Sarah Smith and Jo Coburn's guests are Sir Alan Duncan MP and Yvette Cooper MP. The political panel consists of Isabel Oakeshott, Matthew Zarb-Cousin and Lucy Fisher.
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Morning, everyone, and welcome
to the Sunday Politics.
I'm Sarah Smith.
And this is the programme that
will provide your essential briefing
on everything that's moving
and shaking in the
world of politics.
The Foreign Secretary accuses Russia
of "smug sarcasm, denial,
obfuscation and delay" in relation
to the Salisbury poisoning case.
As the diplomatic dispute continues,
where will this crisis go next?
Police launch a murder
inquiry in to the death
of another Russian exile.
So how many other deaths in Britain
are potentially linked to Russia?
We speak to the Chair of
the Home Affairs Select Committee.
Should transgender women be included
on Labour's all-women short lists?
The party postpones
a final decision.
While a government consultation
on changing the law
appears to be on hold.
Has the debate on transgender
rights become toxic?
In London, nine months on from
the Grenfell Tower fire, are local
businesses getting the help
they need to get back on their feet?
All that coming up in the programme.
And with me today a panel
of political insiders helping me
to make sense of all the big
Matt Zarb-Cousin, Isabel Oakeshott
and Lucy Fisher.
Now, Russia's Vladimir Putin has
already been out this
morning to cast his vote
in the Presidential elections.
We'll be expecting the result
later this evening,
but you can probably guess
who the frontrunner is.
It comes at the end of a week
in which UK-Russia relations turned
Is Russia behind the poisoning
of Sergei Skripal?
This week the finger of blame
for the Salisbury attack was
pointed firmly in one direction.
First, work out
what actually happened
there and then we'll talk about it.
A deadline imposed by
the British government
calling on the Russians to provide
answers came and went.
The Prime Minister headed
to the Commons to update MPs.
They have treated the use
of a military grade nerve agent
in Europe with sarcasm,
contempt and defiance.
The only conclusion, she declared,
was that the Russian state
was responsible for the nerve agent
attack on the Russian double agent
Sergei Skripal and his
23 Russian diplomats based
here accused of being spies are to
be kicked out of the country.
Moscow responded by
expelling 23 British
UK-Russia relations are well
and truly in the deep freeze.
The Prime Minister's
response to the crisis has
won her some new fans.
She got flowers and fist bumps
in Salisbury on Thursday.
The Defence Secretary had his own
idiosyncratic message for Moscow.
Frankly, Russia should go
away, it should shut up.
Go away, it should shut up.
The Foreign Secretary
escalated the row by going
further and directly accusing
Vladimir Putin of personally
ordering the poisoning.
Our quarrel is with Putin's
Kremlin and with his
decision, and we think it
overwhelmingly likely that it was
his decision, to direct
the use of a nerve agent.
that parties often come
together on major foreign policy
issues but Jeremy Corbyn is not a
How has she responded to the Russian
government's request for a sample
of the agent used in the Salisbury
attack to run its own tests?
That did not go down
too well with some
of his own MPs who tabled a motion
expressing their support for the
Prime Minister's response.
But Mr Corbyn held
his line, arguing in
Friday's Guardian that we ought not
to discount the possibility that
Russian mafia gangs could have
carried out the attack.
not exactly been
toeing that line.
We fully support the Government's
action because we
hold Russia responsible.
There is no alternative
explanation other than
lies with Russia.
The US, France and Germany issued
a joint statement of support
for the UK.
It's a very sad situation.
It certainly looks like
the Russians were behind it.
Something that should
never ever happen.
Today is election day in Russia.
And this crisis seems unlikely
to hurt Putin's chances of
re-election as Russia's President.
So to pick up some of that news with
Lucy, later this week the National
Security Council will meet to talk
about what further action the UK
Government Meite, they briefed the
BBC there is more in the locker,
that was the phrase the useful
support any idea what they might do
There is a whole suite of
options available to the government,
the idea of clamp-down on visas for
dubious Russian businessmen and
their allies wanting to travel to
the UK, there is talk on pulling the
plug on RTE, the Kremlin backed
broadcaster with Ruth Davidson
calling for that they. The most
important action the government
could take is on the wealth, the
Kremlin gold, and money swilling
around the UK invested here by
Russian oligarchs are linked to the
Boss of people from Russian
politician stomach opposition
politicians who think would be the
most effective route. That's what
Labour are calling for and we
haven't really heard that's what
action the government will go in.
These are quite short-term measures.
What we're looking on with Russia is
a much wider, long-term problem.
What a lot of people in defence
circles talk about is a more
asymmetrical response, so rather
than in addition to the measures
Lucy has articulated, you need to
look at the whole suite of things in
terms of the disinformation campaign
that Russia puts out, we need to
look at where we can niggle Russia
by supporting Ukraine a bit,
supporting states like Azerbaijan
and a much more hybrid response, I
Matt Zarb-Cousin is, there
has been a lot of discussion about
Jeremy Corbyn's response to this
this week. I'm interested, you know
him well, give us an insight into
what he is thinking. He supports the
Government's actions while not being
sure about the conclusion that the
Russian state was responsible. Why
support what they are doing if we
don't support the conclusion?
think the Russian state is culpable
and the Labour Party recognises
that. I think we all agree that it
isn't a proportionate response, it
goes nowhere near far enough if the
Russian state is culpable, to just
expel 23 diplomats and say to the
Royal family they are not going to
the World Cup. So they have to find
out obviously if the Russian state
is culpable, and then once they have
the evidence for that then obviously
build that international coalition
where we can actually take
meaningful action, not these
tokenistic measures. Even closing
down Russia's Russia Today emboldens
Putin, look at the West, they can
censor, he will say. What we really
have to do is go after Putin's kind
of circle. There is oligarchs here,
whether they are pro-or anti-Putin,
who have been allowed to settle here
and stow away their money here and
they have been affected by Putin. If
they are then affected by Putin, if
we say you have to leave, then that
is a very powerful coalition you are
building against him.
Corbyn still isn't convinced that
the Russian state itself is
No, neither is the
He wouldn't back these
actions until they were proved.
would be naive, it would be
difficult to build an international
coalition. Even the statement that
Germany France and the US put out,
the joint statement, said the nerve
agent was of a type developed by
Russia, not that it was developed by
Russia. It looks increasingly likely
that that nerve agent came from
Russia and Russia have lost control
of it, or have used it maliciously,
but we don't know that yet and it's
very difficult to take action until
There is a kind of false
dichotomy here in this idea that
somehow elements of Russian Mafia
might be responsible. Welcome
potentially they could be, but the
idea that the Russian Mafia is in
some way completely distinct from
the Kremlin is a misunderstanding.
In a sense, the Russian Mafia is in
extra typically linked to the
Kremlin. They are a sort of
paramilitary wing of the Kremlin so
it is a false dichotomy.
Jeremy Corbyn has taken a lot of
flak for his response this week.
Isn't it legitimate to be asking
these questions when, as Matt says,
even the French, US and German
governments don't seem this --
convinced this is state directed?
Early in the week we saw some level
of prevarication by Paris, Berlin
and Washington and that has firmed
up a lot. I think the quite
unprecedented international joint
statement put out by those allies
and the UK goes a lot further than
you say, Matt. I don't think it's as
equivocal as perhaps you suggested.
Some of the questions Jeremy Corbyn
asks will kind of strike a chord
with much of the public. I think, in
particular, raising questions about
the intelligence and exactly what is
known is something that people will
be thinking about in light of the
2003 Iraq War and some of the
evidence being politically sexed up,
people want to know that that's not
the case here.
know exactly how much Jeremy Corbyn
had access to in terms of the
intelligence as well. It could well
be that the government... Boris
Johnson and the Defence Secretary
Gavin Williamson have gone much
further and said... Boris Johnson
said it is Putin.
Williamson said they should
shut up and go away, or whatever he
said. That suggests to me they are
either going off message or they
have seen more evidence that perhaps
Corbyn has not seen.
questions we will explore throughout
the show and if you stay with us we
will talk to you throughout the
Well, let's stick with this story
because the Foreign Secretary has
been speaking on the Andrew
Marr Show this morning.
He was asked how the Government
could be certain that the Russian
Government was responsible
for the attack.
We actually have evidence within the
last ten years that Russia has not
only been investigating the delivery
of nerve agents for the purposes of
assassination, but has also been
creating and stockpiling Novichok.
To the best of our knowledge, this
is a Russian-made nerve agent that
falls within the category Novichok,
made only by Russia.
I'm joined now by the Foreign Office
Minister Sir Alan Duncan.
Thank you for talking to us this
morning. Russia have responded, as
you know, to our expansion --
expulsion of 23 Russian diplomats by
closing the consulate in St
Petersburg. Is there a second phase
of government action that will need
to be reintroduced in order to take
We have lots of
options. But this isn't just about
counting heads. This is really about
making clear to the world that one
of the great achievements of the
world since the Second World War,
which is a convention to ban
chemical weapons, has been violated.
And it is clearly traceable back to
a military grade nerve agent of
Russian origin. We said to the
Russians either you did it directly
or you have lost control of this,
tell us which. They basically just
stuck their tongue out at us. Their
irresponsible response to this
points ever more to them as having
done this, and so the response that
we have done I think is
proportionate. Yes, they have
responded back. But what matters
more than anything else is not that
we now go into some kind of
tit-for-tat stuff by accounting
exact numbers and things like that,
is that we actually corral the whole
world to realise that Russia is
totally out of order here and that
the Chemical Weapons Convention has
been violated in a way that could do
enormous damage to the world in any
country this happens to happen in,
in this case the UK, and that is
what we will do.
You are calling for
a concerted international action,
what would that look like?
already very grateful to the very
clear response we have had from a
lot of countries. I was in the
Balkans over the weekend with
countries like Macedonia and Kosovo,
and they were very, very clear in
their condemnation of this, because
they themselves are countries which
suffer from wider Russian
interference. But we have the EU
foreign ministers meeting tomorrow,
they will be a Prime Minister level
March European Council on Friday, we
have already had an open discussion
in the UN at which the Russian
representative cut a very, very
lonely figure, and this is clearly a
Russian violation of the Chemical
Weapons Convention and we will
cooperate with the Organisation for
the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons
to prove even further what we know
to be the case.
When it comes to
international action, a former UK
ambassador to Russia, agrees with
you that we need to take action
along with others and says the
sanctions imposed by the EU after
Crimea 2014 surprise the Kremlin and
continue to have an impact because
they were EU wide, but went on to
say Brexit has made Britain's task
harder in appealing for EU
solidarity this week and the kind of
international action you are looking
I think that is total nonsense,
Brexit doesn't have an impact on
this and we are still part of the EU
and we operate EU sanctions
collaboratively and we're passing
legislation through the House of
Commons which will give us
autonomous actions regime following
the departure from the EU, and we
will include in that what I hope
will be a firm cross-party said
statement from the House of Commons
that the Magnitsky clause, as people
have been campaigning for, will be
included in the sanctions and
anti-money-laundering Bill. And the
passage of this bill predated the
Salisbury incident, has always been
something we wanted the whole of the
House of Commons today, not just
something in a committee during
passage of the bill.
Labour tried to
introduce an amendment to that bill
with the Magnitsky clause and you
wear minister in the Bill committee
that rejected those amendments two
weeks ago. -- you wear minister.
answer the question before you ask
the question, which is we wanted it
to be done on the whole floor of the
house and in the phrasing of the
amendment it wasn't consistent with
some of the other parts of the act.
-- you were a minister. We have an
understanding that we hope will be a
cross-party thing and that will send
a clear message to the world that
the House of Commons, along with
countries who have done it already,
will be aligned with the Magnitsky
proposal, which campaigners have
The Magnitsky powers would allow you
to take actions against individuals
guilty of gross human rights
violations. That doesn't allow you
to attack the money of Putin allies
unless you can find them guilty of
gross human rights violations so it
wouldn't really allow you to respond
to this attack, would it?
afraid you're totally wrong and
don't understand the wording of the
bill because it is not only gross
human rights violations in the bill.
There are many purposes included in
the list of things you can do under
the legislation and it does include
what you have just described.
the powers the Government has
already on going after things like
this, like unexplained wealth
orders, have been used only once
since they were introduced. There
haven't been much evidence the
Government was serious in tackling
corrupt money brought in through
That's because the
legislation has only recently come
in and of course it's not
politicians who make these
decisions. There's a distinction
between the liberal democracy in
which we live, where judges on the
law take their course from
politicians. And what we think is
happening in Russia, which is not a
real democracy, we are looking at a
pretty odd election taking place
today where Vladimir Putin will
undoubtedly be supposedly re-elected
for the fourth time. That is a deep
distinction between our values and
bears. One of the great values we
have seen in the world is the
creation of the chemical weapons
Convention. Jeremy Corbyn has always
been the great disarm and here we
have a violation of the ideological,
the sort of principled convention
that has been built up over many
decades, violated in our own
country, which is why I think many
young people are disappointed with
Ben Wallace, the
security minister, said we have
allowed nasty individuals to come to
the City of London and launder
illicit money. That sounds like an
admission that until now this
Government hasn't been doing enough
to tackle corrupt money in London.
think we are amassing the powers to
tackle exactly the kind of issue he
has identified, and indeed Ben
Wallace is the security minister who
has been supporting this, pressing
for it and administering it from the
Home Office point of view. We have
to make a proper distinction though
without compromising our values
between those who are guilty and
those who are not. Not every
oligarch is guilty and not every
rich Russian is necessarily a crony
of Putin and someone who should be
subject to sanctions so we need to
approach this without compromising
our values. But there is something
much more important than this, what
really matters is the world needs to
realise that if we allow chemical
weapons to slip into use any more
that's happened now, we will live in
a much more dangerous world and one
which is tearing up the rule book,
throwing away the chemical weapons
Convention which has been in place
for so many decades, indeed it was
one of the great idealistic
achievements of the post war world
that we put this in place so we have
to the robust in pointing the finger
at Russia and saying this violation
by the use of chemical weapons is
simply not acceptable.
Thank you for
Well, earlier this week the police
announced that they were launching
a murder inquiry in to the death
of another Russian businessman
living in Britain.
A pathologist's report says
Nikolai Glushkov died
of "compression to the neck"
after being found dead
at his home on Monday.
The Metropolitan Police say
there is no evidence to suggest
a link to the attempted murder
of Sergei and Yulia Skripal.
But the Home Office has announced it
will investigate a number
of other unexplained deaths
following the Skripal case.
Yvette Cooper is the Chair of
The Home Affairs Select Committee.
You specifically asked the Home
Secretary to investigate 14 other
deaths that you are worried may have
had Russian involvement, do you have
much evidence for that?
is that any area where there are
allegations that there may have been
either Russian involvement or
suspicious circumstances that may
need to be investigated should be,
because I think we have to have the
full facts. There was a BuzzFeed
investigation that made allegations
about 14 cases, there are other
concerns raised about others. It's
not for me to judge the individual
circumstances, my concern is these
cases, where there have been
preliminary conclusions of suicide
or natural causes or accident, that
actually there may be further
evidence of more suspicious
circumstances, they should now be
reviewed by the Home Office and
The Home Office have said
they will do that but if you look at
the the case of someone who died in
2012, Surrey police says they will
not reinvestigate so will they be
able to cover new evidence?
the Home Office will assure there is
a review of all of these cases. The
Home Office Secretary will want to
satisfy herself that every corner
has been looked into and this has
been done properly and we get to the
bottom of this. I do accept the
priority for them at the moment must
be this current investigation and
the current circumstances in
Salisbury and where those
investigations lead, but they will
need I think to follow up by looking
at these other cases as well.
have any doubt that what happened in
Salisbury was directed by the
I share the
conclusions of the French, German
and British government that it is
implausible the Russian state wasn't
involved in some way or another.
Jeremy Corbyn is wrong when he says
it is either the Russian state or a
chemical weapon that got out of
control and into other people's
We don't know which
individuals caused the attack and
how the nerve agent was brought into
the country, we also don't know
which bit of the Russian state was
particularly involved, but I think
the clear evidence, the way in which
the Russian government has been
behaving since this happened really
is not the behaviour of a government
that is saying we weren't involved
and we want to help get to the
bottom of this because we take it
seriously. This morning the Russian
Embassy has been tweeting
Embassy has been tweeting pictures
of Hercule Poirot.
So are you
embarrassed by Jeremy Corbyn saying
there isn't enough evidence to link
this to the Kremlin?
John McDonnell said we should
condemn the Russian government for
the way it's behaved on this, and
that the Russian government is
responsible, and I agreed with him,
and he went further than Theresa May
by pointing the finger at Putin,
something similar to what Boris
Johnson has said, so I think there's
a recognition that even though we
don't know which individual
delivered the nerve agent there is
responsibility here in the Russian
state and I think some part of the
security service is what we expect
It was clear in the House
of Commons this week there were
senior Labour MPs like yourself
uncomfortable with Jeremy Corbyn's
position. There's also been reports
this has been seen as a watershed
moment by some moderate Labour MPs
wondering what they are doing in
Jeremy Corbyn's Labour Party and
revived talk of a breakaway party,
is that something you have heard
I think this is a load of
rubbish. I have not heard this so I
think this is in danger of
spiralling ever outwards and we are
also in danger of making this an
issue about domestic politics at a
time when there is very serious
international issues here that we
should be focusing on and coming
together to focus on as well.
why it becomes a domestic issue
because it's at times like this you
might expect the leader of
opposition to back-up the Prime
Minister, you were clearly
uncomfortable with the way he did
not do that, so it has consequences
within the Labour Party.
understand it, Jeremy has said that
the evidence points to wash, that
also he supports all of the measures
and that's really important that
and that's really important that you
have unanimity about the actions
that need to be taken, and calling
for further action around the
economic sanctions. They understand
he wanted to wait for further
evidence before going further and
criticising the Russian government.
Obviously John McDonnell has
criticised the Russian government
today, but I'm not going to
criticise Jeremy for taking a
slightly different view because I
think there's been too much
temperature in this and you have
heard people being called warmongers
for condemning the Russian state,
you've also heard people being
called appeasers for asking further
questions. None of that helps. We
are not talking about military
action, we are talking about
systematic diplomatic measures,
criminal investigation measures and
I hope there can be unanimity about
what those measures should be.
Yvonne Cooper, thank you. I will
just pick up some of that with the
panel. Lucy Fisher, it was clear
listening to Yvette Cooper, and
Shami Chakrabarti, very much in the
Labour Party people who seemed to be
at odds at the beginning of the week
as saying there is nothing to see
here, is that true?
I'm not entirely
convinced, I think this has opened
up old wounds in the Labour Party,
the front bench has been strained by
this response, and while we were
talking about how some of the
questions he has asked are valid,
tonally I think the response has
upset a lot of Labour MPs, including
those who have called for the
Commons to unequivocally condemn the
Matt Zarb Cousin,
Labour has been
Labour has been calling for -- the
Government have been calling for
Magnitsky clauses, exactly what
Jeremy Corbyn called forth. Were you
satisfied with what you heard from
from Alan Duncan?
No, they are
watered down compared to what Jeremy
Corbyn had in the manifesto in the
last election. I think there is an
agreement among the Labour Party now
and the front bench particularly
that the Russian state is culpable
and that is shared across the house.
You are still couple books under the
chemicals weapons Convention if you
lose control of the nerve agent,
which is what happened.
Conservative government is serious
about financial powers in order to
target corrupt money? David Cameron
said one of his great regrets is
that he never introduced me
Magnitsky powers, the Government say
they will go ahead with it, is it
powers they will use in a meaningful
I think they are absolutely
serious. The national security
adviser said he understands this, as
does the intelligence minister Ben
Wallace, they have already used
these new powers about freezing the
assets on unexplained wealth. A
fairly new measure which has already
been implemented in at least one
case as I understand it. I want to
come back on your comments, you say
the Labour Party is singing as one,
I don't pick that up from the
rhetoric. I felt Yvette Cooper was
extraordinarily diplomatic, but
trying to paper over serious cracks
within the Parliamentary party about
Labour's position on this. It is
clear Jeremy Corbyn doubts the
intelligence on it.
It is not the
intelligence he doubts, it is the
way the intelligence has been
interpreted by the Government, and
I'm talking about intelligence he
perhaps hasn't seen so we don't know
how much he has seen. Theresa May,
as Lucy's story showed this week,
hasn't necessarily shown the Leader
of the Opposition and chief of staff
everything. It is the same as Iraq
in a sense. It is not the
intelligence itself necessarily, it
is how the Government uses the
intelligence, and that's when it
comes back to the nerve agent being
of a type developed by Russia.
OK, talking of cracks in the Labour
Party we have another story...
On Tuesday the Labour Party
were expected to rubber
stamp their support for transgender
women to be included
on all-women short lists.
But this programme has learned that
that announcement has been delayed
so that arguments on all sides
can be heard.
The rights of the transgender
community have also become part
of a wider conversation
in Westminster after the government
backed calls to simplify the legal
process to for someone
to change their gender.
Greg Dawson reports.
This is Heather Peto.
I've always known I'm a woman,
it's when I became a teenager that
I really sort of like felt
the pressure to be who I was.
And, at the next general election,
she wants to make political history.
I'd like to be one of the first
transgender MPs in Parliament.
But that ambition has
propelled her and others
to the centre of a significant row
in the Labour Party
after she was included
on an all women's short list
as a Parliamentary candidate.
I don't think it's an issue to be
honest. I think the local party
decides and the best candidates will
get through so I don't think it is
an issue. I think it's being made an
issue by some people that are more
anti-transgender, but local people
don't seem to be worried.
Labour say they've always welcomed
self-identifying trans women
onto all women's short lists
but that policy has recently
come under attack.
Enter the self-described radical
feminists who descended
on Parliament this week
for a meeting they titled
"transgender and the war on women".
They've been described
as transphobic, a label they reject.
I can see already there
men cynically use -
what I feel - are cynically
using those positions.
You've got Heather Peto who is
the trans-inclusionary officer
of the Labour Party,
he went on to an all
women's short list.
The fact that you are referencing
Heather as 'he' against her wishes
would be insulting to her.
I could go on and on about
Once we start using she for a man,
we are blurring the distinction.
Venice Allan is a Labour member
but those views got her suspended.
She knows what she says is offensive
to the trans community
but makes no apology for it.
I really do want to have this
conversation, like I say,
you don't have to agree with us
but you do have to listen to us.
Like the Labour Party, you know,
they're not listening.
I've tried to set up Momentum
events, Labour events, I've tried
to meet with Jeremy Corbyn
and other politicians.
Labour were supposed to formally
clarify their support for trans
women on all-women short
lists at a meeting at the
party's HQ this week.
We've been told that decision
would have triggered
the resignations of more
than 200 female members.
Then yesterday, Labour told us
that formal discussion
was delayed until June.
This is all a precursor to a much
wider political debate
going on with the Government
committing to update
the Gender Recognition Act.
As the Prime Minister has explained,
the changes would allow people
to self define their gender
without the need for
We have set out plans to reform
the Gender Recognition Act,
streamlining and demedicalising
the process for changing gender,
because being trans is not
an illness and it shouldn't be
treated as such.
Since she made that speech
at the Pink Awards last October,
progress on those changes
to the Gender Recognition Act seems
to have slowed down.
A consultation was expected
in the autumn but nothing surfaced.
I've asked the Government what's
going on and they just say in this
very short statement that
a consultation will be published
in due course, but no date given.
And our various requests to speak
to politicians both in favour
and opposed to these changes
were all turned down, which came
as little surprise to some.
I know journalists and I know
politicians who have
questions about this,
who have doubts about it,
who don't dare express those doubts,
raise those questions,
because they are worried that
if they do they will be screamed at,
they will be accused of bigotry
and transphobia simply
for asking questions.
James Kirkup has written a number
of columns on the updates to the act
and isn't sure it's been
properly thought through.
There are questions about access
to safe spaces for women
in domestic violence refuges,
there are questions
about the collection,
collation of statistics
on crime, on pay.
Questions that should be asked,
debated, discussed and answered.
Heather Peto says the changes
are long overdue though,
and hopes she can one day speak up
for the rights of the
trans-community from the benches
of the House of Commons.
As a feminist, I would stand up
to that and say, no,
I will just be who I am.
I have the self-confidence that I'm
a woman and I always have been,
and people should just
accept me for that.
The two chip significant issues to
pick about bout the Labour Party and
the Government's consultation about
transgender rights, let me start
with you, Matt -- two significant
issues. The government is in a
terrible tangle on transgender women
on all women short lists and they've
had to put it off until June.
identifying trans-woman has never
been disbarred from being on a
women's short list in the Labour
selection. The consultation was, as
I understand it, coming up with a
form of words...
position that trans-women are
elaborate rules to be on all women
short lists, it has caused such
around the party with two prominent
members threatening to resign if
that warning is put in, that the
party has been bucking the decision
and kicking it into the long grass.
The conversations I have had with
the leader's of this suggest that is
not the case, they are still
consulting on it and exactly what
the form of words will be there is
no actual plan as far as I'm aware
to stop trans-women self identifying
and being on a women's short list.
Can I ask how many trans-women are
applying to be on all women short
I'm not sure.
I suspect it is
Heather Peto is one of them in
the film, there may be several.
There may be but I suspect it is
less than the number of women on
Not from any disparaging how
difficult it must be to be in that
situation. There would be a simple
way of resolving the switch would be
not to have all women short lists
and select the best candidates for
It is also about whether
Labour MPs have access to the
leadership programme, whether they
can stand as women's officers in
local parties. What Labour did is
they jumped the gun by saying it is
fine, or self identifying
trans-women can have access to these
full rights. I think it is quite
welcome to have a consultation.
Politics is the art of persuasion
and there was no real attempt by the
Labour leadership to bring the
party, bring some of the feminist...
There are radical feminists in the
party who will take more than a bit
of gentle persuasion to get
accustomed to the idea that people
who were born men should be on an
all women short list.
but as we saw in the VT they are
asking for an opportunity to be
heard and the debate to be had so it
is quite welcome there will be a
It's not just the
Labour Party that seems to have
kicked on this issue of it, we don't
know what happened to the
Government's consultation on making
it easier to self identify as a man
or woman. That's going to be a
difficult one for the government.
Remember the culture wars within the
toy party that David Cameron fought
over gay marriage.
this is even much more complicated
and a sensitive issue. It is so easy
and I've been guilty of it myself to
get the language are wrong on this,
to upset people, and I can only
imagine the Prime Minister's qualms
about opening this can of worms
within her own party, where there
will be people who are incredibly
off message about it. It seems they
are pushing agendas are long grass
and there are bigger issues to worry
You are talking about 2000 or
3000 people in a party of 650,000.
It is a rounding error.
Labour Party, you're talking about?
It is not splitting the party, it is
a small minority of women who don't
believe in trans-rights, that's it.
Interesting to hear Theresa May
talking about the Government's
consultation. That was a clear
statement she made at the pink news
conference saying she wanted to
streamline this and trans-wasn't a
mental health issue, she made a
strong commitment to trans-rights
and she didn't have to do that.
didn't at all and it was fascinating
she went as far as that. It is not
unprecedented. Ireland, Argentina,
Colombia and Malta have changed
their processes to deep apologise it
so it is merely a legal process and
that is what the government is
getting at. My understanding is for
a person to legally change their
gender they have to live as their
desired gender for two years and
they have to have psychiatric
evaluations and medical opinions
from two doctors and tests that some
have claimed are incredibly
traumatising. It can be made legal
process from precedents aboard.
will carry on talking to you
throughout the programme.
It's coming up to 11:40am,
you're watching the Sunday Politics.
Still to come -
There is a big row brewing
in the Brexit Select Committee
and I'll be talking to its Chairman
- Hilary Benn.
First though, it's time for
the Sunday Politics where you are.
Hello and welcome to
the London part of the show.
I'm Jo Coburn.
I'm joined for the duration
by Vicky Foxcroft, Labour MP
for Lewisham Deptford
and Mark Field, the Conservative MP
for the Cities of London
and Westminster, who is also
a minister in the Foreign Office.
Welcome to both of you.
Now I want to start with a subject
in which both our guests take
a particular interest as members
of the Youth Violence Commission,
the problem of knife crime.
On Wednesday at Prime
Minister's Question Time,
Vicky raised the issue
of access to knives.
Youth violence is complex and needs
But some things can be
done right now such as
legislating to ensure that
all knives and sharp instruments in
shops are locked away,
or stored behind counters,
ensuring that no one can steal them
and use them.
Will she do this?
The Honourable Lady has raised
an important issue and, as
she says, this is a complex problem
and we need to ensure we have
long-term solutions for it.
My Right Honourable friend,
the Home Secretary, will shortly be
publishing a new Serious Violence
Strategy which will put an emphasis
on interventions early
with young people.
But it's important we have tough
legislation on knives.
But we also do need
to work in partnership
We have recently consulted
on new measures including
restrictions on knives sold online,
and in March 2016 when I was Home
Secretary we reached
a voluntary agreement
with major retailers
how knives were displayed and
the training given to sales staff to
support action to
tackle knife crime.
But the Honourable Lady is right
to raise this as an area of concern.
You raised this at PMQs. How will
simply changing where knives are
kept, removing them from shop
floors, deal with the issue of knife
crime in London?
I think that's
absolutely right, I raised one issue
but actually in terms of the work we
have been working on in terms of the
cross-party Youth Violence
Commission it is very much taking a
root and branch look at everything
and really a long-term view of
stuff, so any strategy needs to be a
long-term strategy that looks at the
trauma that young people are facing.
Have you got any figures around how
many knives are taken or stolen from
shop floors to indicate this is a
problem that needs addressing?
is one of the things that we did try
and go and gather, those figures,
but those figures are not recorded,
you can either get the figures for
the number of things that have been
shoplifted, or the figures for the
number of knife crime incidents.
None of that is entirely reliable.
Can I pay credit to Vicky, she has
been the leading light in this
forum, not least the commission's
work, I was part of two or years ago
before I became a minister and I can
do less work on it now. This is a
classic area where parliamentarians
can work together on a cross-party
basis, we are trying to get evidence
together and one of the things we
have discovered is it is difficult
to get evidence about the issues of
knife crime in the numerical terms
but the other thing is the gang
culture to which we refer is
changing fast, more and more young
people get involved in gangs, the
sense that the mechanics in the way
gangs operate is changing, a lot of
it has tended to be with postcodes
within particular states. That is
changing and we are finding in
Westminster in the centre of London
Berra links between gangs and groups
in Suffolk, what one might call the
free Suffolk Ipswich and place like
that, where a lot of the drugs trade
goes on. This is where the work
being done by this commission is
going to be invaluable feeding into
the Home Office in order to get some
laws that will work for the future
but also being flexible.
Are you in
favour of legislating? Are you in
favour of this suggestion of
ensuring that knives are not left
out on the shop floor, or do you not
think this is a key part of the
proposal to try and bring down knife
To be honest, I think there
is now almost an epidemic of knife
crime in London in particular, and
not that we need to do something for
something's sake but the
availability of knives is pretty
horrific and to try and do something
along the lines Vicky has pointed
out would be a sensible first step.
How bad is it in Lewisham?
pretty bad, it's the whole reason I
started talking about this issue
because very quickly after I was
first elected as an MP two young
people were murdered, now it is
seven young people, but it's the
impact it has on the whole
community. Every time I go into a
school children know somebody else
who has been murdered. This is the
reason why in terms of the work of
the commission, and the reason why
it is really important that it is
cross-party, is we can't keep having
strategies that are just four years.
Winnie to have long-term strategies
that are ten or 20 years and if you
look at Scotland in terms of the
violence reduction unit and public
health model approach they have
adopted that could be something that
we could learn from nationally. --
we need to have. That involves
having long-term strategies that
really do get to the cause in terms
of young people and their life
It's something we
talked about on this programme,
emulating some of the work done in
Scotland. In terms of some of the
voluntary agreements that have been
put in place by the government,
Theresa May mentioned with
retailers, voluntary agreements
aren't enough, they? There must be
agreements can work and particularly
as we said, in areas where there
have been deaths, not least pressure
brought by local residents who have
said we expect the voluntary
agreement to hold fire. Probably
having... I don't want to jump in
before the commission reports, part
of the idea is to have a really good
When is it due to
Over the summer.
It has been
the last two or three years, we are
getting evidence together and we
hope we will be able to act on it.
We will follow it then.
Nine months on from the fire
at Grenfell Tower, only 62
of the 209 households in need
of housing have moved
into permanent homes.
And now it seems the local economy
is also facing a serious downturn.
City Hall this week announced
further funding to support local
businesses, on top of support
from the council.
But will it be enough
for the already deprived
area to make a recovery?
Tanjil Rashid reports,
and I should warn you that there
are some disturbing descriptions
in the film.
It's quiet in the vicinity
of Grenfell Tower.
Some of the shops are shuttered,
others are for sale.
People seem to be keeping away.
After the fire last summer,
there was a flurry of interest
in housing issues locally but one
thing that some say has been
overlooked is the perspective
of local businesses.
Many of them, according
to the Portobello Business Centre,
are now on the brink of closure
following a downturn of up to 70%
in some cases.
And adding to their
difficulties, they say
it is now proving virtually
impossible to recruit staff to work
here so close to Grenfell Tower.
Narain Jagatiani has been fixing
cars right by Grenfell Tower
for more than 30 years.
There was a flame of nearly
40, 50, 60 feet high.
There was a smell, you know.
The smell of bodies
and the smell of plastic.
But the business has struggled
on in the face of the losses,
not just the lives of his
neighbours but also customers
who have been keeping away.
We lost, in the takings,
£57,000 in the fire,
in 12 weeks to 15 weeks.
You've got to look at it
from a different angle.
You've got to look at it how you're
going to go forward.
This is something that's behind,
and you've got to look forward.
You can't dwell on the thing and say
it's not going to work.
As of this week, City Hall
is providing a fund of more
than £100,000 to support local
businesses, on top of
further grants and rates
relief from the council.
We've put together a package of over
half a million pounds in order
to give them - to support them
and to get them back on their feet.
Any council tenant who's
obviously been effected,
a lot of those in proximity
to the fire, we gave them rent-free
for the first eight months
of the year
with a transitional rent-free going
on until September and the cost
of that is about £200,000.
We've also given them rates relief
but importantly we are trying
to give them support in their local
area because clearly the local
area has been affected
by a large decant of people.
It really isn't good enough,
and in the same way as the council
hasn't got to terms with its housing
needs of the area,
they haven't come to terms
with the business needs either.
I would say it's been slow
and it's been grudging.
Yes, they did give rates
relief for businesses
but in the immediate area,
and I'm talking about the impact
on a wider area, I see
vacancies and empty offices,
empty shops, empty business premises
so you only need to look around
the area to see the impact
that it's had.
The council say they do
have an additional fund of £80,000
precisely to support businesses
affected in a wider area.
For Shaun Bailey, a London Assembly
member who grew up around here,
local businesses provide vital
opportunities to young people.
I've worked up and down
the Portobello Road.
I used to work in a fantastic
comic shop over there
for years, it was great fun.
But the real thing about local
business is how much work it brings
here and how much vibrancy it brings
to the area.
The suppression of business
after the Grenfell disaster
is definitely a challenge for local
businesses, but one
of the real ongoing challenges
is the advent of change.
of the real ongoing challenges
is the advent of chains.
If you run a small coffee shop
around here, you now have to keep
compete with Cafe Nero
The regeneration needs
of the community are massive
and how local business can help
is by making sure it isn't
an excuse for gentrification.
People here want local businesses
and housing as well that
reflect their needs,
not the needs of a community that's
remote to this place.
The challenge of regenerating north
Kensington following the Grenfell
tragedy will have to contend
with forces larger and longer
lasting than the fire itself.
It is clear the impact of the fire
will be felt for a very long time,
but looking at businesses in the
area, because there has been a focus
on housing, how is it important to
you to keep businesses from closing,
and some say they are on the brink
I think it is critical,
and a bit unfair to say it has been
grudging, the actions of Kensington
and Chelsea. I accept this is a huge
task for any local authority. Where
I think Shaun Bailey got it right in
his comments is the worst thing
would be for this to be used as an
excuse for further gentrification.
There's a broader issue about small
business rates that we have seen
within London as a whole...
should there be special exemptions
given on a continuing basis?
the difficulties is you do want to
get back to some sort of normalcy
before too long so I don't beg you
want to have essentially businesses
that will be unviable being kept
going year upon year.
But would you
like a bit of an extension?
all realise that the comedy and
magnitude of what happened at
Grenfell Tower, and many times your
viewers travel up and down the A40
and see the tower still there, a lot
of work needs to be done. But there
has been progress, on small business
rates. I have campaigned in places
like Westminster where we now have
257 businesses... The city of
Westminster is literally half a mile
away from the boundary.
testimony about how important local
business is because it will help
with the regeneration and provides
jobs. Is there more City Hall and
the mayor Sadiq Khan could be doing
specifically to help local
I think one of the
things that needs to happen is
people need to be having the
conversations with the local
businesses to find out what it is
may need to be able to survive. I
was talking to somebody who said
they didn't really feel those
conversations and dialogue had taken
place. Sometimes in terms of
politics, politicians can put the
finger in the air about what should
happen but having conversations with
be more proactive at City Hall then?
People are asking for further
exemptions and extensions on things
like rates coming back now to the
area and more money so what more
needs to be said? Why doesn't City
City Hall have already
given a lot of support, I'm not
saying it's necessarily enough but
it is not one of the poorest
councils. They need to be investing
more in terms of supporting local
What about that compared
to housing, because the focus has
been on housing, rightly so, and a
lot of people are still not in
permanent accommodation. Do you see
that as the priority?
day-to-day it is a priority but you
need to develop a community and you
are not going to get a community
that is restored and proud for the
future unless you get business
right. £300 million has been given
in small business rates relief. In
Kensington and Chelsea will be a
similar amount of money. I would say
to everyone living nearby, please
use your local businesses, go to the
local cafe, go to the local
newsagents instead of Tesco or
Waitrose to buy your paper on a
Sunday morning. Use the local
services as far as you can because
otherwise they will die off.
would you stimulate the local
When you were talking about
housing, there is concern over the
inaccuracy of the figures, this week
Sajid Javid said there are only 25
houses, they haven't been placed in
housing, and the figure you show --
quoted earlier is entirely different
so we need to be transparent and
make sure the people are rehoused as
soon as possible and in housing they
are happy with as well.
figures, fewer than half have been
rehoused in permanent accommodation,
it's not good enough, is it?
Vicky touched on something that a
lot of people are holding back, in
temporary accommodation and want to
return to the flat they were before,
but your point is right, that you
alluded to the least, that actually
not that we ignore the housing but
let's get the community working
again and not just have the focus
only on the housing, let's get small
business is thriving in that area
Time to move on.
A damning report into Harmondsworth
detention centre, which holds
migrants deemed to be in the country
illegally, has highlighted
serious concerns over
the treatment of its residents,
with evidence of prolonged
detentions and poor management.
Jerry Thomas has more.
Removal Centre, the largest
of its kind in Europe.
This week a report by Her Majesty's
Inspectorate of Prisons
into the privately-run centre has
prompted concern to the wellbeing
of its estimated 555 male detainees.
A series of damning observations
include filthy prison-like
conditions, some detainees held
for excessively long periods,
23 men had been detained for over
a year, and one man had been held
for over four and a half years.
of detainees, and excessive use
of handcuffing, especially
for outside appointments.
I think the report on Harmondsworth
was shameful, it revealed
People held for years and years,
over four and a half years in one
case, very poor medical
conditions, rat infested.
Those conditions are a disgrace.
These conditions reveal
that we have a broken
immigration detention system.
A Home Office spokesperson said...
I'm joined by Martha Spurrier,
Director of the Human Rights
campaign group Liberty.
Welcome to the programme. Would you
like to see a time limit on the
length of detention?
Yes, we are
urging the Government to put a 28
day time limit under tension.
Currently the UK is the only country
in Europe that doesn't put a time
limit on detention. The Government
is detaining tens of thousands of
people every year, that includes
survivors of trafficking, torture
and rape, asylum seekers, and the
brutality of the detention estate is
What time limit is
the average in other European
It ranges from 28 days up
to about a year but having a
definite -- indefinite detention
makes us an outlier?
Often the whole thing
can jog on, and I think would not be
acceptable is to have a short
maximum period and then people being
allowed to leave and probably going
But what about a specific
time limit that was somewhere
between, let's say six months?
agree with that. The Home Office
have omitted a lot of it makes
uncomfortable reading, they will
have to have a look, and I'm not in
anyway disagreeing with some of the
dangerous conclusions that have come
up in this report. However it
strikes me that we have a system
that allows indeterminate delays. We
want a quick, fair and just system
but we need to get people
essentially having a determination
of their position at the earliest
possible opportunity, not allowing
the thing to drag on with constant
appeals and this is of course why
you have this dreadful situation of
one man being in there for four and
a half years. Presumably that's an
ongoing legal process which is not
good for him nor the rest of us, who
want to have a system we can be
proud of and feel is fair and just
but we need to get it sorted out.
Martha, is it practical to put a
time limit on it at the moment,
while the legal system is such that
asylum seekers or people claiming
asylum can appeal decisions and that
means they are held in these
detention centres for possibly
months, even years?
It is absolutely
practical to have a time limit, as
we can see in other countries in
Europe. The majority of people who
go into detention are released into
the community and don't go
underground. 95% of migrants in the
community report to immigration
officers so they are kept track of.
There is this bogeyman idea of a
flood of people who will go
underground, it just isn't a reality
and the human cost of detention is
so great, and the fact we have no
time limit means the Home Office
allows these cases to drag on and
people's lives are destroyed.
you do accept these detention
centres are there because people
have been overstaying their welcome
or they are here illegally and need
to be detained?
This isn't about
whether people should be here or be
That is part of the
immigration system, isn't it?
different from the question of
whether they should be detained.
Let's have a fair and just system to
remove them, or if they can stay let
them have their due process but
infringing their rights to liberty,
destroying physical and mental
health in the process is not
necessary, effective or just.
does Labour want to see happen to
I think detention
centres in the way that they are at
the moment, saying they are worse
than prisons, people should not be
detained in such an inhumane way.
what would you do to these people?
We wouldn't have indefinite
detention, we would have a time
limit on that. We think it is
extremely important, and terms of
the problems with the legal system
we need to speed it up and get it
But would you would still
keep these detention centres and
hold people in this way?
As much as
possible we wouldn't be putting
people in detention centres, you
need to deal the immigration system
in a tighter and quicker fashion.
have discussed the legal
difficulties but is it really right
morally to hold people in the sort
of rat infested conditions that have
been described? Vicky says it is
worse than prison. Is it defendable?
Harmondsworth is clearly an
exception, but the reality is we
have hundreds of thousands of people
who have gone to ground, many of
whom are playing a full role in the
community but actually cannot work
other than on the black economy
because they are unofficial
individuals, then every so often the
demand comes up, we must have an
amnesty for the hundreds of
thousands who have overstayed. If
you don't have a fair system, it's
not right for those who come here
legally and do play the system by
the rules if you are allowing others
to stay on an unfair basis and part
of the difficulty is you have a
legal system that allows this whole
thing to drag on.
Martha, pick up on
the point about the fact there would
be many people who would go
underground or who are already
underground and difficult to detect.
It is just not the evidence of
what's happening now. You describe
the idea of Harmondsworth being an
exception, that's not the case.
There was a panorama programme about
this, about denial of medical
treatment and unlawful use of
restraints, it is rife in the
centres. The consensus is building
that time limit is the humane and
civilised thing to do. We've had
faith leaders, doctors and
We need to do this in
tandem with a time limit on the
legal process as well.
This is now
We will have to leave
it there, back to Sarah.
it there, back to Sarah. Welcome
A row has erupted in the influential
Brexit Select Committee of MPs.
The majority of pro-Remain MPs
on the committee, led
by the Labour Chairman Hilary Benn,
have backed a report saying
that the Article 50 process may
need to be extended,
so that Brexit would happen
later than March 2019.
But that infuriated the minority
of pro-Brexit MPs on the committee,
who have published their own report,
which says that delaying
Brexit would not respect
the referendum result.
One of those pro-Brexit MPs
on the committee, Jacob Rees-Mogg,
said: "The majority report
is the prospectus
for the vassal state.
It is a future not worthy of us
as a country, and I am sure that
Theresa May will rightly reject
a report by the high
priests of Remain."
The majority report is an attempt
to keep us in the EU
by sleight of hand."
The Committee Chairman is Labour MP
Hilary Benn and he joins me now.
Have you been called a high priest
Many things but never a high
priest. He says you are trying to
delay Brexit possibly indefinitely
because you are a passionate
Remainer. That's not the case, not
about undermining the referendum
result, is about the problem we
face, there are seven months to go
until the Article 50 negotiations
are due to end. There is a whole
host of issues that have not yet
been addressed. We haven't started
negotiating our future economic
relationship, what will happen to
trade, services, 80% of the British
economy's services, how will we work
together on defence, foreign policy
and security, really important in
the wake of the Salisbury attack,
cooperating on aviation safety, food
safety, medicines, research, and the
question of how to keep an open
border between Northern Ireland and
Aren't you setting up
false deadline by saying this must
be set out by October?
We didn't set
the deadline, Michel Barnier said
the deadline of the sort of the
negotiating process because he
pointed out when the deal is agreed
it must be ratified by the European
-- European Council. If there are a
whole load of things that have not
yet been negotiated the government
could ask for an extension to the
Article 50 process and one of the
things that we say is when David
Davis came to give evidence to us,
he said we don't want to be
negotiating really important issues
in the transition period because the
balance of power changes. What we
are seeing is the best way to get
the best deal for the British people
is to do so when you have the
maximum negotiating clout and that
is during the Article 50 period.
Without a hard deadline of the two
years since triggering Article 50,
the EU could just delay and delay
and delay this to the point that it
is a never-ending process that sees
as not leaving the EU.
wants a never-ending process.
be some in the EU who wouldn't mind,
they would prefer it to a full
They might but the
referendum decision has been made.
We have seen another example this
week, Chris Grayling, the Transport
Secretary, said we would not be able
to put checks on goods coming in to
Dover. Knows that the customs
relations are not ready so these are
serious issues that face the
country. Or the businesses I speak
to so we understand how it works
today and can you tell us how it
will work tomorrow when we have left
and the answer is we don't know
because we haven't negotiated it. It
is about taking a sufficient time to
get a decent deal. Everybody knows
that the detailed negotiation is
going to take place during the
transition period because you are
not going to sort all of this out
between now and October. Would you
need to impose another hard deadline
in order to keep minds focused.
allow the balance of power to shift
to those in the EU who could delay
and delay if this is an open-ended
You certainly could do that
and this would only happen if the
government were to ask for it. It
would be the agreement of all of the
other EU 27. Of all of the other
member states. But it is about
having flexibility, remember the row
when the government put a hard
deadline of 11 o'clock on the 29th
of March? Lots of people including
Conservative said this is not
sensible. When you are engaged in a
negotiation that is as complex and
challenging as this, to set an
absolutely hard deadline doesn't
help you get the right outcome for
the British people.
There is another
accusation from the people on your
committee who don't agree with your
conclusions who published
conclusions who published this
minority report, which is that you
are trying to keep Britain in the
Single Market and customs union by
the back door using the Irish border
issue to do that. It would be your
preferred outcome that we stayed in
this customs union and Single
It is my preferred point,
position but they have not reached a
decision in the review. The
government set a high bar on the
Irish border, it wants no checks and
no infrastructure, and I agree. As
things stand at the moment, because
the government hasn't come forward
with a proposal as to how to deliver
that in practice, we don't see how
you can reconcile that objective
with the Government's commitment to
leave the Single Market and customs
union. This will come back again and
again in the negotiations until it
is resolved. My own personal view is
staying in a customs union would
provide part of the answer to
keeping that border open, which is
what everyone says they want.
a pretty rotten state of affairs
when your Select Committee produces
majority and minority report and you
are clearly absolutely split on the
principles of this.
It is not
unprecedented but I wish we were
able to reach agreement. You know
what, the referendum showed the
nation was divided down the middle,
the Cabinet is divided, there are
different views in Parliament, it's
not entirely surprising that we find
that reflected in the Select
Committee I have the honour to be
the chair of.
Thank you, we will
pick up some Brexit issues and some
more of what will be happening with
Brexit this week with the panel.
Isabel Oakeshott, Hilary Benn has a
point, doesn't he, that his
committee is no war split and,
frankly, the Cabinet, the country or
both political parties are on this
I think that is a fair point
but on the substantive
recommendation about delaying Brexit
further, I cannot see how that could
possibly strengthen our position to
have us begging for more time here.
I think the one thing that I am sure
you here, Hilary Benn, when you are
on the doorstep is why can't they
get on with this? People don't want
this process to be any more
elongated. If anything it just
increases uncertainty for business.
Somebody summed this up
beautifully to me the other day, for
something that is apparently so
simple, it's really, really
complicated, isn't it? Over 45 years
we have built this network of
relationships, laws, the ways
businesses operate. I was at a
conference of the creative
industries on Thursday and they are
concerned about intellectual
property and broadcasting into
Europe, and the ability of musicians
to go on to travel. All sorts of
questions people have got from a
perfectly legitimate ones, about how
it is going to work and is not
entirely surprising, whatever the
frustration people feel, and I
recognise that, it will take time to
sort it out in a way that works for
us. It's not about working for
Europe, we want a deal that we can
both agree on, but it's got to work
for us and look after our interests,
that's our job.
Lucy, David Davis is
on his way back to Brussels for more
negotiations trying to sign off with
Michel Barnier the transition period
of the deal there. What is the issue
that must be decided before the
Summit of EU leaders at the end of
The main stumbling block
is the Irish border question which
Hillary pointed out. Labour has a
position which goes some way to
solving the issue, which is to
remain in the customs union.
A customs union,
forgive me. It is hard to see how
that will be established in any kind
of technical, substantive way. We
will have to rely on good to stumble
past that at this stage. My
understanding is there are UK fears
that Dublin may receive backing from
the Germans and French this week
that will cause more problems on
that but it is essential that the
transition deal is formally agreed
at the European Council this week
for two reasons. Firstly, we need to
move the talks on to the trade
agreement, we want to reach. And
secondly, it is vital for business
to have the certainty of what the
situation will be regarding the UK's
relationship with the EU up to
September 2020. This is the last
moment UK businesses have said the
government can wait to give firm
signals on it before they revert to
Hillary talks up
negotiating leverage and we gave our
leveraged away when we invoked
Article 50 without pre-negotiations,
because we put the clock on
ourselves. With and have two years
to negotiate everything and Michel
Barnier set the date and we have two
then go to him to potentially beg
for more time and I think we have
really put ourselves in a difficult
position by doing that.
situation, would it be better to go,
in your words, begging for more
time, or stick to their deadline so
that people's mines are concentrated
on getting the deal done?
the deadline, the date we are
supposed to be leaving, was set by
the government in the withdrawal
bill for political reasons. I think
that was all performative really. I
don't think there is is Dummigan
reason why there cannot be flexible
to. If we can negotiate a transition
deal in the short term, there is no
reason why we can't, as Hilary said,
I now the details in the transition
What other sticking points
on the withdrawal agreement? It
seems David Davis is saying this
week he is relaxed about a
transition period not lusting for a
full two years, only up until
Christmas 2021. It feels a little
bit -- not lusting for a full two
years. When we get it is crunch
decisions with the withdrawal
agreement and the negotiation and
transition agreement, that the UK
caves at the last minute. Where can
we see a win for the UK in these
Every time we get abuse
crunch decisions elements in
Parliament try and cause us to cave.
That is a difficulty government has.
It has been undermined by its own
backbenchers, we have the Brexit
committee coming up with divided
reports suggesting more delay. I
think there will be massive push
back on that. I don't think it will
happen. There is no way any
extension of this time period is
acceptable to Theresa May's
Brexiteer MPs to whom she is in
hock, so that can't happen. The
problem is, Matt, it is just going
to expand to fill the time
available. We need these deadlines,
uncomfortable as they may be, and in
an ideal world we might have a few
extra days here or there to fine
tune things, but ultimately nobody
on your side of the argument is
going to be happy with the time
frame. It will simply expand and
expand and expand until the de facto
we just stay in the.
Lucy, is there
any prospect, given where we are at
the moment waiting to sign off a
deal on the transition, that we can
have a fully comprehensive trade
agreement in place by October to go
for ratification to the European
I think it's looking
increasingly unlikely and there is
lots of things that will not be
ready in time, today there are
reports the Cabinet have been
briefed on the fact that Customs and
border arrangements are not going to
be in place by Brexit day next
March. There is still a lot of
questions around that. Going back to
the question of the polarisation in
Parliament, in the Cabinet, in the
country over Brexit and some of the
positions government has put forward
so far, there are still so many
questions left unanswered. Theresa
May hasn't really filled in any
detail about what you would like to
see with trade and customs and huge
question marks over how the
government envisages immigration
working at the Brexit. A lot more
needs to be done to fill in more
Thank you to all of my
guests, Lucy Fisher, Isabel
Oakeshott, Matt Zarb-Cousin is an
Hilary Benn are still on the set.
That's all for today.
Join me again next Sunday
at 11am here on BBC One.
Until then, bye-bye.
Sarah Smith and Jo Coburn's guests are Foreign Office minister Sir Alan Duncan MP and chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee Yvette Cooper MP. The political panel consists of political journalist and commentator Isabel Oakeshott, former adviser to Jeremy Corbyn Matthew Zarb-Cousin and senior political correspondent for the Times Lucy Fisher.