Journalists Tim Montgomerie and Rachel Shabi join Jo Coburn to look at the elections for new members to Labour's ruling NEC with Momentum head Jon Lansman.
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Hello and welcome to
the Daily Politics.
Donald Trump says he won't come
to Britain for a visit
next month after all,
with claims he isn't
coming because of fears
he won't be made welcome.
We've been speaking to Momentum
founder Jon Lansman
about elections for Labour's ruling
body that could have a big impact
on the future of the party.
Nigel Farage says we should
have a second EU referendum,
but also says he doesn't want one.
We'll speak to the current
leader of Ukip and try
to clear up the confusion.
And there's speculation it could be
Oprah versus The Donald at the next
US presidential election,
so why have celebrities
here in Britain had less
luck at the ballot box?
All that in the next hour,
and with us for the duration it's
the journalists Rachel Shabi
and Tim Montgomerie.
Welcome to the show.
So, in the latest twist
in the will-he-won't-he saga
surrounding a visit to the UK
by Donald Trump, the US President
has confirmed he won't be
going ahead with at least one trip
planned for next month.
The story was broken
by the Daily Mail this morning,
which said that Mr Trump had gone
cold on plans to officially open
the new US embassy in London.
The paper says he took the decision
amid fears he wouldn't be welcome.
Mr Trump confirmed the story himself
this morning on Twitter.
He said, "The reason I cancelled my
trip to London is that
I am not a big fan of
the Obama Administration having sold
perhaps the best located and finest
embassy in London for peanuts,
only to build a new one in an off
location for $1.2 billion.
Wanted me to cut ribbon - NO!"
That's a reference to the fact
that the US embassy is being moved
from Mayfair in London to Battersea.
Well, critics of the president have
been welcoming the news, with the
Labour Mayor of London Sadiq Khan
saying, "Many Londoners have made it
clear that Donald Trump is not
welcome here while he is pursuing
such a divisive agenda.
It seems he's finally
got that message."
But that response irked
the Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson,
who in turn tweeted,
"The US is the biggest single
investor in the UK -
yet Khan and Corbyn seem
determined to put this crucial
relationship at risk.
We will not allow US-UK relations
to be endangered by some puffed up
pompous popinjay in City Hall."
Donald Trump dividing opinion as
always, not just in the US.
Are you relieved he isn't coming to
open the US embassy?
Amat for once
and for once I might be closer to
the Labour view on this than to the
Tory view and the UK have a vital
relationship and it is incredibly
important we invest in that
relationship. But there comes a
time, after so many outrageous
remarks by Donald Trump and we must
draw a line. I think we can make a
distinction between having a good
relationship with the United States
and having to honour a president,
who, contrary to your view about
devising opinion, I think he
actually unites Britain. I think
most British people find almost all
of his views and acceptable.
from Boris Johnson, it seems. In
terms of that relationship with the
USA, would you still go as far as to
say he should not come on any sort
of state visit or political visit?
He is obviously not welcome, isn't
he. I think this has shown the power
of protest on one hand and also it
is very heartening that the British
public will look at someone like
this misogynist, racist president,
and say no, we not having it. I
think that shows a real moral
clarity. I wish our PM could
demonstrate even an ounce of the
same moral clarity over Trump.
fair, when he re-tweeted those
remarks from a far right group...
That went over a line for her.
difficult for a sitting Prime
Minister to be difficult with our
most important ally. It is easy for
us as commentators from outside to
be morally righteous but for a Prime
Minister who has to work on a daily
basis on trade and security...
world leaders have had to work with
Trump as well and they have been...
They have welcomed him. To France...
That they have not welcomed his
comments and they have been more
vocal in criticising his comments
than she has been.
Should the state
invitation be withdrawn? That is not
what Emily Thornberry has said.
not think he is welcome here.
would you stand up and say, the
Labour Party would like his
If Jeremy Corbyn
-- Jeremy Corbyn has said that if
Trump came here, you'd take to a
mosque and show them our brilliant
Why don't Labour say the
invitation should be withdrawn?
don't know, personally...
double standards. We have leaders
from the Middle East where women are
not just treated badly on Twitter by
the of state but are treated badly
by second-class rights.
think just women are treated badly
on Twitter by Trump!
And we had the
Chinese leadership, who represses
his people in multiple ways so there
are a lot of double standards from
people in politics saying that Trump
is beyond the pale when other
leaders are not.
That is the case,
we have had leaders from countries
which you and others would also say
are against human rights, committing
all sorts of abuses against their
own people. Yet they still come here
There's always been a lot
of hypocrisy in politics, there is
no question of it.
anti-American is on the left that
will always judge America more
And must be enthused about
judging America more harshly.
not even true. Listen to the way the
left talks about Saudi officials and
the British relationship with Saudi
Arabia. That is not true,
manifestly. Yet it is fine for the
British public to have this adverse
reaction to somebody as divisive and
as racist as some unlike Trump.
march against him and not other
I think people do much
against all sorts of leaders.
President Trump last
night claiming that leaders from
Africa and Haiti came from, I won't
repeat his word, but saying, not
very good countries. Has this
crossed the line of acceptability,
should the Prime Minister intervene
and save this is not acceptable?
is an extraordinary remark from the
leader of a country made up of
immigrants to talk in those terms.
He said, why can't we have more
people from Norway, apparently. As
somebody wrote on Twitter earlier,
Norwegians were among the first
settlers to America and also faced
discrimination. It is as if there is
no acceptable immigrant in the eyes
of Donald Trump about that is why
London has reacted strongly to him
because London is also a city of
immigrants. And for him to come here
did potentially offend many people.
Would you like Labour to condemn
Venezuela and Iran?
I just love the
way that that is crowbared into
Glad I didn't
You have an Venezuelan
leader supported by Jeremy Corbyn
who is causing massive misery...
There is a clarity over the politics
of Trump that there is not of the
politics of Venezuela.
Again Labour was asked to condemn
the abuses carried out in Iran and
they have not been clear on that,
certainly not from Jeremy Corbyn.
Meet him at the abuses over
-- the abuses over
protests? I think that the way that
the regime has clamped down on the
protests in Iran should be
But not in Venezuela!
Let's leave it there.
A short while ago voting finished
in elections for new members
of Labour's National Executive
That's the party's governing body,
which sets its strategic
direction and oversees
the policy-making process.
So what's at stake in the contest?
The NEC, as it's known, currently
has 39 members mostly composed
of elected politicians,
trade union representatives,
and members from constituency
It has been finely balanced
between members seen as those
sympathetic to the Labour leader's
plans and those broadly sceptical.
At the 2017 conference Labour
decided to create three
new positions representing party
in response to the membership rising
to more than 600,000
under Jeremy Corbyn.
Nine candidates are competing
for the three seats -
and it's expected that the more
pro-Corbyn trio will win.
They're backed by Momentum -
whose leader, Jon Lansman,
is one of the candidates,
and a long-time advocate
for a more left-wing Labour.
There's concern among some
in the party that this will entrench
the power of those most enthusiastic
about Jeremy Corbyn.
Separately today is also
the deadline for Labour members
to give their views on the first
phase of the party's
Democracy Review, which is carried
out by Jeremy Corbyn's close ally
The proposals will be discussed
by the NEC later this month.
Well, our reporter Elizabeth Glinka
sat down with Jon Lansman,
and asked him what his priority
was if he got on the NEC, and why
the contest was so hard fought.
My priority is to see that,
er, the party becomes
more of a members-led party.
With members empowered, trusted,
enabled to do what's necessary
to win the next election.
And you know, I think they've shown
in the recent election
what 600,000 members can do.
To have millions of conversations,
and turn around an election
campaign, the biggest turnaround
we've had in an election
campaign in British history.
So I think more of that is
what we need to actually
win the next election.
There's a debate, there
are independent candidates,
not all the candidates
are on slates, and there should
be a debate, that's democracy.
We're a democratic party.
Thinking about democracy of course
we've got the first proposals
of the democracy review
expected this month.
Is this review about making it
easier for your faction to dominate
and silence the people that
you don't agree with?
Not at all.
First of all, there have always been
differences of view.
I actually am delighted
that the Labour Party,
after two leadership elections,
admittedly, has now recognised that
Jeremy is going to stay leader
until he chooses otherwise.
So we are now uniting around a real
alternative to austerity.
Is this process about deselections?
When you talk about democracy
and the views of the members,
the new members being heard,
are we talking about deselections?
We will not campaign
to deselect anybody.
But it's right that the members get
to choose who is the best
person to represent,
to stand for election
and represent them in Parliament.
And we've got 600,000 members now.
Who know their communities,
and who know the people they work
with in their workplaces.
And they are in the best
position to make judgments
about who the right candidates are.
There are hundreds of
thousands of members
who are enthusiastic
about the change to
the Labour Party, and it's
brought them into activity,
it's tripled the size of the party.
How can you see that as anything
other than a good thing?
You signed that petition last month
calling for the process
for the selection of councillors
in London to be re-run.
Is that still a position
you would take?
Well, I do think that some
of the selections in London
and around the country have not
been properly run.
There has been confusion
between the people overseeing
elections and council leaders,
and it's as if, it's
about minimising the number
of dissidents in a Labour group.
But we actually need debate
amongst our elected representatives,
wherever we are in government,
locally or nationally.
And there should be a fair
and reasonable process.
That's all I'm after.
I want to see in all internal
selections and elections,
processes in which all sections
of the party feel that they can back
a candidate that they support.
And, you know, the person
with the most votes ends up winning.
But at least they can feel
they've had a fair process,
that's what I want to see.
That was Jon Lansman, and we'll find
out if he was successful
in the elections on Monday.
We're joined now by Stephanie
Lloyd from Progress -
that's a group within Labour that
has backed an alternative slate
of candidates for the NEC.
And Rachel Shabi is still here -
she's a supporter of
the group Momentum.
Welcome, Stephanie. Why are you
worried about Jon Lansman and the
Momentum slate being elected?
big worry about this is, what is he
going to do with the power that he
will then get. So if you have come
at the balance of the NEC
previously, it's about challenge,
making sure that of their processes.
And what we are going to see is,
rather than the Labour Party
internally spending its time on
fighting a shambolic Conservative
government, it will spend its time,
rather than trying to elect Labour
MPs, electing Momentum MPs and
deselecting current ones.
just talking about democracy? The
party has swelled its ranks with
hundreds of thousands of new members
and they should have their say.
should have their say and that is
fine. One thing I find slightly
hypocritical from Jon Lansman at
best is the fact that there's been a
massive swell in our membership. And
that is only a good thing. But
rather than at the grassroots people
coming through as candidates it is
the leader of that group, Momentum,
supported, yes, but those people
often shuddered with the debate. I
don't think we can say Momentum is
particularly a democratic
organisation. You can see what they
did with their constitution.
understand the fears by Stephanie?
I think the party has this
historically high membership, over
half a million, looking at Western
Europe, that is a lot of people. To
some people, what Momentum and the
Labour leadership has said they are
doing and wants to do, through these
NEC changes proposed, the Democratic
review proposed, it is democratising
the party. For some people who are
used to a more polished centralised
version of politics, that huge
number of people getting into
politics is going to look unruly. It
is going to look messy.
And I think that is what has
happened, but I think it would be a
mistake and a disservice to people
who are engaged with politics in
such a positive way, for the first
time, people reconnecting with the
Labour Party, and they want to bring
it to power, and to induce them --
accuse them of behaving in an
undemocratic way does them a huge
I think there is a huge
difference between the people who
have got engaged in politics,
particularly a lot of young people,
and how I got involved was to the
youth movement and campaigning, and
the leadership of momentum, and they
are two different things, and I
think what we have seen, even if you
look at the democracy review, the
party on the NEC, as soon as it had
its control over that, rather than
the normal process electing the
Utrecht, rather than any
consultation with youth members are
waiting on the democracy review on
how the new NEC would be elected, in
contradiction to what the current
group wanted, it was whitewashed
over in a way that was purely
factional to get their candidates
and their slate people elected, so
my concern is not to get our party
elected, I was out doorknocking with
fantastic young people involved, but
the other one is constantly shadowed
by the leadership when it comes to
the next stage of this.
But it is
not what they are saying.
shut down their own youth movement.
We saw Momentum shutdown without any
consultation there on his movement
that supported them.
Do you think
there is a risk here that actually
Jon Lansman, although he said in
that interview we don't want to see
these elections or reason elections,
but he did say that with some
selection of councillors in London,
he felt that there had been
collusion, and he did want to see
those rerun and represent the
membership at large. In the end
isn't Jon Lansman on the Momentum
wing of the party complaining about
exactly the same thing as Stephanie.
Nobody likes dissent and wants
people to disagree with their
version of what the party should
This is messy, and a lot
of people, trying to claim what is
going on, you know, the things that
have been going on with councillors
for example in Haringey -- I am
trying to explain what is going on.
A lot of people are really angry
with her that council has behaved.
And therefore they have a right to
say they don't want them.
The apparatus or they don't
want those policies that are
materially affecting their lives,
damaging their lives, and that is
absolutely fine --
is being portrayed as some sort of
takeover by a cult, which has not
been the case at all.
It may not be
a cold, but is it a takeover, an
attempt rightly or wrongly to
entrench the power of Jeremy Corbyn
and Momentum? -- it may not be a
If people have joined the
party because the politics of Jeremy
Corbyn resonate with them and they
feel good with society and they are
democratically getting engaged and
involved in politics, what exactly
is the problem?
representing what Labour Party
members actually want to see, and
they support the policies of Jeremy
Corbyn. You are just not doing it
well enough, you are not keeping up
your side of the Labour Party, just
not doing it as well as Momentum?
That is definitely a part of that,
and I think what Jeremy and Momentum
captured in terms of engagement and
hope is not something anybody should
scoff at and I certainly never would
do so. My problem is what you then
take people's aspirations with, and
what they want in terms of the
future, and make it into pure
factionalism, about control and
controlling the entire party doesn't
my worry is, and I was sat at my
local Labour Party meeting last
night in Stratton, one of the most
deprived areas in London and I would
say the whole country -- Streatham.
And this was almost the best
depiction of it. The most upwardly
mobile and young white university
educated woman beats a 16-year-old
local activist because she didn't
have the right kind of politics or
didn't know the right people and was
not introduced onto the slate.
Doesn't that go against everything
you and Momentum and Jeremy Corbyn
I have no idea because I
have no idea of the context of what
you are describing, but what I do
We see councillors
down the country who are
representative of their own
communities being deselected.
actually have not seen that. Up and
down the country we have seen an
upsurge of people getting involved
in politics, whether at constituency
level or at a local level, and they
have every right to do that and they
have every right to decide whether
their candidate represents them or
not. As it happens, in most cases
across the country, the candidates
that the... This Labour candidates
that stood for the general elections
are not being kicked out at all. In
fact, the opposite is true, because
they forged nice relationships, the
constituency and the candidate, they
develop good relations during a snap
election, and they are not being
What do you say about
the criticisms and accusations
levelled about intimidation, about
behaviour that has become toxic
within the party against different
factions, that come from Momentum,
so the accusations go, on Twitter,
social media or at meetings?
I am not here to defend people being
obnoxious. But I am here to say that
sometimes some of this is going to
look angry. People in Haringey for
instance have every right to be
angry at what that council tried to
impose on their behalf with that
sell-off of council housing. That is
an entirely legitimate reaction to
Even to have that sort of
behaviour as you see being expressed
in an unruly, messy and intimidating
I'm not there to support people
being intimidating or obnoxious but
what I am saying is that is not
representative of what is going on
up and down the country, and this
tactic of horning in on, you know,
obnoxious examples to try to make it
representative of the entire
movement, it does that movement at
the service -- this tactic of honing
I will bring you in. Looking
from the outside, the Conservative
Party have a lot to be envious
about, the membership numbers.
Talking about how low Conservative
And you're failing to
get answers from your Tory guest...
We are talking about 600,000 in
labour and the Conservatives are the
fourth biggest party. A worrying is
I think the Tories have
massive problems with the grassroots
and I am very happy to dissect
those, but I do also worried
about... Before the election there
was a huge number of Labour MPs who
objected to Jeremy Corbyn's
leadership on the grounds of
principle, and their silence since
the election has been an
extraordinary thing, a desertion of
duty. I think part of the reason is
that they are intimidated by too
many activists in the Labour Party
who are unfortunately extreme, and I
think it is good to you this
discussion between these two Labour
activists, lifting the lid lately on
what I'm afraid I'm not just
isolated examples of intimidation
and obnoxious behaviour, but I'm
afraid there are too many people
amongst that 600,000 membership who
do seem to be behaving in ways that
on Twitter, and we see it all the
time, are well beyond the limits of
decent comradely behaviour.
say in response, Rachel?
I see the
Labour Party has got that many
members and Momentum is doing so
well because it has inspired people
to get involved in politics in a way
that we haven't seen for decades.
you think MPs have not stood up
since the election because they feel
intimidated about standing against
Jeremy Corbyn's position?
they have been silence because they
have seen that Jeremy Corbyn's
politics was successful.
It is one
thing to accept he might be an
The increased the
majority in many cases.
Sorry I did
not give you another say, Stephanie,
but thank you for coming in. We will
have to leave that one there.
Should there be a second referendum
on our membership of the EU?
Until now that's an idea largely
only supported by keen
Remainers such as Tony Blair,
and so yesterday many people
were surprised to hear former Ukip
leader Nigel Farage say this:
The Cleggs, the Blairs, the Adonises
will never ever ever give up.
They will go on whingeing
and whining and moaning,
all the way through this process.
So maybe, just maybe,
and reaching the point
of thinking that we should
have a second referendum, because...
On EU membership.
The whole thing?
Yes, of course, of course.
Unless you want to have
a multiple-choice referendum.
No, no, no, I'm amazed...
I think if we had a second
referendum on EU membership,
we'd kill it off for a generation...
So that's what Mr Farage
had to say yesterday,
but he went on to write an article
for the Telegraph in which he said:
"To be clear, I do not want
a second referendum,
but I fear one may be forced
upon the country by Parliament."
I'm not sure that was clear at all!
"The best defence of our dramatic
referendum victory," he went on,
"is to be alive to the possibility
of having to do it all over again."
So what are we to make of that?
Well, I'm joined now by the current
leader of Ukip, Henry Bolton.
Welcome to the product. Have you
spoken to Nigel since he made his
I have. -- welcome to the
What did he say?
point, whilst the party does remain
opposed to a second referendum, for
a range of reasons, we may well be
confronted with it in the future.
And there is a need to mobilise the
entire Leave campaign with all the
different elements to unite and
actually ensure we do move this
whole Brexit thing forward, because
otherwise it will not be delivered
in any meaningful form. That is
really what he was talking about.
What did you think when you heard
him say the comments, and reaching
the point of thinking we should have
a second referendum on EU
Yes, to an extent, and
what he is saying...
What was your
That was my reaction. I
know Nigel, I know what was behind
what he was saying, so how it has
come across, yes, he was supportive
potential of a second referendum,
but that is not actually what he was
That is what he was saying!
"I am reaching the point of thinking
we should have a second referendum
on EU member ship."
But this needs
to be sorted out because the
Government is not delivering on
Patrick O'Flynn, colleagues,
says he is as wrong on this as Tony
Blair. Is he wrong right? -- a
colleague of yours.
Let's put it
like this, the question.
No, I could
If Nigel believed we should have a
second referendum, and I agree that
is how it came across, but if he
believed that I would say he was
wrong, but the point is we do not
want a second referendum, absolutely
Is that UK policy?
Is that UK policy? Did he
To an extent, yes. If
the Government forces one on us it
would give us the opportunity to
decisively put the whole thing to
bed and say, you know what, you have
to deliver a proper exiting of the
That is what he
meant? You've had a discussion sense
and decided that as the line you
have to put out because he has said
something deeply because what
evidence is there from the
Government they are even considering
one? -- he has said something deeply
unhelpful, because what evidence is
There is a debate, as you
well know, Jo, about should we have
another referendum, should we have a
vote on a future agreement, or
should we not?
Can I put it to you
that actually before it was never
really being discussed as a viable
option apart from the Liberal
Democrats who actually were not sure
about a second referendum and now
are, until Nigel Farage Paul
Thorburn said, I think we should
have a second referendum. I don't
remember any of the other ministers
-- until Nigel
-- until Nigel Farage popped up.
This is a call to arms for the Leave
camp. If indeed the Conservative
Government was delivering a Brexit,
moving to appoint where we had a
meaningful leaving of the European
Union and the picture as to how we
were all going to emerge from it,
then indeed this would not be
necessary. But what he is saying,
that the Leave camp as a whole needs
to unite, mobilise and needs to make
sure that Theresa May and the
Government deliver Brexit, and they
are not doing so at the moment.
he has normalised it now, the issue,
and it will now be debated. He has
handed to people
like Andrew Adonis, Tony Blair, and
others within the Labour Party, the
parliamentary party, the Remainers,
he has handed them a gift?
see if we have a second referendum
now I would agree with Nigel, we
would win it, hands down. So we are
not worried about that. We have had
a democratic mandate...
But he has
actually raised the whole prospect
of this being debated further. Do
you accept that? Big E ago against
-- did he go against party policy
when he said this?
Not in that
sense. If he had said, I want, or
our policy is to have one...
going to take any action against
It is not official UK
policy. Do you think it has confused
the issue for Ukip borders and
I think he has confused a
lot of people and Henry is doing a
valiant job of trying to defend the
remarks of his predecessor, which
seemed to me to be all about Nigel
Farage needing to be in the glare of
publicity. He can't go a few days
without getting the attention, but
David Cameron, Nick Clegg, all sorts
of people before the last Brexit
referendum, they said this is your
one chance to decide your future in
Europe, and whatever you decide, as
the British people, we will
implement the decision. That is what
counts. I'm glad to see Henry
nodding, and I think any attempt to
revisit that decision now will upset
people's faith in democracy, it is
not just the wrong thing to do for
Brexit, I think it is dangerous for
public faith in our institutions.
Should the Labour Party be thinking
about making a policy to offer the
second referendum on the
Possibly yes. This idea of rerunning
the referendum is a kind of assault
on democracy. What is this, Brexit
referendum, the final showdown? The
last battle? How long will it go on?
But I think there is a case to be
made potentially for having a
referendum on the deal.
Labour be clear on that?
on a second referendum is, and in a
broader context, it sets a
precedent, we've had a democratic
exercise, a decision from it and
Amanda date has effectively been
issued -- mandate has been issued.
Wait a minute, some people don't
like it, let's revisit it.
never trust the leaders again, they
didn't like the decision, don't...
Nigel Farage, in the referendum,
said if the result was closer to be
unfinished business. He implied at
the time that there would and should
be another referendum if it was
close, although the other way.
think we could quote Nigel Farage to
find support for most eventualities.
Your private life has caused
headlines recently and Nigel Farage
says it is good for Ukip publicity.
Do you agree?
This week has been
quite quiet, so I've had a lot of
time to think about that subject.
Tell us your thoughts.
honestly I would not have wanted in
any way the publicity this has
attracted. I would like it to die
down. I've got things to sort out in
my private life. I want to do it and
focus on the job in hand which is
the sort of stuff we've been talking
Does it affect your job as
leader of Ukip? Some have called for
you to quit.
Somehow but and
receiving a huge amount of support
as well saying this is his private
life, let's get on with his agenda
in turning around the internal
workings of the party so that we
have a firm solid base for exactly
the sort of mobilisation we have
Henry Bolton, thank
Thank you very much.
Social media is having a big impact
in lots of areas of society,
and politics is no exception.
But how are the parties adapting
what they do in that traditional
forum, the House of Commons,
to this new electoral battlefield?
Here's Emma Vardy.
These days the parties just love
delivering short sound bites to your
social media feed.
Each Wednesday after PMQs it doesn't
take long for what's happening
in there to pop up on here.
The Prime Minister needs to
understand that it's her policies...
And they're getting
rather adept at it.
Almost every week, Jeremy Corbyn
asks a question which to those
watching PMQs might not sound much
like a question at all.
They have one eye on what
soundbite's going on Facebook,
and, packaged in the right way,
it has the potential to get hundreds
and thousands of views.
Add some bold subtitles,
a punchy headline graphic...
They're hoping their leader's big
moment will go viral.
Isn't that an admission that
under his captaincy this
ship is indeed sinking?
Could they even be pre-scripting
the perfect 30-second
social media rant?
I'll leave you to decide,
but just look how far we've come.
Parliament was once reluctant
to even make debates public -
before the first radio broadcast
of the House of Commons
began in 1975.
I refer the honourable
gentleman to the reply
I gave some moments ago.
Fast forward to the mid-90s,
and most newspapers contain
straightforward reports of political
debates, until that died out.
Now this, it seems, is political
communication evolving once again.
So I think that they have
desperately tried to change the way
they actually try to communicate,
especially trying to reach young
people, and trying to make it more
sensationalist and more adversarial,
and really a very very
simple single message.
The Conservatives successfully
targeted voters using Facebook
in the 2015 election campaign,
helping them to an
But last year Labour appear to have
done far better online.
Well, I think politicians are trying
to reach people on social media
who are exactly the opposite,
frankly, of those who watch
Daily Politics on a Sunday.
They're younger, they've got
a changed media diet -
they're not actually necessarily
watching much television,
and certainly not necessarily
consuming much political content.
Sound bites are nothing new.
I think now what we are simply
seeing is sound bites
being weaponised for social media
as much as they've been used
in mainstream media up until now.
Is it really even worth anything
for the electorate in terms
of understanding the party
or what their real
intentions and messages are?
I mean, I think there
is a fear that, you know,
having to fight above all these
algorithms, fight above all the
unbelievable noise of social media,
is actually simplifying a message
down to something that isn't
even a message at all.
You know, it is simply a wham-bam,
really reducing politics even more
than PMQs itself down to a kind
of Punch and Judy show.
But, you know, the digital
world is an amazing
new form of engagement.
It's where plenty of people go
to to learn about politics,
and where some people only learn
about politics, and of course
if we are actually going to get
successive generations to actually
care about politics and have
something to do with it,
politics needs to transfer
onto the digital world.
We are putting record funding
into the NHS and record funding...
So next time you spot a certain kind
of rant over the dispatch box,
you'll know they're speaking
to the people who might just come
across it later on Facebook.
Have you noticed the strategic
change in Prime Minister's
Questions, in the Commons in
particular that the messages to go
out on social media, no longer the
TV bulletins, no longer a message
beyond the chamber, it is to the
Definitely there has
been a change. People have clocked
that very few people watch PMQs live
except through your show. Our
hundreds and thousands of viewers!
Apart from those. I think Labour has
been working quite closely with its
social media team said they have
figured out that a bit of Jeremy
Corbyn's PMQs can be shared, and it
will be something quite generic,
something that is not time specific.
And they do very well on social
media. As we have seen during the
last election. Also it has been
shown, I think the BBC survey showed
that people who consume venues of
the Internet are more likely to vote
Labour and Labour voters are more
likely to share social media
content, so they are obviously
taking advantage of those things as
A conscious decision there,
the Tories playing catch-up.
Definitely getting better but a long
way behind. I think you can
exaggerate this. There's always been
a sound bite element to PMQs. The
six o'clock news can only give 20 or
30 seconds. The difference is now,
sometimes the clips on social media
are longer than the TV gave to them.
And of course it's not Laura
Kuenssberg or the director of the
producer of the news deciding what
clips go out there, it's the
political parties. So we are seeing
a transfer of power, the old
gatekeepers to the media no longer
have the control that they used to.
Not a bad thing.
Let's leave it
The Government had a big-ish
reshuffle at the beginning
of the week, and Labour will now
have to have a smaller reshuffle
of its own after the departure
yesterday of the Shadow Fire
Minister Chris Williamson.
Mr Williamson's resignation
was reportedly a mutual decision
reached with leader Jeremy Corbyn,
and came the day after he suggested
council tax bills for the highest
value homes in England
should be doubled.
Well, Chris Williamson
himself can tell us more -
he joins us now from Derby.
Chris, did you resign or were you
No, I stepped down because I
wanted to spend a greater amount of
my time campaigning and to give
advice ordinary party members.
Labour is now a mass movement. You
probably saw Jeremy launch the
Community Action Units the party has
established. He's also been clear he
wants to give party members a
greater opportunity to influence
party policy. I want to be a
conduit, to be the members champion
so that their views can be
aired. And being on the front bench
constrains what you can say. And
given the varied ideas that are sure
to come up from the grassroots it
would have been more difficult, I
think, to give voice to those...
Clearly because you have had to go
as a result of it. So clearly it was
proving difficult. Quite a few of
your colleagues have suggested that
you were sacked. Wes streeting said
doubling the council tax which is
what you proposed will never be
Labour policy, swift action by
Jeremy Corbyn. And Clive Lewis said
your fate and that of Toby Young
demonstrates that with both parties
neck and neck and in further
parliamentary long haul, the war of
attrition will see each side picking
of those around their two respective
generals. They obviously thought
that you were sacked.
that you were sacked.
misunderstood the idea of looted.
Its Tory party legislation
introduced in 2012 that provides the
opportunity for local authorities to
offer variable discounts to council
taxpayers in their local area, and
also give them the ability to raise
the council tax above the threshold
which is specified by the Secretary
of State at any given time. Of
course this whole idea would have to
be agreed by the electorate in local
areas. So it's not a question of any
local authority deciding
unilaterally to double council tax
and it isn't about doubling council
tax, there's a range of
permutations. In actual fact what
this would do if any local authority
to get forward would be to protect
the vast majority of householders,
certainly those on the lowest
incomes would have their council tax
frozen, possibly reduced, and the
burden would therefore be carried by
those with the broadest shoulders. A
budget for the many not the few.
you haven't convinced those in your
party and at the top of your party.
Andrew Quinn, let me just ask you,
he says it isn't the party policy
and it conflicted with the party
manifesto pledge not to raise taxes
on 95% of the public and you are
freelancing. What do you say to him?
People probably haven't fully
understood the idea I have floated,
initially, the six months ago.
should know... He is Shadow...
point I am making is that I'm not
suggesting it should be party
policy, it's already the law of the
So what were you suggesting?
am simply suggesting that local
authorities can, if they wish, seize
back the initiative. After eight
years of relentless austerity and
cuts, which has put people in a
position where they are struggling
to meet their basic obligations,...
How many Labour Party members
support this idea?
authority could take it forward if
they wanted to stop the cuts which
have been relentless over the last
eight years. It is an opportunity
for local authorities to do it if
Is that they haven't
supported it. Is it correct that
people on the front bench should not
contradict party policy?
Jo, you are
getting confused. It is not about
party policy, this is already a
I am asking, do you
think members of the front bench
should stick to party policy and not
hand ammunition to the opposition?
don't think it's about handing
admonition to the opposition, that's
the last thing I'd wish to do.
you have done it.
Hold on, any local
authority, if they were to take this
on board, would come I think,
potentially find this to be
something which is very...
show our viewers what the Tories
have done with what they see as the
ammunition. It has now been put up
on screen. Chris Williamson of
Labour has put forward plans that
could see council tax doubled. I
know that you say this should is not
what you said, but this is what they
have said, and has not helped
Labour's campaign ahead of the local
elections this year?
expect the Tories to tell the truth
and clearly they are misrepresenting
me. It is interesting that it is
worth reinforcing the point that
this has only been made possible
because of legislation that the
Tories are brought in. It was the
Conservatives that introduced the
local government Finance act in
2012, allowing local authorities
this flexibility. Let's also
remember the Tories have imposed
huge swingeing funding cuts on local
authorities. They're in an
impossible position now.
you have a new role. What is it?
Jeremy's asked me, I've been
conflicted about this for some time
because I wanted to speak on a range
of issues and push the envelope as
far as possible although it has been
constraining to some extent being on
the front bench because you are
constrained by collective
responsibility, is not to say that I
was seeking to move away from the
Fire and Rescue Service because it
is something I feel passionate about
and I will still be a active member
of the group, the Jeremy asked me to
think through some of our future
policy agenda on that regard and in
addition to draw up a policy
programme for consideration in
relation to animal rights. That's
something I've been passionate about
all my life, I've been of Cregan for
40 years and I am a hunt saboteur.
It is something I'm keen to do to
support the party in taking that
Ford -- I have been a vegan for 40
So you are still on good
terms with Jeremy Corbyn even though
you've parted company on this.
a close friend of mine, a good
comrade and in my view the best
leader this party has ever had. And
I include in that Clement Attlee.
And he will be the best Prime
Minister, not just the best Labour
has ever produced but the best this
country has ever produced if we win
the election because he will
transform the country and change the
balance of power for ever. I
genuinely hope he gets that
opportunity and I am sure he will
with the policies we are developing
You couldn't be more clear with
that. No hard feelings, then, thank
you, Chris Williamson.
Not at all!
Theresa May's position on Brexit may
have won her plenty of admirers
among Conservative supporters,
but those don't include
the nightclub owner
He's been a donor to the party -
here he is pictured last year
with the Prime Minister.
But now he says he's
ready to ditch the Tories
over their support for Brexit.
And Peter Stringfellow joins us now.
Why are you prepared now to ditch
the Tories? I don't like the word
OK, say quitting.
like what is happening. I don't
believe that Theresa May is a
Brexiteer. In her heart, and I
believe that the hard-core
conservatives are all Remainers. The
only chap you have had on who is a
real Brexiteer, nice chap, you just
had him on, Henry...
something people simply do not want.
I am a European, British European,
and that is where I see our future.
Right, secure quitting the party.
You will no longer be a member or
donate money to the party?
unless they change. You spoke about
the referendum, all this stuff about
democracy come a forget about that.
Let's just have another general
election, Labour parties be honest.
You seem to be honest. I have been
speaking to you. Let's be honest,
totally, and let's have a general
election when all parties see where
We have had that
already. You didn't get the answer
No, it was a sham, a
total sham. £360 million going every
week to the National... Of course it
was a sham! Immigration is another
But when did you have this
moment, in your mind, that said,
that's it, I've had it with the
Tories. Because we have a picture of
you with the Prime Minister, and you
were certainly supporting the Tories
at the election, weren't you?
Before that, you supported
Ukip, and you get as far as I
No, no. I just supported a
counsellor, in Westminster, and I
would do that again tomorrow,
But they are the
party wanted out of Europe?
Westminster council they didn't!
Forget that bit. I am and have been
longer than the majority of
politicians now a conservative, from
the early 60s. When I was in
Sheffield I was probably the only
guy who voted Conservative.
still supported them in the
election? But in the general
election she made it clear...
up and you're right, wait a minute,
this is all wrong, it's not going to
change. It's not going to change
unless people like me stand up and
say, it's got to change. And we need
more change now. Let's have a
general election referendum,
whatever you want to call it, and
let's get it straight.
You want to
persuade Peter Stringfellow to stay
within the Conservative Party?
That is honest, I
We will all cope and you
are concerned with your businesses.
I think what we are seeing
post-Brexit is a huge re-juggling of
the British political landscape.
With the last election year at the
extraordinary thing where Theresa
May was basically winning as many
working-class voters as Labour was,
and a lot of more middle-class
people were voting for Jeremy
Corbyn. Something is changing.
People like Peter Stringfellow,
perhaps more metropolitan, moving
away from the Tories, and lots of
people who are the victims of
Europe's immigration policies, there
are cultural policies, they are
saying enough is enough.
don't care about agricultural
They might not get in
London. Answer me this. As a staunch
conservative like I have been, do
you honestly believe that Theresa
May is a Brexiteer? I think she has
docked the question when she has
been asked! I think she is someone
who is seizing the opportunities of
Who are you going to vote
for now? Peter Stringfellow, if the
right now and I
don't know much about the Lib Dems.
They always held a slight interest.
In the old days, David Steel, had a
great respect for him. Vince Cable
is the man who is totally honest at
the moment and for me...
supporting the idea of a second
referendum and a general election?
Right, so you are going to support
the Liberal Democrats? Will you give
money to them?
Why not? I'll give
them a few pound.
Are you aware
they want your support,
'S Heiton go I love everybody, and a
nightclub owner! You walk into my
club, I love you --
well, I love
Do you think Labour will
have to be clever very soon about
the Brexit it once, whether we stay
in the Single Market or the customs
You know, I am looking
forward to Peter joining the idea of
creating a society for the many and
not the few, and then maybe we can
welcome, read Stringfellow to the
Is labour-saving will stay
in the Single Market and the customs
union would you support the Labour
Party? -- if the Labour Party say
they will stay in the supermarket.
Possibly! The country is divided on
the medal. My answer, stay with the
EC, the British EC, whatever you
want a to see or call it.
The burning question in American
politics this week has
been will Oprah Winfrey
run for president?
The talk show host gave
a well-received speech at an awards
ceremony in Hollywood at the start
of the week and, perhaps in a sign
of the impact of that other TV
Donald Trump, her appearance
was followed by a flurry
of speculation that she could run
as a Democrat against
Donald Trump in 2020.
In a country that's
elected Ronald Reagan
and Arnold Schwarzenegger,
the idea of celebrities running
for office isn't that unusual.
But here in Britain,
why have famous names largely failed
to break through at the ballot box?
The pub landlord stood
against the Ukip leader Nigel Farage
at the 2015 general election
in South Thanet.
Not everyone was impressed.
You're making a mockery of Thanet.
Why are you doing it?
Well, Farage lost,
and so did Al Murray.
International drug smuggler to MP -
it's not the usual career
trajectory, but that's
what 'Mr Nice' Howard Marks
tried to do in 1997.
He stood for the Legalise Cannabis
Party in four different seats,
and didn't win any.
Also in 97 former glamour model
Katie Price, then known as Jordan,
ran for election as an independent -
she lost her deposit.
It's been a great experience, and
it's been a memory I won't forget.
Celebrities in politics
are not a new thing.
In 1963 health scare to Prime
Minister Harold Macmillan resigning.
With Mr Alec Douglas-Home
taking over the reins.
The problem was he needed
to resign his seat in the Lords
and find a safe Commons seat.
Actor and Private Eye founder
Willie Rushton was so disgusted
at the Conservative machinations
that he stood against the PM.
He polled just 45 votes.
And, as you know, here
at the Daily Politics
we take our public service
obligations very seriously,
so when Bez from the Happy Mondays
stood as an anti-fracking candidate
in Salford and Eccles, we made sure
to hold them to account.
in Salford and Eccles, we made sure
to hold himm to account.
in Salford and Eccles,
we made sure to hold him to account.
On this platform of free food, free
energy, free anything.
If we don't
move away from that, then the
consequences are dire for us
consequences are dire for us poor.
There have been some success
stories. The MP for Clacton in 2017.
I have stood on many stages across
45 countries in the world, but this
has to be the finest.
And we're joined now
by the entertainment
reporter Emma Bullimore.
Welcome to the programme. What do
you think about Oprah for President?
I think it would be really exciting
but I have to say I think it is
wishful thinking at the moment. I
think everybody got excited when
Obama left the White House, Michelle
2020, and then she made this great
speech at the Golden Globes, and
people thought, just maybe, a great
speech, the way she presented it,
but I think at the moment it is a
It may be early, but
there is a history, is not a
tradition, certainly a history of
liberties succeeding in politics in
America in a way that they do not
If you go into a ballot
box in America you have those
presidential names, but here you're
supposed to be voting for the party.
Theresa May, whatever your opinions
on her, she is not dripping
impersonality, it is about her
policies, whereas there is a bit
more about who you are as a person,
and if you are having this big
campaign that lasts for a long time
and requires financial backing, why
not pick someone who manages their
image, is good at social media, and
has a following already?
Is it just
about the system and the money here
that we don't have the celebrities,
the likes of Oprah Winfrey and
Donald Trump succeeding in getting
to the top of politics here?
know. Maybe we prefer actual
experts were out at the moment!
don't think they should be out. It
is a very disposable approach as
well, not just celebrity culture but
disposable culture, rather than
looking at why politics has gone
wrong and why it is alienating so
many people, we have just gone, just
get rid of it, let's bring
celebrities in instead, which seems
a very shallow approach.
It is not possible to have no
political experience and become
elected, you would need to be
elected locally and so on and so you
comment not as a celebrity but a
politician but in America it is
Would you like to see
more celebrity input? Glenda Jackson
became an MP, did go through the
system and did that in the Comments
and left relatively recently and she
was probably quite well known before
that as an actress.
-- the Commons.
Yes, she was, and I think this might
involve Oprah Winfrey, however good
they are, because Donald Trump
promise to make an impact of the
working class people of America but
all the things he passed, the
massive tax cuts, they have really
benefited exactly the same kind of
benefited exactly the same kind of
people, the better off, that the
Republican Party has always
benefited. My hope in America is
that there will be a swing back to
more conventional politics where
people are judged on their policy
agenda rather than their
personality. Perhaps we have
learned, and the American people
have led to this episode, that
personality isn't necessarily the
We have at the cult of
personality with Jeremy Corbyn, even
if he did not start out as
celebrity, Rachel Shabi. He has
become a bit of a cult personality
at things like Glastonbury?
not really a cult of personality but
it was people engaging with what at
Labour leader had to say for the
first time in a long time. There was
a lot of playfulness there, a lot of
irony. It's not really the same as
progress is saying Oprah for
president, that is an entirely
politicians into celebrity, look at
Boris on Have I Got News For You?
Yes, but it is very different view
in other ways, although perhaps not
such a dissimilar place. Thank you
for coming in. Thank you both for
being our guests of the day, on a
very lively programme.
No quiz of
I can't believe you brought
that up! We will do an especially
big one for you next time.
That's all for today.
Thanks to my guests.
The one o'clock news is starting
over on BBC One now.
Journalists Tim Montgomerie and Rachel Shabi join Jo Coburn. They look at the elections for new members to Labour's ruling NEC with Momentum head Jon Lansman and speak to UKIP leader Henry Bolton about the prospects of a second referendum on Britain leaving the EU. Plus Jo talks to Peter Stringfellow about why he's leaving the Conservative party.