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does Theresa May have control
of her Government and her party?
All right, and at that point
we have to end it there.
My thanks to Rosena and Andrew,
and with that it's back to Sarah.
It's been a tricky
week for Theresa May -
again, you might think.
She's lost a Cabinet minister
and been forced into a reshuffle
which did little for party unity,
to say nothing of losing a Commons
vote on Brexit and yet more reports
of fireworks in Cabinet meetings -
this time apparently over housing.
So, is the Prime Minister's time
in office going with a bang
or more of a whimper?
Well, we sent Ellie Price
and the entirely unscientific
Sunday Politics moodbox
to Conservative-held Surrey,
to find out.
Three, two, one.
# Ignite the light
and let it shine...#
It's a tale of lit fuses, plots,
but enough of the recent goings
on in the Conservative Party,
it's firework night here
in Guildford and we're asking,
does Theresa May have control
of her Government and her party?
Yes or no?
# Baby you're a firework...#
With all the scandals in Government
at the moment
and Brexit seems to be dragging on
a little bit longer than we thought.
So, at the moment, I don't think
she is in control.
She's too many people sniping
at her back, really.
Do you think Theresa
May's in control?
I think she's in control.
She's in a good job
having a tough time.
No, I don't.
I think she's a mess.
Even when you read her body language
when she's being interviewed
by people, she doesn't
seem like she's in control.
I think she has poor advisers.
I'm going to put it in the "yes".
I do think she's struggling but,
I still hope, still think she has
a bit of a grip on them.
The Queen is England's role.
It's her birth right.
She is England's role
of this country.
I'm going to vote for Theresa May.
I don't think there's anyone
who could do a better job.
I think she's had a bit of
a poisoned chalice with Brexit but
I think she could have done better.
The money's not going
to where it needs to go.
I think she should resign, really.
I feel a bit sorry
for her, actually.
I think she's been witch-hunted
a little bit.
She's doing her best.
With everything that's
going on with the Cabinet at the
moment, I think the Conservative
Party is in a real mess, actually.
Well, you get bickering in all parts
not just the Conservative Party.
And that's just sort
of par for the course.
But I'm sure she'll
hold everybody together
despite the current difficulties.
The Tories weren't in control
when they had the referendum
in the first place for the euro.
We've had two years
of complete chaos.
I don't see an end to it.
Well, I seem to have
acquired a few new friends.
The oohs and ahs are
over and so the moodbox
and the result is...
The majority of people
here in Guildford
don't think Theresa May
is in control.
That was Ellie with the entirely
unscientific moodbox, and thanks
to Bushy Hill Junior School
in Guildford for having her along.
Let's put the Sorbol question to our
panel. Equally unscientific but all
seasoned Westminster watchers. Is
Theresa May in control of her
Government at the moment or is all
of this sex harassment allegations
swimming around loosening her grip?
Depends what you mean by in control.
All Prime Ministers have a degree of
control. They retain the power much
tat wrongage as we saw with her
reshuffle. Didn't go down well with
her MPs but she did it. You can't be
fully in control of these situations
in effectively what is a hung
Parliament. If she won a land sheep
in the election she would have the
authority to do what she wanted. She
could float over something like
this. Stories like this, you could
say she's perfectly suited for it,
the vicar's daughter, the church
goer, to sort it out. It is much
more complicated than that. I don't
think she will be able to get a full
grip of it. There are some practical
things that need to happen that will
happen. I remember with back to
basics and John Major, that equally
vague scandal, what was back to
basics about? It was still running
months afterwards, stories about a
minister having an affair. This is
different. I can see it will be
impossible for her to fully get to
grips with it.
Does it provide an
opportunity for Theresa May to be
seen to be taking really serious
action, trying to root out a bad
culture in Westminster and therefore
get some political credit for it?
That opportunity was available to
her all of last week and she hasn't
taken it. What's remarkable for me
is the near complete breakdown in
discipline in the higher ranks the
Tory Party. It is extraordinary you
have Cabinet level ministers who are
not supporting their colleagues.
Ministers and former ministers
giving interviews in which they slag
off their former colleagues. It is
an absolute unholy mess. There is no
sense that she is gripping this. Or
has any particular solution. I think
we can have a lot of sympathy for
her in terms of finding a solution.
How on earth do you grip a problem
like this where you're talking about
apparently an indefinite period of
retrospective examination of
potential faults. 15 years is no
longer too historic for somebody to
dredge up some small thing that may
or may not have happened to them. It
is very difficult for her. But she's
being battered around by events.
Where does this story go next?
think the whip's office on every
party, Tories, Labour, Liberal
Democrats, SNP all have their own
whipping operations. That seems to
be the place of it really. This is
because, where do we draw the line?
Going forward what mechanisms are
put in place to top this helping
again. To take allegations
seriously, report them and
investigate them independently. Or
is there a bigger job to go back
into the past retrospective, who
knew what when as Nia said about
Kelvin Hopkins. This is a Shadow
Defence Secretary saying what did
the Labour Party leader know about
Kelvin Hopkins' allegations when he
promoted him? Theresa May is unable
to do the retrospective bit. She's
simply too weak. I asked this of
Number Ten last week. Why are you
not more front-foot the on this.
They said they would be if they
possibly could be. She's running a
minority Government. She cannot be
seen to be going after a witch-hunt
on her own people. So, I think this
goes on. Enof thebly what the whips
new -- inevitably what the whips
knew will be parment. Amber Rudd did
the same thing on Andrew Marr.
are being precise about the fact
they didn't know anything. Sarah
Newton said she heard no allegations
about her flock, the the MPs she was
in charge of rather than rumours
about any other Tories.
say, I do not recognise the more
lurid allegations. What about the
less lurid once? So, this smells
very, very bad indeed.
Corbyn's going to have to answer
some of these questions as well?
Yeah, but the whip's thing is a red
herring. Their remit is to get the
vote out for the Government
fundamentally. Everybody knows that.
They are not there, it is one of the
problems. They are not there to be
moral guides to these MPs. They are
there to win votes for the
Government or the opposition if that
becomes possible. And deal brutally
with MPs to make sure they get out
and vote. Of course they knew
virtually everything. But whether
they were obliged to act as moral
guard yawns in these situations, I
don't think they were. It was not
part of their job. Maybe you need
moral guardians in there but not the
Normally, less than
three-weeks out from a budget that's
what we'd been talking about.
Dominating our conversation. Given
that's set for November 22nd, is
that an opportunity for the
Government to seize back control of
Philip Hammond may be
glad we're not spending too much
time talking about the budget. It
should be an opportunity for the
Government to seize the agenda, draw
a line under all of this. I think
one of the very difficult as pects
of this so-called scandal for the
Government to manage is knowing
quite how long it will run. In the
normal scheme of things they lose
steam after a couple of weeks. But
there are so many potential gayses
that could come out, it might run
longer than that. Rather like the
expenses scandal. But there is an
opportunity at the budget to reset
the' again da. I just don't think
Philip Hammond will take it. I think
he's a very caution Chancellor. At
the moment, there is a feeling
Theresa May's leadership is so weak
it will be too dangerous for them to
do anything particularly dram attic
why. I expect a steady as you go
budget where they will be hoping not
to make any mistakes.
You say there
is disagreement in the Cabinet about
what should be in the budget?
Disagreement between the Chancellor
and the Prime Minister. The
witch-hunt is hiding a huge story
which is the incredible dysfunction
between Number Ten and number 11.
Philip Hammond and Theresa May can't
bear to be in the same room with
each other let alone agreeing what's
in the budget. It is coming down to
housing. Everybody agrees it has to
be the centrepiece of the budget.
They have to get more houses built.
Philip Hammond wands that bee
deregulation. Theresa May wants to
are borrow up to 50 billion
merchandise more for the Government
to build for themselves.
That's all for today.
There's no Sunday Politics
while Parliament is in recess,
but I'll be back here at 11am
on BBC One in two weeks' time.
Until then, bye bye.
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.