05/11/2017 Sunday Politics


05/11/2017

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does Theresa May have control

of her Government and her party?

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to support.

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All right, and at that point

we have to end it there.

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My thanks to Rosena and Andrew,

and with that it's back to Sarah.

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It's been a tricky

week for Theresa May -

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again, you might think.

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She's lost a Cabinet minister

and been forced into a reshuffle

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which did little for party unity,

to say nothing of losing a Commons

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vote on Brexit and yet more reports

of fireworks in Cabinet meetings -

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this time apparently over housing.

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So, is the Prime Minister's time

in office going with a bang

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or more of a whimper?

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Well, we sent Ellie Price

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and the entirely unscientific

Sunday Politics moodbox

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to Conservative-held Surrey,

to find out.

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ALL:

Three, two, one.

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# Ignite the light

and let it shine...#

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It's a tale of lit fuses, plots,

conspiracy, treachery,

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but enough of the recent goings

on in the Conservative Party,

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it's firework night here

in Guildford and we're asking,

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does Theresa May have control

of her Government and her party?

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Yes or no?

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# Baby you're a firework...#

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With all the scandals in Government

at the moment

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and Brexit seems to be dragging on

a little bit longer than we thought.

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So, at the moment, I don't think

she is in control.

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She's too many people sniping

at her back, really.

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Do you think Theresa

May's in control?

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I think she's in control.

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She's in a good job

having a tough time.

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No, I don't.

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I think she's a mess.

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Even when you read her body language

when she's being interviewed

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by people, she doesn't

seem like she's in control.

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I think she has poor advisers.

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I'm going to put it in the "yes".

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I do think she's struggling but,

I still hope, still think she has

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a bit of a grip on them.

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The Queen is England's role.

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It's her birth right.

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She is England's role

of this country.

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I'm going to vote for Theresa May.

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I don't think there's anyone

who could do a better job.

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I think she's had a bit of

a poisoned chalice with Brexit but

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I think she could have done better.

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The money's not going

to where it needs to go.

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I think she should resign, really.

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I feel a bit sorry

for her, actually.

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I think she's been witch-hunted

a little bit.

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She's doing her best.

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With everything that's

going on with the Cabinet at the

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moment, I think the Conservative

Party is in a real mess, actually.

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Very disappointed.

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Well, you get bickering in all parts

not just the Conservative Party.

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And that's just sort

of par for the course.

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But I'm sure she'll

hold everybody together

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despite the current difficulties.

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The Tories weren't in control

when they had the referendum

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in the first place for the euro.

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We've had two years

of complete chaos.

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I don't see an end to it.

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Well, I seem to have

acquired a few new friends.

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The oohs and ahs are

over and so the moodbox

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and the result is...

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No.

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The majority of people

here in Guildford

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don't think Theresa May

is in control.

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CHEERING

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That was Ellie with the entirely

unscientific moodbox, and thanks

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to Bushy Hill Junior School

in Guildford for having her along.

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Let's put the Sorbol question to our

panel. Equally unscientific but all

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seasoned Westminster watchers. Is

Theresa May in control of her

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Government at the moment or is all

of this sex harassment allegations

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swimming around loosening her grip?

Depends what you mean by in control.

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All Prime Ministers have a degree of

control. They retain the power much

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tat wrongage as we saw with her

reshuffle. Didn't go down well with

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her MPs but she did it. You can't be

fully in control of these situations

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in effectively what is a hung

Parliament. If she won a land sheep

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in the election she would have the

authority to do what she wanted. She

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could float over something like

this. Stories like this, you could

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say she's perfectly suited for it,

the vicar's daughter, the church

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goer, to sort it out. It is much

more complicated than that. I don't

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think she will be able to get a full

grip of it. There are some practical

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things that need to happen that will

happen. I remember with back to

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basics and John Major, that equally

vague scandal, what was back to

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basics about? It was still running

months afterwards, stories about a

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minister having an affair. This is

different. I can see it will be

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impossible for her to fully get to

grips with it.

Does it provide an

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opportunity for Theresa May to be

seen to be taking really serious

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action, trying to root out a bad

culture in Westminster and therefore

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get some political credit for it?

That opportunity was available to

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her all of last week and she hasn't

taken it. What's remarkable for me

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is the near complete breakdown in

discipline in the higher ranks the

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Tory Party. It is extraordinary you

have Cabinet level ministers who are

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not supporting their colleagues.

Ministers and former ministers

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giving interviews in which they slag

off their former colleagues. It is

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an absolute unholy mess. There is no

sense that she is gripping this. Or

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has any particular solution. I think

we can have a lot of sympathy for

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her in terms of finding a solution.

How on earth do you grip a problem

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like this where you're talking about

apparently an indefinite period of

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retrospective examination of

potential faults. 15 years is no

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longer too historic for somebody to

dredge up some small thing that may

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or may not have happened to them. It

is very difficult for her. But she's

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being battered around by events.

Where does this story go next?

I

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think the whip's office on every

party, Tories, Labour, Liberal

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Democrats, SNP all have their own

whipping operations. That seems to

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be the place of it really. This is

because, where do we draw the line?

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Going forward what mechanisms are

put in place to top this helping

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again. To take allegations

seriously, report them and

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investigate them independently. Or

is there a bigger job to go back

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into the past retrospective, who

knew what when as Nia said about

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Kelvin Hopkins. This is a Shadow

Defence Secretary saying what did

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the Labour Party leader know about

Kelvin Hopkins' allegations when he

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promoted him? Theresa May is unable

to do the retrospective bit. She's

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simply too weak. I asked this of

Number Ten last week. Why are you

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not more front-foot the on this.

They said they would be if they

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possibly could be. She's running a

minority Government. She cannot be

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seen to be going after a witch-hunt

on her own people. So, I think this

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goes on. Enof thebly what the whips

new -- inevitably what the whips

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knew will be parment. Amber Rudd did

the same thing on Andrew Marr.

They

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are being precise about the fact

they didn't know anything. Sarah

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Newton said she heard no allegations

about her flock, the the MPs she was

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in charge of rather than rumours

about any other Tories.

Amber Rudd

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say, I do not recognise the more

lurid allegations. What about the

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less lurid once? So, this smells

very, very bad indeed.

Jeremy

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Corbyn's going to have to answer

some of these questions as well?

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Yeah, but the whip's thing is a red

herring. Their remit is to get the

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vote out for the Government

fundamentally. Everybody knows that.

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They are not there, it is one of the

problems. They are not there to be

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moral guides to these MPs. They are

there to win votes for the

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Government or the opposition if that

becomes possible. And deal brutally

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with MPs to make sure they get out

and vote. Of course they knew

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virtually everything. But whether

they were obliged to act as moral

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guard yawns in these situations, I

don't think they were. It was not

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part of their job. Maybe you need

moral guardians in there but not the

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whips.

Normally, less than

three-weeks out from a budget that's

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what we'd been talking about.

Dominating our conversation. Given

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that's set for November 22nd, is

that an opportunity for the

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Government to seize back control of

the story?

Philip Hammond may be

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glad we're not spending too much

time talking about the budget. It

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should be an opportunity for the

Government to seize the agenda, draw

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a line under all of this. I think

one of the very difficult as pects

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of this so-called scandal for the

Government to manage is knowing

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quite how long it will run. In the

normal scheme of things they lose

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steam after a couple of weeks. But

there are so many potential gayses

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that could come out, it might run

longer than that. Rather like the

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expenses scandal. But there is an

opportunity at the budget to reset

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the' again da. I just don't think

Philip Hammond will take it. I think

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he's a very caution Chancellor. At

the moment, there is a feeling

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Theresa May's leadership is so weak

it will be too dangerous for them to

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do anything particularly dram attic

why. I expect a steady as you go

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budget where they will be hoping not

to make any mistakes.

You say there

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is disagreement in the Cabinet about

what should be in the budget?

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Disagreement between the Chancellor

and the Prime Minister. The

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witch-hunt is hiding a huge story

which is the incredible dysfunction

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between Number Ten and number 11.

Philip Hammond and Theresa May can't

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bear to be in the same room with

each other let alone agreeing what's

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in the budget. It is coming down to

housing. Everybody agrees it has to

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be the centrepiece of the budget.

They have to get more houses built.

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Philip Hammond wands that bee

deregulation. Theresa May wants to

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are borrow up to 50 billion

merchandise more for the Government

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to build for themselves.

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That's all for today.

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There's no Sunday Politics

next weekend

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while Parliament is in recess,

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but I'll be back here at 11am

on BBC One in two weeks' time.

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Until then, bye bye.

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Sarah Smith with the latest political news, interviews and debate. The programme includes an interview with shadow defence secretary Nia Griffith. Plus former MP George Galloway and journalist and author Peter Hitchens discuss the Russian revolution. Steve Richards, Isabel Oakeshott, Tom Newton Dunn are on the political panel.


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