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It's Sunday Morning and this is the Sunday Politics.
The Government has insisted that Gibraltar will not be bargained
But the territory's chief minister says the EU's proposal
After a momentous week, Britain's journey out
Can the Prime Minister satisfy her critics at home
We speak to the former Conservative leader, Michael Howard.
And we have the lowdown on next month's local elections -
what exactly is up for grabs, who's going up and who's going down?
Here in the East: Our MEPs say they can help sort out Brexit
now that formal negotiations are about to begin.
And hundreds of seats on our county councils up for grabs.
changing their minds. MPs from opposing sides give the view from
there constituencies. And with me, as always,
the best and the brightest political panel in the business -
Steve Richards, Isabel Oakeshott and Tom Newton Dunn who'll be
tweeting throughout the programme. For the people of Gibraltar, Clause
22 of the EU's draft negotiating guidelines came as something
of a shock. The guidelines propose
that the Government in Spain be given a veto over any future trade
deal as it applies to The UK Government has reacted
strongly, saying Gibraltar will not be bargained away
in the Brexit talks. Here's the Defence Secretary,
Michael Fallon, speaking We are going to look
after Gibraltar. Gibraltar's going to be protected
all the way, all the way, because the sovereignty of Gibraltar
cannot be changed without the agreement of the people
of Gibraltar and they have made it very clear they do not
want to live under Spanish rule and it is interesting, I think,
in the draft guidelines from the EU that Spain is not saying
that the whole thing is subject Michael Fallon earlier. Steve, is
this a Spanish power grab or much ado about nothing? It could be both.
Clearly what is happening about this negotiation and will happen again
and again is that at different points individual countries can
start playing bargaining cards. They will say, if you want a deal, you
have to deliver this, UK. Spain is doing it early. It might turn out to
be nothing at all. It is an early example of how to delete recruit
after Article 50 is triggered, the dynamic -- how after Article 50 is
triggered, the dynamic changes. At certain points, any country can veto
it. It gives them much more power than we have clocked so far. Donald
Tusk, the head of the European Council, he went out of his way to
say Britain mustn't deal by laterally, with individual
countries, it has to deal with the EU as a block. Was it mischiefmaking
to add this bit in about Spain? Those two things do not tally. I
think on our part, when I say we, I mean the Foreign Office and Number
10, we dropped the ball. By excluding Gibraltar from the letter
of Article 50, they gave an opportunity to the Spanish to steal
the narrative. Why this is important, presentation, things
looked like they were going quite well for Theresa May when she handed
over the letter, for a few hours, and suddenly, you have this
incredible symbolism of Gibraltar. For Brexiteers, the idea that there
could be some kind of diminishment or failure in relation to Gibraltar,
it would be a very symbolic illustration of things not going
entirely to plan. Forget the detail, it does not look great. Gibraltar
got mentions in the white paper. They did not get a mention in the
Article 50 notification. Do you think the British Government did not
see this coming? To be honest, I do not think it would make a bit of
difference. Theresa May could have an entire chapter in her letter to
Donald Tusk and the Spanish and the EU would have still tried this on.
For me, it was as much a point of symbolism than it was for any power
grab. It was a good point to make. You need to know, Britain, you are
not in our club, we will not have your interests at heart. Officials
after the press conference, they went on to talk about it saying it
is a territorial dispute. It is not! Gibraltar is British. It is very
much a shot across the bow is. Whether it comes to pass, it is
still yet to be seen. I feel we will be chasing hares like this for the
next few years. There will be many other examples. They are greatly
empowered by the whole process. Britain has not really got... It has
got to wait and hear what their interpretation of Brexit is. They
will negotiate, we will negotiate accordingly. I have some sympathy
about the letter, the Article 50 letter. They agonised over it, so
much to get right in terms of balance and tone. It would have been
absurd to start mentioning Skegness and everything else. Why not!
Skegness, what did they do? It is a real example of how the dynamic now
changes. The Spanish royals are going to come here in a couple of
months, that could be interesting. It will be good feelings breaking
up, I am sure. -- breaking out. So, after a historic week,
the UK is now very much But will it be a smooth
journey to the exit door? Or can we expect
a bit of turbulence? Are you taking back
control, Prime Minister? Big days in politics usually
involve people shouting and the Prime Minister getting
in a car. It is only a few hundred metres
from Downing Street to Parliament. But the short journey is the start
of a much longer one and we do not know exactly
where we will all end up. This is a historic moment
from which there can Moments earlier, this Dear John,
sorry, Dear Don letter, was delivered by Britain's
ambassador in Brussels to the EU He seemed genuinely upset
to have been jilted. Back in Westminster,
hacks from around the world were trying to work out what it
all meant for the So, here it is, a copy
of the six-page letter The letter reaffirms the PM's
proposal to have talks on the exit deal and a future trade deal
at the same time. It also mentioned the word
"security" 11 times and stated a failure to reach agreement
would mean cooperation in the fight against crime
and terrorism would be weakened. Later, our very own Andrew got
to ask her what would happen if Britain left the European
policing agency, Europol. We would not be able to access
information in the same way as we would as a member,
so it is important, I think, we are able to negotiate
a continuing relationship that enables us to work together
in the way that we have. That night, the
Brexiteers were happy. We did not have a Mad
Hatter, but now we do. Down the street, even the Remainers,
having a Mad Hatters' tea party, I am not sure that is
actually Boris, though. The next morning, the papers
suggested Theresa May would use security as a bargaining tool
and threaten to withdraw the UK's cooperation in this area
if no deal was struck. Downing Street denied it,
as did the Brexit Secretary. We can both cope, but we
will both be worse off. That seems to be a statement
of fact, it is not a threat, David Davis had other
business that morning, introducing the Great Repeal Bill,
outling his plans to transfer all EU law into British
law to change later, It is not without its critics
but the Brexit Secretary said, among other benefits,
it would make trade talks easier As we exit the EU and seek
a new deep and special partnership with the European Union,
we are doing so from a position where we have the same
standards and rules. It will also ensure we deliver
on our promise to end the supremacy of European Union law
in the UK as we exit. There was, though, a small
issue with the name. The Government hit an early hurdle
with the Great Repeal Bill. Parliamentary draughtsmen said
they were not allowed Great(!)
so it is just the Repeal Bill. So far, it had been
a tale of two cities. By Friday, there was another,
Valletta in Malta, where EU leaders were having a meeting
and President Tusk, yes, him again, set out draft guidelines
for the EU Brexit strategy. Once, and only once,
we have achieved sufficient progress on the withdrawal can we discuss
the framework for our Starting parallel talks
on all issues at the same time, as suggested by some in the UK,
will not happen. The EU 27 does not and will not
pursue a punitive approach. Brexit in itself is
already punitive enough. The pressure on Theresa May to get
the Brexit process going has now gone and the stage is being set
elsewhere for the showdown But face-to-face discussions
are not likely to happen Before May or early June. No one is
celebrating just yet. We're joined now from Kent
by the former Conservative The EU says it will not talk about a
future relationship with the UK until there has been sufficient
progress on agreeing the divorce bill. Should the UK agree to this
phased approach? Well, I think you can make too much about the sequence
and timing of the negotiations. I assume that it will be a case of
nothing is agreed until everything is agreed and so any agreements that
might be reached on things talked about early on will be very
provisional, so I think you can make a big deal about the timing and the
sequence when I do not think it really matters as much as all that.
Don't people have a right in this country to be surprised of the talk
of a massive multi-billion pound divorce settlement? I do not
remember either side making much of this in the referendum, do you? No.
A select committee of the House of Lords recently reported and said
that there was no legal basis for any exit fee. We will have to see
how the negotiations go. I think some of the figures cited so far are
wildly out of kilter and wildly unrealistic. We will have to see
what happens in the negotiations. As one of your panel commented earlier,
there will be lots of hares to pursue over the next couple of years
and we should not get too excited about any of them. Would you accept
that we make... It may not be anything like the figures Brussels
is kicking around of 50, 60 billion euros, do you think we will have to
make a one-off settlement? If we get everything else we want, if we get a
really good trade deal and access for the City of London and so on,
speaking for myself, I would be prepared to make a modest payment.
But it all depends on the deal we get. What would modest be? Oh, I
cannot give you a figure. We are right at the start of the
negotiations. I do not think that would be agreed until near the end.
The EU says that if there is a transition period of several years
after the negotiations, and there is more talk of that, the UK must
remain subject to the free movement of peoples and the jurisdiction of
the European Court of Justice, would that be acceptable to you? It
depends on the nature of the transitional agreement. We are
getting well ahead of ourselves here. You cannot, I think, for any
judgment as to whether there should be a transitional stage until you
know what the final deal is. If there is to be a final deal. And
then you know how long it might take to implement that deal. That is
something I think that it is really rather futile to talk about at this
stage. It may become relevant, depending on the nature of the deal,
and that is the proper time to talk about it and decide what the answer
to the questions you pose might be. Except the EU has laid this out in
its negotiation mandate and it is reasonable to ask people like
yourself, should we accept that? It is reasonable for me to say, they
will raise all sorts of things in their negotiating mandate and we do
not need to form a view of all of them at this stage. Let me try
another one. The EU says if they do agree what you have called a
comprehensive free trade deal, we would have to accept EU constraints
on state aid and taxes like VAT and corporation tax. Would you accept
that? Again, I am not sure quite what they have in mind on that. We
will be an independent country when we leave and we will make our own
decisions about those matters. Not according to know that -- to the
negotiating mandate. As I have said, they can put all sorts of things in
the negotiating guidelines, it does not mean we have to agree with them.
No doubt that is something we can discuss in the context of a free
trade agreement. If we get a free trade agreement, that is very
important for them as well as for us, and we can talk about some of
the things you have just mentioned. Can you please leave a 20 without
having repatriated full control of migration, taxis and the law? I
think we will have repatriated all three of those things by the time of
the next general election. How high would you rate the chances of no
deal, and does that prospect worry you? I think the chances are we will
get the deal, and I think the chances are we will get a good deal,
because that is in the interests of both sides of this negotiation. But
it is not the end of the world if we do not get a deal. Most trade in the
world is carried out under World Trade Organisation rules. We would
be perfectly OK if we traded with the European Union, as with
everybody else, under World Trade Organisation rules. It is better to
get the deal, and I think we will get the deal, because it is in the
interests of both. Let me ask you about Gibraltar. You have campaigned
in Gibraltar when the sovereignty issue came up under the Tony Blair
government. The EU says that Spain should have a veto on whether any
free-trade deal should apply to the Rock. How should the British
government replied to that? As it has responded, by making it
absolutely clear that we will stand by Gibraltar. 35 years ago this
week, Andrew, another woman Prime Minister Centre task force is
halfway across the world to protect another small group of British
people against another Spanish-speaking country. I am
absolutely clear that our current woman Prime Minister will show the
same resolve in relation to Gibraltar as her predecessor did.
This is not about Spain invading Gibraltar, it is not even about
sovereignty, it is about Spain having a veto over whether any
free-trade deal that the UK makes with the EU should also apply to
Gibraltar. On that issue, how should the British government respond? The
British government should show resolve. It is not in the interests
of Spain, really, to interfere with free trade to Gibraltar. 10,000
people who live in Spain working Gibraltar. That is a very important
Spanish interest, so I am very confident that in the end, we will
be able to look after all the interests of Gibraltar, including
free trade. Michael Howard, thank you for joining us from Kent this
morning. Although sometimes it seems
like everyone has forgotten, there are things happening
other than Brexit. In less than five weeks' time,
there will be a round of important domestic elections and there's a lot
up for grabs. Local elections take place
on the 4th of May in England, In England, there are elections
in 34 councils, with 2,370 The majority are county councils,
usually areas of strength Large cities where Labour usually
fares better are not Six regions of England will also
hold elections for newly created combined authority mayors,
and there will be contests for directly elected mayors,
with voters in Manchester, Liverpool and the West Midlands
among those going to the polls. In Scotland, every seat in all 32
councils are being contested, many of them affected
by boundary changes. Since these seats were last
contested, Labour lost all but one Meanwhile, every seat in each
of Wales' 22 councils All but one was last elected
in 2012 in what was a very strong year for Labour,
though independent candidates currently hold
a quarter of council seats. According to the latest
calculations by Plymouth University Election Centre,
the Tories are predicted to increase their tally by 50 seats,
despite being in government, But the dramatic story in England
looks to be with the other parties, with the Lib-Dems possibly winning
100 seats, while Ukip could be seeing a fall,
predicted to lose 100 seats. Though the proportional system
usually makes big changes less likely in Scotland,
the SNP is predicted to increase both the number of seats
they hold, and the number In Wales, Labour is defending a high
water mark in support. Last year's Welsh Assembly elections
suggest the only way is down, with all the parties making modest
gains at Labour's expense. Joining me now is the BBC's
very own elections guru, Professor John Curtice
of the University of Strathclyde. Good to see you again. Let's start
with England. How bad are the selection is going to be for Labour?
Labourer not defending a great deal because this is for the most part
rural England. The only control three of the council they are
defending and they are only defending around 500 seats, I nearly
a quarter are in one county, Durham. Labour's position in the opinion
polls is weakened over the last 12 months and if you compare the
position in the opinion polls now with where they were in the spring
of 2013 when these seats in England were last fought, we are talking
about a 12 point swing from Labour to conservative. The estimate of 50
losses may be somewhat optimistic for Labour. Of the three council
areas they control, two of them, Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire,
could be lost, leaving labourer with virtually a duck as far as council
control is concerned in these elections in England. In England,
what would a Liberal Democrat reserve urgently great? That is the
big question. We have had this picture since the EU referendum of
the Liberal Democrats doing extraordinarily well in some local
by-elections, gaining seats that they had not even fought before, and
in other areas, doing no more than treading water. We are expecting a
Liberal Democrat skin because the lost the lot -- the lost lots of
ground when they were in coalition with the Conservatives. It is
uncertain. A patchy performance may well be to their advantage. If they
do well in some places and gain seats, and elsewhere do not do
terribly well and do not waste votes, they may end up doing
relatively well in seats, even if the overall gaining votes is likely
to be modest. The elections for mayors, they are taking place in
the Labour will that be a hefty consolation prize for the Labour
Party? It ought to be, on Teesside, Merseyside, Greater Manchester. We
are looking at one content very closely, that is the contest for the
mayor of the West Midlands. If you look at what happened in the general
election in 2015, labourer work nine points ahead of the Conservatives in
the West Midlands. If you look at the swing since the general
election, if you add that swing to where we were two years ago, the
West Midlands now looks like a draw. Labour have to worry about a
headline grabbing loss, and the West Midlands contest. If they were to
lose, that wooden crate -- that would increase the pressure for
their own Jeremy Corbyn to convince people that they can turn his
party's fortunes around, and in truth at the moment, they are pretty
dire. The West Midlands has Birmingham as its heart.
Chock-a-block with marginal seats. It always has been. I always
remember election night and marginal seats in the West Midlands.
Scotland, the SNP is assaulting Labour's last remaining power base.
The biggest prizes Glasgow. Will it take it, the SNP? Whether the SNP
will gain control of Glasgow is uncertain. If you look at what is
happening in local government by-elections let alone the opinion
polls, in 2012, when these seats were last fought, Labour did
relatively well, only one percentage point behind the SNP who were rather
disappointed with the result compared to other elections. No sign
of that happening this time alone -- this time around. Polls put the SNP
ahead. By-elections have found the SNP advancing and Labour dropping by
double digits. Labour are going to lose everything they currently
control in Scotland, the SNP will become the dominant party, the
question is how well they do. In Scotland there is a Conservative
revival going on. The Conservatives did well in recent local government
by-elections. At the moment, Labour are expected to come third north of
the border in the local elections, repeating the third they suffered in
the Holyrood elections last year. In Wales, Labour is expecting to lose
control of a number of councils. They are the main party in 12 of 22
local authorities. How bad could it be? We're expecting Labour to lose
ground. In the opinion polls when these seats were last fought,
labourer in the high 40s. Now they are not much above 30%. Cardiff
could well join Glasgow was no longer being a Labour stronghold.
Look out for Newport. Some of the South Wales councils that Labour
control, Labour is probably too but occasionally, Plaid
Cymru surprises in this area. They managed to win the Rhondda seat in
the assembly elections. Jeremy Corbyn has said he wants to be
judged on proper elections, council elections as opposed to opinion
polls, but even if he does as badly as John has been suggesting, does it
affect his leadership? I think it does on two counts. It will affect
his own confidence. Anyone who is a human being will be affected by
this. He might go into his office and be told by John McDonnell and
others, stand firm, it is all right, but it will affect his confidence
and inevitably it contributes to a sense that this is moving to some
kind of denoument, at some point. In other words, while I understand the
argument that he has won twice in a leadership contest, well, within 12
months, I wonder whether this can carry on in a fixed term parliament,
up until 2020, if it were to do so. On two France, it will have some
impact. I am not seeing it will lead to his immediate departure, it will
mark, but if these things are as devastating as John suggests, it
will have an impact. Tom, I'll be looking at a Lib Dem fightback? That
is the $64,000 question. It would seem that we should be. One massive
reason we're not having a general election a time soon, apart from the
fact that Theresa May does not believe in these things, she
believes in pressing on, it is because Tory MPs in the South West
who took the Lib Dem seats, they were telling Number 10 they were
worried they were going to lose their seats back to the Lib Dems.
The Lib Dems never went away and local government. They have got
other campaigners and activists. It looks credible that they will be the
success story of the whole thing. Ukip leader, Paul Nuttall, he says
this will be the most difficult local elections his party will face
before 2020. A bit of management of expectations. It is unlikely to be a
good time for Ukip. They are right to manage expectations. The results
will be horrible for Ukip. I agree with Tom about the Lib Dem
threat to the Tories. Talking to some senior figures within the Tory
party earlier this week, I was picking up that they are worried
about 30-40 general election seeds being vulnerable to the Lib Dems
because of the Labour collapse. I would normally agree with Steve
about the resilience of politicians, the capability of withstanding
repeated blows, but Jeremy Corbyn is not in the normal category. I think
he is, in the sense that although he get solace from winning leadership
contest, anyone who leads a party into the kind of, it is not going to
be that vivid, because they are not defending the key seats. If they
were to win Birmingham, say, and get slaughtered by the SNP in Scotland,
it will undermine what is already a fairly ambiguous sense of
self-confidence. We need to leave it there. Thank you, John Curtice.
Well, with those elections on the horizon, is Labour where it
Former leader Ed Miliband was on the Andrew
Marr Show earlier and he explained the challenge Labour faces
It is easier for other parties, if you are the Greens or the
Liberal Democrats you're essentially fishing in the 48% pool.
If you are Ukip, you are fishing in the 52% pool.
Labour is trying to do something much harder,
which is to try and speak for the whole country,
and by the way, that is another part of
Our attack on Theresa May, part of it is she's
Ignoring the verdict going into this, saying,
let's overturn it, looks like ignoring the 52%.
By the way, there is more that unites Remainers
and Leavers than might first appear, because they share common
concerns about the way the country is run.
Joining me now is the Shadow Health Secretary, Jon Ashworth.
Welcome to the programme. Alastair Campbell told me on the BBC on
Thursday that he is fighting to reverse the referendum result. Ed
Miliband says that Remain needs to accept the result, come to terms
with it. Who is right? We have to accept the referendum result. I
campaigned passionately to remain in the European Union. The city I
represent, Leicester, voted narrowly to remain in the European Union.
Sadly the country did not. We cannot overturn that and be like kinky
nude, trying to demand the tide go back out. We have to accept this
democratic process. We all voted to have a referendum when the relevant
legislation came to Parliament. How bad will the local elections before
Labour? Let us see where we get to on election night when I am sure I
will be invited on to one of these types of programmes... The election
date, the following day. But it does look like you will lose seats across
the board in England, Scotland and Wales. What did you make of what
Steve Richards said about the impact on Jeremy Corbyn's leadership? We
have to win seats, we cannot fall back on the scales suggested. No,
your package was right, it tends to be Tory areas, but generally, we
have to be winning in Nottinghamshire, Lancashire, those
types of places because they contain a lot of the marginal constituencies
that decide general elections. The important places in the elections
are towns like Beeston, towns you have not heard of, but they are
marginal towns in marginal swing constituencies. We have to do well
in them. We will see where we are on election night but my pretty is to
campaign hard in these areas over the next few weeks. Even people who
voted Labour in 2015, they prefer Theresa May to Mr Corbyn as Prime
Minister, a recent poll said. Isn't that extraordinary? I have not seen
that. I will look it up. It was you Government. -- YouGov. It is
important we win the trust of people. You are not winning the
trust of people who voted for you in 2015. We have to hold onto people
who voted for us in 2015 and we have to persuade people who voted for
other parties to come to us. One of the criticisms I have of the debate
that goes on in the wider Labour Party, do not misunderstand me, I am
not making a criticism about an individual, but the debate you see
online suggests that if you want to get people who voted Conservative to
switch to Labour it is somehow a betrayal of our principles, it was
not. Justin Trudeau said Conservative voters are our
neighbours, our relatives. We have to persuade people to switch from
voting Conservative to voting Labour as well as increasing our vote among
nonvoters and Greens. It seems like you have a mountain to climb and the
mountain is Everest. Another poll, I am not sure if you have seen this,
in London, the Bastian of Labour, the Bastian of Remain, Mr Corbyn is
less popular than even Ukip's Paul Nuttall. That is beyond
extraordinary! I do not know about that. The most recent set of
elections in London was the mayoral election where the Labour candidate
city: won handsomely. He took the seat of a conservative. We took that
of a conservative. It was a year ago. We did well then. You had an
anti-Jeremy Corbyn candidate. I think he nominated Jeremy Corbyn,
from memory. We have not got elections in London but our
elections are in the county areas and the various mayoral elections...
What about the West Midlands? In any normal year, mid-term, as the
opposition, Labour should win the West Midlands. John Curtis says it
is nip and tuck. It has always been a swing region but we want to do
well, of course. We want to turn out a strong Labour vote in Dudley,
Northampton, those sorts of places. They are key constituencies in the
general election. Does Labour look like a government in waiting to you?
What I would say is contrast where we are to what the conservative
garment is doing. I asked you about Labour, you do not get to tell me
about the Conservatives. Does it look like a government in waiting to
you? Today we are exposing the Conservatives... Reminding people
the Conservatives are breaking the pledge on waiting times of 18 weeks
so lots of elderly people waiting longer in pain for hip replacements
and cataract replacements. Yesterday the Housing spokesperson John Healey
was exposing the shortcomings in the Help to Buy scheme. The education
spokesperson has been campaigning hard against the cuts to schools.
Tom Watson has been campaigning hard against some of the changes the
Government want to introduce in culture. The Shadow Cabinet are
working hard to hold the Government's feet to the fire. Does
it look like a government in waiting? Yes. It took you three
times! There is a social care crisis, schools funding issue, a
huge issue for lots of areas, the NHS has just got through the winter
and is abandoning many of its targets. You are 18 points behind in
the polls. We have to work harder. What can you do? The opinion polls
are challenging but we are a great Social Democratic Party of
government. On Twitter today, lots of Labour activists celebrating that
the national minimum wage has been in place for something like 16 years
because we were in government. Look of the sweeping progressive changes
this country has benefited from, the NHS, sure start centres, an assault
on child poverty, the Labour Party got itself in contention for
government. I entirely accept the polls do not make thrilling reading
for Labour politicians on Sunday morning, but it means people like me
have to work harder because we are part of something bigger than an
individual, we are in the business of changing things for the British
people and if we do not do that, if we do not focus on that, we are
letting people down. Is Labour preparing for an early election
question Billy burqa? Reports in the press of a war chest as macro for an
early election? The general election coordinator called for a general
election when Theresa May became Prime Minister. We are investing in
staff and the organisational capability we need. By the way, the
Labour Party staff do brilliant work. A bit of nonsense on Twitter
having a go at them. They do tremendous work. Whenever the
election comes, they will be ready. Jon Ashworth, thank you.
Hello, welcome to Sunday Politics East.
Politicians take to the streets in the fight for your vote
Here with me today, Vicky Ford, Conservative member
And Gavin Shuker, Labour MP from Luton South.
This week, the Government formally told the EU we are leaving.
The EU told the Government the divorce must come
Whether you see it as an opportunity or a disaster, we now have two years
MEPs from this region will be on the front line,
and have spent the last few months in unofficial talks.
Andrew Sinclair has been to Brussels to see how they rate our chances.
At the European Parliament, there is a real sense of anticipation.
Everyone here knows that life is about to change.
Well, I'm really worried about people's jobs
After a lot of threats, we're hearing actually some real
I think there's an awful, awful lot of water to go
There's a huge amount of devil in the detail.
My pint, the imperial pint, is always half full.
To meet expectations, and our point, frustration...
In the public gallery, a group from the Eastern Region
has come along to watch the European Parliament in action.
People remain remarkably uninformed about perhaps the actual day-to-day
business that goes on here, and everything that gets done
in the spirit of corporation within the European Union.
It's been a pleasure to actually see these things going on.
I really hope they make the best of it and I really hope that we can
sort out trade agreements with different countries
and still have a fairly good relationship with those in Europe.
It's going to take a long time before we are in a position to sort
It's not like the House of Commons...
The visitors were being hosted by the Eastern Region MEP
Alex Mayer, who knows that she will be out
A Remain supporter, she accepts that Brexit must happen,
Her fear is that the negotiations will be very complicated.
Every different company I talk to, every different sector I talk to,
tells me about yet another Brexit problem, perhaps one that
I hadn't sort of thought about or heard about before.
So, you know, it might be about regulatory
It might be about science and research, agriculture
Every different place you go to tells you their own Brexit problem.
It is a view that you hear expressed a lot in the corridors -
that the forthcoming negotiations will be complex and tough.
David Campbell Bannerman, a key member of the Leave campaign,
says he is becoming more and more confident that we'll
We're following the guidelines set by the World Trade Organisation
And I think we can keep it pretty straightforward.
That's taken seven years, and that was supposed
Well, it has taken seven years, but, you know, only three
Two years were wasted on human rights, two years on investor
We start from a very different place.
We are a member of the EU, we have no tariffs, no quotas.
The Brexit negotiations will be overseen by the European Commission,
which is just down the road from here.
This place, the European Parliament, will officially have very
But European politics is all about behind-the-scenes lobbying,
establishing positions, trying to persuade negotiators
what's important to a certain country or region.
The global brand of this, Cambridge, is so important
So, the East of England office in Brussels has organised dozens
of meetings and lobbying sessions to brief European officials
and other parliamentarians about what's important
It's about making sure that we speak very loudly and very clear
Those negotiating stages, when they're going on,
to have a clear message from all of us, business,
politicians, the movement of people and goods,
for workers who need to come here, particularly
And a trade deal which won't hurt local businesses,
particularly food production, science and the
We do need to have a specific relationship for the UK, one that
I think we're making good progress so far.
Now the negotiations are about to get really serious,
so we have a short window to deliver it.
Now, many of our MPs in this region have argued long
None more so than Peter Bone, the MP for Wellingborough.
He was a founding member of the grassroots Out movement,
I've been working at this all my political life, as some
And thanks to the British people, and thanks to our democratic
process, we are now coming out of the EU.
There's no turning back now, and I'm looking forward
to a very exciting time over the next three years.
As far as the letter from Theresa May to the European Union
is concerned, did it contain all of the things that
I mean, to be honest it could have just said,
"Dear European Union, we're coming out, goodbye."
That would have worked for me as well!
But you know how governments like to make it into a 6-page letter
when they could have done it in one paragraph.
The thing is, we're coming out, we hold all the cards,
they have a ?60 billion trade surplus with us.
They want to do a deal with us much more than we need
And all of this huffing and puffing in the European Union
is for the politics of the European elite.
When they get down to business, the directors of Mercedes-Benz
and BMW will go around to the German Chancellor and say,
for goodness sake, you've got to get a free trade deal
with the United Kingdom, because it's in our interests
How do you think people will see any difference in this region over
Well, the thing is, the economy here is doing remarkably well.
And, as you will know, unemployment now, in our area,
hasn't been so low since actually when Harold Wilson had
So basically since 1975, we have been in the European Union,
And now we're coming out, it's going down.
I think it's very good for local industry.
We've got lots of local small businesses -
And that's going to be very good news for them,
because we're going to be exporting around the world.
We're not going to be hampered by EU trade restrictions.
We're going to be able to control immigration.
We're going to let people come into this country
that we want in this country, but exclude those we don't want,
which, one of the biggest, you know, bugbears in our area has been
Not the people who are here, but the fact that so many are coming
in, and we're going to be able to deal with that.
You will know that close to 400,000 people have their jobs linked
Well, that's right, and we going to have more people,
we're going to have more jobs and more business.
I would say the EU has held us back, has held back our economy.
And coming out of what actually in relative terms is a shrinking
What we want to do is to be able to trade freely
with the European Union, but also trade across the globe.
So if you are making something in this country that you've been
exporting to the European Union, why not now export it to India?
You can't at the moment, because the EU sort
So it's a very exciting time for businesses in this area,
especially those that want to export.
Over the next year, what do you hope will have been achieved?
Do you hope that we can get an agreement say on those people
who are living here and working here but are European by birth?
First of all, I think we should be able to do the whole of the Brexit
I mean, people say two years because it says in the treaty that
if you don't complete a deal within two years then you are out.
Well, the founding fathers of the European Union thought
if anybody wanted to leave a deal would be done much
So I think it will be done much quicker.
I think the first thing we need to do on the agenda is say that
European Union citizens who have lived in this country
at the 23rd of June, the referendum date,
The Prime Minister is also right to say, of course,
the similar has got to be said for our citizens abroad.
And I think that should be the first thing we deal with.
In fact, I'm not sure why the European Union, some countries
in the European Union, aren't agreeing to it now.
Vicky Ford, I mean, from your experience
in the European Parliament - he says they want to deal with us
I think that's a bit over-simplistic, OK?
From my experience in the European Parliament, though,
the majority of centrist European Parliament,
from centre-right, centre-left, want to find that long-term
They want to keep this amicable, and they want to have a close
relationship between the UK and EU going forward.
So actually there's quite a lot of meeting of minds
between what the Prime Minister sees as we are leaving the EU,
but we want to continue to work in many areas and have a new trade
deal, have a new security cooperation, between what she is
asking for and what many in Europe also want to achieve.
So there is a lot, but as I said, there's a lot of detail
Gavin Shuker, you were shaking your head a few times during that.
Unemployment was one thing that made you, that smile.
Actually, the fact that we are leaving the EU,
although we haven't actually left it yet is not the reason why
I just don't think the evidence backs it up...
It is the strong Conservative Government that is bringing
Well, it is the flexible labour markets and the fact that we have
got more and more people in insecure work.
But one for another day, because this week has
The Tories have put forward their proposals of the kind of deal
Europe has said what it will live with.
There is one lesson from it - the Tory set of proposals
of what they can live with are very close and very restrictive.
And they are going to hurt all of the issues you talked
about just that, whether it employs, freedom of movement or of goods
and services, the things that actually make the economy
in the east of England quite strong at the moment.
And I'm afraid I think Peter is going to discover that just
because you want something to be true doesn't make it so.
I think there's a lot of people across Europe,
and I'm still very involved in the negotiations on the single
market, and we want to be able to sell into that market
after we leave, and I have had many colleagues with leading MEPs
from across all of the different countries who also want
to have that sort of trade agreement going forward.
There are issues that we need to agree quite quickly.
For example, an citizens's rights, where our colleagues in Europe
want to agree an citizens rights and so do we.
We should be able to agree the principles
And then leave some of the detail for the longer legal discussions.
It's important we agree those issues in principle fast,
so that we can then move on to talk about the trade agreement.
And, as you said, issues like science and research
Issues like food and farming, very important for the use of England.
There's actually a huge amount of work that needs to happen back
in Westminster on this Great Repeal Bill as well,
which again the white paper on that was published this week.
And there's a lot of our legislation which is governed by EU law,
but then we need to make sure it works afterwards.
So for example, if you are a bank at the moment, you have
You report to them, and we need to make sure that
So we need to just get it all right in British law.
So do you agree basically on what Vicky Ford is saying here?
In terms of the complexity of the negotiations, absolutely.
I was in the States this week looking at the future
Bit of an obscure subject, but actually it's about keeping
We do that on a European level at the moment.
We are going to come out in 2019, and we don't know what replaces it.
If we don't have that, it's not a case of copy and pasting
from the existing law, you need a process, you need
an institution that does it, you need scientists.
All of that funnily enough is going to be more expensive
after we leave the EU rather than less, and it's
going to make compliance costs for businesses
So it kind of begs the question, what are we doing this for?
And I'm apologetic about the fact that it is complex, but it is.
There are about 90 of these different areas that we're
What are we doing it for, that is no longer the question.
We are leaving the European Union, but the terms by which we leave
and what we want at the end is the Prime Minister's gift.
She has chosen a Hard Brexit that is going to hurt us.
Well, no, actually, if you look at the detail
which was in the Prime Minister's letter on things like product
standards, that you've just mentioned, she has
British businesses selling into Europe will need to continue
So giving businesses those types of certainty.
And indeed I was with East of England businesses just
But that's why we've spent seven months preparing
OK, let's move away from Brexit and talk about the local elections,
Elections will be held in Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, Cambridge,
All are run by the Conservatives, with the exception of Cambridge,
Norfolk and Suffolk, which ring though overall control.
There are no elections in Bedfordshire, which has three
Among other things, county councils from social care,
education, transport, planning, the fire
Labour believe they have a strong record on delivering services.
We've got a good story to tell about Labour running
When we speak to people, really what they want to talk
The fact that their roads are full of potholes,
the park and ride has been shut, the Fire Service has been cut,
It's the local things that people are interested in, and that's
The Conservatives want to keep tight control on the purse strings.
We're standing on a platform that we are very prudent.
We recognise that it is people's hard earned money that we collect
in council tax, and we're very careful about how we spent that.
But at the same time, we're really clear that prioritise
children's and adult's social services to protect
And what we actually are saying to people is that front line
services are best protected by having a sustainable council
that is very careful about how it goes about its business.
And that's the message that we're putting out on the doorstep.
Ukip still believe they offer an alternative.
It doesn't seem to matter whether it is red, yellow
or blue, it is just carries on as it's always did.
And Ukip are offering something different.
We don't operate a whip system, we're much more localised
And actually we've proved to be quite good at it.
Where we have Ukip councils, we are actually effective.
The Lib Dems hope Brexit has strengthened their support.
A lot of people have got involved right across the East
of England on the back of the referendum result.
People see that the Conservative Brexit government is putting
millions of jobs at risk, and they want to stand
And the Green Party fighting for investment in public transport
We have got question marks about considerable
amounts of road-building, which we consider unnecessary,
especially as it means that we are starving other forms
of transport from the funds that they really need,
whether that be bus services, whether that be our railways.
And it's interesting that whenever we talk about road-building,
Why don't we invest in our buses as well?
And that's something which I think is very popular
Gavin Shuker, that's a Labour policy, isn't it?
There's plenty of Labour policies being implemented at a local level.
Of course, at Westminster level it's more tricky moment.
But the Greens are parking their tanks with your lawn,
or are you parking your tanks on their lawn?
I think politics at the moment is pretty the brow.
We know for example that when these seats were fought four years
ago, Labour were in a stronger position in the polls
Now, that inevitably involves some Labour voters looking to vote
My hope is that however people vote this time around that we don't see
a large number of votes going to the Conservatives
and strengthening their hold at the moment, not least
of all because I think without meaningful opposition
in Westminster and actually in local government, governments
And you see that in a lot of Tory controlled councils
Tory councillors will be looking over their shoulders wondering
what the Lib Dem vote is getting stronger, isn't it?
No, I think the Tories will be looking to take back the overall
control that we lost in Cambridgeshire and Norfolk
And actually having no overall control, these rainbow coalitions,
have made it incredibly much more difficult to have real decisions.
County councils have really important jobs, important services,
Children's Services, adult social services.
Decisions about the long-term planning...
You're not worried about anybody, is that what you're saying?
What I have seen is where the county council is really well run,
Essex, Hertfordshire, really good strategic decisions,
and then it used to be the same in Cambridgeshire,
and then we've had a lot more challenging since we've
Norfolk has now, they have given up the opposition have given up.
Those Tory councils are putting like mad.
But since they've come back to having a Conservative
leadership in Norfolk, they've been able to get
Decisions have just sat on the edges.
They have to just manage their margins and their bhajans
-- budgets because there is a limited amount
Whatever the scale of reduction pushed down from national
government, look at Conservative councils across the region.
They are cutting further and deeper, and they are cutting away
at the services that actually a lot of people rely on.
Now, I don't think that just living in a world where you have to say
there is going to be no reductions whatsoever is sustainable,
certainly after seven years of a Tory government
In fairness, the problem was there when they came
But the key point is, what kind of services do
And on that basis, you know, at a local level, Labour
politicians are standing up and they are defending get.
People want well-run councils and managed budgets,
because otherwise we don't get the services.
And that is what you get with the Conservative run councils.
Now to our round-up of the political week in 60 seconds
A new report claims that one in six local roads
are in urgent need of repair, and some may be forced
to close altogether if no action is taken soon.
In the next five years, they need to invest heavily
in repairing and replacing them, or the ultimate sanction they have
Security worries at Stansted airport after protesters campaigning
against deportations padlocked themselves to the undercarriage
It should not be possible for people to get the wrong side of an airport,
and definitely not be possible for people to get on the runway.
The nomination for Britain's best surprise is Northamptonshire,
according to its Tourist Board, which is encouraging people
?1 billion of tourist money that is coming
into the county at the moment, to increase that by 50% in five
And, any takers for a Brexit teapot?!
A company in Great Yarmouth has made a limited edition.
You two went by buying one of those, I'm sure!
The protesters on the runway, that raises some very serious
I'm very fond of Stansted Airport, I use it a lot when I'm
going backwards and forwards and it's always very busy and I've
always been very impressed by the security there.
I do think we need to ask how this happened, because protesters should
not be able to get onto a runway of an airport, serious
And you've got Luton airport of course.
I mean security is very tight there as it is in lots
The key thing of course with Stansted is, if a plane
is diverted to the UK, if there is a potential hijack
situation or whatever, it is diverted into Stansted,
which is considered to be a very highly secure airport.
So I'm sure the authorities will be looking at this,
trying to work out how to make sure it doesn't happen again.
But there are miles of fencing round any airport.
I am meeting the new boss of Stansted in a couple of weeks' time,
so I will certainly be asking him that question, you know,
how did this happen and how do we make sure that it
You are right, Gavin, this is the airport that we use
OK, both of you, thank you very much for being with us this week.
We are back after the Easter break in three weeks' time.
So, what will be the effect of new tax and benefit changes
Will the Government's grand trade tour reap benefits?
And are the Lib Dems really going to replace Labour,
To answer that last question, I'm joined by from Salford
by the Lib Dem MP, Alistair Carmichael.
Michael Fallon sirs the Lib Dems will replace Labour. How long will
it take? We will have to wait and see. Anyone who thinks you can
predict the future is engaged in a dodgy game. I have been campaigning
with the Liberal Democrats in Manchester... You must not
mention... You know the by-election rules. It is only an illustration.
Across false ways of the country, the Liberal Democrats are back in
business -- across whole swathes of the country. Part of the reason why
we are getting a good response is because the Labour Party under
Jeremy Corbyn has taken such a self-destructive path. Even if you
do pretty well in the local elections, it you have to make up
lost ground from the time you did very well in previous times, you
used to have 4700 councillors. It will take you a long while to get
back to that. You will get no argument from me that we have a
mountain to climb. What I'm telling you is, and if this is not just in
this round of elections, it is in the other by-elections in places
like Richmond, and in by-elections write the length and breadth of the
country since last June, the Liberal Democrats are taking seats from the
Labour Party under Conservative Party, and not just in Brexit phobic
areas. Not just in Remain areas. But in places like Sunderland as well
which voted very heavily for Brexit. In fact, that vote was in large part
as well a protest against the way in which the Labour Party really has
taken these areas for granted over the years. That is why the ground is
fertile for us. In the local elections which is what we are
discussing today, why would anybody vote for the Liberal Democrats if
they believed in Brexit? Mr Farren has said he wants to reverse works.
If you are Brexit supporter and you are considering how to cast your
vote, first of all, I think you will be looking at the quality of
representation you can get for your local area and you are right, we
have a lot of ground to recoup from previous elections, we lost 124
seats, communities have now had a few years to reflect on the quality
of service they have been able to get and they have missed the very
effective liberal Democrat councillors they have had. This is
not just about whether you are a believer or remainer, ultimately,
that is an issue we are going to have to settle and we will settle it
not in the way the Government is having by dictating the terms of the
debate, but by bringing the whole country together. I think that is
something you can only do if, as we have suggested, you give the people
the opportunity to have a say on the deal when Theresa May eventually
produces it. The only way you could really replace Labour in the
foreseeable future would be if a big chunk of the centre and right of the
Labour Party came over and join due in some kind of new social
democratic alliance. -- joined you. There is no sign that will happen? I
do not see whether common purpose is anymore holding the Labour Party
together. That is for people in the Labour Party to make their own
decisions. Use what happened to the Labour Party in Scotland. -- you
saw. Politics moved on and left them behind and they were decimated as a
consequence of that. So was your party. It is possible the same thing
could happen to the Labour Party and the rest of the UK. Politics is
moving on and they are coming up with 1970s solutions to problems in
2017. Alistair Carmichael, thanks for joining us. Let us have a look
at some of the tax and benefit changes coming up this week. The tax
changes first of all. The personal allowance is going to rise to
?11,500, the level at which you start to pay tax. The higher rate
threshold, where you start to play at 40%, that will rise from
currently ?43,400, rising up to 40 5000. -- pay. Benefit changes,
freeze on working age benefits, removal of the family element of tax
credits and universal credit, that is a technical change but quite an
impact. The child element of tax credit is going to be limited to two
children on any new claims. The Resolution Foundation has crunched
the numbers and they discovered that when you take the tax and benefit
changes together, 80% go to better off households and the poorest third
or worse. What help -- what happened to help the just about managing? The
Resolution Foundation exists to find the worst possible statistics... It
is not clear the figures are wrong? They are fairly recent figures and I
have not seen analysis by other organisations. The Adam Smith
Institute will probably have some question marks over it. Nobody
should be surprised a Tory government is trying to make the
state smaller... And the poor poorer. The system is propped up by
better off people and so it will be those people who will be slightly
less heavily taxed as you make the state smaller. Theresa May will have
to stop just talking about the just about managing. And some of her
other language and the role of the government and the state when she
sounded quite positive... She sounded like a big government
conservative not small government. In every set piece occasion, she
says, it is time to look at the good the government can do. That is not
what you heard from Mrs Thatcher. Tony Blair and Gordon Brown would
not have dared to say it either even if they believed it. It raises a
much bigger question which is, as well as whether this is a set of
progressive measures, the Resolution Foundation constantly argued when
George Osborne announced his budget measures as progressive when they
were regressive when they checked out the figures, but also how this
government was going to meet the demand for public services when it
has ruled out virtually any tax rises that you would normally do
now, including National Insurance. There are a whole range of nightmare
issues on Philip Hammond's in-tray in relation to tax. The Resolution
Foundation figures do not include the rise in the minimum wage which
has just gone under way. They do not include the tax free childcare from
the end of April, the extra 15 hours of free childcare from September.
Even when you include these, it does not look like it would offset the
losses of the poorest households. Doesn't that have to be a problem
for Theresa May? It really is a problem especially when her
narrative and indeed entire purpose in government is for that just about
managing. What Mrs May still has which is exactly a problem they have
at the budget and the Autumn Statement is that they are still
saddled with George Osborne's massive ring fences on tax cuts and
spending. They have to go through with the tax cut for the middle
classes by pushing up the higher rate threshold which is absolutely
going to do nothing for the just about managing. When they try to
mitigate that, for example, in the Autumn Statement, Philip Hammond was
told to come up with more money to ease the cuts in tax credits, came
up with 350 million, an absolute... It is billions and billions
involved. Marginal adjustment. A huge problem with the actual tax and
benefit changes going on with what Mrs May as saying. The only way to
fix it is coming up with more money to alleviate that. Where will you
find it? Philip Hammond tried in the Budget with the National Insurance
rises but it lasted six and a half days. I was told that it was one of
the reasons why the Chancellor looked kindly on the idea of an
early election because he wanted to get rid of what he regards as an
albatross around his neck, the Tory manifesto 2015, no increase in
income tax, no increase in VAT, no increase in National Insurance, fuel
duty was not cut when fuel prices were falling so it is hardly going
to rise now when they are rising again. This is why, I suggest, they
end up in these incredibly complicated what we used to call
stealth taxes as ways of trying to raise money and invariably a blow up
in your face. Stealth taxes never end up being stealthy. It is part of
the narrative that budget begins to fall apart within hours. You have to
have sympathy, as Tom says, with Philip Hammond. No wonder he would
like to be liberated. The early election will not happen. The best
argument I have heard for an early election. The tax and spend about at
the last election was a disaster partly because the Conservatives
feared they would lose. Maybe they could be a bit more candid about the
need to put up some taxes to pay for public services and it is very
interesting what you picked up on Philip Hammond because he is
trapped. So constrained about... You can also reopen the Ring fencing and
spending and the obvious place to go is the triple lock, OAP spending.
Another case for an election. He cannot undo the promise to that
demographic. We will not get to 2020 without something breaking. The
Prime Minister, the trade secretary and Mr Hammond, they are off to
India, the Far East, talking up trade with these countries, I do not
know if any of you are going? Sadly not. Will it produce dividends? The
prime Minster is going somewhere too. No, it will not, the honest
answer. No one will do a trade deal with us because we cannot do one
because we are still in the EU and they need to know what our terms
will be with the EU first before they can work out how they want to
trade with us. This is vital preparatory work. Ministers always
go somewhere in recess, it is what they do. We will not see anything in
a hurry, we will not see anything for two years. They have to do it.
Whatever side of the joint you are on, Brexit, remain, we need to get
out there. -- the argument. We should have been doing this the day
after the referendum result. It is now several months down the line and
they need to step it up, not the opposite. You can make some informal
talks, I guess. You can say, Britain is open for business. There is a
symbolism to it. What a lot of energy sucked up into this.
Parliament is not sitting so they might as well start talking. We have
run out of energy and time. That is it for today. We are off for the
Easter recess, back in two weeks' time. If it is Sunday, it is the
Sunday Politics. Unless it is that used to recess! -- Easter recess.
Marine Le Pen has her eyes on the French presidency.
As she tries to distance herself from her party's controversial past,
we follow the money and ask, "Who's funding her campaign?"
I think I've died and gone to heaven. Saluti. Chin-chin.
So, can anybody speak Italian? No. Non parlo italiano.