21/05/2017 Sunday Politics Northern Ireland


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

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It's Sunday Morning, and this is the Sunday Politics.


Labour attacks Conservative plans for social care and to means-test


So can Jeremy Corbyn eat into the Tory lead


Theresa May says her party's manifesto is all about fairness.


We'll be speaking to a Conservative cabinet minister about the plans.


The polls have always shown healthy leads for the Conservatives.


But, now we've seen the manifestos, is Labour narrowing the gap?


And coming up here: Just six weeks into the job and Robin Swann


is leading the Ulster Unionists into an election battle


So how will his brand of "confident unionism" play with the voters?


And with me - as always - the best and the brightest political


panel in the business: Sam Coates, Isabel Oakeshott


and Steve Richards - they'll be tweeting throughout


the programme, and you can get involved by using


Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn says pensioners will be up to ?330 a year


worse off under plans outlined in the Conservative manifesto.


The Work Pensions Secretary Damian Green has said his party will not


rethink their plans to fund social care in England. Under the plans in


the Conservative manifesto, nobody with assets of less than ?100,000,


would have to pay for care. Labour has attacked the proposal, and John


McDonnell, Labour's Shadow Chancellor, said this morning that


there needs to be more cross-party consensus.


That's why we supported Dilnot, but we also supported


Because we've got to have something sustainable over generations,


so that's why we've said to the Conservative Party,


Let's go back to that cross-party approach that actually


I just feel we've all been let down by what's come


Sam, is Labour beginning to get their argument across? What we had


last week was bluntly what felt like not very Lynton Crosby approved


Conservative manifesto. What I mean by that is that it looks like there


are things that will cause political difficulties for the party over this


campaign. I've been talking to MPs and ministers who acknowledge that


the social care plan is coming up on the doorstep. It has cut through


very quickly, and it is worrying and deterring some voters. Not just


pensioners, that people who are looking to inherit in the future.


They are all asking how much they could lose that they wouldn't have


lost before. A difficult question for the party to answer, given that


they don't want to give too much away now. Was this a mistake, or a


sign of the Conservatives' confidence? It has the hallmarks of


something that has been cobbled together in a very unnaturally short


time frame for putting a manifesto together. We have had mixed messages


from the Tory MPs who have been out on the airwaves this morning as to


whether they will consult on it whether it is just a starting point.


That said, there is still three weeks to go, and most of the Tory


party this morning feel this is a little light turbulence rather than


anything that leaves the destination of victory in doubt. It it flips the


normal politics. The Tories are going to make people who have a


reasonable amount of assets pay for their social care. What is wrong


with that? First, total credit for them for not pretending that all


this can be done by magic, which is what normally happens in an


election. The party will say, we will review this for the 95th time


in the following Parliament, so they have no mandate to do anything and


so do not do anything. It is courageous to do it. It is


electorally risky, for the reasons that you suggest, that they pass the


target their own natural supporter. And there is a sense that this is


rushed through, in the frenzy to get it done in time. I think the ending


of the pooling of risk and putting the entire burden on in inverted


commas the victim, because you cannot insure Fritz, is against the


spirit of a lot of the rest of the manifesto, and will give them huge


problems if they try to implement it in the next Parliament. Let's have a


look at the polls. Nearly five weeks ago, on Tuesday the 18th of April,


Theresa May called the election. At that point, this was the median


average of the recent polls. The Conservatives had an 18 point lead


over Labour on 25%. Ukip and the Liberal Democrats were both on 18%.


A draft of Labour's manifesto was leaked to the press. In the


intervening weeks, support for the Conservatives and Labour had


increased, that it had decreased for the Lib Dems and Ukip. Last Tuesday


came the launch of the official Labour manifesto. By that time,


Labour support had gone up by another 2%. The Lib Dems and Ukip


had slipped back slightly. Later in the week came the manifestos from


the Lib Dems and the Conservatives. This morning, for more polls. This


is how the parties currently stand on average. Labour are now on 34%,


up 4% since the launch of their manifesto. The Conservatives are


down two points since last Tuesday. Ukip and the Lib Dems are both


unchanged on 8% and 5%. You can find this poll tracker on the BBC


website, see how it was calculated, and see the results of national


polls over the last two years. So Isabel, is this the Tories' wobbly


weekend or the start of the narrowing? This is still an


extremely healthy lead for the Tories. At the start of this


campaign, most commentators expected to things to happen. First, the Lib


Dems would have a significant surge. That hasn't happened. Second, Labour


would crash and plummet. Instead they are in the health of the low


30s. I wonder if that tells you something about the tribal nature of


the Labour vote, and the continuing problems with the Tory brand. I


would say that a lot of Tory MPs wouldn't be too unhappy if Labour's


result isn't quite as bad as has been anticipated. They don't want


Corbyn to go anywhere. If the latest polls were to be the result on June


the 8th, Mr Corbyn may not be in a rush to go anywhere. I still think


it depends on the number of seats. If there is a landslide win, I


think, one way or another, he will not stay. If it is much narrower, he


has grounds for arguing he has done better than anticipated. The polls


are very interesting. People compare this with 83. In 83, the Tory lead


widened consistently throughout the campaign. There was the SDP -


Liberal Alliance doing well in the polls. Here, the Lib Dems don't seem


to be doing that. So the parallels with 83 don't really stack up. But


let's see what happens. Still early days for the a lot of people are


saying this is the result of the social care policy. We don't really


know that. How do you beat them? In the last week or so, there's been


the decision by some to hold their nose and vote Labour, who haven't


done so before. Probably the biggest thing in this election is how the


Right has reunited behind Theresa May. That figure for Ukip is


incredibly small. She has brought those Ukip voters behind her, and


that could be the decisive factor in many seats, rather than the Labour


share of the boat picking up a bit or down a bit, depending on how


turbulent the Tory manifesto makes it. Thank you for that.


We've finally got our hands on the manifestos of the two main


parties and, for once, voters can hardly complain that


So, just how big is the choice on offer to the public?


Since the Liberal Democrats and SNP have ruled out


coalitions after June 8th, Adam Fleming compares the Labour


Welcome to the BBC's election centre.


Four minutes from now, when Big Ben strikes 10.00,


we can legally reveal the contents of this, our exit poll.


18 days to go, and the BBC's election night studio


This is where David Dimbleby will sit, although there is no chair yet.


The parties' policies are now the finished product.


In Bradford, Jeremy Corbyn vowed a bigger state,


the end of austerity, no more tuition fees.


The Tory campaign, by contrast, is built on one word - fear.


Down the road in Halifax, Theresa May kept a promise to get


immigration down to the tens of thousands, and talked


of leadership and tough choices in uncertain times.


Strengthen my hand as I fight for Britain, and stand with me


And, with confidence in ourselves and a unity


of purpose in our country, let us go forward together.


Let's look at the Labour and Conservative


On tax, Labour would introduce a 50p rate for top earners.


The Conservatives ditched their triple lock, giving them


freedom to put up income tax and national insurance,


although they want to keep the overall tax burden the same.


Labour offered a major overhaul of the country's wiring,


with a pledge to renationalise infrastructure, like power,


The Conservatives said that would cost a fortune,


but provided few details for the cost of their policies.


Labour have simply become a shambles, and, as yesterday's


manifesto showed, their numbers simply do not add up.


What have they got planned for health and social care?


The Conservatives offered more cash for the NHS,


reaching an extra ?8 billion a year by the end of the parliament.


Labour promised an extra ?30 billion over the course of the same period,


plus free hospital parking and more pay for staff.


The Conservatives would increase the value of assets you could


protect from the cost of social care to ?100,000, but your home would be


added to the assessment of your wealth,


There was a focus on one group of voters in particular


Labour would keep the triple lock, which guarantees that pensions go up


The Tories would keep the increase in line


with inflation or earnings, a double lock.


The Conservatives would end of winter fuel payments


for the richest, although we don't know exactly who that would be,


This is a savage attack on vulnerable pensioners,


particularly those who are just about managing.


It is disgraceful, and we are calling upon the Conservative Party


When it comes to leaving the European Union, Labour say


they'd sweep away the government's negotiating strategy,


secure a better deal and straightaway guaranteed the rights


The Tories say a big majority would remove political uncertainty


Jeremy Vine's due here in two and a half weeks.


I'm joined now by David Gauke, who is Chief Secretary to the Treasury.


Welcome back to the programme. The Tories once promised a cap on social


care costs. Why have you abandoned that? We've looked at it, and there


are couple of proposals with the Dilnot proposal. Much of the benefit


would go to those inheriting larger estates. The second point was it was


hoped that a cap would stimulate the larger insurance products that would


fill the gap, but there is no sign that those products are emerging.


Without a cap, you will not get one. We have come forward with a new


proposal which we think is fairer, provide more money for social care,


which is very important and is one of the big issues we face as a


country. It is right that we face those big issues. Social care is


one, getting a good Brexit deal is another. This demonstrates that


Theresa May has an ambition to lead a government that addresses those


big long-term issues. Looking at social care. If you have assets,


including your home, of over ?100,000, you have to pay for all


your social care costs. Is that fair? It is right that for the


services that are provided to you, that that is paid out of your


assets, subject to two really important qualifications. First, you


shouldn't have your entire estate wiped out. At the moment, if you are


in residential care, it can be wiped out ?223,000. If you are in


domiciliary care, it can be out to ?23,000, plus you're domiciliary.


Nobody should be forced to sell their house in their lifetime if


they or their spouse needs long-term care. Again, we have protected that


in the proposals we set out. But the state will basically take a


chunk of your house when you die and they sell. In an essence it is a


stealth inheritance tax on everything above ?100,000. But we


have those two important protections. I am including that. It


is a stealth inheritance tax. We have to face up to the fact that


there are significant costs that we face as a country in terms of health


and social careful. Traditionally, politicians don't address those


issues, particularly during election campaigns. I think it is too Theresa


May's credit that we are being straightforward with the British


people and saying that we face this long-term challenge. Our manifesto


was about the big challenges that we face, one of which was


intergenerational fairness and one of which was delivering a strong


economy and making sure that we can do that. But in the end, someone is


going to have to pay for this. It is going to have to be a balance


between the general taxpayer and those receiving the services. We


think we have struck the right balance with this proposal. But it


is entirely on the individual. People watching this programme, if


they have a fair amount of assets, not massive, including the home,


they will need to pay for everything themselves until their assets are


reduced to ?100,000. It is not a balance, you're putting everything


on the original two individual. At the moment, for those in residential


care, they have to pay everything until 20 3000. -- everything on the


individual. But now they will face more. Those in individual care are


seeing their protection going up by four times as much, so that is


eliminating unfairness. Why should those in residential care be in a


worse position than those receiving domiciliary care? But as I say, that


money has to come from somewhere and we are sitting at a proper plan for


it. While also made the point that we are more likely to be able to


have a properly functioning social care market if we have a strong


economy, and to have a strong economy we need to deliver a good


deal on Brexit and I think Theresa May is capable of doing that. You


have said that before. But if you have a heart attack in old age, the


NHS will take care of you. If you have dementia, you now have to pay


for the care of yourself. Is that they are? It is already the case


that if you have long-term care costs come up as I say, if you are


in residential care you pay for all of it until the last ?23,000, but if


you are in domiciliary care, excluding your housing assets, but


all of your other assets get used up until you are down to ?23,000 a


year. And I think it is right at this point that a party that aspires


to run this country for the long-term, to address the long-term


challenges we have is a country, for us to be clear that we need to


deliver this. Because if it is not paid for it this way, if it goes and


falls on the general taxpayer, the people who feel hard pressed by the


amount of income tax and VAT they pay, frankly we have to say to them,


those taxes will go up if we do not address it. But they might go up


anyway. The average house price in your part of the country is just shy


of ?430,000, so if you told your own constituents that they might have to


spend ?300,000 of their assets on social care before the state steps


in to help...? As I said earlier, nobody will be forced to pay during


their lifetime. Nobody will be forced to sell their houses. We are


providing that protection because of the third premium. Which makes it a


kind of death tax, doesn't it? Which is what you use to rail against.


What it is people paying for the services they have paid out of their


assets. But with that very important protection that nobody is going to


be wiped out in the way that has happened up until now, down to the


last three years. But when Labour propose this, George Osborne called


it a death tax and you are now proposing a stealth death tax


inheritance tax. Labour's proposals were very different. It is the same


effect. Labour's were hitting everyone with an inheritance tax. We


are saying that there are -- that there is a state contribution but


the public receiving the services will have to pay for it out of


assets, which have grown substantially. And which they might


now lose to social care. But I would say that people in Hertfordshire pay


a lot in income tracks, national insurance and VAT, and this is my


bet is going to have to come from somewhere. Well, they are now going


to pay a lot of tax and pay for social care. Turning to immigration,


you promised to get net migration down to 100,020 ten. You failed. You


promised again in 2015 and you are feeling again. Why should voters


trust you a third time? It is very clear that only the Conservative


Party has an ambition to control immigration and to bring it down. An


ambition you have failed to deliver. There are, of course, factors that


come into play. For example a couple of years ago we were going through a


period when the UK was creating huge numbers of jobs but none of our


European neighbours were doing anything like it. Not surprisingly,


that feeds through into the immigration numbers that we see. But


it is right that we have that ambition because I do not believe it


is sustainable to have hundreds of thousands net migration, you're


after year after year, and only Theresa May of the Conservative


Party is willing to address that. It has gone from being a target to an


ambition, and I am pretty sure in a couple of years it will become an


untimed aspiration. Is net migration now higher or lower than when you


came to power in 2010? I think it is higher at the moment. Let's look at


the figures. And there they are. You are right, it is higher, so after


six years in power, promising to get it down to 100,000, it is higher. So


if that is an ambition and you have not succeeded. We have to accept


that there are a number of factors. It continues to be the case that the


UK economy is growing and creating a lot of jobs, which is undoubtedly


drawing people. But you made the promise on the basis that would not


happen? We are certainly outperforming other countries in a


way that we could not have predicted in 2010. That is one of the factors.


But if you look at a lot of the steps that we have taken over the


course of the last seven years, dealing with bogus students, for


example, tightening up a lot of the rules. You can say all that but it


has made no difference to the headline figure. Clearly it would


have gone up by much more and we not taken the steps. But as I say, we


cannot for ever, it seems to me, have net migration numbers in the


hundreds of thousands. If we get that good Brexit deal, one of the


things we can do is tighten up in terms of access here. You say that


but you have always had control of non-EU migration. You cannot blame


the EU for that. You control immigration from outside the EU.


Have you ever managed to get even that below 100,000? Well, no doubt


you will present the numbers now. You haven't. You have got down a bit


from 2010, I will give you that, but even non-EU migration is still a lot


more than 100000 and that is the thing you control. It is 164,000 on


the latest figures. There is no point in saying to the voters that


when we get control of the EU migration you will get it down when


the bit you have control over, you have failed to get that down into


the tens of thousands. The general trend has gone up. Non-EU migration


we have brought down over the last few years. Not by much, not by


anywhere near your 100,000 target. But we clearly have more tools


available to us, following Brexit. At this rate it will be around 2030


before you get non-EU migration down to 100,000. We clearly have more


tools available to us and I return to the point I made. In the last six


or seven years, particularly the last four or five, we have seen the


UK jobs market growing substantially. It is extraordinary


how many more jobs we have. So you'll only promised the migration


target because you did not think you were going to run the economy well?


That is what you are telling me. I don't think anyone expected us to


create quite a number of jobs that we have done over the last six or


seven years. At the time when other European countries have not been.


George Osborne says your target is economically illiterate. I disagree


with George on that. He is my old boss but I disagree with him on that


point. And the reason I say that is looking at the economics and the


wider social impact, I don't think it is sustainable for us to have


hundreds of thousands, year after year after year. Let me ask you one


other thing because you are the chief secretary. Your promising that


spending on health will be ?8 billion higher in five use time than


it is now. How do you pay for that? From a strong economy, two years ago


we had a similar conversation because at that point we said that


we would increase spending by ?8 billion. And we are more than on


track to deliver it, because it is a priority area for us. Where will the


money come from? It will be a priority area for us. We will find


the money. So you have not been able to show us a revenue line where this


?8 billion will come from. We have a record of making promises to spend


more on the NHS and delivering. One thing I would say is that the only


way you can spend more money on the NHS is if you have a strong economy,


and the biggest risk... But that is true of anything. I am trying to


find out where the ?8 billion come from, where will it come from? Know


you were saying that perhaps you might increase taxes, ticking off


the lock, so people are right to be suspicious. But you will not tell us


where the ?8 billion will come from. Andrew, a strong economy is key to


delivering more NHS money. That does not tell us where the money is


coming from. The biggest risk to a strong economy would be a bad


Brexit, which Jeremy Corbyn would deliver. And we have a record of


putting more money into the NHS. I think that past performance we can


take forward. Thank you for joining us.


So, the Conservatives have been taking a bit of flak


But Conservative big guns have been out and about this morning taking


Here's Boris Johnson on ITV's Peston programme earlier today:


What we're trying to do is to address what I think


everybody, all serious demographers acknowledge will be the massive


problem of the cost of social care long-term.


This is a responsible, grown-up, conservative approach,


trying to deal with a long-term problem in a way that is equitable,


allows people to pass on a very substantial sum,


still, to their kids, and takes away the fear


Joining me now from Liverpool is Labour's Shadow Chief Secretary


Petered out, welcome to the programme. Let's start with social


care. The Tories are saying that if you have ?100,000 or more in assets,


you should pay for your own social care. What is wrong with that? Well,


I think the issue at the end of the day is the question of fairness. Is


it fair? And what we're trying to do is to get to a situation where we


have, for example, the Dilnot report, which identified that you


actually have cap on your spending on social care. We are trying to get


to a position where it is a reasonable and fair approach to


expenditure. But you will know that a lot of people, particularly in the


south of country, London and the south-east, and the adjacent areas


around it, they have benefited from huge house price inflation. They


have seen their homes go up in value, if and when they sell, they


are not taxed on that increase. Why should these people not pay for


their own social care if they have the assets to do so? They will be


paying for some of their social care but you cannot take social care and


health care separately. It has to be an integrated approach. So for


example if you do have dementia, you're more likely to be in an


elderly person's home for longer and you most probably have been in care


for a longer period of time. On the other hand, you might have, if you


have had a stroke, there may be continuing care needs paid for by


the NHS. So at the end of the date it is trying to get a reasonable


balance and just to pluck a figure of ?100,000 out of thin air is not


sensible. You will have heard me say about David Gold that the house


prices in his area, about 450,000 or so, not quite that, and that people


may have to spend quite a lot of that on social care to get down to


?100,000. But in your area, the average house price is only


?149,000, so your people would not have to pay anything like as much


before they hit the ?100,000 minimum. I hesitate to say that but


is that not almost a socialist approach to social care that if you


are in the affluent Home Counties with a big asset, you pay more, and


if you are in an area that is not so affluent and your house is not worth


very much, you pay a lot less. What is wrong with that principle? I


think the problem I am trying to get to is this issue about equity across


the piece. At the end of the day, what we want is a system whereby it


is capped at a particular level, and the Dilnot report, after much


examination, said we should have a cap on care costs at ?72,000. The


Conservatives decided to ditch that and come up with another policy


which by all accounts seems to be even more Draconian. At the end of


the day it is trying to get social care and an NHS care in a much more


fluid way. We had offered the Conservatives to have a bipartisan


approach to this. David just said that this is a long term. You do not


pick a figure out of thin air and use that as a long-term strategy.


The Conservatives are now saying they will increase health spending


over the next five years in real terms. You will increase health


spending. In what way is your approach to health spending better


than the Tories' now? We are contributing an extra 7.2 billion to


the NHS and social care over the next few years. But you just don't


put money into the NHS or social care. It has to be an integrated


approach to social and health care. What we've got is just more of the


same. What we don't want to do is just say, we ring-fenced an out for


here or there. What you have to do is try to get that... Let me ask you


again. In terms of the amount of resource that is going to be devoted


in the next five years, and resource does matter for the NHS, in what way


are your plans different now from the Conservative plans? The key is


how you use that resource. By just putting money in, you've got to say,


if we are going to put that money on, how do we use it? As somebody


who has worked in social care for 40 years, you have to have a different


approach to how you use that money. The money we are putting in, 7.7,


may be similar in cash terms to what the Tories claim they are putting


in, but it's not how much you put in per se, it is how you use it. You


are going to get rid of car parking charges in hospital, and you are


going to increase pay by taking the cap on pay off. So it doesn't


necessarily follow that the money, under your way of doing it, will


follow the front line. What you need in the NHS is a system that is


capable of dealing with the patience you have. What we have now is on at


five Asian of the NHS. Staff leaving, not being paid properly. So


pay and the NHS go hand in hand. Let's move onto another area of


policy where there is some confusion. Who speaks for the Labour


Party on nuclear weapons? Is it Emily Thornbury, or Nia Griffith,


defence spokesperson? The Labour manifesto. It is clear. We are


committed to the nuclear deterrent, and that is the definitive... Is it?


Emily Thornbury said that Trident could be scrapped in the defence


review you would have immediately after taking power. On LBC on Friday


night. She didn't, actually. I listened to that. What she actually


said is, as part of a Labour government coming in, a new


government, there is always a defence review. But not the concept


of Trident in its substance. She said there would be a review in


terms of, and this is in our manifesto. When you reduce


something, you review how it is operated. The review could scrap


Trident. It won't scrap Trident. The review is in the context of how you


protect it from cyber attacks. This will issue was seized upon that she


was saying that we would have another review of Trident or Labour


would ditch it. That is nonsense. You will have seen some reports that


MI5 opened a file on Jeremy Corbyn in the early 90s because of his


links to Irish republicanism. This has caused some people, his links to


the IRA and Sinn Fein, it has caused some concern. Could you just listen


to this clip and react. Do you condemn what the IRA did? I condemn


all bombing. But do you condemn what the IRA did? I condemn what was done


with the British Army as well as both sides as well. What happened in


Derry in 1972 was pretty devastating as well. Do you distinguish between


state forces, what the British Army did and the IRA? Well, in a sense,


the treatment of IRA prisoners which made them into virtual political


prisoners suggested that the British government and the state saw some


kind of almost equivalent in it. My point is that the whole violence if


you was terrible, was appalling, and came out of a process that had been


allowed to fester in Northern Ireland for a very long time. That


was from about two years ago. Can you explain why the Leader of the


Labour Party, Her Majesty 's opposition, the man who would be our


next Prime Minister, finds it so hard to condemn IRA arming? I think


it has to be within the context that Jeremy Corbyn for many years trying


to move the peace protest... Process along. So why wouldn't you condemn


IRA bombing? Again, that was an issue, a traumatic event in Irish -


British relations that went on for 30 years. It is a complicated


matter. Bombing is not that complicated. If you are a man of


peace, surely you would condemn the bomb and the bullet? Let me say


this, I condemn the bomb and the bullet. Why can't your leader? You


would have to ask Jeremy Corbyn, but that is in the context of what he


was trying to do over a 25 year period to move the priest process


along. Thank you for joining us. It's just gone 11.35,


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


in Scotland and Wales. Hello and welcome to


Sunday Politics in Northern Ireland. The election campaign in Britain


heated up this week with the launch of the Labour and Conservative


manifestos, but we're still waiting to hear what our local


parties have up their sleeves. Heading into his first election


as leader of the Ulster Unionists, Robin Swann will be outlining


his plans to retain the party's And sharing their thoughts I'm


joined by the Irish News journalist Allison Morris and


the columnist Alex Kane. With two and half weeks to go before


polling in the Westminster election, one issue that has been


at the front of the campaign Yesterday, protesters


were on the streets of Belfast Thousands of people marched


from the Falls Road Politicians too joined the protest


including the SDLP, Sinn Fein, At City Hall the crowd heard


speeches in English and Irish No longer will we be in the back


rooms. We will be front and centre. We will take over our towns and


cities. The Irish language are at the very centre of who we are as


people now. We're not going anywhere.


Body singles going on yesterday? You can see from the amount of people on


the streets, that some people have tried to make it a Rob Dallek


radical Republican agenda. It is actually people from all walks of


life. It has allies from other communities towards this issue. The


issue with Irish language is the priests the Mac peace process that


Mac peace and a figure reason it has become


so... Are missing the nationalist vote being galvanised once again?


They certainly are going to try and maximise it. In the wider issue, we


are asking if there will be an Irish language act. I think there is going


to be. I think it is inevitable that there will not be a return to the


status quo. This has to be at the heart of their agenda. Without this


act, there is going to be no assembly, no executive. There was a


softening from Michelle O'Neill last week when she talked about Ulster


Scots and other cultural aspect being brought into the same package.


Think we are looking at the deal. I think there will be a package on the


Irish act very soon. Is that how you see it? Yes. I think it has to have


a wider cultural context. Once you widen it out, I think they will


accept that they know it has been put down as a red line and I think


the amount of people that has taken to the streets says it is not just


something on a whim, it is an important aspect of the talks.


Thank you, both, we'll hear more from you later.


Just six weeks into the job and Robin Swann is facing his first


electoral challenge as leader of the Ulster Unionist Party.


His main challenge is to retain the two Westminster seats the party


has held since 2015, but he also has to try to reverse


a long-term downward trend in the party's vote.


How confident are you of keeping your seats in South Antrim


I am pretty confident. We are under no illusion that both seats are


going to be a fight and a struggle for us, but we're up for that fight.


We are under pressure from thin Fein because they are galvanised.


Southampton, Danny Kennedy is the best candidate. You accept that they


are both in pretty tight fights and that you could lose some of those


seats that is a real possibility. Yes. To MPs are putting in lots of


work and I'm confident that they will retain those seats. This is a


first past the post election, so it is about personalities and it is to


very strong candidates. Confident, pragmatic


unionism is your mantra, yet you're running fourteen


candidates in this election, the smallest number


of the five main parties. The party itself has made it very


clear that I wanted the two be a champion of the union. And how it


fits in in a wider UK context. It broadens out over Brexit, it


broadens the strength of the union both in Scotland and Wales and the


rest of the UK. That is where I see the Ulster Unionist Party fitting.


Engaging at that level, coming out of Brexit negotiations, we are going


to be on a global stage. An economic stage, a social stage and the rest


of the global sphere. I see Northern Ireland is being able to do that. We


withdrew... You withdrew from several


constituencies before you'd even tried to secure a pact with the DUP


- and some people saw that as a sign What was your strategy -


did you have a strategy? Of course we had a strategy. One of


the things that we looked at, going back to the previous answer,


Northern Ireland need voices in Westminster not just for Brexit but


for the period after that. Because of Northern Ireland art in there, we


are in a far weakened position. An example of that is that we have


three MEPs in Europe. The middle of Brussels, arguing as a conglomerate


for Northern Ireland. Those three voices came together and represented


Northern Ireland, irrespective of party politics. They could stomach


got good deals in Europe. Now we need people in Westminster. Your


party is a shadow of its former self. We look at the nub of seats


you had 20 years ago and look at where you are now, scrabbling around


to hang onto one or two seats, when you look at how your representatives


in The Assembly has fallen? There is no scrambling. We are in a tight


fight for Northern Ireland, as well. The just rumour that in 1997, you


have 32.7% of the votes. 60% of the vote in 2010. -- 16. You lost seats.


We lost seats because of the drop from six seats to five seats. You


can't claim it was anything other than a bad result. We would only


party that increased our percentage share of the vote. It may have only


been... Is what I want to do under my leadership. I can expand that


said that unionism is no longer seen as a derogatory insult. That


unionism is actually something that a lot of people can buy into because


of the strength of what it means on a UK basis. Following Brexit, what


it means to be part of the UK on a worldwide basis, as well. On the


global stage. What is your relationship with Arlene Foster? You


called her a bit arrogant when she wrote in the Belfast Telegraph that


she wouldn't be standing, but wanted a clear run in south Belfast. A bit


arrogant, doesn't that suggest that she sees herself as the person who


is leading and speaking for unionism and make you are a bit part player?


I didn't know that Arlene actually said that, but I will talk to her


about it. I am reading between the lines. It's just your context in


your spin on it, Mark. We have just announced that we were going to run.


And the DUP was written about by the Belfast Telegraph as being given


every run. -- a free run. As I said earlier, 103,000 votes. Many


recognise the value of the Ulster Unionist party. 225,000 opted for


the DUP. That is not worth getting excited about 100 and 3000. There is


no doubt about which is the main Unionist party. That does not mean


when going to go away, either. What it does do is it nails the nonsense


that Mike Nesbitt talked about when he said he wanted the Ulster


Unionist Party to be the main party of unionism. We're still fighting.


Ripley for a credible candidates for this election. We have got a very


strong team and we have let to see them being functional and working


for the people of Northern Ireland. Because of the inability of The


Assembly to come about. At this point of time, we are getting in the


doors. We need to make sure there is an assembly and that there is a


change of the mindset that we are seeing of people on the steps. Now


people want to see The Assembly work. Because we are seeing the


denigration of the services in our health services. Also education.


With respect, they may or may not want to see the semi-working, this


is a election to Westminster. You have two seats there. If you hold


onto them, you will have very little influence on a Westminster dominated


by a Conservative Party that does very well and all the polls


suggesting that that is going to be case. Whether we have a return to


Stormont or not is not what that it's about. It is what we are


getting on the doorsteps and that is what we have do understand the


context of Northern Ireland. It all becomes amalgamated. What are people


saying on the doorstep about Mike Nesbitt lying on his face in a


hotel? How difficult was it about the confusion and speculation? We're


not fighting this on that. If you have any specific questions you want


to ask, then I will answer them. He is accounted a comic you must be


embarrassed. -- he is a candidate. Mike is a strong candidate of his


own right. We have got strong candidates across the country. Let's


talk about Brexit. That is an important issue as far as this issue


is concerned. You said we need to get the best deal for Northern


Ireland. What does that look like in your view? One of the things we


hear, and I think it is one of the things we have two nail down as


well, no matter what party you vote for on the 8th of June, is not to


engage in a second referendum. Theresa May is going to move on. The


calls are fear and threat that has been put around about the hard


border. The Irish Government are very clear that he didn't want a


hard border. Nobody wants a hard border. Why are we putting that on


the political agenda? One of the things I'm very clear about, I don't


want to see a border in the Irish Sea because that is something that


Northern Ireland could could not afford politically or economically


across Irish Sea trade and I do not think it is something that the


Republic of Ireland want, either. Arlene Foster told me that it isn't


outrage that Michelle... That is between Michelle and Arlene. That is


holding up the return to Stormont that you have just said is important


to your voters. We do not know at this stage whether it is going to


hold up. There are a number of round tables that we are having leading


into this time. I think this will be the final challenge between Sinn


Fein and them. It is up to them to work out how best to move forward.


Do you think there should be an Irish language act? One of the


things that I am not constable with was the Irish language act that Sinn


Fein put forward in 2015, which would have an Irish language


official. He would have the same powers as a High Court judge who


would be able to penalised people for not recognising Irish language.


We are cutting back the number of our civil servants, to bring in


legislation that would bring in 10% recruitment of Irish language


speakers. If it came down to it with the Ulster Unionist Party back and


Irish language act or not? That sounds such a simple question. Not


the one we have in front of us. I'm not going to sign a blank cheque on


behalf of the Ulster Unionist Party before I know what is in it. If the


act was not the Sinn Fein version, if the act was a wider cultural act,


then you would be persuadable, would you? This is the conversation that


we had with Sinn Fein about this specific issue. We tabled an act,


they wouldn't wear that because it wasn't a specific Irish language


act. They wanted a specific Irish language act. We were trying to look


at a broader language act. I believe there are solutions. Sinn Fein want


a specific Irish language act. Finally, Mike Nesbitt predicted the


outcome of last year's assembly election. He put a number in a


sealed envelope. I have an envelope, can I tempt you? Know. I'm not


interested in playing with fire. Maybe you know more than I know.


What about the challenge of holding onto those two seats? A big


challenge. In fairness, I felt that in 2015, there were more likely to


lose one and when the other. I think it will be the other time round this


-- other way round. I still think Danny Kennedy will hold on. In term


of the biggest challenge, the Ulster Unionist Party exactly where the DUP


were in 1991 or 9092. It is about working out how you reinvent


themselves. A road that has not already been swallowed up by the


DUP. Saying this is how we can make a difference since it has become DUP


and Sinn Fein that has turned it into a permanent contest. Is that


doable, Alison? Is the situation possible to be turned around? I


don't think so, at this point. I do think that Robin was right when he


said that elections can be more about personalities. There has been


a lot of outreach for softer nationalist who maybe would be


looking at Sinn Fein. The charge that was made against the Ulster


Unionist Party against Mike Nesbitt was that there was too much mixed


messaging. How does Robin Swan deal with that and sell one single


message? I think that was a confident performance by Robin there


today. It was mixed messages. They quite happily wandered into the


Unionist forum. I have been in the Ulster Unionist Party. They need to


find one key thing that the Ulster Unionists can say. Interesting. They


give very much indeed. That pause and have a look back at the week


gone past with Na. A relaxed end of interview chat


created headlines. Arlene Foster didn't expect them. My advice to her


as any politician come as any client would be think before you speak. The


DUP leader was on more familiar territory by the end of the week.


How dare Sinn Fein tell the Unionist people who their leader should be.


It is an outrage. Was the Sinn Fein leader RH bye blonde comment? She


was wrong. We have a responsibility to set the tone and be very


responsible of our language. He is stepping down, but is he being


treated fairly? He had to go and do his job. I have enough to prosecute.


And it was goodbye after the leader said he was leaving office. Simon


Kofi and Liam are vying for his job. Let's have a final word


with Allison and Alex. You think the criticism of their --


is fair about calling her blonde? Yes. Politically I think she thought


it was going to be a nice soft interview when she could show her


fluffy side backfired. There is no such thing as a soft interview. That


proved it. She was left her own thinking what could go wrong?


Anybody who allows themselves to have a word association game is not


a good idea. She should have dodged that question completely. We heard


from Arlene Foster and she was talking for the first time about the


issue of the Brexit donation RC. What did you make of what she had to


say about that donation of ?435,000? She should be much clearer. The


following day it was revealed that the guy who was the source of the


donation have handled it. She clearly knew all about. What it is


out there, somebody will find the truth. It is much easier and


politics just to say, this is what happened. This is how it happened,


this is why we did it. If you leave questions unanswered, it is not only


the interview is it like you who will go after, it is also twitter


any social media world. Also the point about the blonde thing, it was


epically stupid. It will not lose to a vote within unionism. She doesn't


care. Final quick sentence? I agree. It will do her no harm. She based


herself on Margaret Thatcher and she should stick to that and not try and


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our policy. Thank you very much, Tom Brake. Andrew, back to you.


So, two and half weeks to go till polling day,


let's take stock of the campaign so far and look ahead


Sam, Isabel and Steve are with me again.


Sam, Mrs May had made a great thing about the just about managing. Not


the poorest of the poor, but not really affluent people, who are


maybe OK but it's a bit of a struggle. What is in the manifesto


for them? There is something about the high profile items in the


manifesto. She said she wants to help those just above the poorest


level. But if you look at things like the winter fuel allowance,


which is going to be given only to the poorest. If you look at free


school meals for infants, those for the poorest are going to be kept,


but the rest will go. The social care plan, those who are renting or


in properties worth up to ?90,000, they are going to be treated, but


those in properties worth above that, 250,000, for example, will


have to pay. Which leads to the question - what is being done for


the just about managings? There is something, the personal allowance


that David Cameron promised in 2015, that they are not making a big deal


of that, because they cannot say by how much. So you are looking in tax


rises on the just about managings. Where will the tax rises come from.


We do not know, that there is the 40 million pounds gap for the Tories to


reach what they are pledging in their manifesto. We do not know how


that is going to be made up, more tax, or more borrowing? So that is


why the questions of the implications of removing the tax


lock are so potentially difficult for Tory MPs. The Labour manifesto


gives figures for the cost of certain policies and where the


revenue will come from. You can argue about the figures, but at


least we have the figures. The Tory manifesto is opaque on these


matters. That applies to both the manifestos. Looking at the Labour


manifesto on the way here this morning, when you look at the


section on care for the elderly, they simply say, there are various


ways in which the money for this can be raised. They are specific on


other things. They are, and we heard John McDonnell this morning being


very on that, and saying there is not a single ? in Tory manifesto. I


have only got to page 66. It is quite broad brush and they are very


open to challenge. For example, on the detail of a number of their


flagship things. There is no detail on their immigration policy. They


reiterate the ambition, but not how they are going to do that, without a


massive increase in resource for Borders officials. We are at a time


where average wages are lagging behind prices. And in work benefits


remain frozen. I would have thought that the just-about-managings are


people who are in work but they need some in work benefits to make life


tolerable and be able to pay bills. Doesn't she has to do more for them?


Maybe, but this whole manifesto was her inner circle saying, right, this


is our chance to express our... It partly reads like a sort of


philosophical essay at times. About the challenges, individualism


against collectivism. Some of it reads quite well and is quite


interesting, but in terms of its detail, Labour would never get away


with it. They wouldn't be allowed to be so vague about where taxes are


going to rise. We know there are going to be tax rises after the


election, but we don't know where they will be. 100%, there will be


tax rises. We know that they wanted a tax rise in the last budget, but


they couldn't get it through because of the 2015 manifesto. Labour do


offer a lot more detail. People could disagree with it, but there is


a lot more detail. More to get your teeth into. About capital gains tax


and the rises for better owners and so on. The SNP manifesto comes out


this week, and the Greens and Sinn Fein. We think Ukip as well. There


are more manifestos to come. The Lib Dems have already brought theirs


out. Isn't the Liberal Democrat campaign in trouble? It doesn't seem


to be doing particular the well in the polls, or at the local elections


a few weeks ago. The Liberal Democrats are trying to fish in


quite a small pool for votes. They are looking to get votes from those


remainers who want to reverse the result, in effect. Tim Farron is


promising a second referendum on the deal at the end of the negotiation


process. And that is a hard sell. So those voting for remain on June 23


are not low hanging fruit by any means? Polls suggesting that half of


those want to reverse the result, so that is a feeling of about 20% on


the Lib Dems, and they are getting slightly less than half at the


moment, but there are not a huge amount of votes for them to get on


that strategy. It doesn't feel like Tim Farron and the Lib Dems have


promised enough. They are making a very serious case on cannabis use in


a nightclub, but the optics of what they are discussing doesn't make


them look like an anchor in a future coalition government that they would


need to be. I wonder if we are seeing the re-emergence of the


2-party system? And it is not the same two parties. In Scotland, the


dynamics of this election seemed to be the Nationalists against the


Conservatives. In England, if you look at what has happened to be Ukip


vote, and what Sam was saying about the Lib Dems are struggling a bit to


get some traction, it is overwhelmingly Labour and the


Conservatives. A different 2-party system from Scotland, but a 2-party


system. There are a number of different election is going on in


parallel. In Scotland it is about whether you are unionist or not.


Here, we have the collapse of the Ukip vote, which looks as though it


is being redistributed in the Tories' favour. This is a unique


election, and will not necessarily set the trend for elections to come.


In the Tory manifesto, I spotted the fact that the fixed term Parliament


act is going to be scrapped. That got almost no coverage! It turned


out to be academic anyway, that it tells you something about how


Theresa May is feeling, and she wants the control to call an


election whenever it suits her. Re-emergence of the 2-party system,


for this election or beyond? For this election, yes, but it shows the


sort of robust strength of parties and their fragility. In other words,


the Lib Dems haven't really recovered from the losses in the


last general election, and are therefore not really seen as a


robust vehicle to deliver Remain. If they were, they might be doing


better. The Labour Party hasn't recovered in Scotland, and yet, if


you look at the basic divide in England and Scotland and you see two


parties battling it out, it is very, very hard for the smaller parties to


break through and last. Many appear briefly on the political stage and


then disappear again. The election had the ostensible goal of Brexit,


but we haven't heard much about it in the campaign. Perhaps the Tories


want to get back onto that. David Davis sounding quite tough this


morning, the Brexit minister, saying there is no chance we will talk


about 100 billion. And we have to have power in the negotiations on


the free trade deal or what ever it is. I think they are keen to get the


subject of the manifesto at this point, because it has not started


too well. There is an irony that Theresa May ostensibly called the


election because she needed a stronger hand in the Brexit


negotiations, and there was an opportunity for the Lib Dems, with


their unique offer of being the party that is absolutely against the


outcome of the referendum, and offering another chance. There


hasn't been much airtime on that particular pledge, because instead,


this election has segued into being all about leadership. Theresa May's


leadership, and looking again at the Tory manifesto, I was struck that


she was saying that this is my plan for the future, not ABBA plan. Even


when talking about social care, he manages to work in a bit about


Theresa May and Brexit. And Boris Johnson this morning, an interview


he gave on another political programme this morning, it was


extraordinarily sycophantic for him. Isn't Theresa May wonderful. There


is a man trying to secure his job in the Foreign Office! Will he succeed?


I think she will leave him. Better in the tent than out. What did you


make of David Davis' remarks? He was basically saying, we will walk away


from the negotiating table if the Europeans slam a bill for 100


billion euros. The point is that the Europeans will not slam a bill for


100 billion euros on the negotiating table. That is the gross figure.


There are all sorts of things that need to be taken into account. I


imagine they will ask for something around the 50 or ?60 billion mark.


It looks that they are trying to make it look like a concession when


they do make their demands in order to soften the ground for what is


going to happen just two weeks after general election day. He makes a


reasonable point about having parallel talks. What they want to do


straightaway is deal with the bill, Northern Ireland and citizens


rights. All of those things are very complicated and interlinked issues,


which cannot be dealt with in isolation. I wouldn't be surprised


if we ended up with parallel talks, just to work out where we are going


with Northern Ireland and the border. Steve, you can't work out


what the Northern Ireland border will be, and EU citizens' writes


here, until you work out what our relationship with the EU in the


future will be. Indeed. The British government is under pressure to deal


quickly with the border issue in Ireland, but feel they can't do so


because when you have a tariff free arrangement outcome, or an


arrangement that is much more protectionist, and that will


determine partly the nature of the border. You cannot have a quick


agreement on that front without knowing the rest of the deal. I


think the negotiation will be complex. I am certain they want a


deal rather than none, because this is no deal thing is part of the


negotiation at this early stage. Sounding tough in the general


election campaign also works electorally. But after the election,


it will be a tough negotiation, beginning with this cost of Brexit.


My understanding is that the government feels it's got to make


the Europeans think they will not do a deal in order to get a deal. They


don't want no deal. Absolutely not. And I'm sure it plays into the


election. I'm sure the rhetoric will change when the election is over.


That's all for today, thank you to all my guests.


The Daily Politics will be back on BBC Two at 12.00


And tomorrow evening I will be starting my series of interviews


with the party leaders - first up is the Prime


Minister, Theresa May, that's at 7pm on BBC One.


And I'll be back here at the same time on BBC One next Sunday.


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


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