Andrew Neil and David Garmston with the latest political news, and debate. Former London mayor Ken Livingstone and former shadow chancellor Chris Leslie discuss Labour's fortunes.
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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
Corbynite Ken Livingstone and Corbyn critic Chris Leslie
And in the West, the library is on borrowed time.
Ten Swindon branches have had their funding removed as
the council struggles to balance its books.
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.
Hello and welcome to the Sunday Politics here in the West.
Think of us as an oasis of calm away from the stresses
Coming up, we'll be looking at the raft of libraries
This week, Swindon removed all the funding for two
Critics say it's the biggest cut not just in our country,
Libraries are fast becoming Theresa May's equivalent
You know, this is a short-term economic policy that's
giving long-term damage to our children's futures.
Now, in the studio this week, we have a legal eagle and eight
-- Now, in the studio this week we have a legal eagle
They are the barrister turned Swindon MP, that's Robert Buckland.
And the regional secretary for the public services union
You're the Solicitor General, Robert, as you probably know.
So, the big story this week has been what has been
going on in the Supreme Court and how Brexit should be triggered.
Well, we have had the argument and now the Supreme Court justices
are going to go away and considered judgment which we'll
I think it's best that we wait to see the outcome of the case,
and then the government will make its decision
accordingly in terms of what the court determines.
But I think we'll get to the triggering of Article
50 by the end of March as the Prime Minister's promised.
Well, I think the big issues here about the role of government,
I think it's important that these issues are at
And I'm confident that the independent judiciary
And I think that should help not just in this case,
but help more generally an understanding
They've been taking a lot of stick for this suggestion even that MPs
should be able to have a say over triggering of the article.
How will you vote if MPs do have a say over
How will you vote if MPs do have a say?
Yeah, I was a Remainer, I campaigned actively for it.
I understand that things have changed.
You would vote against your conscience?
I would abide by the clear view of the British people.
I'm a democrat at the end of it and I have to abide
Well, whatever my personal view is, we asked the British
They did, now we've got to get on with it.
Well, I'm really interested in what the clear view
Because I think on the 23rd of June, the people voted in effect to move
house, out of the house that was the EU.
And now what I think we want to know is, what kind
Will there be any free movement of people?
We we still have some of the regulations, some
And the response that we're getting is, frankly,
if it wasn't so serious, it would be funny.
To be told that Brexit means Brexit, when Brexit wasn't even
Or that Brexit will be red, white and blue.
But if you were in the Commons, would you say the people got that
wrong in my opinion, so I'm going to vote
I think I would say the people have voted to open negotiations.
I think the government should be really clear in those negotiations,
To suggest that somehow keeping it secret will help,
it's not a boxing match where if you land a punch
It's actually a set of negotiations where you should
Don't forget, the government have said they are going to publish
their position ahead of any negotiations.
The debate that we can have, the detail, will come
Now, the way police in Wiltshire and elsewhere investigate
historical child abuse has been condemned by a former MP
Tessa Munt, who represented Wells until last year,
says it is vital work but has been badly handled.
It comes after Wiltshire's Chief Constable made an outspoken defence
of his force's enquiry into allegations about the former
Could a British Prime Minister have been a sexual predator?
The late Edward Heath is among many public figures investigated.
It's four years since Jimmy Savile's crimes were revealed.
That precipitated an avalanche of allegations and action
With permission, Mr Speaker, I would like to make a statement
For one MP at Parliament that day, it was deeply personal.
Tessa Munt was abused for five years from the age of 12.
It was decades before she reported it.
I had a horrendous six months of reliving the nightmare.
But actually, I got used to saying what had happened.
You know, the thing that was a nightmare for me
was thinking that that person might be doing that to somebody else,
and that if I had been brave enough to speak up,
all that time ago, somebody else might not have suffered what I did.
Today, she follows with sadness but no surprise the revelations
of abuse in football, as hundreds of potential
People are shocked by those statistics, but the whole world
is changing, and I think there will be an understanding
of the fact that it is a huge problem in our society.
Ted Heath lived the last 20 years of his life in Salisbury.
Last year, Wiltshire Police gathered of the media in front of his house
I'm really appealing for anybody that has been a victim of crime,
or witnessed anything that may have taken place involving Sir Ted Heath.
Tessa Munt believes the way this, and other investigations,
To choose your location as being outside his house in Salisbury,
the house that he occupied in Salisbury, is just outrageous.
They've behaved pretty atrociously over the whole Cliff Richard thing,
You know, the police's job is to investigate,
not to create some sort of media whiz around themselves and show
themselves to be simply brilliant on this particular occasion
because they've done the investigation.
Wiltshire Police have also faced criticism for spending 16
months and ?750,000, while reaching no clear conclusion.
Requests for interviews were turned down.
Instead, a stern Chief Constable recorded his own rebuttal.
Over the last few weeks particularly, there has been much
I really am very concerned and profoundly disappointed
about the impact of this speculation on the public's
The potential prejudicial impact on life criminal investigations,
not to mention the confidence of persons who come
This is not a fishing trip or witchhunt.
Both of these terms have been unfairly levelled at us.
The legal role of the police service is two, on the half of the public,
impartially investigate allegations without fear or favour.
Wiltshire's and other investigations will press on.
For the sake of the victims, get it right, pleads Tessa Munt.
My heart goes out to everybody who has suffered.
I'm not in the slightest bit surprised at the scale of this.
It's nowhere near an covering all of this.
Joanne, is there any limit to how much public funds and effort should
be put into investigating these sorts of cases?
Well, that's a bit like asking what is the price of justice.
If you look back, we saw that the Jimmy Savile case,
I'm sure it cost hundreds of thousands, possibly
To expose Jimmy Savile and the crimes that he committed.
Are we saying that is money not well spent?
I think it's important that we do investigate these crimes.
But also put the resource into making sure that
And making sure that we are protecting children when clearly
Robert, you are quoted in one newspapers having
Robert, you are quoted in one newspaper as having had a private
And accusing him of going on a fishing expedition.
I don't think it's right of me to make comments
What I will say is that the police and the investigating authorities
should follow the evidence wherever it leads.
They shouldn't come to any preconceived
I think it's important that that sense of impartial investigation
is strongly felt from the beginning of an enquiry.
Now, it's right to say as has already been said,
that results should never be an obstacle to the
And that's why the CPS is working extremely hard to prosecute hundreds
Bringing victims some form of closure and Justice.
In this case, there's 21 officers, ?750,000 spent.
Wiltshire is a small force, its funding is being cut.
I think the police have to follow the evidence wherever it leads.
And, you know, the Chief Constable has operational decisions to make.
He is close to, I hope, the evidence in this
case and understand that if there is a body of evidence, it
But I think it's important that we remember, you know,
at the head of all these investigations, we mustn't have
preconceptions about the credibility or otherwise...
Do you think they have a preconception that when he stood
outside Edward Heath's house and talked about victims,
did that appear to be an open mind to you?
I very much hope that they didn't have a preconception.
I very much hope that the investigation is being conducted
If you had seen that tape and you were in court,
Well, it's very difficult to know what a judge would do unless you see
But it's very difficult to know what the outcome of these
There might be allegations that need to be followed up.
What I do know is that Sir Edward Heath is long dead,
and that we have a major enquiry chaired by Professor Alexis Jay
And I very much hope that there is a linkup
between investigations like this and the Jay enquiry to make
sure that historic child abuse can be dealt with.
The police have said time and time again that
when you are investigating those who may have been responsible
for multiple sexual offences, you do need the cooperation
of a wide number of people because often, and the prosecutions
that were successful depended on them finding a large
number of people who had experienced the same thing
I know this is speculation, but do you think it's credible that
Sir Edward Heath crept out of Downing Street at night
What I know about Sir Edward Heath is that he had police protection
Now, if there is credible evidence out there about alleged behaviour,
But what I do know, and I think we agree on this,
is that where you do have a say multiple abuses,
If you get, you know, publicity about one victim,
The Stuart Hall case was a good example where it did actually bring
Those in child protection have taught that you must always
entertain the possibility that whoever the person is,
You cannot use your own prejudices to say this person conducted at.
-- this person couldn't have done it.
Your colleague in Wiltshire, James Gray, is saying that if this
comes to nothing then the Chief Constable will have to go.
Look, again, I don't think it's right for me to start
prejudging the career of operational police officers.
All right, we'll have to leave it there.
When was the last time you actually used your local library?
More in the West could soon end up featuring in the local history
aisle, after council decisions this week.
In a moment, we'll be discussing whether libraries
And then the rather more polite ones.
They might be quiet, but don't underestimate their passion.
This is a read in, at a Swindon library that is about to fall
And these are cut even the professionals say is a new level.
What we're seeing in Swindon is not only some of the worst cuts closures
to library services in the UK, but across most of Western Europe.
What they are proposing here, you know, the European average
is around one library for 15,000 people.
Proposing here one library for 40,000 people.
There's no way that we can deliver a comprehensive
But councils are under huge financial pressure from Westminster,
having to make tough choices, libraries are at risk.
In Swindon, the council decided on Wednesday to withdraw funding
On Tuesday in North Somerset, ?250,000 was cut from
Some will be moved into children's centres to keep them open.
While South Gloucestershire Council has said it wants to be the first
in the country to offer an entirely self-service operation.
For a glimpse of the future, I head to this place in Wiltshire,
where they're already trying this idea out.
You swipe yourself in, pick your book.
The machines take care of the loans and returns.
Where a librarian might once have shushed, now even on the days
when it's not staffed, this is still functioning library.
Often a on Wednesday when the library's closed
and I forget that, I think, "Great, I can still do my
You'll have to put yourself on the waiting list to borrow
At her home near Stroud, the bestselling writer behind many
a racy romance romp tells me libraries had a profound
I just remember when I was young, when we went up to Yorkshire
after the war and suddenly going into a public library.
I mean, there were these books all round me.
And what was amazing was that every kind of book I wanted to read,
But also, I mean, I could take them home.
She's worried future generations might not get the same chances.
I mean, Swindon has a big heart, they can't be doing it, you know,
They're obviously doing it because they've got
But I think they could possibly keep some more open.
Because it just seems to me that people need to read,
If you are poor, this is a whole free world for you,
The notion that libraries are some kind of welfare service,
some deficit model for poorer people or isolate people, is to place
libraries in the wrong place in public life.
John isn't just a former Labour political strategist.
He is also a former councillor and a qualified librarian.
He's got a message many would want to hear.
There's a lot of sentimental claptrap spoken about libraries.
Fewer than four in ten adults used a library once in the last year.
The decline has been setting in for more than a decade,
Do you accept that politically it's very for local councillors to come
out and say that a lot of libraries aren't necessary any more?
If the public want libraries, they have to use them.
The decline of the last decade is sending a signal to councillors
that councillors would be wrong to ignore.
And when the choice is between social care
that is desperately needed and libraries which people aren't
going to, how can you come them come the council that decides
to prioritise care for older people that takes pressure
off the health service, gives dignity and independence
to older people in their own homes, against keeping open a service that
And as pressure continues to grow, the West's councils face a choice.
Do libraries need to be renewed, or are they living on borrowed time?
You look after the union side of things.
What do you make of this idea of having libraries
I think they are very good for the people who just want to know
what books they want to borrow, and they want to just go in,
But people who are perhaps going to the library for the first time,
My mother uses a library, and the librarian's one
of her best friends and always makes recommendations, helps her,
kind of calls her when something new has come in.
That's going to have that same service.
So it's very transactional, but it's not going to help people
who perhaps are using libraries for the first time.
And I think getting people to use libraries more is very important.
Robert, are you proud of what Swindon council is doing?
Well, they're having to deal with a very tough situation.
But, you know, I'm confident that actually the majority
And I'm working closely with councillors and indeed
with other people with a passion for libraries in Swindon to make
sure that we can develop not only our core library,
but via a mutual trust option that the staff have
There is a serious, concerted effort to make sure that branches that
aren't within the core will stay open.
So for all this talk about ten closures, I'm
And I think that we can keep the network going
and have a sustainable model for Swindon.
Actually, I'd like us to be more ambitious for libraries.
I think it's interesting that they're merging with children's
But there's no reason why libraries should just be about books.
They could be ways in which people can learn about the digital age.
We know there's a real gap in people's digital skills.
And libraries are places people learn more.
If you look at libraries in schools...
So a council faced with cutting social services or cutting books,
Actually having the library, which is also a learning hub,
but also the council one stop shop where you can come and find out
What's happening in Swindon, young people who don't
have the Internet at home are doing their homework
Job-seekers who don't have the Internet are using
I accept that the settlement is a tight one.
Which is why I'm working as hard as I can to make sure the network
stays open and that we have a more sustainable model for the future.
Which is why the staff, councillors, all of us are working together
The remaining libraries, the branch libraries,
the opening hours are being cut to about 15 hours a week.
Which is why I think with innovation, I think
there is government funding to support innovation which I think
I'd like to see longer opening hours, and more, you know,
different approach to have libraries are in communities.
I think that that can come from a variety of income sources,
I think we need to look at shared use more.
There's a lot of really interesting thinking going on in Swindon to make
sure that we have a service that's fit for the future.
Well, I don't doubt your good intentions.
But what you really need to do is be talking to colleagues in government
and saying that this year on year on cuts to local government
services, it's just proving unsustainable.
And I have sympathy for people saying, "We have to close
the library because otherwise cuts to old people's services."
And it's time to try and turn things round.
That is a whole new subject, but thank you.
Here is our round-up of the West's political week.
A Yeovil man was jailed for two years after harassing
24-year-old Joshua Bonehill Payne targeted the Jewish Liberal MP
Luciana Berger with a string of anti-Semitic rants.
Families who took their children out of school said they couldn't go
on holiday win their case against Swindon council.
They had all received fines for unauthorised absence.
The nine councils that serve Dorset could be merged to form only two.
It would save over ?100 million over the next six years.
At PMQs, the Gloucester MP urged cross-country trains to provide more
Do not allow cross-country to go on treating Gloucester like a leper
to be avoided at all costs, and apply to them to deliver
In Bristol, the days of free on street parking
It's one of a number of controversial measures
by the mayor as he tries to balance his books.
This dreadful Internet trolling which is going on,
Is there much more that the government can
Politicians will get criticised, of course.
What I've noticed is a lot of my female colleagues have had
disproportionately offensive remarks, and threats made to them.
Which make them fear for their personal safety.
That's not acceptable in a civilised society.
We need to police the boundaries of free speech very
vigorously when people cross the line into criminality.
Anonymity, can I say, is no hiding place,
because the police can track people down as we saw in the feature.
I've experienced that kind of online abuse.
Children are really distressed by it.
But I think people need to challenge it.
And the social media platforms need to put more resources into making
sure there are real people who can see these tweets and can
see the blogs and shut them down immediately.
And not be confused that that is free speech,
because it's not what free speech should be.
My thanks to my guests, Robert Buckland and Joanne K.
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
# I'm going to find that boy underneath the mistletoe
Andrew Neil and David Garmston 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. Plus Robert Buckland MP. The Political Panel consists of Iain Martin of Reaction, Tom Newton Dunn of The Sun and Polly Toynbee of The Guardian.