David Dimbleby presents topical debate from Edinburgh. On the panel are Emily Thornberry, Ben Wallace, Joanna Cherry, David Hayman and Merryn Somerset Webb.
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Welcome to Question Time, which tonight comes from Edinburgh.
With us on our panel, the Conservative Home Office
The SNP Home Affairs spokesperson, Joanna Cherry.
Labour's Shadow Foreign Secretary, Emily Thornberry.
The Financial Times columnist and editor of MoneyWeek Magazine,
And the actor who campaigned for Scottish independence
And just remember at home, you've got Twitter and
You can follow us by searching for BBC Question Time.
Press the red button to see what others are saying.
Our first question from Eric Holford, please.
Is the leaked Labour manifesto an attempt to drag Britain back
I think that this manifesto is one which is about
It's about the 21st-century, it's not looking backwards.
It's actually looking at what options do we want.
We have a choice now with this general election.
We can be a country where we don't need to have nurses going
to food banks any more, where we have a National Health
Service that has sufficient funds, where elderly women have a visitor
in the morning from social care that will get them up at breakfast
time instead of having to wait until lunchtime.
We will not have young people who will unnecessarily be saddled
with debt because they've been to university.
We will have chances for young people to be able to move out
of their parents' homes and to be able to move into their
We will have a world where if you get a job in the City,
you're not afraid of having to pay all that money that you are having
to pay at the moment to private train companies,
frankly quite often owned by other countries.
And we will have a train service which is owned by Britain instead.
There is a choice, there is another way,
and the question is, in this election, do we want to do
that, or do we want to carry on with the tired old Tory party
that has run out of ideas completely?
I take it from what you say, that it was accurate,
What it was was that it was an earlier draft.
The leak was a couple of earlier drafts.
It had been changed quite a lot before we went to the meeting today.
So there are things that we don't know that are in it?
We are not like Theresa May who will go into a locked room
with some friends and draft the manifesto themselves
I'm just trying to check the veracity of what we've read.
All I'm saying is that we are a democratic party
and in those circumstances, when you consult a lot of people,
you might get somebody who for whatever reason thinks that
it's somehow clever to draft some sort of early, leak some sort
I'm not saying it's 100 miles away from the manifesto
We were costing it today and there's still more work being done
Well, if we put aside the sort of chaotic way that a government
in waiting sort of handle the manifesto launch,
or the non-launch, if we put aside the fact that the leader doesn't
actually agree with some of the issues in it,
such as nuclear Trident, and we put aside the background that
actually the Government and the country is still living
We've brought it down from 157 billion.
And we have to remain on course to start living within our means.
If we put all of those aside and ask ourselves whether this manifesto
is affordable and whether this manifesto would actually deliver
the stability and the economy that this country needs to get
through the next five years, I think the answer is a resounding no.
Some of the commitments in the manifesto will put out
of work the thousands of aerospace workers in my constituency,
and indeed in the west of Scotland, by the clear antipathy
towards aerospace and our manufacturing industry that it is.
Yes, you are, you're going to ban it to Saudi Arabia.
Jeremy Corbyn has a strong, long-held antipathy
towards the aerospace industry and it is absolutely clear that
Emily talks about there's some more work being done.
They are busy out growing the money tree to try and make up the money.
And I think we are in a position where if this manifesto goes ahead
and if Labour won the next election, we would find our economy
would crash, we would go back to the state of the 1970s,
the trade unions would be in the front door.
Emily talks about whether the Prime Minister makes up
the manifesto with a few friends behind closed doors.
The trade union barons have been in, writing the checks and getting
what they want in this manifesto, and it risks enterprise,
risks business and risks aspiration of people in this country
who are trying to make our economy stronger.
When the Labour Party came out last week and announced one of the first
of their initiatives which was let's give everyone four
bank holidays per year, my reaction was,
that is not going to set the heather on fire.
I genuinely welcome this initiative by the Labour Party.
It has put the cat among the pigeons.
I think it's genuinely exciting because it's going to give
the people of the United Kingdom a proper choice.
I get the feeling the questioner is against it.
He said he does not want to go back to the 70s.
Let us not forget that every single one of us in this room,
our parents, our grandparents, our taxes paid for the construction
They paid for the electricity grid, for the gas supplies.
Suddenly, Margaret Thatcher comes along in the 80s and said,
So she sold them all to her friends, who made an absolute fortune
And it's about time we brought it back into our management.
If Holland can do it, and Germany and France and Spain,
if other countries in Europe can run their own systems,
I'm old enough to remember the 70s, just.
I remember when we had trains that were dirty,
smelly and could not run on time at all.
I remember the times when we had unions that would bring
down our government, our democratically
I remember the winter of discontent, the three-day weeks, the power
And I don't want to see us go back into that.
It's a Tory government that brought us out of that and gave
Privatisation, rail fares, I believe, roughly
My daughter is a nurse, she earns 50% over the national average wage.
She is in a perfectly good profession if she well managed.
Yes, she works hard, does a good job, cares for people
but she gets well paid for doing it as well.
She lives in a nice flat with a nice little car, lives a nice life.
And every nurse is the same, are they?
I think it's a real shame the Labour manifesto has been leaked in this
way because it has enabled the media to focus relentlessly
on the Labour manifesto for the whole day, rather
than the real issue in this election which should be
the record of the Tory government at Westminster.
What this election should be about is whether you want a hard
Brexit that Theresa May is going to deliver,
and the effect that will have on jobs and the economy.
And this election should also be about the Tory
record on austerity, the fact that, as people
in the audience have already said, low income families are having
Disabled people are having their mobility cars taken away from them.
And hard-working, low income families now have to cope
Can you address the question, which was whether the Labour
manifesto, specifically, is dragging Britain
There are many things in this manifesto which I welcome
because they reflect SNP policies which are in place in Scotland,
such as no tuition fees, free school meals and votes
And I agree with David, if other countries in Europe can
have their rail systems nationalised and can run efficiently,
as all of us have experienced when we travel on the continent,
But I think the big issue about this leak is that somebody
inside the Labour Party has done this, and it shows how divided
Many of the MPs don't support the policies that
Hang on, what do you think the motive is,
I suspect the motive is by somebody on the right of the Labour Party
But in fact it's drawn attention to it, hasn't it?
The reality is that many of the policies in this
manifesto are not supported by the Parliamentary Labour Party.
Equally, Trident renewal is in the manifesto.
Emily doesn't support Trident renewal, and the Scottish Labour
So what this illustrates is the chaos and division
I just wanted to make the point about the railways,
in terms of my understanding is that railway companies, the private ones,
receive four times as much funding as British Rail did
And these private companies receive that subsidy and then a lot of these
You want the railways renationalised.
Absolutely, and joined up, so when you buy a ticket in one
place, you can get to get right through, not different prices.
Is that the most popular policy in what has come out today, for you?
Well, actually, the main policy about protecting
the most vulnerable people, because the UN has identified
that the welfare policies are an aggressive policy that takes
Well, Emily's vision of the future is absolutely gorgeous
and what I like most about what was said this morning
is more in this manifesto, because this list is so long,
tens and tens and tens of things, all of which are incredibly
expensive, and all of which are things that most people would like.
Everybody would like everybody to be rich, everybody
would like everybody to be happy, everybody would like everybody to go
to university for free, and everybody would like everyone
to have a gorgeous NHS that treated everyone on the most
However, the slight problem is the money.
We still have an enormous national debt, 1.8 trillion.
We are adding to it to the tune of over a billion a week.
We have a deficit that is still running at 4%.
We ran up this debt, and constantly it keeps growing.
We are not anywhere near balancing the books.
What we have here is billions and billions of extra spending
I can't for the life of me imagine how, given that on the way
the country runs at the moment we are running a deficit.
How this could be costed, I can't imagine.
The few bits that have come out so far, we will pay
for free school meals, one of the examples,
which will be paid for by VAT on private school fees.
That may work, but what you don't know is how many people will stop
sending their children to private school when they have to pay VAT.
So these things are very difficult to cost, and looking
round the audience I think we are all old enough
to have seen quite a few political cycles come and go,
and we've seen what happens when politicians cost things.
It never ever works out, the deficit goes up and up.
So at some point, someone has to say, everything on this list has
to be paid for and almost none of it is affordable.
One more thing I will pick up on, the free tuition business.
We do have free university tuition in Scotland for Scottish and EU
students, obviously not English but Scottish and EU.
And we have found here that it doesn't work in the way
It doesn't reduce educational inequality.
So if you come from a wealthy family in Scotland, you are 3.5 times more
likely to apply to university through the UCAS system than
So you are suggesting we reintroduce tuition fees...
I am still talking, Joanna, I am still talking.
I am in the middle of a sentence, David.
She is picking you up on what you are saying.
I haven't finished my sentence, which is that in England it is 2.5
You are 2.5 times more likely to apply if you
are wealthy in the UK, in England, than disadvantaged.
So what we are seeing here is that the policy
of free tuition has not had the desired result.
Even afford the aircraft to go on them. If we scrap Trident, would
that paved for what Emily Thornberry has been describing? Half of it
won't even come close. One of the pledges is to nationalise National
Grid. -- National Grid. The UK proportion of that is valued at ?23
billion. This is the bankruptcy of this manifesto, the longest P 45
issued in history. I can pick up a lot more places I would spend ?23
billion than an ideological crusade to re-nationalise National Grid.
It's not as Tony Blair said, the protests. The priority is getting
Outcomes for the people of the UK, making sure they get access to the
universities if they apply. The SNP had to cover the cost by cutting
157,000 places, by the way, in colleges across Scotland. Not true.
It is. And it's your own statisticic. It's about delivering
for people of this country. This manifesto is about Jeremy Corbyn
indulging in ideaology no matter what the cost. I will come to you in
a moment. Emily Thornberry? I don't really know where to start. You have
the manifesto. Eric's question is, dragging Britain back to the 70s?
There has been lots of wild allegations made. The last general
election, what we said to the Conservatives because they kind of
said the same thing then before they adopted a lot of our policies, they
said it isn't affordable. So they adopted your policies, so they're
pro-Labour are they? Sometimes. If you look at the energy one and
compare it with what Ed Miliband was saying, you would think, what is the
difference here. So you don't have a problem with the Tories? We've gone
further. What we are saying now is that we won't cap it. We'll set up
an alternative energy company in each region, that will make them be
able to challenge the companies. What we said at the last general
election, we said, you are saying that we can't afford it, there is
this organisation called the Office for Budget Responsibility, they are
independent and we want you to give them your manifesto and our
manifesto and they're independent and they can see whose sums add up.
Do you know what, the Tories said no. This time around we have said,
I'll tell you what, we are going to say the same, you know, rid louse
allegations, let us -- liddic rows allegations, let us give your our
manifesto, you give in your manifesto and let the Office for
Budget Responsibility look at them. You are going to carry on saying
these things. We want an independent Booed write to look at your
manifesto, our manifesto and look at the sums. Why are you saying no?
Emily... Well why? APPLAUSE.
Unless I'm wrong, there are other organisations like the Institute for
Fiscal Studies who have looked at your costings and you say for
instance you will raise less revenue by putting corporation tax up in the
long run because people won't invest. People will look at what you
say? The question about corporation tax, the Tory Government want to cut
it. We already have one of the lowest corporation tax rates of the
G 67. We are saying we'll not have that cut and we'll raise it. We
won't be making it any higher than any other countries in the Gp area.
That will raise a large amount of money, we can pay for a national
education service -- G7. They'll have better qualified for more
productive staff as a result. I want to go to our audience. You, there?
There seems to be a myth about national debt and GDP, somehow the
Labour programme is unaffordable. After the Second World War, the
national debt of GDP was over 200%, it's under 100% now. If Atlee could
afford it, Corbyn's Labour Government is can afford to build
the council houses and afford to create the National Bank.
APPLAUSE. The question of the national debt
after the Second World War is an important and interesting one. That
is the last time we had our national debt at a level equivalent to where
we are now. Try to remember how we ran that debt up, by having a vast
war and killing a lot of people. Once you stop killing people, you
can run the debt down. At the moment we have an enormous debt, likely
because you spend a lot of money on keeping people alye. We don't want
to stop doing that, do we? No, but he says if you can run the debt...
8% of our tax revenue at the moment is spent on services our debt.
Anything wrong with that? Well, it's not spent on anything else. But you
get the money from the debt. People are out there working paying taxes
but the large percentage of what they pay goes straight into paying
debt every year. Are you from in favour of the national debt going up
or down? The point the gentleman makes is an interesting one but what
we need to remember is there is this myth drawn up that in some way the
Tories can be drawn on the economy. They've missed their own targets on
the debt, deficit and borrowing and Emily makes a good point when she
says the Tories won't have their figures looked at by the office of
budget responsibility. I can tell you why, their manifesto is going to
revolve around their plans for a hard Brexit and we know that they've
made absolutely no economic assessment whatsoever of the
consequences of a hard Brexit. We know that because David Davis told
OK. The man in the checked shirt on the edge? Is Germany stuck in the
1970s, because this manifesto doesn't seem to be pushing to the
left of Germany, it remains to the right of Germany? So how is Germany
stuck in the '70s? Ben, can you take that point? I think Germany doesn't
carry the weight of debt or deficit that we do and we should all be
concerned that we should continue the direction of living within our
means. And giving it away to billionaires and not collecting
taxes from national corporations. After things like the NHS and
pensions, the fifth biggest expenditure, it's not education,
it's not transport, it's not the police, it's debt interest on the
national debt. It's ?46 billion of money I can't spend or nor can
anybody else spend on all those goodies that some people think are
in the Labour manifesto. We have to live within our means and we have to
continue to do that. I'm afraid to say, you know, that the Government's
record on the economy is strong, the Government's record has created...
LAUGHTER. You might laugh, it's ?2.8 million.
Unless Emily wants us to cut the debt even faster, we have reduced
it. I want you to give up on the politics of austerity. That's what I
want you to do. Well, if you want to live... One at a time, please. All
I'm saying is that I want you to stop the politics of austerity where
ordinary working people have to continue to have their services cut
in order to be able to pay the debt and guess what's happening to the
debt, it continues to go up because we have to borrow to invest in order
to get our economy going. That's the point. We can't just go on like
this, we are flatlining. She wants us to go back to the days when Denis
Haley gets called back from the airport to balance the books because
the relationship with debt is... Nothing to do with Denis Healey.
That is the reality. The woman at the back? We need to raise
corporation taxes and all parties say we'll raise higher taxes for
people who're on ?80,000 or more. That's not going to get anywhere
close. Half of us don't earn ?20,000 odd, never mind ?80,000, we need to
raise taxes for people earning ?35,000, ?40,000, never mind
?80,000. You want more? Yes, as long as it goes back into certain things
like the NHS and things like that. We'd pay more taxes but saying that
we are going to raise taxes of ?80,000 or more...
You, Sir, in the third row? I find it curious, whenever anybody
announces any policies that are remotely competitive, the right
always say, where is the money coming from. But I find it
hypocritical that the money's always found to bail out the banks, it's
always found to start wars and it's...
APPLAUSE. And it's always found to give tax
breaks and start illegal wars abroad. That's when the coffers
spill open but don't let's feed poor children with free school meals.
APPLAUSE. I want to move on. I'll come back to
you, Eric, you asked the question. I'll say one last thing. You talked
about free tuition in university, that's great. Back in the 1970s,
tuition was free and you got a nice healthy grant. We only have 5% of
children going to university. Now our aspiration is for at least ten
times that proportion and in Scotland we find it's limited by the
number of free places that are available and they'll now have to
bring in foreign students and English students who'll pay the fees
in order to keep the universities open. In the meantime, we lose more
places in colleges than we have in total than Scottish students in
university. OK. We have given the Labour
manifesto an airing - the leak of the Labour manifesto. We'll go into
the costings later on. Before we go on to another question. We are in
Norwich next week and the week after that in Belfast. And then I
particularly want to draw attention to two special Question Times. The
first is in York on Friday, not the usual Thursday, Friday 2nd June
where a Question Time audience will put questions to the Prime Minister
and to Jeremy Corbyn, not however at the same time. And then on Sunday
4th June, Nicola Sturgeon of the SNP and Tim Farron for the Liberal
Democrats. That will be here in Edinburgh. So two extra programmes
on the Friday and the Sunday, 2nd and 4th June. The details are on the
screen and I'll give them at the end in more detail. Another question
now, this one from Paul Goodall, please? Will a Conservative advance
across Scotland halt a second independence referendum.
Conservative advance across Scotland which we saw in the local elections,
will it halt a second independence referendum by halting the SNP? David
Hayman, what do you make of the local elections and the effect on
Scotland if it's carried on through into a local election? Last week was
extraordinary. The people in Scotland were laughing themselves
silly. The fact is, SNP increased their vote by something like 108,000
people. They increased their seats by six. They're now the largest
party in four of the largest cities and they won Glasgow. For a
Government that's been in power for ten years, that's an extraordinary
statement coming from the people of Scotland.
APPLAUSE. But, if you read any of the unionist
press, it was like a landslide for the Tories and the nail was firmly
in the coffin of independence. The Conservatives did... The
Conservative... They gained 164 seats didn't they? Yes, but they
took them from Labour. The overall numbers between Labour and the
Tories stayed much the same. The overall numbers for the SNP have
risen, so they've lost them from Labour. Seven seats, the SNP. We
gained six. The SNP gained six? Gained six. There is a dispute about
it apparently. Merryn Somerset Webb. I am still not
sure there will be another independence referendum. It is a
long time before we get to the end of the Brexit debate and it may be
that Scotland decides that it doesn't want to do that, so it is
not a given. But what is interesting about the research is of the Tories
in Scotland is that it is partly about the Tory party, partly about
having a good leader, but partly about the fact that Scottish
politics has become something unpleasant, a division between
people who are unionists and who are not. So we have people voting for
the SNP who are anti-union, and we have people who are now coalescing
around the Tories as the unionist party. This is a terribly sad
situation because you have people not necessarily voting for party
policy but voting on constitutional issues. We see this in the Scottish
parliament where so much time is devoted to constitutional issues and
not enough voted to other things... APPLAUSE
And I think it has become a very sad thing.
I know that Joanna and David very much want independence and I assume
because other SNP politicians say they wanted, they must. But if I was
an SNP leader I would be trying to build a great country, great place,
so that people would want to have the thing that I am offering. I
would build it and wait for them to come, rather than go on about it
relentlessly and try and kick them into coming along with me.
APPLAUSE I think we have come to a sad state
in Scottish politics and I am glad to see a unionist research and
reflected in the Tory party but I wish it did not have to happen this
way. -- I am glad to see a unionist
research is. I think, as David has
already eloquently said, rumours of a huge Tory revival have
been greatly exaggerated. The real story of last week's local
elections was that Scotland was the only place in the UK
where the Tories were firmly beaten But it's clear that the Tories
are replacing Labour But as I go out on the doorsteps
of Edinburgh South West I come across an interesting phenomenon
whereby former Labour voters are saying that they want to lend me
their vote to stop the Tories Because what this election is really
about is about who will stand up Who will be a strong voice
for Scotland at Westminster? And what voters in Scotland
have to decide is, do they want a strong voice,
such as that provided by me and my colleagues
over the last two years, or do they want just another Tory
backbencher who will simply rubber-stamp all of Theresa May's
plans for austerity But to take the independence
question on the chin, this general election is not
about whether there will be a second Of course it's important that people
in Scotland have a choice at the end of the 18-month period
after the triggering of Article 50, a choice between a hard Brexit
and an independent Scotland. And the Scottish Parliament has
already voted that people in Scotland should have that choice,
and polling shows that people in Scotland believe it should be up
to the Scottish Parliament whether or not we have a second
independence referendum. This second independence referendum
hasn't just come out of a void. It's come as a result of Scotland
facing being dragged out of the European Union
against her will. People like Merryn, who were active
in the No campaign during the last general election made a promise
to Scotland that the only way to guarantee our EU citizenship
was to vote to remain part So of course Scots should be given
a choice, when the time is right. But of course, the issue in this
general election is, do you want to give Theresa May
a thumping majority, so she can do whatever she likes
without any scrutiny, or do you want strong voices that
will stand up, and in Scotland those strong voices that will stand up
against Theresa May are the SNP. The woman in
the middle with spectacles. I would just like to disagree
with what Merryn said about politics I think there's a massive thirst
for social justice here. And for the Labour Party manifesto,
I think it's very, very welcome. I would be interested to know
what you think about this Emily. Unfortunately, the Labour Party has
positioned itself in Scotland as a vote for Labour
being a vote against independence. I'd love to vote for Labour
but I really don't know what to do. But you want to vote
for independence? Well, I'm afraid I have
to be straight with you. A vote for Labour is not
a vote for independence. We believe in a United Kingdom
and we don't think that it's in the interests of Scottish people
to become independent. We think that you will end
up with supercharged We think it is to the advantage
of all of us to remain united, and we think that a vote for Labour
is a vote against austerity. You will either get
a Labour government There is no alternative
to those two. And if you want to stand up
to the Tories, if you want to fight And we get some Labour MPs
from Scotland in Parliament, Alternatively, being part
of a Labour government. And the SNP want to place
themselves as the only alternative to the Tories,
but that simply isn't true. And a vote for Labour is a vote
to stopping the divisive politics. Stopping the divisive politics
in Scotland and stopping divisive politics across the whole
of the United Kingdom. I feel like you're missing my point,
which is that I feel like my vote for Labour would be hijacked
as a vote against another It's a vote for Labour,
for the Labour Party manifesto, Why can't you vote for the SNP,
if you want independence? The SNP is not the party
I would like to vote for. I find the Labour Party's manifesto,
from what I've heard of it so far, is more radical,
it gives me more hope. The SNP policy appears to be,
let's have a vote and vote again, and vote again, until we get,
until they get the result What happens if it's a 50%
plus one in a future Do we get a chance to vote
the other way again? The politics of referenda
are just so divisive and it It has divided families,
divided communities, The politicians are elected to take
decisions on our behalf and they hand it back to us,
and we've made a bit We've just divided ourselves
against ourselves. I was elected to the Scottish
Parliament in 1999. You can imagine what it was like
being a Tory in 1999 Scotland. One of the reasons they've changed,
the Scottish Parliament was an exciting, dynamic place,
the Labour Party, the SNP, the Greens, Donald Dewar
was the First Minister, It was full of ideas
for how to run Scotland, how to fix social issues,
make some difference And I think what I'm disappointed
by is that has transitioned away from that under Nicola Sturgeon,
to an obsession about It's about not
doing the day job. It's all about how can we manoeuvre
for another referendum. You know, my father came from Fife,
a Labour stronghold, where it stood for social justice,
for social mobility and education. Education is what Scotland is known
around the world for. Well, I'm afraid under
Nicola Sturgeon we saw the literacy It has been a disaster,
because Nicola Sturgeon can only And whatever your politics are,
Ruth Davidson is providing No one knows what Labour stands
for any more in Scotland, and it's either the SNP,
or it's Ruth Davidson, and she has done a fantastic job
in making sure... You may laugh, but the people
of Scotland are already showing that they agree,
that they want to put people in Parliament
and the Scottish Parliament to deliver policies that make
a difference to their lives every Why was the Tory leaflet put
through my door on last week's local government elections
all about independence or not? It was all about the
constitutional issues. Nothing at all with
local government. And yet the leaflet from the SNP had
a detailed programme of what they wanted to do
in local government. I wasn't out canvassing
in the local governments But I think, you know,
the choice is clear. The SNP, the Scottish Parliament
have had a lot of extra powers They can use them in all sorts
of ways, imaginatively, They could put up the taxes,
as some people would like, if they wanted to, but it's
not about that. I'm afraid it's about independence,
and all of us can go hang. How can the Conservative Party tell
Nicola Sturgeon she's not getting on with the day job
when they themselves aren't getting the day job done,
when they're calling In response to what Emily said,
this lady voiced her concerns about the Labour Party and why
she can't support them. And your answer was, to paraphrase,
we think that it's wrong I'd like to say that that's exactly
the kind of attitude that's got you into the sorry state of affairs
that you are in now in Scotland. I want a question from
Amelia Dole, please. As a young person, why should I find
the UK an attractive place As a student I'm quite worried
about university and how universities are funded,
and also schemes like You are worried about the way
that the vote went. I speak to a lot of students
who are worried about all sorts of things I suspect they shouldn't
be worried about. Because we've got a long time now,
one, two, maybe three, four, five years ahead of us to arrange
how we will be leaving the European Union and make
transition arrangements. I suspect most of the things
you are worried about won't change at all during that period
and probably won't change beyond it. We had arrangements
with universities in Europe long Things like Erasmus,
etc, may well continue. You will still be able to study
abroad in exactly the same way, in the same way that my mother went
to university in France in the 60s, and that was before
the European Union. I don't imagine there will be any
difference in terms of freedom If you are working, there will be
differences that will come under... A young person becomes middle-aged,
becomes an older person, and she will become an older person,
a middle-aged person, I think one of the things that's
attractive, it's going to, I hope, make the UK a much more successful
economy in the long term. It makes us much more
outward looking. It makes us able to make free trade
arrangements around the world. It allows us to take a leadership
role in global free trade, We'll be able to sit on the WTO
and talk about global free trade in a way that we can't inside
the European Union because it's But also something quite interesting
about European politics. Over the last year or so there has
been a sense of relief in Europe because the so-called populists
haven't gained control in any countries, haven't
won any elections. So I quite often hear people saying,
the UK has become a place I don't want to live,
it's anti-immigration, fascist, this, that,
because it's changed I don't think this is true,
and if you look across to Europe you see dynamics that
are maybe more frightening. Can you have imagined 34%
of the UK voting for Ukip? You saw 34% of France
voting for Le Pen. The same in Holland
and in Austria where... So, you know, I think
that in political terms, the UK is just as liberal
and pleasant a place to live And I think that in economic terms
and in global freedom terms, you will find that your life unfolds
in a pretty good way. Emily Thornberry, do you think
the UK will be as attractive a place I think that it all depends
on how we do the deal. I think that there are many,
many choices that we need to make and I don't think that it starts
well if you begin by having just come back from seeing the Queen
and standing on the steps of Number Ten Downing St
and accusing those who you are supposed to be coming
to an agreement with of plotting against Britain and wanting
to bring down the government Once you say those things,
they cannot be unsaid. And what concerns me
is that at the moment we seem to be arguing
about what it is that we are This is ten months
after the referendum. I'm very worried that this
Prime Minister does not seem to understand that the first
priority for any government is the The second priority
must be the economy. Particularly those who are just
starting out in life, have been well educated,
have done their best at school, who are setting out in life
and the world turns around and says, not at the moment, we are going
to Brexit, there aren't any That really frightens me,
and we should be thinking, every Prime Minister until now has
put the economy as a priority and yet our current Prime Minister
seems to be more interested in whether we're leaving
the European Court of Justice or not, and how much she can insult
the people who we are supposed to be negotiating with,
instead of looking after our economy Do you have an answer
to the question Jeremy Corbyn Under Labour, would we
inevitably leave the EU? Listen, we've had a referendum,
and the referendum We went out and we said
to people, look, think The question is, would we, under
Labour, inevitably leave the EU? Given that we had a referendum
and the public have told us that they want to leave,
then we have to leave. And the question then is,
how do we do it and what kind of continuing relationship do
we have, and how close do we remain to the European Union,
in order to make sure that we look The way we are going at the moment,
we will have either no Joanna Cherry. 62% of people in
Scotland voted to remain part of the European Union. It's the United
Kingdom. So what is your answer? My answer to the question is that I
don't think the United Kingdom will be an attractive place for a young
person to live after Brexit. I'll tell you why. Let's start with the
universities. I've got two major universities in my constituency. Her
yet watt has already announced redundancies and cuts citing Brexit
and the effect of the Tory policies. I speak to students at the two
Universities, they tell me they are deeply worried about research
funding, erazz news and students not wanting to come to study in Scotland
and the UK and they are worried about academics turning down job
offers because they are worried about the position of EU nationals.
That is the most important is it? No, it's jobs and the economy. An
institute told us if there is a hard Brexit, Scotland will over the next
decade lose 80,000 jobs and on average our wages will be ?2,000
lower per annum. Again, not attractive for a young person.
Emily, you are absolutely right, there are other pars of the UK that
voted to leave the European Union. The UK as a whole voted to leave the
European Union, that is the point. And we are democrats at the end of
the day and a United Kingdom's made a decision and we should abide by
the instructions. If you let me develop the point. The compromised
proposal would have benefitted the whole of the UK and it was that the
UK should stay in the single market. It wasn't clear around the debate of
the referendum that all leaves wanted to leave the single market.
We advocated the whole of the UK should stay in the single market.
Those proposals, despite having support across-the-board in Europe
and support from leading academics such as the former European Court of
Justice judge, they were binned by the Tories without being considered
at all. Ben Wallace, you were in favour of remain? I'm in favour of
free movement of people and barrier free trade with our partners of
England. That's why I'm a unionist in the United Kingdom. Look,
pre-Brexit and post-Brexit the UK will be a great place to live
because it's a wonderful country. APPLAUSE.
It's full of diverse, different cultures. It's a powerful economy,
whatever way you cut it in the world. We live, all of us in some of
the highest living standards on earth compared to many other people.
We are a civilised, educated, multilingual often nowadays country
and I'm proud to live in it. Joanna Cherry says Scottish people will
lose 80,000 jobs and people will be ?2,000 worse off. We need to see the
outcome of the negotiations. Joanna Cherry forgets that a million people
voted for Brexit in Scotland. There is a large number of people that
voted remain, they were not nationalists, they were unionists
and the number of people that voted Brexit were actually nationalists,
one of her own MSPs voted for Brexit. The reality is the UK has
wonderful opportunities. We'll be able to work I think in many parts
of Europe and the rest of the world. There'll be other opportunities and
will come along if others don't, in other parts of the world, because
we'll be freer in some areas we haven't been in the past. I think we
have a great future and Britain has the power and the people to make a
great future for this country. So I don't think anyone should worry and
I definitely don't think people should talk down this country,
Emily, about whether or not it's going to be a disaster. It's going
to be OK, we are going to get there, and in the long-term... How do you
know? We hear this... I believe in the British people. The man on the
corner there? Yes. I worry that the arrogance coming out of Ben Wallace
and the Conservative Party might actually cost the UK dearly. There's
no guarantee that we will be better off outside the European Union. The
UK may be a prosperous country now, but that may not necessarily
continue to exist. It's worth remembering Glasgow was once the
second city of the empire, now 40% of people live below the poverty
line there. Why do you think the Tories in
Government will be held responsible for that because whoever is in
Government, according to Emily Thornberry, would be negotiating
Brexit, because that's what the referendum decided? Yes, true. But I
think the discourse coming out of the Conservative Party has been
leaning much further to a hard Brexit than what Keir Starmer is
talking about, for example, and there has to be a point at which you
say the cost of leaving the European Union is greater than the potential
- yes, the cost of leaving is not as good as the benefits we have if we
were to stay. David Hayman? I'm really glad that a young person
asked this question. I think my generation have made a mess of this
And the future... The future no longer belongs to us, the future is
yours. You have a vision. It's interesting that 76% of retired
people in Scotland voted against independence. The majority of people
who voted for Brexit are elderly people. You voted not to leave
Europe because you are internationalists. We currently have
something like just under four million young people in this country
living below the poverty line. If that's how it is at the moment, it's
going to be a hell of a lot worse after we've left Europe all together
because the conditions will not be to your advantage in any way at all.
Now, I run a humanitarian organisation and I work with
projects in some of the poorest countries like Palestine, Malawi and
Afghanistan. We are feeding people, educating kids and setting up
women's workshops. They say to me, you live in the sixth richest
country in the world, you must see no desperation. I laugh and say, we
have four million people below the poverty line. That means they'll go
to sleep with nothing in their bellies, never get a birthday
present, never get a Christmas present, no-one will ever buy them
an ice-cream, no-one will ever take them to see Star Wars, there is a
poverty of opportunity for young people in this country and because
of Brexit, it's going to get a hell of a lot worse.
APPLAUSE. OK. I'll come to you and then you.
What is the assumption that brex sit bad and should be held up, Scottish
independence is good because it brings lots of benefits. If we voted
for Scottish independence and it was held up by people like some on the
panel here, what would you think of that, Joanna? People saying, well,
we didn't really want independence, if it went 52-48, if they didn't
want independence it should have been scrutinised by the Scottish
Parliament, it should be debated by all parties... Well, this comes
back... I'll come back to what I said earlier. Scottish Government
proposed a compromise which would have united some of the people who
voted to leave with those who voted to remain by proposing staying in
the single market. That's never been seriously looked at. Keir Starmer,
for whom I have a degree of admiration, produced six red lines
which are tantamount the staying in the single market. I'm afraid it was
closing the stable door after the horse bolted because the Labour
Party voted to trigger Article 50. Now, the issues around the
implications of leaving the European Union were not properly debated
during the EU referendum. Many lies were told... You can't have it both
ways, can you? Many lies were told by members of the leave campaign
who're now Cabinet Ministers. This general election is all about
scrutinising. Do you want to rerun the referendum? No, I don't want a
rerun of the referendum. I want the British Government to respect the
fact that people in Scotland voted to remain and, at the very least, to
look at the compromised proposal put forward, rather than treating it
with the derision with which it has been met. You, Sir? I must take
issue with Ben claiming that after Brexit Britain's going to be OK.
When did OK just become enough? There is this assumption that those
people within Europe is automatically going to be better
off. If you are a young Spanish person under 25 facing nearly 50%
unemployment, you may be asking yourself actually whether the
European Union is working for you. If you are a Greek who is finding it
particularly hard to get through life, you may be asking yourself
whether the European Union is all it's up to be for them and there's
this assumption that by leaving, somehow we are automatically going
to be worse off and that it's guaranteed that if you stay in the
European Union everything's going to be fine. There's poverty in the
European Union, there's poverty in nearly every country. It doesn't
disappear if you join the EU. Can you answer the point that Joanna
Cherry made, why is nobody giving serious thought to the idea of
remaining in the single market? Well, I think... I can answer that.
Why should she answer it? Because I'm Shadow Foreign Secretary. We've
looked at this very carefully in the Labour Party and the difficulty is,
is that because we are not Spain, we are not Greece, we have a highly
developed complicated large economy and there's great difficulty in us
remaining in the single market and leaving the European Union because
our economy is so complex. We need to have our own Free Trade
Agreement. Nothing else will work. We have looked into this and it's to
the advantage of Britain therefore to have a Free Trade Agreement but
one that works for our economy first and foremost. Can I just say this.
I'm fed up of Conservatives telling us that because we are worried about
the way in which they're proceeding with these so-called negotiations,
that we are somehow or other not patriotic. How dare they. We are
really worried about this country and we want to make sure we get the
best deal. That means the best deal for our economy so youngsters get a
chance. You, Sir, up there on the gangway? I
wanted to pick up on something that David Hayman was saying. I don't
doubt doubt the sincerity of what you said and I'm 27, I don't know if
that means I'm the lower generation than you. I resent the fact that you
said we are not outward looking. The world isn't just Europe. We are
stagnating. There's austerity being imposed on people far beyond
Westminster, there are parts of the world, Commonwealth, India, New
Zealand, that we abandoned at the creation of the European Union that
we should be engaging with and there are horizons on the edge of Europe
and some of us on the leave side, thank you very much, are
internationalists and outward looking. I can't invite you to
answer because our time is up, I'm afraid. Unless you want to answer.
I'm told you can because we have a bit more time than we thought.
David? It came into my head. A quote from one of my great heroes no
longer with us, a spiritual, moral and political leader, Nelson
Mandela. He said two things. They always ring true with me. He said,
what counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived, but the
difference we make to the lives of others. The second thing he said
was, overcoming poverty is not a task of charity, it's an act of
Does that answer your point? That wasn't a direct answer. Fair enough.
That's admirable and I haven't seen anything that disagrees with that.
We have to stop, I'm afraid. Our time is up. Norwich next week for
Question Time, Belfast the week after that. Remember those special
programmes I mentioned earlier. Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn
separately with a Question Time audience in York on Friday 2nd June,
chance to question the Prime Minister and Leader of the
Opposition and then Nicola Sturgeon and Tim Farron, Sunday 4th June here
in Edinburgh. So if you want to quiz the party leaders, details of how to
apply are there on the screen now. You can go to our website or you can
call the number on the screen. If you are listening on Five Live,
the debate goes on on Question Time extra time. My thanks to this panel
and to all of you from Edinburgh who came here to take part. Until then
from Question Time, good night. The race is on to complete
London's most ambitious railway. I don't think we've seen anything
to this scale and complexity before. It gets the nerves going,
the adrenaline pumping. This is one of the busiest
roads in London. We've got to get the track in,
we've got to get the platform, and then we've got to get out of
the way cos the trains are coming.
David Dimbleby presents topical debate from Edinburgh.
On the panel are Labour's shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry, Conservative Home Office minister Ben Wallace, the SNP's Joanna Cherry, actor David Hayman and Financial Times columnist Merryn Somerset Webb.