21/01/2018 Sunday Politics Northern Ireland


21/01/2018

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


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LineFromTo

Morning, everyone, and welcome

to the Sunday Politics.

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I'm Sarah Smith.

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And this is your essential briefing

to everything that's happening this

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morning in the world of politics.

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Big fines for bosses who take

bonuses from firms with black holes

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in their pension funds -

will the Prime Minister's promise

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help the Government get

back on the front foot

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after the collapse of Carillion?

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Leading Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg

says the Lords risk fundamental

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reform if they obstruct the passage

of the EU Withdrawal Bill.

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Arch-remainer Lord Adonis

says that's their job.

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We'll bring the MP

and the peer together.

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Henry Bolton fights to save his job

after a week of damaging headlines

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about his relationship

with a 25-year-old model.

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We'll be talk to

the Ukip leader live.

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Will it be his last

interview as party leader?

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Coming up here - City Deals

for Belfast and Londonderry,

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the chances of fresh talks

succeeding and the new Sinn Fein

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President-elect will all be up

for discussion today.

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All that coming up in the programme.

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And with me today, our regular

gaggle of experts providing

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the inside track on all the big

stories - Tom Newton Dunn,

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Isabel Oakeshott and Steve Richards.

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First this morning, Theresa May

is proposing what she's

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calling tough new rules

to penalise company executives

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who try to line their own pockets

by putting their workers'

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pensions at risk.

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"An unacceptable abuse,"

she says, "that will end."

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Her comments come as the Government

attempts to seize the initiative

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after the collapse of the giant

construction, services

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and out-sourcing company, Carillion,

which went into liquidation

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on Monday with debts

of around £1.5 billion.

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One of Britain's biggest

construction firms, Carillion,

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has been put into liquidation.

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20,000 workers face

an uncertain future.

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Carillion employed people providing

essential services in our schools,

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hospitals, railways and prisons.

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They had to be told they would be

paid when they turned

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up to work on Monday.

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Let me be clear that all employees

should continue to turn up to work

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confident in the knowledge

that they will be paid

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for the public services

that they are providing.

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The firm had around 450

contracts with government,

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on top of private work

and overseas projects.

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Some of those had been handed

to the company after it issued

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profit warnings last year.

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Prime Minister, why were contracts

awarded to Carillion

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despite the warnings?

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Labour and the unions

wanted answers.

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Why did the Government

not heed the warnings?

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Why did they continue to give

billions of pounds of contracts

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to a company that the City

were backing against in 2013?

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That's the real question.

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And it's emerged the firm's former

chief executive, Richard Howson,

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who left the firm last year,

received £1.5 million in pay

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and bonuses in 2016,

while many ordinary employees face

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the prospect of being laid-off

and a huge black hole

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in the company's pension scheme

could result in their

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pensions being slashed.

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Subcontractors who hadn't been paid

for weeks were warned they might get

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just 1p for every pound

they are owed.

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Some warned that they too

might go to the wall.

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We are not really a business

of a size that can trade

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through that without some form

of support from the Government.

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If it's not forthcoming, I think

ourselves and lots of businesses

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like us will probably go

out of business.

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In the wake of the collapse...

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For Labour though, this was not just

about the failure of one company.

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By Monday night, Jeremy Corbyn had

taken to social media.

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At Prime Minister's Questions,

he pressed the point home.

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This is not one isolated case

of government negligence

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and corporate failure.

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It is a broken system.

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Virgin and Stagecoach's management

of East Coast Trains,

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Capita and Atos' handling

of disability assessments,

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and security firm G4S's failure

to provide security at the Olympics

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were all examples, according

to Jeremy Corbyn, of the private

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sector failing the public sector.

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These corporations, Mr Speaker,

need to be shown the door.

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We need our public services

provided by public employees

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with a public service ethos

and a strong public oversight.

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As the ruins of Carillion lie

around her, will the Prime Minister

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act to end this costly racket?

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Theresa May pointed out

it was the Blair and Brown

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governments that signed

many of the big public-private

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partnership deals and she suspected

there was something else behind

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the current Labour leadership's

hostility to the private sector.

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But what Labour oppose isn't just

a role for private companies

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in public services but the private

sector as a whole.

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This is a Labour Party that has

turned its back on investment,

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on growth, on jobs.

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A Labour Party that will always put

politics before people.

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So, under a Labour government,

how far would their

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nationalisation plans go?

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Would every binman, builder

and even bankers have to be

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employed by the state?

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Carillion's collapses the big story

of the week and it will continue to

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have political consequences I will

talk through now at the panel. Tom

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Newton Dunn, presumably the caps of

Carillion has prompted this promise

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from Theresa May that she will

punish bosses who continue to take

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bonuses when they have black holes

in the pension fund, is this

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something new?

This is our

expectation, the Prime Minister has

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acted dramatically as a response to

the collapse of Carillion last week.

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The problem as I recall a party

conference speech she gave in

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October, 2016, the citizens of

nowhere, calling out a rotten

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corrupt apples across the country

then, Philip Green who presided over

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the collapse of BHS, leaving a

massive pensions black hole, an

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entire year and a bit has passed and

no apparent government action. I

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fear Theresa May with the bold words

in the new look Observer this

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morning, action today, still action

tomorrow.

It is what people want to

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hear?

Certainly people do want to

hear it, although they are amazed it

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has not happened before. Jeremy

Corbyn is playing this beautifully.

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There is a much more worrying bigger

picture here for the Conservatives.

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The opportunity they have created

for Jeremy Corbyn to underline his

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case that unfettered free markets do

not work and somehow or other

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Carillion symbolises everything that

is wrong about the system, as we

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heard him say in the clip. I do not

think most voters are particularly

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ideological, they just want things

to work. But if the Government is

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seen to be incompetent on this

scale, it creates a vacuum for the

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leader of the Labour Party to put an

ideological spin on it and he is

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doing it very effectively.

The Prime

Minister is right when she says more

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of these PFI contracts were signed

under Blair and Brown than under

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subsequent Tory governments, but now

you have a Jeremy Corbyn Labour

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Party in opposition, they do not

have to shoulder the blame for that?

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Jeremy Corbyn oppose them at the

time. The late 1970s in reverse,

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that is what we are seeing. Bowman

the minority Labour government being

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torn apart. Now we have a minority

Conservative government being

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challenged by tidal waves which put

them on the defensive all the time.

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We have not time to go through other

examples, but just on this one,

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Theresa May is quite well equipped,

as Tom said, from the beginning, she

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taught the language of intervention

and corporate governments, coming

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after the bad people in the private

sector, but because of the lack of

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action to follow it up and because

Jeremy Corbyn genuinely believes in

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these things, it is much easier for

him to swim with these tidal waves

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than her lead in this deeply

pressurised minority government.

We

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have been talking to all three of

you through the programme, let us

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pick up on Carillion with the Shadow

Attorney General, Labour's Shami

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Chakrabarti. Labour have been very

critical of the Government's

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response to the collapse of

Carillion, what would Labour have

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done differently this week if you

had been in government?

I think what

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we would do and what we will do, as

soon as we are in government, is

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look in a far more fundamental way

at PFI, outsourcing, and by the

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way...

We will get on the principles

of this, but if you had won the

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election in 2017, it would have been

a Labour government handling the

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collapse, what would have been

different in your response?

We would

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not have left it so late, we would

not have bailed out a company that

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already had raised serious warning

signals in the City, we would not

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have allowed them to get into

subcontracting with, for example,

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Cerco, worth millions of pounds,

profit warnings against that company

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too.

Cerco are a big government

provider, should they be looking at

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all of their contracts with the

likes of Cerco who have also issued

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profit warnings?

You do have to look

at all of the arrangements and the

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subcontracting arrangements. It is

not because I am ideological leap

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opposed to the private sector, it

will be smaller private sector

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companies suffering from nonpayment.

Should the Government help? The man

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running the small business in the

film saying they might go to the

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wall.

Quite possibly. But with

accountability. It is all very well

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for Mrs May to say she will sting

the big executives, there has to be

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ministerial responsibility as well.

One of my concerns is that when

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vital public services of a kind

almost constitutional, for example,

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prisons, get contracted out, what

you are actually devolving as

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ministerial responsibility,

something goes terribly wrong, in a

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vital utility, a matter of security,

infrastructure, and ministers, of

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whatever colour, put up their hands

and say, it is wicked executives.

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What we need is ministerial

responsibility, oversight, of course

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we want a thriving private sector,

but some vital services need to be

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run by public servants and with

ministers held to account.

Sometimes

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when you hear Labour Shadow

ministers talking, it sounds as

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though they want to take absolutely

everything back into public

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ownership.

That is not the case. I

believe in a mixed economy and I

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know my colleagues do too but there

are times when some things need to

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be in public hands. That will

include on constitutional grounds

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talking about people's human rights,

basic security, and it will also

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mean sometimes when you have a big

organisation and outsourcing is used

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to grind down the working conditions

of some workers and break down the

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sense of community solidarity.

Where

is it appropriate for private

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contracts?

For example, there are

some things that the private sector

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probably does better. When you're

running a police force, you are

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unlikely to say, we will make the

motorbikes for the police officers

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better than BMW. Maybe you will but

I doubt it will happen any time

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soon.

You need to look at this. What

about cleaning in offices and police

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stations? Should that be run by the

police or outsourced?

Maybe

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hospitals are better example because

cleanliness in a hospital is quite

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often a matter of life and death.

Sometimes it is better even for

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something that seems not a core

service like claiming to be in

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public hands. You need to look at

this on a case-by-case basis.

You do

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not have many examples of where it

is appropriate for private companies

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to be involved. Prisons and

probation, what about catering in

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prisons, does that have to be in

public hands?

What you want to do is

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look at the quality of the service,

the quality of the conditions, for

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the people working there, and to see

what would be best value for the

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public and for the public purse. It

is not ideological, but in some

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cases, principles are at stake.

We

are left with the problem here of

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workers worried about pensions,

working for Carillion and

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subcontractors who might not get

paid. If the Government work to talk

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about putting taxpayers' money into

helping out those people or those

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companies, would the Labour Party

object?

We would want to look at the

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conditions of spending public money?

In principle? It is not the fault of

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the subcontracting small companies

they will not get paid.

Indeed, but

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if you decide to spend public money,

for example, to help the smaller

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businesses, you want accountability

in response. You

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in response. You might well want to

legislate to give priority to

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pension funds, for example, over

shareholders who have not done their

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job of corporate governance in these

cases.

Moving on to talk about

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something else, if you don't mind,

the serial six attacker, this time

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last week we were sitting here

talking about the fact the Justice

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Minister said he would launch a

judicial review and now he will not

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because it has little chance of

succeeding. Should the Government be

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pursuing a judicial review?

My view

at the time, I held my tongue about

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it because I am used to politicians

wading in in a knee jerk way when

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there is a case of this kind, my

view is that if there is to be a

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judicial review of the parole board

decision, the best person to bring

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such a review would be a victim

because the chances are their best

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arguments would be under the Human

Rights Act which gives rights to

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victims and not to politicians.

Crowdfunding attempt to raise money

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to do that perhaps?

If the Justice

Secretary wants to make a name for

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himself with this as a new Justice

Secretary, he might better give his

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attentions to making sure the people

have decent levels of legal aid so

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they can vindicate their rights

under the Human Rights Act. In

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relation to the case of John Worboys

and the crisis of public confidence,

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that it is in danger of creating, we

could do with an end review of the

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whole case, from the moment a young

woman

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woman went to the police and was not

believed to the moment this release

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decision was made arguably with the

lack of transparency and involvement

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of victims.

He was prosecuted for

offences against 12 women and we

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know there were almost 100 other

women who came forward. The CPS said

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there was not enough evidence and

they cannot revisit that decision,

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if there was not enough evidence

then, there will not be enough now.

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I am not second-guessing the

particular CPS decision is because I

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am not in a position to do that but

there are issues for the whole

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system from the moment that a woman

went to the police and was not

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treated with the respect she

deserved, to victims.

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Kier Starmer was director of

prosecutions at the time and he said

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he didn't have any involvement in

the decision-making behind it.

Nor

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did his predecessor.

But he should

have done, shouldn't he? He has

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prosecuted for only 12 cases, the

DPP should be involved in that.

My

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argument is this whole

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story on this whole case and the

numbers of women involved and

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frankly the anxiety this decision

has caused to women who weren't even

0:16:470:16:49

victims means there needs to be an

end to end review of how the system

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has worked in this case, from the

moment a woman went to the police

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and was arguably not believed in was

made without the input of victims

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who I would expect to be given

notice and the opportunity to make

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representations to the parole board.

There's a story running in the

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Sunday Times this morning about

Momentum and saying they are trying

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to deselect 50 Labour MPs. The fact

of the matter is whether have been

0:17:050:17:10

Parliamentary selections, momentum

candidates have... Do you think

0:17:100:17:17

actually the Parliamentary Labour

Party should better

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Party should better reflect Jeremy

Corbyn's Labour Party?

Momentum is

0:17:250:17:28

not prioritising the selection of

some candidates over others. They

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are part of the Labour movement that

has always had various strands

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within it. What is exciting to me is

not exciting to the Sunday Times,

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fair enough, but we have a

Democratic party becoming more

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democratic. I...

There is still a

massive disconnect between those who

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sit in Parliament and those who have

joined since Jeremy Corbyn became

0:17:560:18:00

leader.

I think these things become

exaggerated. I have noticed people

0:18:000:18:11

uniting around purposes, not least

the scandal around Carillion. I

0:18:110:18:15

don't really spot this red Menace in

the way other people do. It's a

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democratic party, and most popular

movement of about 600,000 people and

0:18:210:18:25

I think that something to be

optimistic about.

Thank you for

0:18:250:18:30

talking to this morning.

0:18:300:18:40

Momentum haven't been that

successful so far.

I think it has

0:18:400:18:45

been overblown on the basis of the

evidence. You quoted the procedure

0:18:450:18:49

is taking place so far, they haven't

prevailed that often and in the

0:18:490:18:54

Sunday Times this morning they

resorted to the example of Haringey

0:18:540:18:58

Council where there are a lot of

specific local issues. At this point

0:18:580:19:03

it is unclear whether the selection

will become the overwhelming theme

0:19:030:19:07

over the next few years in the

Labour Party. It might do but the

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evidence so far is it is much more

nuanced than some papers are

0:19:110:19:15

suggesting.

Three new Momentum

members on the NEC this morning, is

0:19:150:19:22

it going to make a difference do you

think?

A huge difference because

0:19:220:19:29

Corbyn and his wing of the party can

now do precisely what they want, as

0:19:290:19:31

long as they have the union muscle

behind them during conference votes,

0:19:310:19:37

then the party and any which way he

wants to run it is his. I disagree

0:19:370:19:42

with Steve, the difference in

language Jeremy Corbyn and his close

0:19:420:19:46

associates were using after the NEC

elections this week on mandatory

0:19:460:19:52

reselection is, Shami wasn't asked

if she believed in them, Rebecca

0:19:520:19:58

Long-Bailey was, and they refused to

rule them out and say they were a

0:19:580:20:05

bad thing. In my view, it is without

doubt that Corbyn will at some stage

0:20:050:20:14

try to reshape the Parliamentary

party more in his image and you may

0:20:140:20:19

argue why should he not do that.

Shami was saying the party is much

0:20:190:20:25

more united around Jeremy Corbyn and

when we see a story like Carillion

0:20:250:20:31

it is easier for him to get the

backing of the Parliamentary party.

0:20:310:20:36

I think that's right. How unpleasant

and ugly and divisive is it to have

0:20:360:20:42

the story is out, whether or not

they are completely accurate or

0:20:420:20:46

whoever is briefing, I think it

looks very bad on the atmosphere of

0:20:460:20:51

the Parliamentary party. Where I do

think Shami has a good point is on

0:20:510:20:55

the size of the Labour membership.

600,000, the Conservatives can only

0:20:550:21:01

dream of getting a fraction of

0:21:010:21:12

dream of getting a fraction of this,

so clearly there is a big problem

0:21:120:21:14

for the Tory party there in matching

what Labour is doing.

We should ask,

0:21:140:21:16

mandatory reselection for Labour

MPs, are you in favour, Shami?

Any

0:21:160:21:20

democratic process should be across

the board and for everyone. Where

0:21:200:21:24

MPs are doing a good job, including

working with their membership, and

0:21:240:21:28

you have to work with your

membership to get the vote out in

0:21:280:21:32

the Labour Party, that relationship

works well and I think that

0:21:320:21:35

relationship will only work better

into the future. I have been all

0:21:350:21:40

over the country to all sorts of

CLPs campaigning, and you would be

0:21:400:21:48

surprised at the number of places

where there is a very happy

0:21:480:21:52

relationship between the MP and the

party regardless of the particular

0:21:520:21:57

strand they come from.

Thank you for

that.

0:21:570:21:59

Now, the Government's flagship

Brexit legislation -

0:21:590:22:01

the EU Withdrawal Bill -

hasn't always had the easiest

0:22:010:22:03

of times in the House of Commons,

but this week, MPs voted to send it

0:22:030:22:07

through for consideration

in the House of Lords.

0:22:070:22:09

A number of peers having expressed

concern about the so-called Henry

0:22:090:22:11

VIII powers the bill grants

to ministers to make changes to some

0:22:110:22:14

laws without parliamentary scrutiny.

0:22:140:22:15

And of course, a number

of peers are dismayed

0:22:150:22:17

about the process of Brexit itself.

0:22:170:22:19

So, are we likely to see more

dramatic attempts to change

0:22:190:22:22

the Bill in a chamber full

of unelected lawmakers?

0:22:220:22:24

Ellie Price has been

taking their temperature.

0:22:240:22:32

Stop Brexit!

0:22:330:22:36

You'd think a bill that sought

to enshrine EU law into British law

0:22:360:22:39

after Brexit would be popular

with the pro-Remain

0:22:390:22:41

crowd in Parliament.

0:22:410:22:43

But when the Withdrawal Bill cleared

the Commons this week,

0:22:430:22:46

one Tory Remain-supporting MP said

he hoped the House of Lords would

0:22:460:22:49

make an enormous amount of changes.

0:22:490:22:52

Good lord, what are they up to?!

0:22:520:22:56

I think what will happen

is that the Government will suffer

0:22:560:22:59

a series of defeats,

which will reduce the power

0:22:590:23:03

of ministers to do things

without proper scrutiny,

0:23:030:23:06

and put in place a sensible series

of votes - both in Parliament

0:23:060:23:10

and the people at the end

of the process - so that when we do

0:23:100:23:14

get an end point to Brexit,

people can say that it's

0:23:140:23:16

been done properly.

0:23:160:23:21

So a second referendum

is on the table?

0:23:210:23:23

It's definitely on the table.

0:23:230:23:25

You would expect a Lib Dem

to say that, but some Tory

0:23:250:23:27

peers want changes too.

0:23:270:23:32

If it comes to the situation

where it looks as if what people

0:23:320:23:35

voted for cannot be delivered,

then we have to decide how

0:23:350:23:37

best to move forward.

0:23:370:23:42

I don't believe the House of Lords

is trying to block Brexit at all.

0:23:420:23:46

I think what the House of Lords

is doing is its constitutional duty.

0:23:460:23:50

So anyone hoping the House of Lords

will deliver a fatal blow to Brexit

0:23:500:23:53

will be disappointed,

but so too will anyone hoping

0:23:530:23:58

that the Withdrawal Bill will come

out of there unchanged.

0:23:580:24:00

So what is all the fuss about?

0:24:000:24:05

The extent of the Government taking

powers to itself while giving

0:24:050:24:07

powers to Parliament,

Henry VIII powers, this issue,

0:24:070:24:09

of course, about the kind

of protections we've had under EU

0:24:090:24:12

law that we've contributed

to for consumer protection,

0:24:120:24:14

workplace protection,

environmental issues,

0:24:140:24:18

they are coming into UK law

and that's what this bill does

0:24:180:24:22

but it needs to make sure they're

protected in UK law; they can't just

0:24:220:24:25

be overturned the next day.

0:24:250:24:27

There has to be a mandatory

process to do that.

0:24:270:24:30

But this was the reaction when some

elected MPs over in the Commons

0:24:300:24:33

voted against aspects

of the Withdrawal Bill,

0:24:330:24:34

causing a government defeat.

0:24:340:24:38

One of their own colleagues even

talked of treachery.

0:24:380:24:40

Another MP, Jacob Rees-Mogg,

this week said the laws would face

0:24:400:24:45

reform if it tried to frustrate

the democratic will of the people.

0:24:450:24:48

So is the chamber full of unelected

Remainers playing with fire?

0:24:480:24:56

Since I've been leader

in the House of Lords,

0:24:570:24:59

for just over two years,

what I've found is every time

0:24:590:25:01

someone doesn't agree

with something we're doing,

0:25:010:25:03

they will get quite

hysterical about "take

0:25:030:25:05

away their powers," it's almost

an off-with-their-heads moment.

0:25:050:25:08

But you know, there is quite

prescribed powers we do,

0:25:080:25:11

we take them seriously

and responsibly, and,

0:25:110:25:12

if there are changes

we think should be made,

0:25:120:25:15

we will send them back

to the House of Commons.

0:25:150:25:19

And even one of the lesser-spotted

Brexit-supporting

0:25:190:25:21

Lords isn't worried.

0:25:210:25:22

There are a number of lords

are in cahoots with Messrs Tusk

0:25:220:25:25

and Juncker in trying to persuade

the British people that they made

0:25:250:25:27

a grave mistake when they voted

to leave Brexit, and I have no doubt

0:25:270:25:31

they will have a bit

of fun doing that.

0:25:310:25:33

But on the big issues,

like whether we should

0:25:330:25:35

have a second referendum,

the Lords voted by a majority

0:25:350:25:37

of more than 200 against that last

year; or if you look at the Commons

0:25:370:25:41

vote where the majority was over 200

against remaining in the single

0:25:410:25:44

market and the customs union,

I think the Lords will look

0:25:440:25:47

to the elected House and do

what they're good at,

0:25:470:25:49

which is to consider the detail.

0:25:490:25:51

Of course, one of the biggest

differences between the Lords

0:25:510:25:55

and Commons is the presence

of nearly 200 crossbenchers -

0:25:550:25:57

members who aren't in a party

and don't take the whip,

0:25:570:26:00

and they include some

of the most distinguished legal

0:26:000:26:02

minds in the country.

0:26:020:26:03

And debate over the bill's

constitutional implications may well

0:26:030:26:06

lead to more than one showdown

with the Commons.

0:26:060:26:10

It's worth remembering

that the Corporate Manslaughter

0:26:100:26:14

and Corporate Homicide Bill went

back and forth between the two

0:26:140:26:17

Houses seven times only a few years

ago, and that was just an aspect

0:26:170:26:21

of the criminal justice system,

it wasn't about the biggest decision

0:26:210:26:24

this country is taking since 1945.

0:26:240:26:29

So I think people need to be

a little bit relaxed about that.

0:26:290:26:37

Like the MPs on the Green

benches of the Commons,

0:26:380:26:41

the Lords on their red benches

agreed to trigger Article 50.

0:26:410:26:45

But the Lords, like the Commons,

is split on what Brexit

0:26:450:26:48

should actually look like.

0:26:480:26:51

There may be some toing and froing,

or ping-pong as it's known around

0:26:510:26:55

here, but pretty much everyone

agrees the Lords can't

0:26:550:26:58

and won't block the bill,

and it will go through,

0:26:580:27:00

probably, by the end of May.

0:27:000:27:05

Ellie Price reporting.

0:27:050:27:07

Well, to discuss this,

we're joined from Somerset

0:27:070:27:09

by the MP Jacob Rees-Mogg.

0:27:090:27:11

This week he was elected

chair of the influential

0:27:110:27:15

European Research Group,

made up of Brexit-backing

0:27:150:27:16

Conservative backbenchers.

0:27:160:27:17

And in the studio, we're

joined by Andrew Adonis.

0:27:170:27:25

He's a Labour peer who resigned

from his role as a Government

0:27:250:27:27

adviser last month over

its Brexit strategy.

0:27:270:27:32

Lord Adonis, you have made your

opposition to Brexit clear, recently

0:27:320:27:36

describing it as a national list

spasm that can be stopped. Do you

0:27:360:27:40

think the EU Withdrawal Bill is the

opportunity to stop Brexit?

I agree

0:27:400:27:47

this is the biggest decision the

country will take since 1945. I do

0:27:470:27:52

not think the Lords can stop it,

this is an issue for the people. It

0:27:520:27:57

started with the people in a

referendum and my view is the final

0:27:570:28:00

sites should go to the people. The

critical issue over the coming

0:28:000:28:04

months will be the relationship

between the House of Lords and the

0:28:040:28:08

House of Commons in seeing people

have the final say.

When you say

0:28:080:28:12

people have the final say, you are

talking about a second referendum?

0:28:120:28:17

The first referendum on Mrs May's

terms on departure of the EU, not a

0:28:170:28:23

rerun of the referendum two years

ago because when we have that we

0:28:230:28:26

didn't know what the terms would be.

We are a democracy, we engage the

0:28:260:28:32

people, this is the biggest decision

since 1945 and the people should

0:28:320:28:37

have the final say.

Let me bring in

Jacob Rees-Mogg on that, you are

0:28:370:28:43

confident we will have a Brexit deal

that will look attractive to most of

0:28:430:28:47

the electorate so presumably you

wouldn't be too worried about the

0:28:470:28:50

second referendum on the terms of

the deal?

I think the ambition of

0:28:500:28:55

the Lords in putting forward a

second referendum is to try to stop

0:28:550:29:00

tax it, and Lord Adonis has been

clear about that. He said only

0:29:000:29:04

yesterday he wanted to delete all of

the clauses of the Withdrawal Bill.

0:29:040:29:08

We have had a referendum, then a

general election where both main

0:29:080:29:12

parties backed the referendum

results. I think if somebody wants a

0:29:120:29:16

second referendum they should win a

general election first, campaigning

0:29:160:29:21

for one, rather than getting

unelected peers to use it as a

0:29:210:29:25

stratagem to obstruct Brexit. It is

noticeable Lord Adonis and others

0:29:250:29:29

have not called for a second

referendum on other things

0:29:290:29:39

referendum on other things like the

Scottish vote.

Lord Adonis, you have

0:29:390:29:41

sent you will make the Government's

life an absolute misery over the EU

0:29:410:29:44

Withdrawal Bill which sounds as if

you are using it as a stick to beat

0:29:440:29:48

a policy or a decision you don't

like rather than your real role

0:29:480:29:53

which is legislative scrutiny.

There's a huge amount of scrutiny to

0:29:530:29:56

do. The powers which ministers are

given in this bill is without

0:29:560:30:01

precedent in a single piece of

legislation, they have order making

0:30:010:30:04

powers over the whole sphere of

legislation that was previously

0:30:040:30:08

enshrined in European law so if the

House of Lords doesn't pay attention

0:30:080:30:11

to that it's not doing its job.

Coming back to Jacob's remarks,

0:30:110:30:17

Jacob himself has been a

0:30:170:30:28

supporter of the second referendum.

In the House of Commons in 2011 he

0:30:300:30:33

himself set out a case for a

referendum on the terms of departure

0:30:330:30:35

from the European Union if the

electorate voted first time around

0:30:350:30:37

to set the process in train. Jacob

is contradicting his own position.

0:30:370:30:41

You are shaking your head, Jacob

Rees-Mogg.

0:30:410:30:47

That is simply inaccurate. There was

a proposal for a referendum to begin

0:30:470:30:51

a process of negotiating

nonmembership, to give them a

0:30:510:30:55

mandate, and he would come back with

what he achieved, and there would be

0:30:550:31:00

a referendum on the result. The

Prime Minister decided to have a

0:31:000:31:04

straightforward referendum, in or

out. Lord Adonis is speaking about

0:31:040:31:11

discussion before the referendum

terms were set, then they were set,

0:31:110:31:15

everyone knew what they were voting

for, to leave the EU, it was clear

0:31:150:31:18

that meant leaving the single market

and the customs union. I put a dent

0:31:180:31:23

Lord Adonis, he would not be calling

for a second referendum had Remain

0:31:230:31:30

won.

That is completely untrue. We

did not know what the terms were.

0:31:300:31:34

The Conservative manifesto for the

election before said we would stay

0:31:340:31:38

in the single market. These are

Jacob's words, in the House of

0:31:380:31:45

Commons, in 2011, it might make

sense to have the second referendum

0:31:450:31:49

after the renegotiation is

completed...

He says he is talking

0:31:490:31:52

about Cameron's renegotiation that

he went to before.

Exactly the same

0:31:520:31:58

principle applies now. We are seeing

the terms Mrs May is coming back

0:31:580:32:02

with, it is absolutely right that

people should have a safe and it

0:32:020:32:05

should not be Jacob Rees Mogg and

Brexit ideologues deciding what the

0:32:050:32:08

terms are.

The difficulty with this

is that people decided in a

0:32:080:32:17

referendum, the general election

manifestos of both parties committed

0:32:170:32:19

to carrying out the result of the

referendum, if Lord Adonis wants to

0:32:190:32:23

put his case forward, he should try

to stand for election, something I

0:32:230:32:27

do not think he has ever done, win a

general election campaigning to

0:32:270:32:32

reverse the result. Unelected peers

should not try to frustrate the will

0:32:320:32:36

of the British people, as now

expressed in two Democratic votes.

0:32:360:32:40

On that, you have been issuing some

veiled threats this week, saying the

0:32:400:32:44

House of Lords would get into

difficulties if they try to

0:32:440:32:48

frustrate Brexit, what do you mean

by that?

I think what Baroness Smith

0:32:480:32:53

is saying is very sensible, the

House of Lords will abide by the

0:32:530:32:58

Constitutional conventions, it will

look to revise, I have concerns

0:32:580:33:01

about some of the Henry VIII powers

myself, a perfectly reasonable thing

0:33:010:33:05

for the Lords to look at in its

normal constitutional role. But if

0:33:050:33:10

the House of Lords gets into a 1909

position of peers against the

0:33:100:33:14

people, the people win and the Lords

need to be aware of that, they need

0:33:140:33:21

to observe the constitutional norms

and then everything will carry on.

0:33:210:33:23

The Lords need to be aware that what

might happen to them in those

0:33:230:33:26

circumstances, that government could

flood the Chamber with 200 new Tory

0:33:260:33:31

peers?

It is already pretty flooded,

but yes, you would have to have a

0:33:310:33:35

deluge on top of a flood. The House

of Lords has to abide by the

0:33:350:33:40

constitutional norms, otherwise the

Prime Minister would be perfectly

0:33:400:33:43

entitled to use reserve powers to

create more peers. I hope that will

0:33:430:33:47

not be necessary. This is a

conditional, not something I am

0:33:470:33:50

calling for.

What he is doing is

threatening the Lords, Brexit

0:33:500:33:55

ideologues who will stop at nothing

to get Brexit through without the

0:33:550:33:58

people the final say. He is dodging

the issue because nobody is talking

0:33:580:34:04

about the House of Lords asserting

itself against the people. The issue

0:34:040:34:07

which it will come down to resist

the House of Lords invites the House

0:34:070:34:12

of Commons, Jacob and his

colleagues, themselves to reach a

0:34:120:34:15

decision again on the issue of

whether they should have a

0:34:150:34:19

referendum on the final terms. It is

not anti-democratic, it is the

0:34:190:34:24

proper expression of democracy and

the House of Lords. It is something

0:34:240:34:28

which Jacob himself has supported in

the past, no longer convenient for

0:34:280:34:33

him to recognise that fact, but

people's past does catch up with

0:34:330:34:38

them. Nigel Farage has come to

support a referendum on Mrs May's

0:34:380:34:43

Brexit deal because he realises it

is inevitable. As people realise the

0:34:430:34:48

gravity of this decision and the

fact Parliament itself is not in a

0:34:480:34:51

great place to take it because there

has been a referendum. The case for

0:34:510:34:56

a referendum on Mrs May's terms will

be unstoppable and the House of

0:34:560:35:00

Lords will play an important

democratic role in inviting the

0:35:000:35:04

House of Commons to reach a decision

on that.

Jacob Rees Mogg, it would

0:35:040:35:08

be ironic if the British

constitution is working its way with

0:35:080:35:12

the House of Lords making its

revisions sending it back to the

0:35:120:35:15

Commons, for you to argue against

that, when what you wanted was for

0:35:150:35:19

us to take control back of our own

government.

I am all in favour of

0:35:190:35:25

taking back control and decisions

being made in the House of Commons

0:35:250:35:28

with the Lords acting as a revising

Chamber. You have to understand the

0:35:280:35:33

motives, they are trying to obstruct

Brexit. Lord Adonis said the

0:35:330:35:37

decision to leave for is as big a

mistake as appeasement in the 1930s,

0:35:370:35:43

almost hysterical reaction to the

Brexit decision, and they are using

0:35:430:35:48

it as a strategy to frustrate

Brexit. What they should do is not

0:35:480:35:53

used the unelected Lords but they

should campaign in a general

0:35:530:35:56

election if they have to campaign to

do it as the Labour Party notably

0:35:560:36:00

didn't in 2017, to call for a second

referendum and reverse the result,

0:36:000:36:04

but they

0:36:040:36:08

Hello and welcome to Sunday Politics

in Northern Ireland.

0:37:230:37:27

Amid one final attempt

to bring Stormont back,

0:37:270:37:30

there's another deal politicians

here are working on with

0:37:300:37:32

Westminster - City Deals.

0:37:320:37:33

Could giving more power

to councils around Belfast

0:37:330:37:35

and the North West prove to be

the big economic game changer?

0:37:350:37:40

Plus, Micheal Martin's support

for abortion in the early stages

0:37:400:37:44

of pregnancy was one of the shock

moments of this week's Dail

0:37:440:37:47

debate on the repeal

of the Eighth Amendment.

0:37:470:37:50

We'll be live in Dublin for analysis

from the Irish Times'

0:37:500:37:52

former political editor.

0:37:520:37:53

And with me in the studio

for their take on events

0:37:530:37:55

are Professor Rick Wilford

and Suzanne Breen of

0:37:550:37:57

the Belfast Telegraph.

0:37:570:38:05

Behind the big political battles

of Stormont and Brexit,

0:38:050:38:07

the work to get City Deals in place

here is picking up pace.

0:38:070:38:13

Last November the Chancellor said

Belfast and surrounding council

0:38:130:38:15

areas could work up a plan to get

more power for economic growth

0:38:150:38:18

and more control over public

spending plans and it's hoped that

0:38:180:38:21

a deal will be signed

off this autumn.

0:38:210:38:25

Derry and Strabane Council,

meanwhile, has been fighting hard

0:38:250:38:27

for a deal of its own.

0:38:270:38:30

It didn't get a specific endorsement

from the Chancellor -

0:38:300:38:32

but politicians and business leaders

point to a commitment

0:38:320:38:34

from the former Secretary of State,

James Brokenshire, in December

0:38:340:38:37

that it will also get a City Deal.

0:38:370:38:41

Councillor Deirdre Hargey

is the chair of the Belfast City

0:38:410:38:45

Council committee leading the work

on the City Deal, and in our Foyle

0:38:450:38:48

studio MLA Gary Middleton has been

part of the lobbying efforts

0:38:480:38:51

in the North West.

0:38:510:38:56

Welcome to you both. What clear

benefit his Belfast hoping for from

0:38:560:39:05

a City Deal?

We have set a target of

bringing in an extra £1 billion of

0:39:050:39:11

investment into the Belfast and the

five surrounding council areas and I

0:39:110:39:15

think this would have a massive

opportunity to make real inclusive

0:39:150:39:19

growth within the city and beyond in

areas of skills and employability,

0:39:190:39:26

in immersive tech and that you are

digital infrastructure and bringing

0:39:260:39:28

it up to the standards of companies

within the city and surrounding

0:39:280:39:32

areas, to compete on an

international stage. I think this is

0:39:320:39:36

a game changer, obviously only one

element of an overall inclusive

0:39:360:39:40

growth strategy that our city and

surrounding areas are looking at but

0:39:400:39:44

it is a massive game changer for

success moving forward.

In your

0:39:440:39:48

view, does this depend on the

restoration of devolution or not? In

0:39:480:39:55

November, when it was first mooted,

there seemed to be a suggestion from

0:39:550:39:59

the Treasury that was the case?

Obviously we want the institutions

0:39:590:40:03

working, that would be good for

everyone. The finance package would

0:40:030:40:09

be a partnership between the British

Government, the Executive and the

0:40:090:40:12

local councils and authorities. We

want a functioning executive but it

0:40:120:40:19

has to be on the right terms and

we're working on ensuring we are

0:40:190:40:26

taking the steps.

Do you still think

a City Deal would be deliverable

0:40:260:40:30

without a functioning executive?

Yes

because the department is how they

0:40:300:40:33

are and if there is a lot will

around everybody around key growth

0:40:330:40:39

areas, in terms of propelling

economic growth and dealing with

0:40:390:40:42

poverty and deprivation and low

skills and targeting jobs, then I

0:40:420:40:48

think everyone could buy into that.

In the North West, Gary Middleton,

0:40:480:40:57

Belfast has a formal status of

bidding for a City Deal with the

0:40:570:41:00

powers that be in London, but the

situation as well as Derry and

0:41:000:41:06

Strabane Council and surrounding

councils as you do not have that

0:41:060:41:08

formal endorsement at this stage,

how big of a drawback is that?

Well,

0:41:080:41:15

obviously we want to see Londonderry

get a City Deal, that is a priority

0:41:150:41:19

and I think we have political unity

around that. There have been

0:41:190:41:25

engagements in terms of recent weeks

and we have in place strategic

0:41:250:41:30

growth plans which we believe will

road map significant investment in

0:41:300:41:34

the North West. It will basically

boost economic growth in

0:41:340:41:38

productivity and employment. We have

had recent positive discussions and

0:41:380:41:42

we believe Londonderry is now ready

for this.

You have the endorsement

0:41:420:41:49

of James Brokenshire, when he was

Secretary of State, he has gone now

0:41:490:41:53

and has been replaced by Karen

Bradley. Have you spoken to her to

0:41:530:41:56

see if she supports this bit?

Absolutely, at a senior level, DUP

0:41:560:42:01

MPs have been in constant

negotiation and conversation with

0:42:010:42:04

the Secretary of State and we have

phrased it directly with her. And we

0:42:040:42:07

do believe that Karen does believe

City Deals are vital for the North

0:42:070:42:14

West region. From our own

perspective, we don't believe it is

0:42:140:42:18

an either or, we believe Belfast and

Londonderry can both benefit from

0:42:180:42:22

City Deal that complement each

other. Ultimately, when you look at

0:42:220:42:25

the Foyle constituency and the high

levels of deprivation and

0:42:250:42:29

unemployment, it is vital we get our

strategic growth plan in place. We

0:42:290:42:35

are not starting in a position of

zero, we start with a plan in place

0:42:350:42:39

and we believe it can create jobs

and have investment but we need to

0:42:390:42:45

deliver on key infrastructure

projects, which we have continually

0:42:450:42:47

raised, the A5, the Athe airport and

harbour, we are very positive and

0:42:470:42:57

remain positive going into the

future.

In Gary Middleton's view,

0:42:570:43:03

there is no competition between the

two cities and regions. Are you

0:43:030:43:08

nervous the North West is also

bidding might steal your thunder?

0:43:080:43:15

No, we welcome and inclusive Growth

deal for Derry and the North West

0:43:150:43:21

more generally, I think that

enhances the past's case also

0:43:210:43:26

because we are a small economy and

if we're serious about propelling

0:43:260:43:31

the private sector and looking at

inclusive growth, so we let everyone

0:43:310:43:36

up in society, then the more of the

north that goes for these inclusive

0:43:360:43:39

Growth Deals, the better. We would

work in partnership with Derry and

0:43:390:43:44

we will collaborate with them and

look at synergies amongst our

0:43:440:43:47

inclusive Growth Deals and I look

forward to that partnership.

DUP

0:43:470:43:52

seems to claim credit that it is

part of the deal with the Tories and

0:43:520:43:55

that is what has led to particular

movement. Do you have to recognise

0:43:550:44:01

the fact that this is something that

has come out of that deal in

0:44:010:44:06

Westminster, which is maybe to the

benefit of everybody here in

0:44:060:44:10

Northern Ireland?

I don't see it. We

have been in discussions in the

0:44:100:44:14

North West and in Belfast for nearly

two years now, we have been engaging

0:44:140:44:18

with the Executive and the British

Government and have been working

0:44:180:44:23

with institutions in the city, the

university, the harbour, etc, and I

0:44:230:44:28

do think it has been that push and

that partnership that has got us to

0:44:280:44:33

where we are today.

Jeffrey

Donaldson says it was not an issue

0:44:330:44:40

of the non-Irish executive. The DUP

recognises that City Deals would be

0:44:400:44:45

good for Northern Ireland and we

want to see them rolled out. He says

0:44:450:44:48

they deserve the credit.

I don't see

that, the only deals I have seen

0:44:480:44:52

come out of this are Confidence and

Supply, which seems to be

0:44:520:44:59

gerrymandering constituency areas.

The City Deals we have been looking

0:44:590:45:02

at have been through discussion and

negotiation over two years, councils

0:45:020:45:06

have been pushing them, certainly,

but we do feel it is through our

0:45:060:45:11

engagement with both Westminster and

the Executive office because we do

0:45:110:45:14

need departments here within the

Executive to work behind us on this

0:45:140:45:18

and get behind us. I feel it is

through all of those partnerships,

0:45:180:45:22

working, that we have come to this

realisation. Because they know that

0:45:220:45:25

the economic growth and deal with

issues of poverty and deprivation,

0:45:250:45:30

that is good for the economy.

Do you

see this as a DUP initiative above

0:45:300:45:36

all else?

Well, what I would say as

we are aware that 20 City Deals have

0:45:360:45:42

already been signed through the UK

and we believe we need to be ready

0:45:420:45:45

in terms of having a plan in place

to allow us to go for a City Deal.

0:45:450:45:48

As Jeffrey has alluded to, the fact

we have a confident and supply

0:45:480:45:55

arrangement, City Deals are able to

be put clearly on the agenda, so we

0:45:550:45:58

have that commitment for the first

time, that City Deals will happen.

0:45:580:46:00

And we believe there needs to be

certainly one for Londonderry, as

0:46:000:46:04

with Belfast, but we do not see this

as a competition. I do believe it is

0:46:040:46:08

helpful at this moment to create a

competition, where we can try to

0:46:080:46:12

find out who was the first to say it

or deliver it, I believe we need to

0:46:120:46:16

work together to ensure me to get

City Deals for Northern Ireland. I

0:46:160:46:20

think that is how we should go

forward.

The North West is pushing

0:46:200:46:26

hard for investment, to bring jobs

to Derry and the region but we also

0:46:260:46:32

know there are threats from other

cities with similar deals, there are

0:46:320:46:35

issues, you said yourself, with

transport shortcomings, it is a very

0:46:350:46:39

market. Do you have a figure, Deidre

mentioned £1 billion for Belfast in

0:46:390:46:45

this region, what the figure you are

looking for in the North West?

0:46:450:46:51

Ultimately, our strategic growth

plan identifies a figure of 3.4

0:46:510:46:54

billion, Oliver infrastructure

projects, of towns and cities,

0:46:540:47:01

that's something we're working

towards. In terms of the City Deal

0:47:010:47:05

proposal, and we presented this is

obviously to the Government in

0:47:050:47:07

relation to the need for a £1.7

billion investment, we believe that

0:47:070:47:12

would eliminate those in jobs and

open up our economy in terms of

0:47:120:47:17

transport access, collectivity and

we need to get broadband

0:47:170:47:23

connectivity as well. We have

detailed this and I want to pay

0:47:230:47:28

tribute to the local council and all

who have prepared this worthwhile

0:47:280:47:32

document. We look forward to going

for with that in the future.

Thank

0:47:320:47:35

you. We have confirmation that Mary

Lou McDonald is the only candidate

0:47:350:47:42

to take over as president of Sinn

Fein very soon. There will be no

0:47:420:47:47

competition. Are you content with

that?

I think there was an open

0:47:470:47:51

process within the party, in terms

of people putting names for that,

0:47:510:47:55

that concluded on Friday with just

one nomination received, which was

0:47:550:47:58

Mary Lou. And I think I was at a

party meeting yesterday, at which

0:47:580:48:03

that was announced, and there was a

real positive feeling within the

0:48:030:48:07

party. It's part of an overall

tenure transition plan which Gerry

0:48:070:48:10

Adams had set out last year. And

this is a step in that transition

0:48:100:48:14

plan. I think there is an upbeat

mood within the party and I think

0:48:140:48:18

it's a good move, Mary Lou is an

excellent leader coming forward...

0:48:180:48:22

You don't think the contest would

have looked better?

That is down to

0:48:220:48:26

the party and

0:48:260:48:36

those who their names forward. It is

not unique to Sinn Fein, the parties

0:48:370:48:40

have gone through similar processes

and similar outcomes. We are going

0:48:400:48:42

to be looking to a deputy leader

soon. And that will be another

0:48:420:48:45

process again but I think this is a

good move for Sinn Fein and for

0:48:450:48:48

Ireland as a whole.

Thank you.

0:48:480:48:49

Let's hear from my guests

of the day, Professor Rick Wilford

0:48:490:48:51

from Queen's University

and Suzanne Breen from

0:48:510:48:53

the Belfast Telegraph.

0:48:530:48:56

Suzanne, let's talk about me really

being confirmed at the only

0:48:560:49:01

candidate for that leadership, which

will be decided on the 10th of

0:49:010:49:04

February. Would it have looked

better if there had been a proper

0:49:040:49:08

contest or does it not matter? , I

think it is that that for a party

0:49:080:49:12

with many ambitious members, a huge

array of talent, particularly south

0:49:120:49:18

of the border, nobody has appeared

to want the leadership of the party.

0:49:180:49:21

I would have thought Pearse Doherty

was a good alternative candidate.

I

0:49:210:49:26

understand it could be for personal

reasons, he has young children and

0:49:260:49:30

commutes from Donegal to Dublin and

it could be too much for him. Yes, I

0:49:300:49:33

think there could be some criticism

levelled at Sinn Fein that only one

0:49:330:49:37

person contested the leadership that

we have to remember that live here,

0:49:370:49:42

I think I'm out of the six main

parties, it is only... Arlene

0:49:420:49:48

Foster, Peter Robinson did not,

leadership was gifted to them, so I

0:49:480:49:53

don't think we can criticise Sinn

Fein without looking at the DUP and

0:49:530:49:57

other parties too. What is different

is the downside. Both Micheal Martin

0:49:570:50:02

and Leo Varadkar faced leadership

battles, so maybe that might be used

0:50:020:50:04

against her down south.

Time and

again, there have not been contest

0:50:040:50:12

for leadership.

Coronations have

become the norm. Five out of the six

0:50:120:50:20

leaders in the North were

uncontested.

0:50:200:50:26

uncontested. I'm not sure, I

certainly agree you should not' Sinn

0:50:270:50:31

Fein for criticism on this issue.

But I think what matters is the

0:50:310:50:36

extent to which leaders are

successful in bringing their party

0:50:360:50:38

forward. The big issue here is to

what extent, if any, Mary Lou

0:50:380:50:43

McDonald is going to steer the boat

in a different direction. She said

0:50:430:50:46

yesterday, she could not fill Gerry

Adams's shoes. Will she assumed the

0:50:460:50:55

leadership in a pair of spiky

stilettos or will she be more

0:50:550:51:00

softly, softly, so a kitten heeled

approach to leadership. But she has

0:51:000:51:03

a lot of challenges with the

abortion issue and elections and the

0:51:030:51:10

talks up here, which she will have a

role, no doubt, so she stepping in

0:51:100:51:12

at the deep end. A very challenging

period for Northern Ireland.

That

0:51:120:51:19

brings us to the other issue I

wanted to talk about, fresh talks

0:51:190:51:24

announced by Karen Bradley starting

on Wednesday, short, sharp process,

0:51:240:51:27

she says, aimed at delivering based

Stormont project again. What chance

0:51:270:51:34

of success?

Nobody I have spoken to

across a wide range of parties

0:51:340:51:37

believes there will be a deal within

the next two weeks. I think this

0:51:370:51:41

process will drag on and on and the

talks will extend beyond the

0:51:410:51:47

fortnight. Gregory Campbell told me

on Friday that chances were not

0:51:470:51:52

great for a deal, there has been

speculation that Sinn Fein might be

0:51:520:51:56

motivated to have something in place

on the 10th of February, Gerry Adams

0:51:560:52:03

is finally departing the stage but

the private positions of the parties

0:52:030:52:07

at the same as the current public

positions, and if that's the case,

0:52:070:52:13

there is little hope.

If you are

looking for optimism, you could see

0:52:130:52:20

your interview ten days ago with Leo

Varadkar when he said it would be a

0:52:200:52:25

hard sell off there was a deal, you

can infer from that that maybe there

0:52:250:52:30

is a possibility. I thought it was

interesting that Gerry Adams said

0:52:300:52:32

yesterday that we must challenge

Unionists and we also have to

0:52:320:52:39

challenge ourselves and our base, in

terms of the development of the

0:52:390:52:44

party. I wondered whether I might be

reading too much between the lines

0:52:440:52:48

here but I wonder if you put those

two comments together, you might

0:52:480:52:53

infer that it is a glimmer of light

but there is no vaulting ambition.

0:52:530:52:58

People I have spoken to, their mood

is very downbeat.

We leave it there

0:52:580:53:03

for now.

0:53:030:53:06

Thanks both.

0:53:060:53:07

And now with a look back at another

busy week in the political world,

0:53:070:53:10

here's Stephen Walker.

0:53:100:53:16

Sinn Fein MP Barry McElduff resigned

over his controversial Kingsmill

0:53:160:53:19

video. No that I offer an apology to

the families and the wider community

0:53:190:53:27

for consequences of the video. A new

short talks process was announced by

0:53:270:53:33

the Secretary of State.

It has

become clear to me that time is

0:53:330:53:37

short. One last opportunity to reach

agreement remains.

We need focus and

0:53:370:53:41

pressure. And an understanding and

context to allow the party to work

0:53:410:53:47

together.

Parties also appeared keen

to seek resolution.

We must use this

0:53:470:53:52

time wisely. We have set out the

issues that need to be resolved.

It

0:53:520:53:59

needs to be a balance to deal,

capable of being supported.

If

0:53:590:54:05

Stormont doesn't return, might a

citizens Assembly fill the void? ? I

0:54:050:54:08

believe there should be used to

review, and revitalise the Good

0:54:080:54:14

Friday Agreement, to get new

institutions reformed.

0:54:140:54:21

When the leader of Fianna Fail,

Micheal Martin, said on Thursday

0:54:210:54:24

that he supported legalising

abortion in the early

0:54:240:54:26

months of pregnancy,

one TD reportedly said it would lead

0:54:260:54:28

to Mr Martin being "lynched"

by his colleagues.

0:54:280:54:31

It underlines the significance

of what Mr Martin did and what's

0:54:310:54:34

at stake for people on both sides

of the abortion debate.

0:54:340:54:37

TDs are currently discussing

the repeal of the Eighth Amendment -

0:54:370:54:40

which recognises the equal right

to life of the mother

0:54:400:54:42

and her unborn child -

and it's expected the Government

0:54:420:54:45

will put the matter

to the Irish people

0:54:450:54:50

in a referendum in May or June.

0:54:500:54:52

The former political editor

of the Irish Times, Stephen Collins,

0:54:520:54:54

joins me from Dublin.

0:54:540:54:57

Micheal Martin previously described

himself as pro-life -

0:54:570:54:59

so clearly not expected.

0:54:590:55:04

What are the consequences for him

and his party at this move?

0:55:040:55:12

He has taken a political risk and

surprised most of his own TTs and

0:55:130:55:18

senators by this line. But the party

is good at having a free vote, so

0:55:180:55:24

he, like the other TDs in Fianna

Fail is entitled to his views on

0:55:240:55:28

this issue. There has been support

of deleting the Eighth Amendment and

0:55:280:55:33

in support of the planned by the

committee to allow access to

0:55:330:55:38

abortion up to 12 weeks. The ground

had been paved but a lot of his TDs

0:55:380:55:43

were initially shocked and

surprised. A number said they would

0:55:430:55:46

take a different view. So far, there

has been no real vote in Fianna Fail

0:55:460:55:51

because people are allowed to

express their own views. At the most

0:55:510:55:55

recent party conference, in October,

there was overwhelming support for

0:55:550:56:00

retaining the Eighth Amendment. It

was designed after all by Fianna

0:56:000:56:04

Fail in the first place and the

party faithful still believe it

0:56:040:56:08

should remain. Micheal Martin is

taking a risk but I think he has

0:56:080:56:13

decided to move because Ireland is

changing and opinion polls show

0:56:130:56:16

there is possibly a majority for a

change and he doesn't want to be

0:56:160:56:20

left isolated as a backward looking

party and is taking this big

0:56:200:56:24

decision in that context.

Quite a

challenge for the Taoiseach leader,

0:56:240:56:29

Leo Varadkar, who said publicly it

is critical beta date is conducted

0:56:290:56:35

appropriately and that he finds the

correct wording for the referendum

0:56:350:56:39

question itself.

Yes, Leo Varadkar

has been moving slowly and nobody

0:56:390:56:44

doubts that he wants to go ahead

with removing the Eighth Amendment

0:56:440:56:47

and replacing it with what the

committee recommended, allowing

0:56:470:56:51

access to abortion up to 12 weeks. I

think he wants to get to that

0:56:510:56:55

position but he is moving slowly,

trying to bring as many waverers

0:56:550:56:59

with him because there are the

Niguel senators who will not be very

0:56:590:57:03

happy with this either but he is

trying to bring as many of them

0:57:030:57:07

along he can. -- the

0:57:070:57:14

along he can. -- the Fine Gael.

There has been talk of courts, which

0:57:180:57:26

may fuel opposition but so far, the

fact that both parties are allowing

0:57:260:57:31

a free vote, we have had a debate in

the Dail and the Senate and it was

0:57:310:57:36

pretty civilised. People expected it

to be bitter and divisive and that

0:57:360:57:40

did not happen. People had different

views but did not get involved in

0:57:400:57:47

personalised debate.

Very briefly,

what about Sinn Fein in all of this?

0:57:470:57:52

A party which will have a new leader

soon?

Yes, Sinn Fein in some ways

0:57:520:57:56

was a little behind on this. The

party didn't have a position of

0:57:560:58:02

repealing the Eighth Amendment but

whether or not they would support

0:58:020:58:05

access to abortion is an open

question. I think the party will

0:58:050:58:08

awaken other parties, De La Rue

members who have expressed strong

0:58:080:58:14

opposition in the past, so I think

Sinn Fein, like other parties, will

0:58:140:58:21

have difficulties. It is not in

their tradition to allow free votes

0:58:210:58:26

so we will need to see if they go

down that road.

0:58:260:58:31

Stephen Collins, thank you.

0:58:310:58:31

And let's have a final word

with Rick Wilford and Suzanne Breen.

0:58:310:58:34

Quite a shift on the part

of Micheal Martin.

0:58:340:58:42

Wherever you look in the world on

this debate, referendums tend to

0:58:450:58:51

become divisive and emotive. If you

go back to an early debate in the

0:58:510:58:57

Assembly in the early 2000, some of

the rhetoric by the anti-abortion

0:58:570:59:02

MLAs then was really colourful, to

say the least. So, it is a divisive

0:59:020:59:08

issue which divides parties. Micheal

Martin was persuaded by the evidence

0:59:080:59:15

he saw on the basis of the committee

report rather than reverting to a

0:59:150:59:21

kind of emotional spasm or response

and I think that was encouraging.

0:59:210:59:25

Were you surprised by Micheal

Martin's change of heart?

I think it

0:59:250:59:29

is very courageous and he has one

eye on the opinion polls and in some

0:59:290:59:33

ways Fianna Fail goes into the

referendum with the best of both

0:59:330:59:36

worlds because a lot of their rural

representatives are anti-abortion

0:59:360:59:39

and anti-repeal and yet they have a

leader who is pro-repeal. So they

0:59:390:59:45

can appeal to both sides of the

electorates and in future elections.

0:59:450:59:49

His speech was carefully crafted and

no one can argue when he said there

0:59:490:59:53

is abortion in Ireland whether they

like it or not. All we're doing is

0:59:530:59:56

exporting the problem and women are

buying pills online. I think what he

0:59:561:00:01

said had implications and what

happens down south could have huge

1:00:011:00:04

implications up here. If we see

abortion available down south, up to

1:00:041:00:09

12 weeks, we will find women instead

of going to London heading down to

1:00:091:00:14

Dublin and what with that say?

People would think the south was

1:00:141:00:19

being more progressive than the

North.

1:00:191:00:24

Welcome back.

North.

1:00:241:00:26

Now, the Ukip leader,

Henry Bolton, faces his party's

1:00:261:00:28

ruling body later today,

who will decide whether they think

1:00:281:00:31

he should be sacked after less

than four months into the job.

1:00:311:00:34

The showdown comes after a week

of damaging headlines

1:00:341:00:37

about his private life.

1:00:371:00:40

54-year-old Henry Bolton met

25-year old Jo Marney

1:00:401:00:42

at a Ukip party last month.

1:00:421:00:50

He left his wife on 23rd December

and spent Boxing Day

1:00:541:00:57

with the former model.

1:00:571:00:58

Last weekend, the Mail on Sunday

revealed that Ms Marney had sent

1:00:581:01:00

racist text messages

about Prince Harry's

1:01:001:01:02

fiance, Meghan Markle.

1:01:021:01:03

She said Harry's black American

fiance would taint the royal family

1:01:031:01:06

with her seed and pave the way

for the way for a black king.

1:01:061:01:09

On Monday, she was

suspended from Ukip.

1:01:091:01:11

Mr Bolton said he would end

the romantic element

1:01:111:01:13

of the relationship.

1:01:131:01:14

But just two days later,

they were spotted having dinner at

1:01:141:01:16

a swanky restaurant in Westminster.

1:01:161:01:18

She later went back to his flat.

1:01:181:01:19

But Mr Bolton insists that was just

to collect her bags and he provided

1:01:191:01:23

a taxi receipt to prove it.

1:01:231:01:27

He says he still loves her,

it was "the happiest I've been

1:01:271:01:30

in years" during their whirlwind

romance and hasn't ruled out

1:01:301:01:33

re-kindling the relationship.

1:01:331:01:35

And Henry Bolton joins us now.

1:01:351:01:35

Can you rekindle your relationship

with the woolly executive? What do

1:01:351:01:41

you expect the outcome of the

meeting will be? -- with the

1:01:411:01:47

executive.

The meeting was set up to

discuss the present situation. They

1:01:471:01:52

may decide to have a vote of

no-confidence and if they do and it

1:01:521:01:55

goes against me, it goes to the

membership.

You could at that point

1:01:551:02:01

say, the National Executive

Committee do not have confidence in

1:02:011:02:04

the do, I had better stand down.

I

could do, but I will not. There are

1:02:041:02:09

number of elements here, the most

important is the NEC should have its

1:02:091:02:13

eye on the political poll, the need

for the party get itself on its feet

1:02:131:02:17

and deliver an effective message in

terms of the Brexit debate and how

1:02:171:02:22

policies shape for the UK

post-Brexit -- the political ball.

1:02:221:02:28

They will probably also have

questions about your personal life,

1:02:281:02:32

and this is an opportunity for clear

this up. On Monday, you told us your

1:02:321:02:38

romantic relationship with Jo Marney

was over and then you were seen

1:02:381:02:42

having dinner together and on the

tube going home after dinner, is the

1:02:421:02:47

relationship over?

I am not going to

go into the details. That

1:02:471:02:51

relationship in terms of the party

is now over, Ms Marney has resigned.

1:02:511:02:57

She was suspended.

She resigned as

of yesterday. She made an apology to

1:02:571:03:00

the members yesterday for the

embarrassment caused and any

1:03:001:03:04

disruption and problems caused for

the party. I think that draws a line

1:03:041:03:08

under that.

It doesn't because you

said publicly on Monday that the

1:03:081:03:15

relationship was over and then you

are seen having dinner with somebody

1:03:151:03:18

who's views, and she has revealed,

she had to apologise for, if you

1:03:181:03:25

judge someone by the company you

keep, you should not have dinner

1:03:251:03:30

with her.

We have information out in

the public domain that shows, that

1:03:301:03:34

proves, there is an insurgency going

on within the party. Some of that

1:03:341:03:39

information came from her, in

addition, she had a number of death

1:03:391:03:44

threat she wanted to discuss and she

did have to collect things from my

1:03:441:03:47

apartment. That is all done.

You

will not be having dinner with her

1:03:471:03:53

again?

I may do. The romantic

element is over. It would be inhuman

1:03:531:03:58

to simply walk away and cut the link

entirely. I will not do that.

This

1:03:581:04:03

is someone who has embarrassed the

party and the leadership by sending

1:04:031:04:06

racist messages about Meghan Markle

but you think it is appropriate for

1:04:061:04:13

you to continue?

I have for the

content of the messages, they are

1:04:131:04:16

appalling, and she has admitted

that. -- I abhor the content of the

1:04:161:04:23

messages. My job is to get the party

on its feet. At the moment, everyone

1:04:231:04:29

is talking about Brexit, but

actually, leaving the EU is not the

1:04:291:04:33

point, the point is getting back our

independence for this country in

1:04:331:04:37

every area of administration, that

has been the objective.

There are

1:04:371:04:42

lots of people who did not know you

were the leader of Ukip until this

1:04:421:04:45

hit the front pages! You have not

been doing a great job of getting

1:04:451:04:51

Ukip into the Brexit debate and

instead this relationship has

1:04:511:04:55

brought the party in to distribute

and surely if you want this to be

1:04:551:04:58

about the politics, you should stand

down? -- brought the party into

1:04:581:05:04

disrepute.

I am delivering the

message now, we have an agenda to

1:05:041:05:08

move forward in terms of internal

reform to build the solid base. But

1:05:081:05:15

it is necessary, they have been

neglected. They need to be rebuilt

1:05:151:05:19

and then we can move forward

politically. That is my core

1:05:191:05:23

purpose. Any other debate is a

distraction and I will not let

1:05:231:05:26

myself get drawn down that route.

She has left the party, we move

1:05:261:05:30

forward.

Your behaviour started the

debate.

Are we not talking about

1:05:301:05:35

this leadership thing being a moral

court as to what the state of my

1:05:351:05:40

marriage and personal relationships

is? What is important to the nation

1:05:401:05:44

and the voters under 17.4 million

people who voted to leave the EU is

1:05:441:05:48

that this country gets its

independence back from Brussels and

1:05:481:05:51

that we can move forward on that

basis.

You are suggesting we should

1:05:511:05:55

not have a period moral debate about

whether it was right for you to

1:05:551:05:59

leave your wife or have a much

younger girlfriend, people are upset

1:05:591:06:06

about you keeping company with

someone who has sent offensive and

1:06:061:06:10

racist messages and this is someone

you want to continue having some

1:06:101:06:13

kind of relationship with and that

questions your judgment -- prurient

1:06:131:06:20

moral debate.

I do not think that it

is good for British politics at all

1:06:201:06:25

or the nation to start focusing on

someone's domestic affairs rather

1:06:251:06:28

than the politics they are

delivering. With this country, we

1:06:281:06:33

need to work hard, this party needs

to work hard to unite the various

1:06:331:06:39

leave campaigns, to mobilise them

and take forward the cause for

1:06:391:06:41

independence and that is what I am

absolutely determined to do and I am

1:06:411:06:45

not going to let this party be

disrupted by internal squabbling

1:06:451:06:50

which has exploited my own domestic

situation in order to cause

1:06:501:06:53

problems.

You have said in your

leadership election that it would

1:06:531:07:00

cripple Ukip, why? -- you said the

new leadership election would

1:07:001:07:04

cripple Ukip, why?

It would take

months, it would take us off the

1:07:041:07:10

battlefield for the Brexit debate.

We cannot afford to do that

1:07:101:07:13

politically. At the same time, the

resulting in fighting would give our

1:07:131:07:18

political enemies ammunition to pull

the party apart. The party, if the

1:07:181:07:22

NEC makes the wrong decision today,

the party will start doing that in

1:07:221:07:26

itself. Politically, this party

cannot afford to have a leadership

1:07:261:07:30

election now.

Just to be clear,

regardless of whether or not the NEC

1:07:301:07:34

vote to have comments in you, you

will try to have confidence in you.

1:07:341:07:44

I will remain in contact.

Thank you,

Henry Bolton. Henry Bolton says he

1:07:441:07:50

wants to refocus us onto the

politics of Ukip, away from his

1:07:501:07:58

critical life -- personal life, do

you think there is any chance?

It is

1:07:581:08:02

so depressing. We should be past the

stage where we hold politicians so

1:08:021:08:06

morally to account. I don't care

about Henry Bolton's love life, it

1:08:061:08:10

is not my business. I care about the

fact it is the only thing I know

1:08:101:08:14

about him and his leadership of the

UK Independence Party at the moment.

1:08:141:08:19

I do not mean to be rude, Henry, but

I think you are finished, Ukip is

1:08:191:08:24

finished, the sooner you accept

that, the better for all the people

1:08:241:08:28

who care about Brexit and the

delivery of Brexit because right now

1:08:281:08:33

you cannot focus on that, you are

too busy, too distracted, sorting

1:08:331:08:37

out this mess in your private life.

Now Nigel Farage and Arron Banks are

1:08:371:08:41

talking about a new movement,

separate to Ukip. Is it time to put

1:08:411:08:46

the party to bed and start something

new?

That will be dependent on the

1:08:461:08:50

decision that NEC makes this

afternoon. If they decide to keep me

1:08:501:08:54

as leader, we will be able to move

forward with the agenda of reform we

1:08:541:08:58

have been talking about. If it takes

another course of action, I suspect

1:08:581:09:04

Isabel is right. It is a difficult

challenge, absolutely, but that only

1:09:041:09:08

chance for the party is to continue

as it is in the present agenda of

1:09:081:09:13

reforms I have initiated and taking

forward. If we do not do that, quite

1:09:131:09:17

frankly, I think Isabel is correct.

Tom Newton Dunn?

I think Ukip does

1:09:171:09:24

have a future. I disagree a tiny bit

with Isabel. If only it can somehow

1:09:241:09:29

stay together until Theresa May

finally does the deal with the EU

1:09:291:09:37

27. There will be compromises in the

deal, there may be payment of access

1:09:371:09:42

to the single market for financial

services, although Theresa May will

1:09:421:09:46

not call it that. It will be some

form of a fudge simply because it

1:09:461:09:50

has to be. We heard Emmanuel Macron

this morning, holding with Angela

1:09:501:09:55

Merkel's hardline of no cherry

picking. Ukip Ozma opportunity to be

1:09:551:09:59

the hard-core Brexit fighters --

Ukip's opportunity. They have to

1:09:591:10:12

stay, crucially, alive until that

point. Personally, for Mr Bolton, I

1:10:121:10:16

have a terrible feeling he will lose

his job and girlfriend after this. A

1:10:161:10:22

terrible individual tragedy.

Steve

Richards, is it necessary there is a

1:10:221:10:25

voice, whether from Arron Banks, and

Nigel Farage, whether it continues

1:10:251:10:30

to be Ukip, is there not a wing of

the Tory party, Jacob Rees-Mogg

1:10:301:10:36

earlier, are they not doing the job

of holding the Government to account

1:10:361:10:39

and making sure they get the kind of

Brexit they think people voted for?

1:10:391:10:45

Partly. Some Brexit voters went to

Labour because their concerns about

1:10:451:10:50

being left behind were partly

addressed by the Labour manifested

1:10:501:10:54

at the last election. It is also

about the credibility of the voice.

1:10:541:10:59

The problem Ukip has had over the

last 18 months is that all political

1:10:591:11:04

parties are fragile, the theme of

the programme today, the other big

1:11:041:11:09

ones all, but when you have all of

these leadership contest, all

1:11:091:11:13

triggered by wacky absurd

circumstances, the degree to which

1:11:131:11:16

weightiness and credibility is taken

away is such that it is difficult

1:11:161:11:23

for a party to recover. I am with

Isabel, it has reached the point

1:11:231:11:27

where even though Brexit is this

golden opportunity for Ukip, it has

1:11:271:11:32

imploded to such an extent I cannot

see how it pulls back.

Would you

1:11:321:11:37

welcome the return of Nigel Farage

to the political scene?

I would

1:11:371:11:41

always welcome his return, he livens

up political debate, nobody can

1:11:411:11:46

doubt his passion for ensuring

Brexit is delivered in the way

1:11:461:11:48

voters who backed that in the

referendum envisaged. There is

1:11:481:11:53

clearly a vacuum. Bring it on, I

say.

You think it is serious, the

1:11:531:11:58

idea him and Arron Banks might start

something new?

I do not know about

1:11:581:12:02

Arron Banks but I know Nigel Farage

has the appetite, he is extremely

1:12:021:12:06

worried about the fate of Brexit and

whether there will be some great

1:12:061:12:10

betrayal of voters and I know he is

thinking very carefully about what

1:12:101:12:13

to do next.

Would that worried the

Prime Minister, if Nigel Farage was

1:12:131:12:18

to come back central stage?

This

Brexit deal is going to disappoint

1:12:181:12:24

lots of people who voted Brexit.

There is political space there for a

1:12:241:12:32

harder Brexit political force. But

it has to have the other ingredients

1:12:321:12:37

of weightiness, credibility and

coherence that Ukip always struggled

1:12:371:12:40

with.

Quick word. It has to have a

very persuasive narrator and Nigel

1:12:401:12:45

Farage, like I'm or loathe him,

there has been no politician in the

1:12:451:12:53

current generation who can put

forward a more persuasive case than

1:12:531:12:56

Nigel Farage. If he comes back, very

bad news for the government.

Thank

1:12:561:13:02

you very much to the panel and my

guests today.

1:13:021:13:06

And before we go, there's just time

to tell you about a new podcast -

1:13:061:13:09

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with Andrew Neil.

1:13:091:13:11

It's available every

Wednesday afternoon,

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1:13:121:13:14

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