12/03/2017 Sunday Politics Scotland


Andrew Neil and Gordon Brewer with the latest political news, interviews and debate. Andrew discusses the Brexit bill with UKIP's Nigel Farage and Conservative MP Anna Soubry.

Similar Content

Browse content similar to 12/03/2017. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!



It's Sunday morning and this is the Sunday Politics.


David Davis tells MPs to leave the Brexit bill untouched,


ahead of a week which could see Britain begin the process


We'll talk to a Tory rebel and Ukip's Nigel Farage.


Phillip Hammond's first budget hit the rocks thanks to a tax rise


But how should we tax those who work for themselves?


And remember Donald Trump's claim that Barack Obama had ordered


We'll talk to the former Tory MP who set the whole story rolling.


And coming up on Sunday Politics Scotland, Willie Rennie tells us


Lib Dems MPs at Westminster will try to block a section


30 order for a second independence referendum.


And joining me for all of that, three self-employed journalists


who definitely don't deserve a tax break.


It's Steve Richards, Julia Hartley-Brewer


They'll be tweeting throughout the programme with all the carefree


abandon of Katie Hopkins before a libel trial.


BBC lawyers have suddenly got nervous!


So first today, the government is gearing up to trigger Article 50,


perhaps in the next 48 hours, and start negotiating Britain's


Much has been written about the prospect of the Commons


getting a "meaningful vote" on the deal Britain negotiates.


Brexit Secretary David Davis was on the Andrew Marr programme


earlier this morning and he was asked what happens


Well, that is what is called the most favoured nation status deal


There we go out, as it were, on WTO rules.


That is why of course we do the contingency planning, to make


The British people decided on June the 23rd last year


My job, and the job of the government, is to make


the terms on which that happens as beneficial as possible.


There we have it, clearly, either Parliament votes for the deal when


it is done or it out on World Trade Organisation rules. That's what the


government means by a meaningful vote.


I think we get over obsessed about whether there will be a legal right


for Parliament to have a vote. If there is no deal or a bad deal, I


think it would be politically impossible for the government to


reject Parliament's desire for a vote because the atmosphere of


politics will be completely different by then. I take David


Davies seriously. Within Whitehall he has acquired a reputation as


being the most conscientious and details sadly... And well briefed.


Absolutely and well travelled in terms of European capitals of the


three Brexit ministers. It is quite telling he said what he did and it


is quite telling that within cabinet, two weeks ago he was


floating the idea of no deal at all. Being if not the central estimate


than a completely plausible eventuality. It is interesting. I


would suggest the prospect of no deal is moving up the agenda. It is


still less likely than more likely to happen. But it's no longer a kind


of long tail way out there in the distance. Planning for no deal is


the same as having contents insurance or travel insurance, plan


for the worse case scenarios are prepared it happens. Even the worst


case scenario, it's not that bad. Think of the Jeep 20, apart from the


EU, four members of the G20 economies are successful members of


the EU. The rest aren't and don't have trade deals but somehow these


countries are prospering. They are growing at a higher rate. You are


not frightened? Not remotely. We are obsessed with what we get from the


EU and the key thing we get from leaving the EU is not the deal but


the other deals we can finally make with other trading partners. They


have higher growth than virtually every other EU country apart from


Germany. It is sensible as a negotiating position for the


government to say if there is no deal, we will accept there is no


deal. We're not frightened of no deal. It was clear from what David


Davies was saying that there will be a vote in parliament at the end of


the process but there won't be a third option to send the government


back to try to get a better deal. It is either the deal or we leave


without a deal. In reality, that third option will be there. We don't


know yet whether there will be a majority for the deal if they get


one. What we do know now is that there isn't a majority in the


Commons for no deal. Labour MPs are absolutely clear that no deal is


worth then a bad deal. I've heard enough Tory MPs say the same thing.


But they wouldn't get no deal through. When it comes to this vote,


if whatever deal is rejected, there will then be, one way or another,


the third option raised of go back again. But who gets to decide what


is a bad deal? The British people will have a different idea than the


two thirds of the Remain supporting MPs in the Commons. In terms of the


vote, the Commons. Surely, if the Commons, which is what matters here,


if the Commons were to vote against the deal as negotiated by the


government, surely that would trigger a general election? If the


government had recommended the deal, surely the government would then, if


it still felt strongly about the deal, if the other 27 had said,


we're not negotiating, extending it, it would in effect become a second


referendum on the deal. In effect it would be a no-confidence vote in the


government. You've got to assume that unless something massively


changes in the opposition before then, the government would feel


fairly confident about a general election on those terms. Unless the


deal is hideously bad and obviously basso every vote in the country...


The prior minister said if it is that bad she would have rather no


deal. So that eventuality arrives. -- the Prime Minister has said. Not


a second referendum general election in two years' time. Don't put any


holidays for! LAUGHTER -- don't look any.


So the Brexit bill looks likely to clear Parliament this week.


That depends on the number of Conservative MPs who are prepared


to vote against their government on two key issues.


Theresa May could be in negotiations with our European


partners within days, but there may be some


wheeler-dealings she has to do with her own MPs, too.


Cast your mind back to the beginning of month.


The bill to trigger Article 50 passed comfortably


But three Conservatives voted for Labour's amendments to ensure


the rights of EU citizens already in the UK.


Seven Tory MPs voted to force the government to give Parliament


a say on the deal struck with the EU before it's finalised.


But remember those numbers, they're important.


On the issue of a meaningful vote on a deal, I'm told there might have


been more rebels had it not been for this assurance from


I can confirm that the government will bring forward a motion


on the final agreement to be approved by both Houses


And we expect, and intend, that this will happen before


the European Parliament debates and votes on the final agreement.


When the government was criticised for reeling back


from when and what it would offer a vote on.


The bill then moved into the Lords, where peers passed it


And the second, that Parliament be given a meaningful vote on the terms


of the deal or indeed a vote in the event of there


The so-called Brexit bill will return to Commons


Ministers insist that both amendments would weaken


the government's negotiating hand and are seeking to overturn them.


But, as ever, politics is a numbers game.


Theresa May has a working majority of 17.


On Brexit, though, it's probably higher.


At least six Labour MPs generally vote with


Plus, eight DUP MPs, two from the Ulster Unionist party


If all Conservatives vote with the government as well,


Therefore, 26 Conservative rebels are needed for the government to be


So, are there rough waters ahead for Theresa May?


What numbers are we looking at, in terms of a potential rebellion?


I think we're looking at a large number of people who are interested


This building is a really important building.


It's symbolic of a huge amount of history.


And for it not to be involved in this momentous time would,


But he says a clear verbal statement from the government on a meaningful


vote on any deal would be enough to get most Tory MPs onside.


It was already said about David Jones.


It's slightly unravelled a little bit during


I think this is an opportunity to really get that clarity


through so that we can all vote for Article 50 and get


We've have spoken to several Tory MPs who say they are minded to vote


One said the situation was sad and depressing.


The other said that the whips must be worried because they don't


A minister told me Downing Street was looking again at the possibility


of offering a vote in the event of no deal being reached.


But that its position was unlikely to change.


And, anyway, government sources have told the Sunday Politics they're not


That those Tory MPs who didn't back either amendment the first time


round would look silly if they did, this time.


It would have to be a pretty hefty lot of people changing their minds


about things that have already been discussed in quite a lot of detail,


last time it was in the Commons, for things to be reversed this time.


There's no doubt that a number of Tory MPs are very concerned.


Labour are pessimistic about the chances of enough Tory


rebels backing either of the amendments in the Commons.


The important thing, I think, is to focus on the fact


that this is the last chance to have a say on this.


If they're going to vote with us, Monday is the time to do it.


Assuming the bill does pass the Commons unamended,


it will go back to the Lord's on Monday night where Labour peers


have already indicated they won't block it again.


It means that the Brexit bill would become law and Theresa May


would be free to trigger Article 50 within days.


Her own deadline was the end of this month.


But one minister told me there were advantages to doing it early.


We're joined now from Nottingham by the Conservative MP Anna Soubry.


She's previously voted against the government on the question


of whether Parliament should have a final say over the EU deal.


Anna Soubry, I think it was clear this morning from David Davies that


what he means by meaningful vote is not what you mean by a meaningful


vote. He thinks the choice for Parliament would be to either vote


for the deal and if Parliament doesn't, we leave on World Trade


Organisation rules, on a bare-bones structure. In the end, will he


accept that in the Commons tomorrow? No, because my problem and I don't


think it is a problem, but my problem, the government's problem is


that what I want is then to answer this question. What happens in the


event of their not being any deal? David Davies made it very clear that


in the event of there being no deal, Parliament would have no say. It


means through your elected representatives, the people of this


country would have no say on what happens if the government doesn't


get a deal. I think the request that Parliament should have a say on


Parliamentary sovereignty, is perfectly reasonable. That is what I


want David to say. If he says that, I won't be rebelling. If he does...


They have refused to say that. Sorry. If he continues to say what


he said the BBC this morning, which means that the vote will be either


to accept the as negotiated or to leave on WTO rules, will you rebel


on that question but no, no, sorry, if there's a deal, Parliament will


have a say. So that's fine. And we will see what the deal is and we


will look at the options two years down the road. When who knows


what'll happen in our economy and world economy. That is one matter


which I am content on. The Prime Minister, a woman of her word has


said that in the event of a deal, Parliament will vote on any deal. I


don't difficulty. To clarify, I will come onto that. These are important


matters. I want to clarify, not argue with you. You are content that


if there is a deal, we will come under no deal in a second, but if


there is a deal, you are content with the choice of being able to


vote for that deal or leaving on WTO terms? No, you're speculating as to


what might happen in two years' time. What the options might be.


Personally I find it inconceivable that the government will come back


with a rubbish deal. They will either come back with a good deal,


which I won't have a problem with or they will come back with no deal. To


speculate about coming back with a deal, there is a variety of options.


I understand that that is what the Lord amendments are about. They are


about a vote at the end of the process. Do forgive me, the Lords


amendment is not the same that I've voted for in Parliament. What we


call the Chris Leslie amendment, which was talking about whatever the


agreement is, whatever happens at the end of the negotiations,


Parliament will have a vote. Parliament will have a say. The


Lords amendment is a bit more technical. It is the principle of no


deal that is agitating us. Let's clarify on this. They are


complicated matters. What do you want the government to say? What do


you want David Davis to say tomorrow on what should the Parliamentary


process should be if there is no deal? Quite. I want a commitment


from him that in the event of no deal, it will come into Parliament


and Parliament will determine what happens next. It could be that in


the event of no deal, the best thing is for us to jump off the cliff into


WTO tariff is. I find it unlikely but that might be the reality. There


might be other alternatives. Most importantly, including saying to the


government, go back, carry on. The question that everybody has to ask


is, why won't the government give My fear is what this is about is


asked deliberately, not the Prime Minister, but others deliberately


ensuring we have no deal and no deal pretty soon and in that event, we


jumped off the cliff onto WTO tariffs and nobody in this country


and the people of this country do not have a say. My constituents did


not vote for hard Brexit. You do not want the government to


have the ability if there is no deal to automatically fall back on the


WTO rules? Quite. It is as simple as that. We are now speculating about


what will happen in two years. I want to find out what happens


tomorrow. What will you do if you want to find out what happens


don't get that assurance? I will either abstain, or I will vote to


keep this amendment within the Bill. I will either vote against my


government, which I do not do likely, I have never voted against


my government until the Chris Leslie clause when the Bill was going


through, or I will abstain, which has pretty much the same effect


because it comes into the Commons with both amendments so you have


positively to vote to take the map. Can you give us an idea of how many


like-minded conservative colleagues there are. I genuinely do not know.


You must talk to each other. I do not talk to every member of my


party. You know people who are like-minded. I do. I am not doing


numbers games. I know you want that but I genuinely do not know the


figure. I think this is an uncomfortable truth. People have to


understand what has happened in our country, two particular newspapers,


creating an atmosphere and setting an agenda and I think many people


are rather concerned, some frightened, to put their head over


the parapet. There are many millions of people who feel totally excluded


the parapet. There are many millions from this process. Many of them


voted to remain. And they have lost their voice. We have covered the


ground I wanted to. We're joined now by the Ukip MEP


and former leader Nigel Farage. Article 50 triggered, we are leaving


the EU, the single market and the customs union. What is left you to


complain about? All of that will happen and hopefully we will get the


triggered this week which is good news. What worries me a little I'm


not sure the government recognises how strong their handers. At the


summit in Brussels, the word in the corridors is that we are prepared to


give away fishing waters as a bargaining chip and the worry is


what deal we get. Are we leaving, yes I am pleased about that. You are


under relevant voice in the deal because the deal will be voted on in


Parliament and you have one MP. You are missing the point, the real vote


in parliament is not in London but Strasbourg. This is perhaps the


biggest obstacle the British Government faces. Not what happens


in the Commons that the end of the two years, the European Parliament


could veto the deal. What that means is people need to adopt a different


approach. We do not need to be lobbying in the corridors of


Brussels to get a good deal, we need is a country to be out there talking


to the German car workers and Belgian chocolate makers, putting as


much pressure as we can on politicians from across Europe to


come to a sensible arrangement. It is in their interests more than


ours. In what way is the vision of Brexit set out by David Davis any


different from your own? I am delighted there are people now


adopting the position I argued for many years. Good. But now... Like


Douglas Carswell, he said he found David Davis' performers this morning


reassuring. It is. And just as when Theresa May was Home Secretary every


performance she gave was hugely reassuring. She was seen to be a


heroine after her conference speeches and then did not deliver. I


am concerned that even before we start we are making concessions. You


described in the EU's divorce bill demands, 60 billion euros is floated


around. You said it is laughable and I understand that. Do you maintain


that we will not have to pay a penny to leave? It is nine months since we


voted exit and assuming the trigger of Article 50, we would have paid 30


billion in since we had a vote. We are still members. But honestly, I


do not think there is an appetite for us to pay a massive divorce


Bill. There are assets also. Not a penny? There will be some ongoing


commitments, but the numbers talked about our 50, ?60 billion, they are


frankly laughable. I am trying to find out if you are prepared to


accept some kind of exit cost, it may be nowhere near 60 billion. We


have to do a net agreement, the government briefed about our share


of the European Union investment bank. Would you accept a


transitional arrangement, deal, five, ten billion, as part of the


divorce settlement? We are painted net ?30 million every single day at


the moment, ?10 billion plus every year. That is just our contribution.


We are going to make a massive saving on this. What do you make of


what Anna Soubry said, that if there is no deal, and it is being talked


about more. Maybe the government managing expectations. There is an


expectation we will have a deal, but if there is no deal, that the


government cannot just go to WTO rules, but it has to have a vote in


parliament? By the time we get to that there will be a general


election coming down the tracks and I suspect that if at the end of the


two-year process there is no deal and by the way, no deal is a lot


better for the nation than where we currently are, because we freed of


regulations and able to make our own deals in the world. I think what


would happen, and if Parliament said it did not back, at the end of the


negotiation a general election would happen quickly. According to reports


this morning, one of your most senior aides has passed a dossier to


police claiming Tories committed electoral fraud in Thanet South, the


seat contested in the election. What evidence to you have? I read that in


the newspapers as you have. I am not going to comment on it. Will you not


aware of the contents of the dossier? I am not aware of the


dossier. He was your election strategists. I am dubious as to


whether this dossier exists at all. Perhaps the newspapers have got this


wrong. Concerns about the downloading of data the took place


in that constituency, there are. Allegedly, he has refuted it, was it


done by your MP to give information to the Tories, do you have evidence


about? We have evidence Mr Carswell downloaded information, we have no


evidence what he did with it. It is not just your aide who has been


making allegations against the Conservatives in Thanet South and


other seats, if the evidence was to be substantial, and if it was to


result in another by-election being called an Thanet South had to be


fought again, would you be the Ukip candidate? I probably would. You


probably would? Yes. Just probably? Just probably. It would be your


eighth attempt. Winning seats in parliament under first past the post


is not the only way to change politics in Britain and I would like


to think I proved that. Let's go back to Anna Soubry. The implication


of what we were saying on the panel at the start of the show and what


Nigel Farage was saying there would be that if at the end of the process


whatever the vote, if the government were to lose it, it would provoke a


general election properly. I think that would be right. Let's get real.


The government is not going to come to Parliament with anything other


than something it believes is a good deal and if it rejected it, would be


unlikely, there would be a de facto vote of no confidence and it would


be within the fixed term Parliaments act and that be it. The problem is,


more likely, because of the story put up about the 50 billion, 60


billion and you look at the way things are flagged up that both the


Prime Minister and Boris Johnson saying, we should be asking them for


money back, I think the big fear and the fear I have is we will be


crashing out in six months. You think we could leave as quickly as


six months. Explain that. I think they will stoke up the demand from


the EU for 50, 60 billion back and my real concern is that within six


months, where we're not making much progress, maybe nine months, and


people are getting increasingly fed up with the EU because they are told


it wants unreasonable demands, and then the crash. I think what is


happening is the government is putting in place scaffolding at the


bottom of the cliff to break our fall when we come to fall off that


cliff and I think many in government are preparing not for a two-year


process, but six, to nine months, off the cliff, out we go. That is my


fear. That is interesting. I have not heard that express before by


someone in your position. I suspect you have made Nigel Farage's date.


It is a lovely thought. I would say to Anna Soubry she is out of date


with this. 40 years ago there was a good argument for joining the common


market because tariffs around the world was so high. That has changed


with the World Trade Organisation. We are leaving the EU and rejoining


a great big world and it is exciting. She was giving an


interesting perspective on what could happen in nine months rather


than two years. I thank you both. It was Philip Hammond's first


budget on Wednesday - billed as a steady-as-she-goes


affair, but turned out to cause uproar after the Chancellor appeared


to contradict a Tory manifesto commitment with an increase


in national insurance contributions. The aim was to address what some see


as an imbalance in the tax system, where employees pay


more National Insurance The controversy centres


on increasing the so-called class 4 rate for the self-employed who make


a profit of more than ?8,060 a year. It will go up in stages


from 9% to 11% in 2019. The changes mean that over one


and a half million will pay on average ?240 a year


more in contributions. Some Conservative MPs were unhappy,


with even the Wales Minister saying: "I will apologise to every


voter in Wales that read the Conservative manifesto


in the 2015 election." The Sun labelled Philip


Hammond "spite van man". The Daily Mail called the budget


"no laughing matter". By Thursday, Theresa May


said the government One of the first things I did


as Prime Minister was to commission Matthew Taylor to review the rights


and protections that were available to self-employed workers


and whether they should be enhanced. People will be able to look


at the government paper when we produce it, showing


all our changes, and take And, of course, the Chancellor will


be speaking, as will his ministers, to MPs, businesspeople and others


to listen to the concerns. Well, the man you heard mentioned


there, Matthew Taylor, has the job of producing


a report into the future Welcome. The Chancellor has decided


the self-employed should pay almost the same in National Insurance, not


the same but almost, as the employed will stop what is left of your


commission? The commission has a broader frame of reference and we


are interested in the quality of work in the economy at the heart of


what I hope will be proposing is a set of shifts that will improve the


quality of that work so we have an economy where all work is fair and


decent and all jobs give people scope for development and


fulfilment. The issue of taxes a small part. You will cover that? We


will, because the tax system and employment regulation system drive


particular behaviours in our labour market. You approve I think of the


general direction of this policy of raising National Insurance on the


self-employed. Taxing them in return perhaps for more state benefits. Why


are so many others on the left against it from Tim Farron to John


McDonnell? Tax rises are unpopular and it is the role of the opposition


parties to make capital from unpopular tax rises. I think as tax


rises go this is broadly progressive. There are self-employed


people on low incomes and they will be better off. It is economic league


rational because the reason for the difference in National Insurance --


economically. It was to do with state entitlements. The government


is consulting about paid parental leave. A series of governments have


not been good about thinking about medium sustainability of the tax


base. Self-employment is growing. But it is eroding the tax base. It


is important to address those issues. A number of think tanks have


said this is a progressive move. Yet, a number of left-wing


politicians have been against it. And a number of Tories have said


this is a progressive move and not a Tory government move, the balance of


you will pay more tax, but you will get more state benefits is not a


Tory approach to things. That a Tory approach will be you will pay less


tax but entitled to fewer benefits as well.


I preferred in and policies to politics -- I prefer policies. When


people look at the policy and when they look the fact that there is no


real historical basis for that big national insurance differential,


they see it is a sensible policy. I don't have to deal with the


politics. There has been a huge growth in self-employment from the


turn of the millennium. It's been strongest amongst older workers,


women part-timers. Do you have any idea, do you have


the data in your commission that could tell us how many are taking


self-employment because they like the flexibility and they like the


tax advantages that come with it, too, or they are being forced into


it by employers who don't want the extra costs of employment? Do we


know the difference? We do, broadly. Most surveys on self-employment and


flexible forms of employment suggest about two thirds to three quarters


enjoy it, they like the flexibility, they like the autonomy and about a


third to one quarter are less happy. That tends to be because they would


like to have a full-time permanent job. It is not necessary that they


don't enjoy what they are doing, they would like to do other things.


And some of the protections that come with it? Yes. There are some


people who are forced into southern employees by high-risk but also some


people feel like they can't get a proper job as it were. --


self-employment by people who hire them. It is on the narrow matter of


tax revenues but if you are employed on ?32,000 the state will take over


?6,000 in national insurance contributions, that is quite chunky.


If you are self-employed it is ?2300. But the big difference


between those figures isn't what the employee is paying, it's the


employer's contributions up to almost 14%, and cupped for as much


as you are paid. What do you do about employers' contributions for


the self employed? -- it is uncapped for as much. What I recommend is


that we should probably move from taxing employment to taxing labour.


We should probably have a more level playing field so it doesn't really


matter... Explained that I thought it was the same thing. If you are a


self-employed gardener, you are a different tax regime to a gardener


who works for a gardening firm. On the individual side and on the firm


side. As we see new business models, so-called gig working, partly with


technology, we need a more level playing field saying that we're


taxing people's work, not the form in which they deliver that. That is


part of the reason we have seen the growth of particular business


models. They are innovative and creative and partly driven by the


fact that if you can describe yourself as self-employed there are


tax advantages. Coming out in June? Will you come back and talk to us?


Yes. We say goodbye to viewers


in Scotland, who leave us now Good morning and welcome


to Sunday Politics Scotland. Should there be another


independence referendum? Willie Rennie tells us


Liberal Democrat MPs at Westminster will vote to stop


the Scottish Parliament holding one. Jeremy Corbyn says another


referendum is fine, but then Which is just as well,


because that's not what his Shadow And we'll be asking the co-convenor


of the Scottish Greens held their spring


conferences this weekend. Their leader Willie Rennie pledged


to fight to keep Scotland in the UK But yesterday the MSP


Alex Cole-Hamilton said Lib Dem MPs at Westminster would block a second


independence referendum. But is that REALLY


Liberal Democrat policy? After all, their former


leader Nick Clegg has said there should be no fatwa, as he put


it, against another referendum. I spoke to Willie Rennie


a little earlier. Yesterday I was talking on the radio


to one of your MSPs, Alex Cole-Hamilton, and he said that


Liberal Democrats at Westminster would vote against any authorisation


for another Scottish independence referendum. Was he just overexcited


because of the sheer thrill of your party conference, or is that


actually Lib Dem policy? You should have joined us to see the


excitement! But no, Alex was right. We stood on a platform when we said


we would oppose independence and oppose another referendum. You and


others have criticised us for not speaking to our work, we are


absolutely going to stick to our world. -- for not sticking to our


word. But it's one thing to say you are against having another


independence referendum, it is another thing to say you would have


the parliament in London block the parliament in Scotland from holding


another referendum. You are asking me to go against what I believe. I


believe we should not have another referendum because it is divisive.


We've got a massive Brexit process that is going to cause economic


chaos, and you are asking me to vote for even more chaos on top of that.


I believe that we should be getting on with the day job. But hang on a


second. I'm sure you don't believe there should be a Conservative


Government, but that doesn't mean you wouldn't authorise another


General Election. I would vote against the Conservatives at every


possible opportunity. But you wouldn't vote against having another


General Election on the grounds they might win it. I would vote against


the Conservatives at every opportunity. Of course I'm not


against democracy, three years ago we decided we wanted to stay. We've


got the Brexit process. I actually think Kenny MacAskill and Jim


Sellers are people that Nicola Sturgeon should listen to today, Jim


saying yes, he wants all the referendum but not now, and Kenny


saying there is too much rhetoric and not enough action from the SNP


Government. So forget about the referendum, get on with the day job.


I come back to this point, if Lib Dem MPs in Westminster vote against


the section 30 order -- Section 30 order, that puts you in a less


liberal position than the Conservatives. They may argue about


the timing and the question, but they are not saying that in


principle they will not authorise the Scottish parliament to have


another independence referendum. Don't try and define what liberalism


means, liberalism to me is about the referendum result from three years


ago, and Nicola Sargent -- Sturgeon said it would be once in a lifetime.


It is about focusing on the big issues that the country faces now,


with declining educational standards, a mental health strategy


that is slipping right back. Those are the big issues that liberalism


will focus on. I am an internationalist. I want to oppose


Brexit and keep the United Kingdom together. But you will be accused by


the SNP, but not just buy them, of being anti-democratic. Come on.


Anti-democratic? When we have been the ones who have advocated


electoral reform, we are the ones who have been advocating to make


sure that the country pays heed to the majority of people in this


country. The SNP will always decry any party that believes in the UK. I


don't believe to them any more. What did you make of Jeremy Corbyn said


don't believe to them any more. What another independence referendum is


fine -- is fine? It was the same kind of casual indifference, he


doesn't seem to care about the United Kingdom sticking together. I


know that is not the view of my colleagues in the Scottish Labour


Party, they must be telling their hair out this morning at what he


said yesterday. I find it astonishing that he can be so casual


about the future of the United Kingdom, just as he's being so


casual about the future of the EU. Why is it that when you are against


having another independence referendum, to such an extent that


you MPs at Westminster will vote for referendum, to such an extent that


the Westminster Parliament to stop the Scottish Parliament holding one,


yet it is absolutely vital apparently that we have another


referendum on the EU? Gordon, Brexit is one of the most monumental things


that has happened to this country probably since the war -- Second


World War. The very least that we can do is, once we have seen the


detail of the deal that the Conservatives agreed, that the


British people sign it off. I mean, our grandchildren will look back at


this and say, what on earth were you doing? Why did you just let it go


past without any question, in such a doing? Why did you just let it go


casual manner? We need to make sure that we protect the security, the


environment, the economy of this country, and if we are just going to


casually let Brexit go through, with no question, that is not looking


after our country. But does it mean nothing that the SNP in the last


Scottish election said in their manifesto that, should Scotland vote


to stay in the EU and the rest of the UK food to leave, they wanted


approval to hold another referendum, they then won that election- does


that give them no mandate at all? They didn't win the election, they


lost the majority. They won in more than the Tories and Westminster won


the election. A lot more than the Lib Dems did in the last Government.


-- they were in the last Government. But they didn't win a majority in


-- they were in the last Government. the Scottish election. They said at


the last independence referendum that it would be once in a lifetime,


maybe once in this generation, so now they are saying they want yet


another independence referendum, to cause more division in our country,


cause more economic chaos. We have already had Andrew Wilson admitting


that they misled people at the last independence referendum about oil.


The last thing we need is to impose another independence referendum of


Scotland, that would be divisive, unhelpful, not good for our


security, our environment and our future. Thank you, Willie Rennie,


for joining us. Well, the Scottish Greens also held


a conference this weekend. Like the Liberal Democrats, they


want to grow their MSP numbers - Yet even though they remain


Holyrood's smallest parties, both Willie Rennie and Patrick Harvie say


they aren't minnows in the political stream, but big fish whose


cooperation the other Spring conference for the Scottish


Lib Dems. It is the party which was until recently in coalition


Government with the Conservatives in Westminster. He is now the former


Deputy Prime Minister, but despite the diminished implements --


influence, still fighting for what he believes in. In this case, EU


membership. These are dark times for liberalism. But the thing that we


must be -- beware of is despair and defeatism. Mr Clegg's message was


well received, and party members are optimistic. You cannot see the SNP


or the Tories having anything positive to say, and obviously the


Labour Party are in total disarray. So it leaves the whole field open to


the Lib Dems to provide a positive So it leaves the whole field open to


vision for everybody. Yes, Brexit is important and we may face another


independence referendum, but what people want is good schools, get the


streetlights fixed, get the roads fixed. We are the party who can


deliver on that. The Scottish Lib Dems are holding their Spring


conference here, which is also home to a dedicated curling team. The


sport can take energy and commitment, but for those who do not


take to the ice, it can seem like a majority -- minority pastime. The


Scottish Lib Dems say, though, that they are definitely heading for the


big league. Against the juggernaut of the SNP


and the larger Tory and Labour parties, though, what difference can


a smaller party really make? If you consider that the SNP are short of a


majority by two, that means really everything is to play for. Every


party is theoretically as powerful as the next one, because you need to


build a coalition of parties to get build a coalition of parties to get


-- power to get anything through the Scottish Parliament. We've already


be doing that in the last ten months.


You had a significant reversal of the Scottish budget, though,


recently. We started trying to negotiate. We asked for significant


things, like doubling of child and adolescent mental health spending,


they were not willing to meet us on this. We decided to walk away. The


big issue of the Lib Dems want to put on ice, of course, is


independence. That is where the influence of Hollywood's other


minority parties is potentially the greatest. At their Spring


conference, the Scottish Greens reasserted their desire to see


Scotland rule itself, and they condemned Brexit. The party's


co-convenor says they are happy to work with the SNP, but they have


their own demands as well. Can you see your party almost giving


the SNP a bit of backbone on issues like the monarchy and the currency?


I think we have been told the conscience of the Scottish


Parliament before, I think that is absolutely what we set out to do. To


make sure we are as bold as we can be in our political endeavours,


whether that is at Holyrood, local authorities, local councils. It is


about making sure we push the boundaries of the status quo. The


status quo is not delivering for people, it is not helping those who


are homeless or who are facing benefit sanctions.


We need to be doing better. For these delegates, the future's


definitely green. Grassroots politics, it's the best way to get


out to get votes and make your voice heard. We are on the up, whereas


Labour is on the down. Co-convenor of the Scottish Greens


Patrick Harvie is with me now. What do you make of the Lib Dems


saying they would try to stop authorisation for another


independence referendum? I think it would be profoundly damaging and


disrespectful for any Westminster party to block a referendum if that


is what Scotland decides. But their position is, as I think you tried to


tease out, quite contradictory, with their demand for a second Brexit


referendum. I can understand why some people south of the border


would want that, my own colleagues in Wales make the same case, but it


doesn't answer the question, what would be there to prevent exactly


the same outcome happening, with the rest of the UK voting to leave and


Scotland voted to remain, and Scotland's view being entirely


overwritten? That's what happened last time, the Lib Dems seem to have


no solution to that conundrum. Jeremy Corbyn, referendum absolutely


fine? Clarification later? Do you think Labour have a clear policy on


this? Do I think Labour have a clear policy on anything at the moment?


I'm not sure they know how to resolve the fundamental problems


north or south of the border. Trying in Scotland to win back those who


left them for a yes vote, and can't go back to the Labour Party because


of that, as well as those who have left them because of a no vote, and


have moved to Ruth Davidson. I don't think they can put that puzzle back


together. You have said you would support another referendum. I am


curious as to your attitude to Europe. There is some discussion as


you know within the Yes camp and the SNP about whether another campaign


for independence should argue for joining or rejoining the European


union, with some arguing that because maybe something like 30% of


yes voters voted to leave, it would be better to say, we will join EFTA,


maybe not join the customs be better to say, we will join EFTA,


there would be no barrier between Scotland and England for trade.


Would you support a yes campaign, which would be saying, we just want


to join the European free trade area? It remains to be seen whether


there is going to be a call for a referendum in the near future. Many


people are anticipating that article 50 will be involved, and the UK


Government will refuse even to discuss bespoke arrangements for


Scotland. Once we see how that situation shakes out, we will know


what the likelihood is, and the timing of any future referendum. We


have got some really important decisions to make first of all in


Scotland about how we deal with our domestic issues. This weekend we are


talking about the local elections in eight weeks' time. But would you


support a yes campaign or a campaign for independence that was not


explicitly saying that Scotland should rejoin the EU? If that


campaign does get under way, I don't think the main campaign bodies on


either side should be endorsing one party's position on anything, from


oil policy to Nato membership... My party will continue to argue for EU


oil policy to Nato membership... My membership. But what should the


independence -- but after all, the reason for calling another


referendum according to both yourself and Nicola Sturgeon is


because of Scotland voting to stay in the EU and Britain voted to


leave. If we are going to have an independence campaign that is not


calling for rejoining or joining the EU, does that make another -- any


sense in your view? The campaign bodies on both sides should be


focused on the question being asked, not on trying to promote one party


's view on issues. There could be arguments from the conservative


Garver and in London, they may argue, in principle you are going to


have another independence referendum, but no. We are in the


middle of negotiating Brexit. It would be in the interest of the


United Kingdom and Scotland if another independence referendum was


held after we knew what the final Brexit deal is. We can expect from


the UK Government and other abuse of their power. They say that they want


to prevent a second independence referendum but they are doing


everything they can to close down any discussion at all about how


Scotland voted. They are demanding in the Scottish Parliament that


everybody focused on the day job but they are going out around every


community in Scotland campaigning in the local elections and saying one


thing only, no independence referendum. They are the ones of


Sastre with the issue. What you are seeing is vote in the local


elections. You haven't again answered my question which is


timing. Do you think it will make sense to say it, even if you are in


favour of it, let's just wait until we know the Brexit deal? The


question of timing is going to be one that the Scottish parliament and


the UK Parliament have to debate. My view is it would be far better if


this question is put before we are dragged out of the European Union


against our will. So that people have the choice, that people in


Scotland get to make their own decision, about whether, I regret


usually that people are not going to be able to have both referendums


respected. The UK Government can change its mind on that, they can


say we will respect the 2014 result and the way they voted in 2016 to


remain in Europe. But they are refusing to do that. Give me one


sentence and how you want power to vault in Scotland. It is not just a


prize to be one. It is about making change. We have got one of the most


centralised systems of local democracy in Europe. It could be


democratically much more powerful. Putting power back in people's


hands, giving them the ability to make decisions about economic policy


that rate for them. It should not be entirely about Westminster or


Holyrood has power, it should be much broader? Absolutely. In the


next eight weeks we will be setting out an agenda in the way that we do


local government in this country, putting power back in people's


hands, investing in public sensors. We want to make sure that our


councils are equally creative, innovative and it and committed to


protecting our public services. The Tories are trying to make this about


the constitution, they would sell off your public services. Let's not


give them the chance. Thank you for coming in this morning.


Yesterday, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said it was absolutely


fine to hold another vote on Scottish independence.


was that although Labour opposes a second independence referendum,


it would be wrong for Westminster to block it.


Before all that, I spoke to Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell


at the Labour Economic conference in Glasgow.


Economic policy up here, Labour is arguing for putting up income tax.


Is that a very sensible way of trying to rebuild the Labour Party?


The Labour Party in Scotland feel that now that the powers have been


devolved, this is one way of using the powers effectively. What we're


looking at is trying to halt tax cuts to the rich and corporations.


The Scottish Labour Party is able to develop social policies like this


and that is why it is in their develop social policies like this


interest. Publics bending in Scotland is well above, 10% or more.


Why is a good idea, where we are already spending more money in


public service is, your taxes need to go up. Whereas Labour in England


where spending is lower, are not seeing two people we need to


increase income tax. This is the refreshing thing about the Scottish


Labour Party. I understand. The refreshing thing about the Scottish


substance of the issue is that the Scottish Labour Party can determine


the specific needs of Scotland, the specific circumstances and develop


the wrong policies. What I am looking out at the rest of the


country is a form of power, to look at how they examine their taxes and


that will be looking at local services eventually. That gives


freedom to local groups. This idea of a federal Britain which Kezia


Dugdale wants to be the answer. What is it? Way back in the 1980s when I


was a civil servant, we were looking at different structures of


government and how they worked. I was doing papers at that point of


time forms of regional government and Scotland as well, and it would


enable people to determine, first of all, what powers they needed to


address the problems they saw in their community, what tax base they


had that they could draw on, what partners they wanted to work with.


That debate I was engaged with in the 1980s. The specifics of it will


come from that dialogue and the 1980s. The specifics of it will


discussion. , this idea of a federal Britain, is that something you are


discussing? It is opening up this debate. That is why Kezia Dugdale is


our game we should have a framework of some sort. Let's open up that


debate now because people see there is a frustration and a bit of anger


at times as well about the centralised decision-making that is


taking place at Whitehall and Westminster. That is in some


instances being biased against the regions. The problem you're going to


have a here is we could be heading for another independence referendum


have a here is we could be heading in the next year, 18 months. If


Labour Party might argument as we do not want independence because we


have this plan for a federal Britain, but it is not part of party


policy, we are just King about. Our argument is that. We do not think


the independence referendum as relevant today. The issues that the


Scottish Government should be confronting our those raised in


Scottish Government should be discussions. The point is that from


Scottish Government should be Kezia Dugdale's point of view, is


the people was my constitution, and the referendum was an answer. The


point I am making to you if it is not Labour policy, there is no


constitutional convention. But there will be, that is the whole point. We


will see if that referendum comes at all. I hope it will not. I would


hope that the SNP government would get on with the problems that are.


But will you have a policy? We will engage thoroughly in this debate,


about where we want to go, how we arrive at tax bases which are


sustainable in the long-term future and at same time secures the


prospecting for all the people in the country. That debate is starting


now. If the SNP are promoting and pushing for a referendum, my view is


that it is a complete distraction from the issues they should be


addressing and I do not understand the urgency on this. What about


timing. There could be another referendum on independence but not


until Rex that is finalised. I don't want one. But you will have to make


a decision. I have said to the SNP and others. Get on with the job. But


she will not vote against the section 30 in Parliament. We want to


she will not vote against the see what the nature of the section


30 is. We are staying, it is a hypothetical question, let's see


30 is. We are staying, it is a what it is. People I meet are


worried about their jobs. And the what it is. People I meet are


education of their children. When you say let's see what it is, what


do you mean? What would stop you voting for it? How can we make a


decision on if we do not know what the content says. It would give the


Scottish Government at the authorisation to hold another


independence referendum. What other details, we cannot vote for


something where we do not know the details are. RUC loosely suggesting


that if you do not like the detours you will vote against them? No. You


have asked me a hypothetical question and something that has not


been hypothetically put forward yet. Let's see what it is. What is the


detail of the question, do you know? Do you know what the overall


referendum will look like? We don't know. What I am saying to the SNP,


independence is not a big issue. The big job -- you is if people have a


job. Get on with the job of tackling those issues. The real pragmatic


bread and butter issues. Labour in Scotland can envy your position in


England because they are way behind. If you are going to build Labour


support, where would you start? You start doing what we have done today.


In Scotland, this is first economic conference. You go and talk to


people who have turned up today and there are large numbers, talking


about the development of the Scottish economy, in detail. You


start from that grassroots discussion about what the real


issues facing people, what are the solutions and creativity we can


unleash to let that happen. At the end of the day this is about


people's lives and livelihoods living standards. What you are


saying does not add up. Do you think you're going to keep Glasgow and the


local elections? We will see how it goes. We will fight for every vote.


We know how tough it is out there. But she rebuilt the Labour Party on


the basis of engaging people with the real-world issues they are


facing. And there are ideas for the future. You used to run this place.


Jeremy Corbyn was elected 20 months ago, he is engaged in a process of


new politics and honest politics in some respects. We are building a


mass movement and the way we are doing that is in engaging. We know


it is difficult. But that work has started now. It is building upon the


enthusiasm of people saying we want to challenge the establishment, we


want to look up visions of the future and we are harnessing the


creativity with working people in discussions like this. But yesterday


you were 16 points behind the Conservative Party. I take your


point about building a mass movement and everyone knows that Ray Burke


has a lot of young, enthusiastic members who have joined. It is not


working in terms of building a potential government. It will take


time, we know that. But if you look at what was happening last year, we


won mayoral elections and we were level or ahead with the Tories in


the poll. We went through another leadership election. They are


contested and it shows differences of view within the party itself.


Jeremy gets re-elected. Of course people will not fought for a divided


party. We are united in love. We are engaging with them in the discussion


of ideas. Today's conferences about the idea is that the people all


clear that they want to implement for the future of our country. You


know you have lost hundreds of thousands of voters a peer who


habitually voted Labour don't do that. If one of them said to you,


how do we take Labour is seriously. Just in Scotland we know Kezia


Dugdale, the leader of the Scottish Labour Party isn't a fan of Jeremy


Corbyn. She said despite being leader of the Scottish Labour Party,


she came out publicly against them in the last leadership campaign. And


now everyone is pretending to be hanged. But what if people say, we


cannot take these people seriously. What holds us together is that we


are Democrats. Jeremy had a renewed mandate, a bigger mandate and Kezia


Dugdale respect that. What we will do know is how you would we build


the party, you bring people part to the party together. You listen to


them and you listen to the issues they face. Then you talk about the


ideas. But there is nothing. What they face. Then you talk about the


holds us together is a view we need to transform society. That we will


not be dictated by an to transform society. That we will


wherever they are, wait all Westminster. We will be build


communities. We are going through some of the worst austerity measures


that our country has faced in generations, cuts across the public


services, people being treated on trolleys and hospitals. People are


experiencing homelessness that we are not seen either skill in


generations. What holds us together, is that we will not stand down and


see those injustices. We will rebuild the Labour Party and it will


be a long haul in parts of the country. We will listen to people,


understanding their concerns, engaging them in developing the idea


is to transform our society and in that weak tackling those real issues


that people are experiencing. Are you going to be the next Chancellor


of the Exchequer? I'm not sure how long Philip Hammond is going to hold


on. I don't know how long he is going to survive after the Horlicks


he made of this budget. After the next election, I will be the


Chancellor. Well, this morning Labour


have issued a statement "Scottish Labour is firmly opposed


to a second referendum. Time now for a look back


at the week gone by, and the next seven days,


in The Week Ahead. I'm joined now by the Investigations


Editor of The Herald, Paul Hutcheon, and Margaret Smith


from Caledonia Public Affairs who's What did you make of what Willie


Rennie had to say about the Liberal Democrats trying to block another


referendum? I think he is looking at what was in their last manifesto and


saying they are totally opposed to another referendum. He doesn't want


to get caught out being accused of not going along with what was in his


manifesto. So he is looking at it and saying, we don't want another


referendum. But that's fine, it's another thing to say our MPs at


Westminster will vote to stop authorisation for the Scottish


Parliament to hold one. But his arguments for saying that because he


says right now we are focused on arguments for saying that because he


Brexit, we are focused on trying to actually deal with a calamitous


decision by Theresa May to take us off a cliff into a hard Brexit. He


is saying that's what Liberal Democrats and the country should be


focusing on. What did you make of it? I can't imagine it's a position


that will hold in the. Ruth Davidson is clearly most against a second


referendum. Do you think Willie Rennie is trying to out Ruth


Davidson Ruth Davidson? She has never said Westminster should block


Davidson Ruth Davidson? She has a second independence referendum.


But Willie Rennie now has. Indeed, I think it is quite unadventurous


position by the Lib Dems, I think ultimately if there is negotiation,


I would imagine that the Lib Dem position will be modified. -- it is


quite an adventurous position. We had John McDonnell saying there,


talking about unity and how everybody is going to get together,


then Jeremy Corbyn made his remarks saying it is absolutely fine. And a


few hours later, Ian Murray, the only Labour MP, saying, often asked


why I resigned from Shadow Cabinet, ladies and gentlemen, I give you


Jeremy Corbyn. He is destroying the party. John McDonnell's position was


perfectly consistent with what Scottish Labour has been saying, but


Jeremy Corbyn said yesterday he was fine with a referendum. Kezia


Dugdale wobbled on independence at the last Holyrood election, Ruth


moved into second place. Over the last few months, she has tightened


her position and opposition to a second referendum. Jeremy Corbyn has


gone off on some stream of consciousness riff and undermined


all the work that has been done. Maybe he is just saying, I am a


Democrat. I am not in the Ben -- Maybe he is just saying, I am a


business of stopping a second referendum. Second -- certainly


Scottish Labour would agree it is not to be blocked, if that is what


people want, but I think Labour's position has to be determined in


Scotland. We've seen over the last couple of weeks Sadiq Khan come up,


Jeremy Corbyn come up, saying things that are entirely unhelpful.


Margaret? I think what comes over is just confusion. Scottish Labour


wants to take ownership of this, and I think... But presumably it is that


so much effort was put in by Kezia Dugdale to the party conference that


they had a few weeks ago, to say we want this people's constitution


Convention, we don't want another independence referendum. This is


going to be our answer to this question that we haven't been


answering, and that is all undermined. The exasperation will


come from the fact that Kezia Dugdale has made some good


apartments in the last few months, she is actually working really hard


on these issues. And you can now see the total exasperation,


because Jeremy Corbyn comes up, doesn't read the script, and


suddenly goes off on one when he is on a walkabout. And I think you can


understand where the Scottish Labour Party is coming from, they want to


be clear in terms of where they stand on the Scottish referendum,


and that they are opposed to independence. She did wobble a bit


on this, and in fact Nicola still taunts her at First Minister 's


question Time on this. So I think Labour needs to be clear where they


stand in terms of independence referendums. When you are looking at


the polls, there is no clarity with the Scottish people. Some people


want it immediately, some people after 2021, some people never want


it at all, some people want it in ten years' time. How do you say,


"This is what the Scottish people want"? At some point, Labour have to


agree to disagree in a more friendly way. Because it is not just one


side, no matter what you think of what Jeremy Corbyn said, to put out


retweet light -- like Ian Murray's to say that he is destroying the


Labour Party, that just reopens the winds, doesn't it? Yes, I think it


is a proxy battle, there is no doubt that the Scottish leadership holds


Jeremy Corbyn -- loathes Jeremy Corbyn and his agenda. What I think


is interesting about the Lib Dem staff is that I can see the outlines


of a second referendum, I can see a fairly united yes campaign under the


command of Nicola Sturgeon, but if fractured and divided no campaign or


pro-UK campaign, with different voices saying different things.


There are signs of some within if not the SNP itself, the broad


pro-independence movement, some of the things that Kenny MacAskill and


Jim Sellers have been saying, there appears to be a debate about whether


other pro-independence campaign should even be in


favour of being in the European Union. Yes, this is a strange one.


The reason that a second independence referendum is on the


table, we are told, is because of Scotland's "Remain" quote. We are


saying that immediately entry into the EU might not be part of the


deal. That seems a huge contradiction and something that the


Tories and Labour would pounce on. But Willie Rennie pounced on that


yesterday and said, if you are internationalist, do not trust what


the SNP are saying to you. That's all from us this week; I'll


be back at the same time next week. Young people


from all over the country have been getting involved


in BBC School Report.


Andrew Neil and Gordon Brewer with the latest political news, interviews and debate. Andrew discusses the Brexit bill with UKIP's Nigel Farage and Conservative MP Anna Soubry. Guests include Matthew Taylor of the Independent Review of Employment Practices and journalist Louise Mensch. On the political panel are Janan Ganesh, Julia Hartley-Brewer and Steve Richards.