22/11/2015 Sunday Politics Northern Ireland


Andrew Neil and Mark Carruthers with the latest political news, interviews and debate. Andrew is joined by Lord Nigel Lawson and Caroline Flint MP.

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Could British war planes be in action over the skies of Syria


Later this week, David Cameron set out his strategy


George Osborne says all Whitehall departments have agreed to cuts


as he gears up for his Spending Review this week.


We speak to one of his Conservative predecessors.


And it's been a pretty rough week for the Labour Party.


And coming up here: can Jeremy Corbyn steady the ship?


An emotional DUP conference bids farewell to its leader.


Plus the deal we waited so long for - is it a Fresh Start or


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


They pay me to say it, so I am happy to do so.


Nick Watt, Helen Lewis and Janan Ganesh - who'll be tweeting


Following the terror attacks in Paris, President Hollande has


embarked on putting together a Grand Coalition to defeat Islamic State in


Syria, involving the UN, America, Russia and, naturally, Britain.


The British Government is keen to join but faces the little problem


Later this week, David Cameron will present


his Syrian strategy to Parliament in the hope it will command a majority


Here's what the Chancellor had to say on the Marr Show earlier,


This week, we are going to step up our diplomatic efforts,


our humanitarian efforts, and make the case for a greater


The Prime Minister will seek support across Parliament


for strikes against that terrorist organisation in Syria and frankly


Britain has never been a country which stands on the sidelines


Nick, am I right in thinking that you can see now the makings, the


putting together, of majority for the Prime Minister's desire to bomb


in Syria? They are being reasonably cautious that they are pretty


confident that, even now, they have the numbers. Three big things have


happened since three weeks ago when the Prime Minister was indicating he


was unlikely to have a vote. Paris has changed everything. Jeremy


Corbyn has had a challenging week. Thirdly, the Prime Minister has said


he will set out the comprehensive strategy. Labour MPs who said they


would like to support him have said they could not do it unless there


was a comprehensive strategy. It is also turning Tory MPs can lead by


Crispin Blunt, who would have voted against. He is now indicating he


possibly will vote for this. DUP, Nigel Dodds, who has eight MPs at


Westminster, he is indicating that if the Prime Minister set this


out... It looks like the numbers are if the Prime Minister set this


say was credible. We are told rebels thinking of voting with the


Government or abstaining could be as high as 50. What is your


intelligence? A huge number, from very senior people as well. Actually


the number of senior people leaving, exiting the Shadow Cabinet, I think


a challenging week would be an understatement. It is at a whole new


level. There is only so much time you can buy with free votes. Jeremy


Corbyn opposes the party policy. This time he would set his own


policy but no 1 would come with him. How many times can you play that


trick before people say this is a loose conglomeration of individuals


and not a party? Do you think he would go for a free vote? Maria


Eagle has just published a paper which is very hawkish. Hilary Benn


has been making noises about this. Who is there to support, apart from


John McDonnell, in this position? He is very isolated on this. The


problem for the Prime Minister is, in a sense he gets what he wishes


for. We begin joining others in bombing and things do not really


changed in Syria. I do not think the House of Commons is the primary


obstacle facing David Cameron. I think he will get the votes could


not see much because of the case he will make later this week but


because what happened in the last week. They focused on all necessary


measures and use combat as a metaphor, but a deliberate metaphor,


I think. The biggest problem is not the Parliamentary vote for David


Cameron, it is the diplomatic struggle to agree with Russia


exactly how we go about this. Russia are happy to bomb in Syria against


Isil but they are not happy to do so in a way which, in their words,


destroys the statehood of Syria which alludes to their traditional


support for the existing Syrian state and basher al-Assad. The


politics is far more challenging than the technical act of getting


the votes together. That is the problem. What is the endgame?


Transition can sometimes take a long time. A very long transition.


On Wednesday, Chancellor Osborne will announce the Government's


Over the next five years, they will total ?4 trillion.


But even to stay within that barely imaginable sum of money, Mr Osborne


will have to continue to cut departmental and welfare spending.


Hence the mantra you will hear this week of "a country that lives within


its means" - in other words more of a squeeze on many public services.


The Chancellor wants government departments to find


a further ?20 billion worth of savings between now and 2020.


So, where could that money come from?


Welcome to our virtual Treasury courtyard.


Now, they don't have one of these in the real courtyard


but it represents everything the Government is due to spend this year


I'm going to start by highlighting a few of the most significant parts


You can see the ?217 billion which goes on Social Security.


That includes everything from jobseeker's allowance to


There is the ?35 billion the UK is due to spend this year


And George Osborne says that's a figure he is determined to bring


Now, the focus of his statement is the


money which goes on administering and delivering public services.


Here it is, and you can see it's just under half


We are going to delve into the budgets of a few of the most


It is the NHS which accounts for the biggest chunk


The Chancellor is not going to find any of his savings here


because he has promised to increase NHS funding in England by ?10


The Government's also promised a real terms increase


That is part of its commitment to meeting the Nato target of spending


The Government is also committed to spending 0.7% of GDP


on overseas aid - meaning that budget is also protected.


So, the Chancellor is not going to find any of his ?20 billion


of savings he says he needs to make from either health, defence or aid.


So, where could it come from instead?


What about from the education budget?


That is a big part of what the state spends on public services.


Here the Conservatives have promised a


That means savings from here will be limited.


Although the rest of the budget does not have any guaranteed protection.


Here is the money that goes to English local authorities.


This was one of the first departments to agree to big savings


Let's look at the Home Office whose budget this year is ?10.6 billion.


The single biggest thing Theresa May's department spends


money on is the grant it gives to police forces in England and Wales.


Although they also get some of their money from other sources including


And some of the other departments which are going to have to find big


savings over the next four years are the departments of business,


But let's go back to that big part of government spending I mentioned


Because of course that is where a lot


of the focus has been in the weeks and months before this statement.


Again here there is plenty the Chancellor will not touch.


The state pension is a massive part of the budget.


But the Government has a long-standing promise not to cut


it along with various pensioner benefits.


The other areas of big spending the Government has had to look to


are housing benefit, disability benefits and incapacity benefits.


And, you can see that big sum of money, ?30 billion,


which is due to be spent on personal tax credits this year.


An area where the Chancellor has found that making savings can


So, the Chancellor faces some tricky trade-offs on Wednesday


when he unveils his spending plans for the next five years.


Paul Johnson from the Institute of Fiscal Studies has some ideas.


Paul, welcome back to the programme. Let's start with this tricky


question of tax credits. What is the Chancellor, in your view, most


likely to do? He has two big choices. He can decide not to make


any cuts, or much in the wake of cuts, next April. That is what all


of the bus has been about, the cuts that will come in next April. -- the


fuss. Most of the savings will come in the long run full he has also


announced the new universal credit system will be much less generous


than he was originally intending. In five or ten years time, even if he


does not put the cut scene he was planning in April, he will still


make much the same level of saving for them if he does that, his


spending in 2016 on welfare for them if he does that, his


will be ?4 billion or so higher than he was planning and he will bust


will be ?4 billion or so higher than own welfare cap, the cap he has


legislated, which assumes he own welfare cap, the cap he has


make those savings. That is one option. The other option is he will


try to find some savings in 2016, maybe reduce the cuts to tax credits


that have some savings and look elsewhere in the welfare budget to


make up the rest of the savings. Whatever he does on tax credits


make up the rest of the savings. cost money, certainly in the short


run. His deficit reduction plan for the ship is


run. His deficit reduction plan for trouble. He faces huge pressures to


run. His deficit reduction plan for spend more on everything from health


run. His deficit reduction plan for to Social Security. -- for this year


run. His deficit reduction plan for is already in some trouble. The


first thing to say about that surplus in


first thing to say about that amount of uncertainty about


first thing to say about that will be. Forecasting these things


first thing to say about that view ad is an extreme you tricky and


uncertain business. Ignoring that, assuming the whole world


uncertain business. Ignoring that, expects over the next few


uncertain business. Ignoring that, will require cuts of about 25% in


those unprotected apartments we have will require cuts of about 25% in


just heard about the Home Office, local government, and so on,


just heard about the Home Office, last parliament will Boyd -- involve


really sharp last parliament will Boyd -- involve


2020. They are big changes to way which we will deliver local


Gottman way which we will deliver local


delivering police force, way which we will deliver local


will be delivering way which we will deliver local


decade. Let me get these right. When you add up all the cuts, those made


in those about to happen, between 20102020, major departments, the


unprotected ones, will face cuts of up to 40%. -- between 2010-2020. Is


it doable? That is a good question. It may not turn up that badly if the


economy does better than expected all the Chancellor finds some


additional savings in Social Security, or he does not aim for the


10 million surplus and goes for a 1 billion surplus. -- 10 billion. If


he does go down that route, it will be more difficult than it was in the


last parliament. If there were easy cuts to have made, they will have


been made already. Do not forget one of the biggest bits of public


spending goes on the pay of people who work in the public sector, the


pay of nurses, teachers and civil servants and so on. That was quite


easy to hold down over the last parliament. Pay in the private


sector was doing so badly. We expect, almost economists now expect


that pay in the private sector will rise well to be strongly. In that


world it will be quite hard to hold down pay right across the public


sector, as he said he would do back in the July budget.


Joining me now Nigel Lawson, Margaret Thatcher's longest serving


Welcome back to the programme. Thank you, I enjoyed your rant the other


day. It was not a rant, it was a carefully scripted commentary but


thank you for your remarks. Let me take an overall review on the


Chancellor 's position. The borrowing figures for October were


pretty bad, looks like he will overshoot this year 's borrowing. Is


the austerity programme in trouble again? It is difficult, he has a


difficult time because of these ridiculous protected programmes


which should not exist. Aid is going up again and again, the Nobel Prize


for economics has been given to an English economist, he is Scottish in


fact, and one of his principal findings, he is a great expert on


global poverty and one of his major findings is that overseas aid


although well-intentioned does more harm than good. Yet that is going up


and up. He has got a tough time but it can be done. When I was


Chancellor I was able to balance the budget and get it into surplus and


he has to do it as well. He has huge pressure on security, the police,


the NHS, we were just talking about mitigating cuts on the tax credit


side, these are all hard to resist in the current atmosphere. It is


going to be very difficult and although I suspect it will mainly be


cuts in savings in public spending I think he will have to do more on the


tax side than he would have liked. There is some logic in that, for


example it looks as if, Paul Johnson was seeing, or maybe it was you, but


he is likely to some extent to defer the cutting of the tax credits. It's


quite right to take a knife to the tax credits, they have grown far too


much and are undesirable in their present size. But nonetheless what


he did propose originally was a bit too much for some and therefore he


has got to delay it a bit. But when he presented, he presented a package


including raising income tax threshold. He could, as part of the


package delay that a little bit and help on the tax side. The government


has always said it will do all the heavy lifting, the heavy lifting


will be done by cuts in spending rather than increasing taxes. Will


he now have to look at increasing some taxes are hats at a time of low


oil prices on fuel duty? I think that's a good suggestion and it is


sensible to do that. But defer a reduction which he might find


less... Yes but might he have to look at some tax rises? I think you


should look at the fuel duty, yes. President Hollande has said that


national security comes before deficit reduction, he has sidelined


the fiscal pact he has with the rest of Europe. He plans a huge increase


in security spending, 17,000 more police and border guards and other


security personnel. Will the British be looking at George Osborne to do


something similar next week? President Hollande has never been


keen on deficit-reduction in the first place. It's not unconnected


with the fact as well that the French economy, and I live in


France, the French economy is in a bad way. We are doing much better.


Security is important but the government has said very clearly


that it is going to be keeping to the 2% target, 2% of GDP on defence


spending, something France is not doing even though it has


considerable defence expenditure. The leaked letter from one of the


most senior police officers to the Home Secretary says cuts to police


budgets could reduce very significantly the ability to respond


to a Paris style attack. The Chancellor is going to be under


pressure to make security more important than deficit-reduction.


Certainly for the foreseeable future. Security is essential. It is


vital. But I think the police are complaining a little bit too much.


Look how much the police are spending now on chasing up often


unsubstantiated accusations of historic sex abuse. That has got


nothing to do with security. Those resources should be put where they


need is. I think also what the police need is not just money, and


the security services to, they need intelligence. I think it would make


a lot of sense and what I would like to see the government doing is to


expedite the passage of the investigatory Powers Bill which is


long overdue and badly needed. In this climate you accept that cutting


the top rate of income tax back to the 40% that you originally


introduced, that that is politically impossible for the foreseeable


future? It depends how far you can proceed. I would hope that during


this parliament it can be done. It is politically difficult but there


is no budgetary reason against it. When I cut it it increased revenue


and it would do so again. The cap which George Osborne has already


done in the last parliament from 50, 245 even though the Liberal


Democrats he did it and it raised money and didn't cost anything. To


be cutting police numbers, to be struggling to find money for the


NHS, to be doing something for the working poor on tax credits, making


life a bit more difficult for them but then to be cutting the top rate


of the highest earners? That is why I don't think you can be doing it


now that you were asking about the foreseeable future. You still think


he can do it before the end of this Parliament? Yes I do. On Europe, how


confident are you feeling about winning the referendum to withdraw?


Nobody can call a referendum. It is difficult enough sometimes to call a


general election and referendums are even harder to call. Logically I


don't think he will do it. Logically David Cameron ought to be


campaigning to leave because what he said at the beginning was he was


dissatisfied with the European Union as it is. He wanted a fundamental


reform to be enshrined in treaty change. Then stay in a reformed


European Union. There is not going to be a reformed European Union.


There will not be a treaty change. What the referendum is going to be


about is if you want to stay in or leave and an reform European Union.


So logically he ought to say leave and that is where I am because if it


is an reform we don't want to stay in it. So even if the primer Mr was


to get all his renegotiation demands such as we know them it would not


change your mind on coming out? No, if he demanded a lot more and got


it, major reforms which I have written about but I don't have time


to go into no, I think it would be welcomed right across the European


Union. This is not the view of the majority of the people, but we


cannot tell the rest of the countries what to do, all we can say


is what we are going to do. As we get closer to the referendum date,


we don't know when it will be but when we get closer to it being


announced, in terms of who seem to be the major figure who leads your


side of the referendum campaign, if not Nigel Farage, who? Certainly not


Nigel Farage. I think the people who want to stay in have put up a


businessman. Stewart draws. Not a particularly captivating


businessman. Who will be the equivalent? I have no idea, but we


will wait and see but it certainly won't be Nigel Farage. He will be an


important player. Why not? Because Ukip has just one member of


Parliament. We are a parliamentary democracy and the majority party is


the Conservative Party. Nigel Lawson, thank you for being with us.


Thank you. It's been a pretty torrid week


for the Labour Party. Splits on everything


from how to deal with terrorists to Trident, to Ken Livingstone,


culminating in a bizarre row about whether or not the Shadow


Chancellor wants to scrap MI5. John McDonnell insists Britain's


spies are safe in his hands, though he did admit that


his party has had a "rough week". It is the week that Jeremy Corbyn


and his party grappled with issues In the wake of the Paris attacks,


the Labour leader said he was not happy with the idea


of police officers shooting to kill on British streets, which led to


a very stormy party meeting, So, you tweeted, "please tell me it


is not true that Jeremy just said, faced with Kalashnikov-wielding


genocidal fascists, our security I,


along with millions of Labour voters in this country, were very concerned


by the interview that Jeremy gave. Thankfully, Hilary Benn, the Shadow


Foreign Secretary, clarified matters very quickly and restated support


for the use of lethal force and, support of the use of drone strikes,


which Jeremy had also questioned. Jeremy himself, thankfully,


a few hours later, also issued a clarification,


and I'm very pleased he did. A lot of Labour voters will


have been very relieved. Then came a row about the former


Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, being appointed to co-chair


the party's review of Trident, and the emergence of a letter from a


campaign group calling for MI5 to be disbanded that the Shadow


Chancellor, John McDonnell, seems And we found something else


interesting that John This Parliamentary motion he


proposed last October saying taxpayers who do not


like war should be able to opt out The military is where


the next battle may lie. If and


when the Government brings forward plans to extend British air strikes


from Iraq to Syria, some Labour MPs want to vote in favour, while


their leader is a committed One Labour figure is speaking out


for the first time. I think it would be wrong to suggest


there is a settled view on the People will bring


their own prejudices, which are from being instinctively


for intervention, to having long The only thing I would ask of all


of my colleagues is we look at this with an open mind,


examining the facts rather than seeing how it matches our


prejudices, and then reach a decision which is in the national


interest. Do you think Jeremy Corbyn


is able to do that? He has some very strongly held views


that we should not get involved He may have to come to


a point where he says, now that I'm not just a backbencher,


I am actually the Leader of There is an element


of national interest and that is For the young Corbynites at this


event about Labour's economic policy The only reason we look bad to


the general public, the only reason we do not look very strong at the


moment, is that we are not united. If you have criticisms with


the Leader, you should take it up It is not fitting to do these things


in the press, criticising people. Do you think there is a plot


against Jeremy Corbyn? If they are planning


a plot they should probably think about the fact Jeremy was elected


with 59.5% of the vote, I think. And we saw, from the beginning,


he went from the least likely person to get


in to the front runner, to the If people are plotting to get rid


of him, they really should listen The party should be based


around what the party members want. Unfortunately for them there will be


another flash point On Tuesday there will be a vote


in the House of Commons on Trident, Labour MPs have been


instructed not to turn up. We understand a bunch of them,


including some big names, are thinking about defying


their Leader and voting It would be a largely symbolic vote


but another visible symbol of I'm joined now from Doncaster


by the Labour MP Caroline Flint - she was a minister under Tony Blair


and Gordon Brown. Good morning, thank you for coming


back on the programme. Let me begin with a general question, it's been a


pretty terrible week for Labour, what is the mood now on the Labour


backbenches among your colleagues? It's not been a great week for


Labour, that is correct. I think part of the reason for that is we


haven't looked certain and confident on some of the big issues the nation


are worried about. What we have to have from the leadership, not just


Jeremy but those around him, is certainty about what we think about


what is happening in terms of the terrorist acts in Paris. But more


widely about what the certainty we can offer as Labour Party about how


we will support our national security. I think understandably


there have been concerns, I don't think just on the backbenches of the


Labour Party, but also amongst the Shadow Cabinet, that is clear, but


also more widely amongst the party membership as well. The news has


been dominated for a week now by these terrible events in Paris. Has


Jeremy Corbyn mishandled the Labour response to these events? I think


what is really important is that with leadership does come a massive


responsibility to speak clearly and with certainty about a whole number


of issues. But probably more than any other subject area if you like


national security demands that. Because at a time where we are all


reeling from what has happened in Paris, and there is no doubt Jeremy


Corbyn takes very, very seriously what has happened there and its


implication for the security of British people as well and others


around the world. The question of allowing our pleas through the legal


framework which already exists to take action when they are presented


with a terrorist in front of them but also on some of the other


matters about how we should move forward in a united way with other


countries to tackle Isil, I think that certainty has been wanting and


not helped, I have to say, when other members of the Shadow Cabinet


cannot speak with one voice about what the leader wants to do. I hope


out of this week we will see some clarity and certainty coming forward


and I think we already know, and I have heard more this morning, that


David Cameron will come back to the House of Commons this week. We do


need a plan, it can't just be about military action, it has to be more


than that and I hope we can be in a position to opportunity going


forward to tackle the threat of Isil which is the most major threat to


security around the world that we have at the moment.


If Mr Cameron comes form with that dashes forward with that kind of


plan, would you back military action in Syria? I believe there can be a


case former literary action in Syria. We are facing the most


profoundly barbaric group of terrorists I think I have ever


realised in my lifetime or thought about. -- military action. Also the


most resourced group of terrorists in the world. It is a different


situation to what we faced a few years ago where I voted against


military action when Cameron came back to Parliament to deal with


Assad. We have in this country and this region, a number of dangerous


groups. There are a number of -- there is a hierarchy of dangerous


groups and Isil is the top of that list. If it can be about, yes, what


sort of military action should take place, maybe the air strikes... Like


we are doing in Iraq, within that a wider plan as to how we will deal


with civil war in Syria and what else we need to do going forward.


That is something I feel I could support. You say there is no doubt


that the Labour leadership takes these matters seriously. Can I point


out, just before the election this year, the Shadow Chancellor penned


his name to a document supporting the abolition of MI5 and disarming


the police? Last year he supported people opting out of having their


taxes fund any kind of military activity. I do not think... I


suspect a lot of people will not think that is taking these issues


very seriously. Is Mr McConnell fit to hold the second most important


position within the Shadow Cabinet? One of the aspects of the leadership


campaign over the summer was a sense that Jeremy was authentic and very


clear about his views. And, you know, they may not be shared with


everybody, I may have some different views to Jeremy on that. Part of his


appeal was the authenticity, that it did not have any spin. He said he


did not realise what he do when he held that the letter and seemed to


support it. We had a leadership election. There was a massive surge


in our membership and Jeremy had an overwhelming mandate. Maybe, you


know, Jeremy and John McDonnell, have earned the right within that to


put forward their views. What is clear to me, I am a moderate


politician, but I am also a conviction politician. I do not say


one thing to one group of people and another to another group of people.


If the leadership believes in these things, they should say that and the


biggest test is then to let the British people determine whether


they agree with them or not. I think clarity, authenticity and honesty,


they are all very important and that is how you create trust. The last


election, at the end, it was clear your party had a problem over the


issue of economic security. When Mr Corbyn has said about not shooting


terrorists and his reservations about killing jihadi John, is not a


danger, as some polls suggest this morning, though it is not a danger,


as some polls suggest this morning, voters are national security and not


just economic security? When it comes to leadership, as you know,


you may have your own view is that you had before but you have to be


open to actually other views as well. That is why we're having this


debate within the Parliamentary Labour Party as to how we get a


position regarding what we do next in Syria. Jeremy has an overwhelming


mandate. With that comes a responsibility leadership which


shows the ideas he puts forward and answers to these really difficult


questions, whether on the economy national security, can also reach


out beyond the Parliamentary Labour Party and to that matter the Labour


Party. Part of that is winning People's trust to back you. That is


the task, not just the Jeremy but any leader of the leather party. He


needs to show he can do that. I think he wants to do that. -- the


Labour Party. They have said this morning they will have a full


discussion in the Shadow Cabinet and there will be discussions within the


Parliamentary Labour Party as well. Leadership does require a wider


reach and responsibility beyond boundaries. Are you surprised that


in so many personal appointments, John McDonnell, Ken Livingstone now


on defence, Mr Corbyn seems to have made no effort to reach out to the


centre of your party, much less the right of it? Well, all party


leaders, I have to say, and I have seen a few, do tend to sometimes


surround themselves not only with elected politicians but the paid


staff who are part of their group. For any party leader, whoever they


point, they have to show they will work in a way that is not just


fashioned by their own particular background and experience and maybe


their own point of view. There is a wider responsibility here. The


Labour Party is not a pressure group. We exist to win elections in


order to put our platform into practice in government. Therefore,


the people around Jeremy, who have been appointed, they have to


demonstrate they understand the responsibilities of that,


responsibilities to the wider Labour Party. Some people within it he may


not agree with him on everything but at heart we all want to win the next


election. Importantly, 400,000 people took part in the leadership


election. That is amazing. We have had a ground swell of people join


the party and many of them want to be active in a very positive way. I


welcome mat. We have to convince millions of people to support us in


the next election and in all the elections up to 2020. Final question


to you, if Mr Corbyn continues the way he has begun, will he be leading


your party into the 2020 election? Does he have any chance of winning?


Look, we have had, seven, eight, nine weeks since the leadership


election. It has been rocky along the way. We have made significant


impact when it came to the debate around tax credits for working


people. Will he lead your party into the next election? What Jeremy has


to do now is focused on how he leads our party right now. That will


determine our fortunes in the weeks, months and also in 2020. Thank you


for joining us. We say goodbye to viewers


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


in Northern Ireland. A final speech to


the party faithful - Peter Robinson I think the outpouring of emotion


shows how much he is loved within this party and how much people


rightly regard him as not just a politician but a statesman.


And it was titled A Fresh Start - but with victims' groups up in arms


about being excluded, some have branded it more of a false start.


We'll hear the thoughts of my guests - the News Letter's Political


Correspondent, Sam McBride, and Allison Morris from The Irish News.


Peter Robinson has given his final conference leader's speech to


the party which he said he has lived in since the day of its birth.


The outgoing First Minister said his work is almost done,


and it's time for a new generation to step forward.


I've been speaking to Mr Robinson - and we'll hear his thoughts on this


latest deal, the shortcomings of the Ulster Unionists and why compromise


But first, our Political Correspondent,


Chris Page, was at the conference at the La Mon Hotel in County Down.


It's the last time he'll do this. Peter Robinson helped to found the


DUP and says he remembers hoovering down party lanes to get to meetings.


Now he is moving his way through a crowd of his admirers. If First


Minister is preparing for a new stage in life. In a few weeks' time


I will step out of the limelight. The pattern of leadership will pass


to others. This transition doesn't need to mark an end, only a new


beginning. You may see it that way need to mark an end, only a new


their emotions about their departure. I did it give you a


bless you all. This is a formidable farewell for Peter Robinson. The DUP


is paying a tremendous tribute to the man who masterminded its move


from being a party of protest for a party of power. I will never be able


to properly thank Peter after all he has done for the country but we


tried today and I think the outpouring of emotion shows how much


he is loved within the party. I know more than most over the last 12


months what it is to have a leader like Peter Robinson. He has


supported me. He was there. He was incisive in his decision. So the


party focus now is on who will take over. The next head of the Stormont


executive will have lots of chances. This model is designed to


highlight one, waiting times for hospital I appointments but the DUP


say they are on the right road. We are on the motorway. He has set us


on a course which we collectively have embraced. People want to see us


progressing and moving along that motorway at a greater speed. I would


happily said any of our people, man for man, woman for women against


other leadership challenges. I am very confident that the party is


left to make the best decision. At a time of change, what


left to make the best decision. At a politicians think of where it is


going? It is attracting new and politicians think of where it is


energetic young people into it but politicians think of where it is


in terms of Northern Ireland moving forward, there is so much more to be


achieved in investment, trying to attract jobs. I think in terms of


the package that the DUP attract jobs. I think in terms of


other party offers it. I don't think the party needs to


other party offers it. I don't think sense. I think they are


other party offers it. I don't think sound policies. I actually think


they are party that everybody in Northern Ireland should get behind.


How many will do that will become clear in the Stormont elections next


year. The party has used this conference to prepare for that. It


has merely been about giving Peter Robinson eight Sterling sendoff.


Chris Page among the party faithful in County Down.


Well I spoke to Mr Robinson just moments after he'd made that


farewell speech, and I began by asking him about his verbal


I think our position -- their position has been disgraceful, to


come out of the executive simply because of electoral convenience. I


think it says little for the party and then to try and scheme away so


they can get back in, I think it was reprehensible. They weren't prepared


to roll up their sleeves and get an agreement, prepared to allow us to


take all the hard decisions so they could jump up on them afterwards. I


think they deserved a site were too and I think the people of Northern


Ireland will not think kindly on those who were preparing to move


Northern Ireland forward... It is bizarre. We can all stand on our own


party platforms and all give the rhetoric which suits our own party


supporters but the true test of leadership is whether we are


prepared to sit down and reach accommodation with others. The UUP


were not prepared to do that. I wondered if you would be able to


reach any future accommodation with the Ulster Unionist Party. It was


bizarre to hear a DUP leader in a conference speech talking about


electoral convenience, short termism and short-sightedness. Nothing like


that on the other side against republicans. I think everybody knows


the position I adopt in relation to republicans but at least republicans


were prepared to sit down and negotiate and prepared to reach


agreement and to copyrights. I think that shows a greater level of


political maturity and I hope that the Ulster Unionist Party won't


allow themselves to be led along a path that takes them into oblivion


and put them to the sidelines of Ulster politics. They should be in


the centre of politics, not the sidelines. Let's talk about the end


of your political leadership. Your predecessor Ian Piercy felt he was


pushed out at the of his career -- Paisley. He was very public about


that. You're saying your decision to go was your choice but you must have


known that if he didn't go, you would be pushed? Well, that isn't


the case. Indeed, all of the urging was for me to stay. Indeed, part of


the reason for my public announcement was to put it beyond


the stage where it could be returned. I have had massive support


within the party and I am very grateful to all of my colleagues.


There is no sense of being pushed whatsoever. Of course, every


political party has a range of political views within it. There are


people, but her personality and other reasons, will have a different


view than I have. However, I am happy to say, they are in very small


numbers and are not exactly in the most influential end of the party.


Would it surprise you to hear that I have spoken to several senior


members of the party on this very subject in recent weeks and one of


them would talk to me about the need for you to go, was standing on the


platform and having you at the end of that speech? It doesn't surprise


me. You and I both know who it is. That is why I say that it is a


small, very small group within the party and happily one that didn't


have a lot of influence. You have been seen by many throughout your


career been seen by many throughout your


strategist. And he filled recently though that may be your becoming a


bit of a potential electoral liability, as your golden touch


seemed to desert you? I am thinking here about having to answer


questions about the Nama sale of the Northern Ireland known bug. You have


very publicly denied this. Also the end held ministerial strategy which


was very popular with the party and the sudden elevation of Emma


Pengelly didn't play well in certain quarters. First of all, as far as


Nama is concerned, you can hardly suggest that that is some loss of


touch. Because somebody decides to smear doesn't mean that I have lost


any touch. The time I think all deal fully and effectively with this


issue. As far as the in alp policy, as these were decisions of the party


officers. It was the tactical and right thing to do in these


circumstances to avoid the collapse of the Assembly, and as far as Emma


is concerned, as I look across the Assembly group, and I have to take


my decisions in choosing a minister, on the basis of what is the merit of


that individual, there is nobody in the Assembly in any political party


who knows the functions of OFM DFM better than Emma does and no wonder


would be more capable of doing the job. As you will be a first class


representative for South Belfast. Are you going to adopt the same


strategy in finding your replacement as an MLA for East Belfast, somebody


from your inner circle, bright young thing? I do believe in the general


principle of bringing talented young thing? I do believe in the general


thing to do. It's just a didn't play particularly well in South Belfast.


Other members of your party thought they had first dibs and were very


disappointed and answer the question if I had asked you but if he had


been in the position of the party officers and it was a party of the


decision, not my decision, if he had been in that disposition to have


traduced to get the most talented individual for South Belfast, who


would you have chosen? Well, that wasn't my choice, you made your


choice and you received some criticism for it and you may have


lost a number of the party over it, it is your choice. I think if you


are more up-to-date, you would know we have expelled that member. She


has been given that information. As far as you're concerned, Ruth


Patterson is no longer a member of the DUP? Party officers unanimously


decided to expel her earlier this week. What I want to ask you is, who


is the real Peter Robinson? You have been described as something of a


chameleon. Is the real Peter Robinson the hard-line


uncompromising unionist or is it the Progressive unionist Party who wants


to do think differently, who we occasionally cod quotas of in the


past two years? I am a determined unionist who wants to take Northern


Ireland forward because that is the best way to safeguard the union.


Everybody reacts in different circumstances depending on what they


are having to be faced with. When there was a threat against Northern


Ireland's position within the United Kingdom, when we were being bombed


and shot in our homes, of course you saw a hard side of Peter Robinson,


now we have the opportunity to really make progress in Northern


Ireland and to take it forward so now you are seeing what you describe


as the progressive Peter Robinson. Let's see what my guests make


of that. Joining me are Allison Morris


and Sam McBride. As he leads the stage, it is Peter


Robinson working to be remembered as the one who moved from a party of


protest to the party of Progressive unionist Party macro I think it is


difficult to sum up Peter Robinson's time in terms of his time


as First Minister. There is it watershed with the


as First Minister. There is it After that point he was using set


piece speeches such as yesterday to appeal to Catholic voters


piece speeches such as yesterday to there was a benign apartheid


segregated education, the language of moderate unionism, even alliance.


Very quickly, after the fight of moderate unionism, even alliance.


put on the back of moderate unionism, even alliance.


then he has been very pragmatic. He has moved one direction, then the


other. Very difficult to say what he stood for when he was leader. It is


fascinating, Allison, isn't it? stood for when he was leader. It is


lot of criticism of the Ulster Unionist Party but hardly a mention


of Sinn Fein and compromised apparently the scene, it is no


longer a dirty word. I think it was a fascinating interview. We know he


announces departure this week but it was done in a very choreographed


way. An was done in a very choreographed


for the lamest -- Ulster Unionist was done in a very choreographed


the crisis in the Assembly was supposed to be in relation to


republican violence and the murder of Kevin McGuigan, that all seems to


have been forgotten about and as he was leaving his speech, it was saved


for fellow unionists. It is fascinating. I'm not surprised he


has changed tack and tried to become the progressive Peter Robinson


because he would want the legacy to be anything but that. -- wouldn't


want. The events of the last year have been complete contradictions,


he has tried to ride two horses. Some nationalists will not be


persuaded? Not at all. Before 2012, there was a lot of talk about


attracting Catholic voters. Once we saw the flight protest, we saw his


lack of leadership and inability to push things forward to meet the


difficult decisions. He buckled down to the lowest common to nominate and


that would put any nationalist of. Sam, a final thought from you. They


were very clear in that interview that his decision was his, but he


had been writing about this for quite some time. That interpretation


of the sequence of events is not what a lot of observers believe. It


say understandably that he is very clear that interview. In some senses


he is contradicting because on the one hand he says it was not back it


was his decision to go. On the other hand, there was a senior DUP who


wanted him to go, he openly admits that was the case. He seems to be


trying to have it both ways. I spoke to six DUP members at very various


members of the party, rank and file and senior figures. Three weeks ago


they were saying either he goes by the end of the year or we have to


move against him. That is unchallengeable because that is what


those people were saying at that point. We will hear more from you at


the moment. For now, thank you. Ukip also held


its conference this weekend. At the gathering in Carrickfergus,


members heard attacks on the European Union, immigration


policy and the Stormont Executive. There was also confirmation


of most of the candidates the party intends to run


in next year's Assembly election. But so far, its leader here,


David McNarry, isn't among them. Our Political Correspondent,


Gareth Gordon, reports. Carrickfergus's Norman built castle


is a reminder that invaders from Europe are nothing new. Perhaps


fitting then that the town was chosen by Ukip for its conference in


Northern Ireland. So far the party's mix of anti-EU sentiment and


heavy scepticism about the Stormont performance has had mixed results.


Pour in the last General Election but decent in the preceding European


poll. 24,000 people voted for the party's then chair Henry Reilly


except he has now gone to the TUV after being expelled. Still, that


didn't seem to dampen the spirits of members who heard a familiar message


from some of its three remaining councillors. We are a national


unionist party. Not just with a future on the British mainland but


also here in our six counties, we country. In the Assembly elections,


Ukip will upset many unionist parties and will take many of


voters. Let's continue to have a publicly funded NHS but the United


Kingdom citizens. The party leader was critical of this week's deal to


save the Stormont institutions and in particular, the DUP. We have


returned to the days of no guns, no government, and Kenya who coined


phrase? It was that pathetic party behind the no guns, no government,


that has turned itself upside down. Mr McNarry says he is targeting six


seats in next year 's's Assembly election but after naming a


different candidate to himself in the Strangford constituency. Stephen


Crosby, you better hold it. He is standing down. -- is he standing


down? It's not entirely clear. There are four or five vacancies and they


will be filled within the next few weeks and my name, like other names,


it is in for those vacancies. So you will be standing? My name is in for


those seats with those vacancies, of course. I am not quite sure, you


could have announced your name today. I haven't been selected.


Someone else has been selected. Somebody else has been selected.


What is the first? Ukip is certainly not shy about topping up its


electoral prospects in Northern Ireland but with uncertainty even


over the future of its single MLA, it has got a lot of work to do if it


is going to achieve them. Gareth Gordon reporting


from Carrickfergus. Now, after ten weeks of negotiation,


the Fresh Start agreement has been In it is a roadmap for dealing with


paramilitarism and welfare changes, but there's continuing deadlock


over legacy issues. The Victims Forum is demanding


an apology and an urgent meeting with the


Prime Minister and the Taoiseach. Allison, how big an issue do you


think it is that victims are now being so vocal about their dissident


satisfaction? I think it is huge. Five rounds of talks, unable to come


up with a solution for the victims. They were given false hope from the


Stormont House Agreement that there were a series of the mechanisms that


would have dealt with it. That's why it fell apart and were unable to or


the British government, they inserted a clause saying that some


information would have to be redacted for security issues. It is


now at a point that the victims issue has to be taken out of local


hands. They'll have to bring some international who has experience of


dealing with these things to bring a solution. It has been handed to the


the Chief Constable and he should not be policing the past because it


politicises his role. We will never have progress of policing if he is


obviously still having to go back and have this piecemeal look at the


past. Sam, do you feel that legacy could unravel beef Fresh Start deal,


-- just as it brought down the Stormont House Agreement. I am not


sure that... There are several issues, partly the issue of IRA


decommissioning which was extraordinary by complete absence


from the speech when you think about what David Trimble -- what they said


about David Trimble. In terms of the legacy stuff, Peter Robinson


proposed this week that the stuff that they could agree it should be


published. I think that is probably quite sensible. At this point we are


discussing at without knowing what was in there. The victims themselves


would probably want to see that more than anyone. Allison, Thursday


night, John O'Dowd admitted that mitigations for welfare benefit


recipients are not as good in this deal as they were in the previous


deal. There is a separate issue about tax credits but sticking with


welfare, how does that square with Sinn Fein's commitment. Why did Sinn


Fein is signed off this deal? It was obviously a 2-party deal to get us


through the next election but you can see the finer detail, the


Stormont has agreement was a better deal for current recipients. I think


Sinn Fein activists have been noticeably quiet with this issue.


Whether they were outflanked or outmanoeuvred, I don't know but when


you break it down they have said there is extra money but it is


actually tax credit money it is a worse deal by it if you something


million for actual benefit claimants. The logic of this is that


Sinn Fein is moving significantly away from it stands as an


anti-austerity party. As the economy picks up in the south, they are


trying to adopt a new tack here. Thank you.


Let's just pause for a moment to take a look back


at a very busy week in politics in Sixty Seconds - with Gareth Gordon.


Christmas came early. A deal to save Stormont. I believe this is a good


day for Northern Ireland and it marks a Fresh Start for Northern


Ireland's institutions. To ensure that this new opportunity, this


Fresh Start, is fully embraced. But what wasn't fully embraced was


allowing Westminster to deal with welfare. How dare anybody reduce


this chamber to a post box? One job done, it was time to shed another.


Peter Robinson announced he was quitting. The further you get up


that greasy pole, the more people are looking to you down. And in the


midst of all this, MLAs remembered the dead of Paris. My daughter was


down the street from the first restaurant attack and I want to


thank those who give her and her group shelter.


Hard to believe you could squeeze so much into just one week.


Let's take a brief look ahead with Allison and Sam.


Sam, the Prime Minister will set out a copper is of strategy on air


against IS. -- comprehensive. The DUP is looking at that and


indicating that it will vote with the Government. Gavin Robinson, and


Nigel Dodds this morning, both indicated that the DUP has


effectively dropped its past opposition to air strikes. It is not


entirely convinced but sought to meet leaning towards supporting the


Government if they have a credible plan. Allison. They are not entirely


convinced but I'm pretty sure they will vote in favour of it. The


landscape has changed after the Paris attacks but also we know the


DUP did very well in the Fresh Start deal so it is payback time for the


British government. Sam, a brief look ahead to Wednesday and they


come preventing spending review and the Autumn Statement. On past form,


George Osborne has talked of the four events and has delivered so


perhaps it won't be as bad as people thinking. It is Stormont's major


source of funding. I think it is not going to be as bad as previously


thought. It is under pressure from his


need to come up bicycles and onto -- people need to get on to bikes and


of polluting cars. Can Jeremy Corbyn rein


in his discontented MPs? Helen, let's start with the spending


his spending cuts? Helen, let's start with the spending


review. It is quite clear that deficit reduction is not getting any


easier, even though the economy has been growing for some time. I


thought it was interesting that even Nigel Lawson said the Chancellor may


have to look if he wants to continue reducing the deficit, not just at


spending cuts but tax rises. That is about having a surplus by 2020. It


gives them very little room for manoeuvre. The big problem for the


Tories in this Parliament, last parliament you had heavy cuts for


councils which fell a lot on adult social care. A small number of


people which hugely affected by that. The next round of cuts will


mean a much larger group of people are affected. That is much harder to


get past the public. It gets in a lot of money and a big revenue from


the Government. Is that possible? There is logic to it, given to what


has happened with oil prices. The logic is, low oil prices and the


political logic will be, the gunmen will say, they have done enough on


making fuel cheaper tax wise in recent years. They now have


political room for manoeuvre on that issue. George Osborne is now boxed


in, not just by the decision to aim for a surplus and the decision to


aim for troubling pounds in welfare cuts, but also by the decision


alluded to by Nigel Lawson to protect entire departments of


spending, health service and foreign aid. Anything to do with people over


65. That leaves you with one option, to go to departments which have


already made absolutely swingeing cuts over the last two years and ask


for more. There is a perverse incentive that when the Treasury


knows that for example local government or business is able to


make very deep cuts, as they have done, those departments are awarded


by being asked more cuts. There is a perverse incentive almost to hold


out. George Osborne has a thoroughly consistent record. He will duff up


the Labour Party and then implement the fiscal deficit reduction plan.


In the last parliament he halved the overall fiscal deficit. In this


Parliament he went into the election saying, I will run a 10 million


surplus two years before the general election. He has all it is a laid


back by one year. He has announced today the 10 billion has pretty much


gone. He may run a surplus but it may be ?10 rather than 10 billion!


That will be much closer to the Ed Balls plan. As Helen was saying, he


has got himself into this mess because he set a trap for Ed Balls.


There is a danger of just public weariness. I think the Treasury is


worried about this. The mood of the public. We are into our sixth year


and there is still 80 million to go. The public in Greece just got fed


up. In Portugal a few weeks ago, the Portuguese economy was recovering


well but the public got fed up. In the election campaign we heard about


the long-term economic plan. If you asked people what that was, there


are a few new. Most people assume that things were on the upside. They


did not realise the cuts in the second term would be deeper. The


comprehensive spending review will be live on BBC Two. It will be a


political event. Let's move on to the Labour Party. We have the vote


on Trident. SNP are putting it down and it is meant to be a trap for


Labour. The leader it is against it but the party is in favour of it


credible to say, just abstain? I think they will get away with it. It


was set at conference but it cannot come onto the conference floor for


three years. The Labour leader is completely opposed to it. He has


said there is no compromise on it. He has had to make a series of


compromises. No matter what Mr Corbyn and John McDonnell wants,


they cannot change it for another three years? What happened at the


Labour conference is they attempted to have it debated but they failed.


It is up to the National policy Forum. This review is being chaired


by Maria Eagle and Ken Livingstone for that they are looking at it and


it will go to the National policy Forum to decide. That is a way of


overruling what the existing rules are full you have a strange


situation where Jeremy Corbyn wants to promote grassroots


decision-making on things he agrees with. Not so much in this case. The


point Caroline Flint was making, you cannot keep having free vote on such


massive issues as to whether this country should have nuclear


deterrent and whether we should extend the battle against Islamic


State to Syria. You cannot have a huge disparity between leader and


Parliamentary party on existential issues. What it leads to is the


leader having to use flirted, surreptitiously methods to get his


own way and negotiate around party policy. The ultimate example this


week with getting Ken Livingstone, the famous defence expert, to have


the defence review. Briefly, because I want to move on. If you get 60% of


the vote in the leadership election, it is that at the fair to put your


views forward. They need to make a decision by the time there is a big


vote on Trident next year. The difficulties they hear and now. And


that is Syria. The here and now is having an effect. We had a policy


morning. One of the questions was about national-security. -- a poll


this morning. Who do you think would keep you and your family safe? 39%


trusted David Cameron and only 17% voted for Jeremy Corbyn. The point I


put to Caroline Flint, this is dangerous for Labour. They already


have a problem with economic security. That is one reason they


did not win. To not be trusted national-security as well, it means


it is well nigh impossible to win an election. There was a seductive


narrative about patria to them with Jeremy Corbyn not singing with Queen


-- not seeing the Queen 's speech. I think particularly in the aftermath


of Paris, what people were looking to see from leaders were looking to


see from leaders in summary. That is a huge problem. The problem also


comes with the fact these polls are very bad. At this stage, Ed Miliband


was doing better and that was, even then, people were talking about


whether it would bring him down. Debts have a look at the state of


the parties with the poll. I'm told this is the biggest Tory lead over


Labour since John Major took over from Margaret Thatcher, 15 points.


There we have the Tories on 42 and Labour down to 27. The Labour vote


came down a couple of points. Ukip are still doing pretty well, at


15%. The Lib Dems are still flat-lining at 7%. The Scottish


National 's get five. It means a lot more in Scotland. The Green party is


down at 3% and going nowhere. At this stage of the process is it is


not -- the process, it is not that important. Given all the problems we


have had about tax credits and Tory difficulties, it is pretty


disheartening. The last time the Labour Party scored 27% in a general


election was under Baikal foot as leader. It has been a defining


moment for Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party. -- under Michael Foot.


You need to ensure the nation's finances are safe and


national-security is safe. On the second one, is a nation secure in


your hands? He appeared to be found wanting. You have a at a clown


situation, what would you do? He equivocated and said, I would be an


easy. -- a equivocated and said, I would be an


finally set out the circumstances in which he would approve that type of


response by which he would approve that type of


The problem was his initial responses showed his instincts.


Putting that in front of the British people, you will have a challenging


time winning an election like that. The Parliamentary Labour Party has


to be careful. They may not be in tune with the people in the country


in the Labour Party who elected Mr Corbyn as leader. Although they are


getting impatient, I would suggest they have to wait at least until May


until the Scottish elections, the local government elections. They


really cannot move before then, can they? They acknowledge he has a


thumping great mandate from the election. A lot of those people have


actually converted to being full party members. He still has a huge


backing at grassroots level. The Mint is thriving and drawing in huge


crowds of people. -- momentum is thriving. Even a later post was then


they could come third in Scotland. They were saying Jeremy Corbyn is


the 1 guy who could bring back the votes that were lost to SNP in


recent years. By one warning to the Labour Party is, if you think 27% is


low, wait until the public starts to focus on the next election? 27% is


not the floor for Labour. We shall see. That is all for today.


The Daily Politics will be back on BBC2 at noon tomorrow.


And we'll be back again next weekend at the same time.


We will be back to disentangle the spending review next Sunday at the


same time. Remember if it's Sunday,


it's the Sunday Politics.


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

Andrew has an interview with Labour's former Europe minister Caroline Flint and a preview of the comprehensive spending review with former chancellor Nigel Lawson.

On the political panel are Janan Ganesh from The Financial Times, New Statesman's Helen Lewis and Nick Watt of The Guardian.

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