13/03/2017 The Papers


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to what the the papers will be bringing us tomorrow.


With me are Matthew Syed, columnist at the Times,


and Kevin Schofield, editor of PoliticsHome.


Welcome to both of you, a look at those front pages first of all.


The Times, unsurprisingly, leads on the Scotland First Minister's


demand for a second referendum on Scottish independence,


calling it an ambush, and reporting that Theresa May


is preparing to reject Nicola Sturgeon's bid for two years.


A witty play on words from the Metro -


"Scots throw a sporran in the works,"


reporting that the First Minister's announcement has thrown


Downing Street's Brexit plans into chaos.


And the Guardian continues the theme,


headlining that the Prime Minister's plans


have been upstaged by Scotland's First Minister.


He Daily Telegraph calls the face-off between the two leaders the


new Battle for Britain, and the paper includes quotes from Theresa


May accusing next of tunnel vision. And finally the Daily Express, which


has focused on the events in Westminster, saying that following


the votes in Parliament, pushing through the Article 50 bill, the


Queen could sign Brexit into law as early as tomorrow morning. Well,


let's take some of those on board in the next few moments, we will start


with the i, which leads with the headline, future of the UK in doubt,


and it really is, we have got to that point, haven't we? It kind of


sums up in a nutshell, really, those of us who covered the first


referendum are still trying to get over that experience! Traumatised!


Now we are being thrown back into it once more. This was always on the


cards, as soon as Britain voted to leave the European Union and


Scotland itself voted to remain. This was always likely to happen,


but I still think that the timing is pretty significant. I think


undoubtedly Nicola Sturgeon has caught Theresa May on the hop, a bit


of an ambush, as one of the headline says, and she has taken the upper


hand in this debate, but it has got a long way to go, and it will be


interesting to see, once Theresa May four minutes a proper response, what


she actually she says. -- formulates a proper response. I have to say, I


think this is contemptible opportunism, because I understood


the last referendum was to be once in a generation. At the time it took


place, they knew that Cameron had promised to give a referendum to the


whole of the UK on Brexit. And they still said it was going to be once


in a generation. It seems to me that the rules of the game was such that,


after that referendum, Scotland decided to stay in, they were


committed to accepting the majority view of the United Kingdom as a


whole. It seems to me that this is opportunistic, and I am not at all


surprised that Theresa May is likely to push back, partly on the timing,


but if she pushes it back until after the next Scottish elections,


it will be difficult for the SNP to trigger the referendum. I mean, this


could be a constitutional crisis. Without a doubt, I think it will be.


You are right, I don't see the benefit for Theresa May in agreeing


to have a referendum while she is also trying to get through the


minefield of Brexit, so on the one hand you would be carrying of


discussions with 27 other member states, trying to get the best


possible deal for Britain, while at the same time trying to fight a


battle to keep the country together. I don't see why she would agree to


do that, because it is in her gift to decide whether or not to give the


Scottish Parliament the power to hold a referendum, and it would be


madness to do it well Brexit is rumbling on. Of course, the next


argument would be that she has a mandate as a result of the Scottish


elections that were most recently held, because she had put in a


manifesto, if there is a material change in the relationship between


Britain and, well, Scotland and the UK as a result of Brexit, she can do


it again. That manifesto was a bit of slippage in itself, because


material change is open to all sorts of interpretations. They were not


saying, during the first independence campaign, that we will,


if we lose, introduced into the next manifesto, a clause saying that if


there is any material change... They were all saying, it is once in a


generation, come what may, and I felt that was unfair. I was in


favour of Remain as a voter, and I campaigned for it when I could. But


I accept the result of that too. If you are going to have a fair fight,


you have to abide by the rules and not try to weasel your way out of


it, and Jude processes such an important concept, because then you


can plan, have some certainty when you are casting your ballot. -- due


process is. It seems to me that this is a corrosive effect, I do not


think it is good for democracy. What is the Metro take on it? I said a


witty headline in the run through a moment ago, I am not sure that it


necessarily stands up to that examination. I am not sure that will


be the front page in the Scottish edition! Is there a Scottish


edition? I believe there is, I believe they usually have a


different front page, and Scots throw a in the works, a bit of a


tortuous pun. -- throw a temporary. Anyway, leaving the headline aside,


it just shows you, all the front pages are dominated, on a day when


the Article 50 bill is passed, a massive enough story in itself,


ordinarily that would be the front page, but Nicola Sturgeon's faces


staring out from every single front page. So it shows you it has been a


massive PR win for her. No doubt what the Scottish Daily Mail thinks


about it, not only have they got a headline which is pretty clear, they


have got comment on the front page. It is very neutral, very difficult


to know what the editorial line is(!) They are going strongly with


the line that May may turn down the idea that Nicola Sturgeon has of


having the referendum before Brexit. But this is going to be


extraordinarily divisive, not just the campaign between those who want


to remain part of the UK and those who do not, but those who feel that


this is a betrayal of an earlier pledge to stick by the first result.


The other thing to bear in mind is uncertainty, we already have


uncertainty in England because we don't know the terms of Brexit, but


at least there is a general expectation we will leave the single


market, probably the customs union, there will hopefully be a free-trade


deal. His Mrs in Scotland don't not this point whether they will be in


the UK, whether they will be in the EU, whether they will be in the


single market, whether they will be in the customs... They don't even


know what the currency is going to be, extraordinary uncertainty with


the Scottish economy is tanking, is that too strong a word? A bit


strong, but the economic case has weakened since the last referendum,


but the political case is strengthened, and I think that is


the gamble that Nicola Sturgeon is taking, that the political case will


trump the economic case, because as you say, the economic case is much


weaker, the oil price has tanked, we can definitely say that. We were


predicting a second oil boom at the time of the last referendum, and


that has proven not to be the case. Till with politics, the other big


talking point, Brexit, of course, various boats have gone in favour of


the Government tonight. -- various votes. This is a leaked document


which really reveals what, I think, we already knew which is the complex


structure that we are currently trying to disentangle ourselves


from, given the vote to leave the EU. They are saying that there will


have to be new laws covering immigration, tax, agriculture,


trade, data protection, six bills for benefits, reciprocal health


arrangements, in addition to the Great Repeal Bill! There is a huge


amount of negotiation of disentanglement, it is an


extraordinarily complex thing that has to take place. David Davis, of


course, is heading this up, and this just underlines what kind of thing


we have got ourselves into. And all of that will involve votes, the Lord


is getting involved, potential amendments, that is the potential


complication. Absolutely, and a lot of MPs and peers, obviously the


Government is in a minority in the House of Lords, who will be using


this legislation as an opportunity to delay, frustrate the process. So


the notion that they will be able to not only agree a divorce deal with


the rest of the EU, but also agree free-trade arrangements within the


two year period, when you are also trying to do that, it seems fanciful


to me. And Scottish independence as well, a monumental period in front


of us. Let's end with something less controversial, namely a photograph


of Her Majesty the Queen on the front of the express, this is from


the Commonwealth Day Evans today, which of course heralded the start


of the baton relay head of the Commonwealth Games. Yes, quite a big


story, 2022, Durbin, who had previously been the agreed hosts for


that, they are no longer going to be the hosts. -- Durban. I think there


may be a bid from Liverpool, it gives me an opportunity to chip in


with the fact that I won a Commonwealth gold medal in


Manchester, I know you want to discuss the tactics are used in the


final! But I will tell you one thing, it is very different from the


Olympics, great camaraderie, and in the build-up to all of that, they


think of it as an anachronism, but it is a really uplifting experience,


and quite a good spectacle too. In 2014, back to Scotland, in Glasgow,


it came right after, no, it was just before the independence referendum,


so you had the whole place in the firm and anyway, and then a


Commonwealth Games, it was fantastic. Any medals or prizes?


Honestly, I think I got a swimming badge! Bronze, probably! In the


interest of studio harmony, I wanted to give you the opportunity! Thank


you very much for the time being, thanks to both of you, you can join


us again at 11:30, and you can see the front pages online on the BBC


News website. For the moment, goodbye.


No need to wait until tomorrow morning to see what's in the papers - tune in for a lively and informed conversation about the next day's headlines.

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