The Andrew Marr Show
Setting the tone for the day, former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith hit out at Cabinet ministers briefing against their colleagues. (A full round up of the Tory wars is here.) During the paper review on Marr, Duncan Smith said the new generation of Tory MPs were unimpressed with the behaviour of some at the top of the party.
John McDonnell was up for Labour, and was quizzed on the party’s plans to abolish historic student debt. That has now been downgraded from a promise to an ambition.
On Grenfell, McDonnell repeated his assertion that the victims of the blaze had been murdered, but categorised it as “social murder” (more here).
The Shadow Chancellor challenged Marr to ask his Conservative counterpart whether he could survive on the £297 a week a cleaner in a London hospital gets paid, and even produced the cleaner’s payslip.
Chancellor Philip Hammond was quizzed over comments he reportedly made at a Cabinet meeting this week. The first was on whether public sector workers are overpaid. He didn’t deny making the remark, and claimed public workers get a 10% pay premium thanks to generous pension pots.
He did refute the claim he had said driving a train was now so easy a woman could do it.
On the issue of Cabinet leaks, Hammond laid them squarely at the door of Hard Brexiteers.
Ridge On Sunday
Home Office Minister Sarah Newton denied the Government had been slow in responding to a rise in acid attacks.
Gibraltar’s First Minister Fabian Picardo said Brexit Secretary David Davis had given him “cast iron assurances” that any UK/EU trade deal would include the Rock in its remit.
Ridge’s big interview was with Tony Blair. He repeated his claim that Brexit shouldn’t happen, and leaving the Single Market in particular would be a disaster for jobs in the UK.
He also claimed both the Conservatives and Labour are currently offering different visions for a 1960s type of Britain, but he did admit he was wrong about Corbyn leading Labour to annihilation (more here).
Although he fundamentally disagrees with Theresa May’s position on Brexit, he said he did feel sorry for the way she is being treated by her Cabinet colleagues.
For some reason, Pienaar’s Politics came from Latitude Festival in Suffolk this morning.
Damian Green was on the show, and he marked the occasion by wearing a Half Man Half Biscuit t-shirt.
Green tried to calm the rows going between the different factions of the Cabinet:
DG: “Every July Westminster gets feverish and every July people say it’s different this year and you know what it’s the same every year. You know what everyone is desperate to get on their sun loungers and go on holiday and frankly the sooner they do the better. There is a job to be done, this Government has really serious thing to do. Not just Brexit, but acid attacks we need to take action on this, terrorism….I’m sorry to lower the enjoyment level at a festival but there is a lot of things going on in the world and now is absolutely not the time for this activity.”
JP: “Put the record straight for us then. Did the Chancellor say ‘public sector workers were overpaid?’”
DG: ”The Chancellor doesn’t believe that, I’m not going to report from inside Cabinet because Cabinet ministers should not do that. But the Chancellor does not think that public sector workers are overpaid the Government obviously respects the millions of people who do really important jobs. You know what public sector workers do….there all people we hugely respect. What is key is we have to strike the right balance between being fair in pay to public sector workers and fair to tax payers to ensure we still have a strong economy so we can employ and pay those public sector workers.”
The Tory wars continued on Sunday Politics, with Liam Fox doing his best “Not me, Guv” schtick when asked about who was leaking to undermine the Chancellor.
On the length of any post-Brexit transitional deal, Fox said he wanted it “time-limited”, but crucially he must be able to negotiate trade deals, saying it’s “one of the conditions we would want to set. It’s certainly something that I would want to see because otherwise it makes it much more difficult for us to take advantage of the opportunities that Brexit itself would produce.”
Shadow Business Secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey gave us yet another Labour position on Brexit, but this time she had nicked it wholesale from Boris Johnson. She said Labour wants to “have our cake and eat it” when it comes to Single Market and customs union membership.
On McDonnell’s comments about Grenfell, Long-Bailey refused to say the word “murder” but “you could look at whether it’s a case of manslaughter”.
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