19/03/2017 Sunday Politics Northern Ireland


Andrew Neil and Mark Carruthers with the latest political news, interviews and debate. Andrew is joined by head of NHS Providers Chris Hopson, Nick Clegg MP and Andrew Gwynne MP.

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It's Sunday morning and this is the Sunday Politics.


She faces huge political fights over Brexit, Scottish independence,


After a tumultuous political week, we'll analyse the PM's prospects.


With chatter increasing about a possible early General Election,


Jeremy Corbyn's campaign chief joins me live.


NHS bosses warn health services in England are facing "mission


impossible" and waiting times for operations will rocket,


unless hospitals are given more cash this year.


The chief executive of NHS Providers joins me live.


And coming up here: Eight days to go until the deadline


Plus, the view from Washington - a senior Congressman tells us


All that to come before 12:15pm, and I'll also be talking


to the former leader of the Liberal Democrats Nick Clegg


from his party's spring conference in York.


With me here in the studio, throughout the programme,


three of the country's top political commentators:


Tom Newton Dunn, Isabel Oakeshott and Steve Richards.


They'll be tweeting their thoughts using #bbcsp.


So, the political challenges facing Theresa May are stacking up.


As well as negotiating Britain's exit from the EU,


the PM must now deal with SNP demands for a second referendum


on Scottish independence, backbenchers agitating against cuts


to school budgets, and a humiliated Chancellor forced to u-turn on a key


budget measure just one week after announcing it.


Here's Adam Fleming on aturbulent political week


Monday, 11:30am, TV crews gather in the residence of the First


Minister of Scotland, who's got a surprise.


She wants a vote on whether Scotland should leave the UK


By taking the steps I have set out today I am ensuring that Scotland's


future will be decided, not just by me, the


Scottish Government, or the


SNP, it will be decided by the people of Scotland.


Westminster, 6:25pm the same day, MPs reject


amendments to the legislation authorising the Prime Minister to


The Bill ceremonially heads to the Lords where peers abandoned


attempts to change it and it becomes law.


But Downing Street doesn't trigger Article 50 as many had expected.


Some say they were spooked by Nicola Sturgeon.


We get an e-mail from the Treasury can the


We get an e-mail from the Treasury cancelling


the planned rise in National Insurance for


the self-employed announced the budget.


It's just minutes before Prime Minister's Questions at noon.


The trend towards greater self-employment does create a


We will bring forward further proposals


but we will not bring forward increases to NICs later in this


It seems to me like a government in a bit of chaos here.


By making this change today we are listening to our colleagues


fulfil both the letter and the spirit of our manifesto tax


Thursday, 7am, Conservative campaign HQ and the


Electoral Commission fines the party ?70,000 for misreporting spending


But that's not what the Prime Minister


Because at 12:19pm she gives her verdict on a


We should be working together, not pulling apart.


We should be working together to get that


right deal for Scotland, that


So, as I say, that's my job as Prime Minister and


so for that reason I say to the SNP now is not the time.


Friday and time for the faithful to gather.


SNP activists at their spring conference


Conservatives in Cardiff to hear the Prime Minister


promote her plan for a more meritocratic Brexit Britain.


At 11:10am comes some news about a newspaper that's frankly


I'm thrilled and excited to be the new editor of The


Evening Standard and, you know, with so many


big issues in our world what


good analysis, great news journalism.


It's a really important time for good journalism that The


Evening Standard is going to provide.


There was no let-up yesterday as Gordon Brown launched proposals


Under my proposals we keep the Barnett


Formula, we keep the fiscal transfers, but we also bring the


and fisheries back to the Scottish Parliament.


And just think, all this and we're still counting down to the


What a week in politics. It has been a torrid week for the government,


Isabel Oakeshott, but does Theresa May shake it off, or is this a sign


of worse to come? We may all be feeling a bit breathless after the


events of last week and we are in for a a long war of attrition with


the SNP, Nicola Sturgeon's strategy will be to foster over lengthy


periods of time as much resentment and anger as she can in Scotland and


try to create the impression that independence is somehow inevitable.


Is Scotland the biggest challenge for Theresa May in the next year or


so? I think it probably is because if you look at how relatively easily


the Brexit bill went through on an issue where people could hardly feel


more passionate in the Commons, and actually despite all the potential


drama it has gone through quite smoothly. To go back to your


original question, she just carries on. Don't underestimate the basic


quiet and will towards Theresa May amongst the majority of Tory


backbenchers. Yes, there are difficult little issues over school


funding, sorry, it's not a little issue, it is a big one but she will


get over that and treat each thing as it comes and keep pressing on.


Has she not called Nicola Sturgeon's Bluff in that the First Minister


said I want a referendum, here is roughly when I wanted, the Prime


Minister says you're not having one. What happens next? She has done


quite well and impact the progress Theresa May made this week in


frustrating Nicola Sturgeon was evident when Nicola Sturgeon said,


OK, maybe we can talk about the timing after. Nicola Sturgeon has


already been the first one to blink. I would slightly disagree with


Isabel Oakeshott, I don't agree Scotland will be the biggest hurdle


for her. What this week showed as is Theresa May... It was a reality


bites week. Theresa May is juggling four mammoth crises at the same


time, Brexit obviously which I still think will be the biggest challenge


to get a good deal, Trump left field who popped up at GCHQ on Friday and


Scotland and the fiscal challenge, this enormous great problem, and it


reinforced the point this is not an easy time in politics. The budget is


over four years. That was one small problem, the immediate problem is


how to fill the social care crisis and the ageing demographic. This is


not normal times in British politics and Theresa May does not have a


normal workload on her plate, hence why I think we will see more


mistakes made as time goes on and as she has this almost impossible


workload to juggle. How tempted do you think the Prime Minister is to


call an early election? There is more chatter about it now. Is she


tempted and if there is will she succumb? I will answer that in a


second as Harold Wilson used to say. I want to agree, disagree with the


rest of the panel about how she has out manipulated Nicola Sturgeon this


week. I think Nicola Sturgeon expected Theresa May to say no to


her expected timetable. It would be amazing if she had said yes. She


expected her to say no but Sturgeon catalyst that will fuel support for


her cause. There is no sign of that. The latest poll this morning shows


66-44 against independence and only 13% think they would be better off


with an independent Scotland and a clear majority do not want a second


referendum. But the calculation of resistance from Westminster combined


with Brexit which hasn't started yet, I think this is her


calculation, she didn't expect Theresa May to say, sure, go ahead,


I'm sure she expected Theresa May to say no, you can't have it at your


desired timetable. On the wider point, I think Theresa May is in a


fascinating position, she is both strong because she faces weak


opposition and is ahead in the opinion polls. But faces the most


daunting agenda of any Prime Minister for 40 or 50 years, I


think. So it's a weird combination. I don't think she wants to call an


election. I don't think she has thought about how you would


manipulate it, what the trigger would be, and whether she's got the


energy and space to prepare for and then mount a campaign was beginning


the Brexit negotiation. Now, you could see the cause would be the


small majorities that will make her life hellish, which it will do.


Whether a landslide would help is another question, they can be


difficult too. But I think the problems outweigh the advantages of


going early. Do you think she would go for an early election? I don't


and I think you have to look at the rhetoric coming out of No 10 which


is so firm on this question, it is a delicious prospect for us as


commentators to think there might be an election around the corner but


they are so firm on this I can't see it happening. I agree, we are in


unanimous agreement on this one. It is superficially attractive because


she would love the big majority and she would get a lot more through


Parliament especially with Brexit. The nitty-gritty of it makes an


early General Election this year almost impossible. How do you write


a manifesto on high Brexit versus soft Brexit, it opens up a Pandora's


box of uncertainties. And there is enough with the European elections.


The EU will say are we negotiating with you or the person who may


replace you? How do you keep the Tory party united going to an


election? How do you call one, with a vote of no confidence in yourself


you may end up losing. Easy on paper but difficult in practice. We shall


see. So if Theresa May did go


for an early election this spring, The party's campaigns


and elections chief Andrew Gwynne Andrew Gwynne, the government, as we


have just been talking about, executed one of the most


embarrassing U-turns in recent history this week. It has been a


torrid time for the Theresa May government. Why are the Tories still


so chipper? The Labour Party has been on an


early election footing since before Christmas and we are preparing


ourselves for that eventuality in case that does come. That means that


we've got to get ourselves into a position whereby we can not only


challenge the government but we can also offer a valuable alternative


for the British people to choose from should that election arise. So,


would you welcome an early General Election? Well, of course, I don't


want this government to be in power so of course if there is an


opportunity to put a case to the British people as to why there is a


better way, and I believe the Labour way is the better way than of course


we would want to put that case to the country. So, would Labour vote


in the Commons for an early election? Well, of course as an


opposition, not wanting to be in opposition, wanting to be in


government should the government put forward a measure in accordance with


the Fixed-term Parliaments Act then that's something we would very


seriously have to consider. I know you would have to consider it but


would you vote for an early election or not? Well, of course we want to


be the government so if the current government puts forward measures to


bring forward a General Election we would want to put our case to the


British public and that's one of the jobs that I've been given, together


Labour Party organisation early into a position where we can fight a


General Election -- organisationally. For the avoidance


of doubt, if the Government work to issue a motion in the Commons for an


early election, the Labour Party would vote for an early election?


It would be very difficult not, Andrew. If the Government wants to


dissolve parliament, wants a General Election, we don't want the Tories


in government, we want to be in government and we want to have that


opportunity to put that case to the British people.


Are you ready for an early election? You say you have been on a war all


but since the Labour conference last autumn, but are you ready for one?


How big is the election fighting fund? We have substantial amounts of


money in our fighting fund, that is true, because not only has the


Labour Party managed to eliminate its own financial deficit that it


inherited from previous election campaigns, we have also managed to


build up a substantial fund in the off chance we have an election. We


have also expanded massively operations at Labour HQ, we are


taking on additional staff, and one of the jobs that myself and Ian


Lavery who I job share with are currently doing is to go around the


Parliamentary Labour Party to make sure that Labour colleagues have the


support and the resources that they need, should they have to face the


electorate in their constituencies. So you are on a war footing, ready


for the fight, you say you would vote for the fight, so have you got


your tax and spend policies ready to roll out? That is something the


shadow Treasury team will be discussing. One of the things is, if


there is an early General Election, the normal timetable for these


things gets fast-track because our policy decision-making body, its


annual conference, we have the national policy forum that creates


policies suggestions. You have been on a war footing since the last


Labour conference, that is what Mr Corbyn told us. So you must have a


fair idea of what policies you would fight an early election on. How much


extra per year would you spend on the NHS? Well, look, I'm not going


to set out the Labour manifesto for an election that hasn't been called.


I'm just asking you about the NHS. You must have a policy for that. We


have a policy for the NHS. So how much extra? I will not set out


Labour's tax-and-spend policies here on The Sunday Politics when there


hasn't even been election called. You said you had been on a war


footing and you are prepared to vote for one, so if you can't Tommy that,


can you tell me what the corporation rate tax on company profits be under


a Labour government -- tell me that. You will have to be patient. I have.


And wait for Mrs May to trigger an early election. If there is an


election on the 4th of May the rich would have to be issued on the 27th


of March, so that's not long to wait. If that date passes we aren't


having an election on the 4th of May and the normal timetable for policy


development will continue. All right. You lost Copeland, I think


you were in charge of a by-election for Labour, your national poll


ratings are still dire, even after week of terrible times for the


Tories. Sometimes you even lose local government by-elections in


safe seats, including in the place you are now, in Salford. How long


does Mr Corbyn have to turn this around? Well, look, the issue of the


Labour leadership was settled last year. The last thing the Labour


Party now needs is another period of introspection with the Labour Party


merely talks to the Labour Party. We are now on an election footing in


case Mrs May does trigger an early General Election. We need to be


talking to the British people are not to ourselves. So any speculation


about the Labour leadership might excite you in the media but actually


for us in the Labour Party it's about re-engaging and reconnecting


with the voters. Rather than being excited, I feel quite daunted at the


prospect of an early election. So I wouldn't get that right. Normally,


given the number of mistakes this government has made, and its


mid-term, you would expect any self-respecting opposition to be


about ten points ahead. On the latest polls this morning you are 17


behind. There is a 27-30 point gap from where you should normally be as


an opposition. Are you telling me that if that doesn't change, you


still fight the General Election with Mr Corbyn?


These are matters for the future. I believe the leadership issue was


settled last year. We have had two leadership contest in two years.


Would you seriously contemplate going into the next election, if it


is early I perfectly understand Jeremy Corbyn is your man, but if it


is not until 2020, and you are still 17 points behind in the polls, will


you go into the next election like that? There is a lot of future


looking and speculation there, I don't know what the future holds,


where the Labour Party will be in 12 months let alone by 2020 summit


cross those bridges when we come to it. My main challenge is to make


sure the Labour Party is in the best possible place organisationally to


fight an election, that's my challenge and I'm up for that to


make sure we are in the best possible place to make sure Labour


returns as many Labour MPs as possible. Thank you for joining us.


And we're joined now from the Liberal Democrats' spring


conference in York by the former Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg.


Good morning. In his conference speech today, Tim Farron lumps


Theresa May with Vladimir Putin, Marine Le Pen and Donald Trump. In


what way is Mrs May similar to Marine Le Pen? Of course he is not


saying Theresa May is identical to Marine Le Pen, I think what Tim


Wilby spelling out shortly in his speech is that we need to be aware


what's going on in the world, the International settlement that was


arrived at after the First World -- Second World War, that bound


supranational organisations is under attack from characters as diverse as


Vladimir Putin, Marine Le Pen and Donald Trump, and that by side in so


ostentatiously with Donald Trump and pursuing this very hard Brexit,


Theresa May appears to be giving succour to that much more


isolationist chauvinist view of the world than the multilateral approach


that Britain has subscribed to for a long time. The exact words he plans


to use are welcome to the New World order, Vladimir Putin, Donald Trump,


Marine Le Pen, Theresa May, aggressive and teenage to, anti-EU,


nationalistic. In what way is Mrs May fitting into any of that? In


what way is she similar to Vladimir Putin? I'm not aware she has


interfered with other people's elections. The clue is in the quote


you just read out, which is the world order. The world order over


the last half century or more, by the way a lesson I'm afraid we have


to learn in Europe because of the terrible bloodshed of two world was


in the space of a few decades, was based on the idea might is not


right. Strong arm leaders cannot throw their weight around. What we


have now with Putin, the populism across parts of Europe and Donald


Trump who thinks the EU will unravel is a shift to a radically different


view of the world. Mrs May doesn't think any of that. She is not


antenatal, not anti-EU, she says she wants the EU to succeed. She's not


aggressive as far as I'm aware so I'm not sure why you would lump the


British Prime Minister in with these other characters. Let me explain, by


choosing this uncompromising approach to Brexit, clearly in doing


so she, in my view, maybe not yours or others, is pursuing a self


harming approach to the United Kingdom but also pulling up the


threads that bind the rest of the European Union together, in so


ostentatiously siding with Donald Trump, somehow declaring in my view


speciously that we can make up with the trade we will lose, she's not


challenging the shift to a more chauvinist approach to world affairs


that is happening in many places. You are at your party's Spring


conference, I think we can agree any Lib Dem come back will take a long


time. Would Tory dominance be more effectively challenged by a


realignment of the centre and the centre-left? Are you working towards


that? I missed half the question but I think you are talking about a


realignment. As a cook a way to get over Tory dominance, would you want


that to happen? Are you working towards that? My view is the


recovery of the Lib Dems will be quicker than you suggest. People


often forget that even the low point of our fortunes in the last election


we still got a million more votes than the SNP, it's only because we


have got this crazy electoral system... But the SNP fight in


Scotland, you fight in the whole country! But I'm saying the way


seats are allocated overlooks the fact that 2.5 million still voted


for us. But my own view is of course there are people feeling


increasingly homeless in the liberal wing of the Conservative Party


because they are now in a party which is in effect indistinguishable


from Ukip on some of the biggest issues of the day, and homeless folk


on the rational, reasonable wing of the Labour Party. I would invite


them to join the Liberal Democrats and I would invite everyone across


parties to talk about the idea is that bind us because the Westminster


village can invest a lot of energy building new castles in the sky,


inventing new names for parties when actually what you want is for people


on the progressive centre ground of British politics to talk about the


ideas that unite them, from the dilemmas of artificial intelligence


to climate change. Do you think in your own view, can Brexit still be


thwarted or is it now a matter of getting the best terms? I think we


are in an interlude, almost a calm between two storms, the storm of the


referendum itself and the collision between the Government's stated


ambitions for Brexit and the reality of having to negotiate something


unworkable with 27 other governments. The one thing I can


guarantee you is that what the Government has promised to the


British people cannot happen. Over a slower period of time we will work


out our new relationship with the European Union. Theresa May said she


will settle divorce arrangements, and pensions, so one, negotiate new


trade agreements, new climate change policies and so on, and have all of


that ratified within two years, that will not happen so I think there


will be a lot of turbulence in the next couple of years. Will you use


this turbulence to try to thwart Brexit, to find a way of rolling


back the decision? It's not about repeating the debates of the past or


thwarting the will of the people but it is comparing what people were


promised from the ?350 million for the NHS every week through to this


glittering array of new trade agreements we will sign across the


world, with the reality that will transpire in the next couple of


years and at that point, yes it is my belief people should be able to


take a second look at if that is what they really want. A couple of


quick questions, would you welcome an early general election? I always


welcome them, we couldn't do worse than we did last time. That is


certainly true. You have a column in the Evening Standard, have you


spoken to the new editor about whether he will keep your column or


spike it? No, I wait in nervous anticipation. Can you be a newspaper


editor in the morning and an MP in the afternoon? Do I think that's


feasible? Sorry, I missed a bit. There is no prohibition, no law


against MPs being editors. They have been in the past and no doubt will


again in the future. He is taking a lot on, he is an editor, also


wanting to be an MP, a jetsetting academic in the States, working in


the city, I suspect something will give. It seems to me even by his


self-confidence standards in his own abilities I suspect he is taking on


a little bit too much. Very diplomatic, Mr Clegg, I'm sure you


will get to keep the column. Thanks for joining us.


Now, for the last six months England's NHS bosses have been


warning the health service needs more money to help it meet


But in his first Budget, the Chancellor offered


no immediate relief, and today the head of


the organisation representing England's NHS trusts says hundreds


of thousands of patients will have to wait longer for both emergency


care and planned operations, unless the Government


Warnings over funding are not exactly new.


Back in 2014 the head of the NHS in England, Simon Stevens,


published his plan for the future of the health service.


In his five-year forward view, Stevens said the NHS in England


would face a funding shortfall of up to ?30 billion by 2020.


To bridge that gap he said the NHS would need more money


from the Government, at least ?8 billion extra,


and that the health service could account for the rest by making


The Government says it's given the health service more than what it


asked for, and that NHS in England will have received


That number is disputed by NHS managers and the chair


of Parliament's health committee, who say the figure is more


like ?4.5 billion, while other parts of the health and social care budget


have been cut, putting pressure on the front line.


Last year, two thirds of NHS trusts in England finished


the year in the red, and despite emergency bailouts


from the Government, the NHS is likely to record


Meanwhile national targets on waiting times for A


departments, diagnostic tests, and operations are being


This month's Budget provided ?2 billion for social care


but there was no new cash for the NHS, leading trusts to warn


that patient care is beginning to suffer, and what is being asked


And I'm joined now by the Chief Executive of NHS


Providers in England, Chris Hopson.


Welcome to the programme. Morning, Andrew. I will come onto the extra


money you need to do your job properly in a minute but first, part


of the deal was you had to make 22 billion in efficiency savings, not a


bank that money but spend it on patient care, the front line, and so


on. How is that going? So, last parliament we realised around 18


billion of productivity and efficiency savings, we are realising


more this year so we are on course to realise 3 billion this year, that


is a quarter of a billion more than last year but all of us in the NHS


knew the 22 billion would be a very stretching target and we are


somewhat inevitably falling short. So it is 22 billion by 2,020.


Roughly. That was the time. We are now into 2017. So how much of the 22


billion have you achieved? We realised around 3 billion last year


and we will realise 3 billion this year, Court of billion more, 3.25


billion this year, so we are on course for 18-19,000,000,000. By the


2021 period? You are not that far away. The problem is the degree to


which demand is going up. We have record demand over the winter period


and that actually meant we have seen more people than we have ever seen


before but performance is still under real pressure. Let me come


onto that. When you agreed on the 22 billion efficiency savings plus some


extra money from the government, I know there is a bit of an argument


about how much that is actually worth, had you not factored in this


extra demand that you saw coming over the next three or four years?


Let's be very clear committee referred to Simon Stevens's forward


view and we signed up to it but the 22 billion was a process run at the


centre of government by the Department of Health with its arms


length bodies, NHS England and others and is not something that was


consulted on with the NHS. But you signed up to it. We always said that


the day that that Spending Review was announced, the idea that the NHS


where customer demand goes up something like four or 5% every


year, the idea that in the middle years of Parliament we would be able


to provide the same level of service when we were only getting funding


increases of 1.3%, 0.4% and 0.7%, and I can show you the press release


we issued, we always said there was going to be a gap and that we would


not be able to deliver what was required. The full 22 billion in


other words? What we said to Simon Stevens at the Public Accounts


Committee a few months ago, the NHS didn't get what it was asked for.


Today the NHS, cope with the resources it has according to you.


How much more does it need? Are reported is about 2017-18 and we


estimate that what we are being asked to do, and again, Andrew, you


clearly set it out in the package, we are a long way off the four-hour


A target and a long way off the 92%. The waiting times and


operations. How much more do you need? And we are making up a ?900


million deficit. If you take all of those into account we estimate you


would need an extra ?3.5 billion next year in order to deliver all of


those targets and eliminate the deficit. That would be 3.5 billion


on top of what is already planned next year and that would be 3.5


billion repeated in the years to come too? Yes, Andrew it is


important we should make an important distinction about the NHS


versus other public services. When the last government, the last Labour


government put extra money into the NHS it clearly said that in return


for that it would establish some standards in the NHS Constitution,


the 95% A target we have talked about and the 92% elective surgery


we have talked about. The trust we represent are very clear, they would


want to realise those standards, but you can only do it if you pay for


it. The problem is at the moment is we are in the longest and deepest


financial squeeze in NHS history. As we have said, funding is only going


up by 1% per year but every year just to stand still cost and demand


go up by more than 4%. There is clearly a demand for more money. I


think people watching this programme will think probably the NHS is going


to have to get more money to meet the goals you have been given. I


think they would also like to be sure that your Mac running the NHS


as efficiently as it could be. We read this morning that trusts have


got ?100 million of empty properties that cost 10 million to maintain, 36


office blocks are not being used, you have surplus land equivalent to


1800 football pitches. Yes, there are a number of things that we know


in the NHS we need to do better but let me remind you, Andrew, in the


last Parliament we realised ?18 billion worth of cost improvement


gains. We are going to realise another 3 billion this year, 0.25


billion more than last year so these things are being targeted. But


having that surplus land, it is almost certainly in areas where


there is a demand for housing. Absolutely. So why not release it


for housing? You get the money, the people get their houses and its


contribution and a signal that you are running NHS assets as


efficiently as you can? Tell me if I'm going to too much detail for


you. One of the reasons as to why our trusts are reluctant to realise


those land sales is because there is an assumption that the money would


go back to the Treasury and wouldn't benefit NHS trusts. You could make a


deal, couldn't you? That's part of the conversation going on at the


moment. The issue is that we would want to ensure that if we do release


land, quite rightly the benefit, particularly in foundation trusts


which are, as you will remember, deliberately autonomous


organisations, that they should keep the benefit of those land sales.


Have you raised that with the government?


Yes we have. What did they say? They are in discussions of it. We heard


somebody who moved from one job and then to another job and given a big


salary and then almost ?200,000 as a payoff. There is a national mood for


the NHS to get more money. But before you give anybody any more


money you want to be sure that the money you have got already is being


properly spent, which for us, is the patient at the end of the day. And


yet there seem to be these enormous salaries and payoffs. I've worked in


a FTSE 100 on the board of Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs and I


have worked in large organisations. I can look you completely straight


in the eye and tell you that the jobs that our hospital, community,


mental health and ambulance chief Executives do are amongst the most


complicated leadership roles I have ever seen. It doesn't seem to me to


be unreasonable that in order to get the right quality of people we


should pay an appropriate salary. The reality is the salaries are paid


are not excessive when talking about managing budgets of over ?1 billion


a year and talking about managing tens of thousands of staff. There


was a doctor working as a locum that earned an extra ?375,000. One of the


problems in the NHS is a mismatch between the number of staff we need


and the number of staff coming through the pipeline. What is having


to happen is if you want to keep a service going you have to use Mackem


and agency staff. Even at that cost? You would not want to pay those


amounts. But you are. The chief You would not want to pay those


Executives's choice in those areas is giving the service open or


employing a locum. I'm sure you could find a locum prepared to work


for less than that. What indication, what hopes do you have of getting


the extra ?3 billion? The government has been very clear, for the moment


it wants to stick to the existing funding settlement it has agreed. So


there was nothing in the budget. Can I finish by making one important


point. Please, finish. This is the first time the NHS has said before


the year has even started that we can't deliver on those standards. We


believe, as do most people who work in the NHS, that the NHS is on a


gradual slow decline. This is a very important inflection point to Mark,


this is the first time before the financial year starts that we say we


cannot meet the targets we are being asked to deliver and are in the NHS


Constitution. We have run out of time. Chris Hopson, thank you for


being with me. It's just gone 11:35am,


you're watching the Sunday Politics. We say goodbye to viewers


in Scotland who leave us now Hello and welcome to Sunday Politics


in Northern Ireland. The talks deadline


is fast approaching. I'll be speaking to Alliance


and the SDLP about the chances of getting Stormont up


and running again. We'll hear from Washington,


where a senior congressman is calling for an American presence


at the current talks. A very positive influence over the


years in the presence in the north to help keep people at the table.


And I'm joined by commentators David Gordon and Fionnuala O Connor,


with their views on another busy week on both sides of the Atlantic.


So we're two-thirds of the way through the talks process designed


to set up a new government in Northern Ireland.


But are we two-thirds of the way to a deal?


The noises from the British and Irish governments remain


positive, though in the end it will be the local parties who sign


I'm joined by the SDLP's Nichola Mallon and Stephen Farry


We did invite the DUP, Sinn Fein and the Ulster Unionists to join us,


Nichola Mallon, how optimistic are you that a deal can be done in the


time frame we are looking at? We are hopeful and we are committed,


playing our part. We believe we need to see an executive up and running


and has genuine power-sharing and that is delivering for people and a


rising to the challenges of Brexit and other critical issues. We are


hopeful, but if we are honest, the past two weeks have been no more


than shadow-boxing. We have been disappointed and frustrated that


hasn't been in all round table call for all the parties and we are


hopeful to see that tomorrow or as early as possible. Do you expect


things to wrap up this week? We have a very real deadline of next Monday


in terms of when the Assembly will convene. I am not necessarily


hopeful because there are major issues in terms of the approach the


parties are taking, but I am certain this can be done in the course of


the week. We have been in even more difficult spots where things have


moved over a shorter time frame than this in the past. Those issues have


been around for some time and has been talked about a the parties.


It's time for those parties to make a serious commitment to getting the


institutions up and running properly and function on behalf of the common


good of Northern Ireland. Some people might say it is a positive


point, perhaps, that the DUP and Sinn Fein don't want to make public


comment. They would rather see what they have to say behind closed


doors. Do you read anything into the fact we have chosen not to be here


this morning? No one is expecting them to come on here and reveal


their hands in terms of the negotiating process but it's


important there is a mechanism of informing the public. The public


sent a clear message to all of us on polling day and they want to see as


responding to it. It would have been helpful but it is their call to be


here are not. Both of your parties and the Ulster Unionist Party are


sitting on the sidelines watching the main action, which will be


between presumably the Secretary of State and Sinn Fein and the DUP. AM


on behalf of the SDLP because we have nothing to hide. We are keen,


we have a smaller mandate pension vein and the DUP. They got us to


this point, that is where the problem lies. That Israeli


resolution lies, but the SDLP would be found wanting in trying to


contribute to finding a lasting solution. The Alliance party is


expected to as well. It is difficult to form the Government without the


DUP Sinn Fein, but when you go into Government alone we don't get


delivery or result, we get collapse. If you go back to fresh start, that


was a false dawn. It was dominated by the two largest parties and


governments. The other three parties have a lot to bring to the table. We


have a lot of votes across Northern Ireland. That was a mistake on part


of the Alliance party not to join the last executive when you are


invited to take on the justice Ministry, a mistake he would meet


again this time? Our actions are vindicated. All parties should


aspire to be in Government, we idea to try and deliver our values. We


turned it down, but we turned it down because we don't feel that in


terms of how the executive are going to operate we don't have the


confidence we are going to have a fresh start. Frankly, we could not


have stayed in that executive. We saw abuse of the social investment


fund. You said you couldn't go into it last time round because you


couldn't give it your support. What happens if the same kind of deal you


don't like, but you think will fall apart without you being in there? In


terms of our current strength, we don't qualify. We haven't been


invited. We're not getting too far ahead of ourselves. We have been


clear, we have got the same conditions we set out last May.


We're going to have to reinforce some of those. We asked for a proper


strategy around paramilitaries. That has to have the clear. That has to


be fixed. Stephen Farry makes the point that the Alliance party would


be depended upon an invitation to join the executive but you could be


there in the SDLP as of right, would you take that seat as of right this


time round? We are very clear going into the selection that parties


fight to be in Government. The SDLP has never shunted responsibilities


when it comes to Government. We didn't take the decision lightly to


not go in last time. Sadly the reasons for us leaving have come to


pass and other parties are now up in arms about it. If we get fundamental


reform of the executive in terms of how it does business, a shift in the


relationships they are, programme Government that deliver, and agreed


plan to deal with Brexit and issues like that, we would be found


wanting. We wouldn't be going into Government just for the sake of


going in and neither will be stay in opposition because we are


politically point-scoring. Do you see any evidence that those issues


are being addressed during the process so far and two to reach a


positive outcome in eight days's time? We have had multiple meetings


with each of the parties touching on these issues. We are taking people


at face value, this is not about the SDLP getting its wish list, it is


about getting the critical movement on issues that matter to people.


Well we are all procrastinating, we have seen start-ups having to go to


the wall. We need to stop playing politics, get the right deal and


I'll get round the table. Things have to fundamentally change. What


about issues like, for example, Brexit. We will talk about legacy


any moment. Is there any sign of the joint approach on dealing with


Brexit? Those two parties have very different world views after we are


and where we need to be. There are some common ground between the


parties going back to statement from the First Minister last August in


terms of the Prime Minister, there was a recognition of some issues.


There is a lot of uncommon ground. That is the much bigger problem.


Unless we have an executive in place, we can't get a special deal


for Northern Ireland. We have to have a recognition first of all for


the local parties special deal and find a stronger common ground.


Northern Ireland is a very particular and unique place. There


is a major threat to the Good Friday Agreement for Brexit and it is all


about putting in place barriers. The Good Friday Agreement is about


people having a common ground. Unless they have the recognition


from a UK perspective, we are seeing it in Scotland no, it could further


destabilise this place. Particularly on Brexit, it's not just local


parties, we need a UK Government particularly over the next week to


come out with a clear statement, much more than they have done so far


and recognise the real challenge being close to Northern Ireland.


What chance to be deal on legacy? It is certainly one of the difficult


issues and despite Stormont house which was announced with great


fanfare, little to no movement has been made. The victim had been led


up the garden path so many times and let down. Unless we do get to grips


with the past, unless we recognise that no one has a monopoly on pain


and suffering, and the victims deserve treatment from that, we're


never going to move this please forward. Just a final thought, we


had comments from the Taoiseach Enda Kenny in Washington he had a reached


agreement with Theresa May that there would be no return to direct


rule from London if the negotiations failed. Did that make sense to you?


It make sense in that we have an abstract real deadline of Monday


27th, after that point we are going into another election, which is


fairly pointless, or any situation where the Government has to


negotiate in some shape or form for some direct rule are taking an


election of the table. Let's focus on getting a deal done over the next


week and making sure it's a good deal that will be sustainable and we


can stop the stop start politics destroying Northern Ireland. Do you


think Enda Kenny oversold that? There is no mood among the public


for an election. To rerun an election just because you didn't


like the result, because you want to see more dominant Unionist or more


Republican, it is completely wrong. ?5 million was spent on the last


election, the public has sent us a message, it's time to get down to


business and get the job done. Thank you both.


Let's hear from my guests of the day, Fionnuala O


Connor and David Gordon. What did you make of that? Does that


make you more optimistic that some agreement can be reached in eight


days are less so? It doesn't either. Both of those two are very able


politicians, the presented the party positions off a well incidental to


giving the view on what is happening, but they have been honest


enough to see the don't really know and Stephen Farry says it could be


done inside a week and Enda Nichola Mallon says has been a round table


yet. Clearly the icing the don't know. Didn't exactly say that, they


don't know what's happening between Sinn Fein, the DUP the Government


but when it comes to the wider picture of what the Government's


position is, which is the most interesting, we see more of their


hand than we do of Sinn Fein and the DGP's and Enda Kenny's drastic


overselling of what he was quickly slammed down by a Theresa May


spokesman as having said there was an agreement, there would be no


direct rule, is an indication the arrow at sixes and sevens. They've


both got problems with their own at the moment. Until recently you were


inside the executive tent. You have got a good understanding of what the


thinking might be on the part of the DUP Sinn Fein on these matters.


Would you regard yourself as optimistic that this issue can be


resolved or are we heading into the great unknown? We're heading into


the great unknown. We've got a sense of the scale of the challenge facing


the talks and when Stephen Farry talks about the business going often


different agreements on top processes, that has been part of the


problem. Things have been kicked down the road in number of times and


not sorted out. This time, this is the last chance to sort it out.


Legacy is the big issue, not as for the politicians, it is for both


committees. There is a lot to do any week leave got themselves into


corners, Sinn Fein and the DGP, on issues like Arlene Foster being able


to continue as First Minister. That is an interesting want to get into


it before the talks process has begun. It is almost academic any


sense we don't have an executive, it doesn't matter. Who is going to be


First Minister, Deputy First Minister? How do you regard that


situation? It did look like the DGP was trying not to paint a red light


and then Jeffrey Donaldson earlier in the week was speaking to Stephen


Nolan and suggested that was a red line and if Sinn Fein continued to


insist she couldn't be First Minister than they would -- there


would be to devolution? Jeffrey Donaldson, I will always remember


for his walk-out at the very last minute when any agreement was about


to be signed when David Trimble didn't know he was going. Jeffrey's


position in talks is somewhat an exotic one. The other one is that


for Sinn Fein to say that at the outset was an indication of what


they were there for. The work they are, it kicked into action by the


people, who didn't like it one bit what had been going on for a very


long time, not just the last month so.


Now with a look at the political week in 60 seconds,


At Stormont, MLAs signed in, but their leaders still haven't sat


together around the talks table. We make progress but it's very


difficult to know how we can make overall progress if we are not


sitting down around the table and the world is moving on around us.


After meeting President Trump pressing Patrick's Day, the


Taoiseach claimed there would be no return to direct rule. Have a clear


agreement with the British Government that there will be no


return to a hard border and there will be no direct rule brought back


from London. The outgoing Ulster Unionist Party denies denied his


election performance was down to him. That served as a lightning rod


that incredibly energised nationalists and republicans. Sinn


Fein MEP Martina Anderson not so politely told the Prime Minister


will she could pick the border. Theresa May, your notion of a


border, hard or soft, stick it where the sun doesn't shine.


George Mitchell, Richard Haass, Mitchel Reiss - some big American


names who have played significant roles in the Northern


And now one US congressman wants to see another


Joe Crowley was speaking to our correspondent,


Shane Harrison, in Washington and they also discussed the ongoing


But the Democrat started by stressing the positive impact


the USA can have in Northern Ireland.


The special convoy goes back to President Clinton's days and prior


to that I was in the legislator and saw it come to fruition as one of


the promises made when he was running for president. We have seen


the positive affect the US President's negotiations in the


north of Ireland between the north and south and the British Government


have been a very positive influence over the years on the presence in


the north to help keep people at the table. Gary Hart being the last and


most recent, but George Mitchell and very high-profile Americans. Richard


Howes -- Haas has been there as well. They have meant so much to the


process of peace and reconciliation in Northern Ireland. I think it's


important, especially now, given what seems to be a bit of an


election that has taken place that really hasn't demonstrated much


results in terms of what pretends that the future, whether there would


be able to put together a Government and if not how long, if it goes back


to Westminster, how long will be the before an election is called before


they go back, we'll Arlene Foster stay, will she not? What is the


presence of Michelle O'Neill have no in terms of Northern Irish politics


moving forward? These are all interesting new questions. The


Brexit issue, a hard border or a soft order, it is also something


that people are asking questions about. We have had the Assembly


election results. How important do you think it is that devolution be


restored to Northern Ireland? I think it needs to be brought to bear


to bring some resolutions to this. How that all pans out in the


politics of the north is yet to be seen, we don't know. There has been


a great deal of damage done to the DUP rant because of the campaign. In


terms of people's confidence, it has been diminished, demonstrated by the


polling results that took place. Really trying to find that balance


of restoring the Government is critical for the continuance of the


process. All of this is happening with Brexit as a backdrop and we are


ready to pay ministers say they don't want to return to the hard


borders of the past. How worried are you about the implications of Brexit


for Northern Ireland? I would hope there are some type of accommodation


that can be reached because I do believe that free access, free flow


of goods, has had a positive impact on the development of Ireland as a


whole, as well as the furtherance of peace in the north. It has not been


perfect and or those who have yet to feel the benefits benefits of that


peace process, many of whom are still struggling out of the culture


of Ireland that has existed for a very long period of time. We now see


a new generation of people from the Irish republicans, from the north of


Ireland, who have lived in peace for a considerable amount of time now, a


lengthy piece, and I think that is something that we can all look to in


terms of pride and that we've all contributed to that but also as an


anchor for a hopeful movement forward in this Brexit. What I also


think is of interest is the movement in Scotland now possibly for another


vote on devolution, independence for Scotland, what effect that will


have. Knowing that Scotland and Northern Ireland voted in the


majority to remain within the European Union. Do you think it hard


border could threaten the peace process? Do the size of Ireland


believe that all parts of Ireland, all provinces, every county is a


part in all of traditional islands, I think that in the border counties


that could create even more tension and stress. Economically when there


are two separate economy is taking place that had an impact on terms of


the disgruntled nature that had taken place. Aside from the


nationalists issues coming into play, there are economic issues that


come into play as well. We have seen a growth in the peace process. My


hope is that we can come to some kind of agreement to prevent a hard


border. My mother is from ten to Amat, I'm very familiar with the


checkpoints and the soldiers, that added stress that added to the


overall community. I would go back to that.


Democratic congressman Joe Crowley emphasising his Irish credentials


there, and listening to that Fionnula O Connor and David Gordon.


Is that just another US politician auditioning for a job can we really


expect a significant American presence in the talks over the next


weeks and months? He could be auditioning, he sounds a reasonable


man, he doesn't sound like a sure water. Which would be a good thing.


Can we expect one? Perhaps it is very definitely quite high on the


Nationalist agenda that James Brokenshire is not a legitimate


chairman of talks. West Theresa May making it clear, re-emphasising, she


is not treating the Irish Government as an equal partner which I think


she is doing and playing down their role in the settlement. It's another


reason for wanting somebody from outside. As to whether he would be a


significant chair, that something else, we are past that stage. It is


arguable the previous jurors were not that significant. Ian Paisley


was in Washington and he was talking up the Trump interest in Northern


Ireland, the significance of it, the way in which Trump and his people


have a handle on what's happening here and there is a possibility that


Northern Ireland could be on the agenda if he does indeed visit the


UK. Do you buy all of that? Seanad Eireann Edward Lucie that. The whole


point of Trump is America first, putting America first. Ian Paisley


and back a long way. There is a fellow feeling there. The brutal


truth is that we are pretty much on our own. To think that America is


going to help us... If there's going to be a deal, it's going to be


between the parties. Doesn't help anybody that Trump is apparently


making a state visit to the UK and now he's been invited and accepted


an invitation from Enda Kenny to visit the Republic? All know, of


course it doesn't. He is such a lightweight in every other week in


his position that you couldn't have any fees at all in what he might say


or do when he's here. The two governments, the Irish and the


British Government at the most worrying and missing link at the


moment. If they were exerting pressure on Sinn Fein and the DUP


that would be something else. For different reasons, they are not. It


is the vacuum. When I said no previous cheers, I meant no previous


envoys, had an effect. George Mitchell had a huge effect.


That's it from us. Now back to Andrew in London.


That's it from us. you both. Say goodbye. Goodbye. Back


to you. So, can George Osborne stay


on as a member of Parliament Will Conservative backbenchers force


a Government re-think And is Theresa May about to cap gas


and electricity prices? Whose idea was that first of all?


They are all questions for the Week Ahead to.


Let's start with the story that is too much fun to miss, on Friday it


was announced the former Chancellor would be the new editor of London's


Evening Standard newspaper, a position he will take up in mid-May


on a salary of ?200,000 for four days a week.


But Mr Osborne has said he will not be stepping down as MP


for Tatton in Cheshire, a job he's held since 2001,


Alongside these duties, he's also chairman of


While being committed to one day a week at Black Rock,


an American asset management firm - a part-time role that earns him


Then he's polishing his academic credentials, as a fellow


at the McCain Institute, an American thinktank,


And finally as a member of the Washington Speaker's Bureau,


he also earns his keep as an after-dinner speaker, banking


around ?750,000 since last summer.


So there you go. Nice little earners if you can get them. The problem,


though, is he has put second jobs on the agenda and lots of his fellow


MPs are not happy because they have got second jobs but not making that


kind of money. No, and a lot of MPs on both sides actually are unhappy


about it exactly for those reasons. I find it a very interesting


appointment. We have got these people on the centre and centre


right of politics who have been used to power since 1997, they have been


on the airwaves today, Tony Blair, Nick Clegg, George Osborne, and they


are all seeking other platforms now because power has moved elsewhere.


So Tony Blair is setting up this new foundation, Nick Clegg refused to


condemn George Osborne, Tony Blair praised the appointment. They are


all searching for new platforms. They might have overestimated the


degree to which this will be a huge influential platform. The standard


was very pro-Tory at the 2015 election but London voted Labour, it


was pro-Zac Goldsmith but they elected Sadiq Khan. It might be


overestimating the degree to which this is a hugely influential paper.


But I can see why it attracts him as a platform when all these platforms


have disappeared, eg power and government. All of these people who


used to be in power are quietly getting together again, Mr Blair on


television this morning, George Osborne not only filling his bank


account but now in charge of London's most important newspaper,


Nick Clegg out today not saying Brexit was a done deal, waiting to


see what happens, even John Major was wheeled out again today in the


Mail on Sunday. They are all playing for position. I half expect David


Cameron to turn up as features editor on The Evening Standard.


Brexit and breakfast! With Mr Clegg, did he not? I do not think this is


sustainable for George Osborne, I worked at The Evening Standard and I


was there for three years, I know what the hours are like for a humble


journalist, never mind the editor. If he thinks he can get at 4am


everyday to be in the offices at 5am to oversee the splash, manage


everything in the way and edited should he is in cloud cuckoo land.


What this says to people is there is a kind of feel of soft corruption


about public life here, where you see what you can get away with. He


thinks he can brazen this out and maybe he can but what kind of


message does that send to people about how seriously people take the


role of being an MP? He must have known. He applied for the job. The


Russian owner didn't approach him, he approached Lebedev, the


proprietor, for it. He must have calculated there would be some


kickback. I wonder if he realised there would be quite the kickback


there has been. I think that's probably right. This hasn't finished


yet, by the way, this will go on and on. How on earth does George Osborne


cover the budget in the autumn? Big budget, lots of physical changes and


tax rises to deal with the messages out of this week. You can see


already, Theresa May budget crashes. It could be worse. She's useless!


Or, worse than that, me, brilliant budget, terrible newspaper, I've


never buying it again. He has hoisted his own petard. He has not


bought it properly through. It's a something interesting about his own


future calculations, if he wants to stay on as an MP in 2020 and be


Prime Minister as he has or was wanted to be he has got to find a


new seat. How do you go into an association and say I should be an


MP, I can do it for at least four hours Purdy after editing The


Evening Standard, making a big speech and telling Black Rock how to


make a big profit. The feature pages have to be approved for the next day


and feature pages are aware the editor gets to make their mark. The


news is the news. The feature is what concerns you, what he is in


your bonnet. That defines the newspaper, doesn't it? It is not


over yet. Too much 101 on newspapers. And Haatheq at.


School funding, the consultation period ends, it has been a tricky


one for the government, some areas losing. I guess we are seeing this


through the prism of the National Insurance contributions now, it is a


small majority, if Tory MPs are unhappy she may not get her way.


Talking to backbench MPs who are unhappy the feeling is it is not


going to go ahead in the proposed form that the consultation has been


on. No 10 will definitely have to move on this. It is unclear whether


they will scrap it completely, or will they bring in something


possibly like a base level, floor level pupil funding below which you


can't go? You would then still need to find some extra money. So there


are no easy solutions on this but what is clear it is not going to go


ahead in its current form. Parents have been getting letters across the


country in England about what this will mean for teachers and so on in


certain schools. It's not just a matter of the education Department,


the schools, or the teachers and Tory backbenchers. Parents are being


mobilised on this. The point of the new funding formula is to allocate


more money to the more disadvantaged. That means schools in


the more prosperous suburbs are going to lose money. Budget cuts on


schools which are already struggling. It comes down again to


be huge problem, the ever smaller fiscal pool, ever greater demands,


NHS, social care, education as well, adding to Theresa May and Phillip


Hammond's enormous problems. Here is an interesting issue, Steve. There


was a labour Leader of the Opposition that once suggested


perhaps given these huge energy companies which seemed to be good at


passing on energy rises but not so good at cutting energy prices when


it falls, that perhaps we should put a cap on them until at least we


study how the market goes. This was obviously ludicrous Marxism and


quite rightly knocked down by the Conservatives, except that Mrs May


is now talking about putting a cap on energy prices. Yes, I think if it


wasn't for Brexit we would focus much more on Theresa May's Ed


Miliband streak. Whether this translates into policies, let us


see. That bit we don't know. That bit we don't know but in terms of


argument her speech to the Conservative conference on Friday


was about the third or fourth time where she said as part of the


speech, let's focus on the good that government can do, including in


intervening in markets, exactly in the way that he used to argue. As


you say, we await the policy consequences of that. She seems more


cautious in terms of policy in fermentation. But in terms of the


industrial strategy, in terms of implying intervention in certain


markets, there is a kind of Milibandesque streak. And there


comes a time when she has to walk the walk as well as talk the talk.


They talk a lot about the just about managing, just about managing face


rising food bills because of the lower pound and face rising fuel


bills because of the rise in oil and in other commodities. One of the two


things you could do to help the just about managing is to cut their food


bills and the second would be to cut their fuel bills. At some stage she


has to do something for them. We don't know what is going to happen


to food bills under Brexit, that could become a really serious issue.


They could abolish tariffs. There has been a lot of talking the talk


and big announcements put out and not following through so I agree


with you on that but lots of Tory MPs will have a big problem on


this and the principle of continually talking about


interfering in markets, whether it's on executive pay, whether it is on


energy, at a time when Britain needs to send out this message to the


world in their view, in the view of Brexit supporting MPs, that we are


open for business and the government is not about poking around and doing


this kind of thing. Of course, you could argue there is not a problem


in the market for energy, it is a malfunctioning market that doesn't


operate like a free market should, so that provides even Adam Smith,


the inventor of market economics would have said on that basis you


should intervene. I was in Cardiff to listen to Theresa May's latest


explanation for doing this. By the way, we've been waiting nine months,


this was one of her big ideas. You are right, let's see a bit of the


meat, please. My newspaper has been calling for some pretty hefty


government action on this for quite some time. For the just about


managings? Yes and specifically to sort out an energy market dominated


by the big six, which is manifestly ripping people off left, right and


centre. Theresa May's argument ripping people off left, right and


centre. Theresa May's argument in Cardiff on Friday morning which, by


the way, went down like a proverbial windbreak at the proverbial funeral


because Tories... You know what I mean Andrew, the big hand coming


into from the state telling businesses what to do. They went


very quiet indeed. They were having saving the union and Nato but there


was no clapping for that. The point being, this is what she needs to do


to prove her assault, to prove those first words on the steps of Downing


Street. We await to see the actions taken.


On that unusual agreement we will leave it there. The Daily Politics


will be back on BBC Two tomorrow at noon and everyday during the week.


And I'll be here on BBC One next Sunday at 11am.


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


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

As the NHS in England warns of a severe financial crisis, Andrew talks to Chris Hopson, head of NHS Providers. He is also joined by former Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg MP and Labour Party campaign and elections chair Andrew Gwynne MP.

On the political panel are the Sun's Tom Newton Dunn and journalists Isabel Oakeshott and Steve Richards.

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