23/04/2017 Sunday Politics Scotland


Andrew Neil and Gordon Brewer are joined by Patrick McLoughlin and Molly Scott Cato to discuss the forthcoming local and general elections.

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


Jeremy Corbyn wants to give everyone in Britain four


extra bank holidays - but is the Labour leader up


to being Prime Minister if he wins the election in just


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


how will the Conservatives go about getting the bigger


I'll be asking Party Chairman, Patrick McLoughlin.


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


round of the French Presidential election - what could be the impact


on the EU and Brexit of this most unpredictable of contests?


Coming up on Sunday Politics Scotland -


As the campaign hots up already, we'll talk to the SNP's leader


at Westminster and three of the opposition parties.


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


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


brightest political panel in the business. David Wooding, Polly


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


morning was a crowd pleaser. Four more rainy bank


holidays to enjoy - one for each of the patron saints


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


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


morning he was asked what he would do as Prime Minister


if the security services asked him to authorise a drone strike


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


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


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


would take as Prime Minister. Can I take you back


to the whole point? Is the objective


to start more strikes that may kill many innocent


people, as has happened? Do you think killing


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


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


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


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


Isis. So you've got to think


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


assassination of Osama Bin Laden even though there was no collateral


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


not have any nukes on them which is the Labour Party were forced soon


after that interview to put out a statement saying it is Labour Party


policy to renew Trident. So where are we? Do we know what the party's


policy is? It is to renew Trident but he has started this review which


involves looking at it all again. We know he is a unilateralist to start


with but whether he can force this through is dubious. Does it matter,


though, if the party policy is in favour of Trident, if the leader is


not? The potential Prime Minister is not? They split three ways when they


went to vote on it in the Commons. The party agreed they were


pro-Trident and when it came to the vote they split three ways. I think


it's difficult for them, it's always been a really difficult issue for


Labour. The question is whether you want to seal off your negatives,


whether you really want to try and reach out to people. There are an


awful lot of people who will like what he said, there are an awful lot


of people that think we have been involved in terrible wars, we have


wasted a lot of money and blood and let's just get back from the whole


thing, let's retreat from the world and not try punching above our


weight. There is something to be said for that and it is a reasonable


argument. He's been true to himself on this. I think he is and Polly is


right, lots of people will agree with him, not enough to win a


general election, the latest ComRes poll shows Tories on 50% and Labour


on 25 and as my colleague James Forsyth in the Spectator said if


this was a boxing match it would have been stopped by now by the


revelry. We are not stopping, we are going on.


So the political parties have had to move into election mode


Stand by for battle buses, mail shots and your social media


timeline being bombarded by political propoganda.


But none of this comes cheap - Adam's been doing his sums.


Democracy is priceless but those planes, trains and automobiles used


in the last election cost money and we know exactly how much,


thanks to the Electoral Commission database.


The Conservatives flew David Cameron to every part of the UK in one day


on a private plane costing ?29,000, in-flight meals extra.


They shelled out ?1.2 million for adverts on Facebook.


The most expensive item was their election guru Lynton Crosby.


They bought ?2.4 million worth of advice and research from his firm


Labour's biggest expenditure was on good old-fashioned leaflets,


costing ?7.4 million to print and deliver.


Hope they didn't go straight into the recycling.


Cheap for all the enjoyment it gave us.


To turn a normal minibus into Harriet Harman's pink bus


Nick Clegg toured the country doing all manner of stunts transported


although the party got a grand's discount when it broke down.


Ukip's then leader Nigel Farage was accompanied by bodyguards


Nicola Sturgeon's chopper cost the SNP ?35,450.


Plaid Cymru spent just over ?1,000 on media training


And the Greens spent ?6,912 promoting their tweets.


It adds up to a grand total for all the parties of ?37,560,039.


Jabbing at my calculator that works out at less than ?1 per voter.


Adam Fleming there - and joining me now is the man


responsible for the Conservative election campaigns -


for the locals next month and the general election in June -


Welcome to the programme. The Crown Prosecution Service is reviewing


evidence from 14 police forces that your party breached election


spending rules on multiple occasions in the last election. What are you


going to do differently this time? Well, the battle buses are part of


the National campaign spend. You saw them just on the shot that you did,


all three parties had those battle buses so that's why we believe they


were part of the national spend and it was declared that way. At least


30 people in your party, MPs and agents, being investigated because


they may not have been right to include it in the national spend.


Are you saying you are going to do nothing differently this time? You


asked me about last time and the way the position is... Was. I asked you


about this time. We will take a careful count and make sure that


everything that we do is within the law. But as I say, the last


election, all three parties had battle buses. It is your party that


above all has been investigated by 14 police forces. You must surely be


taking stock of that and working out how to do some things differently.


You are being investigated because you put stuff on the National Ledger


which should have been on the local constituency ledger. Are you looking


at that again? All of the parties had battle buses and they all put


them on their national spend. I don't think any of the parties put


them on the local spend. The other battle buses were not full of their


party activists. Your party stuffed these battle buses with activists


and took them to constituencies. That's the difference. And I ask


again, what is different this time? Are you going to run the risk of


being investigated yet again? We believe that we fully compliant with


the electoral law as it was. What will happen if one of these, or two


or three or four or five of these 30 people, Tory MPs, or agents running


campaigns are charged during the campaign? As I say I believe we


properly declared our election expenses. What happens if they are


charged? You asking me a hypothetical question, the


importance of this election is about who is in Downing Street in seven


weeks' time. Let me clarify this, you maintain that in 2015 you did


nothing wrong with how you allocated the cost and the activities of the


battle buses and you would do exactly the same this time round?


What we did at the last election we believe fully complied with the law.


So the battle buses this time, stocked full of activists, will


still be charged to the national campaign even when they go to local


constituencies? Will they? We will be looking at the way we do it,


there is new guidance from the Electoral Commission out and we will


look at that guidance. It is not the guidance, it is the lawful stop the


Electoral Commission said that, if you look at the report they did on


us, they said there was one area where we had over claimed, over


declared, and another area we had and declared.


We haven't worked out what to do yet, have you?


We will get on with the campaign and start the campaign and I'm looking


forward to the campaign. I'm trying to work out of the


campaign is going to be legal or not because last time it seems it could


have been illegal. I am sure the campaign will be


legal. You started the campaign warning


about the prospect of, the coalition of chaos. Mr Corbyn has ruled out a


post-election coalition with the SNP and so have the Lib Dems so who is


going to be in this coalition? Vince Cable said he was looking


towards a possible coalition trying to stop a Conservative government.


Is not the leader of the Lib Dems. He's an important voice in the Lib


Dems. Who will be in it? Let's see because of the Conservative Party is


not re-elected with a strong majority, what will happen? There


will be a coalition stopping us doing the things we need to do. Who


will be in it? It will be a coalition of the Labour Party, the


SNP and the Liberal party. They have ruled it out. I think they would not


rule it out if that was the situation. Like Theresa May not


ruling out an election and then changing her mind? The things the


Prime Minister said were very clear, once she had served Article 50 there


was an opportunity, as we know today, there is going to be the


start of a new government formed in France and in September we have the


German elections. So it was quite right that we didn't get ourselves


boxed into a timetable. That is why the Prime Minister took the view


that they should be a general election to give her full strength


of an electoral mandate when it comes to those negotiations. What


about Mr Corbyn's plan for four new bank holidays, good idea? I'm not...


If we get Corbyn in No 10 Downing St we will have a permanent bank


holiday of the United Kingdom. We will have fewer bank holidays of


most other major nations, most about major wealthy nations. What about at


least one more? Well, look, he's talked about four bank holidays.


Today would be a bank holiday and next Monday would be a bank holiday


and the other week was a bank holiday too. I don't think it's very


well thought out. It sounded more to me something like you get in school


mock elections rather than proper elections. Your party is the


self-styled party of the workers and you have no plans to give the


workers even one extra bank holiday? What we want to do is ensure Britain


is a strong economy and building on the jobs that we have created since


2010. We were told that by reducing public expenditure unemployment in


this country would go up, unemployment has gone down and the


number of jobs have gone up substantially. But no more bank


holidays? Well, we will make our manifesto in due course but I don't


think four bank holidays held in April, March and November are very


attractive to people. When Ed Miliband as leader of the Labour


Party suggested the government should control energy prices by


capping them, the Conservatives described that as almost Communist


and central planning. Do still take that view? You'll see what we have


to say on energy prices. I didn't you about that, I asked you if you


take the view... The Prime Minister made a speech at the Conservative


Spring conference in which she outlined her dissatisfaction about


people who are kept locked on a standard tariff and those are the


issues we will address in the next few weeks when the manifesto was


published. Would that be an act of communism?


You will need to see what we say when we set out the policies. It


could be. You could put a Communist act into your manifesto? I don't


think you'll find a Communist manifesto in a Conservative


manifesto which will be launched... You are planning to control prices?


We will address what we think is unfairness in the energy market. Mr


Jeremy Corbyn was reluctant this morning to sanction a drone strike.


You heard us talking about it earlier against the leader of


Islamic State if our intelligence services identified him. What would


it achieve? When the Prime Minister gets certain advice in the national


interests, she has to act been that. We've seen with Theresa May in her


time as Home Secretary and Prime Minister, she's not afraid to take


those very difficult decisions. What we say this morning from Jeremy


Corbyn was a his tans, a reluctance. I don't think that serves the


country well. What would it achieve if we take out the head of Islamic


State he's replaced by somebody else. It brings their organisation


into difficulties. It undermines their organisation. It shows we'll


take every measure to undo an organisation which has organised


terrorism in different parts of Europe, the UK. I think it is


absolutely right the Prime Minister is prepared to take those kind of


measures. Jeremy Corbyn said he wasn't prepared to take that.


Because he wasn't sure what it would achieve. The Obama administration


launched hundreds of drone strikes in various war zones and we in the


west are still under attack on a regular basis. Mr Corbyn's basis was


what would it achieve? It would achieve a safer position for the UK


overall. The war on terrorists. But the Westminster attack, Paris has


just been attacked again? There's been attacks which have been stopped


by the intelligence services. We must do all we can to support them.


The question was about drone strikes. Whether it is drone strikes


or other action, we have to be prepared to act. Let's move on to


Brexit. It is the major reason the Prime Minister's called the


election? Not the only within but the main reason? It is one of the


reasons. Now we start the two-year negotiations and then a year


afterwards. Also the way in which certain people said they would try


to use in the House of Lords or House of Commons to prevent us


making progress. I think you'll put in your manifesto, it is the


Government's policy, the Brexit negotiating position will be no more


freedom of movement. Leave the single market and no longer under


the jurisdiction Europe. You expect every Tory MP to fight on that


manifesto. What will you do with Ken Clarke and Anna? They will have


fought on their manifesto. They will understand the Prime Minister has


the authority of the ballot box behind them. Will they fight the


election on these positions? I'm sure they'll fight the election


supporting the election of a Conservative Government and it's


manifesto will quite clearly set out... You know they're against


these positions. Ken Clarke has a prod tradition of expressing a


certain view. Overall, the party's manifesto, it is not just


individuals like Ken Clarke, it is what happens as far as the House of


Lords are concerned, people said they'd use the House of Lords to


prevent certain measures. You're the party chairman, will it be possible


for people like Ken Clarke to fight this election under the Conservative


ticket without sub describing to all -- subscribing to all of these


Brexit conditions? Ken Clarke will fight as Conservative candidates.


That wasn't my question. I know that. Will they be allowed to fight


it on their own ticket and not subscribe to what is in your


manifesto? The manifesto will be what the Conservative Party fights


the General Election on. There will always be cases where people have


had different views on different parts of the manifesto. That will be


the guiding principles for the party. Philip Hammond says your


election promises in 2015, in your manifesto not to raise taxes tied


his hands when it came to managing the economy. Do you agree with him?


No. The simple fact is we have to do the best things for the economy.


We'll set out in our manifesto in a few weeks' time, what the policies


will be for the next Parliament. Can I clarify, you don't agree with your


Chancellor? What Philip was saying was some of the areas we wants to


address as Chancellor, what the party will do, it will set out all


the issues we're fighting on. It will set out clearly the choice we


have in this country. That's the important thing. Let me put the


question to you again. Philip Hammond said this week your election


promise in 2015 not to raise taxes had tied his hands when it came to


managing the economy. I ask you, do you agree with him? You said no.


Philip expressed his view as to what he would like. What I'm saying is in


a few weeks' time we'll set the manifesto which will set the


policies, agreed with the the Cabinet. He's Chancellor. Doesn't he


determine what the economic part of the manifesto is? We'll talk about


that in due course. Will you have a lock on the taxes that you locked in


2015 on income tax, VAT, national insurance? That will be decided.


You'll see that when we publish the manifesto in a few weeks' time. Will


you rule out the possibility taxes may have to rise under a future


Conservative Party? Conservative Government. We've taken four million


people out of tax. Now, on average, people are paying ?1200 less tax


than they were on the same salaries than they were on the same salaries


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


between now and June Is France now about to make it


a hat-trick of shocks The prospect terrifies


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


in Brussels and Berlin, given what it could mean


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


on our own Brexit negotiations. 11 candidates are contesting


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


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


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


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


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


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


to anything and only started his own party


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


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


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


traditional governing parties is the centre-right's


Francois Fillon and he's been struggling to stay in


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


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


this magazine cover and it kind of sums up the mood


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


the more you may be wrong. The country has largely


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


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


the pervasive stench There are three keywords that come


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


particular the political elite. And an element of


nostalgia for the past. These three words were decisive


in the Brexit referendum. They are decisive in


the French election. Identity and security has been


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


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


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


which are increasingly divorced It is quite simply exhausted by


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


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


victorious then there will be continuity of sorts, though Fillon


will struggle to implement his Thatcherite agenda and Macron will


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


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


Melenchon then all bets are off. Both are hardline French


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


discipline, anti the market, Either in the Elysee Palace


would represent an existential Brexit would simply become


a sideshow, the negotiations could just peter out as Brussels


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


Paris by the journalist 8th Welcome to the programme.


Overshadowing the voting today was yet another appalling terrorist


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


anywhere without people discussing heatedly this election. The anger


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


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


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


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


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


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


city. Now, the Green Party currently has


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


as well as hoping to increase their presence on councils in


the local elections on 4th May. Launching their campaign


on Thursday, co-leader Caroline Lucas made


a pitch to younger voters. When it comes to young


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


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


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


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


the environment need to be doing All the signs are there


and it is young people who are going to be bearing


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


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


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


the environment, looking after our precious resources,


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


enormous amount of tax avoidance by companies moving profits from


country to country and we need European corporation to make that


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


upper threshold on National Insurance, bringing in 20 billion a


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


mental arithmetic seems clear but we Progressive Alliance coming? It is


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


come together to corporate, Conservatives are effective at using


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


Do you accept this Progressive Alliance cannot become the


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


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


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


government afterwards comes after the election. In most countries that


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


accept this Progressive Alliance cannot be in power and thus mystical


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


Burmese Prime Minister? Personally I to the country than Theresa May, she


has shown herself to be an authoritarian leader and she has


said she doesn't want to have dissidents, which I would say is


reasonable opposition, and what we are suggesting at the moment is


there is a way of avoiding that very hard Brexit and damage to public


services. You'd be happy to pay the price of having Mr Corbyn as Prime


Minister? I do not see that as a price. People have the choice of


Jeremy Corbyn or Theresa May as Prime Minister, that's the system


that works. You would prefer Mr Corbyn? I would but votes are


translated into seats and the Progressive Alliance is a step


towards It's just gone 3:50pm,


you're watching the Sunday Politics. Good afternoon and welcome


to Sunday Politics Scotland. Just months after Theresa


May ruled it out - It led to


heated exchanges at this week's I'll be talking to the SNP's


leader at Westminster - and to three of the parties


which hope to make a dent It's not even a week


since Theresa May announced she wanted a snap general


election in June. But already the parties


are in full election mode, with candidates being selected


and campaigning underway. And there are some interesting


polls this weekend. In the studio with me is the polling


expert and professor of Politics at the University of


Strathclyde, John Curtice. Restored to the Scottish schools.


Two today, they would seem to indicate that the Tory surge is more


than just imaginary. Evidence since last year's Holyrood elections


suggest the Conservatives are advancing in Scotland. We can point


to a poll for the Sunday Times which has the Tories at 33%, the highest


for years. The same Paul last month had them at 28. It is quite a while


since they last pulled so certainly a Conservative revival in Scotland,


it looks like it has strengthened further. The SNP, that said are


still dominant in the polls but are running at 43%. That is six points


below the high level of 2015. It will be difficult for the SNP to


hang onto as many as 50 62nd time around, they are inevitably on the


defensive and these polls show a marginal drop in support. What does


this rising support for the Tories mean in terms of seats? If you take


the average today, it suggests the Conservatives will pick up eight


seats of the SNP so we are still not talking about the Conservatives


having a large representation in Scotland. Any gain in seats north of


the border potentially adds to Theresa May's objective which is to


get as big a majority inside the Theresa May's objective which is to


House of Commons as possible. For so long Scotland as dominated by the


SNP, that agenda is more difficult. There has been talk about today is


only getting a 100 seat majority, is that the gays? If the Tories pick up


seats from Labour? -- is that the case? Could it not cancel out if the


Liberal Democrats make inroads? That would be an optimistic scenario for


opposition parties. The truth is Labour are 20 points behind. That


means you are looking at a majority of around 120 up to 140. There has


been seen a rise in Conservative support by squeezing Ukip. Even


been seen a rise in Conservative then, it becomes more difficult for


any party, including the Liberal Democrats to take seats of the


Conservatives. There clearly are some seats, one can point to seats


in London where the Liberal Democrats won until 2015 and still


have a substantial base. At the moment, if the Liberal Democrats


were to do as much as double their representation, they will be doing


were to do as much as double their well and nine extra seats is not


going to make a major dent in to Theresa May's position. Can leave a


turn around and defy the polls? The cute but even if they defy the


polls, they will still end up losing because they are just so far behind


in the polls. The polls, although inaccurate sometimes, have never


been so inaccurate to suggest that a 20 point lead is some kind of myth.


This means that Labour Party is facing a series defeat, perhaps more


seriously than back in 1993 when Michael foot led the party and also


the party is at risk of ending up with nothing in Scotland, they have


Edinburgh South. Both the Conservatives and Labour are eyeing


that seat. Thank you very much indeed.


So what does that mean for the politicians?


Joining me now from Moray is the deputy leader of the SNP


and the party's Westminster leader Angus Robertson.


This progressive alliance that Nicola Sturgeon was talking about,


given the attitude of labour and the Liberal Democrats, has that no gone?


I think all the indications are that there are no circumstances that


suggest there might be an opportunity to work across parties


to thwart this ever more extreme right-wing Tory government. Whilst


always stressing that we are prepared to work with other parties,


it is totally dependent on the numbers and looks like Labour are


heading for a bad -- I defeat in England so I think the question is


academic at this stage. I should apologise to people watching because


that is a long delay on this satellite link. Brexit, what are you


going to see? There are areas, especially in the north-east, your


constituency in fact, where people were glad to get out of the European


union, are you going to be is telling them to vote SNP so we can


have an independence referendum and go straight back in again? I think


the key point, even for leave voters throughout Scotland and this part of


the world, if they were not voting for the hard Brexit the UK


Government is voting. Membership of the single market really matters, in


this part of the world for example for the fish processors or she is in


Speyside where we are known as the centre of the food and drink


industry for Scotland. -- or here in Speyside. A lot of people who voted


leave in the referendum are very concerned about the prospect of hard


Brexit that Theresa May is proceeding which is why a vote for


the SNP will be a vote for protecting our place in Europe and


ourselves against the dangers and excesses of the Brexit position


being pursued by the government in Westminster. It is SNP policy to


become a full member of the European Westminster. It is SNP policy to


union, so you're in the -- message to fishermen for example, you might


be glad to get out of the Common fisheries policy but our policy as


the SNP is to have an independent Scotland which will go straight back


into the Common fisheries? The first thing to understand is that the UK


Government has listed fishing is a low priority in its Brexit


negotiations so fishermen in this part of the world have long memories


and remembered it was the Tories who sold out the fishing industry and


caused devastation to jobs right around the Scottish coast. We're not


going to take lessons and protecting the fishing industry from the


Tories. It will be important to the next parliament that strong voices


will be standing up for fishing communities which is what we will do


and that is why membership of the single market really matters. It is


not just the offshore sector, it is the onshore sector, like food


processing which matter so much to our economy. The SNP will be


protecting coastal communities well the Tories suggest they are low


priority. This new model approach is not what I stood SNP policy to be. I


priority. This new model approach is thought the policy was another


independence referendum, you want to win it and become a full member of


the European union which would involve joining the Common Fisheries


Policy? The first thing on this election campaign is that it is


about electing a parliament at Westminster and a UK government. On


the question of the independence referendum, the SNP already has a


mandate to hold such a referendum, the Scottish Parliament has already


voted for it. Specifically on the fishing industry, I would repeat the


point that the UK Government says fishing is a low priority. I would


have real concerns, given that we know the Tories have not committed


to repatriating all powers of the fisheries, notwithstanding the fact


to repatriating all powers of the that it is devolved. Having sold out


the fishing industry once, I think people in coastal communities should


be cautious about the Tories suggesting they are friends of the


fishing industry when they are not. I was not asking what you will see


to the Tories but what you will see to your own elected it. I have asked


you three times to state that it is the SNP policy to have an


independence referendum and become a full member of the European union


and therefore the Common Fisheries Policy but you still have not said


yes, that is the SNP policy? Yes, it is the SNP policy, we are in favour


of Scotland being a member state member of the European union and a


member of the Common Fisheries Policy but I am seeing this election


is about Brexit negotiations and the UK Government approach to fishing.


We have ascertained that the UK Government regards fishing and


fishing communities as a low priority and they are not prepared


to ensure that all of the powers that should be exercised over


fishing in Scotland are exercised in Scotland. So if people are going to


stand up for Scotland in the next general election, it will be the SNP


that do it, not the Tories. On this issue about limiting tax credit to


two children, will it be your policy to stop that happening in Scotland


by effectively keeping the existing situation on tax credits or not? You


are talking about what is more generally understood as the Reaper


clause which unfortunately, the Tories in Scotland have been running


away from ever since it was passed. away from ever since it was passed.


-- rape clause. We voted for its repeal at Westminster. If ever we


wanted a timely memory that the Tories are the nasty party, an


epithet that was coined by Theresa May, it is this rape clause. Every


SNP parliamentarian and I would say the opportunity to thank my


colleague who has been spearheading the campaign against rape clause,


the more SNP MPs that are at Westminster, the louder the voice


against the rape clause. Anyone voting against will be contributing


to the idea this is an inappropriate policy and it is not. Thank you very


much. In the studio now -


we have the deputy leader of Scottish Labour, Alex Rowley,


the deputy leader of the Scottish Conservatives, Jackson Carlaw -


and in our Edinburgh studio is the Scottish Liberal Democrat MSP


Alex Cole Hamilton. And so-called rape clause, the


Scottish Tories have themselves in a right mess over this, and how will


you get out of it? Any form of welfare reform is difficult, it


touches on sensitive issues. In 2015 beware committed to welfare reform


and one of the reforms was that would be -- there would be a tax


credit for the first two children in each family had we felt was that


they would be provisos. This includes children that were born as


a result of nonconsensual sex. We think it is right the benefit is


attached but I send that it is an awkward policy. And should be gotten


rid of? I don't think so, because we agree that the reform is


necessary... If you are in a room thinking about this you wonder how


on earth did someone actually think this was a good idea? When we put


this before Parliament that child tax credits should be for the first


two children in a family we spoke to other parties to establish what


exemptions should exist in those circumstances and this was one of


the exemptions. Harriet Harman in principle supported that this should


be one of the exemptions pursued. It isn't appropriate that additional


benefits goes to the families. Alec, what ambitions do you have? You are


20 points behind in the pool. We have just had angered Robertson be


very clear that his party the SNP want to take Scotland out all our


largest single market which is the want to take Scotland out all our


UK, in order to get us into the European single market by remaining


part of the European Union and in terms of the Tories, this next six


or seven weeks we need to examine not just the hard Brexit but the


record, we need to examine the record... Have you any confidence


that Jeremy Corbyn the Labour Party can overturn a 20 point deficit in


the polls in seven days -- seven weeks? I support Jeremy Corbyn and


he can offer a different kind of politics. People in this country


want change and that is what's Jeremy Corbyn offers. The permit to


be able to ask what kind of society to be one? One of the same with the


Tories or do we want ripped out of the largest single market... You


have been single for two years and it has made no difference. What do


have been single for two years and you do to change it? In these next


six and seven weeks there are important issues in terms of Brexit


and the SNP want to dig is out of our largest in the market but let's


look at our record with the Tories in the table Scotland that we want.


I am confident that if we can do that and we can narrow those polls


and Labour can win seats in Scotland as well as across the United


Kingdom. Alex Cole Hamilton, I'm curious about your position on


another referendum on the European Union. You're seeing now that there


should only be one when there is -- when the negotiations have come to a


final deal, is that correct? That is correct, we are offering a


referendum on the exit deal with remain being an option on that


ballot paper, we believe that when the league campaign took the case to


the British people on the 23rd of June that it was based on a


prospectus which has been found out June that it was based on a


to be profoundly flawed and indeed June that it was based on a


in some cases concluded depositors, everyone members... Just to be


clear, the British government to negotiate a deal and the Liberal


Democrats seem to accept that the British government will not be a


Liberal Democrat one-handed then has to have a referendum but to be clear


Liberal Democrat one-handed then has you're seeing if the deal was


rejected we do what? Stay in the EU? Absolutely and I think that is a


message that is really resonating with 40s across the country. We have


seen Liberal Democrat membership search by 15,000 across the country.


We have taken in ?1.6 million in donations in that time goes this is


a message that makes it unique among the other parties. We want to have


Scotland remain at the heart of the United Kingdom and the United


Kingdom remain in the heart of Europe. We will put that to the


people in a very compelling perspective for us to remain.


Jackson Karl, by calling of a general election, since Theresa May


completely undermine the position that you can have another


independence referendum in Scotland? If you can have another general


election when we don't have the faintest idea where the Brexit


negotiations will lead them why not have another independence


referendum? And independence referendum is something that would


take one year or two years or longer and I think would paralyse Scotland


through the process. The general and I think would paralyse Scotland


election will be resolved by June eight. That is not the argument


Theresa May, she said you can't have another independence referendum


because we don't know what the final Brexit deal is and it would not be


fair to the people of Scotland to ask them to me the choice but the


people of Britain are being asked to make a choice. The people and were


asked to make a choice last year... She wants a mandate for her former


Brexit that we haven't the faintest idea what it is. She wants a mandate


to make sure that it is she, Theresa May, negotiating on behalf of the UK


through the whole process. Why does she need a mandate for that? That is


the situation we are in. Many people have come to realise that the


negotiations would be coming to a conclusion at the point where


another general election might be about to take place are we not to


seek a fresh mandate. Following up on Alex Cole Hamilton's point in the


pond Theresa May is making, if what you're doing is advertising in


advance that you are going to have another referendum, which of course


we would encourage not to negotiate seriously or to negotiate a bad


deal, or if you are at the point where there is another election and


maybe in the of those not to try and negotiate seriously to get the deal


we need then I think that would be a problem. The Prime Minister is


seeking to get a clear mandate for five years, which would take us


through the whole Brexit negotiation process and the clear decision for


people on the 8th of June is whether or not they want to read the Jeremy


Corbyn conducting the station. What do you make of Alex Cole Hamilton's


idea of another referendum? We have got to accept the outcome of the


referendum, I campaigned to remain within Europe but we just can't have


a time we have a referendum and don't like the result that have


another one. I think the Tories... Labour position is that there should


be a meaningful vote on the final deal. Yes. What does that mean? We


need to get the best deal possible and that is about access to the


single market. Let's say that doesn't happen in the House of


Commons rises up under a, Labour vote against the final deal, at


least what Alex Cole Hamilton are vote against the final deal, at


seeing is clear, we would stay in the EU. I am not clear what labours


idea is. We are seeing if you want a Brexit deal that isn't the best of


Scotland and the UK and then vote Labour. The Tories want to spend


this whole election talking about Brexit or independence, because they


don't want to talk about the record, they don't want to talk about the


big issues facing people in Scotland every day. So we need to have a


discussion around Brexit, we certainly need to roll out another


independence referendum in the lifetime of this Parliament -- rule


out another referendum in the lifetime of this Parliament. Before


Jackson Carl or Alex Cole Hamilton both set, the criticism of Labour on


Brexit is that you don't have a clear line with the Lib Dems and


Tories do. We accept the outcome of the referendum, and in that


referendum it was never put forward that if you come out of Europe then


you could not have access to the European free market. And we need to


get the best deal possible that gives us access into Europe for


trade and while at the same time retaining access to our largest


single market which is the rest of the United Kingdom. Alex Cole


Hamilton, as I am sure Alec rally will say there will be a research


and support for Jeremy Corbyn and Labour will do quite well but not


quite well enough. There are no circumstances whatsoever in which


you would go into coalition? Not at all and Tim Farren made that


clear. That is because everybody knows the Jeremy Corbyn is going to


lose this election very badly but also... If you thought he would win


then you might want to coalition? Because of the real vacillation in


the Labour Party, we have just headed there, they don't believe


that the process begun by a vote by the British people should "By the


British people and that should be left Parliament, if Labour not get


what they want the left out of this process and as such they will be as


opposed Jeremy Corbyn as leadership opposed Jeremy Corbyn as leadership


-- in his leadership, you'll be carping from the sidelines. We want


to be the new opposition to the Tory government at Westminster. Alec, I


can see already the pollsters, you know, of Jeremy Corbyn and Nicola


Sturgeon's pocket appear in England. How will you convince voters in


Sturgeon's pocket appear in England. England that should Jeremy Corbyn


Sturgeon's pocket appear in England. reasonably well and have a chance of


forming a government that he will not immediately having been rejected


by Alex Cole Hamilton joined up with the SNP? That is why the need to


campaign for every vote in Scotland that that the party that will stand


up for Scotland in Westminster, the party that will... Would you roll


out coalition with the SNP under any circumstances? Absolutely. We are


the party that will stand up for Scotland and Westminster and will go


to Westminster and fight for Scotland, so we are asking people in


Scotland to vote Labour and said Labour MPs to Westminster to stand


up for Scotland. The Mac will you be on the phone to Central office


saying old printing those posters of Jeremy Corbyn and Nicola Sturgeon


because we want to see in this campaign, not fake news that would


be fake news. Produces Jeremy Corbyn will be in Scotland's pocket, he was


not huge and the referendum in 2014, he said he's too busy and he said he


is personally relaxed about having a second independent referendum.


People in Scotland are not want a second independent referendum and


already Scottish Conservatives have been consistent about this. That is


interesting but it has nothing to do with the question I asked. That is


the truth of the position. It damages the case for the union when


PC pro UK parties like the Conservatives doing down the very


hard efforts of our party Liberal Democrats would have been


consistent. 12 months ago you said was not a condition of the


letters... I won my election, I won my election in Edinburgh West on an


absolute resolute commitment to oppose a second referendum. Alec


appeared to interject and say... The oppose a second referendum. Alec


Tories are the greatest threat to the union. The Tories want to


continue, ... Labours policies that the Tories are a great asset to the


UK? The Tories want to make the issue of the second referendum in


UK? The Tories want to make the Scotland. I think you will find in


UK? The Tories want to make the Parliament and elsewhere the Tories


talk about independence more than any other party. The reason for that


if the do not want to talk about the record. Talking about the rape


clause, you said that it was like and member the word to use,


unfortunate? It is an awkward policy but it is the right one. If it is


not good policy then surely it should be repealed. We must support


as I said earlier families where should be repealed. We must support


there are multiple births, children are adopted from care and also


children in those circumstances. It would be bad policy not to support


them. Easy it is not good policies we have to change it. I am sorry,


there will be many more opportunities, we have seven weeks


of this. Now it's time to take look


back over the last seven it's certainly been


a tumultuous week. One minute we were all girding our


loins for the local council elections, the next,


Mrs May shook us out of our post-bank holiday complacency


with a bombshell announcement. John McManus looks back


at a momentous seven days. Delicious. Maybe you can have too


much chocolate. But when we all came back from the Easter bank holiday on


Tuesday we thought the only thing we had to look forward to was this.


Scottish council elections. Hardly a sugar rush. Then... I have just


chaired a meeting of the Cabinet sugar rush. Then... I have just


where we agreed that the government sugar rush. Then... I have just


should call a general election. To be held on the 8th of June. Brad


Haddin she said... I am not going to be calling a snap election, I have


been clear that I think we need the period of time and stability to be


able to deal with the issues that the country is facing and have that


election in 2020. That post holiday U-turn took everyone by surprise.


And suddenly poetical journalists were burning of those Easter


calories in a frenzy of comments. On Wednesday MPs gathered in the


Commons to vote through the planned for June 's election with just 13


opposed. The SNP abstained. The Prime Minister made clear that this


was all about Brexit. I will ask the British people for the mandate to


complete Brexit and make a success of it. Once they picked themselves


up from the four political opponents of Mrs May in Scotland moved quickly


to frame the coming election in the of Mrs May in Scotland moved quickly


Thames. The key issue at this election is who is going to stand up


for Scotland against an increasingly hardline Tory government? Ruth


Davidson was not going to take that lying down. The fact is presiding


officer that the way the SNP is readying itself to poor negativity


on this country at this election is shameful. She might not like it, but


on this country at this election is Scotland is part of this United


Kingdom. And Kizzire Dugdale wanted to know why the SNP have abstained


in the Commons vote. The First Minister has said that she wants an


honest debate. So let's have it. It sits the SNP for the Tories to stay


in power. And staying with Brexit, received uncertainty over whether


SNP stand on membership of the EU has become a weapon for their


opponents. The First Minister has a chance to


influence this, does she want full membership of the European union in


the SNP manifesto? Our policy is clear, we want Scotland to remain


members of the European union. Nobody could have missed that. In


2015 leave heard accusations it would be puppet of the SNP that


2015 leave heard accusations it formed a minority government. At his


campaign launch, Jeremy Corbyn quashed that idea and insisted the


underdog could be top dog. They think there are rules and politics,


which if you don't fall by doffing your cap to the powerful people, is


accepting that things can change, then you cannot when but of course


they do not want us to win because when we win it is the people, not


the powerful who wins. Away from the election, the row over their rape


clause was growing with Ruth Davidson repeatedly condemned for


supporting it. Do you support the rape clause in principle or do you


like we think it is utterly abhorrent, and so the question? --


answer. I will answer the question the same way I answered it in the


press, if the First Minister does not like the two child tax policy,


she can change it. So the election is coming up, the starter in May and


the main courses in June. All parties will try to say they are


offering something fresh and distinctive. They are hoping the


voters will not turn their noses up at them.


My guests this week Moray MacDonald - the former director


of Scottish Conservatives turned PR executive and Isobel Lindsay,


who's the co-vice chair of Scottish CND.


Stand back from this little bit, I can see why a lot of people


including myself feel confused about the selection because people are


saying it is an election about Brexit, it is not entirely clear it


is. Another people see it an election about another in did --


independence referendum but it is not clear on that either? It is an


election because the Tories know there is a lot of nasty stuff coming


down the line and decided on balance it would be better to try and have


five straight years than face the electorate in three years from no so


it is really about opportunism on the part of Theresa May's


government. How it is framed by the other parties is another question.


The Tories were already trying to run the local elections on the basis


of anti-dot-mac no with a general election it is anti-referendum. I


think the SNP has quite a good opportunity because they can both


combine the case for independence implicitly by focusing on the damage


that five years of a very right-wing Tory government can do to Scotland's


and looking at past records. They can frame it that way. Sending out


the message that the only way to get can frame it that way. Sending out


out of this is independence but at the same time, can't talk about the


issues. Should the SNP failed to win 56 seats, the opposition parties


will laugh and say that Peak nationalism is over? Of course they


will try and do that even if they lost three seats. The answer is the


previous result was so outstanding... As you are a public


relations man, what advice would you give Jackson Carlaw who was


uncomfortable talking about the rape clause and said it was awkward, then


he said it was the correct thing to do? It is awkward for the Tories.


You can see why they have the policy because they are restricting


benefits to make sure it is only for up to two children. To some people


they look on what they perceive as a benefit culture, people who are


producing children just to get benefits. I think it is a tiny


percentage of the population that would apply to. I would argue we


ought to be encouraging growth in the population, it is a slightly odd


thing to come up with. Particularly in Scotland, we will have an issue


in terms of the employment market, our population is declining so it is


more difficult up year. our population is declining so it is


realistically what could Jackson Carlaw do? Should the Tories in


realistically what could Jackson Scotland say we disagree with


Theresa May on this? If you say you are against the rape clause but in


favour of the policy, the next question is so what? Women who are


raped should not get tax credits for their children? It is a nightmare


scenario. It is one of these issues, in the Scottish context, is


impossible for the Scottish Tories to deal with, it a reserved matter.


What you do is fix the problem in terms of PR, you fix the policy.


This then you use will never get you out of that so they have to find a


way of getting the cuts they want out of benefits without having


this... What do you make about Isabel's talking about the way the


SNP frames this implicitly? Building a talk by warning people about the


dangers of a Tory Government? -- building it up. I think that is the


right thing to do, in Scotland looks like a battle between the Tories


against the SNP... Hang on, 28 up to 33 in the polls. In the battle


between the SNP and Tories, according to the polls, labour and


the Lib Dems remain apart to that so the more the SNP can label the


Tories as a party that are hard on people, the less likely they are to


get elected. The result was the sense that as a result of their own


success last time, there is not a lot in this for the SNP? I think


that is a strong case, if Labour had decided to oppose having another


election, but given where we are? -- given where we are, it gives an


opportunity for campaigning. A given where we are, it gives an


of supporters, wider than the SNP, are looking for something to do. We


want to be good up for another independence... So we have a general


election? It was not the choice, they know have a focus and a


purpose. There is that in it for them but also they can get this


message home that the purchase of independence is not just an abstract


one, but it is to determine socio- economic policies. Thank you both


very much. Just before we go -


lets take a look at one of funniest Winning was 56 seats will be a huge


challenge for Nicola Sturgeon's party. They have suggested we have


reached the peak for the SNP and the only way is down... There is a


lesson there somewhere but I am not sure what it is. Keep an eye out for


say hands up to Nicola Sturgeon but say hands up to Nicola Sturgeon but


-- because I do say hands up to Nicola Sturgeon but


politicians would do. They would have stepped back a bit but she


handled very well. We look forward to tearful pieces to camera from


there on. -- to tearful pieces.


Andrew Neil and Gordon Brewer with the latest political news, interviews and debate. Andrew is joined by Conservative Party chairman Patrick McLoughlin and Green Party MEP Molly Scott Cato to discuss the forthcoming local and general elections. Plus the latest from the French presidential race. On the political panel are the Financial Times' Janan Ganesh, The Guardian's Polly Toynbee and Toby Young from The Spectator.

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