Election 2017 Special Newsnight

Election 2017 Special

With reaction to Prime Minister Theresa May's election announcement, Evan Davis is in London and Emily Maitlis is in Edinburgh, and Chris Cook looks at the election battlegrounds.

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You're joking? Another one! That the government should call a general


election. It's too much. The 8th of June. I can't really see the reason


why... To secure the strong and stable leadership the country needs.


For God's sake, I can't... I honestly can't stand it.


For the Prime Minister, it has a kind of impeccable


fix the majority while the sun is shining.


She might need those extra seats if the rain falls


She's gambling on a bigger win than David Cameron achieved last


time, and the polls make that look a good bet for her.


But for some in the country I suspect the feeling will be,


if the sun is shining we should be out barbecuing, rather


Even Westminster professionals, who normally love elections, must be


feeling punch drunk - are we to have momentous


national votes every year, as we've been doing since 2014?


We have an extended programme tonight -


we'll join Emily in Edinburgh later on, and we'll hear from


But this could be a strange one: there are to be no TV debates,


Also we have hugely important local elections


And above all, the main parties are in Brexit-related


Let's start with Nick Watt, our political editor.


You will probably be seen a lot more of him over the next six weeks.


Well, well, well. Where did that come from? Until recently all the


signals from number ten word that the Prime Minister was adamant there


should be no early general election. One Cabinet minister told me she


thought it would be destabilising for the Brexit process. But I


understand that in recent months a number of senior ministers, led


notably by Philip Hammond and David Davis, said we respect what the


Prime Minister is saying but don't close off your options, because it


may well be that the most stabilising thing to do is hold the


early general election. David Davis has been saying in private since


Christmas that unless there was an early general election he would face


trench warfare in the House of Lords with his early Brexit legislation.


Interestingly as far back as July David Davis was heard saying in his


inner circle he did not see how Brexit could be achieved without an


early general election. OK, Nick. So any indications as to what sort of


campaign Theresa May hopes to fight? The Prime Minister has secured the


services of Lynton Crosby -- Sir Lynton Crosby, the pollster and


political strategist who was rewarded with a knife


-- rewarded with a knighthood by David Cameron. The choice on Brexit


will be between certainty from the Torres and uncertainty from a


hodgepodge of other parties, but this minister said to me there is


one big difference, Jeremy Corbyn is a much better target for the


Conservatives than Ed Miliband ever was. So, look, Evan, it's been


another dramatic day in this still young Premiership.


Over the quiet holiday period, Theresa May was busy hatching and


Easter surprise. Only a handful of ministers and close aides were let


in on the secret overnight, which was finally revealed after the media


were unexpectedly summoned to Downing Street. It was with


reluctance that I decided the country needs this election, but it


is with strong conviction that I say it is necessary to secure the strong


and stable leadership the country needs to see us through Brexit and


beyond. Today's announcement amounted to the biggest U-turn by


Theresa May, who had definitively rolled out an early election from


the moment she stood for the Tory leadership. Under you, is it


absolutely certain we will not see an election before 2020? I'm not


going to be calling a snap election. I've been very clear that I think we


need that period of time, that ability, to be able to deal with the


issues the country is facing and have that election in 2020. The


Prime Minister, who takes great pride in sticking to her word,


darted to have a rethink as she started to embark on the Article 50


process. She thought her in tire Brexit strategy could become gummed


up in parliamentary wrangles after Lib Dem leader Tim Farron talked


about using his sizeable contingent of peers to grind business to a


halt. One minister also told me that a big mandate could strengthen the


Prime Minister's and in Brussels negotiations and sideline hardline


Brexiteers and hardline Remainers back home. Perish the thought that


the strong poll lead was anywhere in the Prime Minister's Mind. I think


she has made an entirely cynical calculation that between now and


2020, now gives her the best chance of having a win. What she doesn't


seem to be worried about, and denying she would do it, is throwing


the whole Brexit process and our future as a country into uncertainty


while we have that general election. Theresa May, who finally made up her


mind during a walking holiday with her husband in Snowdonia, is


sensitive to the charge that she is acting in her own, rather than the


national, interests. Supporters were at pains to stress that the Prime


Minister would never stoop so low. I really do think that the Prime


Minister is governed by the national interests, and certainly that has


been my experience of working with her. I think she would have very


reluctantly taken the decision to call a general election. As she


herself said, she didn't want to call this general election. It is of


course rather handy that the national interest tallies with the


Prime Minister's. It strengthens her hand because she will have the


direct endorsement of the British people in an election and she would


get an enhanced parliamentary majority to achieve that. One


leading Tory Brexiteer believes the Prime Minister was left with no


choice. At the moment what you have is Labour effectively threatening to


hijack the final deal, the Lib Dems want a second referendum and have


100 unelected members of the House of Lords who want to effectively


gridlock this place, that is her threat -- their threat. The Scottish


separatists have their own agenda. It is her reflection on how she's


going to conduct these negotiations. And to eyeball the other side and


say look, I can deliver this. Jeremy Corbyn's poor showing in opinion


polls has prompted nerves among MPs that the party could face its worst


ever election result in the post-war period. One minister told me Theresa


May could close Central office and still win a landslide. We are in


politics to change the way that our society works, to make it fairer and


more socially sustainable for everybody. Those are arguments that


we have had at every general election, regardless of who is the


leader, and it is that argument that we have to get across. Jeremy will


do it in his way, I will do it in my way. After her message, she was


received enthusiastically to night. It's a general election, watch out,


one former minister said. We were not meant to have


an election until the 7th May 2020. That Act was meant to take


the decision out of the hands It didn't work so well


on that score. On the other hand,


we have seen something That she is more of a tactician


than she publicly likes to admit. Well, I sat down a little earlier


with the Home Secretary, Amber Rudd. I began by asking her when she found


out there would be a snap election. This morning, so after the Queen


but before the rest of the Cabinet. Before the rest of the country,


not before the rest of the Cabinet, or did you learn before the rest


of the Cabinet? I learned before the rest


of the Cabinet and then she set it And was there any dissent


or debate in Cabinet, "We're going to have


an election, that's that"? It's the Prime Minister's


decision, isn't it, whether Well, no, because we have the fixed


Parliament act, to stop... And indeed it is her decision


to call the general election but it is up to the MPs tomorrow


to decide whether that should go through or not,


and we need two thirds then. But actually the answer


to your question is, no, there was no dissent,


a lot of people were surprised as well, but she had the unanimous


support of Cabinet members. What would you say to those


members of the public, and they may be a minority,


who say, "We have voted in a referendum last year,


an election in the year before, you've got a majority,


just get on with it!" "Don't come back to us for another


say, you should just Well, I would urge them to listen


to the statement the Prime Minister made and perhaps the arguments


the rest of us are setting out. She's been very clear why


she has called this. The fact is, if we can have a strong


negotiating hand as we go incredibly important EU negotiation,


it will improve her opportunity to get


a good deal for the UK. But this is a matter


of trust, isn't it? "There will not be


a general election". She could have said,


"Read my lips", but she didn't. She must have anticipated


we were going to have a negotiation with the EU, she must have


anticipated there would be the odd bit of dissent


in the House of Lords... It's a perfectly fair point to make


but the fact is the Prime Minister did address that argument,


she did say, "I've come to this reluctantly and these


are the reasons why". She hasn't been coy


about hiding behind that. How can we trust her on other things


that she's said, if she's so willing to change her mind on things


on which she has been And then she will just


pop up and say, OK, How could we trust her on, say,


the pledge to reduce, which she has repeated recently,


the pledge to reduce immigration Well, I would say,


listen to the arguments. She has taken head-on that criticism


in the speech that she made earlier today and we will be hearing more


about it today. It is about the fact that we are now


entering into this negotiation. There is no better time, really,


to make sure that the Prime Minister We have always known


that she wanted a strong hand. I do accept that it has been


premeditated, as you're suggesting. I accept the fact that she has


come to this reluctantly after thinking about it recently,


and made this decision. She has been very candid about that


and she has a reputation for taking her time to consider


things and then making a decision. She has a reputation for being


straight with the people... She took her time, she made


a decision, and when the polls turned in her favour,


decisively in her favour, And the public will have


an opportunity to decide whether they see it like that


in approximately 50 days. I asked you how we could


trust her on other Can we trust her that immigration


will come down to tens of thousands? The manifesto, if that's


what you're asking about, We will be setting that out in next


couple of weeks and then we will address that question


and many others. Then it is possible that the 10,000


pledge will not be in the manifesto? Right, well then it must be


possible that it's not. It's really very hard


for me to give an answer. It was reiterated on the 2nd


of April when she was in India. You are now saying it is possible


that that won't be in the manifesto. I'm not prepared to tell


you what is going to be When it's out, I hope I'll


have an opportunity for further The real reason many Tory analysts


are suggesting that she called an election is not the polls,


it is that she wants a bigger majority because she's


scared of the Brexiteers Because, one day, she might have


to come back in the next two years and say it's not as easy as I have


suggested, folks, it's going to be quite a tough thing and the Brexit


is not going to be as clear-cut Do you think that's


why she has done it? There are many people trying


to rationalise what happened today which did come as a


surprise to many others. I can't give you I a yes or no


to that question because people are throwing up all sorts


of different theories about it. What I can say is that it certainly


gives her an opportunity, if she gets what we hope she'll get


but we are not complacent, a good majority, the opportunity


to arrive at an potential compromises within the EU,


potential lines that she can set but there will be plenty


of opportunities to debate them You are actually, in a way,


your language, very interestingly, is confirming some of the suspicions


that people have voiced, which is she is paving the way


to get a bigger majority which will make it easier


for her to deliver a slightly softer Brexit than


she has hitherto suggested. I think you're jumping


too far ahead on that. I don't think we know yet what sort


of Brexit were going to end up with. She's told us what she


wants, hasn't she? And she's going to


get what she wants. Well, we hope so but those


negotiations haven't even begun yet. But you're entertaining the idea


that it could be slightly softer Again, I don't think we should look


yet for all those conspiracy There are lots of different


theories, perfectly sensible, perhaps, but the one that is most


important is the timing. The fact that we have triggered


Article 50, we don't want to be going into an election year,


as we enter the final We want to be able to have that full


mandate, the five years to go ahead so that we do negotiations and then


go ahead for the next years. There's a whole year of being out


before the next election. We don't have a year


of elections, do we? The fact is, the EU would know,


in terms of any negotiations, for the final deal, that the UK


would be going into In terms of having a strong hand


in negotiating with the EU, you don't want a UK election


to be on the cards. If you want to say this


is the mandate that the UK has, last year's referendum


was decisive but close. I hope that this year we can get


a strong mandate so we can go and negotiate for Brexit


in the national interest. Theresa May has made very clear


voting for her gives her So, what should people say


to her if they like Theresa May, they like the Tories but they don't


like her Brexit? Well, I would ask them


to interrogate that Brexit. So she set out, at the Lancaster


House meeting, her Brexit proposals. You say she wants out


of the single market, I agree. But the phrase is,


the widest possible access You said she wants out


of the customs union, I agree but she still wants to have


negotiating where we can participate in some elements of the customs


union to help our businesses. So, I don't think it's quite


as clear cut as you're putting it. I listened to that Lancaster House


speech that she gave... She talked about the widest possible


access to the single market. She's been admirably clear


about a very hard Brexit. Stephen Dorrell, who was


a Tory Health Secretary was saying we need to vote for candidates


candidates who are pro-European who wanted to extend


our relationship with Europe. I don't recognise this


description of hard Brexit You can call it sensible Brexit,


you can call it national interest Brexit, but it's neither


one extreme or the other. It's a practical Brexit


were going to try and deliver Theresa May wants it to be


an election about Brexit She said the country is coming


together, but Westminster is not, hence the need to change


the personnel at Westminster, so what will this


election be fought over? Theresa May's other plans such


as the reinvention of capitalism? Jeremy Corbyn's plans


for social care and inheritance tax? Maybe issues


won't determine it at all. One thing to look out


for is the fact the new election gives parties a chance to dump


the promises they've made before, Our policy editor,


Chris Cook, reports. Soon, the electoral bandwagons


will start their role across the UK. We've had a lot of big


public votes lately. This time around, though, what will


the arguments actually be about? A useful idea here is


so-called issue salience. Pollsters track which topics people


are really thinking about. Don't worry too much


about the numbers, just watch this line here,


representing interest and worry It has surged as a topic lately,


overtaking old standards Brexit is Britain's


number one issue. So, as pollsters we're trying


to understand all the different things that have an impact


on how people vote. That includes things like


party image, leader image, But one of the crucial things


in the mix is issues. Things like the economy, NHS,


immigration, Brexit and so on. What is most important to voters


when they go to the polling station? So here are the latest up issues


according to Ipsos Mori. In fourth place,


education or schools. So, watch which topics


Ms May chose today. Britain is leaving


the European Union. Let us put forward our plans


for Brexit and our alternative programmes for government,


and then let the people decide. The Liberal Democrats think


Brexit works for them too. Well, it's an opportunity


for the people of this country to change the direction of this


country, to decide that they do not want a hard Brexit,


they want to keep Britain Labour, though, seemed to be seeking


a broader discussion. I welcome the opportunity to put


the case to the people of Britain, to stand up against this government


and its failed economic agenda which has left our NHS in problems


which has left our schools underfunded which has left


so many people uncertain. The SNP is trying to


define itself broadly That would mean not just


the hardest possible Brexit. More austerity and deeper cuts


so now is the time for Scotland's voice to be heard and for people


in Scotland to stand up for the kind of country we want Scotland to be


under but the campaign that I look forward to leading


in the weeks ahead. But the thread of another


independence referendum is going to be the one that runs


through all the other parties Theresa May's defining topic though


might be something else. Collectors don't just


look at policy topics. It's also about issues


such as competence. Do voters think that the parties


will make a difference and they take a kind of emotional view


on this, as well. Parts of her speech have played


alongside a chart of whom voters And the decision facing the country


will be all about leadership. It will be a choice between strong


and stable leadership in the national interest with me


as your Prime Minister all week -- or weak and unstable coalition


government led by Jeremy Corbyn. You may have heard


some of this before. This was basically


the 2015 Tory pitch. Britain has a choice


between the competence that has got us this far or the chaos of giving


it up, going backwards, So, in short, expect something


of a best of compilation some of the 2016 fight on Brexit,


some of the 2015 general election and, for viewers in Scotland,


yet another chapter in the argument I said this was an interesting


election. This is why. Much of the action is within the parties.


Will voters defy the usual party boundaries.


We're joined by the Baroness Tessa Jowell, who served under Tony Blair,


Do you think Brexit is going to loom over this election? This is on that


-- undoubtedly a Brexit election. What is important to remember is


that Brexit has served as a powerful proxy for people. I represented a


seat in south London for 23 years, I did surgeries every week, nobody


ever came to my surgery and said, the real problem I face is that we


are members of the European Union. So, Brexit has become a very


powerful proxy for, I think, and apprehension about change, a sense


of being left behind, seeing the economy create hot spots like


London, like other successful cities in the UK, whereas very many


communities feel overwhelmed by the pace of change and the consequences


of that for them. Here's one example. Very quickly. Boston in


Lincolnshire voted by the largest margin to leave the European Union,


a very large number of migrants, not any longer working in the fields,


the agricultural community of Boston on a seasonal basis but because


technology has changed living there most of the time. I'm interested in


how this plays in the election. 48% are the ones feeling the political


system has left them behind. Some of them would say let's not go ahead


with this. You are among those. What is the tactic over the next seven


weeks? Do you stick with party loyalty or do you say look at my


candidate, I want a candidate who stands up for the things I believe


in and I'm not going to vote for one who doesn't. This is one of those


seas where, as the report said, brakes on nonparty, non-tribal


lines. In a sense, that's always been the case. There has always


been... What happens in the election? What are you going to do


if you are fanatically for Remain and you are in Kate Hoey's


constituency and she is a fervent lever. -- leave. Many people want to


make this about the National Health Service, so on. This is not going to


happen. It is about Brexit. The responsibility of candidates of


every party is to not just sign up to Brexit at any cost, which I


believe will create enormous damage to the country in the long-term but


to come back, those who are elected to Westminster, with a mandate based


on the understanding of their constituents, invested trust in them


as their representatives. I'm going to push you a little bit. I want to


know where this goes. Would you consider voting Lib Dem if you had a


Labour candidate who was pro-Brexit? No. I am now a member of the House


of Lords. I am not facing election. But I hope that the members of my


party who are facing election and whose efforts I hope to support will


take the case for Europe. They have failed to make the case for Europe.


To give people the opportunity to think again, if the promises that


the Brexit lobby have made do not materialise. Tony Blair has said he


is ready to stand and support certain Lib Dems. Would you support?


I don't think that's the case. I think it is pure mischief. It's a


very dangerous thing to discredit the importance of this issue and


turn it into one about tactical political cross-dressing. Tessa,


thank you very much. The two men who ran


the 2015 campaign for the Conservatives and Labour -


Sir Craig Oliver Political crossed Racing. How much


of it is going to go on? -- political crossed Racing. Tessa is


right. This is going to be a Brexit election. It will enable more


tactical decision-making than before. Do I think Labour voters


should vote Lib Dem? I don't. I don't think Labour can win the


election that I think we need to have strong opposition after the


election and that some point were going to have a different leader


than Jeremy Corbyn and they need to inherit some MPs and spirit within


the Labour Party. Craig, I asked Tessa Jowell whether she would vote


for Kate Hoey. How should Michael Heseltine vote in this election? I'm


not going to advise Michael Heseltine. What was interesting


about what Teza was saying, she is right. This is largely going to be a


Brexit election. It is an election where the majority of the electorate


understand it is going to happen and they will ask who is most competent


to deal with this big issue. The second thing is who is going to be


the most effective leader. By a country mile, Theresa May is ahead


in that front. I suspect when those questions are asked, who is the best


leader, who is the most competent, I think for many people be answerable


be obvious. Do Labour need to have a specific Brexit plan for people to


vote for? I think they do. One of the problems today is Labour trying


to change the subject. They have got to embrace that this is about Brexit


and they have got to get some clarity and distinctiveness. They


are not going to get anywhere by saying, take a little bit of


immigration and get some access to the single market. People need to


know where they stand on this central issue of our generation. And


I don't. Right, and you work in the party!


Let talk about where you would run this? If you're a head in the polls


and ahead on leadership, those are the two natural questions. What I


think you will see is the Conservative Party over the next


seven weeks constantly asking those questions, who is best to deal with


Brexit? Who has the best leader? They feel they have the answers,


they feel the stars have aligned. They feel the Labour Party is in


total disarray. Interesting point Tom makes about having to have a


Lear position on Brexit, when half of your seats are Remain and half


are Leave, that is very difficult. What would be the advice to the


Torres on how to run this election? We will come to Labour in a second.


I think they probably taken it. Theresa May holds all the cards. She


is trying to pitch this as, who do you trust to get the best deal for


Britain? The alternative for Labour, trying to make it about anything


other than Brexit, it comes down to the personality of the leader and


Theresa May is going to win on that. She has got to make it about her


leadership and the Brexit negotiations and that looks very


strong. I did quite a feud interviews today and the only people


really coming out for Labour were people like Tom, who are basically


feeling a bit awkward about the reality of their current leadership.


And I think that's another real problem during this campaign, there


is a lot of Labour people thinking, maybe if Jeremy Corbyn just gets


damaged that little bit will knock out and we can get someone who is


more effective. We will put that to Emily Thornbury, who will be on.


What would be your advice to Labour? It wouldn't start from here. They


are in an incredibly difficult situation. They've got a leader who


is seen, broadly, as incompetent. They are split down the middle. The


reality is, you're going to have to try and force it on issues like the


NHS, education. There is a lot of divisiveness about that kind of


thing. They are trying to talk about the NHS and other things and maybe,


Tom, that is the best place. They've got a mountain to climb. That may be


the best thing for Labour. If they don't take this opportunity to get


clarity on Brexit, they're going to offer even more because it will


become about Jeremy Corbyn and Theresa May. They have this one


opportunity to get some clarity on this key issue. I think they could


say that this is an election where Theresa May looks incredibly strong


but she is actually called it out of weakness. She knows Brexit is going


to be a disaster, she knows it's not going to be a land of milk and


honey, she is cutting and running before the reality bites for Brexit.


This is actually Theresa May being week rather than strong. Thank you


both very much indeed. Anything can happen in politics


these days, and so even though Labour looks to have a mountain


to climb, it surely can win. But it is, in a way,


two parties at the moment, not one. Corbyn supporters and his critics


take different views on many things. The critics probably


won't want to rock the boat, The New Statesman's special


correspondent, Stephen Bush, the country's closest watcher


of Labour politics, has been looking This piece contains graffiti that


some may find offensive. Jeremy Corbyn's challenge is to break out


of places like this and appeal to people all around the country.


Labour will fight two campaigns in June. The first will be campaigns


all around the country, campaigns designed to say we will take the


most and give to everybody, like free school meals. They hope this


will give people a chance to change their mind on Jeremy Corbyn.


The pessimists in Jeremy Corbyn's campaign are fighting a very


They believe that the opposition of its


own MPs, the effectiveness of Brexit on the Labour vote and Theresa May's


own popularity means that they cannot win this election.


What they are hoping to do is to fight a


second election as leader, just as Neil Kinnock did.


That's why they, like his critics, will actually be fighting


another campaign - to convince other


Labour Party members that th ensuing defeat was


If we ask how we got here, it is possible to answer that


traditional politics - both new Labour and old Tory -


had failed to maintain a connection to blue collar voters,


often in towns and small cities of the north of England.


They often voted for Brexit and have electoral force.


They are Labour's old base, but it has been suggested that some


of them might be persuaded to vote Tory.


The Labour constituency of Barrow and Furness is a good one


Filmmaker Nick Blakemore has spent time before


today's announcement, sounding out voters


The Conservatives at this time are the only party that are going to


deliver Brexit. Could you consider voting for them? I could consider


voting for them because of that. All my friends are working class people.


We are all working class people, mainly in Barrow. But a lot of my


friends think the Conservatives are the ones with brains, and sometimes,


to put it bluntly, they think they are a pack of


away they treat people, I don't think people see the left as being


smart people at the moment. I have worked since the age of 14. I work


long hours and I put everything I've got into it. I don't expect anything


handed to me. But I do know people who have actually said to me, I am


better off being on the dole, though why should I work? I have voted


Labour all my life but I don't think I will in the next election. I'm


swinging towards Theresa May, I think she's a strong woman. I think


she will get more backing from her party than Jeremy Corbyn look will.


I think she's very patriotically machine once the country to be


better. I think she cares about what normal people, everyday people that


go to work nine to five, have to do all the stuff that we don't like, I


think she cares about what they think and she wants to make that


better for them. So for someone who has voted Labour all their life is


it fair to say that you might think about voting Conservative? Yes. If


they are the ones that are going to get the job done, absolutely. --


yes. With Brexit. Yes. I'm looking for a party that tells me the truth,


that not only talks the talk but walks the walk. I'll be honest with


you, I am a Labour man. Theresa May, yeah, I'm not saying... She's saying


the right things, but I don't think I could actually pull myself to vote


Tory at this point in time. Having said that, I've got to be honest


with you, Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party, if there was ever a


time in the Labour Party's existence, now is the time for unity


and it's just not there. Everybody in the country can see it. There's


no way that the establishment, the media and the establishment, are


going to allow a left of centre government to get into power. The


media perception of Corbyn is disgraceful. He doesn't stand up for


himself. If Corbyn was my MP in Barrow, I would vote for him as a


constituency MP, but I don't think I support him in his views in


government. Because I think he is too wishy-washy. Brexit is obviously


the issue. It's certainly confusing. I think the electorate will be


confused as to where they would vote with their natural allegiances. What


Theresa May said on the streets of Downing Street, if she was a Labour


Prime Minister, I would have been very pleased with it. What do you


mean by that? Because I thought she was very... This is when she became


Prime Minister? When she became Prime Minister, yeah. She was going


to look after the ones who were only just managing, she said. The actions


will be so much different from the words, but it's going to take time


for that to come through, for the electorate to see that, that they


don't really mean that, they're going to look after their own like


they always do. The working class people now are changing. They don't


want to be classed as working class. That's it, it's gone. We are a small


island, but we are miles apart, you know, from the southern end to the


northern end, and miles apart in the thinking, sometimes. Voters in


Barrow and Furness, there. The Labour MP for Barrow and Furness,


John Woodcock, has said in a Facebook video tonight that he


cannot endorse Jeremy Corbyn is the next Prime Minister, adding that


there is still time for him to stand down as the Labour leader rather


than take Labour to defeat. Emily Thornbury is


the Shadow Foreign Secretary. Do you accept that there has been some cut


through from Theresa May into the labour base in the last couple of


years? I thought what he said was very interesting and he said, I like


what it is that she says and what this election ought to be about is,


what it is that they're doing. Let's look at the evidence. Let's look at


fact that they are cutting money per pupil, we're getting cuts to


schools. For the first time since, I don't know, 30, 40 years, if your


child breaks their arm, they will wait seven hours in A We know


this. Your carer will only be there at lunch time, you have to go along


and look after your mum yourself because of the cuts to social care.


That is the reality. That is what is our job during this election, to


say, actually as a country we are failing. We're failing


internationally but we're failing nationally in terms of the


economy... How many years has it been since the banks now, seven


years, and we're told we need to continue to cut back on public


services to pay off the debt, and the debt continues to go up. A lot


of people are saying this is a Brexit election, Labour will try and


talk about other things because Labour's position Brexit just isn't


clear. When it comes to Brexit, the Lib Dems are very clear. The Torres


are clear. And Labour is kind of straddling... Well, you know, we


haven't picked a side. We are a national party and we want to


represent the nation. The fact that we have people who wanted to remain


at people who wanted to leave is actually a strength. It's a


strength? It is a strength because there has to be a party that tries


to pull the country together, that gets a deal that works for


everybody. But that implies people should say, look, I'm a Brexit here,


I'm not going to remain for a Remain MP, or vice versa. If you can't come


up with a party position on what is the overwhelmingly most important


issue that everybody is talking about, isn't that a problem? Two


things, the first thing is we have a ready had a vote on Brexit, why do


we need another one? We had one a year ago when the public decided


they wanted to leave. Labour's position is that we accept that


result but we need to make sure we look after the economy first. The


most important thing is the safety and security of citizens and the


second most important thing is the economy. Then we say, Theresa May,


you promised six things that we really like and we're going to hold


you do that and we will vote against you if you don't. Will you come up


with an alternative Brexit model that the voters can say, actually we


prefer the Labour model to Theresa May's model? Let's just start with


this. We need to have a government that understands that the economy is


more important than anything else. That is what every economy around


the world does. -- every country. A plan that says, here is a clear


choice, Britain, you have two Brexit Global you can choose... The


government has said they can get a free trade deal with the European


Union where we can get the same benefits as we have at the moment.


We say, great, you can do that and we will hold you do that, because


that is what we need. That is saying you should vote for Theresa May! To


see if she can get that. The point is that her vision for Brexit is


promising everyone everything and hoping to press every single button,


and we have said, you cannot have all of that. Here are the things we


think are the priorities and we will hold you to account on that. Having


an election about you holding them to account on something they haven't


done... Today on the steps of Downing Street she is saying, we


don't like the opposition playing games with us and being mean to us,


we're going to have a general election and hope to get rid of the


opposition and get lots of votes, and we want a blank cheque. They had


a limited amount of time to do these elections, negotiations...


Respectfully, the election has to be on your alternative prospectus, not


on you holding them to account on their prospectus. It has to be about


the colony, it has to be about people's day-to-day lives. It is


about schools being cut, it is about... John Woodcock, an MP saying


I couldn't vote for Jeremy Corbyn as Prime Minister but I am Labour and I


wanted win my seat and be reselected as the candidate for Labour. What


should the members of his party in that constituency do? People who are


sitting MPs will be how candidates in the next general election.


-- John Woodcock doesn't have to vote for Jeremy Corbyn as leader.


Absolutely we can win. Theresa May can't put forward what she wants for


Brexit because she wants to put everything at the moment. If people


vote Conservative, they will be giving her a blank cheque. Vote


Labour. Well, Scotland turned out to be


one of the big stories the SNP was cited by Theresa May


as one reason for going So let us go to Edinburgh


now, and Emily there. Thanks very much. We've come to


Scotland to ask whether the Prime Minister 's decision was the huge


political miscalculation that Nicola Sturgeon declared it to be today.


The SNP dominated here. They created the biggest elliptical swings ever


seen in a modern UK election when they fought the Westminster seats


here some two years ago. They won all but three. Can they maintain


that level of power or will they have two slide backwards from


something that already seems pretty miraculous in terms of election


gains. Perhaps the biggest question is what will the decision to cause a


Westminster general election mean for the future of Scotland? Has


Theresa May given a mandate to Nicola Sturgeon to do the same thing


here in triggering the second referendum we know she wants. If so,


can she bring Scotland in behind her. Lets talk to Sarah Smith. We've


already leapfrogged that sense of the general election to move onto


this question of Scotland's future. The independent is going to totally


dominate this campaign. It won't be about Brexit, it will be about


another referendum. In some ways, it will be a referendum on whether


there should be another referendum on independence. The SNP believe


they can use this to bolster their demands for another referendum


because at the moment Theresa May says she will not allow one until


Britain has left the EU. They may have two answer a few tricky


questions. If we have a campaign talking about independence, voters


might want to know what an independent Scotland would be like.


What currency? Whether Scotland would seek full EU membership.


Questions they are not ready to answer fully yet. The Scottish


Parliament already voted for another referendum but a campaign could help


them in that demand. The Tories feel that they can make significant gains


in Scotland. They could put in their manifesto a specific aim to deny a


referendum on Scottish independence. I am going to put that question to a


supporter of the SNP and someone who is a thorn in the side for Nicola


Sturgeon. Do you think this is what she has in mind, this idea that


Theresa May could put something in the manifesto that rules out a


referendum in Scotland? I think so. The SNP will be compelled to put


something in their manifesto as well. By any measurement, the SNP is


going to come out of this election with the most seats and biggest vote


share in Scotland. The Conservatives will argue if the SNP slipped back


from that high point of 56 seats and nearly 50% of the vote in 2015, then


somehow that represents a shift, that it vindicates the Tory argument


that there is no appetite for a second referendum. You think Nicola


Sturgeon is weakened tonight? Not in the least. Most Scots will be gassed


that there is a cynical power grab by Theresa May today. It's nothing


to do with Brexit or resolving the dilemmas... That was an accusation


levelled at the SNP when that referendum was mooted. The majority


of people in Scotland want to be in Europe. The SNP have 56 MPs as


opposed to a paltry 84 the Tories. What does the SNP have to hold onto


to feel that it has Scotland behind it? They just have to get more than


40 seats and that seems likely. The real question is how the


Conservatives in Scotland measure a victory. They had a revival, a


modest revival last year. They are confident it will be extended in the


local government elections and in the general election. They are


looking at around half a dozen seats. The sort of constituencies


they picked up in last year's Scottish Parliamentary elections.


The SNP by any measure will win the election but I think the Tory


calculation is that they will check SNP momentum. The Tories currently


have one MP north of the -- north of the border. One more would be 100%


increase. Is there a worry that the SNP will go back? How could they?


Labour is in disarray both sides of the border. I think this will be


about Brexit. Scotland is trying to define itself differently than the


society emerging south of the border. There are a lot aspects that


people find objectionable. The SNP are in the process of pivoting away


from rejoining the EU immediately if Scotland were to become independent


and towards the European economic area. They are not being upfront


about that because it has caught them unaware because they are going


to have to play catch-up. They have to be clear in their manifesto about


precisely what they are proposing. Would she spell out revenue or


money, all the rest of it? We have had this sprung on others for one


day. I am not an SNP member or key supporter. There are ample


opportunities for Scotland and variations of what we could do in


Europe and the one thing most Scots would agree on is that we need to be


in their exploiting one or other opportunity. There is also the


aspects of the rape clause in the benefits legislation that people


find apparent. There is a pattern that people are finding with a


winner takes all, greedy society that is inward looking down self and


people don't want that year. If you thought this was going to be talk of


the general election in Scotland, it has already leapfrogged the general


election. We feel already at the starting point of a second


referendum. It could be an incredibly long eight weeks up here.


Let's finish with a panel to talk through the choices on offer -


I'm joined by Paul Mason who is a Guardian columnist


and Corbyn supporter, Polly Mackenzie who was special


adviser to Nick Clegg, and Fraser Nelson who is


Fraser, do we need this election? This is not a necessary election


even though Theresa May tried to pretend otherwise. It is needed


because it helps her a lot. It will consolidate her power over the party


and it will help in EU negotiations but really she was facing a once in


a generation opportunity to have an election against an opposition which


is incredibly weak and figured it would be rude not to, really. Such


an incredible opportunity here. It would have taken a big politician to


resist this. She said she would but in the end it was irresistible. I


think it's a measure to the extent of her original strategy on Brexit


fail. I am glad we are having an election. It had to happen because


she tried to use the Brexit referendum for a mandate of a kind


of government which was vacuous because there is no consent to the


Brexit... The content is the threat to walk away, walk off a cliff,


destroy the NHS in the process. She knew she couldn't get away with


that. It has been spun in the papers... The Daily Mail tomorrow is


saying "Crush the saboteurs". When you say somebody with a 40% lead in


the polls needing to crush saboteurs. You worry about how


secure she thought she was. It had to happen. We had to have some


content to Brexit. Polly, do you think this is a necessary or cynical


election? It's pretty cynical but whether she is doing it from


weakness or strength, it will make a stronger, it will increase her


majority. It's a foregone conclusion. I think Labour will win.


That is definitely what where the bookies are. If you ask people what


you think about giving the Conservatives a blank check for


Brexit? All the issues for Labour, the NHS and everything must be


framed about preventing a socially unjust Brexit. Senior Labour people


think bring it on. We have a chance to stage a political revolution


against the Conservatives and I think we can do it. But the Labour


Party has backed Brexit and absolutely set go ahead. If you want


to stop the Conservatives having a blank cheque and a landslide,


outside of Scotland, I take the point on, the only party to go for


is the Lib Dems. Whether that is going to be a majority opinion or


not it doesn't make any sense to switch to the Labour Party. People


do want to do their best to sabotage Brexit, as the Daily Mail put it


should vote for the Lib Dems if there is a chance of them beating


the Conservatives. I'm in favour of organising from the grassroots some


sort of progressive socially just alliance to prevent what is about to


happen. Would you vote tactically? I would do in my own constituency. I


would probably get drummed out of the Labour Party but I would. Which


party is going to do better? Is the Lib Dem party going to rise? I think


this is a great early Christmas present for the Lib Dems. They are


unequivocally the Remain party. They define their own politics by Brexit


remain. There is only one pro-Remain party in the market right now and


that is the Lib Dems. Scotland has separate dynamics. The Lib Dems


can't get any lower and they might get back some of the seats they lost


to the Tories in the West Country. It is the only good news they have


had for some time will stop some people feel it is Theresa May


wanting to deliver a softer Brexit for which she needs a majority to


see down her own Brexit is. Amber Rudd didn't allow that to night. She


was saying it is true that one of the results of this will be a more


possible softer Brexit so you can negotiate it past the Tory


backbenchers. It is one of the many ways it will be helpful for Theresa


May. Polly? It depends who is elected. Those elected could be


pretty hardline Brexit supporters. If people don't want Brexit to


become an economic catastrophe and smashing the welfare state and


employment rights it's an opportunity for people to vote


heavily to prevent the Tories from having a majority. My constituency


is at Vauxhall. Kate Hoey. I will vote tactical. I'm a Labour Party


member. At the moment, I'm going to vote for the Labour Party candidate.


That is not the tactical vote. Kate Hoey is the exception that proves


the rule. John Woodcock said earlier... The NEC can vote any


Labour candidates who don't want to be part of labour. Ultimately, we in


Labour have two position ourselves very much towards the section of the


electric that is worried about Brexit and once social justice. We


should be together finding a way to block... Poly- RU recommending Lib


Dem supporters to vote tactically? Plenty of live Lib Dem voters are


voting tactically all of their lives and they are not going to stop now.


You would be forgiven from the pictures to think that the Prime


Minister addressed a empty Downing Street this morning. That was not


the case. Downing Street was groaning with people. Seven weeks to


polling day, let's hope it flies by. I have just chaired a meeting of the


Cabinet where we agreed that the government should call a general


election. Good evening. Let's get a check on


the weather for web and stay. It is looking pretty good but the cloud


will be increasing through


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