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It's Sunday morning and this is the Sunday Politics.
A row has broken out between Number Ten and former
Cabinet minister Nicky Morgan over Brexit and, believe it or not,
the price of Theresa May's leather trousers.
I feel as though I'm one of the people that
If you do that, you are likely to attract attention,
It's not just Nicky Morgan making life difficult
for the Prime Minister - we'll be taking a look at the rest
Fully paid-up rebel Ken Clarke joins us live.
Protestors disrupted a speech by Jeremy Corbyn yesterday,
but is his biggest problem Labour's miserable performance
In the South, will be a's new bus and Corbyn critic Chris Leslie
In the South, will be a's new bus services Bill mean more local
control over return fares will only think of it as an early Christmas
present from us. We guarantee you won't
be disappointed. And speaking of guaranteed
disappointments - I'm joined by three of the busiest little elves
in political journalism. It's Iain Martin, Polly Toynbee
and Tom Newton Dunn. So, we knew relations
between Theresa May and some of her backbenchers over Europe
weren't exactly a bed of roses. But signs of how fractious things
are getting come courtesy of this morning's Mail on Sunday which has
the details of a series of texts from one of Mrs May's senior
advisers to and concerning the former Cabinet
minister Nicky Morgan. Mrs Morgan is one of those arguing
for a so-called soft Brexit, and has been pressing the PM
to reveal more of her negotiation She's also apparently irked
Downing Street by questioning Mrs May's decision to purchase
and be photographed in a ?995 pair She said she had "never spent that
much money on anything apart Mrs Morgan was due to attend
a meeting at Number 10 this week But that invitation seems to be off,
after a fairly extraordinary argument by text message
with Mrs May's joint chief She texted the MP Alistair Burt,
another of those arguing for a so-called soft Brexit,
cancelling Nicky Morgan's invitation and telling him to not "bring that
woman to Number Ten again". The following day Nicky Morgan
texted Fiona Hill, saying "If you don't like something I have
said or done, please If you don't want my views in future
meetings you need to tell them." Shortly afterwards she received
the reply "Well, he just did. And according to the Mail,
Mrs Morgan, who you'll see in our film shortly,
has now been formally banned So, Tom, much ado about nothing or
telling you about the underlying tensions over Brexit? Both, if I am
allowed to choose both. It says something about British politics
today, that this is the most important thing we can find to talk
about, because the Government are not giving us anything to talk about
cs especially on Brexit because they don't have a plan as we know. There
is is a lot of truth that are being spoken from this row, one is that
Mrs May comes into Downing Street with a lot of baggage including
spectacular fall outs with Cabinet Ministers in the past. Nicky Morgan
being one. We heard about the row over banning children from school.
She fell out with Boris Johnson, so, she then enters Number Ten with
history. When you are in Number Ten you start, you cannot be
controversial and my way but the high way, which is why Fiona Hill
kept Theresa May in the Home Office. You need to behave differently in
the top job. It is surprising Nicky Morgan hats taken such a robust
line. She seemed such a gentle soul as a minister. She did, Brexit has
done funny things to people. Everything has been shaken up. It
reveals really how paranoid they are, I mean you cannot have a
situation really in which the, in which you know, Number Ten has got
realise if the Prime Minister's entire stick is her authenticity and
incredible connection, which is genuine, with voters outside the
Metropolitan bubble, when she chooses to wear ?995 leather
trousers you have to anticipate that journalists and MPs are going to
take the mickey, that is how life works, but I think they are trying
to run Number Ten as they ran the Home Office, and you see that in the
rows they have had with Mark Carney and Boris Johnson this week, now you
might be able to run one Government department in that control freakish
way but not Government will hold together for too long, if it is run
in that fashion. By try doing the whole Government like one
department. This is just the start, Polly, we are still several months
away from triggering Article 50. We, The Tory party is split down the
middle, the thing that mattered most to the nation since the last war, it
is not frivolous. It may look as if it is about trousers, it is about
the most serious thing. What was split down the middle? Aren't the
Euro-files and the Eurosceptics used to be the outliers, it is now the
Europhiles, it is not a split down the middle. They won't vote against
Brexit but they will, I think exert the maximum influence they can, to
make sure that it is not a Brexit, a self-harming Brexit, to make sure
that the country understand, when it comes to that point, that there may
be really hard decision to make, do you want a real economic damage to
be done to the country, to your own wallet, in, in exchange for being
able to stop free movement or is that trade off in the end going to
be just too expensive? We have seen polls suggesting people are
beginning to move, and not willing, a poll out now saying people
wouldn't be willing to sacrifice any money at all, for the sake of
stopping immigration. So if itself comes to that trade off, the people
are going to need to be confronted with that choice. The Irony is, I
think the Tories are in the most exceptionally strong position, I
mean what is happening here is that British politics is being realigned
and remade along leave and remain lines, if the Prime Minister's luck
hold, the Tories are looking at being somewhere 45, 46, 47% of the
vote with an opposition split between a far left Labour Party and
depleted Liberal Democrats, that sound like a recipe for something
similar to what happened in the 1980s. You are seeing extraordinary
alliances between left and right. The Scottish referendum rebuilt
Scottish politics along the lines of pro independence, anti-independence
and now Brexit maybe doing the same. So, rows within the Conservative
Party over the price of trousers might be new,
but over Europe, not so much. And this week's Commons vote
on when the Government will fire the starting gun on Brexit,
and what it will say about its plans before it does so,
confirmed that instead of the eurosceptics
being the outsiders, it's now the Remainers
who are leading the resistance. While the Prime Minister
was schmoozing in the gold-plated Gulf this week, back home
the Commons was voting on a Labour motion forcing her
to publish a plan for Brexit. Through some parliamentary
jiggery-pokery, the Government basically got its way,
but it did provide a platform for some mischiefmaking by Tory MPs
who voted to remain, We are getting somewhat tired,
are we not, of this constant level of abuse, this constant criticism
that we are somehow Remoaners that want to thwart
the will of the people, go back on it and that we don't
accept the result. I don't like the result, and yes,
I do believe the people It's not good enough
that these things are dragged out of the Government
by opposition day motions. I'm pleased that it's happened
but I wish the Government was taking Is Nicky Morgan really
listening to her constituents I think I'm one of the people
who stuck their head above the parapet so if you do that
you're likely to attract attention, you're likely to attract abuse,
but also actually levels of support. I'm having e-mails from around
the country with people saying thank you for what you are doing,
party members around the country saying thank
you for what you are doing and saying, and I and others
will continue to do that. I just think, as a backbench
Member of Parliament, you've got to be there,
particularly when we have a weak opposition, to ask the question that
government needs to be scrutinised on before we embark
on such a huge issue. Nobody comes into politics to become
a thorn in their party leader's side, but at the end of the day it's
such a massive issue that if you don't stand up
for what you believe in, I'm not sure what the point
is of going into politics. That puts her on a collision course
with activists in her local party like Adam Stairs,
a committed leader who accuses Nicky has promised me and the rest
of our Conservative association she will be voting for Article 50
and she will support the Prime Minister's timetable,
and we have just got to trust that and hope that goes ahead,
but there's a lot of people who think she's taking sideswipes
at the Government The Conservatives are very popular,
she wants to be a Conservative MP and we want to see a Conservative
government being I have no idea what she's playing
at, I think she just needs to get on with her job as an MP,
which she does very well, Now let's head to Anna Soubry's
constituency nearby to see how her stance is going down
with the voters. If Anna Soubry doesn't fully
back Brexit, what does Well, she's going to have a little
bit of a problem because the voters, especially in this area,
they voted to come out of the EU so she will definitely
have a little bit of a problem. She should stick for
what she believes in, but I guess from a democratic
perspective she does... She has admitted the fact over
and over again that she wanted to remain, but her views
at the moment, even in her e-mails, depicted the fact she's
anti-Brexit still. Theresa May will host her most
pro-European MPs at Downing Street this week to discuss
the countdown to Brexit. Although now we know not
everyone is invited. And the MP leading the resistance
in the Commons on Wednesday was Ken Clarke, he was the only
Conservative MP who voted against the Government's plan
to trigger Article 50 by the end of March and he joins us
now from Nottingham. Welcome back to the programme Ken
Clarke. Now, tell me this when David Cameron resigned after losing the
referendum, you had to pick a new leader, which candidate did the Tory
Europhiles like you put up to deliver a so-called soft Brexit, or
no Brexit at all? Well, I can't speak for the others but I voted for
Theresa May, I gave a notorious interview, it wasn't meant to be, I
was chatting to Malcolm Rifkind but somebody turned a camera on, I
called her a bloody difficult woman which the Tory party probably needs,
compared with Margaret Thatcher and said I was going to vote for her, I
gave a vote for one of the younger ones first, but I told Teresa I
would vote for her, she was the only serious candidate in my view. You
voted for somebody you thought was a difficult woman, she is being
difficult in ways you don't like, your side of the Tory party, you had
your chance to put up somebody more in line with you, instead you shut
up, so, why the complaints about it not going in your direction? I am
not making complaint, it is not Teresa's fall we are in the dreadful
mess, she was on the Remain side, she made a good speech during the
campaign on the referendum, setting out the economic case for being in,
setting out the security case for being in, which was Home Secretary,
she was particularly expert in, it wasn't her fault that not a word it
was reported anywhere, in the national media. Now, my views have
been the same, I am afraid throughout my adult life, for the 50
years I have been in politics, and my views have been the mainstream
policy of the Conservative Party throughout all that time, I don't
expect to have a sudden conversion on the 24th June, and I think what I
owe to my constituency, and to Parliament, is that I exercise my
judgment, I make speeches giving my reasons, I make the best judgment
that I can, of what is the national interest. I understand that. I would
be a terrible hypocrite if I... Of course that is not what I am asking.
How many Conservative MPs do you think you can count on to oppose
this so-called hard Brexit? Is it 40, 20, 10, 5, 1? I have no idea,
because Anna, and Nicky, who you have just seen on the video who are
also sticking to their principle, they are only saying what they are
been saying ever since they have been in politics, probably may have
more idea than me. That is three, how many more? I
don't know, we will find out. We are living in a bubble in which the tone
of politics is getting nastier and the reporting is getting sillier, so
it is all about Theresa May's trousers and whether Boris has made
some inappropriate jokes. What we need if we are going to abandon the
basis upon which we made ourselves a leading political power in the world
for the last 40 years and the basis upon which our economy has prospered
because Margaret Thatcher got the others to adopt the single market
and we benefited from that more than any other member state, so now we
need a serious plan, a strategy. What is our relationship going to be
in the modern world? How will our children and grandchildren make the
best union they can? We need Parliament's approval of a White
Paper and then start years of negotiation. This will run and run.
This interview hasn't got time to run and run so let me get another
question in. You seem to be quoted in the mail on Sunday this morning
as saying if the Prime Minister sides too much with the heart Brexit
group, she won't survive, is that your view? Yes because only a
minority of the House of Commons think it is frightfully simple and
you can just leave. The referendum campaign, the only national media
reporting of the issues were completely silly and often quite
dishonest arguments on both sides. Let me just check this, explain to
me the basis... Know, excuse me, I have to interrupt because you said
the Prime Minister won't survive so just explain to our viewers why she
won't survive. She will be in a minority she starts adopting the
views of John Redwood or Iain Duncan Smith. It's clear majority of the
House of Commons doesn't agree with that and it would be pretty
catastrophic if that is what we were going to do when we turn up and
faced 27 of the nation state, and tell them we are pulling out of the
biggest market in the world. How long do you give the Prime Minister
then? If you don't think she will survive by going for a heart Brexit?
I don't think she will go for a heart Brexit. Really, surrounded by
David Davis and Liam Fox? Do you think Liam Fox will determine the
policy of the Cabinet? Liam has always been ferociously against the
European Union although he served in a government that was pro-European
for about two and a half years. Does he not survive either? You're trying
to reduce it to my trying to forecast Cabinet reshuffle is which
I haven't got a clue whether there will be a Cabinet reshuffle, they
may be ministers for the next ten years, I have no idea. Liam and me,
but also Liam and the majority of his Cabinet colleagues don't start
from the same place. The way forward is for them to produce a White Paper
setting out the strategy on which all the Cabinet are agreed. People
should stop leaking the Cabinet papers they are getting, they should
stop leaking against each other, get down and do the work when they have
got the agreed strategy. I'm sorry to interrupt again but we haven't
got much time. We saw in our film that a number of constituency
members in those areas which are strongly Remain MPs like yourself,
in our case in this film it was Nicky Morgan, the constituency party
members are unhappy about this. What's your message to them? Don't
they deserve an MP that reflects their way of thinking? Leavers are
unhappy and Remainers are very grateful. Mine don't go in for
abuse... That's probably because you're not on e-mail, Mr Clarke. I
get more from Remainers. I'm a great fan of Anna Soubry and Nicky Morgan,
I don't agree with them on everything, but the views they are
putting forward are the ones they've always held and I think we are doing
the Government to favour by saying what it now depends on is your
success in agreeing a policy and then explaining to the public what
you want to do. I shall be surprised if they manage that by the end of
March, I think it is best to get the policy right first but we shall see.
Have you been invited then, you say you are being helpful, have you been
invited to this meeting in Downing Street on Wednesday for the soft
Brexiteers? No, because I haven't been joining any of these groups.
It's fair to say most of my colleagues know exactly what my
views are. No doubt those that haven't had this kind of discussion
with their colleagues before have been invited. I didn't expect to be
invited. I get on perfectly well with Theresa May but I haven't been
invited, but I don't think there's much significance in that. What do
you think of the way Downing Street has handled Nicky Morgan? I feel
sorry for women in politics. I'm glad to say men in politics don't
have great lead stories about what they are wearing. Apart from my
suede shoes, I'm lucky because I'm not a very snappy dresser. It is
tedious in these days that we still have a absurd pop newspaper stories
about what they are wearing. That commenting on the Prime
Minister's trousers, is it really grounds for banishment? No, of
course not. Nikki and Teresa will have serious political discussions
and if they want to have an argument about what they are wearing, their
closest friends will advise them to keep it private. It is absurd. Given
that the party appears to be deciding it has been all -- ordered
to changes policies about Britain's relationship with the world, it
needs to be taken seriously and this Lola. Is filling a vacuum before the
serious discussion starts. Thank you for filling our vacuum this morning
and of course no one would ever criticise how you dress. Of course.
Now, seasoned observers will warn against reading too much
into parliamentary by-elections, but they can provide a vital boost
for a party leader under pressure, or provide damaging ammunition
Following a disappointing result for Labour last week in Richmond,
Jeremy Corbyn may have been hoping for an early Christmas
present at this week's contest in Lincolnshire.
In Sleaford and North Hykeham, a constituency that supported Leave
in the EU referendum, there was little Christmas cheer
for Labour as it fell from second in 2015 to fourth place.
That was at least a better performance than in
Remain-supporting Richmond Park, where the party's candiate
lost his deposit after attracting fewer voters than the reported
number of local Labour Party members.
Speaking for the Labour Party this week, MP Vernon Coaker
said their policies on other major issues were "lost to an extent
Some MPs feel that a lack of clarity is holding the party back.
This week three frontbenchers were among the 23 Labour MPs to defy
the party line and vote against a motion to begin
the process of leaving the EU by the end of March.
And a number of Labour MPs we've spoken to since Thursday's vote have
said they fear the party now runs the risk of being squeezed
by the Lib Dems and UKIP, or in the words of one,
"being cannabilised, eaten from both ends".
To compound their troubles, a national poll
released on Friday put Labour at a seven-year low, trailing 17
It's still a season of joy for many of Mr Corbyn's supporters -
they point to a series of victories under his leadership,
including a by-election win in Tooting and the London mayoral
Though neither candidate was a Corbynite.
But there's a distinct lack of goodwill on the party
of his critics - although having failed comprehensively
to challenge him this summer, what they intend to do
This morning Diane Abbott played down the significance of the
results. The reports of the Labour Party's demise are exaggerated, we
are the largest social Democratic party in Europe and the surging
membership is down to the current leadership. We have the right
policies on the NHS, investing in the economy, and as you know the
Tories are fatally split on Europe. And we're joined now
by the former mayor of London Ken Livingstone,
and the former Shadow Ken Livingstone, in the most recent
by-election Labour collapsed from second to fourth place, the one
before that your party lost its deposit. What is the positive gloss
on that? There's nothing new in this, where you have got seats which
are solidly Tory, often voters switched to Lib Dem to kick other
voters out. We have had good swings that indicate a Labour government so
don't pay too much attention. It is like Orpington 50 years ago. Labour
voters switched just to kick the Tories out. Don't read too much into
these results, Labour did win tooting so it is OK. First of all I
don't think it was a problem with the candidates in the by-elections,
they did a really good job locally, but there is an issue with those
residents and their attitudes to the national party, and I just think
that when you have warning bells going off like that, we have to
listen to what people are saying. I think what they are saying is they
want an opposition party to have a plan. So yes we have got to attack
the Conservatives where they are going wrong on the NHS, running
headlong over the cliff for a hard Brexit, but we also need a plan for
what Labour's alternative will be. When do we get that plant?
Effectively you have got it already. John McDonnell has gone on
relentlessly for the need for a massive public investment. For
decades now under Labour and Tory governments we haven't invested in
infrastructure, our roads are a disgrace, a broadband is antique. We
need to be honest about this, if Theresa May can come back and say
I've done a deal, we are leaving the EU, we will control our borders, we
won't have to pay 350 million a year and stay in the single market,
well... But that won't happen. If we are going to stumble along for two
years heading for an economic disaster, that's why only eight MPs
voted to leave, because they knew the harm it would do to their
voters. If you have got a plan, why are things getting worse for you in
the national polls, 17 points behind? If you look back, when I was
leader of Chelsea my poll rating went down... But you have not been
as bad since 1983 when you lost an election by a landslide. Over the
next two years our economy will not grow strongly, it will limp along at
best, as we get closer to Brexit it will get worse. All Labour MPs
should be focusing on the economic alternative because nobody ever wins
an election without a credible economic strategy. So as long as the
country goes to hell in a hand basket, Labour will be fine. That's
not good enough. You're not a commentator any more, you are part
of the leadership of the party. It is to you. I will continue to argue
the case for credibility, particularly in our policies, but
the leadership cannot just sit back and watch this drift. On the Brexit
situation, the Conservative manifesto at the last general
election promised it would be yes to the single market, why aren't we
holding them to account for the broken promise potentially they are
about to do? If I had still been an MP, I would have been voting with
you, rebelling, because we are not going to get any good deal to leave.
Theresa May will stumble on for a couple of years trying to balance...
The party policies were heard from Diane Abbott this morning is to get
the best possible deal to leave. And I will believe it when it happens.
So you don't believe a central part of Jeremy Corbyn's policy? Jeremy
has accepted the fact people voted to leave. He now said we now need to
get the best possible deal and you don't think it's achievable. I
don't, because why would the other 27 members give us a better deal
staying outside? You've confused me, why are you such a big supporter of
Corbyn with his policy you don't think it's achievable?
Everybody knows we are not going to get a soft exit, so we either have
the hard Brexit and we lose perhaps millions, certainly hundreds of
thousands of jobs, or we have to say we got it wrong. I mean, you, a lot
of people have been saying that all Labour's unclear on Brexit, that is
why it is going wrong, I would suggest to you, that actually what
the concentration on is the Tories are unclear about Brexit, they are
in power, that is what matters, a bigger problem for Labour is whether
Mr Corbyn's leadership will cut through or not. I think the YouGov
poll this weekend not only gave us that double punch of a 17 point lead
for the Conservatives but it had a 33 point lead, 33 point, for Theresa
May over Jeremy Corbyn, so part of the plan, think, has to be to
address this leadership issue, to make sure it is also a party that is
listening to the wider public and not just the small number of members
or the trotsites in Momentum or whoever is the latest Marxist on
the... You The thing that is ox fibbing Labour. One MP said Labour
has quoted bunkum. We have has 18 months of Labour MPs stabbing Jeremy
in the back and some in the front. The vast majority of Labour MPs have
stopped undermining Jeremy. You weren't doing that well before. Can
you imagine a situation in which you have elected a new leader and the
first year it is all about getting rid of imand undermining him. I
disagree with Tony Blair on lots of policy issue, I didn't run wound
saying this man is not fit to govern. That is because you had no
support for that at the time. The idea people will take lectures from
Ken on divisiveness, that is like takes lectures from Boris Johnson on
diplomacy, you have to make sure, yes, that we find some accommodation
after the leadership election this summer, but the plan is not there
right now, and you and the rest of the leadership has to be held
accountable for delivering that, I want to hear what the plan is. It is
FDR he told us earlier. If you have got now because as we saw in the
Autumn Statement, debt to GDP ratio at 90%, you can't convince the
public by saying we will throw more money at the problem, the public
want a credible plan, where the sums add up, that you are not making
promises that won't be delivered. They want that plan. We need to
point out our history, when Labour Waugh the election in 45 Government
debt was two times that it was now.. Now.. They generated exports and
within 50 years we virtually paid off that debt. Austerity is not the
way to go. Our economy is a disgrace compared with Germany. I agree. What
we have to start saying, there is decent jobs, where are they going to
be coming from, can we have a society based on fair play and
prosperity for everybody not just the wealthy, that means saying, some
time, that people have to contribute, they have to put in, so
we have to listen to what the public are saying on issues for instance
like immigration, as they said in the Brexit referendum, but make sure
we have our approach set out clearly, so people know there is a
ability to manage, and control these things, not just ignore them. Those
tax dodgers who launder their money through Panamanian banks. If we
crackdown on what might be 150 billion a year of tax evasion and
avoidance. That is a real outlier estimate as you know, way the
highest, you cannot build the FDR programme on tax evasion revenues,
alone, but let me ask you. You can say to Starbucks, if you are not
going to pay tax on your profits we will tax every cup of coffee. Why
don't you nationalise it? I was just checking that would be the policy.
Let me ask you this. By what time do you get, start to get worrieded if
the polls haven't given to turn round? I mean, I think they will
turn round. When do you start to get worried? If they haven't? If in a
year's time it was as bad as this we would be worried. I don't think it
will be. Jeremy and his team will knows can on the economy, and that
is wins every election. Bill Clinton, remember it's the economy
stupid. People know if you are going to spend money they want to see
where it is coming from, otherwise they will think it is their taxes
that will go up and the Conservative, Theresa May, will
scare the British public over plans that are not properly... What do you
do if things haven't got better in 12 months? We lost the leadership
election in the summer but we will hold our leadership to account. What
does that mean? It means asking for the plan, testing what the proposals
are, are they properly credible, do they make sure that they meet the
test the public... You just have to bite the bottom lip now, you
privately, a lot of you think your party is heading for catastrophe. I
don't think it is acceptable that we have this level of performance,
currently, I am sure Ken agrees the opinion polls, and those by
by-election were just not good enough. We have to show leadership,
certainly on Brexit, hold the Government to account. Attack them
for the crisis in the NHS, yes and on the economy, to deliver credible
policy force, example on defending national security and making sure we
stand up for humanitarian intervention. Final point, your
party has lost Scotland. You are now in third place behind the stories --
Tories. I never thought I would be able to say that in a broadcast, if
you lose the north too, you are heading for the smallest
Parliamentary Labour Party since the war, aren't you. But that is our
weakness, we in the 13 years of the last Labour Government neglected
rebuilding our manufacturing in the way the Germans have done. Millions
of people used to have good job, we used to have 8 million jobs in
manufacturing it is down two. It is in the north, that Jeremy's strategy
has the most relevance, of actually getting the investment and
rebuilding. All right. We will see. Come back in 12 months if not before
and we will check it out. 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, we'll be talking about Boris Johnson's tour
of the Middle East after straying off message, again,
and the protestors attempting First though, the Sunday
Politics where you are. Welcome to Sunday Politics South,
my name is Peter Henley. On today's show, the
government wants to give local councils powers
to set routes for bus operators and to decide
on But crucially they wont be
allowed to run the buses So what will that mean for rural
services already hit by First, let's meet the two
politicians who are here for the Rowenna Davis was the
candidate for a leader in And of course Donna
Jones is leader of the Conservative City Council
in Portsmouth for the Conservatives. Now there is this proposal you are
teaching at the moment, having stood for Parliament, and it is for
schools in Portsmouth. There is this proposal
from independent schools to try and provide 10,000 places at cost,
they say, with the cost That sounds like a bargain
for the government. ?5,000 per term
at Portsmouth Grammar School, they will do it
for ?5,000 for the year. I think that private
schools do do some good for a lot of children
our country and I think it is great that they want to open up a little
But there are also some costs with private schools, firstly,
the stop children getting to know each other from different
backgrounds, so people from richer backgrounds can mix with those from
different backgrounds and vice versa.
And secondly, it means that you can buy a certain amount of
Now this proposal which would essentially open up the doors
of private schools a little bit more has obviously got to be welcomed,
but you still have that massive division and those huge costs in our
society that remain entrenched under that private school system.
and this is going to be a means tested thing, this will be good.
Looking from the point of view you would say, yeah, sounds good.
For those parents that is absolutely fantastic, but you always have to
ask the question, what about everybody else who can get in?
If they are going to test those students before they come
in and they will only take perhaps the cleverest students, then what
The then therefore lose out on the talent
chance to have different students in the playgrounds.
10,000 is quite a lot as well, we are known around the
world for the quality of education and private schools, the part of
Isn't just an extension of the Grammar schools principal
I think it is about money, I think it's about the
fact that the majority of independent schools in the country
are registered charities and I think the government is looking at the
charity status for what are essentially profit-making
And yes they are education providers, and I think
that what the Independent schools commission has done is gone back to
the government, post the publication of the green paper has
set actually we want to keep the charity status
because it is very tax efficient for us.
And to offset the fact that we are getting
a benefit from the Inland Revenue, we will look to dedicate 10,000
children from across the country who otherwise wouldn't
be able to afford to have an independent education.
It is being done by hints and nods and
maybe a bit of assistance and lends the minibus
out of people use the
pool, isn't this much more straightforward and a better deal
Better than building new grammar schools, maybe.
I am not sure the government will agree to the
proposals that have been put forward by the independent schools
commission, and I think as a consequence the Green paper may well
But we do have a Chancellor is firm, he is fixated on making
sure the UK exchequer gets the best deal it can and I think it is
something that we really do need to watch and wait and see
what happens with this one because I think that a
reduction in the size of the independent sector across the UK
could mean people such as myself managing local education authorities
struggle considerably if we suddenly have to take on huge amount of more
It would be a bit upset, wouldn't it, for the whole
Yes, it would be a huge change is that proposal actually
ended up going forward but I do think, this
lot about private schools, a lot of that grammar schools, it hasn't
really talked much about what it is going to do what we are changing
with the mainstream compressors education system in this country,
which is where most of her children going.
I do support the Academy provision because what happened a few years
ago was that the ability to effectively sacked underperforming
headteachers and moved from councils as the local education authorities
but the school improvement statutory requirement remained with us, so at
the moment we are in a hybrid situation where we can't actually
remove headteachers are senior management teams that are not
performing like it we are judged by Ofstead if we are underperforming
LEA, something has to change and that is why we have been
encouraging academies because with an academy
provider of can remove a head if they are not performing.
Now this is being considered as a visionary, something that will mean
shorter journey times, improvements to business
and employment prospects and help with the housing crisis.
Linking the cities of Oxford and Cambridge, the new route is
inevitably being dubbed the Varsity line, or the brain train.
It is actually restoring a line that was
But in a first for the rail industry the track and the actual service
will be run by the same company rather than split between an
I am going to establish East West rail as a new and separate
organisation to accelerate the permission
is needed to reopen the
route and secure private sector involvement in design, build and
operate the route as an integrated organisation.
This east-west rail organisation will be established
early in the New Year as chaired by the former chief executive of
Joining us now is David Williams from the Green party in Oxfordshire,
It is not just joining Oxford and Cambridge, is it?
It is not just a railway line, it is a kind of curve of
affluence and leading-edge development without any doubt, it
brings together actually about seven different universities, all have
spin off industries into science parks and mix them all together.
There are employment hearts of the way along
this particular line and
it has been fought for four generations, really.
And there will be little hubs going out?
Yes, we got from Oxford to Bicester at the moment just about to come
And then other parts are operating, taking freight
trains at the moment. So part of the old line which was
there until 1966 are still around and still operating.
It is a matter of joining the whole thing up again.
But it is more than a railway line, it is to do with developing a way
for commuters to move between these employment
hubs which are all the
way along, whether it is Milton Keynes or Bedford
are the areas that really would benefit tremendously from this.
You have argued for more public transport, and here is happening
despite all of the talk of everything going to
and the Midlands agent, we getting something down here.
I would prefer them to do both, actually, a
northern powerhouse, there are areas they are ready,
the simple principle could be applied just as easily.
We've got this, but the problem with it is
that Grayling wants it to be a privatised system where the
operators who are using the engines and the carriages are integral to
those who are actually doing the railway line.
Surely, what he says is they are overloaded.
Of course they can cope, I am sure they
have put papers in saying we can do this, what you could do here is
actively fragment the service because you have real track to
maintenance and making sure everything is safe, when the old
system was there it was quite unsafe.
But if you have this little bit with just totally privatised it
will stand out like a sore thumb in the whole system.
Something has to be done today is go through, we have
seen lots of delays with what Railtrack are up to.
Do you support this idea of one company running the
I do, because ultimately it is about money and the
government now that this east-west connectivity between Oxford and
If they waited and it went into the list of
government Network Rail schemes it would be years and they don't want
to wait so rather than waiting they know
there is economic growth and
productivity to come from connecting the east
and the West, the top of
And it can happen without giving it to real
Is it went to Railtrack and the government
has to put money into it so by opening to private investments...
Or foreign investment, you are bringing
the scheme forward and that is surely in the UK Exchequer.
There have been serious problems before
with that complete unity of the privatised system, this was
associated with a lot of the problems are potters bar and
Hatfield crashes, or of the reasons we brought in Network Rail was
because the needed to be a greater understanding of separation of those
powers to ensure safety for passengers.
I'm not entirely sure that what we are doing is going back
to stop it is not Railtrack, it is Network Rail.
Railtrack and the very, very bad record with things
These are massive crashes and they were
all traced back to one source which was underfunding
When the introduced Network Rail the various new rules
were introduced about how much they must begin to
I think it could be fatally dangerous, all of
Seriously, you are worried about the safety?
If the main thing, taking your theme of it is about
money, if it is about profit-making, it is about profit-making then
cutting costs is a major element in that and the pressure to cut costs
This is part of a wider scheme, isn't it,
across the government, that there should be handing more
power to private operators who already run a
very expensive highly overcrowded service.
The other option, put it to the back of the queue and wait
another 15 years to get the capital investment.
It is not about making profit, it is about the capital and
the government would need to give to Network Rail to build it and I'm
confident that any private operator working in this country, building
and operating a new piece of rail will absolutely be compliant with
Yes, the Network Rail was frought with issues, sorry, Railtrack,
but this is not Railtrack, this could be
overseas investment coming into the UK,
speeding up the growth area for
When it comes to investment from somewhere
else rather than government, what we have had over the last few
years, Deutsche Bank in SNCF, we have had
that really is, they have taken stakes in the existing railway
What is going to happen after Brexit with them?
They have been the major source of external investment.
Really what has got to happen here is the government have got to come
to grips with the investment which is needed, we have given 110
Wouldn't you rather take it happening now?
I want it now, we have been campaigning...
Isn't an alternative, really, is there?
Of course it is, it is basically the government simply
going to provide the investment to get this done and
If they have a private company walking around looking for
That is what happened with the Oxford to
Bicester line, at the end of the day it ended up as the government giving
It is at least going ahead as we understand it at
Staying with the transport team, remember the old saying about
waiting ages for us to come and then you get the onec?
A government bill going through Parliament is supposed
to help with that by giving local councils more power to control local
But as a reporter has been finding out, there is some doubt about
whether it will work so well outside of the larger towns and cities.
In the old days, local councils ran pretty much all local bus companies
until deregulation and the privatisation boom of the 1980s.
That led to issues over timetables and ticketing between many different
operating companies and non-profit-making writs of election
rural areas being dropped, leaving bus
passengers at the mercy of the
Now there is a move for councils to take back more
control with the bus services Bill currently going through Parliament.
The bill gives local councils greater powers to set routes for bus
operators to run, to decide on fairer level since
the introduction of smart ticketing and other
In Dorset, some innovations contained
We've now issued smart tickets to all of our schoolchildren
so we now know when to use the bus and when
That gives us the opportunity of saying, well
So other people can use those and purchase those season tickets.
This rapid transit scheme in Gosport is
being hailed as a success of collaborative working, the 20
million per project with buses by passing traffic on congested
Passenger growth has been phenomenal, just in
the past two years alone, we have seen 70% more people
travelling but the really important thing about it
is that people will use the service, 20% of them used to use the car and
That is all well and good in the towns and
Here in Bridport there is no sort of job losses serving the towns and
conurbations, east and west of here, but as with much of the countryside,
out of the rural villages it is a very different story.
And for some the bus services Bill is not going to solve
the problem of councils cutting bus subsidies.
The bus network is in its death throes, there is another
million pounds due to be cut from it within the next few months, if you
live in her village are absolutely stymied.
In Bradpole, where I'm standing, the 73 is due to be cut.
That will affect the ability of local children going past to get to
It is going to affect the lives of hundreds of
elderly people in the villages who rely on that bus to get to market,
For Roz and others, the two community bus
schemes currently running in Dorset are inadequate.
If you look at what is happening in the health service
at the moment where GP surgeries in rural areas are likely to be
towns, how are some of those elderly people in the villages who don't
have access to their own transport going to be able to get to the
This is a major issue, it is important that we find ways of
What Roz wants is the local council to
run its own bus company as they do profitably in Redding.
The problem is, there is a clause in the bus
bill which prevents any new scheme like that.
So inevitably some communities will slip through the
It might have been the solution had you got sufficient funds to be
able to set it up in the first place.
The difficulty we have is that we don't have those depths of
Had we set up a private bus Company some
years ago we would be in a different situation.
But we are not Redding and we have to cut our cloth
To try and resolve at the council will
match fund up to ?5,000 for communities to set-up their own
The mayor's office already has the power to dictate to bus
services which services to run and when.
So is that the ticket across-the-board?
We have concerns over train pricing, we believe that
the private sector working in partnership with the best way
It allows private sector operators to innovate and do things
like as happened in other parts of the South, in terms
Taking that a further step forward we have seen passenger
growth where really strong partnership works, that has to say
Rural MPs can expect to be lobbied hard when the bill goes to
the Commons in the New Year, but for some the bus services Bill
is not the sort of fare they wanted served
You could almost say it was a turkey.
Rowenna, isn't this the place really want
You want to have the appropriate bus service, not
necessarily the system they have in London or anywhere else.
Roz articulated the need for local bus
companies really beautifully, so many people depend on them, so many
people use buses than a real journeys for example every day in
Absolutely essential for work, for all the people, for
children, it is right at the heart of the community.
Therefore it would make sense to me as a local, or
provided service rather than something done centrally.
That is what is so crazy about the current
bus services Bill that is being looked at right now, that it says
sure if you have a mayor you can set up the services, but as it stands if
you're just a local authority without a mayor you can't.
And if you are somewhere like Redding when the
council is run it for years they have the money and infrastructure.
Redding and Nottingham are both local authority run, they are in
control services in the both really popular and have one great awards.
There is one caveat I would add, because there is some things in
assumption in central government that if you give something to local
authority it will therefore be closer to the people in therefore
serve them, but actually there is a real difference
Some may provide them well if they have true
passenger voice and true worker voice but others may still seem very
different so you cant assume that just because you give some thing to
local authority that it is automatically going to be better for
There has to be worked on that local authority, too, as I'm
The bus services Bill itself, the printable
that I welcome very much because actually this
is about giving local authorities the ability to franchise
buses, to work in partnership and that is exactly what should be
In Portsmouth we are paying around ?5 million a year to
bus companies in subsidies, in Southampton it is near six million
and that is not a sustainable position going forward.
We don't want to lose the vulnerable routes
as we have heard, particularly the semirural and rural ones
so giving councils the ability to franchise is
What the House of Lords has done is put
forward an amendment to the Green paper, it has been through its
reading of the Commons, it has been through the Lords and is going back
to the Commons now that they have actually put forward an amendment to
say that all local transport authorities should be allowed to
franchise, not just ones with a mayoral combined authority.
I think you would rather have a combined
Yes, in Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight have been working
with the government, we have an in principle agreement
for a solend deall and in the solent deal it includes the
Routes are closing now, on the Isle of
Wight which is very reliant on its buses,
and the trees that it does have, they need an answer now.
They do and that is why we need to get on
with our combined authority ASAP, we were hoping
the Autumn Statement, I am now hopeful of the last budget in March
2017 because it is done, we have made a false admission to the
Secretary of State, we did that the 23rd of October,
we have been through an eight-week consultation,
three councils we just mentioned, we are few
Now our regular round-up of the political week
Fining beggars isn't working in Southampton.
I have a ?100 fine because I had my hat out, on the floor.
You just don't know which ones are genuine, do you?
The council now admits the fines aren't being paid.
We need to look at what else we can do to solve this national problem.
It is cold on the streets but colder in some elderly people's houses.
Redding Council think a cold alarm could help.
This is one of the worst areas in England for excess winter deaths.
Portsmouth said farewell to a grand old lady this week.
Amateur MP wants to scrap yearly council elections,
his Bill would make them every four years instead.
And in Oxfordshire school wants a change to the law making seat
After 11 children were injured in Woodstock last month.
Now that Bill to make it elections every four years in councils
would also make it first past the post in places like London.
First of all I am against the proposal in principle.
If local council now they have to face the people and ask the vote
every single year then they are more likely to because at them
and responsive to them, more likely to engage with those
conversations and I think at a time when politics and politicians feel
quite distant from the people it is really important to do
everything we can to insure that dialogue is continuing.
And there is a lot of voters, UK voters in Portsmouth who feel
that the votes are wasted in first past the post, is that...
Running the city and one of the Conservative cities
I think that four-yearly elections is much better,
when a council is elected even an annual elections they don't face
the electorate every year, deface them once every four years
and four-yearly elections, so all in all out for the whole
council means you do not get short cameras and decisions,
because so often councils are making bad decisions
because they are so worried about how it is going to affect them
in the polls and that is not always what is best for the services
and service delivery in cancel so I support four-yearly elections.
Just quickly, HMS Illustrious, a VIP guest for the new one coming?
We were hoping for the Prime Minister and other heads of state
from other countries, we have the Carrier Alliance
going on with America but next year is the year of the carrier.
still the biggest factor. We are running out of time.
Now, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson was rebuked
by Downing Street this week - yes, again - after the Guardian
revealed he had accused Saudi Arabia of being among countries engaged
in fighting "proxy wars" in the Middle East, breaking
the Foreign Office's convention of not criticising a key UK ally
in the region and annoying the prime minister who'd just returned
The Defence Secretary Michael Fallon was asked about it
And let's be very clear about this, the way some of his remarks
were reported seemed to imply we didn't support the right
of Saudi Arabia to defend itself, and it is being attacked by Houthi
terrorists from over the border with Yemen,
didn't support what Saudi is doing in leading the campaign to restore
Some of the reporting led people to think that, and that is all...
This was simply the way it was reported and interpreted.
The way it was interpreted left people with the impression
that we didn't support Saudi Arabia and we do.
Well, Mr Johnson has been in the Saudi capital
Riyadh this morning, so how's he been received?
Our security correspondent Frank Gardner is in neighbouring
Bahrain, where Mr Johnson was earlier in the weekend.
It has probably been a long time since there has been such interest
in a British Foreign Secretary visiting the gulf region. What are
the political elites there making of it all? Well, they think to be
honest it is a bit of a storm in a tea cup this is a bit of a Whitehall
story, I think a lot of people I have spoken to tend to believe that
Number Ten have made such a fuss about this, that it has created a
story in itself. That said, though, I think that behind the scenes there
was a certain amount of damage limitation taking place between
London and Riyadh, a bit of smoothing of feathers and reassuring
and the Stade Saudis tell me they are reassured the message they are
taking is. Coming from Number Ten and they are not taking Boris
Johnson's comments to heart. He is in the dam, he has met the king, I
tweet add picture of that just a few minutes ago. He has been meeting
Crown Prince, and he is now meeting the Foreign Minister, so the Saudis
got an opportunity to brief him according to their vision of the
Middle East. They will share their security concern, which is not just
what is going on in Yemen, but they are very concerned about what they
see as Iranian expansionism, that has been a theme here at this
conference in Bahrain that Boris Johnson addressed only a day or two
ago. If we put aside Mr Johnson's supposed gaffes or even the Downing
Street slapping down of him, we have had the Prime Minister in the region
earlier this week, we have got Mr Johnson there now, can we yet divine
what the May Government strategy is in the Golf? -- Guff. In three
words, in Boris Johnson's words Britain is back. He was very quick
to say not in a jingoistic running up flags, new imperial list way,
although that is Howley be seen by some. He gave a very forceful speech
which seemed to go down well the gulf hosts here on Friday night
which said Britain made a strategic mistake in, after 1968 in
withdrawing east of Suez and it will reverse that decision, and invest ?3
billion over the next ten years in building up its military not bases
exactly but facilities -- facilities that are here in this part of the
world. There are currently 15 hundred hundred British servicemen
and women in this region, seven warships and so on. It isn't
entirely true to say Britain withdrew east of Suez because we
have had a military presence on and off here, the RAF had a base here in
Bahrain during the Gulf War of 91. In 2003, of course, British planes
and troops deployed from this area, but he and Theresa May are both
saying post-Brexit, Britain's big emphasis or one of the big pushes is
going to be to redouble its ties with gulf Arab nations, that isn't
going to come as an easy bit of new, I think, to human rights campaigners
and anti-arms campaigners because a large part of the ?7 billion of
bilateral trade Britain did with Saudi Arabia comes from arms deals
and those arms are being used in the conflict in Yemen, in some cases
with tragic consequences. Thank you very much for talking to us.
Instead of concentrating on Mr Johnson's gaffes, or Downing Street
reaction to it. Frank Gardner there has just given us a really important
development, or explained what the British are up to there now. They
want to be back in the gulf big time. Isn't that something we should
be debating and discussing? It is fascinating. It is yet another
example post-Brexit I would say this is someone who voted to Brexit, that
the world is changing, and Britain's role is going to be transformed
post-Brexit. I mean just on the Boris point, I completely agree, I
think a lot of it is ridiculous, in a Whitehall belt way stuff, but I
think what is really important about it, is that Number Ten feel
threatened by him, and the reason that these ridiculous gaffes and
many of them are not even gaffes are pounced upon is he is the main rival
for the Crown, so it is high level power play politics, and it is May
trying to keep him in his place. What do you make though, of Britain
is back in the gulf? That is the big story, is it not. Utterly bizarre,
post imperial fantasy, the idea we are back east of Suez? We are
breaking off from our closest ally, most like us, the rest of Europe,
democratic, decent human rights country, and instead we are allying
ourself to perilous, dangerous, unpleasant countries... Why should
we be back in the gulf? If that is the trade off, these are, you know,
these renasty kingdoms, petty unpleasant and unstable countries.
Don't we have to keep the straits open otherwise the oil supply
collapses and the world economy will go into the worst recession
depression ever? Don't we have to be involved in that We do, and I think
what happens is if we leave Europe and we need trade everywhere else,
we have to travel the world on our knees begging for friends from the
most unsavoury people, where ever they are, whether it is... You keep
saying we are leaving Europe, that is a geographic impossibility.
Britain is part of Europe, we are the... Not what Liam Fox is saying.
The key power in Nato, we are leaving the European Union, that is
a different Tring from Europe. I am trying to move away from Mr Johnson,
or even Downing Street to... You got yourself into a Brexit row.
Everything is through the prism of Brexit, even what you have for
breakfast, when you mix up the word like I did last week. What do you
make of what Frank Gardner told us? I am somewhere between the two. It
is a nighs the line say we are back in the Middle East and we will take
this part of the world seriously, the truth is our military is almost
tiny, it is smaller than it was in the Napoleonic wars, that is not a
huge amount more. Of course there S one of the two new aircraft
carriers, that will be deployed in the gulf, to help the Americans keep
the straits of her muz open, because it is in Europe's interest, not just
Britains, Europe's interest that these straits stay open, which is
more so than America. That is what FRANK was talking about. That is no
change, British foreign policy has been keeping the straits open... Now
we have the ability do it. We don't have an aircraft aier at the moment.
Nor do we have the fleet of ships it needs. It is a great thing to be
trade morgue with the Nice, to be turning -- Middle East, to be
turning round more tax revenues and the like. Even selling weapons. I
don't know what more can be done. You look at what has happened. BBC
has had horrific reports from the Yemen and if you look at what the
weapons are being used for, is that the trade we want? Right. Let us
move on. Mr Corbyn was giving a speech yesterday but he was
inter#ru79ded by Peter Tatchell. -- interrupted.
Peter, could we leave this to the questions please?
Peter, we are trying to make a speech here and then
Was Peter Tatchell right do that yesterday? It is a bit of a
distraction really. Jeremy Corbyn 17% in the polled is not going to be
able to change... You mean his personal rating. If you want to do
something about Syria you ought to be addressing the Government rather
than a failing Labour leader. Peter Tatchell's line was Labour in
general, Mr Corbyn in particular had not been vocal enough in condemning
what the Russians and their Assad allies are doing in Aleppo. It was
interesting Mr Corbyn had to ask Emily Thornberry if and when had
they condemned what the Russians were doing? It was unclear. Other
than Mrs Thornbury herself. There is a fascinating fault line in politics
which is the Trump administration, the way in which parts of the
British left have made themselves useful idiots once again for the
Kremlin and it its policies. I think more broadly, you consider all the
things we have been discussing, it is a national tragedy what is
happening to the Labour Party. You don't know whether to laugh or cry
watching that event. Corbyn was at a stop the war rally event only last
week, and they of course are very close to the Kremlin, they blame the
west, well they blame the west much more... They always blame the west.
And not the Russians. I agree Jeremy Corbyn having to check with Emily
Thornberry what the Labour Party's policy was on bombing Aleppo... If
and when they condemned it. He needs to no better. The fact that we are
talking about what was a pretty small scale protest, rather than
anything Corbyn said, shows he wasn't saying anything relevant. We
will get a huge amount of tweet saying the BBC are anti-Corbyn. I
understand that, that shouldn't intimidate us from saying, from
analysing what is happening, and here is one yard stick, of course it
is fundamentally the Government's choice, but it could be an indicator
of whether the Labour Party is relevant or not in only issues, in
reason pert Murdoch is making a take over bid for all of Sky and so far
you would have to bet, policy, that it is going to get through pretty
much unscathed. It is extraordinary. It is connected with Leveson, and
the fact that that has disappeared. That the idea of restraining the
press in any way at all, and virtual will I the whole of the press is
behind that, and it seems to go with allowing what wasn't allowed before.
He was judged as unfit before. He is as unfit now, to control that much
of the media, and as he was when he made the last bid for Sky. It is
time people stood up and said so. You look at the press he runs, the
cultural effect he has has on this country which has been appalling,
you know about this. Tom, I better let you have a word. I don't agree
at all Polly but the lesson for the Labour Party, is if they don't want
to have any influence at all, they have to be credible, and stand a
reasonable chance of becoming Prime Minister or becoming Government,
that is the only way they will get leverage. We need to leave it there.
I was going to say we will come back to it. We will see. The Daily
Politics will be back at noon tomorrow.
and we'll be back here next Sunday for the last show of 2016.
Remember - if it's Sunday, it's the Sunday Politics.
# We're going to have a party tonight
Andrew Neil and Peter Henley with the latest political news, interviews and debate. Former London mayor Ken Livingstone and former shadow chancellor Chris Leslie discuss Labour's electoral fortunes, and former chancellor Ken Clarke talks about rebelling over this week's Brexit vote. The Political Panel consists of Iain Martin of Reaction, Tom Newton Dunn of The Sun and Polly Toynbee of The Guardian.