Mark Carruthers with the latest political news, interviews and debate.
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It's Sunday morning and this is the Sunday Politics.
Her position may be safe for the time-being.
But what about Theresa May's policies?
As ministers drops hints about easing the public sector pay
cap, is the Conservative Party undergoing a rebrand?
Jeremy Corbyn takes to the streets to call for an end to austerity.
But with his party's divisions on Brexit thrust into the open
is his post-election honeymoon coming to an end?
And, with Brexit talks under way, we know there's plenty at stake
for Britain, as it negotiates a new relationship.
But what's at stake for the remaining EU countries?
We speak to a leading European politician.
And coming up here, the DUP's Simon Hamilton
and Sinn Fein's John O'Dowd will be here in the studio,
as talks at Stormont look like they could be fizzling out.
And, on the eve of Wimbledon, I'm joined by the three top seats
of political commentary, Tom Newton Dunn, Isabel Oakeshott
They'll be serving up aces throughout the programme.
Is the Government going to change its policy on public sector pay?
The Conservative manifesto stated that the 1% cap on annual pay rises
for public sector workers would remain in place
until 2020, saving up to ?5 billion a year by then.
Earlier this week there were rumblings that the policy
would be reviewed, before the Treasury weighed in to suggest
The new Environment Secretary, Michael Gove, was asked about it
on the Andrew Marr show earlier today.
I was Education Secretary and I know the schoolteachers pay review body
Not a poodle but they work underneath the overall strategy
set by the Chancellor, set by the government.
They take account of that, but they also take account
of other questions as well, including the number of people
who are entering the profession, whether we need to have an increase
in pay in order to ensure we get the best people in the profession.
These pay review bodies have been set up in order to ensure we can
have authoritative advice on what is required in order
to ensure the public services on which we rely are effectively
staffed and the people within them are effectively supported.
I think we should respect the integrity of that process.
I'm not an individual, I am a member of the government,
Michael Gove. Two U-turns in one day, maybe going for the hat-trick
this week. It sounds they are thinking of ways of loosening up the
pay freeze but Mr Hammond doesn't want it to come out until the autumn
budget. That is absolutely right. My understanding is the deal is already
done. We've reported this week that 20 quite senior Tory MPs went to see
the new chief of staff on Wednesday, to make it very clear indeed they
would be voting for a budget that allowed the public sector pay freeze
to continue. Fine, we're going to do this, we're going to give fresh
advice to the pay review bodies that there remit has been expanded but we
cannot do it today because it's a victory for comrades Jeremy Corbyn
if we do. There we see, in a sense, the weakness of ten Downing St. They
can't direct this policy themselves. They are overruled by Mr Hammond
from Mr 11, and it only takes about 20 Tory MPs to say, hey, this is
what we want and at the very least the government has to listen to them
very seriously. They have to listen to the man they have to act, because
that is the fragility of the new House of Commons. We saw it last
week on another issue. If you have 20 people saying hey has got to rise
in the public sector, beyond the cap, pay will rise in the public
sector beyond the cap, because they won't be up to get it through the
House of Commons. I think there are other issues involved beyond the
numerical situation in the Commons. Lots of MPs came back after that
election, including Gavin Barrell who is in number ten, who lost his
seat, saying teachers and others were saying we can't carry on with
the pay restraint up until 2020. I think it is going to happen for a
combination of reasons. What happens to deficit reduction? The deficit is
going to rise this year. There were a few Tory MPs but not many who feel
it is wrong for the party to capitulate, having made such a point
of principle about posterity, that it looks very, very week just to be
caving in. I think Steve is right. This isn't just about the maths and
the -- in the House of Commons, Tory MPs are frightened in a way I have
never known them frightened before, at the momentum behind Jeremy Corbyn
at the moment. There is a real feeling about the Tory brand being
really in a very, very difficult place at the moment, where Tories
look nasty, there isn't nearly enough sympathy and it feels
politically impossible to stick with the pay limits as they are. That may
be one reason that will keep Tory MPs in line, because the last thing
they want at the moment is an election. When they say the country
doesn't need on another election it means the Tory party doesn't mean
another election, isn't that right? That's right and I think the view is
settled. Notwithstanding frenzied speculation in Sunday newspapers,
the daily newspapers are a lot more responsible! LAUGHTER
But every Tory MP says to Reza until the end of Brexit, we don't want to
open Pandora's box. -- Theresa May until the end of Brexit. The problem
still remains, she does have a lot less authority, which is why you get
bigwigs left, right and Centre for Michael Gove to Damian Green and
Justine Greening rattling that instant more money. You have to keep
the balance by leaving by consensus and a general for all, which we are
in danger of looking like this morning. OK, we will see.
So it's not exactly what you might call "strong and stable",
but after a turbulent couple of weeks, it appears
the Prime Minister has brought less instability,
The Government's legislative programme is in place and Brexit
So has Theresa May done enough to steady the ship
It's been an action-packed story of suspense, drama and intrigue.
The latest instalment, hotly anticipated.
"I got us into this mess", she told her MPs after the election,
This week, Theresa May tried to do just that.
To get the Democratic Unionist Party's ten MPs to back
the minority government, the PM pledged ?1 billion
Opposition parties branded it a bung and as the week went on,
some have their own MPs who are less than enthusiastic.
Mr Speaker, I can barely put into words my anger at the deal
But having signed that piece of paper, the Tories now had a tight
working majority of 13 to pass key Commons votes.
It was, at the very least, breathing space.
So, a deep breath and, midweek, and Labour proposal that the cap
on public sector pay rises should be lifted.
Some Tory MPs, including ministers, agreed, in principle.
Labour's challenge failed, but the Government had
We will listen to what people in this house have said before
The public sector pay cap, by the way, was designed
to save ?5 billion for the public purse by 2020.
But the policy looks like it could be on its last legs.
Thursday was the big moment, the Queen's Speech, which passed,
Tory support for a Labour amendment led to a government pledge to front
abortions in England for women from Northern Ireland.
The ayes have it, the ayes have it, unlock.
The last-minute compromises in this Queen's Speech suggests
the Prime Minister is acutely aware of the arithmetic in Parliament.
She will have to listen more to her own MPs and they know that.
One former Cabinet minister told me every time seven of us get together,
And yet, after this week, the Prime Minister may not be such
I think the ship is certainly steadier.
I think there is a degree of what I call a rolling probation
for the Prime Minister at the moment.
And I think the Prime Minister's performances in the chamber,
Prime Minister's Questions, we had the first one back this
week, where she reasserted a deal of her authority.
And I think there is a great deal of relief and respect for that.
Others say the party should reflect on more
It doesn't matter if we have Alexander the great or the Ark
Angel Gabriel as leader, unless we have fundamental reform.
At the moment, often we have these policies but it's like a whole load
of clothes pegs without a washing line, bringing them together.
So we need to explain what we are about.
The Conservative Party is there to help working
The Conservative Party is there because we are the party
of the ladder of opportunity to get people up that ladder.
We have a moral purpose, too, just as the Labour Party do.
Several MPs told me the debate within the party is still when,
Anybody who says it will definitely be Theresa May as the leader
of the Conservative Party going into the next general election
It might be, I have to say at the moment it's
But conversely, there is absolutely no appetite whatsoever,
thre are no manoeuvres going on, no operations going on to instigate
a leadership challenge to have a new leader
of the Conservative Party in the immediate future.
One theory is that Theresa May stays on as PM to negotiate
To be something of a scapegoat for what will be,
at best controversial, at worst, deeply unpopular.
And then, to move aside to make way for a less tarnished leader, who can
take the Conservatives into the next general election.
It's the immediate future Theresa May will be focused on.
This week, a G20 meeting in Hamburg with other world leader chums.
Back home, she can't take her friends for granted
and told her own MPs, she'd serve as long
Joining me now is the Minister for International Trade Greg Hands.
Welcome to the programme. Good morning, Andrew. Do you agree with
your old Treasury boss, George Osborne, who said easing up on
austerity would risk the mistakes of the past which led Britain to the
point where there was no money left? There is no change in government
policy. We must live within our means. That is the right thing to
do. We have reduced the deficit by three quarters since 2010. That is
work that is still ongoing. It's very important that we keep budget
discipline, because it's impossible to pay for our public services
without having a growing economy, the taxes coming into pay for all
the services people want and expect. How can you continue to cut the
deficit, it's actually rising this year compared to last year, how do
you continue to cut the deficit? ?1 billion to find for the DUP, you
have to find the money you could in debt because you couldn't change
national insurance, and if you loosen up on the public sector pay
freeze, you have to find money for that as well, how do you do both?
It's important to have a prudent policy, a prudent fiscal budget
policy. The Chancellor will be laying out his budget in the
autumn... How do you square the circle and me all these demands?
Your own ministers are talking about them and yet continue with deficit
reduction? It's very important to consider what we have done on public
sector pay. Actually by having that cap in place we have saved around
200,000 public sector jobs. We have done a lot for the lower paid public
sector workers by raising the personal allowance... I'm not asking
about that, I'm asking how do you meet the demand for extra public
spending and continue with deficit reduction? I think over the last
seven years the government has had a very good record on this, Andrew. In
terms of being able to reduce the deficit... While still putting in
place increases in public funding. For example, in the Conservative
manifesto we pledged 4 billion extra on schools and 8 billion extra on
health. We can do the two together, but it does require that budget
discipline overall, making sure that something is to get out of control.
You were a number two in the Treasury during George Osborne's
tenure. You protected pensioners with triple lock, free bus passes,
the Winter fuel allowance but trebled tuition fees on young folk
made it impossible for many of them to get a foot on the property
ladder. Is it any wonder young people to vote for you? I think
that's an important question for us and an important question as we look
at the election. That's why I asked the question, what is the answer? We
have to improve our offer and young people and provide more housing. I
think we need to look at more money into schools, improving our schools
as we go forward and making sure that cities like mine in London are
made more liveable and more cost-effective for young people. Why
haven't you done that in the past seven years? Instead you have
secured the pensioners and you have knocked young folk may have turned
against you. Why should young people believe in capitalism if they have
no chance of accruing any capital? I think what we have done over the
last seven years has actually been to build more homes. We just need to
build the more quickly. Your record of building homes is even worse than
the last Labour government and you know that. 62% of 18-24 -year-olds
voted Labour. 62%. 56 of 25-35 -year-olds. You didn't build enough
houses for these people. That is one of the reasons why we are addressing
that. Why haven't you addressed it? 1.5 million new homes over the
course of this Parliament and what we have done that with things like
starter homes, shared ownership, it's much more flexible forms of
tenure to make sure homes are more attractive to younger people,
particularly younger people starting off in life. Ministers have bent
telling me this for seven years and you never do it. -- been telling me.
That is what the programme is designed to do. We have been
building more homes. We need to accelerate that. We'll phone need an
open conversation about how we improve elsewhere for young people
in schools and universities and so on that. OK, Brexit. You are the
International Trade Minister. Will the UK leave the customs union in
March 2019, and if it doesn't make its own trade deals? Our position on
exit and the customs union is unchanged. What is it? To leave the
single market and Customs union. But other components of free trade
agreement with the European Union and customs arrangements, so we have
frictionless free trade with the European Union. Will that happen by
March 2019? That is the negotiation that has just started. I am not
putting an end state on that. What I'm saying is the objective in this
is to make sure that we frictionless trade with the EU and come to a
future customs arrangements to buy it's not clear we will be able to
start making our own trade deals after March 2019? Once we leave the
European Union, yes, I am clear we will be able to make our own trade
deals. March 2019? When we leave the single union and the customs union
we come to an arrangement with the European Union. We will be able to
make free trade deals but at the moment we can't because we are in
the EU. Will you be able to make them if there is a transition
period? That remains to be seen. You might not. We have only just started
the negotiation. You had a year to think about it. To think about a
transition period and when it might start and then... What we are clear
about is there should be no cliff edge for businesses in the UK and
the European Union and to make sure the trade continues as frictionless
as possible. We don't yet know if we will be able to make our free trade
deals during the transitional period? It could be postponed until
2021 or 22? We don't yet know if we're going to have a transition
period, to be fair. The objection in all of this is to have frictionless
free trade with the European Union and come to a customs arrangement.
That is the objective. You are minister for London so let's
turn to the Grenfell Tower disaster. Kensington and Chelsea Council is in
chaos. The leader resigned on Friday and the chief executive has gone as
well. That is what I mean, it is in chaos. We're waiting for a new
leader for the council because it is important for local democracy to
have its say. It is quite a big thing for government to to go in and
put a Council on special measures. It is in a state, you have lost the
chief executive, you've lost the council leader, it is lacking in
experience and surely if there is ever a time to send in the
Commissioners to get a grip of this crisis, it is now? We are waiting
for a new leader. There is an interim chief executive coming over
from Lewisham Council. Clearly, there will be lessons to be learned
and that is a matter for the public enquiry. There will be an election
within the Conservative group on the council. There are very capable
councillors in Kensington and Chelsea. We haven't seen much sign
of that, did you have any involvement in the resignation of
the council leader? I spoke to him, like all council leaders do. I spoke
to him, I spoke to the previous leader and the leader of might of
the council. It is natural that MPs speak to their council leaders on an
ongoing basis. We know the Council opted for cheaper cladding because
they want good costs. So that cheese pairing is inevitable in town halls
when central government, has yours has done, cut their budget by 40%? I
don't accept the premise to that because a lot of financing has been
devolved back to local government. But you have cut local government
financing by 40%. There is 200 billion available over the rest of
this Parliament to the local councils and we believe that is
fair. Kensington and Chelsea Council spent ?8.6 million on this
refurbishment. It is not necessarily a shortage of funds. Indeed, they
have 274 million in reserves and they put people at risk to save
?300,000. If that is not a case of putting in the Commissioners, what
is? That is a matter for the ongoing enquiry and the lessons to be
learned from that and how it happened is a matter for the
different enquiries, including the public enquiries. Thank you.
Theresa May's stated aim in calling the election last month was to get
a stronger hand in the Brexit negotiations - in the end, the
But it's worth remembering that there's a lot at stake for both
After all, the UK is a major net contributor to the EU budget
and a big trading partner for the 27 countries remaining in the EU.
When Mr Davis and Mr Barnier kicked off the talk a couple of weeks ago,
the tone was businesslike and broadly constructive.
The two men agreed that the first age of the negotiation
The rights of EU citizens living here and British
The financial settlement that the UK will pay the EU,
On citizens rights, the EU published their proposals three weeks ago,
and the UK Government came forward with their plan last Monday.
The UK offer, however, was greeted with scepticism.
The Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said...
But elsewhere, some EU figures have begun to worry about the financial
implications of Brexit for the remaining 27 countries.
Gunther Oettinger, the EU's budget Commissioner, said this week that
Brexit would leave a hole in the EU's finances of at least
That's because the UK is a net contributor to the budget.
The UK also runs a large trade deficit with the EU.
Last year we bought ?312 billion worth of goods
That is 71 billion more than we sold to the
So the introduction of trade tariffs would be costly for both sides.
The Brexit negotiations will continue every month.
Mr Davis and Mr Barnier will have their next face-to-face
meeting in Brussels on Monday the 17th of July.
Joining me now from Rome is Roberto Gualtieri.
He's a Socialist MEP, and part of the European
Welcome to the programme. The British government has published a
detailed plan to protect the rights of EU citizens living in the UK. The
EU response was highly critical, will that be the EU's response to
everything Britain proposes? First, we welcome the intention to protect
EU citizens. But, our reading of the plan is that it falls short of its
own ambitions, so there are a number of issues to be clarified. I think
also to be corrected. For instance, while our proposal is based on a new
low, this is based on a UK low and there are no guarantees that might
be changed in the future. Then there is the famous issue of enforcement,
which is based on UK courts. And third, there are a number of rights
which seem to be missing. For instance, a family member will have
to make his own request for settled status and we consider that an
conceivable there might be two different answers. My own child, for
instance. You are right, there are things to discuss. This wasn't a
take it or leave it offer by the British government, it was the
beginning of a negotiation. But Michel Barnier said it lacked
clarity and vision. Someone else said it was worrisome and the Dutch
Prime Minister said there were thousands of questions left
unanswered. These are not helpful responses? It is not an issue of
tones, it is an issue of the start of the negotiation, indeed. We are
commentating the paper, identifying what is good, and the rights
similar, there are a number of loopholes and there are some more
from the issues relating to the legal status... It just sounds very
constructive. Instead of saying, this is a good start, but there is
much more to do. But you just sound negative. No, I don't think so. My
first sentence was, I welcome the intention to protect the rights of
EU citizens. That is a very constructive sentence. Then one has
to be consistent and to find a mechanism which fully guarantees the
right and the negotiation, and they are exactly for this purpose.
Brussels is now worrying about how to fill the huge financial hole that
Britain's departure will create in EU revenues. There is a number of
ideas being floated at the moment, introduce an EU VAT supplement or
take an axe to the common agricultural policy which is about
40% of the budget. Does that appeal to you? There are two different
problems. The first is to define the settlement, which has to be an
integral part of the withdrawal agreement. We are not looking for
fines, we are looking for only commitment to be paid. Then there is
the issue for the future, were of course the union will have to
reassess and redefine and improve its mechanism in its own resources
so it can have an efficient finances in the future. So what do you want,
and EU VAT or cutting money to Italy? I think the union deserves a
better system of resources. This is for the future and we are working on
that. Do you agree with the bustle's commission every member of the EU
should adopt the euro by 2025? Yes, of course it is possible. Like it
was for the United Kingdom, for Denmark, but in principle, the
members of the union members of the union. So we think it would be good
to a allowed the euro. There is the political will of the country to be
taken into account but I think the euro has proven to be a successful
currency, protecting citizens. I expect the membership will be
broadened in the future. Why is it's GDP below what it was 15 years ago
and the industrial output is below them what it was in 1984 so the euro
hasn't been successful to you. You now run a massive deficit with
Germany, where is the success? It should not be confused, the currency
with the economic crisis we had. The also mistake in the conductor of the
economic policy. We are changing austerity politics for more growth
policies. Your country hasn't grown since you join the euro. The
economic policy is another thing, so we need to change the economic
policy. The common currencies is a strong protection for all of us.
Your country hasn't grown since you joined the euro. I don't think your
assessment is correct. Yes it is. By the way now, Italy is growing and
that is good. Europe is growing. In 2017 it is growing more than the US
and the UK. Do you accept if Britain had stayed in and been forced to
join the euro in 2025, there is no public opinion support for joining
the euro here? This is a joke. Whenever they say, if the UK had
stayed in the union, the UK would be forced to join the euro. This is not
true. That is what the Brussels delegation said. The Brussels
commission said it thinks everybody in the EU should adopt the euro by
2025. As I said, no. If you want to make a political statement, you are
free to do so. But the fact is, the member of the delegation to the euro
are supposed to join. Members who have decided to stay out of the
euro, are free to stay out of the euro whilst they are in the EU. That
is perfectly possible. Thank you for speaking to us from Rome today.
Jeremy Corbyn has had a bit of a spring in his step
since the election, after doing much better than pretty much
Indeed, despite the party's internal splits, Labour
But earlier this week, Labour's divisions on Brexit
were thrust into the open as 50 Labour MPs defied the party line
to vote in favour of a backbench amendment calling for the UK
to remain members of the EU single market and customs union.
One of those rebels was Labour MP Stella Creasy who had this to say
What a lot of us are saying is we want, in these negotiations,
To have a government that has forced through a hard Brexit,
especially in the light of the general election result,
with the public very clearly rejecting Theresa May's approach,
And across the house, again, there are MPs saying,
We don't know what is possible to achieve, but what we do know
is if you walk in the room and you throw away something
like single market membership, which 650,000 jobs in London alone
are part of that, it's irresponsible.
I'm joined now by the Shadow Justice Secretary Richard Burgon.
Welcome to the programme. Thank you. On Thursday 49 MPs, almost a fifth
of the Parliamentary party, rebelled against the leadership over Brexit,
including three shadow ministers, were subsequently sacked by Jeremy
Corbyn. Labour is now more divided on Brexit than the Tories? I don't
think so. I think the amendment was regrettable and premature, and I
agree with the Labour deputy leader Tom Watson, when he said he was
disappointed about that. Actually, the difference in the Labour Party,
the difference of nuance on the single market between those who
definitely want to be a member of the single market, including some
people who backed that amendment, and those who want tariff free
access to the single market. The reality is, not just on Brexit, but
a whole host of issue, it's the Conservative government that is
completely divided and that odds with itself. If it is just nuance
and you are not divided, Mark our card. The Chancellor said single
access market mentorship is not on the table, the Brexit secretary said
it should be and another shadow ministers speaks about seeking
reformed membership of the European market and the customs union. Which
one is Labour policy? Brexit is a settled issue, in that Labour
accents Britain is leaving the European Union but we believe
Britain has to have a relationship with the institutions. Which one is
Labour policy of these three statements? Labour believes that we
should be having a job 's first Brexit. A Brexit that puts the
economy first. As our manifesto says, Britain's leaving the European
Union, for example that also means the freedom of movement of labour,
and the UK's part of that, will end when Britain leads the EU. Do you
want freedom of movement to end? What we do want to end is the
practice of unscrupulous employers, only recruiting workers from abroad
and also an scrupulous employers trying to use the free you movement
of labour to breakdown -- drag down terms and conditions. You can do
that if we are in or out of the single market. Do you want freedom
of movement to end? It is inevitable the freedom of movement will end. Do
you want it to do is a question that that is the difference. Your
manifesto said what you just said, I asked you if you want it to end?
What Labour wants is Brexit that puts jobs on the economy that is.
What Labour doesn't want is to put immigration and fall 's immigration
targets as the Conservatives did on the table. What is the answer? It's
quite simple, the free movement of labour will end in terms of when the
UK leads the European Union. Labour's priority is not any other
issue than jobs on the economy being put first and that is really
important. Putting jobs on the economy does, should we leave or
stay in the customs union? I think we need to leave all the options
open on that. We need to negotiate without putting options off the
table. You can't negotiate unless you know what your aim is, is it to
leave or stay in the customs union? British manufacturers gain a lot,
and their workers, in jobs, in terms of the current arrangement with a
customs union. What we want is an equivalent benefit. We want the
benefits of being in the customs union, even if when we leave the
European Union we can't be in the customs union. These are the kind of
demands that Theresa May should be making, and her ability to do so,
I'm afraid, has been severely weakened by the fact you can't even
command a majority now after she asked for a majority to do so. You
have criticised the government for saying no deal is better than a bad
deal, which I understand. But does that mean Labour's position is that
any deal is better than no Deal? Any deal better than no Deal? No, no. It
would be strange to say any deal is better than no Deal. We want a good
deal for Britain. But if you can't get that? We are confident a Labour
government could get that, we want a job 's first Brexit that puts jobs
first and puts living standards first and doesn't use, as the
Conservative government has tried to do, Brexit as a smoke screen to try
and create some kind of low regulated tax haven... You could be
in government for very shortly and the in these negotiations. If the EU
does not budge on demanding 1 billion euros divorce Bill, would
you just sack that for the sake of any deal or say no? -- suck it up?
Labour won't be sucking up to anyone, the EU or anyone else. A
Labour government would negotiate hard for Britain. What if they
wouldn't budge? On the demand for 100 billion euros? What would you
do? These are hypothetical scenarios, and these negotiations
are nuanced and compensated. Labour would campaign, in opposition, hold
the government to account for and in government deliver jobs first
Brexit, that puts the economy does. The kind of post-Brexit Britain we
want to see is one in which there is investment in industry, assistance
from the government in industry and are more equal society with high
wage jobs. Ian Wright Fricke, your new party says Labour is currently
too broad a church. Do you agree with him? I think the Labour Party
has always been a broad church. He says too broad? It has always been a
broad church, socialists and trade unionists and long may it be so. You
don't agree? The Labour Party is a broad church and it should be. Do
you support lowering the threshold of MPs needed, that you need to get
to stand for the Labour leadership? It is going to be debated at your
autumn conference? This question isn't seen as dead about the
leadership election many people predicted would occur after the
general election won't be occurring. Do you support? Tom Watson says
Jeremy Corbyn is secure for many years. I do believe all parties,
including the Labour Party, need to be made more democratic. We have a
membership of well over half a million and I would like the members
to have more say in our party's policies and in the way the party is
run. Jeremy Corbyn spoke at a left-wing rally in London yesterday.
Among the crowd there were placards calling Theresa May a murderer,
pictures of Mrs May's head on communist flags and Trotskyite
banners. Are these the kind of people Mr Corbyn should be
associating himself with, if he is a Prime Minister in waiting? The
reality is when you speak at an outdoor meeting, you have no control
who turns up or who is walking past. You have no control over the kind of
banners people make. I understand the hundred and 50,000 members of
the public at that event. No, there won't, 15,000. I spoke the night
before the general election, in an event in Leeds city centre. For all
I know, there could have been all sorts of people walking past,
watching. The key thing is to judge Jeremy by his words, Judge Labour by
our words on what we've done. We do believe in a new kind of politics.
Also politics committed to changing our society for the better. OK,
Richard Burgen, thank you for joining us today.
Hello and welcome to Sunday Politics in Northern Ireland.
Any chance of a deal at Stormont diminished
further over the weekend when the Sinn Fein President,
Gerry Adams, said he doesn't think there will be any
The DUP are showing no urgency, or no real inclination to deal with the
rights that are the crux, at the heart.
The party's John O'Dowd and Simon Hamilton of the DUP
My mother is gay and she is married to a woman in England. She cannot be
here because her marriage is not recognised in Northern Ireland.
Northern Ireland is the only part of the UK
and Ireland where same sex marriage is still banned and pretty much
Thousands protested in Belfast yesterday to change that.
We'll be discussing that with an MLA who supports change and a campaigner
for the promotion of traditional marriage and religion who says same
sex marriage will weaken the natural ties between men,
our commentators Allison Morris and Professor Rick Wilford
The Sinn Fein President, Gerry Adams, pretty much confirmed
what very many people were thinking when he said a Stormont deal
There had been a flurry of activity over the weekend when Theresa May
had separate phone calls with Arlene Foster
and Michelle O'Neill, but it looks like the parties
will keep their distance on Monday and see what the Secretary of State,
Sinn Fein's John O'Dowd and Simon Hamilton of the DUP
So what 'profound and serious consequences' were outlined
by the SoS when the deadline on Friday was missed?
Let's begin by dispelling this nonsense that the DUP is not serious
about a deal. You will know that we have not drawn any red lines, we
have not set any preconditions. We want to see an executive and
assembly up and running as soon as possible. Do you believe Sinn Fein
wants a deal? I would hope that Sinn Fein want a deal to get devolution
up and running again so we can deal with pressing issues on matters of
health, education, they need to attract jobs and investment. Civil
servants are running the budget. There is a 5% cut to what
departments can spend. We need to get back in there, grapple those
issues, deal with those ages, deliver for people on the issues
that matter for them. That is being denied at this minute. We have not
set any preconditions, we are not going any red lines. We want to deal
with all of the issues that are important. You don't want any of
those cuts presumably to be commended in Northern Ireland. Does
your party want a deal? Devolution and the executive and the all
Ireland bodies that go with it are the only show in town but they have
to represent everybody. We have to have a government that represent all
people. People marched through the centre of Belfast yesterday. In
previous weeks we had 15,000 people marching through Belfast. These are
citizens who expect to have Wright, who should have rights, and they
should be protected by law and they should be protected by the executive
that is there to serve all the people. It is quite simple and
reasonable from many people's point of view. We want an executive built
on a rights basis which serves all the citizens of our society on an
equal and fair basis. But the way to sort those issues out is to get back
into the assembly, back into an executive and sort them out at
Stormont. We tried that over many years. Martin McGuinness tried that
as well. And with great patience and fortitude, Martin McGuinness worked
with the DUP to bring them over the line on the basis of equality
issues. The executive failed because of failure of a rights -based
society. It failed because of allegations of corruption at the
heart of government. We don't need to revisit all of that. We know all
of that. We need to know where we are starting from. Part of what Sinn
Fein wants is to elevate the Irish language over everything else. You
want some kind of cultural supremacy. No, we want equality for
everybody and when you have a rights -based Society for everybody,
People's rights, whether you are from the Orange tradition or any
other tradition, is protected from law -- in law. What is wrong with
that? It doesn't work like that. It doesn't operate like that. We want
to move forward. If a deal is required to get devolution up and
running, then we want a deal that is fair, that is sensible and that
doesn't reflect, elevate sorry, one side of the community or one
culture, above any other. As far as John O'Dowd and the people he
represents are concerned, they may feel that your party has been
distinctly lacking in its respect for those that are big supporters of
the Irish language? We want a deal that can be supported on all sides
of our community, not one that is seeing a culture or a language
elevated above any other. We do not wish to deny anybody who wants to
live their life or part of their life through the Irish language, we
don't want to denigrate... That is a shift in your position. We want to
be respectful of Irish language and Irish culture. Some of your members
have a track record. All of us want to see language and cultural issues
not being the political football that they have. We want to see them
dealt with properly. We want to see them dealt with respectfully. That
is what we are trying to do. Arlene Foster has been engaging with the
Irish language sector and has learnt a lot from that. We want to see that
continue. We want to see Ulster Scots for example recognised and
given... Compromise is not a dirty word, is that what you are saying?
We will look at a cultural Acrobat is not elevate any one culture or
language in our community about any others. It needs to be respectful of
all cultures. Does that help? It was said last week that an important
meeting, the associated costs with an Irish language act were
reasonable. Someone in the DUP suggesting that is progress, isn't
it? This idea that the Irish land which is to be elevated above all
others, -- language, we are going to go through a fortnight of oranges.
What I am saying is the Orange culture is well embedded in this
state. What the Good Friday Agreement was about was ensuring
there is equality of recognition. We have a deal. It is the Good Friday
Agreement. These negotiations are about implementation of outstanding
agreements which do not detract from the rights of anyone, but enshrine
in law the protection in rights for citizens whether they be from the
Irish land which tradition, whether they be from the LGBT tradition, --
language. How do you respond to that? It is very simple, it is about
respecting the rights of everybody. I am happy to go through previous
agreements and point out why what Sinn Fein is demanding now is not
part of previous agreements. That was not promised by the DUP, and you
know that well. It has not been delivered. We want to see respect
for all cultures in Northern Ireland. We done upon to see the
Irish language elevated above other languages.
You might have two spruce up on your Irish language of Sinn Fein got
their way. That is not the sort of robust muscular... There is
obviously not a huge amount of common ground at this stage. There
are other issues that we need to catch on. What about the role of
James Brokenshire and all of this? Do you think that he can sort this
issue out, that he is in a position to help you to reach agreement
sooner rather than later? We are expecting a big announcement from
him later. We are not relying on James Brokenshire to sort anything
out. It needs to set aside its relationship with the DUP and
Theresa May needs to act as a co-guarantor, along with the
Taoiseach. It looks like he has three options tomorrow. Direct rule,
or another election. He does not have an option for direct rule
because then he would be in breach of another agreement. There is no
option of direct rule. What we want to see over the next of days is an
agreement which sees... Continue talking? We want to see agreement.
We want to see a step change in the negotiations. We want to see all the
local political parties reaching an intimidation ordeal. --
implementation. We make no apology for the deal we did with the
Conservative Party. It has brought ?1 billion to Northern Ireland. It
has altered the relationship between the DUP and the Conservatives. What
we can't have is ongoing stasis, we cannot have those important reforms
required health and education, we need to attract more jobs and
investment and whilst not we don't Odyssey is a return to direct rule,
we cannot have a situation where we have more stasis and more delay and
those important decisions that matter to people's lives every
single day delayed any further. Do you want to see direct rule or
another election? We are prepared to work and roll up our sleeves, any
metaphor that you want, to build on the progress we have been making.
Could you be involved in a deal that required serious compromise by the
DUP on the eve of the 12? Calendar dates don't matter. Of course they
matter. If you have a good deal that is there to be done, at this moment
in time, that requires Sinn Fein to change its attitude and its approach
to these talks and not demand what it is looking for. Instead, work
with us together and build on the progress we have been making over
the talks to get a fair and sensible and balanced deal that can be
supported by all sides. Are you quite happy to see the DUP under
pressure in Westminster, as it was this week, Army issue of abortion?
Is that a comfortable issue? The pressure is off as far as doing a
deal at Stormont is concerned? No, I agree with Ian Paisley when he said
we are better governing ourselves. But it has to be on the basis of the
outstanding agreements. It is absolutely ridiculous. The Good
Friday Agreement and the St Andrews agreement were massive compromises
for unionism and republicanism. They came about because there were
understandings of change in the society. That change has to take
place for those agreements to deliver the social economic changes
that Simon talks about, the stable government Simon talks about. It is
the first I have had to talk with sound from the DUP. Was it is bigger
surprise as you were for the rest of us Chris Wilder you get a heads up
it was coming? It is a matter for the government at Westminster. It is
not what you wanted. At the same time, we had a court judgment which
ruled in a way which I thought was proper. That said this was an issue
for Northern Ireland on the Northern Ireland assembly to deal with and no
one wants to see... It is a matter for NHS England. It is a matter for
the Westminster government. It is positive that the positioning
Northern Ireland has been affected by the court case. No party wants to
see an extension of the 1967 act to Northern Ireland. You are not
uncomfortable about it? We would rather not... There will be a range
of issues... We will deal with that on a case-by-case basis. That does
not take away from the positivity we have had in securing... Will we know
about the meetings that take place? I think it is good that Northern
Ireland has an influence in Westminster at what is a crucial
time for our country. I know you think that, not everyone else
agrees. You will seem from the financial measures, we have
sought... It will benefit everyone in Northern Ireland. Another
interesting development, James Brokenshire is going to make an
announcement about transparency and critical donations. I am not sure
that is something the DUP are happy about. What do you make of it? Let's
see what James Brokenshire says. He should open that up. The public
should be aware of who is donating two critical parties. We have said
that over a member of years -- two political parties. We would be
comfortable with that. How uncomfortable or relax would you
about it but Iraq is not at all uncomfortable with it. We would be
relaxed with it. On the same footing as across the United Kingdom, we
want to see that. You're at critics have said you have been anything but
transparent. You can look at previous manifestos. We want to see
transparency in Northern Ireland, in keeping with the rest of the United
Kingdom and all of the rules in respect of political donations in
line with the rest of the United Kingdom. I don't know what he will
say. Have your colleagues had a conversation? We will look forward
to see what the Secretary of State brings forward. Thanks very much for
joining us. Let's hear what our
commentators make of that. Professor Rick Wilford
and Allison Morris of Glass half full, glass half empty? I
am naturally pessimistic. I am going to say the glass is half empty. But
I am a hot the sort of pessimists. Partly because I think we are
accustomed to this impasse which is now prevailing -- happy sort of
pessimistic. What is important is if we can... We can try to detect the
toll of the exchanges between the two major parties. It has been
worse. It has been much worse in the past. In that respect maybe there is
a glimmer of hope. It is not terrible bouts of finger wagging.
And people being particularly rude to each other. The mood is far more
tempered than we might have anticipated. I am a simple-minded
person. On this issue of the Irish language, what the assembly should
have done years ago was preceded with a single equality at. You could
have bundled into that single equality and they whole raft of
issues including language. That seems to have gone by the by. Sinn
Fein are determined to get a freestanding language act and I
don't think that is pitifully helpful. Are you optimistic after
what we have heard? -- particularly helpful. There's not going to be a
deal by tomorrow. We are all aware of that. The language has softened.
I think with regards to the DUP and their views on the Irish language,
remember the crocodile, it was only in January of this year, and there
has been an amazing change in language since then. There is a
change to the DUP 's language in relation to a lot of things. You
wonder how much of an influence their new employers in the Tory
party have had on that. I think that in that respect we will see a
massive change in the DUP 's language. Do you think Sinn Fein and
the DUP want a deal? I think all the parties are committed to the
principle of devolution, it is a matter of finding a means to that
end. There are variants of direct rule. There is going to be have --
there is good have to be some sort of direct rule because we no budget.
The politicians are all going on holiday now. It is good to have to
come from Westminster. Whatever you want to call out, that is direct
rule. Now, I've been saying this
for quite a few months now, Here's a look back at the week in 60
seconds, with Gareth Gordon. The DUP signed up to support the
Conservatives and were delighted with what they got in return.
Spending power of almost ?1.5 billion will be available to address
the unique circumstances of Northern Ireland. Welsh and Scottish
neighbours did not see it that way. This is cash for votes. If there is
investment coming to Northern Ireland, Scotland should be getting
its fair share. Another deadline slipped away. Much progress has been
made but a number of issues remain outstanding. The government
announced that women from Northern Ireland could have abortions in
England on the NHS. Pro-life campaigners weren't happy. It is
anti-democratic really. If you look at the mainstream parties in
Northern Ireland, none of them wanted the abortion act. The judges
gathered to decide who will be crowned politicians of the year. It
has to be Arlene Foster, for very bad reasons.
Now, if campaigners for same sex marriage got the law changed,
they probably wouldn't care whether it was done
Their focus is on bringing Northern Ireland into line
A big protest rally held in Belfast yesterday comes at a time, however,
when they say there is majority support now among MLAs for change.
We'll be discussing the case for same sex marraige
here with one of those MLAs, and a campaigner against the idea.
First, here's Catherine Morrison's report from the rally.
They came in their thousands, braving the rain to make their
voices heard. Campaigners want to change in the law to bring Northern
Ireland into line with elsewhere. This is the only part of the UK and
Ireland where same-sex marriage remains outlawed. We have kept the
tone of this campaign positive. It is about love and equality and
making sure this is about civil marriage equality. It is nothing to
do with what happens in churches. They are free to make their own
rules. The state should provide equally for all members of its
society. Today's march takes place against a backdrop of continuing
political disagreement over same-sex marriage equality. The DUP remain
opposed to any change in the law and the issue has become one of the
stumbling blocks in the current negotiations to restore part area.
Our politicians need to get with -- get with the 21st-century. It is
like dealing with dinosaurs. It is time to get to the streets. We don't
want to be left behind on this issue. The rest of the world is
moving on. The march made its way to the City Hall. It was led by amongst
others the... It is a personal issue for me. Her marriage -- my mother 's
marriage is not recognised in Northern Ireland. She chooses to
live in England. Supporters of marriage equality will be following
events at Stormont closely. If a deal is not struck, direct rule
could be imposed and a decision could be handed to the government in
Westminster. Catherine Morrison reporting there,
and I'm joined now by one of the many MLAs who was on that
march, Kellie Armstrong of Alliance and by Tracy Harkin
from the Iona Institute, an organisation formed to promote
the place of marriage To date, MLAs have voted five
times on whether or not I think yesterday's protest march
helped to solidify our cause that we are looking for same-sex marriage in
Northern Ireland. It is time and is also a call for a protection in
concerned. If we reform the petition concerned last time, made 2016, we
could have had to same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland by now. That did
not happen. I was absolutely determined with the crew delighted
to hear those calls for reform saw minority groups can take that
forward. Mike Nesbitt talked about people who oppose same-sex marriage
being on the wrong side of history. Do you get the sense that you are
now on the wrong side of history on this one? Not at all. It is
important to remember we all love rainbows and equality. I think that
the problem with this whole debate is we have not really talked about
the issues and the opposition is often nothing to do with the quality
or whether you like or don't like gay people. That is besides the
point. The heart of this to point -- this point, when you redefine
marriage, you redefine the rights of children. Two men and two women
cannot make a child. That is basic biology. When you redefine marriage,
you give them the same rights in law to have a child and there is a huge
problem with that. The rights and the equal rights of the child to
know and to be raised by design and circumstance... My mother died of
cancer when I was quite young and I was raised by a single father. There
is nothing wrong with a father raising his child. If you listen to
me, I am actually not saying that at all. There are lots of variations.
Absolutely. But throughout Ireland, north and south, children are being
raised in all sorts of circumstances and we all do the best we can. That
undermines your argument entirely. No, when you legalise same-sex
marriage, you were doing it by design so it is no longer
circumstance, it is by design. In Ireland we are very family
orientated. We all love programmes like the BBC One where people go off
to great lengths and were raised, they find out who... We only have to
look at organisations like sperm donors anonymous and to listen to
the children of gay couples... Let's just deal with the facts. Same-sex
marriage was introduced and the sky did not fall down. There is no
evidence that if that change came here, society would change
dramatically. And in a bad way. There is only 22 countries that have
legalised same-sex marriage. And how many countries are there in the
world? It is still quite new. What we do know is that once you redefine
marriage, the redefinitions have no end. For example, in Colombia, we
just had a three-man couple relationship... Nobody is talking
about that. This is the thin end of the wedge. That is the argument. I
have to say that we have already redefined marriage. If you go back
to the Bible, then are plenty of situations where there are men with
multiple wives. It did not work out too well. What is the problem with
men and women being married? My husband is not going to take off and
get married to a man if same-sex marriage comes in tomorrow. There
are certain people who believe they can control society and society is
moving on beyond that. As a legislator, I have to take account
of people who are not Christian and to have different lifestyles. I
cannot impose my religious views or anybody else's on that. I have to
say, to turn round and say that same-sex marriage is a problem with
children, what are we going to say next? This is the problem with this
whole debate... Let's think about where marriage came from. The state
only intervenes... A man and a woman make a baby. I had infertility
problems for seven years and I was delighted to finally have my
daughter. Did that mean for seven years my marriage was worthless? So
why do you keep bringing it back to children? Because when you
legislate, you give the same rights to two men and two women. That's the
point about the legislation. I would rather have a child that is being
loved by two parents... Do you think that a man and a woman, a mother and
a father don't matter? Just to be clear, what the suggestion seems to
be is that by allowing same-sex marriage, you somehow diminish
heterosexual marriage? Where is the evidence for that? Explain what you
mean by a natural tie. My father was a fantastic father. Why are you
saying that two men cannot be good fathers? They can. We are
creating... We are giving state blessing where children are by
design not just circumstance will actually be deprived of the love of
a mother. Do you think that a family that is brought up that is not the
normal family as you would describe it is in some way diminished?
To be brought up without a mother or a father is a huge loss. I was
brought up by a single father. Did you miss your mother? Would you have
like that to have been deliberately inflicted on you by design? But I
don't diminish my father 's role. Whether or not I had a mother is not
in my gift but I wouldn't diminish my family as being less because it
was not... Let me ask you, whether you like it or whether you don't
like it, there will be people who agree wholeheartedly, and Angela
Merkel voted against same-sex marriage in Germany just within the
past week, so how do you start to try to persuade people like Tracy
that they have got it wrong and they need to look at it in a different
way? We have carefully considered this and we'll are taking forward
proposals. We consulted with people. We talked to churches. And what we
have is to say that we won protections for churches so that no
church will be forced to perform a ceremony of that is not within the
Church or that religious groupings. Does that reassure you at all? Other
relationships, they should be allowed to live, everybody should be
allowed to live every way they want big because of the nature of
marriage, it is all to do with the natural ties. Children will lose out
and we only have two Google... You have made that point. We need to
leave out there. What do you want to hear from the Secretary of State
tomorrow? Confirming that devolution will be back on track again. It may
well require more talks but I don't want to see as mood into direct
rule. And good news if he moves on political donations? Absolutely.
That'll a fantastic world. Let's hear more from Rick Wilford
and Allison Morris. This is an issue which clearly
divides people. Are our legislators likely to be able to resolve this
issue? What we saw in the last assembly when it was functioning was
that there would have been same-sex marriage, had the DUP not use the...
It is lovely to be able to persuade people to move over to the other
side and accept equality but if they cannot BX -- persuaded, they will
have to accept Democratic rule. We have seen that in the south. The sky
does not falling. The fact that we don't have same-sex marriages
terrible. I agree. I think marriage is such a plastic concept and it
evolves over time. There is no one fixed view of marriage. I take a
much more pleural view. It is a social construction. And certainly
public opinion in Northern Ireland seems to move in the direction of
adding this to the repertoire of the kinds of marriages there can be. I
certainly don't think that children's rights are in any way
impaired. A quick word about the political donations and the
Secretary of State? It'll be incredibly positive. We would love
to see where all this money has been coming from all these years. It is
about time. I think the Brexit fold highlighted that it needs to be open
and transparent. The parties could have done it voluntarily. The fact
it is taking legislation to get them to think about it is rather
disappointing. They could have just said, these are the papers, these
are the donors. What do you expect to hear from the Secretary of State?
None of us have managed to understand what those serious and
dire consequences are. I think they will change the legislation for an
extended period. Yes, September, probably. We will see.
That's it from Sunday Politics for this week.
Keep across all the political developments on TV, radio
and digital as they unfold in the coming days and I'll be back
For now, though, from everyone in the team - goodbye.
The Irish Open is coming back to the north coast.
For the first time, Portstewart Golf Club plays host,