18/06/2017 The Papers


A lively, informed and in-depth conversation about the Sunday papers.

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Hello and welcome to our look ahead to what the papers will be


With me are journalist Sean Dilley and political


Let us take a look at the front pages starting with...


The Observer claims that the Government repeatedly


failed to act on fire safety warnings before the fire


The Express leads with the Queen's response to the fire,


praising her Majesty for calming the nation.


The Sunday Mirror labels the Duke of Cambridge the "Prince


of Compassion" for the role he played in responding to the fire.


The Sunday Telegraph says Theresa May could face a leadership


challenge from within her own party if she waters down Brexit.


The Sunday Times reports that senior Conservative figures have told


the Prime Minister she has ten days to improve her performance or face


Let us begin. A great deal to talk about. The paper is dominated by


Grenfell Tower. Perhaps we should start with the Sunday Telegraph, the


headline, the Inferno response is not good enough, admits the Prime


Minister. A statement of the obvious, Sean? I do not suppose when


people have such an appalling experience there will be enough that


would satisfy what we would want, but it has appeared to be very


disjointed on the ground. When the Prime Minister is admitting people


have not been visible enough, a ?5 million emergency budget so people


can get food and clothing on the spot, and admitted that maybe she


did not do entirely the right thing, well, again, it probably is the


worst time for the Prime Minister, but ultimately, it is even worse for


the poor people without homes. Vincent, one has to unpack it a


little bit, there is the presentation aspect of what went


wrong and the practical aspects. That is right. Theresa May with her


mea culpa has realised that not just her but the local council has not


performed well. The initial response of the emergency services was


outstanding but the follow-up has been poor and people have seen the


pictures on the BBC of the huge amount of aid that came in but it


was even apparent on the pictures that it was not being very well


distributed and that is where perhaps the army could have come in


and some of that aid will probably not get to the people, some will be


perishable. The follow-up has been poor. That is why she has tried to


put some of it right now but she is very much behind the pace and it is


going to be very difficult for her this week. She has to get a grip on


the situation. She put civil servants in but this is a time when


a Prime Minister needs to show leadership and I think the May has


been very lacking. Just to add, Sir Craig Oliver, who was director of


communications at Downing Street under David Cameron, has said


because Downing Street has been so hollowed out, nobody really was able


to say, you are losing compassion. She has been criticised widely in


the media for what has been branded a lack of compassion. Hollowed out,


what do you mean? Fiona Hill and Nick Timothy, having to resign, as a


result of tensions within the Conservative Party, concerns that


Number 10 had too much power compared to an elected MPs, but


ultimately, because it is a compromised parliament, whatever


happens, in the lead up to the Queen's Speech, and it is not a


political statement at all, the Prime Minister's position and the


Conservative Party have been hugely weakened and ultimately, the


suggestion is, it is far too soon. Gavin Barwell coming in as the chief


of staff. She is in a dinghy on her own. I do not know if you agree?


Yes, very much so. Before we move on, do you think the Prime Minister


can make up for lost ground now? It is very difficult. She has a tricky


week ahead. She is starting to try to get into the right territory, the


invitation to Downing Street to the victims yesterday. People want more


resources and potentially more money. The Government has offered ?5


million. The local community are saying it is not enough so we may


see the figure up. Moving on to the Observer and its front pages about


more about the warnings there had been. This is why it is such a


tragic event. It does appear to have been entirely avoidable. Their


headline, revealed - the tower block fire warnings ministers ignored.


This is interesting. Can I say, it is damning, the secretary of the


all-party Parliamentary group, Ronnie King, a firefighter of 41


years, a man who knows the fire industry, he has said the Government


ignored calls for sprinklers and he has pointed out the fact even in


schools they have called for sprinklers to be there and he would


argue it would potentially save lives? Interestingly, we have to say


that he appears to be the vice chairman of the national fire


sprinkler network and I think it is important to declare that interest,


it does not appear to be mentioned in the newspapers today. Ultimately,


if this was preventable, even more questions, I think, will be asked.


Put more pressure on Theresa May. Yes, all the Sunday papers are


looking at the minutiae of what happened and what went wrong and


looking at issues were warnings couldn't be ignored in the Observer


is in that territory, saying this could have happened. The Mail on


Sunday has a revelation that even the manufacturers of the cladding at


the centre of the blame game say it should not have been used on


buildings more than ten metres high and Grenfell Tower is 67 metres


high. This will all come out in the looming public inquiry but already


the Sunday papers are looking back and saying, look at what went wrong,


where lessons to be learned? That was a phrase used by the leader of


the council, Kensington and Chelsea. -- you said. Lessons need to be


learnt, but we hear this platitude spoken after every horrific action.


Lessons need to be learnt. There is going to be accountability. The Met


Police commander saying where arrests are necessary, they will


happen. But as the country, we need to be careful because there is


always the knee jerk reaction somebody must get in trouble. Yes,


absolutely, if someone has done something wrong, that is why it is


important to have the public inquiry led by an independent judge. One of


the other areas is the Kensington and Chelsea tenant 's management


organisation responsible for this. I used to live very close to Grenfell


Tower, I could see it from my bedroom window, even though it was a


private flat, I was under the management organisation and even


then it was overly bureaucratic and under managed and it was very


difficult when it came to repairs because they have an approved list


of contractors and there were arguments about the quality of


repairs and why you could not get your own contractor and one reason


was because it was a very formalised bureaucratic structure and there


will have to be significant changes in the way the organisation is run.


If those tenants and tenants of other blocks have raised concerns


and they did not listen... They are not here to defend themselves but we


will say the allegation, I am sure we look forward to a statement from


them to defend themselves as quickly as possible, and I am sure questions


will be asked and answered, but the allegation is they saved ?6,200


using the inferior cladding and the company... What happens is, when


they are heated, as Vincent said, they are supposed to be used up to


ten meters. Yes. When fire hits them, they melt and drip downwards


and also there is another aspect and I believe the Observer goes into it,


they were due fire inspection by the London Fire Brigade and the


allegation is that as a result of fire cuts, lots of fire inspections


that otherwise would have happened have not happened. If that is true,


it really would be damning. Indeed. Let me take you to pages two and


three of the Observer, you can see there... This is an interview that


has been carried out with the London fire commissioner, Dany Cotton, all


about the decisions she had to take to send in the 100 members of her


team into the burning building and the risk, the stress, the anxiety


about that, quite a moving piece. She was very much front and centre


of explaining to the public what was going on. One of the things many


people, especially if you have visited New York and other major


cities, you will see the tall buildings, in New York, for example,


they have exterior fire escapes where you see them in all of the


famous films and there was no access like that, as well as no sprinklers.


The firemen are incredibly brave. But you come back to the issue in


terms of fire safety, a big role of firefighters, because fires are


relatively rare, why were there not more protected measures especially


on higher floors? Returning to their heroism of the emergency services,


any health and safety that is possible is there, they have the


very best kit, I think we are reminded also with the London terror


attack in policing, the Ambulance Service, the fire brigade here, when


these most horrific things happen, when the city, the country is on its


knees and we are running away rightly from danger, these are the


men and women running towards that danger and it is interesting, you


are seeing a sea change of people saying, thank you. I think it is


right to say that because we read harrowing accounts of a firefighter


having to decide whether to save a lady and her baby or to save other


residents. Somebody was going to die. Can you imagine being in that


situation? These people are people and... That is exactly what Dany


Cotton, the commissioner, is saying, she realised she was sending her


team into a very risky situation but she felt there were lives to be


saved in the building, they had to go in. We should never forget, this


is what they do and why they do it. Looking at the front page of the


Express now, the Queen calms a shaken nation, this is again about


her visit to the site in West London. It is interesting because


the Queen is held in great respect and regard, but she is not known as


somebody who shows empathy or emotion. Yet, actually, this seems


to be the figure she has become. Very much so. Even her break with


tradition to talk about the difficult times and how the nation


has remained resolute in the face of adversity and her visit as well and


those of the Duke of Cambridge as well, very moving and showing


humanity and compassion. Unfortunately for the Prime


Minister, even critics within her own party, they felt she was unable


to show that. And the fact the royal family were able to go to the estate


quite comfortably, it gives the lie to the claim is coming out from the


Government that there were security concerns about the Prime Minister


going there because all of the other senior MPs have been able to go


there. The Prime Minister visited eventually, a belated visit and a


very controlled visit which has dogged her premiership so far, this


intense control which people are now starting to react against. I think


you will see with the Queen's Speech on Wednesday, and other potentially


very controlled event, talk of more protests on the streets of London,


and I think that is part of the problem. Whether Theresa May can


reinvent herself to show she is more empathetic, more humane and


spontaneous, I doubt it. She is in a very difficult place. I agree. The


Queen has said very few words but she is very much the start of this


because people can see into her heart -- the star. I do not think


anyone would suggest Theresa May is seen in human, that she would not


care... It is the response. She has been branded in some media reports


as lacking humanity. People are saying it. I do not think in reality


people would think she does not care. Unfortunately, politics and...


It is her ability to express it, the optics, a Westminster cliche. She is


coming across very poorly, as are the centre of the Government in the


way they have managed the operation. It is true, but I think other


politicians have said she lacked humanity and they need to be


careful. Michael Portillo said that, you are right. Former Kensington MP,


of course. Let us move on from the terrible tragedy, but talk a little


more about the Prime Minister because the Telegraph, it's other


front-page story, May faces a threat of stalking horse leadership


challenge. How credible is that? Yes, in terms of growing


unpopularity, that is true. I was talking this week the Conservative


ministers and their view is, yes, it is very bad, but she got us into


this mess, and at the moment, the view earlier in the week was, we


want her to get us out of it. There are all sorts of problems with a


leadership challenge, a new Conservative leader and Prime


Minister, they would be unelected, into the whole territory Theresa May


was in, seeking a personal mandate. Nobody wants a second general


election within a year, not least because the Conservative Party fear


they might lose. Even those who want to get rid of Theresa May in the


Conservative Party, they realise it could precipitate another general


election and Jeremy Corbyn could be Prime Minister. There is no doubt


the Telegraph is right to highlight the fact there is never this and


unhappiness within the Conservative Party and critically within the


grassroots that MPs are meeting this weekend at the various social and


events who are very unhappy with Theresa May. Also, there are a


couple of interesting things in this report on the Telegraph, you do not


need a stalking horse, 48 letters sent to the 1922 Committee, formed


in 1923, a little fact! It was the 1923 Parliament. This powerful group


of backbench Conservative MPs who hold the leadership to account, they


would be duty-bound to trigger the leadership election. Who would run?


Who would not be a stalking horse at the moment? The same names, they


would emerge, in terms of Boris Johnson, various others. I do not


get a sense... You would need 48 letters, 15% of the current... We


are political geeks! And a very good thing too. Let me take you to a


related story, they are all related. The front page of the Observer,


business leaders pressed the PM to rethink a hard Brexit. Negotiations


start tomorrow. The Telegraph was saying that if Theresa May slackens


on Brexit, all hell will break loose. The Observer is applying the


pressure the other way from business leaders. Am I being cynical? There


is a Cabinet split at the moment with the Chancellor, Philip Hammond,


who was supposedly not to be the Chancellor, had there have been a


bigger majority. The Prime Minister and Philip Hammond do not exactly


see eye to eye on various issues. If you look at the Conservative Party


for the last 30, 40 years, Europe and the EU have been the single


defining issue that has torn apart the party. Yes, the Observer, the


most pro-European newspapers, highlighting it. It is not just big


business, particularly Stuart Rose, the Conservative pier and the


chairman of Ocado, it is the fact Theresa May in reality cannot


probably get a hard Brexit passed her own Cabinet, her own party,


probably the country. A survey today saying 69% of people are not in


favour of a hard Brexit. It does look very difficult for Theresa May


because there is probably a growing majority within not just Parliament,


the House of Commons, her own party and the Cabinet, but the general


public as well, an argument people do not want the cliff edge Brexit


and that is another of the many headaches Theresa May will face in


the week ahead. It will look a bit bizarre if she was saying before the


general election the British public have spoken and it is very clear


what is wanted and now it slightly changes. You're not suggesting there


would be a U-turn, Vincent? A softening of the position! Let us


and with something a little nicer. It is sweltering outside. I love


wearing suits! I will be in shorts in ten minutes. A happy picture,


East Sussex, at a swimming pool. Do we complain too much? Personally


speaking, I would rather go out into boiling hot weather every day


because you can get air conditioning. The heating bills are


lower. We need something to lift the mood. Driving this morning in


London, people are smiling. We need a bit of that. The Telegraph talking


about the hottest June since records began. If there is a lido near you,


people will want to be in it. Thank you very much. That is it for The


Papers. Thanks to Sean and Vincent. Just a reminder, we take a look


at tomorrow s front pages every


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