05/02/2017 Sunday Politics Northern Ireland


Andrew Neil and Mark Carruthers with the latest political news, interviews and debate. Guests include Gavin Barwell MP, Charles Grant and Henry Newman.

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It's Sunday morning, and this is the Sunday Politics.


Theresa May pledged to help people who are "just about managing",


and this week her government will announce new measures to boost


the number of affordable homes and improve conditions for renters.


After a US court suspends Donald Trump's travel ban and rules


it could be unconstitutional, one of the President's inner circle


tells me there is no "chaos", and that Donald Trump's White House


is making good on his campaign promises.


As the Government gets into gear for two years


of Brexit negotiations, we report on the haggling to come


over the UK's Brexit bill for leaving the European Union -


and the costs and savings once we've left.


And with me, as always, a trio of top political


journalists - Helen Lewis, Tom Newton Dunn


They'll be tweeting throughout the programme,


So, more anguish to come this week for the Labour party as the House


of Commons continues to debate the bill which paves the way


Last week, Labour split over the Article 50 bill,


with a fifth of Labour MPs defying Jeremy Corbyn to vote against.


Five shadow ministers resigned, and it's expected Mr Corbyn


will have to sack more frontbenchers once the bill is voted


Add to that the fact that the Labour Leader's close ally


Diane Abbot failed to turn up for the initial vote -


blaming illness - and things don't look too rosy


The Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry was asked


about the situation earlier on the Andrew Marr show.


The Labour Party is a national party and we represent the nation,


and the nation is divided on this, and it is very difficult.


Many MPs representing majority Remain constituencies have this very


difficult balancing act between - do I represent my constituency,


Labour, as a national party, have a clear view.


We fought to stay in Europe, but the public have spoken,


But the important thing now is not to give Theresa May a blank check,


we have to make sure we get the right deal for the country.


That was Emily Thornberry. Helen, is this like a form of Chinese water


torture for the Labour Party? And for journalists, to! We are in a


situation where no one really thinks it's working. A lot of authority has


drained away from Jeremy Corbyn but no one can do anything about it.


What we saw from the leadership contest is on the idea of a Blairite


plot to get rid of him. You are essentially stuck in stasis. The


only person that can remove Jeremy Corbyn is God or Jeremy Corbyn.


Authority may have moved from Mr Corbyn but it's not going anywhere


else, there's not an alternative centre of authority? Not quite, but


Clive Lewis is name emerging, the Shadow Business Secretary. A lot of


the Labour left, people like Paul Mason, really like him and would


like to see him in Corbyn. I think that's why Jeremy Corbyn do


something extraordinary next week and abstain from Article 50, the


main bill itself, to keep his Shadow Cabinet together. That clip on


Andrew Marr, point blank refusing to say if Labour will vote for Article


50. The only way Jeremy Corbyn can hold this mess together now is to


abstain, which would be catastrophic across Brexit constituencies in the


North. The problem with abstention is everyone will say on the issue of


our time, the official opposition hasn't got coherent or considered


policy? I love the way Emily Thornberry said the country is


divided and we represent the country, in other words we are


divided at the party as well. The other thing that was a crucial


moment this week is the debate over whether there should be a so-called


meaningful vote by MPs on the deal that Theresa May gets. That is a


point of real danger for Brexit supporters. It may well be there is


a coalition of Labour and SNP and Remain MPs, Tory MPs, who vote for


that so-called meaningful vote that could undermine Theresa May's


negotiation. So Theresa May could have had troubles as well, not plain


sailing for her? There is no point, apart from lonely Ken Clarke voting


against Article 50, no point in Tory remainders rebelling. It would have


been a token gesture with no support. But there might be


meaningful amendments. One might be on the status of EU nationals... The


government could lose that. There might be a majority for some of


those amendments. The ins and outs of the Labour Party, it fascinates


the Labour Party and journalists. I suspect the country has just moved


on and doesn't care. You are probably quite right. To be honest I


struggled to get Labour split stories in my paper any more, the


bar is so high to make it news. Where it does matter is now not


everyone will pay huge amounts to the -- of attention to the vote on


Wednesday. But come the general election in 2020, maybe a little


earlier, every Tory leaflet and every labour constituency will say


this guy, this goal, they refuse to vote for Brexit, do you want them in


power? That is going to be really hard for them. The story next week


may be Tory splits rather than just Labour ones, we will see.


Theresa May has made a big deal out of her commitment to help people


on middle incomes who are "just about managing", and early this week


we should get a good sense of what that means in practice -


when plans to bring down the cost of housing and protect renters


are published in the Government's new white paper.


Theresa May has promised she'll kick off Brexit negotiations with the EU


by the end of March, and after months of shadow-boxing


Ellie Price reports on the battle to come over the UK's Brexit bill,


and the likely costs and savings once we've left.


It was the figure that defined the EU referendum campaign.


It was also a figure that was fiercely disputed, but the promise -


vote leave and Britain won't have to pay into the EU are any more.


So, is that what's going to happen now?


The trouble with buses is you tend to have to wait for them


and when Theresa May triggers Article 50, the clock starts


She needs something quicker, something more sporty.


According to the most recent Treasury figures,


Britain's gross contribution to the EU, after the rebate


is taken into account, is about ?14 billion a year.


There are some complicating factors that means it can go up


or down year on year, but that's roughly how much the UK


will no longer sending to Brussels post-Brexit.


But, there are other payments that Britain will have to shell out for.


First and foremost, the so-called divorce settlement.


It is being said, and openly by Commissioner Barnier


and others in the Commission, that the total financial liability


as they see it might be in the order of 40-60 billion


The BBC understands the figure EU negotiators are likely


to settle on is far lower, around 34 billion euros,


but what does the money they are going to argue


Well, that's how much Britain owes for stuff in the EU budget that's


already signed up for until 2020, one year after we are


Historically, Britain pays 12% in contributions,


so the cost to the UK is likely to be between ten


Then they will look at the 200-250 billion euros of underfunded


spending commitments, the so-called RAL.


Britain could also be liable for around 5-7 billion euros


for its share in the pensions bill for EU staff, that's again


12% of an overall bill of 50-60 billion.


Finally there's a share of our assets held by the EU.


They include things like this building, the European Commission


Britain could argue it deserves a share back of around 18 billion


euros from a portfolio that's said to be worth 153 billion euros.


So, lots for the two sides to discuss in two years of talks.


They have a great opportunity with the Article 50 talks


because actually they can hold us to ransom.


They can say, "You figure out money, we will talk about your trade.


But until you've figured out the money, we won't," so I think


a lot of European states think they are in a very strong


negotiating position at the moment and they intend to make


The principle is clear, the days of Britain making vast


contributions to the European Union every year will end.


Theresa May has already indicated that she would want to sign back up


to a number of EU agencies on a program-by-program basis.


The Europol for example, that's the European crime


agency, or Erasmus Plus, which wants student exchanges.


If everything stays the same as it is now, it would cost the UK


675 million euros a year, based on analysis by


But there are likely to be agencies we don't choose to participate in.


If we only opted back to those dealing with security,


trade, universities and, say, climate change,


it could come with a price tag of 370 million euros per year.


Of course that's if our European neighbours allow us.


I wonder if they're going to let me in!


There will also be a cost to creating a new system to resolve


trade disputes with other nations once we are no longer part


Take the EFTA Court which rules on disputes


between the EU and Norway, Iceland and Lichtenstein.


That costs 4 million euros to run each year,


though in the Brexit White Paper published this week,


the Government said it will not be constrained by precedent


Finally, would the EU get behind the idea of Britain making some


contribution for some preferential access to its market?


The sort of thing that Theresa May seems to be hinting


at are sectoral arrangements, some kind of partial membership


Switzerland, which has a far less wide-ranging deal than Norway,


pays about 320 million a year for what it gets into the EU budget,


but it's not exactly the Swiss deal that we're after.


The EU institutions hate the Swiss deal because it is codified


in a huge number of treaties that are messy, complicated


and cumbersome, and they really don't want to replicate


Theresa May has been at pains to insist she's in the driving seat


when it comes to these negotiations, and that she's


But with so much money up for discussion, it may not be such


Sadly she didn't get to keep the car!


And I've been joined to discuss the Brexit balance sheet


by the director of the Centre for European Reform, Charles Grant,


and by Henry Newman who runs the think tank Open Europe.


Henry Newman, these figures that are being thrown about in Brussels at


the moment, and exit bill of 40-60,000,000,000. What do you make


of them? I think it is an opening gambit from the institutions and we


should take them seriously. We listened to Mr Rogers, the former


ambassador to Brussels in the House of Commons last week, speaking about


the sort of positions the EU is likely to take in the negotiation. I


personally think the Prime Minister should be more concerned about


getting the right sort of trade arrangements, subsequent to our


departure, than worrying about the exact detail of the divorce


settlement and the Bill. They might not let them go on to trade until


they resolve this matter. Where does the Brexit bill, the cost of exit,


if there is to be one, in terms of a sum of money, where does that come


in the negotiations, upfront or at the end? The European Commission has


a firm line on this. You have to talk about the Brexit bill and the


divorce settlement before you talk about the future relationship.


Therefore they are saying if you don't sign up for 60 billion or


thereabouts, we won't talk about the future. Other member states take a


softer line than that and think you probably have to talk about the


divorce settlement and Brexit bill as the same -- at the same time as


the economic situation. If you can do both at the same time, the


atmosphere may be better natured. You have spoken to people in


Brussels and are part of a think tank, how Revista gives the figure


or is it an opening gambit? Most member states and EU institutions


believe they think it is the true figure but when the negotiations


start adding the number will come down. As long as the British are


prepared to sign up to the principle of we owe you a bit of money, as the


cheque, then people will compromise. What is the ballpark? You had a


figure of 34 billion, that is news to me, nobody knows because


negotiations haven't started but I think something lower than 60. Even


60 would be politically toxic for a British government? I think Theresa


May is in a strong position, she has united the Conservative Party. You


could expect coming into this year all the Conservative divisions would


be laid bare by Gina Miller. But she is leading a united party. Labour


Party are divided... Coogee get away with paying 30 billion? We should


give her the benefit of the doubt going into these negotiations, let


her keep her cards close to her chest. The speech he gave a few


weeks ago at Lancaster House, our judgment was she laid out as much


detail as we could have expected at that point. I don't think it's


helpful for us now to say, we shouldn't be introducing further red


line. I want you to be helpful and find things out. I would suggest if


there is a bill, let's say it's 30 billion, let's make it half of what


the current claims coming out of Brussels. And of course it won't


have to be paid in one year, I assume it's not one cheque but


spread over. But we will wait a long time for that 350 million a week or


what ever it was that was meant to come from Brussels to spend on the


NHS. That's not going to happen for the next five, six or seven years.


Everyone has been clear there will be a phased exit programme. The


question of whether something is political possible for her in terms


of the divorce settlement will depend on what she gets from the


European Union in those negotiations. If she ends up


settling for a bill of about 30 billion which I think would be


politically... No matter how popular she is, politically very difficult


for her, it does kill any idea there is a Brexit dividend for Britain.


Some of the senior officials in London and Brussels are worried this


issue could crash the talks because it may be possible for Theresa May


to accept a Brexit bill of 30 billion and if there is no deal and


will leave EU without a settlement, there is massive legal uncertainty.


What contract law applies? Can our planes take off from Heathrow?


Nobody knows what legal rights there are for an EU citizen living here


and vice versa. If there is no deal at the end of two years, it is quite


bad for the European economy, therefore they think they have all


the cards to play and they think if it is mishandled domestically in


Britain than we have a crash. But there will be competing interests in


Europe, the Baltic states, Eastern Europe, maybe quite similar of the


Nordic states, that in turn different from the French, Germans


or Italians. How will Europe come to a common view on these things? At


the moment they are quite united backing a strong line, except for


the polls and Hungarians who are the bad boys of Europe and the Irish who


will do anything to keep us happy. We should remember their priority is


not economics, they are not thinking how can they maximise trade with the


UK, they are under threat. The combination of Trump and Brexit


scares them. They want to keep the institutions strong. They also want


to keep Britain. That is the one strong card we have, contributing to


security. We know we won't be members of the single market, that


was in the White Paper. The situation of the customs union is


more complicated I would suggest. Does that have cost? If we can be a


little bit pregnant in the customs union, does that come with a price


ticket? We have got some clarity on the customs union, the Prime


Minister said we would not be part of the... We would be able to do our


own trade deals outside the EU customs union, and also not be part


of the common external tariff. She said she is willing to look at other


options and we don't know what that will be so as a think tank we are


looking at this over the next few weeks and coming up with


recommendations for the Government and looking at how existing


boundaries between the EU customs union and other states work in


practice. For example between Switzerland and the EU border,


Norway and Switzerland, and the UK and Canada. We will want is a


country the freedom to do our own free trade deals, that seems to be


quite high up there, and to change our external tariffs to the rest of


the world. If that's the case, we do seem to be wanting our cake and


eating it in the customs union. Talking to some people in London, it


is quite clear we are leaving the essentials of the customs union, the


tariff, so even if we can minimise controls at the border by having


mutual recognition agreements, so we recognise each other's standards,


but there will still have to be checks for things like rules of


origin and tariffs if tariffs apply, which is a problem for the Irish


because nobody has worked out how you can avoid having some sort of


customs control on the border between Northern Ireland and the


South once we are out of the customs union. I think it's important we


don't look at this too much as one side has to win and one side has to


lose scenario. We can find ways. My Broadview is what we get out of the


negotiation will depend on politics more than economic reality. Economic


reality is strong, there's a good case for a trade deal on the


solution on the customs deal, but Britain will need to come up with a


positive case for our relationship and keep making that case. If it


turns out the Government thinks the bill is too high, that we can't


really get the free trade deal done in time and it's left hanging in the


wind, what are the chances, how I as things stand now that we end up


crashing out? I'd say there's a 30% chance that we don't get the free


trade agreement at the end of it that Mrs May is aiming for. The very


hard crash is you don't even do an Article 50 divorce settlement from


you go straight to World Trade Organisation rules. The less hard


crash is doing the divorce settlement and transitional


arrangements would require European Court of Justice arrangements. We


will leave it there. Thank you, both.


Donald Trump's flagship policy of extreme vetting of immigrants


and a temporary travel ban for citizens of seven mainly-muslim


countries was stopped in its tracks this weekend.


On Friday a judge ruled the ban should be lifted and that it


That prompted President Trump to fire off a series of tweets


criticising what he says was a terrible decision


by a so-called judge, as he ordered the State Department


Now the federal appeals court has rejected his request to reinstate


the ban until it hears the case in full.


Well yesterday I spoke to Sebastian Gorka, Deputy Assistant


I asked him if the confusion over the travel ban


was a sign that the President's two-week-old administration


There is no chaos, you really shouldn't believe the spin, the


facts speak for themselves. 109 people on Saturday were mildly


inconvenienced by having their entry into the United States delayed out


of 325,000. So let's not get carried away with the left-wing media bias


and spin. Hold on, 60,000 - 90,000 people with visas, their visas are


no longer valid. That's another issue. You need to listen to what


I'm saying. The people who entered on the day of the executive order


being implemented worth 109 people out of 325. Whether people won't


travelling to America were affected is another matter, so there is no


chaos to comment on. Following Iran's latest missile tests,


National Security adviser Flint said the US was "Putting Iran on notice",


what does that mean? It means we have a new president and we are not


going to facilitate the rise of one of the most dangerous nations in the


world. We are jettisoning this naive and dangerous policy of the Obama


Administration to try and make the Shi'ite dictatorial democracy some


kind of counter balance to extremist Sunni groups in the region and that


they cannot continue to behave in the way they have behaved for the


last 30 years. It is a very simple message. So are there any


multilateral alliances that Mr Trump would like to strengthen?


Absolutely. If we are looking at the region, if you listen to what


President Trump has said and specifically to also the speeches of


general Flint, his national security adviser, we are incredibly vested in


seeing our Sunni allies in the region come together in a real


coalition. The so-called vaunted 66 nation coalition that was created


under the Obama administration... There was no coalition. But we want


to help our Sunni allies, especially the Egyptians, the Jordanians, come


together in a real partnership to take the fight to ISIS and groups


like Al-Qaeda. But there is not a formal multilateral alliance with


these countries. Which of the existing, formal multilateral


alliances does Mr Trump wants to strengthen? If you are specifically


talking about Nato, it is clear that we are committed to Nato but we wish


to see a more equitable burden sharing among the nations that are


simply not spending enough on their own defence so the gentleman 's


agreement of 2% of GDP has to be stuck to, unlike the, I think it's


only Six Nations that reach the standard today out of almost 30. So


he does want to strengthen Nato then? Absolutely, he believes Nato


is the most successful military alliances. You mustn't believe the


spin and hype. EU leaders now see the Trump administration as a threat


up there with Russia, China, terrorism. What's your response to


that? I have to laugh. The idea that the nation that came to the


salvation of Europe twice in the 20th century hummer in World War I


and World War II, was central to the defeat of the totalitarian... It is


not even worth commenting on. Would it matter to the Trump


administration if the European Union broke up? The United States is very


interested in the best relations possible with all the nations of the


EU am a whether the European union wishes to stay together or not is up


to the nations of the European Union. I understand that but I was


wondering what the US view would be. Until Mr Trump, EU foreign policy


was quite consistent in wanting to see the EU survive, prosper and even


become more integrated. Now that doesn't seem to be the case, so


would it matter to the Trump administration if the EU broke up? I


will say yet again, it is in the interests of the United States to


have the best relations possible with our European allies, and


whether that is in the formation of the EU or if the EU by itself


suffers some kind of internal issues, that's up to the European


nations and not something we will comment on. Listening to that


answer, it would seem as if this particular president's preference is


to deal with individual nation states rather than multilateral


institutions. Is that fair? I don't think so. There's never been an


unequivocal statement by that effect by the statement. Does he share the


opinion of Stephen Bannon that the 21st century should see a return to


nation states rather than growing existing multilateral ways? I think


it is fair to say that we have problems with political elites that


don't take the interests of the populations they represent into


account. That's why Brexit happened. I think that's why Mr Trump became


President Trump. This is the connected phenomena. You are


obsessing about institutions, it is not about institutions, it's about


the health of democracy and whether political elites do what is in the


interests of the people they represent. Given the


unpredictability of the new president, you never really know


what he's going to do next, would it be wise for the British Prime


Minister to hitch her wagon to his star? This is really churlish


questioning. Come on, you don't know what he's going to do next, listen


to what he says because he does what he's going to say. I know this may


be shocking to some reporters, but look at his campaign promises, and


the fact that in the last 15 days we have executed every single one that


we could in the time permissible so there is nothing unpredictable about


Donald Trump as president. OK then, if we do know what he's going to do


next, what is he going to do next? Continue to make good on his


election promises, to make America great again, to make the economy are


flourishing economy, and most important of all from your


perspective in the UK, to be the best friend possible to our friends


and the worst enemy to our enemies. It is an old Marine Corps phrase and


we tend to live by it. Thank you for your time, we will leave it there.


Doctor Gorka, making it clear this administration won't spend political


capital on trying to keep the European Union together, a watershed


change in American foreign policy. Theresa May has made a big deal out


of her commitment to help people on middle incomes who are "just


about managing", and early this week we should get a good sense


of what that means in practice - when plans to bring down the cost


of housing and protect renters are published in the Government's


new white paper. The paper is expected to introduce


new rules on building Communities Secretary Sajid Javid


has previously said politicians should not stand in the way


of development, provided all options Also rumoured are new measures


to speed up building the 1 million new homes the Government promised


to build by 2020, including imposing five-year quotas


on reluctant councils. Reports suggest there will be


relaxation of building height restrictions,


allowing home owners and developers to build to the height


of the tallest building on the block without needing to seek


planning permission. Other elements trialled include


new measures to stop developers sitting on parcels of land


without building homes, land banking, and moving railway


station car parks Underground, The Government today said it


will amend planning rules so more homes can be built specifically


to be rented out through longer term tenancies, to provide more stability


for young families, alongside its proposed ban


on letting agent fees. And the Housing Minister,


Gavin Barwell, joins me now. Welcome to the programme. Home


ownership is now beyond the reach of most young people. You are now


emphasising affordable homes for rent. Why have you given up on the


Tory dream of a property owning democracy? We haven't given up on


that. The decline on home ownership in this country started in 2004. So


far we have stopped that decline, we haven't reversed it but we


absolutely want to make sure that people who want to own and can do


so. The Prime Minister was very clear a country that works for


everyone. That means we have to have say something to say to those who


want to rent as well as on. Home ownership of young people is 35%,


used to be 60%. Are you telling me during the lifetime of this


government that is going to rise? We want to reverse the decline. We have


stabilised it. The decline started in 2004 under Labour. They weren't


bothered about it. We have taken action and that has stop the


decline... What about the rise? We have to make sure people work hard


the right thing have the chance to own their home on home. We have


helped people through help to buy, shared ownership, that is part of


it, but we have to have something to say to those who want to rent. You


say you want more rented homes so why did you introduce a 3%


additional stamp duty levied to pay those investing in build to rent


properties? That was basically to try and stop a lot of the


speculation in the buy to let market. The Bank of England raised


concerns about that. When you see the white paper, you will see there


is a package of measures for Bill to rent, trying to get institutional


investment for that, different to people going and buying a home on


the private market and renting out. You are trying to get institutional


money to comment, just as this government and subsequent ones


before said it would get pension fund money to invest in


infrastructure and it never happened. Why should this happen? Is


already starting to happen. If you go around the country you can see


some of these builder rent scheme is happening. There are changes in the


White Paper... How much money from institutions is going into bill to


rent modular hundreds of millions. I was at the stock exchange the other


day celebrating the launch of one of our bombs designed to get this money


on. There are schemes being... There is huge potential to expand it. We


need more homes and we are too dependent on a small number of large


developers. -- to launch one of our bonds. You talk about affordable


renting, what is affordable? Defined as something that is at least 20%


below the market price. It will vary around the country. Let me put it


another way. The average couple renting now have to spend 50% of


their income on rent. Is that affordable? That is exactly what


we're trying to do something about. Whether you're trying to buy or


rent, housing in this country has become less and less affordable


because the 30-40 years governments haven't built in times. This white


Paper is trying to do something about that. You have been in power


six, almost seven years. That's right. Why are ownership of new


homes to 24 year low? It was a low figure because it's a new five-year


programme. That is not a great excuse. It's not an excuse at all.


The way these things work, you have a five-year programme and in the


last year you have a record number of delivery and when you start a new


programme, a lower level. If you look at the average over six years,


this government has built more affordable housing than the previous


one. Stiletto 24 year loss, that is an embarrassment. Yes. We have the


figures, last year was 32,000, the year before 60 6000. You get this


cliff edge effect. It is embarrassing and we want to stop it


happening in the future. You want to give tenants more secure and longer


leases which rent rises are predictable in advance. Ed Miliband


promoted three-year tenancies in the 2015 general election campaign and


George Osborne said it was totally economically illiterate. What's


changed? You are merging control of the rents people in charge, which


we're not imposing. We want longer term tenancies. Most people have


six-month tenancies... Within that there would be a control on how much


the rent could go up? Right? It would be set for the period of the


tenancies. That's what I just said, that's what Ed Miliband proposed. Ed


Miliband proposed regulating it for the whole sector. One of the reasons


institutional investment is so attractive, if you had a spare home


and you want to rent out, you might need it any year, so you give it a


short tenancy. If you have a block, they are interested in a long-term


return and give families more security. You have set a target,


your government, to build in the life of this parliament 1 million


new homes in England by 2020. You're not going to make that? I think we


are. If you look at 2015-16 we had 190,000 additional homes of this


country. Just below the level we need to achieve. Over five...


2015-16. You were probably looking at the new homes built. Talking


about completions in England. That is not the best measure, with


respect. You said you will complete 1 million homes by 2020 so what is


wrong with it? We use a national statistic which looks at new homes


built and conversions and changes of use minus demolitions. The total


change of the housing stock over that year. On that basis I have the


figures here. I have the figures. You looking I just completed. 1


million new homes, the average rate of those built in the last three


quarters was 30 6000. You have 14 more quarters to get to the 1


million. You have to raise that to 50 6000. I put it to you, you won't


do it. You're not looking at the full picture of new housing in this


country. You're looking at brand-new homes and not including conversions


or changes of use are not taking off, which we should, demolitions.


If you look at the National statistic net additions, in 2015-16,


100 and 90,000 new homes. We are behind schedule. -- 190,000. I am


confident with the measures in the White Paper we can achieve that. It


is not just about the national total, we need to build these homes


are the right places. Will the green belt remain sacrosanct after the


white paper? Not proposing to change the existing protections that there


for green belts. What planning policy says is councils can remove


land from green belts but only in exceptional circumstances and should


look at at all the circumstances before doing that. No change? No. We


have a manifesto commitment. You still think you will get 1 million


homes? The green belt is only 15%. This idea we can only fix our broken


housing market by taking huge swathes of land out of the green


belt is not true. We will leave it there, thank you for joining us,


Gavin Barwell. It is coming up to 11.40.


We say goodbye to viewers in Scotland, who leave us now


Coming up here in 20 minutes, the Week Ahead...


Hello and welcome to Sunday Politics in Northern Ireland.


Four weeks from now, we should know exactly who has


won what in the latest Assembly election.


In our first leaders' interview, I'll ask the Alliance Party's Naomi


Long what makes this trip to the polls different.


Will Leitch has been talking to some of the less well-known


I've been looking at how you go about winning a seat for the


smallest parties, in the big house. And giving the wisdom


of their insight on all things political are Rick Wilford


and Patricia MacBride. We're well into the election


campaign - doors are being knocked, babies are being kissed -


so it's time to start our series of interviews


with the party leaders. Today I'm joined by the Alliance


Party's Naomi Long, who is, of course, fighting her first


election as the woman in charge. Power-sharing has tripped


on its laces again, the place is echoing to the cries of people


saying they're fed up with the same old same old -


if the Alliance Party can't make major strides in this election,


it's time to pack up Well, I think that is a very gloomy


outlook to have. First of all, Alliance has been growing very


strongly in terms of our membership. We are recruiting about a dozen


people a day, probably making us one of the fastest-growing parties in


Northern Ireland. We are also having people coming forward from


constituencies where we previously had quite weak membership. When I


took over as leader I said I wanted to strengthen the areas where we


already have elected representation, and reach out beyond that poor. I


hoped that I would have until the council elections in 2019 to be able


to prove whether that strategy is working. I feel quite good about it,


because it is an opportunity to show that we are quite serious about that


average. There will have been people in places like Omar in Cookstown,


and Ballycastle who will have had the those not by a Alliance who will


not have done for a long time. -- Omagh. But you need to be making


inroads West of the ban if you are to be considered as a serious


political force. And I've just described how we're doing that. We


are running candidates from those constituencies who have good


background in terms of being able for example, having worked in


education and health and so on, who are coming to the party now... But


are they going to win seats? You are telling me you are going to grow,


but it is a time of shrinkage. That's a tall order. It may be a


time of shrinkage as far as the Assembly is concerned, but it is a


time of growth for our lives. We are seeing new people come forward as


candidates who are keen to stand. How many seats are you aiming for? I


never do that, because as soon as I give you a number, you will say I am


writing of the rest of the seats. I am ambitious for Northern Ireland.


Well, then, you should be able to see what your target is. We are


running 21 candidates... You are not going to win 21 seats. Do you think


you seriously might? Remember, elections are not cumulative. What


happened at the last election counts for nothing. We all go to the ballot


box on the same basis, and if people come out and vote Alliance, they


will get Alliance. I think it is far too easy for people to write parties


of based on previous performance. If we want to look at previous


performance, let's look at what the parties have delivered a vote on


that basis. If you held onto the eight seats you currently have, most


commentators would say you had done pretty well. I hope they do. So


eight is realistic? I said I hoped people aren't that gracious if we


held our eight seats. So realistically, aid is quite a big


ask, in the circumstances. If you look at the previous election, Mark,


on the basis of our votes in the previous election we would have held


eight in a 90 seat Assembly. Now, a lot has happened since the last


election, in terms of the fact we are back in another one and eight


months. In terms actually of those failures being around issues that we


highlighted. The petition of concern, continued paramilitaries in


our communities. Those are the issues when we were asked to join


the expected that made us say no. The public now have an opportunity


to set that right, by electing people who are standing by things


that will make the Executive work better, because ultimately I am not


running 21 candidates as a protest vote, I'm running them with a


positive and construction agenda for Northern Ireland that will actually


deliver post election. How do you shake of the allegations that the


party is middle-of-the-road and out of touch? If you are bred to make


the breakthrough you hope to make, you have got nailed that. I am


laughing because the idea that I am inherently middle-class is


somewhat... Are you going to tell the UI not? We have people in our


party from all walks of life. If anybody looks, we have one of the


most diverse tickets in terms of gender, sexual orientation,


disability, all of those things, and in terms of where people work and


their social class. Inclusion is not just something we talk about, it is


something we do, and that is what we are focused on. I actually think


anyone who sees as that way is looking at very old stereotypes. Has


it changed? Listen to this. Vasundhara Kamble comments on class


- listen to this: Alliance They are only friendly


to professional people with a certain educational


and financial background, people Someone who was a member


of your party until ten days ago! And who only three or four days


before that sought to seek election as an MLA and was not selected. I


understand people are disappointed when they don't get selected. But


the question is, why would somebody who thought that was what Alliance


was like one to stand? When she became a counsellor, she was


selected for a seat against a young, white male solicitor. So the idea


that in any way there was prejudiced against her in the party is an


absolute, provable nonsense. You need to be very careful not to


dismiss this out of hand? I haven't, I am aware of the situation that has


taken place. So you were asleep at the wheel. Absolutely not. You


should have known about this and dealt with it so it didn't get to


the point that it got to. I did, I was dealing with it. We had issued


disciplinary proceedings against the two councillors who had left. They


admitted they had not raised an issue with me, we were aware of the


problems that existed within that council group. David Ford when he


was leader was dealing with that as have I been since, but they were not


to do with the allegations that emerged after those councils left.


So I did not dismiss it. I wrote to them and asked them to provide me


with any substantive evidence that will back up those claims. Charges


of ageism and racism, and middle-class snobbery at a time when


you are trying to say that aligns its two breakthrough and move away


from those things is potentially very damaging to you. -- the


Alliance Party. Only if people look at it from the perspective of saying


they are right and we are lying. We've already had quite a large


article the day after in the paper saying that she did not buy the


argument. It was her constituency up and only eight months ago, so she


would be fairly familiar with both councillors. If you look at the age


range, we were criticised in the last election, for having the oldest


average age of Assembly candidate going into the elections. That was a


criticism of Alliance at that time, and now we are a just? We have


people on the ticket of all different ages, some of the youngest


and some of the oldest. He is the difficulty. You clearly have pulling


power in terms of votes, and you've done well in your constituency. Not


least when you won it for Westminster in 2010. But when people


go to the polling booths, they are looking at named candidates, and you


are running 21, frankly many of whom they will not know, and they do not


get a chance to vote for Naomi Long. That is a problem. If the party is


in your image, but can also cause difficulties in places for example


west of the band. Alliance is not a cult, it is a Democratic party. I am


not the big cog in the machine here. I am the party leader, but it is a


Democratic Party, I represent the rules -- views of the membership of


the party. If I was in some way a negative in terms of drawing people


into the party, we would not be recruiting at the rate we are. And


those candidates coming forward, for the first time in a long time, I


grounded in those constituencies. We had a contest for who would run in


upper band, we haven't had that situation for a long time. Similarly


for mid-Ulster. I think that is positive, but we are running people


who grew up and lived in those constituencies, who know the area


well, who can represent us. If people choose to vote for Alliance,


are they voting for your party to go into opposition, or a Government?


They are voting for us to stand on our manifesto and the five pledges


we gave on the last occasion we went to the electorate. We stand over the


decision we made back in May... We will make the same judgment. But


what I would hope is that eight months of failure at the Executive


Papal may have tempered people's views enough, that they realise that


have a mandate is all well and good, but if you cannot exercise that


incorporation with other parties in the Assembly, your mandate is


worthless. Arlene Foster learnt that the hardware and lost her job. I


have found it quite a constructive place to be, because there have been


occasions when we have believed the Government is right, and there have


been times when we have found they are wrong. And you were powerless to


do anything about it when it fell apart. We were actually challenging


Government about the issues that mattered, and I was the person who


first called for a public inquiry, and there we have one, from parties


have both said there would never be won. So I feel anything but


powerless when it comes to the Assembly.


Let's hear from my guests of the day, Patricia MacBride


Rick, Naomi Long making her case there, so could this


be the breakthrough election for Alliance?


It could be. It depends on the extent to which the electorate takes


a rational view of actually what's happened over the last eight months


rather than they are climbing into the same old trench or trenches as


before. A dispassionate and more objective approach to the election,


weighing up the experience of the last eight months, and the kinds of


alternatives being offered, gives our lines and indeed many of the


smaller parties an opportunity, if there ever was an open goal at an


election for the opposition parties, whether unofficial or official


opposition, there is it, because there has been such a debacle over


our age are. But then those parties have to demonstrate that they have


got an alternative. What might help is that -- if the parties came up


with a joint platform which they would agree to negotiate once the


talks begin in the wake of the election.


Patricia, could there be a new political mood in the country? It's


going to be an interesting election, because you can only predict so much


based on predicted -- percentage vote shares. The biggest challenge I


think, going into the selection, is for Alliance and the other parties,


and it is, are you fighting the selection on the basis of going into


Government, or opposition? No party should be fighting on the basis of


going into opposition, and I think Naomi's comments in her interview


regarding holding the Executive to account in terms of issues around


RHI and other things, there is a signal we might see Alliance coming


out of opposition. There was a fairly widespread support for David


Ford as Justice minister, there was the feeling he had done a good job


in that role. If there is a situation there where we are forming


a new Executive, the question for Alliance that should be on the


doorsteps is, are you going to come out of opposition, take that Justice


Minister's post in order to save the institutions? That is a big


challenge, Rik. We got that position almost by default. We had to invent


a procedure to enable that to happen, in effect. If Clare Sugden


gets re-elected, maybe the offer will be open to her, but she wasn't


the first choice. So it is a big ask for Alliance whether they will do it


this time. Ford did do a reasonable job. We don't know who his successor


might be, but it is an opportunity for Alliance, for sure.


Thank you both - and we'll hear more from you later.


Once upon a time, the Alliance Party was the new kid on the block.


But there are still several smaller parties -


some new, some old - trying to find a way into Stormont.


Will Leitch has been looking at the runners and riders.


It is less than three weeks since this snap election became a


certainty, but something else was certain months earlier. No matter


whom the voters choose, from now on there will be 18 fewer MLAs in the


Assembly, that's 90 seats instead of 108. Amateur 5 cents per


constituency instead of six, how hard is it going to be to win one?


It is something the smallest parties are bound to have been thinking


about. For political loyalism, that means


courting votes previously cast on traditional lines.


Stormont is a shambles. It is essentially politics is broken. It


is not working, and if we want to fix it, there is no point in doing


what we have always done. Will you to do things differently to sort out


the chaos that is there. So we need new ideas, a new approach, and we


need new people, to bring about change to bring it back on track.


That would mean sorting out dash for cash, for a start. But the smaller


parties say that is not the only issue. They talk about honesty in


politics, and they cannot get an honest answer for many of their


questions. People are telling us, health, housing, education, jobs,


the environment, and their future. That is what they want to know


about. The Conservatives have yet to win an Assembly seat here, and are


looking to their strengths in Great Britain. This is an undeserved


election, and the parties in Northern Ireland have turned back to


form and type. So our message is we over 300 MPs, 800 odd thousand --


800,000 odd counsellors, and we want to represent Northern Ireland. Other


parties are hoping to represent for the first time this time around.


Will Leitch reporting - and he'll be back shortly to look


at another three of the smaller parties aiming for Assembly seats.


Now, with a look at the political week in 60 seconds,


Brexit dominated all four corners of the UK this week. And the Republic


of Ireland as well. Any manifestation of a hard border would


have very negative comes -- consequences. An explicit objective


of the UK Government's work on Brexit is to ensure that full


account is taken of the particular circumstances of Northern Ireland.


The Secretary of State's appearance at a football match was pushed out


of the headlines after he weighed on to the controversy over whether


former soldiers are being unfairly targeted for Troubles related


prosecution. We think we are carrying out our duties according to


the law. And fears over what will happen, if a budget cannot be agreed


after the election. I think the politicians have got to realise this


cannot be left alone. Civil servants cannot be left in charge of the


budget, alone. We'll hear more from Rick


and Patricia shortly - but first here's Will Leitch again,


with the remainder of the smaller For the smallest parties, this


election brings new challenges, not least the fewer seats up for grabs.


That may mean persuading voters to use a different strategy on the


ballot paper. Those rules are going to directly affect us, it will be


harder for smaller parties to get in, so we need the public to realise


that if they go to the ballot box and put down the same votes that


they have always done, they are going to get the same results they


have always got, and we need change, we need a socialist alternative, and


that is what our party will offer the public. There is a strong sense


that although the selection came out of nowhere, the dynamics do not have


to be the same as last time. For years and years, politicians have


told us there is no money for public services, for jobs and services, and


now for teachers to have a pay rise. Now this has been completely


exposed, there is money, being transferred to private companies.


One party previously focused on legalising cannabis has now decided


to try and broaden its appeal. We don't see the point on focusing our


energies on that now. We are going to use evidence-based practice, what


happens in other parts of the world, and seeing how it can work for us


here. We are applying that two issues that the other parties are


not certain about. Simple, basic things that are not getting touched


because of other petty fights between the parties. It still is not


clear how many targets -- candidates from the small parties will stand.


Nominations are open for another three days.


And back to our commentators for a final thought.


Patricia, do these smaller parties stand any real chance of grabbing


They are fighting for just 90 seats. There are certainly going to be


challenges in getting any sort of decent food. You are looking at


independence, even people before profit, -- DUP -- PUP. So for the


smaller parties to get in and sweep up smaller votes is going to be a


challenge. The Alliance Party is doing something they have never done


before in terms of managing their vote, trying to get second and third


preferences. That is good to hurt the smaller parties in this run as


well. I think elections always springs surprises, but I think if


the smaller parties make any impression, they are all part of


election contests, and it is all very welcome because one hears


different voices, but I think now that parties have to get 16.5% to


get elected, I think it is doubly difficult for the small parties who


are trying to make an impact. Away from the election,


Gerry Adams has said he will go to the White House


on St Patrick's Day to meet After last year we have to ask, will


he be allowed in? I think it is the appropriate thing to do if an


invitation is issued, but I wouldn't suggest Donald Trump's interest in


Ireland is anywhere near the same level as previous American


administrations. That was illustrated if you look at the


issues around Black history month and his statements there, which were


very short and not at all focused on the issue. I would expect Donald


Trump's White House statements to be any more detailed on Irish issues.


The Vice President claims Irish ancestry, so he should be more


interested, but do you imagine that most of the parties will want to be


in Washington in some shape or form in March? I think it is --


detestable though Donald Trump is, real politics dictates that if you


are invited, you go. Donald Trump might know where the odd golf course


in all it is, but I doubt he knows except they were Northern Ireland


is, but George Bush didn't either. But we made some progress on his


watch. programme at another time an airport


expansion, but thank you to both of you for being here. Back to you,


Andrew. Will the Government's plan


to boost house-building Could a handful of Conservative


MPs cause problems for And what is President


Trump going to do next? You have been following the genesis


of this housing white paper. What do you make of it? I think it will be


quite spectacular, pretty radical stuff. We heard bits about beating


up on developers. I understand it will be a whack, walk, covering


every single problem with housing supply and trying to solve it. Which


means bad news if you are a huge fan of the green belt, because they will


go round that the other way by forcing large quotas on councils are


making it down to councils where they build. If you fill up your


brown space in towns they will have to trigger the exceptional


circumstances bit of the bill to beat on green belts. Beating up


developers, opening up the market for renters across the board. And


Theresa May, one of the most defining thing she could do on the


domestic agenda. I am not as excited as Tom about this. I look back to


2004, do you remember the Kate Barker report? Successive


governments, successive prime ministers have been promising to


address the housing shortage. In 2004 Kate Barker recommended


hundreds of thousands new homes. Gordon Brown talked about 3 million


new homes by 2020 in 2007. It never happens. The reason is at the end of


the day this is local politics, local councillors need to keep their


seats and they won't keep their seats if there are hugely


controversial developments locally that they support. Yes, the


government can and are proposing to overrule councils that don't back


local developments, but they may find themselves completely inundated


with those cases. I think that is the whole point of it, to take on


those NIMBY often Tory councils and force them to build. I can't think


of a better defining issue for Theresa May than sticking one in the


eye of some quite well off half Tory countryside councils. The government


gives councils a quota of homes they have to fill, if they don't have to


fill that all run out overland to fill the quota, the government then


comes in and tells them they have to built on the green belt? How is that


going to work? At the moment the green belt is absolutely sacrosanct


in British politics. They'll have to do some work on educating people on


what green belts means. Potato farms, golf courses... At the moment


the idea people have of the green belt being verdant fields needs to


be dismantled. You are right. I agree with Tom, 11 million people in


the private rental sector in the UK. In the last election more voted


Labour than conservative. This is an area where Theresa May would look to


expand her vote. The problem has always been, the same problem we


have with pension policy and why pensioners have done better than


working families in recent years. They are older and they vote more


and anything to the detriment of older people. I wonder how they will


get private money to come in on anything like this go they would


need to have a huge expansion? There is a huge amount of speculation and


one of the thing that locks up the system as you have people buying


land, taking out a stake of land in the hope that one point it may at


some point free up. At the end of the day, unless you have councils


far more willing to quickly fast track these applications, which they


won't for the reason I said before, it's a very long-term investment. Ed


Miliband proposed three-year leases in which the rent could only go up


by an agreed formula, probably the three years to give the young


families a certain stability over that period. He had a use it or lose


it rules for planning development, if you don't use it you lose the


planning rights. Somebody else gets it. The Tories disparaged that at


the time. This is at the centre of their policy now.


This is probably item number four of Ed Miliband's policy book Theresa


May has wholesale pinched in the last six months or so. Why not? I


think if you look at the change in mood across housing and planning


over the last 5-6 years, it used to be an issue very much of green belt


versus London planners. Now you have grandparents living in houses in the


countryside, knowing their grandchildren can't get on the


housing ladder any longer. Maybe a bit more intervention in the market,


tougher on renting conditions, maybe that is exactly what the country


needs. Will they meet the 1 million target? It would be a defiance of


every political thing that has happened in the last ten years. I


think Tom is right, if there is only one difference between Theresa May


and David Cameron it's the willingness of the state to


intervene. When Ed Miliband said that he was seen as communism, but


Theresa May can get away with it. How serious is this talk of a couple


of dozen Tories who were very loyal over voting for the principle of


Article 50 but may now be tempted to vote for some amendments to Article


50 legislation that they would find quite attractive? I think that


threat has certainly been taken seriously by levers. I spoke to the


campaign group Leaves Means Leave last night. The figure they


mentioned was up to 20 remaining Tories. That sounds a lot to me but


that is what they are concerned about and those Tories would come


together with Labour and the SNP to vote for that amendment. Although


that amendment sounds rather nice and democratic, actually in the eyes


of many levers that is a wrecking amendment. Because what you are


doing is giving Parliament a sort of veto over whatever deal Theresa May


brings back. What they want is the vote to be before that deal is


finalised. It isn't necessarily the case that if Parliament decided they


didn't like that deal we would just go to WTO, we would fall out of the


European Union. There are mixed views as to whether we might remain


in and things could be extended. My understanding is the people making


the amendments, they won any deal that is done to be brought to


Parliament in time, so that if Parliament fancies it it's done, but


if it does and it doesn't just mean go to WTO rules. There will be time


to go back, renegotiate or think again? The question is where it puts


Britain's negotiating hand. Nine of the options... Once we trigger


Article 50 the two negotiation begins on the power switches to


Europe. They can run out the clock and it will be worse for us than


them. I don't think either option is particularly appealing. I think what


seems like a rather Serena week for Article 50 this week isn't going to


be reflective of what will happen next. The way the government's


position is at the moment, if at the end the only choice Parliament has


is to vote for the deal or crash out on WTO rules, then even the


remainder is going to vote for the deal even if they don't like it,


because they would regard crashing out as the worst of all possible


results. Possibly. It will be a great game of bluff if Theresa May


fights off any of these amendments on Wednesday and gets a


straightforward deal or no Deal vote. I have a funny feeling this


amendment, if it's chosen, we must remember because we don't know if


they will choose this amendment, if it does go to a vote on Wednesday it


will be very tight indeed. Remember, one final thing Theresa May can do


if she gets Parliament voting against, as Isabel would have it,


she could try to get a new parliament and go for a general


election. And probably get a huge majority to do so. The Lords, it


goes there after the February recess. They are very pro-Europe,


but does their instinct for self-preservation override that? I


think that is it. A Tory Lord said this morning I will vote to block it


on a conscience measure, but you have the likes of Bill Cash, veteran


Eurosceptics, suddenly converted to the Lords reform saying is an


outrage. I doubt they will vote for their own demise, to hasten their


own demise by blocking it. What did you make of Doctor Gorka smart


fascinating. Cut from the same cloth as his boss. I thought it was


extraordinary listening to him, saying everything is going dutifully


to plan. But at the end of the day, what they are doing is what people


in America voted for Trump to do. If you look at Lord Ashcroft's polling


on why America voted for Trump, they went into this with their eyes wide


open. One of the top fears among American voters, particularly


Republican leading ones was America's immigration policy is or


could be letting in terror arrests. As far as he is concerned, he is


doing what he was elected to do. This whole year is turning into a


wonderful year long lecture series on how democracy works at a


fundamental level. I'm not sure anyone wanted it but it's what we've


got. This same in the way we've been talking about direct democracy and


Parliamentary democracy. The same is happening in America between


executive and judicial branches. We are seeing the limits of


presidential power. Regardless of the fact that people voted for Trump


they voted for senators. The judge who blocks this was appointed by


George W Bush. So-called Judge Eckert Mac so-called George W Bush!


It's fascinating we're having all these conversations now that I never


bought five years ago we would be having at such a fundamental level.


Has the media yet worked out how to cover the Trump administration or


has he got us behaving like headless chickens? He says something


incendiary and we all run over to do that and when you pick it off it


turns out not to be as incendiary as we thought? And then back doing


something and we all rush over there. Is he making fools of us? Is


exactly what he did in the election campaign. So many quick and fast


outrageous comments frontrunner on a daily basis, no one single one of


them had full news cycle time to be pored over and examined. I think


there is a problem with this. Although he keeps the upper hand,


keeps the agenda and keeps on the populist ground, the problem is it


easy to campaign like that. If you are governing in a state of


semi-hysteria, I wonder how long the American public will be comfortable


with that. They don't really want their government to be swirling


chaos all the time, as fascinating as it might be on TV. They will be


exhausted by it, I already am. I have been interviewing White House


administration official since 1976 and that is the first time someone


hasn't given me a straight answer on America supporting the EU. That is a


different America supporting the EU. That is a


different world. Jo Coburn will be on BBC Two


tomorrow at midday with the Daily Politics -


and I'll be back here Remember, if it's Sunday -


it's the Sunday Politics.


Andrew Neil and Mark Carruthers with the latest political news, interviews and debate. Andrew is joined by housing minister Gavin Barwell MP who talks about the government's plan to increase housebuilding in England and protect people who rent their homes. Plus Charles Grant from the Centre for European Reform and Henry Newman from Open Europe. Donald Trump adviser Sebastian Gorka discusses President Trump's first two weeks in the White House and Ellie Price reports on the negotiations to come with the EU over Brexit. On the political panel are The New Statesman's Helen Lewis and journalists Isabel Oakeshott and Steve Richards.

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