Sarah Smith and Mark Carruthers with the latest political news, interviews and debate. Guests include Brandon Lewis MP and Jonathan Ashworth MP.
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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.
Theresa May is back
after her trip to China.
But there's plenty of fire and fury
from within her own party over
Brexit and her ability to lead.
chairman joins me live.
Labour tells demonstrators only
it can save the NHS.
So, do the party's health
spending plans add up?
We'll talk to the Shadow
Months on from the sexual harassment
and bullying scandal that
we'll be asking what's happened
to plans for Parliament
to clean up its act.
And a violent scuffle at a speech
by one Tory MP has been widely
But is it symptomatic
of a wider problem in politics?
In London, a Labour council leader
bullied out of power by the left.
That's the allegation that sparked
a civil war in the party.
Roundtable talks are
due to get underway
at Stormont tomorrow,
but with the Secretary
of State playing down
the importance of this week,
I'll be asking the Ulster Unionists,
SDLP and Alliance
All that coming up in the programme.
And, as one newspaper speculates
about a 'dream team' being urged
to take over at Number 10,
we've got our own dream team
of journalists - Tom Newton Dunn,
and Steve Richards.
And they've promised not
to plot against me...
At least until the end of the show.
So, the Prime Minister
may have been out
of the country to drum up trade but,
even from 5,000 miles away, it
must have been hard to ignore
the continuing unrest
from some in her party,
and repeated calls to be
clearer about Brexit.
Theresa May was in China this week,
where she gave President Xi Jinping
DVDs of Blue Planet as a reminder
of the dangers of plastic pollution.
Back home, Conservative MPs
gave her some advice on how to lead
the party and the Government.
Some advice was offered
to Cabinet ministers
getting restless on Brexit.
The best way they can
support her is to take a vow
of silence on the subject.
But most was for the
Prime Minister herself.
Some even aired their
thoughts in public.
I do think the window is closed
because politics can be
quite a brutal game.
When is the Government
going to stand up against the hard
Brexiteers who mainly
inhabit these benches?
She does not actually
have a majority for her
policy in her Cabinet.
It was advice of a different kind
that hit the Government
when BuzzFeed published leaked civil
service analysis suggesting that,
under various off-the-shelf trading
models, the UK would be less well
off in 15 years than
if we'd stayed in the EU.
But Brexit Minister Steve Baker
wasn't worried about the forecasts.
I think that they are always wrong,
and wrong for good reasons.
The analysis was grist
to the mill for Brexit critics,
but Theresa May probably didn't
expect one minister to pile in.
Justice Department's Phillip Lee
said the leaked report couldn't just
be dismissed and that,
if anywhere near correct,
it raised a serious question
about current Brexit policy.
But that's thinking 15 years ahead.
One former Brexit Minister George
Bridges took aim at the Government
and the House of Lords for still not
knowing what it wanted.
All we hear day after day
are conflicting, confusing voices.
Theresa May returned from China
saying she had secured £9 billion
of business deals during the trip.
Local media dubbed her Auntie May,
while International Trade Secretary
Liam Fox said her middle name
is 'resilience', claiming foreign
leaders were well aware
of Theresa May's strength.
You look at the Prime Minister
in a different way than some of,
let's say, the internal tea room
discussions in the UK do.
While at home there was speculation
about her ability to lead,
Auntie May herself was clear.
I am not a quitter.
She will be relieved the only
resignation she was offered this
week was from a minister who'd shown
up late to Parliament.
I'm thoroughly ashamed
at not being in my place,
and therefore I shall be
offering my resignation
to the Prime Minister.
But with open warfare in her party,
calls to step up her game,
and a crucial Cabinet meeting
on Brexit within days,
Theresa May knows she needs to do
something special to ensure the next
departure isn't hers.
There is plenty to talk about with
my panel of political insiders. It
feels like Theresa May's worst week
since last week that she began the
show but talking about how difficult
it was with fights within the party.
Is it even worse? It is about the
same. What is interesting, if I can
put this in some context, I am
working in a project with the Prime
Minister at the moment. Many Prime
Minister 's worry about being
deposed but it is rare to happen.
From 1968 Harold Wilson was in
trouble and he survived another
eight years. I'm not predicting...
John Major survived until the
general election. This is a constant
theme in British politics that Prime
Minister 's are rarely deposed at
the moment I work on the assumption
she will be around for some time to
It is highly distracting
though. It cannot help with the
issue of the Government or wrecks it
for that matter.
All of Theresa
May's woes art of her own making. It
is about showing backbone and spine
and having a Brexit policy and
sticking with it. I find it
extraordinary we will have two
meetings with the Brexit War Cabinet
on Wednesday and Thursday of this
week to decide the Brexit policy.
She has been in office for a long
time it is a long time since the
last election. It is a total
travesty of leadership that is going
on. All of her problems are of her
own making. She could be doing with
warring factions in her party, the
opposition and all the other
threats, just to be a strong Prime
Minister. Making it clear to the
likes of Philip Hammond, you are
doubtful that he should have been
out a long time ago if she had the
will and strength to do so.
not by being ambiguous about her
position on terror, and she has been
able to remain as leader of the
disagree with Julia and Steve that
there is a third way in all of this.
I believe all her problems are not
of her own making. Brexit was not of
her own making. She somehow had to
try to get this through parliament
where she has no majority, where she
has eight Cabinet split and it is a
huge problem. The only reason she is
there is because she has not made a
big decision, she has not got off
the fence she is trying to keep the
ship together and compromise. As was
said in the brilliant speech in the
House of Lords, to govern is to
choose. Tony Blair said that this is
the year of choice. The next six
months will be the six months of
choices for Theresa May. User needs
to get the choices on Brexit, market
control, sovereignty, access to
huge, great big decisions. She needs
to get that past four different
hurdles was achieved to get the
Cabinet on board among her own MPs
to stay alive and stay in charge
having made those decisions. Then
she has too persuade the EU to buy
whatever it is she will sell. I find
it very, very hard indeed to think
she will get over all four hurdles
by the end of the year. Therefore I
am afraid I cannot see her as
leading the Tory Party by the end of
I think it would be risky for
anyone to make any predictions. Can
I point out that 2018 was not the
year of choice?
2016 was the year of
choice. I care about what the
British electorate wants. The
British electorate made their choice
in 2016. Theresa May did not
increase her majority of the 85% of
people voted for two major parties
in the Ukip and the other parties
supported Brexit. There is a mandate
we need to get on and do the will of
the British people.
agree with Tom about these hurdles.
They are almost impossible to get
over. But that would apply to any
Prime Minister. So, you have to ask
the question, what does it solve? In
the longer term, changing leader
might give the more electoral
success, who knows? But it does not
solve getting over those hurdles you
could have Boris Johnson saying,
Britain can rule the waves. Those
hurdles will still be there.
Prime Minister who knew more
about... .Mac will come back to this
later in the programme. In the
meantime we will move on.
The Home Secretary, Amber Rudd,
has been speaking this morning
to the Andrew Marr Show,
and she claimed the Cabinet
isn't as divided over
Brexit as some claim.
I have a surprise for the
Brexiteers, which is the committee
that meets in order to help make
these decisions, is meeting, as you
rightly say, twice this week,
is more united than they think.
We meet in the committee,
we meet privately for discussions.
I think we will arrive
at something which suits us all.
There will be choices to be made
within them but we all want the same
thing, which is to arrive at a deal
that works for the UK, that
It's not just about protecting trade
behind us, it's about looking ahead
to what kind of country
we want to be afterwards.
We all have those
interests at heart.
And I'm joined now by the chairman
of the Conservative Party,
Thank you for coming in. Amber Rudd
is saying the Cabinet is more united
than people think. The parties that
he doesn't look that way from some
of the things they have heard this
week. It is your job to get them on
the same page in order to make that
happen, do you need to spell out a
vision of what Brexit will look like
so they can get behind it?
like what Amber said. The Cabinet is
united behind the Prime Minister to
make sure we get a good deal for the
We are hearing lots
of noises, complaining. They want to
know more about what the end state
will be otherwise they will row
Where I disagree is all MPs,
certainly in the Conservative Party,
are united in seeing we get a good
deal on leaving the EU for the
saying we need to end confusion in
government. They are complaining
about the present uncertainty.
Working out what is the right deal
for the United Kingdom. In
negotiations we are having with a 27
partners who want to continue to
trade with in the European Union is
a very serious and, located piece of
work. We never said this was an easy
piece of work and it is why there
are meetings of the subcommittee in
the Cabinet going through the
details. We have the deal, the first
stage of the deal, before Christmas.
We must look to the next stage which
is agreeing the situation in the
period of translation after March
2000 and 19. The ultimate deal that
we want, for people in the United
Kingdom, after the transition period
We're all waiting with
breath. Your backbenchers, whatever
side of the other in they are on the
desperately want to know what the
end state will look like. After the
Cabinet subcommittees meet later in
the week, we get more detail?
are a couple of key issues. Within
Brexit we have been very clear.
We're going to leave the European
Union, and the customs union. We
want to make sure we can leave the
control of the Borders to the United
Kingdom, the Government of the
United Kingdom. When I am talking to
residents, across the country, they
also want to know that the Prime
Minister is focused on issues that
matter to people every day. They're
getting good education or housing
opportunities for people. The
knowledge and confidence there will
be growth in the economy and
security in the future as well.
is hard for the Dublin to get on
with that whenever such a fight
within the party among backbenchers
and senior influential people,
coming out and criticising the
party, criticising the leadership.
Until there is more clarity on
Brexit you will not be able
Brexit you will not be able to get
on with the other policies because
there is such a row in the party.
have a range of views, expertise and
great talent to draw on all stop
people putting their ideas forward.
Jacob is a really good example of
that. We saw what happened the other
night with the hard left doing
everything they can to try to stop
people having their safest we have
to ultimately make decisions about
what we think is right for the
country in the longer run. -- having
their say about what we have to
ultimately make decisions about.
you worry whether there is a hidden
My experience has been the
civil service in this country has
been superb. They work hard in the
best interests of the Government. It
is their job to give impartial
views. You think they do? That is
one reason why the world is envious
of our civil service and rightly so.
Our job as ministers and the
Government ultimately is to make
decisions on their behalf as you
give consideration and ultimately we
are the ones who have to make the
Jacob Rees Mogg says they
are fiddling the figures and putting
out information that is wrong.
Amber Rudd herself said, one of the
most gracious and intelligent people
I know, on this, I slightly
disagree. Perhaps they are doing. In
the leaked reports, which have not
been approved and signed off by
ministers, it is about forecasts. It
does not take into account what the
final negotiation will be nor the
final decisions let alone the
domestic policy, which we are
getting on with. Making sure that
people have opportunities and
businesses can grow.
the scuffle at Jacob Rees Mogg was
involved in earlier in the week,
some fairly ugly scenes which no one
wants to see those that you have
plans to tackle intimidation in
We cannot allow the hard left to
create a situation where people feel
so intimidated they are not prepared
to come forward and have their say.
What we are seeing, and what we saw
in the report is actually people on
the left giving horrendous abuse to
people across the political
spectrum. I do agree, whether
someone's views are at the centre,
right or left, they should have the
freedom and knowledge they can come
forward and stand as a candidate. We
are going to change the law to make
it against the law for people to
intimidate people. But also from the
Conservative Party point of view,
internally we will have a respect
pledge that all of our candidates
will sign up to. If they breach that
cold, we will suspend them.
often Labour politicians who are the
target of a lot of abuse. It is
Diane Abbott who gets far and away
the most abuse on Twitter. How can
you be sure these aren't members of
your own party or your own
supporters who are abusing left-wing
We have to
differentiate. We should be able to
robust we have our debates. I have
debated with Diane Abbott over her
inability to get her numbers right
on police numbers. We have seen the
Shadow Chancellor... However it is
from, it is not acceptable. I will
deal with that. We need to have
good, clear, freedom of speech,
robust debate with respect and I
respect the Labour Party to do the
right thing and condemn what we saw
the other night, and see the
leadership do the right thing.
There's no evidence it had anything
to do the Labour Party.
What we do
know is when you have the Shadow
Chancellor of the country
encouraging abuse of people
He denies that. He
says he actually argues against that
and says he condemned it.
anybody can see, anybody can look up
what John McDonnell said. We have
not seen anyone in the senior
echelons of the Labour Party do
anything to condemn this kind of
action or come out and say they will
sign up to a respect pledge but we
will do that.
Getting back to the
Tory party, it is not just the
ructions that have erupted this
week, there has been a lot of
criticism of Theresa May's
leadership, Heidi Allen saying it
was time to get a grip and lead,
another MP said he had a profound
fear of Jeremy Corbyn becoming
leader if they don't get their act
together. It is difficult to manage
a febrile situation in which a large
number of your MPs don't seem to
want Theresa May to lead the party
into the next election.
I know Heidi
and Johnnie very well. I have heard
him be very clear that Theresa May
is the right person to lead the
country and actually Theresa May as
someone who cares passionately about
getting fairness in society,
opportunity for people...
your own MPs not appear to
We should all be
uniting behind our leader.
enough that is what David Lidington
said on the Andrew Marr Show last
week when he said it was time to
come together in a spirit of mutual
respect. Will they listen to you
this week, stop the sniping from the
I have been speaking to
colleagues and myself, what I get
consistently is they want us to be
focused on the job we should be
doing. The job I think most of your
viewers would want us to get on with
is delivering a good Brexit but also
we have a domestic agenda to
deliver, like supporting the NHS,
making sure businesses can grow,
people keeping more money in their
pocket and a country that is growing
and optimistic about its future
council got itself in trouble this
week, they run out of money in
Northamptonshire. The leader of the
council said they had been warning
the Government from about 2014 that
they couldn't cope with the level of
cuts they were facing. Did you not
listen to her?
listen to her?
government councils hopping -- ... I
do think there are more efficiencies
that can be found.
Northamptonshire they say they have
actually run out of money.
authorities can look at how they can
do more, about sharing services,
sharing senior management and saving
substantial amounts of money. I
would encourage those local
authorities to look at that
opportunity because it means they
can put more of their time and
effort and the money they do have is
focusing on giving good first-class
You are of course going to
allow them to raise council tax, and
we have had warnings from other Tory
run councils as well saying they are
running out of money. It is a bit
difficult though isn't it when you
have prided yourself on low taxes
that many people are likely to see
pretty big rises in their council
We have to make difficult
decisions due to the economic legacy
we inherited. Council tax roughly
doubled under Labour, I was a
council leader where the party had
run my counsel at the time with
increases of 16% year-on-year. We
have brought that back down so we
had the council tax freeze, and I
would encourage council leaders to
look at how they spend their money.
But council taxes will be going up,
They will be using the
ability they have to raise it a few
percent to give good local services.
People are looking at how efficient
they are, how they are focused on
their local needs to get good
Conservative governments in May this
Yesterday, thousands of people
marched on the rainy
streets of London to protest
against what organisers described
as a crisis in NHS funding.
The Shadow Health Secretary,
was there and told
the crowds that under Labour
there would be more money
for the NHS, higher pay for staff,
and privatisation would end.
No more PFI hospitals.
No more Carillion outsourcing,
leaving hospitals dirty and unclean,
affecting patient safety.
And we're putting Virgin Care,
and organisations like
that, on notice today.
No more suing of the NHS,
no more privatisation.
Privatisation comes to the end
with a Labour government,
as we get rid of that Lansley Act
and restore, and indeed reinstate,
a public National Health Service.
And Jonathan Ashworth is back
in his constituency in Leicester.
He joins me from there now.
Good morning. On that March you were
demanding the NHS get the funding it
needs but we have been looking back
at Labour's manifesto and you
weren't really promising very much
more money for the NHS than the Tory
government says it will deliver.
would be putting in an extra £5
billion into the NHS this year. You
will recall that Simon Stevens, the
head of the NHS, was asking for an
extra four billion this year. They
didn't get that in the November
budget but we would put an extra £5
billion into the NHS this year.
were talking about an increase of 2%
per year, more than this Government
is promising which is 1.2% this
year, but historically health
spending usually goes up by about 4%
per year and you were promising half
Yes, over 62 years it went
up by 4% but we would be increasing
expenditure quite substantially in
the NHS in the early years of the
But to an average of 2%
a year over the Government?
we also said we would establish an
OBR for the health service to advise
government on long-term spending
needs of the NHS so we would have an
independent body giving us an
accurate assessment of the
demographic changes, the staffing
needs of the NHS, which would inform
future spending decisions. In the
early years of the parliament we
would be spending substantially more
on the NHS, not just for hospitals
which are overcrowded because we
have lost 14,500 beds since 2010 but
also more investment in community
It's very difficult
for you to give statistics about how
much trouble the NHS is in when you
were promising a very modest
increase in spending of 2%. Under
the last Labour government, health
spending rose by 6% per year, under
Margaret Thatcher's government it
went up by 3% a year. Your manifesto
pledge was to give the NHS on
average less money than Margaret
But we would be
allocating £5 billion for the NHS.
You say it is a modest increase, if
I could say it is substantially more
than this Government is putting into
the NHS and when you have Simon
Stevens saying the NHS needs four
billion this year, we were promising
more than that so you say it is
modest but I suggest it is a
significant level of investment
which would allow us to get waiting
lists down. They could reach 5
million under the Government. It
would allow us to deal with
overcrowded hospitals and allow us
to invest in
to invest in community health
services, stop the cuts to child and
adolescent mental health services,
allow us to recruit so we have the
nurses we need.
That is what you can
buy for £5 billion you say, is
scrapping tuition fees are better
use of the money?
I'm always going
to argue for more money for the NHS,
as someone who aspires to be the
argue against scrapping tuition
The tuition fee pledge was a
promise made by Jeremy Corbyn and
John McDonnell when Jeremy Corbyn
run for the leadership of the Labour
Party and proved to be very popular
electorally as a pledge so I can see
why the Labour Party will be
sticking with that, but I'm always
going to be making the case for more
money for the NHS. We have seen £6
billion of cuts and
billion of cuts and other...
not clear the amount of money
offered by Labour will be sufficient
to offer their aspirations in social
I would say it would be.
Across the Parliament we would put
an extra £8 billion but we know we
have to look at better ways of
integrating health and social care.
The NHS was created in 1948, social
care was created as a sister service
but they have never worked together
as closely as they should. We are
older, with various different
conditions, we know the social care
system and the NHS will have to work
more closely together so we would
look at integrating properly health
and social care but that is a medium
to long-term plan, not something a
politician can deliver overnight.
was made clear at the rally you work
at yesterday Labour politicians
pledging no more outsourcing in the
NHS, what does that actually mean?
No more private companies of any
kind involved in healthcare at all?
What we would want to bring an end
to is the way in which, because of
the health and social care act from
for years ago, it means community
health contracts have to always be
put out to tender. Millions is
wasted, some even say billions
wasted, on the constant tendering of
contracts. We have just seen a
children's health contracts go to
virgin care in Lancashire. When
virgin care didn't win a contract in
Surrey, they forced the NHS to
settle with them out of court.
Macmillan Cancer Support have one in
Staffordshire, the Red Cross, St
John's ambulance, they all have
contracts provided for under the
very act you say you want to repeal.
You don't want these people involved
in health care delivery?
nurses have had a role since the
1970s. They complement what the NHS
offers so we are not talking about
ending the voluntary sector role.
This isn't just voluntary services.
No, but we are talking about private
firms where a full contract for
service delivery, say a children's
health service, is handed over to
virgin, that means the staff are
handed over, the only way virgin or
whatever that private sector company
is can make a profit is by cutting
down on terms and conditions. It
means the staff are often down
branded, knocked down a level in
terms of their pay, and we don't
believe that delivers the quality of
care children deserve and that's
what we want to end.
You talk about the long waiting
lists. Under the last Labour
government that they came in at a
time in the NHS was and a lot of
pressure and delivery used private
sector companies to work through the
backlog of people who were waiting
for operations in order to get the
waiting lists down quickly. Do you
not think that the NHS as an estate
now where you may be forced to
The NHS has always
got extra capacity from private
service providers in that
circumstance. The Labour government
was not handing over the delivery
lock, stock and barrel for the whole
sort of health contract.
difference. But you might still buy
in services. When you say
outsourcing is finished, it doesn't
mean the whole involvement of
private companies is finished?
NHS will not build its own
ambulances. We will still buy from
the private sector. Without capacity
in the NHS we will buy in from the
private sector. If you want to get
the rescheduled by Easter, if you
wanted to do that, the anyway the
NHS could do that is by buying in
from the private sector. There is a
difference between spot buying in
the private sector and handing out a
complete contract. Take a really in
four example with the cleaning
I will have to leave you
on and ask you about Haringey
Council before we go. Clare Cockburn
was on the Andrew Marr show earlier
and she has been giving interviews,
talking about bullying within the
Labour Party and at council
meetings. -- Kober thought she said
she could not complain to the NEC
because she thought that was in
itself a problem. That is deeply
worrying, isn't it?
I don't know all
the ins and outs I have seen what is
in the newspapers but I used to be a
member of the National Executive
committee until 18 months ago. Clare
Kober, if there were specific
complaints, they do need to go to
the NEC and the NEC would look at
that. Various committees would look
at that very seriously.
a point when a senior member of the
party does not trust the NEC to sort
this out because she thinks they are
part of the problem and not the
I would say that the NEC, in
my experience, would look at these
things. The NEC got involved in
mediation talks. I am not a member
of it anymore but what I understand
is a substantial number of Labour
councillors in Haringey asked the
NEC to intervene I don't know the
ins and outs but it is clear there
are two sides of the story. On
specific allegations where there was
a meeting in Haringey where there
was anti-Semitic chanting in things
like that, if those people are
Labour Party members were they need
to be reported. If people are being
anti-Semitic they will be thrown out
of the Labour Party, simple as that.
Allegations of sexual harassment
and bullying rocked Westminster
when they emerged last autumn.
By the end of the year,
two Cabinet ministers had resigned
and several MPs from different
parties had been suspended
The Government promised action,
and announced a cross-party working
group to decide what it should be.
But, so far, it hasn't
Ellie Price has been finding
out what's going on.
And, just a warning, her report
includes some flash photography.
It wasn't parliament's finest hour.
Revelations of shady goings-on,
of sexual harassment in the Palace's
bars and back rooms,
of bullying in its offices.
Of course, the vast majority of MPs
and their staff were not implicated.
But it was enough that
all the party leaders agreed
something needed to be done.
We should not rest until everyone
working in Parliament can feel safe,
valued and respected.
We have a chance now to get
this right, for everyone
on the parliamentary estate.
Political leaders agreed
to set up a cross-party
working group in November.
MPs, peers, and other interested
groups have been working
on the proposals ever since.
The Leader of the House had said
she wanted the recommendations to be
voted on by Parliament
and implemented by
the end of January.
But here we are at the beginning
of February and still the report
hasn't been published.
before Christmas and then
its scope was widened.
It was then due to be released
on Thursday but I'm told it
still needs final sign off
from the party leaders.
I've been told there is now broad
consensus among members on the group
that its recommendations
are suitably robust.
Sources close to the talks told me
there's recommendations are likely
to include a new independent
grievance procedure for staff,
consent lessons for MPs,
starting after the next general
election, a new code of conduct,
and the one most likely
to grab the headlines,
tougher sanctions, including making
easier the process to recall -
and potentially fire
- an MP.
The current situation is one
where I would face harsher sanctions
and penalties for being rude
about another MP on the floor
of the House of Commons
than I would if I were bullying
or harassing a member of staff.
I don't think that is a reasonable,
or tenable, situation,
and I think we need to give staff,
and the general public we work for,
the confidence that Parliament
is not just abiding by the law
on employment rights
and workplace rights
but actually setting a standard.
A representative from Unite is also
on the working party.
The union says its members,
who work in Parliament,
have lost faith in the system.
Our members don't have confidence
at the moment that there's
going to be enough change
in Parliament to make
a difference to the bullying
and harassment culture.
There needs to be positive
engagement with staff and encourage
them, and give them confidence that,
if they make a complaint over
bullying and harassment, that there
will be proper investigation.
And the working group
has its work cut out.
As HR experts consulted
during the process point out,
reforming the existing employment
rules in Parliament
is not straightforward.
One of the big challenges,
you've got 650 MPs, who are all
running their own offices and staff.
So, effectively, you've got 650
small firms in effect.
And the extent to which they have
had previous experience in managing
people, and running businesses,
is probably limited
in many instances.
So, that's part of the problem.
But any overhaul of the system
is unnecessary, says this MP
who has been in Parliament
for nearly 35 years.
I think, by and large,
the rules work as they are.
And, if courtesy and common sense
are applied, there is no need
for any change at all.
Yeah, there are bad
apples in the barrel.
But those bad apples tend to get
weeded out pretty fast.
And I think we could create,
if we're not careful,
a whistle-blowers charter,
a witch hunters charter.
Very difficult for a male of any age
to defend against an allegation.
I'm told the report will be
published next week,
possibly on Tuesday,
and MPs will then debate
it in the Commons.
But it may not satisfy everyone that
it's exactly what's required to put
this House in order.
It's coming up to 11:40am.
You're watching the Sunday Politics.
Coming up on the programme,
we'll be talking about the violent
scenes after protestors interrupted
a speech by the Conservative
MP Jacob Rees Mogg, and plenty more.
First though, it's time for
the Sunday Politics where you are.
In new or her
Hello or her and welcome to
Sunday Politics in Northern Ireland.
It's a big week ahead
with roundtable talks planned
for Stormont and pressure mounting
for a budget decision.
So what will the SDLP, Alliance
and Ulster Unionists be bringing
to the table tomorrow?
And what happens next if it proves
impossible to bring devolution back?
And joining me with their
the programme are columnist
But first today, Sinn Fein's Gerry
Kelly has found himself
in the middle of a police
investigation after he was filmed
removing a clamp from
the wheel of his car.
A video of Mr Kelly circulated
on social media yesterday
and the police say they're
investigating a report
of criminal damage in
the Cathedral Quarter of Belfast.
A Sinn Fein statement acknowledged
Gerry Kelly had removed the clamp
and that his solicitor is dealing
with the matter.
So is this another
embarrassment for the party?
Brian and Amanda, social media
is awash with the footage.
What do you make of it?
yes, I hardly think it is an
embarrassment for the party. Gerry
Kelly has done a number of
controversial things but we don't
know the details yet. It is possible
that it is one of those occasions
where it is something that is very
small, you don't see that you are
going to be clamped and you don't
know what time of day it was either,
whether it was early morning or
afternoon so I expect it will end up
that he will have to pay the cost of
It seems to indicate that
it happened early in the morning
after a gym session. It was dark.
Yes, I think there will be lots of
questions and it wasn't what I was
expecting to be writing about last
night. It is just another one of
those stories that brings attention
to the unique circumstances of
northern Ireland and its politics.
We will see how it pans out.
assuming it was some sort of by the
contract of the clamped him.
contract of the clamped him. There
are clearly other politicians who
have been expressing their annoyance
and outrage about what happened.
have no doubt that a complaint will
be put into the assembly and they
will investigate what Gerry Kelly
was up to and what his behaviour
There have been calls for his
resignation already over the matter.
Will talk a lot sportier over the
Tomorrow the Secretary of State,
Karen Bradley, will chair her first
roundtable talks at Stormont
since taking up the post,
but she's now playing down
the significance of this week,
which she had previously
described as a "milestone".
While much of the emphasis of recent
months has been on discussions
between Sinn Fein and the DUP,
this is the chance for the smaller
parties to get their
elbows on the table.
Joining me now are the SDLP's
Mark H Durkan, who's in our Foyle
studio, John Stewart
from the Ulster Unionists and the
Alliance Party's Paula Bradshaw.
What are you hoping
for from tomorrow's discussions?
It is interesting to hear that there
hasn't been any down play of the
significance of it and the isn't
much expectation in the public and
we see tomorrow as a huge
opportunity and we have the five
parties finally sitting down at the
start of what is we hope will be a
inclusive and transparent process
and the first test of that
transparency will be weathered the
DUP and Sinn Fein there are
DUP and Sinn Fein there are the
three parties how far they have got
on behind closed doors and the
government has told us as well that
there has been sick that the process
and we are close to a deal but we
need be told that and we can't
address a process that we don't owe
anything about and the public have a
right to know what progress has been
made. They can see that obstacles
remain and we all want to work
together to overcome those obstacles
and get the government up and
Do you have any
optimism about what might come out
of tomorrow or might this be a
process of windowdressing and it
everything will fall apart?
all, I was keeping an eye on the
media yesterday and you would expect
the DUP and Sinn Fein to come out
and say what they expect but that
didn't happen will stop and the
public are right to expect failure,
but we have seen all parties get on
board and that will unlock
everything here and we need a stable
assembly and that will only happen
if we have the mechanisms and
structured to move forward to
Is there any
sense of any movement between the
DUP and Sinn Fein to make you
optimistic about tomorrow?
I have seen. Discussions are
ongoing, but the parties, the DUP
and Alliance have been given no
indication of what progress has been
made. All five parties have sit sat
round the table since June last
year, that is ridiculous, we need
inclusive talks. I have already said
loud and clear to the Secretary of
State that we need to know where the
parties have got to before we can
You can understand why
do Sinn Fein and the DUP would not
want to give away their negotiating
I can't see how they can
ask for an inclusive process, if
they can't even tell the other
parties what is they have got to we
need transparency and be respectful
of the public and we all need to
know what has been going on since
May of last year. I was involved in
the talks before the general
election last year and they were
transparent. What has changed in
that time, we need to know?
Presumably, if these talks are to be
successful they will require
compromise, particularly on the part
of the DUP and Sinn Fein. If those
two parties reveal no negotiating
hands you will tell the rest of
bursts and that will hold them below
the water line so it doesn't make
sense for them to do that.
it makes perfect sense and the
public have a right to know where we
are. Yes, compromise is required.
Politics is meant to be the art of
the possible and is important that
we all compromise so that we get
what is possible. What we have seen
in the past year is no government,
no decisions have been made. We
haven't seen any progress on the
issues that have been proposed,
there has been no progress. We need
a legislative assembly and that is
why it is extremely important that
we focus our energies on redesigning
the petition of concern so that it
can remain as a means of protecting
or be used for abuse the rights of
man or a tease.
So is that what you
think will be the factor that will
bring an end to the logjam? Yellow
macro it's not a view,.
want to look at it, after the
assembly election last March, we
have brought plenty more to the
table and it is important that we
move forward on the Irish language
rights or equal marriage rights, and
we have gone backwards and all those
things have been compromised.
believe that reform of the petition
of concern could be the key?
going to have to be some sort of
agreement this week in terms of some
issues around how that is going to
be informed. But there will be some
things that can be accommodated in
advance of that, like the Irish
language. But we have thought very
much at politically but about the
Irish language act and we would like
to see some agreement about same-sex
marriage. But even the issue about
Gerry Kelly, there isn't a standards
commissioner at the minute,. So the
reform of the petition of concern is
not just about the issues, the
big-ticket issues, it cuts right
across the whole workings of the
Before I ask you about
Gerry Kelly, is the DUP prepared to
compromise to get a deal?
open to the process and I don't know
what the stumbling blocks are. The
Good Friday Agreement, the spirit of
Northern Ireland pro takes is based
Why are members of
your party saying that it is
becoming clearer that the campaign
has been hijacked by Sinn Fein to
promote cultural supremacy. It
doesn't look like he's getting ready
We believe very
strongly that there should be strong
protection for the Irish language
and we see no need for an Irish
language act. And it is not for us
at this stage, we believe strongly
that the place to do this is before
the assembly in a spirit of
But you are not making
it easy for the DUP to compromise.
We are standing by the belief that
we have set down everything as a
What do you make of that?
That doesn't help anybody towards
moving towards compromise.
said that this could be dealt with
and we have now seen an interim
report and there is no reference to
it. He has boxed himself into a
corner and he needs to get on board
with a set of proposals and
legislation and they have been left
behind by much on this.
about the SDLP on the Irish language
act? Does that have to be one?
are entirely supportive of an Irish
language act and in the last
assembly, my party asked for a bill
I know that, but will it
that....? Yellow macro I believe we
do need a devolved institution.
need a Irish language act in the
Let's move on to the
story that we have been talking
about at the beginning of the
programme which is the footage that
has appeared a Gerry Kelly removing
a clamp from his car apparently on
Friday. What do you make of that?
What you think of the implications
of it for the political process?
fact that Gerry Kelly is a
spokesperson for Sinn Fein,
obviously the police have now been
involved and the parties have legal
representation, so we will see how
that pans out. But this is the sort
of stuff that reflects on the
behaviour of MPs and we need to get
the assembly back up and running so
that we can address this matter.
there any circumstances where there
is possible for someone to remove a
wheel clamp with a set of bolts
cutters? Yellow macro I don't
believe the rears.
Who carries bolt
cutters in their boots? I don't
think it is acceptable to be seen to
be doing that. Not only is he a
police spokesperson but he is on the
police board. There has
police board. There has to be. If
the unacceptable to remove it and
say that's because I had meetings to
go to. People don't like being wheel
clamped, getting fined or getting
fined for speeding, but if you break
the law, then you have to face the
consequences. It's not acceptable to
say that you have somewhere to go
and so I removed the clamp.
Fein have made it very clear that
she Gerry Kelly has passed this
matter on to his solicitor and his
solicitor will be dealing with the
interim. And Mr Kelly will not be
making any further comment. Mark,
what you make of the footage using?
I'm not sure how this will proceed
legally but what I do think is very
important is that politicians are
not seem to be be owned or above the
law. The first thing I saw up --
what was in Derry, it is still pitch
black eight o'clock in the morning,
so was it a typo in that statement?
A bit they will clarify that. I do
think, Mark, you started our
conversation today about the really
important issues today which is the
talks. And we shouldn't be
distracted by things like this.
Let's hear more from Brian and
Amanda. In terms of these three
smaller parties, all five parties
will be sitting round the table
discussing the rest Aleutian of
devolution since last June. -- the
restitution of devolution.
become quickly apparent to the SDLP
weather is a process they are part
of. I have found it difficult to
become energised by the current
phase of talks.
Brian, is it a
genuine process and does the import
roll Blunt of the smaller parties
No, tomorrow at the DUP and
Sinn Fein will not say tomorrow
where they stand and one of the
reasons is because the last time the
talks were open, confidential
documents were given to loyalist
protesters, so they just don't trust
the fact that anything they say
confidentially will be kept
confidential. But I think it is also
the stage we have reached where
opinion polls, makes it clear that
they cannot give an Irish act and
the position of Sinn Fein as they
cannot go back in without an Irish
language act so there is a complete
impasse not just on the Irish
language, polar's point. Paulus
point. At any stage the assembly
could collapse. If the First
Minister resigns, that is it.
wonder whether you think Karen
Bradley is the person to break the
logjam. We have had calls for
independent talks, she says it is
not of the table. Lord Eames macro
said he'd we need to get involved.
There is no sign of that happening.
I don't think Karen Bradley whizzed
brought here to inject any new
thinking. One of the interesting
things about the Irish language act,
others party support that.
spectre of another assembly election
was raised during the week, is that
a serious runner?
I don't think it
is, if you have the say another
election with the same result,, the
actual campaign will mean there will
be no movement afterwards.
The boundary commission officially
would least its review of the 17
cars are Jewish in constituencies
for Northern Ireland.
for Northern Ireland. -- review of
the 17 constituencies within
That was a mistake
and people related realise it was a
Sorry there has been
misunderstanding but there have been
to bait or questions about whether
that will be the right point to make
a statement about seeing where we
are on the talks.
Enda McClafferty reporting.
Gerry Adams is
beginning his last week
as Sinn Fein President before
he makes way for Mary Lou McDonald.
Speaking on the Andrew Marr show,
he was asked if Brexit
means his goal of a united
Ireland is now more likely.
I think we need to be very careful
that we don't see Brexit as
something which can be exploited.
Brexit is a disaster for the people
of Ireland. The British government
are not at all clear what the
relationship between the European
union is going to be and they are
arguing that they are going to leave
the customs union and they are going
to lead the single market and that
will end up a complete disaster for
the people here on the island of
Ireland. The negotiations have moved
into the second phase, and it is a
fudge and is full of contradictions
and business people are totally
dependent on the flow of back and
forth of business and commerce but
across the border. The harder you
get the border that will done that.
Brian, Mr Adams steps down after 35
years of the helm. Has his time in
charge brought a united Ireland
closer to a reality?
and role in the last 35 years
certainly hasn't, as things like
Brexit, demographic change and
economic change, but the 35 years of
the IRA campaign under Gerry Adams
leadership certainly hasn't.
agree with that?
Yes, I think the
time is now right for the
Republicans to set out what Ireland
should look like.
But it is going to
be a different Sinn Fein without
Of course. Their
ambition is to get
Welcome back. Our expert panel is
still with us to talk through the
week's events and what we expected,
in the near future. One thing that
made the news was a scuffle at a
university in Bristol where Jacob
Rees Mogg was interrupted by some
protesters. Let's take a quick look
before we talk about it.
Jacob Rees Mogg, who always seems to
be the centre of any story these
days but Steve, are those unusual
scenes at the University political
meeting or is that happening around
the country are not being caught on
camera and therefore we do not know
It is not that unusual and
it happens at times when politics is
at the forefront. There is nothing
exceptional about the highly charged
atmosphere of politics and students
have always chosen controversial
speakers to go to university and get
a hard time like that. Jacob Rees
Mogg is brilliant at dealing with
people like that. I have seen him at
meetings where people have come in
and he is fantastic. Very polite and
courteous. That is the way of doing
it. It is an absolute myth that
something is happening and there is
a lot going on in politics at the
moment that is disturbing. People
doing this is not justifiable and
has always happened.
The idea that
someone would come to speak at the
union and someone did not like their
views and you would put on a
balaclava and shout, fascist some at
them, and think that was acceptable.
That did not happen. I'd tell you
what also did not happen, he was not
condoned by the Shadow Chancellor.
Not condone the behaviour in
Apart from the fact that
John McDonnell, not Jeremy Corbyn,
has repeatedly encouraged laughter
from audiences, talking about a
violent insurrection against
politicians. He said he thinks no
Tory MP should be able to speak
publicly without having this sort of
behaviour. Condoned by a mainstream
party, effectively Deputy Leader.
think you meant condemns all
He says that he has not
specifically condemned this. Correct
me if I am wrong. He has not
specifically condemned this.
Lewis was trying to say these are
elements of the hard left and trying
to make this a bit of a party
political movement. There is no
evidence that they are associated
with the Labour Party.
There is a
little bit of evidence. A lot of
these infiltrators are members of
Momentum and they consider it to
Jeremy Corbyn. It is now an official
Labour Party campaign group. Brandon
Lewis is going to jump all over this
to try to claim huge political
capital in a bit of a naughty way.
Labour frontbenchers are not
encouraging their members. There is
wider truth going on, which is
politics is basically getting more
ideological. The centre ground is
weak and has a very poor voice. The
louder are on the far left and the
far right. That is why the centre
ground have to speak up.
only one party conference where your
political editor needs security
guards. There is only one another is
the Labour Party confidence. When
Brandon Lewis was here earlier and
he said the Labour Party wants to
stop intimidation in politics, it is
arguable the public order act allows
for that anyway from that nobody
wants to see people putting
themselves forward in public life
being intimidated. Is this a way of
getting political capital out of the
It is. I remember Keith
Joseph, a real innocent right-winger
going to universities and getting
worse treatment than this. I am not
justifying this treatment was it has
always gone on amongst students.
There is anger that it manifests
itself in these stupid ways but has
always gone on. He is trying to make
political capital. Linked to
Momentum, it is not clear. People
are struggling in the media to make
sense of it. It is different in
different places and its influence
is different in different places. He
is trying to make political capital
out of things that have always gone
Jacob Rees Mogg is at the centre
of every story this week. He is
deeply critical of Treasury
forecasts and having a go at the
civil servants. He actually accused
civil servants in the Treasury of
fiddling the figures. It was a
remarkable thing for a senior
politician to say when they
generally pride ourselves on the
impartiality of the civil service in
this country. A former head of the
civil service, Gus O'Donnell, said
this to say.
We look at the evidence
and we go where it is.
Of course, if you are selling snake
oil, you don't like the idea
of experts testing your product.
That's what we've got,
this backlash of evidence among
experts is because they know
where the experts will go.
Julia, that is him criticising
Brexiteers who have been criticising
What do you make
of it? What is that an ageing is we
are forgetting why the Office for
Budget Responsibility was set up. It
was about the fact the Treasury and
civil servants were politicising
these budget predictions and all of
these growth predictions and it
would take the politics out of it
and set up the OBR. Why it was
accepted it was a good idea, we know
the civil service, it is ingrained
in them to be against change it has
been ingrained since time in
memorial. Everyone working for them
says they have to work against the
sluggish view of the civil service.
Brexit is the biggest change their
will take on. They go with the
facts. The same civil servants from
the Treasury are working on those
predictions. It was politicised and
utterly wrong. After the vote to
leave, they predicted there would be
5000 job losses and a recession. The
people who worked on and on this
Treasury report, they are either
completely politicised, in which
case they should go, or they are
really bad at their jobs, in which
case they should go.
It is quite
astonishing to save the Treasury has
its own political agenda.
total bunkum. Civil servants have
views. They are voters that they
properly came into the civil service
because they are
because they are interested in
politics. Civil servants will and
have carried out brilliant bits of
change was that they were behind the
creation of the NHS and welfare
reforms. Everything like that was
done by civil servants. To think
civil servants do things people
disapprove of and an ideological
perspective that Julia will not like
is because they are not being given
direction by ministers for the if
ministers run civil servants
properly they will get results that
they want. Civil servants have had a
woeful leadership from the
Government about Brexit because the
Government will not get off the
They may well have to this
week. They have two meetings this
week. Will we have any further
clarity by the end of that what the
Government wants the end state to
It will be what it appears to be
now, which is, you have your cake
and eat its strategy. Theresa May
will emerge from these two important
meetings and will say that we want
some kind of continued free trade
relationship with Europe but we want
to be free to make our own trade
deals. B want a soft border with
Ireland and so did be you and now we
will go in and negotiate. It seems
to me that is where the problem
begins. -- the EU. She will
begins. -- the EU. She will not a
have your cake and eat it option.
There are tensions about the
relationship with the customs union.
You mentioned her speech about an
associate membership with the
There has been a huge
row about whether we are leaving the
customs union but could be being our
customs union question that she had
said I want is to have a customs
agreement. Why is this such a fault
line within the party?
It comes down
to the absolute epicentre all now up
of Brexit if there is such a thing.
-- nub. A senior Cabinet minister,
they said, the customs union is the
fault line driving right through the
Cabinet on Brexit. It always was and
always will be full to the customs
union is the one thing that will
either stop the Brexiteers getting
what they want out of Brexit, which
is trade deals with the rest of the
world. They remain as corrupt or
soft Brexiteers with what they want,
which is closer links with the EU.
That is why there is such strong
disagreement. There will be yet
another fudge in Cabinet because it
is too hard to make a binary
decision. That will go to the EU.
The EU will look at it and say, this
is cake and eat it verge, decide.
That is the key moment.
extraordinary. -- fudge. It
certainly should not be decided now
that the idea they will decided in a
four our debate is rather unlikely.
Also if you end up with a situation
which does not explain with much
clarity, it will not stop the noises
from the rest of the party, will it?
That has been unstoppable for 30
years. That will be the constant
background hum. It is the fate of
every Tory leader to try to navigate
around that noise. Of course, Europe
has brought down the last three Tory
Prime Minister. Although earlier I
cautious about saying whether she
would fall over the next few months,
Europe is the thing that torment is
The alternative, could
a non-Brexiteer come through and
become Tory leader and then Prime
Minister have another election?
Jeremy Corbyn is in favour of
That's all for today.
Join me again next Sunday
at 11 here on BBC One.
Until then, bye-bye.
Sarah Smith and Mark Carruthers with the latest political news, interviews and debate. Guests include chairman of the Conservative Party Brandon Lewis MP and shadow secretary of state for health Jonathan Ashworth MP. The political panel comprises Tom Newton Dunn, Steve Richards and Julia Hartley-Brewer.