Sunday Shows: Brexit, Labour's Anti-Semitism Row And A New Centrist Party Plans

All you need to know from the Sunday political shows

Brexit Plans

Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab was first up on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show, and he was keen to show the UK was fully preparing for a ‘no deal’ outcome to the talks with Brussels.

He said he was “straining every sinew” to get an agreement, but it was only “responsible” to plan for the talks to fail as well.

Does that mean the UK is planning to stockpile food and turn the M26 into a lorry park? Raab didn’t shoot down the idea, but described it as “selective snippet”. You can read a full write-up here.

On the withdrawal agreement, Raab said 80% was agreed and if Brussels matches the UK’s “energy” a trade deal with the EU will be agreed by October

Asked about the Electoral Commission investigation into Vote Leave, Raab said he wasn’t involved in “any decisions” on the money. He said it was up to Vote Leave campaign chief Dominic Cummings to decide if he wanted to appear before MPs to answer questions about the overspending claims.

With the Brexit Secretary having had his say, other politicians lined up to give their views on the progress of the talks.

Leave campaigner Owen Paterson told Sky News’ Ridge on Sunday said Michel Barnier gave the Chequers Agreement a “grievous blow” and any more concessions would make it “very hard” for the deal to get through Parliament.

Another pro-Brexiteer, Nadine Dorries, said the Chequers deal is “just not acceptable” – something Downing Street will realise over the summer.

For the anti-Brexit side, Tory MP Dominic Grieve painted a dark picture of life with ‘no deal’, saying planes would not able to fly to Rome, medicines could run out and it would be difficult to get food into the UK.

Labour’s Rebecca Long-Bailey refused to say whether her party would vote down Theresa May’s deal – even if that led to ‘no deal’. She did repeatedly say “’no deal’ should not be an option.”

What next?

Former Prime Minister Sir John Major repeated his claim from earlier in the week that another General Election could be on the way, and said that no agreement the UK strikes with the EU will be as good as the current arrangement.

Labour’s Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell that he was a “natural pessimist” when it comes to an early election, and thinks it will be a “long haul.” However, the party was preparing for all eventualities.

On the chance of a second referendum, Dominic Grieve said it “may be the only solution”.

Sir John Major said a second referendum is “morally justified”, but he stopped short of completely backing the campaign for another vote.

A Tory leadership contest?

With a Brexit stalemate on the horizon, many of the Sunday shows guest were asked for their thoughts on a Tory leadership contest.

University Minister Sam Gyimah said the rumours were stronger this summer than last, but the party doesn’t “cover ourselves in glory” with such speculation.

Owen Paterson said all the talk about leadership was “complete nonsense”.

Dominic Grieve was not as his relaxed as his colleagues, saying that while May is not “at risk”, she could be brought down by Hard Brexiteers who “lose the plot”.

Anti-Semitism Row

On Marr, Rebecca Long-Bailey admitted the party hasn’t “won the faith of the Jewish community” with its refusal to accept, unamended, the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of anti-Semitism.

On claims Labour MP Margaret Hodge had called Jeremy Corbyn a “fucking anti-Semite”, Long-Bailey said all colleagues should be treated with respect, but it was right to express opinions to the leadership.

On Sunday Politics, Labour MP Stella Creasy said she does not believe Jeremy Corbyn is an anti-Semite, but he needs to show leadership to deescalate the row.

Pairing row

In a pre-recorded interview on Ridge on Sunday, Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell said the Tory chief whip Julian Smith and party chairman Brandon Lewis should be axed over their roles in the pairing row.

The pairing row overshadowed somewhat Lib Dem leader Sir Vince Cable missing a key vote on Brexit on Monday.

It has been reported today he was at a meeting regarding the creation of a new party when the vote took place.

Speaking on Radio 5Live’s Pienaar’s Politics, Cable admitted he old he “got it wrong” and it was a “mistake” to miss the vote but refused to confirm that the dinner he was attending was to discuss the possibility of setting up of a new centrist anti-Brexit party.

“In the longer term there may is a re-alignment because of the deep splits in the parties and I want my party to be at the centre of it,” Sir Vince said.

He also said: “The tensions building up in the Conservative and the Labour Parties are so severe it’s difficult to see them surviving in their present form” although he said his immediate priority is to work with people in all parties to stop Brexit.”

Sir John Major had similar concerns over the future of the Tory party, warning it might struggle to reconcile with itself after Brexit.


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