Andrew Neil and David Garmston are joined by Patrick McLoughlin and Molly Scott Cato to discuss the forthcoming local and general elections.
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It's Sunday afternoon - this is the Sunday Politics.
Jeremy Corbyn wants to give everyone in Britain four
extra bank holidays - but is the Labour leader up
to being Prime Minister if he wins the election in just
Theresa May says she wants a stronger hand to deliver Brexit -
how will the Conservatives go about getting the bigger
I'll be asking Party Chairman, Patrick McLoughlin.
And I've been in Paris where voters are going to the polls in first
In the West: election - what could be the impact
The signs go up, the leaflets go out and the
Did somebody mention a general election?
Will the Remain majority punish the Tories for the decision?
Or feel they may not like it but the Tories
And with me has always ready for the marathon task of covering a snap
general election, even working on bank holidays, the best and
brightest political panel in the business. David Wooding, Polly
Toynbee and Toby Young. So Labour's big announcement this
morning was a crowd pleaser. Four more rainy bank
holidays to enjoy - one for each of the patron saints
of England, Scotland, But Mr Corbyn probably won't be
getting the time off work if he wins And on The Andrew Marr Show this
morning he was asked what he would do as Prime Minister
if the security services asked him to authorise a drone strike
on the leader of Islamic State. What I'd tell them is,
give me the information you've got, tell me how accurate that is,
tell me what you I'm asking you about decisions you
would take as Prime Minister. Can I take you back
to the whole point? Is the objective
to start more strikes that may kill many innocent
people, as has happened? Do you think killing
the leader of Isis would be I think the leader of Isis not
being around would be helpful, and I'm no supporter or defender
in any way of Isis. But I would also argue that
the bombing campaign has killed a of whom were virtually prisoners of
Isis. So you've got to think
about these things. Mr Corbyn earlier. David, is his
reply refreshing damaging? It is damaging. He has clearly been
freaked to the fire already in the first week, there will be lots of
questions on his suitability as a leader and the damage it could cause
to our national security over the weeks ahead and Andrew Marr has cut
straight to the chase here. The other thing, of course, is the
letters of last resort, one of the first duties of a Prime Minister
when he walks into No 10 is to sign these letters on his own, on or --
or on her own in a room, a very lonely moment, to decide whether he
should press the nuclear button and that goes in the Vanguard submarines
and is opened in the event of a strike and he has dodged a question
so many times. One must wonder what he would do that. He has to make
these decisions as Prime Minister. On the Isis point, refreshing or
damaging? It sure is his base, the people who support him, that's the
sort of thing they support info and maybe his tactic is that's all he's
going to get, that is what the polls seem to suggest, in which case they
will be pleased, and say yes, the man is a man for these who doesn't
press buttons and shoot people down. But if you want to win you have to
deal with your own weaknesses and reach out to other people. I think
most people would say that's not somebody who could defend the
country. I wonder if he was being totally honest in saying he would
consider it he would ask for more information. He has previously been
on the record as being against drone strikes in principle, he's
campaigned against them, he wants to abolish drones. I think Andrew Marr
let him off saying it was a drone strike rather than a Navy SEAL or
SAS operation and he had the fact that they could be collateral
damage. We that's not his position because he condemned the
assassination of Osama Bin Laden even though there was no collateral
damage. David is right on the Trident point, he fetched the
question. We heard Niall Griffiths on this very show saying Trident,
the renewal of Trident, would be in the next Labour Party manifesto. It
turns out now we don't know and when he was asked he said that remains to
be seen, his re-opened a can of worms. What he has said about
Trident which was extraordinary was, we will rebuild the submarines but
not have any nukes on them which is expensive and useless. And of course
the Labour Party were forced soon after that interview to put out a
statement saying it is Labour Party policy to renew Trident. So where
are we? Do we know what the party's policy is? It is to renew Trident
but he has started this review which involves looking at it all again. We
know he is a unilateralist to start with but whether he can force this
through is dubious. Does it matter, though, if the party policy is in
favour of Trident, if the leader is not? The potential Prime Minister is
not? They split three ways when they went to vote on it in the Commons.
The party agreed they were pro-Trident and when it came to the
vote they split three ways. I think it's difficult for them, it's always
been a really difficult issue for Labour. The question is whether you
want to seal off your negatives, whether you really want to try and
reach out to people. There are an awful lot of people who will like
what he said, there are an awful lot of people that think we have been
involved in terrible wars, we have wasted a lot of money and blood and
let's just get back from the whole thing, let's retreat from the world
and not try punching above our weight. There is something to be
said for that and it is a reasonable argument. He's been true to himself
on this. I think he is and Polly is right, lots of people will agree
with him, not enough to win a general election, the latest ComRes
poll shows Tories on 50% and Labour on 25 and as my colleague James
Forsyth in the Spectator said if this was a boxing match it would
have been stopped by now by the revelry. We are not stopping, we are
going on. So the political parties have had
to move into election mode Stand by for battle buses,
mail shots and your social media timeline being bombarded
by political propoganda. But none of this comes cheap -
Adam's been doing his sums. Democracy is priceless but those
planes, trains and automobiles used in the last election cost money
and we know exactly how much, thanks to the Electoral
Commission database. The Conservatives flew David Cameron
to every part of the UK in one day on a private plane costing ?29,000,
in-flight meals extra. They shelled out ?1.2 million
for adverts on Facebook. The most expensive item was their
election guru Lynton Crosby. They bought ?2.4 million worth
of advice and research from his firm Labour's biggest expenditure
was on good old-fashioned leaflets, costing ?7.4 million
to print and deliver. Hope they didn't go straight
into the recycling. Cheap for all the
enjoyment it gave us. To turn a normal minibus
into Harriet Harman's pink bus Nick Clegg toured the country doing
all manner of stunts transported although the party got a grand's
discount when it broke down. Ukip's then leader Nigel Farage
was accompanied by bodyguards Nicola Sturgeon's chopper
cost the SNP ?35,450. Plaid Cymru spent just over
?1,000 on media training And the Greens spent ?6,912
promoting their tweets. It adds up to a grand total
for all the parties of ?37,560,039. Jabbing at my calculator that works
out at less than ?1 per voter. Adam Fleming there -
and joining me now is the man responsible for the Conservative
election campaigns - for the locals next month
and the general election in June - Welcome to the programme. The Crown
Prosecution Service is reviewing evidence from 14 police forces that
your party breached election spending rules on multiple occasions
in the last election. What are you going to do differently this time?
Well, the battle buses are part of the National campaign spend. You saw
them just on the shot that you did, all three parties had those battle
buses so that's why we believe they were part of the national spend and
it was declared that way. At least 30 people in your party, MPs and
agents, being investigated because they may not have been right to
include it in the national spend. Are you saying you are going to do
nothing differently this time? You asked me about last time and the way
the position is... Was. I asked you about this time. We will take a
careful count and make sure that everything that we do is within the
law. But as I say, the last election, all three parties had
battle buses. It is your party that above all has been investigated by
14 police forces. You must surely be taking stock of that and working out
how to do some things differently. You are being investigated because
you put stuff on the National Ledger which should have been on the local
constituency ledger. Are you looking at that again? All of the parties
had battle buses and they all put them on their national spend. I
don't think any of the parties put them on the local spend. The other
battle buses were not full of their party activists. Your party stuffed
these battle buses with activists and took them to constituencies.
That's the difference. And I ask again, what is different this time?
Are you going to run the risk of being investigated yet again? We
believe that we fully compliant with the electoral law as it was. What
will happen if one of these, or two or three or four or five of these 30
people, Tory MPs, or agents running campaigns are charged during the
campaign? As I say I believe we properly declared our election
expenses. What happens if they are charged? You asking me a
hypothetical question, the importance of this election is about
who is in Downing Street in seven weeks' time. Let me clarify this,
you maintain that in 2015 you did nothing wrong with how you allocated
the cost and the activities of the battle buses and you would do
exactly the same this time round? What we did at the last election we
believe fully complied with the law. So the battle buses this time,
stocked full of activists, will still be charged to the national
campaign even when they go to local constituencies? Will they? We will
be looking at the way we do it, there is new guidance from the
Electoral Commission out and we will look at that guidance. It is not the
guidance, it is the lawful stop the Electoral Commission said that, if
you look at the report they did on us, they said there was one area
where we had over claimed, over declared, and another area we had
and declared. We haven't worked out what to do
yet, have you? We will get on with the campaign and
start the campaign and I'm looking forward to the campaign.
I'm trying to work out of the campaign is going to be legal or not
because last time it seems it could have been illegal.
I am sure the campaign will be legal.
You started the campaign warning about the prospect of, the coalition
of chaos. Mr Corbyn has ruled out a post-election coalition with the SNP
and so have the Lib Dems so who is going to be in this coalition?
Vince Cable said he was looking towards a possible coalition trying
to stop a Conservative government. Is not the leader of the Lib Dems.
He's an important voice in the Lib Dems. Who will be in it? Let's see
because of the Conservative Party is not re-elected with a strong
majority, what will happen? There will be a coalition stopping us
doing the things we need to do. Who will be in it? It will be a
coalition of the Labour Party, the SNP and the Liberal party. They have
ruled it out. I think they would not rule it out if that was the
situation. Like Theresa May not ruling out an election and then
changing her mind? The things the Prime Minister said were very clear,
once she had served Article 50 there was an opportunity, as we know
today, there is going to be the start of a new government formed in
France and in September we have the German elections. So it was quite
right that we didn't get ourselves boxed into a timetable. That is why
the Prime Minister took the view that they should be a general
election to give her full strength of an electoral mandate when it
comes to those negotiations. What about Mr Corbyn's plan for four new
bank holidays, good idea? I'm not... If we get Corbyn in No 10 Downing St
we will have a permanent bank holiday of the United Kingdom. We
will have fewer bank holidays of most other major nations, most about
major wealthy nations. What about at least one more? Well, look, he's
talked about four bank holidays. Today would be a bank holiday and
next Monday would be a bank holiday and the other week was a bank
holiday too. I don't think it's very well thought out. It sounded more to
me something like you get in school mock elections rather than proper
elections. Your party is the self-styled party of the workers and
you have no plans to give the workers even one extra bank holiday?
What we want to do is ensure Britain is a strong economy and building on
the jobs that we have created since 2010. We were told that by reducing
public expenditure unemployment in this country would go up,
unemployment has gone down and the number of jobs have gone up
substantially. But no more bank holidays? Well, we will make our
manifesto in due course but I don't think four bank holidays held in
April, March and November are very attractive to people. When Ed
Miliband as leader of the Labour Party suggested the government
should control energy prices by capping them, the Conservatives
described that as almost Communist and central planning. Do still take
that view? You'll see what we have to say on energy prices. I didn't
you about that, I asked you if you take the view... The Prime Minister
made a speech at the Conservative Spring conference in which she
outlined her dissatisfaction about people who are kept locked on a
standard tariff and those are the issues we will address in the next
few weeks when the manifesto was published.
Would that be an act of communism? You will need to see what we say
when we set out the policies. It could be. You could put a Communist
act into your manifesto? I don't think you'll find a Communist
manifesto in a Conservative manifesto which will be launched...
You are planning to control prices? We will address what we think is
unfairness in the energy market. Mr Jeremy Corbyn was reluctant this
morning to sanction a drone strike. You heard us talking about it
earlier against the leader of Islamic State if our intelligence
services identified him. What would it achieve? When the Prime Minister
gets certain advice in the national interests, she has to act been that.
We've seen with Theresa May in her time as Home Secretary and Prime
Minister, she's not afraid to take those very difficult decisions. What
we say this morning from Jeremy Corbyn was a his tans, a reluctance.
I don't think that serves the country well. What would it achieve
if we take out the head of Islamic State he's replaced by somebody
else. It brings their organisation into difficulties. It undermines
their organisation. It shows we'll take every measure to undo an
organisation which has organised terrorism in different parts of
Europe, the UK. I think it is absolutely right the Prime Minister
is prepared to take those kind of measures. Jeremy Corbyn said he
wasn't prepared to take that. Because he wasn't sure what it would
achieve. The Obama administration launched hundreds of drone strikes
in various war zones and we in the west are still under attack on a
regular basis. Mr Corbyn's basis was what would it achieve? It would
achieve a safer position for the UK overall. The war on terrorists. But
the Westminster attack, Paris has just been attacked again? There's
been attacks which have been stopped by the intelligence services. We
must do all we can to support them. The question was about drone
strikes. Whether it is drone strikes or other action, we have to be
prepared to act. Let's move on to Brexit. It is the major reason the
Prime Minister's called the election? Not the only within but
the main reason? It is one of the reasons. Now we start the two-year
negotiations and then a year afterwards. Also the way in which
certain people said they would try to use in the House of Lords or
House of Commons to prevent us making progress. I think you'll put
in your manifesto, it is the Government's policy, the Brexit
negotiating position will be no more freedom of movement. Leave the
single market and no longer under the jurisdiction Europe. You expect
every Tory MP to fight on that manifesto. What will you do with Ken
Clarke and Anna? They will have fought on their manifesto. They will
understand the Prime Minister has the authority of the ballot box
behind them. Will they fight the election on these positions? I'm
sure they'll fight the election supporting the election of a
Conservative Government and it's manifesto will quite clearly set
out... You know they're against these positions. Ken Clarke has a
prod tradition of expressing a certain view. Overall, the party's
manifesto, it is not just individuals like Ken Clarke, it is
what happens as far as the House of Lords are concerned, people said
they'd use the House of Lords to prevent certain measures. You're the
party chairman, will it be possible for people like Ken Clarke to fight
this election under the Conservative ticket without sub describing to all
-- subscribing to all of these Brexit conditions? Ken Clarke will
fight as Conservative candidates. That wasn't my question. I know
that. Will they be allowed to fight it on their own ticket and not
subscribe to what is in your manifesto? The manifesto will be
what the Conservative Party fights the General Election on. There will
always be cases where people have had different views on different
parts of the manifesto. That will be the guiding principles for the
party. Philip Hammond says your election promises in 2015, in your
manifesto not to raise taxes tied his hands when it came to managing
the economy. Do you agree with him? No. The simple fact is we have to do
the best things for the economy. We'll set out in our manifesto in a
few weeks' time, what the policies will be for the next Parliament. Can
I clarify, you don't agree with your Chancellor? What Philip was saying
was some of the areas we wants to address as Chancellor, what the
party will do, it will set out all the issues we're fighting on. It
will set out clearly the choice we have in this country. That's the
important thing. Let me put the question to you again. Philip
Hammond said this week your election promise in 2015 not to raise taxes
had tied his hands when it came to managing the economy. I ask you, do
you agree with him? You said no. Philip expressed his view as to what
he would like. What I'm saying is in a few weeks' time we'll set the
manifesto which will set the policies, agreed with the the
Cabinet. He's Chancellor. Doesn't he determine what the economic part of
the manifesto is? We'll talk about that in due course. Will you have a
lock on the taxes that you locked in 2015 on income tax, VAT, national
insurance? That will be decided. You'll see that when we publish the
manifesto in a few weeks' time. Will you rule out the possibility taxes
may have to rise under a future Conservative Party? Conservative
Government. We've taken four million people out of tax. Now, on average,
people are paying ?1200 less tax than they were on the same salaries
in 2010. I'm very provide of that. I can assure you, the Conservative
Party will want to see taxes reduced. It is the Labour Party
which will put up taxes. We have the evidence where this he did so.
Council tax went up by over 100%. You haven't reduced the tax burden
as a percentage of the GDP is now going to reach its highest level
since the mid-180s which was when Conservatives were in power. The tax
burden in this country under your Government is rising? We've more
people paying taxes which is something, because we've a growing
economy and more people... What about the tax band? You said you
reduced the tax burden on your own Government's figures is rising? We
have reduced the tax burden. The threshold at which people start
paying. These are tax rates not the tax burden. It is rising. The tax
rates have been reduced. You said tax burden. Perhaps I misspoke. Tax
rates have been reduced. We'll leave it there. No doubt we'll speak again
between now and June Is France now about to make it
a hat-trick of shocks The prospect terrifies
the governing elite in Paris. But they're no less scared
in Brussels and Berlin, given what it could mean
for the whole EU project, never mind the huge potential impact
on our own Brexit negotiations. 11 candidates are contesting
the first round of the presidential Only the top two will go forward
to the run-off on May 7th. For the first time since General De
Gaulle created the fifth Republic in 1958, it's perfectly possible that
no candidate from the ruling parties of the centre-left or the
centre-right will even make it The election has been dominated by
the hard right in the shape of the who's never been elected
to anything and only started his own party
a few months ago. And the far left in the form
of Jean-Luc Melenchon, a former Trotskyite who has surged
in the final weeks of the campaign. The only candidate left from the
traditional governing parties is the centre-right's
Francois Fillon and he's been struggling to stay in
the race ever since it was revealed that his Welsh wife was being paid
at generous public expense for a job I've just come across
this magazine cover and it kind of sums up the mood
of the French people. It's got the five main candidates
for President here but it calls them the biggest liar, the biggest cheat,
the biggest traitor, the most paranoid, the biggest demagogue,
and it says they are the winners The four leading candidates,
Le Pen, Melenchon, Macron and Fillon, or in with a chance
of making it to the second round. Only a couple of points separates
them in the polls, Frankly, no one has a clue what's
going to happen. Of the four, there is a feeling that
two of them may be President But the two of them may not find
themselves in the second round. Somebody said to me that the man or
woman on the Paris Metro has as much a chance of knowing
who will win as the greatest experts Because the more expert you are
the more you may be wrong. The country has largely
stagnated for over a decade. One in ten are unemployed,
one in four if you are unlucky Like Britain in the '70s there is
the pervasive stench There are three keywords that come
to mind. Anger, anger at the elite, and in
particular the political elite. And an element of
nostalgia for the past. These three words were decisive
in the Brexit referendum. They are decisive in
the French election. Identity and security has been
as important in this election France is a proud nation, it worries
about its future in Europe It seems bereft of ideas about how
to deal with its largely Muslim migrant population, huge chunks of
which are increasingly divorced It is quite simply exhausted by
the never-ending Islamist terrorist attacks, the latest only days before
voting in the iconic heart of this If Fillon or Macron emerge
victorious then there will be continuity of sorts, though Fillon
will struggle to implement his Thatcherite agenda and Macron will
not be able to count on the support of the French parliament, the
National Assembly, for his reforms. But if it's Le Pen or Jean-Luc
Melenchon then all bets are off. Both are hardline French
nationalists, anti the euro, anti the European Union, anti-fiscal
discipline, anti the market, Either in the Elysee Palace
would represent an existential Brexit would simply become
a sideshow, the negotiations could just peter out as Brussels
and Berlin had bigger fish to fry. We're joined now from
Paris by the journalist 8th Welcome to the programme.
Overshadowing the voting today was yet another appalling terrorist
attack in Paris on Thursday night. Do we have any indications of how
that's playing into the election? That initially people thought this
has been almost foiled in that the police were there as a ramp up. One
policeman was killed. But the terrorist did not spray the crowd
with bullets. It was seen as not having much of an effect on the
election. This has changed. We now know the policeman who was killed, a
young man about to the promoted, he was at the Bataclan the night of the
terror attack. He was a fighter for LGBT rights. The fact he was
promoted, happy within his job, he has this fresh face. Sudden, he's
one of us. It took perhaps 48 hours for the French to process this. But
now they're angry and this may actually change the game, at least
at the margins. To whose advantage? I would say the two who might
benefit from this are Marine Le Pen, she's been absolutely
anti-immigration, anti-anything. And made no bones about it as she
immediately made rather strange announcement in which she'd said if
she'd been president none of the terror attacks which happened in
France would have happened. Francois Fillon has written a book two years
ago called Combating Islamic Terrorism he's has an organised plan
in his manifesto. Unlike Emmanuel Macron who stumbled when he was
asked the evening this happened what he thought, he said, I can't dream
up an anti-terror programme overnight. The question, of course,
that arrows was this is not the sort of thing that's just happened
overnight. It's been unfortunately the fate of France for many years.
Let me ask you this finally, what ever the outcome on May 7th in the
second round, who ever wins, would it be fair to say French politics
will never be the same again? Yes. Absolutely it's a very strange
thing. People have no become really excited about this. You cannot go
anywhere without people discussing heatedly this election. The anger
that was described is very accurate. Very true. There was this feeling as
for the Brexit voters and the Trump voters, vast parts of the people
were being talked down to by people who despised them. This has to
change. If it doesn't change, we cannot predict what the future will
be. We'll know the results or at least the ex-the Poll London time
tonight at 8.00pm. Thank for joining us from the glorious heart of your
city. Now, the Green Party currently has
one MP and they'll be contesting many more seats in June
as well as hoping to increase their presence on councils in
the local elections on 4th May. Launching their campaign
on Thursday, co-leader Caroline Lucas made
a pitch to younger voters. When it comes to young
people they've been But one crucial way they've been
betrayed is by what this generation and this government and the previous
ones have been doing when it comes We know we had the hottest year
on record last year, you know, you almost think what else does
the environment need to be doing All the signs are there
and it is young people who are going to be bearing
the brunt of a wrecked environment and that's why it's so important
that when we come to making that pitch to, yes, the country at large
but to young people in particular, I think climate change,
the environment, looking after our precious resources,
has to be up there. And I'm joined now by the Green
MEP, Molly Scott Cato. Welcome back to the programme.
Promised to scrap university tuition fees, increase NHS funding, rollback
cuts to local councils spending, how much would that cost and how would
you pay for it? Like the other parties we haven't got a costed
manifesto yet, it's only a few days since the election was announced so
I will come back and explain the figures. You don't know? Like every
party we have not produced accosted manifesto yet, we produced one last
time but public spending figures have changed so we're not in a
position to do that but we will be in a week or so. What taxes would
you like to consider raising? We would consider having higher taxes
for the better off in society. I think we need to increase the amount
of tax wealthier people pay. How do you define better off? I'm not
entirely clear what the precise number would be but I think 100,000
people would pay a bit more, 150,000 quite considerably more but the real
focus needs to be on companies avoiding paying taxes. I work on
that a lot in my role in the European Parliament, we see an
enormous amount of tax avoidance by companies moving profits from
country to country and we need European corporation to make that
successful. It has not made much difference yet. We have made lots of
changes. Google turned over $1 billion and only paid 25 million in
taxes last year. There was a significant fine introduced by the
competition commission on Apple and in the case of Google we must change
the laws so that people cannot move profits from country to country.
Everybody wants to do it. But you couldn't face a big spending
programme on the ability to do that. You'd have to increase other taxes.
If you look at the cost of free student tuition, tuition fees and
also maintenance grants to students, that would come in at about 10
billion a year. One way of paying for that would be to remove the
upper threshold on National Insurance, bringing in 20 billion a
year, that's the order of magnitude we are talking about. It is not
vast, and some of the proposals we have... That would be an increase on
the better of tax? National Insurance on people earning...
People earning above 42,000. You would have another 10% tax above
42,000? I can't remember exactly how much the National Insurance rate
changes by. But in government figures it would be 28 billion
raised. I think it is up to 45, a bit more you pay a marginal rate of
40%, you would have them pay a marginal rate of over 50%? We would
put the National Insurance rate on higher incomes the same as it is on
lower incomes. If you are a school head of an English department on 50,
60,000 a year you would face a marginal rate under U of over 50%?
It is not useful to do this as a mental maths exercise but if you
look at other proposals would could have a landlord licensing system,
longer term leases on properties, so young people particularly, but also
older people who rent, could have more security which needn't cost
anything. We could insist on landlords paying for that. The
mental arithmetic seems clear but we will come back to that. How is the
Progressive Alliance coming? It is going well, I have heard of a lot of
interest at local level. Winterset this in contest, context, lots of
progressives are concerned about the crisis in public services, prisons,
social care system, and also about the Tories' hard extreme Brexit they
are threatening. You want the left to come together? Theresa May has
given us opportunity, she has taken a risk because she has problems with
backbenchers, she doesn't think she can get through Brexit with a small
majority so there is an opportunity and we are saying progressives must
come together to corporate, Conservatives are effective at using
the first-past-the-post system and we have to become effective as well.
Do you accept this Progressive Alliance cannot become the
government and Mr Corbyn is the Prime Minister? How could it happen
otherwise? I think that is a secondary question. For me the
primary question is who do people choose to vote for? Aluminium
government afterwards comes after the election. In most countries that
is the case. I understand that but we have the system we have and you
accept this Progressive Alliance cannot be in power and thus mystical
Burmese Prime Minister? Personally I think Mr Corbyn is less of a threat
to the country than Theresa May, she has shown herself to be an
authoritarian leader and she has said she doesn't want to have
dissidents, which I would say is reasonable opposition, and what we
are suggesting at the moment is there is a way of avoiding that very
hard Brexit and damage to public services. You'd be happy to pay the
price of having Mr Corbyn as Prime Minister? I do not see that as a
price. People have the choice of Jeremy Corbyn or Theresa May as
Prime Minister, that's the system that works. You would prefer Mr
Corbyn? I would but votes are translated into seats and the
Progressive Alliance is a step towards that.
It's just gone 3:50pm, you're watching the Sunday Politics.
We say goodbye to viewers in Scotland, Wales
and Northern Ireland who leave us now.
Coming up here in 20 minutes, the Week Ahead.
Thank you Andrew - Hello, and welcome to the Sunday Politics
We're live here on BBC One - because it's election time!
Election campaigns can often be a bumpy ride -
but there's one issue that really shakes up the voters.
Still waiting for our road improvements.
As you know - we're on late today because of the London Marathon.
We've got a lot to jog through - so let's meet our competitors today.
They are the Conservative MP Michelle Donelan.
Max Wilkinson is from the Liberal Democrats
The Greens will be joining us later.
First - the West Country will see some of the most fascinating battles
So, are the parties getting up to speed?
I have just chaired a meeting of the Cabinet where the Government
decided that we should call a general election.
The announcement of a snap election took everyone by surprise,
even if they weren't delighted by it.
I am not sure I can take it after the referendum
It is too much. It's too much, isn't it?
But campaigning got under way straightaway.
Lib Dem leader Tim Farron was in Bristol on Tuesday night.
And think we've got candidates chosen pretty much everywhere.
Let's be honest, at the moment, we are in a situation
where the people have a great chance to change the direction
In Somerset, the Tories immediately started turning their county
council campaign into one for the general election.
Fortunately, we have had the county council can think up and going.
And we will use the same people, same resources
We are in a good place to actually launch the national campaign.
The Green Party chose Bristol West to launch their national
We are confident we have an excellent candidate with that
kind of basis to build on so we can win the seat in Bristol West.
And Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn was here on Friday.
To win it, to deal with poverty, and a pilot, housing and social
injustice in Britain and bringing a minimum wage that means something.
Journalists and politicians are trying to sound excited.
Not another one. Oh, for God's sake.
We've still got more than six weeks left to go.
Songs of praise is coming up later, don't worry. What kind of result as
you expecting her? I think it is about getting our message out about
what we have done over the last two years as local MPs. The choice is
stark ear. A strong, stable stark ear. A strong, stable
Government and a coalition of chaos propped up by the Liberal Democrats
and led by Jeremy Corbyn. In your case, part of the Tory strategy to
take the Lib Dems off the face of the map. Can you win the seat again?
I will ask my voters to look at what I have done. I have made progress.
As visited 150 visitors. -- businesses. I will show my
constituents, they will judge me on my record. They will judge me on
local and national issues. Like I say, this is a choice between Jeremy
Corbyn and Reza made. I will be the local choice. Steve. A proud
supporter of Jeremy Corbyn. Seen by some as a hindrance. I am a fan of
judging people on policies and not just personality. The policies I
support on the council, with support from my friends in the Greens and
Liberal Democrats, things like affordable housing. In Stroud, it
It is not affordable. I think we It is not affordable. I think we
need a housing boom. We need to build. I have challenged the
occasions on the issue of allowing occasions on the issue of allowing
us to build the homes we need. We have a crisis in the NHS, queueing
in water. A shortage of GPs. You point out there are problems in the
NHS, social care, housing. Why are you not massively ahead in the
polls? It bounced from Brexit. I will support us trying to do our
best... You should be miles ahead. You are on the same page as the
Government and Brexit. In Stroud, we held up our vote and Labour did not
lose votes in the last general election. We are now ruling Stroud.
That is not the same as ruling Britain. But examples there, in the
south of England, Labour policies can be as effective in rural areas.
Any chance of a Lib Dem revival? Yes. The county council election and
then the general election. We are looking to take votes from Labour
and Conservative. That is because the Conservatives are driving a hard
Brexit supported by the Labour Party. People know there is a clear
choice. If you support the UK's role within the European Union, nobody
voted for a hard exit, and you have to vote for the Liberal Democrats
this time. Most people in the West Country voted in favour. There are
plenty of people who voted to remain in places like Bath, overwhelming.
In Cheltenham, overwhelmingly to remain. In Stroud, where I am
standing as the Liberal Democrat candidate, people voted to remain.
As I said, whether you voted the league and remain, no one voted for
the hard Brexit. This rhetoric concerns me. The Lib Dems are
pushing for the second referendum. We live in a democracy. If we vote
one way, people vote to leave, it needs to be honoured. I am concerned
the rhetoric might be anti-democratic. I voted remain. I
wanted to stay. I have accepted the vote because of democracy. A lot of
my constituents just want to get on with it and get the best deal.
Presumably you were against because you thought it would be bad for the
country? Looking after the interests of constituents. If I lose on the
next election, I am not going to say we need another election. I want the
best deal and we should all work together to achieve that. Let's
bring in Ukip. People like Michelle Dunster where they stand, they had
told how to vote. Remain one week, leave next week. There is no such
thing as a hard Brexit. There is a true Brexit. People voted for border
controls, taking back the fisheries. I didn't see that on the ballots.
When Lord Ashcroft and other people did polls afterwards. They have
people why -- asked them why. They said yes, border controls. Hold on a
second. They said they wanted to take back controls of the laws,
against the ECJ. My worry is Theresa May has called the election to
devote the true voice of the Tory party and get people like Michelle
to vote how she wants. 51% for 49% against. Half an hour. Wouldn't a
reasonable moderate Brexit be happy to do -- writing? One of the ... MPs
still go and make our laws. We knew what we would get into. It was leave
of remain and people voted league. A true Brexit we need. What is the
point of Ukip now? Can we trust the Conservatives? The real opposition
without many MPs, now zero, is Ukip. You just have to look at Theresa
May, grammar schools came back, that was a Ukip policy. The Tories and
the chink well to the right. It is putting people off, the former
moderate conservative voters. The terms of departure. It is not a
second referendum. It is. This election is supposed to provide
certainty. We need to pull together to get the best deal. If Theresa May
wins and when this bigly. Is that her mandate for a hard Brexit? We
are on about getting the best deal for Britain. The premise that has to
go to a negotiating room and get the best deal for Britain. That is not a
hard deal or a socket, it is trying to get the deal to support local
industry. If asked, you will vote for us not to be in the single
market? The Prime Minister said that this week. That is the hard Brexit.
We must thank you for coming in because you are going to go and be
replaced by the Greens. Before we get...
Before we get to the general election, there's the small matter
Voters in Somerset, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire go to the polls
on May the 4th to choose who will run their
We've asked our political reporters to sum up what's at stake.
This is County Hall in Trowbridge, the home of the West's
It has been dominated by the Conservatives
Of the 98 seats in the chamber, the Conservatives have 61,
the Liberal Democrats 22, Labour just four, and Ukip, one.
The Conservatives are promising more of the same.
Saving money by bringing all the services of the town
And therefore escaping the worst of the cuts seen in other councils.
The Lib Dems are helping to make gains with promises like rescuing
Labour and the Greens are fielding a record number of candidates.
But Ukip are only standing in a handful of seats
But will this be fought on filling the holes in the budget more
One candidate has already won their seat.
Here in Gloucestershire, it is a conservative run council.
Of the 53 seats, the Conservatives have 25, the lead them to 14,
All the main parties say they want to improve the roads.
But the Tories are also promising better broadband and thousands
They believe more seats and overall control
Despite spending cuts from Westminster.
The Lib Dems said it will lobby the Government
And they hope a strong showing in remaining areas like Cheltenham
and the Cotswolds will launch a national revival.
While Labour want a more compassionate care service
But with the party trailing in the polls, their priority will be
Meanwhile, Ukip say they will oppose large housing developments
and the Greens say they will cancel the Javelin Park incinerator.
Here in Somerset, the council is being run by the Conservatives
Of the 55 seats, the Conservatives have 31.
The Lib Dems are the opposition with 14.
The Lib Dems and Tories are both promising funding
Children's services have an inadequate Ofsted.
The Conservatives hope they can gain seats like promising low council tax
The Lib Dems have done well in recent by-elections.
They want to take back control of the council.
They are promising ?25 million per year for roads, including
Labour campaigning to integrate health and social care,
and Ukip wants to keep up the Brexit pressure.
I want Taunton to feel it is going somewhere.
Still waiting for our roads improvements.
One thing to look out for on election night -
a former MP who is trying to unseat the Conservative
Tessa Munt is taking on John Osman in the city of Wells.
Exciting stuff. And the Greens are represented. Why have the Greens got
so few council seat outside Bristol? It is a big focus for us. We have
sold a good message there. You step into the shires, there are very
green Tories who have not decided they can vote for the Green Party.
We have not traditionally stood many candidates. Talking about funding
from local government, the big issue, isn't it the fact the
Conservatives have undermined local government continually? And even
conservatives and local councils are saying, you cannot do the job with
the money given. We are devolving a lot of power over the next few years
mobility to find their own services. mobility to find their own services.
Devolving the powers but not the money. Business rates give them a
revenue stream. Wiltshire, a series of efficiency savings. We have kept
libraries, leisure centres, ensuring the key funding goes on the most
vulnerable. I am the leader of Stroud District Council. In three
years' time, ?500,000 back because of the Mickey Mouse formula as part
of the business rates money. We have ran a tight ship. We are going to be
penalised for that. Business rates, no one has a clue. No one has a clue
how that will work and be balanced and what difference it will make on
the ground. I see it as a county council. The roads, number one
issue. 80 million pounds to get the roads in Gloucester back to a steady
state, that is how far behind we have fallen. If this is what the
Conservatives do on the roads, what are they doing to young people and
on social care? A lack of investment and falling far behind. The
conservative Government introducing a significant amount of money for
adult social care. Potholes is a problem including Wiltshire and we
are introducing more money year-on-year. You know local gadgets
at -- budgets have been cut. It is not a sturdy, it is bringing the
budget is down to deal with the deficit. To spend more you have to
raise it. Where is the money coming from? Utah about adult social care.
The county council only allowing an extra 2%, that will not meet the
deficit. Going into more debt is not the answer. What are you going to do
about potholes? The Conservatives have been in charge for 12 years and
the Conservatives have failed to resurface the roads and fill in the
potholes. A contract in, doing it on the cheap and this is because of
Government cuts. A Lib Dem Government, you would reverse the
cat? The Lib Dems brought in posterity with the Conservatives?
I'm not sure -- austerity. I'm not sure that is true. I think the point
is where we are now is people have a decision to make any council
elections in May. More of the same with the Conservatives in Gloucester
County Council and the other ones where they note the roads are worse,
health and social care budgets cut. Even services from looking after
disabled children are being cut, that is callous. The only way you
can stop that is by voting for Liberal Democrat councillors. But
the budgets are set by central Government. What could you do? We
would lobby for more. I don't think it will be a Labour Government. But
Labour and Conservative are the most lightly, you will have to ask for
more money? Firstly, you ask. Second, you look to do things
better. In Gloucester, the highest-paid Chief Executive across
the south-west. At times of cats, a new telephone system. -- cuts. What
is your local at offering in the Green Party? Michelle talks about
paying down the deficit. It has got bigger. In terms of roads, we need
to see all the minor roads more travel above. They are diabolical. A
lady died, she broke her neck in a pothole. We want people to get off
the main roads, out of their cars and onto bikes. People in power it
to make their own decisions. At the moment, everything is far too
centralised. That is undermining people feeling they have a part to
play. The roads, what else? Social care that actually works. How would
that be paid for? We have to reassess the whole budget. These are
not set in stone. From what area would you cut to give social care
more? It depends in principle about where business rates are raised
from. We need to make sure that they rates are proportionate, so the
highest would get less so Mark money Inbee Park. -- more money in the
overall pot. There is not a pipe in pace -- plan in place by anyone
else. That is why the Conservatives can offer the confidence to the
electorates and ends the entertaining. The party I am proudly
a member of stands on values of equality and fairness. Yes, if it
does mean how do we pay for these things, we would consider raising
taxes. As part of our annual service, I asked the question every
year, our people prepared to pay for more buses and adult social care?
Thank you. My thanks to all of my guests.
on issues like the NHS. Run out of time. Andrew, back to you.
Now, Ukip have made their first significant policy announcement
of the election campaign today with a call for a ban on wearing
But is it a policy that will meet with the approval of the man
who bankrolled the party's last general election campaign?
Hello, Andrew. Let me see if I can clarify some things, are you a
member of Ukip? I a patron of Ukip so I don't stop being a member. So
you are still a member? I am, apparently for life. Are you still
hoping to bankroll Ukip? Not at the moment. Why is that? The internal
problems we have had in Ukip have been aired, and a lot needs to
happen in the party in terms of professionalising it and I think it
is ill-prepared for this general election. Are you going to run in
Clacton? I will be if selected. For Ukip? Yes. Have you been to Clacton?
I've been with Nigel Mansell on the campaign. You will run for a
constituency you've only been in once? Yes, why does that surprise
you? You know nothing about it. I've just recently decided to become the
candidate there. Did you know where it is? Of course I do, your piece
the other night was completely wrong. I said I knew where it was
but I didn't know much about it. Maybe the people of Clacton will
regard you as a carpetbagger? Why? Because you have never been there.
Most politicians are carpetbaggers and I will be there for the right
reasons. I thought it was because of your visceral hatred of Douglas
Carswell. He only lasted 24 hours after I announced my candidacy so we
will see what happens. The main thing I am going to Clacton on
Monday to meet the Ukip councillors, see what the issues are and see if
they want me as a candidate. They may not want me. Who do you think
you will be up against? The potential Conservative candidate.
Who in Ukip? I don't suppose anyone in Ukip will stand against me, I
wouldn't have thought. Really? I would have thought. Money talks! Why
do you say that? You talked about having a pirate radio station to
blast into Clacton so it is not covered by the election rules.
You've been talking about financing a sort of right-wing Momentum
movement. I just wonder, has politics now just become a
Richmond's hobby? From my perspective the reason I'm
interested in it is if you have looked at what has happened in the
country, it's clear the Conservatives will have a massive
majority. -- has politics become a rich man's hobby. Only putting up
candidates not against Brexit MPs. Is Ukip over? I don't think so. The
electoral maths is interesting because first-past-the-post
effectively could help Ukip in this example. Ukip got one MP with 4
million votes. What we are seeing is the total collapse of Labour. In
that situation there are certain seats up north in Hartlepool and
other seats like that, the total collapse of the Labour Party could
help Ukip to win a few seats. Is Ukip over? It looks that way, yes.
They haven't made much of a dent in Labour's vote in the north, they
don't really have a defining issue anymore and all the polls we have
seen published since the election was called show Ukip vote is going
to the Conservatives. Is Ukip over? It always happens when the
Conservative Party goes far to the right, really hard Brexit, there is
no space for BMP, Ukip and all of that. Are you associating the BNP
with Ukip? Or that, movements to the right of the Conservatives get eaten
up one the Conservatives move as far right as Theresa May has done. I
think what your enterprise shows is how it's really time to reform
funding of political parties. It is disgraceful that very rich people
can move in and bankroll the Brexit campaigned to the extent that they
did. We need proper state funding of parties. The union is bankrolling
Labour. I assume the reform would include trade unions? Indeed. Ukip
has lost its talisman in Nigel Farage, it was a one-man party, I
have to say, people like Tim. Having voted for Brexit its reason to be
has gone. It will still take votes from Labour and the Conservatives
but probably only from the don't knows. There are seats in certain
places where if enough Tories back Ukip dated when. Hartlepool is an
example. Were the Tories will never win. The demise of Ukip has been
forecasted many times before but I don't see a Tory candidate winning
in a place like Hartlepool. So we could see, and I think we will see,
the total collapse of the Labour vote. We shall see. The leader of
the party of which you say you are still a patron, Paul Nuttall, said
he would ban the Burcea and the niqab in public, what is your view?
-- the niqab and the Burcea? I'm not in agreement with that. If it is a
security issue at airports or public transport it could be acceptable but
I'm not in favour of curtailing people's writes. You have gone
further than him, haven't you? You tweeted you wanted to ban Muslim
immigration. In my view the problem we have had with the lack of
integration in certain communities has come about through mass
open-door immigration. If you are a must win you wouldn't be allowed in?
What I said in the tweet was I think they should be a ban on
immigration... You said Muslim immigration. That's what I believe.
If you are a world famous doctor coming to help one of our big
teaching hospitals in this country because you are a Muslim you could
not get in? We have to start somewhere, there are huge problems
in areas where 20% of the population don't speak the language, they
haven't integrated. You should read the rest of the tweet, it is control
of immigration from a 10-year ban on unskilled immigration. The first
thing you said was to ban Muslim immigration, it is in black and
white. I have said that, I do not dispute that. I was questioning
that. There is my answer, you cannot tell somebody's will adjust freedoms
but what you can do is stop adding to the problem. Doesn't that sound a
bit like the BNP? It's as like BNP and like Trump. Its, we hate
Muslims, fine, if that is what you are standing for, that is clear. The
final word is we have had open-door mass immigration from the
Conservative Party, we've had it from the Labour Party and its fine
if you are in north London to say these things, if you live in Oldham
and your community has been radically changed and you have a
whole population not integrating in, not speaking the language, something
has got to be done. We had better leave it there. Thank you for coming
in. I am en route to Clacton. We will see how you get on there.
Now, Lib Dem leader Tim Farron was on TV earlier today
and he was asked again about an issue that he's been
asked about repeatedly - his attitude to homosexuality.
when they asked you whether gay sex was a sin.
Come on, Robert, I've been asked this question loads
few days and I have been clear, even in the House of Commons,
It's possible I'm not the only person getting tired
Probably, but then why don't you just close it down?
Toby Young, why does he get into such a mess over this? I mean, he is
leader of the Liberal Democrats. Its 2017. I guess the reason he keeps
refusing to answer that question is because what the implication is that
he does think that homosexual acts are sinful, and he cannot bring
himself not to say that, or to say what Robert Peston and others want
him to say because he is an evangelical Christian who converted
at the age of 20, 21, and clearly he really struggles with this issue and
I think it will be really difficult for the Lib Dems to promote, or even
Lib Dem candidates like Vince Cable, to promote the idea of the
Progressive Alliance even though Tim has ruled it out, if he is not
prepared to say I don't think homosexual acts are sinful. What is
your view? It is disastrous if that is what he really thinks but Preston
did not push the hard. I'm not sure he understood the difference about
the question between gay sex and being gay. I think he just thought
he was going on saying I'm not anti-gay. He needs to command
immediately and clarify it. If you are right and he does actually think
it is a sin he is in real trouble. There is a slight parallel with what
police said before about Jeremy Corbyn, how his unilateral nuclear
policy would appeal to the hard core of the left. The problem for Tim
Farron with what he is saying here, while he is an evangelical
Christian, this will not appeal to traditional Liberal Democrats. An
LGBT community member cannot possibly vote for an MP who believes
that a sexual act between homosexuals is sinful. He has not
made that clear. Of course, he wants to stop Brexit as well so he is
neither liberal nor democratic. He will have seven weeks to make it
clear because I am sure he will be asked again. We have the chairman of
the Conservative Party on earlier, Polly. An important figure for the
Tory campaign. What did you make of what he said? I don't think he will
have him on very often, he didn't do brilliantly. I think they will bring
back chemical Ali, Michael Fallon, he can say anything with a straight
face, he can say black is white. Michael Fallon, chemical Ali? Why do
you say that? He can absolutely say black is white. For instance if you
look back at what he said, you challenged him about the energy
policy, when Ed Miliband came out with it, he said any kind of freeze
would stop investment, the lights will go out. You have him on, he
will say the exact opposite. He is magic at that. But I don't think
your guy today was up to the job. If Michael Fallon was chemical Ali, or
we should say chemical Fally, Patrick was more like comical Ali.
The whole Iraq war is rushing back at me. He is the warm up comedian,
there is another six weeks to go, just getting things started. What
did you think? I don't think he was too bad, it was difficult for him to
say exactly what was in the 2050 manifesto is going to be replicated
in the Conservatives' manifesto during this general election, he
doesn't want to be seen rowing back on stuff but on the other hand I
don't think he can conceal the fact they will be far fewer commitments
in this Conservative manifesto than in the last one, as you and I know,
it was full of rash promises last time because they thought they would
have to trade a lot of them away in the negotiations with the Liberal
Democrats to form a second coalition so they are saddled with policies
they don't particularly want to be hemmed in by. The forthcoming
Conservative manifesto will be much lighter and shorter with fewer
commitments. Different? Some stuff jumped from the 2050 manifesto? I
think so but we will see a commitment to run schools to
overcome that hurdle in the next parliament and I don't think, in
spite of what you think, Polly, that it will be a hard tack to the right.
I think if anything the mood music of the Conservative manifesto will
be a centrist inclusive one. The mood music will be because the
specifics would be there. She is good at saying governing for
everybody and the many and not the few but when you look at the hard
facts of what her and Hammond's budget looks like, you look at her
hard Brexit, it's a very different story. Or that, the music has
stopped for this week! Thank you. I will be back next week at the normal
time of 11am on Sunday morning. On BBC One The Daily Politics is back
at midday tomorrow and we will be on every day next week on BBC Two.
Remember, if it's Sunday, it is The Sunday Politics.
There'll be a couple of hours of just fantastic music, really,
all the Ella classics, as well as some very special guests,
we have Mica Paris, Imelda May, Dame Cleo Laine
'There's a side to Rory that the public doesn't see.
Andrew Neil and David Garmston with the latest political news, interviews and debate. Andrew is joined by Conservative Party chairman Patrick McLoughlin and Green Party MEP Molly Scott Cato to discuss the forthcoming local and general elections. Plus the latest from the French presidential race. On the political panel are the Financial Times' Janan Ganesh, The Guardian's Polly Toynbee and Toby Young from The Spectator.