Liam Fox stoked up the dispute over the Irish border by saying there would be no “final answer” until the trade talks began.
The Archbishop of Canterbury said Church-run food banks are handing out supplies to people who are in work but struggling to make ends meet.
The Andrew Marr Show
Andrew Marr typically gives a long, meandering introduction to the weather during his show, but it was a different type of forecast that was of interest today.
The Institute for Fiscal Studies’ Paul Johnson was on the show to remind us that no matter how depressing the recent growth forecasts are, in reality, it’s probably much worse than that. The Office of Budget Responsibility is usually over-optimistic in its projections, not pessimistic, he said.
The latest incarnation of Barry Gardiner’s Brexit position was on the show. The Shadow International Development Secretary had previously said it would be a disaster to stay in the customs union after Brexit, and remaining in the Single Market would leave the UK a “vassal state”.
Speaking to Marr, he said Labour had not ruled staying in either “off the table”. He said Labour recognised the benefits of staying in “a customs union” with the EU.
Gardiner was also unable to say when the budget deficit would be paid off under a Labour government.
Ruth Davidson was sent out to bat for the Tories, and the Scottish Conservative leader did a good job of saying nothing of any real news value.
However, she did say that failing to secure the details of a post-Brexit transition phase as soon as possible would be “a set-back”.
In a symbolic moment, Archbishop of York John Sentamu put his dog collar back on – ten years after cutting it up on Andrew Marr’s show in protest at Robert Mugabe’s rule in Zimbabwe.
Sunday with Paterson
International Trade Secretary Liam Fox appeared down the line from New Zealand. He said it is in the EU’s interest as much as the UK’s to come to a Brexit deal.
On regulations, Fox said consumers “would not allow” the Government to relax standards and the UK’s trump card when it comes to trade is quality.
Fox also doubled down on the UK’s position on the Northern Ireland border. He said it was impossible to fully solve the Irish border issue until the nature of the trade deal between the UK and the EU was completed – something which won’t happen unless Ireland’s government give the go ahead in December (a full write-up is here).
Lib Dem Leader Sir Vince Cable said it’s a “fair assessment” that Philip Hammond avoided “cock-ups” in his Budget.
Sir Vince said there was a 20% chance Brexit won’t happen.
On his own party, Sir Vince there was “a fair degree of coalition nostalgia” in the country given the current flimsy state of government.
Shadow Work & Pensions Secretary Debbie Abrahams said the delays to changes to Universal Credit would leave 59,000 people without “adequate support” over Christmas.
Abrahams said an increase to the pension age to 68 in 2037 was “completely inappropriate” as life-expectancy rates have plateaued.
Peston on Sunday
The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby told Robert Peston that Church-operated food banks are seeing in-work poverty first hand.
He said the Church needs to look at whether, as a huge landowner, it should be doing more to alleviating the housing crisis.
On the tone of the Brexit debate, the Archbishop hit out at headlines “which seem conditioned to stir up hatred” – citing the Telegraph’s “mutineers” front-page.
The Archbishop said he didn’t understand why so many Christians back Donald Trump.
John McDonnell repeated Barry Gardiner’s comments on Marr that Single Market and customs union membership should be on the table in the Brexit talks. This is despite saying in June the people “would interpret membership of the single market as not respecting that referendum.”
McDonnell had fun at Peston’s expense, quoting from the ITV Political Editor’s recent book as a reason to borrow more money to invest in infrastructure. There’s a full write-up here.
On Radio 5Live, Shadow Women and Equalities Minister Dawn Butler tore into Theresa May’s record on helping women.
Manchester Metro Mayor Andy Burnham criticised the Government for only committing £12 million to the costs of the Manchester terrorist attack, calling it “not satisfactory”. He said “we got our answer and it wasn’t good enough”.
He said he would be contacting the PM to say, “let’s sort this out properly”.
Burnham: “I’m afraid it’s not satisfactory, it falls some way short. I can’t see why the government isn’t meeting our costs in full. So, yeah, as I said at the beginning I would never make politics out of this issue, but we got our answer and it wasn’t good enough. I had to make our position very clear. I just will be replying to the prime minister saying let’s sort this out properly. Public services here shouldn’t be left out of pocket as a result of this, and I just hope we can now get a full agreement for all of our costs from the government.”
He also said the system for allocating transport spending “is biased against the North.”
Former Conservative Party Chairman Grant Shapps said his “views haven’t changed” since he attempted to organise a leadership challenge to Theresa May last month.
After the Conservative conference, Shapps publicly expressed his hope that May would step down as party leader, and said a growing number of his colleagues realised the solution wasn’t to bury their heads in the sand and hope it got better.
Asked if he’d changed his mind and if things would get better, and he replied: “Well for a start I absolutely believe that colleagues should be both a) allowed to have views and b) to be able to express those views. And my views haven’t changed.
“However, I also accept the reality of the situation which is, you know, we’re in a very sensitive period here with these Brexit negotiations gone. Six weeks ago was six weeks ago.”
He said he thought and hoped there was “a new sort of attitude from the centre [of government] that says let’s work together, let’s not brief against the Chancellor and let’s not brief against others”.
He also praised Hammond’s Budget:
Former Northern Ireland Secretary – and Brexiteer – Owen Paterson, said it is “a myth” that anybody wants a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland.