12/02/2017 Sunday Politics South East

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Andrew Neil and Julia George are joined by Baroness Smith and Oliver Letwin. The political panellists are Janan Ganesh, Julia Hartley-Brewer and Steve Richards.

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Commons Speaker John Bercow is accused of compromising his


impartiality by revealing he voted Remain in last year's EU referendum.


The EU Withdrawal Bill clears its first Parliamentary hurdle.


But will the House of Lords be quite so accommodating?


Labour's Leader in the Lords joins us live.


And we report from Stoke-on-Trent ahead of a crucial by-election


And in the South East... Ukip is looking to give


We visit a project in Sussex that doctors say could offer


an answer to the growing problem of loneliness.


And with me a political panel who frequently like to compromise


Steve Richards, Julia Hartley-Brewer and Janan Ganesh.


I'll be trying to keep them in order during the course of the programme.


So, Commons Speaker John Bercow has insisted his ability


to act impartially is not damaged by reports that he voted to Remain


The Sunday Telegraph reveals that Speaker Bercow revealed his views


in front of an audience of students at Reading University


This may not be popular with some people in this audience -


I thought it was better to stay in the European Union than not,


partly for economic reason, being part of a big trade bloc,


and partly because I think we're in a world of power blocs,


and I think for all the weaknesses and deficiencies


of the European Union, it is better to be part of that big


Speaker Bercow speaking at Reading University earlier this month. Does


he not care is this I get that impression, he knows perfectly well,


it states he has to be particularly -- Parliamentary neural. Whether


there are going to be enough votes to force him out, the question, the


last speaker wept out with the 20 vote against him. You yes to have


the command of the support across the House. There is a Deputy


Speaker, waiting, who would be superb. I think even the people who


pretend to support Macis have had enough -- Speaker Bercow have had


enough of his ways. The reason I ask whether he care, he didn't just tell


the students that he voted to Remain, he then gave them a running


commentary on all the issues that will be part of the Brexit


negotiations, workers' rights, immigration, trade policy, everyone


maternity leave got a hat tip from him. He would be a very well


prepared Brexit minister if attendance needs a colleague --


David Davis needs a colleague. I don't think this story makes his


position untenable, what does is the wired pattern of behaviour of


excessive candour on his political views, going back years, this is a


guy who when the Queen visited Parliament described her as theical


lied scope Queen. He had a running argument with David Cameron. We know


his views on Brexit, we know his views on Donald Trump. . He has


given interviews, none of the views are illegitimate but the candour


which they are expressed with is scrupulous. Given Lyndsay Hoyle is a


class accuse. He is the Deputy Speaker. And a fairly ready


replacement, whether there is more of a movement to say, maybe not


force Bercow out but acknowledge he has had a few years in the job and


the question of successor ship comes into play. Has he concluded he is


untouchable? What I can definitely say, is that he is determined to


fight this one out, and not go of his own volition, so if he goes he


will have to be forced out. He wants to stay. Which will be tough. It


will be tough. Likely as things stand. I would say this, I speak to


someone who likes the way he has brought the House of Commons to


life, held ministers to account, forced them into explain thing,


whenever there is a topical issue you know it will be in the House of


Commons. He has changed that. He has. Time has been courageous, Ied a


mire the way he has been a speaker. I would say this, during the


referendum campaign, he asked me Nick Clegg, and Peter Hitchens to


debate Brexit if his constituency. It was a packed out meeting. He


chaired it. I said don't you want to join in? He didn't. He showed no


desire to join in, he was impartial. He goes out to universities and kind


of demyth GCSEs Parliament by speaking to them in a way, he


doesn't gets credit for it and stays on after and drinks with them.


Sometimes he, you know, it is clearly a mistake to have gone into


his views retrospectively on that referendum campaign, I don't think


that, did he try and stop Article 50 from being triggered in the House of


Commons? That would be a scandal. Even that would be beyond him.


Briefly, yes or no, could you imagine Betty Boothroyd behaving


like that? Not at all. None of the recent speakers I could imagine


doing that. It is good he is different.


The bill that will allow the government to trigger Article 50


and begin Brexit negotiations was voted through


Many MPs were in a difficult position - unsure whether to vote


with their conscience, their constituency,


Europe, once such a divisive issue for the Conservatives,


is now causing major divisions inside the Labour Party.


So, let's have a look what happened in a bit more detail:


Thanks to academic research carried out since the referendum,


we now have estimates of how each individual constituency voted.


It's thought that 410 constituencies voted Leave.


On Wednesday night, the EU Notification of Withdrawal Bill


was voted through by the House of Commons.


The bill left the Labour Party divided.


Jeremy Corbyn told his MPs to respect the result


of the referendum and vote for the government's bill -


But 52 Labour MPs defied Mr Corbyn's thee-line whip


That's about a fifth of the Parliamentary Labour Party.


Of those 52 Labour MPs who voted against the bill,


the majority, 45 of them, represent seats that voted Remain.


However, seven Labour MPs voted against the Article 50 Bill,


even though their constituents voted Leave in the referendum.


The Conservative Party were much more united.


The vast majority of Tory MPs, 320 of them, voted for the bill.


Just one Conservative MP, Ken Clarke, voted against it.


His constituency, Rushcliffe in Nottinghamshire, voted Remain.


The bill will now go to the House of Lords -


peers will start debating it on Monday the 20th of February.


Joining me now is Matthew Goodwin, politics professor at


He's got a book out next month called


Brexit: Why Britain Voted To Leave The European Union.


Welcome to the programme. Has Brexit, how you voted in the


referendum and your continuing attitudes toward it, is that now


becoming the new dividing line in British politics? I think it


certainly is contributing to a new dividing line, in western politics


more generally, we know over the last ten years, that the old left


and right division has been making way for a new division, between


essentially social liberals and Conservative, and Brexit was a, an


incident a moment that really reflected that new dividing line, so


it wasn't just the case that Brexit has cut across Labour's base, it is


that dividing line, that deeper division is cutting across social


democracies more generally. Is there a possibility, no higher than that,


that it will reShane our party politics? I think it is too early to


know whether this is a fundamental long-term realignment. If we look at


what is happening in local by-election, what is happening at


by-elections, pictures a bit mixed but if you look at how some of the


Labour vote is responding, I think that potentially reflects the


possibility of a terminal decline for the Labour Party, it is going to


be incredibly difficult for Labour to win these voters back, these are


traditional working class, socially Conservative voters who are leaving


the party, don't forget, since the 1997 general election. It is not


just because of the referendum. If that was the case, Labour would


become more a party of the Metropolitan areas, and less of a


party outside of these area, is that what you are saying? What we are S


seeing across the west can social democracy that retrenchment into the


cosmopolitan, Metropolitan city area, university towns, you can


seeing in many European states populist right parties filling the


traditional socialist area, why are they doing that? Because they are


offering two message, economic and cultural protectionism. Social


Democrats are clinging to that economic protectionism but not


saying much about migration and multiculturalism and that sort of


stuff. Are there deeper forces at work than Jeremy Corbyn? He often


gets the blame for what is happening to the Labour Party now, but if you


look the way the Greek socialist party has been wiped out. The German


Social Democrats are in trouble. The Italian socialist party has lost a


referendum. The French socialist are coming close to being wiped out on


April 23rd, Labour's problems, are part of a much wider problem of


social democracy S Jeremy Corbyn is a surface problem, what I mean by


that is you could replace him tosh with another leader, they would


still have this fundamental tension within the electorate. They are


trying to appeal to two differenter reconcilable groups of voters who


think differently about the key issues of the day. It is very


difficult for any centre left party now to assemble the kinds of


coalitionses we saw in the '90s with Clinton and Blair and Schroeder.


Those days are gone. Does that explain why it is now Labour, rather


than the Conservatives, historically the party divided over the European


Union, does all of that help to explain why its Labour that now


seems, disunited over the EU? I think so, I think also that the


issue of Brexit, and the EU, is so immatly wrapped up with that issue


of immigration, if you look at who has been abandoned Labour since 2015


or the late 90s, the one thing those voters share is a rejection of the


so-called liberal consensus on EU membership and mass immigration. It


is difficult for any Labour lead eer co-bin or Clive Lewis on Dan Jarvis,


to bring those voters back unless they are going to move on that


cultural terrain. If they are not, they may not go to Ukip, they might


go to somewhere more difficult for Labour which is political apathy.


Thank you for that. Attention now shifts to the House


of Lords where peers will begin scrutinising the EU Withdrawal Bill


in just over a week. Brexit Secretary David Davis urged


the Lords "to do its patriotic duty" and resist the urge to tinker


with the legislation. Former minister Oliver Letwin


went one further - mooting the possibility


of the abolition of the Lords if it sought to frustrate


the bill in any way. Here he is posing the question


in the Commons on Thursday. Would he find time, in government


time for a debate, should the other place seek to delay beyond the end


of March the passage of our accession to Article 50, for this


House to discuss the possibility of either the abolition or full-scale


reform of the other place? And Oliver Letwin joins


me now from Dorset. Welcome back to the programme Mr Let


win. Before we come on to the Lord's, can I get your thoughts on a


matter that has been making the news this morning and John Bercow's


remarks about being a remain voter an giving something of a running


commentary on various Brexit issues, has he sqloefr stepped the mark as


speaker? -- overstepped the mark. I think this is slightly a fuss about


nothing. Every person who thinks about politics will have had some


opinion about great matters like Brexit, and I really don't see any


particular reason why his opinion shouldn't be known after the fact.


I, I was there throughout the five days of the Brexit debate, and I


have to say, I thought he was pretty scrupulously fair in the way he


handled the House, so, I, I don't really share the view that there is


some terrible thing that has been revealed this weekend. Let me come


on to what we are here to talk about, which is the Lords. Why have


you raised the threat of the abolition of the Lord for doing its


job of scrutinising what is coming out the Commons? Well, you know,


Andrew, this question of the job of the House of Lords and scrutiny, has


to be looked at carefully. There are all sorts of bills that come out the


House of Commons which are detailed things that relate to, finance, and


expenditure, and the criminal law, and all that sort of thing, and all


of that, I admire the work that the House of Lords does, as you say


scrutinising and we shouldn't use that word loosely, it means looking


carefully at the detail, line by line of complicated legislation,


hundreds of Paps in some cases, and spotting, using the considerable


expertise many, not all be many of the peers have, in any given field,


to identify things where the Commons has got it wrong in the sense that


the legislation wouldn't achieve what the Government of the day is


seeking to make it achieve. That is a serious proper role for an Upper


House and the House of Lords performs it pretty


Now this is a very different case. This is a two clause bill. The first


clause which is the operative clause says the Prime Minister should go


ahead and sign... I understand all that. We haven't got that much time,


this is becoming a monologue. There is nothing to scrutinise, Andrew.


There were plenty of amendments put before the Commons, none of them got


through, it is true. There are eight Labour amendments in the Lords, are


you resigned to this bill coming back to the Commons with amendments?


No, it should not come back with amendments. There were hundreds of


amendments literally put down in the House of Commons, they were all


drunk. They were all trying one way or another to derail the process.


This is a binary issue, should Theresa May sign the withdrawal or


not? What should the Commons do? The Commons has now voted in favour of


it. Node do should tolerate and unelected chamber forcing the


British people... The people voted in a referendum and the Commons


voted. The matter is now signed and sealed and should not be derailed by


the House of Lords. On Labour amendment wants confirmation that


when it is done, the potential Brexit agreement will be put before


parliament before any vote in the European Parliament, that has been


an agreed principle, what is wrong with that amendments? The government


has already agreed there will be a vote, but actually, what the


amendments were seeking was to give the Commons a further vote on


whether we actually leave or not. That is already decided. Neither the


House of Lords nor anybody else has a right in my view, despite the fact


I was a remain, to what the will of the British people. Nobody should


think an unelected chamber should now try to change the course of


British history by asserting amendments in a very effective on


clause bill which says go ahead and trigger Article 50. Are you


concerned that amendments by the Lords which would then have to go


back to the Commons for consideration, are you concerned


that could derail or delay the Prime Minister's timetable for Article 50?


Yes, exactly. That would be the result of a prolonged bout of


ping-pong between the two houses, or much worse, if the House of Lords


failed to give way and the Parliament act had to be used. It


would really be intolerable. It is not good for our country. Those of


us who voted remain would prefer for that not to happen. The whole


country -- it is important for the whole country that this happens in a


rapid way and allowing the government free rein to negotiate,


that is surely in all our advantages? Deed think any efforts


to abolish the House of Lords, an issue you have raised, does that


make it easier because your friend David Cameron stuffed the upper


chamber with donors, lapdogs and lingerie designers? I was among


those who advocated for many years wholesale reform of the House of


Lords, to turn it into a serious elected second chamber. I think we


should have an upper house which commands legitimacy. This is a


second issue. Here we have not got such a House and it seems to be very


clear that it should not seek to derail on delay the action which has


been mandated by the referendum, agreed by the House of Commons, and


what we want to see now is a smooth orderly effect for this bill, so it


becomes law and Theresa May can go ahead and negotiate on our behalf.


One more question on the process, if the Lords to amend the bill and it


goes back to the Commons and the Commons sends these amendments back


again, take them out, how long could this ping-pong between the two


chambers go on in your experience? It is a very, very interesting and


complicated question with the clerks of the two ends of the Palace of


Westminster not always agreeing about this. But through certain


machinations of slightly changing amendments as they go, in my


experience this could carry on for an awful long time if clever people,


and there are plenty of clever people in the House of Lords, want


to do that and that is precisely why I think we should not tolerate it.


Oliver Letwin, thank you for joining us from Dorset.


Joining me now is Labour's Leader in the House of Lords, Angela Smith.


The Commons passed this bill without any amendments... There were


changes, the government did concede a couple of points. But the


amendments did not go through. Does that put pressure on the Lords to do


the same? I think the Lords always feels under pressure to do the right


thing. When I heard Oliver Letwin, I did not know whether to laugh or


cry. We will not frustrate, we will not wreck, we will not sabotage. We


will do what David Davis said was our patriotic duty. We will


scrutinise the bill. We have at amendments from the Labour Party. We


will look at those. It depends on the government response if we vote


on those. There could be amendments asking the Commons to look again.


That is normally what we do. It is not the wrong thing to do. But if


you do this and make amendments, it then goes back to the Commons. If


the Commons rejects the Lords' amendments, what do you think will


happen? I do not see any extended ping-pong at all. It is perfectly


legitimate. We are not talking about the outcome of negotiations, we are


talking about the process. The process of engaging with Parliament


and reporting to Parliament. It would be totally responsible for


Parliament to say, off you go, Theresa May, have two years of


negotiation and come back and talk to us at the end. The has to be a


process where the government can use the expertise of parliament to get


this right. But if you do put in some amendments, it has to go back


to the Commons, they may well say they don't want those amendments and


it may go back to the Lords, could that at the very least delay the


Prime Minister's Brexit timetable? I don't think so. She said the end of


March. Time has been built in for all the normal processes. I think


Oliver Letwin and others are getting a bit overexcited. This is the


normal process. Unless the government get things right the


first time every time, the has to be this kind of process. These are


reasonable amendments. This is a Labour amendment we are talking


about here, you want a vote in the UK Parliament before any


vote in the European Parliament if and when the Brexit deal is done,


the Commons and the Lords get to vote on it first. But the government


I think have already agreed to that so what is the point? It needs to be


on the face of the bill. It is over well if the government have agreed


it. Lord dubs had an agreement about child and look what happened to


that. Does not sound as if you would go to the wire on that? It is


important it is not just about the vote at the end, you have the


ongoing engagement. If it is going to be a bad deal, we need to know


long before we get to that stage? Is it something you would hold out for?


I don't know yet. It is about how the House of Lords votes, Labour do


not have a majority, we never had a majority in the House of Lords when


we were in government. It is wrong to suggest that we cannot debate


these issues... I don't think anyone is suggesting that. They are. It is


not unfair to ask the government to ask the House of Commons to look


again to look at those issues if that is what the House of Lords


decides. Bit of the House of Commons says we looked, we are sticking with


what we voted for, we rejected every amendment by at least 30 votes on


all occasions, the Lords then have to buckle, is that what you are


saying? Some point I think it is clear the House of Commons have to


have its say. I think it is inconceivable that having had a


referendum, which was not overwhelming, but it was a clear


result, the House of Lords has no intention of sabotaging that but


there are things which are not good about the process that we think


could be improved. We have not just have the result of the referendum


which voted to leave, but we have had the will of the Commons that


passed this legislation by a majority of 372. And I am not


contesting that for a second! Could you cite a precedent for the upper


house amending a bill which passed by 372 votes in the Commons? Quite


other things will come to the House of Lords with big majorities from


the Commons and quite often the amendments we get, with that then


forward and the government sees it could do better. Though not


necessarily saying the government has got things wrong, but they could


do things better. That happens time and time again and it is not


unusual. If you were seen to thwart the referendum result and the vote


in the Commons, the elected chamber of parliament, is the threat of


abolition hanging over you? I think that is really ridiculous and


absolute nonsense. We are not tying to what the decision of the House of


Commons, we are trying to do better. It is a bit rich of the government


and Oliver Letwin to complain about getting things through in time when


the House of Commons spent -- the government spent three months trying


to debate this issue. There have been some strong questions put to


the government from the House of Lords on all sides. I don't know if


the amendments have been passed or not. I think we have a good case for


the government to get debate the point. If a traditional MP like


Oliver Letwin is calling for the abolition of the hereditary and


appointed chamber, and the Labour person like yourself was trying to


defend that, that would not be a sustainable position, I would


suggest! We saw this with the Strathclyde report as well, this is


a government like no other. It is the first Conservative government in


history not to have an automatic majority. They do not like challenge


or scrutiny. But you get my point, Labour cannot go to the wire in


defending and an elected second chamber, can it? Actually, Labour


can go to the wire in saying the government does not get it right


every time. House of Lords is going to normal processes and people like


Oliver Letwin are really getting a little bit over excited, and people


who have been anonymously briefing. Who has been anonymously briefing? I


don't know, they are anonymous! I understand people want to make


amendments, that is the role of the House of Lords, but can I just for


the avoidance of doubt, is it still your case that whatever amendments


to make, whatever may go back and forward, it is not your intention to


stop Article 50 being triggered by the end of March? I have been saying


that, exactly that for months and months and months. It is


inconceivable that an unelected House will thwart the will of the


House of Commons and a referendum on this issue. But that does not mean


we will be bullied by Oliver Letwin and others. But the triggering will


happen by the end of March? I very much suspect so unless Theresa May


has second thoughts, I suspect that will happen. Thank you.


Now, just because it's parliamentary recess next week


There are two by-elections round the corner -


one in Copeland, and another in Stoke-on-Trent Central


where the former Shadow Education Secretary,


Tristram Hunt, vacated his seat to take up a role


as Director of the Victoria Albert Museum in London.


But Labour are facing a fight to hold onto the constituency


Seconds away, Ukip's new leader has stepped into the ring


as their candidate in a by-election bout to see


At the last election Ukip came second to Labour here


But now they are confident they can land a knockout blow,


because this place is packed with people that voted to leave the EU.


70% of people voted to leave the European Union.


I'm the only candidate standing in this election


who is a true Brexiteer, who has always campaigned to leave


the EU and therefore I believe I would be the best person


But he has had to fight off allegations


he wasn't living in the constituency when he entered the contest.


Explain to me what is going on with this issue about your house?


Well, we took up the lease the day before nominations.


Everything we've done is perfectly legal and within the law.


The Labour Party are trying to get off the real issues in this election


and focus on something which is banal nonsense.


And there's been trouble as well for the Labour contender.


He's been labelled a Remoaner after he sent a series


of anti-Brexit tweets, filled with words


I can't believe I'm about to ask this question in a nursery


on a Sunday morning TV programme, but did you really tweet that


I tweeted many things about Brexit, that's tweet is out there.


It was done quite after the referendum result and it


was my way of showing my frustration at the fact that months


after the result we hadn't had anything from the government.


Theresa May had failed to produce any plan,


she had failed to give any meaningful statement


about what Brexit meant other than bland statements


about Brexit is Brexit, and it's a hard Brexit, or a soft Brexit.


The context of it was it was out of frustration.


So you didn't mean to insult the 70% of the people who live here


I never mean to insult anybody and you know,


I've made it quite clear, if I'm elected as the member


of Parliament for Stoke-on-Trent Central, I will absolutely respect


the wishes of the people of Stoke Central.


I will make sure my vote in parliament is to trigger Article 50.


While the Tories' man has done little bit of rebranding too.


I voted Remain and I've been open about that, but my top priority


is about the economy and to ensure we still have an


Theresa May has set out clear proposal to ensure we develop


a trade relationship with Europe and make that a success.


It means the Lib Dems and the Greens are the ones battling Brexit.


Well, when the Lib Dem candidate is actually here.


The candidate is a consultant cardiologist.


He is actually at work today doing very important heart surgery.


He will be back tomorrow, back on the campaign trail working hard.


30% of people voted to Remain and nobody else


is representing them, so, you know, it is still a live issue.


It is still something people care about.


We are only at the start of the Article 50 process


We are very a clear that we are standing up for those


who want to remain in the single market, who want to protect jobs


Labour have taken people for granted in this area for a great many years.


Ukip, I'm afraid, all Ukip can offer to politics is division.


I've covered a lot of by-elections where Ukip have come second.


We'll find out if they really got Labour on the ropes this


And here is a full list of all the candidates standing


in the Stoke-on-Trent Central by-election.


They do atract lots of candidates. You can get that on the BBC website


as well. I was trying to think back, here we have the main opposition


party defending two seats in by-elections in the midterm of a


government. All the speculation is where the


opposition party can hold on, that is unprecedented. I can't give of an


equivalent. You wouldn't just expect them to win seats they have held


traditionally, you would expect hem to make inroads into seats held by


the other party, I wonder if they fail to hold on to just one of


these, whether it accelerates the momentum and criticism of the


leadership of the moment. I think they are interesting constituencies.


Matthew good win was talking about the left win coalition over the


years, almost being too broad for its own good, including places like


Primrose Hill and Hackney. Big university towns in Manchester,


Bristol. Diverse ethnically and included places like Stoke which are


more Conservative. With a small c. Less economically well-off, more


diverse, can the left hang on to both bits of country. Recent


evidence suggests it cannot and the opportunity for Ukip is to pick up


the second of those two types of community, the Stokes and the cope


lands. That what makes the by-elections interest I would


suggest. It is not just about Mr Corbyn's future about which we hear


too much, it is about this traditional Labour coalition, can it


still survive, particularly in places like Stoke? Europe clearly is


a test. I think it's a myth by the way that Labour are only split now,


over Europe and it has always been a Tory problem, last time I was on I


mentioned it. That is why we had a referendum in 75. That is why they


had a round then. But they were in chaos behind the scenes over what


they thought about the euro, skillful leadership can paper over


the cracks, and to address the wider issue of whether we are now in an


era where left right issues have disappeared, and there is more of a


regional divide, if you take Europe out of the equation which you can't,


but if you were able to, issues about health, transport housing do


split more left-right than a regional divide, so I think there is


still fundamental left-right issues, but Europe isn't one of them and


Europe has to be managed by a Labour leader skill fully and evidently


that hasn't happened now. How would you see the by-elections in the


current political context? Labour should be walking them, it should be


a sign of the March of the Labour Party taking on the current


Conservative Government. I don't think they raise any questions about


Corbyn's leadership because the people who put him in don't think


that winning elections matter, you have to remember this will be the


mainstream media, it will be our fault why any of those Labour


candidates don't win, the thing that is interesting is whether there is


is a role for Ukip. The argument after the referendum was Ukip has


done its job, it got the referendum, nothing to see here, I remember


speaking to put a Nuttall before he was Ukip leader, on the day after


the battle and he said this is Year Zero, where Ukip starts now, and


this, and this is the interesting thing, does, do we see this one


particular party having a role in the future? And I think it is all to


play for, they could not not have stood in this seat. They have to win


it to be an electoral force. The Labour candidate in Copeland has


made the NHS the issue for her in this, that goes into the left-right,


are we spending enough, are we not? That will be a test of what you were


saying to see if traditional left-right issue, which at the


moment would play Labour's way I would suggest, are big enough to


overcome all the things you have been talking about and Matthew has


been talking about. Maybe at this particular junction they are not,


but I don't think any of those issues will go away, and that is why


I question whether we are see the end of a historic left-right divide.


At the moment with Europe so prominent, clearly these


by-elections are unusual. And they will be a test of leadership for


Theresa May in the coming months if not at the moment, as they have been


in a way that he hasn't risen to, for the Labour leader.


We will be leave on BBC One on the night, February 23rd off back of


this week, we will bring you the result of both these crucial


It's just gone 11.35, you're watching the Sunday Politics.


We say goodbye to viewers in Scotland who leave us now


Coming up here in 20 minutes, the Week Ahead.


First though, the Sunday Politics where you are.


I'm Julia George and this is the Sunday Politics


It's a growing problem and it's costing the state billions.


We visit a new scheme in Sussex where GPs prescribe not pills,


but activities to help people feel well again.


With me in the studio today are Henry Smith,


Conservative MP for Crawley and Paul Richards, a Labour


activist and commentator - he's from Eastbourne.


Except this week it's become a hotbed of political intrigue.


A massive 15% in council tax is ditched, text messages


which according to the Labour leader suggest a sweetheart deal


from the government are sent to the wrong Nick...


And still a question mark over whether there's enough money to look


after vulnerable old people in the county.


Joining us from Southampton is another Conservative Council


Thank you for being with us. Ultimately it is a story about


vulnerable older people. But looking for a moment at the political


machinations, David Hodge, when it comes to getting what he wants from


the DC LG he is rather leaving you standing, isn't it? I will not


comment on what has happened in Surrey. I am comfortable about what


we are doing in West Sussex. We are campaigning about more funding for


adult social care. The pressures the county councils are under, and


actually Paul Carter as chairman of the county council network is doing


a great job in leading the campaign and we support him. You might not


want to comment on sorry but talking about campaigning for better


funding, they achieved that in Surrey. Maybe you need to change


your lobbying technique? We are working hard to deliver services


while putting a small increase on the council tax and we are focusing


on our area. You have done some lobbying of your own, to which I


have preferred. You rich to the secretary of state for local


government about adult social care, specifically. -- have written. What


did you say? We had a debate in December across the board with all


parties aborting the pact that we had a really growing pressure in


adult social care, people are getting older, that is great, but


the pressures are really getting difficult for us. We wrote to Sajid


Javid about us, we made the point, he came back and said there is a


group looking at it but we are going to press on this and come back,


because we think it is urgent there is a cross-party view about adult


social care for all providers and adult social care. We do not have


enough money. They say 2020, it is going to be a shortfall of 2.6


billion. According to the Kings fund the moment we are 1.9 billion short.


We have to be aware people are receiving care. We are doing our


looking after the elderly and looking after the elderly and


vulnerable people. We will continue to do that but to do the best we


need the extra funding. You talk about the sleepless nights you have


is a council leader. What is the is a council leader. What is the


worst-case scenario keeping you awake? The point where you would


have insufficient to deliver core services? We have worked very hard


on finances since I became leader. We drove through four year savings


in three years. That has put the council in good shape. We will


continue to redesign services and redeliver them to meet the financial


envelope. But there are some demands, like social care, which


really on a national basis, this is not just one two areas, on a


national basis, they need a proper review and funding and that is what


we ask for. The fact you are going to go back and press Sajid Javid,


you are currently not satisfied with the Government's offered to you and


care funding? We will continue to care funding? We will continue to


make the case. We are supporting the county council network, led by Paul


Carter. We will continue to do that until we get some news about


finances we desperately need. Since finances we desperately need. Since


it emerged Surrey County Council will take part in a pilot which will


see it keep 100% of business rates, something we understand will be


available to all councils in June of course, are you going to try and be


accepted on that same pilot? We will look at what the Government is


offering and see if it is right for us and our residents. We know these


pilots are being rolled out in 2018 and we will review the detail we


have got in front of us. At the moment you have not asked to be on


one of those pilots. At the moment we do not have the full detail and


that is different. We will go to Henry Smith for the moment. Louise


difficult and we had to go back and difficult and we had to go back and


press the Department for more help on this. What is your response to


the fact that Tory lead councils do not feel they have enough money to


continue into the future to properly fund social care? As her predecessor


as leader of West Sussex there is nothing new about this. I remember


when I was in her position as going to central government, then a Labour


government, and asking for funding, often Sussex was not successful with


is ridiculous to say there is is ridiculous to say there is


nothing new. There have been significant cuts in local authority


funding and the older population is getting bigger year-on-year. Louise


Goldsmith has been the leader for seven years. There is a difference


from when you were in council. I'm saying other councils and local


authorities put a bid central government and my point is Surrey


has not had any different treatment compared to any other county across


the country. Yes we do have significant pressures particularly


on adult social care. I would like to see a greater focus on that. The


government has committed an extra 10 billion to the NHS between now and


2020. I would like some more commitment on adult social care


because the two are inextricably linked, of course. Simon Blackburn


is a Labour council leader in Blackpool and is he right when he


said everybody apart minister recognises the current funding


system for adult social care is broken? I think the Prime Minister


has been clear that we need greater focus... What does that mean? It


means greater attention. Does it mean more money? I think it will


when we have the budget coming out in March. It will result in more


funding for adult social care while as a country living within our means


and seeking to balance the budget. Clearly this is an area impacting on


the NHS. It is a challenge for many counties and other local authorities


around the country. It does need to be addressed. But I would just point


out that it is a Conservative out that it is a Conservative


government that has pledged and is delivering on an extra 10 billion


for the NHS. Some think the Labour Party have not... The two are


linked. I understand that but we are focusing on the local authorities in


the region. Used to be a special adviser. Does special pleading on


the heart of individual authorities work? It was seen that Surrey has


had a sweetheart deal. We would not know about it if it was not for


those leaked e-mails. What appears to go at them is they have been


allowed to do something no authority has been allowed to do. Hold on a


second, other local authorities are being allowed to participate in the


pilots. Not quite with the speed announced following the release of


the e-mails. And behind the scenes it would seem special pleading has


worked. Maybe it is a coincidence three Cabinet ministers have seats


in the county council. It stinks in the county council. It stinks


because we would not normally have known about it but for the leaked


e-mails at prime ministers questions. What do you think the


Labour Party should offer as a position? Because on this and other


subjects which are going to come up today, and Louise Goldsmith


mentioned it, do we not need cross-party national government


agreement on some sort of plan for adult social care? I would welcome a


cross-party agreement on social care. It has to be one of the


biggest questions facing us in the next ten, 20 years. When Andy


Burnham had his idea at the last general election the Tories put up


posters saying it was a death tax and scared the public after death on


any kind of change. We have not got the money we could have had if that


went through. Let's not make it a political football but something


with consensus. Henry Smith seems optimistic that, marked the


Government may find more money for adult social care. Have you any


sense of the same optimism? Obviously Henry is much closer to


Westminster than I am. That is his instinct, we are very hopeful of


that. We are working with our MPs in West Sussex, including Henry, on


this issue to raise that in Parliament. I think everybody is


aware of what is happening and I would like to stress it is not just


about money. Of course we need more money. But it is to deliver things


like a preventative agenda. You talking about quite a long run in.


We will need that money to cover that while we move forward. And


working with partners. We are working with partners. We are


already doing that. Some areas are doing it very successfully. It does


not happen overnight. We will move onto an area closely connected to


that, but thank you very indeed, Louise Goldsmith, leader of West


Sussex County Council. It's an epidemic that


affects people of all ages We have a simple human need to make


connections with others, and when we can't, we pay


a heavy price. Last month colleagues and family


members of the murdered Labour MP Jo Cox launched a commission to look


at what can be done. Meanwhile in Crawley,


local GPs and charities have teamed up with the council to tackle


the issue - Bhavani Vadde For Anna, trying her hand at bowls


at the leisure centre was a big step. She suffered from depression,


then had a stroke, all while caring for her husband, who has dementia.


She felt alone and isolated. Thanks to an innovative project called


social prescribing, she is now optimistic about the future. Under


the scheme GPs refer patients who need something other than medical


attention to the voluntary sector. I was crying a lot for a whole month.


I could not go out of my front door, front garden, or anything. I needed


help, counselling, people talking with me and helping me through a


very, very dark time in my life. The project helped me get back. And I


and stronger, being out and about in and stronger, being out and about in


the community again. Anna was put in touch with Tracy from the Crawley


community voluntary service, who can link patients with a range of


activities, from counselling to joining social groups like this one.


For a lot of these people they go back to their GP regularly. Because


there is something underlying. The GPs just do not have the time to sit


and talk to people for a long period of time and I can dedicate that time


to them. Anna is having fun at indoor bowls today but more


importantly she says taking part in this social prescribing project has


changed her life. But are lonely and isolated people really a matter of


concern for cash strapped local authorities and government?


Charities working on this issue says there is strong evidence to show


loneliness can be a trigger for referral to adult social care, or


increased visits to GPs and hospitals. It is estimated 20% of


patients consult their doctor for what is primarily a social problem.


Older people are more prone to being lonely and in the south-east around


18% of the population are aged 65 or above. Half a million of them live


alone. This doctor is a GP at one of these surgeries taking part in this


pilot. He is also the clinical chief officer at Crawley CCG, which plans


services for the local area. We are in uncharted territory. We know the


NHS and social care is under a lot of stress. Medicine and wellness is


more than tablets. What doctors and nurses do. It is about the community


and what we have in the community and what we can do for the patient,


as well. We have two commits the will of the Government into action


and funding. -- to commit. We will do what we have to do locally to


create the environment and the evidence and momentum. It is a


social movement. The men in charge of the Crawley Project believes it


is the first scheme of its time in the south-east. With the NHS, the


local authority and groups joining up to tackle loneliness and


isolation. But the pilot only has funding for one year. It will save


the lives of a lot of old people we work with. The really good thing is


it makes a world of difference to the patient. It means the doctor is


freeing up points to see other people and it is the same accident


and emergency. You are saving money. It is going to get worse and worse.


Everybody knows generally across the country society is now ageing.


Particularly in Crawley it is ageing rapidly. With a little help, Anna


has regained her zest for life. But can others across the south-east to


have also suffered from loneliness the top of the same practical help


against a backdrop of financial constraints, from councils and the


NHS? We are joined by Dr Kellie Payne.


They are working with the Jo Cox foundation on this issue. Thank you


for your time. Let's look at this Crawley Project. The bigger picture,


Hal Common are like this? We have come across a number of social


prescribing projects. It is one of the newest models, ways of


addressing loneliness. We think it has a lot of potential and we are


very interested in seeing how these projects get along. I think one of


the things we have identified in one of our recent reports is that it is


very difficult to find lonely people in the community. Finding these


people like the GPs who actually come across lonely people and doing


able to refer them to services, that is really important, an important


role. As you know there is great evidence linking loneliness to many


chronic health effects, including heart disease and strokes. If you


can prevent some of these more serious conditions as well, you will


be saving the NHS a lot of money. I can understand why the GPs are


important. Of course some people do not go to their GP and you have two


find them as well. That is how the NHS can feed into this. What about


the Government? What do you think their responsibility is when it


comes to loneliness? We have had a campaign over the last five years


focusing quite a lot of effort on educating local government and local


authorities on the ways they can tackle loneliness. From the campaign


perspective we would really like a national strategy on loneliness. In


Scotland that is something they are initiating now and we are working


closely with some of our partners like the ending networks in Scotland


to feed into that new strategy. -- befriending network. They have an


older person commissioner in Wales who has taken this forward, as well.


It is something the devolved governments are a bit more ahead of


than the English government. Dr Kellie Payne, thank you for joining


us. Henry Smith, this Crawley Project is in your constituency. Are


you proud of it? Extremely. Yet again Crawley is in the vanguard of


finding new ways to tackle particularly issues facing an


elderly population. Crawley is a so-called new but it does mean


actually it is getting older and the population is ageing and we have


more elderly people, there is more loneliness. It is a short pilot only


running until June this year. If you believe in it you must hope it is


not a nice little intervention disappearing without trace. I think


the record in Crawley is that these pilots become permanent. I pay


tribute to the doctor who does an excellent job... He is calling upon


you. He said we need two commits the Government to more funding. He is


calling on me and I am always happy to respond. Crawley years ago was


designated as a dementia friendly town. That was not only a label.


That is something which again means Crawley is in the lead in this


issue. I think we can be in the lead in terms of tackling loneliness as


well. Is born, with the best will in the world, an old time with many


people in the older population feel, would you welcome projects like this


in Eastbourne? One of the things the Jo Cox and Asian is looking at is


that it does not just affect older people, loneliness. -- foundation.


Parents can feel lonely. People surrounded by people all day long


can feel lonely. It impacts on depression and other ailments like


the school health as we have heard. We need to look more creatively


rather than thinking of it as an old person problem. People are looking


at if it tackles a wider range of age groups or not. Henry, we have


heard there are similar projects nationwide, but it does not add up


to a national strategy. Dr Kellie Payne said Scotland and Wales have


stolen a march upon us. Does England need to do better and have a


we share best practice. Where we share best practice. Where


schemes are working well in whatever part of the UK, whatever part of the


those examples in a practical way. those examples in a practical way.


And in a way a lot of this does not have to be terribly much of the


financial burden. There are a lot of ways we can socially prescribed


activities. It is great to see the bowling rink at the leisure centre,


I have been on there myself. Those kinds of activities actually have a


big impact. For not that much investment. And ultimately that is


absolutely right that by getting people active and engaged, it saves


on medical conditions which might come about. It begs the question,


going back to your point, Paul, it affects all kinds of age groups. Why


in such a developed society are so many people so lonely? It is ironic


where technology can connect us with people all over the world but we do


not know who our next-door neighbours are. I think there is a


retreat from public space into private and we do not talk to people


in the same way we do. The Jo Cox commission idea was we should all go


out and talk to somebody we do not know. Maybe a next-door neighbour we


have never spoken to and reconnect at a human level, beyond Facebook


and Twitter. Maybe it is not down to politics.


And now it's time for some of the other news you may have


missed in Sixty Seconds with Yetunde Yusuf.


Church leaders and MPs have condemned the decision to end a


scheme letting unaccompanied migrant children into the country. Ministers


accepted the amendment last year after months of pressure from


campaign groups to take in and 18 people. From the migrant in Calais.


330 children will have arrived under the screen -- scheme by the end


about. It had revealed plans to tackle the British housing crisis,


including a white paper in encouraging developers to build more


quickly and a commitment to safeguard the green belt. Figures


from the town and country planning Association reveal the south-east


needs to build more than 50,000 houses by 2020 to meet demand. New


rubbish bins to stop seagulls congregating and dive-bombing


passers-by have been installed in Brighton and Hove. The council is


introducing 100 smart rubbish bins costing around half ?1 million.


Specially designed containers stop seagulls committing food waste. It


is really horrible, but I suppose if it stops seagulls going in, it is a


good thing. I would like to pick up, Paul


Richards, on the Government housing White Paper. You are known to think


it is not radical enough. What is your radical idea? You wait for


something for ages and it turns up and it is a bit disappointing, you


know? That is this white Paper. Why it was delayed for so little I do


not know. You heard the scale of the challenge, 50,000... What is your


idea? We should look at the green belt, shrub land not counting as


lovely areas, can you build on those? You want to build on the


green belt? You can look at other areas where people want to live and


let local authorities borrow more so they can build and have more council


houses. There are innovative funding mechanisms you can use to free up


land owned by the MoD, the NHS, other local agencies and so on. This


White Paper did not address any of that. It is a damp squib. We


promised we would look in the White promised we would look in the White


Paper in more detail in the weeks to come. For now, thank you for being


our guest this week. That's all we've got


time for this week. We're off air next week -


but I'll be back the week after with all the news and politics


in the South East. Our guests, Henry Smith,


Conservative MP for Crawley and Paul Richards, a labour activist from


Eastbourne, we will see you and Eastbourne, we will see you and


thank you for watching. After the excitement and late nights


in the Commons last week, MPs are having a little break this


week as we head into But there's still plenty


in the diary in the near future - let's just remind ourselves of some


key upcoming dates. There they are. We have the two


by-elections on February 23rd. The budget is 8th March. That will be


the last spring budget under this Government because it moves to the


autumn. That round of French elections


narrows the candidates, probably about eight or nine, down to two,


the two who come first and second, then go into a play off round on May


7th. That will determine the next President. Steve, listening to


Oliver Letwin and to the Labour leader in the House of Lords, is


there any way you think that end of March deadline for Mrs May could be


in jeopardy? No, I don't. Andrew Smith couldn't have been clearer


with you they would do nothing to block not just Article 50 but that


timetable, so I would be surprised if they don't make it. Given her,


Theresa May's explicit determination to do so, not to do so would have


become a problem for her, I think one way or another... No before this


vote last week there was a vote nor the deadline, to agree the deadline


by all sides. Plain sailing do you think? There is no serious


Parliamentary resistance and it would be a personal embarrassment, I


think for the Prime Minister to name the the end of March as the deadline


and to miss it, unless she has a good excuse. I I reckon it will


change the atmosphere of politics for the next two years, as soon as


the negotiations begin, people in our profession will hunt for any


detail and inside information we can find, thing also be leaked, I think


from the European side from time to time, it will dominate the headlines


for a solid two years and change politics. Let me just raise a


possible, a dark cloud. No bigger than man's hand, that can complicate


the timetable, because the Royal Assent on the current timetable has


to come round the 13th. I would suggest that the Prime Minister


can't trigger that until she does get the Royal Assent. If there is a


bit of ping-pong that could delay that by receive day, the last thing


the Europeans would want, they have another big meeting at the end of


March which is the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome. They don't


want Article 50 to land on the table... It would infuriate


everybody. My guess is she will have done it by then, this is between the


Commons and the Lords, I mean Andrew Smith couldn't have been clearer,


that they might send something back but they didn't expect a kind of a


long play over this, so. The Liberal Democrats, they are almost an


irrelevance in the Commons but not the Lords, they feel differently.


Now, we don't know yet what the European Union negotiating position


is going to be, we don't know because there are several crucial


elections taking place, the Dutch taking place in March and then the


one we put up, the French, and, at the moment, the French one is, it


seems like it is coming down, to a play-off in the second round between


Madame Le Pen who could come first in the first round and this Blairite


figure, independent, centre-leftish Mr Macron, he may well get through


and that, and the outcome of that will be an important determine napt


on our negotiations. -- determinant. You o couldn't have two more


different candidate, you have a national a front candidate and on


the other hand the closest thing France could have you to a liberal


President. With a small l. A reformist liberal President. It


would be the most French thing in the world to elect someone who while


the rest of the world is elected elitist, to elect someone who is the


son of a teacher, who has liberal views, is a member of the French


elite. It would be a thing for them to elect a man like that which I why


I see them doing it. If it is Le Pen, Brexit becomes a minor


sideshow, if it is Le Pen, the future of the European Union is?


Danger, regardless of whether we are were in or out. I suggest if it is


Mr Macron that presents some problems. He doesn't have his own


party. He won't have a majority in the French assembly, he is untried


and untested. He wants to do a number of things that will be


unpopular which is why a number of people close to Mrs Le Pen tell me


that she has her eye on 2022. She thinks lit go to hell in a hand


basket under Mr Macron. He hasn't got the experience. What I find


fascinating. It is not just all to play for in France, it is the fact


what happens in France and Germany, not so much Holland I think but


Germany later on in the year, how much it impacts what we are going to


get. How much which ex #i78 panting on them. And at the time we are


trying to, withdrawing ourself from European politics it is fascinating


how much it will affect us. You see what Matthew was talking about


earlier in the show, that what we do know, almost for sure, is that the


socialist candidate will not get through to the second round. He


could come firth but the centre-right candidate. If we were


discussing that monthing a we would say it between teen the centre-right


and the national fronts. We are to saying that. Matthew good win who


spent a time in France isn't sure Le Pen will get into the second round,


which is interesting. It is, I mean, it is going to be as important for


the future of the European Union, as in retrospect the British 2015


general election was, if Labour had got in there would have been no


referendum. That referendum has transformed the European Union


because we are leaving and the French election is significant. We


will be live from Paris on April 23rd on the day France goings to the


first round of polls. Tom Watson, he was on The Andrew Marr Show earlier


today, was asked about Mr Corbyn, this is what he had to say.


We had a damaging second leadership election, so we've got


The polls aren't great for us, but I'm determined now we've got


the leadership settled for this parliament, that we can focus


on developing a very positive clear message to the British people


So Julia, I don't know who are you are giggling. I find it untenable


that, he is a very good media performer and he comes on and he is


sitting there so well, you know, things are bad but don't worry we


are looking at what we can do to win 2020. The idea that Tony Blair and


Gordon Brown were sitting in their offices or on TV screens at this


time in the electoral cycle thinking well I wonder if we can come up with


a policy the British people might like. It is a nonsense, this is


Tuesday night book zlufb. I am going to ask you the question I was going


to before. I would suggest that he the right. The deputy Labour leader


Tom Watson is violent the leadership is settled, with one caveat, unless


the Corbynistas themselves to decide to move on Mr Corbyn, if the left of


the Labour Party decides then it is not settled. Settled. If that


doesn't happen that is That would be the worst situation if you are a


Labour moderate. The Corbynistas would be saying the problem is no


Corbynism, it is Corbyn himself, if we a younger person leading the


process we can win the next general election, which means you have


another itration of this, another five year experiment. And that is


worst of all. If you are a Labour moderate, what you want is Jeremy


Corbyn contest the next general election, possibly loses badly and


then a Labour not moderate runs for the leadership saying we have tried


your way, the worst would be Corbyn going, and a younger seven version


of him trying and the experiment being extended. I see no easy way


out of this. That is why he radiated the enthusiasm of someone in a


hostage video in that interview. Maybe he has the Stockholm Syndrome


now. The Labour moderates have had their day in the sun, two days in


the sun and they lost. I suggest they are not going to try for the


hat-trick again. Is there any indication that on the more Corbyn


wing of the Labour Party, there is now doubts about their man. Yes,


just to translate Tom Watson, what he meant was I Tom Watson am not


going to get involved in another attempted coup. I tried it and it


was a catastrophe. That is question enhe says it is set selled. It is


because there is speculation on a daily basis. I disagree, Julia said


I think this lot don't care about winning, I think they do. If the


current position continue, one of two things will happen. Either


Jeremy Corbyn will decide himself will decide he doesn't want to carry


on. He half enjoys I it and half hates it. Finds it a strain. If that


doesn't happen there will be some people round him who will say, look,


this isn't working. There is another three-and-a-half years. There is a


long way to go. I can't see it lasting in this way with politics in


a state of flux, Tories will be under pressure in the coming two


years, to have opinion polls at this level, I think is unsustainable.


Final thought from you.? Yes, the idea it St another three-and-a-half


years is just madness, but the people we are putting up at


replacement for Jeremy Corbyn, and they have been focus grouping them.


Most members wouldn't know who most of people were let alone most of the


public. Angela rain? They are not


overwhelmed with leadership potential at the moment. Very


diplomatically put. Neither are the Tories, but they happened to have


one at the moment. All right. That is it.


Now, there's no Daily or Sunday Politics for the next week


But the Daily Politics will be back on Monday 20th February and I'll be


back here with the Sunday Politics on the 26th.


Remember if it's Sunday, it's the Sunday Politics...


Just back from a very long shift at work...


The staff are losing - they're just giving in.


Panorama goes undercover to reveal the real cost


Andrew Neil and Julia George present the latest political news, interviews and debate and are joined by shadow leader of the House of Lords Baroness Smith and Conservative Oliver Letwin. The political panellists are Janan Ganesh from the Financial Times, Julia Hartley-Brewer from talkRADIO and journalist Steve Richards.