POLITICS

Sunday Show Round Up: Pressure On Theresa May Over Pay Cap, Owen Smith Thinks He Could Have Won

All you need to know from a busy Sunday in the world of politics

02/07/2017 14:42 BST

The Andrew Marr Show

Michael Gove was the main guest on Marr this morning and he used his appearance to suggest the government could support a lifting of the public sector pay cap for NHS workers. Theresa May is under increasing pressure to ease off on austerity, and the environment secretary suggested he was “suppressing” his own views on public spending cuts.

Gove also mounted a defence of tuition fees after Damian Green, the first secretary of state, said there needed to be a “national debate” about the issue. Gove told Marr: “It’s wrong if people who don’t go to university find that they have to pay more in taxation to support those who do.” 

And Gove, who is one of the more verbose ministers, took a new approach to questions by simply answering “yes” when quizzed about impact of Brexit on farming and whether he was surprised to be brought back into the cabinet.

In a sign of the unease on the Tory backbenches, Heidi Allen warned May the party had become “too inward looking”. She added: “We have got to change our tone and language.” The MP, who is very unhappy with the deal signed with the DUP, denied she was “on the edge of leaving” the Conservative Party.

For Labour, shadow health secretary Jon Ashworth appeared on Marr. He was quizzed on whether he agreed with the party’s new chairman, Ian Lavery, that Labour “might be too broad a church”. In an interview with HuffPost UK, Lavery appeared to suggest there was no longer a place in the party for some MPs on the right. The ally of Corbyn said Labour MPs would have to “work very hard” to avoid deselection.

Ashworth said he had not read Lavery’s comments, but added: “We are a broad church, we always have beenWe’ve always had different opinions, but we should remember we are a united party now. Jeremy is now secure as leader of the Labour Party, nobody is going to be challenging Jeremy.”

Sophy Ridge On Sunday

Over on Sky News, Owen Smith was busy telling Sophy Ridge that he believed Labour may have won the election had he been party leader.

The new shadow Nothern Ireland secretary and former leadership candidate was asked if he would have performed as well as Jeremy Corbyn on June 8. “I don’t know, I hope so. I hope I might have even got us to win, but I can’t know that,” he said.

The other main guest on the show was Vince Cable, who given there appear to be no other candidates, looks set to be the next Lib Dem leader. The former business secretary sided with Gove over tuition fees. Scrapping them, he said, would be “very dangerous and stupid”.

He said: “If you don’t have any form of fees, I mean who pays for universities? “How do you end this discrimination between the 40% of students who go to university and would be subsided as opposed to the 60% who don’t? That would be highly inequitable.”

Cable also said while Tim Farron did a “great job” as party leader, he did “not handle” his approach to gay rights well during the campaign. 

Cable also used the interview to warn Brexit could mean fewer strawberries at Wimbledon. “This week Wimbledon is being launched and the people who normally produce the strawberries can’t produce them because the labour force has disappeared because of anxiety about their future status in Britain,” he said.

Sunday Politics

Back on the BBC, Richard Burgon used his appearance on the Sunday Politics to criticse Chuka Umunna’s decision to put down an amendment to the Queen’s Speech that called for the UK to stay inside the single market and the customs union.

“I think the amendment was regrettable and premature and I agree with the Labour Deputy Leader, Tom Watson, when he said he was disappointed about that,” the shadow justice secretary said.

The amendment split Labour and Corbyn fired three frontbenchers who voted with Umunna against his orders.