Jo Coburn presents the latest political news from Westminster, with guest Anna Soubry MP.
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Hello and welcome to
the Daily Politics.
The collapse of the firm Carillion
has sent a shockwave
The Government is under pressure
over the pay and jobs of workers
and the cost to the taxpayer,
while Jeremy Corbyn claims
it's a watershed moment
in British politics.
Boris Johnson doubles down
on the infamous claim the UK pays
£350 million a week to the EU.
He says it's actually a gross
underestimate and we're
handing over even more.
Germany hasn't had
one since September.
The Belgians managed without one
for more than 18 months.
As Northern Ireland marks a year
without an elected government,
we'll be asking what people
are missing out on.
If you feel you haven't
heard enough from Jacob
Rees-Mogg, then good news.
There's now a new podcast devoted
entirely to his musings.
We'll discuss this latest
stage of Moggmania.
All that in the next hour.
And with us for the whole
of the programme today
is the Conservative MP,
former minister and ardent
pro-European, Anna Soubry.
No word yet on whether she's
planning to launch her own podcast.
You've given me a very good idea.
Something to think about.
Let's start today by talking
about Boris Johnson.
The Foreign Secretary has been
speaking to the Guardian about one
of the most high-profile,
and most contentious,
claims made by the Leave campaign
during the 2016 EU referendum.
Mr Johnson tells the paper
that the original statement
on the Vote Leave battle bus,
that Britain sends £350 million
a week to the EU was wrong -
the real figure is actually higher.
He says the UK's weekly gross
contribution would rise
to £438 million by the end
of the transition period
after Brexit, which is
expected to be in 2020.
He acknowledges that the figure
doesn't include the money
we get back from the EU but says,
"We grossly underestimated
the sum over which we would be able
to take back control."
Now, I am sure this, returning to
the figure on the side of the bus...
I was so excited you said he had
admitted finally it was inaccurate.
Do you accept that the figure,
whatever it is, there have been
arguments about net and gross
figures, it is still a substantial
amount of money that Britain would
have control over?
No, people have
been conned. Surprised and
disappointed in Boris he is
perpetuating these nonsenses. I know
the figure of 350 million a week was
inaccurate because of the point you
quite rightly make of gross and net.
It does not take into account the
amount we get back. It is more
important than that. It is not extra
money going to the NHS, people were
conned about that and I'm very
disappointed that given where we
are, our Foreign Secretary, who
holds one of the great offices of
state, he is not squaring up and
being honest with the British people
and they deserve honesty.
look at the figures. You say he is
not being honest and there have been
arguments about it, as we know, but
if you look at the Office for Budget
Responsibility, it had a set of
figures and it said by 2021, the
figures in pounds per week that the
Government would have control over
would be £269 million. That may not
go to the NHS but do you accept the
British Government will have control
over a sizeable amount of money?
don't know, I have not looked at
these things. What you see is what
you get from me. What I do know is
that this is not going to be
additional funds going to the NHS
and that was an important part of
the trick that was played upon the
British people, that they believed
that they would somehow get this
money for the NHS and that is not
going to happen.
Why is it not going
to happen? After transition, let us
say, the Government says, actually,
we will put a lot more extra money
and we will take some of it out of
That is a different
matter. If the Government decides to
put even more, over and above the
additional billions of pounds we
have put in, health spending is at
record levels in our country.
they use some of the money we would
have control over...
If I can just
finished, it is really important,
one of the things people are
understanding, the reality of Brexit
is, if we do not get a great deal,
and I greatly fear we will not get
the sort of deal we are being told
we will get, in that event, our
economy is going to suffer and we
know that we only get great public
services when we have a great
economy, one of the strengths of the
Conservative government is that we
improve the economy, meaning we have
more to spend on public services.
Brexit will hit us hard. It is
really important we do not give
people false hopes and phoney
promises, as Cabinet leave did to
win the referendum.
That was in the
campaign. -- as Leave it. Do you
accept there will be this pot of
money the Government would have
control over and it would have the
option, it may choose not to do so,
of those contributions coming back
under government control and putting
it back into the NHS?
It is not as
straightforward as that. Remember,
already Brexit has cost us billions
of pounds because the Government has
had to put money aside to spend it
to effectively deliver Brexit. The
reality of all of this, I believe,
is dawning on people and Boris is
being irresponsible to continue to
con people in this way. He should be
honest about the challenges Brexit
poses to our country.
Do you think
it is likely, that he will stop
talking about these things?
feel that will not happen. I wish he
would. He is our Foreign Secretary.
This is grown-up drop stuff.
to man up to the position he holds.
We will come back to Brexit in a few
minutes, surprise surprise.
Let's turn now to the story
which is dominating the news today,
that's the collapse of Britain's
second largest construction
The company employs 20,000 people
in the UK, and its work stretched
from the HS2 rail project
and military contracts
to maintaining hospitals,
schools, and prisons.
There are plenty of questions
being asked about the collapse,
from the hefty pay packets given
to the company's bosses,
to what support the Government
is giving to the firm's employees
and contractors, not to mention
the eventual cost to the taxpayer.
Our correspondent, Chris Mason,
has been following it all closely.
The Government is no doubt starting
to count the cost in more ways than
one of Carillion going under. It
said there would be no taxpayer
bailout, but what is it committed to
paying in terms of people's jobs and
A huge challenge. The
Government has said in the short
term it's focus is on ensuring the
services that Carillion is meant to
deliver can be delivered, whether
that be the provision of school
meals or cleaning hospitals. As you
say, there is the vast consequences
in the medium and long term. What
about the giant pension deficit?
What about all of the smaller firms
who were subcontractors of
Carillion, around 30,000 are
effectively customers of Carillion,
huge question marks about how they
will be paid for work they have
done. The Government has set up the
Cobra committee which met last
night, whole wave of ministers into
the Cabinet Office last night, all
over Whitehall, painting a picture
of the extent to which the tentacles
of Carillion run into all aspects of
the public sector. Cabinet has been
meeting this morning and there is a
briefing for Westminster journalists
happening right now on the Cabinet
discussions. Carillion is no doubt a
big topic. The bigger question that
has been seized upon by Jeremy
Corbyn in Labour, the question has
not been a staple of mainstream
politics for quite awhile, to what
extent should private sector firms
have a big involvement in the
delivery of public sector work? The
Tony Blair and Gordon Brown
government and Labour were
comfortable with the likes of
Carillion and others being involved
in the delivery of public services.
The coalition and the Conservatives
have been keen on that as well.
Jeremy Corbyn is very keen to say
they should be a shift away from
what he sees as that outsource first
dogma. That will be the coming
political battle, given the gap
there is between Labour and the
Conservatives on the instinct on how
it is delivered.
The other side
which will anger the public is the
issue of salaries and bonuses that
have been paid and to some extent
are still continuing to be paid to
the senior staff, executives, at
Carillion. The Department of
Business has put out the following
release asking the investigation
into directors to be fast tracked.
Do you think that will be enough to
assuage the anger of people looking
at what has been called in some
papers fat cat bonuses?
awareness in government about how
toxic it is. You have the 30,000
firms, small and medium-sized
businesses, the kind of people and
entrepreneurs every political party
but particularly the Conservatives
are keen to appeal to worried about
getting paid. On the other hand,
talk of the vast amounts of money
being paid out that senior
executives. There is a real
awareness yesterday, it will be
reflected again today, within
government, there should not be a
sense of rewards for failure, they
should not be a sense of socialising
losses while privatising huge gains
and profits. There will be an acute
awareness about how that is handled.
The Government has said it is in the
hands of the official receiver, but
you can expect the rhetoric from the
very top on this to continue to be
words on the subject of Carillion.
Here he is in a message
posted online last night.
In the wake of the collapse
of the contractor Carillion,
it's time to put
an end to the rip-off
have done serious damage
to our public services,
and fleeced the public
of billions of pounds.
This is a watershed moment.
That was the Labour leader,
Jeremy Corbyn, in a message online.
So, is this a watershed
moment, as he claims,
and do the public agree?
Ellie Price has been out
with the entirely unscientific
Daily Politics moodbox to find out.
It has become a fact of life,
private companies are involved in
everything from our schools to our
prisons, railways, hospitals. Some
say when it comes to efficiency,
business knows best. Others say it
is an experiment that has run its
course. Is public ownership back in
fashion? That is what we are asking
today. Who do you want to see run
the book services, the private or
-- the public
services. It depends on which public
services you are talking about and
how well they will be funded if it
is the public sector and how the
deal will be broken in the private
We want money to be spent
well and for the taxpayer to get
good value, go in that pocket.
private sector, it does not really
work and the profit motive is
I think it is a
massive question, what is the role
of the public sector? How much can
be delegated to individual people to
make their own economic decisions in
Thank you. Is it more
efficient if you are private
It is, but efficiency comes
at a cost, that is the problem.
Prisons should revert back to
public. Trains, probably public. The
private companies seem to be greedy.
Oh, it is the rainbow! A combination
is optimal. But public.
is optimal. But public.
Oh, it is
I am in an anarchist.
How do you have a way away if you do
not have a private or public sector?
Everyone will join together as
people and we will create our own
little unions that will manage it.
There are lessons to take from the
private sector in terms of
efficiencies and that kind of thing
but on the whole, you need that kind
of thing being looked after by
someone who is not trying to make a
profit out of it.
It should be the
public sector but probably at the
moment the private sector is looking
after it better.
The day is drawn to
the close and so too is the mood
box. A number set a healthy
combination is a good idea but
overall the winner here is pretty
clear. The public sector should look
after the public services.
A fairly decisive
result in the decidedly
non-scientific moodbox there.
To discuss Carillion
and the public-private debate more
generally we're joined by Mick Cash,
General Secretary of the RMT union,
and my guest of the day,
Anna Soubry, is a former Business
Before I come to you Mick Cash, just
on some of the fundamentals Anna
Soubry in terms of what is going to
happen to the staff make up part of
Carillion's workforce, 62% of the
work is in the private sector and
that could be thousands of thousands
of employees on private contract,
should the Government also guarantee
My first port of
call on this is the workforce, and
for a lot of those people they will
be very worried are about whether
they are going to get paid this week
or this month.
Only to tomorrow they
have been told.
Having been involved
in the closure remember of a
steelworks up in red car, there are
ways that Government can get
involved in things, to make sure
that months are made available so
workers are paid. These, there are
discreet methods often, we made sure
people were paid in the face of
those men not being, mainly men not
You think as well as
guaranteeing the wages of the public
sector worker, those with public
sector worker,s, the Government
should extend that?
No, I am not
getting into that detail, what I am
saying is there will be ways that
the Government can make sure that
they do everything they can, to
ensure that those men and women, are
paid for the work they have done,
and they should use whatever levers
they have got do that. Trust me
there are ways that it can be done.
Why should employees employed by
private sector companies be bailed
out of or paid by the Government?
Depends what you mean by private
sector contracts. Carillion do a lot
of work on the railway, are they
private or public? It would be
interesting to see what you mean by
that, they have blurred the line
completely, since they have
outsourced the previous Governments
into the private and public arena, I
would ask that first question, what
do you mean by that? Ultimately, a
lot of the work actually is
guarantee by the taxpayer. It is
publicly funded. We should be
looking after those workers because
if we don't the economy is going to
How long should
they be looked after?
We are in that
situation we we have done it before.
Banks got bailed out. We have seen
bail outs of southern and East Coast
Trains by the Government, they are
prepared to give them money, and in
fact you will find a lot of the
workers they have contracts they are
working to, the issue is the company
is no trading but there are
contracts and there is work.
are contracts, they are not public
sector contract in the that sense,
but if they are provided services on
the railways, do you still pay...
You will continue public sector
clear things like the delivery of
school meals, the cleaning of
hospital, things like that, for
example, in something, I have some
knowledge of, the MoD, the delivery
of the service accommodation
contracts, these contracts can be
delivered upon, because somebody
else can be found to do that work,
because that work can't and won't
Does that reassure you?
point you rightly make, I think we
are in agreement about this, about
when do other sorts of contracts
cross over, into a new way that was
introduced by the last Government.
They have done wok for Network Rail
over Christmas, they work for a
private sector operators, they are
plant operator, are they going to
get paid? We don't know. One of the
aspects of this and Anna is certain
about this, I am not, I have spoken
to the chief executive of Network
Rail, to to the special manager
appointed by the administrators to
find out who is public, private and
we don't know. The lack of
repairedness by the government is
Let us talk about that. Do
you think the Government
fundamentally dropped the ball in
its dealing with this firm over the
last six to nine months?
know, what I do know because I used
to be a Business Minister, you are
kept alert, always. We were all
alert publicly because they had a
profits warning back in junk July.
So it was clear this was a
company in deep trouble.
have had more Government contracts
That is the very difficult
question, I am not able to answer it
because I don't know enough about
it. But it would seem that this is a
very difficult one, as Government,
do you help somebody, or do you, are
you cognisant of the fact they could
be in deep trouble, in which event
it could be argued it is not a good
thing to do. I what I am confident
has happened is the Secretary of
State for Transport will have
received advice on that, if he
didn't I would be surprised.
share... You seem to be relaxed this
what happens, firms succeed and
fail. Is that the case. Is that
water shed moment? Is this different
in the way Jeremy Corbyn has
characterised it, than a major
company failing, and all of the
problems that brings.
It shows that
jous sourcing has failed. We need to
bring more back in to public hand,
if you are in the private sector,
you get wads of money, and then the
company goes bust it is the
creditor, a lot of them workers at
the sharp end who pay the price.
miss the point.
Have we reached the
end of the road with outsourcing? Is
it time for a review, David
Lidington seemed to imply there
should be a review.
This is my take
on thing, one of the big problems we
have, is that when we are putting
out these big contracts, they
invariably go to very big companies
and the medium and small businesses
are not included in the way they
should be. So big companies like
Carillion which had an incredible
spread of work, which I find rather
odd in any event, they get these
contracts because Government has a
responsibility to get the cheapest
price, to get value for the
taxpayer. Then what happens is they
can't deliver it -- deliver it.
Whose fault is that?
Let me explain.
I think we have a problem in the
procurement and tendering at
national and local level. It is too
much for the big company, you tend
to get what you pay for, I have some
experience from MoD. And my concern
was, because this may help you, it
will help you as well Mick, my
concern, we have to be honest...
not take them back in house, if the
taxpayer is having to bail out...
What would happen is a very big
company would say we can deliver
this contract for this amount of
money. People would say we have to
go for the lowest bid, without
drilling down, remembering you get
what you pay for and then they sub
contract and sub contract so you
ended up almost in a position where
to deliver that contract
successfully was almost impossible.
Unless you didn't pay
people decent money and you
Making the point for
bringing it into the public sector.
It is for profit margin, they want
to make money out of of this. They
will use taxpayer money, when things
fail the taxpayer picks up the tab.
I am old enough to remember when all
of these things were in the public
sector, it didn't deliver value for
money. The Labour Party row
introduced this huge outsourcing and
rightly so, the watershed moment
this shows the drift in the Labour
Party. Back to a mashist way of
doing things about state control.
Let the market properly control...
Let him respond.
I am old enough to
remember when it was in the public
sector and I used to be employed by
Carillion Rail when they were doing
the maintenance contract for Network
Rail who brought it in house and
saved almost 400 million by bringing
maintenance in house back in 2004.
We are in that situation where we
doe that the private sector, cost
money because they have the profit
motive, they have to deal with the
shareholders, the public sector
saves money for and every bit of
money that gets spent or is earned
goes back into the service.
running out of time.
I don't, I
want, if it is right to do it
inhousely do it inhouse.
Is it right
in this case to take it in house?
The private sector is out and it is
all ant state control.
private sector be involved in
delivering public services in the
way they have here, because it seems
that privatisation means profits are
privatised and losses are
It is about delivering
the best value for the taxpayer, the
point I was making which I
You are not. How are you?
Talk one at a time.
There is a real
role for the private sector to play,
but it has to be done in a better
Moo would the private sector
want to do public sector work? To
That is what pays your
workers' wages. That is what keeps
the economy going so we get the
great public service, that says more
about the Labour Party and the state
it is in. Back to Marxism.
So it is
Labour's fault what has happened to
Carillion. That is what has caused
One question, is it your view
that everything private is bad and
public is good?
You are in that
situation where the profit motive
drives, takes Monday out of the
Do you think the
chief executives should have his
bonus clawed back. £660,000 a year.
That is the ex-chief executive. He
has a conscience.
Should it be
That is up to him. He
should do the right thing, he should
know. It is absolutely, because...
Do you think he should be deprived
of that massive amount of money
have already paid him. I am very
pleased to see the Government is
excel rating those very strict rule
about directorers, it is important
stuff, if you are found to have done
something wrong the consequences are
huge for you as a director and
Thank you for coming in.
Thank you for coming in.
MPs are back debating the EU
withdrawal bill today -
that's the bill which aims to ensure
European law will no longer apply
in the UK after Brexit.
But of course what happens
in Parliament is only one part
of the Brexit process,
which is set to dominate
politics in 2018.
The Brexit negotiations
are ongoing, although at
the moment the discussions
are between officials.
A date hasn't yet been set
for the next face-to-face meeting
between the Brexit Secretary David
Davis and the EU Chief
Negotiator Michel Barnier.
Top of the agenda will be agreeing
the terms of a transition
agreement, to cover a period
of around two years.
Theresa May is also expected to host
further cabinet discussions
to hammer out what the UK's final
relationship with the EU
should look like.
And Theresa May is hoping to be
in a position to set out her vision
of that relationship in her third
major Brexit speech in February.
A meeting of the European Council -
that's the heads of government
from across the EU -
will get under way in March.
Could this be the moment
when the terms of the transition
deal will be agreed?
And both the UK Government
and the EU are hoping to reach final
agreement on separation issues
by October 2018.
It's unclear whether the future
trading relationship will be covered
by a broad political declaration
or a more detailed agreement.
And after any deal is agreed,
it will to be voted
on in the UK parliament -
and there will also be ratification
in the EU parliament
and the remaining EU countries.
On 29th March 2019, the UK
will leave the EU, and,
in theory, enter a transition
or implementation period.
The EU have said they think
that the transition deal should
end by December 2020.
Well, MEPs in Strasbourg have this
morning been debating the deal
struck at the end of last year,
concluding the first part
of the negotiations.
Our correspondent Adam Fleming
is there as usual.
S, it is important stuff,
Adam, tell us what was discussed?
The big thing today was Donald Tusk,
the President of the European
Council who chairs the summit says
the door was open for the UK to stay
in the EU, if British voters decide
to change their minds. He has said
something like this before, do you
remember last summer when he
channelled John Lennon and said a
imagine a world where there's no
Brexit. He has never said it so
strongly as this. This is what he
had to say a couple of hours ago.
If the UK Government sticks to its
decision to leave, Brexit will
become a reality, with all its
negative consequences, in March next
year. Unless there is a change of
heart among our British friends.
Wasn't it David Davis himself who
said if democracy cannot change its
mind it ceases to be a democracy, we
here on the Continent haven't had a
change of heart. Our hearts are
still open to you.
And that sentiment was enco-ed by
Jean-Claude Juncker, the Presidents
of the European Commission, who said
he hopes that message was heard loud
and clear in London. Now, what both
men said though, was that what they
really want now is for the UK
Government to provide more clarity
about what sort of relationship they
want with the EU, ahead of the
negotiations about phase two, trade,
cooperation on security and defence
and all sorts of stuff like that
which will start after another EU
summit in March.
Thank you very much. We are joined
by Nigel Evans.
Michael, what do you make of that?
heard it all. We have changed our
mind we decided in 1975 to vote to
stay in the European Union, and we
have changed our mind, we have
decided to come out. If in 40 odd
years the British people want to
have another say maybe we will
change our minds again. Maybe the
European Union are going to change
their minds about their approach to
how the European Union is going to
develop over the coming year, they
have problems with Poland, problems
with Hungary, economic disaster in
countries like Greece who are going
for another £5 billion bail out with
more austerity measure, they have a
huge number of problems on their
plate. I will focus on that, I know
the European Union are used to
countries voting in treaty
referendums, and when they get it
wrong being asked to vote again,
well, nobody's asking for us to vote
again other than those who want us
to stay in the European Union.
you say there are some, although
Nigel Farage did raise the spectre
of a second referendum even if he
was slapped down for it after.
Several MPs who supported Remain
including Anna Soubry met Michel
Barnier in Brussels. Do you think
that is a helpful contribution
don't know what Anna said to Michel
Barnier, whether she and Dominic
Grieve and a few others spelled out
the real issue, we voted to leave by
a clear margin, 57% of my own
constituency voted to leave. Every
one in Lancashire voted to leave.
Anna Soubry's own constituency voted
to leave and so I think it is quite
a clear message, 1.4 million
difference in the largest
participatory referendum this
country has ever seen.
All we want to do now is Levon
really good terms. I am hoping that
is what Anna was talking to Michel
Barnier about. We still want to buy
champagne from France. We still want
to trade with them.
Let us talk
about the deal. The transition needs
to be agreed before you get to the
end point of the deal. What do you
say to reports today the EU will
insist on the transition being
virtually exactly the same as the
status quo, including freedom of
We will have to
see about that. It seems as if the
argument is being reopened now when
we thought the issue as far as EU
citizens in Britain and British
citizens in the EU had
been properly settled and either
stand the Polish are saying they are
unhappy with that and would rather
liked to continue in the transition
You thought freedom of
movement would finish in March,
2019, and that is what you would
like Theresa May to secure?
what I would like. If they want to
come and settle and have the same
rights as other EU citizens in the
UK, they can do that until then, and
the other way around.
accept those terms continuing in
transition, single market
membership, part of the customs
union, taking and accepting some
rules from the ECJ and allowing any
EU citizens coming here up until
2020 2/2-full residency rights, like
British citizens in the EU
countries, would you those terms?
I'm a pragmatist. I know the Prime
Minister and David Davis will be
negotiating up until October this
year. My own view on that is I am
not going to tie the hands of the
Prime Minister. If she is able to
negotiate a sensible deal and a
trade-off in other areas by
accepting that, I will leave it to
her, I will back the Prime Minister
in the negotiation she is currently
doing, I will not tie her hands.
What about the EU withdrawal bill?
The flagship piece of Brexit
Another two days.
sure you are looking forward to it.
The Government was defeated by Tory
rebels last month, including Anna
Soubry. Are you expecting more
Only in the House of Lords.
Anna will let us know about what the
approach is from those who are more
pro-European than I am, but I
understand that when it gets to the
House of Lords, clearly people like
Lord Adonis and Michael Heseltine,
still fighting the last war, as far
as the referendum is concerned, they
are going to do what they can to
thwart Britain leaving the EU. It
will be an interesting battle. The
people versus the peers, the
unelected members of the House of
Lords against the sovereignty of the
British people who voted in a
referendum and we all remember that
David Cameron sent a pamphlet to
every household in the country,
costing 9 million quid, and on the
back, it said, we will respect the
will of the British people. It will
take a very brave House of Lords to
go against that.
Thank you. You went
to see Michel Barnier with others
We actually saw some
other people as well.
was one of the people you saw. What
did you say?
A private conversation.
The details of which I am not going
to go into. I can tell you we made
the case and we made it very clear
we want the best deal we can
possibly get but in all of our
discussions yesterday, it was very
interesting, the messages we were
getting back. There is obviously
very grave concern about whether or
not we are being realistic and
indeed whether or not people are
being properly informed as to the
reality of what is likely to be
offered. We have put ourselves in a
difficult position. We are leaving
the EU but we have tied our hands
unfortunately by the red line is the
Government set down before the
general election in June.
course, Nigel Evans has just said,
he will not tie the Government's
hands, the status quo will remain.
The transition period is a whole
load of other stuff as well, I am
talking about the red lines the
Prime Minister laid down in the
Lancaster gate speech, no single
market, customs union, ECJ.
think that is a possibility, we
would remain in the single market
estimate we can't.
Sorry, by putting
down the red lines, before the
general election, which clearly we
lost our majority in, rejection of
the British people of the hard
Brexit which I think the Prime
Minister, I do not think she wanted
it, but those behind her did, they
were preparing for that, that is
what the EU withdrawal bill is
about, delivering a hard Brexit.
Things changed. But we have not
changed our red lines. What the EU
can offer us is limited because we
behind the red lines, we will not
begin to blur...
If that limits the
options available, heading towards a
hard Brexit, in your mind, the EU
withdrawal bill, will you oppose the
I did not say that,
forgive me. I am hoping that is not
what will happen and I do not
believe our Prime Minister wants
that for one moment. The difficulty
is as far as the EU is concerned,
everything is on the table, single
market, customs union, ECJ. All the
things that flow from that. Our
problem as a country is we have
reduced the options and we have not
revisited them in the wake... My own
very strong belief is that we should
put all the options back on the
table to enable decent negotiations
to carry on. In the transition
period, we really have to be honest
with people and realistic, the EU
hold the cards.
Right, of course,
the Government says that is not the
case. One commentator, Tim
Montgomerie, on Twitter, quoted
Margaret Thatcher when he saw your
picture of you and others, treachery
with a smile on its face, what do
you say to him?
I am not interested.
We were having a very good
discussion which is what the British
people want to hear.
betraying people who voted in?
not interested in playing that game
You said the Government
has tied its hand with the red lines
and you disagree, but are they not
just representing the 17.4 million
people who voted leave?
to leave the EU, we will leave the
EU, but we did not put on the ballot
paper, it was not part... What does
leave mean? One of the big problems
EU has is that our government still
has not decided what leave means.
Come on, when you go into
negotiations, how can the EU deal
with the government that has not
itself worked out what it wants?
is going to, and later this month,
the EU withdrawal bill will go to
the Lords. Do you agree with Nigel
Evans the Lords could perhaps
overturned some of what has been
achieved in the Commons?
will do whatever they wish to do,
put down all sorts of amendments no
Do you cheer them on? Michael
Heseltine, what are you hoping the
Lords will achieve?
What I want the
Lords to do is to do its job which
is to scrutinise legislation, that
is their job and I hope they will do
that. What I think is more important
than all of this is that in my
opinion the British people are fed
up to the back teeth with Brexit.
What evidence have you got for that?
I am a constituency MP, I know what
my constituents tell me. I know... I
have just been elected only six
months ago, people are fed up with
They would not want a
referendum on the deal or a second
Can I just finished my
sentence? They are fed up with
Brexit and they want somebody to get
on and deliver on Brexit and they
also want and they are increasingly
concerned, as they understand the
arguments, learn more about the
reality of Brexit, they are worried,
ordinary, good people are worried...
Would they like to see a vote on the
terms of the deal? Would you support
That is for the people of this
country, they are in charge, they
have to be.
A second public vote,
that would have to be parliament?
No, it comes from the people. All of
these things must come from the
people. Politicians can have their
point of view, Mr Farage has a point
of view, but it must come from the
people and they must be in charge of
the whole of the Brexit process.
They are an easy and at the moment
they have two political parties that
they do not believe represents them.
There are millions of people in the
country... 82% of them voted for
both of them in the election.
have to get onto other items. I am
not allowed to respond.
responded quite fully.
Inflation dropped slightly
in December from 3.1% to 3%,
according to figures published this
morning, the first fall since June.
The Office for National Statistics
says it's too early to say
whether this is the start
of a longer-term reduction
in the rate of inflation,
although the Bank of England has
said it expected it to return
to the target of 2% later this year.
There was, however, little good news
for households in research published
this morning by the Institute
for Fiscal Studies, which found that
a third of the the lowest-income
households have loans and credit
card debts that outstrip
the assets they hold.
We're joined now by
Andrew Hood from the IFS.
Should the Government be worried?
is clearly important when thinking
about household living standards and
something government is concerned
about not just to think about their
incomes households have but also
where the income is going and in
particular, if a large chunk is
going on servicing existing debt
repayments rather than buying goods
and services, that could be a
What do you think should be
done to help those low income
households or individuals who are
taking loans to service debt? How
could the Government help them?
of the key the report brings to
light is that it is quite
challenging to work out exactly why
households take out debt. As you
mentioned, we look both at debt but
also that things like savings. It
turns out even though households
have assets, in a number of cases,
they still take on debt. It might be
encouraging households to for
example save more, that would not be
a panacea for the issue of problem
that among low-income households.
Thank you very much.
We're joined now by
the Shadow Treasury Minister,
What do you want the Government to
do, having looked at the report?
There are two things, stop pursuing
policies making the situation worse
Which? The freeze on
benefits, public sector pay freeze.
A long wait before you get support,
pushing people to credit or
foodbank. We also believe there are
some interventions were more
government action is required, for
instance, we set out a policy on
credit card charges. Credit cards
are useful but if you manage
long-term debt with them, clearly a
problem, there are a big group of
people who will never pay off the
principal amount of money they
borrowed. Some of that should be
capped. A big space on the market
here for the Government to do more,
as well as pursuing wider government
policies to not make the situation
On the issue of credit card
charges, do you agree with Jonathan
Reynolds there should be a cap on
the interest charge?
particularly. I think the previous
government did a lot of good work
with payday loans which I was always
far more concerned about because
they were usually the company is
targeting the people with the least
amount of money.
One of the biggest
contributors to the high levels of
debt by low-income households,
people using credit cards and being
charged very high interest rates to
service the debt, for instance,
because they have not got high
enough salaries. To make ends meet.
I would like everybody to frankly
live more within their means and I
think it is really important. I
understand in difficult times, it is
a good point, people on Universal
Credit, going on to it, but I think
it is difficult, on the one hand,
you want an economy where people buy
more, you have a society which has
led to people, you can have today
what you want tomorrow. And
encouragement of credit. It is
difficult getting the balance right.
The problem is when people cannot
service the debt but it is
ultimately the responsibility of all
of us individually.
In the end, at
the to live within their means?
have to face the fact a lot of
people are not in a position to be
able to make those decisions because
they cannot make ends meet, an
important point to stress is if you
look at the Government's economic
plans from the Office for Budget
Responsibility, the rate of growth,
it is predicated on household debt
is going up. Quite frankly, for some
people, Anna is right, the
Government needs to do more on it,
people end up going from one lender
to another, a payday lender to a
credit card, they end up in a
terrible... The impact is huge.
is where we want government to do
more. You do not want the Government
to do anything about capping?
not think it helps those people. One
of the things we talked a lot about
in the 2010-15 Parliament, good
cross-party work, the encouragement
of credit unions, they work in
communities with people who do not
have access to the information that
other people have and I have always
thought it was unfortunate, we never
made the progress on things like
that that I think we should have
done. A good example of good
Let us look at
the broader policies, you say people
should live within their means, but
with the Universal Credit policy
being rolled out, people were
expected to suddenly work on a
monthly or six weekly basis and that
was very difficult for people being
paid weekly. In that sense, the
made it difficult for people to live
within their means.
We have changed
some of that.
Not all. What about
the quote the Government always
refers to, record levels of
employment, but wages not high
enough to meet the levels of
inflation. What should be done about
That is different. We now have
a living wage.
Not keeping pace with
is news to be welcomed. We have
lifted the pay cut when it comes to
the health service and we have said
we are open to the review bodies and
I accept that there is a problem
with people who are on low wages in
Should they be paid
more? Should the living wage go up?
Of course I want people to be paid
more, the way we do that is to make
sure we have a society where people
have the skills they need, to get
those better paid jobs, as our
society develops we are going to see
more automation, and that concerns
all of us, because then you could
see an impact on lower paid people,
because they won't have job, so we
need to upskill, that is really
You are obviously
welcoming the fact there is record
levels of employment, but in your
mind, what could be done to make it
easier for people still on low
Of course I welcome record
levels of employment. I want people
to have work, but we can't deny the
very valid point you made which is
for a lot of people it is low paid,
low skilled. That has led people to
have difficult lives. To raise
wages, but you have to increase
productivity, that requires
investment. It is hard to get
investment when you have the
uncertainty round something very wig
like Brexit going on, we have said
clearly there is a bigger role for
public investment, through being
clear about separating out
day-to-day borrowing from the
Government, from long-term
investment spending, that is what we
are attacked for from the
Government. There has to be a plan
to raise. If we have a Corbyn
Government God help the economy
is the harsh reality I agree about
investment, that is why I am
ploughed of the fact our investment
in infrastructure is at record
level, I think we are getting the
It is not what this
country needs to...
We will have to
leave it there.
It's now been a year
since the devolved government
in Northern Ireland collapsed,
after Sinn Fein walked out
after a row about the failure
of a renewable heating scheme blamed
on the Democratic Unionist Party.
Since then, it's been
without the assembly
Since then, it's been
without the Assembly
and the executive, and most
of its functions have been carried
out by civil servants under
the supervision of Westminster.
But it's not the only example
of countries functioning
without an elected government.
Have a look at this.
It seems that size doesn't matter
when it comes to managing without a
government. Germany still doesn't
have one, after its inconclusive
federal election in September. A
blueprint for norm formal
negotiations has been agree. But it
could be months before new ministers
are in place.
The record for the longst period
without an elected Government in a
democracy was set in Belgian in
2010/11 after wrangling between
politicians led to a 589 day
stalemate. The previous record
holder was Iraq. Rip aid part by
warring clan, pirates and extremists
it is not surprising that Somalia
had no functioning Government for
almost 15 yores from the early 90s.
A the other end of spectrum the US
Government has shut down with
surprising regularly, when
Presidents have failed to agree on
funding with Congress, it means
Government workers at everything
from museums to National Parkings
and passport offices are sent home.
And Antarctica is one of the few
places on effort that permanently
lacks anything resembling a
government. It has no permanent
population or indigenous people,
apart from these little guys.
apart from these little guys.
We're joined now by Ed Turner.
He's a lecturer in politics
from Aston University.
Welcome. Do we need Government at
Absolutely we do, things can be
kept ticking over for a while, so,
the trains still goes, people get
paid although that doesn't happen in
America if there is a proper shut
down. If you want to confront big
challenges you face as a country you
do need a government.
What about in
Germany, it is a big powerful
country, it hasn't got a government
That is is right.
The economy is doing well. As I say,
the regional Governments are going
strong, services are happening but
the country isn't confronting the
big challenge, a week ago I was
stalking to a senior civil servant
who said in practise no being
decisions are being taken, the
country is punching below its
No big decisions are being
taken, things are postponed, in
terms of day-to-day operating, the
systems sort of step into place,
there isn't the instability and
chaos people predict.
That is right.
In the case of Northern Ireland you
have the British Government able to
step in the the case of Germany or
Spain, Belgian you have regional
Governments, if you have fundamental
challenges you need to address you
do need to give political direction
to the Civil Service, and that
doesn't happen in you have no
Is is there
really as much pressure to restore
this executive in terms of a time
frame, when actually it is
functioning all right without it for
You always want
democratically elected governance,
it is fascinating. I am listening to
him. I am learning a lot. Keep
What about the future,
would you like to see the executive
reestored as soon as possible.
course, as I say do you want
democratically elected Government?
We do this thing called Purdah, we
have, ministers, everybody steps
back and it is a mark of a great
Civil Service, that things carry on,
that you want democratic Government.
What are the negative consequences
of being without a government? You
said the decisions are postponed,
important decision, is there
Well, there is the
important point an ma made about the
legitimacy of decision, there is
something about things might get
slipped through, there was a mini
crisis in Germany, where in the
Council of Ministers, in the
European Union one acting minister
went rogue, cast Germany's vote in
favour of reviewing the vote for a
controversial pesticide. You might
see things slipped through untiler
the radar, we need politicians to
hold the Civil Service to account.
What about the example of Belgian,
not as much in the news as Germany,
but I think they hold the record in
living without a government for a
period of time. What happened there?
Well, there was a long running
disagreement about constitutional
arrangements. It looked like the
country would split, and they
managed to keep the show on the
road. At the same time there were
fundamental domestic questions about
fiscal policy they couldn't resolve
until a new Government was formed.
So they kept things going, they
managed to hold the presidency of
the European Council for some of
that time. They couldn't address
fundamental prisons because they
didn't have a government in place,
you need political cover, an
effected Government to do that.
politics as chaotic as it is in
Italy is it's a good idea to have
technocrats taking over?
It is a
question, but of course technocrats
imply you can take the politicsous
of decisions, but in Italy they were
taking profoundly political decision
without a democratic mandate. For
those 06 us who believe in free and
fair elections that is a problem.
fair elections that is a problem.
Jacob Rees-Mogg has become perhaps
the unlikeliest star
of the current Parliament - the
darling of the Conservative Party
conference, the subject of an online
fan movement known as Moggmentum,
and currently bookies' favourite
to succeed Theresa May as next
leader of the party.
If you're one of those who feels
they're just not hearing enough
from the MP for North East Somerset,
then I have good news.
He's agreed to take part
in a fortnightly podcast
for the website Conservative
Home called, perhaps
inevitably, the Moggcast.
Let's have a listen to him
discussing one of the biggest
facing the government.
Out of decisions, but in
The other obvious area is the Health
Service, which is clearly under
strain during the winner flu
outbreak, but in reality, austerity
in the NHS for seven years of 1%
real increases is against what has
happened in its previous history,
and it is going to be very hard to
continue with moufr there are
continue with moufr there
are limited resources.
And Paul Goodman from the website
Conservative Home joins us now.
Is this Moggcast just him speaking,
is there any debate, you know, what
I do talk to him. There is
conversation, him and I or Mark
Wallace and I, he is my other
co-worker on Conservative Home. We
thought of offering him a column. We
have to cover the whole Tory
landscape, is one of the most
distinctive figures on the
landscape. We could have done that,
Nicky Morgan has a column, and we
could have offered one to him. I
thought what he is best known for,
is his speaking, so I will sit down
with him once a fortnight and
discuss the NHS, he wants a bit more
money for it, housing, he's all in
favour of more building on green
belt if necessary, which might
surprise, and Brexit, where he
thinks the House of Lords shouldn't
hold up with the withdrawal bill.
Is. What the most revealing thick he
has said? The most revealing thing
so far, and it came as a slight
surprise to the audience, is he said
it is going to be hard to sustain
NHS spending at this level rather
than increase it, given the
pressures on the service, that will
surprise some because he is seen as
a figure very much on the right of
the party. He dropped add broad hint
on that, so we have gone with that.
Have we reached peak Mogg in your
I have no idea. He doesn't
represent Conservative members in my
constituency or Conservative voter,
he has obviously, he is an important
player, he is a delightful man, but
I don't think that I would like
people to think Jacob represents the
modern day Conservative Party.
is he so popular with so many?
don't know where the evidence is for
According to our survey we
have a 1300 monthly panel. 70% of
them last month lined up behind the
Prime Minister's EU deal, so it is
not a bunch of...
website is open to everybody, and if
you look at the comments on it,
there are a large number of poo who
are not members of the Conservative
Party who put comments, so to do
That is the classic mistake,
if I may say so, of, mistaken for
the thousands who read it each day.
They are not necessarily members of
the Conservative Party.
Look at the
results, if it was Ukipers or very
hard line Brexiteers you would have
7% of those who respond... In fact
70% of them, seven in ten I am sure
it's the same sort of view in your
association, you will tell me were
lined up behind the PM's deal.
was the darling of the party
What do you say that,
because a lot of people went to a
It was packed.
Conservative Party members do not go
to conference, because in my
association most of them are at
Graham Brady who would oversee
a leadership contest says he doesn't
think Jacob Rees-Mogg is a viable
He said that himself, you
can't come from the backbench to be
Prime Minister. I find it hard to
imagine Jacob as Prime Minister, you
never know, Anna is right in once
seven, if we had the ebb website
seven days a week and all we had was
Jacob Rees-Mogg, this would be
unrepresentative of what members
think, that you have to have a mix,
that is why we have Nicky Morgan I
think works closely with Anna,
Garvin Walsh, a big critic of
Has he been given a big
Yes, he does not represent
the majority of Conservative voters
for sure, his view on abortion are
deeply upsetting and troubling to
many of us, both women, Conservative
women and men and they don't
represent Conservative voters or
Conservative members, and that is
Has he been given
too much of a platform?
if you are trying to get readers you
will have Nicky Morgan to get up
On that, on that note
we have to end the show and say
goodbye, thank do you Anna Soubry
for beings my guest of the day.