The Andrew Marr Show
Ukip leader Paul Nuttall was first up on the Marr show today. He was originally booked in for last week, but went off on holiday to lick his wounds following his failure to win the Stoke by-election.
If his plan was to disappear for a week so questions about his backstory would fade away, he was wrong - and there’s a full write up here.
Nuttall claims he has been the victim of an “orchestrated smear campaign” from Labour suggesting he wasn’t at Hillsborough.
When quizzed on the ongoing row in Ukip between donor Arron Banks and the party’s only MP, Nuttall said as long as it could be proven that Douglas Carswell did lobby for a knighthood for Nigel Farage, he had no problem with him remaining in Ukip.
With the Budget 2017 set to be announced this Wednesday, the country’s financial position dominated the Sunday shows. Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell set out a swathe of policies on Marr, including raising the National Living Wage to £10 an hour, capping energy prices, scrapping tuition fees, renationalising the railways.
Amidst all the spending commitments, McDonnell said he would reverse the planned corporation tax cuts in order to raise cash for the public purse.
He also said he would have a cup of tea with Tony Blair, and said: “We have got to unite the party to provide an effective opposition, so we can then form a government. I think Tony Blair, Peter Mandelson and myself, Jeremy Corbyn realise the responsibility on our shoulders and we’re going to bear that and work together to do that.”
When asked about any future leadership bid, McDonnell slipped into the third person to say: “I want to be absolutely clear: John McDonnell will not stand for the Labour leadership ever in the future, full stop. I’ve made that clear time and time again.”
The man with the plan was up next – Philip Hammond. With increased funding for social care repeatedly in the headlines, the Chancellor was asked if he was going to pump extra cash into the sector on Wednesday. Hammond was keen to stress that solving the crisis was about more than extra money, and suggested there could be a review of how social care operates.
The discussion inevitably turned to Brexit, and Hammond said the Government needed to do “significantly more in training and upskilling our young people” in order to plug gaps in the economy.
Hammond talked about the UK’s future outside of the EU without a deal with Brussels, and insisted the country would not “simply slink off as a wounded animal” – suggesting he would be prepared to undertake aggressive tactics to make Britain competitive.
When asked if he meant the UK would cut business taxes to attract investment away from the EU, Hammond: “People can read what they like into it. I’m not going to speculate now on how the UK would respond to what I don’t expect to be the outcome.”
On the rights of EU migrants, Hammond claimed that Theresa May was trying to get a reciprocal deal done for Brits abroad, but some European countries are not willing to make that guarantee.
Sophy Ridge on Sunday
Chair of the Brexit Select Committee Hilary Benn was up first on Ridge.
Fresh from the Lords vote calling on the Government to guarantee EU migrants rights before triggering Article 50, Benn claimed such a declaration would help Theresa May secure a reciprocal deal for Brits living abroad.
Leader of the Commons – and former Europe Minister – David Lidington faithfully stuck to the Government line that it would “weaken the position of British citizens overseas if we were to make a unilateral gesture.”
Lidington said the reason for the delay on a reciprocal deal was that some countries did not want to engage in “pre-negotiations” before Article 50 is triggered.
Green Party co-leader Caroline Lucas used a pre-recorded interview to attack the planned changes to business rates, and called for an increased tax on “bigger companies” to fund the shortfall.
Lucas accused Labour of “raising the white flag” over Brexit, and not acting like a “real opposition”.
Ukip leader Paul Nuttall gave a very similar interview to the one on Marr, and called for his “close friends” claim at Hillsborough to be put into perspective – “I’ve never been caught in a paedophile gang or anything.”
Peston On Sunday
Labour’s Shadow Business Secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey went into bat on Peston, and was quizzed about her party’s failure in the Copeland by-election.
Long-Bailey – who has been touted as a future party leader – said the party’s support for the nuclear industry in the seat “wasn’t getting through.”
Commenting on the upcoming Manchester Gorton by-election, triggered by the death of veteran Labour MP Sir Gerald Kaufman, Long-Bailey said that despite the party’s 24,079 majority in the seat, “I don’t think you can ever call a seat a safe seat nowadays.
“I think you have to work hard to convince the electorate that you’re the party for them.
She claimed that while Tony Blair had achieved “fantastic things” as Prime Minister, the party needed to look forward.
Fresh from his appearance on Marr, Philip Hammond also appeared on Peston.
He was again pushed on the social care crisis, and again said: “It’s not just about money”.
On Brexit, he denied reports he was building a £60billion war-chest to pay any outstanding bills to the EU, but said the Government would honour its financial obligations to Brussels in full – once both sides had agreed the final bill.
Over in Croissant Corner, former politician and current dancer Ed Balls ruled out standing in the Manchester Gorton by-election, but did leave the door open to returning to the Commons in the future.
Ukip’s Douglas Carswell for the first time confirmed he would be standing as a candidate for the party in the 2020 General Election, putting rumours he would defect back to the Tories to bed.
On BBC Radio 5 Live, former Shadow Cabinet Minister Clive Lewis confronted rumours he had been preparing his own leadership challenge to Jeremy Corbyn.
He suggested it is “possible” the rumours were being put forward by Corbyn’s allies who “have their own agendas and you may not be part of that agenda.”
He said: “I understand that speculation and it has annoyed me greatly. I’ve done nothing.
“I’ve put no lines down, I’ve set up no websites, I haven’t been phoning colleagues in the PLP to sound them out.
“I haven’t done any of this and it does get annoying that you get accused. People fall into the trap of thinking ‘they’re politicians, they’re all like rats in a sack trying to get to the top’.
“And actually that’s not been the case. I resigned on a point of principle and I am supportive of the leadership of our party.”
When asked if he would stand in the future, Lewis said: “Never say never.”
Rebecca Long-Bailey also appeared to say that if an increase in taxes to fund the NHS would have widespread support among the public.
Leader of the Commons David Lidington stuck to his Ronnie Corbett impression for his appearance on the Sunday Politics, addressing the nation from his armchair.
Lidington again reiterated the Government’s stance on the rights of EU migrants.