Mark Carruthers with the latest political news, interviews and debate.
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I'm Sarah Smith and this
is the Sunday Politics -
your inside briefing on all the big
political stories happening
in Westminster and beyond.
Coming up on today's show.
The decision to release serial sex
attacker John Worboys...
Does the Government now "look more
like the country it represents"?
After a tricky reshuffle, we speak
to one of the new faces sitting
around the Cabinet table -
the immigration minister
Does the Government have a clearer
idea about what our future
After a week of bitter exchanges
over Barry McElduff's Kingsmill
video, Sinn Fein and the DUP
softened the political tone.
But do the three smaller
parties think we're any
closer to a breakthrough?
All that coming up in the programme.
And sitting around our top
table today, I'm joined
by some familiar faces.
We tried a reshuffle
of our own but they simply refused
to budge: Tom Newton Dunn,
and Steve Richards.
Now, after a pretty bumpy 2017,
Theresa May actually went
in to the Christmas break
in relatively good political health.
So, what better way to kick off 2018
than by shaking up her top team
and reasserting her authority?
But as she found this week, things
don't always go according to plan.
If you're going to carry out major
surgery on your Government, you need
to be sure the prognosis is good.
It was a picture of health
to begin with, a fresh,
new team at Party HQ,
but before long, complications
Justine Greening, who's had a rocky
time at Education, decided
she'd had enough.
She quit the Government
rather than accept a
While Jeremy Hunt refused
to budge from his job at
He even left his meeting having
added social care to his job
There was a fresher look among
the junior ministerial ranks.
But when the new Cabinet met
on Tuesday morning, it looked...
Well, very much like the old one.
Normally loyal Conservative grandee
Nicholas Soames asked, "Is that it?"
The state of the NHS
then caused more pain.
Dozens of senior doctors wrote to
the Prime Minister saying conditions
in some hospitals were
Patients were dying prematurely.
We have now clearly reached
the point where the NHS
cannot meet the standards
of care that we would,
all of us in the NHS,
ministers included, want to provide.
At Prime Minister's Questions,
the Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn
pressed on the bruise.
We know the Prime Minister
recognises there is a
crisis in our NHS,
because she wanted to sack
the Health Secretary last week
but was too weak to do it.
Mr Corbyn announced his own
reshuffle towards the end of the
week, with a surprising
return to the front
bench for Clive Lewis,
has been cleared of sexual
While two other Labour
MPs, Kelvin Hopkins and
Ivan Lewis, have been referred
to an independent disciplinary
panel over allegations
of sexual misconduct.
On Friday, US President Donald Trump
raised the temperature, cancelling
his visit to the UK next month
to open the new American Embassy.
Calling the decision to relocate
the building to an off
location is a bad deal.
His friends on this side
of the pond suspected
there were other reasons
for his decision.
Just maybe, Sadiq Khan,
Jeremy Corbyn in the Labour Party
planning mass protests, maybe those
optics he didn't like the look of.
Nigel Farage also set
pulses racing with this:
I'm reaching the point
thinking that we should
have a second referendum because...
On EU membership.
The whole thing?!
Of course, of course.
hope focusing on the
environment will bring
the party back to health.
The Prime Minister teamed up
with her new eco-warrior
Environment Secretary, Michael Gove,
to crack down on the use of
We must reduce the demand
for plastic, reduce the number of
plastics in circulation
and improve our recycling rates.
It all seems strangely
reminiscent of someone who
once said, vote blue, go green.
In another tricky
week that's left the
PM looking a little
green around the gills.
Now, let's pick up on a story
which broke overnight: the new
Justice Secretary David Gauke
is considering a judicial review
of the decision to release
the serial sex attacker
John Worboys on parole.
Earlier this month the Parole Board
announced that he would be released
under strict licence conditions.
He was jailed in 2009 for a minimum
of eight years for drugging
and sexually assaulting 12 women.
However, it's thought he may have
carried out as many as 100 rapes
and sexual assaults on women
in London in the early 2000s.
I will take this to the panel first.
This is obviously a very emotive
case, and people get very worked up
about it, but the politics of the
Justice Secretary, Tom, asking for a
judicial review against the body
which is really under the
supervision of his own department,
this gets a little odd.
Secretary criticises Justice
Department shock. There is a whiff
of panic in the Government over this
now. I think David Gauke's decision
is emblematic of that. For whatever
reason, the Government have found
themselves on the wrong side of
public opinion on this. An appalling
mass serial rapist is about to be
let out of prison this week, having
served less than ten years for
crimes most of which he wasn't even
prosecuted for. They have seven or
eight days to do this judicial
review, and David Gauke has only
done it because he is under pressure
from other Cabinet ministers. The
entire Justice Department and
justice policy has really been
interested for up to seven years
because the Tory Government really
can't make up its mind between a
liberal justice establishment is
based on rehabilitation and less
time in prison and the more
traditional Tory authoritarian lock
them up and throw the key away
system, and the consequence is
today's decision. You have had five
Justice Secretary is, from the king
of soft justice himself, Ken
of soft justice himself, Ken Clarke,
and now David Gauke, so perhaps it's
no huge surprise that the system is
now in a bit of a mess.
If Tom is
right that the Government are
playing catch up on John Worboys
because of the huge public outcry,
is it nonetheless the right thing to
It seems to me the parole board
breached their own rules. The
victims have a right to make
representations. We know that some
of the victims whose cases were
brought, and again, he is not
convicted as a serial rapist because
those cases one brought to court, a
decision made by Kia Starmer, then
the Director of Public Prosecutions.
The other fundamental issue is a lot
of what Tom was saying, that the
Tory Government is out of touch, as
I think all of the establishment and
party leaders are. Is this
ridiculous nonsense that someone is
released halfway through a sentence,
if you are sentenced to ten years or
whatever, you should be serving the
full sentence, and maybe six months
off for good behaviour, or better
still, more years on for bad
behaviour. I think the British
public think the justice system is
an absolute joke, and they think
that because it is.
You raise an
interesting point about what the
public care about versus what is
debated at Westminster. We spent an
enormous amount of last year talking
about Brexit, to the exclusion of
most other things. A few other
issues have raised their heads this
week, Steve. First and foremost, the
NHS has been causing more than a few
political problems for the
If Brexit wasn't
swamping everything, this would be
the overwhelming issue. Voters are
much more concerned about this than
anything else, with good cause. At
some point, there will have to be a
grown discussion about funding of
the NHS and how we pay for it.
Whether that will be possible in the
current climate I doubt. But I don't
think it's entirely impossible
because I think the crisis will
intensify. In a way, that has been
overlooked, that 2017 election
partly accepted miraculously in
British politics that to get
improvements in some services you
have to pay for it. So, maybe there
will be a grown-up debate, but don't
hold your breath. In the meantime,
it will be an issue that Theresa May
will have to keep at least one eye
on, as well as trying to negotiate
the impossible with Brexit.
the Prime Minister said the NHS was
the best prepared it had ever been,
and doctors were saying that
patients were dying prematurely. In
the short-term, political damage
absolutely. The tanks are parked on
Labour territory there. The general
consensus in the country is not that
they trust the Tories on the NHS,
which is a big issue for them. A lot
of the problems are down to the fact
that we're getting older and living
longer, and there are amazing
treatments, operations and drugs
that can keep us alive. We see it as
a problem but it is a wonderful
miracle of modern science and
medicine and we should be grateful
for such problems.
The big news was
that we were going to get a
Government that looked more like the
rest of the country in the
reshuffle. It turned out not to be
quite as dramatic as some of us
expected. Was it a Government fail?
Depends how you define fail. It has
taken a few days for the penny to
drop, though I had my suspicions on
the night when some of the 20 15th
intake got no promotions at all. It
was a tell-tale sign. Was it a
success in that it stored to the top
of the buildings? Not really, she
just rearranged the deckchairs on
the Titanic. Caroline Noakes was
attending Cabinet rather than being
a full cabinet minister, but the
Theresa May managed to fend off the
vultures coming for her by
absolutely wilfully, it now appears,
failing to put key rivals into key
positions, people like Rory Stewart,
Dominic Raj, some of the 2015ers? It
was a public fail but digging in
Well, listening to all that is my
first guest, Caroline Nokes.
She was promoted to immigration
minister in the reshuffle this
week and, in that role,
now attends Cabinet.
Congratulations on the new job. You
are presumably part of the making
the Government look more like the
country. Did the Prime Minister
I think she did. Look
at the whip's offers, where there
are more women than ever before. I
remember coming in in 2010 and
looking at a wet's office that was
Why can't we have 50-50
women in the Cabinet?
We are heading
in the right direction, there are
two more women in the Cabinet.
the Scottish Government has a policy
of 50-50 in the Cabinet - surely
We started from a
very low base of women, even
elected. I think we're doing a
fantastic job of encouraging more
women to come forward, and from more
diverse backgrounds. It is a work in
progress but we are headed in the
right direction. People like Kerry
bad not, who went to the same
university as I did, the University
of Sussex, hardly a breeding ground
for Tory politicians.
Government, there are 3% non-white
people - not very representative?
have done a good job of attracting
more diverse people to come and
stand the rise in the Government.
Our messages, -- our message is,
we're working hard to make sure that
those bright, young women from
diverse backgrounds have a chance.
You know, it's a process, isn't it?
We are all climbing up the ladder. I
think the Cabinet looks better than
it did. I have always advocated more
women in Parliament, and the last
debate I did was about getting more
women to stand in politics, and that
The big news this
morning is the idea that the Justice
Secretary may take a judicial review
against the release of John Worboys.
What is your view on that? Should do
just this minute himself be taking
judicial review is against this kind
We will look at the
victims of Worboys and we want them
to get the support they need and to
see that justice is being done. It
is absolutely right that David Gauke
is looking at a judicial review.
None of us feel happy with the
parole board decision. This is a man
who served less than ten years, and
it's a horrific number of victims.
We can't see the parole board's
decision or the reasoning for it.
The Government could change that at
a stroke and allow them to publish
it. Should they?
Secretary is reviewing the process,
which is important. We want people
to have confidence. Our justice
system is a very old and proud one.
Let's not undermine it. Let's make
sure we get the right decisions in
Lets get onto your own brief,
your new brief on immigration. It
means you inherit the target of
reducing net migration to the tens
of thousands. The last five
ministers have failed, will you do
The last five ministers have seen
the trajectory heading down, the
last figures we saw in the summer
show it dropped significantly.
dropped slightly, 14,000 lower than
when you came to power in 2010,
overall net migration at 240 4000.
We want to make sure this is a
brittle open for business, that the
brightest and best can come here to
work and study. We are listening to
the universities and to business via
the immigration advisory
So if we are open to
business and the brightest and best
come here why have this target of
reducing net migration to less than
100,000? Lots of Cabinet ministers
would like to get rid of it. You
could have lifted and the 2017
manifesto and got rid of quite a
We had a referendum in
2016 which sent a clear message that
people want that target to remain,
they want to see as reducing
immigration to sustainable levels
and we are doing just that. It is in
the manifesto so that is the
direction of travel.
from outside the EU, you claimed
that once we leave everything will
change with freedom of movement, but
net migration from outside the EU
which you have complete control over
now, it's over 100,000 in and of
itself. Why hasn't that been tackled
in the seven years that this has now
been a target?
We are attacking it,
and we are doing this I have a
banking measures you have heard
about this week, working to make
sure that those with bank accounts
and are not here legally have those
Fresnel cursive necessary, that is
important, we have a raft of
measures but the current Home
Secretary and the previous one have
been clear on this, we will get
these numbers down and do it in a
manageable and sustained way.
not what business one. The Tory
mayor Andy Street says the target
should be more like 150,000 so
businesses can attract people with
the skills they need and George
Osborne says this is economic and
made illiterate because we need
higher migration and that --
why we are listening to the
committee which will report in
September which will give a solid
expert economist's view on what
migration levels should be. But it
was in the manifesto, we are
determined to head in that direction
and bring immigration down to a
immigration advisor comes to you and
says somebody like Andy Street is
right we need around 150,000 coming,
will you change it? Because this was
a manifesto promise to get it down
to under 110,000 a year, so what
will that looked like if you have
disabled we didn't get it right.
not going to prejudge.
I and asking
what you will do with their view
because you are stuck with this
promise of reducing immigration to
tens of thousands, there's not much
you can do if they oppose that.
are telling someone who has been in
the job less than a week that she
should make a decision on the hoof
in a TV studio! Not a chance. What I
need to do is listen to the experts
and come up with the direction of
travel that satisfies those who
voted Believe in the referendum,
that satisfies businesses, like the
brilliant Russell group University
and the one in Southampton on the
edge of my constituency can still
attract the best students. This is a
really difficult complicated area.
He mentioned the need to attract the
brightest students. While other
numbers of students coming to
Britain to study included in the net
migration figures? You could help
yourselves quickly by taking them
out of it. Just about every Cabinet
member wants them removed from
official figures, why are they
The O M as determinate
students should be included because
they are here for more than 12
months. We must make sure we have
the public services that support
them. Many of them go home after
their study as they should but it is
important that we work with the
immigration advisory committee to
get the right answers.
You are happy
about students being included in the
And happy we've
got 24% more coming to our
universities than we had in 2010.
I'm happy that we are attracting a
great calibre of student here, I'm
equally happy that our former
feminists are cracked down on bogus
colleges and close them because we
want bright students to come here
and in the -- that our former Prime
Minister cracked down on bogus
colleges and closed them.
back to the panel, Steve Camille
can't envy the new Immigration
Minister being tasked with reducing
immigration to a level that no other
Immigration Minister has been able
I don't envy you, I
don't know your Private view but I
do note that most Cabinet ministers
don't want student numbers to be
part of the total figure and Theresa
May alone is still pressing this.
I've just been doing a series about
a David Cameron. He made a series of
targets which were never met, as you
said in the interview. Good luck
with that. Lots of people I meet now
who were in favour of Brexit, like
farmers, pleading, as you will know,
for cheap Labour from Eastern Europe
to continue. They don't want to fill
in loads more forms to get them. So
there's a lot of talk
there's a lot of talk about Nimby
free movement and you have a tough
Julia, should net immigration
be reduced to tens of thousands, is
it important to the public?
it bizarre they asked to a target
they've never done anything to
reach, certainly the immigration
levels that they were able to
control under the coalition and
David Cameron on his own, the
numbers can't be controlled
completely, they never even came
close, it was more than double,
about 250,000. I find this row about
students strange. If you live in the
country for three or four years you
need somewhere to live, you'll be
getting buses and trains, might need
to go to the hospital, is that the
idea that these people don't exist
because they are not here
permanently? And some of them do
stay. It's ridiculous. We need a
sensible debate. Brexit wasn't about
ending immigration. It was about us.
Like virtually every other country
in the world choosing who gets to
come here. If you are qualified and
have a skill we need we would love
to have you, come on in, the water
is lovely! But if we just want cheap
Labour subsidised by the taxpayer
with a housing benefit, to do jobs
not paid enough, then I don't think
we should. When it comes to farmers
we should pay more for...
given quite a good explanation of
why the target was set up and should
probably stay because if there is no
target, then cheap Labour will
continue to flow in because it's the
easiest thing for business to do. If
you are limited in who you can bring
in new might turn to the indigenous
British population and start hiring
them to do decent jobs they are
perfectly capable of doing.
panel will be staying with us
throughout the programme. Thank you
to Caroline Nokes, the Immigration
Minister, for coming in.
Now with all the other stuff that's
been going on this week,
you might be concerned we'd
forgotten about the small
matter of Brexit.
But don't worry, it's
still very much on the agenda.
Having sealed a deal
on the divorce talks,
the focus is now shifting
to the future relationship.
The EU says we can only
have an 'off-the-shelf' model,
like the deals with Norway
or Canada; but the UK Government
says we can be far more ambitious,
as Elizabeth Glinka reports.
# Do you have the time #
To listen to me whine?#.
In her Florence speech,
Theresa May made it
clear that when it comes
trade negotiations with the EU,
the UK isn't looking for any
off-the-shelf kind of deal.
It wants something
special and bespoke.
I'm optimistic about
what we can achieve
by finding a creative solution
to a new economic relationship that
can support prosperity
for all our peoples.
Before Christmas, the senior
official in charge of Brexit
told the Cabinet that
when it comes to that
should start thinking in terms
of three baskets, what some people
are calling managed divergence.
The Institute for
Government has been
looking at what it means.
Three baskets corresponds
to the three areas
that Theresa May spoke
about in her Florence speech.
We have full alignment,
where we will continue to
meet the same outcomes
in the same way as we do now.
is where we will
continue to meet the same
outcomes as the EU
but might go about it
slightly different way.
And then the final basket
where we will go about things
in a different way and may choose
to take completely different
outcomes at the
end of it.
OK, so if we were to look
at particular industries, say
something like aviation, maybe
workers' rights, we might put them
in this basket because we are saying
not much is going to change.
It would be very difficult to put
whole industries and whole sectors
in specific baskets.
If you take agriculture,
for example, state aid
and how much overall we can
subsidise our farmers may well sit
in full alignment, whereas issues
about agricultural and environmental
we could continue to
meet the same goals
by different means, and they can sit
in the middle basket.
exactly what we subsidise
our farmers for could be completely
up to the UK and sit in the
So it would be very difficult
to put single sectors
in single baskets.
If the UK is looking
for a high degree of access
to the single market,
then the EU will expect
lots of things ending up in the full
whereas the UK will probably want
to try and pull as much as possible
into the regulatory
Of course, the point of all this
is is to remind the EU that
when it comes to these negotiations,
the UK is in a unique position
because currently we
are completely in sync.
It's in the interests of Britain
and the EU to get on
People are thinking that it's
a binary thing, we are either
in the EU or we're out, that it's
night and day, but it isn't.
The point about
managed divergence is
that it does give us
much more flexibility.
We can decide for ourselves
which bits we want to keep
and which bits we want
to amend or get rid of.
And I think...
I think that's a huge opportunity.
Philip Hammond and
David Davies have been
on a charm offensive
in Germany this week,
so just how are those very British
baskets going down in
There is a concern that the UK
will take a shopping basket,
pick off the elements of the major
trade agreements the EU has secured
with third countries,
take all those together.
It gets the UK very close to full
membership of the single
market without any of
the obligations, so I think
they view managed divergence
as another way in
which the UK either hopes to cherry
pick or have its cake and eat it.
All member states will
agree that they can't
set a precedent with
UK that then sets internal
challenges for themselves over the
medium to longer term.
Now, what goes into
these baskets remains a
bit of a mystery, but of course,
there are deadlines because the next
round of talks is due to get under
can find more Brexit analysis
and explanation on the BBC website,
With me now is the Shadow
Secretary, Barry Gardiner.
Welcome to the programme, thank you
for coming back. We were learning
about the different baskets, full
alignment, regulatory alignment.
Labour say you want to give all the
benefits and the single market so
presumably want to stay as much in
alignment as we do already?
we've said is that the government
have said we could have all the
benefits and we will hold them to
To do that, we must keep most
of what we can in the full alignment
We want to make sure we get
as much of the benefits as we
currently have once we have left the
You can't do that and diverged.
Absolutely. That's the point.
Diverges from that, whether through
a trade deal with another country or
whether it is simply because we want
to deregulate our standards in the
UK is going to cause a problem with
maintaining the sort of trade we
have with Europe. It's going to
cause that economic bond. But we
want to make sure we have a Brexit
that is for jobs, for the economy
and that's why we see the benefits
of the single market, the benefits
of the customs union, and swipe we
said we wouldn't rule is off the
table. Whereas the government
precisely said it would. And that is
the red lines that Theresa May put
in place that are now causing her
all these other problems.
caused a few problems in policy for
Labour as well because the closer
you want to stay to single market
rules, if we've loved the single
market because that is government
policy, more alignment would have --
if we've left. That is us accepting
rules we had no say in making, a
state you have described as being a
These other uses we
really have to resolve. Because you
are right, once we leave the EU that
means we are not a member of the
single market. It doesn't mean we
can't trade into the single market,
of course we can. We can do that in
the same way that Norway does. But
our economy is very different from
that of Norway. And what we need to
be sure about is when we are making
our rules in this country we are
doing it as close as possible to
maintain the trade and the economic
benefits we get in the European
There have been reports this
week that Labour is working on a
policy that would involve staying in
the customs union. The Robert Peston
programme on ITV...
That could not
be the case. I'm sorry to correct
you on a technicality. But once you
leave the EU you leave the treaties
and it is the treaties that create
the customs union. So we could not
be a member of the customs union.
You could be remember of a customs
union, which is what Jeremy Corbyn
was talking about on TV this
He was talking about the
transition period immediately after
leaving the EU. That has been our
position for many months. We were
the ones that said, in that
transitional period, we want the
status quo. We want to maintain
things that are... We want to
maintain a customs union and single
market during that transition.
talk about the future after the
transition period. Let's look at
what you said you thought were the
consequences. Do you still agree
I was specifically
referring to, and if you go back on
that quote a little bit, you will
find we were talking about the
turkey situation, which was a
customs union agreement with the EU.
That would be a very bad end point
for us, because it would mean that
the European Union ended up doing
all the negotiations for trade for
the UK. We would have to open our
markets to any other company in --
any other country they made an
agreement with. But that country
would not have to liberalise its
markets and open itself up to our
goods and services.
commercial policy is what governs
all of this and binds us in with
these trade treaties. The UK
Government say they want to leave
that. Is that the Labour position?
We will be...
Would you like to join
something similar once we are no
longer members of the EU?
said, we believe that the benefits
of what we currently have should be
maintained as much as possible, and
that means that whilst we cannot
stay in the customs union, we should
not have a turkey style customs
union agreement, because that would
be an asymmetrical relationship with
any trading partner. What we do see
as a possibility, and it is what we
have not ruled out, which is to have
a new customs union with the
European Union, and that is
something very interesting wave
which in paragraph 31 of the
cross-border trade taxation bill
which came in on Monday from the
Government, and which we debated
them, they have actually put
provision for that, a new customs
union, where we would be an equal
But you cannot possibly
believe that you can have the
benefits of being in a reformed
customs union relationship with the
EU and still have total freedom to
make new trade deals. You have said
you don't want anything which
precludes us from making independent
trade agreements with some of our
Let's be clear
about the nexus of problems we are
trying to solve the run work our way
through. You have, within the
referendum, a clarity that people
were voting for certain political
issues, whether that was in terms of
immigration, regaining sovereignty,
or simply not paying money into
Europe. All of these were things
people thought they were voting for.
If you were to be in a relationship
in which some of those continued to
be the case, where we were rule
takers and not rule setters, as
Norway is at the moment, and they
are told they have no right to
decide what the rules are going to
be, that is a political problem
which many people in this country
would feel, what was the referendum
all about if we don't achieve that?
Just let me... I don't
think it's clear, the problems we
are trying to solve. We want to
maintain a maximum economic benefit,
to get the economic benefit of the
jobs that we currently get from the
trading relationship we have in a
customs union and in a single market
with the European Union. But to do
that respecting the referendum will
of the people for those political
We understand that
Labour has to bring back the
42 purse -- the 52% under 48%.
understand need to move you on to
something else. We have heard the
new Tory chairman Brandon Lewis say
today that if any... He wants new
Tory candidates to sign up to a
respect pledge that they will
conduct themselves on Twitter and in
what they say in a respectful way,
otherwise they will be removed as
Of course, that's right.
Jeremy Corbyn said that Labour
should do it too. It raises
questions about some Labour MPs.
Jarrod O'Mara, for example, who has
had the whip suspended.
investigation is being conducted, as
is appropriate, within all the
procedures of our party. Absolutely
Because of remarks
he made about women and homophobic
comments. Then you look at the
Shadow Chancellor, John McDonnell,
against whom no action has been
taken, and he has said a number of
things, but one of them which has
been heavily criticised is that he
wanted... Well, he agreed with
people who wanted to see Esther
McVeigh lynched. We have the audio
of this. Let's listen and then we
will ask you about it.
I was up in
Liverpool a fortnight ago...
And obviously, he used a word that
we won't be saying on TV, but is
that respectful language?
It is not
language I would have used. Earlier
today, you have been quoting remarks
that were made by the President of
the United States which were deeply
offensive and unacceptable.
But this is about the
And you quoted. The
point I am making is that he was
quoting what someone else was
saying, and I would not have chosen
to do that.
He was clearly quoting
with approval, not reporting it.
underlying issue which the
Conservatives have been trying to
cover up through all the smear on
John McDonnell, Esther McVeigh, who
was a Department for Work and
Pensions minister, and at a time
when she was in charge of work and
pensions as a minister, her company
had been reported for breach of
health and safety guidelines. She is
one of the ministers, and for that
Jeremy Corbyn said we
should stick to policies and use
respectful language. That wasn't
That's what I'm doing now,
and I'm trying to make the
underlying political point about
what's going on here. She was in
charge of a department in which she
was responsible for health and
safety when her own company which
she was a director of, a
construction company, they had been
suspended, their work had had to be
suspended twice within three months
for breach of those health and
safety guidelines, putting workers
at risk in her own company. She is
We will have to
Hello and welcome to Sunday Politics
in Northern Ireland.
After a week of bitter exchanges
over Barry McElduff's Kingsmill
video, Sinn Fein and the DUP have
softened the political tone -
but does that leave us any closer
to a breakthrough at Stormont?
We'll hear from the Ulster
Unionists, the SDLP and Alliance.
Arlene Foster tells a conference
in Killarney that Brexit doesn't
mean "pulling up the drawbridge".
And with their thoughts
on it all, my guests -
Felicity Huston and Chris Donnelly.
A change of tone between the DUP
and Sinn Fein on The View
on Thursday night following
a toxic week in politics -
but will it translate into any kind
of meaningful move
towards the restoration
of devolved government here?
I'm joined by the Ulster Unionist
leader, Robin Swann,
the SDLP's Nichola Mallon
and Stephen Farry from
the Alliance Party.
Welcome to you all.
Barry McElduff sparked
the controversy which raged
throughout the week.
The controversial cartoon
and reaction to it prolonged
the rancour, but have Sinn Fein
and the DUP now calmed the waters
in what they said on Thursday night?
Barry McElduff's actions cause huge
hurt and pain and offence to victors
-- victims of Kingsmills and there
was not a tough enough reaction. But
now, we have had one civilised
exchange. That comes on the heels of
12 months of hard, bitter polarising
language which, one swallow does not
a summer make. It is indicative of
the fact that throughout the past
year we have heard provoke Alli
positive words but none of it has
been backed up with action. We
welcome the civilised exchange but
we want to see that carry forward
and demonstrated by both factions of
the DUP and Sinn Fein.
want to overplay the significance.
It was two politicians maintain
their differences on a number of key
points. But does it hint at
something going on behind the
I suppose the question is
whether this is reflective of the
entire party and the leadership. Or
was it an exchange between John and
Edward on a personal basis? They
have served together. Does this play
out in the rest of the media stances
between the two parties? We need
notification if there is going to be
more talks. Are they genuine about
You don't think for a
minute that John O'Dowd went on a
solo run on as comments on the
be discussed within Sinn Fein
The reaction to Edwin, I
don't know if they knew, there was
speculation that it was
choreographed between the parties. I
am not sure if Edwin was aware just
how far John would actually go
because he did demonstrate quite a
sea change from where Sinn Fein have
been in the past. That is great, but
I want to see its reflected on a
wider and deeper scale.
They did not
suggest to me in anyway that they
were to do what they did live on the
programme. I got no sense of that
before the programme started. How
significant you think that tonal
change might be?
The rhetoric was in
danger of getting out of control.
Deliberately. We have
seen some provocative actions over
the last few days and months. I hope
they realise that cannot continue.
In itself, that does not indicate a
change of direction. The gaps on the
issues holding back row Gres are
narrow but there are massive gaps in
terms of trust and respect between
particularly those two main parties.
And also, Northern Ireland has been
pulled apart because of the
polarisation and the effects of
Brexit. I am not clear that either
party has a clear sense of purpose
around and independent Northern
Ireland. Both parties seem to be
playing it both ways. The DUP
particularly. They are talking about
the onset of direct rule, which will
be a disaster for more than Ireland.
And Sinn Fein are looking to
potential opportunities in. Both
parties need to send a signal that
they are serious about it working.
Does it also bring low just -- bring
home just how low our politics have
fallen that one civilised exchange
of knowledge in heart that was
caused me is headline news? That was
the big message from me on Thursday
A lot of people have made
that point, why is that such a big
deal? But that is the politics of
That is my point,
let's see if it is replicated on
Monday and let's see the difference
reflected by the DUP MPs. Even with
what Arlene Foster was saying in
Killarney about Brexit, because
there are different messages coming
from that party. Sinn Fein in
reaction in Northern Ireland and the
reaction in the Republic of Ireland,
there was a difference. There is a
differentiation in both parties.
Many people believe that the
differences between the two main
parties are not as great as some
people imagine them to be but on
Thursday night, John O'Dowd said
that our equality agenda remains
immovable. That is not something we
are prepared to compromise on. And
Edwin Poots said at the end of the
interview, if there is going to be
some kind of deal, it will involve
pain on all sides and we have Mason
-- and we may have some difficulty
in selling this. What does that say
about their preparedness to make a
compromise which will be inevitable
if a delisting the done?
John O'Dowd say we will compromise
on a compromise. But we heard the
leader of Sinn Fein saying that we
have stretched ourselves for the
common good. We have seen the last
year Sinn Fein deriding the SDLP. We
know that whatever happens, because
of a divided society, that
accommodation of differences in
compromise will have to be the
answer. You have to come back to
that reality. We are getting
contradictory messages from both
Sinn Fein and the DUP. That was just
one example. And the difficulty is
that there has been a lack of
openness around the detailed
positions. Around the Bill of
Rights, I only hear slogans and
sound bites. I want to hear what is
in the proposed bill of Rights. Does
it cover economic and social rights?
We don't know. We have heard that
they have both compromise, but let
the public see who have stretched
themselves. Let the public see who
has been intransigent. For some
reason, both parties continue to
refuse that. You have to ask why. We
have come to the point when
rhetoric, we have heard it and we
won't know what you have been doing
in past year.
The representatives of
those two parties won what -- would
not want you all the members of the
public to see those details if there
is a possibility of further final
compromises needing to be made. You
wouldn't want to be giving away your
almost final hand.
But we don't have
time. We have tried this 2-party
browsers in the last few months.
the major difficulty is between the
F -- the DUP and Sinn Fein.
independent mediator would provide a
different set of eyes and a
different dynamic to that process.
And they could push and pull both
parties towards that kind of
compromise that they are incapable
of by themselves. And a party -- a
multiparty format would help. We
would bring a different set of eyes
to the table that would enable us to
find those compromises that those
parties by themselves cannot.
You've spoken to the
Sexretary of State.
What did she say?
Is there any hint when. ?
when she was 36 hours into the job.
-- secretary of state. She's picking
up a process for the past year. We
are unaware of how much the NISO are
aware of what has happened between
the DUP and Sinn Fein. It is a big
job of work. She doesn't have a long
time to do it because the
credibility of politics and
politicians in Northern Ireland is
at an all-time low and we need a
process that starts to build some
sort of re-engagement on the ground
between politicians and the public.
We need to deliver on the key
issues. Our health services
collapsing and as politicians, we
need to be on the coal face and
That is not unique
to Northern Ireland, there are
similar problems across the water in
GB and also in the Republic.
needed ministers who can rearrange
budgets and moved goalposts and
deliver. At this moment, we have
Do you think that Karen
Bradley Komla is a different style
from James Brokenshire, will bring
fresh impetus to the process? Do you
think she might break the logjam?
It's difficult to know at this
stage. When we met with her, we were
clear that you need to have
inclusive talks, independents in
terms of the chair and let's see
what progress is made so that we can
all try to build on that.
Giovanni you as a person?
very much in listening mode in the
short meeting and she came across
very personable. But our messages
were consistent and ferment
immensely this comes down to the
parties of Northern Ireland working
with the two governments. We're
going to act and put a local gun in
place? That is the challenge for all
Owen Smith, the Shadow Secretary
of State, said the anniversary
of the Good Friday Agreement
in April should be the deadline.
For this process. Does this make
Identity we can afford to
wait that long. Obviously it is the
20th anniversary this year and some
people are writing it off. But we
have to accept that we have seen
spectacular progress over the last
20 years and we have to bank all of
that in terms of the change of
relationships across these islands.
We have to reform these this
agreement -- the agreement and we
can't stand still. But from the
point of finance, January, early
February is the effective deadline
in terms of having a budget in
place. We need a shareable resources
efficiently in Northern Ireland and
if not, we will be squandering
money. We cannot afford to do that.
So many things require reform and
our economy is stagnating.
Thank you all.
Let's hear what my guests
of the day make of that.
I'm joined by Chris Donnelly
and Felicity Huston.
Felicity, are you more positive now
than you might have been early
evening on Thursday?
I agree with
Nichola Mallon, one swallow does not
a summer make. When Martin
McGuinness mated comments about
traitors to island killing PSNI
officers, when Arlene went to Martin
McGuinness's funeral and shook
hands, all this is great, things
might be starting to change. But
I've seem to many of these moments
all over the years. The other thing
is, with the McElduff debacle, if
you scrape back the layers in
Northern Ireland, you don't have to
go deep to find out how bitter and
nasty and divided we still are.
Chris, a bad week last week,
everybody agreed, but was it a bit
of redemption towards the end?
think so, and it became quite
positive. The significance of last
week, for the first time in over a
year, Sinn Fein were under pressure
and on the defensive. That was the
first time under Michelle O'Neill
that that has happened. Alan
McBride, the victim campaigner who
lost his wife, he said it was either
beyond wicked or just stupid. And
the response Sinn Fein initially was
very forthright and people believed
on the back of that that Barry
McElduff would be expelled. Then we
had Michelle O'Neill speaking later
on and announcing that he would be
suspended for a period of months.
That was more consistent with the
position that Sinn Fein had taken,
that it was more of a coincidence
rather than an insult. Then the
revelation came out that he was
still be allowed to use the party
offices. It put out a mixed message
that was heaping pressure on the
party. It took John O'Dowd's
intervention, which I were describe
as decisive, to draw a line under
the incident. The significance of
this is that it took John O'Dowd and
Michelle O'Neill remains untested as
leader. This will be something that
she will take out of this, that
there will have to be more decisive
and effectively to ship from her
Do you think that
Barry McElduff should have had a
tougher punishment imposed by the
Sinn Fein leadership?
Yes, I do. I
don't know what he thought he was
act. When I saw it, I thought it was
bizarre and tactless.
Do you think
beyond wicked or just you would?
would say wicked. Because it does
not seem to be the only incident
about victims of Kingsmills massacre
being tortured with bread and toast.
I think you should have been sacked
from the party. That is easy for me
to say. Sinn Fein is a disciplined
party, heavily regulated. But if
they had at least put him out for
six months and taken his salary off
him, people might have thought there
was some sort of genuine recognition
of what he had done, whether full or
navel. But three months on full
Meantime, the DUP leader,
Arlene Foster, told a conference
in Killarney this weekend that
Brexit isn't about "pulling up
the drawbridge", as she put it.
In her speech, she likened
Northern Ireland and the Republic
to a pair of semi-detached houses,
similar on the outside
but with different interiors.
As Shane Harrison now reports
from Kerry, the DUP leader's
presence comes after a period
of strained relations.
Killarney on a wet weekend. Where
better to ponder the choppy waters
of Brexit and contemplate what,
beyond the mist of uncertainty,
maybe the future relationships on
the island and between the UK and be
you. Arlene Foster came to this
hotel in a conciliatory mood after
last month's frostiness over the UK
and EU divorce talks that eventually
resulted in a kind of deal on
continuing regulatory alignment
between North and South and no
border at the Irish Sea. Not a time
for pulling up the Irish drawbridge,
she told the Brexit conference.
know we are rivals in some respects,
but in so many ways, successful one
of us is successful the other. And
as we chart a new future, it is not
in our interest to see the Republic
of Ireland do anything other than
At the conference, the
leader of Fianna Fail, the
Republic's main opposition party,
called for the restoration of the
Northern Ireland political
The dangers of Brexit
and the challenges make it
inexcusable that we do not have an
Executive in Northern Ireland. They
should make a commitment to the
restoration of the Executive.
Because of Brexit, Fianna Fail
believes that Northern Ireland
should be designated a special
economic zone. The DUP isn't
automatically rule it out.
think it's right to take anything
out of touch until one has seen the
details and I will have a look at
them because it would be wrong, as
happened sometimes in Northern
Ireland, that you just getting knee
In her rush to return
north, Arlene Foster did not get a
chance to enjoy a ride on this
famous carriage. But she was paid a
kind of compliment.
I think Arlene
showed political courage in making
it clear that she needed the
relationships. But I disagree with
her analysis of Brexit and so do the
people of Northern Ireland, because
they wanted to stay. That is not --
her views on those of the majority
of people in Northern Ireland.
what direction will Brexit take? The
regular three alignment and piracy
agreement were part of the scenario,
if there is no ultimate Brexit deal.
A former senior press officer at
Downing Street says, all is still to
The language around
regulatory alignment and batted the
backstop option, has to be defined
in legal terms specifically. So the
next few months will be fascinating
conference on the shores of the lake
heard that agreement is possible but
unlikely. It should become clearer
in the possible months.
Shane Harrison reporting.
We'll have a final thought
from my studio guests in a moment,
but first, let's take a look back
at the political week in 60 seconds
- with Gareth Gordon.
One image set the tone for the week.
It's not just a matter of Barry
McElduff's apology, it's a matter of
apologise for his actions.
political cartoon kept the story in
the headlines. But as the week moved
on, a more considered view tone
It is shameful what
happened on the roadside and as a
Republican, I'm shamed by it.
welcome what was said and I would
say that what happened to John's
family was wrong as well.
Secretary of State resigned because
I need time and space to
focus on surgery and recovery.
an unclear time ahead.
I know there
are challenges but I'm determined we
will find a way through those
challenges. We need to deliver
Gareth Gordon - and let's speak
to Felicity and Chris again.
Arlene Foster's comments
in Killarney - not ruling out NI
being designated a Special Economic
Many people saying it was a
generally constructive contribution
after a period of strained
The sentiment was not
necessarily new but the tone was.
2017 was a polarising year not just
locally but between the British and
I is governments with the first
round of Brexit negotiations. There
is recognition on all sides that if
we are going to get demolition up
and running, some of the poison
needs to be drawn out of our system
and there was a recognition also by
both Arlene Foster and Michelle
O'Neill that the choreography has to
be right. Applicants may reference
to that. The grassroots need to be
heard. -- Edwin boots made
Let's pick up on that
point. Do you think the new
Secretary of State, Karen Bradley,
can get traction and get the process
back on track if that is what is
I'm not optimistic and I
didn't see much dynamism when she
was Secretary of State for culture
media and the arts, and she kept
pushing the Murdoch problem into
touch and leaving it to somebody
else. We want to ask whether there
are any new ideas in the NIO. It
will come from them. They have the
same special adviser that they have
had since Peter Brooks's day. We
need new people from that side, as
One of the criticisms
of James Brokenshire was that he
could never get a credible
negotiation process going. Karen
Bradley needs to learn from that.
But the structures at the top of the
party need to know what they are
going into so that the pieces are
addressed. That is more portable
that doesn't mean we shouldn't
return to it.
addressed. That is more portable
return to it.
I have to stop
return to it.
I have to stop you
That's all we have time for.
My thanks to Rupa to Bob
and to Luke and with that,
it's back to Sarah.
Earlier we were talking about
comments made by John McDonnell
about Esther McVeigh. The Labour
Party had been in touch to say that
Mr McDonnell did not quote with
approval, and that comments made in
Parliament confirm that. We have
been contacted also by the office of
Kier Starmer, previously the
Director of Public Prosecutions,
saying he had nothing to do with the
decision about John Worboys, and we
are also happy to make that crystal
clear. On to other news...
Ukip has suspended the girlfriend
of the party leader, Henry Bolton,
after reports that she made racist
remarks about Prince Harry's
fiancee Meghan Markle.
In text messages to a friend,
Jo Marney described black people
as "ugly" and said "her seed"
would "taint our royal family".
Ms Marney has apologised,
and said that comments had been
taken out of context.
Paul Oakden, Ukip's party chairman,
joins us from Birmingham.
Can Henry Bolton carry on as leader
I think it is very clear
that Henry is increasingly in a
position where he has some difficult
decisions to make. He knows that. He
and I have spoken regularly over the
weekend, as recently as this
morning. I know he is focused on
those decisions today. He intends on
making those decisions today, and
I'm sure that whatever he does will
be in the best interests of the
It sounds like you expect him
to resign by the end of the day.
at all. He is in a situation that he
would rather not be in, which he
acknowledges, but I believe he has
the party's best interests at heart
and that is what he will focus on.
Would the party's best interests be
served by him standing down as
It would be best served by
the membership having the
opportunity to have their say. Henry
acknowledges there has been an error
in judgment, and it is now for the
party membership and ruling body to
make a determination on whether they
feel Henry is the best person to
lead them into what will be an
incredibly crucial 12 months for
Brexit. The thing that matters
beyond Ukip and everything else.
he doesn't decide by the end of the
day that he will stand down, when
will the NEC meet?
A week today. I
want to be clear - Henry is not
deciding whether he will or won't
resign today. He's deciding what he
can do to help remedy this
situation. As leader, he will play
the leading role in making this
better, clearly needs made better,
and a lot of people take their lead
from him. The party is represented
by its governing body, which will
meet a week today. If he is still
the leader Robbie today, they will
meet at that point and collectively
make a decision about what to do
It doesn't sound like
he has your support.
Far from it. My
job is to make sure that our
thousands of members, who joined not
because of the leader's Private life
but because of Brexit, and we will
not deliver Brexit on our own. Now
that Tony Blair is running around
with Lord Adonis and Nick Clegg
trying to ride roughshod over
democracy, we need a grand coalition
of all those groups that fought on
the League side to come together to
see the journey home. That is the
It is a huge distraction
if you're leader is having to fend
off the stories about his private
It is true that we need to be
behind our leader 100% in taking
that battle forward. That is
absolutely key. Whether or not the
party decides it is willing to give
that support to Henry is for the
party decide. My role as German as
to make sure they have the ability
to voice their opinion. I have every
confidence that our national
executive committee will do what is
in the interests of the party, and I
have every confidence that that is
what our leader will seek to do.
Whatever the situation, I am
confident that a week tomorrow, the
party will be in fine form to take
that to the Remain establishment.
Thanks for joining us.
Let's pick up on that with the
panel. What do you think the
prospects are for the Ukip leader?
Based on that, it has Monty Python
moment. He will do what is best for
the party, but that best... This is
symptomatic of a wider crisis for
Ukip. I've lost count of the number
of leaders they've had.
Five in 18
Three of them were Nigel
He will probably be back
again. They were a powerful vessel
for delivering that referendum, but
it is a lesson for people wanting to
start political parties - it was a
fragile vessel. The fragility is are
now being exposed in this impossible
nightmare they have. They can't even
find a credible leader. They have
not resigned over principles, they
have resigned in bizarre
circumstances, time and again.
of them only lasted days.
is not bad going on the basis of
what could happen in the future. It
shows that it is difficult to set up
a credible, serious political party.
And they have become incredible.
a more serious note, Paul Oakton was
saying that it is more important
than ever to have people are giving
the Ukip case as we go through the
process of Brexit. As a party, can
they do that? Or do people think
that with the referendum done and
dusted, Ukip are finished?
seen that in their election results
since. He was a credible leader, a
background in the police, working in
the EU, the Armed Forces. I don't
want to live in Soviet Russia or
modern-day North Korea where people
have guilt by association. He hasn't
made these racist remarks.
been suspended from the partly, --
the party, she is his partner.
are not taken out of context, they
are outrageous, no question at all,
racist, disgusting remarks, and no
question that she should be out of
the party membership. I would say
that his misjudgement in being a
middle-aged man running off with a
glamour model half his age is the
embarrassment for him. If he wants
to be in a relationship with someone
with those vile views, it is a
question of his judgment. But let's
not confuse the person who committed
the offence. The key thing is, Ukip
had a role, and Nigel Farage in my
view is one of the most influential
politicians of the 21st century in
terms of how he has changed
politics. Part of that effectively
meant that Ukip had no role. They
believe they have an important role,
because they don't believe Theresa
May is delivering the Brexit that
many people like me actually voted
for. I would like to keep them on
the back burner as a credible party
if and when they are needed to like
the touch paper beneath the stories.
To hold Theresa May's fee to the
fire. Nigel Farage sprang back into
the news today, possibly because he
was looking for increased relevance
to get himself back in the
headlines, saying that he now agrees
with Nick Clegg and Tony Blair that
there might have to be a second
referendum. Explain that, Tom.
said it on Friday morning, sorry,
Thursday morning, and now he has
said it again. He has recanted a
bit, saying that it is not that he
wants one, but it is back on the
front page of the Observer,
repeating the message. I think there
are now will be one. Do you think he
could possibly be sniffing out a job
vacancy coming up any time soon? My
reading of your incisive interview
with Paul Oakton was that we
should -- was that he will be handed
a revolver, possibly this afternoon.
If Nigel Farage came back, it could
be his third or fourth term?
could easily come back. He goes on
TV programmes and gives interviews,
and you can see our role for him.
The vacancy is about to come up. It
rather begins to feel like a fait
The EU withdrawal bill is
back in the Commons this week -
trouble for the Government over what
will happen this week?
moments, there will be, as there was
in December, moments of potential
drama, inevitably, because they
haven't always got a guaranteed
majority. I suspect that defeats
like we saw with the Dominic grieve
amendment won't happen very often,
but there will be, as with the rest
of this Brexit sequence, moments of
heightened drama where it is not at
all clear what is going to happen
and whether she can get what she
wants through, Theresa May. I think
the referendum thing is interesting.
There's no reason why the 2016 one
should be seen as a theological
thing that cannot be touched,
because the 2016 one showed that you
can have second referendums. It was
a second one.
Let's have another one
in 40- odd years.
Julia, are you disappointed that
Donald Trump is not coming to London
to open the embassy?
I hold no torch
for Donald Trump. He wants us to be
lining the roots and way being --
waving our little flags. He wants to
meet the corgis. I think we should
be friendly with the leaders of
major global powers who are our
allies in trade and militarily. It
would be foolish to upset that
because we don't like the current
incumbent. What might we might be
looking for a trade deal with them
as well. Theresa May might be
relieved. Oh God, yes!
senior in the Government said to me
on Friday, using similar words to
Donald Trump, it would be an capital
at show if he came, and the same if
he didn't. -- it would be an S show.
No one made remarks about President
Macron or Angela Merkel. If we
accept the Chinese president, a
totalitarian who has his political
opponents murdered, I think we can
cope with Donald Trump, as hideous
and horrible and racist and
misogynistic as he is.
he has in -- that he hasn't come
given the respect shall
For our defence and
security relationships, we need
We have to leave it there.
That's all for today.
Join me again next Sunday at 11
here on BBC One XXXXX.
Until then, bye bye.
-- join me again next Sunday at 11
here on BBC One.