POLITICS

Sunday Show Round-Up: War With Spain, Three-Day Weekends And Labour Council Election Fears

All you need to know on a busy Sunday for politics

02/04/2017 15:23 | Updated 02 April 2017

The Andrew Marr Show

It has a population of around 33,000 and is less than three square miles, but the peninsula of Gibraltar dominated the Sunday shows today.

Its Chief Minister Fabian Picardo was up on Marr – this week hosted by Eddie Mair – and gave his reaction to the EU’s demand that Gibraltar should not be part of any post-Brexit trade deal with the UK unless Spain agrees.

Picardo said the UK sharing Gibraltar’s sovereignty with Spain would “strip us of who we are”. 

Green Party co-leaders Caroline Lucas and Jonathan Bartley appeared next, and the double act were asked what the purpose of their party is. “We want to wipe the smile off Nigel Farage’s face,” said Bartley.

Lucas also explained why the Greens back a three-day weekend, saying “exhausted people” are less productive.

Former Labour leader Ed Miliband called for “progressives” to “get on the pitch” in the post-referendum game to ensure the Tory right don’t use Brexit as an excuse to slash worker’s rights.

Defence Secretary Michael Fallon was the final guest. On the Gibraltar issue, he said there would be no change in the territory’s status as a result of Brexit unless the people of the peninsula backed it.

Fallon also talked up the UK’s commitment to European security, pointing out that Britain is sending troops to Eastern Europe. Theresa May has been accused of using security as a bargaining chip as she seeks a trade deal with the EU.

Sophy Ridge On Sunday

Former Tory leader Lord Howard generated the best headlines of the morning when he said Theresa May would protect Gibraltar in the same manner Margaret Thatcher protected the Falklands: with force.

He also said the UK did not legally have to pay any divorce settlement for Brexit, but conceded a payment would probably be made in order to facilitate a trade deal.

Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary Jon Ashworth claimed the Government might be breaking the law by scrapping the 18-week target for non-urgent operations. He called for Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt to explain the legality of the decision.

Ashworth literally laughed away a question about whether he ever “looked in the mirror” and wondered why he was serving in Jeremy Corbyn’s Shadow Cabinet.

Sinn Fein’s Gerry Adams said Northern Ireland needs a “special designated status” in any Brexit deal to reflect its special circumstances.

Pienaar’s Politics

Luxemburg’s Prime Minister Xavier Bettel took to the airwaves to suggest Brexit still might not go ahead.

“The procedure is a two year procedure and maybe during these procedures you still can have strong feelings for Europe and decide in the House of Commons you should think twice about leaving your family.”

He also suggested the UK should have a second referendum once the Brexit deal is agreed:

“What is important, if you do referendums, is that you say the truth and that people are able to vote knowing all the conditions. The only point was, if we leave we’ll be more independent, we will be able to have everything by ourselves - our own rules and we don’t need the others. And now we see that this is not working.  So I think it’s important that as soon as the deal is finished, why not propose a referendum? Do you want still to leave with that agreement or not?”

Germany’s deputy finance minister Jens Spahn was a lot less emotional with his take on Brexit, saying:

“If you just want to go on like it was, to apply all the rules and the regulations of the European Union, what’s the point in leaving?”

Labour’s Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry was asked about the Gibraltar row, and accused the Government of “clearly” using the UK’s military strength as a “bargaining chip”.

Sunday Politics

Lord Howard appeared on the Sunday Politics to repeat his Falklands/Gibraltar comparison from Ridge. He also said “it’s not the end of the word” if the UK doesn’t get a free trade rule after Brexit. 

Polling guru Professor John Curtice delivered some bad news for Labour when asked about May’s local elections. He predicted a 12-point swing from Labour to the Tories.

Labour’s Jon Ashworth described the prediction as “pretty depressing”, and said the party has to be “winning seats”.

Ashworth said he and his colleagues needed to “work harder” to deliver a Labour government.

Labour spirits may be falling, but Lib Dem “tails are up” according to Alistair Carmichael. The Lib Dem MP insists his party are “back in business”.

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