Andrew Neil and Mark Carruthers with the latest political news, interviews and debate. Andrew is joined by guests including Lord Charles Falconer and Angela Rayner MP.
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Jeremy Corbyn will be challenged for the Labour Party leadership
by his former shadow cabinet colleague, Angela Eagle.
So what makes her so sure she can win?
She's the favoured candidate of Tory MPs, but will Theresa May win over
the party's grassroots to become the next Prime Minister?
And if she makes it to Number 10, what will her premiership be like?
We'll hear from May-supporter, Chris Grayling.
And after two tumultuous weeks following the referendum result,
a leading Remain campaign insider gives us her candid account
And coming up here: Tony Blair's legacy both in the Middle East
And the war within the Labour Party, and the chance too that
the Conservatives could go the same way.
And with me - Janan Ganesh, Helen Lewis and Isabel Oakeshott to
help guide us through the political maelstrom - they'll be tweeting
throughout the programme using the hashtag #bbcsp.
The battle to take over from David Cameron as Conservative Party
leader and Prime Minister has rapidly moved into its final phase
- a vote of Conservative Party members who must choose
between the Home Secretary and remain supporter Theresa May,
and the business minister and Leave campaigner Andrea Leadsom.
Speaking at the launch of her campaign, Theresa May said
she wanted to unite the Conservative Party - and the country.
If ever there was a time for a Prime Minister who is ready
and able to do the job from day one, this is it.
We have immediate work to do, to restore political stability
To bring together the party and the country.
And to negotiate a sensible and orderly departure
But more than that, we have a mission to make Britain
a country that works, not for the privileged and not
for the few, but for every one of our citizens.
I've been joined by the leader of the commons, Chris Grayling,
who was one of four cabinet ministers to campaign to leave
the EU but who is now supporting Theresa May -
Why are you supporting Mrs May as a Leaver? The key thing is having a
person who is right for the job. David Cameron chose to step aside, I
regret that. We need someone to step into his shoes in whom I have
confidence that they will deliver Brexit. I have known Theresa for a
long time. She is a determined politician. Having got a mandate
from the public to deliver Brexit, she will do that. What assurances
have you sought from her? I have sought assurances that she means
Brexit is Brexit. The country has spoken. The country has given us a
clear direction to follow. The next Prime Minister has to follow that
Matt and I am confident that Theresa May is committed to that. But Brexit
can mean one of several things. They're of a. So what do you say to
Tory twos, who were on your side, that she will water down the Brexit
terms? That is not right. It is not just me, we have a range of Tory
Leavers who are backing her, because we think she has the weight and
experience to deliver. But I am not sure what assurances you have got
that she will deliver as you would want her to. For example, can you
guarantee to our viewers that she will not settle for a British
version of Norway's relationship with the EU, or Switzerland's
relationship? We have said all along that we want a UK solution. It is
not about trying to replicate someone else. We have a clear
mandate to end the principle of unfettered free movement in the UK
from elsewhere in the European Union. We saw Lily 200,000 people
arrive in the UK last year. The British public want that to change.
Theresa May palmist "Control of free movement. That needn't be the same
as the end of free movement. What does she mean? That is what we
campaigned on for four and a half months, taking back control. What I
find unacceptable is that we cannot control the flow of people into the
country. There will be times when we need to recruit particular skills
and we need to allow people to move within businesses. We need to have a
managed system. It is all about control. It is about our government
being able to decide when, how and where the number of people who can
come and live and work in the UK. But for some EU citizens, would
there still be an automatic right to compare? It will depend on what our
rules are. The whole point is that it is about control. At the moment,
we cannot set limits on the number of people who live and work here.
The clear mandate from the British public, something that Theresa
recognised and said so in her opening speech last week we have to
take back control of our migration. But we don't know what that means.
It means our parliament being able to set limits on the number of
people who can live and work here. What sort of limits? That will be
decided depending on whether we have skills needs, housing shortages and
circumstances. None of us think we will erect barricades at Dover and
nobody can ever live and work in the UK. But it is fundamental that
ultimate control should reside with our government. Why do you trust has
me on free movement when after six years at the Home Office, she
couldn't even get non-EU debt migration below 100,000, which was
the promise, never mind overall net migration? First of all, we spent
five of those six years in coalition with the Liberal Democrats. She was
not stopped from doing anything. We have just passed our first
conservative only immigration act that will allow us to close the bank
accounts and taking away the driving licences of people who overstate.
One of the problems is people who come here legitimately for a short
time, but never go. But she was so far out. Net migration was three
times the target she agreed to six years ago. Why would you trust her
to get it right when so far, she's got it wrong? If you look at the
flow of migrants from inside the European Union, she had no ability
to control that. But she has not controlled those from outside. We
have just passed our first Conservative only immigration act.
There have been limits to what we could do in coalition. As Theresa
May herself said the other day, it is difficult because people are
constantly looking for new ways around our system. I believe the
acts we past two months ago will make a difference. Were our borders
safer under Mrs May than they were in 2010? Our borders are safe in
terms of counterterrorism. What has she done to make us safer? A huge
amount has been done to protect our borders. In Calais, we now have a
much better system of border control. We have been able to resist
enormous pressure from people who want to come in illegally. What has
she done to make British borders safer? She'd traduced new measures
on the immigration front -- introduced new measures. She
negotiated international agreements so that Abu Qatada was ported to
Jordan. In my view, she has done a huge amount to improve the security
services. As Home Secretary, she is responsible for MI5. They have done
a fantastic job protecting us. Will she rule out a second referendum?
There is no question of a second referendum. One of her supporters,
Dominic Grieve, says people can change their minds. We are all clear
that there is not going to be a second referendum. We can't just say
to the British public, we don't like what you said, so we are going to
ask again. Those of us who campaigned for Leave would not serve
in a government that chucked away the first result and decided to have
another go. Speaking of the campaign, do you regard the promises
vote leaves made during the referendum as sacrosanct? I said to
you that a campaign group can only make recommendations. But you made a
number of promises. You promised explicitly that the status of EU
citizens already here would not change. Mrs May is not promising
that. I cannot conceive of a situation where we want to end the
rights of EU citizens who are here to not remain. There are always
individual circumstances... But she is talking about them being a
bargaining chip. You said during the campaign, there will be no change
for EU citizens already lawfully resident in the UK. Mrs May is not
saying that. For those who have been more than five years in the UK, that
is legally the case. But we want to make sure we can protect our own
citizens in other EU countries. It is right that a UK Government should
have its own system. But during the campaign, you never said there will
be no change to EU citizens here, provided the EU looks after our
citizens over there. That was never a condition. Now are you saying it
is? I don't think there will be any change on either side. Everyone will
take a grown-up approach might it would be too damaging to do
otherwise. But we must look after the interests of our own citizens.
So why doesn't she say that? She says she doesn't want to agree
anything until she sees how they treat our citizens. Are you
comfortable with the line she has taken? The only people who support
her on this are the BNP. She has said what I have said. I am
expecting all it is except those who have committed criminal offences to
be able to stay -- all EU citizens. That is right and proper, but we
must make sure we can look after the rights of new cases and is. Has Mrs
May guaranteed to you that we will be out of the EU by the next general
election? She has said we will trigger article 50 around the end of
this year. There is then a two-year time frame and the next general
election is 2020. So I can't see any circumstance in which we would not
leave by then. Gone by 2020. Chris Grayling, thank you.
After a protracted campaign of resignations, a massive vote
of no confidence from his MPs, and an attempt by his deputy
to negotiate some sort of compromise deal with the unions,
it's now clear the Jeremy Corbyn will face a leadership challenge.
Some suspected it might fizzle out, but Angela Eagle has finally
announced she will go for the top job after all, saying she wants to
explain her vision for the country. It comes after Labour's deputy
leader Tom Watson called off a debate over Jeremy Corbyn's future,
saying there was no realistic prospect of reaching a compromise
because of this to Corbyn's refusal to stand down. That provoked an
angry response from Unite leader Len McCluskey, who said Tom Watson's
actions today can only look like an act of sabotage, fraught with peril
for the future of the Labour Party. So what happens now? Angela Eagle
needs to get the backing of 20% of MPs and MEPs. The magic and Amber is
currently 51. There is also the prospect of another senior Labour
figure like Owen Smith throwing his hat into the ring. The big question
remains over whether Jeremy Corbyn automatically gets onto the ballot,
or whether he needs to get 51 nominations himself, a difficult
task, given that the Labour leader lost the vote of no-confidence among
his MPs by 172 votes to 40. But if he does get on the ballot paper, it
is Angela Eagle who has the difficult job. Over a quarter of a
million people voted for Mr Corbyn in the last Labour leadership
election. Nearly 60% of the vote. Since the EU referendum, nearly
130,000 people have joined the Labour Party. But it is unclear how
many of them want to help or hinder Jeremy Corbyn's leadership.
Jeremy Corbyn appeared on the Andrew Marr programme
a little earlier on BBC One - and was in no mood
Why time-limit a leadership when I've been elected
by a very large number of members and supporters
an election somewhere results in a different leader,
But I would be irresponsible if I walked away
from a mandate that I was given and a responsibility I was given.
I ask colleagues to respect that as well.
Why are you challenging Jeremy Corbyn for the Labour leadership? I
think it's clear that he has lost the confidence of MPs in the
parliamentary party. Tom Watson, Howard deputy leader, who has his
own mandate Rosie Winterton, the Chief Whip, John Quire, the chair of
the Parliamentary Labour Party and a friend of Jeremy's, have been going
to try to say to him that he needs the confidence of the Parliamentary
party to continue. He's not listening. You can't leave behind an
office door. Maybe he is not listening because he has a huge
mandate from the party membership. As Labour leader, he has won every
by-election and he has won the London mayoral election, the largest
party in the local governor elections. Why wouldn't he carry on?
We lost seats in the local government elections when we have a
Conservative government. We should be doing better. Polling shows that
we are 7% behind the Conservatives, even after all the tumult they have
been through and more importantly, we lost the EU referendum.
That was not his fault. No, but he wasn't connecting with Labour voters
and he did not put the argument across, and so I think we need a
strengthened Labour Party and an opposition which can unite so we can
heal the country. Unfortunately I don't think Jeremy Corbyn can do
that job. Other than Trident, what are the major policy differences?
I'm on the left, any party IDs will be anti-austerity, what has happened
in our heartlands, they have been hit by six years of Conservative
cuts -- any party I lead. That is Jeremy Corbyn, that is his position,
as well, what are the differences? I want to be a strong united
opposition to get into government. Jeremy was asked in that interview
three times whether he thought he could win a general election and he
did not say yes. For our supporters and for the people we came into
politics to represent, we need a Labour Party that can position
itself as a strong united opposition and win a general election. In your
view that is having a leader as a winner, but what are the major
policy differences? I don't think Jeremy has managed to get across a
strategy for winning. I'm on the left and my politics came out of
what happened when I was growing up when my parents, they were prevented
from fulfilling their opportunities because we had Labour governments I
was able to fulfil mind, and I want a Labour Party that can deliver
that. Jeremy does not talk about that. We will move on. He is the
incumbent leader, should he not be on the ballot against you as a
right? The Labour Party rules and the way it is done, and Jeremy
Chardy know this, Tony Benn challenged Neil Kinnock in 1988 --
Jeremy should know this. It is not clear he had to do this. Neil
Kinnock can't remember if he had to do this, or whether he did it to
show the strength. Putting aside the roles, most people watching this
programme, not just Jeremy Corbyn fans, they will find it strange that
the man who won the leadership fairly and decisively, now
challenged by you, is not automatically allowed to defend his
title? That is not clear from the Labour Party rules, the National
executive committee will make a decision on that. Anyone who aspires
to lead the Parliamentary party who can't get 51 members, 20% of the
Parliamentary party, to back them, they are not going to be able to do
the job properly and we are in challenging times, the Brexit vote,
a government which has gone missing in action. We need a strong lead
from the Labour Party if we are going to protect our communities who
are going to be the hardest hit. Nothing of that lead is coming from
Jeremy at the moment. You are the self-styled party of fairness, don't
you think it will offend against natural justice against most
people's idea of fairness if the incumbent who is challenged by you
is not allowed to fight you in an election? Work that seem incredible?
Forget the rules, just offends against fairness. I don't know what
the outcome is going to be of the decision-making process. I'm ready
to fight a leadership challenge and have debates about the future of our
party with anyone, Jeremy or anyone else who seeks to stand. Len
McCluskey, the most important person in the Labour Party, perhaps. Not
say that. I have a lot of respect him, but that is a big perhaps. He
says keeping Jeremy Corbyn of the ballot would cause lasting division
in the party. It would. This is not about the Labour Party being split,
this is about it being an effective and united opposition to make our
democracy work so we can challenge is Conservative government which has
done such damage with the Brexit vote. I want to say that if you
think we should have a strong and effective Labour Party and a strong
democracy, challenging the Conservatives, join the Labour Party
now. Do it today, you can do it online. 130,000 new members have
joined Labour since the referendum. Who are they? The Labour Party
nationally knows who they are. Have they been vetted? I have no idea at
what the Labour Party office are doing about the new members. But it
is important that people who think that we need a strong opposition,
jaundiced battle now, joined the Labour Party, make us stronger --
join this battle now. The 130,000 people who have joined already, they
should be allowed to vote? That is a matter for the National if sect of
committee to decide, they were in the past. -- National executive
committee. There is no point in them joining if they can't. We opened up
the ?3 membership which was a feature the last campaign. 150,000
people are going to be picking the next Conservative Prime Minister, we
have had nearly that number joining in the last week. Jeremy Corbyn
would say he won by over 235,000 voting for him. You expect to be the
only challenger? I have no idea. What about Owen Smith? We have
spoken, but not recently, I've got no idea, I'm concentrating on
launching my campaign which I will be doing tomorrow. It would be
absurd for you and Owen Smith or someone else from the middle of the
party, the moderate left, to split the anti-Corbyn vote? We have got to
get on with doing our planning and see what happens in the future. I'm
concentrating on getting my campaign up and running, launching it
tomorrow, and joining a battle to have a stronger and united Labour
Party which can give hope back to our country. You voted for the Iraq
war. Do you regret that? I do, and if I had known what I know now, I
would not have supported it. The important thing from the Chilcot
Report is that we learn the lessons of that so those mistakes can never
be made again in the future. John Prescott this morning, he also voted
for it, he says he now regards the war as illegal. Chilcot has not said
that. I'm asking you. It is important that we learn the lessons.
Do you think it was illegal? The evidence at the time and the
Attorney General's opinion at the time was not to that effect and it
is no good trying to second-guess what happened subsequently. We need
to learn the lessons and we need to make sure that if anything like that
happens in the future we have more robust ways of testing these
assertions, but I also think we have a country divided at the moment. You
have said that. Very uncertain about the future. You have said that. We
have got to address those problems. I understand that. But forgive me,
we have not got much time, they will be a motion before Parliament next
week holding Tony Blair for contempt of Parliament because of Iraq, how
will you vote? I have not seen the motion yet. We have got to make
certain that we don't spend our time in Parliament exacting revenge and I
think Tony Blair has been put rightly through the mill about the
decisions he took, the Chilcot Report did that, and I think we
should... We would be far better at learning the lessons and making
certain that we don't fall into the same mistakes if God forbid they
should be a future occasion where these decisions are made. -- there.
Final question, you talk about uniting Labour and the country,
taking on the Tories, but if you lose and Jeremy Corbyn wins or the
reverse, isn't there a clear indication that your party could be
heading for a serious schism? Either way. We need to heal the party under
effective leadership, so we can have a chance of winning the general
election which might come much sooner than we all think. And that
is my main aim with launching this leadership campaign. If he wins, you
will accept the result? You have to accept the result of any... You
would go back into the Shadow Cabinet? You have to accept the
result of any democratic process but I'm focused on winning this and I'm
not going to speculate about what happens afterwards. Angela Eagle,
busy summer head, thank you. It's clear the battle inside Labour
is about to get nasty - in the last hour, the MP
who initiated the vote of no confidence in Jeremy Corbyn,
Margaret Hodge, had this to say I'm beginning to think he's
actually a devious man, who is more concerned
with destroying the Labour Party than he is with creating a force
that can win an election in such difficult times and which
will unite the party. There we are. We have heard from
Chris Grayling and Angela Eagle and Jeremy Corbyn this morning. Helen,
whatever the outcome, it looks like this ends badly for Labour. It is
very interesting. In the new statesman we did an issue about
whether Labour should split, and we said, no, but are now talking to
Labour MPs who are openly talking about this, people who are tribally
Labour and are not metropolitan, they are saying this cannot be sewn
back together. The big question, if Jeremy Corbyn gets on the ballot and
gets 50 MPs, I think he will win, but if he doesn't get on, that
becomes a case of his faction splitting off, so the battle is...
Everyone is imagining a split, but it is who gets left with custody of
the party. Control of the Labour brand, which is powerful. The union
funding is on a downward slope, already, the trade union is going to
reduce that further, Labour have had very little success with big donors
under Jeremy Corbyn. There is a fundamental force at work. The
party's grassroots once a different Labour Parliamentary party and the
Parliamentary Labour Party would like a different grassroots. One or
the other has to go its own way. You can't reconcile them. The texture of
the grassroots has changed in the past year, since the party was
opened up by Ed Miliband to new members. It might be changing in the
other direction even as we speak 130,000 new members since June, the
equivalent of the size of the Tory party, it is possible the bulk of
those people are people that might be, since the referendum campaign,
might want a party that is moderate. We don't know that. Angela Eagle is
taking a punt on the idea that those are relatively centrist voters, but
what I'd take from her and Owen Smith, is not a massive amount of
enthusiasm for running for this big ship, they don't radiate glee at the
prospect of becoming leader, so I wonder if the idea is to have an
interim leader who is moderate and then before 2020 and onto someone
who they think can win a general election. It is a big part on her
part. She sounded so miserable. -- punt. She sounded very depressed
about the idea of launching aided ship contest and that is because
there is no resolution to this. -- launching a leadership contest. If
she wins it is a pyrrhic victory, but if she loses, it won't be
resolved, and it feels like it will not be resolved until the next
general election, when the public and determine what kind of Labour
MPs they both like to fight for that election. It could be a bloodbath.
Last year it was quite lively, and this year, there might be a lot of
screaming at the Labour Party conference. It would be worth the
price of admission to both party conferences this autumn.
The referendum result came as a shock to many, not least those
Lucy Thomas was deputy director of Britain Stronger In.
In an exclusive for the Sunday Politics, she talks to fellow
campaign insiders about how the referendum was lost.
We are absolutely clear now that there is no way
Right up until the end, we thought Remain could win.
I'm Lucy Thomas, and I was deputy director of that campaign,
and one of those that was there from the beginning.
This is the story of what we did and why,
but why, in the end, it wasn't enough.
So let's go back to where it started.
We launched Britain Stronger In Europe on a cold October morning
Cue the usual jokes about our organisation.
We set out to persuade people that Britain was stronger,
safer and better off in Europe than we would be out on our own,
and that leaving was a leap in the dark, a risk
As a nation of Eurosceptics, we always knew it would be tough,
but I'm not sure we were prepared for what the early research showed.
When we presented that and we discussed it
with you and the team, I think everybody sort
God, this is going to be harder than we thought.
So we built a campaign based on numbers.
It's the economy, stupid, and it had been proven to work
in the Scottish referendum and the general election.
One of the reasons why some of the specific warnings
would have bounced off people was because it sounded
like scaremongering, because it wasn't evidence.
It was just saying, if we vote to leave,
it will cost this many jobs or this much growth
And people said they were crying out to hear from the experts.
to economists, scientists to defence chiefs, they all spoke
for themselves, and the weight of expert opinion was overwhelming.
if the UK was to leave the European Union.
Material slowdown in growth, notable increase in inflation.
In a sense, we were the victims of our own success in the early
part of the campaign, because we landed our economic
We pushed the Leave campaign from Norway to Canada to Albania,
and then finally pushed them entirely off the single market.
Of course, what it meant was that that was the moment
Nigel Farage's approach to this referendum, and to make it
Imagine what will happen to public services...
When I first saw their PPB, the one with all the arrows
implying that millions of people from all sorts of countries
including Turkey and possibly other countries that aren't in the EU
are going to come and move to Britain, and I showed
that to focus groups, it was very powerful,
because it captured the anxiety and fear and emotion
people have at the prospect of being overwhelmed
and these are all terms I would hear in the focus groups.
and the literature that was used off the back of it was very powerful.
I also knew, of course, that it was purposefully choosing
So we always knew that immigration was a problem,
around this table, that lots of the discussions were heard.
Some wondered, was there more we could do to get EU leaders
to show more flexibility on free movement, maybe?
But to others, that meant fighting the rest of the campaign
on immigration, when we needed for it to be back on the economy.
If you could solve the problem of free movement, it would have been
If you can't solve the problem of immigration, moving
on to immigration might make things worse, not better.
But given what we did know, it made sense to stick to the economy.
But it became clear that for some people,
that economic risk didn't mean anything.
I spoke to one man in my constituency who was out one day,
He was voting to leave because of all those concerns
"I understand your concerns about that.
What do you think about the argument that leaving would be
he said, "What do I care about the economy?
There are lots of people in Britain who do feel passed over,
They don't see what the future could hold for them or their children,
This referendum was a chance to attach that anger to the EU.
Shouldn't Labour have been able to reach out to those voters?
The brutal truth is that the leader of the Labour Party did not
campaign with authenticity, passion, conviction
He said he was for Remain, but it was on quite a narrow basis,
in terms of what the broader argument could be.
Polling took place during the campaign that showed half
that our official position was for Remain.
So I think more could have been done, yes.
And whether it was true or not, the Leave campaign was determined
The power of the 350 million a week can't be overstated.
In focus groups, it is quite unusual for floating voters who aren't
interested in politics to have internalised a campaign fact
or number so that it comes out spontaneously, and it did.
When we would say, have you noticed that some people are saying that
isn't actually true, people would say, "Vaguely,
but it's still a very big number, isn't it?"
In the final debate, just days before the vote,
the Leave campaign came armed with their catch-all phrase
Taking back control of our country and our system.
We can take back control over our laws.
We can take back control over our taxes.
We can take back control over our borders,
They were being presented with a simple solution, which was,
if you think this is a problem and migration is putting pressures
on our public services and jobs, we can take back control.
The way I would put it was that we had a complex truth
up against a simple lie, and we see what happened.
And what happened will be talked about for decades.
Though we built the biggest ever cross-party, cross-sector campaign
with over 40,000 volunteers, we didn't win the day.
This was a campaign where experts were dismissed
and conventional wisdom thrown out of the window.
Many doubt if campaigns will ever be the same again.
And Matthew Elliott from Vote Leave will be looking at how their
campaign won the referendum on the Daily Politics. Isabel, having
looked at that and seen what they are now saying, I now find myself
surprised that Remain lost by only four percentage points. Right. The
bottom line is that their big argument on the economy, they went
grossly over the top at the beginning. They tried to create what
pollsters call a settled view, which then becomes difficult to dislodge.
But in doing so, they went so far over the top that their claims
became unbelievable, and simply adding more experts to its got no
response from the electorate. Secondly, and more importantly, they
had no answer on the immigration question. I think the majority of
people who voted Leave, whether or not they would admit it, well, in
their heart of hearts, voting so because of immigration, and Remain
had no answer on that. You didn't have to be a rocket scientist or
even a psephologists work-out that immigration was going to be the big
issue. We have spoken about it on this programme months before the
campaign began, and yet even by the end of the campaign, they still had
no answer to the immigration issue. That is the legacy of years of
British politics, when no one will make a positive case for
immigration, or a case for the trade-off, where you say we accept
immigration because of the economic benefits. The economic argument
failed because people didn't feel that all these years of prosperity
in the City of London had any translation to the real economy. So
when we said it would be terrible for the City of London, people
thought, what has that got to do with me? Was there anything Remain
could have done to have won? I think a different renegotiation in January
or February by the Prime Minister Cold War which secured some tangible
concession on -- by the Prime Minister, some negotiation which
achieved a concession on immigration would have done it. People didn't
feel they were getting that, and therefore, it was very interesting.
It wasn't the internal dynamics of the campaign that was at fault. The
reason they didn't have a answer was because Cameron didn't come back
with something solid. So it was Angela Merkel what lost it? Yes, and
I am sure she is now bitterly regretting not giving Cameron
something. The other thing is that I know that when the Britain Stronger
In Europe campaign had their early meetings before the campaign
officially began, they had a discussion about identifying five
positive things about being in the EU that we can sell to voters, and
they couldn't come up with any. That was again part of the problem. They
failed to put a positive case, it was just Project Fear. It was also
David Cameron what lost it, because for years, to get selected in the
Tory party, you had to be Eurosceptic. He then had a career
saying it would not be a problem if we leave, and then pivoted to say
the sky would fall in. A lot of voters concluded, that is typical of
the political elite. Making it up as you go along.
It's just gone 11.35, you're watching the Sunday Politics.
We say goodbye to viewers in Scotland who leave us now
Hello and welcome to Sunday Politics in Northern Ireland.
The Chilcot Report has left a stain on Tony Blair's reputation and led
to calls from some families of Iraq war veterans for him
But how is he viewed here, 18 years after the signing
With their assessment I'm joined from London
by the DUP's Ian Paisley, and here in Belfast by the SDLP's
And with their thoughts on all of that, I'm joined
by the business journalist Paul Gosling and the political
It took seven years to complete, and for many its conclusions are set
to go down in history as Tony Blair's legacy.
Sir John Chilcot's report into the Iraq war only confirmed
what many had long claimed - that there was no "imminent
threat" from Saddam, and the intelligence case
for going to war was "not justified".
Tony Blair has apologised for any mistakes made, but not
I did not mislead this country. I made the decision in good faith, on
the information I had at the time, and I believe it is better that we
took that decision. I acknowledge all the problems that came with that
decision. I acknowledge the mistakes, and accept responsibility
for them. What I cannot do and will not do, is say I believe we took the
wrong decision. So how will history
judge Tony Blair here? The former Prime Minister's
negotiation of the Good Friday Agreement was widely hailed as one
of his greatest achievements. Joining me now from London
are the DUP MP Ian Paisley, and here in the studio the former
SDLP leader, Alasdair McDonnell. Ian Paisley, the DUP
voted in support of the decision to go to war -
what's your reaction to the report? I think we have two bought a number
of things in context. Obviously Saddam Hussein was an incredibly
wicked person, and Tony Blair brought him before Parliament --
brought before Parliament evidence that was not evidence at all, but
people took his word, and the style in which he led the Government,
nobody else really got all the information, and that has now been
totally exposed. I mean, he really is a Marmite Prime Minister, on one
regard the most successful Labour Prime Minister, and now he seems to
be becoming the most disgraced Prime Minister the Labour Party ever had.
I think that now... The good thing about this is that Parliament will
never go to war again on the time that they went to war in Iraq. And
indeed the way decisions are taken, I mean, look how Syria has been
handled. It now is very inclusive of the whole Cabinet administration,
and includes Parliament in decisions which previously the Prime Minister
only would have made. So with the benefit of hindsight,
was it in fact a mistake What do you want me to say? Everyone
was shown evidence, and with the exception of a handful of members of
Parliament, everybody accepted that the Prime Minister was telling the
truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. We were moments from
war. Do you think you were duped, then?
I think everybody was stupid. -- was duped. I think that is what
Chilcot has indicated. Whether or not Tony Blair was doing this in
good faith or not, what he presented was false. And people took a
decision on a false premise. Do you agree with Ian Paisley on
that point? No, the evidence was always wobbly,
and there were doubts the SDLP resolutely opposed -- that SDLP
opposed going to war, and we voted against it in Parliament. And quite
simply, you know, it was a major mistake, and where I look at it
today the hundreds of young British servicemen dead, and there are
200,000 Iraqis dead. Quite frankly, even though he wasn't a nice person,
Saddam Hussein was not as big a threat to the world as that. That is
serious, serious damage as a result of the instability in Iraq.
But you could only go with the evidence that was put in front of
Parliament, and at the time people believed Tony Blair.
The evidence was flimsy because there was never any proof of the
weapons of mass destruction. What we were dealing with was Saddam Hussein
was a bully, he goaded Britain and he goaded America and they lost
their temper with them. And basically charged off into a war,
unprepared, the British military were unprepared in many cases, and
left in a situation where many young 18-year-old, 19-year-old soldiers
were basically left vulnerable and lost their lives.
Ian Paisley? I think we all agree that the world
is much more unstable as a result of what has happened. And that is a
huge consequence that everybody's got to live with. But the point and
the essential point is, how Parliament is used to take these
decisions. It would have been previously that the Prime Minister
and the Cabinet would have made a decision and gone to war. Now that
Parliament is sucked into being participants in the process, on one
hand that weakens Parliament because we cannot hold somebody to account
if we have been a participant in the decision. But that is where we now
are, but all decisions about Britain increasing troop movements in the
Middle East for example, in Syria and other places like that, we are
now brought into those decisions and we -- and is that where we want to
be? In response to the Chilcot Report,
Colonel Tim Collins said about Tony Blair: "It may well
be he was actually drunk on his self-importance,
having had successes in Kosovo and Sierra Leone, and having
brokered the Good Friday Agreement he genuinely believed
he could do no wrong." Does that mean we need to reassess
his role in our peace process here? I don't think so. I think Tony Blair
was almost -- there are almost in my mind two Tony Blair 's. He brought
us to peace out of all belief... That hasn't changed with the Chilcot
findings? There is another Tony Blair that
charged off to war in Iraq, but I fundamentally disagree with. It is
two different personalities, almost. I think he did a massive amount of
good. I felt, over the years in the early 1990s, when it was difficult
to get peace and stability here, yet he managed with Bertie Ahern and
Bill Clinton aiding and abetting, to pull us all together. He spent an
awful lot of time here, more time than all the other British prime
ministers combined, and we've got to be honest and recognise that, that
there are people live in Northern Ireland today in Belfast today as is
well thought of Tony Blair's effort, but that's it's very uncomfortably
and does not justify the Iraqi situation where basically he should
not have been in Iraq. Do you agree, Ian Paisley, or do you
think that given what we have now discovered in Chilcot, we need to
now look again at his role in Northern Ireland?
I think there's going to be constant revisionism about all political
leaders, that's the nature of politics, as more evidence comes
out. First of all, because Tony Blair was so successful I think it
did not and arrogance but almost an issue of infallibility, that he
could do no wrong. So I am more in the Tim: zero, because he was on a
crest of a wave, he thought he could do anything. But now we are found --
finding that the foundation on which his legacy was built is starting to
crumble. I do agree he played a significant
role in the Good Friday Agreement, but we have to remember that as we
start to go into this, we now have the on the run letters being
exposed, we have the fuel fraud that has come from that and the fact that
there's been an agreement done on that side, all that criminality is
still going on. That's part of his legacy.
We need to turn to other issues. The seeming civil war that has
broken out within the Conservative Party in Westminster, and the Labour
Party. What is your assessment? I'm very concerned at the
instability that has flowed in the last few weeks, and is largely
flowing from the European referendum. You know, at this time
we need stability, and I am deeply concerned that the leaders for the
excellent campaign have all jumped ship and disappeared. What we badly
need is people who, when something like that is approved, they won the
vote, and therefore they should have stayed the course and ensured that
their Brexit plans, they saw it through. I am horrified personally
at the prospect of Britain exiting Europe, because it is bad for
Britain, it is bad for Europe, it is bad for the island of Ireland as a
whole and particularly bad for Northern Ireland. You don't sign up
to the old maxim that England's misfortune as Ireland's opportunity?
Quite simply, we are all stuck with each other. And I think this is one
of the things that flowed from Tony Blair's investment in the 1998
settlement, but quite simply we recognise that we are neighbours,
the Irish Republic and Britain, and in the north here we are stuck
somewhere in the middle half, foot in each camp. We have to get on with
it, and quite simply instability in Irish politics over the last few
months until they get -- got a Government together was bad for
everybody. That instability is now affecting Britain, the Conservative
Party is in a state of flux, the Labour Party is almost imploding in
itself. Ian Paisley, if you did have a say in either of the two political
contests, who would you be in favour of? The person who left the stage
when he was most required is of course the Prime Minister. Did he
have any alternative? He told us all along that he would implement the
will of the British people, and in a fit of pique, four hours after the
result was determined, you walk out. So it was not helping the -- the
instability. We knew that Cameron was leaving... We do seem to have
two big political parties imploding in front of our very eyes, you
couldn't make it up. Fact is stranger than fiction. So how do you
see things unfolding in the next couple of months? The issue of who
leads the Conservatives is entirely a matter for the 150,000 members of
the party, they must decide who will be their best leader and of course
the leader will be a member of Parliament, and that leader will be
the first among equals and will be the Prime Minister for the
foreseeable future. It is at the Conservative Party, I am not going
to come down on one side or the other. We will work with whoever the
Conservative Party put forward, and we've
already got working relationships with both Theresa May and Andrea
Leadsom, Andrea's been over to speak with the association meetings,
Theresa May has been a good friend in terms of giving us very good
security briefings. And either one of them will make a fine leader.
With regards to the Labour Party, what I'm saying is that Jeremy
Corbyn should have led his party from his heart during the campaign,
if he had done what we knew he wanted to do, that is be a leave
campaigner, I think the outcome would have been different also. Very
interesting to hear your thoughts. With me are Sam McBride
of the News Letter, and the business Let's have a word about Tony Blair's
achievements, and the findings of the Chilcot Report. It's fair to say
probably that Tony Blair's achievements in Northern Ireland
have won him more plaudits outside Northern Ireland than within. The
sort of creative and be a good -- ambiguity in things like the on the
run letters is still an issue that comes up time and time again. So
yes, it's certainly harmed his legacy, I think a lot of people here
probably had mixed emotions anyway. Paul, you are a former Labour Party
councillor in Leicester, Tony Blair was Labour's longest serving Prime
Minister. What do you think grassroots Labour Party members will
make of the Chilcot findings, and his big success? I think the current
problems within the Labour Party, the conflict between the
Parliamentary party and the membership, are reflected in that as
well, which is that I think most members of the Labour Party would
not be surprised by the Chilcot findings, and they would have
expressed extreme scepticism about the claims Tony Blair made at the
time. But it is enormous regret that if Tony Blair had not taken the
country to war with the United States to Iraq, his legacy would
have been a very positive one. And above all it would have been the
peace settlement in Northern Ireland. And that is, his position
of history will always be a leader who lied his way into war in Iraq,
and went in to support the United States and actually very much like
Brexit, didn't have a contingency plan about the outcome. How do you
see become -- the contest is going in the Labour Party? You do have a
civil war which is effectively between the Parliamentary party on
the membership, and you cannot see a positive outcome from that, I cannot
see Corbyn leading it, and I cannot see Angela Eagle being accepted by
the leadership. The onus has been on Corbyn losing the support of his
MPs, in fact he never had it. Quick word on the Conservative
Party; do you think Andrea Leadsom is a credible candidate? It's pretty
extraordinary that anybody who has been in Parliament for such a short
period of time could be Prime Minister for -- in such -- without
going to an election, but that's the way we are.
Well, the Secretary of State, Theresa Villiers, has rejected
a call for an All-Ireland forum to consider the implications of Brexit.
In an interview with our Political Correspondent Gareth
Gordon, she also described a lower UK-wide rate of Corporation Tax
as an opportunity for Northern Ireland.
Here, first of all, are her thoughts on the idea of a new forum.
It's obviously going to be very important for the UK Government to
work with the Irish Government on matters of mutual interest in
relation to Brexit. And also it's important for the Executive to be
involved in those discussions. But actually I think the current
North-South bodies are working very well, and so I haven't seen a case
for a fresh body to be added to the current structures, but I would
absolutely encourage both sides of those North-South bodies to engage
in these issues just as the UK and Irish Government would do on the
East-West contact. I am not persuaded we need some new structure
to have this conversation, but it is absolutely vital that the
conversation takes place. The UK Government, Northern Irish
Government, -- Irish Government, Northern Irish Executive. The plight
of corporation tax seems to have been pulled away with the
Chancellor's announcement he was going to lower the rate across the
UK? Is that a blow for Northern Ireland? Now, it is a big plus I
think because the advantages generated by the 12.5% rate the
Executive wants to deliver is not necessarily addition in relation to
the rest of the country, in Great Britain, it is actually to enable
Northern Ireland to compete on a level playing field, complete with a
lower corporation tax rates out of the border, but also with countries
around the world. Actually there is an advantage in the idea put forward
by the Chancellor of reducing the UK Main rate, because it makes 12.5%
for Northern Ireland is more affordable for the Executive to
deliver. Let's hear what Sam
and Paul make of that. The Secretary of State saying this
would be good for the Northern Ireland economy. Do you buy that?
Know, and I don't accept her argument that we don't need to have
a hard border. We are already seeing a lot of investment, we are
releasing questions over the future of the US investment conference, and
I'm hearing people in business expressing unhappiness about the
difficulty in planning future investment programmes.
The Secretary of State says George Osborne's plans to reduce
the UK's main rate of Corporation Tax is good news
I understand what she's saying, it does make it more affordable, but I
can't say that Sinn Fein will agree to going down to a 10% weight, and
with a 12.5% rate, than actually what is the real benefit going to
Northern Ireland when you by getting a 1.5 or 2.5 advantage of Great
Britain, it doesn't make sense. I've got a lot of sympathy, purely
because I think some of the commentary around this is a bit
pedantic. Arlene Foster is not at all rolling out North-South
cooperation, she said that clearly has to be North-South corporation,
it is down to what for -- form that takes.
Thanks both - and let's just pause and take a look back
at the political week in 60 seconds, with Stephen Walker.
The idea of an all Ireland forum after the Brexit vote failed to get
DUP support. It wasn't discussed with me at any stage over the
weekend, or indeed before. And it wasn't discussed today. But one
cross-border plan on children's health care they get the go-ahead.
It's going to be brought in over the next five years, so by the end of
next year all urgent cases will come to Dublin, and by the end of 2018,
all cases will. There were married critical voices of the Chilcot.
Yellow macro -- the Chilcot Report. It is a damning indictment of Tony
Blair. The economy minister promised a smooth transition out of the EU.
There will be no crash landing. But that didn't stop one investment
conference being called off. You macro it has been postponed directly
as a result of the Brexit vote. -- it has been postponed directly as a
result of the Brexit vote. And Sam and Paul are
with me for a final word. You were at the meeting
when Martin McGuinness announced that a US investment conference
planned for Belfast and Derry for October has been postponed
indefinitely because of Brexit. The Secretary of State says that is
not the reason. How big a blow is that? Basically Northern Ireland is
far too dependent on foreign direct investment coming in, and if we can
get investors to even look at Northern Ireland, in particular at
Derrey, it really does show the damage inflicted by the Brexit
position. The Secretary of State would say we can now buy into the
bigger global platform will be on not just looking at a shrinking
European market. Where is the evidence of that? It is simply
another promise that has no obvious foundation, and that was the problem
the whole way through, that actually we didn't know what the outcome of
the Brexit campaign was going to be. And we still do not. Sam, there's an
awful lot happening in Northern Ireland, the adjustment --
adjustment with Brexit as it affects Northern Ireland specifically, and
it's all against this background of febrile developments both within the
Tories and within Labour at Westminster. And also it should be
noted down south where Ender Kenny is under increasing pressure and is
no guarantee he will still be in post next year. I think there is a
great deal of political instability at the moment, and that is going to
feed into this, but the business stuff is more immediate. Firms
pulling out of his best when conferences, that of sort stuff, but
is more alarming because there will be some sort of Government whether
we like it or not very soon. Now back to Andrew in London.
for London will look after the franchise in a few years' time.
And with that, it's back to you, Andrew.
So, will Angela Eagle succeed in replacing Jeremy Corbyn? And our
senior Tories discussing plans for a centre ground party with the Lib
Dems? Or questions for the week ahead.
And joining us is the leader of the Liberal Democrats, Tim Farron.
Welcome back. Will the Liberal Democrats campaign to rejoin the EU,
come the next general election? We have to see what am I of the land
will be. It could be October, it could be made 2020. But just like
every other Liberal leader since 1955, I believe, I will have in my
manifesto a question that there are a commitment that Britain is better
off at the heart of Europe. Chris Grayling said to us this morning
that he thinks he will be -- we will be out by the next election. If it
is October, all bets are off, but if the parliament goes its term and we
are out of the EU and into the 2020 election, would you like your party
to have a commitment to rejoin? I want to be part of Europe and I
would like to be part of the European Union. If you had asked the
12 months ago, I would not have predicted that we would have left
the EU. I would not have predicted that Jeremy Corbyn would lead the
Labour Party or that David Cameron would have resigned. In four years'
time, the lie of the land could be very different. But I am trying to
work out if you feel so strongly about it, will you accept the
referendum result, or will you try to get us back into the EU? I accept
the referendum result. At the moment, the trajectory is towards
Brexit and we have to accept that. I have no time for MPs who say we
should be undoing the result. That does not mean I give up my campaign
for Britain to be in the EU. As has been said by others, you have an
election, and if you lose, you accept it, but you don't give up
your principles. So I hope it will remain in the EU and I hope it will
be the choice of electors if that is the case. Politicians must not force
that on people. But didn't we just vote to come out? The 52% were very
clear over what they voted against. That was all they were asked to do.
They were not asked to vote for one of the five or six potential exit
strategies, whether it be for access to the single market, some level of
free movement, or whether it is the almost North Korea option but a
handful of people prefer the UK to have. It seems to me to be right
that the British people, before we leave the EU, are given the choice
as to what they want. So you want a referendum on the terms of
departure? Well, nobody has voted for what comes next. People voted to
leave the EU, but it seems right to me that having made the choice two
weeks ago, the British people should also be allowed to choose what is
the next step. That sounds like a referendum on the terms to me. Which
I am not in favour of, because we have seen that people are busy. We
have representative democracy for a reason, and some decisions are
better thrashed out by people elected by voters to do that, rather
than putting everything to a referendum. But Tim has a point.
There is no problem with people campaigning for another referendum.
In 1975, we had a referendum and it wasn't like all the anti-Europeans
accepted the decision. They carried on campaigning for another 40 years.
So it could be another 40 years before he gets another referendum.
He is a young lad. Who knows? I would be about Gladstone's age by
them. I agree with you in one sense that we don't want to go to the
public with a referendum on every issue. The problem is that this
government, in a chaotic way, has established that principle, which
means that it would be wrong and anti-democratic for the MPs to then
overturn what the electorate have done. That means that in terms of
endorsing what happens next, and the 52% may have 52 the ideas of what
exit looks like. That is fine, but Britain needs to choose what happens
next. And they need to choose whether they prefer the status quo
before Article 50 is invoked. Oh! Well, I think there was a real
danger that MPs will, over a course of time, basically diluted Brexit
and not deliver it properly. I thought it was interesting that
people like Chris Grayling or arguing that Brexit is safer in the
hands of Theresa May. Why is he during that when she was a Remainer?
Because he says she has the backing of the majority of Tory MPs. Of
course, in Parliament, most MPs are for Remain, and he says that only
Theresa May can push through Brexit, which is counterintuitive, but makes
sense when you think about it. Surely no government can agree to a
referendum on the terms, because Europe would then say, so you need
another vote? You are getting nothing. It would be like Congress
announcing a referendum on a trade deal with another country. Why would
that country do a deal when it is subject to domestic politics? So I
think another referendum is unlikely, but I fear that the
entirety of the next parliament will be taken up by the process of
extrication. What did you say about article 50? If the legal
interpretation that once one has invoked article 50, the matter is
out of our hands, that is like jumping out of a plane without being
sure whether you have a parachute. It seems to me that the bridge
people should be allowed to check the safety of the parachute. That
means, do we know what we are going into? If we decide collectively that
we should be in the single market, for example, as many Brexiteers
believe, then for us to press the button to leave the European Union
without any guarantee that we would have that access would be foolish to
stop are you saying we need another referendum before we press article
50? We will need to check the legal advice, but I would not want us to
be in a legal position where there is no turning back. But the issue is
whether you need a vote of parliament to trigger article 50. To
my mind, that is a detail. What I am really bothered about is whether the
UK puts us in a position where there is no turning back and we have to
settle for whatever bad deal we might get. But once you trigger
article 50, that is it. The problem is, if you have done that, my
understanding is that there is and then an opportunity for us to
negotiate. We get what we are given, and it might be a really bad deal.
My job is to make sure to get a good deal. The discussions now might all
be over exit over the next few years. It is going to move on from
being stuffed for the political classes, as people experience the
fact that they have less to spend on holiday, that their savings are
worth less. People will begin to realise the reality. Let me ask you
this. There is an indication from the Sunday Times... Do you want to
rebrand your party? Do you think that the term Liberal Democrats is
tarnished? No, I don't. Our party has nearly doubled in size since the
last election 13 months ago, and it has gone up by another 16,000 in the
last fortnight. There is a movement among young people joining the
Liberal Democrats, who see the chaos in the other two parties. How about
the Labour Democrats? If you look at the other parties, we are now the
marketplace where progressives and moderates from other parties can
safely gather. We are open to talking to others in other parties.
One of the good things from the referendum, not the result, was the
fact that many of us shared platforms with people who we
discovered we agree with more than just on the European Union. Have you
got any Tories in your cross hairs? I have talked to lots of people.
Answer the question. That would not be fair. I have talked to loss of
people. Politics is really fluid. Do you buy this realignment? For it to
happen, the Lib Dems would need both Andrea Leadsom to be the Tory leader
and Jeremy Corbyn to stay as the Labour leader. It requires a lot to
happen. If Leadsom did become Tory leader and Jeremy Corbyn were
strengthened as Labour leader, you have not just a centrist party
potentially, but a very big centrist party. What I would issue as a
warning is that that party would still be subject to all the
squabbles that any existing party suffers. Were I and Tim to join, for
example, there would be a debate about what centrism means. Is it
social democracy or something more economically liberal? Does it mean
commitment to the European Union, or honouring the referendum and getting
out? It would be no less prone to internal disagreements. Dubai the
story this morning that there were 20 Tory MPs threatening to leave if
Andrea Leadsom should become leader? I didn't buy that at all. It sounded
like 20 years he fits to me. In relation to a realignment, it is
interesting, what will happen to the UK Independence Party. Tim said the
Lib Dems world where the marketplace is, but think about all those people
that voted, for a righty of reasons, for Brexit, and what happens to
Ukip. I think we will see that rebranding under a different name is
some kind of people's party, and that could pick up a lot of Lib Dem
and Labour votes. Is Tim Farron right to be confident with the
position the Lib Dems are in? Last man standing, possibly the token
male leader after all this. The joy for the Lib Dems is that they have a
clear position and they are most gunning to be a majority party. They
can have a focus that other parties don't have. We shall see. We have
run out of time. The Daily Politics is back at midday on BBC Two all
this week. I will be back here on Sunday on BBC One at 11 o'clock.
Remember, if it's Sunday, it is the Sunday Politics.
Andrew Neil and Mark Carruthers with the latest political news, interviews and debate. Andrew is joined by guests including Labour's Lord Falconer and shadow education secretary Angela Rayner MP. On the political panel are Janan Ganesh, Helen Lewis and Isabel Oakeshott.