All you need to know from a busy Sunday in the world of politics.
Macron and Brexit
The Andrew Marr Show landed an interview with French President Emmanuel Macron. The pre-recorded chat won praise on Twitter from many hacks who contrasted Macron’s engaging, insightful and passionate replies to questions with the robotic, soundbite-led approach of Theresa May and the meandering, evasive style of Jeremy Corbyn. And all that in his second language.
One of the key lines was trailed overnight, with Macron describing the binary choice put forward in the Brexit referendum a mistake: “It’s a mistake when you just ask ‘yes’ or ‘no’, when you don’t ask people how to improve the situation and explain how to improve it.”
He also said France would “probably” have voted to leave the EU if a similar referendum had been held across the Channel.
Macron said his “interpretation” of the referendum result was that a “lot of losers of this new globalisation and this new system suddenly decided that it was not – no more for them.”
Macron expanded on his claim earlier in the week that the UK would not be able to get full access to the Single Market without paying in money and accepting the four freedoms – including freedom of movement:
“You should understand that you cannot, by definition, have the full access to the single market if you don’t tick the box. And – and to get full access to the single market you need contribution to the budget, and you have to accept the freedoms, and the four pillars, and you have to accept the jurisdiction. As soon as you decide not to join this – these preconditions it’s not a full access.”
The French President was also asked if he shared the outrage from former French colonies in Africa and being labelled “shitholes” by Donald Trump.
“For sure. It’s not a word you can use,” Macron said.
He added that he calls Trump regularly, and the US President is not a “classical politician”.
Labour’s John McDonnell – a self-described Marxist – heaped praise on Macron, a former investment banker, during his interview with Marr, agreeing with the French President that the failure of neo-liberalism to deliver benefits to all had played a part in the Brexit vote.
Questioned about Labour’s Brexit position, McDonnell called for “reform of the Single Market” to allow the UK to have “access” without following current rules on freedom of movement.
Additionally, McDonnell was once again quizzed over his repeating of a claim that Esther McVey should be lynched.
He again refused to apologise for the remark and when asked whether he was quoting the call to lynch McVey “approvingly”, replied: “Of course I wasn’t.”
Over on ITV’s Peston On Sunday, CBI Director-General Carolyn Fairbairn said business community is more concerned with being in the EU customs union than seeking new trade deals with other countries.
She also called on the Government to look again its Brexit “red lines”, and said a Canada-style agreement “would be a bad deal for Britain”.
Her suggestion to revisit the Government’s negotiating objectives was backed by Tory MP Ed Vaizey, who claimed some Brexiteers were willing to compromise on customs union membership.
The former Culture Minister – sacked by Theresa May when she took over in Downing Street in 2016 – expertly avoided joining in with calls for the Prime Minister to quit.
Vaizey said that as “99%” of Tory MPs want May to stay in post, he now “wants to be a team player.”
On the BBC’s Sunday Politics, anti-Brexit campaigner Lord Adonis said he does not believe the House of Lords can stop the UK leaving the EU, but called for a referendum on the deal Theresa May strikes with Brussels.
Brexit supporter Jacob Rees-Mogg said there is no mandate for a new referendum.
Carillion and PFI
On Peston, Chief Secretary to the Treasury Liz Truss was asked how much the cost of Carillion will cost taxpayers. “At the moment we don’t have a full estimate,” she replied, saying the Government had been focused on keeping services running since the firm went into liquidation. She later conceded: “It will be a significant amount of money.”
On Sky’s Paterson on Sunday, Truss defended the Government’s decision to award contracts to Carillion after the company issued profit warnings.
Labour’s Frank Field, chair of the Work and Pensions Select Committee called for a new regulator to put “the fear of God” into people who put people’s pension in jeopardy for personal gain.
On the broader question on PFI deals and public sector funding in general, businessperson Nicola Horlick backed up Labour’s analysis of the problems facing the NHS, claiming there was “no plan” for renewing the organisation’s infrastructure.
Speaking on Pienaar’s Politics on BBC Radio 5Live, Labour’s Jon Trickett rejected claims his party’s renationalisation plans would add £176billion to public debt, but refused to say how much it would actually cost.
On the Sunday Politics, Baroness Chakrabarti acknowledged the private sector is better than the public in certain areas.
Baroness Chakrabarti: “Well, for example, I – you know, there are some things that the private sector probably does better. When you’re running a police force you’re unlikely to say we’ll make the motor bikes for the police officers better than BMW. Maybe you will, but I doubt that that’s going to happen any time soon. So you need to look at this –“
Sarah Smith: “What about cleaning in the offices and the police stations, should that be outsourced or should that be actually run by the police?”
Baroness Chakrabarti: “I think that in some circumstances – I think maybe hospitals are a better example, because of course cleanliness in a hospital is quite often a matter of life and death. So I think sometimes it is better even for something that seems, you know, not a core service, like cleaning, to be in public hands.”
Henry Bolton used an interview on Peston to warn Ukip “is probably over” if he is ousted as leader at a crunch meeting this afternoon.
The former soldier issued the warning as Ukip’s National Executive Committee gather to decide whether to issue a vote of no confidence in the leader.
Bolton had earlier told John Pienaar on BBC Radio 5 Live the NEC “should be concerned more about the elements within the party that are busy engaged in in-fighting and undermining the party and its coherence.”
He added: “That’s what the NEC should be focused on, they are not a court of moral judgement and indeed whilst my personal life is obviously of public interest, this is a matter of survival and future of United Kingdom Independence Party and that’s what they should be looking at.”
Bolton repeated his claim to Pienaar that “the romantic element of the relationship” with Jo Marney “is over.”