Sarah Smith and Gordon Brewer with the latest political news, interviews and debate. Guests include Brandon Lewis MP and Jonathan Ashworth MP.
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Morning, everyone, and welcome
to the Sunday Politics.
I'm Sarah Smith.
And this is the programme that
will provide your essential briefing
on everything that's moving
and shaking in the
world of politics.
Theresa May is back
after her trip to China.
But there's plenty of fire and fury
from within her own party over
Brexit and her ability to lead.
chairman joins me live.
Labour tells demonstrators only
it can save the NHS.
So, do the party's health
spending plans add up?
We'll talk to the Shadow
Months on from the sexual harassment
and bullying scandal that
we'll be asking what's happened
to plans for Parliament
to clean up its act.
And a violent scuffle at a speech
by one Tory MP has been widely
But is it symptomatic
of a wider problem in politics?
Coming up on Sunday
Brexit, bank closures
and the SNP's deputy leadership -
we'll be talking to the party's
leader at Westminster,
All that coming up in the programme.
And, as one newspaper speculates
about a 'dream team' being urged
to take over at Number 10,
we've got our own dream team
of journalists - Tom Newton Dunn,
and Steve Richards.
And they've promised not
to plot against me...
At least until the end of the show.
So, the Prime Minister
may have been out
of the country to drum up trade but,
even from 5,000 miles away, it
must have been hard to ignore
the continuing unrest
from some in her party,
and repeated calls to be
clearer about Brexit.
Theresa May was in China this week,
where she gave President Xi Jinping
DVDs of Blue Planet as a reminder
of the dangers of plastic pollution.
Back home, Conservative MPs
gave her some advice on how to lead
the party and the Government.
Some advice was offered
to Cabinet ministers
getting restless on Brexit.
The best way they can
support her is to take a vow
of silence on the subject.
But most was for the
Prime Minister herself.
Some even aired their
thoughts in public.
I do think the window is closed
because politics can be
quite a brutal game.
When is the Government
going to stand up against the hard
Brexiteers who mainly
inhabit these benches?
She does not actually
have a majority for her
policy in her Cabinet.
It was advice of a different kind
that hit the Government
when BuzzFeed published leaked civil
service analysis suggesting that,
under various off-the-shelf trading
models, the UK would be less well
off in 15 years than
if we'd stayed in the EU.
But Brexit Minister Steve Baker
wasn't worried about the forecasts.
I think that they are always wrong,
and wrong for good reasons.
The analysis was grist
to the mill for Brexit critics,
but Theresa May probably didn't
expect one minister to pile in.
Justice Department's Phillip Lee
said the leaked report couldn't just
be dismissed and that,
if anywhere near correct,
it raised a serious question
about current Brexit policy.
But that's thinking 15 years ahead.
One former Brexit Minister George
Bridges took aim at the Government
and the House of Lords for still not
knowing what it wanted.
All we hear day after day
are conflicting, confusing voices.
Theresa May returned from China
saying she had secured £9 billion
of business deals during the trip.
Local media dubbed her Auntie May,
while International Trade Secretary
Liam Fox said her middle name
is 'resilience', claiming foreign
leaders were well aware
of Theresa May's strength.
You look at the Prime Minister
in a different way than some of,
let's say, the internal tea room
discussions in the UK do.
While at home there was speculation
about her ability to lead,
Auntie May herself was clear.
I am not a quitter.
She will be relieved the only
resignation she was offered this
week was from a minister who'd shown
up late to Parliament.
I'm thoroughly ashamed
at not being in my place,
and therefore I shall be
offering my resignation
to the Prime Minister.
But with open warfare in her party,
calls to step up her game,
and a crucial Cabinet meeting
on Brexit within days,
Theresa May knows she needs to do
something special to ensure the next
departure isn't hers.
There is plenty to talk about with
my panel of political insiders. It
feels like Theresa May's worst week
since last week that she began the
show but talking about how difficult
it was with fights within the party.
Is it even worse? It is about the
same. What is interesting, if I can
put this in some context, I am
working in a project with the Prime
Minister at the moment. Many Prime
Minister 's worry about being
deposed but it is rare to happen.
From 1968 Harold Wilson was in
trouble and he survived another
eight years. I'm not predicting...
John Major survived until the
general election. This is a constant
theme in British politics that Prime
Minister 's are rarely deposed at
the moment I work on the assumption
she will be around for some time to
It is highly distracting
though. It cannot help with the
issue of the Government or wrecks it
for that matter.
All of Theresa
May's woes art of her own making. It
is about showing backbone and spine
and having a Brexit policy and
sticking with it. I find it
extraordinary we will have two
meetings with the Brexit War Cabinet
on Wednesday and Thursday of this
week to decide the Brexit policy.
She has been in office for a long
time it is a long time since the
last election. It is a total
travesty of leadership that is going
on. All of her problems are of her
own making. She could be doing with
warring factions in her party, the
opposition and all the other
threats, just to be a strong Prime
Minister. Making it clear to the
likes of Philip Hammond, you are
doubtful that he should have been
out a long time ago if she had the
will and strength to do so.
not by being ambiguous about her
position on terror, and she has been
able to remain as leader of the
disagree with Julia and Steve that
there is a third way in all of this.
I believe all her problems are not
of her own making. Brexit was not of
her own making. She somehow had to
try to get this through parliament
where she has no majority, where she
has eight Cabinet split and it is a
huge problem. The only reason she is
there is because she has not made a
big decision, she has not got off
the fence she is trying to keep the
ship together and compromise. As was
said in the brilliant speech in the
House of Lords, to govern is to
choose. Tony Blair said that this is
the year of choice. The next six
months will be the six months of
choices for Theresa May. User needs
to get the choices on Brexit, market
control, sovereignty, access to
huge, great big decisions. She needs
to get that past four different
hurdles was achieved to get the
Cabinet on board among her own MPs
to stay alive and stay in charge
having made those decisions. Then
she has too persuade the EU to buy
whatever it is she will sell. I find
it very, very hard indeed to think
she will get over all four hurdles
by the end of the year. Therefore I
am afraid I cannot see her as
leading the Tory Party by the end of
I think it would be risky for
anyone to make any predictions. Can
I point out that 2018 was not the
year of choice?
2016 was the year of
choice. I care about what the
British electorate wants. The
British electorate made their choice
in 2016. Theresa May did not
increase her majority of the 85% of
people voted for two major parties
in the Ukip and the other parties
supported Brexit. There is a mandate
we need to get on and do the will of
the British people.
agree with Tom about these hurdles.
They are almost impossible to get
over. But that would apply to any
Prime Minister. So, you have to ask
the question, what does it solve? In
the longer term, changing leader
might give the more electoral
success, who knows? But it does not
solve getting over those hurdles you
could have Boris Johnson saying,
Britain can rule the waves. Those
hurdles will still be there.
Prime Minister who knew more
about... .Mac will come back to this
later in the programme. In the
meantime we will move on.
The Home Secretary, Amber Rudd,
has been speaking this morning
to the Andrew Marr Show,
and she claimed the Cabinet
isn't as divided over
Brexit as some claim.
I have a surprise for the
Brexiteers, which is the committee
that meets in order to help make
these decisions, is meeting, as you
rightly say, twice this week,
is more united than they think.
We meet in the committee,
we meet privately for discussions.
I think we will arrive
at something which suits us all.
There will be choices to be made
within them but we all want the same
thing, which is to arrive at a deal
that works for the UK, that
It's not just about protecting trade
behind us, it's about looking ahead
to what kind of country
we want to be afterwards.
We all have those
interests at heart.
And I'm joined now by the chairman
of the Conservative Party,
Thank you for coming in. Amber Rudd
is saying the Cabinet is more united
than people think. The parties that
he doesn't look that way from some
of the things they have heard this
week. It is your job to get them on
the same page in order to make that
happen, do you need to spell out a
vision of what Brexit will look like
so they can get behind it?
like what Amber said. The Cabinet is
united behind the Prime Minister to
make sure we get a good deal for the
We are hearing lots
of noises, complaining. They want to
know more about what the end state
will be otherwise they will row
Where I disagree is all MPs,
certainly in the Conservative Party,
are united in seeing we get a good
deal on leaving the EU for the
saying we need to end confusion in
government. They are complaining
about the present uncertainty.
Working out what is the right deal
for the United Kingdom. In
negotiations we are having with a 27
partners who want to continue to
trade with in the European Union is
a very serious and, located piece of
work. We never said this was an easy
piece of work and it is why there
are meetings of the subcommittee in
the Cabinet going through the
details. We have the deal, the first
stage of the deal, before Christmas.
We must look to the next stage which
is agreeing the situation in the
period of translation after March
2000 and 19. The ultimate deal that
we want, for people in the United
Kingdom, after the transition period
We're all waiting with
breath. Your backbenchers, whatever
side of the other in they are on the
desperately want to know what the
end state will look like. After the
Cabinet subcommittees meet later in
the week, we get more detail?
are a couple of key issues. Within
Brexit we have been very clear.
We're going to leave the European
Union, and the customs union. We
want to make sure we can leave the
control of the Borders to the United
Kingdom, the Government of the
United Kingdom. When I am talking to
residents, across the country, they
also want to know that the Prime
Minister is focused on issues that
matter to people every day. They're
getting good education or housing
opportunities for people. The
knowledge and confidence there will
be growth in the economy and
security in the future as well.
is hard for the Dublin to get on
with that whenever such a fight
within the party among backbenchers
and senior influential people,
coming out and criticising the
party, criticising the leadership.
Until there is more clarity on
Brexit you will not be able
Brexit you will not be able to get
on with the other policies because
there is such a row in the party.
have a range of views, expertise and
great talent to draw on all stop
people putting their ideas forward.
Jacob is a really good example of
that. We saw what happened the other
night with the hard left doing
everything they can to try to stop
people having their safest we have
to ultimately make decisions about
what we think is right for the
country in the longer run. -- having
their say about what we have to
ultimately make decisions about.
you worry whether there is a hidden
My experience has been the
civil service in this country has
been superb. They work hard in the
best interests of the Government. It
is their job to give impartial
views. You think they do? That is
one reason why the world is envious
of our civil service and rightly so.
Our job as ministers and the
Government ultimately is to make
decisions on their behalf as you
give consideration and ultimately we
are the ones who have to make the
Jacob Rees Mogg says they
are fiddling the figures and putting
out information that is wrong.
Amber Rudd herself said, one of the
most gracious and intelligent people
I know, on this, I slightly
disagree. Perhaps they are doing. In
the leaked reports, which have not
been approved and signed off by
ministers, it is about forecasts. It
does not take into account what the
final negotiation will be nor the
final decisions let alone the
domestic policy, which we are
getting on with. Making sure that
people have opportunities and
businesses can grow.
the scuffle at Jacob Rees Mogg was
involved in earlier in the week,
some fairly ugly scenes which no one
wants to see those that you have
plans to tackle intimidation in
We cannot allow the hard left to
create a situation where people feel
so intimidated they are not prepared
to come forward and have their say.
What we are seeing, and what we saw
in the report is actually people on
the left giving horrendous abuse to
people across the political
spectrum. I do agree, whether
someone's views are at the centre,
right or left, they should have the
freedom and knowledge they can come
forward and stand as a candidate. We
are going to change the law to make
it against the law for people to
intimidate people. But also from the
Conservative Party point of view,
internally we will have a respect
pledge that all of our candidates
will sign up to. If they breach that
cold, we will suspend them.
often Labour politicians who are the
target of a lot of abuse. It is
Diane Abbott who gets far and away
the most abuse on Twitter. How can
you be sure these aren't members of
your own party or your own
supporters who are abusing left-wing
We have to
differentiate. We should be able to
robust we have our debates. I have
debated with Diane Abbott over her
inability to get her numbers right
on police numbers. We have seen the
Shadow Chancellor... However it is
from, it is not acceptable. I will
deal with that. We need to have
good, clear, freedom of speech,
robust debate with respect and I
respect the Labour Party to do the
right thing and condemn what we saw
the other night, and see the
leadership do the right thing.
There's no evidence it had anything
to do the Labour Party.
What we do
know is when you have the Shadow
Chancellor of the country
encouraging abuse of people
He denies that. He
says he actually argues against that
and says he condemned it.
anybody can see, anybody can look up
what John McDonnell said. We have
not seen anyone in the senior
echelons of the Labour Party do
anything to condemn this kind of
action or come out and say they will
sign up to a respect pledge but we
will do that.
Getting back to the
Tory party, it is not just the
ructions that have erupted this
week, there has been a lot of
criticism of Theresa May's
leadership, Heidi Allen saying it
was time to get a grip and lead,
another MP said he had a profound
fear of Jeremy Corbyn becoming
leader if they don't get their act
together. It is difficult to manage
a febrile situation in which a large
number of your MPs don't seem to
want Theresa May to lead the party
into the next election.
I know Heidi
and Johnnie very well. I have heard
him be very clear that Theresa May
is the right person to lead the
country and actually Theresa May as
someone who cares passionately about
getting fairness in society,
opportunity for people...
your own MPs not appear to
We should all be
uniting behind our leader.
enough that is what David Lidington
said on the Andrew Marr Show last
week when he said it was time to
come together in a spirit of mutual
respect. Will they listen to you
this week, stop the sniping from the
I have been speaking to
colleagues and myself, what I get
consistently is they want us to be
focused on the job we should be
doing. The job I think most of your
viewers would want us to get on with
is delivering a good Brexit but also
we have a domestic agenda to
deliver, like supporting the NHS,
making sure businesses can grow,
people keeping more money in their
pocket and a country that is growing
and optimistic about its future
council got itself in trouble this
week, they run out of money in
Northamptonshire. The leader of the
council said they had been warning
the Government from about 2014 that
they couldn't cope with the level of
cuts they were facing. Did you not
listen to her?
listen to her?
government councils hopping -- ... I
do think there are more efficiencies
that can be found.
Northamptonshire they say they have
actually run out of money.
authorities can look at how they can
do more, about sharing services,
sharing senior management and saving
substantial amounts of money. I
would encourage those local
authorities to look at that
opportunity because it means they
can put more of their time and
effort and the money they do have is
focusing on giving good first-class
You are of course going to
allow them to raise council tax, and
we have had warnings from other Tory
run councils as well saying they are
running out of money. It is a bit
difficult though isn't it when you
have prided yourself on low taxes
that many people are likely to see
pretty big rises in their council
We have to make difficult
decisions due to the economic legacy
we inherited. Council tax roughly
doubled under Labour, I was a
council leader where the party had
run my counsel at the time with
increases of 16% year-on-year. We
have brought that back down so we
had the council tax freeze, and I
would encourage council leaders to
look at how they spend their money.
But council taxes will be going up,
They will be using the
ability they have to raise it a few
percent to give good local services.
People are looking at how efficient
they are, how they are focused on
their local needs to get good
Conservative governments in May this
Yesterday, thousands of people
marched on the rainy
streets of London to protest
against what organisers described
as a crisis in NHS funding.
The Shadow Health Secretary,
was there and told
the crowds that under Labour
there would be more money
for the NHS, higher pay for staff,
and privatisation would end.
No more PFI hospitals.
No more Carillion outsourcing,
leaving hospitals dirty and unclean,
affecting patient safety.
And we're putting Virgin Care,
and organisations like
that, on notice today.
No more suing of the NHS,
no more privatisation.
Privatisation comes to the end
with a Labour government,
as we get rid of that Lansley Act
and restore, and indeed reinstate,
a public National Health Service.
And Jonathan Ashworth is back
in his constituency in Leicester.
He joins me from there now.
Good morning. On that March you were
demanding the NHS get the funding it
needs but we have been looking back
at Labour's manifesto and you
weren't really promising very much
more money for the NHS than the Tory
government says it will deliver.
would be putting in an extra £5
billion into the NHS this year. You
will recall that Simon Stevens, the
head of the NHS, was asking for an
extra four billion this year. They
didn't get that in the November
budget but we would put an extra £5
billion into the NHS this year.
were talking about an increase of 2%
per year, more than this Government
is promising which is 1.2% this
year, but historically health
spending usually goes up by about 4%
per year and you were promising half
Yes, over 62 years it went
up by 4% but we would be increasing
expenditure quite substantially in
the NHS in the early years of the
But to an average of 2%
a year over the Government?
we also said we would establish an
OBR for the health service to advise
government on long-term spending
needs of the NHS so we would have an
independent body giving us an
accurate assessment of the
demographic changes, the staffing
needs of the NHS, which would inform
future spending decisions. In the
early years of the parliament we
would be spending substantially more
on the NHS, not just for hospitals
which are overcrowded because we
have lost 14,500 beds since 2010 but
also more investment in community
It's very difficult
for you to give statistics about how
much trouble the NHS is in when you
were promising a very modest
increase in spending of 2%. Under
the last Labour government, health
spending rose by 6% per year, under
Margaret Thatcher's government it
went up by 3% a year. Your manifesto
pledge was to give the NHS on
average less money than Margaret
But we would be
allocating £5 billion for the NHS.
You say it is a modest increase, if
I could say it is substantially more
than this Government is putting into
the NHS and when you have Simon
Stevens saying the NHS needs four
billion this year, we were promising
more than that so you say it is
modest but I suggest it is a
significant level of investment
which would allow us to get waiting
lists down. They could reach 5
million under the Government. It
would allow us to deal with
overcrowded hospitals and allow us
to invest in
to invest in community health
services, stop the cuts to child and
adolescent mental health services,
allow us to recruit so we have the
nurses we need.
That is what you can
buy for £5 billion you say, is
scrapping tuition fees are better
use of the money?
I'm always going
to argue for more money for the NHS,
as someone who aspires to be the
argue against scrapping tuition
The tuition fee pledge was a
promise made by Jeremy Corbyn and
John McDonnell when Jeremy Corbyn
run for the leadership of the Labour
Party and proved to be very popular
electorally as a pledge so I can see
why the Labour Party will be
sticking with that, but I'm always
going to be making the case for more
money for the NHS. We have seen £6
billion of cuts and
billion of cuts and other...
not clear the amount of money
offered by Labour will be sufficient
to offer their aspirations in social
I would say it would be.
Across the Parliament we would put
an extra £8 billion but we know we
have to look at better ways of
integrating health and social care.
The NHS was created in 1948, social
care was created as a sister service
but they have never worked together
as closely as they should. We are
older, with various different
conditions, we know the social care
system and the NHS will have to work
more closely together so we would
look at integrating properly health
and social care but that is a medium
to long-term plan, not something a
politician can deliver overnight.
was made clear at the rally you work
at yesterday Labour politicians
pledging no more outsourcing in the
NHS, what does that actually mean?
No more private companies of any
kind involved in healthcare at all?
What we would want to bring an end
to is the way in which, because of
the health and social care act from
for years ago, it means community
health contracts have to always be
put out to tender. Millions is
wasted, some even say billions
wasted, on the constant tendering of
contracts. We have just seen a
children's health contracts go to
virgin care in Lancashire. When
virgin care didn't win a contract in
Surrey, they forced the NHS to
settle with them out of court.
Macmillan Cancer Support have one in
Staffordshire, the Red Cross, St
John's ambulance, they all have
contracts provided for under the
very act you say you want to repeal.
You don't want these people involved
in health care delivery?
nurses have had a role since the
1970s. They complement what the NHS
offers so we are not talking about
ending the voluntary sector role.
This isn't just voluntary services.
No, but we are talking about private
firms where a full contract for
service delivery, say a children's
health service, is handed over to
virgin, that means the staff are
handed over, the only way virgin or
whatever that private sector company
is can make a profit is by cutting
down on terms and conditions. It
means the staff are often down
branded, knocked down a level in
terms of their pay, and we don't
believe that delivers the quality of
care children deserve and that's
what we want to end.
You talk about the long waiting
lists. Under the last Labour
government that they came in at a
time in the NHS was and a lot of
pressure and delivery used private
sector companies to work through the
backlog of people who were waiting
for operations in order to get the
waiting lists down quickly. Do you
not think that the NHS as an estate
now where you may be forced to
The NHS has always
got extra capacity from private
service providers in that
circumstance. The Labour government
was not handing over the delivery
lock, stock and barrel for the whole
sort of health contract.
difference. But you might still buy
in services. When you say
outsourcing is finished, it doesn't
mean the whole involvement of
private companies is finished?
NHS will not build its own
ambulances. We will still buy from
the private sector. Without capacity
in the NHS we will buy in from the
private sector. If you want to get
the rescheduled by Easter, if you
wanted to do that, the anyway the
NHS could do that is by buying in
from the private sector. There is a
difference between spot buying in
the private sector and handing out a
complete contract. Take a really in
four example with the cleaning
I will have to leave you
on and ask you about Haringey
Council before we go. Clare Cockburn
was on the Andrew Marr show earlier
and she has been giving interviews,
talking about bullying within the
Labour Party and at council
meetings. -- Kober thought she said
she could not complain to the NEC
because she thought that was in
itself a problem. That is deeply
worrying, isn't it?
I don't know all
the ins and outs I have seen what is
in the newspapers but I used to be a
the ins and outs I have seen what is
member of the National Executive
committee until 18 months ago. Clare
Kober, if there were specific
complaints, they do need to go to
the NEC and the NEC would look at
that. Various committees would look
at that very seriously.
a point when a senior member of the
party does not trust the NEC to sort
this out because she thinks they are
part of the problem and not the
I would say that the NEC, in
my experience, would look at these
things. The NEC got involved in
mediation talks. I am not a member
of it anymore but what I understand
is a substantial number of Labour
councillors in Haringey asked the
NEC to intervene I don't know the
ins and outs but it is clear there
are two sides of the story. On
specific allegations where there was
a meeting in Haringey where there
was anti-Semitic chanting in things
like that, if those people are
Labour Party members were they need
to be reported. If people are being
anti-Semitic they will be thrown out
of the Labour Party, simple as that.
Allegations of sexual harassment
and bullying rocked Westminster
when they emerged last autumn.
By the end of the year,
two Cabinet ministers had resigned
and several MPs from different
parties had been suspended
The Government promised action,
and announced a cross-party working
group to decide what it should be.
But, so far, it hasn't
Ellie Price has been finding
out what's going on.
And, just a warning, her report
includes some flash photography.
It wasn't parliament's finest hour.
Revelations of shady goings-on,
of sexual harassment in the Palace's
bars and back rooms,
of bullying in its offices.
Of course, the vast majority of MPs
and their staff were not implicated.
But it was enough that
all the party leaders agreed
something needed to be done.
We should not rest until everyone
working in Parliament can feel safe,
valued and respected.
We have a chance now to get
this right, for everyone
on the parliamentary estate.
Political leaders agreed
to set up a cross-party
working group in November.
MPs, peers, and other interested
groups have been working
on the proposals ever since.
The Leader of the House had said
she wanted the recommendations to be
voted on by Parliament
and implemented by
the end of January.
But here we are at the beginning
of February and still the report
hasn't been published.
Sources close to the working group
tell me it was held up
before Christmas and then
its scope was widened.
It was then due to be released
on Thursday but I'm told it
still needs final sign off
from the party leaders.
I've been told there is now broad
consensus among members on the group
that its recommendations
are suitably robust.
Sources close to the talks told me
there's recommendations are likely
to include a new independent
grievance procedure for staff,
consent lessons for MPs,
starting after the next general
election, a new code of conduct,
and the one most likely
to grab the headlines,
tougher sanctions, including making
easier the process to recall -
and potentially fire
- an MP.
The current situation is one
where I would face harsher sanctions
and penalties for being rude
about another MP on the floor
of the House of Commons
than I would if I were bullying
or harassing a member of staff.
I don't think that is a reasonable,
or tenable, situation,
and I think we need to give staff,
and the general public we work for,
the confidence that Parliament
is not just abiding by the law
on employment rights
and workplace rights
but actually setting a standard.
A representative from Unite is also
on the working party.
The union says its members,
who work in Parliament,
have lost faith in the system.
Our members don't have confidence
at the moment that there's
going to be enough change
in Parliament to make
a difference to the bullying
and harassment culture.
There needs to be positive
engagement with staff and encourage
them, and give them confidence that,
if they make a complaint over
bullying and harassment, that there
will be proper investigation.
And the working group
has its work cut out.
As HR experts consulted
during the process point out,
reforming the existing employment
rules in Parliament
is not straightforward.
One of the big challenges,
you've got 650 MPs, who are all
running their own offices and staff.
So, effectively, you've got 650
small firms in effect.
And the extent to which they have
had previous experience in managing
people, and running businesses,
is probably limited
in many instances.
So, that's part of the problem.
But any overhaul of the system
is unnecessary, says this MP
who has been in Parliament
for nearly 35 years.
I think, by and large,
the rules work as they are.
And, if courtesy and common sense
are applied, there is no need
for any change at all.
Yeah, there are bad
apples in the barrel.
But those bad apples tend to get
weeded out pretty fast.
And I think we could create,
if we're not careful,
a whistle-blowers charter,
a witch hunters charter.
Very difficult for a male of any age
to defend against an allegation.
I'm told the report will be
published next week,
possibly on Tuesday,
and MPs will then debate
it in the Commons.
But it may not satisfy everyone that
it's exactly what's required to put
this House in order.
It's coming up to 11:40am.
You're watching the Sunday Politics.
Coming up on the programme,
we'll be talking about the violent
scenes after protestors interrupted
a speech by the Conservative
Good morning, and welcome
to Sunday Politics Scotland.
SNP Westminster leader
Ian Blackford says he's held
productive talks with RBS,
which plans to close 62
branches across Scotland.
We'll be asking him
exactly what that means.
Also, we'll be examining what's
changed in 100 years
since women first got the vote.
And what can be done to stem
the tide of depopulation
in Scotland's countryside?
There is a clear opportunity to
resettle and repopulate areas where
there has been a declining
The SNP's Westminster leader
Ian Blackford has said he has had
"productive" talks with RBS
officials over its plans to close
dozens of bank branches in Scotland.
And he's repeatedly raised the issue
at Prime Minister's Questions.
Well, with yesterday's announcement
that the party's Deputy leader
Angus Robertson is stepping down,
does Ian Blackford have ambitions
to take on that role?
He joins us now from his
constituency on Skye.
There are reports in some newspapers
this morning that RGS have as a
matter of fact decided to reverse
some of these closures. Is that too,
to your knowledge?
morning. I am looking back to Skye.
I have had a number of conversations
and meetings with the Royal Bank of
Scotland over the course of the last
few weeks, and what I have tried to
put across, and other colleagues
have tried to put across, as it is a
very real threat to a number of
communities when we're talking about
closing the last bank in town. I
have been encouraged by the. They
are ongoing, but I hope we are close
to a resolution that will give some
hope to a number of communities that
the Royal Bank of Scotland branches
can remain open, but these talks
have two weaker conclusion over the
course of the coming days.
have not said to you that do well as
a matter of fact stop the closure of
Well, we have had
very positive engagement. I know
that others have been involved as
well, sort the Scottish select
committee have been involved, Andrea
Radrizzani is that in printable, we
recognise that something has to be
done in order to keep a number of
bank branches open. I want to wait
until we are in a position that a
formal and anything can be made, but
there has been very constructive
dialogue over the course of the last
few months. It has been disappointed
when I have raised this matter with
the Prime Minister, as I have done,
and I pointed out that we own the
Royal Bank of Scotland, the UK state
has a majority stake, and the
Government did intervene in the past
to assist in the removal of the
Chief Executive Officer. Said that
the Government should be intervening
in this case to make sure we protect
communities and businesses that
I know you want to make a
formal and management, but is it
your expectation that at least some
of these branches will remain open?
I want to respect the fact that
talks are ongoing, and it will
happen in a coordinated manner, but
I am pleased to say that good
progress has been made and I expect
stepping down, would you like to be
I would like to thank angers
for the contribution he has made as
God is public life. -- do it
Scottish public life. He is somebody
who is going to be stored in this.
He has made a fantastic
contribution. C the dust settle on
theirs, and in the short term, I
will concentrate on my role as SNP
leader in Westminster.
Why not just
say you are going to stand?
that would be precious metal at this
moment. Angus has just stood down.
-- best respectful at this moment.
It is not. He may be as completely
at marvellous as you say he is, I do
not think Angus Robertson would find
it best respectful as you said you
wanted to stand.
I understand you
are asking the question, garden, but
I will not be committing to that
today, and this week I will be
getting back to my job in
Westminster leading the SNP group.
Of course, I will affect those
colleagues over the coming days, but
I am certainly content with my role
at the moment.
There is a new group
called the grass roots coordinating
group, which are partly some SNP MPs
are involved in this.
backing it? I will back anything
that tells bridge across the case
that there is a real economic said
to the people of Scotland every
alleged that the single market...
Are you going to take part in this
Other colleagues will take
part in their scope. As party
leader, but I have done as I have
set up a cross-party group with the
leaders of the Liberal Democrats,
the Greens and cloakroom, and we are
working to take forward the case to
the main anything discussed union. I
believe there is a majority in the
House of Commons who wants that.
What you will find is that things
will be happening across a number of
levels. It is important that people
engage in this game in the threat.
Given this group is setup in order
campaign for another vote on Brexit,
does that mean the SNP is now in
favour of another vote on Brexit?
No. What we are doing...
What do you
mean, no, because you have just said
people from the SNP will be taking
I'm quite happy to answer the
question if you let me try to do
that. We trying to protect
Scotland's position in the single
market and Customs union. But the
First Minister has said, and I have
said previously, we are looking at
whether or not they will be a set of
circumstances where there could be a
second thought. That is not a
preferred position today. A primary
position is that we need to protect
the economic future of Scotland.
whole point of the group is to
campaign for another vote. I think
you said you would encourage SNP MPs
to get involved, get that is not
I think what you are
asking me, it's not we will work
with Chuka Umunna and others...
I said by that you would join his
new group. You said you would
encourage SNP MPs to take part.
would encourage SNP MPs to be
involved in a process which respects
Scotland's position and interest,
which is remaining anything at and
Customs union. We will block across
the party to do that. We're not in a
position that we will support a
second referendum. That has been our
possession. I have already expend
that we believe that what we have
got to do is protect our interests
in the single market and Customs
union. What have been said is that
the legal beanie question of whether
or not in the future we will look at
the issue of a second referendum,
but that is not by BR at today. I
have long argued that there is a
majority in the House of Commons for
this, and that is what we are
licking at that.
I'm struggling to
make sense of this. Nicola Sturgeon
said she may call a second
independence referendum because
Scotland did not vote to leave the
European Union. Yet she will not
commit to a campaign for a second
European referendum, which is being
supported by people within the
Conservative Party, the Labour Party
and officially by the Liberal
I don't quite see the
logic. The Scottish Government as
just published Scotland's plays in
Europe and that is about the
economic sector Scotland. What we
have been doing at Westminster is
giving a voice to that campaign to
make sure that they can protect the
economic interests of this country,
staying in the single market and
Customs union. We are going through
the best all process at the moment.
We're pitting down amendments to
that legislation. We will stick with
Surely better than
that would be staying in the
We are trying to
make sure that we are respecting the
possession that take place in the
United Kingdom when the vote
happened in 2016, when we accepted
that that is taking place as things
stand, but we do not accept that
Scotland is tagged out of the single
market and Customs union.
sounding like Jeremy Corbyn now.
think that is rather disrespectful,
if you don't mind me saying. What
was said to Jeremy Corbyn, come and
join us and let's make sure that we
can protect living standards of
everyone in Scotland and the United
Kingdom. It is a vastly different
position to Jeremy Corbyn, who has
failed to engage in this progress.
We're working across parties.
will have to leave it there. I
ensure you will enjoy the less of
you lovely day in the beautiful area
that surround you.
Watching that in our Aberdeen studio
is the Conservative MP Colin Clark.
The Scottish Tories have missed a
trick on RBS. It looks like RBS is
going to cave in and say they will
not close some of these branches.
think it is quite remarkable that
Ian Blackford is undermining the
work that Pete Wishart, the chair of
Scottish affairs committee that have
been taking the lead on this along
with the vice-chair, and it would
appear that Ian Blackford is trying
to take the headlines for this,
while that committee has taken the
lead. It is a bit of a reflection on
Ian Blackford's security of his
Your committee has been
in talks with RBS, is that what
I am not on that
committee. Pete Wishart is the
German and Paul Lambert is the
vice-chair, and that is an all-party
committee, and they have been
closely working with RBS and
speaking to them. It is very
disappointing that that committee
were trying to pull together the
agreement... That will be announced,
but Ian Blackford seems to be
undermining the work the committee
has done by trying to get the
headline on it. I would love to be a
fly on the wall tomorrow in
Westminster when they speak to each
You said people should vote with
their feet if they don't like the
RBS bank closures. What should
people do in towns where there is no
I'm not going to
prejudge what RBS have decided to do
but there has been a lot of pressure
put on them by myself and other
colleagues but this is a commercial
bank and the most important thing is
that people realise there are other
banks, they can show solidarity with
cumulative who are losing bags. I'm
losing three in the constituency of
Gordon. In each of those towns there
are other options. I think RBS are
reviewing their policy.
like you are trying to say that you
no RBS will agree not to close
branches where there is no other
Unlike Ian Blackford I will
let the Scottish Affairs Committee
led by Pete Wishart, I will let them
come forward with a statement.
you like RBS to announce that at a
minimum they will not close branches
in areas with no other bank?
would, but RBS have given up her
service by not discussing what they
will do. They don't need this bad
publicity and I believe people will
vote with their feet if they don't
like what they have done, but let's
see what RBS decide.
You say you
believe in the market but it is not
just the market, a parliamentary
committee including Scottish MPs has
been banging on RBS's dot and
demanding they stop, that is not the
market but political pressure.
political and commercial pressure
and consumers showing the bank how
they feel. This is a competitive
market, there are other ways of
banking but we have to make sure
that communities have basic banking
and we cannot allow that to run
away. RBS have a chance to change
their policy as I will wait and see
what the committee come up with.
There are supposed to be these
amendments to clause 11 of the
Brexit bill but they haven't been
produced. Can you explain what the
problem is? It's a simple thing to
remember one clause of a bill.
hasn't it happened? It was the
Westminster government and Scottish
Government who didn't manage an
agreement before the bill left the
House of Commons and is now going
The Conservatives have already
conceded that they will change the
clause, it is about one sentence. Is
the British Government saying,
clause 11 is a point of principle
about word devolution should be,
there is detailed government about
what gets devolved where, if the
Government not prepared to concede
the point of principle until the
detailed stuff has been agreed?
are very near to win agreement but
that is above my pay grade. Who does
it benefit that it left the House of
Commons and went to the House of
Lords without being resolved? The
Scottish Government elephants
because they do not want to see
another factor Brexit. We need to
work together for job creation and
businesses to get an agreement that
Colin Clark, thank you.
The campaign for Votes for Women
was a long and confrontational one,
pitted against a society
dominated by men.
Perhaps ironic, then,
that an apocalyptic event triggered
entirely by men finally helped
deliver that right.
But only for women over 30.
The First World War saw
the loss of millions of men.
As the heavy losses continued,
women's labour became an essential
part of the war effort.
Without women, there
could be no victory
as this taster from an old Pathe
One group of women who successfully
mobilised themselves with the
Scottish women's hospitals. This
film shows one of her units in
France. When she offered her
services to the or corporate, she
was told, my good lady, go home and
sit still, but with the
determination that characterised the
woman, she just went and her
services were invaluable. The
campaign to get women enrolled in
munitions industries had been
I had never been in a
factory and my friend and I thought,
let's do something. We filled them
with TNT, explosive and detonators.
The woman also took on highly
skilled work as well as dangerous
work. Despite fierce opposition from
male trade unionists, they proved
their capability. By the end of the
war the role of women in society had
changed dramatically and they were
trying their hand at all kinds of
new responsibilities. To most people
it was a scandal that many men
fighting for the country were not
allowed to vote for its government,
and when the Government agreed on
votes for fighting men, it was only
fair to include votes for women. A
by election was held in Plymouth
after Viscount Astor had succeeded
to his family title.
Conservative candidate was his wife,
Lady Nancy Astor, who became the
first woman MP. I wanted the world
to get better and it wouldn't if it
would be ruled by men. Winston
Churchill once said, what a
remarkable performance, we hope to
freeze you out, when you entered the
House of Commons I felt like a woman
had entered my bathroom and I had
nothing to protect myself with
except bass punch. -- a sponge.
Well, with me now are the former SNP
MSP and Presiding Officer
of the Scottish Parliament,
Tricia Marwick, and the journalist
and editor of Commonspace,
The campaign has not really
finished, I imagine.
In terms of
women's equality, we still have a
long way to go. Women are still
underrepresented in through society
and workplaces, they faced
challenges that I don't think we
addressed properly. A lot of women
moved from traditional roles in home
to the workplace but they still
shouldered the burden of the home so
it's like the work has doubled in
many ways, and I don't know that we
talk about that enough. Some of the
work women did before, we don't
value as work and that continues
Do you think this solution is
due in a sense socialise part of
that, for example, if it was
possible, no matter what your
circumstances, if you are a woman
and you have children, you would
have nursery provision
automatically, is that necessary?
think so, it's looking at breaking
down barriers holding women back and
that is one thing were identified,
another one is that societal
attitudes to women and their role,
we hear a lot about language, the
way we talk about ambitious men and
ambitious women, it is usually more
derogatory towards women, but when
you think how much progress has been
made in the relatively short time,
it is a bit optimistic to expect a
lot of those attitudes to have
changed as drastically with it. They
are changing, we are
seeing in the workplace and politics
and moving forward, it still has a
long way to go but we are moving in
the right direction and we should be
proud of that.
Blane McIlroy, the
Scottish parliament was due to be
new in its attitude.
The great leap
forward was the Scottish parliament
being set up -- Tricia Mark. It was
about 40%, women to men, and while
it has dropped slightly, I think it
is important to recognise that the
cohort of women that we have elected
for the first time in 1999 changed
the social agenda of Scotland. One
of the first bills was about
protection against abuse, a
committee bill in 2001. This week we
have seen a bill against violence
against women and in addition to
that, 50-50 representation on public
bodies, so I think this huge leap
forward was the formation of the
What about the
social attitudes that Angela was
talking about? Do you think there
are still different expectations on
the way in which women who are
politicians are talked about is more
It's difficult to say. I
haven't experienced that myself, my
own view was that I was more talked
about in terms of my working-class
background than the fact I was a
woman but there is no doubt that we
have still some way to go. If it
hadn't been for the Scottish
parliament we wouldn't be having
discussions about poverty, we
wouldn't have childcare for
three-year-olds and for your roles,
so there needs to be acknowledgement
on how the Scottish Parliament has
shaped the agenda, with help from
women's groups out with the Scottish
Parliament, but there is no doubt
that women in Scotland have made a
You are both being
positive. The acid test would be if
we were in another 15 years having
this conversation, it would be of
You would hope
so but we face some challenges. We
have seen some stuff recently with
the Three movement and there has
been discussion about what women
face, anyone who has a profile, the
amount of use they will receive,
that is a real problem and we need
to explore why that is happening
because that is the kind of thing
that may become a barrier for women,
even if we changed some of the
structural issues, if we can make
women feel like they are in fear
when they try to move forward in
their careers, we will have a
Tricia Marwick, I was
interested in what you said about
being working class, did you get
abuse for that?
I saw some of the
commentators discussing my
working-class hobbits and I always
thought it was more a class issue
than the fact that I was the first
female Presiding Officer.
both very much.
Romance and nostalgia have
long been associated
with the Highland Clearances.
The stories of tenants forcibly
evicted from their homes
during the 18th and 19th centuries
are still etched
in the minds of many.
What's less well appreciated
is that the majority of people
who left the Highlands,
and indeed other parts of rural
Scotland, did so voluntarily,
attracted by better living standards
and higher wages in the cities.
Campaigners are seeking new powers
to reverse the impact of Scotland's
clearances and help make rural
life more sustainable.
Graham Stewart's been to a former
township in Argyll to learn
some lessons from history.
Auchindrain. The last surviving
example of a Highland township. A
visible reminder of how we lived and
worked, long since abandoned but
preserved as a living museum to a
different way of life.
means a lot to you. It means the
world to me. I like the place and
its history, I would like a lot more
people to see it and feel the way I
And restore this place to its
I would love to see
all the houses dressed and looking
the way they did in the 1800. It
would be magnificent.
were thousands of settlements like
these as families were to scratch an
existence from the line. The
Highland Clearances decimated these
townships but now there are efforts
to see these communities reborn.
are not thinking to advocate a
wholesale repopulation to retrace
the previous century settlements but
we are arguing for a clear
opportunity to resettle and
repopulate areas where there has
been a declining population, and
where there are opportunities to
Campaigners want a more
enlightened approach to rural
development than the planning Bill
currently before the Scottish
Parliament, to give ministers new
powers including compulsory purchase
of areas dedicated to resettlement
to breathe new life into
Its idealistic, some
might say romantic because sometimes
these places are difficult to get to
with no infrastructure, but there
has been a degree of repopulation,
not of deserted sites themselves but
repopulation of parts of the
Highlands and Islands. We note the
population of islands like sky and
Malle has increased and there has
been a phenomenon.
Just a few weeks
ago, residents of Mull backed up
community plan the island of Ulva
and the hope is that it can be
It would not be a big
ask to ask people to come back here,
there has always been an interest in
places like this and the fact we
have a great primary school close
by, it offers a chance for families
to come here to start up their own
businesses, so there is a great
number of attractions to somewhere
An intriguing idea, where
it can move forward practically, is
a different issue and a different
There are visible reminders of the
present family life. It was the
introduction of new agricultural
techniques to let him so many
abandoning the old townships. If
people are to return, how exactly
would you make a living? Is it old
adage goes, you cannot eat scenery.
With electronic technology and the
internet in particular have made it
possible for businesses to surprise
in some of these alias that it would
not have been possible to do so. And
a sense, you can work from home,
especially if you are using
brainpower than hand power.
powered by broadband rather than
call open up a new possibility for
Scotland's abandoned communities,
but in a week when small businesses
called the provision of mobile phone
coverage in Scotland embarrassing, a
lot more investment is going to be
needed to even partly reversed
clearances and make the rural homes
of the future fit for living.
Time now to take a look
at the week ahead.
With me this week are former
Labour Minister Dame Anne McGuire
and the Sunday Herald's
Investigations Editor Paul Hutcheon.
You want another referendum on
Europe, don't you?
I just think
there is a valid and logical
argument for saying that people
should have the outcome of the
negotiations put to them, and I
think it is now... There is an
interesting argument out there among
Jeremy Corbyn's point
of view is that there has been a
referendum and you do not go against
a result of it, so you make the best
It is a counter view to that,
and I think it is quite interesting,
and I was interested in Ian
Blackford squirming on the end of
your credit as he was trying to ease
pain that he may be in favour, or he
thinks he may be in favour but he is
not sure. But there is a valid
argument to be had.
Why did you make
of the SNP's position? It was
difficult to understand, but it
taught about having another
independence referendum to get out
of you look, but then Ian Blackford
said we cannot have another EU
referendum because we voted to leave
the EU, and then do is this new
campaign which they could avoid the
SNP to join.
If you catch the
official position, they say that it
is not their feud that there should
be a second referendum. They do not
relate out in they do not rule it
out in its entirety. I just wonder
if that is a holding position
formats. At the mental imbalance, --
is momentum builds, they might
change their position. I think they
would like others to do the running
on it. If there was a head of steam,
by the Lib Dems, and that Labour
change their possessing, of course
the SMP would jump on the bandwagon.
I don't think Nicola Sturgeon, deep
down, thinks a second independence
referendum is something she can win.
RBS. If they don't make an
announcement over the next few days
that they are going to cancel some
of these closers, then their PR
department has handled this very
It has gone in the last 24
hours from maybe two, there will be,
almost, given all the comments that
have been made. I hope they have
reviewed it. Some of the closures
are frankly mad. If you take Barra,
for example, a landmass surrounded
by water. People are told that the
nearest bank is a very right and it
would journey away. It is a
nonsense. You have a similar
position and other parts of the
Highlands, and I others's understand
and other parts of the Borders. It
is an exercise done on a map, in an
office, on paper, without thinking
of the implications. Not just for
the local businesses, but also for
the economic importance of a bank in
What always amazes me
about these, as we can take it that
they are going to stop some of these
closers, is that they have got huge
public relations department were
just that by very well-paid people.
It always amazes me that these
companies... Did no one think, hang
on, there might be a problem?
should see the list to go back last
to these proposals. Obviously,
mobile banking is on the rise, but
lots of people do not have mobile
banking and they do rely on a
branch, particularly if you live in
a rural area and you do not have
broadband. I do think that has been
a PR disaster for the bank. I also
see the fact that the build-out RBS,
we are the majority shareholder, and
the turnaround and treat us like
As Theresa May going to
I think one way and the
other on this, depending on what I
am reading in the news. There was
one point last week and I thought
she had almost reached the tipping
point, and I saw the momentum in the
it is whether or not we had reached
that point last week.
What you mean a
momentum? I think sometimes it is a
point of no return when the Bush is
so great, even though it is not all
in the public domain, but
There are clearly people
sending this letters in.
And they are in a difficult
position, because there may be some
way in which it can be revealed how
many letters he has had. He needs 48
letters. It is said that he has got
42 just now. I think the only thing
that is stopping some of the Tories
tried to get rid of heart as the
alternative. We do not have an
agreement on an alternative. They do
not have an agreement on which
candidate would stand.
We do want
Presumably, no. A
No, no. Do you
think they could do any better with
any other leader?
brought down Margaret Thatcher and
John Major and the David Cameron, I
think it will do the same to Theresa
May. She has no Government agenda
beyond Brexit. She does not know
what a negotiation patient is my
position is good to be in the
They argue and forgiving her
is if you had an aggregate in advert
hard Brexiteer, the party would just
split, and the very fact that she is
sitting on the fence and in a sense
cannot do very much is actually have
What I think is going to
happen is that she is going to be
placed into a softer Brexit
possession by people like their
chance, the opposition parties,
probably the country. That will
enrich the Brexiteers in her own
group, who are a majority, and I
think they will bring her down. You
will probably see some unlike Boris
Johnson woggle over art Jacob
Rees-Mogg will take over.
know every cot and camera at the
expression on your face...
Theresa May had a gilded life up
until she became Prime Minister. I
used to think she was a head and
talent. I think she has nearly got
heading -- not got talent, nor is it
hadn't. They thought of Boris
Johnson as Prime Minister is
We'll have to leave it
there. Until then, goodbye.
Sarah Smith and Gordon Brewer with the latest political news, interviews and debate. Guests include chairman of the Conservative Party Brandon Lewis MP and shadow secretary of state for health Jonathan Ashworth MP. The political panel comprises Tom Newton Dunn, Steve Richards and Julia Hartley-Brewer.