13/12/2015 Sunday Politics Northern Ireland


Andrew Neil and Mark Carruthers are joined by Peter Lilley MP, Yvette Cooper MP, Richard Burgon MP and James Cleverly MP.

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Morning, folks. Welcome to the Sunday Politics.


After suggestions that David Cameron was diluting his EU negotiation


demands, Downing Street insists he's still pushing for curbs


But is there any evidence that the rest of Europe is listening?


Jeremy Corbyn says Stop The War is "one of the most important


democratic campaigns of modern times".


And why all the fuss that he went to its Christmas fund-raiser?


Yvette Cooper - one-time Labour leadership contender -


And coming up here... for refugees and migrants


As the political wrangling continues over legacy,


we'll hear the thoughts of the Victims' Commissioner.


And could Stormont be about to tax sugary drinks?


And with me for this final Sunday Politics of 2015,


Tom Newton Dunn of The Sun, Helen Lewis of the New Statesman


and Sam Coates of The Times - the Dasher, Dancer and Prancer


They'll be tweeting throughout the programme.


Downing Street insists that David Cameron will still push


for curbs on in-work benefits for EU migrants in the UK,


despite earlier briefings to the contrary.


The Prime Minister will head to a crucial summit later this week


to make his case for a reformed British relationship with the EU.


However, several newspapers, citing official guidance,


report that Mr Cameron has failed to convince other European leaders


and is already preparing a fallback to replace his original demand


for a four-year wait for in-work benefits.


The Sunday Times headline says "Prime Minister 'caves in'


The Sunday Telegraph describes it as "Cameron's climbdown


And the Independent on Sunday goes for the same metaphor,


describing it as "Cameron's big EU climbdown".


Let's speak now to Conservative MP Peter Lilley.


He was a Cabinet minister in the Conservative governments


of both Margaret Thatcher and John Major.


Welcome to the programme. The Prime Minister is thought by many of your


colleagues not to be asking for a lot, yet he might not even get what


he's asking for. Could he sell a watered-down deal to his party? It


is more a question of whether he can sell whatever comes out of it to the


country. There are lots of Labour MPs who want to see democratic


powers returned to this country from the European institutions. That's


the key issue as far as I'm concerned. He will clearly get some


things because a lot of this has been pre-negotiated, so he will get


something to say about removing the phrase ever closer union, something


to do with benefits, even if actually it is something we could do


anyway ourselves, like apply a four-year wait to British citizens


as well as foreigners. There will be something, the question is will it


be substantial? Will it include a return of powers to this country to


govern itself? What major powers is he asking to be repatriated?


Publicly, there doesn't seem to be anything on the list, unless some


change in relation to free movement of Labour is somewhere up his


sleeve. I do occasionally hear rumours that he will come back with


some genuine return of powers, and if he does I will be dancing on the


rooftops. We have no evidence that's even part of the negotiation. That


is certainly disappointing, it is rather a strange strategy not to ask


for the principal thing we want and yet still hope to get it. Because we


have, over a series of treaties which David Cameron and I voted


against, conceded a whole lot of powers to Europe beyond what is


necessary. The trading area requires some common lawmaking, but beyond


that we concede a lot of powers. We would like to start the process of


getting those powers back. If we cannot, we will be on a slippery


slope to creating a single state. The reason we are in the position we


are, having to renegotiate, is that the countries of the eurozone are on


the road to creating a single state. There's never been a currency


without a single state to run it. They are forced, because they have


created this currency, without a government to make it work. The


question is can we be outside that process, can removing the opposite


direction and get powers back, or will we be sucked on the slipstream?


If we cannot overcome the two doctrines of Europe that everybody


is heading in the same direction, albeit at different speeds, and


powers can only ever go to the central institutions and never come


back to the States, if we cannot break those two doctrines as far as


Britain is concerned, he will not really have achieved anything. I


understand all of that. A quick final question, if he comes back


with even less than he's asking for, would you vote to leave? If he


doesn't come back with some increase in power to ourselves, I feel for


the first time in my life I would be voting to leave. I voted to stay in


1975 but I would be voting to leave in those circumstances.


Tom, it is turning into a real mess for the Government, is it not? A


huge mess. There was an exposer yesterday, of the 11pm call every


night, coordinated with the Downing Street switchboard which the


ministers have got to tune into. I can only imagine the horror that


went on last night during the call, which still happens, over the


headlines this morning. I think what's happened here is the


four-year ban on migrants' benefit is dead. You think he's just not


going to get it? It died I would say at least a month ago in the Chatham


House speech. He said so in his speech saying, here is what I want,


but by the way I will also accept what you choose to offer me. The


papers reported the next day that it was dead in the water, so we are


talking about the choreographing, how it happens and whether the Prime


Minister himself withdraws it. Or somebody else might put something


else on the table, doing the PM a favour, to bail him out and say if


you don't want this how about that. Peter Lilley And, when I said can


you sell this to your backbenchers comic said it is a problem for the


other parties too but it is overwhelmingly a problem for the


Conservatives and if he cannot achieve what is being asked for, I


would suggest half the Parliamentary party in my not go with him on this.


It is not the climb-down I would query, but the "big". He needed one


totemic issue that looked like he was doing something about


immigration. He couldn't look at the free movement of people or any kind


of free movement cap. He couldn't tell nostrils any major power he is


asking to be repatriated. It will be hard to make it look like he has


come back with something so that people can say OK, that has changed


my mind. If he gets one in February, can he have the referendum in June?


I understand the Electoral Commission doesn't like the idea of


a referendum that would overlap with the elections in May, and the risk


in September is that we will have another summer migrant crisis and


that would be a terrible atmosphere for those who want to stay in the


European Union. There are a lot of hurdles, first you have got to get a


deal in February that looks like a success. The reason they have done


what they've done overnight is because it has been dragged down


into a legal quagmire and David Cameron has got to have a


conversation with his counterparts to set that entire renegotiation


back on the right track. I know that some people in Brussels as saying he


cannot get a deal by February, we will never get a deal, and if it


slips into 2017 you won't get a deal then either. In June


there is this tiny window because -- where you could practically hold a


vote. But then as you say you've got the migrant crisis, which pops up


over the summer. I'm told that dealing with the flow of migration


from Turkey will make an enormous difference to the optics of how


Europe is seen to be able to deal with the migration crisis. Even


though that doesn't have a huge impact on UK migration from the rest


of Europe, David Cameron's renegotiation depends on something


truly out of his control. So you're telling me it depends on the Turks


now. On Friday night Jeremy Corbyn met up


with some old friends Nothing unusual in that,


you might think, but this was a fundraising do


for Stop The War Coalition, the anti-war protest group that


Mr Corbyn chaired until his election And, in case you hadn't noticed,


it caused a bit of a stir. It was the biggest mass


demonstration in British history. The group that organised it,


the Stop The War Coalition, had been founded a year or so before


following the 9/11 attacks and George Bush's declaration


of war on terror. Around a million people marched


as Tony Blair prepared to send Among the speakers,


a backbench Labour MP. Thousands more deaths in Iraq


will not make things right, it will set off a spiral


of conflict, of hate, One of the reasons for its success,


I've always thought, is that everyone was united


around one single issue. We never got bogged down


in our political analyses of what we thought about


Saddam Hussein or what we thought about this dictator or that,


or how we thought the political We weren't there to offer solutions


to other people's problems and tell them how we thought it should be,


we were there to stop our government taking what we considered to be


a very bad and negative step. But despite the broad support,


the inner leadership has largely Stop The War's founding member


and convener Lindsey German was a member of the Socialist


Workers Party for over 30 years, Her partner, John Rees,


who's also co-founder of Stop The War and was a leading


figure in the SWP, he also He sits on the editorial board


of Counterfire, a political organisation created


after that SWP split. He also helped start up The People's


Assembly Against Austerity, Which has been organising


protests since 2013. He's often sparked controversy,


reportedly writing in 2006, for example, that socialists should


unconditionally stand with the oppressed


against the oppressor, even if the people who run


the oppressed country are undemocratic and persecute


minorities, like Saddam Hussein. Andrew Murray was the Stop The War


coalition chairman from He's a member of the Communist Party


and chief of staff of In 2014 he spoke at the launch event


of a campaign called Solidarity With The Antifascist


Resistance In Ukraine, which supports anti-government


rebels there. He took back the chairmanship again


in September this year, taking over from Jeremy Corbyn,


who'd held the post from 2011 As well as its elected officers,


Stop The War has patrons including Labour MP Diane Abbott,


George Galloway, the writer Tariq Ali, and Kamal Majid,


a founding member of the Stalin Society, formed in 1991


to defend Stalin and his work. The 2003 protest against the Iraq


war, which took place here in Hyde Park, was the high point


of Stop The War. The human rights activist


Peter Tatchell never played an official role at Stop The War,


though he has participated But this week he took a very public


step back and claimed the organisation has


lost its moral compass. The shortcomings in Stop The War


are driven by basically about half a dozen people at the top,


and those views increasingly are not shared by many of their long-time


grass-roots supporters like me People are turned off


by the sectarianism, by the selective opposition to war,


and by the failure to speak out against human rights abuses


by regimes that happen to be on the receiving end of US


and British military intervention. Critics like Tatchell have accused


Stop The War of trying to silence those whose views don't


fit their own. Nothing will be achieved by trying


to shout down speakers! This video shows a Stop The War


official clashing with a protester during a rally about western


policy in Iran in 2012, This meeting last month caused


controversy when Syrians in the audience said


they weren't allowed to speak. There is one reason there is no


Syrian from this room on the platform and that's


because they support intervention, and the meeting is


against intervention. APPLAUSE What's really disturbing


is the way in which Diane Abbott closed down the meeting rather


than allow Syrian Democratic left wing and civil society


activists to speak. It's given the impression


that she shares the questionable politics of Stop The War


on the issue of Syria. But Stop The War insists a Syrian


contributor did ask a question from the floor of that meeting


and have rubbished the suggestion they support those who Western


governments oppose. Obviously, you will have seen


in recent days Stop The War explaining that they were opposed


to Russian intervention in Syria as well as British intervention,


so they are evenhanded. The reason I think people may think


that is because we are a campaign based in Britain and our campaigning


is obviously overwhelmingly orientated towards changing our own


Government's policy. Welcome to Islington


in north London. In there is Jeremy Corbyn's


constituency office. This building is also home


to the Stop The War coalition, but it is the figurative proximity


rather than the literal one that I spoke to a number of Labour MPs


who voted against air One told me that he wasn't so much


worried about Stop The War and the influence it may have


on Jeremy Corbyn and policy, but more that Jeremy Corbyn


simply shares their views. There's dissent at


the grass roots too. Last week 500 party members,


including councillors, wrote to Mr Corbyn urging him


to take a step back. Stop The War is not


a Labour Party organisation. There are many people in it who have


opposed the Labour Party and probably continue


to oppose the Labour Party. I don't believe they hold


to the values of solidarity, We also spoke to a number of Labour


MPs who were relaxed about Jeremy Corbyn's connection


to Stop The War, an organisation he's never made any


secret of supporting. On Friday he went to the Christmas


do, and said slurs by critics against Stop The War were an attempt


to close down democratic He knows some of those critics


include his own MPs. We're joined now from Leeds


by the Labour MP, Richard Burgon. Morning, Andrew. The Communist Party


of Britain, which has prominent members in stop the war, says


attacks on stop the war are, quote, a systemic and vicious propaganda oi


offensive designed to obscure British imperialism's agenda in


conducting the bombing campaign in Syria. Do you agree with that? Well,


first of all I think I'm in a good position to answer some of these


questions, pause I've only ever been a member of the Labour Party. I


joined when I was 15. What I really want to focus on is not the members


of small political parties who may be involved in Stop The War


Coalition, but the tens of thousands, in fact they've got an


e-mail list of 150,000 people, many of whom are not in any political


party, many of whom are in the Labour Party. The chairman who has


taken over from Mr Corbyn is a member of the Communist Party of


Britain, so what's the answer to my question? I think the attacks on


stop the war are proxy attacks on Jeremy Corbyn. We haven't had that


previously. When Charles Kennedy was speaking against the Iraq war, which


2 million people attended, Charles Kennedy wasn't attacked for that,


and rightly so. But he wasn't a member of Stop The War Coalition. He


spoke on the stop the war platform. But he wasn't a member? I'm not a


member, there's a really important point here, it is right that people


in democratic society express their views to MPs, march against things


they think are incorrect. I do think the line and the leadership of the


Stop The War Coalition hasn't changed in the 14 years since it was


founded. What has changed is that Jeremy Corbyn has become leader of


the Labour Party, so people in the media and elsewhere who wish to


attack Jeremy Corbyn are using stop the war to do so. Of course it is


not just the media, is it? It is not even the media. Labour MPses,


Tristram Hunt, Stella Creasy, many more, they've attacked Stop the War


Coalition and Jeremy Corbyn's support for it. I think the majority


of Labour members agreed with Jeremy Corbyn on his analysis on whether or


not we should agree to David Cameron's proposal to bomb Syria.


But what do you say to their criticism of Mr Corbyn's continued


association with Stop the War Coalition? I think they are


mistaken. I think that stop the war, we've got to look at how stop the


war has involved people from right across the political spectrum. When


I was on that historical march in 2003, there wasn't just the Lib Dem


leader speaking but other people I spoke to, Conservative voters, so it


is not just 57 varieties of Trotskyite groups that are involved.


If it were the case it were merelily people on the ultraleft you wouldn't


have 150,000 people involved or on the e-mail list. Who is not either a


cop thirst, a Trotskyite or a Stalinist? Well, there are plenty of


trade unions involved in the lip... Among the leadership, the people who


lead this, whose names are associated with it, who doesn't Paul


into that small hard left category? Well, it is a coalition, and that's


the point of it. So give me another name that doesn't fall into that.


Well, I wouldn't even know the full list of people on the board of stop


the war, but what I do know is that there are people from trade unions


supporting it, trade unions supporting it, probably in terms of


the membership of Stop the War Coalition, the biggest composite of


that are Labour Party members. But I do think this is a distraction of


the democratic issue. We can't say that in this country being a member


of a Stop the War Coalition campaign, campaigning against


military interventions that were proven to be disastrous in Iraq and


Libya is wrong. It is part of an open democratic process. People


shouldn't be demonised for being part of it, or Jeremy Corbyn. I'm


not doing that, what I'm trying to do is find out what stop the war


really stands for and whether it is right to Jeremy Corbyn and other


Labour people should be associated with it. They are had an article


titled, Sociopaths United. The United States, Britain and their


allies are no less sociopathic than the enemies they propose to hunt


down. So British security forces are on a par with the beheaders, do you


agree with that? I certainly don't agree with that. I think there've


been things published on blogs on the stop the war website which are


essential wrong, which I wouldn't agree with and the vast majority of


people who are members of the Stop the War Coalition wouldn't agree


with. I was reading in the paper this morning that the management of


the website of the stop the war has changed. If that shows that they are


going to be more careful to ensure that the content of the website on


every occasion mirrorst or reflects, sorry, the view of the leadership of


the Stop the War Coalition, then that's a welcome move. Well, it is


certainly, if it is such a splendid organisation, it has to delete lots


of articles it has published. It blamed the Paris attacks on French


policy, claimed that the threat to the Yazidis was largely mythical, in


fact force. And published a poem that quotes a well known anti-Semite


and Holocaust denier. All of that it has had to take down. Does that


sound like a respectable organisation that the Labour Party


should be associated with? Well, the views that you've uncovered aren't


views that I or members of the Stop the War Coalition would agree with.


But the big picture is this. In a coalition there are always sorts of


small numbers of individuals who come out with unacceptable views.


But the fact is I'm interested in the democratic point, in the 2


million people that marched on 15th February 2003, in the thousands that


protested against the intervention in Libya and intense the


intervention in Syria. I'm not a pacifist but I think that the truth


is that the Stop the War Coalition and the ordinary people from vicars


to pensioners who marched against the war in Iraq, who marched against


the intervention in Libya and have demonstrated against the


intervention in Syria, they've got it right. Many of the people


attacking Jeremy Corbyn and many of the people attacking the Stop the


War Coalition have got it completely wrong. It is a topsy-turvy world we


are in when attending Stop the War Coalition events is controversial.


We are still pretending that Tony Blair and others got it right in


Iraq. We haven't got much time Mr Burgon. Mr Corbyn stuck to his guns


and went to the fundraiser. His spin doctor says the Labour Party is now


slowly co hearing round Mr Corbyn's views, across a range of issues. Do


you agree with that? I do. As I minced earlier, Jeremy Corbyn didn't


instruct or order Labour MPs to vote against David Cameron's plan to bomb


Syria. He gave them a free vote, and that that was the right thing to do.


By a ratio of 2 to 1 Labour MPs agreed with Jeremy Corbyn's


analysis, and by 2 to 1 members of the Shadow Cabinet agreed with Mr


Corbyn. But on working tax credits, police cuts, issues such as ech


attacking George Osborne's failed cuts and privatisationings the vast,


of Labour MPs and members, and a lot of the public agree with him.


Richard Burgon thank you for joining us and for persevering with the


earpiece. I'm glad you stalk with it. Thank you. Take care. Bye.


Yvette Cooper came third in the contest to become


Her campaign only really came to life back in early September,


when she became the first front rank UK politician to call for Britain


to take in 10,000 refugees from the Syrian war.


Now, in her new role as Chair of Labour's Refugees Taskforce,


she's been on a fact-finding visit to the Jungle refugee


6,000 people are currently living in what, in most generous terms,


Yvette Cooper, a former Shadow Home Secretary,


a Labour leadership contender, argued over the summer Britain


should take more Syrian asylum seekers than


Now a backbencher, she is returned as a guest of citizens UK not


to argue we should fling open the doors but that the jungle


was a problem nobody has tried to find a solution to.


Why do we not have UNHCR here doing proper assessments of everybody?


And therefore actually they need to go back through


You've got to have a proper process to assess people's refugee status


and at the moment that's not happening.


That's the real big tragedy of here, the people have got stuck


here in these awful conditions and there's no


Some would call it hell, that's a little hyperbolic,


It's really purgatory, since there's a real sense nobody


is going anywhere, unless to climb on board a lorry and illegally


And a camp unsuited to summer is preparing for a winter it's


There's an argument which says, if you help refugees,


then somehow that will create a crisis.


No, the crisis is here and now, the crisis is happening.


The question is what we do to stop the crisis getting worse and worse,


so you can't have people stuck living among the rubbish


and the pools of water and the mud while they're applying for asylum.


You've got to have a basic humanitarian aid in place.


At the Medecins Sans Frontieres clinic on-site, the issue


of the conditions and winter is a problem itself.


The problem when we see the camp, it's very cold, the hygiene


And what happens, the condition...the simple


flu passes sometimes in the bronchal...and that's it.


There are many women and children - yes, they are outnumbered -


but they're housed in two sections of the camp we're not allowed


to film in, though clearly some choose to live in other parts


of the camp and walk the roads around.


And it's the issue of unaccompanied minors with family already legally


in the UK that is worrying some of the volunteers.


So, there's a ten-year-old boy separated from his family and just


There are eight-year-olds, nine-year-olds, ten-year-olds


with family in the UK desperate to look after them,


and come here to visit them and bring them things


Do you suspect that people back home will see this and their natural


humanity will say, "this is awful, that looks really dreadful,


we still don't want lots of them to come"?


The problem is you look around this and you think,


how is this northern Europe, how can this be just a few miles


How can this be what is happening in France?


Yvette Cooper would be much happier if those minors were taken


in with their families, and seems to be singing from a song


sheet that says whether we take more refugees, fewer or none,


it may well be a pressing question, but that the jungle in Calais


Welcome back to the Sunday Politics. Should adults from this can be


allowed into Britain? It depends on their circumstances. Most of them


should be playing in France for asylum and that I think is what you


would expect to happen. Some of them may not be refugees, some of them


may have safe homes to go to and should do so. Clearly there's a lot


of people there who have fled Syria, Afghanistan, who we know are fleeing


conflict and persecution. There's a question about the children. We saw


unaccompanied children. There are people traffickers, some cases where


aid workers said they had families in Britain we were trying to reach.


For example I spoke to a 15-year-old whose brother, his nearest relative


is in Britain and he wants to join him. That's why he is in Calais.


Should we let them in? We should have a process for him to be able to


apply. We should be providing that sanctuary. I understand the children


issue but I'm still not quite clear what your attitude is towards the


adults there. Although a lot of people in this camp may have started


as refugees, they are now in France. They are not in immediate danger of


their lives so they now want to come to the UK because they think


economic prospects are better here than in France. That makes their


role economic migrants now. That's not the reality. They have no safe


home at the moment, and I agree they should be playing right now and they


should be assessed where they are. The French authorities should be


doing a full assessment. So why are they not in there? Good question.


Why are we leaving people in such awful conditions? If the French


authorities cannot, we should get the UNHCR to come in and do a full


assessment. There will also be people, I spoke for example to a


single mother with two small children who had left Syria when her


husband was killed in an Assad jail. She was trying to reach her father


and brother, also in Britain. There should be a process for her to apply


for sanctuary in Britain. If you had a fair system to apply, you might


prevent people coming to Calais in the first place. Should we set up an


asylum seeking vetting operation in Calais ourselves? We have a system


the Government set up under pressure to take refugees from the camps in


Syria. I'm talking about the camps in Calais. I agree but I'm saying we


should prevent people coming to Calais in the first place. Once


people have got to Calais, I think there is a case particularly for


those children... We understand the children but I'm asking about adults


because it is hard to know what your policy is on this. Should we start


to say some of them are asylum seekers, the French are not doing


their jobs properly, we will take them in once they go through the


proper procedures - yes or no? Those who have formally in Britain should


be able to apply for sanctuary in Britain but you need a system. You


need to be able to do security checks and refugee checks. At the


moment Britain is only taking 4000 refugees per year. I think we could


do more of that, and if we did that and worked with other countries we


should be clearing the problems at Calais and preventing people coming


to Europe on most dangerous boats in the first place. I know that people


think we cannot solve this, it is too hard, but if we don't it will


get worse. Some people may argue that the more you take in and give


proper status to, you will encourage all the more to come into Europe.


People are coming whatever happens. We are told there is another 5


million waiting to come. At one point the Government was arguing we


shouldn't have search and rescue in the Mediterranean because that would


encourage more people to come, I think that is immoral. People have


come, they are travelling across Europe. Let me try to pin you down


on that. It is still not clear what you want to do. Let's take the


migrants who have made it into the EU this year. Although the German


government took most itself, it tried to spread the burden through


quotas of member states. Should we volunteer a quota? Yes, I think we


should take 10,000 people. Only ten? The Germans are taking a lot more.


The reason I said that figure is because that meant you would be


talking about ten families for every city or County across the country


and I also think the best way to do with this is to work with faith


groups across the country and say how many refugees do you think you


could support in each area. Germany's Labour market is in a


different situation and they have a different demographic. So 10,000 out


of Vermilion, that would be British response? That would be a good thing


to do, but the truth is all countries will have to work together


on this and there isn't a simple answer. It's not just about what you


do in terms of the number of refugees you give sanctuary to, it's


also how you prevent people travelling. We should reunite


families and we have got to do something about humanitarian relief.


There are people living in terrible conditions, with France and Britain


being two of the most powerful countries in the world you would


have thought it is not beyond the wit of these countries to make sure


there is proper humanitarian relief, sanitation, and heating for people


who will suffer not just from scabies but terrible conditions in


those camps as the winter draws in. Indeed we shall see what horrors the


winter brings because we have not gone through that yet in this


migrant crisis. You heard a colleague of yours saying he thought


the Labour Party was now moving strongly in Mr Corbyn's direction in


policy matters, do you agree? There's been a lot of policies I


disagree with, we have that debate over the summer. The challenge at


the moment is that the Labour Party has an internal focus, looking


inwards at ourselves. We have got to look outwards. You are not answering


my question. Let me try one more time. Is your party moving broadly


in Mr Corbyn's direction? I'm not sure quite what that means because


we are having a debate in the party at the moment about what the


policies should be in the future. The trouble is we cannot just make


that debate look inwards when the Tories are being let off the hook on


tax credits, Europe and a series of things. I will try to make the


question more clear next time. Thank you.


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.


Dealing with the past remains the issue that the parties can't


Do we need another deadline to push the process forward?


We'll hear the thoughts of the the Victims' Commissioner,


And David Cameron said no to a sugar tax -


but could the Assembly be the first devolved institution to go it alone


And with their thoughts on all of that and more -


my guests of the day are Paul McFadden and Dawn Purvis...


It was left out of the Fresh Start deal - and now the Secretary


of State says she shares the frustration of some victims'


groups, angry at the lack of progress on legacy issues.


Theresa Villiers is to meet victims this week amid an ongoing row over


the government's position on dealing with the past.


She's been accused of failing to deliver on a commitment made


in the Stormont House Agreement, by insisting upon a veto on material


We'll hear from the Victims' Commissioner' Judith Thompson'


in just a moment - but first, here's what the Secretary of State


told me on The View on Thursday night...


Gay and I Cheryl Cole of getting these new body set up and frankly


that requires compromise all round. We have put on the table and appeal


mechanism, we stretched ourselves, because who want to do everything we


can to get these bodies set up. We want this process of determining


what material can be redacted on the grounds of national security, we


wanted to be transparent and the way we propose to do that is by having a


direct appeal to the High Court so that families can be confident that


the deed power never be misused and it is absolutely still clear that


the High Court is entirely independent of government and of any


Secretary of State were seeking as you have alleged to try and cover up


the truth then that would be overturned by the High Court. I am


surprised really that you maintain the line you are optimistic, you


said at the start that you optimistic this can be dealt with


but you say you expect to get a tough time meeting victims group and


you know that Sinn Fein is unhappy so where is the optimism. I think


generally during the talks are a lot of issues were resolved, yes we did


not resolve the question around national security. That is the big


issue. We discussed constructive proposals, Sinn Fein put proposals


on the table, we did not think we could make them work and we put our


own proposals on the table, but we are not 1 million miles away from


one another. Theresa Villiers speaking


on Thursday night. The Secretary of State says she's


optimistic outstanding issues Do you share her optimism?


She says the right to veto The reason why I believe that is


that I have spoken since those talks finished to the first and Deputy


First Minister, to the Irish Foreign Affairs Minister and the Secretary


of State and all of them independently are giving details on


specific progress that have not for being made in relation to the


different elements of the agreement and I think this is important, I


have met with a number of victims groups who would have had quite


disparate concerns going into the but the reality of achieving nothing


on the table has been a real shock to everyone and there is a level of


energy and common purpose there which I think was not there before.


The Secretary of State was clear that in her view, the right to veto


will never be misused by the British Government and she was keen to make


that point, but some of her critics, some of them representing victims


groups do not accept that, are you persuaded by what the Secretary of


State had to say? The key issue is that there are real concerns about


national security. On the one hand there are people who understandably


are concerned that the information that they need will be redacted from


reports and key issues swept under the carpet and that is not a useful


process. I think that is a genuine concern but on the other hand you


have others who whilst they understand the need for national


security are equally saying this needs to be proportionate and


realistic. I believe that at the end of the day what was being developed


at the very close of those talks was a move towards some sort of judicial


model where the director of that new HIU if they felt that national


security was being used as the measure to cover up things that were


uncomfortable, rather than security sensitive than they could go to a


judicial process. That process, the nature of that was not fully agreed


but there are ways of doing creative thinking around that. Are you saying


that you believe common ground could be found to allow the British


Government, the Secretary of State to sign up to a judicial process for


disclosure that would also meet the demands of victims groups? Sinn Fein


have been very vocal on this issue. I do believe that this possible.


Because it is hard to see how it is possible, it looks like such an


enormous sticking points. It was an enormous sticking point going into


the talks when we had draft legislation with two levels of


security information going into that process marked not to be disclose


further and then there was a further potential block during the end of


the investigation. That was where the stock started and that was in


the draft legislation. Where it got too at the end was a different place


and had there been longer to look at ways around that process should look


like, I believe there might have been more confidence. So you are


assuring our viewers that this is more than simple wishful thinking on


the parts of the Victims' Commissioner? You would want that to


be the case, are you saying that you have good reason to believe that can


be the case? Yes, I look at where we are now, what is not acceptable is


where we are now. We have 500,000 people affected by the Troubles


living in Northern Ireland and outside. We have 40,000 people


injured and the pension for the seriously injured is on hold. We


have 200,000 people with mental health problems. Funding for a


trauma service is on hold. We have ?60 million a year being spent on


our justice system in pursuit of processes that everyone agrees are


not working. Were we are now, this is not going to go away, it has to


be dealt with. We are approaching a New Year and there are Assembly


elections next year, you know that positions on the political front


tend to harden in the run-up to an election, who is going to take the


lead as far as this process of compromise and finding common ground


is concerned, will that be you? As commissioner, I am in the privileged


position of talking to everyone and there are many people who have been


working at this for a long time and have great knowledge and


understanding, so what I think has to happen is I am meeting with the


victims Forum and the Secretary of State tomorrow and we have further


meetings scheduled with parties this week. I think there needs to be


better information out there, of where these talks got to and what


the options are being considered, there has to be a structured


dialogue that victims can lead and as a commissioner I will help that.


I believe that there needs to be a timetable, further political talks


and for legislation to implement things. The problem and I do not


need to tell you this because you know this there is no one victim 's


voice in all of this. What is really interesting here is that in the


run-up to the talks were we had something on the table, yes those


anxieties and diverse views were there, but when you actually get to


a level of should there be some level of truth and acknowledgement


and justice and should there be services and help for people who


have suffered, nobody disagrees. When you say what about a victim


centred approach, should victims be considered and how we deal with


these matters, should they be consulted, should we have processes


to deal with the issues, victims groups agree, so there is an energy


and a common purpose there, even though obviously these people


represent a society which is still quite divided. At a higher level,


there is a journeyman will to get something done. Do you believe that


the Secretary of State is potentially coming under pressure


from her own backbenchers, from veterans organisations, not to


disclose information that could be embarrassing for people involved in


the conflict from a government point of view in the past? She was pretty


clear that that was not the case, she said she had not come under


pressure but there are people who think she must be under huge


pressure not to disclose embarrassing information. We all saw


the Spotlight programme and interviews with veterans, obviously,


the Secretary of State operates in an arena where these are real


issues. In Northern Ireland, are parties and people understand these


issues differently and there are people who are ex-members of the


security forces themselves saying to me, look there is a truth here that


we need to have acknowledgement. There are quite a few commentators,


we had three of them on Thursday night who were of the view that


victims are expectations and hopes have been unrealistically raised and


they will never get the satisfaction that they are ultimately looking


for, do you share that glass half empty view or do you think that


victims from what ever background and however they find themselves to


be victims can be satisfied at the end of this process? Firstly I do


agree that people's hopes were raised and then disappointed and


that was incredibly difficult for victims and survivors, secondly, yes


I do think that something which will satisfy the majority of


people is be achieved, do I think everyone will be pleased with any


option? It is not going to be possible to satisfy everyone's wants


and needs all of the time. You have to respect and listen and go for the


best you can achieve. Can you achieve that before the next


Assembly election do you believe? I believe that we need to have


alternative talks before the election and I believe that


legislation would not be possible until then. The outstanding issues


theoretically could be resolved before the election? I think this


dialogue needs to start now while it is fresh and what has been achieved


is still in front of us, I do not think this is something that can be


parked until the next election. Let's bring in my guests -


Dawn Purvis and Paul McFadden... Does that state of the nation view


from the commission gave you cause for optimism that these seemingly


intractable issues can be resolved? As chair of an organisation that has


been looking at legacy issues and how we deal with the past in


Northern Ireland for the last 13 years, we know that this is possible


when you bring people together from very diverse backgrounds, from those


who have been most affected and those involved in the conflict. We


know it is possible, and the difficulties that we face are that


political parties are starting from the position that they do not want


to deal with this. So, if you look at whether political parties have


come from, from not wanting to deal with this to find a way of dealing


with this, they have come a hell of a long way. Once you get and I agree


with Judith, there is a high level of agreement and amongst the


principles that set out dealing with the past, it is when we start to


drill down to the details of those mechanisms that the party 's retreat


to their own constituencies and that is the difficulty. Ayew any more


optimistic having heard the commissioner 's thoughts on how


things might unfold in the months ahead and perhaps you were before


today? Know I am not and with respect to Judith, and Judith will


be privy to discussions that I am not aware of, but for me, the fresh


start document was a false start so far as victims are concerned. The


fact that nothing was achieved in terms of addressing the whole


legacy, it has concentrated minds and it is dreadfully embarrassing


that there was an agreement on so many other issues with nothing done


to address the concerns of victims. That was quite dispiriting. I hope


that Judith is right and that the parties are closer together than the


way they seem at the minute, but to me the past is a rock that so many


people do not want to look under, the British Government doesn't, the


paramilitary organisations either. We will watch this situation unfolds


after Christmas and perhaps in the run-up to the election.


The Health Minister beat the chair of the Health Committee to it this


week when he announced he's proposing legislation to ban smoking


Maeve McLauglin, who had also planned to propose the move,


welcomed the development, but not to be out-done


announced her plans to get the Assembly to back a sugar


And Maeve McLaughlin joins me now from our Foyle studio...


Is this a bit of policy ping pong between yourself and the Minister -


he serves up the smoking ban and you return with the sugar tax?


No, both amendments were tabled at the same time and I think what it is


is a response to an increasing robust evidence -based that the


level of sugar consumption in society is directly correlated with


health problems. We see that when we look at areas such as the increase


in diabetes, obesity and indeed cardiovascular disease, not to


mention dental decay particularly amongst our children and young


people. There is increasingly a body of evidence that relates the level


of sugar that we take through sugary drinks and our health problems. It


isn't that simple, Downing Street decided against it, it is a complex


issue, not just about the consumption of sugar, it is about


the lack of exercise. Yes indeed and I think we will all be naive to


suggest that this is a panacea for all our health problems, it is not


but in my view I think it is a progressive initiative that should


at least be explored. I think it is important to say that a number of


countries have taken the initiative, like the Welsh Assembly which backed


proposals to explore the sugar levy, what I am calling for it is an


exploration, a fool public consultation, because it would be


wrong in my view to ignore at the 24% of our children and young people


who are be said for the 33% to -- diabetes increase, it would be


foolish of us to not respond to that accordingly. Yes it is complex, yes


it is not an initiative that will solve all of our problems on their


own, but it is certainly one that we would be foolhardy to ignore. It


might prove electoral lorry very unpopular. I do not think there will


be consensus on this and that is what we are calling for, we are


calling within this legislation for the Health Minister and the


Department to conduct a full public consultation and that needs to


include the full economic assessment impact in relation to the limitation


of this proposed levy. As I said, we have increased public health issues,


huge gap in terms of our health inequalities between those who have


and have not, so we need to explore radical solutions and it has been


backed up with scientific evidence elsewhere, particularly in Public


Health England which has looked at the evidence and says it works.


Simon Hamilton did not seem terribly enamoured with the idea when he


responded to the suggestion, he did say he will consider it but we


should not rush to pass something as significant as this without a proper


debate. I suppose that is what you are saying, but he did not seem to


be banging the drum for it as the outcome you're looking for. What I


am calling for is the public consultation, I am calling for him


to commit within one year of this legislation coming into place that


he will conduct that consultation and let us explore the options and


look at the evidence, look at the health inequalities, the


relationship between sugar consumption and diabetes and let us


look at what the economic impact of that would be. Can I ask you about


another issue, Simon Hamilton's statement on gay men donating blood,


do you welcome the change in approach to his two immediate


predecessors? Clearly this is a significant shift from the DUP, both


of the former health ministers, of which society in my view, very


clearly took the position backed up by a court, that their view and


position in terms of the ban on gay men donating blood was a rational


and was laced with prejudice. If this is a significant shift from the


current Health Minister then it is of course to be welcomed to stop I


will call on him now to join with the rest of society and remove the


ban. It is not appropriate that his party's own personal prejudice if


you like have impacted in relation to policy issues on this issue.


Thank you. Maeve McLaughlin in our


Foyle studio, thank you. Let's see what Dawn


and Paul make of that... Just a quick word on that issue, do


you welcome mat? I do. I feel in a position, I have never been in a


situation where I have needed blood but I have been in the situation


worse someone very close to me was gravely ill and did need it and I


can tell you at that point in time, the problems of the blood did not


matter, it was the fact that they got the blood. It is interesting in


terms of the wider DUP politics. The DUP seem to be moving towards the


centre ground and I think there are interesting things happening in


Unionist politics at the moment and I see it as block belonging in


there. A quick word on that. Ministers should take professional


advice in making these decisions rather than using personal beliefs.


As in the abortion guidelines issue, what we have seen is Simon Hamilton


move ahead of his Number 8 previous predecessors and I think that is to


be welcomed. A quick word on the sugar levy, you persuaded by Maeve


MacLachlan? It is a no-brainer. If we introduce a carrier bike tax, why


are we not introducing a sugar tax to save our children's dental health


and to improve general health in terms of diabetes. Do you agree? She


is looking to have the issue explored and it is well worth doing


that and having a public consultation and seeing what the


evidence suggests. All right - let's just pause,


briefly, to take a look back at the week in 60 seconds -


with Gareth Gordon... The DUP's would be next leader says


no. Arlene is clearly the person who should take the party forward. And


Arlene Foster says she can work with Sinn Fein. Well of course I have


worked with Martin since I was a minister back in 2007 right up until


the present day, we have a working relationship and it will continue.


The Health Minister stomps it out. Anyone whose Mark -- who smokes in a


confined space like a car with children in the car is an idiot. The


Secretary of State says she can deliver of deal for victims. I


presided over talks that have delivered two landmark agreements


for Northern Ireland. And the chuckle Brothers return or should


that be... I will acknowledge... Just time for a final chat


with Paul and Dawn... I suppose it is the end of an era


with the departure of Peter Robinson and the coronation of Arlene Foster


on Thursday. And a dramatic Sammy Wilson getting done in by a dummy


run. It has been quite a week in politics. We'll Arlene's Coronation


B a short reign given the election coming up? I think she has set


herself out to be a bit of a target within the DUP. I wish her well in


the post, but I think there are other more Machiavellian forces in


the party at work. We regret to ask you both for your political story of


the year and Paul, the elevation and rise of Arlene Foster is what you


wanted to talk about. To me it is a major development. I think that


Peter Robinson is an amazing strategist. I think that elections


are won on the middle ground and the DUP are moving on to the middle


ground. Listening to Mark Devenport talk to Peter Robinson on Friday


night, and Peter Robinson is now portraying the DUP as a party where


it ages not an issue, gender is not an issue, the fact that you belong


to the UUP is not an issue and it is possibly a party that Catholics


could support, I do not think we are at that point, but the DUP is it an


interesting place. Mike Nesbitt should be worried. I think more


inclined to see Arlene Foster move to the right in order to consolidate


the party and keep them in the three line whip. That is interesting. What


is your story? I had to. I think the first one was the referendum on


equal marriage south of the border. For a country that is perceived as


being very Conservative and very Catholic, the people as usual were


way ahead of the politicians when it came to this issue, just as they


work on the issue of abortion and polls north and south of the border


as we have seen from the joint BBC and RTE poll show people are at the


same level. Will David Cameron


get his way in Europe? Are Labour MPs coming to terms


with the idea that Jeremy Corbyn All questions for The Week Ahead


and the Year Ahead. And joining us to gaze


into our crystal ball for 2016 is the Conservative


MP, James Cleverly. Welcome to the programme. If the


Prime Minister cannot even get his minimum demands in the renegotiation


with Europe, would you vote to leave? I've always felt his best


chance of getting a good result from Europe is if there is a credible


leave campaign, with people like me saying that if we don't get a good


deal for Britain we would campaign to leave. That might feel like a


stone in his shoe at the moment but unless people genuinely believe that


he won't get the best deal for Britain.


He says he rules nothing out. No one really believes the Prime Minister


wants to leave the European Union or would lead a campaign to do so. But


if the country as a whole is making those kind of noises, the people the


Prime Minister is negotiating with, our partners in Europe, may think it


is in their best interests to give him the deal he's looking for.


Should he be asking for more? The Prime Minister is always at his best


when his bold, I think you should be cheeky with the things he asks for,


but recognise we are not going to get everything. Could we get more


than he is asking for? The particular vehicle that he uses to


get results shouldn't be quite so important as the results themselves.


What you are not saying, but it is clear what you think, he should be


tougher with Europe. I don't think it is possible to be tough enough


with Europe. We've got to keep pushing and if we get something,


push for more. Ultimately the deal he comes back with will be judged by


the British people. I understand that. Tory politicians say that


simply because they don't want to answer the questions I am asking


because that is flannel. Most Conservative backbenchers I speak to


think what he's asking for is not nearly enough. If he cannot even


bring that back, I would suggest to you he will not carry a majority of


his MPs in Parliament. The deal on the table... We have seen this from


the Paris climate summit, the deals are done in the 11th hour so we will


know what deal is on the table only at the 11th hour, then we will judge


that deal when we see it. When you negotiate, you don't come out with


demands and then as the negotiation goes on make these demands even


greater! Yes, you do. I've never seen a negotiation like that, but


good luck to you. What demand should he ask for that he's not asking for


now? I will not try to second-guess because you have got to trade


things, give a little bit there... I'm asking you to tell me what you


think he should be asking of Europe that he's not asking at the moment.


Most people would agree we want to have better control around who gets


benefits. No, he's asking for that. Let me try one more time - what


should he ask for that he's not asking for at the moment? As I said,


I'm not going to second-guess that. I give up! Let me come on to Mr


Corbyn. I would suggest to you, Tom Newton Dunn, that Jeremy Corbyn is


ending this year in a much more secure position than it looked when


he first got elected or at the Labour Party conference. I


completely agree with you. When this crystallised was during the Syria


vote, the week before last, when we thought the majority of Conservative


MPs would abstain -- Labour MPs. Perhaps the Prime Minister's case


wasn't that strong but they felt scared. The Corbyn machine, the


unions put a lot of pressure on them and that was the turning point. He


played his part in getting the Chancellor to withdraw on the tax


credit front, he has carried the bulk of his Parliamentary party on


Syria and most of his cabinet as well, and I would suggest, Helen,


that the anti-Jeremy Corbyn forces are now bereft of a strategy. Yes,


they have a huge problem that the members who voted for Jeremy Corbyn


think he is doing really well. The PLP needs to get behind him. The


problem is I think sometimes we get the narrative on Corbyn wrong. A lot


of his deeply held principles, think about giving that free vote on


Syria, he has been a member of the Stop The War coalition since it


started, and yet he didn't say Acme or you will go. But he will now,


given that he is ending the year in a pretty strong decision, he will, I


suggest, in the New Year, start to remould the Labour Party much more


in his image of what he stands for. Absolutely. I don't think there's


much chance of being a successful challenge to Jeremy Corbyn in 2016


and that's because the members are broadly behind him. The reason


that's a disaster for the Labour Party is because of what will happen


in September, the annual Labour Party conference by the seaside


somewhere. They will use that moment to push through rule changes to make


it harder for the Parliamentary Labour Party and mainstream forces


to fight against what he wants, and to embed what they think in terms of


official Labour Party positions and what Helen said he should do. When


Mr Corbyn won the Labour leadership, the Conservatives thought Christmas


had come early. He is actually proving to be a tougher leader than


you thought. Only lazy observers would assume his leadership would


make life easy for us. He galvanised a huge number of people in the


country. I think he is so wrong on so many levels it is beyond belief


but lots of other people seem to think he is right. We need to find


ways of countering his political agenda because it is wrong and


dangerous, but we need to do so at the same time as understanding why


he managed to have such a grass-roots appeal. Although you all


seem to be agreed he is ending the year on a strong note, the Labour


Party Christmas party was not a lot of laughs, was it? What happened? It


sounded like a slightly awkward occasion. This is the moment when


all of the Labour Party staff get together, a free fake, one of the


Shadow Cabinet plays Santa. You've got to picture the scene, about ten


tables of staff who all pretty much come from the mainstream, and one


and a half tables of allies of Jeremy Corbyn huddled in one part,


and the two clans didn't really mix. There was only one real moment of


dissent it felt like when somebody at around 1115 PM Port Things Can


Only Get Better on, and that is about as open as Labour Party


revolts get. I want to show you a Christmas party from the Daily


Politics archive. Who is our secret Santa? Here he comes. It is a bit


difficult to see. The first clue is that he is a Labour MP, he's been a


member of Parliament since 1983 for the smallest constituency in


Britain. Next clue, he is one of just 12 Labour MPs to back Plaid


Cymru and the SNP's call for an inquiry into the war. Finally, he


chairs the Parliamentary wing of CND, and you should know this, Meg?


Jeremy Corbyn? I thought it was the real Santa! Yes please, thank you


very much. Jeremy Corbyn, having more fun at the Daily Politics


Christmas party than he did the Labour Party one.


Will there be an EU referendum next year? No. Yes. Yes. No. By this time


next year will Jeremy Corbyn still be a Labour leader? ALL: Yes.


If David Cameron loses the referendum, will he be able to


survive as Prime Minister? Yes. You have got to say that!


Will Philip Hammond remained Foreign Secretary next year? On what? Will


he remain Foreign Secretary? No. They might have to be a reshuffle.


Hilary Benn, will he remain as Shadow Foreign Secretary? No. Will


the Government finally approved a third runway at Heathrow? No,


definitely not. Yes. No. Will we ever get to see the Chilcot inquiry


in 2016? Yes. No. I don't know. Will Donald Trump win the Republican


nomination next year? No. No. Who is going to be the new Mayor of London?


Sadiq Khan. Probably Sadiq Khan, it is a Labour city. Zac Goldsmith, and


it is not a Labour city, trust me. He would be much better at soaking


up the second preference votes. That's a bit technical for us!


That's all for today and, in fact, all from


the Sunday Politics this year. I'll be back here on 10th January.


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


Unless, of course, it's the festive season.


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

Andrew speaks to Conservative Peter Lilley about climate change, Labour's Yvette Cooper about refugees, shadow Treasury minister Richard Burgon on Stop the War and Conservative MP James Cleverly on Europe.

The newspapers are reviewed by Janan Ganesh of the Financial Times, Helen Lewis of the New Statesman and Tom Newton Dunn of the Sun.

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