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I'm Sarah Smith and this
is the Sunday Politics.
I'll be bringing you up to speed
on all the political
comings and goings in
Westminster and beyond.
Coming up in today's programme.
As the investigation into the nerve
agent attack in Salisbury continues,
we'll be taking to the former
Home Secretary Jack Straw
and former Security Minister,
Pauline Neville Jones.
Is there room for more spending?
Ahead of his spring statement this
week, the Chancellor Philip Hammond
has hinted austerity could be over
as he said there was "light
at the end of the tunnel".
We join the Universities minister
Sam Gyimah on what's jokingly been
called a "punishment
tour" of the country -
trying to attract students
to the Conservative Party.
Most of my friends always slander
the Conservative name saying it's
only for middle aged men who want to
benefit from themselves.
At first I
was like, I'm not going
are not Labour, don't talk to me and
I was like OK.
In London, the Liberal Democrat
leader Vince Cable tells us why he's
Later in the programme,
the author of Article 50,
Lord Kerr with his latest views
on Brexit, and a nursing union says
the NHS will come to an end
unless a better way is found
to fund it.
to fund it.
to fund it.
And as usual we've got three
Westminster insiders who will take
And as usual we've got three
what's really going on.
Today I'm joined by Tom Newton Dunn,
Dia Chakravarty and George Eaton.
The unfolding events over the past
week in the cathedral city
of Salisbury could have been taken
straight from the pages
of a spy thriller.
The poisoning of a Russian former
double agent who had passed secrets
to Britain and moved to Salisbury
after a 2010 spy swap, involved
the use of a sinister nerve agent.
It has shocked the country
with the finger of suspicion
pointing firmly at Moscow.
The big story of the week started
in Salisbury after a former
Russian double agent,
Sergei Skripal, and his daughter
Yulia and the policeman who went
to their aid all mysteriously fell
ill because an as yet
unidentified nerve agent.
12 years ago, Alexander Litvinenko
was killed by polonium 210.
Was this more Russian foul play?
Boris Johnson was quick
to retaliate, saying there could be
implications for this summer's
World Cup in Russia.
I think it will be very difficult
to imagine that UK representation
in that event could go ahead
in the normal way.
Did he mean the England team?
The Prime Minister explained.
The point the Foreign Secretary
was making yesterday was that,
depending on what comes out
in relation to the investigation
into the attack on the two
individuals that took place
in Salisbury, that it might be
appropriate for the government
to look at whether ministers
and other dignitaries should attend
the World Cup in Russia.
Russian state TV mocked the Foreign
Secretary for his comments,
but the government's
firm language persisted.
The use of a nerve agent on UK soil
is a brazen and reckless act.
This was attempted murder
in the most cruel and public way.
We still can't get through a week
without mentioning the B word
as the Chancellor delivered
the latest big Brexit speech.
He's determined to get
a good deal for the city.
We still can't get through a week
without mentioning the B word
So I'm clear not only
that it is possible to include
financial services within a trade
deal, but that it is very much
in our mutual interest to do so.
the EU disagreed.
Also when it comes to financial
services, life will be
different after Brexit.
The EU had other things to worry
about, though, as Donald Trump put
forward his highly controversial
plan to make American steel
and aluminium great again.
Surrounded by metal workers,
the President signed proclamations
to impose a 25% tariff on steel
and a 10% tariff on aluminium
imports into the US.
The European Union has not treated
us well and it's been a very,
very unfair trade situation.
Claims of Parliamentary bullying
and sexual harassment hit
the headlines with some
of the allegations going
all the way to the top.
Back in 2010, a woman called
Kate Emms took up the position
as John Bercow's private secretary.
But she stood down from that post
after less than a year.
Her colleagues told Newsnight
that this is because Mr Bercow's
bullying left her unable to continue
in that job.
Theresa May enthusiastically
welcomed Saudi royalty
to Downing Street this week.
Mohammed bin Salman was even treated
to lunch at the Palace.
Billboards sprung up extolling
in the crown prince's virtues.
Supporters of the man
they call Mr Everything say
he is a great reformer.
But protests surrounding UK arms
sales were also highly visible
and with Saudi's intervention
in Yemen ongoing, the visit
angered Jeremy Corbyn.
British arms sales have sharply
increased and British military
advisers are directing the war.
It cannot be right
that her government...
Mr Speaker, it cannot be right
that her government is colluding
in what the United Nations says
is evidence of war crimes.
Clearly riled, Theresa May
got her own back, calling
Jeremy Corbyn out on the eve
of International Women's Day.
Can I thank the Right
for telling me that it is
International Women's Day tomorrow.
I think that's what's
Tom, Dia and George
were watching that with me.
Now some insight and analysis into
what's going on behind the
headlines. The big story of the week
is obviously the poisoning of Sergei
Skripal and whether or not Russia
was involved. A lot of people have
been quick to assume that President
Putin sanctioned this and it's a
Russian state operation but can we
be sure of that?
yes, clearly there is no physical
proof to produce at the moment. I
think by the end of last week the
government were in no doubt that
this was ordered by the Russian
state and in particular Vladimir
Putin, who, under Russian state
rules, has to sign of all foreign
assassinations personally since rule
change in 2006. The reason I think
they are almost certain about this
is quite frankly no one else has a
motive to do that. Who would want to
do a better job in spite of analogy
on an old colonel living quietly in
Salisbury? Not the people have the
modes of delivery to do this, to
pass a nerve agent, chemical
weapons, on Britain's streets.
Thirdly, this will be the killer,
the scientific proof it was an
extremely rare nerve agent, used,
not one of the more widely available
once you see in things like Syria,
it's a rare particular type which
has only been known to be produced
in one or two laboratories in the
world, one of them is in Moscow. The
Moscow foreign spy service. What is
fascinating is not just was Vladimir
Putin responsible? It is why he
wanted us to know he was
responsible, because he left such a
massive calling card, and that has
been really bothering cabinet
ministers in the last week.
had from the Chief Medical Officer
who said traces of this nerve agent
has been found in the restaurant
where Sergei Skripal and his
daughter were eating and 500 people
were there at the same time and they
should wash their clothes and clean
their possessions that were with
them. There is a small rescue but
there is a risk. Frightening news
like that is what drives home to
people why it matters this is
happening in the UK.
there are so many questions about
this, even before we do want to who
was doing this. That's very
important. This also questions about
how the whole thing has been
handled, seven days, and they are
now telling these terrified
residents to wash their clothes and
possessions. Is that going to be
enough? What exactly is this agent?
If we see people in scary laboratory
suits walking around, doing what
they need to do, a quarantine going
on, is it enough to say go and wash
your clothes seven days later? The
communication around it, I
understand it is sensitive, that I
think it has been dire. Really quite
woeful. If I was living in Salisbury
I would be very, very worried.
George, the UK Government, once the
investigation has finished and they
decide whether this was a
state-sponsored assassination, they
need to decide how to respond. All
we have practically heard of so far
is some rubber mats might not go to
the World Cup in Russia, presumably
will have to do come up with
something better than that --
diplomats. What can we do that
Russia will care about?
from some Labour Party and
Conservative MPs is to introduce a
version of the Magnitsky Act, which
means it's easier to freeze the
assets of Russians suspected of
human rights abuses or corruption,
and expel them, but Britain is
severely limited and I think it's
worth asking the question why did
Russia choose this moment to target
Britain? We are set to leave the
European Union, huge burdens on
governments, stretching the
government bandwidth to its limits,
and Donald Trump and the USA who we
supposedly have a special
relationship with, is imposing
tariffs on steel and has not made
any robust intervention over this,
despite the fact he normally rushes
to tweet when there is a terrorist
attack on British soil after making
unhelpful remarks. He has not been
standing shoulder to shoulder with
Britain in this instance.
been a suggestion this should come
up at the next Nato summit in
Brussels, and they could be looking
for some kind of coordinated
response from international allies.
Is that likely?
It's difficult to
see at the moment. Russia's strength
here is significant and Vladimir
Putin, such a brazen act, clearly he
does not feel Britain has the
capacity to respond. Last December,
when we were short of gas, the one
country we turn to was Russia.
will be back to talk about the other
stories during the programme.
The poisoning of Sergei Skripal
and his daughter carries
echoes of the murder
of Alexander Litvinenko,
the ex KGB officer who died
after drinking tea laced
with radioactive polonium 210
in a London hotel in 2006.
And this morning, his widow,
Marina Litvinenko urged Theresa May
to adopt American-style laws that
are tougher on Russia.
You need to be very selective who
you are friends with. And when you
allow people with money to come to
your country and make a business,
you need to be sure what kind of
money these people try to bring to
your country because very often this
money is stolen from Russian people
and sometimes it is a very serious
crime behind it. I'm
crime behind it. I'm absolutely
asking this question to unite this
action already done in the United
States, in Europe. I think the UK
has to do the same steps.
Joining me now from Edinburgh
is the former Home and Foreign
Secretary, Jack Straw.
Thank you very much for joining us
this morning. Do you agree that the
UK needs to introduce tougher laws,
the likes of which the US has?
think we should do this now. I think
have to take this very careful
step-by-step way, so I think the
approach of Amber Rudd and her
security minister, Ben Wallace, is
the right one. Jumping to
conclusions in this situation is not
a sensible way to proceed. The other
thing we have to think about very
carefully, when it comes to those
who are saying something must be
done and if you are in government,
you get this all the time, in
situations like this, something has
got to be done, is what happens when
you have to get back to normality? I
often reflect on the sanctions were
imposed to Zimbabwe for the
different situation but there are
parallels. In retrospect, Robert
Mugabe was a very bad man, but in
retrospect I often wonder if it was
a sensible thing to do. In the end
we had to get the troops down again.
It was very tricky so people need to
think very carefully indeed. This is
on the assumption the Russian state
was behind this, which has not yet
been approved or announced.
If we do
establish that and work on the
presumption for now and I understand
your reservations, would President
Putin care if we were to try and
institute some kind of sanctions or
punishments or does it just increase
the siege mentality Russia is under
threat from the rest of the world
which in many ways bolstered his
position in advance of the elections
coming up soon?
If we were to do it
unilaterally, just the UK, he
wouldn't careful stop with the EU,
and more other major allies
including the USA, he might take
notice but frankly, I think he
regarded as a medal if we were
simply to do it by ourselves and he
knows that, post the collapse of the
Berlin Wall and the Soviet Union in
the early 1990s, there is a huge
amount of Russian money in the UK,
particularly in London, and a
Magnitsky Act won't make that much
difference to the level of
dependence of some very highly
respectable British London based
financial institutions with Russian
With the Alexander Litvinenko case,
an enquiry two tiers to get to the
bottom of what happened there, and
could only conclude that it was
probably orchestrated by the Russian
state. Can you take any sort of
action on the basis of something
probably being true?
People need to
bear in mind the example of Iraq.
The evidence against Saddam Hussein
having and continuing to have
biological weapons was overwhelming.
The question came up in United
Nations Security Council
resolutions, passed unanimously.
That is what Tony Blair and I used
almost 15 years ago to persuade
people to go to war against Iraq,
and it turned out to be completely
incorrect, so you've got to be
really careful. I have the scars
literally on my back in respect of
this. In the heat of the moment,
with people in the House of Commons
and the newspapers screeching,
something 's got to be done, being
non-explicit about what... Moreover,
we shouldn't descend to the level of
the criminal justice system in the
Russian Federation or other states
like that. There are demands today
from some Conservatives to ban the
Russia Today programme.
Chancellor said today that he
doesn't think Labour MPs will be
appearing on there in the future.
Will you do the same?
I have not
appeared on there for some time, but
I will make a decision on my own
terms. We have to be careful about
doing that in the absence of
evidence. Far better for Britain's
position in the world to have high
standards of probity. It's better to
bear in mind that well intentioned
people who do not lie at all,
including myself, and the House of
Commons by a huge majority, and
public opinion at the time, came to
the wrong decision with respect to
whether or not Saddam Hussein still
had biological weapons on the basis
of probabilities. That is the
difficulty here. People will of
course be very impatient indeed to
have a culprit here, and obviously
stacking it up on the basis of
circumstantial evidence, you can
make a very good case that it is the
Russian state, but we need a bit of
sobriety before we come to that
conclusion. Thank God that Amber
Rudd is the Home Secretary at the
moment. Someone else I could think
of in the British Cabinet, and she
is taking a very measured approach
Here with me now is Pauline Neville
Jones, who was Security
and Counter Terrorism Minister under
David Cameron, when Theresa May
was Home Secretary.
That was fascinating, listening to
Jack Straw drawing parallels with
Iraq and what was supposedly the
evidence of chemical and biological
weapons there, saying we have to be
very careful about pointing the
finger of blame. With your security
experience, will we ever be able to
establish whether this was
sanctioned by the Russians?
the Russian state will admit it was
involved. In order to get absolute
proof, what we needed with
Litvinenko was to have a trial.
There hasn't been a trial because
the Russians wouldn't cooperate. I
think it's right for the government
to be cautious about saying anything
now, because it mustn't be seen to
lead the investigation and therefore
damage it, but once we have
established a degree of probability
about the cause, that is the time
for action. I think the chances of
it not being connected with Russia
in some way are very low.
would point to that, but what is the
motive? This is a retired agent
who's been living here for years.
Came as part of the spy as well. The
unwritten rule of espionage is that
you don't touch spies. What dangers
does he pose to the Russian regime?
I think we simply don't know the
full story. There's plenty of
evidence that the Russian regime is
pretty vicious. Even if he was part
of a swap, I don't think you can
exclude the fact that the Russian
state might decide to take action
Looking at pictures of
him and his daughter there. It's
difficult to see what threat they
posed to the Russian state. Is it
not worth considering the
possibility that they may have been
involved in something else that
isn't technically state faction --
If possible. It is
possible that the Mafia was
involved. The question is, what lay
behind the Mafia and where did the
nerve agent come from? Is it
possible to come from elsewhere than
a state laboratory? It's difficult
to imagine that the threat isn't
going to go back to Russia somehow.
Is it possible to take action
against wealthy Russian oligarchs
living in London, even if we change
the laws and bring in something like
the Magnitsky act? Mrs Litvinenko
got a letter from Theresa May, Home
Secretary at the time, saying that
we want to make sure nothing like
this happens again in the UK, and
now it has.
There are already powers
which the government can use. One of
the reasons why there was an
argument in the Commons the other
day about this so-called Magnitsky
amendment was that the government
said, we've got the powers. You may
say, we need to use these powers,
for example to investigate people
who have unexplained wealth. There
are things we can do.
people who are not necessarily
linked to Putin and the regime, so
these are two distinct things.
are. You have to be careful how you
do this, and it requires resources.
This is a complicated job. Jack
Straw put his finger on it when he
said, we need to act in concert with
allies. This is the thing that the
Russians really are going to take
notice of. At the moment, it's fair
to say that although we are Aljaz
overtime, we have gradually
increased the pressure. With
sanctions, and Nato have increased
measures on its borders, but we
still have a great deal of
harassment from the Russians. They
are taking action in people's
politics. They are conducting cyber
attacks. We need to act as an
alliance so that the Russians really
do believe, and they seek positive
evidence of it, that action against
one is an action against all, and
collective action follows. We need
to have a strategy that brings
together what we do militarily, what
we do to protect our citizens in the
cyber sphere, what we do in
broadcasting, so we have an all
encompassing way of dealing with
Thank you very much for
coming to talk to us.
The new Universities Minister,
Sam Gyimah, has set himself
a rather ambitious task.
Travelling up and down the country,
he's trying to attract students
to the Conservative Party.
With just one in five voters aged
between 18 and 24 voting Tory
in the 2017 election,
it's been jokingly called
his "punishment tour".
Our reporter Elizabeth Glinka
joined Sam on his visit
to Canterbury Christ Church
And just to warn you,
her report contains flashing images.
Was that a youth quake?
Reports of a massive
increase in young voters at
the last general election may
have been exaggerated.
# I got the big size
12s on my feet...
Nationally, the turnout didn't
really change, but of
the young people that did vote,
a whopping 67% went for Labour.
And in a place like
Canterbury, where there
are more than 30,000 students,
it's thought that their votes played
a big part in the city
electing its first ever Labour MP.
This has been Conservative
since World War I.
An extraordinary surge
in their share, up 20% here.
In general, everyone just
always seems to think
that the Conservatives are always
doing something wrong,
so even if you don't know
about the Conservatives,
all you hear, you just think
negative things about it.
Most of my friends always slander
the Conservative name, saying,
"It's only for middle-aged men who
want the benefit from themselves."
Do you think you have
to be quite brave to
say, "I am a Conservative?"
At first, I was like,
OK, I'm not going
to say anything to my friends,
because they will just kick off.
One of my flatmates was like,
"If you are not a Labour
voter, don't talk to me."
Labour had a lot of backing.
They had people like
AJ Tracey jumping on.
So once they see that,
everyone kind of runs
to it, like, let's vote Labour.
# Tracksuit grey, black,
# I was just a hope-filled kid
AJ Tracey is just one of any number
of current music acts who publicly
endorsed the Labour Party
at the last general election,
helping to build a brand
which was apparently three times
more attractive to young voters.
To be fair, it's not
as if there was some sort of golden
era of Conservative hipsters,
but the figures suggest
things are getting worse.
And that's why the new Universities
Minister, Sam Gyimah,
is currently on a nationwide tour,
including here in Canterbury,
where he is attempting to
at least start a conversation
with a generation of voters who see
his party as old, male and stale.
Minister, this seems
a good time to jump in.
This is an incredibly difficult job,
isn't it, convincing young people
to vote Conservative?
We do have our work cut out for us,
but I think the first thing to do
is actually to be on campus.
If we allow Jeremy Corbyn to be
the only one on campus, then we only
have ourselves to blame.
Many students will say to you, well,
it's fine, you're having
a review on student fees
and many other things.
The Labour Party's promising us
they're going to get rid of fees.
We know what happens when you
promised something for free.
Numbers are going to be capped,
which means fewer people
going to university.
It's the well off that
are going to do it.
That's not what we're about.
I'm not really worried
about Jeremy Corbyn's free
for all offer, because it's not
realistic, and he can't deliver it,
and we only need to look
at countries like Scotland to see
that it's not going to work.
And what reaction are you expecting
when you head in there?
Well, I thought it might
be rowdy like PMQs.
I've no idea.
I haven't had the mob treatment
anywhere yet so far.
# Your face ain't big for my boot
# Kick up the yout
# I know that I kick up the yout...
There might not have been
a youth quake nationally,
but there was a bit of a youth quake
in Canterbury, and I want to listen
and I want to understand.
You know, we've had enough
of austerity politics.
We've had enough of student fees,
things like that, and we've seen
the NHS get less and less
funded over time.
And it's hard to
ignore those things.
You know, we are going to take
action against you.
# Bros in my ear saying
"Stormz, don't do it"
# Devil on my shoulder
I don't lack
# Hit 'em
with a crowbar, I don't scrap...
Well, lots of discussion,
some of it a bit feisty,
but did the Minister win any
hearts and minds?
He's really good at talking
to students, and he's
here to talk to everyone.
Would it make you feel differently
about voting Conservative?
I took from your comments that
you were not a Conservative voter.
Definitely not, but I did think
he made some good points,
and he was very measured.
It's quite clear that there
are a number of people here who have
been seduced by Jeremy Corbyn,
but I think the purpose of this
is to let them realise
that there is a Conservative voice,
there is a Conservative point
of view, and that as a minister
I am here to listen.
Clearly a smart man.
I'm not sure it's better
or worse to have a smart
Tory or a stupid Tory,
but he knew what he was
talking about, even though
I disagree with him.
Would it make you think twice
about voting Conservative?
No, I will never vote
Conservative in my life.
So as the sun sets in Canterbury,
there's still a long way to go.
And Universities Minister Sam
Gymiah joins me now.
A smart Tory. That is a compliment
from one of the students! Do you
think you persuaded many of them to
The point of the exercise
was not to persuade people to vote
Conservative. As Universities
Minister, I'm very conscious that
students are investing a
considerable amount of money in
their education, so they should have
a voice in the corridors of power.
Gone are the days that the
Universities Minister 's spends time
with the chancellors and not the
students. Jeremy Corbyn has a voice
on the campus, and if we allow that
to continue, we only have ourselves
to blame. The starting point in the
process is listening and engaging,
rather than going in there to preach
to them about what their problems
and answers are.
You have a mountain
to climb with young people. Let's
have a look at the numbers. At the
last election, between 18 to
24-year-olds, 67% voted Labour.
Unless you can change those minds,
you have a generational problem with
voters, and you will not see
Conservative governments in the
future, unless people change their
What I am doing at the moment
is pressing, which is why the party
is beginning to engage with students
at this level. A number of things
have come up as I've travelled
around the country that we can
address. Austerity keeps coming up.
We stopped making the case for why
we had to reduce the deficit from
the extreme levels that we inherited
from the Labour Party. One man said
to me, all I have ever heard the
about is austerity. It must be your
ideology. That is clearly not the
case. It is a matter of necessity,
We have the spring
statement coming up next week. The
Chancellor has said this morning
that we are in a much better
financial position at the moment
then we have been, but it doesn't
sound like he's going to end
austerity. Would you encourage him
to do so?
This brings statement is
an update on the public finances.
But he is going to point further
ahead to the budget in the autumn,
and he doesn't seem to be talking
about the increased public spending
you think will attract people to the
We are not going to say we
are going to return to discredited
economic policies of 40 years ago.
What he should be saying to young
people is that the balanced approach
that he is pursuing, in a world
where we have technological
challenge and a global market
economy, the Conservatives are
uniquely placed to deliver
prosperity for them. Another issue
that comes up is our motives. When
we talk about economic prosperity,
people feel it is for the few.
Sometimes I have to explain that the
top rate of tax has been higher
under the Conservatives, and that
the top 1% pay 20% of income tax.
They didn't know that. We need to
talk about -- we need to persuade
them that when we talk about
economic prosperity, it is their
future we are talking about.
You addressed tuition fees in the
film but look at maintenance grants
being cut by this government so the
poorer students to go to university
will lead with larger debt than
those from better off backgrounds.
When that is their experience right
now on campus, no wonder they keep
thinking you are looking after the
better off and not the
Canterbury has the
best proportion of students went
university for the first time in
their families. Many of those would
not be at university at all had we
pursue the Jeremy Corbyn policy.
Jeremy Corbyn is promising to
abolish tuition fees so that would
make it easier for students to go to
Once you make university
free you can't have a current policy
we have which is that the numbers
who can go to university are capped.
At a time when the numbers were not
capped, our own history, very few
people went to university and mentor
very few poor people went
university. A consequence of the
Conservative policy is a lot of
disadvantaged people are giving to
university for the first time and we
have a student finance scheme where
you do not pay a penny as a first
burner unless you in over £25,000
and after 30 years, whatever you
have managed to pay, is written. I'm
not saying is perfect.
system is replacing grants for
poorer students with loans. Why? If
you are so keen to get disadvantaged
students into universities, wide
takeaway maintenance grants?
is a review looking at the whole
system, but when many students
complain about the student finances,
they focus on accommodation.
Somewhere like London, landlords
want to get the years rent in
advance. That is a difficult
situation for them and the cost of
living issues, rather than assuming
There's an interest rate
on a student loan of over 6% which
is way in excess of what people are
borrowing on mortgages etc.
of living in University...
be worried about it.
level of earnings, you pay 9% of
your income, which means higher rate
in graduates pay more to the system
but I also think to narrow the
debate on student fees, students
have a lot of interest, not all
students think student fees is their
big issue. Someone to see their
politicians care about making the
world a better place. What kind of
world they are going into, they will
get on the housing ladder, housing
is big issue for them but the
economy prospers, so I think that's
why you have got to listen and not
assume all students have the same
view and there is one answer that
deals with all the problems of every
Mental health keeps
cropping up. I'm sure the university
's lecturers strike came up as well.
Now students are paying £9,000 in
fees, they are consumers as well as
students, so should they get a
refund for the lessons they have not
Universities do not pay
lecturers on the day they strike,
they should not pocket those funds,
but look at compensation for
students and there are real ways of
compel them to do that?
I'm not in a
position to compel them to do that.
There is the regulator for
university who has a wide-ranging
remit. I'm encouraged some
universities are taking this
seriously. Kings College London will
offer financial compensation. I
think they should look at this very
seriously. I am disappointed I am
seeing lots of petitions out there
from Durham University, a petition
of 5000 students, asking for
compensation. I want to university
to respond constructively, because
we are in the age of the student and
we are there to serve.
question, talking about Russia on
the programme so far this morning, a
story this morning in the papers
saying over £800 million has been
donated to the Tory party from
Russian link to donors since Theresa
May took over, even notice that you
wanted an arms length relationship.
Is that something that should be
discouraged in the future and should
the money be returned now?
To make a
donation to a political party in
this country you have to be a
citizen Dungannon -- and betting
needs to be taken place. Modern
Britain is made up by people from
all sorts of places. Some groups of
people cannot participate in Aber
Democratic life to the fall, and we
have got to be clear, these are
British citizens from Russia. Not
the Kremlin donating to the
Of course not,
but there could be a question of
where those funds came from in the
first place for the wedding end up
on the front page of a Sunday
newspaper saying this much money has
been donated to the Conservative
Party, maybe it would be better to
think again where you receive your
large donations from?
It's not just
the letter of the law but vetting
should be thorough.
thank you very much for coming in to
talk to us.
It's coming up to 11.40.
the Sunday Politics.
Still to come, we'll be
discussing the economy.
Is it time to end austerity?
Hello and welcome to
Sunday Politics Wales.
Later in the programme,
the Conservatives and the main
nursing union say action's needed
to ensure Wales has enough
nurses to meet demand.
And Carwyn Jones says he wants
to make Wales the safest place
to be a woman in Europe.
But how would that work?
But first, he was our most senior
diplomat in Brussels,
and the author of Article
50 to boot.
So as you might expect,
Lord John Kerr has trenchant views
on where the whole Brexit
debate is going.
He was at the University
of South Wales on Friday,
where I began by asking him
what message he wanted to give
to the students there.
The main point I want to discusses
whether we can get away with cherry
picking, whether as Theresa May said
in her speech last week, we can pick
and choose and bits of the single
market that we want to get back into
when we leave or stay in, I and
various agencies that we would like
to be in, the European Union has
said that it doesn't like the sound
of that and thinks we should be
either in or out. There is the
possibility of some compromises and
the European Council later on this
month will start looking at that and
I think myself that probably quite a
lot of what Theresa May asked for is
not obtainable but maybe it was just
an opening shot.
I guess that is the
point. Maybe does not obtainable but
in a negotiation, you need to have
your opening salvo and maybe meet
somewhere in the middle. Is it
almost defeatist to say it will not
be possible to cherry pick. We might
end up somewhere in the middle in
It will all take a very long time
and we will not know when we leave,
if we leave in March next year, what
the future arrangement with the
European Union will be because you
can't draft that treaty until we are
a third country outside negotiating
with all the others. We will have a
divorce treaty, that will be agreed.
And they are going to try and finish
that one quite soon. But we won't
know what the long-term arrangement
will be and that will take at least
five or six years to negotiate.
that mean you think this
transitional period we have heard so
much about where we will be out of
the European Union but not yet
totally out of it in terms of all
the procedures and so on, you think
that will laugh with her last five
or six years?
No, I don't. The
European Union will insist it lasts
only two years because their lawyers
will say you can't do as part of a
divorce treaty something which has a
very long lasting effect. I'm afraid
there will be another period after
the end of the transition period
when we still don't know where we
Transition period plus?
am afraid that is where we are
heading at the moment, yes.
the elements that you think have
been most difficult? Is it the four
pillars of the free demand the
singles market and the customs union
and so on more are there other
matters concerning trade that could
be more problematic?
I think we made
a mistake backing autumn of 2016
when Theresa May said we would have
no truck with the European Court of
Justice, Freedom of movement and we
want out of this customs union and
the single market and I think it was
a pity to adopt very firm positions
on these straightaway and I think
the problem we now have with the
Irish border results principally
from deciding we don't want to be in
a customs union with the European
I guess with the customs
union, one of the problems you have
is it limits to a large extent your
ability to trade with the rest of
the world. It prohibits it. It comes
down to, don't we think there are
more opportunities globally than
there are just in our new
Absolutely not. I wish
it were so but it is not. The
economic analysis the government
tried to conceal that has come out
this week in London shows that you
gain in the outside world perhaps
0.2%- 0.7% of GDP. You lose around
0.5% GDP by losing your advantages
in the Castle Market just across the
Channel. It is a myth that the world
out there really wants to trade more
with Britain. Do you think Donald
Trump looks like the sort of guy who
is going to give us a nice
sweetheart deal? America is quite a
protectionist country, always. When
you are in trade negotiations, it is
arm wrestling. Size matters. We at
present have deals with the rest of
the world which are on the basis of
they are wanting access to an
European Union market of 500 million
people, including us. So they have
made concessions to us in the
outside world. 70% of the world now
of our trade is with countries that
are either in a trade agreement with
the EU or ones where one is being
negotiated. And we have good
preferential terms which will be
hard pressed to maintain when we are
just a market of 65 million and less
attractive to them.
Do you think the
tide is turning, not among the
political class, but among the
public who clearly voted to leave?
think it may well be that the crunch
comes this autumn when the
government have to explain to the
House of Commons what deal they are
bringing back. And they have
promised that there will be a
meaningful vote in the House of
Commons. I don't know what
meaningful vote means. John Major
said the other day that what it
should mean is Parliament are asked
to accept or reject the deal or send
the negotiators back to try harder
or invite the country to say whether
this is what it had in mind and this
is what we can go ahead with. So the
idea of a People's poll, a check on
the Brexit deal, is it what the
country wanted, that seems to me to
be coming back up the flagpole at
the moment. Whether it reaches the
top of the flagpole Rob, I don't
Would it be desirable?
Wouldn't the accusation be from
those in favour of Brexit, you do
not like the results you are having
another go? And if the British
public decided to reject whatever
was on offer, what happens then?
If the British public rejected the
deal, we would stay in the European
Union. Presumably. I would say, yes,
some people would say that your
playing for a replay. A bad loser.
My answer to that would be, what
about the promises that were made?
What about what the levers were
saying, the battle bus, or that
stuff? More important, what about
the long-term future? When you look
at the way young people, here we are
at a university, young people here
actually do not want to be separated
from continental Europe. So over
time, it seems to me tomography will
come in behind democracy. --
"You won't have an NHS"
unless politicians work together
to find a better way of financing
it, that's the message
from the Royal College of Nursing.
Welsh Conservatives say
they have figures which show
more nurses are leaving
the profession than joining.
Eleanor Gruffydd Jones reports.
This woman spent nearly 40 years on
the front line as a nurse. It is a
job she loved. Working in hospitals
all over South Wales. Her career
took her from emergency care to
minor injuries. But when the chance
came up to retire, she was ready to
It is the workload and I think
that an awful lot of nurses are
feeling that at the moment. It is
the continuous... You have to get
these patients seen, why are you
going over that time, why haven't
you done this, why haven't you done
Around 1450 nurses in Wales
left the profession last year. That
is according to the Royal College of
Nursing and the nursing and
midwifery Council. Although this is
down to win above reasons including
job change and retirement as usual,
the main nursing union says this
story is a common one.
We know that there has been
unrelenting pressure across the
whole of the UK. And we are
experiencing that in Wales. In the
primary sector, nursing staff have a
duty of care and when you cannot
provide that duty of care because
the resources are not there, either
financially or the infrastructure
support, safe discharge home, that
is constantly reducing morale.
also said it is a more deep-seated
problem of a continuing lack of
We have got to have absolute way of
determining determining how the NHS
across Wales is funded because
without that there will be
insufficient resources to meet
demand and the NHS will not continue
The Welsh Conservatives have
obtained figures under the Freedom
of Information Act which they say
show that six out of Wales' seven
health boards aren't replacing staff
at the rate that others leave.
sadly show that more nurses are
leaving the NHS, 1000 have left the
NHS in Wales against the people who
have been recruited, and we know
there is increasing demand.
How credible are these figures,
considering they have been
cultivated in different ways by the
These figures have come from the
health boards in Wales.
If you work it all through, there is
1000 less nurses now working in the
NHS because they haven't been
replacing the nurses that have left.
That is deeply worrying, considering
the Welsh Labour government have
been rather lax in their recruitment
campaigns, that shows we are not
putting the stuff on the front line
to meet demand.
The Welsh Government
says there are more registered
nurses working in the NHS than ever
before with training places set to
increase by 10% this year. Ministers
say they are investing millions in
The Health Secretary address the
issue earlier this week. This
continued investment during the past
five years means there has been a
sustained increase in training
places in Wales. This includes over
that time 68% more nurses in
training, health visitor training
numbers have more than doubled. An
increase in midwifery 42%. 51% in
occupational training places.
physiotherapy training places.
Tina Donnelly says there is no more
time for criticising and cooperation
between political parties and across
borders is now badly needed.
expect the whole of the political
parties to come together
collectively as a UK and say the NHS
is an important part of our social
infrastructure. We have got to have
a better way of financing it. We
have got to have a way of making
sure that the staff that work in it
are not put under relentless
pressure so that they leave because
at the end of the day, the system
will have failed and you won't have
a national health service.
Much as I love being a nurse, and I
am proud of the fact that I was a
nurse and I always will be a nurse,
I will always be proud of that fact,
I just can't do it any more.
Now, the question of respect
and dignity has never been nearer
the top of the political agenda
on a UK level.
But what about here in Wales?
The First Minister says he wants
to bring in laws to make the country
the safest place to be
a woman in Europe.
But will it ever happen,
and how would it work?
Cerys Furlong is the boss
of Chwarae Teg and Catherine Fookes
is in charge of the
Women's Equality Network.
Thank you very much for coming in.
How far are we from that aim from
the First Minister of being the
safest place in Europe to be a
I think we are making good
progress in Wales. We have the
legislation that was ground-breaking
but I do think there are certainly
areas of improvement that can be
made. I think firstly domestic
violence organisations really need
is to have sustainable long-term
ring fenced funding for women's
refuges. Secondly I think we could
do with some really bold targets for
gender parity in the assembly. We
have had a 50-50 assembly before and
I think we really need that again.
That will help us move forward with
the culture change we need in
In the past, we have had gender
parity in the assembly, in terms of
men and women, but when it comes to
how to achieve that again in the
future, what are you talking about,
Yes, I am talking about
quotas. The expert panel led by
Laura McAllister made three
excellent recommendations that would
go a long way to getting us to
gender parity. That is quotas,
political parties publishing
candidate data, and it is also about
looking at the job of an Assembly
Member itself and looking at job
sharing. I would like to see the
First Minister committing to some of
these things and getting all
political parties behind those
When Carwyn Jones made his speech on
Thursday evening, outlining what he
wants to see and the steps that need
to be taken to make Wales the state
that -- safest place in Europe to be
a woman coming he mentioned your
organisation as being part of a
review looking into that, so what
are the steps that need to be taken
now that you think?
Obviously we are
pleased to see the comments from the
First Minister this week and I think
it is something we need to focus now
on, the actions, not just the words.
In the past, people would have
talked in broad terms not committing
to gender equality. So I think it is
time to think about how we tackle
misogyny and culture in Wales and
across the UK. How we look at things
like the gender pay gap and how we
think about equality legislation,
all the excellent points that have
been made. It is really a positive
approach now, time is needed for
that, but to focus on those big
things and I think over the last
several months, we have talked about
sexual harassment and codes of
conduct and that is part of it but
it is not the whole issue.
before we came on air that Sweden is
held as being one of the best places
in the world. I guess what the First
Minister is saying is we need to
match the best the world when it
comes to this. How far away, how
much of a step change is needed?
is a significant step change. The
First Minister in his speech also
talked about Lady Rhondda and what
she was campaigning for in 1921,
childcare, accessed for jobs for
women, we are making the same points
now, generations later. It needs a
significant shift and we welcome the
One of the things
mentioned there was sexual
harassment in politics and we know
that at the top of the agenda on a
UK wide level and maybe in Wales
there are obviously sensitivities
there but what needs to change
therein terms of how sexual
harassment is dealt with in the
assembly for example?
interesting first of all that in 20
years, there has not been one
complaint made to the Standards
It is interesting but
what does that show?
don't understand what the processes
and they don't know where to go to
make a complaint. The dignity and
respect statements so far, we are
moving slowly, I would like a
stomach would remove much more
quickly. We need to make sure the
person handling those complaint has
real experience in the field. They
need expertise. At the moment, there
is only a 12 month kind of period
within which you are supposed to
complain. And what happens if the
complaint happened a long time ago?
Sometimes it takes women a long time
to have the confidence to come
forward. I think we need to look at
that as well.
When you said the
person holding the job, there is a
Standards Commissioner, a former
High Court judge, presumably you are
saying that he doesn't necessarily
have the experience necessary to
deal with the kind of cases that
might come before him?
and someone needs to be trained in
order to deal with... With a woman
feel confident going to him and
explaining the problem is that they
have had and so I think it is really
important that you have possibly a
woman in that... Not necessarily in
his role, I am not try to do him out
of a job but you need women involved
will have had experience of dealing
with these kind of cases before and
can support the women making the
complaint is going forward or indeed
men, if there are complaints from
One of the things the Standards
Commissioner is doing at the moment
is scrutinising the policies of the
political parties when it comes to
reporting sexual harassment and so
on. We have a ministerial code.
There is a party code and assembly
code. Are all these different colds
necessarily tied in together? Is
there a confusion residing from
There definitely is confusion
and we can overcomplicate this but
we are talking about what is
appropriate behaviour and conduct.
And I think we all know what that
looks like and so we should be able
to bring those together and some
simple and transparent policies and
I were saying before we came on air
that I did a bit of research
yesterday and how would you go about
making a complaint, it is
horrendously combat. If you look at
the stuff on the website and the
options you have to go through, we
are putting significant barriers in
the way of people who even go to
make that first step into making a
complaint. There is a lot we can do
to improve from where we are now.
Clearly there is a problem about the
initial step. If it is proof that an
Assembly Member has acted
inappropriately, are the penalty is
strong enough at the moment?
moment, it is not clear what those
would be and I have not seen any
evidence of what those would be.
They need to be detailed and
absolutely it needs to be very clear
what the sanctions are. I think it
is absolutely vital that as a member
of the public, you don't care...
Someone working in the assembly, you
do not care if it is a ministerial
code or Assembly Member called, they
should be exactly the same. And the
important thing is people knowing
what number to ring, who did get in
touch with and know which cold this
particular person has broken.
Howard using procurement powers
It is about making sure that
they are held to a higher standard.
This is about the assembly showing
real leadership on the issue of
equality because it can and because
it should. I think that is perfectly
reasonable. We already use our
procurement powers in Wales to
ensure that organisations in Wales
pay the minimum wage, the living
wage, it is the same kind of process
and it is about that kind of
leadership that we need to push on.
We have mentioned a lot here about
how politics can be made safer for
women here. Does that then trickle
down to the general population or
are there different plans and
procedures that need to be put in
Absolutely. I think it all
starts with education in schools. We
really need a real focus on children
in schools getting teaching or
workshops or understanding about
what a healthy relationship is and I
think we also have a real problem in
schools of unconscious bias and we
need teachers to call out sexism
when they see it. For example. And
not unconsciously say things like
you girls are sitting over there
quietly, you are a great role model.
If you do that to girls in primary
school, they will think later on in
life the best thing to do is to sit
there quietly and not speak out. We
need to remove some of those
barriers from a really early age.
There needs to be action across the
board. The media is another key
place to start and I think we are
starting to see that shift. But
every organisation needs to be
looking at itself and saying, what
do we need to do to hold ourselves
up to a higher state of standards
than we have until now? We do not
want to be having this conversation
again in another eight years' time
that Lady Rhondda was having in
When we are looking at where
we want to be and where we are now,
how long will that take, do you
They say that if the current
progress on the gender pay gap, we
will still have one of 40% in 100
years and we do not want to be
there. I welcome the First Minister
's comments but we really need
A brilliant place to finish
That's it from me!
Don't forget Wales Live will be
here on Wedneday night,
after the news at 10.30.
But for now that's all from me.
Diolch am wylio,
thanks for watching.
Time to go back to Sarah.
That's all we have time for.
My thanks to Susan Kramer, Siobhan
McDonagh and to Bob Blackman.
And with that it's back to Sarah.
The Chancellor's been out
and about this morning,
setting out his stall ahead
of the Spring Statement on Tuesday.
Here's what he told Andrew Marr.
There is light at the end
of the tunnel because what we are
about to see is debt starting
to fall after it's been growing
for 17 continuous years.
That's a very important moment
for us, but we are still
in the tunnel at the moment.
We have to get debt down.
We have got all sorts of other
things we want to do.
We've taken a balanced approach over
the last couple of fiscal events.
Using flexibility that we had
to continue paying down debt,
but also to provide additional
support to our public services,
to invest in Britain's future
and to reduce taxes for families
and small businesses
who are feeling the pressure.
Also appearing on the Andrew Marr
programme, the Shadow Chancellor
John McDonnell called
on the government to end
its austerity programme.
One thing he has done is he has
shifted the deficit onto the
shoulders of NHS managers, onto
shoulders of head teachers, and onto
the shoulders of local government
leaders and these Conservative
council leaders now are saying that
they are facing a financial crisis
because the government have had
cutbacks. This is not a matter of
celebration. I think he should come
into the real world because the
resolution foundation said in their
report today, 11 million people now,
not just the poorest but those just
about managing, will be hit next
month by the cuts in support they
get to the benefit system, so this
is not a matter for celebration by
To unpick what we can
expect in the spring statement and
other stories next week, the panel
are still with me. We had the
Chancellor saying there is light at
the end of the tunnel. How much
pressure does is put on him from his
own side let alone from the
opposition to spend some more money?
There's an interesting split in the
Conservatives, those who say now we
have a lemonade of the current
budget deficit on day-to-day
spending, we should take a chance to
invest heavily in infrastructure to
give the NHS more money, to spend
money on schools, and then you have
the fiscal conservatives like Philip
Hammond to say actually debt is
still 84% of GDP, we have got to
start delivering overall surplus is
not borrowing money to get it down
because we face economic economic
risks from Brexit. We know Philip
Hammond does not look optimistically
at that. And an ageing population on
those pressures, so when things
start to seem as if they are
improving, you can't reduce the
It was interesting early
on the programme, talking to Sam
Gyimah, he said students thought
austerity was the ideological
position of the Conservative Party,
not a practical necessity. So if now
we are reaching a point where there
is potentially more money to spend,
politically would be wise?
because if the Conservatives failed
to establish this narrative which
they have been trying to form long
time, under Theresa May they have
abandoned it, this idea that living
within 1's means as a country is an
end to itself, I'm not sure what
will separate them from the Labour
ideology. If they absolutely abandon
the point they have to be careful
about how they spend their money,
they could pledge 10 billion to one
sector, and the Labour Party will
pledge 100. If they cannot make that
case it is responsible to be
spending money responsibly because
otherwise if you don't pay off your
debt, it will mean higher taxes on
future generations, these students
and their children have lost that
political argument already.
defining political argument of this
premiership of Theresa May for the
many and not for the few, are the
fiscal messages we are hearing from
the Chancellor, do they relate to
Not in the slightest. You
heard on the Andrew Marr programme,
giving a receptacle slap in the
face, the author of the just about
managing speech, Mick Timothy is
going to try to beat up the
Chancellor on behalf of the Prime
Minister's behalf, so those tensions
will remain. I think the Chancellor
is even more anal-retentive on the
purse strings at the moment simply
because of the government, the
Tories don't have a majority. That
means any single minority interest
who can scrape together ten or 12
Tory MPs, you can force the
government to do a U-turn and they
are piling up from defence spending,
a strong Tory bid coming down the
line on Universal Credit, putting
back 3 billion into it. IDS, the
socially conservative touchy-feely
end of the party, to the NHS,
tuition fees, every single one of
those minority interests will want
some sort of salvation. Now the
Chancellor announces bigger that £10
million -- £10 billion a year more
yet to play with.
Now usually at
this point we are talking about the
word Brexit and it does not come up
yet and we can't
yet and we can't ignore it it has
been a big Brexit week.
heard Philip Hammond tell us
financial services will have to form
the ultimate deal we get from the
EU, and we've also heard the EU's
guidelines. They are,
unsurprisingly, taking a hard line.
Those two things have happened.
Another interesting thing, there was
an interesting appointment that
happened in the EU last
happened in the EU last week,
Jean-Claude Juncker's write man
became secretary-general of the
commission. There is a lot of
disquiet amongst the MPs about this
from across the European Union, but
also political divides within the
EU, and tomorrow they are demanding
some answers in the European
Parliament about this particular
appointment and we, the Brexit
nerds, we'll look at it very
carefully. It raises some
interesting questions and
transparency and accountability
within the European framework.
international trade Secretary Liam
Fox is off to Washington at the very
time the US president is threatening
tariffs on steel and aluminium and
it's an interesting one for British
government because Trump has said
allies can come and make their case
to be exempted from this and Canada
and Mexico have been, but we should
not be going separately as the UK
because we are part of the European
Union at the moment, but if we can
cut a deal, how would that go down
Conservatives like Liam
Fox said for years once we are
outside the EU the advantages is we
can get beneficial trade deals with
major economies like the USA, and
now he has the chance to test Donald
Trump's words, so there's been lots
of rhetoric about Donald Trump about
you guys will get a big trade deal,
but in reality he's always been a
protectionist on trade. Will you
make an exception for Britain? Does
he think we are a significant and
economy to make that case? If Liam
Fox could get something, it would be
a win for the Brexiteers. The
government postponed the boat on a
customs union because they were
worried about losing it on the floor
of the Commons after the Labour
shift full support they can get a
concession, it would help.
potential windfall Liam Fox but
fraught with danger. If he gets a
deal, the EU will be furious and
that could affect the Brexit
negotiations. If he doesn't come it
will be rather embarrassing.
can't get a deal until 2021, an
awful long time away. We remain
within the EU's tariffs regime until
2021 because that is what we wanted.
New Year's Eve 2020. There ain't a
huge amount the government can do.
If the government could broker a
deal, there's talk of doing this,
not country by country, but the Port
Talbot manufacturers, high-density
steel used to warships, he could try
to broker some sort of exemption
with that, but it will interview
read the EU and give us an
read the EU and give us an even
worse deal. I don't think Liam Fox
I'm afraid we'll win this debate.
The big story with the Labour Party
the moment of course is the election
for their new general secretary. The
founder of momentum standing against
Jennie Formby from Unite. This is
not the left and right battle we
have been used within the Labour
Party the two very strong
significance figures from the left
of the party battling it out to take
over general secretary. Does it
matter which one of them wins and
how this proceeds for the Labour
It matters because you have
two rival conceptions about the
Labour Party should be. The view of
momentum is you need more power is
transferred to members giving
members greater influence over
policy and the trade unions still
have half of the boat on Labour
Party policy which act as a block
and gives the general secretary huge
power and then you have the Labour
Party founded by the trade unions,
we are nothing without the trade
unions, of course they have to be at
the centre of the Labour Party and
therefore it is entirely appropriate
Jennie Formby should become the new
party general secretary, but this is
a fascinating element and the left
have defeated all of the internal
opponents and it is now the split
within the new party establishment
that is playing out and some will
draw comparisons with the Blairites
and Brown Knights of the past. The
two rival visions of what Corbin is
should mean for Labour.
and vocations? Will make a
difference to the of the Labour
Party or is it about who it is?
Small policy implications. Momentum
are about as far left as you can
possibly get at the moment in terms
of selling up nationalisation is.
Len McCluskey, unite, not perhaps
quite as hard left as momentum. I
think it is more the culture who
runs the party, who has controls and
what's fascinating is watching the
Labour moderates this week. There's
a few of them around. One of them
described it as predator versus
alien for the two terrible enemies
eating each other as the revolution
always eats its children will be a
great battle my feeling is the union
will win it. They have the muscle
and bigger numbers than momentum at
Labour moderates, it's
been suggested Harriet Harman could
be interested in being the next
Speaker of the House of Commons. The
second ever female speaker of
course, but John Bercow has been
there for a long time although there
are allegations about bullying in
his office which have resurfaced
this week. Is there an opportunity
do you think?
Yes, would be
interesting is how these bullying
allegations, which are only
allegations at this stage, play out.
It's been talked about quite a lot
and we have talked about this in the
Green room actually, when John
Bercow to go but he set himself a
limit, coming to an end, the middle
of this year. Does that mean he's
now leaving his job? I think he has
immensely enjoyed it but the MPs
perhaps not so much on both sides.
It will be interesting to see how
that happens. And if it would be
Harriet Harman, how the Tory MPs are
going to react to her taking on as
The Tory MPs don't like John
They don't like John Bercow
or Harriet Harman but for her to
become the speaker would be
significant. Both culturally and
politically. She's done more than
any other MP to advance women's
rights and you can see why, with
such concern about the harassment
allegations and bullying now at
Westminster, for Harriet Harman to
become the speaker would be a very
important development for the its
Labour MPs actually who have propped
up John Bercow. He lost the
confidence of his own side and if
they start to turn on him his days
could be numbered.
Harriet Harman? Can you see it?
because John Bercow has about ten
Tory MP mates, plus the entire
Labour vote and will always win
unless the Tories can find someone
they liked even more than John
Bercow and there aren't that many
more public people in the party than
Thank you all for
Join me again next Sunday
at 11 here on BBC One.
Until then, bye bye.