18/06/2017 Sunday Politics Northern Ireland


Nick Robinson and Mark Carruthers look at the start of Brexit negotiations and the political response to the Grenfell Tower fire.

Similar Content

Browse content similar to 18/06/2017. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!



Good morning, and welcome to the Sunday Politics.


Not good enough - that is Theresa May's


own verdict on the response to the Grenfell Tower fire,


but that is also what a growing number are saying about her


Having failed to win a majority, Mrs May will face a daily battle


to win the votes she needs in Parliament, which is maybe why


the new Leader of the Commons has already cancelled next year's


And Labour are claiming the Government isn't legitimate.


And in half an hour: Arlene Foster on corporation tax,


the Queen's speech and her role in bringing "stability" to the UK.


Plus what does Sinn Fein make of it all?


Are we any closer to devolution coming back?


And with me to discuss all of that and more,


three journalists who always defy expectations - Steve Richards,


Julia Hartley-Brewer, and Tom Newton Dunn.


And they'll be tweeting throughout the programme.


Theresa May's authority was already in freefall even


before her faltering handling of the appalling disaster


Yesterday she admitted the official response had not been good enough.


This morning's front pages, as well as reflecting the full


horror of that tragedy, are also full of claims


that her critics are circling and ready to pounce,


though none, as yet, have come out publicly.


Her Chancellor, Philip Hammond, was asked about the Prime Minister's


position on the Andrew Marr Show earlier.


I think what the country needs now is a period of calm while we get on


with the job in hand. We've got some very serious issues to address,


including the Brexit negotiations are just starting. Theresa is


leading the Government and I think the Government needs to get on with


his job. The you know what? I think that is what most people in the


country will think - the Government needs to get on with the day job of


Government. Get on with the day job, Tom - is that what they are saying


in private? Some are. I was at lunch with a minister on Thursday who


said, we need to get this thing sorted now because if we go one like


this with the Prime Minister without any power at all, we will end up in


a John Major situation and it will only get worse. Talking to people


this week, I don't think that is the predominant view. That seems to be


that she has to stay for the time being, at least until conference,


and possibly as far as the end of the Brexit negotiations, because


there is no real alternative, no obvious person who can come in. The


last thing they want to do now is have an unbelievably divisive


leadership contest and rip up the very thin consensus that currently


still exist on Brexit and go back to square one. Journalist in London are


now searching for whom Tom had lunch with on Thursday. Julia, is that


sustainable in public? The Prime Minister's authority was already in


free fall and she has not handled this disaster well. After the 1922


committee meeting, they said, she handled this well and can handle


this stuff. It was astoundingly poorly handled. Both practically and


in terms of PR. The question is, is she capable of changing and behaving


in a different way? Her selling point running for the leadership


was, I don't do emotion and I am steady as she goes. It has not been,


so if you don't have the touchy-feely Tony Blair David


Cameron stuff, and you don't have strong and stable, you are kind of


left with nothing. It's not that people don't want her, they just


don't want the alternative. Steve, you have studied and lived through


many of these situations that cannot go on, but often it does. For one


thing, there is a fear of an early election, where MPs will think, we


might lose our seats, so we must stop that from happening. Fear the


leadership contest by which some freakish sequence they elect another


dud. 74-79, Gordon Brown after the nonelection, and he survived several


coups. This is a hung parliament where she has lost an overall


majority, and I think there are questions about whether she herself


is ready for the mountainous, daunting assent to come. One of the


reasons that Gordon Brown succeeded and carried on, Steve, was that


other people concluded they might not be better at the big job in


hand, then the economic crisis. Is there a chance that now, for all the


criticism of her, people say, know what, she is the best handle Brexit?


They want her to carry the can for Brexit and everything. No one wants


the leadership, whether it is Boris Johnson, David Davis or anyone else,


unless they can ride up on their white steed and save the day. Also,


Brexit will not be the most beautiful experience. There will be


compromises and pain. A lot of people think, we will get her to


sign the ?50 billion cheque, someone else can come in on a white horse


and save the day. Bets from journalists are not a clever thing


to do, but are you all saying that you think she will survive for some


time? I think she will, but I'm not sure how long. Philip Hammond didn't


answer the question because he doesn't know either. I think she


will for some time. A week ago, I thought there would be an election


in the autumn. I didn't make a prediction of the election outcome,


so I didn't get it wrong, but I didn't get it right either. If she


doesn't screw up, she will probably last until the end of Brexit. For


the moment, thank you very much. Theresa May's failure to win


a majority after a disastrous election campaign has


left her critics returning to that famous phrase once used


by Norman Lamont to describe John Major - in office,


but not in power. Short of MPs and shorn


of her closest advisers, she now faces a disgruntled party,


an emboldened opposition, the start of Brexit negotiations and,


as we've been saying, claims that she has mishandled


a national crisis. When Theresa May finally visited


residents at the scene of the Grenfell Tower fire,


she was jeered by some residents, Many questions have been raised,


of course, about successive Governments' approach to fire


regulation, as well as the speed and scale of the official


response to the disaster. This crisis comes at a time


when the Prime Minister is still trying to construct


a Commons majority by securing the support of the ten MPs


of Northern Ireland's The DUP is demanding more funding


for Northern Ireland and is thought to want a series of Conservative


manifesto promises dropped. This means that Wednesday's Queen's


Speech, when the Government sets out its plans for the year, will -


in the words of one Controversial plans like reversing


the ban on opening new grammar schools, ending free lunches


at English primary schools, and the scheme designed to reform


social care funding are all likely to be scaled down or


dropped altogether. The Government has scrapped next


year's Queen's speech and is planning a rare


two-year Parliament to give more time for MPs to debate


Brexit, it says, but its critics say the Government


is running scared. Because, of course, what hangs over


everything the Government now does is the small matter


of negotiating our way out Well, to discuss all of this,


I'm joined by the newly appointed leader of the Commons,


Andrea Leadsom. Good morning, and thanks for coming


on the programme. The election seems a lifetime ago, but then, the


Conservative Party promised strong and stable leadership. It's not


unreasonable to say that you don't look strong or stable and there's


not a lot of leadership. The last couple of weeks have been extremely


devastating, and I think the real focus of the Government over the


last week since that awful tragedy at Grenfell Tower has been trying to


ensure that everything is being done for the victims. I know there has


been a big narrative about what could have been done better and so


on, but in truth, the Prime Minister has had a job to do, and she really


has focused on trying to make sure that the residents are taking care


of, and that's got to be the priority. Why did you go and meet


them to hear their anger and pain but she initially did not? I was


there as the new Leader of the House of Commons and had helped to arrange


an emergency briefing for MPs and peers the previous day, and it was


so apparent how desperately moved and sympathetic and distraught all


MPs were, right across the House. Which raises the question of why the


Prime Minister did not go. She had a job to do. Too busy? No, but she


needed to ensure that what the residents needed, sorting out bank


accounts, mobile phones, trauma counselling and accommodation, she


was trying to get a handle on all of that to make sure that those things


were taking care of. She issued a statement yesterday saying the


response was not good enough. The one nudges and winks from her


advisers that it was not done properly. Do you think the Prime


Minister did not get this right? I think we are all very conscious that


the support wasn't good enough in the first couple of days. Obviously,


all local councils are geared up to try and deal with the relief from


disasters such as this, but this is unprecedented, this is absolutely


harrowing, and I know that the council did everything they could


with massive support. People are furious, and with good reason. I


hear you say that you understand and you feel people's pain. The Prime


Minister was busy, the council did their bit, so who got it wrong?


Someone has to be held responsible. Absolutely right, and as I am trying


to explain, the council really... And I rang the chief executive to


try and give specific feedback from some of the residents. He was


absolutely trying to put the right people in place to deal with that.


We had a lot of feedback from community leaders. So the council


would be replaced? We are hearing talk of someone being drafted in to


replace them because they are not doing well enough. The Prime


Minister has decided to bring in very experienced civil servants to


improve and to add to the resources of the local council so that issues


can be addressed much more quickly and with greater experience and


precision, quite rightly. Part of the problem with what may have led


to the fire and what is happening now is that no one thinks anyone is


in charge. When you talk about who could is -- who keeps people save,


is it the council, the people who manage the block, is at the fire


brigade, the people who inspect the work, the Government? No one knows


who is in charge. In this specific case, the Prime Minister is now in


charge of the committee that is bringing together all necessary


resources, but I think you make a very good question, Nick - we do


need to understand better how we can ensure that this just cannot happen


again. By clear lines of responsibility. This is horrific.


Yes, all those lessons need to be learnt about if I may, there are two


aspects: Dealing with the very real, pressing, urgent needs of those


poor, absolutely horrified and traumatised victims, and then this


bigger question about who should be in charge and where the buck stops


and who should be in control. They are two separate issues. When you


hear the rage, and it is rage can I ask a personal question? Do you feel


shame as a politician? Of course. We all think, what could we have done


or should we have done? It's just unbearable. You know, this cannot


happen in the 21st century, and yet it has. If it weren't for this, this


would still be a huge week in politics, with the Queen 's speech


coming, a new parliament, and you have been appointed Leader of the


Commons, in charge of Government business. Why have you already,


almost your first act as Leader of the Commons, scrapped the next Queen


's speech, next year's, to make sure that the parliament last for two


years and not one, unusually? It happened in 2005 and 2010. It didn't


happen during the war or during other crises. It is the rate of


legislation rather than crises. There is a lot of legislation to go


through. And we're leaving the EU at the end of March 2019, so having a


two-year period in which to bring together parliament and Government


to really make progress with legislation that is essential to


making a real success of Brexit, there are some big advantages, it's


all a bit technical, but as you will know, select committees don't have


to ditch enquiries, bills don't have to be carried forward, and there


will be more Parliamentary time for scrutiny... The advantages, you


don't have to risk another Queen 's speech which you might lose. In


other words, having two years makes it just a little bit easier for the


Government to survive than it might otherwise be.


I want to be clear, that is not any reason for doing this. There are


plenty of opportunities if you want to speculate on problems for the


Government. The point about this two year Parliament is it enables us to


get the work of leaving the EU done, but the same time we have a


legislative programme to tackle the issues of inequality, lack of


opportunity, and we want to have a good run at that at this difficult


time. You have yet to unveil the deal with the DUP, I assume we will


see that tomorrow, we do, how many parts of the manifesto will have to


be ditched? There are lengthy conversations now with the DUP and


we share a number of interests in common, ensuring we make a success


of Brexit and there's no hard border between the Republic of Ireland and


Northern Ireland. They will brace against hard austerity, so some of


the tough things you're doing in your manifesto like scrapping all


meals in England for example, changing the social care system,


ending the winter fuel allowance for some people, they will go, won't


they? We don't ever talk about the Queen's speech in advance, the Queen


will make those announcements on Wednesday. I'm preparing people for


the fact that some of the things you said in the manifesto will have to


go? The issue is that we have an enormous job to do to make a success


of Brexit and we have huge ambitions for a social, domestic legislative


programme that will improve life opportunities and reduce


inequalities in this nation. Is that's a long winded way of saying


yes? We will prioritise those things. You went to the country and


Theresa May went to the country asking for a Brexit mandate and you


didn't get one, the country didn't give you a majority. As one of the


leading campaigners for Leave, does that make you conclude something has


to change? Overrated percent voted for parties who stood on manifestos


for leaving the EU so I don't recognise what you say that we don't


have a mandate for Brexit. We do. At the referendum last year and also


the results of the general election. As I say, over 80% of people voting


for parties that will respect the result of the referendum. Had on


television this morning Kier Starmer of the Labour Party saying he wanted


to stay in the customs union, in other words you may have a majority


for the headlines, but the detail there is no majority for, no


agreement on and what I'm really asking you is whether you will have


to reach out to find that sort of agreement. In my new job as Leader


of the House of Commons, it will be important to listen to all members


right across The House, but I think it is extremely clear that in


leaving the EU we will be taking back control of our laws, our


borders, our money, and that means leaving the single market, it means


giving up on free movement. It means taking back those laws, putting them


into UK law and being able to change them. If it takes time, in other


words if that is the agreed and objective but to take some time and


the Chancellor says, you know what, we need two or three years for


business to be clear, for there to be no so-called cliff edges, do you


say you have the time? The negotiation begins tomorrow. It is


going to be very, you know, strong on all sides, but certainly my


experience from talking to other EU politicians is that they absolutely


recognise the desire as we do for a strong partnership and for there to


be low tariff... I asked about time, and the reason is let's not use the


word speculation, the Chancellor on the television this morning said


time, no cliff edges, time. Where you have politicians across the EU


and the UK who share the desire for a successful outcome with lower


tariffs, zero nontariff barriers, free trade between ourselves, it


should be possible to meet the time frame. In other words no


transitional arrangements? I am extremely optimistic there is a lot


we can agree on. I am just saying to you, my expectation is there will be


a lot we can agree on and that will facilitate a smooth transition. It


is clear Theresa May will not be running as your leader at the next


general election, so when is the right time for the party to consider


who will be leading next? Before or after Brexit? That is absolutely a


statement I would reject. You cannot see into the future. We have seen a


lot of change in recent weeks and months. The Prime Minister has done


a fantastic job in bringing the country back to a good place since


she has been the leader and Prime Minister. She is determined to


continue... She might lead the party into another election. I don't look


into the future. Let's put it another way, do you think there is a


chance some of the Conservative will lead the Brexit negotiations? I


think the Prime Minister will lead the Brexit negotiations. She has led


preparations extremely well and determinedly on behalf of the whole


country. And in that two years for the negotiation, it may be in need


time to save can look ahead to who our next leader is. I think it is


unhelpful to speculate on the future in that way. We need a coming


together, a recognition that all people need to have their say, and


strong leadership that can take us forward. Theresa May with her


Cabinet are determined to provide that. Are you believed you didn't


get the job? I supported the Prime Minister. -- are you relieve you


didn't get the job? I am completely backing Theresa May as our Prime


Minister. Thank you for taking the time to join does.


Whilst Theresa May and the Government have been struggling


to deal with the disaster at Grenfell Tower, Jeremy Corbyn


was hailed by residents after his visit to the area on Thursday.


Is Labour properly reflecting and channelling the public's anger,


or are they exploiting it - playing political games,


I'm joined now by the Shadow Local Government Secretary and Labour's


Good morning. There is a lot of anger on the streets, much of it


understandable that other people will share, but as the main


opposition party, do you have a responsibility to calm it down


rather than turn it up? I don't think we are stirring it up, I would


hope that we have been fully responsible in reflecting the


concerns, the anxieties, the hurt and worry of those residents in


Kensington. I want to pay tribute to the community that pulls together in


the face of adversity. Can't even begin to think of the pain that


people are going through, the hurt that community is going through, and


yet they have pulled together to look after one another to do some of


the things that statutory authorities should be doing, and I


think it is right and proper that we get to the bottom of what has


happened in this dreadful tragedy, and make sure we put right


everything that needs putting right so we never, ever experienced


anything as horrific as this again. I want to talk about how that might


be done in a second. You safe Labour are coming down. Clive Lewis tweeted


Burn Neo Liberalism not People, do you think that is responsible at a


time like this? I think it is important we are measured in our


approach here. Is that measured? Clive will answer for what he has


tweeted. There is an issue here that we have had seven years of cuts to


our public services. Local authorities don't have the resources


that they need to be able to provide some of the most basic services. The


Fire Service is under resourced as well, and there are issues. This


probably isn't the time to go into them, but there are issues that need


to be resolved about how we make sure that health and safety


regulation isn't seen as a burden on business, isn't seen as unnecessary


red tape, it's about saving lives and protecting people. Your


implication, almost your statement, is austerity was the reason for the


fire. It may turn out to be true, and plenty of people believe it, but


what is your evidence for saying austerity caused this fire? I


haven't said that. I said there are number of issues here. Health and


safety regulation is one, building regulations are another. The role of


government is important in this, how local authorities are able to fund


under resourced civil contingencies emergency planning. But your leader


said if you cut local authority expenditure, the price is paid


somehow. The implication was clear that the cuts lead to the fire and


it could be that this was bad regulation, it could be that the


regulation was fine but not followed, it could be criminal


negligence, it may not turn out to be cuts at all. It could be all of


those things and the important thing is we get the inquiry. We have as


wide as possible terms of reference for the inquiry, we ensure the


residents, victims and local community have a full voice in that


inquiry and we make sure the actions which are required both that we


already know from previous incidents but also the recommendations that,


of this inquiry are acted upon. We cannot ever have situation again


where we have recommendations from previous reports that have not been


acted on by government or local government. There has been a focus


of criticism on Kensington Council but there are many Labour councils


with this kind of cladding on the residential tower blocks. Do you now


know how many it is? No, but we do know every local authority and


housing association in the country are now urgently investigating their


own housing stock and we very clearly have to know that. I have


got tower blocks in my own constituency that have recently been


re-clad and I have contacted my housing providers because I want


assurances on behalf of my constituents that they are living in


safe housing. We understand me that carried out the work in Grenfell


also carried out work in Labour run Camden so it's possible this sort of


fire, God help us that it doesn't, it might happen in another borough


and in an area where the parties opposed to austerity. Absolutely and


we have got to make sure we identify precisely which housing stock does


not meet modern requirements, does not meet the safety minimum


standards, and that we urgently put that right. We cannot ever have a


catastrophe like this again, and I have been in this job as shadow


community Secretary for four days now. It pains me to see what has


happened in Kensington. This is awful, these are human lives and we


have got to start treating people and communities with the respect and


with the humanity that they deserve. You were careful at the top to say


it's important to be responsible, what do you think the fourth of the


call for a day of rage, not by the Labour Party, the day of rage on


Wednesday and quote, the Tories have blood on their hands? I don't


associate myself with those kind of comments. I think if we are going to


do something on Wednesday it is a vigil for those people who have lost


their lives because this is a tragedy and we cannot ever have that


happen again. The reason I ask is John McDonnell, the Shadow


Chancellor, said, and I quote, I don't think this Government is a


legitimate government. Do you think it is?


In the sense that Theresa May went to the country asking for a bigger


Parliamentary majority and a mandate from the people, and she came out on


the 8th of June with no Parliamentary majority at all, so it


does raise questions about the legitimacy of this Government's


ability to put forward a programme that they stood for election on.


That is a different point. I asked a simple question: Is this a


legitimate Government? Did they win more votes and seats under the rules


and therefore is your message to anyone taking to the streets to


claim that they are not legitimate? We are a democracy, we have


elections, and the Conservatives won 42% of the vote in the election. The


Tories lost seats, and the Labour Party gain seats. We are in a


Parliamentary democracy and we will hold the Government to account for


as long as little as it survives. Why did Mr McDonnell not say what


you have said, that you will beat them in the House of Commons? He


went on to say, we need as many as 1 million people on the streets of


London. He wasn't talking about this fire, to be fair, but about a


protest planned for the start of July. He said we need a million


people on the streets of London to force the Tories out. Is that


democracy? Clearly, peaceful demonstration is part of our


democratic rights, and people feel very strongly that this Government


has lost a mandate because Theresa May went to the country asking for a


bigger majority, and the country said no. They took that majority


that she had away from her. I want to make sure we hold this Government


to account, and at the earliest opportunity defeat this Government


so that we can put into practice our positive agenda for a fairer,


better, more recall Britain that works for the many, not the few.


Thank you for joining us. Will the Government's Brexit


plans have to change following the election


after they failed to get the mandate Theresa May demanded,


leaving them with no Lots of attention has focused


on whether Britain's future does lie That makes it easy for firms


to trade within the EU, but prevents Britain


striking its own free trade deals Let's have a listen


to Labour's Shadow Brexit Secretary, Keir Starmer, and the Chancellor,


Philip Hammond, speaking earlier. Well, I think that should


be left on the table. So, we could stay


inside the customs union? We are leaving the EU,


and because we are leaving the EU we will be leaving the single


market, and by the way we will be The question is not whether we are


leaving the customs union, the question is what we put


in its place in order to deliver the objectives


the Prime Minister set out. Well, to see what two


people from the world of business make of this,


I'm joined by the former director general of the CBI and one-time


trade minister Digby Jones, and by the fund manager


Nicola Horlick. Good morning to you both. Digby,


before we get bogged down in what people should or shouldn't do in the


Government, from a business perspective, the customs union -


what exactly is it can provide does it matter to businesses? -- what


exactly is it and why does it matter to businesses? People are saying we


need to stay in the single market, but why then they say the other


words - Britain's judges don't have control over the law? The customs


union is something where you can be within a trading relationship, not


as integrated as the single market, but the big problem we will have


coming out of the single market is not tariffs, I don't think, because


that will hurt Europe, the problem is the bureaucracy, the regulatory


burden of getting goods and services across borders. Crudely, businesses


are worried about being delayed on the border by paperwork, deliberate


paperwork, perhaps, making it harder for our businesses to do business.


That is what the issue is. That is the biggest part. The other part is


that you get this sense of being in something, so that investors from


Japan, America and China who come to Britain for good reasons get the


advantage of being within this trading relationship. There are two


big downsides to it. One is that you have to pay money for it. It doesn't


come free. There is a check to write. And the second one, the big


one, in all my years at the CBI and as a Trade Minister, you find that


we are well known for trading openly around the world with good-quality


traders will stop we don't do the protectionism of America and France,


we are actually good at this. This forbid you from going around the


world and dealing with Singapore, America or China, or whoever. You


have two at brussels do it and you are forbidden from being part of the


global economy. I think that will be the big thing that stops things.


Thank you for the moment. Nicola, in the end, if you could get the


advantages of a border that was simple to do business across,


wouldn't it make sense, as Digby Jones says, to get out of the


customs union and be able to trade around the world freely, without


waiting for Brussels to do some deal that would take many years? The


problem is, striking trade deals takes many years, as we've seen.


There are many examples likely where the EU has been trying to negotiate


something, or the US has, and it takes years and then sometimes


stumbles at the last hurdle. The idea that we can suddenly strike our


own trade deals is nonsense, in my view. It will take years. We will be


cutting off our nose to spite our face if we shun the EU. There are


500 million people in the EU, including Britain, so it goes down a


bit if we come out. The point is, we can trade freely with that block


currently with no constraints. You are cheering on Labour's Kia Starmer


when he says, we are getting out of the EU, but we might be able to stay


in the customs union? As Digby said, if you stay in the customs union,


you cannot do your own trade deals. We heard from the Chancellor this


morning that there was a middle position, where we get out of the


customs union but over a period of years, to stop businesses having the


worry is that you set out, there would be some sort of transition.


Are you up for that? What business needs is certainty, boring


predictability. And the next couple of years are going to deliver


precisely the opposite. Anyone who thinks otherwise is for the birds.


If it were set out as a timetable and everyone knew that by this date,


this date and this date, things will happen, then I am up for that. We


have to make sure that people understand, and this is so


important, that the European union is big trading bloc, Nicola is


right, but it is only one. This is Asia's century, not America's or


Europe's. You have Brussels marching valiantly towards 1970. We need to


hit our wagon to the world. A civil servant used a phrase many years ago


- we don't want to chain ourselves to a corpse. He said that about


Europe. The future is elsewhere, Nicola? The fact is, it is not only


a huge area with 500 million people, but it is also very prosperous. You


would have to do an awful lot of trade deals across many territories


to actually replicate what we currently have, which is free access


to a huge trade block with no constraints, and that has been


beneficial to our economy. I want to be clear that you didn't want to


leave, and you would love to reverse it now if you could, I suspect, but


do you think it is possible to get out as the people voted for, but


still have the advantages of the customs union? I think that is very.


In or out? Yes. If you look at what happened during the election, there


has been a huge thing about 80% of people voting for parties that want


a Brexit. I don't think that's true. If you look at what happened, a lot


of younger people voted who were expected to vote, and they are


certainly not in favour of leaving the EU, the single market, the


customs union or any of it. Would be, when you describe the advantages


of the customs union, many people watching with thing, and therefore


the end of your sentence would be, and that is why we should stay in,


but you want to come out - why would you take such a risk? I think the


negotiations over the next two years should be unique. We are the fifth


or sixth biggest economy on earth. We ought to have a quality


relationship with Europe for all the reasons that Nicola has said, and


she's right, and at the same time reach out to the world. If it is


achievable along with Philip Hammond's idea of feathering over


the years, it is in Europe's interests. We need humility and less


arrogance, but we have got to get there. Briefly, what is the


nightmare, the fear, if we are not in the customs union? I believe it


will be very detrimental to our economy, and also one thing: The


fact of the matter is that Germany is in the EU. Germany does seven


times as much trade with China as we do. The idea that the EU stops as


trading with other countries is nonsense. A brief last sentence,


Digby. The German example is rubbish. They dominate the EU and


they use that as a way of enhancing their competitiveness in China. What


is true, and you are right, that is coming out of the customs union done


badly willed deny us the access we have spoken of, but done well, it


will have the best of both worlds. Thank you both very much indeed.


We say goodbye to viewers in Scotland, who leave us now


Coming up here in 20 minutes, The Week Ahead.


Hello and welcome to Sunday Politics in Northern Ireland.


Arlene Foster confirms the DUP will support the Queen's Speech,


marking the beginning of the next parliament at Westminster.


But with a two-week deadline for restoring devolution,


does Sinn Fein see any chance of Stormont getting


That's what I'll be asking Alex Maskey.


And with their thoughts throughout, Professor Rick Wilford


The DUP leader, Arlene Foster, has said she expects the devolution


of corporation tax to be included in the Queen's Speech


In an interview with our political editor, Mark Devenport,


on Friday in Dublin, Mrs Foster also said she wants


a "sensible Brexit" taking account of the special circumstances


We believe in Brexit, we believe in leaving the European Union and that


is how the nation voted. We also recognise the special history and


geography we have on the island of Ireland and we want a sensible


Brexit. That's what we were working towards.


What are your thoughts about how you can sensibly manage cross-border


trade if the UK is outside the customs union, which is your policy?


We are engaging with the different ports in Northern Ireland to see


what works with them. When I talk about pragmatism that is what I'm


talking about. What do they want to see? Universally, the ports have


been telling us that one thing that would work as a border around the


Irish Sea. That is something that is a redline for us. We want to see a


frictionless border between ourselves and the Republic of


Ireland and one that works practically but one that recognises


the vote took place. Can I talk about your talks with


Theresa May, which have dominated the political news? Obviously there


was the tragedy and London. Is it safe to say that the DUP will be


voting for the Queen's Speech next week?


It is right and proper that the Queen's Speech goes ahead. Her


Majesty will have a particular view on these issues and it is important


that constitutional proprieties are respected but it is right and proper


that we respect the Queen's Speech. It is not the be all and end all of


negotiations that we have been having with the Conservative Party


but I do hope in the national interest that in terms of stability


for the UK and indeed for Northern Ireland is that we are able to


conclude these talks as quickly as possible.


You set out some principles that will appear in the Queen's Speech by


saying that you hope for a quick inclusion. Do you expect a full deal


to be sorted out by the Queen's Speech?


I won't get into deadlines. What Nigel Dodds said is the right way


forward. He said that the Queen's Speech was neither here nor there in


relation to talks that were engaged on. What we want is to see a


sensible way forward for Northern Ireland and to bring stability to


the nation, because we are in uncharted territory. We want to see


the nation stable and deal with the big challenges of our time, not


least leaving the European Union and of course to deal with


counterterrorism issues as well which are very important. I know


that the dreadful tragedy in London has over shadowed what we have been


doing. It has been a wake-up call in relation to the tragedy were that


has happened but we have to try and find the deal as quickly as


possible. Do you still holds to the view I


think you are disposed in the assembly a few months back that as


far as corporation tax is concerned Northern Ireland should not take a


hit to its block grant because it is coming out the EU and those EU rules


should not apply? We are the one party that has stayed


firm in relation to this issue. We want to see corporation tax default


to the Northern Ireland Assembly so that we can set up the appropriate


rate. We believe that in terms of the Azzurri 's ruling, which said we


would have to take the block grant for corporation tax, we need to


explore if that is still the case. And I use seeking not just economic


concessions but also political ones, on parades and the definition of a


victim or whatever? What we're doing is in the national


interest. We want to talk about matters that are relating to


Westminster. We're not going to get into... I know there have been talk


about our social issues. Those are matters for the Northern Ireland


Assembly so we would be dealing with them at Westminster.


There were talks about restoring devolution this week. How do you


rate the chances? I think there should be a good


chance. We fired a long series of talks directly after the assembly


fell and then the assembly elections and then more topics. So I think


everybody is aware of the issues at hand and therefore we should get


down to it and deal with it as quickly as possible. I did not want


the assembly to come down in the first place. There was a plan to


deal with the difficulties we were facing but Sinn Fein decided


otherwise and pull down the executive for their own political


reasons. It is incumbent on then the -- incumbent on them therefore to


make this work. There is every reason we should have it back and


running. How keen are you to share power with


them again after everything in the last few months?


I've come through quite a lot in the last few months. We are trying to


set up in national government and help in that regard that I'm focused


as well on setting up a government in Northern Ireland because I


believe it is the best way forward for all of the people in Northern


Ireland to have the devolved institutions in place so we can deal


with those issues in health and education and budgetary issues. That


we can have more and better jobs and go out across the world and tell the


people about the wonderful workforce we haven't Northern Ireland. We can


only do that if we have stable government in Northern Ireland to


devolution and that is what I'm focused on.


You expressed annoyance about reporting in England being about DUP


social issues. In terms of clarifying that, we know that you're


not the only party opposed to the 1967 act on abortion. Are you in a


position where you would reform the law? The support of recommending


change in terms of physical abnormality cases.


There is a broad swathe of consensus here in Northern Ireland. No one


wants to see changes to the 1967 act apart from some people in Sinn Fein


who would like to see changes. So I don't see things changing in terms


of the laws on abortion. We commissioned a report on the


dreadful issue of fetal abnormality. There is no actual definition of


what fickle fetal abnormality is but we certainly will be looking at the


reports -- fetal fetal abnormality. We will do that after devolution


comes back. Same-sex marriage. During the weekly


Scottish minister says she wrote to him to try and stop Northern Ireland


gay couples getting married in Scotland. Was that the case?


That was not the case. I don't know what he was referring to but it was


not a letter from me. I had no recollection of that. Whether it is


about financial recognition laws... There has also been talk about your


relationship and loyalist paramilitary organisations.


I hope it wasn't about my relationship. I have no relationship


with paramilitary organisations, that is very clear.


Did the DUP at any point seek to get the support of groups like the UDA


or work with them? We never sought any endorsement from


anyone. There has been a lot of talk about the loyalist community and


paramilitaries. The two are not the same. There is a loyalist working


class community that we want to work with across Northern Ireland and


enable them to move forward and I think that is absolutely the right


thing to do. Arlene Foster speaking


to Mark Devenport in Dublin and with me now is the Sinn Fein MLA


Alex Maskey. Your party President, Gerry Adams,


told me on Thursday night that a Stormont deal could be done


in a day. The DUP is making positive noises


too about what is achievable. I think it is and we believe it is


as a party. When you look at all of the issues that are outstanding, it


really is about those agreements that have been reached over the last


number of years. But they -- those narratives are


disputed. Some of them are on disputable. --


indisputable. We have a political impasse.


The sticking point is that it is not of others see it.


Look at the agreement. People either stand by the agreement or not. What


we face now is that people refuse to stand by those agreements. That is


dishonourable. It means that people cannot have confidence in the


parties working together. My point is that it isn't that


straightforward. You're entitled to that narrative but all of the other


parties don't necessarily share your interpretation and that is why there


is a sticking point. If it was as simple as you said there would be


agreement. We'd been at this for months.


It is as simple as that, with all due respect. We know what the issues


are and we have talked about them end of the -- endlessly. We agreed


recently that we would not go down to an earlier agreement and that is


still doable. It is about implementing existing


agreements? Yes.


But seeing that Arlene Foster cannot be first Minster is not an


implementing an existing agreement. On the doorsteps, we were fighting


to elections at the same time. The big issue was reinstating the


institutions but on the basis that you have confidence that there would


be no financial corruption or fiasco.


There is no evidence of financial corruption.


I didn't say there was. There is no and inquiry and that


will decide what happened. The terms of the inquiry work


endorsed by every member of the assembly on the basis that there


would be a judge led inquiry. And Arlene Foster has to sit on the


sidelines and watch a play out? She has a huge mandate and is entitled


to be First Minister. We respect her mandate and the


party's mandate but we also have many ports and we will stand by them


firmly. How does standing by Arlene Foster's


mandate square with saying that she cannot be First Minister?


She was the chief architect of the RHI scheme and that ended up in the


back that had her senior party colleagues fighting with each other


on a television programme which you are well aware of. That produced a


scandal of mammoth proportions which meant there were no confidence in


public institutions. That is your interpretation of


Arlene Foster's involvement in RHI. That will be sorted out by an


inquiry. She was chief architect of the


scheme. She is also the leader of the DUP.


Let me address both dishes. She is of course leader of the DUP and we


respect that. We met her in the last week and we continue to do that.


But your position on her taking up the role hasn't changed?


The public of no confidence in the public institutions given the


fiasco. You cannot see the public had no


confidence, you don't know that. I think the lack of public


confidence went well beyond the Sinn Fein electorate.


Arlene Foster says the devolution of corporation tax will be on the


Queen's Speech. She is talked about other issues that will bring benefit


to Northern Ireland of the DUP is involved in supporting Theresa May


in number ten. Wouldn't that be good if everyone in Northern Ireland --


for everyone in Northern Ireland at the DUP supported the government in


terms of things that would happen here?


They will prop up a Theresa May government no matter what because


they have been supporting the Tories for many years. There is nothing


magical that they will support a Tory government. That is a matter


for them to do. It is for them to succeed in getting things for the


North. I wish her luck. Because the DUP could hold the key


to ending story too. That would be embarrassing for Sinn Fein, wouldn't


it? They are a fractured party


internally. Who knows how long that might last. Off we have an end to


austerity it is because people, unfortunately and tragically with


what we've seen in the last number of days in London, the policy of


austerity is bad for people. People are waking up to the reality that


austerity is bad. If the Tories wake up to that it will be because of


their internal dynamics. Arlene Foster is looking for a


sensible Brexit. Presumably Sinn Fein once that as well.


We want to vote for remain. The majority of people in the North


voted for remain. What we are asking for is a special designated staters


for people of the North within the EU. That is a sensible Brexit. The


people of Britain want to leave the EU that is entirely a matter for


them. They cannot and should not be able to bring people like myself and


hundreds of thousands of people here who voted to remain against our


wishes. I'm looking forward to working with


the new administration in the Republic of Ireland? They think they


will do a good job in terms of Northern Ireland politics?


Our leaders have already met them and we continue to do that. Whether


we have faith and letting them deliver, let's park judgment.


Soon prepared to say you have faith in them the moment?


I don't have faith from what I have seen in the past in Fine Gael


governments. They don't have an empathy for the North and don't act


on the national interest. We have to work with them and make sure that he


works in the national interest. With me now are Professor Rick


Wilford from Queen's University and journalist


Amanda Ferguson. Interesting to hear that less than


enthusiastic endorsement for Fine Gael.


There is pragmatism currently. Wait and see is a fair enough stance.


They are only in their jobs for a few days. One of the things that


will potentially help is the fact that Arlene Foster have been tourism


ministers in the past and make the chemistry that helps the process.


We've heard from Arlene Foster and Alex Massie.


Does what we've heard make an agreement by 29th June


I'm not sure the deal will be done by then Barts and the major music


has changed -- but the mood music has changed. There is an


opportunity. Sinn Fein were ahead coming out of the assembly elections


and the DUP are ahead coming out of the Westminster elections so there


are opportunities for magnanimity and...


Can you smell a fudge cooking? I agree that it is a bit more upbeat


than it has been. It would be ridiculous situation of all the


outstanding issues were resolved and the only issue left standing was


Arlene Foster's role in the executive. It would be ludicrous


that the deal would be frustrated on that particular point. If Sinn Fein


get what they want out of the talks, including the language act, then


objecting to Arlene Foster coming back as First Minister...


So it's a bargaining chip? I would hope so because it seems an


idle position to adopt and a negative position. If the only


Domino left to be toppled where that, that would be ridiculous.


To be fair to Alex, he was clear about that. As far as he was


concerned, that was the position throughout.


We will have to see what comes out of the Westminster negotiations. I


don't think our deal will be signed off until the Westminster deal comes


to fruition. The DUP are entitled to have these negotiations with the


Tories but nationalists are entitled to be a little concerned about it


and SDLP politicians and Sinn Fein politicians have raised the concerns


over side deals. They don't want to be in a position,


Sinn Fein, were they see no deal was better than a good deal. It would be


remiss of them and not to support a deal.


Let's take a look back at the week in politics.


As the clock ticked on the formation of a UK Government, the DUP


Bring stability to the UK Government in and around issues like Brexit,


counterterrorism and doing what's right financially for Northern


Ireland. Sinn Fein were also


at Westminister making By the way, when there is an act,


life will go on. In Dublin the new


Taoiseach was unveiled. We seek to build a republic of


opportunity and that is a republic in which every citizen gets a fair


go. And he confirmed Simon Coveney


as his new Foreign Minister. Back at Westminister,


Jeremy Corbyn has his own views We all look forward to welcoming the


Queen's Speech just as soon as the coalition of chaos has been


negotiated. It's pretty obvious that the DUP is


enjoying its moment in the sun. It certainly is. They ran into a bit


of a stumbling block with the Treasury over some of the financial


matters. I don't think anything else is holding this up. I was struck by


John Major's intervention during the week where he said they don't need a


supply and confidence relationship because they know the DUP will vote


with the government anyway. But they will extract at the Cannes out of


the relationship. One of the great imponderables is will they be


dealing with Theresa May in the near future because her position looks


very shaky. Doesn't let you like it risky


strategy as far as the DUP is concerned?


Arlene Foster has to be careful not to overplay her hand. She said she


won't get into bed with Jeremy Corbyn and the Tories know that.


Many of the things happening in the last couple of weeks have changed


the dynamic. There is such a toxic atmosphere around the Tories at the


moment. Owen Smith is the new Shadow


Northern Ireland Secretary. He is from the constituency just


over the hill from where I am. He is a steady and safe pair of hands and


will prove to be capable and better than the previous incumbent.


will prove to be capable and better -- for the victims' family so that


they can Now back to Nick in London.


they can have their say. Thanks to all of you.


Even if the inferno in London had never happened, this would have been


The Brexit negotiations finally begin in Brussels tomorrow -


will ministers change their position?


The Queen's Speech, which had to be delayed,


but can the Government get its legislative agenda


Still with me, Steve, Julia and Tom. Steve, Brexit, as if it is just a


small thing this week. We have heard from the Chancellor this morning and


from Andrea Leadsom - do you detect a shift in Government debate or


still alive -- in Government approach or still a lively debate?


Philip Hammond now is in a stronger position than he could ever have


dreams who would be in -- he would be an before the election result, so


tonally, we have him now confidently saying that the focus must be on the


economy, on having some kind of deal whereby there are not bureaucrats


blocking the movement of goods and so on, but beyond that, it's not


entirely clear how he plans to use this new political muscularity. I


think that will become clearer as the talks begin, but at this point,


it all still seems fairly vague. Labour's position and the


Government's as these talks begin tomorrow. Don't you smell a rat? Do


you think, I know what they are rock to, they wanted ter at the


referendum? It is almost irrelevant what the Government says and what


they are thinking of doing. What matters is what is on the table,


hence the nonsense about soft Brexit and hard Brexit. Soc Brexit is not


Brexit and hard Brexit is not an option. Guy the Hofstadter did the


work of Nigel Farage last week when he said that we could remain but


lose the rebate. Even a slow Brexit... No, no, at the end of


March in 2019 we will be out of the EU. That is what happens. There is a


question of transition deals, which is fine. But we do not know which


Government will be in power at the time, but will they obey the will of


the people as expressed in the EU referendum, which is out of the free


market, no free movement? This argument is irrelevant, I think.


Tom, has a lot changed? Remit yes. The first compromise the Government


made on Friday, which was almost unreported on Friday because we had


so much more to talk about, Grenfell Tower being the major one, but the


Government agreed to go by the EU timetable, which is to sort out the


divorce and then move the trade deal. The other thing that changed


is the composition of the House of Commons. There is no majority for


Theresa May's version of Brexit. I think the area where there will be


room for manoeuvre is immigration. It won't be the customs union. There


will be an argument about the relationship, but it will be to


soften up this call from Theresa May for immigration controls. Jobs first


is a change in the Government position, isn't it? Tom is right


about immigration. I was told that the decision to include student


numbers in the immigration total was her view and hers alone. I think


that will be dropped now, because the Cabinet feels strong enough to


assert their different view. Every single member of that cabinet I am


told apart from her did not want that. There is an example of


refocusing. At the moment, it is not clear where that will lead. The


talks will begin, I think, in an messy way. -- in a messy way. I have


spoken to Tory MPs on the Remain site who wonder if we won't still be


in in 2019. It is not possible. The legal process has begun. We are out


of the EU at the end of that period. Transition could mean it feels very


like we are still in. All this talk about compromise and so on, it is


between members of the Cabinet and UK political parties. What matters


is what is on the table and how the British people react. During these


talks, the Government will have to compromise if they don't get to have


their cake and eat it. Brexit will be soft. Do you think there is


arithmetic that will bring a dramatic change? Bhui report this as


internal machinations in the Tory Party in the Cabinet. It is what you


can get through. We report this. She framed this election as a mandate


for her version of Brexit. When she didn't get that mandate, I know it


has become a cliche could, -- it has become a cliche, but she did not get


the mandate cheese. Let's move on to the Queen's speech. That would be a


huge story if it were not for fire and Brexit. This is a Government


without a majority vote of Andrea Leadsom said, we are just elating


next year's Queen's speech. Do you buy that? There will not be won


because they do not know whether they will have the numbers to


support it. Also, one Queen's speech and the Parliament business will be


taken up by the Great Repeal Bill. There will be no legislative time


left for the remnants left Theresa May's manifesto. She feels this


desperate need to try. There will be a housing will, no doubt and one or


two other things. Other things are dead in the water, grammar schools,


for example. Some of the more interventionist policies are forever


gone. Some people might well come an end to the ongoing new legislation


about every topic which does not make anyone's life better. We don't


know the details of the deal with the DUP, but we know it will be


focused some of it on Northern Ireland itself. There is a chance


that they see themselves as fighting austerity in the UK. You can't just


have a set of policies for Northern Ireland to keep the DUP on board


which will not apply if they seem rather rosy and benevolent to the


rest of the UK. The Barnett Formula requires more spending in Wales and


Scotland if you increase it for Northern Ireland. It is that


whatever is spent in England, there are ramifications for the other


nations of the UK. They are close to impotence, and the only question


that will be asked is, can we get this through? Therefore, they will


get it through because they won't put anything in that could be


defeated. A last thought about the fire, then. However much we say


these events are bigger, I have a feeling that the fire will dominate


when MPs gather. Have ministers done enough, and have Labour done enough


to do themselves from some of the protests, to avoid some of the


political risks involved? In the short term, Downing Street is


beginning to do enough. The Prime Minister is meeting relatives every


day now, which is beginning to abate the political crisis. The great mess


that will continue is that Labour have managed to turn this into an


anti-austerity issue, and that will live on. The organisation has been


appalling. This is about poor people's lives, at the end of the


day. The way it has been politicised they think is completely wrong. It


also raises questions about who is responsible for what. The instinct


is to blame Theresa May for the whole lot, something that wouldn't


have happened two months ago. What about the role of the local


authority? What about the invisibility of the local authority


afterwards? Which bit of our Government is responsible for what


is? That is the cause of many crises in this country. It is ruled by


committee and the bug doesn't stop with anyone. I thought, in many


ways, for those of us in our line of work, as it were, the most painful


question beyond the work, as it were, the most painful


question beyond the horrible human tragedy was to hear people say, we


don't know who to ask. That was a failure by the local council. And


you put it to Andrea Leadsom. I don't think making it the Prime


Minister will reassure people. Thank you all very much indeed.


The Daily Politics will be back on BBC Two at noon tomorrow,


and Andrew will be back here at the same time next week.


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


MUSIC: Power by Kanye West


Nick Robinson and Mark Carruthers look at the start of Brexit negotiations and the political response to the Grenfell Tower fire. With Commons leader Andrea Leadsom, shadow local government secretary Andrew Gwynne, crossbencher Lord Digby Jones and fund manager Nicola Horlick.

Julia Hartley-Brewer, Tom Newton Dunn and Steve Richards are on the political panel.

Download Subtitles