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It's Sunday Morning and this is the Sunday Politics.
The Government has insisted that Gibraltar will not be bargained
But the territory's chief minister says the EU's proposal
After a momentous week, Britain's journey out
Can the Prime Minister satisfy her critics at home
We speak to the former Conservative leader, Michael Howard.
And we have the lowdown on next month's local elections -
what exactly is up for grabs, who's going up and who's going down?
In the south-west, the government starts charging people
Will it help with skills shortages or stand in the way of business?
changing their minds. MPs from opposing sides give the view from
there constituencies. And with me, as always,
the best and the brightest political panel in the business -
Steve Richards, Isabel Oakeshott and Tom Newton Dunn who'll be
tweeting throughout the programme. For the people of Gibraltar, Clause
22 of the EU's draft negotiating guidelines came as something
of a shock. The guidelines propose
that the Government in Spain be given a veto over any future trade
deal as it applies to The UK Government has reacted
strongly, saying Gibraltar will not be bargained away
in the Brexit talks. Here's the Defence Secretary,
Michael Fallon, speaking We are going to look
after Gibraltar. Gibraltar's going to be protected
all the way, all the way, because the sovereignty of Gibraltar
cannot be changed without the agreement of the people
of Gibraltar and they have made it very clear they do not
want to live under Spanish rule and it is interesting, I think,
in the draft guidelines from the EU that Spain is not saying
that the whole thing is subject Michael Fallon earlier. Steve, is
this a Spanish power grab or much ado about nothing? It could be both.
Clearly what is happening about this negotiation and will happen again
and again is that at different points individual countries can
start playing bargaining cards. They will say, if you want a deal, you
have to deliver this, UK. Spain is doing it early. It might turn out to
be nothing at all. It is an early example of how to delete recruit
after Article 50 is triggered, the dynamic -- how after Article 50 is
triggered, the dynamic changes. At certain points, any country can veto
it. It gives them much more power than we have clocked so far. Donald
Tusk, the head of the European Council, he went out of his way to
say Britain mustn't deal by laterally, with individual
countries, it has to deal with the EU as a block. Was it mischiefmaking
to add this bit in about Spain? Those two things do not tally. I
think on our part, when I say we, I mean the Foreign Office and Number
10, we dropped the ball. By excluding Gibraltar from the letter
of Article 50, they gave an opportunity to the Spanish to steal
the narrative. Why this is important, presentation, things
looked like they were going quite well for Theresa May when she handed
over the letter, for a few hours, and suddenly, you have this
incredible symbolism of Gibraltar. For Brexiteers, the idea that there
could be some kind of diminishment or failure in relation to Gibraltar,
it would be a very symbolic illustration of things not going
entirely to plan. Forget the detail, it does not look great. Gibraltar
got mentions in the white paper. They did not get a mention in the
Article 50 notification. Do you think the British Government did not
see this coming? To be honest, I do not think it would make a bit of
difference. Theresa May could have an entire chapter in her letter to
Donald Tusk and the Spanish and the EU would have still tried this on.
For me, it was as much a point of symbolism than it was for any power
grab. It was a good point to make. You need to know, Britain, you are
not in our club, we will not have your interests at heart. Officials
after the press conference, they went on to talk about it saying it
is a territorial dispute. It is not! Gibraltar is British. It is very
much a shot across the bow is. Whether it comes to pass, it is
still yet to be seen. I feel we will be chasing hares like this for the
next few years. There will be many other examples. They are greatly
empowered by the whole process. Britain has not really got... It has
got to wait and hear what their interpretation of Brexit is. They
will negotiate, we will negotiate accordingly. I have some sympathy
about the letter, the Article 50 letter. They agonised over it, so
much to get right in terms of balance and tone. It would have been
absurd to start mentioning Skegness and everything else. Why not!
Skegness, what did they do? It is a real example of how the dynamic now
changes. The Spanish royals are going to come here in a couple of
months, that could be interesting. It will be good feelings breaking
up, I am sure. -- breaking out. So, after a historic week,
the UK is now very much But will it be a smooth
journey to the exit door? Or can we expect
a bit of turbulence? Are you taking back
control, Prime Minister? Big days in politics usually
involve people shouting and the Prime Minister getting
in a car. It is only a few hundred metres
from Downing Street to Parliament. But the short journey is the start
of a much longer one and we do not know exactly
where we will all end up. This is a historic moment
from which there can Moments earlier, this Dear John,
sorry, Dear Don letter, was delivered by Britain's
ambassador in Brussels to the EU He seemed genuinely upset
to have been jilted. Back in Westminster,
hacks from around the world were trying to work out what it
all meant for the So, here it is, a copy
of the six-page letter The letter reaffirms the PM's
proposal to have talks on the exit deal and a future trade deal
at the same time. It also mentioned the word
"security" 11 times and stated a failure to reach agreement
would mean cooperation in the fight against crime
and terrorism would be weakened. Later, our very own Andrew got
to ask her what would happen if Britain left the European
policing agency, Europol. We would not be able to access
information in the same way as we would as a member,
so it is important, I think, we are able to negotiate
a continuing relationship that enables us to work together
in the way that we have. That night, the
Brexiteers were happy. We did not have a Mad
Hatter, but now we do. Down the street, even the Remainers,
having a Mad Hatters' tea party, I am not sure that is
actually Boris, though. The next morning, the papers
suggested Theresa May would use security as a bargaining tool
and threaten to withdraw the UK's cooperation in this area
if no deal was struck. Downing Street denied it,
as did the Brexit Secretary. We can both cope, but we
will both be worse off. That seems to be a statement
of fact, it is not a threat, David Davis had other
business that morning, introducing the Great Repeal Bill,
outling his plans to transfer all EU law into British
law to change later, It is not without its critics
but the Brexit Secretary said, among other benefits,
it would make trade talks easier As we exit the EU and seek
a new deep and special partnership with the European Union,
we are doing so from a position where we have the same
standards and rules. It will also ensure we deliver
on our promise to end the supremacy of European Union law
in the UK as we exit. There was, though, a small
issue with the name. The Government hit an early hurdle
with the Great Repeal Bill. Parliamentary draughtsmen said
they were not allowed Great(!)
so it is just the Repeal Bill. So far, it had been
a tale of two cities. By Friday, there was another,
Valletta in Malta, where EU leaders were having a meeting
and President Tusk, yes, him again, set out draft guidelines
for the EU Brexit strategy. Once, and only once,
we have achieved sufficient progress on the withdrawal can we discuss
the framework for our Starting parallel talks
on all issues at the same time, as suggested by some in the UK,
will not happen. The EU 27 does not and will not
pursue a punitive approach. Brexit in itself is
already punitive enough. The pressure on Theresa May to get
the Brexit process going has now gone and the stage is being set
elsewhere for the showdown But face-to-face discussions
are not likely to happen Before May or early June. No one is
celebrating just yet. We're joined now from Kent
by the former Conservative The EU says it will not talk about a
future relationship with the UK until there has been sufficient
progress on agreeing the divorce bill. Should the UK agree to this
phased approach? Well, I think you can make too much about the sequence
and timing of the negotiations. I assume that it will be a case of
nothing is agreed until everything is agreed and so any agreements that
might be reached on things talked about early on will be very
provisional, so I think you can make a big deal about the timing and the
sequence when I do not think it really matters as much as all that.
Don't people have a right in this country to be surprised of the talk
of a massive multi-billion pound divorce settlement? I do not
remember either side making much of this in the referendum, do you? No.
A select committee of the House of Lords recently reported and said
that there was no legal basis for any exit fee. We will have to see
how the negotiations go. I think some of the figures cited so far are
wildly out of kilter and wildly unrealistic. We will have to see
what happens in the negotiations. As one of your panel commented earlier,
there will be lots of hares to pursue over the next couple of years
and we should not get too excited about any of them. Would you accept
that we make... It may not be anything like the figures Brussels
is kicking around of 50, 60 billion euros, do you think we will have to
make a one-off settlement? If we get everything else we want, if we get a
really good trade deal and access for the City of London and so on,
speaking for myself, I would be prepared to make a modest payment.
But it all depends on the deal we get. What would modest be? Oh, I
cannot give you a figure. We are right at the start of the
negotiations. I do not think that would be agreed until near the end.
The EU says that if there is a transition period of several years
after the negotiations, and there is more talk of that, the UK must
remain subject to the free movement of peoples and the jurisdiction of
the European Court of Justice, would that be acceptable to you? It
depends on the nature of the transitional agreement. We are
getting well ahead of ourselves here. You cannot, I think, for any
judgment as to whether there should be a transitional stage until you
know what the final deal is. If there is to be a final deal. And
then you know how long it might take to implement that deal. That is
something I think that it is really rather futile to talk about at this
stage. It may become relevant, depending on the nature of the deal,
and that is the proper time to talk about it and decide what the answer
to the questions you pose might be. Except the EU has laid this out in
its negotiation mandate and it is reasonable to ask people like
yourself, should we accept that? It is reasonable for me to say, they
will raise all sorts of things in their negotiating mandate and we do
not need to form a view of all of them at this stage. Let me try
another one. The EU says if they do agree what you have called a
comprehensive free trade deal, we would have to accept EU constraints
on state aid and taxes like VAT and corporation tax. Would you accept
that? Again, I am not sure quite what they have in mind on that. We
will be an independent country when we leave and we will make our own
decisions about those matters. Not according to know that -- to the
negotiating mandate. As I have said, they can put all sorts of things in
the negotiating guidelines, it does not mean we have to agree with them.
No doubt that is something we can discuss in the context of a free
trade agreement. If we get a free trade agreement, that is very
important for them as well as for us, and we can talk about some of
the things you have just mentioned. Can you please leave a 20 without
having repatriated full control of migration, taxis and the law? I
think we will have repatriated all three of those things by the time of
the next general election. How high would you rate the chances of no
deal, and does that prospect worry you? I think the chances are we will
get the deal, and I think the chances are we will get a good deal,
because that is in the interests of both sides of this negotiation. But
it is not the end of the world if we do not get a deal. Most trade in the
world is carried out under World Trade Organisation rules. We would
be perfectly OK if we traded with the European Union, as with
everybody else, under World Trade Organisation rules. It is better to
get the deal, and I think we will get the deal, because it is in the
interests of both. Let me ask you about Gibraltar. You have campaigned
in Gibraltar when the sovereignty issue came up under the Tony Blair
government. The EU says that Spain should have a veto on whether any
free-trade deal should apply to the Rock. How should the British
government replied to that? As it has responded, by making it
absolutely clear that we will stand by Gibraltar. 35 years ago this
week, Andrew, another woman Prime Minister Centre task force is
halfway across the world to protect another small group of British
people against another Spanish-speaking country. I am
absolutely clear that our current woman Prime Minister will show the
same resolve in relation to Gibraltar as her predecessor did.
This is not about Spain invading Gibraltar, it is not even about
sovereignty, it is about Spain having a veto over whether any
free-trade deal that the UK makes with the EU should also apply to
Gibraltar. On that issue, how should the British government respond? The
British government should show resolve. It is not in the interests
of Spain, really, to interfere with free trade to Gibraltar. 10,000
people who live in Spain working Gibraltar. That is a very important
Spanish interest, so I am very confident that in the end, we will
be able to look after all the interests of Gibraltar, including
free trade. Michael Howard, thank you for joining us from Kent this
morning. Although sometimes it seems
like everyone has forgotten, there are things happening
other than Brexit. In less than five weeks' time,
there will be a round of important domestic elections and there's a lot
up for grabs. Local elections take place
on the 4th of May in England, In England, there are elections
in 34 councils, with 2,370 The majority are county councils,
usually areas of strength Large cities where Labour usually
fares better are not Six regions of England will also
hold elections for newly created combined authority mayors,
and there will be contests for directly elected mayors,
with voters in Manchester, Liverpool and the West Midlands
among those going to the polls. In Scotland, every seat in all 32
councils are being contested, many of them affected
by boundary changes. Since these seats were last
contested, Labour lost all but one Meanwhile, every seat in each
of Wales' 22 councils All but one was last elected
in 2012 in what was a very strong year for Labour,
though independent candidates currently hold
a quarter of council seats. According to the latest
calculations by Plymouth University Election Centre,
the Tories are predicted to increase their tally by 50 seats,
despite being in government, But the dramatic story in England
looks to be with the other parties, with the Lib-Dems possibly winning
100 seats, while Ukip could be seeing a fall,
predicted to lose 100 seats. Though the proportional system
usually makes big changes less likely in Scotland,
the SNP is predicted to increase both the number of seats
they hold, and the number In Wales, Labour is defending a high
water mark in support. Last year's Welsh Assembly elections
suggest the only way is down, with all the parties making modest
gains at Labour's expense. Joining me now is the BBC's
very own elections guru, Professor John Curtice
of the University of Strathclyde. Good to see you again. Let's start
with England. How bad are the selection is going to be for Labour?
Labourer not defending a great deal because this is for the most part
rural England. The only control three of the council they are
defending and they are only defending around 500 seats, I nearly
a quarter are in one county, Durham. Labour's position in the opinion
polls is weakened over the last 12 months and if you compare the
position in the opinion polls now with where they were in the spring
of 2013 when these seats in England were last fought, we are talking
about a 12 point swing from Labour to conservative. The estimate of 50
losses may be somewhat optimistic for Labour. Of the three council
areas they control, two of them, Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire,
could be lost, leaving labourer with virtually a duck as far as council
control is concerned in these elections in England. In England,
what would a Liberal Democrat reserve urgently great? That is the
big question. We have had this picture since the EU referendum of
the Liberal Democrats doing extraordinarily well in some local
by-elections, gaining seats that they had not even fought before, and
in other areas, doing no more than treading water. We are expecting a
Liberal Democrat skin because the lost the lot -- the lost lots of
ground when they were in coalition with the Conservatives. It is
uncertain. A patchy performance may well be to their advantage. If they
do well in some places and gain seats, and elsewhere do not do
terribly well and do not waste votes, they may end up doing
relatively well in seats, even if the overall gaining votes is likely
to be modest. The elections for mayors, they are taking place in
the Labour will that be a hefty consolation prize for the Labour
Party? It ought to be, on Teesside, Merseyside, Greater Manchester. We
are looking at one content very closely, that is the contest for the
mayor of the West Midlands. If you look at what happened in the general
election in 2015, labourer work nine points ahead of the Conservatives in
the West Midlands. If you look at the swing since the general
election, if you add that swing to where we were two years ago, the
West Midlands now looks like a draw. Labour have to worry about a
headline grabbing loss, and the West Midlands contest. If they were to
lose, that wooden crate -- that would increase the pressure for
their own Jeremy Corbyn to convince people that they can turn his
party's fortunes around, and in truth at the moment, they are pretty
dire. The West Midlands has Birmingham as its heart.
Chock-a-block with marginal seats. It always has been. I always
remember election night and marginal seats in the West Midlands.
Scotland, the SNP is assaulting Labour's last remaining power base.
The biggest prizes Glasgow. Will it take it, the SNP? Whether the SNP
will gain control of Glasgow is uncertain. If you look at what is
happening in local government by-elections let alone the opinion
polls, in 2012, when these seats were last fought, Labour did
relatively well, only one percentage point behind the SNP who were rather
disappointed with the result compared to other elections. No sign
of that happening this time alone -- this time around. Polls put the SNP
ahead. By-elections have found the SNP advancing and Labour dropping by
double digits. Labour are going to lose everything they currently
control in Scotland, the SNP will become the dominant party, the
question is how well they do. In Scotland there is a Conservative
revival going on. The Conservatives did well in recent local government
by-elections. At the moment, Labour are expected to come third north of
the border in the local elections, repeating the third they suffered in
the Holyrood elections last year. In Wales, Labour is expecting to lose
control of a number of councils. They are the main party in 12 of 22
local authorities. How bad could it be? We're expecting Labour to lose
ground. In the opinion polls when these seats were last fought,
labourer in the high 40s. Now they are not much above 30%. Cardiff
could well join Glasgow was no longer being a Labour stronghold.
Look out for Newport. Some of the South Wales councils that Labour
control, Labour is probably too but occasionally, Plaid
Cymru surprises in this area. They managed to win the Rhondda seat in
the assembly elections. Jeremy Corbyn has said he wants to be
judged on proper elections, council elections as opposed to opinion
polls, but even if he does as badly as John has been suggesting, does it
affect his leadership? I think it does on two counts. It will affect
his own confidence. Anyone who is a human being will be affected by
this. He might go into his office and be told by John McDonnell and
others, stand firm, it is all right, but it will affect his confidence
and inevitably it contributes to a sense that this is moving to some
kind of denoument, at some point. In other words, while I understand the
argument that he has won twice in a leadership contest, well, within 12
months, I wonder whether this can carry on in a fixed term parliament,
up until 2020, if it were to do so. On two France, it will have some
impact. I am not seeing it will lead to his immediate departure, it will
mark, but if these things are as devastating as John suggests, it
will have an impact. Tom, I'll be looking at a Lib Dem fightback? That
is the $64,000 question. It would seem that we should be. One massive
reason we're not having a general election a time soon, apart from the
fact that Theresa May does not believe in these things, she
believes in pressing on, it is because Tory MPs in the South West
who took the Lib Dem seats, they were telling Number 10 they were
worried they were going to lose their seats back to the Lib Dems.
The Lib Dems never went away and local government. They have got
other campaigners and activists. It looks credible that they will be the
success story of the whole thing. Ukip leader, Paul Nuttall, he says
this will be the most difficult local elections his party will face
before 2020. A bit of management of expectations. It is unlikely to be a
good time for Ukip. They are right to manage expectations. The results
will be horrible for Ukip. I agree with Tom about the Lib Dem
threat to the Tories. Talking to some senior figures within the Tory
party earlier this week, I was picking up that they are worried
about 30-40 general election seeds being vulnerable to the Lib Dems
because of the Labour collapse. I would normally agree with Steve
about the resilience of politicians, the capability of withstanding
repeated blows, but Jeremy Corbyn is not in the normal category. I think
he is, in the sense that although he get solace from winning leadership
contest, anyone who leads a party into the kind of, it is not going to
be that vivid, because they are not defending the key seats. If they
were to win Birmingham, say, and get slaughtered by the SNP in Scotland,
it will undermine what is already a fairly ambiguous sense of
self-confidence. We need to leave it there. Thank you, John Curtice.
Well, with those elections on the horizon, is Labour where it
Former leader Ed Miliband was on the Andrew
Marr Show earlier and he explained the challenge Labour faces
It is easier for other parties, if you are the Greens or the
Liberal Democrats you're essentially fishing in the 48% pool.
If you are Ukip, you are fishing in the 52% pool.
Labour is trying to do something much harder,
which is to try and speak for the whole country,
and by the way, that is another part of
Our attack on Theresa May, part of it is she's
Ignoring the verdict going into this, saying,
let's overturn it, looks like ignoring the 52%.
By the way, there is more that unites Remainers
and Leavers than might first appear, because they share common
concerns about the way the country is run.
Joining me now is the Shadow Health Secretary, Jon Ashworth.
Welcome to the programme. Alastair Campbell told me on the BBC on
Thursday that he is fighting to reverse the referendum result. Ed
Miliband says that Remain needs to accept the result, come to terms
with it. Who is right? We have to accept the referendum result. I
campaigned passionately to remain in the European Union. The city I
represent, Leicester, voted narrowly to remain in the European Union.
Sadly the country did not. We cannot overturn that and be like kinky
nude, trying to demand the tide go back out. We have to accept this
democratic process. We all voted to have a referendum when the relevant
legislation came to Parliament. How bad will the local elections before
Labour? Let us see where we get to on election night when I am sure I
will be invited on to one of these types of programmes... The election
date, the following day. But it does look like you will lose seats across
the board in England, Scotland and Wales. What did you make of what
Steve Richards said about the impact on Jeremy Corbyn's leadership? We
have to win seats, we cannot fall back on the scales suggested. No,
your package was right, it tends to be Tory areas, but generally, we
have to be winning in Nottinghamshire, Lancashire, those
types of places because they contain a lot of the marginal constituencies
that decide general elections. The important places in the elections
are towns like Beeston, towns you have not heard of, but they are
marginal towns in marginal swing constituencies. We have to do well
in them. We will see where we are on election night but my pretty is to
campaign hard in these areas over the next few weeks. Even people who
voted Labour in 2015, they prefer Theresa May to Mr Corbyn as Prime
Minister, a recent poll said. Isn't that extraordinary? I have not seen
that. I will look it up. It was you Government. -- YouGov. It is
important we win the trust of people. You are not winning the
trust of people who voted for you in 2015. We have to hold onto people
who voted for us in 2015 and we have to persuade people who voted for
other parties to come to us. One of the criticisms I have of the debate
that goes on in the wider Labour Party, do not misunderstand me, I am
not making a criticism about an individual, but the debate you see
online suggests that if you want to get people who voted Conservative to
switch to Labour it is somehow a betrayal of our principles, it was
not. Justin Trudeau said Conservative voters are our
neighbours, our relatives. We have to persuade people to switch from
voting Conservative to voting Labour as well as increasing our vote among
nonvoters and Greens. It seems like you have a mountain to climb and the
mountain is Everest. Another poll, I am not sure if you have seen this,
in London, the Bastian of Labour, the Bastian of Remain, Mr Corbyn is
less popular than even Ukip's Paul Nuttall. That is beyond
extraordinary! I do not know about that. The most recent set of
elections in London was the mayoral election where the Labour candidate
city: won handsomely. He took the seat of a conservative. We took that
of a conservative. It was a year ago. We did well then. You had an
anti-Jeremy Corbyn candidate. I think he nominated Jeremy Corbyn,
from memory. We have not got elections in London but our
elections are in the county areas and the various mayoral elections...
What about the West Midlands? In any normal year, mid-term, as the
opposition, Labour should win the West Midlands. John Curtis says it
is nip and tuck. It has always been a swing region but we want to do
well, of course. We want to turn out a strong Labour vote in Dudley,
Northampton, those sorts of places. They are key constituencies in the
general election. Does Labour look like a government in waiting to you?
What I would say is contrast where we are to what the conservative
garment is doing. I asked you about Labour, you do not get to tell me
about the Conservatives. Does it look like a government in waiting to
you? Today we are exposing the Conservatives... Reminding people
the Conservatives are breaking the pledge on waiting times of 18 weeks
so lots of elderly people waiting longer in pain for hip replacements
and cataract replacements. Yesterday the Housing spokesperson John Healey
was exposing the shortcomings in the Help to Buy scheme. The education
spokesperson has been campaigning hard against the cuts to schools.
Tom Watson has been campaigning hard against some of the changes the
Government want to introduce in culture. The Shadow Cabinet are
working hard to hold the Government's feet to the fire. Does
it look like a government in waiting? Yes. It took you three
times! There is a social care crisis, schools funding issue, a
huge issue for lots of areas, the NHS has just got through the winter
and is abandoning many of its targets. You are 18 points behind in
the polls. We have to work harder. What can you do? The opinion polls
are challenging but we are a great Social Democratic Party of
government. On Twitter today, lots of Labour activists celebrating that
the national minimum wage has been in place for something like 16 years
because we were in government. Look of the sweeping progressive changes
this country has benefited from, the NHS, sure start centres, an assault
on child poverty, the Labour Party got itself in contention for
government. I entirely accept the polls do not make thrilling reading
for Labour politicians on Sunday morning, but it means people like me
have to work harder because we are part of something bigger than an
individual, we are in the business of changing things for the British
people and if we do not do that, if we do not focus on that, we are
letting people down. Is Labour preparing for an early election
question Billy burqa? Reports in the press of a war chest as macro for an
early election? The general election coordinator called for a general
election when Theresa May became Prime Minister. We are investing in
staff and the organisational capability we need. By the way, the
Labour Party staff do brilliant work. A bit of nonsense on Twitter
having a go at them. They do tremendous work. Whenever the
election comes, they will be ready. Jon Ashworth, thank you.
Coming up on the Sunday Politics here in the southwest.
Will it get employers to train up British workers instead?
Effectively they are making the UK software industry less competitive,
less productive and therefore giving an advantage to
For the next 20 minutes I'm joined by Tudor Evans,
the Labour group leader on Plymouth City Council,
and the Conservative MP for St Ives, Derek Thomas.
So, after nine months, the two-year journey towards the EU
Derek, are we going to see anything concrete happen from now
I think we will see some clear ideas about the negotiation,
The Prime Minister has been very clear, and it is important
for all of us that the rights of EU nationals is on the agenda,
There is lots of consultation going on.
The industrial strategy, food and farming, things
Will we see anything specific because we have
this Great Repeal Bill, which is almost a funny name
because it should be called an integration bill.
Won't the time be taken up with integrating all these
policies into UK law, rather than making any changes?
I think what we will see is clear direction of travel
about the destiny the UK wants to go, and the journey
You're right, the deal will be in two years,
and it is only then we will get to see.
I guess what you're talking about is concrete.
Tudor, how is Labour going to hold the government to account?
And it is getting tighter because our clock has started.
But the EU said, hang on a minute, we're not ready yet,
we have German elections to sort out, and we cannot really decide
what is going to happen until we know what's happening
in Germany because they are such a big player.
The German elections are not until autumn.
He hasn't specifically said that, that is just no set timetable.
The clock is ticking, the two-year button has been pressed
So the one bit of element of surprise we had available to us,
Should Theresa May have waited before triggering Article 50?
During negotiations there are two things that are going to happen.
First of all you've got to decide what it is you want to achieve.
They have decided that yet, other than getting out
of the European Union, and secondly you have to have
So here we are in a situation where our precious time
is being wasted waiting for somebody to come to the table.
We could come back to all of this but we have to move on
because we are looking outside the EU because companies who employ
skilled workers from outside the EU are about to start paying
The government is imposing a levy of ?1,000 a year
The idea is to encourage employers to train Brits instead,
but is it another hurdle for firms in the south-west, many
about recruitment problems anyway with Brexit on the horizon?
A changing landscape with high-tech jobs taking the place
of Cornwall's old industries, but how will government plans
to control immigration suit companies with global ambitions?
A software development company based in this EU funded building says that
since the referendum, the number of EU nationals
Rapidly expanding, the firm grew from 55 to 90
With hopes to double again this year.
Around a quarter of the workforce comes from outside the UK,
spanning 18 nationalities, from Asia, Africa, South America,
Simply because of the need to meet demand quickly.
A new ?1,000 a year levy on skilled workers from outside the EU will hit
Effectively they are making the UK software industry less competitive,
less productive and therefore giving an advantage to
That means that work that would have been done in the UK with all the tax
being paid in the UK will have to go abroad.
Which really is a bit silly because we're shooting
A ministerial hint that post Brexit this levy also apply for each
skilled recruit from within the EU is quickly dismissed.
The Home Office said a whole range of options could be considered
to control immigration once we leave the EU.
But new Romanian arrival Daniel says it is uncertainty like this that
will make others like him already think twice.
They will be less likely to come here, they will feel...
I guess everyone will feel the same, uncertainty.
People working in my professions, people working in other
The government doesn't want to tell us what the plan is,
if they have a plan, and ultimately we cannot rely
on a government that doesn't appear to know what it's doing to know
exactly where we're going to be in a year or two.
Ultimately, if we do reach the limit, that is where will have
to look at a contingency plan of setting up an office
It is not just the high-tech industry.
Health and social care, farming, hotels and restaurants,
All are sectors traditionally reliant on thousands
of non-UK workers from both within the EU and beyond.
And tourism leaders are warning there must be a route into the UK
I'm sure people who voted to control immigration as part of the Brexit
referendum didn't want people that were British to be held up
in their careers are held down in jobs when they could advance
because of not thinking this through.
It is all very solvable but it has to be addressed,
and there has to be a dialogue with the industry but also
with the British people to explain that we do need labour supply
to have a healthy economy so we can all progress.
Ministers say the new skills levy is designed to incentivise firms
Meanwhile the government's post Brexit policy on immigration
was no clearer this week, with the Prime Minister saying
she cannot guarantee it will be significantly lower.
Derek, is this really the right policy to introduce
a levy on those very companies perhaps in the south-west
Firstly, we are talking about skilled jobs,
and there is an incentive because what we're trying to do,
and the government, several governments have tried to wrestle
with this, is the lack of productivity in British
workforce, but also the fact that we just had this huge skills
Surely you should phase this in, then, if those companies
need skilled workers now and they are being charged ?1000
to bring in a person who is already skilled,
We heard the software manager saying all that will happen is they will be
relocating abroad and take the jobs and taxation with them.
He was talking about what happened with Brexit.
No, he was talking about what would happen if he was charged ?1000
This isn't a new idea, this is something we announced over
Most people would agree that we are saying to British
employers, and we're talking about large employers,
the small employers and charities pay a much smaller charge,
and there are many that would be exempt from this.
But actually we are trying to get employers to take much more
interest in continuing training people that work for them
so they continue to train through their careers.
But what I would say is the obvious point,
Because what would help, if there is a problem and we haven't
had it described to us what problem this is solving,...
Immigration, I suppose, to try to bring the figures
What they are saying is that it a displacement of British
intellectual property from people outside coming in to do those jobs.
And the kinds of companies we talking about here,
high-net value companies, they can be anywhere, they can set
So this is a disincentive to come to the UK?
Yes, the opposite of what is intended.
It will stop people coming and setting up companies here,
and may move successful companies abroad.
Where a business can demonstrate there are no skills
in a country that suit the demand, there are
What we're trying to say is employers should look
in the British workforce, people in the UK today,
and may well be from around the rest of the world, is their skills
today they use today, rather than take a short cut?
Aside from skills, this is about immigration.
A lot of people voted for Brexit on the basis they wanted less people
Surely you can give a figure for the maximum number of people
No, because this is about what skills are needed
David Cameron spoke about the tens of thousands.
He never managed to achieve under 100,000.
I suppose this idea is to try to reduce the number
You're right, I do not think we are talking about a figure,
we are talking about the needs of the British industry
But what we're talking about here is already there are very
strict rules about people coming from outside the European
There are, so it is not working already, the immigration policy?
We're not providing the skills that British people want,
not investing in the skills of British workers.
Labour has not come up with a figure either, has it?
Excuse me, again, I'm not here to defend Labour.
Let us talk about the government for a minute because it is the policy.
You're the opposition and you need to be...
This would be my idea, you asked me the question,
this is at a time when grants for nursing bursaries are being cut,
where university tuition fees have trebled, where the incentive
for young people to upscale and training is being removed
all over the place, and so the preventative work
the government should be doing is investing in the workforce
of tomorrow, not punishing the workforce of today.
But this policy tries to do that in a way.
It takes three or four years to get a graduate through,
it takes a moment to get a company to decide if had enough
There has been a huge growth in modern apprenticeship degree
level skills in this country, a massive intake on that.
So we are training young people, there's huge progress.
There is a legion of unemployed young people who cannot get work
There is no evidence to support this policy.
Another thing I'd like to talk about with the policy is,
it seems strange at a time when you're trying to create
fairness in bringing in people from outside the country,
so from the EU and outside the EU, but you're penalising those
And also, you need to go to those countries and try to have a good
We're not penalising the employers outside the European Union.
We're saying to employers in the UK, when you look for people
That includes the European Union, we are still part of
At the moment that is where we are, we're looking at how
we manage to grow the skills within the country, including
Let me give you one example of why this
We just had an enterprise zone set up in Plymouth to charge zero rates
for businesses to come into the country.
For the very companies that this levy will hit hardest.
So this is a disincentive that is much bigger
than the incentives we are able to provide to attract good
We will follow this and see what happens.
As the NHS wrestles with record demand from patients,
local pharmacies say they are taking the heat off GP surgeries
and hospitals by providing advice and treatment on the high street.
But a big cut in the funding they get is leading to fears
of closures, and claims the government's prescription
is limiting their ability to support the NHS.
On drugs and medicines, the National Health service brings
Today that figure is closer to ?17 billion.
Last December the government implemented funding cuts to local
Because they get paid in arrears, it's only now those cuts
The pharmacy gets paid for dispensing prescriptions,
but we obviously do loads of extra things that have a huge amount
Free triage, you can see a pharmacist without an appointment,
highly trained health care professional with ready access,
free delivery services, and those are the things that
are going to be at risk, and those are the things we have
to maybe cut back on, will we reduced opening
It seems at odds with the government's message
and NHS England's message of going to the pharmacy first
Nick is a third-generation pharmacist, who started working
on his grandfathers pharmacy in Newquay, stacking
Now he employs 18 people to work with him dispensing 1000
He feels the government isn't listening on understanding the value
of what the community pharmacies can deliver.
Pharmacists feared thousands of dispensaries may have
to shut, which reminds him of other community closures.
The post office, village pub and the community pharmacy
were always the centre of rural life.
If you take the example of a small village near lands end,
If you take the example of a small village near Land's End,
no additional pharmacy for at least seven or eight miles,
already they are having to reduce their delivery service.
As pharmacist and caring professionals, we want to deliver
this, but it's really hard to do it under the cost
Lynn is a carer for her dad who is 92, and also her
She says she depends on Nick and his team who deliver drugs
It doesn't make sense, it is total false economy.
I don't know who makes these decisions, I really don't.
You know, there are posters up saying, when to go to your GP,
when to go to the hospital, and when you can cut those people
And they are going to reduce the pharmacies.
I cannot imagine them not being there and being part
and then the government have got three of us to look after.
The Department of Health in a statement said,
they believe the changes implemented last December will improve
the service offered to the public, for example by further integrating
They say they are ensuring they make better use of pharmacists' valuable
clinical skills and allocate taxpayers money more efficiently.
Let's look at developing the role of the community pharmacist to help
aid and support the rest of the health care system.
Pharmacy is the first port of call especially at the weekend.
People in crisis come to us first because we are here.
My worry is if that reduces, then we're not there.
Derek, I know you're interested in this because you raised it
But it does seem strange, doesn't it, at a time when you're
hoping pharmacies can pick up the slack from GP surgeries to start
We need to look closely as it evolves.
You're right, I was the first MP to raise it, to hold
a debate in Parliament, just weeks after the government
wrote to pharmacies explaining what they were hoping to achieve.
And there is a real opportunity for pharmacies to bring
The lady in your clip is right, she has a service from her pharmacy
which is unequalled because they are so close to home,
and often they will deliver out of hours and often
Quite rightly they take the pressure off GPs,
and they can do great work to manage long-term conditions.
But it is also worth the pharmacies...
My particular debate and argument for all of last year was to protect
rural community pharmacy because they are the ones...
One of which in your constituency that we mentioned there,
reducing deliveries in an area where there are very few buses.
That is right, they have reduced the hours to provide the service,
I think they are delivering the same amount of goods.
But David is a really good example of how brilliant
And they could do without having the cuts.
Tudor, is it a mistake to cut subsidies to pharmacies?
It is devastating for the little guys, the independents.
If you are Boots, you can sell more hairdryers
or aftershave or chocolate, and all the rest of it.
Lines that are not carried in small community pharmacies.
They rely on this grant to keep them going.
The context for the city is just as important because you think
that is where the independents are, on the estates.
You wouldn't see Boots on a rundown estate, but you would see
What about this policy to try and get people out of GP surgeries
It is another example of, instead of having
a Blackadder of policy-making, we have a Baldrick.
Because they are saying one thing, this "cunning plan",
to have everyone go from GP to the pharmacy at the same time as
cutting and threatening the availability of pharmacies.
Should Labour have done a bit more than you were in government
Once again you're asking me about labour.
I know that, but let's talk about government four minutes
-- I know that, but let's talk about government for a minute
because I think Labour's record for developing pharmacies.
Look at Plymouth, and the number of new pharmacies that sprung up
next to new doctor surgeries and walk in centres...
That sounds good, that sounds like action.
Maybe they've had a bit too much money over the years?
Here we are, you're dammed if you do and damned if you don't.
It's important we understand what is being changed.
At the moment, a pharmacy, including the multiples,
just received a fixed fee for existing and it didn't really
They can do just over 2000 transactions, and that was it.
My argument was for the rural pharmacy.
In the high street if you have nine pharmacies close
together in a town centre, the government are being each
of them the fixed fee just for existing, whether or not
I'm old enough to remember when the Conservatives
It is time for our regular round-up of the political week in 60 seconds.
More than ?1 billion is to be spent improving
But campaigners say passengers west of Exeter won't benefit.
NHS managers dealing with proposed cuts say they are facing
abuse at public meetings and being threatened online.
Staff are being verbally abused when they are going
about their business in the street, when they are not on work time.
Royal Marine Alexander Blackman will be freed soon, after his murder
conviction for killing a wounded Taliban fighter was
A criminal offence, yes, but massively mitigated
as three eminent world-renowned psychiatrists have stated.
And the Prime Minister was asked whether more could be spent
Brain tumour research on receives about 1%
of all research funding for cancer, and yet it kills...
It is the biggest cancer killer of children and adults under 40.
That's a very handsome man speaking in parliament!
That was you about brain tumour research.
Something you feel passionately about.
Absolutely, I came to the opening of the brain tumour research Centre
And so many people are affected by brain tumours, particularly
It is the biggest cancer killer, and yet we spend about 1%
On Friday, right across the country, it is Wear A Hat day,
celebrating this research, making people aware of what brain
tumours are and what we need to do to try to find a cure and much
I am really passionate about it and I do everything I can.
I have had shops in the High Streets in my towns collecting money
and wearing silly hats and raising profile for this research.
Tudor, I want to ask you about something else
because we saw that ?1 billion to improve the Exeter
Is it disappointing for Plymouth when we're waiting for this
Yes, they can't seem to take seriously the fact that the 15th
largest city in the country has one precarious railway line and we need
We are trying our best to get the message across.
But the government just doesn't seem to get the urgency of it.
We want to do our bit for the UK, we want to transform the economy
We cannot do that with the railway line in the state it is.
That is the Sunday Politics in the southwest.
So, what will be the effect of new tax and benefit changes
Will the Government's grand trade tour reap benefits?
And are the Lib Dems really going to replace Labour,
To answer that last question, I'm joined by from Salford
by the Lib Dem MP, Alistair Carmichael.
Michael Fallon sirs the Lib Dems will replace Labour. How long will
it take? We will have to wait and see. Anyone who thinks you can
predict the future is engaged in a dodgy game. I have been campaigning
with the Liberal Democrats in Manchester... You must not
mention... You know the by-election rules. It is only an illustration.
Across false ways of the country, the Liberal Democrats are back in
business -- across whole swathes of the country. Part of the reason why
we are getting a good response is because the Labour Party under
Jeremy Corbyn has taken such a self-destructive path. Even if you
do pretty well in the local elections, it you have to make up
lost ground from the time you did very well in previous times, you
used to have 4700 councillors. It will take you a long while to get
back to that. You will get no argument from me that we have a
mountain to climb. What I'm telling you is, and if this is not just in
this round of elections, it is in the other by-elections in places
like Richmond, and in by-elections write the length and breadth of the
country since last June, the Liberal Democrats are taking seats from the
Labour Party under Conservative Party, and not just in Brexit phobic
areas. Not just in Remain areas. But in places like Sunderland as well
which voted very heavily for Brexit. In fact, that vote was in large part
as well a protest against the way in which the Labour Party really has
taken these areas for granted over the years. That is why the ground is
fertile for us. In the local elections which is what we are
discussing today, why would anybody vote for the Liberal Democrats if
they believed in Brexit? Mr Farren has said he wants to reverse works.
If you are Brexit supporter and you are considering how to cast your
vote, first of all, I think you will be looking at the quality of
representation you can get for your local area and you are right, we
have a lot of ground to recoup from previous elections, we lost 124
seats, communities have now had a few years to reflect on the quality
of service they have been able to get and they have missed the very
effective liberal Democrat councillors they have had. This is
not just about whether you are a believer or remainer, ultimately,
that is an issue we are going to have to settle and we will settle it
not in the way the Government is having by dictating the terms of the
debate, but by bringing the whole country together. I think that is
something you can only do if, as we have suggested, you give the people
the opportunity to have a say on the deal when Theresa May eventually
produces it. The only way you could really replace Labour in the
foreseeable future would be if a big chunk of the centre and right of the
Labour Party came over and join due in some kind of new social
democratic alliance. -- joined you. There is no sign that will happen? I
do not see whether common purpose is anymore holding the Labour Party
together. That is for people in the Labour Party to make their own
decisions. Use what happened to the Labour Party in Scotland. -- you
saw. Politics moved on and left them behind and they were decimated as a
consequence of that. So was your party. It is possible the same thing
could happen to the Labour Party and the rest of the UK. Politics is
moving on and they are coming up with 1970s solutions to problems in
2017. Alistair Carmichael, thanks for joining us. Let us have a look
at some of the tax and benefit changes coming up this week. The tax
changes first of all. The personal allowance is going to rise to
?11,500, the level at which you start to pay tax. The higher rate
threshold, where you start to play at 40%, that will rise from
currently ?43,400, rising up to 40 5000. -- pay. Benefit changes,
freeze on working age benefits, removal of the family element of tax
credits and universal credit, that is a technical change but quite an
impact. The child element of tax credit is going to be limited to two
children on any new claims. The Resolution Foundation has crunched
the numbers and they discovered that when you take the tax and benefit
changes together, 80% go to better off households and the poorest third
or worse. What help -- what happened to help the just about managing? The
Resolution Foundation exists to find the worst possible statistics... It
is not clear the figures are wrong? They are fairly recent figures and I
have not seen analysis by other organisations. The Adam Smith
Institute will probably have some question marks over it. Nobody
should be surprised a Tory government is trying to make the
state smaller... And the poor poorer. The system is propped up by
better off people and so it will be those people who will be slightly
less heavily taxed as you make the state smaller. Theresa May will have
to stop just talking about the just about managing. And some of her
other language and the role of the government and the state when she
sounded quite positive... She sounded like a big government
conservative not small government. In every set piece occasion, she
says, it is time to look at the good the government can do. That is not
what you heard from Mrs Thatcher. Tony Blair and Gordon Brown would
not have dared to say it either even if they believed it. It raises a
much bigger question which is, as well as whether this is a set of
progressive measures, the Resolution Foundation constantly argued when
George Osborne announced his budget measures as progressive when they
were regressive when they checked out the figures, but also how this
government was going to meet the demand for public services when it
has ruled out virtually any tax rises that you would normally do
now, including National Insurance. There are a whole range of nightmare
issues on Philip Hammond's in-tray in relation to tax. The Resolution
Foundation figures do not include the rise in the minimum wage which
has just gone under way. They do not include the tax free childcare from
the end of April, the extra 15 hours of free childcare from September.
Even when you include these, it does not look like it would offset the
losses of the poorest households. Doesn't that have to be a problem
for Theresa May? It really is a problem especially when her
narrative and indeed entire purpose in government is for that just about
managing. What Mrs May still has which is exactly a problem they have
at the budget and the Autumn Statement is that they are still
saddled with George Osborne's massive ring fences on tax cuts and
spending. They have to go through with the tax cut for the middle
classes by pushing up the higher rate threshold which is absolutely
going to do nothing for the just about managing. When they try to
mitigate that, for example, in the Autumn Statement, Philip Hammond was
told to come up with more money to ease the cuts in tax credits, came
up with 350 million, an absolute... It is billions and billions
involved. Marginal adjustment. A huge problem with the actual tax and
benefit changes going on with what Mrs May as saying. The only way to
fix it is coming up with more money to alleviate that. Where will you
find it? Philip Hammond tried in the Budget with the National Insurance
rises but it lasted six and a half days. I was told that it was one of
the reasons why the Chancellor looked kindly on the idea of an
early election because he wanted to get rid of what he regards as an
albatross around his neck, the Tory manifesto 2015, no increase in
income tax, no increase in VAT, no increase in National Insurance, fuel
duty was not cut when fuel prices were falling so it is hardly going
to rise now when they are rising again. This is why, I suggest, they
end up in these incredibly complicated what we used to call
stealth taxes as ways of trying to raise money and invariably a blow up
in your face. Stealth taxes never end up being stealthy. It is part of
the narrative that budget begins to fall apart within hours. You have to
have sympathy, as Tom says, with Philip Hammond. No wonder he would
like to be liberated. The early election will not happen. The best
argument I have heard for an early election. The tax and spend about at
the last election was a disaster partly because the Conservatives
feared they would lose. Maybe they could be a bit more candid about the
need to put up some taxes to pay for public services and it is very
interesting what you picked up on Philip Hammond because he is
trapped. So constrained about... You can also reopen the Ring fencing and
spending and the obvious place to go is the triple lock, OAP spending.
Another case for an election. He cannot undo the promise to that
demographic. We will not get to 2020 without something breaking. The
Prime Minister, the trade secretary and Mr Hammond, they are off to
India, the Far East, talking up trade with these countries, I do not
know if any of you are going? Sadly not. Will it produce dividends? The
prime Minster is going somewhere too. No, it will not, the honest
answer. No one will do a trade deal with us because we cannot do one
because we are still in the EU and they need to know what our terms
will be with the EU first before they can work out how they want to
trade with us. This is vital preparatory work. Ministers always
go somewhere in recess, it is what they do. We will not see anything in
a hurry, we will not see anything for two years. They have to do it.
Whatever side of the joint you are on, Brexit, remain, we need to get
out there. -- the argument. We should have been doing this the day
after the referendum result. It is now several months down the line and
they need to step it up, not the opposite. You can make some informal
talks, I guess. You can say, Britain is open for business. There is a
symbolism to it. What a lot of energy sucked up into this.
Parliament is not sitting so they might as well start talking. We have
run out of energy and time. That is it for today. We are off for the
Easter recess, back in two weeks' time. If it is Sunday, it is the
Sunday Politics. Unless it is that used to recess! -- Easter recess.
Marine Le Pen has her eyes on the French presidency.
As she tries to distance herself from her party's controversial past,
we follow the money and ask, "Who's funding her campaign?"