The Andrew Marr Show
Scottish independence dominated the Sunday shows today, and you can read a full write-up of that here.
Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson was the first up this morning, and she used her interview on Marr to attack the SNP, the media, and George Osborne.
On the second referendum, Davidson insisted there was no “public consent” for a second vote, and it was “astonishing” the SNP couldn’t provide answers to fundamental questions on currency, the economy and EU membership.
She also blasted the London-centric media for its reporting of the debate, insisting: “The SNP is not Scotland”
When asked about George Osborne’s new job as editor of the Evening Standard, Davidson said she didn’t think it was possible to hold the role and fulfill the job of being an MP.
“I have to say I thought: ‘Well, he’s a better man than me’, because I spent ten years as a journalist, I’ve now spent six years as a politician and I’m not sure you can combine them both because, you know, I work a pretty busy week as it is and this week in particular, so I’m not sure you can do both at the same time, if I’m honest.”
Former Labour Prime Minister Tony Blair was on Marr to plug his new centre-ground think-tank.
He insisted Labour should hold the Government to its word on getting the UK as good a relationship with the Single Market as it currently has, but denied he was making a return to front-line politics.
Blair accepted that his time in Government, including the issue of Iraq’s non-existent weapons of mass destruction, had “to a degree” eroded trust in centre-ground politics.
Blair also admitted he did not know how many migrants would come to the UK after freedom of movement was opened up to eastern European countries including Poland in 2004.
“No we didn’t know the numbers...We could have delayed for four years their ability to come here and work. We didn’t, it’s true, the economy was in a completely different position in 2004. But I just point out the majority of EU immigration came post-2008.”
Blair also defended Osborne’s job as Evening Standard editor, saying: “I think it’s a great thing for the Evening Standard, why not? He’s a highly capable guy and it should make politics more interesting.”
Sophy Ridge On Sunday
Sophy Ridge took her show on the road this week and travelled to Aberdeen, where the SNP has just held its Spring conference.
The show was therefore focused on Scottish politics (full report here), and included interviews with the three key women in Scottish politics: Nicola Sturgeon, Ruth Davidson and Kezia Dugdale.
Sturgeon’s interview was particularly illuminating, as the SNP leader admitted that she was unable at this time to answer questions on key tenets of independence: currency, economy and EU membership.
She also said the timing of the referendum was up for discussion, and could be held after the UK leaves the EU – not before, as she called for on Monday.
Despite being unsure how Scotland would rejoin the EU, Sturgeon said she did want the country to be a full member.
Scottish Tory Leader Ruth Davidson made a point likely to get repeated in the upcoming weeks and months: ‘My vote to Remain was not a vote for independence.’
Labour’s Scottish Leader Kezia Dugdale accused her national leader Jeremy Corbyn of a “clumsy use of language” after he said a second referendum would be “absolutely fine”.
She also suggested a “popular figure from civic or cultural life” could lead the No campaign – perhaps thinking of Harry Potter author JK Rowling.
Peston on Sunday
Former Education Secretary Nicky Morgan was in Croissant Corner on Peston today, and unsurprisingly launched a staunch defence of her friend George Osborne getting the Evening Standard job.
And in a clear warning to Theresa May, Morgan insisted that ‘Liberal Conservatives’ such as herself and Osborne would make their voices heard.
Morgan also said there wasn’t enough “brain space” in Government to push forward with grammar schools whilst trying to improve the whole system.
Welsh Secretary Alun Cairns reacted to his colleague Guto Bebb’s “gut feeling” that Scotland will go independent.
Nicola Sturgeon appeared on the show to say that while she was open to negotiate on the timing of a second referendum, 2021 was not “reasonable”.
Also in Croissant Corner was Labour MP Stephen Kinnock, who criticised Jeremy Corbyn for his PMQs performance after the Government’s u-turn on the National Insurance hike.
On Radio Five Live, former SNP leader Alex Salmond claimed opinion polls are starting to move in favour of a second independence referendum.
Salmond also claimed he never said the 2014 vote was a “once in a lifetime opportunity” for Scottish independence.
He said: “The phrase was not once in a lifetime, it was the opportunity of a lifetime, I said it on the Andrew Marr show, it’s just one of these collective myths that evolve.”
However, a video of that interview from 2014 dug out by PoliticsHome shows Salmond saying: “In my view this is a once in a generation - perhaps even a once in a lifetime - opportunity.”
On the issue of Scotland’s currency, Salmond said the SNP were developing a “range of options” for what would happen after independence had been won.
The Sunday Politics
Away from Scottish independence, Labour’s Campaign Chief Andrew Gwynne insisted his party was prepared for a snap election should Theresa May decide to go to the polls in May.
When asked if Labour would vote for an early election, Gwynne said: “That’s something we would very seriously have to consider.”
When pressed, he said it would be “very difficult” for Labour not to back an early election as it wants to be in Government.
Former Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg – one of the masterminds behind the Fixed Term Parliament Act – said he would welcome an early election as “we couldn’t do much worse than we did last time.”