Rehman Chishti MP and Louise Haigh MP keep Jo Coburn company throughout the programme. They examine plans to reform higher education and the proposed boundary review.
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Hello, and welcome to
the Daily Politics.
Theresa May says students in England
deserve better value
for their university degrees
as she launches a comprehensive
review of post-18 education.
But is the Government just kicking
the problem in to the long grass?
The European Parliament's chief
says Britain is unlikely to get
the bespoke deal it wants.
He's meeting MPs on the UK
Parliament's Brexit committee today.
We speak to one of them
live from Brussels.
And, apart from the annual
political pancake day race
it's been a little quiet
in Westminster over the last week
as Parliament has been
on half-term recess.
But as MPs head back to big smoke
we've got all the details of what's
in store over the next seven days.
And, after Formula One decides
to drop its "grid girls",
we speak to an academic who argues
that it is in fact
step for women.
Women should be able
to earn their living
doing whatever they want,
including modelling, stripping,
lap dancing, Page 3 photoshoots,
Yes, all that coming
up in the next hour.
Parliament is in fact
still in recess today,
but we've managed to find two
dedicated public servants
willing to cut short
their half-term break by a day!
Labour's Louise Haigh
and Conservative Rehman Chishti -
welcome to you both.
Now MPs from the Brexit Select
committee are in Brussels today
to have meetings with various high
profile figuers including
the EU's chief Brexit
negotiator Michel Barnier
and the European Parliament's chief
Brexit spokesman, Guy Verhofstadt.
Mr Verhofstadt popped up
on the Andrew Marr show yesterday
and made some comments that
won't have gone down all that well
with some people on this
side of the Channel,
with Andrew Marr asking
whether the government's negotiating
strategy will be successful.
It's fairly clear, it's not
completely clear yet,
what Theresa May is going
to ask for.
David Davis described it to me
as "Canada plus plus plus".
And what he meant by that was,
a free-trade deal, no tariffs,
no nontariff barriers for goods,
cars and so forth.
But special agreements on things
like financial services.
That's what they are
going to ask for.
Again, is that not reasonable,
to do that kind of special
Yeah, but that will not be
the outcome of this negotiation.
It cannot be the outcome.
The outcome will be, again,
it will not be a type of saying,
this is interesting,
that we like.
This is not interesting for us,
we dislike and we don't want it.
Craig Mackinlay is a Conservative MP
on the Brexit Select Committee
and is among the delegation of MPs
meeting Mr Verhofstadt
in Brussels today.
We are hoping to speak with him
shortly, but first, my guests here,
no bespoke deal, is a pretty
influential person, Guy Verhofstadt,
how disappointed are you?
of talk has led to British people
making a decision to determine their
own destiny about laws, money,
borders, telling us what we can and
cannot do is not the right way
forward. The British people have
voted to come out of the single
market, the customs union, the
European Union. We must find a
special relationship, we will leave
the European Union but still be a
part of Europe, we want a good
relationship, we want trade with
European partners, we have the
commitment to find that special
deal. We will get that. This kind of
talk reinstates wider British public
voted to determine their own destiny
rather than being told by the
He is still saying no,
the deal you are asking for one not
beyond the table.
We are working
very hard to get the best boat
He just said no, no bespoke
deal, there will be no Canada plus
-- the best bespoke deal.
There will be nothing like that.
had a similar kind of issue pushed
to us before when we were trying to
get the first stage, we made an
agreement on the financial deal, we
made sure we dealt with the
situation with the Northern Ireland.
How have you dealt with that? The
situation with Ireland?
travel area will be there, we made
it very clear that we will not have
a hard border, we made it very clear
the Good Friday Agreement will stay
How do you do that if
Britain is outside the customs
Those are the core principles
from which we will not move, those
negotiations will take place in
relation to detail but our
principle, having a non-hard border
with Northern Ireland is to the
heart of it.
Everyone is committed
to it, how do you achieve it if you
are not part of the customs union
when there will have to be checks on
goods and goods of origin?
achieve it with a brilliant
Secretary of State for Brexit, with
a great Prime Minister, that is how
we do it's not what what you think
this being said, that kind of
language, that kind of telling
Britain what it can and cannot have,
that led semi-British voters, 17.4
and Ian people to vote to leave.
is that kind of attitude that I'm
afraid to say that has led to the
position of the European Commission
and the European Union, such a
hardline approach to gauche Asians.
You think it is a hard line?
quite a hardline because every other
country has some kind of a spoke
deal with the European Union, Turkey
has its own customs union with the
European Union, Norway is in the
single market but not the customs
They are in the single
market, Britain does not want to be.
Jersey is in the customs union but
in the single market in relation to
goods and not services, every other
partner has some kind of the spoke
deal, I think it is unlikely that
Britain will not get a bespoke deal
you do not have a fantastic
Secretary of State negotiating
"Brexit" 's, I must disagree.
through the first stage.
the European Union, are interpreting
that as member ship of the customs
union and the single market. Quite
frankly, it is very difficult to
envisage how we will guarantee no
hard border without membership of
the customs union or a customs
Is that what the Labour
policy should be?
The Labour policy
has been, never remove the customs
union from negotiating party, it is
the ideological approach of the
Tories of Brexit negotiation that
has slowed a progress and let to
this difficult negotiating stance on
Just to be clear, do you
want Jeremy Corbyn to state
categorically that Labour supports a
position of Britain remaining in the
customs union with the EU?
the position should remain as it is,
we are not taking it off the
negotiating table, that we are happy
to remain members, we would be happy
to negotiate a separate customs
union but nothing should be off the
Single market, outside the
jurisdiction of the EU.
You are saying, on the customs
union, in your manifesto, coming
We have always said it should
not be off the negotiating table.
I welcome back to this in just a
moment but Craig is now there are,
you may or may not have heard Guy
Verhofstadt, we played a piece from
his interview with Andrew Marr where
he said there will be no bespoke
deal, no Canada plus plus plus, what
do you say to that?
Well, we seem to
be getting mixed messages, sorry to
be a little late, I have been in a
meeting with Michel Barnier, seems
that there are offers on the table
but we seem to have this rather
rigid view that there has to be one
model or another it cannot be the
spoke, has to be like Canada, Canada
was mentioned rather a lot, with
some extra bits on security, very
much outlined in the Prime
Minister's Munich speech. Honestly
feel that the EU needs to be more
flexible to accommodate Britain
because what we are forgetting is
that we had a referendum, that
referendum was to regain control of
the borders and money and laws and
that has to be respected. The EU
needs to realise that we have a huge
trade deficit with the EU. It is in
their interest to get a very good
deal for their own citizens and
their own country.
You say the EU
needs to do this, how will you
persuade Guy Verhofstadt, you have
met Michel Barnier, chief
I am eating him
in an hour or so.
What will you say
to him when he says the UK will not
have a final deal which will see
different arrangements for different
sectors of the economy, there will
not be special dispensation for
financial services, he says it is
impossible, how will you persuade
him to move significantly on this
We ended up not really
knowing who the controlling mind is
here, we seem to have Guy
Verhofstadt saying different things
from Michel Barnier, and who knows
what the EU 27 are thinking. I got
the impression today with Michel
Barnier that he is worried that the
27 countries will not be moving
together as one, that is very much a
fear because Germany has a huge
trade surplus with the UK, 2 million
German jobs reliant on the UK
market, and I think that ought to be
in their mind, rather more clearly,
that a deal is not, not just good
for one, it will be good for both,
positive sum deal, if that requires
a bespoke arrangement acceptable to
Britain's redlines, they will have
to be soft on redlines as well.
There is a deal to be done but it
What did Michel
Barnier say to you clearly when he
said that he gave a little bit more,
he seems to be more flexible than
Guy Verhofstadt, what did he promise
on Canada type deal?
mentioned a lot as a potential
And obviously, David
Davis has said the same, Canada plus
Financial services, that
seems to be a very major issue.
that was outlined very clearly,
because of the security of the
European financial markets, take the
roles or don't say the rules. And
that is the problem, but this is
where we need some new thinking, new
thinking of mutual recognition,
looking back at the financial crisis
2008/9, Australia and Canada had no
bailout of the bank, they have a
financial system of easily robust.
We need a global view. Certain
countries are advanced, civilised,
they have usual norms we are all
familiar with, there should be
mutual acceptance between advanced
countries that this is the new way
forward for global trade and I think
Britain can be in the driving seat
You have made your
position clear, would it help if
Theresa May was clear on exactly
what she wants in terms of that
future relationship with the EU?
Well, that has come out a bit today
as well, with discussions, Michel
Barnier saying, we would like to
know exactly what the UK Government
really wants, but from other bits
and pieces on security, I think
there is a lot of clarity on where
Britain is going on this. That does
seem to be a message coming forward,
that we do need the UK Government to
state very clearly what it is after.
I think that will become clear
before the end of March meeting, of
the ministers. So I think the next
six weeks are going to be very
important and I am sure there will
be clarity coming forward from the
UK Government but it is needed, I
will accept that.
has said it is not acceptable to all
to freedom of movement rules during
transition into and Asian period, do
you agree with that?
Well I do not,
we are leaving the institution of
the European Union on the 29th of
March of next year.
transitional implementation period.
It seems ridiculous, it has been
mentioned before, the vassal state
situation we could find ourselves
in, roll takers, new rules coming
forward, applying them, freedom of
movement exactly as there is today,
that will not be fulfilling the
referendum so things must change
after Brexit. The PM is quite right
with redlines she has put forward.
Thank you very much.
And for more reporting
and analysis of Brexit,
check out the BBC News website,
Now it's time for our daily quiz.
It seems that bigmouth strikes
again, the former Smiths singer
Morrissey has had a go at a senior
during one of his concerts.
So our question for today is, who?
Was it: a) Nicola Sturgeon,
b) David Cameron,
c) Theresa May,
or d) Jeremy Corbyn?
At the end of the show Rehman
and Louise will give
us the correct answer.
Later today, Theresa May
will announce an independent review
of students fees and finance,
because, she'll say,
students in England currently face
"one of the most expensive systems
of university tuition in the world".
The Prime Minister believes
there are "serious concerns" among
students, parents and grandparents
about the system of student finance,
concerns that have Labour promising
to abolish fees entirely.
So what's the situation in the
higher education system currently?
Almost all courses in England charge
the maximum fee of just
over £9,000 a year.
But of course, students don't begin
to pay that money back
until after graduation
and until they earn £25,000 a year.
Interest rates fees now
stand at up to 6.1% -
a figure that has been roundly
denounced by a number
of senior Tories.
With some students
now leaving university with debts
of more than £50,000
after a three-year course.
Last year the government
froze fees at £9,250,
and raised the repayment threshold
but it clearly thinks
there's more to be done.
Today, Theresa May will say
an expected competitive market
in fees hasn't materialised
since the coalition government
raised the fee cap in 2012.
The new independent review will look
at setting fees based
on the cost of a course,
the benefit to the student, and
the benefit to society as a whole.
It will also consider
the reintroduction of maintenance
grants for poorer students,
which were phased out
in favour of loans in 2016.
But the government's already
come under fire
from one senior backbencher,
former Education Secretary Justine
says the fee system shouldn't be
"a political football",
that looked like it was being
"kicked into the long grass".
Well, earlier this morning
Theresa May spoke to ITV's
This Morning programme
about the planned review.
Let's see what she had to say.
Let's see what she had to say.
What we need to do now is say,
we have a system of fees
in education, but some
issues have arisen.
A concern not just for students
themselves, but families, parents,
grandparents have about the level
of debt that they build up.
And also a concern that, basically,
universities charge the same,
whatever course you are doing,
they will charge the same.
So there are some questions
Theresa May speaking earlier.
Well, to discuss this we're joined
by David Willetts, he's the chair
of the Resolution Foundation
think-tank and was the
during the coalition government.
You with the architect who designed
the current system. What do you make
of the Prime Minister saying there
is something wrong with the current
student finance system and she
understands peoples concerns?
think there are some concerns and
you covered them in your
introduction. Interest rates is an
issue. Pressure for students on
their budgets when they are at
university, so bringing back
maintenance grants would be a good
thing. But overall, I think a system
where graduates pay back only when
they are in a well-paid job, is a
fair and sensible way of funding
The Prime Minister
isn't criticising the core principle
you have just outlined, but she has
said the competitive market between
universities, the system of variable
tuition fees envisaged, it has
simply not emerged. That is true,
and it is a major flaw.
thought we would see price
competition, and we haven't seen
that. I think we understand why.
First of all, students do not pay up
front, which is a good thing, but
because of that, a graduate
repayment system, saying one course
is 7000 and another is 8000, isn't
relevant to them. And secondly, when
you try to work out how you
differentiate these in different
courses, you rapidly find out there
is no settled view on how to do it.
It would be very hard. Lots of
people come to me and say we should
have differential fees, and I ask on
what basis, and they all have
different models. Trying to say we
should have subjects, or salaries of
graduates come you soon find you are
in an incredibly complicated system.
I think this being a contribution
everybody makes to higher education
that you pay back when you graduate
is a workable model.
addressed the basic criticism from
the Prime Minister that the market
does not exist to stop almost all
universities charge the maximum.
That was a core part of the system
you devised and it has failed.
is a market, but it works in a
different way. In the old days when
it was public spending, the
government allocated a fixed number
of places to eat university. Now
universities are not financed out of
public spending, but instead through
the graduate contribution scheme, we
have lower number controls so more
universities get their first choice.
Popular universities expand and less
popular universities are shrinking.
That's not the competition you
expected when you set up the scheme.
The competition is absolutely one of
the crucial features of the new
model. Is that we wouldn't have the
government fixing the number of
places. And universities, more
universities, are able to take more
students getting their first choice
university because the popular
universities can expand. Looking at
the adverts on the tube, looked at
the websites, you will find
universities are absolutely
competing with each other for
So why is the government
deciding there needs to be a review,
if there are serious concerns and it
is working so brilliantly?
understand the interest rate
pressures and pressures on students.
The other issue is parents are
That could be dealt with.
A review implies that there is
something wrong at the heart of the
system. I take your point about the
way you see the market working. But
the Prime Minister is very specific.
The level of fees charged do not
relate to the cost or quality of the
course. Do you think it costs as
much for an arts course, let's take
a history degree, as it is to study
It costs more to
deliver an engineering course, which
is why there was already in the
system an extra item of public
spending to help universities with a
higher cost of engineering, and it
would be a good result from the
review if they said extra public
resource for high cost subject
should be increased.
wouldn't want to see courses being
charged at different levels?
the day after the Baftas. Are we
supposed to say that doing an arts
subject is less valuable than a
science subject? We don't know how
the British economy is going to
develop. I am a free marketeer and I
don't think governments can predict
the value of individual degrees or
should interfere in individual
Is it fair that a
course that costs 4500 to deliver
costs more than £9,000 question mark
we don't know of any courses that
cost 4500 to deliver. You just said
engineering courses cost more.
Either university needs to charge
less, all that money is still
available to go into the resources
of the University that can help pay
for shared university facilities
that all students use.
damning that the Conservative
government is now effectively saying
and admitting that its own policy in
higher education hasn't worked?
at all. What the Conservative Party
is saying that with regards to the
reforms David Boote Ford, he was a
brilliant minister and I was a
pleasure to work with him on that,
-- what David puts forward.
is there a review and the Prime
Minister says there are serious
concerns from students, parents and
grandparents about the system, the
whole system, and she shares them.
Let me put it this way. When we came
into government we made it clear we
want every child to get the best
education in life. I was the first
in my family to go to university, to
go on to become a lawyer, barrister
and into bond. My parents didn't
have a lot of money. I paid my way
to being a young barrister. I want
every child on merits to get there.
I accept the education and costing
at the moment which is raised with
me by constituents is very
So would you bring down
We need to look at everything
will stop this review would look at
ensuring we get the right amount of
resources for courses. We look at
the issue of interest. Make sure the
point for students and affordability
is a tad. The point you raise about
the cost of running those courses,
and also the benefit as to the
economy as a whole.
interfere in a market in the way
David Willetts has said the
government should not do?
We need to
look at the whole aspect. To make
sure we get the right system in
place and address the issue of cost.
We have one of the most expensive...
You were responsible, you were in
the coalition government that raised
I wanted to make sure more
people from disadvantaged
backgrounds were able to go to
higher education, and I am proud
All the warnings that
children, students from
disadvantaged families would not and
would stop going to university, that
has not materialised.
I think that
is right, but over the last year we
have seen numbers start to drop, the
ratio of numbers between
disadvantaged students compare to
the most advantaged, is getting
higher in terms of accessing higher
education. Disadvantaged students
finish university with much greater
depth than advantaged students,
57,000 instead of 40 3000. That's
because of the maintenance grant and
loan is being taken away, and a
system of student fees. They also
less likely to earn the same amount
as more advantaged students.
concern is about students from less
well-off families, students who
struggle to meet some of the cost as
well as having some of the debts
despite the job they might get at
the end. Do you accept abolishing
tuition fees would help the very
richest students as well?
help every student.
Is that the
right way to devise a system?
just about the ratio, it's the
culture of debt it creates. Students
leaving with an average of £50,000
after three years in university is
not good for the society or the
country. The last financial crash
started as a result partly as a
consequence of the culture of debt
Is it the same student
debt people take out credit cards?
It is treated differently. Just to
pick on something they have touched
on here, the variable fees. The
proposals we have seen from the
secretary of State in the last
couple of days have suggested
science stem courses should be
charged at a higher rate than arts
courses. Companies looking at that
thinking, we have a huge skills gap
in Stem subjects will think, why on
earth would we deter students even
more than we do currently. It
doesn't look that access to those
courses at all.
We don't but
students who want to do Stem
subjects. Listening to the Secretary
of State, he said it's something the
government will ensure, extra
resources are put in place to
support Stem subjects. The review
will take into account all aspects
of supporting students with regards
to Stem subjects to ensure that
those who can contribute more to the
economy given the support they need.
This government has been ever eight
years, why does it want another
review? It's a government that's out
You say it's a
straightforward scenario where you
would wipe student debt and abolish
tuition fees, which would cost about
12 billion. And use the same
money... 11.2 billion, and you would
use corporation tax to pay for that
and the social health care service
and policing, so the same money goes
over and over again. Your figures...
Labour has promised to abolish
tuition fees. Politically, that is
difficult for the Conservative Party
to ever match.
I don't think we
should match it. The trouble is, if
I had £11 billion to spend on
education, which would be a
fantastic opportunity, helping
affluent graduates would not be a
high priority. It should go to
nurseries and schools and
universities. Given, as you
established, the crucial politics of
all this is that it is not like
conventional debt. It is not an
overdraft or mortgage. I think
parents fear it somehow makes it
harder for their kids to get started
on the housing ladder, because it is
a debt, but it does not get in the
way of accessing conventional
borrowing to help their lives as
Our most dedicated fans will have
noticed that the Daily Politics
was off air last week
as Parliament wasn't sitting.
But that doesn't mean
politics grinds to a halt.
So what did we miss last week?
On Wednesday, Boris Johnson,
gave his Valentine's address -
billed as message of love
for liberal Remainers,
saying that Brexit was not "not some
reactionary Faragist concept",
but that it would be "a disastrous
mistake" to try to stop it.
On Saturday, Theresa May landed
in Munich with a message
of reassurance to European partners
over security - with a continuing
commitment to Europol
and the European Arrest Warrant -
even if that meant some ongoing role
for the European Court of Justice.
And then there were tabloid stories
alluding to meetings
between a former Czechoslovakian spy
and Jeremy Corbyn in the 1980s.
Labour says the stories
And finally, Ukip will need to find
yet another leader as leader
Henry Bolton was ousted
in an extraordinary general
meeting of the party
in Birmingham on Saturday.
Well, to pick on some of those
stories and also to talk us
through the week ahead,
I'm joined now by Lucy Fisher of
The Times and Henry Mance of the FT.
Welcome to both of you. Henry,
journalists were not allowed into
the extraordinary meeting, but you
somehow managed to smuggle yourself
into the room.
I got lucky. I'm
amazed I wasn't spotted because I
was half the age of everyone there.
I hitched on somebody
who had a copy of the Financial
Times at the event and sat quietly
with a flyer saying, back Henry
Bolton. I didn't use my phone, there
was a strict ban, and it was an
amazing sight seeing people get up
to make speeches in 1500 people
there, to the credit of Ukip.
atmosphere around Henry Bolton?
pretty muted reception, you could
tell straightaway he was going. The
reason they didn't allow journalists
in was they were terrified of other
political opponents getting videos
of leading party members going at
each other, which they did. There
were threats of legal action, people
were late. It was a political
It underlines everything you
ever believe. Gerard Batten is the
interim leader. Who will be the next
leader and will the party survive?
It could be Gerard Batten. He wants
it going in the direction of being
an anti-Islam party. In the last
leadership election that Henry
Bolton windbag, there is a large
portion of the party who want to go
that direction. There was a female
candidate running on that ticket.
There is some suggestion Suzanne
Evans, former Tory councillor and
long-time Ukip figure, could run.
I'm not sure it has a future. One
problem is the finances will stop
once we leave the European Union
they will no longer have any peas
and on top of that they have a
£200,000 bill for a libel case due.
I think it's unclear how they will
Are their votes up for
There are not that many of
them left. Two, three and 4% in the
opinion polls, not standing in most
seats last time, so we are getting
close to the bottom already.
Haigh, the story about the Labour
leader meeting a former
Czechoslovakian spy. Some saying
that he paid Jeremy Corbyn to pass
on information to Prague and Moscow,
a charge the Labour leader denies.
It has been reiterated there is
nothing in the archive to suggest
Jeremy Corbyn was an informer, but
he was a person, according to our
source, of interest to the Secret
Service. Are you comfortable with
the fact the Labour leader was a
person of interest to the
Czechoslovakian Secret Service when
they were enemies in the Cold War?
have seen conflicting reports. You
said that Jeremy Corbyn was paid
money, I have seen of the reports
were under no circumstances did he
give Jeremy Corbyn money. Reports
are very thin.
He admitted he met a
Czechoslovakian diplomat, but are
you comfortable with the fact that
there was contact between the Labour
leader, he says a Czechoslovakian
diplomat, and others have said he
was a former agent. Are you
comfortable with the fact those
contacts were made in the Cold War?
Jeremy has been interested in
foreign policy issues his entire
career. I don't know if he was sat
on the foreign policy select
committee at the time but he has sat
on it in the past. You meet people
from other countries and other
governments in all walks of life in
this job. I don't think there is any
issue with him eating this
individual, if he claims to be a
diplomat at the times. And as MPs we
do not have the ability to vet
people when they come in, we can't
double-check if they say who they
are. You have to take people at face
value when they come to see you.
say you don't have the ability to
vet people, but it is important to
know the details of any contact.
Jeremy Corbyn was a backbench MP
then, but is now leader of the
Labour Party, any contact he may
have had with people in the Eastern
Bloc when the Cold War was going on.
That should absolutely be put on the
table. But Jeremy and John McDonnell
and Ken Livingstone have all denied
absolutely that they were informants
or agents or anything of this
nature. I believe this former spy
also claims the Czechoslovakians
were behind live aid as well. It
seems he not a particularly reliable
around Jeremy Corbyn's antipathy
towards what he sees as western
imperialism and his past sympathies
for some... The Soviet bloc. It has
put those back front and centre of
the discourse. Whether this will
bent support for him, I am not
convinced, people knew about these
contacts, these sentiments that he
had, before the general election and
it did not hurt him then.
As recently as 2013, Jeremy Corbyn
said Hugo Chavez had made a massive
contribution to the world, people
know that these on one extreme, if
he were Prime Minister, we would see
a change to foreign policy, we
should be aware that there is a big
change on the table.
about Boris Johnson's speech from
last week. Did not land in quite the
way that the Foreign Secretary may
He is seen as a
toxic figure among Remainers, even
before stepping out on stage, Chuka
Umunna, he said he was completely
unqualified to preach, as they put
it. To me, his speech was
interesting only, -- interesting
tonally coming he was talking about
a deal, it was a speech aimed at
Theresa May and the rest of the
cabinet colleagues, urging them to
try to make more of a positive tone
around Brexit, there has been a
vacuum on that side of the debate.
Apart from time, what was the most
important thing that Boris Johnson
He made it very clear, where
people are doubting ability to go
out there and make a great success
of Brexit, he put it clearly, for us
as a country, this is a great
opportunity to go out there, forge
relationships around the world, and
make sure we can benefit as much as
we can from the new relationship we
are going to have with... What was
said about the new relationship?
What he said very clearly, we are
leaving the European Union but not
leaving Europe, so therefore...
that is but that is rhetoric, that
is rhetoric. INAUDIBLE
As Lucy Fisher was saying, that was
about time, optimistic note, what
did he say of any importance in
terms of the negotiations?
said was, look, our relationship
with Europe, we want an enhanced
relationship at every level, whether
with defence, security, whether it
is with trade. We are not leaving
European partners, leaving the
European Union, we want to bring the
deal with us. It is in their
interest and our interest and we
have the commitment to make that
When the trade bill comes
back to the Commons, there will be
an amendment calling for Britain to
remain in the customs union, would
you both have that amendment?
don't know who is putting it forward
so I cannot commit.
Would you vote
for an amendment that Britain should
stay in the customs union?
Personally I would, I don't think it
should be cut off the table and I
don't see how we can resolve the
hard border issue without a customs
union or the customs union.
you like to see Jeremy Corbyn
whipped Labour MPs into voting for a
motion that would say that Britain
stays in the customs union.
Depending upon the text, I would
You would like to see
the Labour leadership vote. --
what if Theresa May were defeated,
she has categorically said that we
will leave. We have made it very
Labour whips. Labour have
already tried to frustrate the
process, 243 Labour MPs had not vote
for the European withdrawal bill
which would end the supremacy of the
European laws, we have made it
clear, we want to make this a
success, they can frustrate its.
is called accountability, not
Rest of the Leslie,
result of the referendum will not
even be accepted, amendment after
Before we get into too much more
bickering, thank you very much with
The Government is facing calls
for an early Commons vote
on whether to press ahead with plans
to cut the number of
MPs from 650 to 600.
Parliament is due to vote
in the autumn on new parliamentary
boundaries, based on rule changes
introduced by the coalition in 2011.
However, the Public Administration
and Constitutional Affairs Committee
is warning today that the measure
is unlikely to pass and,
unless Parliament decides
to have a new boundary review,
the next election will be fought
on the existing boundaries based
on population data more than 20
years out of date.
the Deputy Secretary
to the Boundary Commission
for England, he joins me now.
If there were to be a new boundary
review, would your heart sink if you
had to do it again?
Thank you, good
afternoon, would be a little
frustrating as staff, I have to
admit, given that we did start a
review in 2011 after new legislation
was passed, and that failed to get
to the end for various reasons. To
have it happen again would be
Would just about be
possible, gave evidence to the
committee around the turn of the
year, the current arrangements ask
us to complete a review, in short
three years, end to end, the
legislation requires us through
various stages of consultation, we
have some 35,000 responses, in the
review so far, takes a long time to
look through those.
As Nelly, what
would you think of the idea of a new
boundary review, keeping the same
number of MPs, 650?
The number is just the
number for us at the end of the day.
It is the number we must work with,
how we must distribute it across the
country, according to a formula. It
is what it is. The number. We do not
have a view, certainly not publicly
on what the number should be, that
is a matter for politicians and
Thank you very much.
Would you like to see a new review,
as is being suggested by the Commons
public administration Constitutional
affairs committee and Bernard Jenkin
your colleague to keep the number of
MPs at 650?
I had a manifesto
commitment to reduce it down to 200,
-- reduce it from 650 down to 600, I
want that to go ahead because it is
important to have a similar level of
representation in parliament but the
points made by Bernard of course we
have to look at the data that was
used was prior to 2015, some say the
data is slightly outdated, and...
The data they used this was
2015... For the current boundaries,
the previous one, 20 years, yes you
are absolutely right.
important to actually be in a
situation if the Prime Minister
says, she is going to go ahead with
cutting the number, if it does not
have the support of MPs, if it is
not going to get through.
a brilliant college, working very
hard on the committee, but there is
a manifesto commitment from us the
Conservatives to reduce the cost of
politics to ensure that members of
Parliament have equal constituents,
who I think it is fair that I have
72000 and others may have 45,000, I
think that is unfair.
Will it get
It is a manifesto
commitment and I would like to
Do you support it?
the idea that this is cutting the
cost of politics, when the Tories
have packed the House of Lords with
Tony Blair did it.
This is about cutting
the number of Labour seats, because
the number of people not in the
electoral register in Labour areas
is going to be higher than...
you... The point to reduce the
number of constituencies and make
them a more equal size in terms of
the number of people and
constituencies, that is fair.
absolutely, I support the principle
but as Raymond has said, the
electoral data they are using, that
they use the 2015, it is already
well out of date, more than a
million extra people registered to
vote ahead of the European
referendum, tens of thousands of
additional students, are we saying
their votes do not count and will
not count in the boundary review?
Will you support a new review? Yes,
You will back the proposal
by Bernard Jenkins. Will it get
through if there is not a new
I think the wafer thin
majority for the Tories at the
moment, they will struggle to vote
to reduce the number of MPs to 600.
I'm sorry to say this to you, you
may be conducting a new review,
dispiriting as it sounds(!) thank
There seems to have been a seismic
shift in sexual politics in the last
six months with the "Me Too"
campaign, the debate
about the gender pay gap
and the ending of "grid girls"
in Formula One racing.
But is it
to exploit their beauty?
Sociologist Catherine Hakim thinks
women should use their "erotic
capital" to get ahead.
Here's her soapbox.
MUSIC: Flashing Lights
by Kanye West ft Dwele.
# Flashing lights
The BBC, Tesco and other employers
have started analyses of the reasons
for the differences between men
and women and their earnings.
However, some feminist campaigners
have started to destroy women's
ability to exploit their good looks
and charm, or what I would call,
their "erotic capital."
Women have a clear advantage
in exploiting their
good looks over men.
# As I recall, I know you love
to show off
# But I never thought that
you would take it this far
# What do I know?
Any activity, any enterprise,
is raised to a higher level
if those involved
are attractive, beautiful,
Airlines know this,
restaurants and bars know it.
Beautiful women sell more goods
and services than beautiful men.
So that's why we have Formula 1 grid
girls, darts showgirls,
and in the United States
there are beautiful young
cheerleaders at half-time
in major sporting events.
No one objects to David Beckham
earning millions from posing
in underwear, almost naked,
on huge billboards in public places.
So why do we object to women doing
exactly the same thing?
Objections come from
deeply-rooted patriarchal values
that are still embedded
in modern sexual politics.
instead of eliminating.
Modern objections, modern
are now against women
exploiting their good looks
instead of encouraging them
to negotiate for higher pay.
The returns to attractiveness
equal the returns to
Those who have erotic capital
have a huge advantage.
Men and women with a good
good looks and a pleasant manner,
can earn on average between 10%
and 20% more than other people.
people earn lots more.
Rihanna has exploited her good looks
and has been photographed in public
wearing semi-nude dresses.
Why do we treat lesser-earning
Just like men, women should be able
to earn their living
doing whatever they want,
stripping, lap dancing,
Page 3 photoshoots, burlesque shows.
Women should be allowed
to exploit their erotic capital
in exactly the same way
men already do.
STUDIO: And Catherine
Hakim joins me now.
Last night, at the BAFTA awards, all
the female stars turned out in
black, to show solidarity with the
movement against sexual harassment.
Are you on the wrong side of the
argument here, especially with the
It is fashionable to
join this campaign, this #metoo
campaign, it is fashionable to wear
black to show solidarity but
actually, it is a backlash towards
patriarchal and puritanical
attitudes towards erotic sexuality,
Isn't it a backlash
against men having dominated in
semi-spheres of life and women
feeling ill treated, in gender pay
or sexual harassment?
I won't go
into the pay gap, that is being
dealt with by legislation in Britain
and North America, but...
it was against women exploiting good
looks, I say it is a backlash
against the way they have been
treated in various spheres, whether
it is at work or outside in the
People have changed
their attitudes towards the way they
treat women in public life, there is
no question there has been a huge
change there. An awful lot of the
complaints today are about
historical things, about things that
happened ten fifth, ten, 20 years
You don't think it is right to
It is not the time
banned worth the time and effort
that is being spent on it, what we
should look at is the way forward in
the 21st-century, erotic capital
still has value, in fact, in my
book, I show that it has more value
in the 21st-century than it did in
the past, so we will have an
increasing problem of what is called
sexual harassment which is a lot of
the time men paying attention to
women because they are attracted to
What do you say to that, it
is not worth the time being spent,
to look at and investigate historic
cases of sexual harassment or where
women have been exploited and
actually, because of some of the
campaigns running now, it will lead
to a further backlash of sexual
I think what the #metoo
campaign has its boast is that
sexual harassment and abuse of women
is still going on in every industry,
in every sector of our society
today, it was worse 40, 50 years ago
but it is still going on in
Westminster, in journalism, in all
sectors, and I believe that the need
to campaign is a backlash to the
object of vocation of women, to the
perception of women as passive
creatures on the sidelines of men's.
What about Rhianna, what about...
She goes on to the stage half naked.
Nothing against sexual empowerment,
the problem I have with the Grid
girls, with the darts, women are
seen as passive creatures, the men
are daredevil races and sportsmen.
Little boys and girls watching that
teaches them something terrible
about the society.
Is there a difference between women
being able to capitalise their
erotic capital, as you call it.
Questions about whether Grid girls
and darts walk on girls should be
banned. Why shouldn't they be?
Beauty has always had an erotic
element. The reason David Beckham
earns millions from posing naked is
because there is an erotic element
there. It's a very puritanical
reaction to say women shouldn't earn
money by being beautiful and
attractive, decorating and being
involved in public events, sports
events and other events.
many public events are that way you
see men and boys being decorative in
the same way. We don't have Grid
boys or walk on boys in darts.
Perhaps we should have them. George
Clooney has no compunction at all
about earning millions from the fact
that he decorates adverts for copy
machines. We -- coffee machines. We
allow men to do it.
Do you accept
that hasn't been a tradition in the
past of allowing boys and men to be
exposed in the same way as women and
We see more and more of it
And you think it's a good
I think it's equalising.
think we do treat George Clooney
differently when advertising
products than we do with other
Hollywood stars. In Caitlin Moran's
book, how to make a woman, she says
the basic tenet of whether sexism is
happening is whether the men are
having to do it. Our men walking on
female sports stars, do they wave
flight smack as women drive past in
Formula 1 cars? They are not,
because men are not systematically
and routinely objectified in
Why should women be
prevented from using their good
looks to earn decent money in
Formula 1 and darts competitions?
believe in a free society and that
it's up to each individual on how
they want to dress, how they don't
want to dress and what they want to
do within the parameters of the law,
there should always be respected and
civility towards one another. When I
go to sports events, I want to see
glamour girls be dropped?
it's up to each organisation to
determine what is right for them.
It's not up to me as a politician to
regulate what sporting organisations
should do. There should always be
respected and civility but it's up
to each sporting organisation to
determine how they run themselves.
Would you accept there is a
difference between George Clooney,
David Beckham and Rihanna, who do
what they do from a position of
power and high levels of income, and
it's not the same as men and women
who are earning far less and doing
it to survive?
No, I don't think
there is a difference. Everybody who
works is working for an income,
whether it's high or low. I don't
think we should treat people who are
less famous than David Beckham and
George Clooney as being inferior
people who are unable to make their
own choices about how they want to
earn their living and what they want
to do with their lives. We are
infantilising women at the moment. I
am writing a book on sexual
politics, and one of the key themes
that seems to come up again and
again is women are being
infantilised as if they are unable
to make decisions about their lives,
choose their occupations and make a
calculation as to whether they want
to be a stripper or not, whether
they want to earn a lot of money in
just one night, which the they might
spend a whole month earning as a
shelf filler. That's a choice women
have to make. And they might have a
huge advantage if they have good
looks and they can exploit that. On
average women are a lot more
attractive than men, and that's a
permanent factor, seems to me.
Rehman Chishti, what do you say to
I thought my youthful looks
were going pretty well!
It's been well over 18
months since Britain took
the momentous decision to leave
the European Union.
But judging by the number
of new groups being set up arguing
the pros and cons of leaving the EU
you'd be forgiven for thinking
that the decision hasn't necessarily
been settled for good.
Today sees the launch
of a new anti-Brexit party called
Renew which has reportedly been
getting advice from MPs in
Emmanuel Macron's En Marche party.
As well as Renew, who we saw there,
a group of pro-Brexit academics has
also been launched to provide expert
analysis in favour of leaving
the European Union.
So, joining me now,
is Dr Graham Gudgin,
a Cambridge University economist
and the editor of
Briefings for Brexit.
Aand we also have James Torrance,
a co-founder of Renew -
he's in central London
where the party is being officially
launched right now.
James Torrance, why do we need an
anti-Brexit party, when we already
have the Liberal Democrats and the
The SNP are not
national and the Liberal Democrats
have been widely discredited. The
Green Party are very focused on a
particular range of issues as well
as Brexit. We need a party to
provide an anti-Brexit message that
is rooted in pragmatic and centrist
policies that fix the problems in
society rather than create new ones.
I have to apologise because the
quality of the lying to you is not
very good. We will try again. -- the
quality of the line to you. This is
a little that the video of Renew
that you have released.
Hello, my name is James,
I'm an accountant from London.
Hi, I'm Yuki, I'm a junior
doctor here in London.
I'm a small-business owner.
I have a consultancy
based in London.
I'm Nicky Blair, and I live
and work in south London.
I'm really excited about Renew,
partly because of its attitude
towards Brexit and the belief it
should be reversed.
I thought you had to be involved
in traditional politics,
that somehow you needed some
connection to do that.
I'm really fed up with the way
that I feel this country
is being represented
by our MPs in Parliament.
Where I have felt disillusioned
with politics and really didn't know
where to base my vote at the last
general election, it's heartening
to me to feel that people
are passionate enough to step
forward and actually start again.
That's the video on the home page of
your website, James Torrance. Why is
everybody featured from London?
think they were filmed right at the
beginning of our escapade, and we
started in London. The reality is
today we have more than 200
candidates from all over the UK,
from northern Scotland is to the
south-west. We have a good cluster
of candidates in the north-east. I
think today we are a national party
with rapid sensation all of the UK.
People might ask why you didn't
include people from all around the
UK later. -- with representation all
over the UK. Graham, why do we need
pro Brexit academics?
As many of the
arguments haven't been made in the
press. We want to count the
accusations that Brexit supporters
are ill educated, misinformed,
misled, or Lord help us, even
Isn't that an
admission at the bounds of expert
opinion in academia and elsewhere is
very worried about Brexit and the
likely economic consequences?
think what you say is true. The
evidence suggests up to 90% of
university academics support remain.
The problem is, they get all the
airtime and the arguments. And there
are plenty of very senior academics
and very experienced people in other
areas of life who support Brexit,
and their arguments have not got out
very much. What we are trying to do
is give a platform for those people
and for those arguments.
I take your
point is that you feel they haven't
had the air time, although we
certainly do have people like you on
on a regular basis talking about
Brexit and its advantages, but you
do accept it's a minority of your
colleagues to support your views.
Yes, but if you want to count heads,
we have the referendum and we know
the result. We are now in a part of
the national debate in which we are
trying to debate what is the best
way forward. Now it's the quality of
argument is that really count and we
are trying to put forward
have heard that experts at the civil
service are saying Brexit will hit
growth by up to 8% over the next 15
years and a free-trade deal would
only add 0.2% to growth over the
same period. Do you think that's the
reason so many experts and academics
believe the sums on Brexit don't add
It's an important reason why
people voted to remain. I think the
polling shows that on the remains
side at least, the economic
consequences were the biggest
factor. But myself and colleagues at
Cambridge and Ulster University in
Northern Ireland have been looking
at it very carefully and we are the
only people in the UK who fully
represented the analysis of the
Treasury and OECD, and we find them
deeply flawed, greatly exaggerated
on the negative side, and we are in
a situation where we had the leaked
report last week that again gave
negative figures, but we're not told
who produced the figures, or how the
analysis was done. It was
essentially a secret report,
Presumably it was commissioned by
the government aren't done by the
civil service. Back to James
Torrance, how do you respond to the
assertion that there are many
Remainers Mac and remain sporting
groups who treat leave voters like
they are stupid.
I don't believe
that at all. It's mainly leave
voters who generally repeat that. We
take the concerns of leave voters
very seriously, which is one of the
reasons we believe a new party is
the right answer. There are many
problems that exist in this country
that need to be resolved, but we
think Brexit is a poor way of
addressing it and will ultimately
make it worse.
There are reports in
the press saying one of your leaders
walked out in the press conference.
Is that true, what happened?
was me, actually! I came out of the
press conference to give this
That's hilarious. That clears that
one up. Just before we go, you said
the purpose of your website is to
fight the propaganda that dismisses
leave voters. Do you have people
like the Renew party and anti-Brexit
parties in mind when you say that?
think we have the media in general
and politics in general.
pleased to hear what James has just
said, but that's clearly not the
norm on the media. We have had
hundreds and hundreds of responses
since we set up this website 24
hours ago, largely from people who
say they feel they have been
ignored, marginalised, and maligned,
and how glad they are to see there
are prominent academics who take the
same view as they do.
for a free trade with America to
make up for lost trade with the EU,
it would have to be an enormously in
terms of what people think is
actually achievable. Is it credible?
There are two things in that
You will have to be very
brief because we are running out of
We don't believe the gap is
very big, and it will take time,
there will be some gap, and we
believe it will be relatively
moderate and take some time to fill.
Thank you for doing that briefly.
Thank you to both of you. The answer
to our quiz now, which politician
did Morrissey criticise, Nicola
Sturgeon, David Cameron, Theresa May
or Jeremy Corbyn?
It was Nicola
Sturgeon, well done.
We will be back
tomorrow at noon. Goodbye.
Conservative MP Rehman Chishti and Labour's Louise Haigh keep Jo Coburn company throughout the programme. They examine plans to reform higher education and the proposed boundary review, and look at the political week ahead with the journalists Lucy Fisher and Henry Mance.