POLITICS

Sunday Show Round Up: Tony Blair And Ken Clarke Lament Brexit

It was a busy morning in the world of politics

10/09/2017 11:51 BST

The Andrew Marr Show

Defence Sectary Sir Michael Fallon appeared on the BBC show, and the interview started with a discussion the UK’s response time to British territories hit by Hurricane Irma.

Some 500 UK troops have been sent to Anguilla, Turks and Caicos, and British Virgin Islands (BVI) to help people affected by the huge storm.

Tory MP Tom Tugendhat and Conservative peer Lord Naseby have criticised the Government’s actions, saying the response was “too slow”.

Sir Michael told Marr “our response has been as good as anybody else’s”.

On North Korea, Sir Michael asid the chances of war being triggered by a “miscalculation or some accident…are extremely great.”

On Brexit, Sir Michael had a straight forward message for Tony Blair, who is hoping the UK can stay in the EU: “Get over it.”

Tony Blair was up next to expand on his calls for reform of freedom of movement in the EU to help the UK stay in the organisation.

Addressing concerns about jobs and immigration, Blair said: “If we want to deal with those questions we can deal with them without the sledgehammer that... through Brexit, destroys the EU migration that we actually need... and it doesn’t of course deal with the other parts of the immigration issue, which I think are a greater concern.”

He labelled Brexit a “distraction”.

On Labour, Blair praised Jeremy Corbyn’s election campaign but said the surprising result does not prove his ideas right. 

Sunday with Paterson

With Sophy Ridge off on maternity leave, Niall Paterson is at the helm of Sky New’s Sunday show.

His first interview was with Ken Clarke, who was a lot less optimistic than Tony Blair that Brexit could be stopped.

The former Chancellor said the numerous headlines focusing on the UK’s divorce bill from the EU were because it was the only bit of Brexit the vast majority of people were interested in.

Clarke said there was not even a remote chance that all the Brexit negotiations – including terms of leaving and a trade deal – could be completed within a ten month window.

Clarke was also asked if he was starting out in politics today, would he join the Conservatives. Clarke laughed off the suggestion, before discussing how the Tories always get obsessed over leadership questions when “it can’t think of anything else to do.” 

Labour’s Jon Ashworth was the next political guest, and was subjected to much mocking from Paterson over his party’s ever-changing position on Brexit. He claimed the party’s red lines on any deal had always been around jobs and living standards. 

The Shadow Health Secretary also turned his guns on the infamous ‘£350m a week for the NHS’ claim of many leading Brexiteers.

Justice Minister Dominic Raab told Paterson that a trade deal between the UK and the EU could be included within a 10-month negotiation period as the two already have barrier-free trade. 

On immigration, Raab said people wanted “command and control” over the UK borders.

Pienaar’s Politics

Unite boss Len McCluskey was on 5live this morning.

He talked about changing the rules of future Labour leadership races so MPs were not able to decide who goes on the ballot to members. Under current rules, a candidate needs nominations from 15% of MPs – although there is a proposal going to Labour conference to lower that threshold to 5%.

 “I’d like to widen the franchise, so I’m in favour of having a debate about these things. What I am in favour of is Jeremy’s belief that we should have an open, democratic party. Unfortunately, under New Labour it was bureaucratic and stifled debate.”

McCluskey also said he was “genuinely sad” to have lost the friendship of Labour’s Deputy Leader Tom Watson. The former flat mates fell out after Watson became part of the movement to unseat Corbyn in the summer of 2016

 “I got on really well with him socially and we had good times together, but you’ll have to ask him why he did what he did, which is to be part of a stupid and rather sinister coup to rather undermine the leadership when Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell were the first political leaders for 40 years attempting to put forward an alternative economic strategy to neoliberalism, which has resulted in massive inequality within our nation.

“Why was there constant knifing in the back? I don’t know and you’ll have to ask him that.”