POLITICS

Sunday Shows Round-Up: Corbyn's IRA Views And Boris Johnson's Missing £350m For The NHS

It was a busy morning of politics.

21/05/2017 16:24 BST

The Andrew Marr Show

Ukip leader Paul Nuttall downplayed the importance of his party securing MPs – which is a strange tactic with the election fewer than three weeks away. He claimed support for the anti-EU party will rise again once the Brexit negotiations are underway and Theresa May begins making concessions to Brussels. 

Work and Pensions Secretary Damian Green was subjected to a forensic grilling of the Tory manifesto from Marr. The Cabinet Minister was unable to say just how many pensioners would lose the Winter Fuel Benefit after the election, and instead pointed to a consultation to establish those in “genuine need” of payment.

He also said there would be no u-turn on the Tories controversial shake-up of social care funding (a full write up is here.)

Labour’s Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell called for a cap on how much people will pay for their social care. He also refused to say how much the economy would need to grow by each year to fund the party’s spending proposals.

 The highlight was McDonnell v Green at the end of the show. Labour’s Shadow Chancellor was determined to take on his Tory rival, and ambushed him with his previous links to private water companies. It was a great ding-dong, and a full write up is here.

Sophy Ridge on Sunday

Lib Dem leader Tim Farron repeated his well worn line about the need for a second referendum on the terms of Brexit, but what really brought the interview to life were questions over his view of abortion. Farron said he believed in choice, but Sophy Ridge pushed him on whether he believes abortions are wrong. The Lib Dem leader said there has been an “odd focus” on his faith over the last few weeks.

In a pre-record interview with Jeremy Corbyn, Ridge pressed the Labour leader on whether he wanted to see immigration fall once the UK leaves the EU. Corbyn argued that he isn’t interested in specific numbers or targets, but focused on what the economy needs. He did concede that immigration “will probably be lower” after Brexit. 

Ridge pressed Jeremy Corbyn on his previous links to the IRA during the 1980s and 1990s. He was asked five times to condemn the IRA’s bombing campaigns without extending it to a comment on bombings in genera

One of his answers was: “There were Loyalist bombs as well. I condemn all the bombing by both the Loyalists and the IRA.” – which has certainly divided people on Twitter as to whether that is a specific condemnation of the IRA.

The Tories were represented by former Justice Minister Dominic Raab, who tried his best to defend the party’s social care plans. 

In ten years’ time there are going to be two million more people living over 75 years old, that’s a huge financial burden that’s got to be paid for in some way. So what we’ve done is set out some basic principles in a very clearly set out plan which is why people are having an attack on us for this and we say if you can afford to pay for your own care actually you ought to contribute to it but you’ll never be in a position where you can’t hand over or pass on £100,000 to your family and the safety net, the social safety net, the taxpayer underwrites and is always there for the least well off.

After the Farron and Corbyn interviews, Ridge took to Twitter to throw some shade at the Tories:

Peston on Sunday

Boris Johnson was the main draw for Peston, and the Foreign Secretary was even caught taking a peep at the ITV Political Editor’s questions.

Johnson dodged the question about whether the Cabinet were consulted over the social care plans.

The leading Brexiteer was equally as evasive over when the Tories would finally hit the long-stated policy of getting net migration below 100,000.

The question that will hang round Johnson’s neck for the rest of his political career was put to him thanks to a tweet from a viewer: Where is the £350million a week for the NHS promised by Vote Leave? Johnson tried to claim the pledge is in the Tories’ manifesto – which it isn’t.

Green Party co-leader Caroline Lucas appeared to say she was frustrated that the much heralded progressive alliance is going nowhere as the bigger parties won’t play ball.

Labour’s Shadow International Development Secretary Barry Gardiner said the party was planning to scrap tuition fees as many youngsters feel society is currently “unfair”. 

Gardiner tried to insist Labour would be scrapping the benefits freeze, much to the annoyance of Peston who pointed out that was not in the party’s manifesto.

Labour’s Jess Phillips delivered her usual no-nonsense assessment on claims that if her party increased its vote share but not seats it would be a successful election. 

Pienaar’s Politics

On BBC Radio 5Live, former Foreign Secretary Sir Malcolm Rifkind, who stood down from Parliament in 2015 and is not seeking reelection, defended Theresa May’s decision to grasp the social care nettle.

It’s pretty clear the Conservatives are going to win the general election. Against that background, the manifesto the Labour Party or the SNP, or the Liberal Democrats produce is a wishlist. They know they’re not going to be in a position to implement it. That’s not just unlikely, it’s almost inconceivable.  What Theresa May’s done is something rather unusual. She has produced the manifesto, which is not just full of, you know, glitzy promises of we’ll do this, we’ll do that , we’ll do the other. It’s actually quite explicitly saying, and more than I’ve seen in any governing party’s manifesto in a very long time, we also may have to do some things that are not that agreeable and will upset some of our voters.

Sunday Politics

Chief Secretary to the Treasury David Gauke was unable to say how the Conservatives intend to pay for a real-terms increase in NHS funding. He was asked seven times by Andrew Neil how the Conservatives would fulfil their manifesto commitment of giving the NHS an extra £8 billion a year by the end of the parliament.

Gauke said that an incoming Conservative government would run a “strong economy” and make the NHS a “priority area” over the next five years. However, when pressed by Neil, he did not point to any specific tax rises or cuts in other departments that would help the Conservatives fulfill their NHS funding pledge.

On immigration, Gauke said only the Tories had the “ambition” to bring the numbers down, even though the party had not met the pledge for seven years.

Shadow Treasury Minister Peter Dowd said his party is committed to the nuclear deterrent, despite Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry saying Trident could be part of a defence review.

Dowd was also quizzed on Corbyn’s views on the IRA. The Shadow Minister said Corbyn had always been trying to move the peace process along.