23/04/2017 Sunday Politics Northern Ireland


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

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It's Sunday afternoon - this is the Sunday Politics.


Jeremy Corbyn wants to give everyone in Britain four


extra bank holidays - but is the Labour leader up


to being Prime Minister if he wins the election in just


Theresa May says she wants a stronger hand to deliver Brexit -


how will the Conservatives go about getting the bigger


I'll be asking Party Chairman, Patrick McLoughlin.


And I've been in Paris where voters are going to the polls in first


And in Northern Ireland: election - what could be the impact


We talk pacts and polls with the political parties here,


as they prepare for the third election in just over a year.


And how does that affect the negotiations at Stormont?


Will the Remain majority punish the Tories for the decision?


Or feel they may not like it but the Tories


And with me has always ready for the marathon task of covering a snap


general election, even working on bank holidays, the best and


brightest political panel in the business. David Wooding, Polly


Toynbee and Toby Young. So Labour's big announcement this


morning was a crowd pleaser. Four more rainy bank


holidays to enjoy - one for each of the patron saints


of England, Scotland, But Mr Corbyn probably won't be


getting the time off work if he wins And on The Andrew Marr Show this


morning he was asked what he would do as Prime Minister


if the security services asked him to authorise a drone strike


on the leader of Islamic State. What I'd tell them is,


give me the information you've got, tell me how accurate that is,


tell me what you I'm asking you about decisions you


would take as Prime Minister. Can I take you back


to the whole point? Is the objective


to start more strikes that may kill many innocent


people, as has happened? Do you think killing


the leader of Isis would be I think the leader of Isis not


being around would be helpful, and I'm no supporter or defender


in any way of Isis. But I would also argue that


the bombing campaign has killed a of whom were virtually prisoners of


Isis. So you've got to think


about these things. Mr Corbyn earlier. David, is his


reply refreshing damaging? It is damaging. He has clearly been


freaked to the fire already in the first week, there will be lots of


questions on his suitability as a leader and the damage it could cause


to our national security over the weeks ahead and Andrew Marr has cut


straight to the chase here. The other thing, of course, is the


letters of last resort, one of the first duties of a Prime Minister


when he walks into No 10 is to sign these letters on his own, on or --


or on her own in a room, a very lonely moment, to decide whether he


should press the nuclear button and that goes in the Vanguard submarines


and is opened in the event of a strike and he has dodged a question


so many times. One must wonder what he would do that. He has to make


these decisions as Prime Minister. On the Isis point, refreshing or


damaging? It sure is his base, the people who support him, that's the


sort of thing they support info and maybe his tactic is that's all he's


going to get, that is what the polls seem to suggest, in which case they


will be pleased, and say yes, the man is a man for these who doesn't


press buttons and shoot people down. But if you want to win you have to


deal with your own weaknesses and reach out to other people. I think


most people would say that's not somebody who could defend the


country. I wonder if he was being totally honest in saying he would


consider it he would ask for more information. He has previously been


on the record as being against drone strikes in principle, he's


campaigned against them, he wants to abolish drones. I think Andrew Marr


let him off saying it was a drone strike rather than a Navy SEAL or


SAS operation and he had the fact that they could be collateral


damage. We that's not his position because he condemned the


assassination of Osama Bin Laden even though there was no collateral


damage. David is right on the Trident point, he fetched the


question. We heard Niall Griffiths on this very show saying Trident,


the renewal of Trident, would be in the next Labour Party manifesto. It


turns out now we don't know and when he was asked he said that remains to


be seen, his re-opened a can of worms. What he has said about


Trident which was extraordinary was, we will rebuild the submarines but


not have any nukes on them which is expensive and useless. And of course


the Labour Party were forced soon after that interview to put out a


statement saying it is Labour Party policy to renew Trident. So where


are we? Do we know what the party's policy is? It is to renew Trident


but he has started this review which involves looking at it all again. We


know he is a unilateralist to start with but whether he can force this


through is dubious. Does it matter, though, if the party policy is in


favour of Trident, if the leader is not? The potential Prime Minister is


not? They split three ways when they went to vote on it in the Commons.


The party agreed they were pro-Trident and when it came to the


vote they split three ways. I think it's difficult for them, it's always


been a really difficult issue for Labour. The question is whether you


want to seal off your negatives, whether you really want to try and


reach out to people. There are an awful lot of people who will like


what he said, there are an awful lot of people that think we have been


involved in terrible wars, we have wasted a lot of money and blood and


let's just get back from the whole thing, let's retreat from the world


and not try punching above our weight. There is something to be


said for that and it is a reasonable argument. He's been true to himself


on this. I think he is and Polly is right, lots of people will agree


with him, not enough to win a general election, the latest ComRes


poll shows Tories on 50% and Labour on 25 and as my colleague James


Forsyth in the Spectator said if this was a boxing match it would


have been stopped by now by the revelry. We are not stopping, we are


going on. So the political parties have had


to move into election mode Stand by for battle buses,


mail shots and your social media timeline being bombarded


by political propoganda. But none of this comes cheap -


Adam's been doing his sums. Democracy is priceless but those


planes, trains and automobiles used in the last election cost money


and we know exactly how much, thanks to the Electoral


Commission database. The Conservatives flew David Cameron


to every part of the UK in one day on a private plane costing ?29,000,


in-flight meals extra. They shelled out ?1.2 million


for adverts on Facebook. The most expensive item was their


election guru Lynton Crosby. They bought ?2.4 million worth


of advice and research from his firm Labour's biggest expenditure


was on good old-fashioned leaflets, costing ?7.4 million


to print and deliver. Hope they didn't go straight


into the recycling. Cheap for all the


enjoyment it gave us. To turn a normal minibus


into Harriet Harman's pink bus Nick Clegg toured the country doing


all manner of stunts transported although the party got a grand's


discount when it broke down. Ukip's then leader Nigel Farage


was accompanied by bodyguards Nicola Sturgeon's chopper


cost the SNP ?35,450. Plaid Cymru spent just over


?1,000 on media training And the Greens spent ?6,912


promoting their tweets. It adds up to a grand total


for all the parties of ?37,560,039. Jabbing at my calculator that works


out at less than ?1 per voter. Adam Fleming there -


and joining me now is the man responsible for the Conservative


election campaigns - for the locals next month


and the general election in June - Welcome to the programme. The Crown


Prosecution Service is reviewing evidence from 14 police forces that


your party breached election spending rules on multiple occasions


in the last election. What are you going to do differently this time?


Well, the battle buses are part of the National campaign spend. You saw


them just on the shot that you did, all three parties had those battle


buses so that's why we believe they were part of the national spend and


it was declared that way. At least 30 people in your party, MPs and


agents, being investigated because they may not have been right to


include it in the national spend. Are you saying you are going to do


nothing differently this time? You asked me about last time and the way


the position is... Was. I asked you about this time. We will take a


careful count and make sure that everything that we do is within the


law. But as I say, the last election, all three parties had


battle buses. It is your party that above all has been investigated by


14 police forces. You must surely be taking stock of that and working out


how to do some things differently. You are being investigated because


you put stuff on the National Ledger which should have been on the local


constituency ledger. Are you looking at that again? All of the parties


had battle buses and they all put them on their national spend. I


don't think any of the parties put them on the local spend. The other


battle buses were not full of their party activists. Your party stuffed


these battle buses with activists and took them to constituencies.


That's the difference. And I ask again, what is different this time?


Are you going to run the risk of being investigated yet again? We


believe that we fully compliant with the electoral law as it was. What


will happen if one of these, or two or three or four or five of these 30


people, Tory MPs, or agents running campaigns are charged during the


campaign? As I say I believe we properly declared our election


expenses. What happens if they are charged? You asking me a


hypothetical question, the importance of this election is about


who is in Downing Street in seven weeks' time. Let me clarify this,


you maintain that in 2015 you did nothing wrong with how you allocated


the cost and the activities of the battle buses and you would do


exactly the same this time round? What we did at the last election we


believe fully complied with the law. So the battle buses this time,


stocked full of activists, will still be charged to the national


campaign even when they go to local constituencies? Will they? We will


be looking at the way we do it, there is new guidance from the


Electoral Commission out and we will look at that guidance. It is not the


guidance, it is the lawful stop the Electoral Commission said that, if


you look at the report they did on us, they said there was one area


where we had over claimed, over declared, and another area we had


and declared. We haven't worked out what to do


yet, have you? We will get on with the campaign and


start the campaign and I'm looking forward to the campaign.


I'm trying to work out of the campaign is going to be legal or not


because last time it seems it could have been illegal.


I am sure the campaign will be legal.


You started the campaign warning about the prospect of, the coalition


of chaos. Mr Corbyn has ruled out a post-election coalition with the SNP


and so have the Lib Dems so who is going to be in this coalition?


Vince Cable said he was looking towards a possible coalition trying


to stop a Conservative government. Is not the leader of the Lib Dems.


He's an important voice in the Lib Dems. Who will be in it? Let's see


because of the Conservative Party is not re-elected with a strong


majority, what will happen? There will be a coalition stopping us


doing the things we need to do. Who will be in it? It will be a


coalition of the Labour Party, the SNP and the Liberal party. They have


ruled it out. I think they would not rule it out if that was the


situation. Like Theresa May not ruling out an election and then


changing her mind? The things the Prime Minister said were very clear,


once she had served Article 50 there was an opportunity, as we know


today, there is going to be the start of a new government formed in


France and in September we have the German elections. So it was quite


right that we didn't get ourselves boxed into a timetable. That is why


the Prime Minister took the view that they should be a general


election to give her full strength of an electoral mandate when it


comes to those negotiations. What about Mr Corbyn's plan for four new


bank holidays, good idea? I'm not... If we get Corbyn in No 10 Downing St


we will have a permanent bank holiday of the United Kingdom. We


will have fewer bank holidays of most other major nations, most about


major wealthy nations. What about at least one more? Well, look, he's


talked about four bank holidays. Today would be a bank holiday and


next Monday would be a bank holiday and the other week was a bank


holiday too. I don't think it's very well thought out. It sounded more to


me something like you get in school mock elections rather than proper


elections. Your party is the self-styled party of the workers and


you have no plans to give the workers even one extra bank holiday?


What we want to do is ensure Britain is a strong economy and building on


the jobs that we have created since 2010. We were told that by reducing


public expenditure unemployment in this country would go up,


unemployment has gone down and the number of jobs have gone up


substantially. But no more bank holidays? Well, we will make our


manifesto in due course but I don't think four bank holidays held in


April, March and November are very attractive to people. When Ed


Miliband as leader of the Labour Party suggested the government


should control energy prices by capping them, the Conservatives


described that as almost Communist and central planning. Do still take


that view? You'll see what we have to say on energy prices. I didn't


you about that, I asked you if you take the view... The Prime Minister


made a speech at the Conservative Spring conference in which she


outlined her dissatisfaction about people who are kept locked on a


standard tariff and those are the issues we will address in the next


few weeks when the manifesto was published.


Would that be an act of communism? You will need to see what we say


when we set out the policies. It could be. You could put a Communist


act into your manifesto? I don't think you'll find a Communist


manifesto in a Conservative manifesto which will be launched...


You are planning to control prices? We will address what we think is


unfairness in the energy market. Mr Jeremy Corbyn was reluctant this


morning to sanction a drone strike. You heard us talking about it


earlier against the leader of Islamic State if our intelligence


services identified him. What would it achieve? When the Prime Minister


gets certain advice in the national interests, she has to act been that.


We've seen with Theresa May in her time as Home Secretary and Prime


Minister, she's not afraid to take those very difficult decisions. What


we say this morning from Jeremy Corbyn was a his tans, a reluctance.


I don't think that serves the country well. What would it achieve


if we take out the head of Islamic State he's replaced by somebody


else. It brings their organisation into difficulties. It undermines


their organisation. It shows we'll take every measure to undo an


organisation which has organised terrorism in different parts of


Europe, the UK. I think it is absolutely right the Prime Minister


is prepared to take those kind of measures. Jeremy Corbyn said he


wasn't prepared to take that. Because he wasn't sure what it would


achieve. The Obama administration launched hundreds of drone strikes


in various war zones and we in the west are still under attack on a


regular basis. Mr Corbyn's basis was what would it achieve? It would


achieve a safer position for the UK overall. The war on terrorists. But


the Westminster attack, Paris has just been attacked again? There's


been attacks which have been stopped by the intelligence services. We


must do all we can to support them. The question was about drone


strikes. Whether it is drone strikes or other action, we have to be


prepared to act. Let's move on to Brexit. It is the major reason the


Prime Minister's called the election? Not the only within but


the main reason? It is one of the reasons. Now we start the two-year


negotiations and then a year afterwards. Also the way in which


certain people said they would try to use in the House of Lords or


House of Commons to prevent us making progress. I think you'll put


in your manifesto, it is the Government's policy, the Brexit


negotiating position will be no more freedom of movement. Leave the


single market and no longer under the jurisdiction Europe. You expect


every Tory MP to fight on that manifesto. What will you do with Ken


Clarke and Anna? They will have fought on their manifesto. They will


understand the Prime Minister has the authority of the ballot box


behind them. Will they fight the election on these positions? I'm


sure they'll fight the election supporting the election of a


Conservative Government and it's manifesto will quite clearly set


out... You know they're against these positions. Ken Clarke has a


prod tradition of expressing a certain view. Overall, the party's


manifesto, it is not just individuals like Ken Clarke, it is


what happens as far as the House of Lords are concerned, people said


they'd use the House of Lords to prevent certain measures. You're the


party chairman, will it be possible for people like Ken Clarke to fight


this election under the Conservative ticket without sub describing to all


-- subscribing to all of these Brexit conditions? Ken Clarke will


fight as Conservative candidates. That wasn't my question. I know


that. Will they be allowed to fight it on their own ticket and not


subscribe to what is in your manifesto? The manifesto will be


what the Conservative Party fights the General Election on. There will


always be cases where people have had different views on different


parts of the manifesto. That will be the guiding principles for the


party. Philip Hammond says your election promises in 2015, in your


manifesto not to raise taxes tied his hands when it came to managing


the economy. Do you agree with him? No. The simple fact is we have to do


the best things for the economy. We'll set out in our manifesto in a


few weeks' time, what the policies will be for the next Parliament. Can


I clarify, you don't agree with your Chancellor? What Philip was saying


was some of the areas we wants to address as Chancellor, what the


party will do, it will set out all the issues we're fighting on. It


will set out clearly the choice we have in this country. That's the


important thing. Let me put the question to you again. Philip


Hammond said this week your election promise in 2015 not to raise taxes


had tied his hands when it came to managing the economy. I ask you, do


you agree with him? You said no. Philip expressed his view as to what


he would like. What I'm saying is in a few weeks' time we'll set the


manifesto which will set the policies, agreed with the the


Cabinet. He's Chancellor. Doesn't he determine what the economic part of


the manifesto is? We'll talk about that in due course. Will you have a


lock on the taxes that you locked in 2015 on income tax, VAT, national


insurance? That will be decided. You'll see that when we publish the


manifesto in a few weeks' time. Will you rule out the possibility taxes


may have to rise under a future Conservative Party? Conservative


Government. We've taken four million people out of tax. Now, on average,


people are paying ?1200 less tax than they were on the same salaries


in 2010. I'm very provide of that. I can assure you, the Conservative


Party will want to see taxes reduced. It is the Labour Party


which will put up taxes. We have the evidence where this he did so.


Council tax went up by over 100%. You haven't reduced the tax burden


as a percentage of the GDP is now going to reach its highest level


since the mid-180s which was when Conservatives were in power. The tax


burden in this country under your Government is rising? We've more


people paying taxes which is something, because we've a growing


economy and more people... What about the tax band? You said you


reduced the tax burden on your own Government's figures is rising? We


have reduced the tax burden. The threshold at which people start


paying. These are tax rates not the tax burden. It is rising. The tax


rates have been reduced. You said tax burden. Perhaps I misspoke. Tax


rates have been reduced. We'll leave it there. No doubt we'll speak again


between now and June Is France now about to make it


a hat-trick of shocks The prospect terrifies


the governing elite in Paris. But they're no less scared


in Brussels and Berlin, given what it could mean


for the whole EU project, never mind the huge potential impact


on our own Brexit negotiations. 11 candidates are contesting


the first round of the presidential Only the top two will go forward


to the run-off on May 7th. For the first time since General De


Gaulle created the fifth Republic in 1958, it's perfectly possible that


no candidate from the ruling parties of the centre-left or the


centre-right will even make it The election has been dominated by


the hard right in the shape of the who's never been elected


to anything and only started his own party


a few months ago. And the far left in the form


of Jean-Luc Melenchon, a former Trotskyite who has surged


in the final weeks of the campaign. The only candidate left from the


traditional governing parties is the centre-right's


Francois Fillon and he's been struggling to stay in


the race ever since it was revealed that his Welsh wife was being paid


at generous public expense for a job I've just come across


this magazine cover and it kind of sums up the mood


of the French people. It's got the five main candidates


for President here but it calls them the biggest liar, the biggest cheat,


the biggest traitor, the most paranoid, the biggest demagogue,


and it says they are the winners The four leading candidates,


Le Pen, Melenchon, Macron and Fillon, or in with a chance


of making it to the second round. Only a couple of points separates


them in the polls, Frankly, no one has a clue what's


going to happen. Of the four, there is a feeling that


two of them may be President But the two of them may not find


themselves in the second round. Somebody said to me that the man or


woman on the Paris Metro has as much a chance of knowing


who will win as the greatest experts Because the more expert you are


the more you may be wrong. The country has largely


stagnated for over a decade. One in ten are unemployed,


one in four if you are unlucky Like Britain in the '70s there is


the pervasive stench There are three keywords that come


to mind. Anger, anger at the elite, and in


particular the political elite. And an element of


nostalgia for the past. These three words were decisive


in the Brexit referendum. They are decisive in


the French election. Identity and security has been


as important in this election France is a proud nation, it worries


about its future in Europe It seems bereft of ideas about how


to deal with its largely Muslim migrant population, huge chunks of


which are increasingly divorced It is quite simply exhausted by


the never-ending Islamist terrorist attacks, the latest only days before


voting in the iconic heart of this If Fillon or Macron emerge


victorious then there will be continuity of sorts, though Fillon


will struggle to implement his Thatcherite agenda and Macron will


not be able to count on the support of the French parliament, the


National Assembly, for his reforms. But if it's Le Pen or Jean-Luc


Melenchon then all bets are off. Both are hardline French


nationalists, anti the euro, anti the European Union, anti-fiscal


discipline, anti the market, Either in the Elysee Palace


would represent an existential Brexit would simply become


a sideshow, the negotiations could just peter out as Brussels


and Berlin had bigger fish to fry. We're joined now from


Paris by the journalist 8th Welcome to the programme.


Overshadowing the voting today was yet another appalling terrorist


attack in Paris on Thursday night. Do we have any indications of how


that's playing into the election? That initially people thought this


has been almost foiled in that the police were there as a ramp up. One


policeman was killed. But the terrorist did not spray the crowd


with bullets. It was seen as not having much of an effect on the


election. This has changed. We now know the policeman who was killed, a


young man about to the promoted, he was at the Bataclan the night of the


terror attack. He was a fighter for LGBT rights. The fact he was


promoted, happy within his job, he has this fresh face. Sudden, he's


one of us. It took perhaps 48 hours for the French to process this. But


now they're angry and this may actually change the game, at least


at the margins. To whose advantage? I would say the two who might


benefit from this are Marine Le Pen, she's been absolutely


anti-immigration, anti-anything. And made no bones about it as she


immediately made rather strange announcement in which she'd said if


she'd been president none of the terror attacks which happened in


France would have happened. Francois Fillon has written a book two years


ago called Combating Islamic Terrorism he's has an organised plan


in his manifesto. Unlike Emmanuel Macron who stumbled when he was


asked the evening this happened what he thought, he said, I can't dream


up an anti-terror programme overnight. The question, of course,


that arrows was this is not the sort of thing that's just happened


overnight. It's been unfortunately the fate of France for many years.


Let me ask you this finally, what ever the outcome on May 7th in the


second round, who ever wins, would it be fair to say French politics


will never be the same again? Yes. Absolutely it's a very strange


thing. People have no become really excited about this. You cannot go


anywhere without people discussing heatedly this election. The anger


that was described is very accurate. Very true. There was this feeling as


for the Brexit voters and the Trump voters, vast parts of the people


were being talked down to by people who despised them. This has to


change. If it doesn't change, we cannot predict what the future will


be. We'll know the results or at least the ex-the Poll London time


tonight at 8.00pm. Thank for joining us from the glorious heart of your


city. Now, the Green Party currently has


one MP and they'll be contesting many more seats in June


as well as hoping to increase their presence on councils in


the local elections on 4th May. Launching their campaign


on Thursday, co-leader Caroline Lucas made


a pitch to younger voters. When it comes to young


people they've been But one crucial way they've been


betrayed is by what this generation and this government and the previous


ones have been doing when it comes We know we had the hottest year


on record last year, you know, you almost think what else does


the environment need to be doing All the signs are there


and it is young people who are going to be bearing


the brunt of a wrecked environment and that's why it's so important


that when we come to making that pitch to, yes, the country at large


but to young people in particular, I think climate change,


the environment, looking after our precious resources,


has to be up there. And I'm joined now by the Green


MEP, Molly Scott Cato. Welcome back to the programme.


Promised to scrap university tuition fees, increase NHS funding, rollback


cuts to local councils spending, how much would that cost and how would


you pay for it? Like the other parties we haven't got a costed


manifesto yet, it's only a few days since the election was announced so


I will come back and explain the figures. You don't know? Like every


party we have not produced accosted manifesto yet, we produced one last


time but public spending figures have changed so we're not in a


position to do that but we will be in a week or so. What taxes would


you like to consider raising? We would consider having higher taxes


for the better off in society. I think we need to increase the amount


of tax wealthier people pay. think we need to increase the amount


of tax wealthier people pay. How do you define better off? I'm not


entirely clear what the precise number would be but I think 100,000


people would pay a bit more, 150,000 quite considerably more but the real


focus needs to be on companies avoiding paying taxes. I work on


that a lot in my role in the European Parliament, we see an


enormous amount of tax avoidance by companies moving profits from


country to country and we need European corporation to make that


successful. It has not made much difference yet. We have made lots of


changes. Google turned over $1 billion and only paid 25 million in


taxes last year. There was a significant fine introduced by the


competition commission on Apple and in the case of Google we must change


the laws so that people cannot move profits from country to country.


Everybody wants to do it. But you couldn't face a big spending


programme on the ability to do that. You'd have to increase other taxes.


If you look at the cost of free student tuition, tuition fees and


also maintenance grants to students, that would come in at about 10


billion a year. One way of paying for that would be to remove the


upper threshold on National Insurance, bringing in 20 billion a


year, that's the order of magnitude we are talking about. It is not


vast, and some of the proposals we have... That would be an increase on


the better of tax? National Insurance on people earning...


People earning above 42,000. You would have another 10% tax above


42,000? I can't remember exactly how much the National Insurance rate


changes by. But in government figures it would be 28 billion


raised. I think it is up to 45, a bit more you pay a marginal rate of


40%, you would have them pay a marginal rate of over 50%? We would


put the National Insurance rate on higher incomes the same as it is on


lower incomes. If you are a school head of an English department on 50,


60,000 a year you would face a marginal rate under U of over 50%?


It is not useful to do this as a mental maths exercise but if you


look at other proposals would could have a landlord licensing system,


longer term leases on properties, so young people particularly, but also


older people who rent, could have more security which needn't cost


anything. We could insist on landlords paying for that. The


mental arithmetic seems clear but we will come back to that. How is the


Progressive Alliance coming? It is going well, I have heard of a lot of


interest at local level. Winterset this in contest, context, lots of


progressives are concerned about the crisis in public services, prisons,


social care system, and also about the Tories' hard extreme Brexit they


are threatening. You want the left to come together? Theresa May has


given us opportunity, she has taken a risk because she has problems with


backbenchers, she doesn't think she can get through Brexit with a small


majority so there is an opportunity and we are saying progressives must


come together to corporate, Conservatives are effective at using


the first-past-the-post system and we have to become effective as well.


Do you accept this Progressive Alliance cannot become the


government and Mr Corbyn is the Prime Minister? How could it happen


otherwise? I think that is a secondary question. For me the


primary question is who do people choose to vote for? Aluminium


government afterwards comes after the election. In most countries that


is the case. I understand that but we have the system we have and you


accept this Progressive Alliance cannot be in power and thus mystical


Burmese Prime Minister? Personally I think Mr Corbyn is less of a threat


to the country than Theresa May, she has shown herself to be an


authoritarian leader and she has said she doesn't want to have


dissidents, which I would say is reasonable opposition, and what we


are suggesting at the moment is there is a way of avoiding that very


hard Brexit and damage to public services. You'd be happy to pay the


price of having Mr Corbyn as Prime Minister? I do not see that as a


price. People have the choice of Jeremy Corbyn or Theresa May as


Prime Minister, that's the system that works. You would prefer Mr


Corbyn? I would but votes are translated into seats and the


Progressive Alliance is a step towards that.


Hello and welcome to Sunday Politics in Northern Ireland.


And here we go again with our second trip to the polls this year,


And throw in a new talks deadline set for the end of that month,


and we could be looking at yet another Assembly vote before


I'll be asking the five main parties how Theresa May's decision to call


a snap general election is affecting the negotiations here.


And we'll be talking pacts, party policies and Brexit.


With another snap election coming, a new talks deadline looming


and Brexit overshadowing everything, the world of politics


The Assembly election posters are no sooner down than they're about to be


replaced by the next wave of smiling faces and party colours.


But while some parties here have welcomed the forthcoming


vote, others have been much less enthusiastic.


In a moment, I'll be asking representatives of the five main


parties to set out their stalls in the first television debate


But first, a reminder of how we got to where we are.


I have just chaired a meeting of the Cabinet where we agreed that the


Government should call a general election to be held on June 8th. I


think it is almost arguing there is too much democracy. This is the


democratic process. We need people to come out and cast their vote and


not to complain about the results afterwards. So my appeal to everyone


is, make sure you are registered and usual vote wisely. And we are as


keen people to vote for the Unionist Party you can trust and the party of


strength in this Parliament. This is now the centre of British and Irish


politics and we must make sure that we take this place by storm. It is


disappointing that an election is taking place, but the SDLP is up for


the election and we will be fighting that election not on the premise


that Mrs May wants to fight this election on the premise of a hard


Brexit, we have always been a strong pro-European party and we have


fought on that stance. There will be discussions over where we can come


to the best agreements around some constituencies, that should not be a


shock. We want to make sure that we have representation in Westminster


for the people of Northern Ireland and there is no point electing


people that will not take their seats in Westminster and give the


people a voice. Sinn Fein will fight the election on an anti-Brexit


ticket and we will vote with the public who voted in the majority to


stay within the union. We will ask them to vote and anti-austerity Tory


policy and we will fight the election campaign on that basis in


the next six weeks. We're not interested in doing pacts with


anyone and it will reduce the selection into yet another sectarian


headcount. If people want a Progressive Alliance, they will get


it by voting for the Alliance Party, we are the progressive Alliance in


Northern Ireland, we do not need to form a pact with anyone else to do


that. Joining me now from our Foyle studio


is the SDLP MP Mark Durkan. And with me in studio


are the East Belfast MP Gavin Robinson, from the DUP,


Sinn Fein's Chris Hazzard. The UUP's MP for Fermanagh


and South Tyrone, Tom Elliott. And the Alliance Party's deputy


leader, Stephen Farry. Tom Elliott, you've been confirmed


as your party's candidate Are you confident you'll be


an agreed unionist candidate again, That is a matter of discussions over


the next number of days, but I don't see why not, I would hope so, but


that is a matter for the party leaders to discuss within the


Unionist parties. Clearly, it was successful the last time and we had


arrangements in other areas as well that were also successful. For other


parties. Yes, I don't see why not and the key is to give more


representation of Westminster than we actually can. What is confusing


for some people is that... Robin Swann is meeting Arlene Foster


this week to discuss the election, but your party has already stepped


aside in three constituencies - Why have you given away some


of your key bargaining chips before you've even


entered into negotiations? We have been proactive, Robbyn Swan


has been proactive to this -- and we have taken the decision to do that


so why would we not? Why would you give up bargaining chips before you


begin the negotiations? What we have said is we would put the Dutch


prefer to see representatives going to Westminster and for those seats


under pressure from those parties who may not go to Westminster and


represent their constituents. But also people in what -- Northern


Ireland, that is key and we want people to go to Westminster and


represent their constituencies. Why give up a place like North Belfast


without trying to secure something in return? Because we have taken a


proactive decision of the party. You have given something away without


getting anything in return, that is not normally a good bargaining


tactic. What we have been as very strategic and proactive. I don't see


how people in the wider community could blame us for being proactive


in that way. Do you understand why the Ulster Unionist Party done what


they have done? They did not give any rationale is today for doing it.


Has Tom Elliott explained it to your satisfaction now? The Ulster


Unionists would likely lose a deposit if they stood in a


Westminster election, but it is strange when you consider the gambit


of Northern Ireland seats available. For example, in Foyle, you're Steve


Unionist are giving the SDLP a step up and for many years, Mark Durkan


has relied on votes for unionists in that constituency. And the same


SDLP, six weeks ago, they said the vote for Ulster Unionists and get


SDLP and himself in Belfast, it is about getting the SDLP out. And the


SDLP appeared to be getting into discussions that will go after Tom


in Fermanagh and South Tyrone, so I don't understand it. Would you agree


to be a candidate in East Belfast? Quite relaxed about the political


landscape. There has been analysis to suggest it would not be much


different than 2015. Most notably by Bill White, a well-respected


electoral analysis in Northern Ireland. Since 2010, there have been


eight elections in Northern Ireland and in East Belfast, the DUP have


become the largest party in each of those elections and only one of


which was that a pact. If there is a Brexit fight, and quite relaxed. So


you fancy your chances perfectly well if there is an Ulster Unionist


candidate in East Belfast against Naomi Long? I'm quite relaxed, the


party which it will have a discussion this week with the Ulster


Unionist Party and we will see what happens. Do you accept Tom Elliott


realistically only has a chance of voting Fermanagh and South Tyrone,


and there is a lot of pressure on the DUP to meet him halfway? I work


with Tom every week and he is doing a first-class job for his


constituents and his victory was Unionist Corporation and that is


something unionists across Northern Ireland have been asking for two


years. I would rather have Tom Elliott as the returned Member of


Parliament for Fermanagh and South Tyrone rather than an abstention is


the Sinn Fein MP who might howl in the wind about what goes on in


Westminster, but will never take their seat and have their voice and


never speak up for their people in Westminster. What you make of that?


If Tom Elliott is the agreed Unionist candidate, that is not good


news for whoever the Sinn Fein candidate is in Fermanagh and South


Tyrone, and presumably there is every possibility that it could be


Michelle Gilder? Could you shed any light? No doubt like plenty of


constituents across the North of the discussion will continue to take


place ahead of selection. One thing is clear, if March's election was


about the RHI scandal and the arrogance of the DUP, this is going


to be very much about the Brexit and let's live in the real world. There


can be plenty of howling at Westminster benches but the centre


of gravity is Brussels, and looking for special designated status, it is


stubborn. A key factor is lost in this, the British Governor Taft two


years to agree a Brexit deal and they only need a majority of states,


27 states. If it takes longer, which will likely happen, they need


agreement of every single one of the other 27 states which means Dublin


will play a key role. It is the biggest party in Ireland and Sinn


Fein stands ready to be the main opposition to Brexit. Would you like


a coalition of remain as in somewhere like Fermanagh and South


Tyrone to get rid of Tom Elliott because he is at happy and


enthusiastic about Brexit? I think this election presents an


opportunity for a nonsectarian Progressive Alliance which has been


talked about in Britain and here, especially in opposition to what I


view as a regressive prosperity and probe recs it Alliance of the DUP


and the UUP and the Tories. I think there is a desire in the community


and of that plays another constituencies as it may well do, I


have every faith in Sinn Fein. Would you like to see something like that


happening in a place like East Belfast, Gavin Robinson? Without


getting into specifics, I think there is an appetite for it across


the board. Some constituencies will go for it and some will not. I think


we now have an historic opportunity for a nonsectarian, cross community,


Progressive Alliance. If we were to protect the democratic wishes of the


56% in the North, it is a chance for progressives to stand up. There is


speculation in at least one newspaper today that your party


would be keen to see no SDLP Commission fine or a Green candidate


in East Belfast to give the Alliance Party and Naomi Long the best chance


of taking that seat, is that correct, Mark Durkan? No, people


will do all sorts of speculation to reflect the conversations that I


have not been party to. But Colum Eastwood has set out early on as


soon as the reason I called the election that there was a case for


saying when she was calling the election about giving her a stronger


hand in terms of Brexit, but it is also a free hand in welfare cuts


that affect working families as well as lining up behind Donald Trump on


various military misadventures. In those circumstances, Colum Eastwood


said we have a duty to maximise that pro-remain vote that those people


who want to mitigate the impact of Brexit in terms of the economy here


and also to safeguard the institutions of the Good Friday


Agreement, that is what we are trying to do. But that would have to


be done clearly on a nonsectarian basis and across the parties and


that could take forward nonparty voices as well. But your party


leader is quoted in the Sunday Times today as saying you will give Naomi


Long the time and space to reconsider her opposition to the


idea of an anti-Brexit packed and she wants no part of any pact. I


would regret the fact that Naomi has described the move in the term she


has. The fact is the Alliance Party in the past have seen fit to step


aside in different constituencies as people needed to be selective about


where we stood in elections when the wider issues at stake. Only a couple


of days ago, Naomi said if the talks at Stormont do not succeed, we could


be in danger of direct rule for years. The idea of a heart Brexit


and possible direct rule if we are to believe what Naomi said about the


risk of direct rule, in those circumstances, people would need to


think about how we use the opportunity in what is the


difficulty of a first past the post election of giving people a more


feasible choice. Because in a first past the post election, people are


just reduce the tactical voting and all sorts of considerations. Very


candid people a higher and better choice, let's try. I do not believe


it will be easy to do so and it may not prove feasible, but we should


give that consideration to it and reflect on what we have done in the


past because we have not all run in every constituency in the past.


Let's put that is now to Stephen Ferry, does that not make sense for


your party not to be facing opposition from the SDLP, Sinn Fein


and the Green Party in East Belfast on June 8th? If they macro is


serious about taking that seat from Gavin Robinson, she needs a tight


field to do so -- of Naomi Long is serious. Elections are about choice


and people were what it out for themselves. Is it about choice or


winning seats, it is not the same thing? The choices will be framed


between Naomi and the Alliance Party and Gavin and the DUP and voters


will respond in kind, but parties have a duty to put their manifestos


before the electorate in every constituency. Pacts do not work,


they are anti-democratic about restricting choice rather than


facilitating a different type of choice. And there is a very big


mistake, if we are trying to conflate what is happening around


Brexit with what is essentially a cross Nationalist pact to combat


across Unionist pact, reducing Northern Ireland back to the


politics of the sectarian headcount which is contrary to where we are


trying to get the society, it would stand in contrast with a large vote


we received back in the March Assembly elections. Brexit is


something that affects people across the community, unionists and


Nationalists alike. We make a fundamental mistake if we conflate


opposing Brexit without a portion of nationalism. There is a perception


that some people are using the danger of a heart Brexit is a cause


to destabilise Northern Ireland and pursue wider political objectives


and we do not want to be part of that agenda. You do presumably want


to win East Belfast? The track 2015 combined vote of Sinn Fein and the


Green candidates was 2008, that is a lot of votes and could make all the


difference with a tight race with Gavin Robinson. People will draw the


conclusions from that if they vote for other parties but that is the


choice they have to make. People that vote for those parties will


vote irrespective of who else is on the ticket and we make an error if


we assume people are there to respond to the cues from party


leaders and shift their vote when they are told to do so, that is not


how people vote in most democracies, they think for themselves and draw


their own conclusions. Some people may reckon this is a two horse race


and others do not. Tony, what about the speculation that Mike Nesbitt


may be a candidate in South Belfast for the Ulster Unionist Party, can


you confirm that? It took me by surprise yesterday in the Telegraph.


Does it make sense? It is an option some people are considering but I do


not know where it came from and if the association had mooted at


themselves in South Belfast. He was an agreed candidate in South


Belfast, in these discussions between Robin Swann and Arlene


Foster, if you could persuade the DUP not to run in South Belfast, he


might have a good shout. He may well do and the parties will have a


discussion about that over the coming week. Would you like to see


that happening and would you throw your weight behind that suggestion?


I am throwing my weight behind them having discussions and if that is an


issue that comes out of it, so be it. Just touching Brexit, I know


that Chris and Mark have talked about Brexit and their opposition to


it and at least mocks somewhat is more realistic about it when he says


to mitigate about the difficulties it may pose, and Chris is saying his


outright opposition to Brexit. May I remind people of the vote is taken


place by the UK and we will have Brexit and we need to have the best


deal possible in Westminster and that is relevant in my constituency


in Fermanagh and South Tyrone. You have confirmed there will be


conversations between Robin Swann and Arlene Foster to maximise the


unionist representation and those discussions will take place this


week. But two months ago, you're third-party leader Mike Nesbitt


stood up and said, vote Mike and get Colum Eastwood, has that been


replaced by vote Robin, get Arlene? No, I am not sure where that comes


from. Vote Robin and get Arlene is not the way of it. That is what the


discussions will be about this week. The reality is if we can maximise


the number of representatives in Westminster, so much the better.


That would be very important. I know even prior to this, Stephen himself


stood down in 2001 to facilitate another candidate. So agreements


have been ongoing for years and I can still remember the Bobby Sands


election when Sinn Fein and the SDLP agreed they would not run and


support Bobby Sands. So this has been going on for years and is still


going on. Chris has not been written off as the possibility of a packed


between his party and a number of others.


I'd word is that Stav Danaos Westminster election? Is your


relationship with the Ulster Unionists has changed dramatically.


This is the difficulty of the first past the post system. We were


negotiating the Good Friday Agreement we tried to get the first


past the post system on the table. Unfortunately, Tony Blair would not


move even though he clearly have the majority of us in the position where


he could have done it, because he said that the kind of sectarian


impulses that are thrown up by that system would confound the sort of


ethic they were trying to create with the power-sharing agenda. That


will not change. We have to accept that. I recognise, what is going on


and the fact is that we are seeing a two party packed in terms of certain


constituencies coming forward in relation to unionism and I do not


believe the answer to that is a two party national is packed. It was


quite clear at the terms that Colum Eastwood set out the agenda for it


the access to try and reflect the broad will of the people here to


remain and that is to avoid a hard Brexit and that is to use the


institutions of the Good Friday Agreement to answer a lot of the


challenges that brags that would throw up. That is a legitimate


offer, but we don't have a lot of time to spend on it and let's


consider that and if it is not going to happen, then move on and fight


the campaign on the issues, not just Brexit but also welfare reform, that


we will see even more of now, because the Tories were only


committed to not doing you welfare cuts in the current Parliament.


There will be free to come forward with cuts of the future and that is


why the people need a strong representation and a voice in


Westminster at least to speak up. We will not be able to stop Tory cuts


that they have a swingeing majority, but we will say it does not matter.


Gavin Robinson, are you fundamentally in the selection,


which is only six and a half weeks away, taking on that progress of


access that several of our contributors have already referred


to in our discussion today? Is that what this election is about as far


as the DUP is concerned? We have set out our stall. Is that with the


election will be about? That is the way it has been framed. It is an


anti-unionist Alliance, we can see that clearly and I think Alliance


are almost scared. How is it that when there are a Unionist candidates


are pro-remain-macro? Danny Kinahan is in support. Danny Kinahan is


backing Brexit. He voted for Article 50 and understands the will of the


United Kingdom people and is getting on with the process. Where he has


come from is a different place from where you and Tom Elliott have come


from? He is progressing Brexit. I would imagine he would be a target


for an anti-Brexit access. There is hard and soft Brexit and probably


something in between. It is called clean Brexit. Chris said that the


only people who would be talking for Ireland would -- for Northern


Ireland would be Ireland. They do not take their seats, they will not


have a say in Westminster. They can have a say in Northern Ireland


Executive, which we would love to see restored. We would love to see


local devolved government and we would like to see an agreed position


on the needs of Northern Ireland. Sinn Fein says that is their


position as well. They pulled it down! For selfish reasons. For


selfish party political reasons, they have pulled the Northern


Ireland government down, they have not allow the restoration of the


institutions and we do not have a budget, we have public services in


chaos and if they want to have a voice on Brexit, we need to restore


our Assembly. Martin McGuiness spelt out clearly why he was resigning.


The electric came out in numbers not seen since the days of the Good


Friday Agreement to support Martin McGuiness and support the Sinn Fein


stance -- the electorate came out. Sinn Fein is the biggest political


party on this island, we have more in EP 's than any other party so


when the European Council's guidelines are published,... When


they supported our position of special designated starters, it was


because we brought to bear. Mark Durkan just said that you cannot


stop anything in Westminster, but you can speak up about it. Sinn Fein


are about more than speaking up about things, we want to stop


Brexit. You cannot speak about it in Westminster, you do not take your


seats. This is an historic opportunity to stand up. There is a


great opportunity and get special designated staters is on the agenda


because Sinn Fein put it there, about people coming out... Let me


bring in Mark Durkan. Just on the question of special status, Cynthia


and jeered at that whenever Colum Eastwood and the SDLP talked about


it after the referendum campaign -- Sinn Fein. Let us be clear, I am


being honest with people, I do not pretend that we can stop things.


Sinn Fein fought the last election telling people to stop the Tory


welfare cuts and then they handed power so that the Tories would


introduce them. They put in a legislated consent motion which


meant that Westminster put in welfare cuts which came into place


last week. That is in terms of employment and work related


activity. The recent cuts that have come in because of that motion that


you were part of last year, there is no mitigation on those that is


particular to Northern Ireland whatsoever and there will not be


until we get our own institutions up and running again. I want to bring


in Stephen Farry. There is a real danger of us missing the boat around


the special deal. The parties are talking about but we have heard from


the European Commission in terms of their negotiating timescale. I want


to address -- they want to address the Irish issues. For all the talk


about Westminster and Dail, unless there is an Executive and we have a


commitment to a special deal and an agreed negotiating position, we will


not be able to do anything for Northern Ireland and we will see a


hard Brexit on our local situation. There is a real danger fund -- off a


tragedy until we get an Executive in place. Time is running out and we


need the civil service to work with us. A lot of people are saying that


this general election is an timely and is a sideshow. Where does that


leave the devolution project? The talks are in cold storage. In


theory, the talks are proceeding but there is no momentum. They may well


peter out before the election. We will then have three weeks after the


Westminster election until this new deadline comes to pass. Already we


have no budget or plan for Brexit and we are in danger of governance


falling apart, our health service is in crisis and issues are stacking


up. This becomes a further distraction with the election. We


have a timescale around Brexit that needs to be addressed. If we do not


get this right, we are facing a real tragedy. Where are we on the wider


devolution project? You were the chief spokesperson for your


party during the stocks. Have we forgotten completely about Stormont


until we deal with this issue. It appears to be that it is in cold


storage. There has been little momentum from the elections. Sinn


Fein have been putting red lines down saying we will not cross that


unless this is agreed. All the other parties have been saying we are here


to negotiate and try and get A.D. And try and manage the process and


get devolution back up and running. -- try and get a deal. The DUP have


put down red line as well, no Irish language act. At least they are


discussing it. They are discussing Irish language but as far as I know


they had not accepted an Irish language act. That is a red line.


The issue with Sinn Fein, they have said they are not going to restore


the Executive over and -- and Arda Turan which act. Is that still a red


line? -- and Irish language act. Are we seriously suggesting... The


vacuum last night that saw upon being placed outside a primary


school to kill police officers, that is continuing because of the Sinn


Fein desire for an Irish language act. They said this was about


honouring previous agreements, they never had an agreement with us.


Restore devolution, get the Executive back up and running. It is


not about negotiating a new deal, all these things have been agreed,


it is about implementing what was agreed previously. The demand for an


Irish language act, it is not the demand from Sinn Fein, we are asking


for it, but there is an Irish language community who have said


that enough is enough. Is that enough to hold up the restoration of


devolution in Northern Ireland? Whim we are in this pickle? That is a


question for the DUP and the British Government to ponder. I don't think


it is, I think we need to implement this right away. In the meantime,


you're determined that you are not moving and that remains a red line.


This has already been agreed and I welcome some of the movement. I want


to bring in Mark Durcan. Can you square the circle? -- Mark Durkan.


It is important to make sure our institutions are up and running if


we are going to address the issues. The best answer to the Brexit


challenge is to use the Strand which allows us to work on a north and


South basis in many sectors with areas of co-operation which Europe


would want to support. We cannot have strand to as the answer to the


Brexit challenge unless we have strand one working as well. Thank


you. Now, with a look at a particularly


busy week in the political world, here's Stephen Walker with


Sixty Seconds. Only one place to start, as Theresa


May caught everyone out. There should be unity here in Westminster,


but instead, there is division. The country is coming together, but


Westminster is not. Not everyone was happy with the impact on Northern


Ireland. The British Government do not want a power-sharing Executive


to work here because they do not want an Executive that will take a


firm stand against Brexit. This leaves Northern Ireland in the lurch


particularly with respect to the ongoing talks process. There was


talk about voting packs. There are discussions that are important


because there is a request from unionism to have greater


collaboration. We will not do a packed with one party to keep out


other parties from other communities. There was annoyance


over one talks deadline passing. I am disappointed that deadlines that


were placed for the 2nd of May are now unlikely to be met. Another one


came along soon enough, June the 29th.


And let's hear now from my Guests of the Day -


Allison Morris, of the Irish News, and the columnist Newton Emerson.


I asked Mark Durkan, any optimism he could give people watching the


programme who perhaps had not taken anything terribly optimistic out of


the conversation. Are there are reasons to be positive about the


campaign. Going on that discussion, very little reason. Regardless of


what has been said, it is clear this is another referendum on Brexit and


you can see that from what the politicians are saying. We are


dividing into two camps. I think this will be the election or you may


see some floating voters changing and going towards other pro-or


anti-Brexit parties. There will be interesting, for the likes of Tom


Elliott in the border constituencies, it will be


interesting to see which way the soft unionist vote goes because


there were no real answers given to what the definitive role, especially


the Ulster Unionist Party, if they do not manage to retain their seats,


they are more or less finished. We know in the run-up to the last


Assembly election, we said their message was confused and the voters


did not react well, and it still seems confused. When we get into


this, do you think we will still be talking about Brexit will we be


talking about those issues that we always talk about in Northern


Ireland elections? I think there will be a determined effort to keep


the focus on Brexit, that is what is different about this election and


that is the for nationalism. DUP and Sinn Fein are now drawing level and


that has been seen coming for decades but it was always assumed


that the group in the middle, Alliance and the Green Party would


be the meat in that Sam Wood and they would moderate between them.


Brexit enables Nationalists to make a bid for going into the middle


territory and that is wide Naomi Long is so determined, I believe, to


keep clear of that, because if she ends up on what will be seen by


unionist as the nationalist side, the centre ground is gone. I wanted


to ask you about the unilateral move by Robin Swann and the Ulster


Unionists to not stand in three constituencies. Gavin Robinson said


he is still a bit bewildering as to why that has happened outside the


negotiations that will happen this week.


It is because both parties are still very much competing with each other


and unionism's great gift or cursed, it seems to be able to organise to


pact without organising a pact between the two parties. They seem


to be able to slot themselves into a de facto pact without being on


speaking terms. What about a closer working relationship between the


SDLP and Sinn Fein? It would be more beneficial to Sinn Fein and the SDLP


and the SDLP know that. That is why they are talking about pacts with


pro-opposition parties, rather than going into a pact with Sinn Fein,


because if you look at the marginal seats in places where the SDLP are


in trouble, I do not think that packs with Sinn Fein would do them


much good at this stage, it would generally benefit Sinn Fein in


places like north Belfast. There was still a bit of animosity between


Chris Hazard and Mark Durkan. It is very tetchy. We came from an


election that was quite savage and Sinn Fein did well. At this point in


time they do not really need the help of the SDLP whereas clearly the


SDLP would clearly need the help of Sinn Fein. I am still intrigued,


vote Mike, get Colum, has that been replaced by get -- vote Robin, get


Arlene. It is not necessarily confusing, because Mike Nesbitt are


organised the last unionist pact and he made a clear distinction between


Westminster and Stormont elections. It took him six months to do that


and it still was not completely satisfactory. The reason they might


be some confusion over what the UUP is up to because Mike Nesbitt like


to be a unionist pact builder in Westminster elections and then


portray himself as a moderate. I don't think that Robin Swann will be


as squeamish as that. How do you see this developing over the next few


weeks and the talks which are meant to still be happening in parallel,


but everyone seems to agree, frankly nothing will happen on that front?


If those talks were not going anywhere, whether the result of an


election or not. There was little momentum in them before there was an


extension given and I realise that they are more structured but they


are not talks that have achieved anything in regards to those red


lives. Those are the big ticket things, the legacy issues, things to


do with the Irish language act and other issues that are an result they


will not be resolved before this election or the next talks deadline


and not resolved as we go into the marching season. James Brokenshire


becomes a candidate more than anything else. We have to leave it


there. That's it from Sunday


Politics for today. Join me on Thursday, when I'll be


back with The View on BBC1 at 10:40. Until then, from all


the team, bye-bye. There'll be a couple of hours of


just fantastic music, really, all the Ella classics, as well as


some very special guests,


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