Andrew Neil and Mark Carruthers with the latest political news, interviews and debate.
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Hello and welcome to Sunday Politics.
The EU referendum campaign is at its height.
With less than a fortnight to the vote,
the Leave and Remain camps are fighting hard to convince
the electorate how life here would be if we stay or go.
We'll hear from the former Director-General of
the World Trade Organization who's warning of the damage he says
a Brexit would inflict on our economy.
This would be an act of wanton destruction, of economic viability
for Britain, and Northern Ireland in particular, to leave this market.
But the Leave campaign believes getting
out of the European Union can only be good for trade.
We'll hear the views of the Secretary of State,
And with their thoughts on all of that and more,
my guests of the day are Felicity Huston and Chris Donnelly.
It's been a campaign of claim and counter-claim, and it's set
to get more intense in the run-up to the big vote on June the 23rd.
Farming, immigration and border controls are all issues,
but the main focus has been on the economy,
and the potential impact here on investment and jobs.
The Dublin-born former European Commissioner
and founding Director-General of the World Trade Organization,
Peter Sutherland, has been warning of the consequences of a Brexit.
When I spoke to him earlier in the week, I began by asking him
why he believes leaving the EU would be so bad for the UK economy?
Well, for the same reasons that every independent analyst in
the world, virtually, has said
it would be bad for Britain,
the IMF has said it, the governor of the Bank of England has said it,
the Treasury has said it, the Prime Minister, the OECD has said it.
It will cause a grave,
serious and prolonged period of great uncertainty.
It will disrupt trade flows
and will create a major problem for the British economy.
And within that context, there is no area in the United Kingdom that will
suffer more wanton destruction, in my view, than Northern Ireland.
What do you think then would be the impact specifically
on the Northern Ireland economy
if the vote on June 23 is for the UK to leave the European Union?
It will create major problems, in my opinion,
and this seems to be corroborated by the
Chancellor of the Exchequer in what he said in recent days
in terms of inward investment,
in terms of the difficulties of trading even within
the island of Ireland.
It will cause major difficulties in terms of the future exporting
capacity of the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland towards Europe.
It will damage Northern Ireland's agriculture seriously,
again, as the Chancellor has pointed out.
It is, to me, incredible that any political force in Northern Ireland
could conceivably consider that this could be a good thing
for Northern Ireland, including the Secretary of State.
Well, the Secretary of State obviously takes a different view
to yours, as does our DUP First Minister and Economy Minister.
And they all believe that Northern Ireland
and the UK would be better off outside the European Union.
They say, we'd be perfectly capable of trading internationally,
as we currently do, and the UK Government would replace
EU subsidies from the revenues it's no longer sending off to Brussels.
They, as you expressed,
are a tiny minority in global political and economic circles.
Everybody, from the President of the United States
to the head of the IMF, to prime ministers of Commonwealth countries
like New Zealand, Canada and Australia
think that this would be a bad thing for Britain, a bad thing for
Europe, and it will certainly be a bad thing for Northern Ireland.
The Leave campaigners say that is a cosy international cabal
of self-interested individuals and organisations who don't want change
because change would damage their future prospects,
even though it might be better for the average man
and woman on the street.
That, to my mind, is so ludicrous that it barely requires a response.
Is this true of the Governor of the Bank of England?
Is it true of the Treasury?
Is it true of the head of the IMF?
Is it true of the head of the WTO?
It's ludicrous to describe them as a "cabal" who, in some way,
are trying to protect their own interests.
You are a former Director-General of the World Trade Organization
and a former Chairman of BP, the UK's largest company.
What do you think the impact would be on Northern Ireland
trying to attempt foreign direct investment
if the vote on June 23rd is to leave?
I think it would definitely have the effect
of causing investors to go
to another place within the European Union because those who invest in
Ireland, north or south, are doing so because it provides them with a
manufacturing base to sell to the European Union,
and the uncertainty,
the borders that will be created by Britain leaving,
the inevitable period of prolonged negotiation
will lead to a drying up of investment.
You know that Leave campaigners say that the European Union market
is a shrinking market, that Britain,
the UK and Northern Ireland needs to look to other markets globally
which are growing, and that is where it should be trading.
The first thing that will happen will be that there will be
a recognition that what you describe as a decline in economic area
is an area of 500 million people.
It is the wealthiest area, 29% of global GDP.
It is enormously important for British exports today.
It cannot be supplanted by the tiny fraction of those exports
that today go to places like India and China.
The second point is that if Britain leaves,
borders will be created with the rest of Europe.
Goods will have to be checked.
Borders will have to be applied, in terms of tariffs
and nontariff barriers to goods that at the moment can freely pass
across borders throughout Europe.
This would be an act of wanton destruction of economic viability
for Britain and Northern Ireland, in particular, to leave this market
and create years of uncertainty and negotiation about the future.
And what do you think directly the implications would be
of a vote to leave on
the relationship between the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland,
and specifically between Northern Ireland and the Republic?
The border between the Republic and Northern Ireland will become
a border of the European Union, with somebody outside the European Union.
This will create a border control requirement of a kind
that we had thought banished to history.
If, in some perverted way,
there is an ideological desire to recreate that border,
it is an act that would be incredibly foolish
and very damaging.
Enda Kenny voiced his concerns at the possibility of a Leave vote.
The First Minister Arlene Foster suggested
diplomatically that he should mind his own business.
Do you think you should be still involved in the debate?
Well, if that suggestion that he should mind his own business
was meant seriously, it shows the naivete
that is utterly surprising of a serious politician.
Of course it is his interest, as it's everybody's interest on the
island of Ireland and more generally that this debate should be
conducted in a way that recognises the damage done to both economies,
north and south, by Brexit.
It would be ludicrous for him not to express his concern,
because it is entirely legitimate.
Peter Sutherland pulling no punches in terms of how
he sees the future for the UK outside the European Union.
Listening to that in London is the Secretary of State,
who is campaigning, of course, to leave the EU.
Secretary of State, thanks very much indeed for joining us today.
How do you respond to Mr Sutherland's view there that
it's, to quote him,
"Incredible that any political force in Northern Ireland could
"conceivably consider that a vote to leave could be a good
"thing for Northern Ireland"?
Well, I think a vote to leave would be great for Northern Ireland
because it would enable us in this country to control,
take back democratic control over making our own laws.
As you've pointed out in your interview, it enables us
to take back control over our own trade policies
so that we can make deals not just with the European Union to
enable business to go on with the rest of the EU,
but also with countries around the world where they have huge markets.
Those could open up fantastic opportunities
for Northern Ireland and create jobs and opportunities for young people.
Well, the Prime Minister doesn't agree.
He was talking to Andrew Marr this morning.
He said, "If we vote to leave, we are voting
"for a self-inflicted recession.
"They'll never give us a better deal on the outside of the EU
"than they will on the inside."
So the Prime Minister has got it wrong, has he?
Well, I feel deeply uncomfortable
being on the other side of this debate from the Prime Minister,
but the fact is that the EU sells a lot more to us than we do to them.
So it's in their interest to do a free-trade deal with us,
as they have with countries everywhere
between Iceland and the Russian border.
It's just not credible to say that we'd be excluded
from that kind of free trade deal
that others with far less important markets for the EU
have managed to agree with them.
It would take a very long time to sort those details out, though,
that is the point made by the Prime Minister
and also by Peter Sutherland, there -
that we would have years of not knowing precisely what the terms
of any future deal would be
and, in the meantime, foreign direct investment would go elsewhere,
and that would be a catastrophe,
"an act of wanton destruction", he said,
for the Northern Ireland economy.
But, you know, people like Peter Sutherland
and other, sort of, so-called experts
said that inward investment was suddenly going to dry up
if we didn't join the euro,
and here we are, more than a decade after the euro's creation,
and we are doing far better whilst retaining our own currency.
There is no reason why we can't press ahead pretty rapidly
with trade deals with the rest of the world,
and all of the projections, all of the gloomy reports
that have been published,
even with their pessimistic assumptions,
they all say that in the medium to long term,
we are certainly continuing to grow.
If Europe was so great for jobs,
why have they got massive levels of youth unemployment
in places like Greece and Spain?
It is the EU that is failing economically, not us.
The difficulty for you, of course, is that you are,
as Peter Sutherland says, "in a tiny minority
"in global, political and economic circles."
You referred to Peter Sutherland as a so-called expert.
He is much more of a so-called expert
than Theresa Villiers is a so-called expert.
I mean, he listed the individuals and organisations
who believe that Brexit would be a very bad idea.
Surely on balance, people, when they look at it,
are likely to say, "Well, we'll believe the IMF
"and the WTO, the Governor of the Bank of England
"and the Treasurer and various prime ministers and presidents,
"rather than Michael Gove and Boris Johnson
"and Theresa Villiers", with respect.
Well, every individual in this country
will have the choice before him,
and they can look at the facts.
They can look at the fact
that we don't control our immigration policy in this country.
They can look at the fact that we send several billions of pounds
to Europe every year.
They can look at the fact that the Eurozone has an in-built majority
that can out-vote us again and again and again.
So, effectively, we are no longer an independent country.
I think it's time we took back control over making our laws
so we become an independent self-governing democracy again.
So Peter Sutherland made it very clear that if that happens,
there will be major implications for border control -
movement of people and goods
between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland,
the Republic of Ireland and the United Kingdom.
Now, the North Down MP, Lady Hermon, challenged you on Friday
to explain precisely how would the border work
between the Republic and Northern Ireland
if a vote for Brexit happens.
How would it work? Spell it out for us.
It would work the way it does today.
We've had a Common Travel Area between the UK and Ireland
for nearly 100 years.
But it would be entirely different, with respect, in future,
because you would have one country in the EU,
the Republic of Ireland in that scenario,
and the rest of the United Kingdom, including Northern Ireland,
outside the European Union,
so you wouldn't have two equal parties,
two equal countries in future.
The scenario would be completely different.
The Common Travel Area already includes
places like Guernsey and the Jersey, which are not members of the EU.
-Which are tiny.
-It existed before we joined the EU
and it will certainly exist after we leave.
After all, it survived a civil war, a world war
and 30 years of the Troubles.
It is in the interest of the UK and Ireland that it continues.
The Irish Ambassador to London has on his website
that the Common Travel Area will be maintained
in the event of a Brexit vote.
It's going to continue as it is today.
But those negotiations for the future shape of that relationship
would be conducted, not between
the Republic of Ireland and the UK governments,
but they'd be between the UK government and the European Union.
It wouldn't be a bilateral discussion any more.
So you couldn't be sure precisely what the powers that be
in Brussels and Strasbourg would be prepared to accept.
The point is, it wouldn't be up to Enda Kenny.
But it's clearly in the interest of both the UK and Ireland
that we maintain the Common Travel Area.
So you are saying that the EU would seek to punish Ireland
for a decision that the United Kingdom has made.
But that is what David Cameron said this morning,
whenever he said, "You'll never get a deal on the outside
"that's as good as a deal on the inside."
He seemed to be suggesting
that there would be a degree of punishment, potentially,
if there's a vote to leave.
Well, it's much safer to take back control over making our laws,
so we avoid that kind of EU punishment.
There is much more scope for the EU to punish us
if we vote to stay in.
They can out-vote us on everything they choose to.
The reality is it's a scare story around the border.
It's perfectly possible to manage an open border
with the Republic of Ireland.
We had one before we joined the EU,
there is no reason why we can't continue with one after we leave.
And you have no concern about immigrants?
You talk about securing the borders,
various members of the DUP in conversations I've had with them
and other political discussions that they've taken part in
have talked about needing to make sure that we have secure borders,
that we deal with the issue of the international terrorist threat.
If there is no hard border after Brexit
between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland,
this would be a very soft back door for undesirables
to come into the United Kingdom.
That's the logic of that situation. You just wouldn't face up to that?
You wouldn't deal with it? You wouldn't need extra checks?
I think there are already risks that are associated
with our open-land border, and they are managed effectively today
through bilateral cooperation between authorities
in the UK and Ireland.
The magnitude of those risks wouldn't increase significantly.
The reality is that if... The idea of thousands
of non-Irish EU citizens suddenly flooding across the border
in the event of a Brexit vote and a change in the rules on free movement
But if there was, if people did seek to cross the border
without the appropriate permission to enter,
there are ways in which we can control those matters,
which don't involve physical border checks,
because someone coming across the border wouldn't be able to work,
they wouldn't be able to claim benefits,
they wouldn't be able to rent property,
they wouldn't be able to open a bank account,
and, in extreme cases, they could be deported.
Those are the ways in which we will control the risks
associated with an open-land border,
rather than to erect the physical checks
that the scare stories would suggest.
OK. I just want to move on to one final subject before we let you go,
The SDLP's South Down MP, Margaret Ritchie,
has said, "You must state clearly if you accept
"the findings of the Loughinisland Report,
"published last week, in its entirety.
"If you do not, then you must resign as Secretary of State."
I just want to be very clear - of course I accept the report.
I support the work of the Police Ombudsman,
and I think it's important that further investigations
take place as a result of the conclusions that he's reached.
So you accept fully that there was collusion
in the Loughinisland murders,
you are in full agreement, are you, with the Chief Constable
when he made that point?
There's no division between your worldview?
Because you have seemed to suggest in the past
that there were pernicious and distorting interpretations,
in terms of collusion. You're clarifying that you don't think that
in the case of Loughinisland
and you are in agreement with George Hamilton?
Well, I accept the statement made both by the Chief Constable
and the report.
It is, though, consistent with the speech I made in February,
that whilst, of course, there are some truly shocking instances
of wrongdoing by members of the security forces during the Troubles,
that's deeply regrettable,
and where it's happened, they need to be held to account,
and obviously there was serious wrongdoing in this case.
But I think it is important also to emphasise
that the vast majority of members of the police and armed services
doing their duty during the Troubles
did so with professionalism and entirely within the law.
OK, all right. We will leave it there, Secretary of State.
Thanks very much indeed for joining us from London this morning.
Let's hear what my guests of the day,
Felicity Huston and Chris Donnelly, make of all of that.
We'll come on to Loughinisland in a moment or two.
Let's talk about the EU referendum first of all.
Felicity, what did you make of the Secretary of State's response
to Peter Sutherland?
Peter Sutherland is not a man to be underestimated.
He has got a pretty significant CV.
You weren't persuaded by anything he had to say, were you?
Peter Sutherland is the man who chaired Goldman Sachs International,
"The great vampire squid on the face of humanity",
as Rolling Stone described Goldman Sachs.
He was also sitting on the board of RBS
when Fred Goodwin was running mad, and nearly bankrupt the country.
I don't agree with him.
He has a very specific worldview, doesn't he?
He thinks that globalisation is it, we must go for it,
corporatism is it, big companies, that's the way it should be.
That's what he's done all his life.
Of course he sees it like that.
He doesn't look at democratic deficits and things like that.
That's not his view.
Chris, which of the two persuaded you?
Well, I would go more with what Peter Sutherland was saying.
Up to this point, looking from a North of Ireland perspective,
this has been a very British discussion, for obvious reasons.
The fact that Peter Sutherland is now speaking in such strident terms,
the fact that Enda Kenny has become increasingly involved,
I think he's canvassing in Britain this week,
shows that from the Irish State's perspective,
the levels of anxiety on the Remain side are getting very high
and they have to speak almost in a selfish, strategic sense
in terms of the interests,
what they see as interests of the Irish State.
Very clearly, they see that with the Remain side winning.
OK, very briefly, what do you see the border scenario looking like
in the event of a Brexit vote on June 23rd,
which is what you want to see?
I do, yes, that's right.
I think we should leave for all sorts of reasons.
I think... I mean, I'm not an expert
on immigration procedures and policies.
I think it will be a bit like travelling to other countries.
When you go to Switzerland, from other parts of the EU,
you don't go through massive queues and border controls and things.
With modern technology,
that automatic...thing they have
for your car registration numbers, readings like that,
that is the sort of stuff we'll use for checking goods
and so on going through.
I think bringing the border back physically,
in a visible sense, is a very psychological move,
and I think that this discussion is something that's going to
almost incentivise nationalists in the North to turn out.
OK, all right. Let's just pause for a moment
and take a look back at the political week gone
past in 60 seconds, with Gareth Gordon.
An independent panel made its pitch
on disbanding paramilitary groups.
We are an executive absolutely united
in facing down the criminal gangs
and paramilitary groups within our society
who are determined to plunge us back to the past.
The Police Ombudsman found there was collusion
between some RUC officers and the UVF gang
behind the Loughinisland massacre.
Two former prime ministers arrived in Northern Ireland
predicting Brexit could spell trouble for the peace process.
It would throw all the pieces of the constitutional jigsaw
up into the air again.
But those in the Leave campaign were outraged.
Two former prime ministers of the United Kingdom arrived
and they made an outrageous and disgraceful assertion.
Though at Stormont, the focus was already shifting
to the other big European story.
Robbie Keane or Kyle Lafferty?
You're asking a Fermanagh person, Robbie Keane or Kyle Lafferty?
What about Robbie Keane AND Kyle Lafferty?
Gareth Gordon ending his report with a bit of sport
at the Executive Office Committee.
Just a final word from Felicity and Chris.
Chris, just to pick up on that conversation
with the Secretary of State about Loughinisland,
what do you make about where we are?
Do you think she clarified her position for us today?
Yes, I think she did. I think that would have been important
from her perspective because of what Margaret Ritchie had said.
But all these places involved in the past are important on two levels.
One for the families and their personal searches
for truth and justice, but secondly for the rest of us
in terms of society. The past remains an uncomfortable place.
It's contested terrain.
Issues like collusion feed directly into competing narratives
with regard to the past and present.
That's a conversation that is just going to be continuing
-in this society going forward.
I think Ben Lowry from the News Letter yesterday
made a very interesting contribution to this discussion
on what you were raising with Theresa about collusion
and the meaning of it and this sort of thing.
It's an article worth looking at.
He's really obviously thought quite hard
about how language in Northern Ireland
has always been an issue.
Things are being turned and changed, their meaning,
and the impact it's having on us.
OK. Language has always been contested, that's for sure.
We'll leave it there. Thank you, both, very much indeed.
That's it from Sunday Politics for this week.
Join me for Stormont Today on BBC Two at 11.15 tomorrow night.
Until then, from all of us, bye-bye.