27/02/2018 Daily Politics


27/02/2018

Jo Coburn is joined by the Labour mayor of Bristol Marvin Rees to discuss Brexit and the Northern Ireland border, local government funding and the state of the Labour party.


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Transcript


LineFromTo

Hello and welcome to

the Daily Politics.

0:00:400:00:43

Forget the weather forecast -

it's a Brexit blizzard this week.

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The International Trade Secretary

Liam Fox will spell out why

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he thinks Jeremy Corbyn was wrong

to bring the idea of a customs union

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post Brexit back in from the cold.

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As the EU gets ready to release

a legal document of what was agreed

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between the EU and UK on the Irish

border in December, are the two

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sides further apart than we thought?

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Could changes to the benefit system

coming into force next month leave

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thousands of low-income

families with what amounts

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to a second mortgage?

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We look at the proposals.

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And, as two vocal critics

of Jeremy Corbyn stand down

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from key party positions,

what does the future hold

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for the Labour Party?

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All that in the next hour

and with us for the whole

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of the programme today,

Mayor of Bristol Marvin Rees.

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Welcome to the programme.

Hello.

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First, as the Labour Party

cemented its position on staying

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in a customs union with the EU

yesterday, International Trade

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Secretary Liam Fox is set to hit

back in a speech in London shortly.

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Norman Smith is there.

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Norman, what are we expecting the

international trade secretary to

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say?

I think it is largely going to

be a restatement of arguments we are

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familiar with, namely that by

leaving the customs union the UK

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will have the ability to strike its

own free trade deals and look for

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deals outside the EU, which is the

real growth area in terms of the

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world economy. For many Brexiteers,

that is a golden opportunity of

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Brexit, to take advantage of all of

these untapped markets. The trouble

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is, into that Frey has stepped Sir

Martin Donnelly. Who is he? He is

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the man who used to run Liam Fox's

department until March last year so

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he was sitting next to Liam Fox,

coming up with all these plans, and

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this he has taken something of all

Dr Fox's argument, saying that

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leaving the customs union and single

market is such a bad idea, would be

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so damaging, that a future UK

Government is probably going to have

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to ask to rejoin the single market

and the customs union because, he

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says, it would place a British

companies at a competitive

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disadvantage with the rest of the

EU. He suggests it would deter

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inward investment, that British

producers would be less competitive

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because they would not have to abide

by the rigours of the internal

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market and he says the UK would go

from being one of the most open

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economies in the world to being one

of the most bureaucratic, and he

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lists all the different bits of

regulation and paperwork British

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companies will have to comply with

to export to the EU - country of

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origin regulations, hygiene

regulations, security regulations,

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VAT payments and, crucially, he says

that if we hope we will be able to

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secure more lucrative deals outside

the EU than through the EU, we are

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kidding ourselves.

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If you look at where we are now,

with fair and equal access

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to the very large, rich EU market,

which is nearly half

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of our service and goods exports,

plus preferential access to other

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markets, which gets us up

to about three fifths of our trade,

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if you are going to give that up

for the promise of some bilateral

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deals with markets that are much

less important to us,

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well, it's like giving up a three

course meal for a packet of crisps.

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It's just not equivalent.

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And we have to recognise

that reality before

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we take this decision.

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And as if that wasn't good enough,

he also says the British

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government's objective of

negotiating near frictionless trade

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with the EU outside the single

market doesn't need a crack

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negotiating team, he says, it needs

a fairy godmother!

But is fairly

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crushing stuff, isn't it, for Liam

Fox personally, and the Government?

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How will he take that on, the

international trade secretary, do

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you think?

It is a fundamental

disagreement. We have already heard

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a little bit from Boris Johnson when

he was asked about this, saying he

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profoundly disagrees with the

analysis. They believe that the real

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golden goose of Brexit are these

markets outside the EU, which we

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have failed to tap into at the

moment. But let's be honest, the

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timing of the speech could hardly be

worse because we have Liam Fox

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making one of the keynote Brexit

speeches, the road to Brexit, we

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have heard from Boris Johnson, David

Davis and a little bit from Mrs May,

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we will hear more at the end of the

week. This was Liam Fox's moment and

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along comes as former top civil

servant trying to debunk everything

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he's got to say and why this

matters, I think, is because this

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follows very obviously from Jeremy

Corbyn positioning Labour on the

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side of the customs union. We know

the CBI and the IoD even seem

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sympathetic to the customs union and

added on top of that we have Liam

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Fox's former top man saying you

would be daft to leave the customs

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union and the single market.

Thank

you, we will let you go and listen

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to the speech. Marvin, Bristol voted

nearly 62 % to remain. Following on

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the back of Jeremy Corbyn confirming

Labour's position of wanting a

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customs union with the EU, would you

like to see him go further and say

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Britain should remain in the single

market as well?

I think this is the

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best we can do while not being part

of the EU so I welcome it absolutely

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but it lives in our city's interest

to remain as close as we can. 88 the

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centre of our exports from Bristol

go to our EU partners and I have

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heard businesses in the city already

talked about losing orders as firms

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on the continent begin to make

decisions that disadvantage

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Bristol-based business is. What we

need at a local level is cities all

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around this country to have some

certainty. One of the good things we

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have got from Jeremy's speech is a

good idea of what is going to happen

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and what we are not getting from

Government is any clarity about what

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is on the table.

Why not push it

further? Many Labour MPs want to see

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Labour say that Britain would remain

part of the single market.

We need

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to respect the vote, I respect the

national referendum result but in my

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own city as an elected leader, I

want to push to keep the city

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connected to the European market. I

support what Jeremy is doing and we

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must remain as close as we can to

protect the interests of our

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businesses and all the employment

that comes with it. This argument

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about sovereignty is one that I get

incredibly frustrated with. If we

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impoverish people we are not more

sovereign.

What about Labour leaders

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who said they wanted to take back

control?

I don't agree. The whole

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argument about taking back control

is a false argument. If we

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impoverish people they are not more

sovereign.

Let's leave it there.

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Now it's time for our daily quiz.

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Post Brexit, one of Winston

Churchill's favourite tipples

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is going to be sold in pint-sized

bottles - a size that Churchill

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considered to be just perfect.

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But which drink is it?

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Is it...

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A - a dry martini?

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B - champagne?

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C - brandy?

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Or D - claret?

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They look very inviting!

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At the end of the show, Marvin

will give us the correct answer.

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I am not an

expert!

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Tomorrow, the European Commission

will agree a draft legal text that

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aims to translate December's phase

one agreement in the Brexit

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negotiations into a

binding legal document.

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That draft will then be looked over

by the individual member states

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before it's used as the basis

for further negotiations

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with the UK.

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You'll recall sufficient progress

was reached in December

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on three main issues -

namely citizens' rights,

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the divorce bill and maintaining

an open Irish border after Brexit.

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But with many on all sides

claiming the deal fudged

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the question of the border,

it looks set to return

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to centre stage on Wednesday.

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In December, the UK and EU

agreed on three options

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to ensure there wouldn't be a "hard

border" in Ireland...

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A new comprehensive free trade

agreement that would remove the need

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for any real change at the border...

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Or the UK could propose

specific technical solutions

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to mitigate the need

for physical infrastructure.

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Or, in the absence of other agreed

solutions, the UK would maintain

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full alignment with EU regulations

on both sides of the border that

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support North-South co-operation

and the all-Ireland economy.

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The DUP were concerned to ensure

there was no economic border down

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the Irish Sea in such a scenario.

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So a paragraph was inserted

asserting there'd be no

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regulatory barriers to trade

between Northern Ireland

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and Great Britain.

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That has led to conflicting

interpretations - with some

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in the EU assuming that the logic

dictates the UK as a whole

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would have to remain tightly bound

to EU rules and institutions -

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institutions the UK has repeatedly

insisted it will leave after Brexit.

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Some in the UK believe alignment can

mean reaching the same standards

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while diverging in the exact

form of regulations

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and that full alignment need only be

put in place for very specific areas

0:10:100:10:13

of North-South co-operation.

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Well, earlier, Foreign

Secretary Boris Johnson

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was on the Today programme -

and he was asked how the UK's plans

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for the border would work.

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We think that we can have very

efficient facilitation systems

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to make sure there's no need

for a hard border, excessive

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checks at the frontier

between Northern Ireland

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and the Republic and, you know,

for people listening...

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You think we can have, though...

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There's no border...

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It's not good enough

to think you can have them,

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because the other side

don't believe you.

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There's no border between Islington

or Camden and Westminster.

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There's no border between Camden

and Westminster but when I was Mayor

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of London, we anaesthetically

and invisibly took of millions

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of pounds from the accounts

of people travelling between those

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two boroughs without any need

for border checks whatever.

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There are all sorts of things...

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Come on, you can't compare two

boroughs of London with the kinds

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of difference in the arrangements

that would be in place after Brexit

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between the UK and the EU.

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No, I think it's a very

relevant comparison.

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Boris Johnson there.

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Well, we can speak now

about the prospects for customs

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arrangements after Brexit

to Allie Renison - she's the head

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of Europe and trade policy

at the Institute of Directors.

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Let's pick-up on Boris Johnson's

assertion that there is a comparison

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of boarding a hard border in

Northern Ireland to those managing

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the boundary between two London

local authorities. Do you agree?

I

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think what the Foreign Secretary may

have been trying to do was to make

0:11:450:11:48

an argument to say that you can use

technology as far as is possible to

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come up with some solutions. I'm not

sure the example was totally

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comparable if I'm on us because you

are talking about putting a frontier

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border between the UK and the rest

of the EU going forward, so I think

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the scale is slightly different.

Is

a customs union, in the way Jeremy

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Corbyn, the Labour leader, has

outlined, sufficient to solve the

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problem of the border after Brexit?

No, it is a very important these but

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is by no means what would be

necessary to guarantee frictionless

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trade, simply because it deals with

the duty element of what happens

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when goods cross borders, which is

the traditional way customs border

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is manifest themselves but it

doesn't deal with the regulatory

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architecture. These days a lot of

checks pertain not only to whether

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you are paying the correct amount of

duty when a good crosses the border

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but whether you are in full

compliance with the rules of the

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marketed as crossing into.

So in

your mind it doesn't go far enough

0:12:410:12:45

to do with those issues. The joint

report talks specifically about

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specific rules support North/ South

cooperation, the protection of the

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Good Friday Agreement, the all

Ireland economy. Is the Good Friday

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Agreement what actually counts under

those headings?

The question is also

0:12:580:13:02

at what point that is going to be

put into effect because effectively,

0:13:020:13:06

that is an insurance policy option,

ie in the absence of a great

0:13:060:13:11

solutions, which most people would

read as if there is no agreement,

0:13:110:13:14

but if it gets to that point to

understand what those areas of

0:13:140:13:17

alignment would have to be, you have

to spell them out and I think the

0:13:170:13:22

EU's point and the Republic of

Ireland thinks you need to do that

0:13:220:13:24

sooner rather than later, to know

what they actually are.

When people

0:13:240:13:29

talk about Turkey having a customs

union with the EU, how would that be

0:13:290:13:34

used as a model for the UK?

I think

this is along the lines of what the

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IoD were proposing, working with the

government's ostensible redlines.

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The aim is to show you can be in a

customs union with the EU and

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negotiate meaningful trade

agreements so I think, for example,

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if you look at the US, there would

be one constraint on the UK's

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ability to completely negotiate if

it related to what the areas that

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you shared an external tariff on, so

industrial goods, that would be

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absolutely essential to avoid

introducing costly rules of origin

0:14:020:14:05

to apply between the EU and the UK

but it means you would have

0:14:050:14:12

prevented to negotiate on.

Van La

Parra metres of the Prime Minister's

0:14:120:14:15

like as to how speech and ongoing

negotiations, what you think is the

0:14:150:14:20

most likely option? -- within the

parameters.

I think it depends on

0:14:200:14:25

what the UK puts forward. If you

were looking at this through the

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prism of convention, a customs

border everywhere else, even between

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Norway and Sweden, where it is

pretty frictionless but there is

0:14:320:14:36

physical infrastructure on that land

border because they don't charge the

0:14:360:14:40

same duties on goods coming in... I

think it would be for the UK to put

0:14:400:14:45

its ideas on the table and if the EU

decides it is not sufficient and it

0:14:450:14:49

should be coming up with

counterproposals, I think the onus

0:14:490:14:52

is on the UK to put forward its

proposals but the EU can't be a

0:14:520:14:56

silent player. It has to engage on

what those proposals are.

Allie

0:14:560:15:00

Renison, thank you very much.

0:15:000:15:04

We can speak now to

Mairead McGuinness,

0:15:040:15:05

Vice President of the European

Parliament and Irish MEP

0:15:050:15:08

for the Fine Gael party

in Brussels and Sammy Wilson,

0:15:080:15:10

an MP for the Democratic

Unionist Party - who's

0:15:100:15:12

here with me in the studio.

0:15:120:15:14

Welcome to both of you. Do you

expect tomorrow that the draft legal

0:15:140:15:18

text will commit the UK to

maintaining full alignment with EU

0:15:180:15:23

regulations in the absence of other

solutions?

Yes, we do expect this

0:15:230:15:29

text to be published tomorrow and I

think that what we expect to see is

0:15:290:15:33

a translation of the agreement

pre-Christmas into legal text,

0:15:330:15:37

including that fallback position.

You've outlined in the programme the

0:15:370:15:40

three options. Clearly the first

option is the best, that we reach a

0:15:400:15:44

situation where this isn't a

problem. In the absence of that,

0:15:440:15:48

tomorrow I would expect that in the

legal text there is a recognition of

0:15:480:15:52

that third option, that if we fail

on both one and two that we have a

0:15:520:15:59

fallback position which secures our

concerns around the border on the

0:15:590:16:03

island of Ireland which shares our

concerns with the UK and in

0:16:030:16:08

particular my constituents that I

south of the border. Yes, tomorrow

0:16:080:16:10

I'll be looking at this text very

clearly and this morning I come from

0:16:100:16:14

a meeting with the parliament's

negotiator where they have clearly

0:16:140:16:20

outlined the protocol on eyelid is

key. In the future they can be no

0:16:200:16:27

diversions in norms, regulations and

standards between Northern Ireland

0:16:270:16:30

and the Republic of Ireland. That is

if you like the third option if all

0:16:300:16:34

else fails. I think people should

read it in that context rather than

0:16:340:16:38

as some members of the committee

reading it as almost a row

0:16:380:16:43

immediately. We need to be very

careful of how we interpret the text

0:16:430:16:47

tomorrow.

By full alignment, as you

have just explained, it is yours and

0:16:470:16:51

the EU's understanding that would be

entirely adopting or replicating

0:16:510:16:56

every single EU regulation.

Anything

that would avoid us having a

0:16:560:17:03

semblance of a border, a hard

border, any change to the

0:17:030:17:07

relationships to what happens on the

island of Ireland as the third and

0:17:070:17:12

final, if you like, offer in terms

of what should be done. But the

0:17:120:17:16

first and second are also on the

table and therefore from my

0:17:160:17:21

perspective, and I spoke this

morning in committee, I welcome a

0:17:210:17:24

repeat of the commitment to the

Irish issue. It was front and centre

0:17:240:17:29

of the discussions before Christmas.

It was one of the three priorities

0:17:290:17:33

and indeed we wondered whether we

would actually get to reaching

0:17:330:17:37

sufficient progress. We got working

with some difficulty and I know

0:17:370:17:41

you've got a DUP colleague and I'm

looking forward to his contribution.

0:17:410:17:45

They have particular concerns which

were taken on board and have to be

0:17:450:17:48

dealt with by the UK within the UK.

It beholds both sides of these

0:17:480:17:53

negotiations this week to move

forward in a positive framework.

0:17:530:17:57

Sammy Wilson, if the legal agreement

in the way Mairead has just

0:17:570:18:01

outlined, does commit the UK to

effectively remaining in the EU's

0:18:010:18:05

institutions as a backdrop Dunn

backstop, should the UK signed?

0:18:050:18:12

First of all, there's a gap in what

Mairead has outlined. The agreement

0:18:120:18:16

didn't just talk about the

relationship between Northern

0:18:160:18:19

Ireland and the Irish Republic. The

agreement, and it was signed by the

0:18:190:18:24

EU, also talked about the

unbreakable relationship between

0:18:240:18:28

Northern Ireland and the rest of the

United Kingdom. We would expect to

0:18:280:18:31

see that outlined in the legal

agreement, as well. They cannot pick

0:18:310:18:37

and choose and simply say where only

interested in the Northern Ireland,

0:18:370:18:41

Irish Republic relationship. They

have signed up to ensuring there

0:18:410:18:45

will be no change in the

constitutional position of Northern

0:18:450:18:48

Ireland. They've signed up to the

Belfast agreement commitments, that

0:18:480:18:52

bill be no change without the

consent of the people of Northern

0:18:520:18:56

Ireland, so therefore the legal

agreement must also reflect that

0:18:560:19:00

aspect of the December agreement.

Do

you accept that, Mairead?

I think

0:19:000:19:05

that that issue and this article,

paragraph 50, I've spoken about

0:19:050:19:10

paragraph 40 nine. Paragraph 50 was

an internal discussion to meet the

0:19:100:19:15

concerns of the DUP, who are of

course supporting the Conservative

0:19:150:19:19

government.

Should it be part of

this legal text?

Al just finished my

0:19:190:19:24

point if I may. As I see it, that is

something the UK needs to bear in

0:19:240:19:29

mind as to be able to deliver on. I

would rather go back to this

0:19:290:19:32

starting point here. We should in

this New Year and with time running

0:19:320:19:36

out focus on the best option, which

is option one. I would remind both

0:19:360:19:42

Sammy and your listeners, this

morning they were saying we wanted a

0:19:420:19:48

positive relationship with the UK.

That's in the interest not just of

0:19:480:19:52

politics but of people. And my

country on both sides of the border.

0:19:520:19:57

We are at this stage fighting before

we see the text and that is...

Is

0:19:570:20:03

that what you're doing?

I'm not...

Don't forget, it was the EU who

0:20:030:20:11

insisted that this had to be an

agreement. The December agreement

0:20:110:20:16

was an agreement that had to be

signed up by all parties. They has

0:20:160:20:19

to be happy with the text. We had to

be happy with the text. The text

0:20:190:20:24

includes paragraph 50. Paragraph 50

makes it very clear that there can

0:20:240:20:30

be no separation of Northern Ireland

from the rest of the UK. It is an

0:20:300:20:35

act of bad faith... It's an act of

bad faith is already the EU are

0:20:350:20:42

saying, by the way, this agreement

have 50 paragraphs but as far as the

0:20:420:20:47

50th is concerned, nothing to do

with us. They shouldn't have signed

0:20:470:20:50

up to it if that were the case.

Is

it your position, though... Kangol,

0:20:500:20:56

Mairead I'll come back to you. Is it

your position that you want Northern

0:20:560:21:01

Ireland to have a veto over the

capacity of Great Britain to

0:21:010:21:04

diverged?

It's not. The UK as a

whole voted to leave the EU. And the

0:21:040:21:10

United Kingdom as a whole should

leave the EU on the same basis.

0:21:100:21:16

That's not an Northern Ireland veto.

That is a UK decision. All we are

0:21:160:21:21

asking is that the result of the

referendum be respected. The result

0:21:210:21:25

of the agreement in December be

respected, and the EU and certainly

0:21:250:21:30

the Irish can't have the best of

both worlds, where they say, we have

0:21:300:21:35

to have an agreement in December and

by the way, when it comes to

0:21:350:21:39

February, some of those we want to

throw out the window.

Isn't it true

0:21:390:21:43

that this is at the door of view of

the British government? The majority

0:21:430:21:46

of people in Northern Ireland voted

to remain, only your party advocated

0:21:460:21:50

leaving. Why is it up to the Irish

or the EU to come up with a

0:21:500:21:57

solution? Why haven't you come up

with a solution to not having a hard

0:21:570:22:00

border?

We have. All those solutions

to date, the EU and the Irish have

0:22:000:22:06

not even been prepared to look at in

August of last year David Davis gave

0:22:060:22:11

a very detailed paper as to how you

can have a virtual border between

0:22:110:22:15

Northern Ireland and the Irish

Republic. The EU Parliament

0:22:150:22:17

commissioned a report from the

former director of the WTO, who also

0:22:170:22:23

said it was possible to have a

virtual border between Northern

0:22:230:22:27

Ireland and the Irish Republic. None

of those options are even being

0:22:270:22:31

considered. By the Irish governorate

or the argument all along has been

0:22:310:22:40

until we talk about the future trade

relationship, we cannot come up with

0:22:400:22:44

solutions technical or otherwise.

You saying the EU has already

0:22:440:22:47

decided that a nonstarter and some

of the solutions Sammy has spoken

0:22:470:22:51

about in terms of virtual border?

Can I just reissue at Sammy Wilson

0:22:510:22:56

of one thing? I have no desire to

see borders anywhere. The whole

0:22:560:23:00

reason of my being in politics as

being part of the EU is not to have

0:23:000:23:04

borders between people or countries,

but clearly now the UK is leaving,

0:23:040:23:08

and I think you were right to

reference the fact that, in Northern

0:23:080:23:12

Ireland, the majority voted to

remain and to some extent the DUP

0:23:120:23:16

vetoed that decision, I accept that

is the situation. We don't want

0:23:160:23:21

borders, either. What we have are

three possible solutions to a very

0:23:210:23:25

serious problem that I'm sure Sammy

Wilson shares my concerns about. We

0:23:250:23:30

need to build relationships on the

island of Ireland. They are

0:23:300:23:33

difficult at the moment and I agree

that any going backward, any

0:23:330:23:37

dividing of people psychologically

and physically, is not healthy for

0:23:370:23:39

the island of Ireland and the peace

process. Begin with a positive

0:23:390:23:45

outlook with option one and see that

in the text tomorrow, what we're

0:23:450:23:50

looking at is, in the withdrawal

agreement, if all else fails, we

0:23:500:23:52

have to have a safeguard and I think

that's in all our interests because

0:23:520:23:56

we don't want to be in October of

this year looking at something which

0:23:560:24:00

is a disaster. Prepare well and

therefore we would fail.

But you

0:24:000:24:04

haven't answered my question about

the solution that has been put

0:24:040:24:07

forward about a virtual border, a

technical solution to keep the

0:24:070:24:12

border as soft as possible. Do you

accept that those suggestions should

0:24:120:24:15

be looked into?

0:24:150:24:21

be looked into?

What I accept is,

and I've looked at that report, been

0:24:210:24:24

part of the discussion on them, what

I am arguing for, it is impossible

0:24:240:24:28

given the red lines of the UK, is

that the situation today, which is

0:24:280:24:32

the best option, should prevail.

Staying in the single market and

0:24:320:24:36

Customs union. Anything after that

causes me anxiety and concern.

0:24:360:24:40

That's why we have the fallback

option. When you say, should we

0:24:400:24:44

consider these other options? Our

choice, our best consideration,

0:24:440:24:50

should be given to have this strong

relationship. Good trading

0:24:500:24:53

partnership with the UK. Not to look

at technical solutions because

0:24:530:25:01

technical solutions do not get us

over relationships and the political

0:25:010:25:05

issues, which clearly still prevail

when it comes to the island of

0:25:050:25:10

Ireland but I think we should work

together.

That answer rests the nub

0:25:100:25:16

of the problem. That the Irish

insist and believe that we should

0:25:160:25:21

stay within the single market and

Customs union, even though the

0:25:210:25:24

people of the UK voted to leave. The

EU negotiators believe that, as

0:25:240:25:29

well, and our worry is best. That

the legal text which will be

0:25:290:25:33

produced tomorrow or Thursday, from

the leaks we have had so far, only

0:25:330:25:39

looks in detail at one option which

is the fallback option which would

0:25:390:25:45

require full regulatory alignment.

Because there is no interest in

0:25:450:25:49

negotiating on the terms that the

people of the UK have decided,

0:25:490:25:53

namely that we leave the EU and we

have a clean break with the EU. And

0:25:530:25:57

if that's the case, the legal text

will not only be unacceptable to the

0:25:570:26:03

DUP, I suspect it will be

unacceptable to the British

0:26:030:26:05

government.

Mairead, biweekly

heading towards Brickman ship? The

0:26:050:26:11

EU refuses to any technical

solutions and a hard border goes up

0:26:110:26:17

by default?

As far as I'm concerned,

as long as I'm in politics, a hard

0:26:170:26:23

border will not go up on the island

of Ireland. Let me say to Sammy

0:26:230:26:27

Wilson and am trying to be

conciliatory, I don't think we

0:26:270:26:30

really should be fighting over this.

Remember the farmers who voted to

0:26:300:26:35

leave, the DUP supporters who voted

to leave the EU. I accept their

0:26:350:26:39

vote, not the logic of it. They want

their lands to be processed in the

0:26:390:26:45

south of Ireland and sold to France.

They watched that to continue when

0:26:450:26:49

the UK leads the EU. If we have this

so-called managed divergences and in

0:26:490:26:53

fact ambitious managed divergences

have had from the UK side, how can

0:26:530:26:58

that happen? Let's get real, let's

get practical, let's get back to

0:26:580:27:03

grassroots. Solve this problem in

the interests of our people and

0:27:030:27:06

perhaps move the big politics to one

side.

We're running out of time,

0:27:060:27:13

Mairead .pl other bases of

negotiation rather than

0:27:130:27:16

confrontation. Sammy Wilson, given

the risks to the economy of Ireland,

0:27:160:27:20

because it would be devastating on

the island if there isn't a deal

0:27:200:27:23

that is done, is it your position

that the Irish government are acting

0:27:230:27:27

purely in political our faith?

Not

only political about-face, but there

0:27:270:27:32

are acting in a way which must be

incomprehensible to many of the

0:27:320:27:37

people who operate businesses in the

Irish Republic because this fixation

0:27:370:27:40

with the border between Northern

Ireland and the Irish Republic hides

0:27:400:27:43

the main issue, and that is that the

vast bulk of the Irish market is not

0:27:430:27:51

in Northern Ireland. They sell six

times more to the rest of the UK and

0:27:510:27:56

therefore concentrating on the

Northern Ireland Irish border and

0:27:560:28:02

wanting regulatory alignment between

those two parts of the island, are

0:28:020:28:06

they really saying they're prepared

to sacrifice the regulatory

0:28:060:28:09

alignment which we require to enable

them to sell their goods in Great

0:28:090:28:14

Britain but you might because if

they do I think that will be the

0:28:140:28:16

real devastation for the businesses.

Mairead, very briefly, Boris Johnson

0:28:160:28:21

says it's as easy as dealing with

the boundary between two London

0:28:210:28:24

Boris. You could deal with it in the

way we have a congestion charge in

0:28:240:28:27

the capital. Do you agree?

Well,

first of all, can I just say, there

0:28:270:28:33

is no bad faith on behalf of myself

as an Irish politician or my

0:28:330:28:37

government. I would reject that

absolutely. When it comes to Boris

0:28:370:28:40

Johnson's comments which I read and

heard with interest, I think Sammy

0:28:400:28:43

Wilson would be the first to say

that the UK is a different country

0:28:430:28:47

than the Republic of Ireland. We are

talking about two sovereign, UK and

0:28:470:28:52

the Republic of Ireland. The

comparison doesn't quite fit.

It

0:28:520:28:57

does it, Mairead. If you look at it

with a different tax regime, VAT,

0:28:570:29:03

excise duty is different. Yet

billions of pounds worth of goods

0:29:030:29:06

across that border, tax is paid, is

not a lorry is stopped to check the

0:29:060:29:12

goods because through virtual

methods, through IT, through

0:29:120:29:17

electronic invoicing, those taxes

are collected by both the Irish

0:29:170:29:20

government and the British

government. If it can work on that

0:29:200:29:23

basis it can work after we leave the

EU.

We have to leave it there. Thank

0:29:230:29:27

you both very much. Mairead, sorry,

that's the end of the interview!

0:29:270:29:32

Now, our guest of the day

Marvin Rees was the first directly

0:29:320:29:35

elected black Mayor in the UK

and he's the subject of a new film,

0:29:350:29:39

a biopic following his two election

campaigns in Bristol.

0:29:390:29:41

But, outside the city, the Mayor

isn't particularly well known.

0:29:410:29:43

Here at the Daily Politics we pride

ourselves on delivering public

0:29:430:29:46

service broadcasting at its finest -

so in that tradition, Paul Barltrop,

0:29:460:29:49

BBC West Political Editor has

the lowdown on Marvin the man.

0:29:490:29:52

May 2016 and Bristol have

elected a new mayor.

0:29:520:29:56

It was the start of a political

career but the culmination

0:29:560:30:00

of a long personal journey.

0:30:000:30:03

His father was Jamaican-born,

but Marvin Rees was brought up

0:30:030:30:06

by his mother Janet.

0:30:060:30:07

The pictures show an earnest,

determined child.

0:30:070:30:10

It was always Lego and Meccano

and there was always a structure

0:30:100:30:12

and a plan to everything.

0:30:120:30:15

You couldn't just be

sort of, you know, kids

0:30:150:30:18

and just see what happened -

Marvin would always want to make

0:30:180:30:21

the model on the front of the box.

0:30:210:30:26

His early years were spent

here in a flat on the Long Cross

0:30:260:30:29

estate in the north of the city.

0:30:290:30:30

It wasn't easy - there was plenty

of racism in 1970s Bristol.

0:30:300:30:33

As a mixed-race child

of a single mother, he had

0:30:330:30:36

to look out for himself

but, encouraged by her,

0:30:360:30:38

he showed himself to be a striver

whether at school or at sport.

0:30:380:30:42

In his teens he joined a youth club

and quickly made an impression.

0:30:420:30:46

Straightaway, he was one

of those that was polite,

0:30:460:30:49

smiling and so on.

0:30:490:30:53

And what was interesting,

then he didn't come for a couple

0:30:530:30:56

of evenings and his mum

then turned up with him,

0:30:560:30:58

catching hold of him by the ear

and saying, "Marvin's coming

0:30:580:31:01

to club every night."

0:31:010:31:05

He especially took to boxing

and ended up taking

0:31:050:31:07

on a future world champion.

0:31:070:31:08

Depending on how that fight went

that night could have changed

0:31:080:31:13

everything for Marvin.

0:31:130:31:14

He wouldn't have been a mayor,

he could well have been

0:31:140:31:17

a world champion boxer!

0:31:170:31:18

But as it happened, it

went the three rounds,

0:31:180:31:21

both stood there but Marvin took

a few bangs and ended up having

0:31:210:31:24

both his retinas detached!

0:31:240:31:25

So that was Marvin's career.

0:31:250:31:27

It started here as a young man

and he trained well to do

0:31:270:31:30

it, he became good.

0:31:300:31:31

His defence should have been better

that day and perhaps

0:31:310:31:33

then he'd have been OK,

but the reality is his boxing

0:31:330:31:36

career ended here, too!

0:31:360:31:37

After university, he worked

in broadcasting and, as a reporter,

0:31:370:31:39

often showed his desire to make

the world a better place.

0:31:390:31:42

Welcome to Stokes Croft

here in Bristol - we're right

0:31:420:31:45

in the heart of the city.

0:31:450:31:48

Wanting to go further,

he joined a scheme to

0:31:480:31:51

encourage people from ethnic

minorities into politics.

0:31:510:31:52

I'm here because I'm interested

in the way the country's run.

0:31:520:31:56

Since I was young, I had big

questions going around in my head -

0:31:560:31:58

why are some people so rich

while others are so poor?

0:31:580:32:01

He was snapped up by Labour and,

though a political novice,

0:32:010:32:03

he soon caught the eye

of council veterans.

0:32:030:32:06

In a sense, not being around

Labour was a good thing.

0:32:060:32:09

He brought new ideas

and he certainly wasn't

0:32:090:32:11

defending the status quo.

0:32:110:32:14

He wasn't New Labour,

he wasn't sort of representing any

0:32:140:32:16

sort of faction of the party,

so I thought he was just

0:32:160:32:19

a breath of fresh air,

to be honest with you.

0:32:190:32:22

Good morning, everybody.

0:32:220:32:23

His path to power wasn't easy -

0:32:230:32:25

he lost the first mayoral election.

0:32:250:32:28

His second campaign

was against a backdrop

0:32:280:32:30

of Labour's internal strife.

0:32:300:32:33

The day he won, Jeremy Corbyn rushed

to Bristol to congratulate him.

0:32:330:32:37

In the ensuing party leadership

contest, the new mayor

0:32:370:32:39

refused to take sides.

0:32:390:32:42

Well, there was massive tensions

and, behind the scenes,

0:32:420:32:44

there was lots of conversations

about, you know, what was

0:32:440:32:48

the right thing to do?

0:32:480:32:49

Was it to support the

leader, was it not to?

0:32:490:32:52

But ultimately there was a decision

to be made and I think

0:32:520:32:55

he made the right one!

0:32:550:32:56

It's harder to avoid

conflict in the chamber.

0:32:560:32:59

Last week, one protester let off

a flare as his Labour councillors

0:32:590:33:02

voted through a budget cutting

spending by millions.

0:33:020:33:05

Seeing a way to change his city

for the better isn't proving easy.

0:33:050:33:13

As you saw at the end of the film,

being mayor of Bristol has its tough

0:33:160:33:21

times, too, with local funding

issues a key issue. Joining us is

0:33:210:33:26

Chloe Westley from the TaxPayers'

Alliance. Marvin, protests, cutting

0:33:260:33:32

spending in Bristol, but you could

put up council tax by 6%. Why don't

0:33:320:33:36

you?

In our consultation on the

budget we spoke to the city about 5%

0:33:360:33:41

and having given our word on that

that's what we stuck to but we have

0:33:410:33:46

made the savings we've had to make

but we have taken many of those

0:33:460:33:49

in-house and I'll do my level best

to protect front line services.

The

0:33:490:33:55

problem is, Chloe Westley, central

Government funding has been cut to

0:33:550:33:59

local government to the tune of 77 %

according to the Local Government

0:33:590:34:04

Association so how on earth can

councils cope with providing

0:34:040:34:08

front-line services?

But had an

impact but we have seen a trend over

0:34:080:34:11

the last 20 years where council tax

has gone up steadily above inflation

0:34:110:34:15

and it has gone up in years where

government funding has increased so

0:34:150:34:20

it is nothing new, this increase in

council tax. But I have a lot of

0:34:200:34:24

sympathy with you, Marvin, and with

councils, because in order to reduce

0:34:240:34:29

the deficit and so spending the

Government has not looked at

0:34:290:34:32

reducing foreign aid of scrapping

HS2 reducing unnecessary spending,

0:34:320:34:36

it has cut local government funding,

and that is an issue of priorities.

0:34:360:34:41

What do you say?

We have been

incredibly inventive in the way we

0:34:410:34:44

have made our cuts and in our

internal processes but I think it is

0:34:440:34:49

a false economy, austerity. If it

impacts on our ability to invest in

0:34:490:34:55

children's mental health, to keep

families in their home, this is not

0:34:550:34:58

a cost without cost. They will turn

up somewhere else in the system,

0:34:580:35:02

maybe not this year or next but in

five years. Many of the things we do

0:35:020:35:08

at local government level are about

protecting costs to the public

0:35:080:35:10

purse.

And the conversations about

councils helping with the cost of

0:35:100:35:15

living, the people paying the

council tax families that I meet all

0:35:150:35:19

the time and represent. They are

left out of the conversation so you

0:35:190:35:23

have the local government

spokesperson and the council leader

0:35:230:35:26

saying, we have to put up council

tax, we can't afford it, but

0:35:260:35:31

families are under pressure to and

there was a lack of recognition

0:35:310:35:37

about the situation. There was a

survey that said 95% of councils

0:35:370:35:42

were going to put up council tax and

they interviewed the people that did

0:35:420:35:48

that survey and did not bring up the

fact that councils were but families

0:35:480:35:50

have to pay more.

We have at that

into account and that is why we

0:35:500:35:54

didn't put it at 6% that we could.

We are aware of the struggles of

0:35:540:36:01

families face, particularly with

this regressive tax. We've done

0:36:010:36:05

incredible job of engaging. We have

a budget simulator online that

0:36:050:36:09

anyone in the city can have their

own go at balancing our budget and

0:36:090:36:13

we run citywide events where we

bring people into the council house

0:36:130:36:17

to make sure they are participating

in the way we run the city. Local

0:36:170:36:21

governments have been incredibly

inventive but, actually, it is in

0:36:210:36:24

some sense trying to make bricks

without straw. We need investment.

0:36:240:36:31

It is not just about local

government. What we are talking

0:36:310:36:34

about his leadership of place. So

when we look at running Bristol it

0:36:340:36:37

is not just about the City Council

but about how we work with criminal

0:36:370:36:41

Justice, the voluntary sector,

business, health services.

Why did

0:36:410:36:45

you try and cut the council tax

reduction scheme for the poorest

0:36:450:36:48

households in Bristol?

Is one of the

options we had to look at. One of

0:36:480:36:53

the most important things we can do

in the city is protect our most

0:36:530:36:56

vulnerable citizens.

You wanted to

cut the council tax reduction

0:36:560:37:00

scheme.

Wanted is a loaded word. We

looked at the range of options

0:37:000:37:04

available to us to make sure we came

home with a balance.

But you you

0:37:040:37:09

turned at the end and didn't go

through with it.

That kind of

0:37:090:37:16

language doesn't help dynamic and

engaging politics.

If you are

0:37:160:37:18

sending a message about what you are

trying to do the people of Bristol

0:37:180:37:21

and the most vulnerable, dude didn't

follow through with the decision

0:37:210:37:23

that you would come to.

We found

other means of doing so did we saved

0:37:230:37:28

£800,000 a year on senior staffing

costs. I would challenge a little

0:37:280:37:31

bit on this challenge of U-turns and

so forth. We looked at a whole range

0:37:310:37:37

of things we could do to make sure

that we managed our money

0:37:370:37:41

responsibly. When we have a

conversation with the city and put

0:37:410:37:44

on our options, that was one we

didn't have to pursue.

Is that

0:37:440:37:48

really a decision that should be

made, whether or not to cut funding

0:37:480:37:51

to the locust -- poorest people in

the local constituency, all because

0:37:510:37:56

central government won't fund local

government properly?

Let's not

0:37:560:38:04

pretend they are immune from

spending cuts. There is a Vicky Boss

0:38:040:38:11

is. There are 500 council bosses in

the country earning more than the

0:38:110:38:16

Prime Minister. I think that would

be a good place to start for less

0:38:160:38:18

spending and I think in Bristol you

have an office in Brussels. I would

0:38:180:38:22

say that can probably go when we

leave the EU.

That was a

0:38:220:38:27

recommendation by the Conservative

group last week. At this time when

0:38:270:38:29

we are parting from the EU it is

absolutely essential that we are on

0:38:290:38:33

the world stage promoting our

businesses and the investable

0:38:330:38:45

opportunities in our cities. If we

stepped off the international stage

0:38:470:38:49

at this time when our government and

country need all the help to remain

0:38:490:38:52

visible, that would be a backward

step.

What did you make of your

0:38:520:38:55

colleague Labour MP Chris Williamson

proposing a progressive council tax

0:38:550:38:57

plan to hike bills for the better

off and freeze them for the poorest?

0:38:570:39:00

He made a speech in Bristol, too.

Before anyone makes grand statements

0:39:000:39:02

about the local level they need to

leader for local level and one of

0:39:020:39:05

the weaknesses of British politics

at the moment is that it doesn't

0:39:050:39:08

have the voice of local leaders in

as high regard as it should. Brexit

0:39:080:39:15

Westminster Brexit. The national

debate is so much about Westminster

0:39:150:39:17

when actually real things are being

done at the core city level.

Was

0:39:170:39:21

that a mistake, to make that

suggestion?

It wasn't something I

0:39:210:39:26

supported

Any other councils you

think would take that suggestion?

I

0:39:260:39:30

didn't hear a choir of support for

it. We are making sure we are

0:39:300:39:34

financially responsible, delivering

for our population, taking cuts in

0:39:340:39:37

house, but what we need is

Government to start investing in

0:39:370:39:41

local government it

Re-evaluation of

council tax bands, a good idea?

0:39:410:39:45

Potentially but on the point about

local power, there is an opportunity

0:39:450:39:49

here you my to change the change the

way the government is funded because

0:39:490:39:53

a lot of it is hand-outs from the

Government and council tax but if

0:39:530:39:56

you have more tax-raising powers at

a local level and about how you can

0:39:560:40:00

run services - a lot of it is

mandated by central government - I

0:40:000:40:04

think that would be a good thing

because you would be in charge of

0:40:040:40:06

more and people could vote based on

changes you are making and not on

0:40:060:40:09

what central government is telling

you to do.

Chloe Westley, thank you.

0:40:090:40:15

For more than 70 years,

mortgage interest support has been

0:40:150:40:17

available to homeowners,

usually those claiming other

0:40:170:40:19

benefits, who are struggling

to meet repayments.

0:40:190:40:20

From April, it will be replaced

by a new "second mortgage" scheme

0:40:200:40:23

where the Government

loans people the money -

0:40:230:40:25

they pay it back later

when the house is sold.

0:40:250:40:28

Critics say it'll force

people further into debt,

0:40:280:40:29

as Phil McCann explains.

0:40:290:40:31

Go on, we're going to

keep swinging, Lucas!

0:40:310:40:34

This is daily life for Susanne.

0:40:340:40:36

Her son Lucas has autism, attention

deficit hyperactivity disorder,

0:40:360:40:39

and nervous problems

causing hearing loss.

0:40:390:40:42

She's a single mum and a full-time

carer for Lucas and his brother.

0:40:420:40:47

He's full-on.

0:40:470:40:48

He's 24/7.

0:40:480:40:49

We've only just got the toilet

training under control.

0:40:490:40:52

He doesn't sleep.

0:40:520:40:54

He doesn't get the world.

0:40:540:40:56

So what's your world

like at the moment?

0:40:560:40:58

Difficult.

0:40:580:40:59

You can't switch off.

0:40:590:41:00

You have to be one step ahead

of him all the time.

0:41:000:41:03

Not only just to...

0:41:030:41:04

To...

0:41:040:41:07

You know, it's all

about keeping him safe.

0:41:070:41:09

Susanne is one of 124,000 people

who get the benefit called Support

0:41:090:41:13

for Mortgage Interest.

0:41:130:41:17

At the moment, Susanne's mortgage

interest support payments cover

0:41:170:41:19

around a third of the monthly cost

of her mortgage.

0:41:190:41:22

But soon the payments won't come

in the form of a benefit -

0:41:220:41:25

they'll be a loan which will have

to be paid back whenever

0:41:250:41:28

the house is sold.

0:41:280:41:30

I'm gutted.

0:41:300:41:31

I feel like I've been

kicked in the teeth.

0:41:310:41:33

You know, they're draining me

dry and I feel very...

0:41:330:41:36

It's made me feel very,

very vulnerable.

0:41:360:41:39

The government is writing to

everyone who gets the benefit now.

0:41:390:41:42

It means pressure's growing before

the change comes in in April.

0:41:420:41:45

They should pause this,

they should review this and I think

0:41:450:41:49

for the amount of money that they're

saving in the grand scheme

0:41:490:41:54

of things, again, we should go back

to a system which provides a grant

0:41:540:41:58

rather than a loan on top of a loan.

0:41:580:42:02

And for the homeowners

affected by this change,

0:42:020:42:04

they'll end up paying more

than they borrow - because the loan

0:42:040:42:06

itself will have interest.

0:42:060:42:09

The interest is very low

in comparison to other loans,

0:42:090:42:12

but nevertheless it is still a loan

secured against your house.

0:42:120:42:17

So if you own your own property,

or a mortgage property,

0:42:170:42:19

then this is really like having

a second mortgage.

0:42:190:42:23

The benefit costs the government

£170 million a year at the moment.

0:42:230:42:27

Ministers say it's reasonable

the financial help should be paid

0:42:270:42:30

back, but the loan will be written

off if the sale doesn't

0:42:300:42:33

raise enough to do that.

0:42:330:42:36

The only change will be

when the property is sold,

0:42:360:42:38

if there's sufficient equity

in the property that the taxpayer

0:42:380:42:41

gets to recover some of that

support that's been given,

0:42:410:42:44

sometimes for very,

very long periods.

0:42:440:42:46

But we fundamentally want

to maintain people in their homes,

0:42:460:42:49

so they should have no fear.

0:42:490:42:52

So, Susanne isn't worried

about immediate money problems,

0:42:520:42:54

but from April she and 124,000

others will have less to pass

0:42:540:42:58

on to their children.

0:42:580:43:05

I'm joined now by Helen Morrissey,

a personal finance specialist

0:43:050:43:07

at Royal London, and Kit Malthouse,

the Work and Pensions minister.

0:43:070:43:13

Welcome to both of you. Canon, you

can see why the Government might

0:43:130:43:16

want to scrap this benefit because

it seems an anomaly that the

0:43:160:43:19

taxpayer is helping to pay the

mortgages of 124,000 people when

0:43:190:43:23

billions can't even afford to get on

the housing ladder.

The issue that

0:43:230:43:27

we have is how these changes are

being conveyed to people. We put in

0:43:270:43:32

a request to the DWP for some

figures on this in January and

0:43:320:43:34

bearing in mind, this is a massive

change coming in April, by the end

0:43:340:43:40

of January out of 125,000

recipients, less than 7000 had

0:43:400:43:44

chosen the loan option. That worries

me because I'm wondering what

0:43:440:43:48

happened to the other 100,000 people

who have S M I and have not made a

0:43:480:43:53

decision and that is where I think

the Government needs to look at

0:43:530:43:56

delaying the roll-out of this to

give people time and support to make

0:43:560:44:00

the right decision.

It is not very

much time to make quite a dramatic

0:44:000:44:04

change if the figures are as Helen

says, less than fewer than 7000 have

0:44:040:44:09

signed up to this loan, what are you

going to do about the others?

We're

0:44:090:44:13

been communicating since July so we

have about 110,000 people on the as

0:44:130:44:16

of this morning. We have sent about

440,000 bits of paper, there have

0:44:160:44:23

been 38,000 phone calls, of which

275,000 have been successful so the

0:44:230:44:28

vast majority of people are in

conversation with the department

0:44:280:44:31

about whether they are going to make

a decision or not. We will be

0:44:310:44:36

pushing that right through to the

end of April and we have room for a

0:44:360:44:38

bit of flexibility at the time but

we think the vast majority of

0:44:380:44:42

people, 90 percentage of people,

will make a decision in time and

0:44:420:44:44

that is the pattern we are seeing

and we are throwing at it. Whoa are

0:44:440:44:49

you reassured by that?

I am not

really. You might have been making a

0:44:490:44:53

decision in time but whether it is a

decision they have been rushed

0:44:530:44:55

into... I have been looking at a lot

of forums for charities like Scope

0:44:550:44:59

that deal with disabled people, a

lot of them say they don't

0:44:590:45:04

understand it, and they have been

posted a couple of days ago. They've

0:45:040:45:07

think they might have to sell their

homes.

Can you guarantee not a

0:45:070:45:11

single family will be made homeless

by this?

The whole Berbers of the

0:45:110:45:14

scheme is to maintain people in

their homes so from a cosmetic point

0:45:140:45:17

of view, nobody would see any

change. The payments would continue

0:45:170:45:21

and am direct to the mortgage

company, the bank, so nobody need to

0:45:210:45:25

see any at all. The only changes

that whoa at the end when the house

0:45:250:45:32

is sold, if you make a profit, we

are asking that some of the

0:45:320:45:35

supporters repaid it

Given the

scheme costs £170 million, housing

0:45:350:45:40

benefit costs £25 billion, isn't

this an expensive way of making a

0:45:400:45:45

point?

It's £150 million will have

invested other services. Government

0:45:450:45:54

is about making these decisions. SMI

was set up in 1948 and was designed

0:45:540:45:58

as a temporary scheme to maintain

people in their houses. We're now

0:45:580:46:02

getting to a position where people

are taking mortgages into

0:46:020:46:07

retirement, which was never heard of

before. They were in receipt of this

0:46:070:46:11

were 20 or 30 years. All were asking

is in a housing market where prices

0:46:110:46:15

are rising rapidly, if you make a

profit, that the taxpayer recoups

0:46:150:46:18

some of that.

I understand your

reservations because the timing and

0:46:180:46:24

people haven't understood what they

would like to do, are not all of

0:46:240:46:26

them, but the principle at the heart

of it, do you accept that, that this

0:46:260:46:30

shouldn't necessarily be an asset

that is passed on to your children

0:46:300:46:33

if you've been receiving benefit all

the way through?

We're not calling

0:46:330:46:36

for this change to not happen. The

issue is how it is being

0:46:360:46:42

communicated.

Will you delay it was

to mark your going to go ahead.

0:46:420:46:48

275,000 successful calls and my

message to people is to be

0:46:480:46:56

reassured. The idea of the scheme is

to maintain them in their homes and

0:46:560:46:59

if they wish, they can continue with

the payments. The other thing to

0:46:590:47:02

remember is it's not a one-off

decision. You can get three, four,

0:47:020:47:07

five, six, two years in and decide

you don't want alone any more. We

0:47:070:47:11

can repay early, leave it at a

certain level and wait until the

0:47:110:47:14

house is sold. It's not an

irreversible decision.

What do you

0:47:140:47:17

think, Marvin?

If I look at the

housing crisis we have in my city,

0:47:170:47:26

11,500 people on the waiting list,

Private rent is out of control,

0:47:260:47:29

private tenancies breaking down,

resulting in homelessness. If I

0:47:290:47:32

wanted something to come from

government to help the macro

0:47:320:47:34

intervene in the market, make sure

we have stable families in settled

0:47:340:47:39

communities that are self maintained

with good social capital, this would

0:47:390:47:41

not be at. I wish there was more of

a conversation between Westminster

0:47:410:47:46

and the leaders of cities where real

people live to talk about what we

0:47:460:47:49

actually need to enable us to create

these kind of spaces that are good

0:47:490:47:53

for the UK.

This is part of a wider

package of welfare reform. I've just

0:47:530:47:58

come from a meeting with the

Secretary of State of the DWP to

0:47:580:48:02

talk about that, what more we can do

to work together with the Ministry

0:48:020:48:05

of Housing to try to improve.

And

not just talking to Westminster...

0:48:050:48:12

Talking to you on a regular basis

and I know they are holding Round

0:48:120:48:16

Tables all the time.

We have to

leave it there but thank you very

0:48:160:48:18

much.

0:48:180:48:20

Now, our guest of the day

Marvin Rees is one of

0:48:200:48:22

a new generation of Labour

politicians elected under

0:48:220:48:24

the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn.

0:48:240:48:25

Many Labour members and activists

see this period as one of renewal,

0:48:250:48:28

optimism and excitement

for the party.

0:48:280:48:31

But our next guest is

somewhat more pessimistic.

0:48:310:48:32

The former Labour MP Tom Harris has

written a new book called

0:48:320:48:35

Ten Years

In The Death Of The Labour Party.

0:48:350:48:37

It's out on Thursday.

0:48:370:48:39

So, what is the state

of the Labour Party and has it

0:48:390:48:42

changed unrecognisably

since Corbyn's election?

0:48:420:48:43

He joins us now from Glasgow.

0:48:430:48:51

Tom, welcome to the programme. Your

book has this dramatic title, but

0:48:510:48:57

even your conclusion is that the

party hasn't gone full dodo yet, it

0:48:570:49:02

hasn't died. It's a long way from

extinction, isn't it?

The title is

0:49:020:49:08

taken from an earlier book by my

colleague who wrote a book called

0:49:080:49:14

four years of the death of the

Labour Party. After that, the party

0:49:140:49:18

did recover. Maybe the Labour Party

will turn back to it traditional

0:49:180:49:22

form after Jeremy Corbyn exits the

stage. I am as you say pessimistic.

0:49:220:49:30

Even Corbin fans can look at the

title of the book and read it and

0:49:300:49:34

interpreted as they like. They could

say that that ten years that I

0:49:340:49:38

referred to in the title covers the

period from 2007 when Gordon Brown

0:49:380:49:43

made the catastrophic decision not

to hold an early general election

0:49:430:49:47

and then ten years later during the

June general election of 2017, when

0:49:470:49:54

the party arguably rose from its

deathbed and started to recover. I

0:49:540:49:57

am more pessimistic. I see the

current Labour Party, Corbyn's

0:49:570:50:02

Labour Party, as soap different from

the party of Clement Attlee and Tony

0:50:020:50:09

Blair. It doesn't resemble any more.

What we see now is the equivalent of

0:50:090:50:14

the pod people in Invasion of the

Body Snatchers of their relationship

0:50:140:50:20

with their victims. There really

isn't much in common.

How did you

0:50:200:50:25

vote in the general election?

That's

between me and the ballot box.

You

0:50:250:50:30

will see if you voted for the Labour

Party of which were still a member,

0:50:300:50:33

but you won't say which way you

voted. You talk about Jeremy Corbyn

0:50:330:50:39

being so different to the party of

Attlee but you must agree that the

0:50:390:50:45

party performed better than

expectations and the last general

0:50:450:50:49

election.

But what party performed

that well? The party I've been a

0:50:490:50:54

member of the 34 years is not a

party for example that would ever

0:50:540:50:58

have provided a safe haven for inti

Semites -- anti-Semites. The party I

0:50:580:51:05

belong to would never use bullying

as a way to get its way. The most

0:51:050:51:09

important thing is policy and this

is something a lot of the coverage

0:51:090:51:12

of the general election has not

covered. The manifesto that Corbyn

0:51:120:51:16

issued in 2017 was largely regarded

as fairly moderate, something

0:51:160:51:22

Miliband could have put his name to.

Actually the most radical and most

0:51:220:51:26

extreme policy that Labour put

forward wasn't even in the

0:51:260:51:30

manifesto. Jeremy Corbyn said during

the general election that if he

0:51:300:51:32

became Prime Minister he would

institute a review of policy on

0:51:320:51:37

Trident. There's no doubt how that

review would have concluded and we

0:51:370:51:41

would have ended up disarming

Trident without a political vote of

0:51:410:51:45

the people.

Lets me get Marvin's

response. What do you say to Tom

0:51:450:51:50

Harris? You've been ambiguous about

support for Jeremy Corbyn. Are you

0:51:500:51:52

fully signed up to the Corbyn agenda

now?

I support Jeremy as leader of

0:51:520:51:59

the party, but when I joined, I

joined politics quite late, as you

0:51:590:52:02

saw in the film earlier on. What I

didn't do was come in and say, which

0:52:020:52:06

gang will I join? I found a group of

people I felt were committed to

0:52:060:52:11

tackling inequality, delivering an

increasing economy, doing social

0:52:110:52:14

justice, and I joined up. That's

what I want and I want to carve out

0:52:140:52:17

my own space. I'm not looking to

recast myself in the mould of anyone

0:52:170:52:21

in the party. It's about bringing

together a range of people from

0:52:210:52:25

different brands who can coalesce

around a shared number of

0:52:250:52:30

priorities.

Do you see Tom as being

from a different tribe or faction?

I

0:52:300:52:34

don't know him so I wouldn't say

that. If you are committed to

0:52:340:52:37

economic equality, political

empowerment, then we can work

0:52:370:52:43

together. But clearly there's a

distinction because I don't think

0:52:430:52:46

all parties are on the same page

with us.

What's the for you

0:52:460:52:52

successful Labour leader?

To be able

to hold a range of people together

0:52:520:52:57

across the spectrum. That essential.

Steering Jeremy Corbyn is doing

0:52:570:52:59

that?

It's partly his job and people

are in the party and he's doing that

0:52:590:53:06

but it's up to people to stay in the

game, stay in the match. Martin

0:53:060:53:11

Luther King talk about creative

tensions. You have those differences

0:53:110:53:18

of views and comes your positions.

Why hasn't Labour won a nationwide

0:53:180:53:22

election since 2005?

I joined in

2006, so... I'm late to that. I

0:53:220:53:30

guess people across the country just

chose not to vote and have not found

0:53:300:53:35

the party attractive. At a local

level we've done incredibly well.

0:53:350:53:38

All core tent cities until last

summer were Labour run and that

0:53:380:53:43

again is something that happens

distribute portion at amount of

0:53:430:53:46

attention on Westminster and not

enough attention on the fact that

0:53:460:53:48

Labour is actually in power in the

major cities across the UK.

All

0:53:480:53:52

right. Tom Harris, thank you for

joining us.

0:53:520:53:58

Now, Liam Fox is speaking

0:53:580:53:59

in an address focusing

on the benefits of life

0:53:590:54:01

outside a customs union.

0:54:010:54:02

The International Trade Secretary

tore into Labour's plans

0:54:020:54:04

for a customs union with the EU

after Brexit and highlighted

0:54:040:54:07

the opportunities for global

trade outside the EU.

0:54:070:54:09

Let's have a look at

what he had to say.

0:54:090:54:11

We cannot let the practices

and the patterns of the past

0:54:110:54:14

constrain the opportunities

of the future.

0:54:140:54:17

We require an economic outlook that

allows us to take advantage

0:54:170:54:20

of the substantial opportunities

that Europe will continue to bring,

0:54:200:54:25

but without limiting our ability

to adapt to a changing and growing

0:54:250:54:28

world beyond the European continent.

0:54:280:54:33

The UK is perfectly placed

to partner with the economic

0:54:330:54:35

powerhouses of the future

and they in turn are eager

0:54:350:54:39

for the mutual prosperity that such

a partnership would bring.

0:54:390:54:44

To do this, we need the ability

to exercise a fully

0:54:440:54:46

independent trade policy.

0:54:460:54:52

We have to maximise our overall

trading opportunities from the UK

0:54:520:54:55

to secure the prosperity

of our people.

0:54:550:55:01

Joining us now is the Conservative

MP and Leave supporter Nigel Evans.

0:55:010:55:04

He's also a member

of the International

0:55:040:55:05

Trade Select Committee.

0:55:050:55:10

Rather helpfully! Nigel, despite

what Liam Fox has just said, his

0:55:100:55:16

former permanent secretary as you

will know has argued that leaving

0:55:160:55:18

the single market and because and

union is like rejecting a three

0:55:180:55:22

course meal now in favour of a

promise of a packet of crisps later.

0:55:220:55:25

How can you make up for such loss of

trade?

So negative. I heard what he

0:55:250:55:30

had to say.

It's true!

I don't

believe so. They IMF said 90% of the

0:55:300:55:36

growth over the next ten to 15 years

will happen outside the EU.

44% of

0:55:360:55:40

our export with the EU. It is an

important market to put at

risk. It

0:55:400:55:47

is but we won't turn our backs on

the EU. We still wants to do deals

0:55:470:55:50

Liam Fox has been to visit 150

countries throughout the world with

0:55:500:55:54

his colleagues. I was in the USA

just three weeks ago talking to some

0:55:540:55:58

of their congressmen. Really keen to

do a trade deal with the UK. I sat

0:55:580:56:04

with the trade representative of New

Zealand last week. They want to do a

0:56:040:56:07

trade deal with us. I think the

potential is absolutely brilliant

0:56:070:56:10

but if people are like his former

civil servant, who were saying how

0:56:100:56:15

bleak it was all going to be but yet

last year our exports went up 11%.

0:56:150:56:19

We have more venture capital coming

into London...

But we haven't left

0:56:190:56:25

the EU! But we are still part of the

EU, we haven't left. There is now

0:56:250:56:31

more pressure, Jeremy Corbyn has

cemented Labour's position to remain

0:56:310:56:36

part of the union... Customs union.

The EU 27 have so much more weight

0:56:360:56:41

when it comes to negotiating trade

deals than the UK on its own. It

0:56:410:56:45

will be much harder to do, take

longer and be more difficult to make

0:56:450:56:50

trade dipped -- make trade dispute.

It easier than when you are somebody

0:56:500:56:57

requisite in 28 countries.

A bit

more have to.

Canada took eight

0:56:570:57:02

years, that's still not come into

play. As far as Jeremy Corbyn is

0:57:020:57:08

concerned, his Orwellian doublespeak

has to be the greatest mis-selling

0:57:080:57:13

since PPI.

Help concerned are you

that you're pro-EU colleagues are

0:57:130:57:17

going to walk through the lobby with

Jeremy Corbyn on that amendment to

0:57:170:57:21

stay in a customs union?

I think

that would be thwarting the wishes

0:57:210:57:25

of the British people. Not so many

months ago, the manifesto said we

0:57:250:57:30

were leaving the EU. You can't stay

in a customs union website you are

0:57:300:57:34

chained to the EU to do all your

trade deals with you. Part of reason

0:57:340:57:38

people want to leave it so that we

can do trade deals with the rest the

0:57:380:57:43

world and the fastest growing

economies outside the EU.

That's the

0:57:430:57:46

point. People voted to leave the EU.

We will still be half in and half

0:57:460:57:50

out every part of the customs union.

They did but I find the leadership

0:57:500:57:54

of government on this incredibly

disappointed. I was in Brussels last

0:57:540:57:59

week. I got to meet the two key

characters before we'd had chance to

0:57:590:58:05

sit around the table with our own

government. There's been no

0:58:050:58:08

proactive engagement with the ten

biggest cities outside London

0:58:080:58:11

talking about what we need. If you'd

seen us you wouldn't be getting a

0:58:110:58:15

Bristol City Council perspective,

you'd be speaking to our chamber of

0:58:150:58:19

commerce, our universities, all

those places that are saying they

0:58:190:58:21

need government to be listening to

what goes on outside Westminster.

In

0:58:210:58:26

literally a few seconds, how much is

Theresa May under pressure to give

0:58:260:58:30

way?

She won't give way. To leave

the EU we need to leave the customs

0:58:300:58:34

union.

The answer to our quiz...

0:58:340:58:37

The question was...

0:58:370:58:38

Post-Brexit, one of Winston

Churchill's favourite

0:58:380:58:40

tipples is going to be sold

in pint-sized bottles -

0:58:400:58:42

a size that Churchill

considered to be just perfect.

0:58:420:58:44

But which drink is it?

0:58:440:58:47

I'll take that one!

It is champagne,

we gave you the answer! That's all

0:58:470:58:55

we've

0:58:550:58:55

we've got time for today. Goodbye.

0:58:550:58:59

Jo Coburn is joined by the Labour mayor of Bristol Marvin Rees to discuss Brexit and the Northern Ireland border, local government funding and the state of the Labour party.


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