enough money
to meet those standards?
We're joined now by the Shadow
Health Minister, Justin Madders.
I will come to you in just a moment.
First of all, Graham Brady, A&E
waiting times in England in December
were the worst on record, is that
Of course not, but the
NHS is doing more than it has ever
done, doing better than it has ever
How can it be doing things
better if they are the worst on
The real story is one of
growing demand, an ageing
population, more expensive health
care that is now available, it is
all marvellous but it creates
challenges for the NHS. And it is a
big, long term challenge that we
need to work together to try and
It is not a long-term
challenge, it's a challenge right
now. If you listen to NHS bosses,
they are not just talking about a
winter crisis, and we have had these
crises year-on-year, they are
talking about a service that is no
longer going to be able to keep
standards safe for patients. A
watershed moment, Chris Hopson
actually said. I will ask you again,
we have known about the challenges
of an ageing population, is it
acceptable that the NHS is
And spending continues
to increase. The core that you are
highlighting here this morning are
absolutely right -- because you are
highlighting. People are looking for
a more sustainable way of dealing
with this. I am sympathetic to the
call that was made for a Royal
commission to be established into
the future funding of the NHS. It is
a hugely important thing for us to
get right for everybody in this
Right, at the top Oxford
Cancer Hospital saying they will
have to delay or cut life prolonging
treatment due to a shortage of
nurses. Is that acceptable?
are things that have to be
addressed. The NHS is recruiting
more doctors and nurses, we have
more than we have ever had.
enough to deal with the increase in
demand and the number of elderly
patients, which we have known about.
That is about the challenges for the
health service, and also the
challenge in social care, making
sure that we omit the two things
together, something that my area of
Greater Manchester is at the
forefront, making sure that health
and social care are part of the same
picture, something which has been
established more firmly in the
reshuffle with the Department being
renamed with responsibility for
Let's look at the
solutions. Justin, what is Labour's
solution when it comes to funding
year on year?
We have been very
clear, we are hearing today quite a
lot of the people involved in the
NHS coming round to our way of
thinking, including some
Conservative MPs, it is about the
funding, at the core of it, and we
pledged at the last election that we
would put an extra £6 billion per
When would that start? I
have your manifesto here, actually
it says £5 billion for health care
being put into the budget. When?
Obviously we would have to get a
But in your plan,
when would that £5 billion be spent?
Well, it would be from the first
year of a Labour government. It is
about actually the long-term funding
squeeze that we have seen over the
last eight years, which has seen an
increase in funding by about 1%,
demand has gone up by about 4% per
year. We want to get it back to that
kind of love and stabilise the
£5 billion extra per year
-- that kind of level. It would have
been now if you had won that
election. The Conservatives have
said that they would increase it by
a minimum of £8 billion by 2021-22.
Do you accept that both parties are
quite close in terms of the extra
funding that is being committed?
I don't. Because we would have
already be putting measures in place
now. What we are seeing at the
moment, obviously the December the
districts of the worst on record,
this is before that we got to the
appalling stories we have heard in
the last couple of weeks -- the
December that sticks. We need to
stabilise the situation now. Are
leaving in droves because they are
one down by the pressures they are
facing. We need to give them
confidence that there is a future
and hope for the NHS.
would have been putting immediately
by Labour. What other measures?
would have increased the social care
budgets, this £5 billion would have
been every single year.
have increased it every year by
2021-22 by 5 billion pounds.
extra 5 billion every year, not on
top of that.
top of that.
Just to be clear. The
Tories committed £8 billion per
year, but not until 2021-22, and
that is the difference. You wouldn't
be doing anything and do not doing
anything right now.
There is more
money going in now, there will be
more money going in next year and
the year after, and there will be an
extra £8 billion by 2021.
think there should be over and above
what has been committed to deal with
this particular crisis.
I think we
should do what is necessary to deal
with this particular situation. It
is not for me to manage the National
Health Service, we need to manage
this situation. More money was
announced in the budget, there is a
response. The problem, Justin and I
can sit here talking about £8
billion or £5 billion whether it is
this year or next year, it is a much
more fundamental question, whether
there is a more stable way of
funding by NHS in the long term. I
think the public understand that.
Let's look at the sustainable
funding. Nick Bowles, your
colleague, has suggested it is time
for a high poverty to NHS tax that
goes directly into the health
service to page four health care in
England, do you agree with that?
hypothecated. I thought it was an
interesting proposition, it was
misnamed the international insurance
fund and making a National health
fun, I thought it was an interesting
idea and I would be interested to
look at it.
You might support the
idea going forward?
I might well.
Taxes might go up.
I think Nick's
point was that you might find years
where there is a surplus in the fund
and the fund can build that up,
there might be years when there was
more revenue to spend on somewhere
there might be less. It would make
it a predictable pop that the NHS
could rely on. And we could all see
where that money was coming from and
where it was going to.
support the idea of a hypothecated
tax for health care?
I am more concerned we get the money
in the system. We would reverse
corporation tax cuts, we would use
money to pay for extra funding.
That is the issue. You say it
doesn't matter what it is called but
the complaint is even if you
increase taxation, if the public
knows that extra money is definitely
going to health care, they will feel
reassured that paying it.
That is what we did, you can see the
results, greater satisfaction levels
by the time we left office.
If it wasn't hypothecated in quite
the same way. Do you support an idea
of a hypothecated tax as a long-term
The main point is we have to
increase spending on the NHS and the
only way is through increasing
That is our position. To get all
your money from higher taxpayers and
That is what we set out in our
manifesto. There are a number of
reasons why we wanted to have those
particular groups paying a little
more. That is a reasonable position.
What is wrong with that? You tax
higher earners too much and
companies, you get less revenue and
not more, that has been seen.
If we were to have the tragedy of a
Labour Government, the effect would
be less money available for the NHS.
This is the line trotted out every
time. It suggests we're not doing
enough to crack down on tax
avoidance which is a big issue in
That is the line trotted out by
governments in terms of tax
avoidance. So long-term funding of
the NHS, would you like to see
spending on health care go up as a
proportion of GDP, what proportion?
Up to the average of similar
countries such as Germany.
It is closer to 11% in
That is an ideal. We need to
stabilise the situation and deal
with the demand we have got.
Looking ahead, you would be
committed to Labour increasing the
percentage of health care spending
up to 11%?
I have not made that commitment, we
have to look long-term at demands.
That is a comparison with another
country. We have to look at this
country over 20 years and plan
accordingly. That is what this
Government should have done.
Some Tories are proposing that now.
When we have looked at the figures
of 5 billion extra spending, the
Labour proposals are relatively
What I am saying is what a lot of
people are suggesting. There is
nothing unusual about saying we have
to predict in the longer term what
demands will be on the health
Should we increase our health care
spending as a proportion of GDP?
We are at the European average. We
should do what is appropriate to get
the best NHS we all depend on. It is
inevitable in the future we will be
spending a bigger percentage of GDP
on health, as the population
continues to age, more expensive new
We all depend on it. Thank you.
And if you want to find out how your
local hospital is performing,
you can use the BBC's NHS
Tracker at bbc.co.uk/nhstracker.
Now, here's a question that might be
of interest to our guest of the day.
How big is the Conservative Party?
The answer, no-one seems to know!
It's been five years
since the party has said how many
paid members it's got.
But estimates suggest the total may
have fallen since then,
and is now around or below 100,000.
So, what is the party's future?
Does it matter?
Our Ellie has been finding out
what members themselves think.
Can you believe it's six months
since the general election?
Well, even the party that won it
have had to spend time
licking their wounds,
drowning their sorrows,
working out what went wrong.
So, what might the Tories do
differently if and when there
is another general election?
Happily, I've got some
people here to find out.
Right, whose is the orange juice?
Ben Howlett lost his
seat in Bath in June.
31 now, he was one of
the Tories' youngest MPs.
He's brought some of his
all members, to have a chat.
OK, so, Ben, why did
you lose your seat?
I think the main reason
why I lost the seat
was because of the Brexit vote.
It was 70% Remain in
the constituency, so putting out
a message of strengthening our hand
in the negotiations
of the Prime Minister went
well in the beginning,
but then social care
and things fell apart quite
quickly after that.
The Conservatives do suffer
with this brand issue, don't they?
They are just not cool.
I see more young activists around
when we go to party conference,
in my local area, when I'm attending
regional events in
London or Yorkshire,
when we go out campaigning.
I think it's necessarily we're
not shouting about it,
we're not really concerned
about necessarily promoting
the brand of youth.
So, do you think the leadership
listens to the membership?
Certainly starting out,
I did feel a little bit
like I was just someone who was just
going to knock on doors.
Even though that's the bread
and butter of the party campaign
machine, I felt like that
didn't really matter
because those were just
the things you would do.
You know, even to the point
where sometimes there would be meals
and things at the local association,
and I wouldn't be invited
because I haven't apparently
And I thought, well,
actually that's not the way
to get me to campaign more.
I think one of the things that MPs
can do in particular,
though, is to engage
with their members more.
Because, as an MP, you are stuck
in Westminster four days a week,
and you don't have that toing
and froing with your members as much
as you do when you are a candidate.
If MPs can do more to listen
to their members by thinking
about some of the new policies,
such as I did in Bath,
that's a really great way to start
changing the way that we think
about different issues.
And you'll probably get a lot more
members in as a result.
And what do you think, Ben?
I think there's always more that any
political party can do.
I find our access to ministers,
our influence on policy doesn't
always lead to the results we want.
But I do feel that
we are listened to.
The new generation are more active,
we have figures such
as James Cleverly, Brandon Lewis,
the new chairman, and a few other
MPs who, because they came up
through the grassroots,
and a lot of them were young
at the time - again,
Ben Howlett was one of them -
they listen more to the local
association and members.
So we actually have more
activities now on a regional
and local basis than before.
OK, so you're all painting
quite a positive picture.
How positive are you about the next
general election, if and when it is?
I think we're getting there now.
Policy-wise, I completely
agree with Ben.
Also not forgetting now Michael Gove
has come in, and really,
really reformed the way we approach
animal welfare and environmental
issues, which was always
a bit of a strain for me.
As someone who is a Tory
member and activist,
it was always the part of me that
always struggled every
time we came to vote.
I'd always vote Conservative,
but there was a bit of a heavy heart
there because animal welfare
and the environment has also always
been very important to me.
We can speak now to Professor Tim
Bale who has recently published
research into the state
of the Britain's political parties.
Welcome to the Daily Politics. What
is the relative health of the
Conservative Party compared to other
It is not growing as others, Labour
has undergone a phenomenal growth
since Jeremy Corbyn took over, the
Conservatives have probably shrunk,
some reports say they are down to
70,000, smaller than the Lib Dems
and the SNP. I'll wouldn't put them
above 100,000, it has been notably
reluctant to release membership
figures for the past three years
indicating they are in trouble.
They have been reluctant. How
important is a healthy grassroots to
The evidence suggests in a close
race in a constituency the effort on
the ground parties can make makes a
difference. Talking about
canvassing, identifying voters,
talking about delivering leaflets,
and increasingly elections are being
fought on line where the
Conservatives have a particular
problem because of the age structure
of the party, members just don't
seem to do anywhere near as much on
Facebook or Twitter social media
than members of other parties.
Social media is critically important
in future elections. How reflective
of the attitudes of Tory members of
voters and the voters they need to
gain to win?
It is important to separate those
groups. Party members are not that
far away from people who are core
Conservative Party voters. Where
they are quite far away from is the
sort of voter they need to pick up
at the next election and elections
to come. Look at attitudes and they
are pretty authoritarian, not very
liberal, pretty traditional. As
Britain becomes more socially
liberal in part because so many more
are going to university, that could
be a problem.
Do Conservative members have less
say in the direction of their
parties and other parties
Absolutely. The only bright is that
being a party member gives you is
the right to select Parliamentary
candidates in your Krsticic are sick
and occasionally if there is a
leadership contest. You have no say
formally in terms of policy, which
is not the case for the Labour Party
and the Lib Dems and SNP and Green
Party, members that have a
significant say. That is something
to do with the fact that
Conservative Party members feel less
appreciated by their leadership.
Graham, how many members does the
Conservative Party have?
I do not know.
You do not want to know. I would be
very happy to know. The fact is we
don't have a central membership
register so it is difficult to have
an accurate figure. At the time of
the leadership election, it was
something around I think 100,000,
120,000, not nearly as high as it
should be. There was an interesting
question when you said is a healthy
grassroots important? I think it is
but the converse is an unhealthy
grassroots can be quite damaging as
well. One concern looking at the
Labour Party and the big growth in
the momentum membership, this block
of hard left wing people who make it
But we're not talking about...
Except they did much better than was
expected and got an enormously high
share of the vote, admittedly. If
you don't think the health of the
grassroots matters, let the figures
have dropped below 100,000, is it a
I want to see much stronger party
membership, being more open to the
membership, the party conference
being more of a genuine debate and
about broadcasts. Yes, I am keen on
expending -- expanding the
And giving them more power?
Certainly more of a voice, parties
must listen to their members.
Except Tim Bell says they don't
really reflect Tory voters.
He said they would rather reflect
Tory voters by the well. He said we
possibly need to look differently at
some of those we need to reach out
to. It depends where you are. My own
membership is pretty strong, the
same figure it has been for a number
I would love to see that double.
you think beefing up of Conservative
headquarters in the recent
reshuffle, the appointment of 13
vice chairs, will that make a
I am less concerned about the number
and more about the quality. We have
some fantastic people involved
driving some of this process.
Brandon Lewis, I have a lot of faith
in him, James Clay is the deputy
picked out in the piece you have
just shown. So, we have a lot of
real quality coming in.
With a lot of enthusiasm. Would a
better operation at CC HQ made a
difference last year?
I think pretty much everything did
go wrong, part of that was not just
the period of the election, it was a
period where there was lack of
preparation in advance. No election
was anticipated, the point about
social media and communicating
widely, that had been allowed to
atrophy and now there is a
What about the reshuffle in general?
Could it have been more radical?
could have been more radical, I was
reflecting on what word I would
settle on for that.
What is it?
Oversold is probably the word. If
this reshuffle had just happened and
people were looking at it by its own
merits, people would say it was a
pretty reasonable reshuffle, with
some very good, strong moves, some
new people coming into Government,
some sensible changes. David
Lidington replacing the come
ordination role that
ordination role that Damian Green
was doing before that, for instance.
-- become ordination role. It might
not have been what the Prime
Minister had in mind, but my
highlight of the reshuffle was
Jeremy Hunt, so determined to remain
at the helm of the National Health
Did that demonstrate her
It demonstrates something
really important, which is that
Jeremy has been so committed to the
NHS and getting it right and really
cares about that. And his
determination to stand by it.
does it say about the Prime
Minister, who wanted to move him?
That she was per say so but prepared
to be persuaded by him and she got
Are you pleased that the
woman who stood in the way of
grammar school expansion has gone?
like Justine Greening, she is a
friend and a colleague. I'm not
pleased when any of my colleagues
find themselves out of office when
they wanted to be in office. I am
also pleased to see Damian Hinds in
that job. He is a grammar school boy
Are you hoping that
policy will be reversed? And there
will be further expansion?
hoping to see some steady progress
being made on the question of giving
parents more choice in schools, that
should include the ability to choose
selective schools where they want
Nick Timothy, former adviser to
Theresa May who went soon after the
election, but it was right for
Justine Greening to go because she
apparently blocked tuition fee cuts.
Would that be right in terms of
getting rid of somebody who was
I have no idea
whether that was the case, I don't
know what discussions have happened
within Government and tuition fees.
Right, this article in the Telegraph
today suggests that Nick Timothy
still speaks to the Prime Minister
and he was, along with Fiona Hill,
blamed in some part for that
election campaign. Is it appropriate
that the Prime Minister is such
close conversation with her former
She can talk to as many
friends and advisers as she wishes,
the more people she talks to the
Are you disappointed that
there will not be a Minister for no
deal attending Cabinet?
That is not
necessary, we have seen a
strengthening of the department, and
other Minister, a very capable and
strong new member coming in to the
Government Luella Fernandes. She
will be a real asset.
Would you have
liked to have seen somebody
representing that particular option,
it was felt that it would be
explored more fully by Brexiteers.
I'm not keen on ministers having a
particular policy agenda, they are
responsible for delivering the
Goverment's policy, which is strong
and clear, we are making significant
progress towards it. There result of
optimism that we will move forward
with face two in a more constructive
weight with our new partners.
Michael Gove has told Conservative
home that he fancies Damian Hinds,
the new Education Secretary, and
Gavin Williamson, the Defence
Secretary, for next Tory leader.
Do you agree with him?
I am chairman
of the 1922 Committee, I would be
returning officer in any contest
that might happen, I could not
express a preference. They are both
very good people. Looking at the
reshuffle and some of the new
members of the Government, I think
we are in a very strong position for
the future. We have got so much
talent on the Conservative benches
in the House of Commons, that is a
really positive sign for the future
of the Conservative Party and the
What about the talent at
the top? Last time you in this
studio you said that Theresa May was
safe in post at the moment, is that
still your view?
I probably said at
the time, that is all that any Prime
Minister or leader of anybody is at
Do you see her fighting
the next election as leader of the
remains the same, it is the view of
my colleagues that we do not want to
see a leadership election, we are
making good progress, whilst lots of
people may say at the moment Theresa
May may not lead the Conservative
Party through the next general
election, that isn't a judgment that
is going to be taken today, it will
be taking in two or three years'
time, the whole landscape might be
different then as we are merging
from the negotiations and the
agreements on Brexit.
By March 2019,
there could be a leadership contest?
Of course there could be. My view
that a successful exit from the
European Union, Britain continuing
to see strong economic growth, low
unemployment, record levels of
innovative investment as we are
seeing at the moment, it is likely
people will look at the Prime
Minister and say, she has done a
pretty good job.
What about Michael
Gove's prospects, could he be a
future leader of the Conservative
I'm not going to, it on that,
but he is doing a brilliant job at
Defra and I'm very pleased to see
the measures taken to get rid of my
group -- micro beads and what he is
doing about plastic.
The former Lib Dem leader
and committed Christian Tim Farron
has said he regrets saying that gay
sex was not a sin during last
year's general election.
He told Christian Radio
he was "foolish" to allow himself
to be pressured in saying something
which he didn't believe was right.
During the 2017 general election
campaign, when he was Lib Dem
leader, Tim Farron was asked
repeatedly about his religious
beliefs, and, specifically, about
whether he believed gay sex was a
Do you think that having --
that having a gay sex was a sin.
not going to give you an answer that
question, and I will tell you why.
One's personal faith is one's
personal faith. What counts is your
actions and your beliefs in
He later said that he
didn't one people getting the wrong
impression about his views.
believe gay sex is a sin. I take the
view as a political leader, my job
is not to pontificate on the logical
Tim Farron step out as Lib
Dem leader straight after the
election, saying in a statement that
he was torn between living as a
faithful Christian and serving as a
political leader. In an interview
with Christian radio yesterday, Mr
Farron said he regretted not being
honest with himself at the time.
There are things I regret and there
was a sense in which I felt, look,
I've got to get this off my table,
what an opportunity for us. All that
they wanted to do was talk about my
Christian beliefs and what it meant
and all the rest of it. And I would
say, foolishly, and strongly,
attempted to, you know, push it away
by giving an answer that frankly was
Joining me now from
Cambridge is the writer
and commentator Anne Atkins.
And the Labour MP and former
Anglian vicar Chris Bryant.
Welcome to the studio to you, and
welcome to the programme. Shouldn't
Tim Farron have had the courage of
his convictions at the time and said
that he thought gay sex was a saint?
I think that's what he said
yesterday -- thought they sex was a
scene. It is a misleading question
and an illiberal and homophobic
question, as he pointed out
yesterday, because Christians
believe that we all seen it, seeing
is a theological term which is quite
misleading because it communicates
to people who not quite familiar
with that jargon condemnation and
judgment and looking down on people,
which is not what it means at all,
it is defined by St Paul in the
letter the Romans as falling short
in the glory of God, as Christians,
we believe that we all do that. The
fact that he was asked about a
particular minority is a very
misleading thing. If he had come out
and said, yes, I do think it is a
sin, that would have been more
misleading than what he actually did
say. What I find so disappointing
was Vince Cable's tweet after Tim
Farron step down, which was very
illiberal. He distanced himself from
Tim Farron's views and said the Lib
Dems have a long and proud history
of supporting LGBT rights. Well, so
does Tim Farron. He has a long and
proud history of supporting LGBT
rights, which is the important
In terms of your expectation
about what is considered a sin, he
told a lie, straightforwardly.
said he wishes he had represented
his views more truthfully.
viewers, it is just to make it plain
that he said one thing that he
didn't mean, and now he has
corrected it. He lied at the time
about a fairly straightforward
I think lie is an
extremely unfair term. He was caught
off balance, he said something which
Let me try another
term with you, he bore false
witness. You know, from the Ten
Commandments, he lied.
That is the
Lying is a sin. If I'm
honest, I feel awfully sorry for him
because he tied himself up in knots,
by the end of yesterday I don't know
what he really thinks.
He was very
My anxiety is, I think the
Church of England, and a lot of the
church is conflicted about it as
well, on the one hand they want to
be supportive and caring towards
LGBT people. And most people I
LGBT people. And most people I think
now accept that your sexuality is
not a choice that you have made.
That is very different from 100
years ago or 200 years ago, when
everybody thought that you chose to
become a sexual. Today, the vast
majority of Christians would accept
that it is not a choice. So then the
question is whether churches want to
support people in loving
relationships or want to deprive
them and say that they are sin. Like
comeback on that, Anne?
deliberately confusing two things
and you know that you. 100 years
ago, people board of the act rather
than the orientation, now people
think of the orientation.
Tim Farron himself has
made it clear that Christianity does
not condemn sexual orientation, he
himself has said that. You are being
far more illiberal than Tim Farron
was and so is Vince Cable, because
you are condemning him for, you
know, breaking one of the Ten
Commandments, he himself made clear
yesterday, as all Christians
believe, that we all break the Ten
Let Chris answer.
Anne, can you let me say something?
I just wanted to finish my sentence.
It was quite a long paragraph, but
anyway, I feel sympathetic towards
him because it is perfectly
legitimate for somebody to hold that
view. I disagree with them. I think
he would have been better off to
have stated what his view was.
he? This is the politics of it. He
was hounded during the election
campaign over it. He was asked
repeatedly, may be fairly, do you
think it is right that he should be
hounded on this issue?
It is a
legitimate issue for voters to say,
what are your views on a variety of
issues, including there is? And how
do you bring your religious belief
into the policies that you vote for
and don't vote for? My memory, and I
may be wrong on this, but my memory
is that Tim did not vote for
same-sex marriage, third reading,
second reading of the bill.
voting record is absolutely... If
they are a Labour colleague of yours
in the House of Commons, if they
held those same views...
Some do. I
had a big row with Kelly wants about
this very issue. And in Labour's
case, we had said that we were
supporting civil partnerships and
gay adoption, we were supporting
that is part of that manifesto, and
Ruth Kelly was opposed to it. I said
to her, in conscience, you shouldn't
be on the front bench of the Labour
Anne, should Tim Farron have
sorted out in his mind how he should
deal with this, bearing in mind he
was the leader of a British
political party of the Liberal
Democrat party, and would know and
expect there to be questions along
these lines to test those liberal
policies? We have had the debate
about what is liberal and illiberal,
but shouldn't he have expected it
and prepared for it by the Brazil
are a far more democratic and
liberal question would have been,
your records, not your
personal views. The point that he
has tried to make but nobody has
really listen to what he is saying,
is his personal views on this are
not relevant. What is relevant is
his public voting record. Because
his liberalism, you see, what is
I think that views do
Let Anne finish.
truly liberal, something that has
been misattributed but his bill a
fabulous quote, what is truly
liberal is to disagree with you and
support you anyway. That is Tim
Farron's record, what his personal
You are misquoting, is
quoted for there! To defend the
Before we get into this
slightly dense argument, is it
possible, as Anne has said, that you
can have personal views that you
hold there, but actually it doesn't
affect, necessarily, how you lead a
political party. You can still
support LGBT rights.
think he needed to make that clear.
Can I make the far bigger point,
which is that, actually, gay young
men and women commit suicide six
times more frequently than their
straight counterparts. Every time
somebody adds into this equation a
little bit more of the kind of
critique and criticism of,
sexuality, whether it is, sexuality
itself, in aid, sexuality, or
whether you engage in sexual acts --
whether it is homosexuality. It adds
that the sense of guilt and shame.
My anxiety for the Church of England
is, which is my church, in 200
years' time, people will say, you
got this completely and utterly
wrong, you now have a situation
where, for clergy, you are allowed
to be gay, you allowed to be in a
Sybil partnership as long as you
swear to god that it is celibate.
This is a nonsense they have got
themselves tied up in knots in.
about the case of the Conservative
MP Jacob Rees-Mogg? He is clear
about his views on gay marriage and
abortion, he thinks that same-sex
marriage is wrong. He tells it as it
is, that is the better way to be, is
I think you should be honest and
straightforward, yes. I think that
voters actually respect people's
courage. And if you are prepared to
say, look, I personally think that
homosexuality is wrong or however
you want to frighten it, but I also
believe that the law should treat
everybody equally -- however you
want to frame it.
These people can't
hold high office, is that what you
Well, I wouldn't vote
But can they not hold high
I am not hounding anybody
out of office, I am being very
liberal. Anne can stand for election
but I'm not going to vote for her!
That's fine, I'm quite happy without
your vote, thank you very much.
There I say it, I think you are
contradicting yourself. I totally
agree with you that of course we
must support, you know, we must all
fight for people who feel suicidal
and who feel criticised and got at,
which is why I think it is the
question is self that is illiberal
and homophobic. I think the person
who has dealt with it most widely so
wisely is Justin Welby, he said he
is not going to answer it. And quite
fried, because if you answer it,
that contributes to young people
feeling judged -- quite right. What
is really important is that, to come
back to Tim Farron, his liberalism
is, he is saying, is much more
important in his political career,
and that is what he votes for, than
his personal view about certain
things where he may disagree.
Should he have been cleared the
first time he was asked and stood by
his personal view?
I think he should have done. He was
hounded at the election but because
people thought he was hiding
He should not have too. Is it a fair
question to ask, do you think gay
sex is a sin?
It is a fair question. My answer to
it is, no, I don't.
Can politicians speak freely about
This is the underlying thing that
There is a far more
intolerant attitude in Britain than
there used to be. People are often
intolerant of faith, religion,
political views sometimes. We should
be more open to listening.
I sympathise with that but if you
were a young person in his
constituency and went to his surgery
and you were gay and wanted to talk
about the problems you were having,
you might worry if you thought he
was going to say, sexuality is a
We will have two stop it here. We
did ask Tim Farron to come in for an
interview, but he turned us down.
Delighted that you came here
Now, the Government has a target
to bring net migration,
that's the difference
between the number of people coming
into the the UK and those leaving,
to less than 100.000.
It currently stands at 230,000.
But should students be
included in those figures?
Currently, they are,
but there's a debate
about whether they should be.
Let's speak to Nick Hillman of the
Higher Education Policy Institute.
Welcome to the programme, can you
explain what you found and how you
We've did a detailed survey of the
benefits to the whole UK of having
international students here, all the
rent they paid, the food they buy,
and we have calculated the costs,
and we found even after you have
taken away the costs, the UK
benefits to the tune of £20 billion
a year from the presence of so many
international students in the UK.
What do you say, should it now be
the case students are excluded from
the net migration figures?
There was a real problem if you
years ago, with bogus colleges, used
as a means of getting into the
country. The Government rightly
tackle that. It is also the case
foreign students in the UK is a huge
export success for Britain,
universities do a brilliant job
bringing money in. And we forge very
good friendships with people who go
back to their own countries, become
great successes in business. A good
for the country as long as they are
Should they be taken out other
I discussed this with a former
Immigration Minister and his answer
is the problem lies with the
statistical authorities which insist
on categorising this as part of
migration. The difficulty for the
Government is to try to change that
and present figures in a different
way makes them look very shifty. The
important thing is we are not
stopping people coming here to
Is that really the justification
because the ONS tells the Government
I welcome what Graham says about the
positive grudge which they make. But
I don't agree. What they do in other
countries is the count all the
people coming in including students
but setting migration targets, they
exclude them from the statistics for
that purpose, that is a Government
decision and target.
Mike understanding is it is a
-- My understanding. The Government
is doing nothing to discourage
people from coming to study in the
It sounds like you would favour if
the Government were to decide to
exclude those students from the
figures, would you support it?
I would be concerned if it would
result in universities and told not
to recruit qualified students from
studying in the UK.
Briefly, isn't the point anyone
coming in and going out should be
part of immigration statistics?
Absolutely. But not in the target. I
hope Graham will look at the Indian
press saying Britain is the least
welcoming country in the world for
international students. Yet we have
the best universities.
There's just time before we go
to find out the answer to our quiz.
The question was, what wasn't
in the hamper presented
by a pro-Brexit delegation
to Michel Barnier yesterday
to advertise British business?
Was it a) Cheddar cheese?
b) PG Tips?
c) Eccles cakes?
Or d) Marmite?
So, Graham, what's
the correct answer?
As a Lancastrian by birth, there
should be Eccles cakes but I wonder
if it is Marmite? I had a terrible
feeling maybe it is being made
You were on the right track.
Eccles cakes is the answer.
Michel Barnier got an array of
Let's take a look at
the delivery yesterday.
PG Tips from Manchester, obviously,
you can't ignore that.
We have got some gin from Scotland,
by the way, that could of course be
Scotch whisky in terms of how
British it is.
We've got some wine from England.
We have got some Marmite,
I'm a huge Marmite fan.
That's Burton on Trent's best.
Fantastic English cheeses which I am
sure they will appreciate
because we have got a huge
market in cheese.
We are trying to show once
we leave the European Union,
you will have some great products
that will be able to be sold
still in Europe but we will expand.
Lucky old Michel Barnier.
Well, Steven Woolfe joins
us now from Brussels.
And here in the studio
is the commentator
Welcome. What made you choose those
particular products, many of which
we have in our hamper here.
What we had known from Michel
Barnier come he was a huge fan of
Shakespeare and uses quotes from
Winston Churchill. From my
perspective as a Mancunian, I grew
up with PG tips from my grandmother.
And also because it is Unilever, it
shows a positive way we can trade
with an Anglo European business to
show we would be friendly and
working with them in the future. The
idea of having modern products like
gin is to show the expansion of our
ideas in new areas. Michel Barnier
love them, he enjoyed them. I think
his team will enjoy it over the next
What is your problem with these
I have no problem. British values,
Shakespeare, he was absolutely
European. There would be no
Shakespeare, Corona, Papua, Rome,
Greek stories. Let us talk about
Eccles cakes, sultanas imported. The
great thing about Britain is it has
always been open, perceptive,
curious. That is the great strength
of this country. I fear at the
moment we are retreating into a
greyness which isn't British at all.
What do you say, that this was
something of a cheap stunt to win
over Michel Barnier which it
probably won't do however generous
Of course it wasn't a cheap stunt
and his team did not accepted as
that. What he did accept was this
was an offer of friendship to open
up a negotiation and discussion with
him in an open away, and friendly
way, that is exactly what he
accepted. Anyone who understands
European politics and how you talk
to politicians here understand you
have to give them that level of
respect to have proper discussions.
We did discuss what would happen in
negotiations. We talked about the
way we wanted a positive free trade
arrangement. But to remember you
have to comply with the will of
those who voted in the referendum to
leave, and he accepted that, very
clearly, that there will be Brexit
in March 2019, and he is working
Even the EU negotiating team are
working in some parts towards the
possibility of a no deal.
Absolutely. They are civilised
people. This is embarrassing to turn
up, there are messages here. Why
would -- How would we feel if they
turned up with pasta and pesto
because they want us to talk to them
nicely? It is a stunt.
nicely? It is a stunt. It makes it
foolish. Show some respect,
actually. I do agree that
negotiations need to be civilised
and respectful. This was a stunt and
it was making something of Britain
which Britain isn't. I am quite
embarrassed you did this.
But do you think it will help in
terms of avoiding the negotiations?
No, what will help, and I hope it
happens, is when both sides are
civilised and realise... Listen, for
centuries, blood has flown between
us and them, and we are much more
united than we seem to be thinking.
That will help. One thing pointed
out is some other products you
included are made by firms who are
worried they will be hit hard by EU
withdrawal, Marmite and PG tips made
by Unilever, the Anglo Dutch
company, warning they might have to
consolidate their headquarters away
from here. Was that a gaffe?
Of course not. You see in many
international meetings, from heads
of states, the Queen, guests are
handed over. That is how we
approached this. Not as a stunt but
as an open hand of friendship to
Michel Barnier. He was meeting for
the first time a group of important
and well spoken leaders, to express
a view across the spectrum from the
Labour Party, conservatives and
those in the centre, with Lord Digby
Jones, that we have strong support
to continue Brexit and despite those
who had turned up and seen him like
Nick Clegg and Andrew Adonis, there
will be no turning back on Brexit.
He was clear, he accepted that.
We seem to have lost him.
Philip Hammond is to tell German
business leaders in Berlin the EU
needs to clarify the post Brexit
relations it wants. Has the UK would
further than the EU?
I thought before Christmas when we
got the agreement on phase one, it
marked a sea change, it seemed much
more constructive from the EU 27.
That this is something that is
Has the UK moved too far?
making good progress and I hope to
see constructive engagement from the
We will stick this good afterwards!
Bag you for joining us from
Brussels, and here in the studio.
That's all for today.
Thanks to our guests.
The One O'Clock News is starting
over on BBC One now.
And I'll be here at noon
tomorrow with all the big
political stories of the day.