Sarah Smith and Mark Carruthers with the latest political news, interviews and debate. Guests include Hilary Benn and Digby Jones.
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I'm Sarah Smith, and welcome
to The Sunday Politics,
where we always bring you everything
you need to know to understand
what's going on in politics.
Coming up on today's programme...
The Government says
the international trade minister
Mark Garnier will be investigated
following newspaper allegations
of inappropriate behaviour
towards a female staff member.
We'll have the latest.
The Prime Minister says she can
agree a deal with the EU and plenty
of time for Parliament to vote on it
before we leave in 2018. Well
Parliament play ball? New evidence
cast out on the
And in Northern Ireland:
Deja vu all over again as tomorrow
marks another deadline at Stormont
with a round of last-minute talks.
I'll be asking the smaller
parties if anyone really
believes a deal is possible.
on from the abortion act white MPs
are lobbying the Home Secretary to
stop the alleged
stop the alleged harassment of women
attending abortion clinics.
All that coming up in the programme.
And with me today to help make sense
of all the big stories,
Steve Richards and Anne McElvoy.
Some breaking news this morning.
The Government has announced
that it will investigate
whether the International Trade
Minister Mark Garnier broke
the Ministerial Code
of inappropriate behaviour.
It comes after reports in the Mail
on Sunday which has spoken to one
of Mr Garnier's former employees.
News of the investigation
was announced by the Health
Secretary Jeremy Hunt
on the Andrew Marr show earlier.
The stories, if they are true,
are totally unacceptable
and the Cabinet Office will be
conducting an investigation
as to whether there has been
a breach of the ministerial code
in this particular case.
But as you know the
facts are disputed.
This is something that covers
behaviour by MPs of all parties
and that is why the other thing
that is going to happen
is that today Theresa May
is going to write to John Bercow,
the Speaker of the House of Commons,
to ask for his advice as to how
we change that culture.
That was Jeremy Hunt a little
earlier. I want to turn to the panel
to make sense of this news. This is
the government taking these
allegations quite seriously.
has changed in this story is they
used to be a bit of delay while
people work out what they should say
about it, how seriously to take it.
As you see now a senior cabinet
member out there, Jeremy Hunt, with
an instant response. He does have
the worry of whether the facts are
disputed, but what they want to be
seen doing is to do something very
quickly. In the past they would say
it was all part of the rough and
tumble of Westminster.
does not deny these stories, which
is that he asked an employee to buy
sex toys, but he said it was just
high jinks and it was taken out of
context. Is this the sort of thing
that a few years ago in a different
environment would be investigated?
Not necessarily quite the frenzy
that it is nowadays. The combination
of social media, all the Sunday
political programmes were ministers
have to go on armed with a response
means that you get these we have to
be seen to be doing something. That
means there is this Cabinet Office
investigation. You pointed out to us
before the programme that he was not
a minister before this happened. It
does not matter whether he says yes,
know I did this or did not,
something has to be seen to be done.
Clearly ministers today are being
armed with that bit of information
and that Theresa May will ask John
Bercow the speaker to look into the
whole culture of Parliament in this
context. That is the response to
this kind of frenzy.
If we do live
in an environment where something
has to be seen to be done, does that
always mean the right thing gets
Absolutely not. We are in
witch hunt territory. All of us work
in the Commons over many years and
anyone would think it was a scene
out of Benny Hill or a carry on
film. Sadly it is not that much fun
and it is rather dull and dreary.
Yes, there are sex pests, yes, there
is sexual harassment, but the idea
this is going on on a huge scale is
Doesn't matter whether it
is a huge scale or not? Or just a
Any workplace where
you have the mixing of work and
social so intertwined and you throw
a huge amount of alcohol and late
night and people living away from
home you will have this happen.
does not make it OK.
It makes sexual
harassment not OK as it is not
anywhere. This happens to men as
well and if they have an issue into
it there are employment tribunal 's
and they can contact lawyers. I do
not think this should be a matter of
the speaker, it should be someone
completely independent of any party.
People think MPs are employees of
the party or the Commons, they are
Because they are self-employed
to whom do you go if you are a
That has to be
clarified. I agree you need a much
clearer line of reporting. It was a
bit like the situation when we came
into the media many years ago, the
Punic wars in my case! You were not
quite sure who to go to. If you work
worried that it might impede your
career, and you had to talk to
people who work next to you, that is
just one example, but in the Commons
people do not know who they should
go to. Where Theresa May might be
making a mistake, it is the same
mistake when it was decided to
investigate through Levinson the
culture of the media which was like
nailing jelly to a wall. Look at the
culture of anybody's job and the
environment they are in and there is
usually a lot wrong with it. When
you try and make it general, they
are not trying to blame individuals,
or it say they need a better line on
reporting of sexual harassment,
which I support, the Commons is a
funny place and it is a rough old
trade and you are never going to
iron out the human foibles of that.
Diane Abbott was talking about this
When I first went into Parliament so
many of those men had been to all
boys boarding schools and had really
difficult attitudes towards women.
The world has moved on and
middle-aged women are less likely
than middle-aged men to believe that
young research are irresistibly
attracted to them. We have seen the
issues and we have seen one of our
colleagues been suspended for quite
That is a point, Jarrod O'Mara, a
Labour MP who has had the whip
suspended, this goes across all
The idea that there is a
left or right divide over this is
absurd. This is a cultural issue. In
the media and in a lot of other
institutions if this is going to
develop politically, the frenzy will
carry on for a bit and other names
will come out over the next few
days, not just the two we have
mentioned so far in politics. But it
also raises questions about how
candidates are selected for example.
There has been a huge pressure for
the centre to keep out of things. I
bet from now on there will be much
greater scrutiny of all candidates
and tweets will have to be looked at
and all the rest of it.
candidates is interesting. Miriam
Gonzalez, Nick Clegg's wife, says
that during that election they knew
about Jarrod O'Mara and the Lib Dems
knew about it, so it is difficult to
suggest the Labour Party did not as
There is very clear evidence
the Labour Party did know. But we
are in a situation of how perfect
and well-behaved does everyone have
to be? If you look at past American
presidents, JFK and Bill Clinton,
these men were sex pest
extraordinaire, with totally
inappropriate behaviour on a regular
basis. There are things you are not
allowed to say if you are feminists.
Young women are really attracted to
powerful men. I was busted for the
idea that there are young women in
the House of commons who are
throwing themselves at middle-aged,
potbellied, balding, older men. We
need to focus on the right things.
When it is unwanted, harassing,
inappropriate and criminal,
absolutely, you come down like a
tonne of bricks. It is not just
because there are more women in the
Commons, it is because there are
more men married to women like us.
We have to leave it there.
As attention turns in
Westminster to the hundreds
of amendments put down on the EU
Withdrawal Bill, David Davis has
caused a stir this week by saying
it's possible Parliament won't get
a vote on the Brexit deal
until after March 2019 -
when the clock runs out
and we leave the EU.
Let's take a look at how
the controversy played out.
And which point do you envisage
Parliament having a vote?
As soon as possible thereafter.
As soon as possible
possible thereafter, yeah.
As soon as possible thereafter.
So, the vote in Parliament...
The other thing...
Could be after March 2019?
It could be, yeah, it could be.
It depends when it concludes.
Mr Barnier, remember,
has said he'd like...
Sorry, the vote of our Parliament,
the UK Parliament, could be
after March 2019?
Yes, it could be.
The thing to member...
Which would be...
Well, it can't come
before we have the deal.
You said that it is POSSIBLE that
Parliament night not vote
on the deal until AFTER
the end of March 2019.
I'm summarising correctly
what you said...?
Yeah, that's correct.
In the event we don't do
the deal until then, yeah.
Can the Prime Minister please
explain how it's possible
to have a meaningful vote
on something that's
already taken place?
As the honourable gentleman knows,
we're in negotiations
with the European Union, but I am
confident that the timetable under
the Lisbon Treaty does give time
until March 2019
for the negotiations to take place.
But I'm confident, because it is in
the interests of both sides,
it's not just this Parliament that
wants to have a vote on that deal,
but actually there will be
ratification by other parliaments,
that we will be able to achieve that
agreement and that negotiation
in time for this Parliament
to have a vote that we committed to.
We are working to reach
an agreement on the final deal
in good time before we leave
the European Union in March 2019.
Clearly, we cannot say
for certain at this stage
when this will be agreed.
But as Michel Barnier said,
he hopes to get a draft deal
agreed by October 2018,
and that's our aim is well.
agreed by October 2018,
and that's our aim as well.
I'm joined now by the former
Shadow Foreign Secretary Hilary
Benn, who is the chair
of the Commons Brexit Committee,
which David Davis was
giving evidence to.
When you think a
parliamentary vote should take place
in order for it to be meaningful?
has to be before we leave the
European Union. Michel Barnier said
at the start of the negotiations
that he wants to wrap them up by
October of next year, so we have
only got 12 months left, the clock
is ticking and there is a huge
amount of ground to cover.
not think there is any point in
having the vote the week before we
leave because you could then not go
That would not be
acceptable. We will not be given a
bit of paper and told to take it or
leave it. But the following day
Steve Baker, also a minister in the
department, told our committee that
the government now accepts that in
order to implement transitional
arrangements that it is seeking, it
will need separate legislation. I
put the question to him if you are
going to need separate legislation
to do that, why don't you have a
separate bill to implement the
withdrawal agreement rather than
seeking to use the powers the
government is proposing to take in
the EU withdrawal bill.
If we stick
to the timing, you have said you do
not think it is possible to
negotiate a trade deal in the next
12 months. You say the only people
who think that is possible British
ministers. If you do not believe we
can get a deal negotiated, how can
we get a vote on it in 12 months'
If things go well, and there
is still a risk of no agreement
which would be disastrous for the
economy and the country, if
things go there will be a deal on
the divorce issues, there will be a
deal on the nature of the
transitional arrangement and the
government is to set out how it
thinks that will work, and then an
agreement between the UK and the 27
member states saying, we will now
negotiate a new trade and market
access arrangement, and new
association agreement between the
two parties, and that will be done
in the transition period. Parliament
will be voting in those
circumstances on a deal which leads
to the door being open.
But we would
be outside the EU at that point, so
how meaningful can vote be where you
take it or leave it if we have
already left the EU? Surely this has
to happen before March 2019 for it
to make a difference?
I do not think
it is possible to negotiate all of
the issues that will need to be
covered in the time available.
it is not possible to have a
meaningful vote on it?
will have to have a look at the deal
presented to it. It is likely to be
a mix agreement so the approval
process in the rest of Europe,
unlike the Article 50 agreement,
which will be a majority vote in the
European Parliament and in the
British Parliament, every single
Parliament will have a vote on it,
so it will be a more complex process
anyway, but I do not think that is
the time to get all of that sorted
between now and October next year.
Whether it is before or after we
have left the EU, the government
have said it is a take it or leave
it option and it is the Noel Edmonds
option, deal or no Deal, you say yes
or no to it. You cannot send them
back to re-negotiate.
If it is a separate piece of
legislation, when Parliament has a
chance to shape the nature of that
But it can't change
what has been negotiated with the
Well, you could say to the
government, we're happy with this
but was not happy about that chukka
here's some fresh instructions, go
back in and...
It seems to me what
they want is the maximum access to
the single market for the lowest
possible tariffs, whilst able to
control migration. If they've got to
get the best deal that they can on
that, how on earth is the Labour
Party, saying we want a bit more,
owing to persuade the other 27?
certainly don't want the lowest
possible tariffs, we want no tariffs
are taught. My personal view is
that, has made a profound mistake in
deciding that it wants to leave the
customs union. If you want to help
deal with the very serious question
of the border between Northern
Ireland and the Republic of Ireland,
the way you do that is to stay in
the customs union and I hope, will
change its mind.
But the Labour
Party is simply saying in the House
of Commons, we want a better deal
than what, has been able to get?
depends how the negotiations unfold.
, has ended up on the transitional
arrangements in the place that Keir
Starmer set out on behalf of the
shadow cabinet in August, when he
said, we will need to stay in the
single market and the customs union
for the duration of the transition,
and I think that is the position,
has now reached. It has not been
helped by differences of view within
the Cabinet, and a lot of time has
passed and there's proved time left
and we have not even got on to the
negotiations. -- there's very little
On phase two, the labour
Party have set out six clear tests,
and two of them are crucial. You say
you want the exact same benefits we
currently have in the customs union
but you also want to be able to
ensure the fair migration to control
immigration, basically, which does
sound a bit like having your cake
and eating it. You say that you will
vote against any deal that doesn't
give you all of that, the exact same
benefits of the single market, and
allowing you to control migration.
But you say no deal would be
catastrophic if so it seems to me
you're unlikely to get the deal that
you could vote for but you don't
want to vote for no deal?
absolutely don't want a no deal.
Businesses have sent a letter to the
Prime Minister saying that a
transition is essential because the
possibility of a no deal and no
transitional would be very damaging
for the economy. We fought the
general election on a policy of
seeking to retain the benefits of
the single market and the customs
union. Keir Starmer said on behalf
of the shadow government that as far
as the longer term arrangements are
concerned, that should leave all
options on the table, because it is
the end that you're trying to
achieve and you then find the means
to support it. So we're setting out
very clearly those tests.
were to vote down an agreement
because it did not meet your tests,
and there was time to send, back to
the EU to get a better deal, then
you would have significantly
weakened their negotiating hand
chukka that doesn't help them?
don't think, has deployed its
negotiating hand very strongly thus
far. Because we had a general
election which meant that we lost
time that we would have used for
negotiating. We still don't know
what kind of long-term trade and
market access deal, wants. The Prime
Minister says, I don't want a deal
like Canada and I don't want a deal
like the European Economic Area. But
we still don't know what kind of
deal they want. With about 12 months
to go, the other thing, needs to do
is to set out very clearly above all
for the benefit of the other 27
European countries, what kind of
deal it wants. When I travel to
Europe and talk to those involved in
the negotiations, you see other
leaders saying, we don't actually
know what Britain wants. With a year
to go it is about time we made that
One related question on the
European Union - you spoke in your
famous speech in Syria about the
international brigades in Spain, and
I wonder if your solidarity with
them leads you to think that the UK
Government should be recognising
Catalonia is an independent state?
No, I don't think so. It is a very
difficult and potentially dangerous
situation in Catalonia at the
moment. Direct rule from Madrid is
not a long-term solution. There
needs to be a negotiation, and
elections will give Catalonia the
chance to take that decision, but I
am not clear what the declaration of
independence actually means. Are
they going to be borders, is they're
going to be an army? There will have
to be some agreement. Catalonia has
already had a high degree of
autonomy. It may like some more, and
it seems to me if you look at the
experience here in the United
Kingdom, that is the way to go, not
a constitutional stand-off. And I
really hope nobody is charged with
rebellion, because actually that
would make matters worse.
Now, the Government has this
week reopened the public
consultation on plans for a third
runway at Heathrow.
While ministers are clear
the £18 billion project
is still the preferred option,
new data raises further questions
about the environmental
impact of expansion,
and offers an improved
economic case for a second
runway at Gatwick instead.
So, with opponents on all sides
of the Commons, does the Government
still have the votes to get
the plans off the ground?
Here's Elizabeth Glinka.
The debate over the expansion
of Heathrow has been
going on for decades.
Plans for a third runway
were first introduced
by the Labour government in 2003.
Then, after spending millions
of pounds, finally, in 2015,
the airport commission recommended
that those plans go ahead,
and the government position
appeared to be fixed.
But, of course, since then,
we've had a general election.
The Government have lost
their Commons majority.
And with opposition on both front
benches, the Parliamentary
arithmetic looks a little bit up
in the air.
A lot has changed since the airport
commission produced its report,
and that don't forget
was the bedrock for the Government's
decision, that's why the government
supposedly made the decision
that it made.
But most of the assumptions
made in that report have
been undermined since,
by data on passenger numbers,
on economic benefits, and more
than anything, on pollution.
There's demand from international
carriers to get into Heathrow.
More and more people want to fly.
And after the referendum,
is going to be absolutely critical
to the UK economy, so if anything,
I think the case is stronger
for expansion at Heathrow.
A vote on expansion had been due
to take place this summer.
But with Westminster somewhat
distracted, that didn't happen.
Now, fresh data means
the Government has had to reopen
the public consultation.
But it maintains the case
for Heathrow is as strong as ever,
delivering benefits of up
to £74 billion to the wider economy.
And in any case, the Government
says, action must be taken,
as all five of London's airports
will be completely
full by the mid-2030s.
Still, the new research does cast
an alternative expansion at Gatwick
in a more favourable economic light,
while showing Heathrow
is now less likely to meet
its environmental targets.
Campaigners like these in Hounslow
sense the wind is shifting.
We're feeling encouraged,
because we see all kinds
of weaknesses in the argument.
Certainly, quite a few MPs,
I think certainly Labour MPs,
are beginning to think perhaps it's
not such a great idea
to have a third runway.
Their MP is convinced colleagues
can now be persuaded
to see things their way.
The Labour Party quite
rightly set four key tests
for a third runway at Heathrow.
And in my view,
Heathrow is not able...
The Heathrow option is not able
to pass any of those.
So, I see a lot of colleagues
in the Labour Party around
the country beginning
to think twice.
And if you look at the cross-party
MPs supportin this anti-Heathrow
And if you look at the cross-party
MPs supporting this anti-Heathrow
protest this week, you will see
some familiar faces.
You know my position -
as the constituency MP,
I'm totally opposed.
I think this is another indication
of just the difficulties
the Government have got off
of implementing this policy.
I don't think it's going to happen,
I just don't think
it's going to happen.
So, if some on the Labour
front bench are, shall
we say, not supportive,
what about the other side?
In a free vote, we could have had up
to 60 Conservative MPs
voting against expansion,
that's the number that is normally
used and I think it's right.
In the circumstances where it
requires an active rebellion,
the numbers would be fewer.
I can't tell you what that
number is, but I can tell
you that there are people right
the way through the party,
from the backbenches
to the heart of the government,
who will vote against
And yet the SNP, whose Commons
votes could prove vital,
are behind the Heathrow plan,
which promises more
And other supporters are convinced
they have the numbers.
There is a majority of members
of Parliament that support Heathrow
expansion, and when that is put
to the test, whenever that will be,
I think that will be
Any vote on this issue
won't come until next summer.
For both sides, yet more time
to argue about weather
the plans should take off
or be permanently grounded.
Elizabeth Glinka there.
And I'm joined now by the former
Cabinet minister Theresa Villiers,
who oversaw aviation policy
as a transport minister
under David Cameron.
Thanks for coming in. You have made
your opposition to a third runway at
Heathrow consistently clear. , have
reopened this consultation but it is
still clearly their preferred
It is but what I have always
asked is, why try to build a new
runway at Heathrow when you can
build one at Gatwick in half the
time, for half the cost and with a
tiny fraction of the environment
will cost average is that true,
though? Private finance is already
to go at Heathrow, because that's
where people want to do it and
that's where the private backers
want to put it. It would take much
longer to get the private finance
for Gatwick? Part of that private
finance is passengers of the future,
but also, the costs of the surface
transport needed to expand Heathrow
is phenomenal. I mean, TfL estimates
vary between £10 billion and £15
billion. And there's no suggestion
that those private backers are going
to meet those costs. So, this is a
hugely expensive project as well as
one which will create very
ultimately where passengers and
airlines want to go to, isn't it?
Every slot is practically full.
Every time a new one comes up, it is
up immediately, it's a very popular
airport. Gatwick is not where they
want to go?
There are many airlines
and passengers who do want to fly
from Gatwick, and all the forecasts
indicate that a new runway there
would be full of planes very
rapidly. But I think the key thing
is that successive elements have
said, technology will deliver a way
to resolve the around noise and air
quality. I don't have any confidence
that science has demonstrated that
technology will deliver those
solutions to these very serious
environmental limbs which have
stopped Heathrow expansion for
Jim Fitzpatrick in the film
was mentioning that people think
there is a need for even more
collectivity in Britain post-Brexit.
We know that business has been
crying out for more routes, they
really think it hurts business
expansion that we don't get on with
this. More consultation is just
going to lead to more delay, isn't
This is a hugely controversial
decision. There is a reason why
people have been talking about
expanding Heathrow for 50 years and
it is never happened, it's because
it's a bad idea. So, inevitably the
legal processes are very complex.
One of my anxieties about, pursuing
this option is that potentially it
means another lost decade for
airport expansion. Because the
problems with Heathrow expansion are
so serious, I believe that's one of
the reasons why I advocated, anyone
who wants a new runway in the
south-east should be backing Gatwick
is a much more deliverable option.
Let me move on to Brexit. We were
talking with Hilary Benn about a
meaningful vote being given to the
House of Commons chukka how
important do you think that is?
course the Commons will vote on
this. The Commons is going to vote
on this many, many times. We have
also had a hugely important vote not
only in the referendum on the 23rd
of June but also on Article 50.
will that vote allow any changes to
it? Hilary Benn seemed to think that
the Commons would be able to shape
the deal with the vote. But actually
is it going to be, saying, take it
or leave it at all what we have
Our Prime Minister
negotiates on our behalf
well-established precedent that
after an agreement is reached
overseas, then it is considered in
the House of Commons.
What if it was
voted down in the House of Commons?
Well, the legal effect of that would
be that we left the European Union
without any kind of deal, because
the key decision was on the voting
of Article 50 as an irreversible
Is it irreversible,
though? We understand, may have had
legal advice saying that Yukon
stopped the clock on Article 50.
Would it not be possible if the
Commons voted against to ask the
European Union for a little bit more
time to try and renegotiate?
is a debate about the reversibility
of Article 50. But the key point is
that we are all working for a good
deal for the United Kingdom and the
I'm concerned that some of the
amendments to the legislation are
not about the nature of the deal at
the end of the process, they're just
about frustrating the process. I
think that would be wrong. I think
we should respect the result of the
Will it be by next
summer, so there is time for
Parliament and for other
I certainly hope that
we get that agreement between the
two sides, and the recent European
summit seemed to indicate a
willingness from the European side
to be constructive. But one point
where I think Hilary Benn has a
point, if we do secure agreement on
a transitional deal, that does
potentially give us more time to
work on the details of a trade
agreement. I hope we get as much as
possible in place before exit day.
But filling out some of that detail
is made easier if we can secure that
two-year transitional deal.
That is interesting because a lot of
Brexiteers what the deal to be done
by the inflammation period, it is
not a time for that.
recognise we need compromise, I am
keen to work with people across my
party in terms of spectrum of
opinion, and with other parties as
well to ensure we get the best
Let me ask you briefly
before you go about the possible
culture of sexual harassment in the
House of commons and Theresa May
will write to the Speaker of the
House of Commons to make sure there
is a better way that people can
report sexual harassment in the
House of commons. Is that necessary?
A better procedure is needed. It is
sad it has taken this controversy to
push this forward. But there is a
problem with MPs who are individual
employers. If you work for an MP and
have a complaint against them,
essentially they are overseeing
their own complaints process. I
think a role for the House of
commons authorities in ensuring that
those complaints are properly dealt
with I think would be very helpful,
so I think the Prime Minister's
letter was a sensible move.
think there is a culture of sexual
harassment in the House of commons?
I have not been subjected to it or
seen evidence of it, but obviously
there is anxiety and allegations
have made their way into the papers
and they should be treated
appropriately and properly
Thank you for talking
Thank you for talking to us.
Next week the Lord Speaker's
committee publishes its final report
into reducing the size
of the House of Lords.
With over 800 members the upper
house is the second largest
legislative chamber in the world
after the National People's
Congress of China.
The report is expected to recommend
that new peerages should be
time-limited to 15 years and that
in the future political peerage
appointments will also be tied
to a party's election performance.
The government has been under
pressure to take action to cut
members of the unelected chamber,
where they are entitled
to claim an attendance
allowance of £300 a day.
And once again these expenses
have been in the news.
The Electoral Reform Society
discovered that 16 peers had claimed
around £400,000 without speaking
in any debates or submitting any
questions for an entire year.
One of the Lords to be
criticised was Digby Jones,
the crossbencher and former trade
minister, he hasn't spoken
in the Lords since April 2016
and has voted only seven times
during 2016 and 2017.
Yet he has claimed around
£15,000 in this period.
When asked what he does
in the House he said,
"I go in and I will invite for lunch
or meet with inward
investors into the country.
I fly the flag for Britain."
Well, we can speak now
to Lord Jones who joins us
from Stratford Upon Avon.
Thank you very much for talking to
us. You provide value for money in
the House of Lords do you think?
Definitely. I am, by the way, very
keen on reform. I want to see that
15 year tide. I would like to see a
time limit, an age limit of 75 or
80. I would like attendants
definitely define so the whole
public understood what people are
paying for and why. The £300, as a
crossbencher I get no support, and
nor do I want any, speech writing,
secretarial assistance, none of
that, and the £300 goes towards
Whilst you are in there
because we will talk about the
reform of the Lords in general, but
in terms of you yourself, you say
you invite people in for lunch, is
it not possible for you to take part
in debates and votes and ask
questions at the same time?
ever listened to a debate in the
laws? Yes, many times.
times. You have to put your name
down in advance and you have to be
there for the whole debate.
to be around when the vote is called
and you do not know when the book is
called, you have no idea when the
boat is going to be called.
part of being a member of the House
of Lords and what it means. If you
are not prepared to wait or take
part in debates, why do you want to
be a member? It is possible to
resign from the House of Lords.
There are many things members of the
Lords do that does not relate to
parrot fashion following somebody
else, which I refuse to do, about
speaking to an empty chamber, or
indeed hanging on sometimes for
hours to vote. There are many other
things that you do. You quote me as
saying I will entertain at lunchtime
or show people around the House,
everything from schoolchildren to
inward investors. I will meet
ministers about big business issues
or educational issues, and at the
same time I will meet other members
of the Lords to get things moving.
None of that relates to going into
the House and getting on your hind
legs, although I do go in and sit
there and learn and listen to
others, which, if more people would
receive and not transmit, we might
get a better informed society. At
the same time many times I will go
after I have listened and I am
leaving and if I have not heard the
debate, I will not vote.
an essential part of being part of a
legislative chamber. This is not
just an executive committee, it is a
legislature, surpassing that law is
essential, is it not?
Do you really
believe that an MP or a member of
the Lords who has not heard a moment
of the debate, who is then listening
to the Bell, walks in and does not
know which lobby, the whips tell
him, they have not heard the debate
and they do not know what they are
voting on and they go and do it?
That is your democracy? Voting seems
to be an essential part of this
chamber, and you have your ideas
about reforming the chamber. It
sounds as though you would reform
yourself out of it. You say people
who are not voting and who are not
taking part in debate should no
longer be members of the House.
did not say that. I said we ought to
redefine what attendance means and
then if you do not attend on the new
criteria, you do not have to come
ever again, we will give you your
wish. I agree attendance might mean
unless you speak, you are going.
Fair enough, if that is what is
agreed, yes. Sometimes I would speak
and sometimes I would not. If I did
not, then off I go. Similarly after
15 years, off you go. If you reach
75 or 80, off you go. Why do we have
92 members who are only there
because of daddy.
You are talking
about hereditary peers. You would
like to reduce the House to what
kind of number?
I would get it down
You would get rid of half
the peers there at the moment? You
think you are active enough to
remain as one of the 400?
No, I said
that might well include me. Let's
get a set of criteria, let's push it
through, because the laws is losing
respect in the whole of the country
because there are too many and all
these things about what people pay
for. I bet most people think the
money you get is paid. It is not, it
is re-funding for all the things you
have to pay for yourself. But I
understand how respect has been lost
in society. Let's change it now.
Let's get it through and then, yes,
if you do not meet the criteria, you
have got to go and that includes me.
Lloyd Jones, thank you for talking
Lloyd Jones, thank
you for talking to us.
It's coming up to 11.40,
you're watching the Sunday Politics.
Coming up on the programme,
we'll be talking to the former
business minister and Conservative
MP Anna Soubry about the Brexit
negotiations and claims of sexual
harassment in Parliament.
Hello and welcome to Sunday Politics
in Northern Ireland.
So the two main parties don't look
like they're about to meet
tomorrow's latest Stormont deadline.
They're not here, but the three
smaller parties are and I'll be
asking them what they think the next
move will be.
Do they have any say
in what's going on?
And what do they make of a budget
being drawn up at Westminster?
And residents say they want them
to come down - but not yet.
I'll be looking at the dilemma
of the peace walls.
And with me throughout
with their thoughts -
Chris Donnelly and Felicity Huston.
The Secretary of State
was at Stormont on Friday night
for more talks with the DUP
and Sinn Fein and with no deal
in place at this late stage,
it looks like James Brokenshire's
"glide path to greater
is about to become a reality.
If that does prove to be the case,
he's expected to begin
the process of legislating
for a budget next week.
I'm joined by the UUP's Steve Aiken,
the SDLP's Colin McGrath
and Stephen Farry from the Alliance
We did invite the DUP and Sinn Fein
to join us as well...
Stephen, what do you expect
to happen tomorrow?
We're not sure. The Secretary of
State has said he wants some written
confirmation from the two parties
that a deal is born but at this
stage it seems unlikely that will
happen. He will then move to put
through a budget at Westminster
starting the 6th of November. It is
not welcomed but we have to ensure
this is essential to ensure that we
get our public resources sorted.
There is a governance gap and we
have to have ministers in place of
some description who are capable of
taking decisions to spend that money
efficiently and effectively if we
are to make a difference and reform
and make our public services
I was speaking to Ian Paisley on
Thursday night and it has to if at
this late stage it at a rabbit could
be pulled out of a hat and he did
not even think there was a hat!
problem we have is that nobody knows
what is happening in these
negotiations. Number of the smaller
parties do not know what is
happening, the media and the people
do not know. That is a smoke screen
and not being able to tell people
what is happening in the
negotiations. The negotiations have
been happening for seven months,
there must be some give and take so
what and what has been taken? Two
weeks ago we were told a deal could
be imminent. But without any detail.
It works in the favour of the two
main parties to know whether the
residue or a no deal. They do not
want to sing together the detail.
The question must be asked by the
public and the parties, what are
they afraid of?
What do you think
will happen tomorrow? Steve Aiken,
do you think something can be
produced at the last minute?
not think they will be any talk of a
deal until after the party
conferences. I do not see our Ben
Foster and they do not see Michelle
O'Neill and Gerry Adams going around
and saying they have reached a deal
before their respective party
conferences all over in the next
week or two. All of us had
trepidation when we heard on Friday
that the talks were continuing but
Gerry Adams had arrived and every
time he arrives in the process it
seems that gone backwards. One of
the biggest concern is that we have
as a party as we do not know what is
being discussed and in the
rank-and-file of the DUP, they do
not know what is being discussed. It
would be very useful if we actually
knew where we got to because I
think, looking at the history of
these things, I regret to say it,
you will have to do the pantomime of
going away for one week to have
in-depth crisis talks to get to the
next stage before Gerry Adams puts
the kibosh on it again.
on saying this and every time it has
been said that Gerry Adams is not
making a positive contribution, Sinn
Fein has said that is not the case.
It is a mischaracterisation.
point is that you do not know. Let
us look at the evidence, every time
he comes along, things go backwards.
You have said backwards but Stephen,
this is exactly what people voted
for. We keep having these
conversations and saying this is not
what people wanted or 44 but this is
precisely what people voted for,
they voted for Sinn Fein to hold the
line in great numbers and for the
DUP to do likewise.
We have seen
people thought out of fear creating
a polarising situation. People voted
against the perceptions of what the
other party was about. In practice
we have two parties that are only
appealing to the core constituents.
That is the job.
Everyone of us is
there to represent the entire
Northern Irish community, investing
in health, education and our
economy. The fact we have a deadlock
is not just around the content of
how we deal with Bangladesh is but
the presentation of that shows that
people are putting that one issue on
a pedestal above acting responsibly
in the interests of the entire
community and we have lost all sense
There is no
groundswell of pressure coming on
health cuts, an education cuts from
ordinary men and women in the state
telling you do must get back to
devolution around the Executive
table and sort it out. In fact,
there is silence. People on the
areas and writing newspaper reports
have said this is not good, we are
all suffering but that is about as
far as it goes.
I did not accept
that in the sense that anyone it
Speed two tells me that we should be
back in there, doing our jobs,
earning our beaches and legislating
and I do not think that is the
preserve of the three smaller
parties, I think that message has
been said but I do accept that
people are not feeling it in the
pocket, it has not got to the crunch
point. But as you start to see
longer waiting lists and the
cutbacks and the schools taking
effect whenever you have to start
increasing class sizes, looking at
merging schools, Windows problems
get through, people will look at...
Those issues are already happening.
But they have not got to the
crescendo where we are making a
massive impact and people are
saying, we are at crisis point only
see things changing.
supporting the DUP will say that
they will not concede on the Irish
Language Act and Sinn Fein will not
settle for anything less.
been progress in the negotiations on
that over the last seven months. But
we are not told what that progress
so we cannot comment on it. If there
has been progress, it must be put on
the table because aside from the
media and the smaller political
parties, the public are not finding
out what is happening in the name
and all parties in the election in
March were voted in on a mandate to
deliver devolution and that is what
the people of asked for and we must
deliver on that.
Steve Aiken I know
you don't like the references of
James Brokenshire but he has talked
about this glide path to greater
Westminster intervention, is that a
lighter version of direct rule or is
that proper direct rule? Will be
limp along into the talks continue?
We are already heading towards
direct rule, that is clear, whether
it is light, heart, whatever, we are
steadily moving in that direction
and once the budget has been passed
and we see with the DUP money is
going to be allocated and what it
goes into, the next thing we will
see is where his ministers from the
Northern Irish others being given
rules to be able to move that on and
we will see that we are heading down
that direction, we are very much in
the final stages, I believe.
think that is the end of Stormont,
you will be told thank you for your
contribution, we do not need you as
an MLA any more? Presumably that
cannot continue indefinitely.
cannot see that, we are in our final
stages. Here is the reality. In
Northern Ireland, a quarter of the
electorate voted for Sinn Fein, a
quarter voted for the DUP, a quarter
did not fool and a quarter voted for
the other parties.
We have one
quarter of the electorate and
controlling where we are going to
and what we're doing, that cannot be
I do not think Sinn Fein
would accept that reality. Maybe if
they were present and the DUP were
president -- present we could ask
them, but they are not here once
There are ways that we can
avoid the direct rule situation.
Either the DUP and Sinn Fein
approach this with greater
transparency and stop blocking
progress or going to fool on direct
rule. We can reform the structures
of the institutions are musk and we
must come together and talk about
that. All the issues that are
holding things up whether that be
language, equal marriage, issues
around abortion, human rights and
equality issues should be debated on
the Assembly floor.
If it is as
simple as that by two Sinn Fein and
the DUP not agree on that and move
on? The point is, it is not that
They want to control things
themselves. Then an authority
anyway. Let us address this and
afflict the democratic wishes of the
people of Northern Ireland.
to ask you about tomorrow. Are you
sending a party delegation tomorrow
to meet Colin McGrath?
Our party has
been ready at every stage, we are at
Stormont most Mondays and Tuesdays.
We will be there tomorrow.
think you will have a meeting with
the Secretary of State tomorrow?
have not been asked but if so, we
will be the present to speak to him.
We had a meeting with him on
Thursday. What did he say? Not an
awful lot, typical of this process.
You get much talk and headlines but
Did he ask for your
We provided some ideas and
had a conversation but we do not
know the content of the negotiations
and if you do not know the content
you cannot comment on that.
expect to meet the Secretary of
State to say this process?
I will be
at Stormont tomorrow but we might
get a phone call at 3:30pm telling
us can we see him at four o'clock
and we will talk about analogies and
all sorts of things and gripe at...
We picked up the phone all the time.
Tomorrow is the deadline! Mark, we
have been talking all the time for
the last nine months and said we
must move on. Let us look at
something different, let us look at
the voluntary coalition, let us move
on from where we are. You think that
is the answer? Cannot be any worse
I do not see the DUP Sinn
Fein giving in to a voluntary
Surely that flies in the
face of everything you have stood
for at the time of the Good Friday
I want to see all of the
eligible party sitting around a
table, taking the seat and
delivering for the people of
Northern Ireland, as elected, that
is what we want.
Stephen Farry, if
there is no solution tomorrow or
immediately thereafter, and it looks
like direct rule has been imposed
once more, that is the end of
Stormont, is it? Will you still
remain an MLA?
I do not know and
those decisions that will have to be
taken but I am clear that before we
get to direct rule we have other
options. We have been talking to the
secretary of state for the past he
beat as have other parties. We are
trying to open this process up and
look at other options before we lose
sight of devolution.
Thank you very
much, gentlemen. We will watch with
Let's hear what my guests
of the day - Chris Donnelly
and Felicity Huston -
make of that.
Felicity, are people being let down
by the inability of the two main
parties to reach a deal?
I think people have given up
expecting any agreement. I think we
have entered a state of this
tournament, everyone has abandoned
all hope. I do not know how many
times I have been seeing this on
here, we getting nowhere and
everyone has given up.
We are told
tomorrow is the absolute deadline,
do you believe that?
of State is always on the verge of
taking a stand but he goes on and
Will it get past tomorrow?
would confidently expects all, that
has happened time and again so far.
I do not think that he wants to put
things in place, like the old
fashion secretary Northern Ireland.
Some people have said they will have
been let down by the politicians,
others have said this is exactly
what was voted for. This is
What we heard earlier
prior to Felicity talking and the
three representatives, we heard the
frustration of the three minority
parties, we have never been as
politically marginalised as they are
at the moment, they are outside the
process and this is about the Irish
government, the British government
and DUP and Sinn Fein. I know that
Steve Aiken was focusing on Gerry
Adams but I think this is a red
herring, sources I have heard inside
Sinn Fein have all said the same
thing, it is about implementation,
prior agreements about the Irish
Language Act, that was referenced in
the St Andrews Agreement, and I
cannot see any movement until there
is changes in that process. The
legislative process will have to put
into place on direct rule so that
the budget can be brought forward
but the talks, they will have to be
another round that focuses more
specifically on those crunch issues.
You know that there were reports in
the public domain one week ago that
a deal had been done and the senior
Sinn Fein figures have found
something they could sign up to but
that Gerry Adams had pulled the rug
from under their feet. You either
believe that or not, but do you give
I do not, although
sources I have spoken to within Sinn
Fein, whether in the north or the
South have said the same thing. We
saw this previously with Martin
McGuinness and Gerry Adams, the talk
suggested that the big bad Wolf,
Gerry Adams, comes from Dublin. He
does not have to arrive in the
building to change things, so I do
not give much credence to that. I
think that Sinn Fein has been with
one voice on this and know that
electro and they have a mandate to
Felicity, finally, what do
you think that politicians should
say to James Brokenshire if they get
a phone call to meet him tomorrow?
Yes, please, but let us be sensible,
put everyone in the room, openly
discuss what has been agreed and as
the gentlemen of the have said, the
public has a right to know, we pay
the salaries, we ought to know what
they are talking about.
you both for the moment.
Time now for a look back
at the political week in 60 Seconds,
with Gareth Gordon.
Sinn Fein was fighting on two
microns in Dublin as a Gerry Adams
took on the Taoiseach.
elements are being humoured by the
British government and denying
citizens their rights. And you are
This does not sound
to me like the language of someone
who is trying to read the party into
In Belfast that seems
we were witnessing the endgame of
the Stormont talks.
I think there
has been progress but that clearly
has not been sufficient progress or
else we would be back in the
No deal, you do not think
your rabbit can be pulled out of a
The Miz to be had from which to
take the rabbit from.
legislation... There was a row over
the use of ministerial cars by civil
These are official
government vehicles and it is
important that they make good use of
At Westminster the search was
on to find the top dog of politics
but closer to home, one which showed
its owner who was boss.
like a biscuit?
She is impossible to live with!
Gareth Gordon reporting.
Politicians here must invest
in areas around the peace walls
if they are ever to come down -
that's one of the key findings
of a survey carried out among people
living in their shadow.
The Peace Walls Programme found that
fear remains a key issue
for residents but that many
want to see the walls
removed in the long term.
The survey was published
by the International Fund
for Ireland and its chairman,
Dr Adrian Johnston, is with me now.
Thank you very much indeed for
coming to join us today. A
significant piece of work and we
only have a short time to look at
some of the issues. Given the wider
political challenges that we face at
the moment and we have just
discussed this in detail, how Big
the challenges it for you to get our
politicians to focus on this
I think it has been
a challenge over the past two years,
getting people to speak about this
issue and we have seen from the
survey results that many of
respondents within it have mentioned
that there was a lack or minimal
political engagement at the
grassroots level with the piece was
activity which did not reflect what
we expected from the programme of
government commitments. We must
ensure that going forward that there
is a focus brought very much to the
fore around this piece while. The
legacy of what has occurred about
the peace Wall is not about safety
concerns, it is about economic
Council to regeneration within those
areas and we can see from the super
output area is that we looked at
Varadkar survey that there are huge
economic obligations with respect to
jobs, employment, mental and
physical health within those areas
and those legacy issues have not
been dealt with in those areas.
have said that the key to getting
things sorted is in those key areas,
that is less likely in the case of a
devolved government and it does not
look like devolution will be
restored in the short-term, how do
you square that circle?
As we move
forward there will be ministers and
departments responsible for economic
regeneration of those areas for the
issues we have talked about and
going forward we would ask that
anyone, whoever is responsible,
we're not too -- we're not sure who
is currently responsible and who
will be responsible in the future,
but they must look at that and we
would hope that the peace walls
would be removed. The communities
have not been engaged, their voices
have not been heard, those living
around that area are unsure of what
the future will hold for them and we
must ensure they are part of that
process. That ring fenced divorces
will also be put in place. -- ring
We had that
Bunting devolved government in the
past but we have not had Stormont
for over one year now. Is that
target becoming much more difficult
to achieve in your view?
It is more
difficult but it is difficult to
achieve even when it was announced
because there was no road map put in
place at that would be achieved.
Engaging with communities and
understanding their needs, whether
it is safety, education, employment,
none of those aspects are taken into
consideration when that time and was
put in place, there is no strategic
plan. Four years into that
communities deserve a plan and to be
engaged in this process to see what
the future will hold for them.
Whenever you speak to people on the
ground and living in the shadow of
the peace walls, they have said that
ultimately, if not now, perhaps in
their children or grandchildren'
time, they would like the balls to
be removed, that is passed 2023, why
are there more than 100 piece was in
place 20 years after the signing of
the Good Friday Agreement?
of the tomb of respondents believe
that it is about securing safety and
80% of those surveyed have said they
feel safer than the environment. It
is about security and ensuring the
security fears are eradicated and we
Is it a substantial
issue? Is providing security or is
it a comfort blanket that people are
unhappy about letting go of?
seen some success in our piece was
programme and they should rhetoric
that that programme was about having
conversations, allowing communities
that have conversations about the
future and the area of the peace
walls, not necessarily about the
removal. Discussions have moved on
to not just the removal but the
reimaging and reduction of the peace
wall and we have looked at physical
transformation is happening in those
areas. There's the possibility and
as we went through those some areas
that decide and in fact, the war was
not there for security reasons, the
will was there as a safety blanket.
Then they had the problem of what we
they do have the wall was removed
and what is the incentive to do
that? That comes down to economic
regeneration, shared spaces,
opportunities for young people,
better outcomes, that is what this
conversations are about and that is
why it is imperative that we put
resources around this, ring fencing
long-term resources and political
support to ensure that the road map
can be put in place.
We are not
where you would like to be at the
moment but are you optimistic that
we can get to the promised land?
Very much so. As we look at the
survey results, there was big
conversations, we want to see how
those conversations have been
evolving and over 50% of
participants in our survey have had
crossed uniquely good relations and
good communications with people from
different communities. 66% of those
respondents believe that not doing
anything with the wall will be
detrimental to committee
communications and others have said
that any engagement they have had
has been positive. That is good for
us to hear that we can get to
discussions about the removal of the
Very interesting, thank you
for joining us.
And let's have a final word
with Chris and Felicity.
What's the key to moving
this issue forward?
The piece was simply are the most
visible manifestation of the
dividing lines in our society. What
you heard from Doctor Adrian
Johnston was that people do feel an
element of security with those, so
as they are removed, there must be
an ambitious programme that is the
regulation and enforcement, akin to
the Parades Commission, so that the
neutral spaces that are put in place
of the walls can be effectively
policed and that those people feel
secure, not just from physical
attack, but we know when you look at
the other mixed residential
communities, when others arrive and
try to claim territory by putting up
flags, that can add a poison
dimension to the hopes of people who
want to live in mixed communities.
Felicity, a brief thought from you?
It is very sad that after 20 years
we are still present. More have been
put up since the Good Friday
Agreement and people become used to
them, they become part of the
College of how you live and probably
if you live there you do not think
about them, that is what is present
and that the real problem.
Ellie Reeves and Bob Blackman.
With that, it's back to Sarah.
Now, the much anticipated
EU Withdrawal Bill,
which will transfer EU law into UK
law in preparation for Brexit,
is expected to be debated
by MPs later next month.
Critics have called it a "power
grab" as it introduces so-called
Henry VIII powers for Whitehall
to amend some laws without
and it faces fierce resistance
from opposition parties
as well as many on the government's
own backbenches, with 300 amendments
and 54 new clauses tabled on it.
We're joined now by the Conservative
MP Anna Soubry who has been a strong
critic of the legislation.
Thank you very much for joining us.
Before we talk about the withdrawal
bill, I would like to bring up with
you that the Prime Minister has just
sent a letter to the Commons Speaker
John Bercow asking for an
independent body to be established
to investigate claims of sexual
harassment in Parliament. What are
your thoughts on that?
A very good
idea, sounds like a great deal of
common sense. I had already this
morning sent a request to the
speaker asking for an urgent
statement from the Leader of the
House as to what could now be done
to make sure that any complaints
actually against anybody working in
Parliament, to extend the
protections that workers throughout
the rest of businesses and in other
workplaces have, they should now be
extended into Parliament and asking
for an urgent statement from the
leader. Clearly the PM is well onto
this and it is a good idea. We have
to make sure everybody who works in
Parliament enjoys exactly the same
protections as other workers, so I
This should maybe have
happened a long time ago. We hear
stories of harassment that has been
going on for decades, but until now
it has been difficult to work out
who you could complain to about it.
It is my understanding that my Chief
Whip and the previous deputy Chief
Whip, and Milton, shared that view
and have shared that view for some
time but found it difficult to get
all the agreement necessary. Anyway,
we are where we are and we are
making that progress, but
my Chief Whip and the previous
deputy Chief Whip wanted this done
some time ago.
That is an
interesting point. Let's move on to
the much anticipated EU withdrawal
bill which will finally be debated.
You have put your name to an
amendment which is calling for a
vote on the final agreement in
essence, do you really believe that
that will be a meaningful both
offered to the Commons?
Yes, if you
look at the terms of the amendment,
it would deliver exactly that. It
would give members of Parliament the
opportunity to debated and voted on
it. It would be an effective piece
of legislation and would go through
both houses and should be done. One
of the problems with this process is
that Parliament has been excluded
from the sort of debate and
decisions that would have enabled
the government to move forward in
progress and form a consensus so we
get the very best Brexit deal.
have been excluded, that has been
wrong in my view, but by the end we
should not be excluded. The
government have made it clear that
whilst there may well be a boat if
you win on this amendment, it will
be a take it or leave it vote. This
is a deal you should accept, or
there will be no deal.
If you look
at the amendment we put forward
there will be other alternatives.
This is all hypothetical because we
want a good deal and it is difficult
to see that the government would not
bring a good deal to the House in
any event. But this is hypothetical,
it would mean Parliament would say
to government, go back and seek an
extension as we know it is there in
Article 50. It is perfectly possible
with the agreement of the other
members of the EU to seek an
extension so we continue the
negotiations and we get a deal that
is good for our country. It keeps
all options open and that is the
most important thing.
Conservative MPs really would take
that option in those circumstances?
It is only if you get enough votes
that you would be able to ask the
government to go back and
Have you for that?
For give me, but
you are jumping way down the line. I
am talking about an amendment that
keeps the options open. I am not
speculating as to what would happen,
I am not going there, it is far too
speculative. Let's get this bill in
good shape. The principle of this
bill is right and we need to put
into British domestic law existing
EU laws and regulations into our
substantive law. We all agree that
must happen. It is the means by
which we do it that causes problems
and we have this argument and debate
about what we call the endgame.
sure we will talk about this many
more times before we get to that
vote. I will turn to our panel of
political experts. Listening to the
tone of what the remainders are
trying to achieve with the EU
withdrawal bill, will be achieved?
You can hear that tussled there,
they want the maximum space and room
for Parliament to have a say. But
they have to be careful. The reason
is that clock is ticking and if you
have a situation which may seem to
be more interested in finding
different things to object to and
saying no to, it is not getting a
good deal and it does not look good
for the remainders in this argument
and they will have to come through
with their proposals. I do not mind
Parliament saying it should have a
big say, but what do you do if
Parliament says this is not good
enough? The government must simply
say, I am sorry we have run out of
time. The 27 will say they cannot be
bothered to have another round
either. They have to be strong, but
realistic about what their role in
Do you think the people
putting this amendment who say they
want a binding vote in parliament
are doing it because they think
Parliament should have a say or
because they want to obstruct it?
They do not think people should have
a say in the first place, they think
people got it wrong, so they need
more clever people than the voters
to have final say.
Or they believed
taking back control means Parliament
should have the final say.
Parliament said they would like to
give that decision back to the
people. This is the issue. It seems
to me that people like Anna Soubry
are trying to delay of the
transition period a bit longer.
These negotiations will take as long
as they have got. The EU will take
it to the wire and if we do not get
a decent deal, and one of the
reasons is the level of incompetence
on this government's part I have to
say and the other one will be the
people who want to remain
undermining them. They undermined
the government at every single stage
and they undermine Britain's
It is the timing of all
of this that is crucial and whether
the government can get a deal in
There will be a meaningful
vote, whether it is an shined in
legislation or not, there cannot be
an historic development as big as
this without Parliament having a
meaningful vote. I meaningful,
having the power to either stop it
or endorse it. You cannot have a
government doing something like this
with no vote in the House of
commons. When you say it will go to
the last minute I completely agree,
but last-minute in reality means
next summer. It has got to get
through the European Parliament and
the Westminster Parliament and quite
a few others as well.
with invoking Parliament is if it is
driven solely by remain, I would
love to say what people in the
league side think. I disagree with
Julia, I do not think you could say
people had their say and the terms
with which we leave are left open
and only the government should have
a say in it, Parliament clearly
should have a say in it.
Do we want
a good deal or not?
It does not mean
anything if you do not do it by next
summer I suggest.
Does that leave
Parliament any room for changing the
deal or is it simply take it or
It will have to have that
rule because it cannot simply be
another of these binary votes were
you accept the deal or no Deal.
There has to be some space.
a few MPs in the House of Commons
change a deal that has been agreed
by the member states?
Because of the
sequence, a huge if by the way, if
they vote down the deal that the
government has negotiated, the
government will have to re-negotiate
or there will have to be an
election. This will be a moment of
huge crisis, our government not
getting through its much topped
It is a mini Catalonia.
think it would be as big as
Catalonia, but with the implication
that there would have to be a
practical change in the deal because
if Parliament has not supported
It is a remain fantasy that
this deal can be put off and off
until they get something that is as
close to remaining as they can
possibly get. I am very much for
trying to get the best and avoiding
the worst, but there is an unreality
to that position if you keep trying
to do it again and again, at some
point people will want clarity.
labour putting forward a realistic
I thought Hilary Benn
was very realistic this morning, I
wish he was more in the driving seat
of Labour policy. He made clear
where he disagreed and he made clear
where he thought the negotiations
had gone off track or were bogged
down. I worry a bit about the Labour
position being incoherent, but that
is kept that way by the present
leadership because as far as they
are concerned the government is
suffering enough, why should they
have a position? Hilary Benn said we
needed to have clarity about the
timetable. It is like reading an
insurance contract and finding the
bit where you might get away with
it. That is not a policy.
That is not a policy.
That's all for today.
Join me again next Sunday
at 11 here on BBC One.
Until then, bye bye.
Sarah Smith and Mark Carruthers with the latest political news, interviews and debate.
Guests include chair of the Exiting the EU Select Committee Hilary Benn and former transport minister Theresa Villiers. Steve Richards, Julia Hartley-Brewer and Anne McElvoy are the political panel.