12/03/2017 Sunday Politics Northern Ireland


Mark Carruthers with the latest political news, interviews and debate.

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


David Davis tells MPs to leave the Brexit bill untouched,


ahead of a week which could see Britain begin the process


We'll talk to a Tory rebel and Ukip's Nigel Farage.


Phillip Hammond's first budget hit the rocks thanks to a tax rise


But how should we tax those who work for themselves?


And remember Donald Trump's claim that Barack Obama had ordered


We'll talk to the former Tory MP who set the whole story rolling.


And in Northern Ireland - as Gerry Adams says a deal can


be done at Stormont, I'll be asking a


Plus a controversial budget at Westminster -


And joining me for all of that, three self-employed journalists


who definitely don't deserve a tax break.


It's Steve Richards, Julia Hartley-Brewer


They'll be tweeting throughout the programme with all the carefree


abandon of Katie Hopkins before a libel trial.


BBC lawyers have suddenly got nervous!


So first today, the government is gearing up to trigger Article 50,


perhaps in the next 48 hours, and start negotiating Britain's


Much has been written about the prospect of the Commons


getting a "meaningful vote" on the deal Britain negotiates.


Brexit Secretary David Davis was on the Andrew Marr programme


earlier this morning and he was asked what happens


Well, that is what is called the most favoured nation status deal


There we go out, as it were, on WTO rules.


That is why of course we do the contingency planning, to make


The British people decided on June the 23rd last year


My job, and the job of the government, is to make


the terms on which that happens as beneficial as possible.


There we have it, clearly, either Parliament votes for the deal when


it is done or it out on World Trade Organisation rules. That's what the


government means by a meaningful vote.


I think we get over obsessed about whether there will be a legal right


for Parliament to have a vote. If there is no deal or a bad deal, I


think it would be politically impossible for the government to


reject Parliament's desire for a vote because the atmosphere of


politics will be completely different by then. I take David


Davies seriously. Within Whitehall he has acquired a reputation as


being the most conscientious and details sadly... And well briefed.


Absolutely and well travelled in terms of European capitals of the


three Brexit ministers. It is quite telling he said what he did and it


is quite telling that within cabinet, two weeks ago he was


floating the idea of no deal at all. Being if not the central estimate


than a completely plausible eventuality. It is interesting. I


would suggest the prospect of no deal is moving up the agenda. It is


still less likely than more likely to happen. But it's no longer a kind


of long tail way out there in the distance. Planning for no deal is


the same as having contents insurance or travel insurance, plan


for the worse case scenarios are prepared it happens. Even the worst


case scenario, it's not that bad. Think of the Jeep 20, apart from the


EU, four members of the G20 economies are successful members of


the EU. The rest aren't and don't have trade deals but somehow these


countries are prospering. They are growing at a higher rate. You are


not frightened? Not remotely. We are obsessed with what we get from the


EU and the key thing we get from leaving the EU is not the deal but


the other deals we can finally make with other trading partners. They


have higher growth than virtually every other EU country apart from


Germany. It is sensible as a negotiating position for the


government to say if there is no deal, we will accept there is no


deal. We're not frightened of no deal. It was clear from what David


Davies was saying that there will be a vote in parliament at the end of


the process but there won't be a third option to send the government


back to try to get a better deal. It is either the deal or we leave


without a deal. In reality, that third option will be there. We don't


know yet whether there will be a majority for the deal if they get


one. What we do know now is that there isn't a majority in the


Commons for no deal. Labour MPs are absolutely clear that no deal is


worth then a bad deal. I've heard enough Tory MPs say the same thing.


But they wouldn't get no deal through. When it comes to this vote,


if whatever deal is rejected, there will then be, one way or another,


the third option raised of go back again. But who gets to decide what


is a bad deal? The British people will have a different idea than the


two thirds of the Remain supporting MPs in the Commons. In terms of the


vote, the Commons. Surely, if the Commons, which is what matters here,


if the Commons were to vote against the deal as negotiated by the


government, surely that would trigger a general election? If the


government had recommended the deal, surely the government would then, if


it still felt strongly about the deal, if the other 27 had said,


we're not negotiating, extending it, it would in effect become a second


referendum on the deal. In effect it would be a no-confidence vote in the


government. You've got to assume that unless something massively


changes in the opposition before then, the government would feel


fairly confident about a general election on those terms. Unless the


deal is hideously bad and obviously basso every vote in the country...


The prior minister said if it is that bad she would have rather no


deal. So that eventuality arrives. -- the Prime Minister has said. Not


a second referendum general election in two years' time. Don't put any


holidays for! LAUGHTER -- don't look any.


So the Brexit bill looks likely to clear Parliament this week.


That depends on the number of Conservative MPs who are prepared


to vote against their government on two key issues.


Theresa May could be in negotiations with our European


partners within days, but there may be some


wheeler-dealings she has to do with her own MPs, too.


Cast your mind back to the beginning of month.


The bill to trigger Article 50 passed comfortably


But three Conservatives voted for Labour's amendments to ensure


the rights of EU citizens already in the UK.


Seven Tory MPs voted to force the government to give Parliament


a say on the deal struck with the EU before it's finalised.


But remember those numbers, they're important.


On the issue of a meaningful vote on a deal, I'm told there might have


been more rebels had it not been for this assurance from


I can confirm that the government will bring forward a motion


on the final agreement to be approved by both Houses


And we expect, and intend, that this will happen before


the European Parliament debates and votes on the final agreement.


When the government was criticised for reeling back


from when and what it would offer a vote on.


The bill then moved into the Lords, where peers passed it


And the second, that Parliament be given a meaningful vote on the terms


of the deal or indeed a vote in the event of there


The so-called Brexit bill will return to Commons


Ministers insist that both amendments would weaken


the government's negotiating hand and are seeking to overturn them.


But, as ever, politics is a numbers game.


Theresa May has a working majority of 17.


On Brexit, though, it's probably higher.


At least six Labour MPs generally vote with


Plus, eight DUP MPs, two from the Ulster Unionist party


If all Conservatives vote with the government as well,


Therefore, 26 Conservative rebels are needed for the government to be


So, are there rough waters ahead for Theresa May?


What numbers are we looking at, in terms of a potential rebellion?


I think we're looking at a large number of people who are interested


This building is a really important building.


It's symbolic of a huge amount of history.


And for it not to be involved in this momentous time would,


But he says a clear verbal statement from the government on a meaningful


vote on any deal would be enough to get most Tory MPs onside.


It was already said about David Jones.


It's slightly unravelled a little bit during


I think this is an opportunity to really get that clarity


through so that we can all vote for Article 50 and get


We've have spoken to several Tory MPs who say they are minded to vote


One said the situation was sad and depressing.


The other said that the whips must be worried because they don't


A minister told me Downing Street was looking again at the possibility


of offering a vote in the event of no deal being reached.


But that its position was unlikely to change.


And, anyway, government sources have told the Sunday Politics they're not


That those Tory MPs who didn't back either amendment the first time


round would look silly if they did, this time.


It would have to be a pretty hefty lot of people changing their minds


about things that have already been discussed in quite a lot of detail,


last time it was in the Commons, for things to be reversed this time.


There's no doubt that a number of Tory MPs are very concerned.


Labour are pessimistic about the chances of enough Tory


rebels backing either of the amendments in the Commons.


The important thing, I think, is to focus on the fact


that this is the last chance to have a say on this.


If they're going to vote with us, Monday is the time to do it.


Assuming the bill does pass the Commons unamended,


it will go back to the Lord's on Monday night where Labour peers


have already indicated they won't block it again.


It means that the Brexit bill would become law and Theresa May


would be free to trigger Article 50 within days.


Her own deadline was the end of this month.


But one minister told me there were advantages to doing it early.


We're joined now from Nottingham by the Conservative MP Anna Soubry.


She's previously voted against the government on the question


of whether Parliament should have a final say over the EU deal.


Anna Soubry, I think it was clear this morning from David Davies that


what he means by meaningful vote is not what you mean by a meaningful


vote. He thinks the choice for Parliament would be to either vote


for the deal and if Parliament doesn't, we leave on World Trade


Organisation rules, on a bare-bones structure. In the end, will he


accept that in the Commons tomorrow? No, because my problem and I don't


think it is a problem, but my problem, the government's problem is


that what I want is then to answer this question. What happens in the


event of their not being any deal? David Davies made it very clear that


in the event of there being no deal, Parliament would have no say. It


means through your elected representatives, the people of this


country would have no say on what happens if the government doesn't


get a deal. I think the request that Parliament should have a say on


Parliamentary sovereignty, is perfectly reasonable. That is what I


want David to say. If he says that, I won't be rebelling. If he does...


They have refused to say that. Sorry. If he continues to say what


he said the BBC this morning, which means that the vote will be either


to accept the as negotiated or to leave on WTO rules, will you rebel


on that question but no, no, sorry, if there's a deal, Parliament will


have a say. So that's fine. And we will see what the deal is and we


will look at the options two years down the road. When who knows


what'll happen in our economy and world economy. That is one matter


which I am content on. The Prime Minister, a woman of her word has


said that in the event of a deal, Parliament will vote on any deal. I


don't difficulty. To clarify, I will come onto that. These are important


matters. I want to clarify, not argue with you. You are content that


if there is a deal, we will come under no deal in a second, but if


there is a deal, you are content with the choice of being able to


vote for that deal or leaving on WTO terms? No, you're speculating as to


what might happen in two years' time. What the options might be.


Personally I find it inconceivable that the government will come back


with a rubbish deal. They will either come back with a good deal,


which I won't have a problem with or they will come back with no deal. To


speculate about coming back with a deal, there is a variety of options.


I understand that that is what the Lord amendments are about. They are


about a vote at the end of the process. Do forgive me, the Lords


amendment is not the same that I've voted for in Parliament. What we


call the Chris Leslie amendment, which was talking about whatever the


agreement is, whatever happens at the end of the negotiations,


Parliament will have a vote. Parliament will have a say. The


Lords amendment is a bit more technical. It is the principle of no


deal that is agitating us. Let's clarify on this. They are


complicated matters. What do you want the government to say? What do


you want David Davis to say tomorrow on what should the Parliamentary


process should be if there is no deal? Quite. I want a commitment


from him that in the event of no deal, it will come into Parliament


and Parliament will determine what happens next. It could be that in


the event of no deal, the best thing is for us to jump off the cliff into


WTO tariff is. I find it unlikely but that might be the reality. There


might be other alternatives. Most importantly, including saying to the


government, go back, carry on. The question that everybody has to ask


is, why won't the government give My fear is what this is about is


asked deliberately, not the Prime Minister, but others deliberately


ensuring we have no deal and no deal pretty soon and in that event, we


jumped off the cliff onto WTO tariffs and nobody in this country


and the people of this country do not have a say. My constituents did


not vote for hard Brexit. You do not want the government to


have the ability if there is no deal to automatically fall back on the


WTO rules? Quite. It is as simple as that. We are now speculating about


what will happen in two years. I want to find out what happens


tomorrow. What will you do if you don't get that assurance? I will


either abstain, or I will vote to keep this amendment within the Bill.


I will either vote against my government, which I do not do


likely, I have never voted against my government until the Chris Leslie


clause when the Bill was going through, or I will abstain, which


has pretty much the same effect because it comes into the Commons


with both amendments so you have positively to vote to take the map.


Can you give us an idea of how many like-minded conservative colleagues


there are. I genuinely do not know. You must talk to each other. I do


not talk to every member of my party. You know people who are


like-minded. I do. I am not doing numbers games. I know you want that


but I genuinely do not know the figure. I think this is an


uncomfortable truth. People have to understand what has happened in our


country, two particular newspapers, creating an atmosphere and setting


an agenda and I think many people are rather concerned, some


frightened, to put their head over the parapet. There are many millions


of people who feel totally excluded from this process. Many of them


voted to remain. And they have lost their voice. We have covered the


ground I wanted to. We're joined now by the Ukip MEP


and former leader Nigel Farage. Article 50 triggered, we are leaving


the EU, the single market and the customs union. What is left you to


complain about? All of that will happen and hopefully we will get the


triggered this week which is good news. What worries me a little I'm


not sure the government recognises how strong their handers. At the


summit in Brussels, the word in the corridors is that we are prepared to


give away fishing waters as a bargaining chip and the worry is


what deal we get. Are we leaving, yes I am pleased about that. You are


under relevant voice in the deal because the deal will be voted on in


Parliament and you have one MP. You are missing the point, the real vote


in parliament is not in London but Strasbourg. This is perhaps the


biggest obstacle the British Government faces. Not what happens


in the Commons that the end of the two years, the European Parliament


could veto the deal. What that means is people need to adopt a different


approach. We do not need to be lobbying in the corridors of


Brussels to get a good deal, we need is a country to be out there talking


to the German car workers and Belgian chocolate makers, putting as


much pressure as we can on politicians from across Europe to


come to a sensible arrangement. It is in their interests more than


ours. In what way is the vision of Brexit set out by David Davis any


different from your own? I am delighted there are people now


adopting the position I argued for many years. Good. But now... Like


Douglas Carswell, he said he found David Davis' performers this morning


reassuring. It is. And just as when Theresa May was Home Secretary every


performance she gave was hugely reassuring. She was seen to be a


heroine after her conference speeches and then did not deliver. I


am concerned that even before we start we are making concessions. You


described in the EU's divorce bill demands, 60 billion euros is floated


around. You said it is laughable and I understand that. Do you maintain


that we will not have to pay a penny to leave? It is nine months since we


voted exit and assuming the trigger of Article 50, we would have paid 30


billion in since we had a vote. We are still members. But honestly, I


do not think there is an appetite for us to pay a massive divorce


Bill. There are assets also. Not a penny? There will be some ongoing


commitments, but the numbers talked about our 50, ?60 billion, they are


frankly laughable. I am trying to find out if you are prepared to


accept some kind of exit cost, it may be nowhere near 60 billion. We


have to do a net agreement, the government briefed about our share


of the European Union investment bank. Would you accept a


transitional arrangement, deal, five, ten billion, as part of the


divorce settlement? We are painted net ?30 million every single day at


the moment, ?10 billion plus every year. That is just our contribution.


We are going to make a massive saving on this. What do you make of


what Anna Soubry said, that if there is no deal, and it is being talked


about more. Maybe the government managing expectations. There is an


expectation we will have a deal, but if there is no deal, that the


government cannot just go to WTO rules, but it has to have a vote in


parliament? By the time we get to that there will be a general


election coming down the tracks and I suspect that if at the end of the


two-year process there is no deal and by the way, no deal is a lot


better for the nation than where we currently are, because we freed of


regulations and able to make our own deals in the world. I think what


would happen, and if Parliament said it did not back, at the end of the


negotiation a general election would happen quickly. According to reports


this morning, one of your most senior aides has passed a dossier to


police claiming Tories committed electoral fraud in Thanet South, the


seat contested in the election. What evidence to you have? I read that in


the newspapers as you have. I am not going to comment on it. Will you not


aware of the contents of the dossier? I am not aware of the


dossier. He was your election strategists. I am dubious as to


whether this dossier exists at all. Perhaps the newspapers have got this


wrong. Concerns about the downloading of data the took place


in that constituency, there are. Allegedly, he has refuted it, was it


done by your MP to give information to the Tories, do you have evidence


about? We have evidence Mr Carswell downloaded information, we have no


evidence what he did with it. It is not just your aide who has been


making allegations against the Conservatives in Thanet South and


other seats, if the evidence was to be substantial, and if it was to


result in another by-election being called an Thanet South had to be


fought again, would you be the Ukip candidate? I probably would. You


probably would? Yes. Just probably? Just probably. It would be your


eighth attempt. Winning seats in parliament under first past the post


is not the only way to change politics in Britain and I would like


to think I proved that. Let's go back to Anna Soubry. The implication


of what we were saying on the panel at the start of the show and what


Nigel Farage was saying there would be that if at the end of the process


whatever the vote, if the government were to lose it, it would provoke a


general election properly. I think that would be right. Let's get real.


The government is not going to come to Parliament with anything other


than something it believes is a good deal and if it rejected it, would be


unlikely, there would be a de facto vote of no confidence and it would


be within the fixed term Parliaments act and that be it. The problem is,


more likely, because of the story put up about the 50 billion, 60


billion and you look at the way things are flagged up that both the


Prime Minister and Boris Johnson saying, we should be asking them for


money back, I think the big fear and the fear I have is we will be


crashing out in six months. You think we could leave as quickly as


six months. Explain that. I think they will stoke up the demand from


the EU for 50, 60 billion back and my real concern is that within six


months, where we're not making much progress, maybe nine months, and


people are getting increasingly fed up with the EU because they are told


it wants unreasonable demands, and then the crash. I think what is


happening is the government is putting in place scaffolding at the


bottom of the cliff to break our fall when we come to fall off that


cliff and I think many in government are preparing not for a two-year


process, but six, to nine months, off the cliff, out we go. That is my


fear. That is interesting. I have not heard that express before by


someone in your position. I suspect you have made Nigel Farage's date.


It is a lovely thought. I would say to Anna Soubry she is out of date


with this. 40 years ago there was a good argument for joining the common


market because tariffs around the world was so high. That has changed


with the World Trade Organisation. We are leaving the EU and rejoining


a great big world and it is exciting. She was giving an


interesting perspective on what could happen in nine months rather


than two years. I thank you both. It was Philip Hammond's first


budget on Wednesday - billed as a steady-as-she-goes


affair, but turned out to cause uproar after the Chancellor appeared


to contradict a Tory manifesto commitment with an increase


in national insurance contributions. The aim was to address what some see


as an imbalance in the tax system, where employees pay


more National Insurance The controversy centres


on increasing the so-called class 4 rate for the self-employed who make


a profit of more than ?8,060 a year. It will go up in stages


from 9% to 11% in 2019. The changes mean that over one


and a half million will pay on average ?240 a year


more in contributions. Some Conservative MPs were unhappy,


with even the Wales Minister saying: "I will apologise to every


voter in Wales that read the Conservative manifesto


in the 2015 election." The Sun labelled Philip


Hammond "spite van man". The Daily Mail called the budget


"no laughing matter". By Thursday, Theresa May


said the government One of the first things I did


as Prime Minister was to commission Matthew Taylor to review the rights


and protections that were available to self-employed workers


and whether they should be enhanced. People will be able to look


at the government paper when we produce it, showing


all our changes, and take And, of course, the Chancellor will


be speaking, as will his ministers, to MPs, businesspeople and others


to listen to the concerns. Well, the man you heard mentioned


there, Matthew Taylor, has the job of producing


a report into the future Welcome. The Chancellor has decided


the self-employed should pay almost the same in National Insurance, not


the same but almost, as the employed will stop what is left of your


commission? The commission has a broader frame of reference and we


are interested in the quality of work in the economy at the heart of


what I hope will be proposing is a set of shifts that will improve the


quality of that work so we have an economy where all work is fair and


decent and all jobs give people scope for development and


fulfilment. The issue of taxes a small part. You will cover that? We


will, because the tax system and employment regulation system drive


particular behaviours in our labour market. You approve I think of the


general direction of this policy of raising National Insurance on the


self-employed. Taxing them in return perhaps for more state benefits. Why


are so many others on the left against it from Tim Farron to John


McDonnell? Tax rises are unpopular and it is the role of the opposition


parties to make capital from unpopular tax rises. I think as tax


rises go this is broadly progressive. There are self-employed


people on low incomes and they will be better off. It is economic league


rational because the reason for the difference in National Insurance --


economically. It was to do with state entitlements. The government


is consulting about paid parental leave. A series of governments have


not been good about thinking about medium sustainability of the tax


base. Self-employment is growing. But it is eroding the tax base. It


is important to address those issues. A number of think tanks have


said this is a progressive move. Yet, a number of left-wing


politicians have been against it. And a number of Tories have said


this is a progressive move and not a Tory government move, the balance of


you will pay more tax, but you will get more state benefits is not a


Tory approach to things. That a Tory approach will be you will pay less


tax but entitled to fewer benefits as well.


I preferred in and policies to politics -- I prefer policies. When


people look at the policy and when they look the fact that there is no


real historical basis for that big national insurance differential,


they see it is a sensible policy. I don't have to deal with the


politics. There has been a huge growth in self-employment from the


turn of the millennium. It's been strongest amongst older workers,


women part-timers. Do you have any idea, do you have


the data in your commission that could tell us how many are taking


self-employment because they like the flexibility and they like the


tax advantages that come with it, too, or they are being forced into


it by employers who don't want the extra costs of employment? Do we


know the difference? We do, broadly. Most surveys on self-employment and


flexible forms of employment suggest about two thirds to three quarters


enjoy it, they like the flexibility, they like the autonomy and about a


third to one quarter are less happy. That tends to be because they would


like to have a full-time permanent job. It is not necessary that they


don't enjoy what they are doing, they would like to do other things.


And some of the protections that come with it? Yes. There are some


people who are forced into southern employees by high-risk but also some


people feel like they can't get a proper job as it were. --


self-employment by people who hire them. It is on the narrow matter of


tax revenues but if you are employed on ?32,000 the state will take over


?6,000 in national insurance contributions, that is quite chunky.


If you are self-employed it is ?2300. But the big difference


between those figures isn't what the employee is paying, it's the


employer's contributions up to almost 14%, and cupped for as much


as you are paid. What do you do about employers' contributions for


the self employed? -- it is uncapped for as much. What I recommend is


that we should probably move from taxing employment to taxing labour.


We should probably have a more level playing field so it doesn't really


matter... Explained that I thought it was the same thing. If you are a


self-employed gardener, you are a different tax regime to a gardener


who works for a gardening firm. On the individual side and on the firm


side. As we see new business models, so-called gig working, partly with


technology, we need a more level playing field saying that we're


taxing people's work, not the form in which they deliver that. That is


part of the reason we have seen the growth of particular business


models. They are innovative and creative and partly driven by the


fact that if you can describe yourself as self-employed there are


tax advantages. Coming out in June? Will you come back and talk to us?


Yes. We say goodbye to viewers


in Scotland, who leave us now Coming up here in 20 minutes,


we'll be talking to the former Tory MP who was the root


of Donald Trump's allegation that he had been put


under surveillance by Hello and welcome to Sunday Politics


in Northern Ireland. After a week of talks at Stormont


and a threat of another election, I'll be asking the Fianna Fail


TD, Brendan Smith, how This week saw a controversial


Westminster budget but with still no sign of any kind of


budget at Stormont - And with their thoughts


throughout, I'm joined by the Irish News Editor,


Noel Doran, and the News Letter's One week of negotiations done


and two more to go before the Secretary of State finds himself


calling a second snap Direct rule is another


possibility or thirdly, The Sinn Fein President,


Gerry Adams, who's been at Stormont most of the week,


said this morning he thinks that The Government in London on the back


of Brexit and on the back of its own policy wants to dismantle


lots of the human rights aspects What we need, this is what our focus


is, and implementation process we are involved in,


those agreements, the different elements of a deal, the human


rights elements of it, the bill of rights, these different


commitments which have been made but not kept need to be delivered


on and if that happens then the institutions will go back


in place and we will continue to do our best to


work for the people. And with me now is the Fianna


Fail TD Brendan Smith who's been keeping a close eye


on developments here. You sit on a Dail committee


on the implementation of the 1998 Agreement -


Mr Adams was talking there about the need for delivery


on outstanding commitments. Do you share his view that those


issues need to be resolved before I think all of those issues are


outstanding from the good credit agreement and success of agreements


and they should be implemented and I think Mr Adams referred to Brexit


and the issues confronting us and the knock-on effect of the good


credit agreement and that is why it is absolutely essential that it was


a agency is attached to having the Executive back in place and a


working assembly and I think the substantial increase in the time-out


showed the electorate of Northern Ireland want an assembly that works,


wants an Executive that works and with the issues facing every family


in Northern Ireland. Mr Adams says it's perfectly


possible that the politicians can do Do you think that's what Sinn Fein


wants at this stage? I would think so and I sincerely


hope the DUP and the other parties work to the mandate that has been


given to all of us, the mandate from the endorsement of the Good Friday


Agreement and referendum north and south in May 19 98. It is beholden


to all of us and parliamentary politics to put those institutions


in place, working for the betterment of the people of society in Northern


Ireland and that all of our island. There's been a lot of speculation


that Sinn Fein might be keen to play the long game in the Stormont talks


to see how things pan out and to enable the party


to consolidate its position in the Republic with the possibility


of another election very soon. They have had success in the recent


system elections as have the SDLP as well but we have another poll next


weekend could have different results. During the course of the


previous, every second Sunday Sinn Fein were ahead of Fina Phil Fianna


Fail and the polls and that is the only poll that I give any credence


to. That is top of Mr Adams being potentially in a position, would


Fianna Fail watch with Sinn Fein if that was the way to produce a stable


Government and the south? The parties initiated by Sinn Fein are


not compatible with the parties of Fianna Fail. We will go to the next


election with our manifesto programme and 60 endorsement to grow


our party. We went from 20 seats to 44 in the last election and we hope


to increase that substantially again. There is no election on the


horizon and the south. Do you really think not? There will be a new


leader of Fine Gaelz sooner rather than later and then the Montez or


her own mandate. The other is elected as the new leader or what to


stay in the office as long as possible. Fianna Fail have given a


commitment and that brings us up to 2019 and that'll be honoured unless


Fine Gael mess up and honour the agreement.


Charlie Flanagan says some of the issues still to be resolved


go right back to 1998 - so how would Fianna Fail handle


For Charlie Flanagan has been doing this week is emphasising the need to


deal with the legacy issues. James Brokenshire's comments this week and


he would release funding to speed up the increase, to deal with the hard


ship and the grief that families have suffered for far too long,


legacy issues have to be dealt with and be have to have an implement it


in time to deal with all of these outstanding issues. I think that is


a necessary incremental step forward to ensure that we get in place the


Executive before that three-week period is out. Would you and Fianna


Fail support Sinn Fein's veto on Arlene Foster vitamin? What I would


say is to deal with the legacy issues and other outstanding issues


from the good Freddie agreement and the last thing in any country would


you have more than one party and Government as the personnel and the


positions, that should be the last eight to be dealt with by both


parties. I think both the DUP and Sinn Fein and other parties should


be putting a proper programme for Government. Let us remember in the


middle of November and the Irish News, Arlene Foster and Martin


McGuinness had an article read this book about both other parties going


for the long haul, no grandstanding or gimmicks. We have moved on since


then? We have but if we could achieve in 1998 the Good Friday


Agreement after more than 30 years of mayhem, surely after a few weeks


of difficulties those parties should reach an agreement and the issues of


all the people in Ireland are very difficult, we have the Brexit issue


hitting us already and we don't have to be two years for the negative


impact of Brexit to hurt us. It is set as in the broader economy


already, the area I know best and we have here a non-functioning


Executive, that is not what the people of Northern Ireland want.


Cross of some sort of resolution cannot be reached, would you support


joint authority? The only thing on the agenda is to put in place the


institutions that are all mandated by the people north and south and


the referendum of 1998, I don't countenance anything else and I


would be optimistic that that can be achieved. There is a budget to be


put in place, there are health and education issues confronting rural


communities farmers and I emphasise again, I cheer the all-party


committee and participated in the Good Friday Agreement and we are in


crossed in dealing with the Brexit issues as we work on a daily basis,


that's what the assembly should be doing to stop Cross Arlene Foster


said in an interview it is a great opportunity, Brexit as a great


opportunity for the UK Government and Northern Ireland. The farmers I


talk two in Fermanagh are worried the boulders their payments and let


us remember that almost 90% of farming from Northern Ireland is


dependent on a funding transfer from Europe. No Tory or Labour Government


in Westminster will substitute that payment. Thank you.


Gerry Adams isn't the only local politician making the most


Arlene Foster has given an interview to Sky News in which she says


she has not considered resigning as DUP leader following


Mrs Foster has declined to be interviewed by the BBC,


but speaking to Sky she insisted the result has not been disastrous


for the party but is, in fact, a wake-up call for unionism.


As well as that, the national turnout increased, a lot of people


have been talking to me since last Friday since the results


were becoming known and a great sense of shock and how could this


happen and I think it has been a bit of a wake-up call in terms


Have to continue with the negotiations and the spirit in which


they have begun and I hope that will happen and I hope we get to a


situation where we can bring about the return of the devolved


administration as quickly as possible.


Arlene Foster speaking there to Sky News -


and with me now to reflect on what both she and Gerry Adams


have had to say, I'm joined by the Editor of the Irish News,


Noel Doran, and the News Letter's political editor, Sam McBride.


Sam, we haven't heard a great deal from the DUP leader


since the election - so were there any surprises


Note. She is very much in the same tone she has had a new last very


faint and from and is DUP supporters would see it in some cases, very


strong. It is from opposition she is being asked questions such as is


this a disastrous election for unionism and she is trying to see it


is not and it is difficult to spend it in that way when you look at how


many seats they lost here, and she is in a position where she can see


it's been a disaster but most people within the DUP looking at saying


that is exactly what it is. She clearly sees herself


as the leader of unionism with a big job to do in terms of the continuing


negotiations and in shaping relationships within the broader


unionist family at what is clearly There is no doubt about that but I


suspect the people most released few Arlene Foster is intending to stay


in her post will be Sinn Fein because she has become their


greatest asset. Not so long ago Sinn Fein were quite a difficult position


with a crisp confused response to RHI contradicting each other in


public. Everything has changed utterly, they have the wind behind


their sales no and in a really strong position and I take Brendan


's point about polls but they have been given a big left and the south


surviving Arlene position with all that she represents give them a


considerable advantage. Do you think our readership is secure? She seems


to have faced that down at a meeting last Tuesday and I think we may see


still significant changes in the backroom team with the DUP there but


at this point it is very much business as usual. And very much no


chance of her taking humble pie that Ian Paisley Junior was suggesting


she should take. Meantime Gerry Adams has also taken


to the airwaves today. What do you make of how


he's playing his hand? He is in a very strong position. It


has been suggested in the past that he is never a person to beastie


opportunity provided by a good crisis and he is certainly playing


his cards very well at the moment but it almost suits him to sit tight


and let the institutions go on hold for a prolonged period, that seems


to be very much playing to the wishes of the Sinn Fein electorate


and the widest nationalists electorate as well because the


administration at Stormont and become very unpopular and seemed to


be acting in the interests of one side of the committee rather than


the entire community sort of Gerry Adams does what he is doing no evil


be in a very strong position for quite some time. Gerry Adams and


Sinn Fein major players on both side of the border? That's right and for


the first time Sinn Fein are ahead of Fine Gael as the second party in


the south, that may not be accurate at may just be an aberration but to


be up for Mac points after what has happened certainly suggest that what


has happened here is perhaps having an impact south of the border. Thank


you. As the Chancellor, Philip Hammond,


deals with the backlash against Wednesday's budget -


the lack of a budget With no Executive and no budget,


are public services starting I'm joined by Professor Neil Gibson,


director of Ulster University's What are the imprecations of the


national insurance changes in Northern Ireland? It was actually


quite a quiet budget and the whole focus has been on this change to


national insurance contributions for the self-employed. It is a big and


important sector in Northern Ireland particularly in construction and


farming and will have an effect on those who make reasonable amounts of


profit but actually changes to class to mean that people making small at


a profitable actually be a little bit better off. That's the


Westminster budget which did happen, which is it problem between number


ten and number 11, the fact that we do not have a budget and we are


about to have a budget and the near future obviously as a cause of major


concern here. How worried are you at that prospect? Extremely worried.


Normally I would see the short-term effects are fairly modest, there


isn't a watt of legislation about to be passed but right now we have some


very important matters, devolution and corporation tax and of course


the budget negotiations, who is when to fight Northern Ireland's, without


an Executive there to do so. In the long run all our competitors and the


rest of the UK are making progress and investing in roads and funding


their education systems and B are all slipping slowly behind and it is


about like putting on weight, you might not protest the immediate


effect but eventually end if you used a Rubel finally fallen further


behind in the competitive race. The deadline to get a budget


on the books is 29th March - How do Government compare


departments continue to deliver services and over the next few


months? That would be quite as alarming as it seems. They will have


most of the money to operate with any shot run from July but we don't


they suspend all the money in the short run and I don't think anyone


should panic that our public services will fall into crisis. If


you get to July and it is 95%, that is a 5% cut. That is only an interim


measure and if we get that far and still haven't agreed enviable mix


different arrangements but what prevents is as reallocating money


across different priorities and direct revenue look at the health


and is education, we need to have those strategic conversations about


where to spend our money. Health consumes such a huge amount of


budget and education as a potential problem and we would have the


capacity and obligations for local Government. The fact that we saw


Theresa May spending a lot of the time of the budget excluding how


expense of public services are getting and we are looking at a


warrant in which tax rises will have to come and the Executive is not you


to decide exactly who shall pay those tax increases so if we fall


behind, we would have anyone else to blame for ourselves for not being


there to make those decisions. They do you think this situation makes us


look to the outside world? I think is very damaging but the press


coverage isn't huge nationally because of their own problems,


worried about their own ability to deliver health care so we are not as


high up the power to list globally as you might think we are.


Are you depressed at what we have just heard? Clearly there is going


to be an enormous difficulty over the budget and honestly there is a


vacancy for the head of the civil service which is unresolved doesn't


exactly help but I'm sure we can stumble on because we have always


stumbled on in the past. It's clearly not good Government but we


have to focus on the budgets and we are looking very closely at RHI, EU


crisis is Brexit and its implications across the board


because it is completely transformed attitudes which has had a big impact


on the last election, forced nationalists to look again at the


Good Friday Agreement and the border issue and Unionists were able to see


the border remains in place and naturalists the leg nationalists


said it had no effect on day-to-day basis above the Brexit result has


thrown it back on peoples faces and force people to confront the whole


issue of partition and the constitutional question and the way


that almost a generation had slipped away from and that has been a real


game changer and that is going to change events for quite some time to


come. Unless you see Brexit as a tremendous opportunity which many in


the Unionist family do? I think unionism as split on this. Unionism


was very firmly in favour of Brexit in terms of people who came out to


vote but there is a significant minority within unionism and the DUP


who were actually very uneasy about this, he felt that something which


appears to be settled constitutionally and also economic


league were suddenly going to be thrown up in the area at a point


where Scotland was already agitating for change and a separate part of


the UK. So fill the dominant position within unionism is to say


we want to take back some country, or the rhetoric during the campaign,


there is another section of business union unionism is very concerned


about what is happening here. Let's pause for a moment and take


a look back at the political week say and do political landscape has


shifted enormously. I think this is the biggest vote ever cast for any


party in an assembly election and that we be perverse to see as a


result of that someone should step aside. In the longer term it may


well be that bit about this relationship evolves is to a point


where you have a broader Unionist movement. What chance ideal? I think


there is a sense of urgency at what is at hand here, the significance of


the issues we are dealing with. I detect a willingness on the part of


all parties involved to sit down and engage constructively. OCD may? Who


is she. He is called Gerry Adams. MLAs are at Stormont


tomorrow to sign in - but a new Speaker won't be elected


and we're not expecting There's no doubt about that and


expectations are low and we have always managed to cobble something


together in the past but there is a sense that institutions will be on


hold for quite some time and that may be something the DUP regret that


we are in different circumstances and I think Arlene Foster will have


to come to terms with that. And the short term and thus potentially does


suit Sinn Fein and the think there is a long term risk for an onerous,


we saw how quickly add dominant position for Arlene Foster can


quickly fall apart and there is a danger that Sinn Fein in this


calculates the risks from not having a budget from returning to direct


rule which they have always said was Tory direct rule and I think that


was to happen and they are seen as responsible for it and hospitals are


in crisis, I think there is a real risk for Republicans in that


scenario. The new MLAs Hussein and tomorrow will be mindful of being a


sideshow and the real focus seems to be installed? One possible solution


is yet another selection which would be the third, I don't think many


people are taking it seriously at this stage. The emphasis has to be


on talks and consensus but not too many people think it would to be


arrived at in the short-term. An election or not? I think from the


very start of this process James Brokenshire has held that over their


heads as a threat and maybe he will follow through on it.


Now the government plans for new grammar schools.


The Education Secretary Justine Greening was


speaking to a conference of headteachers on Friday.


They're normally a pretty polite bunch, but they didn't


Broadcasters weren't allowed into the speech,


but this was captured on a camera phone.


And we have to recognise actually for grammars, in terms of


disadvantaged children, that they have, they really


do help them close the attainment gap.


And at the same time we should recognise that


..That parents also want choice for their children and that


those schools are often very oversubscribed.


I suppose it is a rite of passage for and education secretaries to


have this at a head teachers conference book the head are usually


more polite. Isn't part of the problem, whether one is for or


against the expansion of grammar schools, the government plans are


complicated, you cannot sum them up in a sentence. The proof of that is


they can still get away with denying they are expanding grammar schools.


They will find an alternative formulation because it is not as


simple as a brute creation of what we used to know is grammar schools


with the absolute cut-off of the 11 plus. I am surprised how easy they


found it politically. We saw the clip of Justine Greening being


jeered a little bit but in the grand scheme, compared to another


government trying this idea a decade ago they have got away with it


easily and I think what is happening is a perverse consequence of Brexit


and the media attention on Brexit, the government of the day can just


about get away with slightly more contentious domestic policies on the


correct assumption we will be too busy investing our attention in


Article 50 and two years of negotiations, WTO terms at


everything we have been discussing. I wonder if after grammar schools


there will be examples of contentious domestic policies


Theresa May can slide in stock because Brexit sucks the life out,


takes the attention away. You are a supporter. Broadly. Are you happy


with the government approach? They need to have more gumption and stop


being apologetic. It is a bazaar area of public policy where we judge


the policy on grammar schools based on what it does for children whose


parents are unemployed, living on sink estates in Liverpool. It is


absurd, we don't judge any other policy like that. It is simple, not


contentious, people who are not sure, ask them if they would apply


to send their child there, six out of ten said they would. Parents want


good schools for their children, we should have appropriate education


and they should be straightforward, this is about the future of the


economy and we need bright children to get education at the highest


level, education for academically bright children. It is supposed to


be a signature policy of the Theresa May administration that marks a


government different from David Cameron's government who did not go


down this road. The signature is pretty blurred, it is hard to read.


It is. She is trying to address concerns about those who fail to get


into these selective schools and tried to targeted in poorer areas


and the rest of it. She will probably come across so many


obstacles. It is not clear what form it will take in the end. It is


really an example of a signature policy not fully thought through. I


think it was one of her first announcements. It was. It surprised


everybody. Surprised at the speed and pace at which they were planning


to go. Ever since, there have been qualifications and hesitations en


route with good cause, in my view. I disagree with Juliet that this is...


We all want good schools but if you don't get in there and you end up in


a less good school. They already do that. We have selection based on the


income of parents getting into a good catchment area, based on the


faith of the parents. That becomes very attainable! I might been too


shot run christenings for these. -- I have been.


Now, you may remember this time last week we were talking


about the extraordinary claims by US President Donald Trump,


on Twitter of course, that Barack Obama had ordered


And there was me thinking that wiretaps went out


Is it legal for a sitting President to do so, he asked,


concluding it was a "new low", and later comparing it to Watergate.


Since then, the White House has been pressed to provide evidence for this


It hasn't, but it seems it may have initially come from a report on a US


website by the former Conservative MP Louise Mensch.


She wrote that the FBI had been granted a warrant to intercept


communications between Trump's campaign and Russia.


Well, Louise Mensch joins us now from New York.


Louise, you claimed in early November that the FBI had secured a


court warrants to monitor communications between trump Tower


in New York at two Russian banks. It's now four months later. Isn't it


the case that nobody has proved the existence of this warrant?


First of all, forgive me Andrew, one takes 1's life in one's hand when it


is you but I have to correct your characterisation of my reporting. It


is very important. I did not report that the FBI had a warrant to


intercept anything or that Trump tower was any part of it. What I


reported was that the FBI obtained a warrant is targeted on all


communications between two Russian banks and were, therefore, allowed


to examine US persons in the context of their investigation. What the


Americans call legally incidental collection. I certainly didn't


report that the warrant was able to intercept or that it had location


basis, for example Trump tower. I just didn't report that. The reason


that matters so much is that I now believe based on the President's


reaction, there may well be a wiretap act Trump Tower. If so,


Donald Trump has just tweeted out evidence in an ongoing criminal case


that neither I nor anybody else reported. He is right about


Watergate because he will have committed obstruction of justice


directly from his Twitter account. Let me come back as thank you for


clarifying. Let me come back to the question. -- and thank you. We have


not yet got proof that this warrant exists, do we? No and we are most


unlikely to get it because it would be a heinous crime for Donald Trump


to reveal its existence. In America they call it a Glomar response. I


can neither confirm nor deny. That is what all American officials will


have to say legally. If you are looking for proof, you won't get it


until and unless a court cases brought. But that doesn't mean it


doesn't exist. The BBC validated this two months after me in their


reporting by the journalist Paul Wood. The Guardian, they also


separately from their own sources validated the existence of the


warrant. If you are in America, you would know that CNN and others are


reporting that the investigation in ongoing. Let me come onto the wider


point. You believe the Trump campaign including the president


were complicit with the Russians during the 2016 election campaign to


such an extent that Mr Trump should be impeached. What evidence did you


have? That is an enormous amount of


evidence. You could start with him saying, hey, Russia, if you are


listening, please release all the Hillary Clinton's e-mails. That's


not evidence. I think it rather is, actually. Especially if you look at


some of the evidence that exists on Twitter and elsewhere of people


talking directly to his social media manager, Dan should be no and


telling him to do that before it happened. There is a bit out there.


The BBC itself reported that in April of last year, a six agency


task force, not just the FBI, but the Treasury Department, was looking


at this. I believe there is an enormous amount of evidence. And


then there is the steel dossier which was included in an official


report of the US intelligence committee. You've also ... Just to


be clear, we don't have hard evidence yet whether this warrant


exists. It may or may not. There is doubt about... There are claims


about whether there is evidence about Mr Trump and the Russians.


That is another matter. You claimed that President Putin had Andrew


Breitbart murdered to pave the way for Steve Bannon to play a key role


in the Trump administration. I haven't. You said that Steve Bannon


is behind bomb threats to Jewish community centres. Aren't you in


danger of just peddling wild conspiracy theories? No. Festival, I


haven't. No matter how many times people say this, it's not going to


be true -- first of all. I said in twitter I believe that to be the


case about the murder of Andrew Breitbart. You believe President


Putin murdered him. I didn't! You said I reported it, but I believed


it. You put it on twitter that you believed it but you don't have a


shred of evidence. I do. Indeed, I know made assertions. What is the


evidence that Mr Putin murdered Andrew Breitbart? I said I believe


it. You may believe there are fairies at the bottom of your


garden, it doesn't make it true. I may indeed. And if I say so, that's


my belief. If I say I am reporting, as I did with the Fisa warrant


exists, I have a basis in fact. They believe is just a belief. I know you


are relatively new to journalism. Let me get the rules right. Andrew,


jealousy is not your colour... If it is twitter, we don't believe it but


if it is on your website, we should believe it? If I report something


and I say this happened, then I am making an assertion. If I describe a


belief, I am describing a belief. Subtlety may be a little difficult


for you... No, no. If you want to be a journalist, beliefs have to be


backed up with evidence. Really? Do you have a faith? It's not a matter


of faith, maybe in your case, that President Putin murdered Andrew


Breitbart. A belief and a report at two different things and no matter


how often you say that they are the same, they will never be the same.


You've said in today's Sunday Times here in London that you've turned


into" a temporary superpower" where you "See things really clearly".


Have you become delusional? No. I am describing a biological basis for


ADHD, which I have. As any of your viewers who are doctors will know.


It provides people with unfortunately a lot of scattered


focus, they are very messy and absent-minded but when they are


interested in things and they have ADHD they can have a condition which


is hyper focus. You concentrate very hard on a given subject and you can


see patterns and connections. That is biological. Thank you for


explaining that. And for getting up early in New York. The first time


ever I have interviewed a temporary superpower. Thank you. You are so


lucky! You are so lucky! I don't think it's going to happen again.


Please don't ask us to comment on that interview! I will not ask you,


viewers will make up their own minds. Let's come back to be more


mundane world of Article 50. Stop the killing!


Will it get through at the government wanted it? Without the


Lords amendment falling by the way that? I am sure the Lord will not


try to ping-pong this back and forth. So we are at the end of this


particular legislative phase. The fact that all three Brexit Cabinet


ministers, number ten often don't like one of them going out on a


broadcast interview on a Sunday, they've all been out and about. That


suggests to me they are working on the assumption it will be triggered


this week. This week. The negotiations will begin or at least


the process begins. The negotiation process may be difficult, given all


of the European elections. The Dutch this week. And then the French and


maybe the Italians and certainly the Germans by the end of September,


which is less predictable than it was. Given all that, what did you


make of Anna Soubry's claim, Viacom on her part, that we may just end up


crashing out in six months question -- fear on her part. It was not just


that that we made that deliberately organising. I want us to get on with


the deals. Everyone knows a good deal is the


best option. Who knows what is going to be on the table when we finally


go out? Fascinatingly, the demand for some money back, given the


amount of money... Net gains and net costs in terms of us leaving for the


EU. It is all to play for. That will be a possible early grounds for a


confrontation between the UK and the EU. My understanding is that they


expect to do a deal on reciprocal rights of EU nationals, EU nationals


here, UK citizens there, quite quickly. They want to clear that up


and that will be done. Then they will hit this problem that the EU


will be saying you've got to agree the divorce Bill first


will be saying you've got to agree the divorce Bill first before we


talk about the free trade bill. David Davis saying quite clearly,


no, they go together because of the size of the bill. It will be


determined, in our part, by how good the access will be. The mutual


recognition of EU residents' rights is no trouble. A huge amount of fuss


is attracted to that subject but it is the easiest thing to deal with,


as is free movement for tourists. Money is what will make it


incredibly acrimonious. Incredibly quickly. I imagine the dominant


story in the summer will be all about that. This was Anna Soubry's


implication, members of the governors could strongly argue,


things are so poisonous and so unpleasant at the moment, the


dealers are advancing -- members of the government. Why not call it a


day and go out on WTO terms while public opinion is still in that


direction in that Eurosceptic direction? No buyers' remorse about


last year's referendum. The longer they leave it, view more opportunity


there is for some kind of public resistance and change of mind to


take place. The longer believe it, the more people who voted for Brexit


and people who voted Remain and think we didn't get world War three


will start being quite angry with the EU for not agreeing a deal. In


terms of the rights of EU nationals he and Brits abroad, by all


accounts, 26 of the 27 have agreed individually. Angela Merkel is the


only person who has held that up. That will be dealt with in a matter


of days. The chances of a deal being done is likely but in ten seconds...


It would not be a bad bet to protect your on something not happening, you


might get pretty good odds? The odds are going up that a deal doesn't


happen. But, as I said earlier, the House of Commons will not endorse no


deal. We are either in an early election or she has to go back


again. Either way, you will need us! We will be back at noon tomorrow on


BBC Two ahead of what looks like being a big week in politics. We


will be back here same time, same place.


Remember, if it's Sunday, it's the Sunday Politics.


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