Jo Coburn presents the latest political news, interviews and debate.
Browse content similar to 01/02/2018. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!
Hello and welcome to
the Daily Politics.
The Prime Minister, speaking
on her official trip to China,
says she will oppose a move to give
EU citizens coming to the UK full
residency rights after we've
left the European Union.
So will she win the latest battle?
MPs vote to move out of Parliament
to allow a multi-billion pound
refurbishment to take place.
But it won't happen
until at least 2025!
Will that be too late?
Should MPs with newborn
babies be able to vote
in Parliamentary debates by proxy?
We speak to one Labour MP who's just
returned from maternity leave.
And he was the man in charge
of making Ukip look good...
Not always entirely successfully!
We speak to one of Westminster's
most flamboyant characters, Ukip's
outgoing press man Gawain Towler.
All that in the next hour
and with us for the whole
of the programme today
is the former Polish Foreign
Minister Radek Sikorski.
Welcome back to the Daily Politics.
The former Chancellor,
George Osborne, has added his weight
to calls for Britain to remain
inside the European Customs
Union after Brexit.
In her Florence speech last year,
the Prime Minister made it clear
that the Government wanted to come
out of the customs union in order
to be able to pursue
an independent trade policy.
But speaking to the Today
programme this morning,
Mr Osborne said it was a risk.
I do think we now face
a series of choices
about the kind of Brexit
want and we have a much clearer idea
of the consequences of, for example,
leaving with no deal with
the European Union or leaving the
These are the choices
that the country, but above all,
Parliament now face.
And I think we should
look very, very
carefully at the advantages of, for
example, leaving the customs union
and potentially doing
a trade deal...
In the Evening Standard,
where you wrote an editorial...
Let me just finish my point.
We should look clearly
at the costs and benefits
of, for example, leaving the customs
union and doing less trade with
Europe, versus what we might gain
from doing a trade deal with America
and at the moment, the sums don't
stack up for that kind of decision.
George Osborne there. Do you agree
Yes, I think is entirely right and
he's also vindicated in his warnings
when he was Chancellor about the
long-term economic effects of
Brexit. It's going to be negative.
In what way? Because of the legal
analysis papers? Ryder because of
the government doing Brexit so there
is Ane Brun or economic effect will
this country that will be negative.
The government has said one of the
scenarios that was not included was
a bespoke deal.
It doesn't exist.
Not at the moment but you don't
think it's a possibility from the
Britain has to
choose from the available models of
relationships. Customs union is the
turkey model, full single market
membership is the Norway model, free
trade agreement is the Canada model
and it will be one of these.
the sums don't add up but the
international trade secretary Liam
Fox, who is tasked with scoping out
these free trade agreements, says
over time, although it can't be done
immediately, those free trade
agreements could replace much of any
trade that might be lost with the
His own department said that
over 15 years, it will be bad, what
will happen in 50 years is anybody's
But these were drafts, as the
government said, and forecasts have
been wrong, as you know, including
the ones that George Osborne and
David Cameron put out any immediate
aftermath of the referendum that the
economy would struggle.
But you are
leaving the largest free trade area
in the world so it doesn't quite
Do you think the
government will change course?
because any relationship short of
full membership is worse for this
country. Membership is a privileged
relationship. Britain aspired to
join, was rejected, applied again,
was then admitted and has done
extremely well. I mean, in the
1970s, Britain was not exactly a
success story. It is a shame but I
think there is still room for some
damage control. The customs union
makes sense not only for economic
reasons but also because it then
limit the number of checks that you
have to do across the island of
Ireland. So both politically and
economically, I think it is a
How are EU
leaders, you no doubt keep in touch
with some of the senior politicians
across the European Union, how do
they view it from their perspective,
the pace of negotiations and the
substance of the British position so
They don't. Brexit is on the
continent seen as a nuisance and a
side issue. Europe has more
important issues, like the Eurozone
providing growth in Europe --
reviving growth. The issue for
member states on the continent has
been delegated to the commission, as
far as they are concerned. The
negotiating mandate has been granted
to the chief negotiator. So far,
Britain is adjusting to that
are noises for the Italians, for
example, who say there should be
flexible deal and we need to get on
with the trade deal so is it true to
say it is a nuisance?
It is the EU
system and successive British
governments have fallen prey the
fact that they go to capitals and
everyone is very nice and polite and
everybody likes Britain and then
just these ambassadors in Brussels,
who take instructions from their
national capitals, takes a pricing
Do you think the
government will take any notice of
what George Osborne says, bearing in
mind he's been a thorn in the side
of the government, he's been very
critical of Theresa May, of course.
Should we listen to what he had to
I'm detecting a bit of a wobble
in the Cabinet. Wasn't it a minister
who said not everything can be
achieved as far as Brexit purists
are concerned? So perhaps as the
politicians are learning what the EU
is actually about and what the
consequences will be, hopefully
realism is beginning to prevail.
Now it's time for our daily quiz.
Matt Hancock, the new Digital,
Culture, Media and Sport Secretary
is, as you would expect,
embracing the digital
age, so our question
for today is, what's he done?
Has he A, started a podcast,
B, created his own app,
C, become a YouTube star or
D, become an Instagram influencer?
At the end of the show, Radek
will give us the correct answer.
He is up-to-the-minute of these
So, the first battle in the second
stage of the Brexit negotiations
with the EU became clear this week,
over the rights of EU
citizens arriving in the UK
during any transition period.
The remaining 27 EU member states
set out their negotiating position
on Monday, prompting a response
from the Prime Minister,
who is on a trade visit to China.
The latest immigration figures show
that the number of EU migrants
coming to the UK fell 19% to 230,000
in the 12 months since
the Brexit referendum.
And at the same time,
there was also a marked increase
in the number of EU citizens leaving
the UK, totalling 123,000.
The UK will leave
the EU in March 2019,
but there is then expected to be
a transition period
of up to two years.
As part of the Phase 1
which concluded in December,
the government agreed that all EU
nationals who have been in the UK
for more than five years will be
granted settled status,
giving them indefinite leave
to remain with the same access
to public services as now.
On Monday, the EU said it expects
existing rules on freedom
of movement for EU citizens to apply
in full until the end
of the transition phase.
But speaking during her trade trip
to China, Theresa May
said that she was "clear
there is a difference" between those
people who arrive prior to the UK
leaving the EU in March 2019
and those who arrive
after that date.
The government is due to bring
an Immigration Bill before
Parliament at an unspecified date
later this year.
And they have commissioned
the Migration Advisory Committee
to examine how EU migration affects
the labour market, but that is not
due to report until September.
Well, earlier, Brexit
Secretary David Davis
was answering questions from MPs.
Here's a flavour of what happened.
Can he make it clear if EU citizens
coming to the UK during
the transition period should be
eligible for settled
The Prime Minister says
they will not be eligible.
Is that a red line or is
the government willing to
compromise on that?
I thought that nothing
was agreed until everything
Secretary of State.
Well, he's right, nothing
is agreed until everything
is agreed but the point,
what I would point out to him
is that in the joint report, which
we concluded and got
agreement on in December,
the European Union agreed
that the transition date, the end
date for ongoing permanent residence
rights, not possibilities, rights
will be March 2019.
Our Europe reporter
Adam Fleming joins us now.
A clear difference between the EU
and Britain in terms of what happens
to EU citizens and their rights
Yeah, so it boils
down to something quite technical
which is what was actually agreed by
both sides in their joint report
that they wrote up that was signed
by Theresa May and Jean-Claude
Juncker at that dramatic week in
December. The UK points to paragraph
eight, I think it is, which says all
this kicks in, the stuff about
citizens rights, settled status,
applying for that, having to
register, that kicks in the day
after Brexit day, March the 29th,
2019. That was what David Davis was
referring to and that is what the
Brits said, "That is what we signed
up to". But the EU said if you read
paragraph five carefully, everything
can be adapted and changed and
renegotiated if it is required
during the talks about the
transition period. The EU says, yes,
you signed up to that date at that
point but things are different now
because we are negotiating a
transition period and the EU is very
clear that will be citizens rights
stuff does not kick in until the end
of the transition period, December
31, 2020 and that is the crux of the
disagreement which will have to be
hammered out by both sides in next
few weeks when they finally sit down
and start settling the terms of the
transition period. The EU is very
clear up what they are offering.
that is what they are saying, they
are not going to move but it is a
negotiation, as you said so do you
think there will have to be, reminds
over this on both sides?
there will have to be compromised.
There's a difference of opinion in
Brussels when you ask people about
this. Some people think that was put
in a negotiating directives by
Michel Barnier at the EU and it's an
impossible ask for the UK so it is
designed to be negotiated away so
the UK can claim a win. That is the
cynical theory about what is going
on. Then you get the idealist theory
which is certainly amongst people
like MEPs in the European
Parliament, which is that free
movement is such an part of EU law,
such a fundamental thing about what
the EU is about, and that the
transition period is about the UK
signing up to lock, stock and barrel
EU law that this is absolutely
something that cannot be compromised
on so the tension between those two
ideas will be resolved in the next
few weeks and remember there is a
tension from the UK as well, yes, on
the one hand, they want to negotiate
a transition period that is good for
them and is politically palatable
back home on things like free
movement. But the longer it takes to
actually agree that transition
period, the less useful it is
because businesses want certainty
about it as soon as possible so
there is a tension within the UK
position as well.
Adam, thank you.
We're joined now by the Conservative
MP Daniel Kawczynski.
Thank you for joining us. If the UK
space in the single market and the
customs union during a transition
period, do you accept that we have
two observe the rules of the club
which includes freedom of movement?
No, not at all and it is absolutely
essential that when we pull out of
the European Union in March next
year, the free movement of people
stops. This was a very important
issue for the British people when we
voted in a referendum. They expected
us to take back control of the
borders and our immigration policy
from the moment we leave the
European Union and that is what has
So we are going for a
sort of have your cake and eat it
which is what we want the benefits
of staying in a single market and
Customs union during the transition
period but without freedom of
movement, which, as you say, many
people voted on in a referendum?
This is part of the negotiating
process and we don't yet know the
final deal but I would say we are a
very important country, a permanent
member of the UN security council
and we have the right to negotiate
hard on behalf of the country. I was
disappointed what Radek said before
when in my view, he was being rather
disrespectful to the UK in the sense
that 95% of the world's growth is
going to come... 95% of gross is
going to come from outside the
European Union, not the European
Union and we have every right to
negotiate our own trade agreements
rather than being hamstrung by these
Britain is being hamstrung
by you and colleagues in the EU, do
you understand why it is so
I'm very surprised that
someone who claims to represent the
Polish community in this country
wants to limit its rights and the
rights of EU citizens and the Polish
people are the largest group in this
country to continue to live in this
country. That is a peculiar position
to take but it is the outcome of
Right but Britain leaves in
March next year. Surely there are
changes to the relationship that
Britain has with the EU, including
changes to the automatic right to
stay or settled status of people?
There is no automatic right to stay.
I'm EU citizen in this country and I
don't have the right of abode in
Britain. It is conditional, it is
movement of labour. I can stay here
if I have a job. If I don't have a
job and I start claiming benefits, I
can be deported from this country
after three months. If you want to
deport EU citizens who are a drain
on the public exchequer, you can do
it. You don't have to leave the
What is your
response to changes to that during
the transition period?
It looks like
the automatic right of abode is
actually an enhancement of the
rights of some immigrants. But look,
it looks like an attempt to claim
victory where there isn't one.
What do you mean?
If you claim EU
citizens lose the right of abode....
If they haven't got the right to
have settled status, which EU
citizens have the right to claim or
apply for, will that be a red line
for the EU?
The transition period
will hopefully be quite short, two
years, then a big stumbling block,
but there are big -- bigger issues.
Is it a red line for you, if Michel
Barnier says as they've set out in
the document for the transition that
this is a must, that EU citizens
should have the right to apply for
settled status and, during the
transition period and bring family
members, will that be a red lines
It is a red line squared,
and absolutely unacceptable. You are
playing a populist card. Of course
we want to speak -- of course we
want to celebrate the contributions
of the 1 million Polish people
contributing to the society.
want to diminish the rights of
anyone who comes from Poland during
the transition period?
in the UK before the referendum, the
Prime Minister has stated they have
every right to remain.
And the ones
before March 2019.
They came to the
UK under the premise they thought we
were part of the European Union. Of
course there will be changes as we
pull out of the European Union and
regain sovereignty and control.
people who came here when Britain
were not a member of a European
Union will be able to stay?
It was a
member in 1978 when my family came.
In terms of a transitory
-- transition, it is a transition,
and Britain is supposed to be moving
to full departure from the EU in
terms of single market and customs
union if the government goes through
with what it has said, so why can
the UK not set up its own rules with
regard to free mint -- freedom of
It can, but look at the
figures more carefully. You are
counting foreign students in those
net migration figures. I attended
one of these wonderful universities,
and this is your success story but
you are portraying this as a defeat.
On that issue, should they still be
included in those figures?
currently being debated within the
But what do you
think? Should shoot and figures be
I think they should, yes.
-- student figures.
Why? There are
many people who come here to study
who ultimately end up staying after
their studies finish. Those people
need to be taken into consideration.
We have let the people down so many
times with the figures about people
coming into the UK, and we need to
get a grip and demonstrate we have
control over our borders. As always,
Mister Sikorski is trying to have
his cake and eat it. The UK has
handed over £400 billion to the
European Union since we joined that
have been an extremely generous
country to the European junior --
European Union. We have done all
sorts of things. We have protected
Poland by sending soldiers to
Poland, and we want a NATO base
there and a strong relationship with
bilateral partners but he still
wants to give as a hard time. That
is not the way to enter a
constructive debate about the post
Is this about
punishing Britain? Michel Barnier
and Jean Claude Juncker say it is
not. But it is a decision that
Britain made, so is very punitive
I think this fantasy should
be realised in full, to the extent
that the radicals wanted it, so the
outcome of the experiment is no.
have heard the EU negotiating
opinion on the transition period. Is
there a problem that the Prime
Minister is reacting to the EU time
and again rather than setting out
her own negotiating position first?
I'm very honoured and delighted to
have joined the European research
group which Jacob Rees Mogg chairs,
and I think that group is really
instilling backbone into the entire
Conservative Parliamentary party and
we are pushing for a very clear
message to be given to us by the
government as to what sort of post
Brexit relationship they want to
have. The uncertainty at the moment
has gone on for too long, and we
need to get down to the nub of the
relationship we want. We have talked
about the Canada model which Michel
Barnier has offered us, a Canada
plus model, and that could be one of
the best solutions for us.
a vacuum has been created. Do you
think Theresa May should have set
out more clearly what the end state
should be in terms of the
relationship between Britain and the
The person to blame and all of
this is David Cameron who did no
preparatory work whatsoever in the
run-up to the referendum and all of
that work should have taken place at
that time and, unfortunately, Mister
Cameron decided in his determination
to convince people to stay in the
European Union that no preparatory
work was done which is why the Prime
Minister is having to work that
He is the former prime
ministers. But do you think these
negotiations can effectively be
delivered by Theresa May?
and we must stand by the Prime
Only with support from
your group rather than interference?
The group is only saying what
Theresa May outlined in the
Lancaster house speech and Florent
's speech. We are absolutely lists
because we are peddling what she
outlined very clearly in those two
Are you worried about
drift and that Britain could still
end up being a customs union in the
Of course I am worried. But I
have every confidence in this
country 's ability to negotiate a
fair settlement with the European
Union and unfortunately there are
many people, and it seems as if
Mister Sikorski is one of them, who
wants to punish the UK for daring to
pull out of this thing which is
going to be a supranational state. I
know that in my lifetime Poland will
also potentially pull out of the
Let's talk about
Poland, because do you support the
EU measures, the sanctions against
the governing party in Poland whom
the EU have accused of threatening
to dismantle democracy and threats
to the rule of law?
It is a tough
one. We are a club of democratic
nations and we freely trying --
signed up to the treaties which say
that the rule of law should prevail
and it is also a fundamental
principle of the European Union that
institutions in member states should
trust one another. If we could not
trust the courts in another member
state, the security of legal
interchanges between member states
Do you trust the
law and Justice party to do the
They have subjugated
the Constitutional Tribunal. Poland
has no effective review of
legislation any more and politicians
have now gained influence over the
appointment of judges. Whether the
EU can usefully affect that from
outside, I have my doubts. It is a
very difficult issue.
Let's leave it
there. Thank you both for coming in.
And for more reporting
and analysis of Brexit,
check out the BBC News
website, that's bbc.co.uk/Brexit.
Today, the Commons could pass
a motion that would allow MPs
who become parents to nominate
a colleague to cast
their vote for them
when they are on parental leave.
Previously, new mums
and dads could only ask
the whips for a "pair",
where an MP from the opposing party
would also miss a vote.
One of those MPs supporting
the change is Emma Reynolds,
who has just returned
from maternity leave.
She joins us now from Central Lobby.
And I'm delighted to say she's also
brought along her baby boy, Theo!
Hello, Emma. I am sure Theo is an
avid viewer of the Daily Politics.
He is, he's one of the only -- it is
one of the only things we want.
Hello, Theo. Well done for bringing
him here. Tell us a little bit about
what would happen and how it would
change for parents like you.
point of today's debate is that in
our chamber we have extended rights
to mums and dads or shared parental
leave and improve maternity rights
but we have not extended those
rights to MPs. At the moment it is a
gentleman 's agreement between the
whips, and they have been generous,
but what if they stopped being
generous and what about dads as well
as mums? Today is about allowing a
new mum or dad to ask a colleague to
cash their vote as a proxy instead
of voting in that time that you take
maternity leave or parental leave --
cast their vote.
How would that
transform your life in terms of
being a mum and an MP? A lot of MPs
would be deemed to have missed votes
while they were on maternity leave
and constituents might not have
Many of my colleagues who
went before me and gave birth while
they were MPs have been criticised,
and so was I, although I managed to
get them to remove it from the
website, because the reason I have a
low voting record is because I have
been maternity leave. Baby Theo was
born four days the Prime Minister
called the snap election.
Yes, great timing. We were
hoping it would be late April. The
idea is you have a more formal
system for MPs so MPs who do take
maternity leave, or dad to take
parental leave are able to represent
their constituents by voting in
Parliament through one of their
So is it going to be
passed today, do you think?
the House of Commons and the weird
and wonderful ways in which it
works. Today is just the motion and
then it has to be put forward
formally for consideration, as I
It seems a fairly
sensible idea and will, in some
ways, bring Parliament up to the
other things that could be done
Of course, we could start
having votes at -- stop having votes
at 10:30pm at night, although
Parliament is a lot more friendly
than it used to be but it is still
very long hours and lots of
You are holding on
valiantly to Theo looks like he is
trying to escape. What is it like in
Poland in Parliament there?
these issues too, and I think we
should be as helpful as possible and
it does not just concerned members,
I think for voters we should be
helpful in order to include as many
people as possible so, for example,
in Poland we have the possibility of
voting by post for disabled people,
Those are other things,
and there she is whether baby, and I
see he is desperate to have a run
around in the Central Lobby. -- with
her baby. How well attended Will the
debate be to date?
attended. There are lots of people
who have given birth in office and
one of our colleagues is pregnant,
so I just want to say that if young
women are sitting at home and
thinking about pursuing a career in
politics, don't be put off by the
long hours and lack of a formal
system for maternity leave because
we want as many talented women in
politics as possible.
Are you going
to be speaking in this debate?
hope to be. Somebody will be looking
You can't take him into
the chamber? Do you think that will
I think he would be be
fair. He's a bit of a distraction
I think you are doing extremely
I think we see a future
What makes you say that?
seems to be enjoying the place.
wonder what it is on the other side
A lot of lovely
people trying to entertain him. We
are allowed to take him into the
voting lobby, so that is progress.
And as you say, because the numbers
have changed, there are more women,
but younger women and younger women
who are still having children.
and also the New Zealand Prime
Minister who is blazing a trail. A
glass ceiling that has only been
broken by Benazir Bhutto in the
1990s. She will be the second Prime
Minister to give birth while in
office, and I think she will be an
inspiration to women across the
How these things
are becoming normalised. Thank you,
and thank you to you, Theo.
With just over a year to go
until Brexit, the outlook for EU
citizens living here in the UK
is still somewhat uncertain.
It's expected those who've been
here for more than five years
will be able to apply for permanent
residency, while newcomers will have
to register under a new scheme.
But will the UK still be a desirable
place to move to once
we're out of the EU?
And will those already
here, want to stay?
Emma Vardy's been hearing
from Polish ex-pats in Reading.
Many people from Poland have
made Reading their home,
and with all the Polish shops
and businesses that have developed
here along the Oxford Road,
in one sense, the community is well
established and well catered for.
But with Brexit around
the corner, could a lot
of this be about to change?
Let's go and find out.
Hi, my name is Greg.
When I came to England,
about ten years ago, I started
working in the hospitality industry.
And further on, I just became, like,
a supervisor in a Polish shop.
And when I found out about
the Brexit, the value of the pound
just dropped drastically.
We had to raise the prices
but I don't know what to expect
in the future, after March 2019.
The newcomers, they are not
going to get those privilege
that we get when we came here,
ten years, 15 years ago.
Hello, my name is Anthony
and this is my wife Dinutha.
How are you feeling about Brexit?
Not very well because every food,
every price about the food
is going slowly up.
One year ago, you spend 70 quid,
now you spend 100, 120,
exactly the same products.
Do you think you will
stay beyond Brexit?
No, after the Brexit, I am thinking
everything is expensive.
If I'm not saving
the money, how living?
Where's my holiday?
Where is my...
You understand me, yeah?
Hi, my name is Anjelica.
I've been living here for ten years.
I'm a little bit worried.
We have a mortgage here.
We have one daughter.
She feels most English than Polish!
But we are still waiting,
what's happening next.
I think a lot of people
still want to come here.
But also, a lot of our
clients back to Poland.
Lots of your customers
are going back?
In Poland, it's much better than,
like, ten years ago.
The youngest people want back,
you know, I think to start again.
But people like me,
I think they stay here.
Many people we spoke to said
they don't think Brexit
is going to affect their right
to stay, but it's the other things,
like prices or the availability
of jobs that could make life
here less attractive in future.
Emma Vardy, there. Radek Sikorski,
the young woman in the film said
that many young people are going
back to Poland or they are staying
in Poland and not coming here. Do
you welcome that?
We have said all
along as the Polish government,
successive ones, that we want our
people back. The Polish economy is
doing extremely well. We have
shortages of labour and we are glad
that people have come here, learned
English, you know, enjoyed living in
this country but yes, we support
Polish people returning home.
damaging was it when new member
states, you know, the borders were
opened up and workers were welcomed
here, they came in large numbers?
How damaging was the brain drain to
It was an act of
friendship by the Tony Blair
government but what happened was
that Britain alone in the entire
European Union opened its labour
market unconditionally which meant
that everybody and his brother in
Central Europe who wanted to try
their luck abroad came to Britain.
That is why you got the wave of over
1 million people. If you had
exercised your seven-year derogation
period, that way, you would have
Do you think Britain
should have done that?
It was good
for us, and good for the British
economy, we refurbished London for
Although many people that was
part of the reason people voted
Leave in the referendum.
towns, the cultural change might
have been unsettling for people.
my question was, how bad was the
brain drain for Poland, the people
We were doing well at that
time and now the economy is doing
even better. Wages are higher now in
Norway or Germany which are now open
to Polish labour so it was useful at
Do you accept that some
Polish citizens who may be thinking
about what to do post Brexit are
actually making those decisions not
because of the referendum vote but
because the prospects are looking
It is that but
also, remember, some people were
coming here not just for the money
but for the open-minded atmosphere,
the friendliness, for learning
English and some of that
friendliness seems to be less
because they are beginning to feel
Right, but is that a
perception because of the vote to
leave? Is there as much a driver
behind the decisions being made by
communities like the Polish
community in Britain that actually
it is time to go back to Poland and
although you say it wasn't always
about economic reasons, that would
be a big motivation to going home?
Yes, the figures reflect it. I think
Britain has benefited from the wave
and I hope we will benefit from the
wave back now.
What was the impact
on Poland when people left? You say
there was high unemployment but what
was the impact on the country?
remittance payments from Polish
people living in the European Union
and working were comparable to the
EU transfer payments so about 1
billion euros per month, quite a
What do you say to people
like Boris Johnson who towards the
end of last year unilaterally said
that the rights of EU citizens,
including Polish citizens, will be
guaranteed whatever afterwards?
doubt that it will be a big issue
because we have a couple of million
British people on the continent. We
are both civilised communities. We
will treat one another in a
civilised way and on the principle
In the second historic Leave vote
of the last two years,
MPs yesterday made the decision
to move out of parliament
to make way for extensive
repairs to be carried out.
The renovation work is part
of a multi-billion-pound
but won't see MPs move out
until at least 2025.
But not everyone is convinced
the move is necessary.
Mr Speaker, this debate
arguably should have taken
place about 40 years ago.
The likelihood of a major failure
grows the longer the systems
are left unaddressed.
We hear the armageddon scenario,
that we are either going to be
washed away in slurry,
burned to death or electrocuted
or something else.
And yet we have thousands
of visitors from the public
in this place every day.
I see no signs to say,
"Welcome to the death trap".
We are not only asking ourselves
and our staff but also thousands
of visitors to come to a building
which is not safe.
It might be an exaggeration to say
that Parliament is a death trap
but it is not a wild exaggeration.
Do we really want to take this
enormous political decision that
at this very difficult time
for our nation, we should move,
lock, stock and barrel,
from the iconic centre
of the nation?
This is the place
where democracy lives.
It is so easy to say we could move
elsewhere and it would still be
a parliament but it wouldn't be
the Palace of Westminster.
If you look at many of the major
houses over the last 100 years that
have fallen into disrepair,
it is nearly always because there
has been a massive fire.
I think we should take
a lesson from that,
which is that we have to be very,
very cautious in this building.
And I wouldn't want to be a member
who had voted against taking direct
and clear action now
when that fire comes.
I truly wouldn't.
That was Chris Bryant there, and he
joins us here. He backed the
He also sat on a joint committee
tasked with investigating
the various options for repairing
the Palace of Westminster.
And the Conservative MP John Hayes,
who doesn't think parliamentarians
should be vacating the building.
Why not, John Hayes, when you just
heard Damian green, your colleagues
saying a death trap is not a wild
It is so
self-indulgent, isn't it?
are saying we're going to build an
alternative edifice stones to from
where we were, a replica chamber at
a cost of billions and our
constituents will say to us, and I
think they would say to themselves
in that situation, put up with the
inconvenience, be with a mess, get
on with the work, do it but for
heaven sake don't ask us to find an
alternative in the meanwhile.
are being self-indulgent, Chris
Bryant, and there's a big issue on
the cost the taxpayer in Times of
austerity, is it really necessary?
It is necessary, it's a UNESCO
listed building, one of the most
iconic buildings in the world. Most
other countries would look at us and
say, "You're going to let it fall
into the Thames? That's
disgraceful!" To be fair, it's not
falling into the Thames but when
politicians in the early 19th
century didn't take seriously the
concerns about fire and so on, we
had a massive fire in 1834 which
lost nearly all of the medieval
buildings and the truth of the
matter is now go if you go down to
the basement or into the roof, it is
a death trap. It is a place that
every year, the risk gets higher and
higher. We can't meet all the
standards we would impose on every
other building in the land in terms
of health and safety and disabled
How responsible is your
position, John Hayes, when you
listen to that from Chris Bryant and
others and all the tales that we
hear about the sewage works, about
the building crumbling on the
outside? We see the endless
scaffolding on the outside. It is
more responsible to take a position
I don't share the
preoccupation some of my colleagues
have with the sewers but the real
point is this, that if it is a death
trap as Chris describes, why aren't
we taking a decision that will have
an effect urgently? Why don't we get
on with the what? The way we are
talking now, we have to build
somewhere else and get -- don't move
There's an element of
truth to that but one of the big
problems if you've got the picture
there now, I was up in front of the
clock face yesterday morning...
It is cold and very
difficult work, we've got 20 major
projects including security projects
on the estate already. What I would
say to those that think we should
stay in the building while the work
is being done, it will be ten times
the amount of work that is being
done now and I know exactly what
every MP will do, they will say," I
can't hear myself think! They can't
work while they are here! They can
only work at night!" That will
quadruple the cost if we don't move
If you think it is a death
trap, why aren't you moving out
immediately? If it's not until 2025,
it can't be that they dress.
doing all we possibly can now to
mitigate the risk but we can't
install the full sprinter system in
the basement or the tactics and we
can't access the 98 different
columns through the building that
would carry fire very fast through
the building. We haven't even
managed to do what every other royal
palace has done since the Windsor
fire which is compartmentalise the
building. We are the only well Paris
that isn't. Firewood spread through
that building so vast, John would
not be able to run fast enough to
I think you underestimate
my speed! The truth is, Chris is
right, the work needs to be done, if
you go to any historic building,
cathedrals, large stately homes, the
Tower of London...
But they are not
full of people sitting in
But they are visited by
millions of people each year and
those people, and by the way, we
will be looking at the school
children who visit Parliament, they
will be locked up.
It sounds like it
be too dangerous for these people do
come and look.
The biggest danger,
the most likely way of losing the
building for generations of children
is if we have a massive fire or
other catastrophic failure such as
related to asbestos.
about the costs because what about
the point that if you stay while the
work goes on, it will cost more
because it will take longer?
the point about that is, the report
that was brought out by the leader
of the house made two things very
clear and they were affirmed in the
cause of our considerations. The
first is the building is
structurally sound, this is the
point that Chris, with absolute
honesty, made himself. The building
is structurally sound. The second
point was that the replacement
building will did necessitate the
demolition, not the adaptation, the
demolition of Richmond house.
you hate! You told me you hate it!
Tell the viewers what it is.
the Department of Health, just
across the road.
It is an empty
It is now, the former
Department of Health.
What is wrong
with demolishing it?
The cost will
in the paper is more than £3
We've got to do that work
anyway because there are problems in
other parts of the parliamentary
estate, in Norman Shaw North and
South for instance, staff had to be
given inoculations against hepatitis
because they suddenly had effluent
pouring down on top of them from
drains that had broken in the roof
above. We had somebody's...
sounds like a health hazard to me!
We had a car written off because a
large dog of masonry fell off --
chunk of masonry fell off onto it.
We have had years and years of
packed and meant but we've got to be
resolute now and we've made the
decision in principle yesterday.
Riazor though there was not a
massive difference, about 16 votes.
In my experience as an MP, if you
win by one vote, you win.
also true but in terms of moving
out, how will it work?
important thing is we in the Palace
of Westminster don't have the
capability and capacity to manage
this massive infrastructure
this massive infrastructure project.
We need to set up, as we did for the
X, a sponsor body and a delivery
Yes, it was
delivered on time and on budget, and
I know people say it will always
overrun and all the rest of it but
in recent years, we've got better at
delivering major projects like
Crossrail on-time and on budget, I
think we can do it on time and on
budget if we make sure we have
proper, professional people doing
The scale of the management of
running the programme that Chris
describes, the demolition of
Richmond house, the creation of this
alternative chamber, the edifice
that is going to be a stone's throw
from the Palace of Westminster, at
the same time, to restore the whole
of the Palace of Westminster, will
be a mammoth task.
But you have said
it's got to be done.
Yes, but it
should be done in a way that is
manageable and the way you do it
manageably is bit by bit, part by
Oh, Tosh! Honestly...
hasn't that been going on?
and look at the building.
is, we don't have any more space
than the workforce needed in the
What about the people that
will be made redundant when we move?
Honestly, you said this yesterday in
the chamber and it was misleading
and wrong, but one of the things we
do need to do is because we won't
have so many Polish builders in the
UK, we need to make sure we have
trained young people in every
constituency in the land, proper
apprenticeship programmes, in the
high-tech and engineering skills we
will need and in the craft trades...
Interesting but that is slightly off
the point. In terms of how
Parliament will be run, how will it
function in this sort of new
edifice, the replacement?
probably have debates and shout at
each other and probably do exactly
the same as we await have. It will
be no different. Parliament is in
the building, it's the debate.
that is the case, why don't you just
move some else?
That is probably
what will happen. The truth of the
matter is that those who want to
move out, not Chris, actually, it is
very honourable about this, but
somewhat without, we heard from the
Scottish Nationalists and others
yesterday, some of them want to move
And they lost.
But the key
point is this and this is the
difference between us which is a
pricing because Chris is a aesthete
and it is surprising that this
difference should arrive.
Was that a
Take it for what it is
and let John Bennett. -- a
compliment. Take it for what it is
and let John Bennett.
a place from it function, the
institution from its reality. It is
not pompous, it is what people who
come to the house, who want to come
to the house, in my constituency
yesterday, feel when they get there.
I said yesterday we tread in the
footsteps of giants. We do and our
responsibility is for all those to
come and all those who came before.
Radek, what would you do? Would you
have forced a decision through on
You are lucky to have
such a beautiful and attractive and
popular house of parliament.
is falling down, it seems.
world comes to see it that these are
always decisions that inspired
tabloid fury because people feel
that democracy should be cheap.
not cheap, it's £3.9 billion, which
is very expensive.
But the building
has to be maintained whatever its
function. And if you do not pay for
your democracy you will get lower
But do you think they
should move out while it is done
even if they are prepared to pay for
Well, I can pledge if you have a
shortage of Polish workers we can
rally round and send your brigade.
One of the things that upsets me is
when kids come from the Rhondda
Valley or other constituents, the
disabled access in the building is
shocking. We passed laws in
Parliament to tell every other
public building in the world you had
to have full disabled access but we
don't have it in Parliament and
that's one of the things we can put
Back and be done while we are
It can't. There is a lot of
agreement between us.
There is and
because you don't want to move out.
The fundamental thing we agree on is
that the building must be maintained
and restored and improved. The issue
is, do you say to mine and his
constituents that we will be so
self-indulgent we don't put up with
it while we are working and I think
On that I will move you
both out of here. At no cost at all.
I am a remainder. I will be until my
On this, you are leaving.
We are in the topsy-turvy world we
live in at the moment.
Now, behind every political party
is a faithful press officer,
there to keep things smooth
during the good times and the bad.
Last night, UKIP's long-serving
press spokesperson Gawain Towler
announced that he was "consciously
uncoupling" from the party,
which he has been with for 13 years.
During that time, the party has had
six different leaders.
Actually, eight, we think.
I'll be speaking to him in a moment,
but first, let's take a look
at Gawain in action.
# And they called it puppy love
# Oh, I guess they'll
The number of people we've had
getting in touch, saying, "I'm
really sorry, I made a mess".
That they voted for the wrong party?
That they voted for the wrong party.
But as I say, them's
the breaks, that's
Will you still be leader
if you're not an MP?
Some Ukip leaders have
done quite well not
being in Parliament, haven't they?
# Tell them all, please
tell them it isn't fair
# To take away my only dream #.
The glamorous life of the press
officer. What was happening?
pulling summary out from the drink.
They looked like they were pulling
He had been scribbling I
love Nigel on the beach and then
realised that there was a problem.
The tide was coming in, vast....
are you leaving Ukip after 13 years?
I was going to leave after the
referendum that I felt some level of
stability was required with the new
leader and then the new leader, and
then the new leader, and then a new
leader and then the general
election. And in the end I've got
other things I'd like to do.
not leaving because the party seems
to be on the wane?
I'm still a
member and that is not a problem.
I'm just leaving from my position.
But are you leaving your position
because you think the party is
beyond help now?
No, if I was doing
that, I'd be leaving the party. I'm
not leaving the party and I will
stay a member of the party but I
think it is about time I really got
on with something else. 13 years as
a long time, and most of it I've
forgotten already, fortunately.
Pulling Sam out of the
drink. Last week there was an event
to raise money for a cancer charity
because Sam died last year, and he
was one of the best of men, from
carefully, but that was a highlight,
but there have been dozens of
highlights. Fortunately, it being
Ukip, I've forgotten them.
Farage tweeted that you always loyal
and there. Did you give your life to
Certainly a chunk of it.
It's not so much the job. I joined
because I believed in the cause and
I still believe in the cause. And
the entertainments, such as floods,
have provided their moment.
the more challenging moments.
good to have a porn star as one of
He blamed this on
the legalisation of gay marriage and
God Reeve -- God -- Godfrey Bloom
left after his sluts comment. Did
you put your head in your hands when
you heard these things?
and then I had a drink and I
Is that the way you got
It is the Ukip way.
Henry Bolton's girlfriend racist
This has been another
interesting period. Henry is a very
good man. The situation is as it is.
One was not expecting that and I
don't think he was. That isn't in
itself the reason I was going. I
have been planning to go for awhile,
really I have, but it has been
sticky and sticky and then I have to
make a clean break.
haven't just had enough?
weekend I will have the weekend off.
That will be the first in 34
weekends. It's been quite forlorn.
Henry Bolton said he would not quit
despite the pressure -- it has been
quite full on. Do you think you
should, now, sitting here?
made his decision and I will not
miss the EGM for the world and I
will be working up until that point
and I will be doing that. I am
considering having a drone and may
be doing pay-per-view visit would
keep you lot out of the meeting
itself. But I think the NEC opposed
him, but remember the NEC and the
party, he came from outside an
appeal to the membership rather than
the people like me.
And you came
from the Conservative party
Yes, I'm still in
Glasgow Maryhill and I've been
through tough times before.
been on a journey, no doubt about
it. But on Henry Bolton, do you not
think his decision to stay and
continue to challenge the NEC's
decision is, in the end, going to do
for the party?
Not necessarily and I
don't think that is the case. I
think Henry's strongest suit is the
cost to the party, not the financial
cost as other people suggest. The
cost to the party is having a
leadership election during a period
where if Ukip is anything it is
about prosecuting Brexit and holding
the government to account. If we
spent five months shooting ourselves
in the foot rather than holding the
government and the opposition to
account at a time when I don't think
anybody in the country knows what
either the government or the
opposition stance is on Brexit, we
at least have a clear message if we
go out and give it. We need to spend
our time having a lover leadership
election during that period --
another leadership election seems to
be the strongest alderman.
been the best Ukip leader? --
What, of the
Who has been your favourite?
Obviously Nigel made the difference.
It was Nigel's Drive, charisma and
sheer work across the country over
And European and Russian money
helps, of course.
Prove it. That is a
serious allegation. That is a
Prove it. It is
a serious allegation, Cooper-Woolley
do need to prove it. Where is your
evidence? -- you do need to prove
I read it in the newspaper, so
it must be true.
Well on that, do
you think Ukip is making a mark on
the European scene?
Yes, a huge
success. A party composed of
fruitcakes, in the words of David
Cameron, it has transferred its
ideology to the ruling party and the
Conservative party has now taken
over Ukip's position on English
I would say on the
European level, and yes to a certain
extent, we have been an inspiration
behind the Finns party and others
across Europe where you see a rising
tide of Euro scepticism across the
But today you have
resigned from your position. Thank
you for coming onto the programme.
There's just time before we go
to find out the answer to our quiz.
The question was what has culture
secretary Matt Hancock done to show
he's ahead of the digital game.
a) Started a podcast?
b) Created his own app?
c) Become a Youtube star?
or d) Become an
So what's the correct answer?
You have got to have a guess.
Otherwise Gawain will have a guess.
It is. It is an app.
Well to discuss this
exciting political foray
in to the digital scene,
we're joined by a genuine
digital native, the
journalist Marie le Conte.
What do you think? Is he keeping up
to the moment?
I do actually think,
in fairness, that it is quite a good
idea because he can speak to his
constituents, which can be useful
and from a party political point of
view as well the Conservatives have
had problems in keeping up with the
Labour Party in using social media
and reaching people. I do think it
is a good idea. I wouldn't have
called it Matt Hancock. It's a weird
name for an app.
What would you have
Anything but his name.
Because the issue is now you can get
notifications on your phone saying
Matt Hancock wants to see your
pictures or Matt Hancock has stopped
working, which is not ideal.
catchy. There is a problem, the
There is. The app can
still access your pictures even if
you have said you do not want it to
do that. And also the Department for
culture, media and sport said it had
nothing to do with them so this is
Matt Hancock as a private citizen
effectively having access to your
What does that say about
1's confidence in the digital
minister making that error?
It is an
area of policy that he is in charge
of, so not the best thing. But I
think he outsourced the making of
the app to a start-up and he
probably should have named it and
somebody could have noticed that
before it came out.
Are you going to
have your own app?
No, but I have a
million followers on Twitter.
there you go, some self publicity.
Do you think it is a good idea for
politics to do?
It is necessary
You cannot not do it. In
terms of having your own app?
Who will be the audience
for Matt Hancock's app?
He wanted to
be people in the constituency but it
has been journalist mainly making
fun of it. But the journalists will
get bored eventually and then he
might get genuine constituents to
Thank you very much joining
That's all for today.
Thanks to our guests.
The One o'clock news is starting
over on BBC One now.
Andrew will be on This Week tonight
with Michael Portillo,
Liz Kendall, John Simpson,
Kevin Maguire and Ralf Little
And I'll be here at noon
tomorrow with all the big
political stories of the day.