Andrew Neil and David Garmston with the latest political news, interviews and debate. Guests include Gavin Barwell MP, Charles Grant and Henry Newman.
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It's Sunday morning, and this is the Sunday Politics.
Theresa May pledged to help people who are "just about managing",
and this week her government will announce new measures to boost
the number of affordable homes and improve conditions for renters.
After a US court suspends Donald Trump's travel ban and rules
it could be unconstitutional, one of the President's inner circle
tells me there is no "chaos", and that Donald Trump's White House
is making good on his campaign promises.
As the Government gets into gear for two years
of Brexit negotiations, we report on the haggling to come
over the UK's Brexit bill for leaving the European Union -
and the costs and savings once we've left.
So, is that the end of the line for councils running businesses?
And with me, as always, a trio of top political
journalists - Helen Lewis, Tom Newton Dunn
They'll be tweeting throughout the programme,
So, more anguish to come this week for the Labour party as the House
of Commons continues to debate the bill which paves the way
Last week, Labour split over the Article 50 bill,
with a fifth of Labour MPs defying Jeremy Corbyn to vote against.
Five shadow ministers resigned, and it's expected Mr Corbyn
will have to sack more frontbenchers once the bill is voted
Add to that the fact that the Labour Leader's close ally
Diane Abbot failed to turn up for the initial vote -
blaming illness - and things don't look too rosy
The Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry was asked
about the situation earlier on the Andrew Marr show.
The Labour Party is a national party and we represent the nation,
and the nation is divided on this, and it is very difficult.
Many MPs representing majority Remain constituencies have this very
difficult balancing act between - do I represent my constituency,
Labour, as a national party, have a clear view.
We fought to stay in Europe, but the public have spoken,
But the important thing now is not to give Theresa May a blank check,
we have to make sure we get the right deal for the country.
That was Emily Thornberry. Helen, is this like a form of Chinese water
torture for the Labour Party? And for journalists, to! We are in a
situation where no one really thinks it's working. A lot of authority has
drained away from Jeremy Corbyn but no one can do anything about it.
What we saw from the leadership contest is on the idea of a Blairite
plot to get rid of him. You are essentially stuck in stasis. The
only person that can remove Jeremy Corbyn is God or Jeremy Corbyn.
Authority may have moved from Mr Corbyn but it's not going anywhere
else, there's not an alternative centre of authority? Not quite, but
Clive Lewis is name emerging, the Shadow Business Secretary. A lot of
the Labour left, people like Paul Mason, really like him and would
like to see him in Corbyn. I think that's why Jeremy Corbyn do
something extraordinary next week and abstain from Article 50, the
main bill itself, to keep his Shadow Cabinet together. That clip on
Andrew Marr, point blank refusing to say if Labour will vote for Article
50. The only way Jeremy Corbyn can hold this mess together now is to
abstain, which would be catastrophic across Brexit constituencies in the
North. The problem with abstention is everyone will say on the issue of
our time, the official opposition hasn't got coherent or considered
policy? I love the way Emily Thornberry said the country is
divided and we represent the country, in other words we are
divided at the party as well. The other thing that was a crucial
moment this week is the debate over whether there should be a so-called
meaningful vote by MPs on the deal that Theresa May gets. That is a
point of real danger for Brexit supporters. It may well be there is
a coalition of Labour and SNP and Remain MPs, Tory MPs, who vote for
that so-called meaningful vote that could undermine Theresa May's
negotiation. So Theresa May could have had troubles as well, not plain
sailing for her? There is no point, apart from lonely Ken Clarke voting
against Article 50, no point in Tory remainders rebelling. It would have
been a token gesture with no support. But there might be
meaningful amendments. One might be on the status of EU nationals... The
government could lose that. There might be a majority for some of
those amendments. The ins and outs of the Labour Party, it fascinates
the Labour Party and journalists. I suspect the country has just moved
on and doesn't care. You are probably quite right. To be honest I
struggled to get Labour split stories in my paper any more, the
bar is so high to make it news. Where it does matter is now not
everyone will pay huge amounts to the -- of attention to the vote on
Wednesday. But come the general election in 2020, maybe a little
earlier, every Tory leaflet and every labour constituency will say
this guy, this goal, they refuse to vote for Brexit, do you want them in
power? That is going to be really hard for them. The story next week
may be Tory splits rather than just Labour ones, we will see.
Theresa May has made a big deal out of her commitment to help people
on middle incomes who are "just about managing", and early this week
we should get a good sense of what that means in practice -
when plans to bring down the cost of housing and protect renters
are published in the Government's new white paper.
Theresa May has promised she'll kick off Brexit negotiations with the EU
by the end of March, and after months of shadow-boxing
Ellie Price reports on the battle to come over the UK's Brexit bill,
and the likely costs and savings once we've left.
It was the figure that defined the EU referendum campaign.
It was also a figure that was fiercely disputed, but the promise -
vote leave and Britain won't have to pay into the EU are any more.
So, is that what's going to happen now?
The trouble with buses is you tend to have to wait for them
and when Theresa May triggers Article 50, the clock starts
She needs something quicker, something more sporty.
According to the most recent Treasury figures,
Britain's gross contribution to the EU, after the rebate
is taken into account, is about ?14 billion a year.
There are some complicating factors that means it can go up
or down year on year, but that's roughly how much the UK
will no longer sending to Brussels post-Brexit.
But, there are other payments that Britain will have to shell out for.
First and foremost, the so-called divorce settlement.
It is being said, and openly by Commissioner Barnier
and others in the Commission, that the total financial liability
as they see it might be in the order of 40-60 billion
The BBC understands the figure EU negotiators are likely
to settle on is far lower, around 34 billion euros,
but what does the money they are going to argue
Well, that's how much Britain owes for stuff in the EU budget that's
already signed up for until 2020, one year after we are
Historically, Britain pays 12% in contributions,
so the cost to the UK is likely to be between ten
Then they will look at the 200-250 billion euros of underfunded
spending commitments, the so-called RAL.
Britain could also be liable for around 5-7 billion euros
for its share in the pensions bill for EU staff, that's again
12% of an overall bill of 50-60 billion.
Finally there's a share of our assets held by the EU.
They include things like this building, the European Commission
Britain could argue it deserves a share back of around 18 billion
euros from a portfolio that's said to be worth 153 billion euros.
So, lots for the two sides to discuss in two years of talks.
They have a great opportunity with the Article 50 talks
because actually they can hold us to ransom.
They can say, "You figure out money, we will talk about your trade.
But until you've figured out the money, we won't," so I think
a lot of European states think they are in a very strong
negotiating position at the moment and they intend to make
The principle is clear, the days of Britain making vast
contributions to the European Union every year will end.
Theresa May has already indicated that she would want to sign back up
to a number of EU agencies on a program-by-program basis.
The Europol for example, that's the European crime
agency, or Erasmus Plus, which wants student exchanges.
If everything stays the same as it is now, it would cost the UK
675 million euros a year, based on analysis by
But there are likely to be agencies we don't choose to participate in.
If we only opted back to those dealing with security,
trade, universities and, say, climate change,
it could come with a price tag of 370 million euros per year.
Of course that's if our European neighbours allow us.
I wonder if they're going to let me in!
There will also be a cost to creating a new system to resolve
trade disputes with other nations once we are no longer part
Take the EFTA Court which rules on disputes
between the EU and Norway, Iceland and Lichtenstein.
That costs 4 million euros to run each year,
though in the Brexit White Paper published this week,
the Government said it will not be constrained by precedent
Finally, would the EU get behind the idea of Britain making some
contribution for some preferential access to its market?
The sort of thing that Theresa May seems to be hinting
at are sectoral arrangements, some kind of partial membership
Switzerland, which has a far less wide-ranging deal than Norway,
pays about 320 million a year for what it gets into the EU budget,
but it's not exactly the Swiss deal that we're after.
The EU institutions hate the Swiss deal because it is codified
in a huge number of treaties that are messy, complicated
and cumbersome, and they really don't want to replicate
Theresa May has been at pains to insist she's in the driving seat
when it comes to these negotiations, and that she's
But with so much money up for discussion, it may not be such
Sadly she didn't get to keep the car!
And I've been joined to discuss the Brexit balance sheet
by the director of the Centre for European Reform, Charles Grant,
and by Henry Newman who runs the think tank Open Europe.
Henry Newman, these figures that are being thrown about in Brussels at
the moment, and exit bill of 40-60,000,000,000. What do you make
of them? I think it is an opening gambit from the institutions and we
should take them seriously. We listened to Mr Rogers, the former
ambassador to Brussels in the House of Commons last week, speaking about
the sort of positions the EU is likely to take in the negotiation. I
personally think the Prime Minister should be more concerned about
getting the right sort of trade arrangements, subsequent to our
departure, than worrying about the exact detail of the divorce
settlement and the Bill. They might not let them go on to trade until
they resolve this matter. Where does the Brexit bill, the cost of exit,
if there is to be one, in terms of a sum of money, where does that come
in the negotiations, upfront or at the end? The European Commission has
a firm line on this. You have to talk about the Brexit bill and the
divorce settlement before you talk about the future relationship.
Therefore they are saying if you don't sign up for 60 billion or
thereabouts, we won't talk about the future. Other member states take a
softer line than that and think you probably have to talk about the
divorce settlement and Brexit bill as the same -- at the same time as
the economic situation. If you can do both at the same time, the
atmosphere may be better natured. You have spoken to people in
Brussels and are part of a think tank, how Revista gives the figure
or is it an opening gambit? Most member states and EU institutions
believe they think it is the true figure but when the negotiations
start adding the number will come down. As long as the British are
prepared to sign up to the principle of we owe you a bit of money, as the
cheque, then people will compromise. What is the ballpark? You had a
figure of 34 billion, that is news to me, nobody knows because
negotiations haven't started but I think something lower than 60. Even
60 would be politically toxic for a British government? I think Theresa
May is in a strong position, she has united the Conservative Party. You
could expect coming into this year all the Conservative divisions would
be laid bare by Gina Miller. But she is leading a united party. Labour
Party are divided... Coogee get away with paying 30 billion? We should
give her the benefit of the doubt going into these negotiations, let
her keep her cards close to her chest. The speech he gave a few
weeks ago at Lancaster House, our judgment was she laid out as much
detail as we could have expected at that point. I don't think it's
helpful for us now to say, we shouldn't be introducing further red
line. I want you to be helpful and find things out. I would suggest if
there is a bill, let's say it's 30 billion, let's make it half of what
the current claims coming out of Brussels. And of course it won't
have to be paid in one year, I assume it's not one cheque but
spread over. But we will wait a long time for that 350 million a week or
what ever it was that was meant to come from Brussels to spend on the
NHS. That's not going to happen for the next five, six or seven years.
Everyone has been clear there will be a phased exit programme. The
question of whether something is political possible for her in terms
of the divorce settlement will depend on what she gets from the
European Union in those negotiations. If she ends up
settling for a bill of about 30 billion which I think would be
politically... No matter how popular she is, politically very difficult
for her, it does kill any idea there is a Brexit dividend for Britain.
Some of the senior officials in London and Brussels are worried this
issue could crash the talks because it may be possible for Theresa May
to accept a Brexit bill of 30 billion and if there is no deal and
will leave EU without a settlement, there is massive legal uncertainty.
What contract law applies? Can our planes take off from Heathrow?
Nobody knows what legal rights there are for an EU citizen living here
and vice versa. If there is no deal at the end of two years, it is quite
bad for the European economy, therefore they think they have all
the cards to play and they think if it is mishandled domestically in
Britain than we have a crash. But there will be competing interests in
Europe, the Baltic states, Eastern Europe, maybe quite similar of the
Nordic states, that in turn different from the French, Germans
or Italians. How will Europe come to a common view on these things? At
the moment they are quite united backing a strong line, except for
the polls and Hungarians who are the bad boys of Europe and the Irish who
will do anything to keep us happy. We should remember their priority is
not economics, they are not thinking how can they maximise trade with the
UK, they are under threat. The combination of Trump and Brexit
scares them. They want to keep the institutions strong. They also want
to keep Britain. That is the one strong card we have, contributing to
security. We know we won't be members of the single market, that
was in the White Paper. The situation of the customs union is
more complicated I would suggest. Does that have cost? If we can be a
little bit pregnant in the customs union, does that come with a price
ticket? We have got some clarity on the customs union, the Prime
Minister said we would not be part of the... We would be able to do our
own trade deals outside the EU customs union, and also not be part
of the common external tariff. She said she is willing to look at other
options and we don't know what that will be so as a think tank we are
looking at this over the next few weeks and coming up with
recommendations for the Government and looking at how existing
boundaries between the EU customs union and other states work in
practice. For example between Switzerland and the EU border,
Norway and Switzerland, and the UK and Canada. We will want is a
country the freedom to do our own free trade deals, that seems to be
quite high up there, and to change our external tariffs to the rest of
the world. If that's the case, we do seem to be wanting our cake and
eating it in the customs union. Talking to some people in London, it
is quite clear we are leaving the essentials of the customs union, the
tariff, so even if we can minimise controls at the border by having
mutual recognition agreements, so we recognise each other's standards,
but there will still have to be checks for things like rules of
origin and tariffs if tariffs apply, which is a problem for the Irish
because nobody has worked out how you can avoid having some sort of
customs control on the border between Northern Ireland and the
South once we are out of the customs union. I think it's important we
don't look at this too much as one side has to win and one side has to
lose scenario. We can find ways. My Broadview is what we get out of the
negotiation will depend on politics more than economic reality. Economic
reality is strong, there's a good case for a trade deal on the
solution on the customs deal, but Britain will need to come up with a
positive case for our relationship and keep making that case. If it
turns out the Government thinks the bill is too high, that we can't
really get the free trade deal done in time and it's left hanging in the
wind, what are the chances, how I as things stand now that we end up
crashing out? I'd say there's a 30% chance that we don't get the free
trade agreement at the end of it that Mrs May is aiming for. The very
hard crash is you don't even do an Article 50 divorce settlement from
you go straight to World Trade Organisation rules. The less hard
crash is doing the divorce settlement and transitional
arrangements would require European Court of Justice arrangements. We
will leave it there. Thank you, both.
Donald Trump's flagship policy of extreme vetting of immigrants
and a temporary travel ban for citizens of seven mainly-muslim
countries was stopped in its tracks this weekend.
On Friday a judge ruled the ban should be lifted and that it
That prompted President Trump to fire off a series of tweets
criticising what he says was a terrible decision
by a so-called judge, as he ordered the State Department
Now the federal appeals court has rejected his request to reinstate
the ban until it hears the case in full.
Well yesterday I spoke to Sebastian Gorka, Deputy Assistant
I asked him if the confusion over the travel ban
was a sign that the President's two-week-old administration
There is no chaos, you really shouldn't believe the spin, the
facts speak for themselves. 109 people on Saturday were mildly
inconvenienced by having their entry into the United States delayed out
of 325,000. So let's not get carried away with the left-wing media bias
and spin. Hold on, 60,000 - 90,000 people with visas, their visas are
no longer valid. That's another issue. You need to listen to what
I'm saying. The people who entered on the day of the executive order
being implemented worth 109 people out of 325. Whether people won't
travelling to America were affected is another matter, so there is no
chaos to comment on. Following Iran's latest missile tests,
National Security adviser Flint said the US was "Putting Iran on notice",
what does that mean? It means we have a new president and we are not
going to facilitate the rise of one of the most dangerous nations in the
world. We are jettisoning this naive and dangerous policy of the Obama
Administration to try and make the Shi'ite dictatorial democracy some
kind of counter balance to extremist Sunni groups in the region and that
they cannot continue to behave in the way they have behaved for the
last 30 years. It is a very simple message. So are there any
multilateral alliances that Mr Trump would like to strengthen?
Absolutely. If we are looking at the region, if you listen to what
President Trump has said and specifically to also the speeches of
general Flint, his national security adviser, we are incredibly vested in
seeing our Sunni allies in the region come together in a real
coalition. The so-called vaunted 66 nation coalition that was created
under the Obama administration... There was no coalition. But we want
to help our Sunni allies, especially the Egyptians, the Jordanians, come
together in a real partnership to take the fight to ISIS and groups
like Al-Qaeda. But there is not a formal multilateral alliance with
these countries. Which of the existing, formal multilateral
alliances does Mr Trump wants to strengthen? If you are specifically
talking about Nato, it is clear that we are committed to Nato but we wish
to see a more equitable burden sharing among the nations that are
simply not spending enough on their own defence so the gentleman 's
agreement of 2% of GDP has to be stuck to, unlike the, I think it's
only Six Nations that reach the standard today out of almost 30. So
he does want to strengthen Nato then? Absolutely, he believes Nato
is the most successful military alliances. You mustn't believe the
spin and hype. EU leaders now see the Trump administration as a threat
up there with Russia, China, terrorism. What's your response to
that? I have to laugh. The idea that the nation that came to the
salvation of Europe twice in the 20th century hummer in World War I
and World War II, was central to the defeat of the totalitarian... It is
not even worth commenting on. Would it matter to the Trump
administration if the European Union broke up? The United States is very
interested in the best relations possible with all the nations of the
EU am a whether the European union wishes to stay together or not is up
to the nations of the European Union. I understand that but I was
wondering what the US view would be. Until Mr Trump, EU foreign policy
was quite consistent in wanting to see the EU survive, prosper and even
become more integrated. Now that doesn't seem to be the case, so
would it matter to the Trump administration if the EU broke up? I
will say yet again, it is in the interests of the United States to
have the best relations possible with our European allies, and
whether that is in the formation of the EU or if the EU by itself
suffers some kind of internal issues, that's up to the European
nations and not something we will comment on. Listening to that
answer, it would seem as if this particular president's preference is
to deal with individual nation states rather than multilateral
institutions. Is that fair? I don't think so. There's never been an
unequivocal statement by that effect by the statement. Does he share the
opinion of Stephen Bannon that the 21st century should see a return to
nation states rather than growing existing multilateral ways? I think
it is fair to say that we have problems with political elites that
don't take the interests of the populations they represent into
account. That's why Brexit happened. I think that's why Mr Trump became
President Trump. This is the connected phenomena. You are
obsessing about institutions, it is not about institutions, it's about
the health of democracy and whether political elites do what is in the
interests of the people they represent. Given the
unpredictability of the new president, you never really know
what he's going to do next, would it be wise for the British Prime
Minister to hitch her wagon to his star? This is really churlish
questioning. Come on, you don't know what he's going to do next, listen
to what he says because he does what he's going to say. I know this may
be shocking to some reporters, but look at his campaign promises, and
the fact that in the last 15 days we have executed every single one that
we could in the time permissible so there is nothing unpredictable about
Donald Trump as president. OK then, if we do know what he's going to do
next, what is he going to do next? Continue to make good on his
election promises, to make America great again, to make the economy are
flourishing economy, and most important of all from your
perspective in the UK, to be the best friend possible to our friends
and the worst enemy to our enemies. It is an old Marine Corps phrase and
we tend to live by it. Thank you for your time, we will leave it there.
Doctor Gorka, making it clear this administration won't spend political
capital on trying to keep the European Union together, a watershed
change in American foreign policy. Theresa May has made a big deal out
of her commitment to help people on middle incomes who are "just
about managing", and early this week we should get a good sense
of what that means in practice - when plans to bring down the cost
of housing and protect renters are published in the Government's
new white paper. The paper is expected to introduce
new rules on building Communities Secretary Sajid Javid
has previously said politicians should not stand in the way
of development, provided all options Also rumoured are new measures
to speed up building the 1 million new homes the Government promised
to build by 2020, including imposing five-year quotas
on reluctant councils. Reports suggest there will be
relaxation of building height restrictions,
allowing home owners and developers to build to the height
of the tallest building on the block without needing to seek
planning permission. Other elements trialled include
new measures to stop developers sitting on parcels of land
without building homes, land banking, and moving railway
station car parks Underground, The Government today said it
will amend planning rules so more homes can be built specifically
to be rented out through longer term tenancies, to provide more stability
for young families, alongside its proposed ban
on letting agent fees. And the Housing Minister,
Gavin Barwell, joins me now. Welcome to the programme. Home
ownership is now beyond the reach of most young people. You are now
emphasising affordable homes for rent. Why have you given up on the
Tory dream of a property owning democracy? We haven't given up on
that. The decline on home ownership in this country started in 2004. So
far we have stopped that decline, we haven't reversed it but we
absolutely want to make sure that people who want to own and can do
so. The Prime Minister was very clear a country that works for
everyone. That means we have to have say something to say to those who
want to rent as well as on. Home ownership of young people is 35%,
used to be 60%. Are you telling me during the lifetime of this
government that is going to rise? We want to reverse the decline. We have
stabilised it. The decline started in 2004 under Labour. They weren't
bothered about it. We have taken action and that has stop the
decline... What about the rise? We have to make sure people work hard
the right thing have the chance to own their home on home. We have
helped people through help to buy, shared ownership, that is part of
it, but we have to have something to say to those who want to rent. You
say you want more rented homes so why did you introduce a 3%
additional stamp duty levied to pay those investing in build to rent
properties? That was basically to try and stop a lot of the
speculation in the buy to let market. The Bank of England raised
concerns about that. When you see the white paper, you will see there
is a package of measures for Bill to rent, trying to get institutional
investment for that, different to people going and buying a home on
the private market and renting out. You are trying to get institutional
money to comment, just as this government and subsequent ones
before said it would get pension fund money to invest in
infrastructure and it never happened. Why should this happen? Is
already starting to happen. If you go around the country you can see
some of these builder rent scheme is happening. There are changes in the
White Paper... How much money from institutions is going into bill to
rent modular hundreds of millions. I was at the stock exchange the other
day celebrating the launch of one of our bombs designed to get this money
on. There are schemes being... There is huge potential to expand it. We
need more homes and we are too dependent on a small number of large
developers. -- to launch one of our bonds. You talk about affordable
renting, what is affordable? Defined as something that is at least 20%
below the market price. It will vary around the country. Let me put it
another way. The average couple renting now have to spend 50% of
their income on rent. Is that affordable? That is exactly what
we're trying to do something about. Whether you're trying to buy or
rent, housing in this country has become less and less affordable
because the 30-40 years governments haven't built in times. This white
Paper is trying to do something about that. You have been in power
six, almost seven years. That's right. Why are ownership of new
homes to 24 year low? It was a low figure because it's a new five-year
programme. That is not a great excuse. It's not an excuse at all.
The way these things work, you have a five-year programme and in the
last year you have a record number of delivery and when you start a new
programme, a lower level. If you look at the average over six years,
this government has built more affordable housing than the previous
one. Stiletto 24 year loss, that is an embarrassment. Yes. We have the
figures, last year was 32,000, the year before 60 6000. You get this
cliff edge effect. It is embarrassing and we want to stop it
happening in the future. You want to give tenants more secure and longer
leases which rent rises are predictable in advance. Ed Miliband
promoted three-year tenancies in the 2015 general election campaign and
George Osborne said it was totally economically illiterate. What's
changed? You are merging control of the rents people in charge, which
we're not imposing. We want longer term tenancies. Most people have
six-month tenancies... Within that there would be a control on how much
the rent could go up? Right? It would be set for the period of the
tenancies. That's what I just said, that's what Ed Miliband proposed. Ed
Miliband proposed regulating it for the whole sector. One of the reasons
institutional investment is so attractive, if you had a spare home
and you want to rent out, you might need it any year, so you give it a
short tenancy. If you have a block, they are interested in a long-term
return and give families more security. You have set a target,
your government, to build in the life of this parliament 1 million
new homes in England by 2020. You're not going to make that? I think we
are. If you look at 2015-16 we had 190,000 additional homes of this
country. Just below the level we need to achieve. Over five...
2015-16. You were probably looking at the new homes built. Talking
about completions in England. That is not the best measure, with
respect. You said you will complete 1 million homes by 2020 so what is
wrong with it? We use a national statistic which looks at new homes
built and conversions and changes of use minus demolitions. The total
change of the housing stock over that year. On that basis I have the
figures here. I have the figures. You looking I just completed. 1
million new homes, the average rate of those built in the last three
quarters was 30 6000. You have 14 more quarters to get to the 1
million. You have to raise that to 50 6000. I put it to you, you won't
do it. You're not looking at the full picture of new housing in this
country. You're looking at brand-new homes and not including conversions
or changes of use are not taking off, which we should, demolitions.
If you look at the National statistic net additions, in 2015-16,
100 and 90,000 new homes. We are behind schedule. -- 190,000. I am
confident with the measures in the White Paper we can achieve that. It
is not just about the national total, we need to build these homes
are the right places. Will the green belt remain sacrosanct after the
white paper? Not proposing to change the existing protections that there
for green belts. What planning policy says is councils can remove
land from green belts but only in exceptional circumstances and should
look at at all the circumstances before doing that. No change? No. We
have a manifesto commitment. You still think you will get 1 million
homes? The green belt is only 15%. This idea we can only fix our broken
housing market by taking huge swathes of land out of the green
belt is not true. We will leave it there, thank you for joining us,
Gavin Barwell. It is coming up to 11.40.
We say goodbye to viewers in Scotland, who leave us now
Coming up here in 20 minutes, the Week Ahead...
Welcome to the Sunday Politics here in the West.
Some Europeans tell us they're packing up and leaving the West
We've granted our guests today full citizenship
Well, for the next 23 minutes at any rate.
They are Justin Tomlinson, Conservative MP for North Swindon
We'll hear from them in just a moment or two.
This week it was all change for the West's last
Thamesdown transport in Swindon wasn't turning a profit
It's part of a long history of councils privatising their services.
So, should it be the end of the line for councils running companies?
The bus company that's been just the ticket
They don't make buses like this any more.
It's a vintage Daimler double-decker proudly bearing the name
of Thamesdown Transport from the 1970s, an era when almost
all of our local buses were run by local government.
Most, like the famous Bristol Omnibus, disappeared decades ago.
Thamesdown was the last council owned bus company in the West,
They've now got a lot of national operators running bus services.
They've got a lot of financial muscle that a small,
municipal bus company can't compete with.
So, really, in the current climate we don't have any choice.
But I do see this as a really good development for bus users and also
it's a good deal for the taxpayers of Swindon as well in
that they will no longer have to subsidise the bus service.
Thamesdown Transport is being sold to one
of the big bus companies, Go Ahead, who are promising
brand-new vehicles and new technology, like paying
for your ticket with your mobile phone.
Ideas that would have been unheard-of when this bus
was rumbling through the streets of Swindon.
I have no access to private transport at all and for the council
just to decide to sell it off is ridiculous.
I'd sooner have the council run it because you never know
They can cut the services, can't they?
So, that's what I'm a bit worried about.
We just don't have a choice about it.
As long as the services run regularly for people getting
into work and things I think it will be fine.
Thamesdown has lost money over the last five years, but for some
There's no reason why a council cannot run a publicly owned
bus service at a profit if they do it correctly.
What's happened here is I think we've not been very financially
prudent under the borough council Tories with this company and that's
But are council businesses really better run?
Bristol Energy launched to much fanfare last year.
An energy company owned by Bristol City Council and it's kind
It's already needed millions more to keep going.
Meanwhile, Bristol waste, another council owned company says
it has managed to turn a profit and can use the funds
So, as the public sector pulls out of Swindon 's buses,
should we be worried or jumping for joy?
Justin, you're a Swindon MP, wasn't that rather nice
to have a bus service run by the people?
Actually, I'm a fan of Thamesdown transport.
The bus stops right in front of my house and I use it often
But the reality is, over the last few years,
it lost somewhere in the region of ?1.5 million and they were having
to reduce and cut services right across my constituency and this
was causing untold misery, particularly in the rural parts
of my constituency for elderly people who rely on this service.
And the challenge is they just did not have the financial power
to invest in the most modern technology, modern
Just reading the Swindon advertiser who know about these things,
I think the bus company was on track to you lose about
The council pays the chief executive of hundred and 62,000.
So, for one wage, the cost of one wage, they had their own public
Yes, Swindon Advertiser, great newspaper but the key is it
has been about ?1.5 million in the last few years.
The reason they've reduced the loss for this year
Well, it's ?1.5 million over the last four years and this has
brought in an opportunity to get investment to improve services.
Marketing, better vehicles, newer vehicles with the technology.
We can then get the numbers up that generates the income.
As someone who uses the service, I see this as a real opportunity.
Presumably he knows what he's talking about about
Well, the important thing that we saw from the film is that
a lot of people are dependent on buses and 20% of people have
turned down jobs because they don't have an adequate bus service.
The statistic in terms of money that I'd like to throw in here is that
40% of bus service revenue actually comes in terms of public money.
So we need to have very strong regulation of buses
At the same time, ?300 million a year is taken out by shareholders
So, if it's a public service people shouldn't be profiting from it.
The truth is, in Swindon now they're talking about new buses,
enhancing roots and better service so do you accept the principle that
private companies can be as good as, if not better, than the council's?
I'm not particularly ideological about who owns the buses,
what I'm concerned about is that if public money is invested
in the service, as it will always be, then there's proper regulation
and strong control to avoid profiteering.
I think there's probably not 1 million miles difference between us.
The council still has a role, particularly supporting
the non-commercially viable routes, but now the council can focus
the money on that area rather than the overall operational losses
which have been incurred because the company didn't
have the expertise, didn't have the economies of scale.
You look to London where the mayor has got control over transport -
buses and tubes, so at least the public can vote and choose
what they want in terms of fares and services and so on.
Now, it's completely out of the control of people in Swindon.
You're comparing apples and pears because in London, high-density,
public transport is the best form of transport, pretty much,
because they've got the numbers so they can offer
It is a real challenge in our towns up and down the country's country
because a lot of the services, even with the best companies,
will operate at a loss because there aren't the numbers.
The best chance we've got here is investing
in those new vehicles, the technology to get the numbers up
which helps the environment and I'm a greenie too.
But it also makes it financially sustainable and if you don't
If you don't invest properly in buses, if you cut services,
if you always invest money in roads rather than in public transport then
you see people starting to depend more on the car.
People without cars are disadvantaged and you see far
We need to commit to public transport and invest in it properly.
Can you understand people not wanting to get on rickety old buses
Because it's now a sort of marginal service for people who don't
have an alternative whereas in a lot of continentals cities
Politicians should be deciding that public transport should always
It depends on whether you'll get the best service,
but if there is a lot of public money invested then you need to have
It's interesting how they are going to make the money
Presumably that will mean lower wages, fewer benefits for staff?
power to invest in the vehicles which were then be more efficient.
Remember, the lion's share is the travel costs,
the fuel costs as they drive around all day long.
So having the most efficient modern buses allows their running costs
to be lower which helps on the operational cost.
In theory, would you like to see the council run
Where there are people with greater expertise than the council
they should always be the first choice.
I think very often councils can run services better because they can
make sure there isn't money taken out to feed profits and shareholders
and that's always my concern when there's
The government's Brexit White Paper was published this week.
But it shed little light on one of the key questions
What will happen to Europeans already living here?
Martin Jones has been speaking to people finding different ways
So, it is discriminatory because if I had been non-EU...
Evelyn is applying to become British.
She is among a growing number of EU citizens doing the same.
She's been here 30 years but she's worried the future.
Now I feel the need to protect myself because
I do not have a British passport, I only have a French one.
After we've come out of the EU, I need to feel protected.
But the process isn't for the faint-hearted.
The first stage alone in false and 85 page form and a huge
It took me a few weeks really to gather everything up
and because I was extremely worried about filling it the wrong way,
I went down the immigration lawyer route which not everybody will be
We're talking about ?500 I've spent so far but that may
There's a baffling range of questions.
Have you ever indulged in terrorist activity?
And do you ever take part in genocide?
Something to do on a rainy afternoon, perhaps?
Even so, Evelyn is optimistic having been in Bristol so long.
But what about people who aren't here already.
The Romanian Consul says he's seen dozens of families rushing to get
The lack of certainty is exacerbating the state of unease.
Many of them choose to bring their families quickly over to beat
the imaginary deadline, to beat the triggering
The government has repeatedly said it had hoped to do a deal with other
EU countries by now, but negotiations are taking
We would appreciate immensely if the government will give clear
guidance on what the next steps are and what will be the rules
British citizens living in the EU are also unsure what will happen.
Madrid is now home to Bristolian Fiona Haughton who lives
She can't become Spanish so she applied for an Irish passport.
I have never considered myself an Irish citizen before.
My mum is actually Northern Irish so I don't think she'd ever
considered herself an Irish citizen before that she's now got
I've got EU residency for as I want it, I can stay in Spain,
I can move somewhere else, I've got freedom of travel.
But for some the uncertainty has been the final straw.
Wojtek is selling his home in Bridgwater.
He's been a lorry driver here for the last ten years
and he loves this country, even the thing that
If you've got a couple of sunny days, you're so happy you've got
them you appreciate sunny days so much.
He thought about returning to Poland before but Brexit convinced him.
After the referendum half of the people are not entirely happy
with you here so it doesn't matter what you do.
If you're picking up kids in the morning or leaving them
at school or going to the pub, whatever, you've still
Half of the people are not entirely happy with you.
He and many like him feel the government is playing
with their future so he and his family will now build
And, of course, we wish you well Wojtek.
Molly, why would the rest of the EU guarantees that our citizens can
I think that's a really good question.
Is incredibly sad to see someone like Wojtek there really
saying that he now feels unwelcome and he's wondering
who in the playground doesn't want him and his
That's a really sad outcome from the whole Brexit
To answer your question, I think this is a real opportunity
that has been missed because of we had gone
in at the beginning and said, OK, we've decided to leave
but will protect all EU citizens who are already
here and all their rights then the European countries would
And all this heartache could have been avoided.
All the statements from government have said we're just waiting
So, it's them playing hardball, not the government.
We've said we are going to change the conditions so we should have
made a firm offer at the beginning to protect all EU citizens
here and then the same offer would have come back,
It was clear from that side and to reason made's statement
that those people were going to be disappointment bargaining chips
But, actually, I'm not sure about the exact words
but they are bargaining chips at the moment, aren't they?
The Prime Minister has made it clear this is the absolute priority.
We are expecting this to be resolved as quickly as possible.
Why not make a big generous offer now.
Just say, of course, we're not going to send people home.
The Prime Minister couldn't have been more public in her intentions
on this and we just need the reciprocal deals to come back.
It's the question now of crossing the Ts.
We wish it could have been done sooner.
It's the absolute priority set out clearly in the White Paper and it's
an important thing is part of the negotiations going forward.
We were told, won't we, that all these negotiations
The first step, actually, just guaranteeing Brits in Spain
The EU is going to be playing hardball.
There are going to be ups and downs and we'll play hardball as well.
I'm grateful that, in the Prime Minister,
we've got someone who is very strong when it comes to negotiations.
Would you play hardball on this issue?
We don't need to because there is consensus from the government
It's just a question of organising the paperwork and rules to make
Even the people in our film thought it was contentious.
Well, they shouldn't do because there is a well
from our government and our European neighbours and friends to have this
We wish it had been done by now and, on this one, it hasn't yet,
but remember that the overall negotiations will take
I think all this chat about hardball and tough negotiations and upping
the anti is unhelpful and it is economically
In Bournemouth is a big drop-off in people applying to language
school and we are seeing the same with foreign students coming
There's a sense of people not being welcome and that's really
economically damaging because some of our most
important service exports are in the field of education.
On the other hand, people voted to leave and immigration
was undoubtedly a big issue in that decision.
A lot of people feel there are too many immigrants here.
OK, so the question of immigration is very confused and complicated.
We're not talking about immigration as such here, we talking
It's a reciprocal right so European people can come here and we can go
to their countries so it benefited both of us and that's
British people, especially British young people,
can still travel and study and work abroad.
This is the government White Paper which I've been studying.
According to the government, there are about a million Poles
here but when you look over the page to seep how many Brits
there are in Poland is probably a couple of hundred or a thousand
or so so why would you want to guarantee their rights, but...?
It's not a direct transfer like that.
British people often retired to Spain and France are not
necessarily go to Poland whereas Polish bricklayers
The important point is that these discussions are already happening
at the European level because there are problems caused
in Poland if all their young, skilled people come here.
In the case of Lithuania, out of 4 million people,
1 million are actually living abroad and that's all the
Actually, the Greens and Peasant party won the election in Lithuania
issue recently on the point about trying to bring
Yes, free movement will be restricted when we leave, isn't it,
Yes, well, if we are outside the single market it will.
But I still think it will be very economically damaging
Are people prepared to trade off the loss of their jobs,
their income and higher prices against restricting immigration
and the survey shows they're not prepared to lose anything
financially in order to restrict immigration.
That's the doomsday scenario that lost the referendum last year.
The reality is that since the referendum are economy
is the strongest going of any of the major developed economies.
The Bank of England yet again revised up growth figures.
We have record employment in every single region of the country,
we have a clear sign we are open for trade.
Two thirds of our expats live in other countries outside the EU
But rightly we've got to make sure arrangements are reciprocal
and it's something we'll get done as possible.
All the predictions of economic catastrophe so far at least
I think it's fair to say nothing has actually changed
because we are still members of the EE you.
The main change that's happened so far is there's been a fall
in the pound and farms today were saying that's very difficult
because they also produce goods and import ingredients and those
are much more expensive so there are already economic effects.
I expect we'll return to this topic again, don't you?
Let's whiz through the political news in the West in 60 seconds.
This was the week some say turkeys voted for Christmas.
Well, six out of our nine councils in Dorset voted to abolish
The Secretary of State will now decide.
Gloucestershire Council published the cod contract for a controversial
It's thought it had hidden sensitive details but basic computer skills
Two of Bristol's Labour MPs defied Jeremy Corbyn's
They voted against triggering Article 50 saying it was
And crowds gathered in Cheltenham, Swindon and Bristol to protest
And more people in Bristol West signed a petition against a Trump
state visit than in any other in constituency.
Molly, I guess probably you're not a fan.
But do you think his policies, particularly
on immigration, might actually do be quite popular here?
I think the problem is we don't really know what
He will tweet one thing then something completely
We've seen a great deal of opposition to him coming here and
regardless what people think of his policies,
it's really his attitude towards women, towards people of
different race and his really quite frankly white supremacist friends
I don't think we should pay him this honour of a state visit.
But if you look at the polls in this country there is quite a lot of
I think 49% say they would quite like the same restrictions on
those seven countries that he has put in.
Because I think people are whipped up into a sort of frenzy of
concerned that isn't about rational policy-making.
If you look at the seven countries where he's banned
people from going into the US, there hasn't been a single terrorist
attack from anyone in any of those countries so it's nothing to do with
It's to do with using fear against certain
Justin, do you think the Prime Minister made
a bit of a slip-up going so quickly and holding hands?
What you and I would do in terms of voting in
the American elections is irrelevant.
We may find his policies up rent and I suspect they will be
counter-productive but the reality is we have a special relationship
with America that's gone back gone back from when Churchill, we fought
wars together, trade agreements and that
will be in place long beyond
when President Trump is holding high office.
We have a duty because we are respected worldwide to engage,
We've had many leaders come to visit this
country of questionable morals, questionable policies but we do that
because we have important roles to play in the global scene.
Do you think it's important we get a trade
reputation for being a country that defends human rights and if we carry
on because of our weakness coming out of the European Union making
friends with someone with someone who has such
think it will really damage our international
standing at just the
Would you push for a trade deal all say we would rather be poorer?
I don't think that would be good for the south-west.
My thanks to my guests Justin Tomlinson and Molly Scott Cato.
programme at another time an airport expansion, but thank you to both of
you for being here. Back to you, Andrew.
Will the Government's plan to boost house-building
Could a handful of Conservative MPs cause problems for
And what is President Trump going to do next?
You have been following the genesis of this housing white paper. What do
you make of it? I think it will be quite spectacular, pretty radical
stuff. We heard bits about beating up on developers. I understand it
will be a whack, walk, covering every single problem with housing
supply and trying to solve it. Which means bad news if you are a huge fan
of the green belt, because they will go round that the other way by
forcing large quotas on councils are making it down to councils where
they build. If you fill up your brown space in towns they will have
to trigger the exceptional circumstances bit of the bill to
beat on green belts. Beating up developers, opening up the market
for renters across the board. And Theresa May, one of the most
defining thing she could do on the domestic agenda. I am not as excited
as Tom about this. I look back to 2004, do you remember the Kate
Barker report? Successive governments, successive prime
ministers have been promising to address the housing shortage. In
2004 Kate Barker recommended hundreds of thousands new homes.
Gordon Brown talked about 3 million new homes by 2020 in 2007. It never
happens. The reason is at the end of the day this is local politics,
local councillors need to keep their seats and they won't keep their
seats if there are hugely controversial developments locally
that they support. Yes, the government can and are proposing to
overrule councils that don't back local developments, but they may
find themselves completely inundated with those cases. I think that is
the whole point of it, to take on those NIMBY often Tory councils and
force them to build. I can't think of a better defining issue for
Theresa May than sticking one in the eye of some quite well off half Tory
countryside councils. The government gives councils a quota of homes they
have to fill, if they don't have to fill that all run out overland to
fill the quota, the government then comes in and tells them they have to
built on the green belt? How is that going to work? At the moment the
green belt is absolutely sacrosanct in British politics. They'll have to
do some work on educating people on what green belts means. Potato
farms, golf courses... At the moment the idea people have of the green
belt being verdant fields needs to be dismantled. You are right. I
agree with Tom, 11 million people in the private rental sector in the UK.
In the last election more voted Labour than conservative. This is an
area where Theresa May would look to expand her vote. The problem has
always been, the same problem we have with pension policy and why
pensioners have done better than working families in recent years.
They are older and they vote more and anything to the detriment of
older people. I wonder how they will get private money to come in on
anything like this go they would need to have a huge expansion? There
is a huge amount of speculation and one of the thing that locks up the
system as you have people buying land, taking out a stake of land in
the hope that one point it may at some point free up. At the end of
the day, unless you have councils far more willing to quickly fast
track these applications, which they won't for the reason I said before,
it's a very long-term investment. Ed Miliband proposed three-year leases
in which the rent could only go up by an agreed formula, probably the
three years to give the young families a certain stability over
that period. He had a use it or lose it rules for planning development,
if you don't use it you lose the planning rights. Somebody else gets
it. The Tories disparaged that at the time. This is at the centre of
their policy now. This is probably item number four of
Ed Miliband's policy book Theresa May has wholesale pinched in the
last six months or so. Why not? I think if you look at the change in
mood across housing and planning over the last 5-6 years, it used to
be an issue very much of green belt versus London planners. Now you have
grandparents living in houses in the countryside, knowing their
grandchildren can't get on the housing ladder any longer. Maybe a
bit more intervention in the market, tougher on renting conditions, maybe
that is exactly what the country needs. Will they meet the 1 million
target? It would be a defiance of every political thing that has
happened in the last ten years. I think Tom is right, if there is only
one difference between Theresa May and David Cameron it's the
willingness of the state to intervene. When Ed Miliband said
that he was seen as communism, but Theresa May can get away with it.
How serious is this talk of a couple of dozen Tories who were very loyal
over voting for the principle of Article 50 but may now be tempted to
vote for some amendments to Article 50 legislation that they would find
quite attractive? I think that threat has certainly been taken
seriously by levers. I spoke to the campaign group Leaves Means Leave
last night. The figure they mentioned was up to 20 remaining
Tories. That sounds a lot to me but that is what they are concerned
about and those Tories would come together with Labour and the SNP to
vote for that amendment. Although that amendment sounds rather nice
and democratic, actually in the eyes of many levers that is a wrecking
amendment. Because what you are doing is giving Parliament a sort of
veto over whatever deal Theresa May brings back. What they want is the
vote to be before that deal is finalised. It isn't necessarily the
case that if Parliament decided they didn't like that deal we would just
go to WTO, we would fall out of the European Union. There are mixed
views as to whether we might remain in and things could be extended. My
understanding is the people making the amendments, they won any deal
that is done to be brought to Parliament in time, so that if
Parliament fancies it it's done, but if it does and it doesn't just mean
go to WTO rules. There will be time to go back, renegotiate or think
again? The question is where it puts Britain's negotiating hand. Nine of
the options... Once we trigger Article 50 the two negotiation
begins on the power switches to Europe. They can run out the clock
and it will be worse for us than them. I don't think either option is
particularly appealing. I think what seems like a rather Serena week for
Article 50 this week isn't going to be reflective of what will happen
next. The way the government's position is at the moment, if at the
end the only choice Parliament has is to vote for the deal or crash out
on WTO rules, then even the remainder is going to vote for the
deal even if they don't like it, because they would regard crashing
out as the worst of all possible results. Possibly. It will be a
great game of bluff if Theresa May fights off any of these amendments
on Wednesday and gets a straightforward deal or no Deal
vote. I have a funny feeling this amendment, if it's chosen, we must
remember because we don't know if they will choose this amendment, if
it does go to a vote on Wednesday it will be very tight indeed. Remember,
one final thing Theresa May can do if she gets Parliament voting
against, as Isabel would have it, she could try to get a new
parliament and go for a general election. And probably get a huge
majority to do so. The Lords, it goes there after the February
recess. They are very pro-Europe, but does their instinct for
self-preservation override that? I think that is it. A Tory Lord said
this morning I will vote to block it on a conscience measure, but you
have the likes of Bill Cash, veteran Eurosceptics, suddenly converted to
the Lords reform saying is an outrage. I doubt they will vote for
their own demise, to hasten their own demise by blocking it. What did
you make of Doctor Gorka smart fascinating. Cut from the same cloth
as his boss. I thought it was extraordinary listening to him,
saying everything is going dutifully to plan. But at the end of the day,
what they are doing is what people in America voted for Trump to do. If
you look at Lord Ashcroft's polling on why America voted for Trump, they
went into this with their eyes wide open. One of the top fears among
American voters, particularly Republican leading ones was
America's immigration policy is or could be letting in terror arrests.
As far as he is concerned, he is doing what he was elected to do.
This whole year is turning into a wonderful year long lecture series
on how democracy works at a fundamental level. I'm not sure
anyone wanted it but it's what we've got. This same in the way we've been
talking about direct democracy and Parliamentary democracy. The same is
happening in America between executive and judicial branches. We
are seeing the limits of presidential power. Regardless of
the fact that people voted for Trump they voted for senators. The judge
who blocks this was appointed by George W Bush. So-called Judge
Eckert Mac so-called George W Bush! It's fascinating we're having all
these conversations now that I never bought five years ago we would be
having at such a fundamental level. Has the media yet worked out how to
cover the Trump administration or has he got us behaving like headless
chickens? He says something incendiary and we all run over to do
that and when you pick it off it turns out not to be as incendiary as
we thought? And then back doing something and we all rush over
there. Is he making fools of us? Is exactly what he did in the election
campaign. So many quick and fast outrageous comments frontrunner on a
daily basis, no one single one of them had full news cycle time to be
pored over and examined. I think there is a problem with this.
Although he keeps the upper hand, keeps the agenda and keeps on the
populist ground, the problem is it easy to campaign like that. If you
are governing in a state of semi-hysteria, I wonder how long the
American public will be comfortable with that. They don't really want
their government to be swirling chaos all the time, as fascinating
as it might be on TV. They will be exhausted by it, I already am. I
have been interviewing White House administration official since 1976
and that is the first time someone hasn't given me a straight answer on
America supporting the EU. That is a different world.
Jo Coburn will be on BBC Two tomorrow at midday with
the Daily Politics - and I'll be back here
Remember, if it's Sunday - it's the Sunday Politics.
TV: He's not your father. WOMAN GASPS
so why not pay your TV licence in weekly instalments, too?
Andrew Neil and David Garmston with the latest political news, interviews and debate. Andrew is joined by housing minister Gavin Barwell MP who talks about the government's plan to increase housebuilding in England and protect people who rent their homes. Plus Charles Grant from the Centre for European Reform and Henry Newman from Open Europe. Donald Trump adviser Sebastian Gorka discusses President Trump's first two weeks in the White House and Ellie Price reports on the negotiations to come with the EU over Brexit. On the political panel are The New Statesman's Helen Lewis and journalists Isabel Oakeshott and Steve Richards.