12/12/2017 Newsnight


12/12/2017

With Emily Maitlis. Grenfell and housing, animals and the Tories, the latest on Brexit, and reviews of Star Wars: The Last Jedi.


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Transcript


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No justice - no peace!

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Tonight - the council has allocated

more than £200 million

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for Grenfell residents.

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So why is it taking so long

to find people new homes?

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We have to be patient.

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We have to be patient.

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And also considering moving

into a place is one thing,

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moving into a place

which will have to become your

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home is another thing.

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So, for me, it's, like, OK,

if I move into a place it has to be

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something I can turn

into a home and I'll be

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there for the rest of my life.

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We'll discuss housing

and the public enquiry

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with a solicitor representing 17

families and an expert in how

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to run housing like this.

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Also tonight, Brexit

will be great for animals -

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declared the Environment Secretary

today.

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Of course we must do

more, and we will.

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We will make sure that in law

there is appropriate protection

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for animals which recognises

that they are sentient,

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that they can feel pain, and that

it's our responsibility to make

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sure their welfare is protected.

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Why are the Tories so keen

to prove their love of our

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four legged friends.

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And what does it say about

the party's political positioning?

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We'll discuss.

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And...

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The Last Jedi will dominate

the papers tomorrow.

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What did they really think

of the latest Star Wars incarnation?

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We have the first reviews.

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Good evening.

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Six months ago, after

the fire at Grenfell Tower,

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I interviewed the Prime Minister.

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She promised the residents

they would be rehoused

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within three weeks.

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Two weeks before Christmas,

more than a hundred households

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are still in hotel rooms.

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So where have things gone wrong?

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The council has allotted huge sums

of money for rehousing -

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Kensington and CHelsea have set

aside £235 million to secure

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accommodation for the people made

homeless by the fire.

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So why is it is stalling?

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David Grossman reports.

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Justice for Grenfell!

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Justice for Grenfell!

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No justice!

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No peace!

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No justice!

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No peace!

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This protest outside the Council

offices last week was only

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a fraction of the size of the ones

in the summer.

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They are living a second trauma

because they're not considered

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worthy enough to be given housing...

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The focus of this is

to demand permanent

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new homes for the survivors.

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There are still people stuck

in hotels with their children.

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Their children are

in a room next door.

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It is not an adjoining

room so the children

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will sleep with the parents.

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So then you may have a family

of five in one room.

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Because actually they don't want

their children in the next room,

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they want to keep an eye on them.

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It is a really horrible way to live.

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Christmas is coming,

they're going to spend

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Christmas in hotels.

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Not much has changed

on the tower itself,

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but what has the council done

for the residents who

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survived this disaster?

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One fact that has hugely complicated

matters for the Council

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is that the number of

houses or flats they are

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looking for has gone up

by more than 50% since the tragedy.

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As groups of people who were housed

in one unit inside the tower have

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elected to be rehoused in two

or sometimes more units outside.

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That means what was originally

a search for 138 new houses or flats

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has become a search for 210.

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Of that total just 45 households

are now in new, permanent homes.

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54 are in temporary accommodation.

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And 111 are still in

emergency accommodation.

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That is typically hotel rooms.

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That figure includes

Antonio Roncolato.

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He was one of the last people to be

rescued from Grenfell.

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He was trapped on the tenth floor

of the burning tower for five hours.

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He shared his flat

with his adult son.

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They will now be

rehoused separately.

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In terms of finding permanent

accommodation, it's not easy.

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And obviously we have

had our assessment with the council,

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with my housing officer.

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And there are some requirements

that we have requested

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and I understand that it takes time

and it takes a little bit of...

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We have to be patient.

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And also considering that moving

into a place is one thing,

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moving into a place which will have

to become your home

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is another thing.

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So it's like, OK, if I move

into a place, it has to be something

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that I can turn into a home.

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And I will be there for

the rest of my life.

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So therefore I might have to turn

down one, two or three.

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I don't know how many.

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Are the council putting any pressure

on you to accept anything?

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No, you know, they're lately,

for the last two or three months,

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they have been very active

in showing, in trying.

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And I must say I appreciate that.

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But in the sense of pressure, no.

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It is understandable that Antonio

and other Grenfell survivors

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don't want to be rushed.

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According to one housing charity,

this is straining a system not used

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to providing choice.

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We have a real crisis in affordable

housing in this country.

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And we have a social housing system

that doesn't give people any choice.

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Once you actually start asking

people what they want,

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you then have to deal with the fact

that actually it can't be delivered.

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So I think what we are seeing

is a system that is not used

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to any element of choice

and is very disempowering.

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Suddenly when you're trying

to empower people within that system

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and give them some choice,

the system simply can't cope.

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To provide choice, the council has

put aside £235 million to buy

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new houses and flats

for the survivors of Grenfell Tower.

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That works out at £1.7 million

per original household.

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This doesn't include the cost

of hotels, new furniture,

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resettlement grants and writing off

rent and service charges

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in the new homes until June 2019.

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These are being paid

for from another budget.

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This is the living

space and the kitchen.

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And then through here

you've got two bedrooms...

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The council showed us this

place that they bought

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for a Grenfell survivor.

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It's in a low-rise block

of privately owned flats

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not far from the tower.

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The director of housing wouldn't

tell me what they paid for it,

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but similar flats seemed to go

for around £850,000.

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We still do have people

in hotels, that's true.

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We've got 28 families

with children under 18 in hotels.

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Now, 16 of those have accepted

something, so they will be moving

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on and we are trying to support them

at the moment to do that

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as soon as possible.

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But we have got 12 families

who haven't accepted an offer.

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So we're working as hard as we can

with them to try and get something

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that meets their needs

and their preferences.

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Because of what people have been

through, most people want to live

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at lower floor levels.

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Most people would like

a bit of outside space.

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A lot of people want to be

in the North Kensington

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area, not everybody.

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And we have got to meet all of those

desires with the properties

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that we are acquiring.

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But that doesn't include residents

of the surrounding blocks

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who were evacuated during the fire.

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The blocks themselves were undamaged

although the heating and hot water

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systems were destroyed.

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They have now been replaced and two

thirds of the residents have

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returned to their homes.

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But 109 households

don't want to go back.

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Some of them don't

feel ready to return.

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For example until the tower

is wrapped or some of

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those kind of decisions.

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So what we're saying to those people

is we will rent you a property

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in the private rented sector locally

in Kensington and Chelsea

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for you to move into whilst you take

stock of what you want to do next.

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And then we will work with them

quite intensively over the next few

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months to see what they want to do.

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Do they want to return home.

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Or obviously we have got

a consultation out at the moment

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around awarding people points

for priority on the

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housing register.

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So actually if they feel

that they can't be on the estate,

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that they've got the opportunity

to move.

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But that is not enough of

an assurance for Thomasina Hessel.

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She shared a hotel room with her son

Jesse for six months.

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She doesn't want to go back to her

flat near the base of the tower,

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but doesn't feel there is enough

certainty of what will happen

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in the long-term to move out of this

hotel room into a temporary flat.

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They have not made me any

offers, first of all.

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And they have made some

of my neighbours offers and insisted

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that they make decisions based

on this draft housing policy

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that they have going.

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And I think that is unfair

because it is a draft policy.

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Anything can change so anyone making

a decision now is making it

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on something that may not exist

in a month's time.

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So that is unfair.

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Their reason for doing that

in my view is because A,

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it saves them money to get people

out by Christmas.

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And B, it makes them look good.

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Is part of the problem though,

that in the initial rush to help,

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residents were led to believe that

rehousing would take place

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at an ultra fast pace?

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Here's the Prime Minister

on this programme in June,

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two days after the fire.

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Other things we will do as well

to provide support for people,

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to ensure they are rehoused

within three weeks...

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Today a group of survivors

and the bereaved from Grenfell

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arrived at Downing Street to remind

the Prime Minister

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of this commitment.

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We were given promises

by Theresa May that they would be

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housed in three weeks.

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It is coming up to Christmas,

it is six months.

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Thursday will be a telling day.

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You know, if she is coming

to the memorial service,

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we hope that she comes

with a message of positivity

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and you know, things that have

been accomplished rather

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than empty promises.

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Nothing can change what happened

here six months ago.

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Rehousing those who lost homes

and loved ones is only the start

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of trying to repair the damage.

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But it is clear there

is still a long way to go,

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even on that limited objective.

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David Grossman there.

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Let's get some reaction

to what we've just seen and look

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ahead to the inquiry which has been

meeting for the first time

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to discuss the parameters

and how best to effect it.

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Emma Norris works at the Institute

for Government and has been working

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on how public inquiries can be

carried out most effectively,

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Cyrilia Davies Knight

is a solicitor for 13

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of the Grenfell Tower families.

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It's nice to be here.

What do you

understand from your families is the

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hold-up with the housing right now

for them?

Good question. Actually

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I'm unclear as to what the delay is

with the housing. A lot of my

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clients whom I represent remaining

hotels, in temporary accommodation,

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and it's unclear what the issue is

with rehousing them.

The money is

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there. This huge sum of £235 million

which has been put aside by the

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council. Are the people you are

representing very keen to get into

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their new houses? Where is the

delay, do you think?

Certainly my

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clients are keen to get into their

new houses. I represent vulnerable,

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some bereaved, and some survivors,

and indeed they would like to be

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rehoused as quickly as possible.

However, they are not prepared to

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accept accommodation that is

inadequate or substandard to what

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they had.

Do you think they are

being offered... It was very hard to

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see... The apartments we were seen

inside of, something around

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£850,000, they looked incredible,

but you think what is being offered

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is substandard?

There needs to be a

thorough means tested assessment. So

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that the clients I represent are

given appropriate accommodation for

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their needs. Many of my clients, as

I said, are vulnerable and

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traumatised. And the delay in being

rehoused isn't helping them. I'm not

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sure what the delay is but I do know

it is unhelpful.

David was

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explaining the numbers. What started

off as 138 families needing to be

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rehoused has now become a search for

210 households because they have

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splintered off. Antonio said his son

wanted his own house. Some people

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want to move out from parents or

other relatives. Was that always

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going to be part of the process? How

does that work in terms of these

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increasing numbers?

I can only speak

for those I represent. What I would

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say is that it is absolutely

paramount that those affected by

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this disaster are rehoused as

quickly as possible, as promised by

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our Prime Minister.

Emma, look ahead

for us to the enquiry, there is a

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lot of momentum at the beginning of

these things. I guess the key is

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that some of that actually drives

through to results, right?

I think

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that's right. You've picked up on

one of the key issue straightaway. A

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successful enquiry isn't about what

happened at the beginning of an

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enquiry or during, but afterwards.

Often that is where some of our

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institutions are at their weakest.

We need to see the up with a

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powerful set of recommendations for

change. But we also need to see the

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Government act upon them, and that

is often where enquiries fall down.

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As an enquiry got a dual role? I

wonder how much of an enquiry is

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catharsis and how much you need to

see things...

Good question. The

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enquiries are there to answer three

questions. What happened, who is

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responsible to some extent, and what

can we learn from what happened.

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Those first two questions speak to

that emotional catharsis you

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mentioned. At the moment the

community is understandably

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mistrustful of the enquiry process.

It got off to a rocky start. There

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are some signs things are getting

better. The chair has appointed a

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community engagement specialist to

the panel. But we know from past

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enquiries the dangers of failing to

listen to victims and families.

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Hillsborough, for example, examples

of when there were failures to put

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the victims at the heart of the

process.

You've seen enough of these

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enquiries to know that they often

don't deliver, right? How many times

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do we get to the end of an enquiry,

the victims seem unhappy, the public

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doesn't trust them, there is no

sense anything is going to change.

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Do enquiries really work?

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Public enquiries are one of the only

tools we have to look independently

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as some of the worst tragedies that

we experience as a society. We need

0:15:200:15:26

to seek government be far better in

setting out how to implement

0:15:260:15:32

recommendations and parliament

following up on that. Looking back

0:15:320:15:37

at the 68 enquiries that have taken

place since 1990, only six have

0:15:370:15:41

received full follow-up by

Parliament.

We need to do better

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than that. Looking at what is coming

in and your families, is there a

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sense of expectation?

I think my

clients are distrusting and

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expectations are quite low. I have

to say. I think that housing is one

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of the key points that needs to be

addressed first and foremost in

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order to help rebuild the trust and

confidence in the process that they

0:16:100:16:13

are subjected to. I think other

things can be done to help rebuild

0:16:130:16:21

that trust. There needs to be a

commitment to psychological one of

0:16:210:16:25

our fire and well-being.

Psychological welfare. This needs to

0:16:250:16:33

start sooner rather than later, the

enquiry. There needs to be equality

0:16:330:16:39

when the enquiry comes to start.

I

wonder if you also think that the

0:16:390:16:44

enquiry is up against a particular

difficulty when social media can

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spread a sense of not trusting the

right person or questioning the

0:16:490:16:53

judges or the figures. It can be

very useful tool but also exacerbate

0:16:530:16:58

worries and concerns or perhaps they

do not know.

That is why it's

0:16:580:17:06

important to make sure you're

involved in the community and with

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the victims properly. Looking at the

Hillsborough inquest, they gave the

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Brive the opportunity to talk about

the people they had lost as part of

0:17:160:17:21

the inquest process and I think

adopting a similar process in this

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enquiry would make sure that the

victims are at the heart of it.

So

0:17:240:17:29

there is a sense of them and us, are

you going into this thinking you're

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doing battle almost?

I would not say

we're doing battle. I think it is

0:17:350:17:41

clear and it has been made clear

that my clients feel they have been,

0:17:410:17:50

their voices have gone unheard, they

have not been listened to or

0:17:500:17:53

properly engaged thus far. There are

distrusting. They want the truth,

0:17:530:18:00

they want justice and

accountability, they want the

0:18:000:18:02

answers. There are many ways that

can be achieved. That could be

0:18:020:18:07

achieved through disclosure,

disclosure needs to take place

0:18:070:18:13

quickly of documents from the TMO,

from the council, so they can feed

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into the process. They have lived

this, this is their lives, their

0:18:190:18:24

reality.

Thank you both very much.

And more on Grenfell Tower six

0:18:240:18:34

months on over the next couple of

nights.

0:18:340:18:36

Environment Secretary Michael Gove

has promised to make Brexit work

0:18:360:18:39

not just for citizens

but for the animals we love too.

0:18:390:18:41

The Conservatives have been talking

about animals a lot recently.

0:18:410:18:44

The beavers that will be

released into the wild.

0:18:440:18:46

The puppies that will no

longer be smuggled.

0:18:460:18:48

The rare sea birds to be saved

by an extension of the blue belt.

0:18:480:18:51

Today Mr Gove promised higher

sentences for animal cruelty,

0:18:510:18:53

and to reflect animal sentience -

their response to pain - in law.

0:18:530:18:58

So why this concentration

on animal rights, right now?

0:18:580:19:03

Is it about more than

just, well animals?

0:19:030:19:12

Some people call us the nasty party.

0:19:120:19:14

When Theresa May spoke

of the danger all those years ago

0:19:140:19:16

of being perceived as the nasty

party, she struck a chord

0:19:160:19:22

not just with voters,

but with those in her own party

0:19:220:19:24

who realised that perception

of niceness was paramount.

0:19:240:19:26

It was no coincidence that

David Cameron as he rose to power

0:19:260:19:29

spent time with husky dogs

in the polar regions.

0:19:290:19:31

The Conservatives, you see,

were modern and compassionate

0:19:310:19:33

and environmental.

0:19:330:19:40

They even knew about veganism.

0:19:400:19:42

They were, the theory ran,

more palatable to younger,

0:19:420:19:44

more liberal metropolitan voters

as well as their rural base.

0:19:440:19:47

But the austerity years

took care of all that.

0:19:470:19:49

The Huskies were put out

into the cold again,

0:19:490:19:51

in came badger culling,

a free vote on fox hunting,

0:19:510:19:53

the Green went True Blue.

0:19:530:19:56

The viral story of the last election

was a failure by the Conservatives

0:19:560:19:59

to effect a manifesto promise

of a ban on ivory imports.

0:19:590:20:03

And last month a misunderstanding

got reported and shared by millions,

0:20:030:20:07

suggesting the Conservatives did not

believe animals could feel pain.

0:20:070:20:10

Had even voted against it.

0:20:100:20:13

Even though the story

was quickly disproved,

0:20:130:20:14

the damage had been done.

0:20:140:20:18

The Tories were back

to being in some voters' minds

0:20:180:20:21

the nasty party again.

0:20:210:20:22

The damage control was instant.

0:20:220:20:26

And in the last weeks and months

we've seen DEFRA roll out policy

0:20:260:20:29

after policy that shows

the Conservatives' love of animals.

0:20:290:20:31

None so enthusiastically perhaps

as Michael Gove who since June has

0:20:310:20:34

announced he will be saving

trafficked puppies, freeing beavers,

0:20:340:20:38

looking after animals

in slaughterhouses.

0:20:380:20:39

The list goes on.

0:20:390:20:49

So does the party seem more caring?

0:20:490:20:50

Are those younger, metropolitan

liberal voters even listening?

0:20:500:20:52

Or is the old image of the Tory out

hunting to attempting to move on?

0:20:520:20:56

I'm joined by Deborah Mattinson

the founding partner of the research

0:20:560:20:59

and polling organisation

Britain Thinks and Jack Elsom who is

0:20:590:21:01

the Chair of the London Universities

Conservatives.

0:21:010:21:06

Lovely to have you both. What is

going on, does being nice to animals

0:21:060:21:14

actually win votes?

I'm a Young

Conservative voter but it would be

0:21:140:21:17

pretty foolish of me to come on here

and say the Conservatives do not

0:21:170:21:20

have a problem attracting young

people. Deborah Bull tell you that

0:21:200:21:24

I'm sure in a minute. But in my

conversations not just in

0:21:240:21:29

conservative circles that

universities but with Labour and Lib

0:21:290:21:33

Dem friends, it is not the hot topic

of debate at universities. It is

0:21:330:21:39

mainly towards Brexodus tuition

fees.

So do you mean that people

0:21:390:21:42

think about it but not at the top,

or do not talk about it at all?

0:21:420:21:48

Really not at all but I do think

having said that what Michael Gove

0:21:480:21:51

said today is will -- will be able

to unite students whether it is

0:21:510:21:58

recognising that animals can feel

pain or good news for animals about

0:21:580:22:02

how sentences for maximum abuse...

Well this is interesting, in

0:22:020:22:12

university talking about these

things and yet we are told that the

0:22:120:22:16

stories that went viral during the

election, that is the story about

0:22:160:22:20

not fulfilling the Pledge on the

ivory ban and this one on the

0:22:200:22:28

sentience of animals, how are we

getting this wrong.

To say is not

0:22:280:22:32

the hot topic is the understatement

of the century, it has never made

0:22:320:22:35

more than 1% of the issues... As any

people tell you you have a small

0:22:350:22:42

number of people who care a lot

about animal rights. In a way what

0:22:420:22:47

is not to like but actually it is

not what drives younger voters or

0:22:470:22:53

older voters for that matter. But

the point about the election, fox

0:22:530:22:57

hunting for example, the reason why

that was noticed was because it

0:22:570:23:03

struck a chord and it spoke to the

Tory brand and is said to people

0:23:030:23:10

this is what I believe the Tory

brand to be about. Back to nasty.

0:23:100:23:17

Unfortunately which I guess they're

now trying to unpick again at the

0:23:170:23:21

moment. Bad blood at the time people

noticed that and people notice

0:23:210:23:25

things when they sure up something

they already believe.

So is Michael

0:23:250:23:31

Gove, as the Young Conservative is

he right to go on about the animals

0:23:310:23:34

now to try to chase people like you

if you're already on board or if you

0:23:340:23:39

do not really care. Is he wasting

his time or will he bring people in?

0:23:390:23:46

I do not think is wasting his time.

It may not be the hot topic of

0:23:460:23:51

debate at universities but I think

it is important and students may not

0:23:510:23:57

care as much about it as something

like Brexit or tuition fees but I

0:23:570:24:01

think there would be a big concern

since among students about

0:24:010:24:06

recognising the sentience of

animals. And great news in terms of

0:24:060:24:10

that sentencing for up to five years

for the worst abusers.

Do they trust

0:24:100:24:14

the Tories to maintain the message,

if you think back to David Cameron

0:24:140:24:18

and the symbolism of the Tory party

was the green oak tree and now with

0:24:180:24:23

Brexit there is no green.

Well we

ran focus groups in the election and

0:24:230:24:28

we asked people to think of the main

party leaders and who would you

0:24:280:24:32

trust most to look after your house

on holiday. They said Theresa May

0:24:320:24:37

but they would not trust her to look

after their pet!

Just bring up the

0:24:370:24:44

page of the i newspaper tomorrow,

Tories go green to win back the

0:24:440:24:54

voters. Is that a strategy that you

would say would be worth adopting

0:24:540:24:57

again because David Cameron tried

that and arguably it worked.

It

0:24:570:25:02

partially worked and I think the

rebrand worked partially for a

0:25:020:25:05

number of reasons and that was one

of them, a striking photo

0:25:050:25:09

opportunity. Well young voters in

particular care about housing, they

0:25:090:25:14

care about the economy, about jobs.

The environment generally and animal

0:25:140:25:20

rights in particular are very low on

that agenda.

So if you do care about

0:25:200:25:26

animal rights and clearly there is a

passionate constituency of people

0:25:260:25:29

who do. Are they never going to vote

Tory anyway, we'll always be green

0:25:290:25:37

voters or Labour voters?

They're

never going to go first to you. Not

0:25:370:25:42

at all, it is not at the top of the

agenda in terms of what young people

0:25:420:25:46

really care about but I would not

say no when is going to like these

0:25:460:25:50

policies or dislike them. I think

students will get behind the fact

0:25:500:25:55

that Michael Gove is putting animals

of the top of his agenda. That might

0:25:550:26:00

not be top of the student agenda

which is more Brexit or tuition

0:26:000:26:04

fees, but I think they could get on

board with this.

Is it done with

0:26:040:26:09

conviction? I think there are other

fish to fry, you are unusual as you

0:26:090:26:14

know, just 15% of 18 to 24-year-olds

say the Conservative Party is the

0:26:140:26:19

party for me. And I think there are

much bigger challenges than this is

0:26:190:26:23

able to meet.

Thank you both very

much.

0:26:230:26:27

After an ill judged comment

on a radio show, the Brexit

0:26:270:26:30

secretary David Davis has spent

today trying to reassure top EU

0:26:300:26:33

negotiators that Britain is not

trying to wriggle out of a deal

0:26:330:26:36

they agreed last week.

0:26:360:26:37

Mr Davis has invited the EU

to work with him to convert

0:26:370:26:39

the conversation into a legal text

as soon as possible.

0:26:390:26:42

Tomorrow, things move

on to the question of whether MPs

0:26:420:26:44

will get the final say

on the overall Brexit bill.

0:26:440:26:49

The former attorney

General Dominic Grieve is hoping

0:26:490:26:51

to attract enough support to defeat

the government in a vote on his

0:26:510:26:54

rebel amendment in the commons.

0:26:540:26:56

Nick Watt our political

editor is here, explain

0:26:560:26:58

what Mr Grieve is hoping to do?

0:26:580:27:03

Do you think you will defeat the

government? Well we have a

0:27:030:27:08

government that is very nervous it

could be about to suffer its first

0:27:080:27:11

defeat on the EU Withdrawal Bill

because the rebels led by Dominic

0:27:110:27:16

Grieve the former Attorney General

are digging in on their call for

0:27:160:27:19

that meaningful vote on the deal

figures out of the EU. Double is --

0:27:190:27:24

so tomorrow we will get some warm

words from the government and of

0:27:240:27:27

course I will say we will not dream

of using the powers in this

0:27:270:27:33

legislation to sneak through that

deal without consulting Parliament.

0:27:330:27:37

The rebels saying not good enough.

You have got to amend this bill and

0:27:370:27:41

if you do not like the wording of

Dominic Grieve you can fiddle around

0:27:410:27:45

with them at the later report stage.

I'm hearing the rebels saying the

0:27:450:27:50

government is behaving in a

cack-handed and bizarre ways so

0:27:500:27:53

tonight we have this band. The cheap

-- the Chief Whip Jordan Smith

0:27:530:28:00

follows the example of never losing

a vote so it is losing difficult, do

0:28:000:28:04

a deal. But does Dominic Grieve have

the numbers, he has nine Tory MPs

0:28:040:28:10

signing his amendment plus others on

his side. The rabble view is if they

0:28:100:28:17

have ten they're getting there, if

they have 15 they are in business.

0:28:170:28:23

Also quite stern words from Michel

Barnier to David Davis, is there a

0:28:230:28:28

sense that he is really upset, that

he has upset his European partners.

0:28:280:28:33

I think there is some irritation

with Michel Barnier and in Germany

0:28:330:28:38

about this statement from David

Davis that this was more kind of a

0:28:380:28:43

statement of intent and Michel

Barnier saying no backtracking.

0:28:430:28:47

Michel Barnier also said the best

that can be hoped for in these

0:28:470:28:51

Brexit negotiations over the next

two years is that you get a

0:28:510:28:55

withdrawal agreement, you get an

agreement on a transition and get

0:28:550:28:59

the beginnings of a future trade

deal and a kind of political

0:28:590:29:05

statement of what that would mean.

Which is not quite what David Davis

0:29:050:29:08

is saying, he's saying I appreciate

they cannot do a future trade deal

0:29:080:29:11

in that Article 50 but they could do

it at one minute past midnight.

0:29:110:29:15

Michel Barnier saying no way and

that raises questions about the

0:29:150:29:19

British approach, nothing is agreed

until everything is agreed. David

0:29:190:29:23

Davis tonight saying I know what

Michel Barnier is like, he uses time

0:29:230:29:27

as a pressure point.

Thank you very

much.

0:29:270:29:31

Time for Viewsnight now -

the programme's place for opinion.

0:29:310:29:34

Tonight it's Christopher Snowdon -

the Head of Lifestyle Economics

0:29:340:29:36

at the Institute of Economic Affairs

and author of 'Killjoys'.

0:29:360:29:38

He asks if we really need so many

public health bodies telling us

0:29:380:29:42

how to live our lives.

0:29:420:29:50

Tomorrow's Times will hail

the new Star Wars movie

0:31:370:31:39

as the best one yet,

calling it a film of wit

0:31:390:31:42

and wonder and frequently

devastating emotional power.

0:31:420:31:46

The franchise has come a long way

since the much criticised prequels -

0:31:460:31:49

not least in terms the revival

of its much loved

0:31:490:31:52

original characters -

at The Last Jedi's very centre -

0:31:520:31:54

the actress Carrie Fisher who died

a year ago and its creation

0:31:540:31:57

of new powerful female roles.

0:31:570:32:07

Something inside me

has always been there.

0:32:120:32:16

And now it's awake.

0:32:160:32:18

And I need help.

0:32:180:32:28

I've seen this raw

strength only once before.

0:32:280:32:30

It didn't scare me enough then.

0:32:300:32:35

It does now.

0:32:350:32:40

Joining us now is the film critic

Anna Smith and, from Los Angeles,

0:32:400:32:43

is Annalise Ophelian,

who is behind the documentary

0:32:430:32:45

Looking for Leia.

0:32:450:32:50

One has seen the film, one hasn't,

so we must be very careful. What are

0:32:500:32:56

you hoping for? I know you are going

to a screening once you have

0:32:560:33:00

finished here. What will you look

out for?

I'm excited to see where

0:33:000:33:05

the story goes. That desire to see

the next chapter is the sign of good

0:33:050:33:10

storytelling. Star Wars has really

good storytelling.

Do you think she

0:33:100:33:15

will get that?

She is in luck,

definitely. I was pleased with the

0:33:150:33:20

latest instalment in the series.

It's thrilling, exciting, good

0:33:200:33:25

mainstream blockbuster. Lots of

characters jostling for space but

0:33:250:33:28

they are well developed, especially

the female characters, as you

0:33:280:33:31

alluded to. I was pleased to see

lots more female characters and lots

0:33:310:33:35

more diversity.

When you were coming

out, were the critics you were with,

0:33:350:33:41

or the audience, pretty unanimous?

Was there divergences?

There was

0:33:410:33:46

applause at the end, which never

happens, which is a good sign. Some

0:33:460:33:50

were strong on it than others but it

has been a good, critical response.

0:33:500:33:56

What is it about Star Wars that set

you off on your documentary that

0:33:560:33:59

takes people's childhood memories

and really can play with fire in

0:33:590:34:04

what it does with them?

Well,

Looking for Leia is the phenomenon

0:34:040:34:15

of the fandom, especially among

girls. I am the class of 1977. I saw

0:34:150:34:21

the original film in the theatre

when I was four. Star Wars has

0:34:210:34:25

always been a part of my life. It's

one of the central come across

0:34:250:34:30

cultural mythologies, I think we can

all read ourselves into this story,

0:34:300:34:36

escapism, and adventure of outsiders

fighting their way in. There is

0:34:360:34:42

something for everyone. Every

generation has a Star Wars story.

0:34:420:34:46

Because we have 40 years worth of

films. It is intersected with so

0:34:460:34:51

many different generations,

childhoods, now into adulthood is.

0:34:510:34:54

It's amazing when you think of it as

40 years. -- adulthoods. There have

0:34:540:35:00

been disasters in the middle of

that. Is this a love letter to the

0:35:000:35:03

fans?

Absolutely. It stays true to

the original. The director has done

0:35:030:35:09

a good job of putting his stamp on

it but has also remained faithful.

0:35:090:35:13

There is something for fans and

people knew to the series, as well.

0:35:130:35:18

-- people who are new.

You can see

that the merchandise is already out.

0:35:180:35:24

For you it has a strong female

message. Does it ever feel like all

0:35:240:35:28

of the branding of it get in the

way?

Star Wars is so interesting,

0:35:280:35:35

especially now, it is the

intersection of cinema and pop

0:35:350:35:39

culture. We are not just audience,

we are also consumers. I think Star

0:35:390:35:44

Wars fans are acutely aware of that.

In the United States, at least, on

0:35:440:35:49

the 13th of December we are having

what the Internet is calling the

0:35:490:35:58

take your merchandise to work today.

But then Star Wars created the

0:35:580:36:07

phenomenon of movie merchandising.

It only makes sense they would be

0:36:070:36:10

the best doing it.

I won't be asking

you if you will be taking your stuff

0:36:100:36:16

to work tomorrow. What we haven't

touched on yet is Carrie Fisher,

0:36:160:36:21

who, sort of, appears from beyond

the grave in this film. Does it do

0:36:210:36:25

her justice?

It does. It is poignant

to see her. It brings an extra layer

0:36:250:36:30

to the film, knowing what

subsequently happened, but it is a

0:36:300:36:34

wonderful tribute and it is

attributed to her in the end. She

0:36:340:36:38

has an important part to play in

this film, as well.

You have seen

0:36:380:36:42

the strength of the female

characters right the way through.

0:36:420:36:46

From the class of 77 onwards. As you

say. For a lot of women this will be

0:36:460:36:52

a change. In the early days it felt

like something of a man's world,

0:36:520:36:56

Star Wars, do you think it is gender

free now? Do you think it still

0:36:560:37:01

plays to weigh more man's

imagination than a woman's? -- plays

0:37:010:37:12

more to a man's imagination.

We are

seeing the cultural permission to

0:37:120:37:18

expand on the shift. I'm talking to

all of these women who consistently

0:37:180:37:23

tell me their stories about their

lifelong fandom but it is only

0:37:230:37:27

recently something which is socially

sanctioned and acceptable to show it

0:37:270:37:30

off. There is something exciting

about having more and more

0:37:300:37:36

characters to identify with, as

well.

Great to have you both here.

0:37:360:37:39

Thank you both very much indeed.

0:37:390:37:41

That's almost it for tonight.

0:37:410:37:43

But before we go, a letter written

by Charles Dickens in 1865

0:37:430:37:45

was auctioned for over

£5,000 at Sotheby's today.

0:37:450:37:48

It details personal trauma

after being involved in a rail

0:37:480:37:51

accident while travelling

with his mistress - and her mother!

0:37:510:37:56

Dickens escaped and tended

to the wounded and the dying.

0:37:560:38:00

He administered water

in his top hat and passed

0:38:000:38:02

around his own bottle of brandy.

0:38:020:38:03

But after remembering he had left

that month's episode

0:38:030:38:06

of 'Our Mutual Friend' on board,

he climbed back up the side

0:38:060:38:08

of the viaduct to rescue his copy.

0:38:080:38:10

Dickens was never the

same after the crash.

0:38:100:38:14

The letter is evidence, some say,

that Dickens struggled

0:38:140:38:16

with what is now known as post

traumatic stress

0:38:160:38:18

disorder in later years.

0:38:180:38:20

To play us out, here is the actor

and Dickens biographer Simon Callow

0:38:200:38:23

reading an excerpt from that letter.

0:38:230:38:24

Good night.

0:38:240:38:29

My dear Madame Viardot,

I take the opportunity of Chorley's

0:38:290:38:33

coming near you to thank

you for your kind and affectionate

0:38:330:38:35

letter received after my escape

from that terrible accident.

0:38:350:38:43

The scene was so affecting

when I helped in getting out

0:38:430:38:45

the wounded and dead that

for a little while afterwards I felt

0:38:450:38:48

shaken by the remembrance of it.

0:38:480:38:51

But I had no personal

injury whatsoever.

0:38:510:38:59

My watch, which is curious, was more

sensitive physically, than I.

0:38:590:39:03

For it was some few minutes slow

for some few weeks afterwards.

0:39:030:39:12

Except that I cannot yet travel

on the railway at great speed

0:39:120:39:15

without having a disagreeable

impression, against all reason,

0:39:150:39:17

that the carriage is

turning on one side.

0:39:170:39:19

I have not the least

inconvenience death.

0:39:190:39:24

Will you tell Chorley how I can best

send you a book next October?

0:39:240:39:28

It will be Our Mutual Friend, which

I'm now finishing with great pains.

0:39:280:39:31

And which I hope will interest

you half as much as it interests me.

0:39:310:39:34

Believe me, always affectionately

yours, Charles Dickens.

0:39:340:39:42

In-depth investigation and analysis of the stories behind the day's headlines with Emily Maitlis.

Grenfell and housing, animals and the Tories, the latest on Brexit, and reviews of Star Wars: The Last Jedi.


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