17/04/2016 Sunday Politics Northern Ireland


Presented by Andrew Neil and Mark Carruthers. Featuring discussion and debate on the EU referendum with Tristram Hunt, Liam Fox and US State Department spokesman Jamie Rubin.

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David Cameron thinks we'll be stronger, safer


Leave campaigners say the real risk would be a vote to remain.


So what are the dangers if we decide to stay?


On his final presidential visit to the UK, Barack Obama


will back the idea of Britain remaining in the EU.


But is the leader of the free world right to wade into our debate?


And before the referendum, there's the small matter


of national and local elections right across the UK.


And on Sunday Politics here, the SDLP's Dolores Kelly


tells us why her party deserves your support in May.


Plus, they've been called the unofficial opposition -


we hear from the three smaller Assembly parties.


In London, with less than three weeks to go to polling day,


we hear from mayoral hopefuls Sian Berry of the Greens


And with me, as always, our panel of the best and brightest


political brains in the business, Nick Watt, Isabel Oakeshott


Now, the referendum isn't the only vote looming on the horizon.


Before the EU vote on June 23rd, voters across the UK will get


a chance to cast their ballot in a range of elections


There are seven sets of elections happening in May,


all of which will take place on the same day,


Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland will hold national elections.


There are 60 seats up for grabs in the Welsh Assembly.


The Scottish Parliament, in which the SNP has held


a majority since 2011, will elect 129 members,


and in Northern Ireland, there are 108 seats that will be


decided for representatives to the assembly at Stormont.


Across England there are local government elections.


124 councils have seats up for election.


35 metropolitan councils, 19 unitary authorities


and 70 district councils, and four cities in England


will elect mayors, London, Bristol, Liverpool and Salford.


Londoners will also elect members to the London Assembly


Finally, voters in 41 police force areas in England and Wales


will elect a Police And Crime Commissioner.


Joining me now from Glasgow is our election guru,


Professor John Curtice of Strathclyde University.


Let's start with the local elections in England. How should we judge the


performance of Jeremy Corbyn's Labour Party in these elections? We


have to appreciate that the seats up for grabs on me the these elections


were for the most part fought for three year is ago. We are looking at


the time of George Osborne's so-called a shambles budget when


support for the Conservatives fell away. These were the only set of


elections during the last parliament where the Labour Party began to put


in a performance where you might have thought they would have been


capable of winning the next election. Jeremy Corbyn's


misfortune, he is defending not a brilliant baseline, but a relatively


good one. Labour six or seven points ahead, as judged by their share of


the vote. The truth is that Jeremy Corbyn is not 67 points ahead. In


contrast to what we might have expected a few weeks ago, he is no


longer 67 points behind. Labour and the Conservatives seem to be quite


close to each other. That means that in practice Mr Corbyn may well be


facing losses. The figure of 150 has been bandied around. Will that be


good? Better than it might have been a few weeks ago. Is it the sort of


performance to persuade you that the Labour Party is on course to win the


general election? Certainly not. Is the biggest threat that they would


lose London, and would that be unlikely? I agree it would be


unlikely. If they were to fail to win the London mayoral election,


that would be a serious reverse for Labour. Back in 2012, although Boris


Johnson on the London mayoral election, Labour was clearly ahead


in the parallel election. Neither Sadiq Khan, the Labour candidate,


Northside Goldsmith, the concerted of the -- the Conservative


candidate, has the same kind of attractiveness to the public. Labour


did relatively well in London 12 months ago. If David Cameron were


not to win that election, Labour would have questions to ask itself.


Could Labour even come third behind the Scottish Tories? The answer is


that they could. There is another opinion poll lead this morning that


put Labour on the Conservatives neck and neck with each other. Some


opinion polls put Labour and the Conservatives together, but not by


much. Labour neglect the heading for a very bad performance. It would be


the worst result in any election since 1918. I do not think it will


tell you much about Jeremy Corbyn and his popularity. We have to


remember that what happens in Scotland is very distinct and


separate from what happens in the rest of the UK. The election in


Scotland is going to be, primarily, framed by people's views about


independence. The truth is the overall majority of people that


voted for independence are still determined to vote for the SNP. So


long as that remains the case, Labour will struggle another the


border. It has to do with Scottish politics and little to do with what


is happening in the rest of the UK. Is there really a Ukip surge in


Wales? The opinion polls suggest that Ukip are doing well in Wales.


But that is roughly where the opinion polls are putting Ukip


across the UK as a whole. In Wales, as in Scotland, and the London


assembly elections, the elections are being held by proportional


representation, not first past the post, so if Ukip can get the 15%


that the opinion polls suggest that the might get, they will get


significant representation in the Welsh assembly. Getting Ukip grade


is one of the things in which the opinion polls tend to disagree with


each other. Ukip will perhaps not do as well as that, they will get some


seats, but perhaps not as well as the parties hoping. Northern


Ireland, and the executive almost collapsed there last year. Will the


turmoil at Stormont, is it likely expected to change people's voting


patterns this time? We not expecting a vast in Northern Ireland. Not only


is the assembly elected proportionally, but so is the


elected -- the executive. The larger of the two Unionist parties and the


Nationalist parties might not be quite as strong as last time. No one


is expecting very much in way of a major change. Thank you for joining


us. Nick Watt, let me come to you. These elections are widely being


seen as Mr Corbyn's first serious test. What a Labour's real


expectations? The expectation is there going to do badly in Scotland.


That is in. They will do badly in Wales but the expecting that. They


will not admit that they could do very badly in the English local


elections, and that they could lose seats. If the Labour Party lost


seats in the local elections, it would be the first time since 1985


that an opposition party had suffered losses in local elections


in a non-general election year. It would be woolly bad. What did is


down two at the end of the day, I know we should not wish think about


London, a great picture of Glasgow behind John Curtice, but it is down


to London. Jeremy Corbyn needs one victory and he looks like he will


get one, Sadiq Khan in London. That will probably enough. He can do


badly everywhere else but as long as he holds onto London years save? I


think because the others are just priced in. If he can be seen to


notch up one victory, it is a bit like the old and Royston by-election


at the end of last year. Everyone assumes that they will do badly.


They did well, it stabilises the leadership. He would probably be


safe even if you lost London? I think he would be. Those who would


like to see the back of have the difficulty that essentially his


supporters control the party membership. It is an interesting


question, how this is going to be judged. I spoke to one of Jeremy


Corbyn's critics within the parliamentary party this morning and


was surprised how upbeat he sounded. He said, I think we might put on a


couple of hundred seats. This is a terrible time for the Tory


leadership. I came off the phone and thought, this is about expectation


management. This is the critics of Jeremy Corbyn saying that we should


put on a few hundred seats. When they do not, they will see it as a


disaster. The setting him up to fail. The Tories are expected to do


quite well in these elections, even in Wales. We have had the budget,


the Panama Papers, the steel crisis, the split over the referendum. It


has got to take its toll on the Tories? It has in the opinion polls,


which are Sean at the minimum of the Tory lead, narrowing, and in some


cases Labour pulling ahead. I suspect some Tories would not mind


doing badly in the local elections in England if it relieves the


pressure on Jeremy Corbyn, who they want in place over the next four


years and contesting the 2020 general election. Even if Labour do


badly in Scotland, Jeremy Corbyn owes a debt to Sadiq Khan, because


his likely but not certain victory in London, judging by the opinion


polls, will attract more attention than elections everywhere, not


before it deserves -- not because it deserves to, but because the media


has a slight skew towards London. It is a slightly sexier office. It will


drown out any underperformance that Labour have in the rest of the


country. Is it too cynical to say that some Tories will not be too


upset if they do not win London because Mr Corbyn will then be


secure? I do not think that is cynical. That is absolutely the


case. Janan is right. There will be lots of post-analysis about how the


billionaire's son, Zac Goldsmith, lost the election. It is interesting


that the people who want to get rid of Jeremy Corbyn in the Labour


Party, the window they are talking about is not after the local


elections, but after the referendum at the end of June. We might be


focused on the Conservatives by then. I think the troubles of the


Tory party will take the focus then. So the referendum


campaign has begun. The official campaign groups have


been designated and the arguments The Prime Minister says we'll be


stronger, safer, and better off in. And a vote to leave,


says to Mr Cameron, But it won't have escaped your


attention that the EU is also facing challenges,


a migration crisis, economic So, if we do decide to remain,


what are the risks ahead of us? For some, the consequences of this


EU referendum are crystal clear. For the rest of us,


it is difficult to see the future after June the 23rd,


hard to predict. Of course, the politicians claim


to know our fortunes. This cannot be described as anything


other than risk, uncertainty, We have clearly elevated Brexit


as one of the serious downside risks I firmly believe that leaving the EU


would leave our country less secure. This lot, Vote Leave,


call it Project Fear. They say the other side is trying


to scare people into thinking that Instead they say that


the uncertainty is staying in. What will the EU look like in five,


ten, 15 years? For me, it would be an outdated


bloc, something that was created in the last century,


something that can neither control It has been foretold that migration


will be one of the dominant David Cameron insists his negotiated


emergency brake on migrants' in work benefits as well as changes to child


benefits will discourage EU migration, but some experts say it


will have little impact. Figures from the Migration


Observatory this week suggest that continuing economic instability


in the Eurozone is encouraging an increasing number of southern


European migrants to head to the UK Looking forward, it is very


difficult to know It is possible that if the gap


in economic performance between the UK and other


countries, for example, Italy, Portugal and Spain,


remains significant, there could be quite a pull factor


for some time. It is also possible if there is more


economic convergence that we could see the numbers


start to fall. Much has also been made this week


about the risk to both the British and the global economy if Britain


voted to leave the EU, In the single market we trade freely


right across Europe and we have a say in making


the rules across the Continent. If we leave, we give


all of that up with no idea The real economic risks are for


staying in the European Union. We might find ourselves on the hook


for bailouts for countries that are having difficulty staying


in the euro in the future. We might find that our rebate comes


under assault in the future, we might find that the amount


of money overall that we have to give the European Union


goes up and up and up. A few weeks ago, the Governor


of the Bank of England said that leaving the EU was the biggest


domestic risk to Membership of the European Union


brings risks as well, and the principal risk,


risks I should say, because there are more than one,


are associated with the unfinished On the issue of whether our laws


are made in Westminster or Brussels, for those wanting to leave the EU,


a vote to remain would mean handing Fewer and fewer things over


which we have the authority Fewer and fewer of our decisions can


be upheld in British courts And I also know that fewer and fewer


decisions will be made on European Union level


which will be in British interests. And yet one former minister told me


that pooling some decision-making The truth is that if you enter


into any international agreement, then you may agree that those


decisions should be Our Nato membership involves exactly


the same kind of arrangement. We allow Nato to take a decision


for our collective strength. Both sides seemed to agree a vote


to remain is not a vote Those who want to stay


in are confident, at least publicly, that the renegotiation will change


for the better our relationship Those who want out say that


relationship will only get worse. Quite how persuasive


those two visions are, I predict we will find out


on June the 24th. Joining me now is Labour MP


Tristram Hunt, he was a member of the Shadow Cabinet


under Ed Miliband. He is now campaigning for Britain


to remain in the EU. Do you accept, let's look at some of


the risks that could be associated with remaining, start with


immigration. Do you accept that as long as we remain in the EU we have


no real control of the numbers coming to our country? The European


Union is not perfect and it is quite right to have this debate about how


we reform Europe in the future. When it comes to our borders, we check


who comes in. There will remain passport controls but we have to


make sure that we explain to people that if we left Europe but still


wanted to trade with the single market, we would also have to have


the free movement of people just as Norway and Switzerland does. But in


the long run I think there is an interesting question about the


degree of free movement of people across the European Union. My point


is that Britain should be a part of that conversation. We should be


involved in that reform and change and if we are not at the table than


our voice won't be heard. The numbers would seem to be beyond our


control because that's the price of membership. Over the past five years


the number of EU nationals living in the UK has risen by 700,000, it is


now 3.3 million, it has doubled in ten years. As long as we remain in


the EU it is surely a risk that at least another 700,000 could come in


the next five years, it could be even more. Or it could be markedly


less. If we go back to a time when the British economy was worse in the


1980s, we saw large numbers of people going abroad to work in the


European Union. We are taking a snapshot at the moment and the point


about pooling risk across the single market is that when your economy is


in difficulty you can take opportunities in other parts of the


country. In the UK we should be supporting reforms to make sure


there are not benefit attractions to coming to the UK so I think the


Prime Minister's point about having to pay in before you take out, the


point about fairness is really important and I think people in


Britain think that if people are coming here to work, to pay their


taxes and contribute to society, that is fine. You say it's a


snapshot but let's look at this chart. Over the last five years, as


you can see from that, from about 2012, under five years in fact,


these are the absolute number, immigration from the EU has risen


dramatically. My point is it is not a snapshot, it is a clear trend. The


part of immigration over which we have no control is rising the


fastest, isn't that a risk? But we go back to 1975 so historically this


is a snapshot, and overtime this well change. We cannot have a system


whereby you turn up in the UK and claim benefits from day one. You


have to have a contributory principle. Also, those parts of the


country, Boston in Lincolnshire, parts that have experienced high


levels of immigration and we should be open and honest about this that


we have seen statistics show big changes and may have impacted


communities in big ways sometimes, they need the extra resource for


schools and hospitals that this brings in. The case I'm putting to


you this morning is that that is not necessarily a snapshot or that it


will necessarily change. Let's look at the risks we would face in the


years to come. Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, decided that last


year over a million Syrian immigrants could go to Germany.


Eventually they could come here if they wish. Why should we be at the


risk of unilateral decisions taken by a foreign leader? Obviously there


are issues about residency rights in Germany or Italy before anyone could


come to the UK. We retain border controls. If they become German


citizens they will be allowed to come here. This is a balance of


risks, on June the 23rd of voters have to weigh up these may bes. What


we have heard clearly from the governor of the Bank of England, the


Chancellor of the Exchequer, the head of the IMF, that there will be


a seismic economic shock to the British economy. I understand that


and there has been plenty of coverage of the risks of coming out,


but I'm looking at the risks of staying in. Let me give you another


one, I've given you the Angela Merkel example. Albania, Turkey and


others all want to join the EU. More people that could have a right to


come and live and work in the UK. That is a risk. We are already


seeing the risk of Brexit. The pound is falling in value, economic


decisions are not being taken at the moment. I'm not arguing that there


are risks to coming out, I perfectly understand that. I'm looking at the


risks if we stay in. Address this issue that the risk is of another 87


more people with the right to come to Britain. My point is the risks


are happening now,... What is your answer to the 87 million? The


extension of Europe has to be managed carefully. The broader


conversation about the total free movement of people across the


European Union is something that needs to be addressed but firstly we


won't have any say over that if we have left the European Union.


Secondly, those countries which trade with Europe like Norway and


Switzerland also have to accept the free movement of people. There's no


free ticket on this. What I want is a strong Great Britain at the


negotiating table making the case for our borders and security. When


it comes to the free movement of people you raised the issue of


Syrian refugees and concerns about security in the aftermath of


Brussels and Paris, being part of Europe and having security


connections with Europe makes us stronger. There's talk of another


Greek financial bailout, fears of an Italian banking crisis looming this


summer. If the eurozone plunges into another recession, the numbers


coming here could easily hit new record highs. We have also seen we


are not part of the Europe... They will come here looking for jobs. We


are not on the hook for the Greek bailout. We were with the last one.


Not to the same degree as other European members. We negotiated a


strong exemption from that. This is about Britain having a strong voice


at the negotiating table and you are offering up your own Project Fear. I


am taking a methodical look at the risks. The eurozone is stagnating at


the moment, that's why Spaniards, Italian and Portuguese are pouring


into this country in huge numbers. If the eurozone was to tilt into


another recession, that risks a lot more. It is a risk, and the British


answer to that should be to deepen the single market, to make it more


effective, to have growth across Europe. You do, if you have a strong


British voice arguing for growth across Europe. You're talking about


these potential threats in the future, we have a threat now.


Businesses in my constituency, Stoke-on-Trent, are not making


investment decisions. Indecision, two years of negotiation if we


leave. Hold on... Two years of indecision if we vote to leave. Why


are they eyeing the British stock exchange if there is indecision?


There will always be levels of flow and investment but what we are


seeing is fear and concern about the future. I think of workers in


Staffordshire who go to work at the Toyota plant in Derby, they have


jobs because of being part of the single market. I'm talking about the


risks if we remain. Do you deny that if we stay in we face further


integration? We have had a clear commitment from the Prime Minister


that we won't be involved in ever closer union and that is a big


philosophical moment, that Britain has a distinct and different stance


to the rest of the European Union. I think people will benefit from the


best of both worlds. If that is the case, you will be familiar with D5


president report, the official road map for greater integration into the


European Union. It calls for financial, fiscal and political


union by 2025. That could affect us. We have a clear commitment we will


not be involved in ever closer union. Have you read this report?


Not all of it. It is not a long report. It says much of what I have


just named, not all, but much of that could be achieved already


through a deepening of the single market, which is important for all


28 EU members, so we would not necessarily be excluded. I am in


favour of a deep into single market so that those 200,000 businesses in


the UK, exporting to Europe, have greater growth and opportunities.


People become richer. So there could be deeper integration. I would like


to see the digital and service economy grated more, we want more


jobs and growth across Europe that Britain will benefit from. Why would


we, when we face a global fear about downturn, decide to cut ourselves


off from the richest market in the world. You say it is the richest, it


is also stagnating. Because we cannot do our own trade deals with


the part of the world that is growing, our trade is therefore


hindered. It has taken seven years to reach a deal with Canada, it is


not complete, the free trade deal with Australia has been blocked by


Italy. These are all growth markets, unlike Europe, and we are unable to


do free trade deals with them. That is a risk. Do you honestly think


that if we left Europe and there were negotiations with India about a


free trade deal, the UK, 60 million people, would be ahead of the queue


of the European Union... Nothing is happening with India for nine years.


We had historic links with India. What about Australia and Canada? We


are not owed a living in the world. We have to make our businesses grow


on their own terms and you do that by being part of the European Union.


You have a much greater weight around the world by being part of


this. My point is that we have the best of both worlds. We have the


historic connections with the Commonwealth, with America. But why


does the American trade representative say to us you would


be crazy to leave Europe. Why do our allies around the world say you


should be part of Europe? You say we won't be part of any further


political integration, you say we won't join the euro, we won't be


part of Schengen, and yet it is clear Europe will become at least


within the eurozone more and more integrated. We will have less


influence on that, we will essentially become a semi detached


country club. What is the point? The point is a growing market for


British businesses of 500 million people, and yes, this is the point


about the best of both worlds, we don't want ever closer political


union. We want access to the single market. The best of both worlds,


safer, stronger and better off in Europe.


Now, this week President Obama will make his valedictory


He'll even have lunch with the Queen to celebrate her ninetieth birthday,


presumably after she's watched the Daily Politics.


But it's another aspect of Mr Obama's visit


While he's here, the leader of the free world is expected


to endorse the idea of the UK remaining in the


Those campaigning to leave the EU are,


surprise, surprise, a


Here's what Boris Johnson had to say yesterday.


I just find it absolutely bizarre that we are being lectured


by the Americans about giving up our sovereignty,


The United States, for their own reasons, their own history,


traditions, based on the ideas of no taxation without representation,


a fervent belief in the inviolability of American democracy,


they would not dream of sharing sovereignty.


Is he in danger of making America look like a hypocrite?


Not in danger of it, I am afraid there is an intrinsic hypocrisy.


I do not know what he's going to say, but if that is


the American argument, of course it is nakedly hypocritical.


To discuss this I'm joined by James Rubin.


He was a spokesman in the US State Department during Bill


And Liam Fox, former Defence Secretary, and a leading


light in the campaign to leave the EU.


Why should the leader of her closest allies, with whom we have a special


relationship, on your regard as crucial to this country, not say


what he thinks is in our national interest? He is entitled to say what


he thinks is an America's national interest, but whether it is in the


interests of Britain is a different question. Of course the president is


entitled to say what he thinks, but we have to add a couple of caveats.


That is his view. There are other views in America, Senator Rubio for


example expressing a different view, he has expressed what he thinks


about the special relationship if Britain were to leave the European


Union. Tell me one previous American administration, Democratic or


Republican, that thought we should not be in the EU, or did not care if


we left? It is not a question of what the express, it is that they


should respect what Britain does. They all want us to stay? There were


strong elements of the last Republican administration, strong


Republican leaders at present, who do not think... I do not remember


the second President Bush saying that Britain should leave the EU.


The debate is now, about our future, our relationship with the rest of


the world. It is fair to say, though I might not use the same


terminology, it is unthinkable that the United States would allow a


court to overrule the Supreme Court or someone else to determine their


external borders, in a way that the European Union does for the United


Kingdom. Boris Johnson has made that point. President Obama, supporting


things for Britain, things that no European -- that no American


president would contemplate. Maybe we would be more inclined to listen


to the president if he favoured an open border with Mexico, and if


Congress was no longer the ultimate decider of federal law? Let me see a


couple of things. I am glad that my colleague agrees that the president


is attacked -- entitled to express his view of what is in the


President's interest. -- America's interest. America and the EU


together, they are the most powerful force for free markets and democracy


around the world. If Britain leads the European Union, we will be


weaker. We will might be able to pursue the great values that our


countries have pushed around the world. Written working with the


United States and the EU is able to do that. We have a joke in America,


but it is a serious matter. Friends do not let friends drive drunk. This


is not in our interest, or the interests of the world. What about


our interest? You will make that judgment. Is the president simply


going to say it is in the interests of America? I think he will avoid


telling Britain what is in Britain's interest. About the point on


hypocrisy, I know Boris Johnson likes to read biographies of the


past. Maybe he is living in the past when he thinks that America is a


very large country, a superpower, it has the world's largest military. It


does not have to do only what you choose is compared to the British.


Britain is a different country, not the superpower any more. Just


because we will not do something does not mean that the British


ignored. If the US president was coming here to support Leave, you


would be shouting it from the rooftops? I do not think we will


find out if that is true or not. There is an element of hypocrisy. We


need to get the balance. We need to stick to the issues. We recognise


the president is alleged to have his view, but it is not the only


American view of what is in America's interests. We have to


recognise it is a British debate ultimately. We will make our


decision. As to this point about pushing our values, Britain had the


same values before we joined the European Union in 1973. The fact we


will be changing our philosophical approach because we are part of the


group in union is not true. I mean that the EU is a very powerful


instrument in our world. The United States has great military power, but


there are other powers we need to achieve order and stability, and


promote free markets. We need the ability to promote sanctions and


provide aid. We need the ability to promote democracy. The EU is good at


that working with the United States. We are better able to do that when


our closest ally is within the EU. Let him come back on that. We think


that the European Union is failing and that the structural failures of


the European Union are not good for the West. We are seeing the


re-emergence of nationalist tensions across Europe. We are seeing fence


building. That is not the fault of the EU. It is a failure of the EU.


We are seeing a whole generation of young Europeans unemployed as a


result of the single currency. It is creating tensions. You did not have


a problem with foreigners weighing in during the Scottish referendum.


You told the Scandinavian countries, if your analysis is that Scottish


independence is a threat to your security, why are you not standing


up and saying it? President Obama probably thinks it is a threat to


allow security, so why should they not see that? I thought it was a


risk to the security of Britain in the Scottish referendum if we left


Natal. If Britain pulls out of the EU, the Scottish will pull out of


Britain and there will be a hold-mac in Natal. I do not believe that to


be true. When were you last in Scotland? I was recently there and I


sat with the Scottish party leader. They have been clear that if the EU


does not include Britain, the Scottish want to lead. Interest is


one thing, having an opinion about what the SNP will do is different.


THEY ALL SPEAK AT ONCE What about Senator Cruise, he is


fighting for the Republican nomination with Donald Trump. He


said that Mr Obama's comments will make it more likely that England, he


means Britain, that England will pull out of the EU? I do not think


it will have a massive impact either way in terms of the British result.


I think it is important for us to recognise that this is a decision


for the United Kingdom. I do not agree with this assessment that the


European Union in its current model is good for the United States. It is


unstable. Now you're giving an opinion for us. You just asked me


not to do that. The United States and Britain working together have


made the world a better place for democracy, for a free market. We are


only able to do that successfully when our closest ally is part of the


EU. American foreign policy will be weaker, Western foreign policy will


be weaker if the British leave the EU. We look forward to the


President's visit, whatever he has to say. Thank you.


It's just gone 11:35, you're watching the Sunday Politics.


Hello and welcome to Sunday Politics in Northern Ireland.


It's been a dramatic year for the SDLP with a leader toppled


and the young pretender taking the prize.


But can Colum Eastwood really turn the party's fortunes around?


I'll be asking his colleague Dolores Kelly to set out the party's


Plus, representatives of the Assembly's smaller parties -


the TUV, Greens and UKIP - will be making the case


And with me throughout with their thoughts,


The party goes into this election with a new,


young leader after Colum Eastwood successfully challenged


But the world of politics can be harsh and leaders


So can the party reverse its recent declining vote?


We invited Colum Eastwood on to today's programme


but we were told he was unavailable, so with me instead is the party's


A vote for the SDLP on May 5th is a vote for what, precisely?


I think our party leader set it out clearly, it is a vote for fairness,


a vote to make Northern Ireland work, a vote to support families and


children, to attempt to deal with the scourge of poverty that is so


prevalent in our society, to better protect our older people and send a


strong message to those who attacked them in their own homes that they


could face custodial sentences. You've decided that,


even though there is now a place called opposition,


that's not where you want to be - even though you were pretty keen


on the idea yourself in the past. I think all politicians fight


elections to win. We don't fight to go to into opposition. I think in


try to move Northern Ireland forward and try to make it work, I


recognised in my -- and the party recognises that opposition can be a


good thing when ever parties aren't delivering, clearly, we have seen


over the last nine years, the two main parties haven't delivered for


the people of Northern Ireland. It is not your intention to go into


opposition? I think Colum Eastwood set it out clearly, first and


foremost, we are fighting to win. We will work with other parties in


looking to have our priorities set within the programme for government.


We will judge the outcome of that in terms of the programme for


government, and we are committed to true partnership rather than the


division of spoils that we've seen with the two big parties over the


last years. What does fighting to win mean, precisely? Because you are


only running 24 candidates? We're giving choice, we are setting out


our manifesto, knocking on doors, taking part in debates and fighting


to win is actually about try to get a strong mandate, to try and get all


of those candidates elected. It doesn't look like a party on the


march to a bigger presence in government. It looks like you are on


the retreat. I don't set that. -- accept that. I think what we are


looking to do is to win and do better in terms of the outcome for


the election. I recognise and the party recognises over the last few


years, it hasn't been good for the SDLP. It hasn't been good for middle


ground. More and more people have decided to stay at home, it isn't


something that has only been affliction on the SDLP, all parties


have found more people are staying at home and apathy is one of the


greatest risks to all of our campaigns. Sinn Fein's vote has gone


up dramatically since Iraq. -- has gone up dramatically in the last few


years. It has gone up by 35 thousand. Their vote has plateaued


over the last few years. I think they have lost votes in some areas


and didn't do as well in southern elections as they thought they


would. They also didn't win the presidential campaign in the South


so Sinn Fein has plateaued. I don't think it is just about the nub of


candidates you run, I think it is also about having a strong team at


the Executive. How many seats is the SDLP looking for? You have 14 at the


moment, what is your targets? I would fall into the trap of


predicting outcomes and numbers. We have a strong message, we are asking


people to come out in supporters again, stop lending their vote...


Fewer than 14, that wouldn't be success. We are putting a strong


team forward. If you go back with fewer than 14, that would not be


regarded a success, could it? I do not believe we will have any sense


of failure. It is my sense that the doors that people want the SDLP to


have success. I have every confidence in Colum


Eastwood. He has a strong performer, both in media, here's a sharp


political thinker and I think there is a lot of ambition. People are


recognising that. I think the party will get a bounce because of that.


You are investing a lot in him as the bright young thing he will move


the party forward and attract a whole new raft of voters. This is


meant to be a leaders debate, a leader interview and Colum Eastwood


is not available nor is his new deputy leader. It is lovely to have


you here but you are the former deputy. What is going on? It is


something I have been asked to do and I stepped up to do this. There


will be other opportunities. Obviously he has spent a lot of time


in constituencies. He needs to look over his own backyard. Is that part


of the story? Is he worried about Sinn Fein? Absolutely not, he has


been a several constituencies, working very hard, and if anyone


looks at how he performed against his main rivals, they looked old and


tired. At least we have a manifesto to discuss today, unlike some other


parties. West Tyrone is a bit of a problem for you, three defections


from the party, two of them standing against you in May the fair. Seven


party officers also left. Is that a bit of a disaster? It is


regrettable, but I am convinced we have a very strong and able


candidate in Daniel McCrossan. It is regrettable that some people who


chose not to put themselves forward for selection have now taken this


view and many of them, I believe, are good people, but that is what


happens in political parties around selection times. What is the party's


edition on criminalising a woman who has taken pills to induce an


abortion? It is clear there are two tests in terms of public


prosecution, one is whether or not a crime was committed, and that was


the case. Whether it was in public interest to prosecute. I do not


believe that it up in the case. You do not think the women in the case


in the headlines recently should have been prosecuted? That would be


a case of the judiciary. You are pro-life and your party is pro-life,


but it you uncomfortable at the fact that now a young woman received a


suspended sentence still has a criminal record. That mixing


uncomfortable? I am clearly pro-life. There is a sensitive


conversation to be had about all the risks and concerns that people have


and I think that is something that I would want the working group to the


looking at in around pregnancies. Might some people who are pro-life


you would want to support the SDLP be concerned about what you have


just said because they may think if you say you are uncomfortable at


someone being criminalised in the circumstances, it could potentially


open the floodgates to this happening again and again in


Northern Ireland? That is a risk, and there are individual


circumstances and that is something the public prosecution services has


to make a judgment around. Promoting the integrated education of Catholic


and Protestant children, does that mean you're prepared to take typical


decisions that may affect the Catholic maintained sector?


Education is something we are finding, people are talking to us


about on the doors. They haven't been happy about performance over


the last nine years over education. I hold faith based education very


dear. We all recognise if we are to build a shed and reconciled future,


and if we are able to afford an excellent education service for all


our children, we need to start looking at better integration of our


young people and children in our schools and that is something the


Catholic bishops and other church leaders recently met and discussed.


If they are not satisfied with the current structure and model, that is


something I think we should all start to put our heads together and


come up with one. If the bishops weren't happy with the policy line


you are pursuing, woody stand up to them? I think what we would do is


put the children first and not vested interests. We would look at


the best educational outcomes for all our children and young people


and not the vested interests. Interesting to hear your thoughts


today. Thank you. Let's find out what my guests make


of what we just heard. What do you make of the SDLP's


ambition and its new leader? Think the first thing is this is a leaders


debate and Colin is not here and that raises certain questions. --


Colum Eastwood. He is the leader of the party across northern Ireland


and I think you should be here. People need to hear him, seeing what


he has to say, he has made it in his shadow, what he wants, so I think it


is important that he is able to stand and articulate what the new


party looks like. For him, I think demonstrating that he can lead a


revival is important. I don't think it will be the catastrophe that


people had suggested he would lose a number of feet, I don't think that


will happen but I think he has to be able to show that he has a vision


for the party. Do you think the target is likely to be holding those


14 seats, as Deirdre suggested? Absolutely. That should be fairly


comfortable for him. It has been noticeable that in some of the few


clashes of the campaign, that it has been column Easter Road and Martin


McGuinness going personally after each other. -- Colum Eastwood. What


about the debate about governmental opposition? Colum Eastwood so there


is no place called, he now has conceded there is. I think it is


difficult to go out and asked people for their vote saying you're going


into opposition but I think they have to leap that option open. They


have to say if we are not satisfied with proposed programme for


government, we will go into opposition. It is a slightly more


difficult one. I think it is the lack of delivery, and they should


focus on it. The problem is we not clear where they sit on the


political arena, and a leftist, Central, affiliated with the British


Labour Party, Irish Labour Party? I think that messaging is still not


quite clear and we're not sure what differentiates them from Sinn Fein,


what will they deliver that other people cannot? I was struck by what


Dolores said about the question of opposition. After the televised


debate on Wednesday night, I got the sense from Colum Eastwood that he


was lining up to go into opposition. After the debate on Thursday night I


got the opposite sense and Dolores, who has been consistent and


articulate, there was no hint that all in anything she said that the


party is likely to take that option. What we are likely to see is no


opposition. Interesting discussion and thoughts on the position of the


SDLP and what Dolores had to say. We will talk to you later in the


programme. Thank you for now. With the campaign now in full


flight, The View brought senior figures from the five main parties


together on Thursday night. The venue was Moyola Precision


Engineering in Castledawson. We want to see unrestrained ambition


for jobs here and actually getting the place working. We want to see


joined up government, ... We're going in to seek votes. I knew going


into government or not? We want to go into government, of course. So


you will understand that the public are slightly sceptical when in the


run-up to an election your party says you are going to be transparent


and then after that nothing happens. You had two years. As you know the


decision doesn't rest with the Executive. It does, because we


voluntarily published hours. -- we published our. You know very well it


is a matter for the government in London. There are difficult


decisions as far as health is concerned. By the Ulster Unionists


up for that? I think the record of Sinn Fein being in charge of


education over the years has been nothing short of a disaster and it


has been ideological driven, primarily on the issue of selection,


and I don't think... I didn't interrupt you, Michelle. Do you


agree? There are issues. Let a month, we need to move on. -- let


him answer. We had two major television


debates this week. Are the parties getting


their message out? The EU referendum issue over the


last couple of months, then the centenary of the Easter rising, said


it was only last week we saw the debate begin. I think people are


wary about these things so it is not a bad thing. I thought the DUP and


Sinn Fein were coming across more as governing partners. Not so much


acrimony as there had been in past years. What is also fascinating is


that several people have mentioned to me that we are now at least so


far in this campaign discussing different issues from the issues we


have discussed in previous campaigns. We're not talking about


welfare reform, flags parades, we're talking about education and jobs and


abortion. The landscape for discussion seems to have altered a


bit. And I think most people have welcomed the fact we have moved to


the so-called bread-and-butter facts. I noted a poll yesterday said


education is now the one issue on the doorsteps. People want to know


what the education system is going to look like, they want to know how


we are going to grow our economy and they are concerned we seem to be


cutting back on education, reducing skills base and at the same time


saying we're going to the economy with a reduced rate of corporation


tax. Well, we saw the five main parties


in action on Thursday night's With me in the studio


are Jim Allister of the TUV, Steven Agnew of the Greens


and Noel Jordan of UKIP. You've been quoted this week


as saying that your ambition is to secure the election of several


MLAs and winning no seats would be failure written


in capital letters. Success, you said, has


to be more than one MLA. How likely are you to get that


success realistically? That is entirely up to the people. If the


people of Northern Ireland are perfectly happy with the perpetual


failure with the abysmal squander of Stormont, then they will vote for


the same parties again who have brought them that. And they will not


be disappointed. But if they want change that they will notice, then


they will vote for the authentic effective voice of opposition in


Stormont which is the TUV which has shone the light into the dark


corners of Stormont, exposed the squander, in a constant thorn in the


flesh of miserable failing this government to which we have been


subjected. Is entirely a matter for the people. They had been provided


with the opportunity, but if they are happy with squander and failure


and more deadlock and five years of crisis, then they will not make any


change. They will vote for parties that give them that, if they want


change, they will vote TUV. Use see things differently. -- you


see things differently. You do not think Stormont is a busted flush at


this stage. I think people are rightly frustrated by the failure


and wasted opportunities by the five executive parties. The Green party


's tackling to pledge -- pledging to tackle that. If we look at my own


track record in the Assembly, despite being the only MLA, I could


produce a piece of legislation around child services. That is what


we were able to do, with one MLA, we are now giving people to elect --


giving people the choice to elect 18th MLAs. We have a third in


membership, we are confident. Haass a surge.


I'll not be happy with just one seat. It is no secret that our


strength lies in certain areas that I would be disappointed if we had


any less than three, but I believe we can achieve even more than that.


If you have fewer than three seat, you will admit that his failure? I


will be disappointed, more MLAs will be success, any less than three will


be disappointing. A change -- I change legislation in the last


Assembly. We expose the Executive on a number of environmental protection


issues. That is what I measure success on. That is what we did with


one, we could do so much more with more MLAs.


With DUP and TUV both eurosceptic partes, is UKIP looking for votes


You have always be Eurosceptic. I understand where Jimmy is coming


from. We have stood solo. We believe we have stood on our own, we have


taken criticism from all directions and we have stood for -- firm in our


position. We believe we can do far better. On some other issues, on a


whole raft of other issues, your policies are not genetically


different from those of the DUP in some aspects, the TUV, and some


aspects also be Ulster Unionist party. It will be difficult for you


to persuade voters that you should get a higher preference than some of


the other long-standing parties. That is quite a hill to climb. It


is. At the end of the day, the other parties have had their chance, they


have made promises and they haven't delivered. We listen to what the


people have to say and I think that is where we have the advantage


because people are showing an interest in politics now, people who


would normally not vote are telling us on the doorsteps that they are


looking for an alternative and we believe that we are that


alternative. I want to talk about some policy issues. You will want to


create jobs, improve the health service and invest in education. How


are you going to achieve that within the current financial constraints


that Northern Ireland operates? The creation of jobs? Yes, that all


requires money. Where will it come from? You start by cutting out the


squander. We squandered 130 million on pretty useless North-South


bodies, 5 million a year on spin doctors to tell us that DUP, Sinn


Fein misgovernment is good for us, we squandered 15 million on wining


and dining so there is lots of squander to be cut out of the


system. Then a proper approach to the expenditure of that money. Take


the single issue, biggest issue, of the economy. This executive has only


one thought and idea about fixing the economy and it is one which is


fast becoming irrelevant. It is reducing corporation tax, which


itself requires a massive reduction in the grant for health, education


and other things. With UK level of operation tax reducing to 70%, it is


fast diminishing. We had a demonstration in my constituency of


its ineffectiveness. About the time corporation tax will be reduced, to


large companies will depart our shores. It wasn't enough to leave


your them to stay so I very much questioned the wisdom of reducing


our block grant by ?300 million or whatever the precise figure is in


order to afford taxation to large corporations. Cut in corporation tax


is actually a huge stake. We have heard the complaints about the cuts,


we can't do this because of the cuts. The five executive parties are


voluntarily asking for more cuts, we can't afford it. The state of our


health service, my own grandparents had been in and out of hospital,


unfortunately, my grandfather died. I've seen them getting discharged


early before they were better, I seen the problems in our health


service and there is five parties who have a cosy consensus that we


should take 300 million now out of our system. Is there ever a good


time? What's happening in the states, perhaps it isn't such a good


idea at the moment. These parties are proposing 2018, I oppose that.


What we have heard continually from these parties is 100% cut budgets.


They have not proposed any revenue. You would be all for raising


revenue. I would be in favour of those who can afford to pay more,


paying more. I speak to people and they say they are willing to


contribute to the health service. For example, in my children's Bill,


one of the issues was problems around special education 's needs.


Schools don't have the resources to provide for special education needs.


My party would address that. We are already taking 500 million out of


the block grant to cushion welfare reform and the Greens wanted even


more, the huge amount of money which would drain and haemorrhage the


money out of education. I want to be in -- bring Noel Jordan in. You have


lots of claims in your manifesto, how will you pay for all those


reforms without a serious programme of revenue raising, of which there


is very little detail. We will be holding the Executive to account, we


will be looking to an executive to find this money from whatever means


they can through Treasury. You make the claims, the extravagant claims


about what you will do and what needs to be done and then you say it


is up to that locked to actually do it. The Executive, we need to sit


with like-minded people to budget and prioritise the needs of the


people. The people are not worried where the money comes from as long


as it delivers for them. How would you tackle hospital waiting lists?


The DUP health minister said he is putting an extra ?1 billion then,


that is in the manifesto. Do you agree that is a good idea and where


would you find the money for that? The money has to be prioritised. I


keep going back to this. There is only a certain amount of money and


people are real. The people are real. They need dealt with. I know


that, but I'm asking how you will deal with them. We will go into


Stormont and try and hold the Executive accountable to find money


within the budgets to deal with these issues, deal with waiting


list, with the vulnerable, with the elderly. The problem we have is we


had Arlene Foster saying she was proud her party was a low text


party, that means it's also a low spend party. -- low tax party. That


is ultimately what their problem is. If they are proud of that policy,


they should be proud of waiting lists, proud of the reduction in


quality of care people are seeing. How enthusiastic it you about


revenue raising? One of the things that has accentuated the problem in


waiting lists is the fact this executive has reduced the number of


beds in hospitals by 10%. You cannot reduce the number of beds and then


be surprised that there is a logjam in A and elsewhere when you need


to transfer patients. It is about putting the money out of the


bureaucracy and the tears of deputy directors of this that and the


other, and putting it into the front line, doctors and nurses and beds


which deliver the job. How keen argue on voters and maybe faith


putting their hands in their pockets to pay for the kind of investment


that you say is necessary. Our front would you be about revenue needing


to be raised? Just as corporation tax, I wouldn't let this miserable


failing executive put its hand in anyone's pocket. I would not give


the Executive any fiscal raising powers. They have demonstrated their


inability to deal with the powers they have.


Let's have a quick look back at the political week in sixty


In the week when the EU referendum campaign began, the board of invest


Northern Ireland decided against taking a position on whether the UK


should leave or remain. There was unwelcome news for the pro Brexit


lobby with bomb by DA's decision to back the campaign to stay in. After


controversy over the Prime Minister's finances, politicians


here publish their tax details but did the public appreciate the move?


We want to know who we are voting for and what they are up to. Think


my wife doesn't even seem IP 60! In Dublin, the courtship of


independence continued in a bid to form a government. We are getting


very used to being love bombed by both sides. The problem here is that


he won't love on each other! -- you won't love bomb each other.


Gareth Gordon there - and we've just time for a final word


We've seen the rise of the smaller parties in the Republic,


will the naughty corner at Stormont be getting a few additions, Sam?


I think the naughty corner has performed an invaluable public


service. If it was left to the Executive parties, the Assembly


would just be a rubber-stamping body and what little public interest


there is in it from ourselves as the media, from Enders of the public,


would not even be there. Very often they have asked the difficult


questions on issues where there is this widespread consensus such as


corporation tax. Very often it has been the Greens, TUC, asking these.


If you can't do that within an Assembly, there is very little point


in having an Assembly. Do you think those independent voices are


valuable and potentially on the March? I think in many ways the


outcome is predictable and that is why many people have turned off. It


is the smaller parties and independents that people will be


looking to. They have performed an invaluable role where we don't have


an opposition, and there is a view out there and opinion polls are


telling us, there is a view there isn't enough scrutiny,


accountability and the system of scrutiny that currently exists


doesn't work, so I can say they will be an increase in vote and certainly


because of the EU referendum coming quickly after the election, I think


that will provide a bounce for some of the smaller parties. Which should


make the point, I was talking about some parties fishing in the same


point, given the electoral system we have, that's not the Sara Lee always


a catastrophe. It isn't, and particularly when you try to attract


transfers for those parties. -- it's not particularly always a


catastrophe. That is what makes it so fascinating. Thank you very much.


That's it from Sunday Politics for this week.


I'll be back on Thursday as usual with The View.


But for now, from everyone on the team, bye-bye.


Presented by Andrew Neil and Mark Carruthers. Labour's Tristram Hunt talks about the potential effects of the UK remaining in the EU, former defence secretary Liam Fox and US State Department spokesman Jamie Rubin debate whether President Obama should intervene in the EU referendum, and Professor John Curtice details the forthcoming elections in May.

Nick Watt of the Guardian, Isabel Oakeshott of the Daily Mail and the FT's Janan Ganesh keep Andrew company throughout the programme.

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