06/05/2018 12:29 BST | Updated 12/07/2018 23:57 BST

Sunday Show Round-Up: Borders, Barnet and Barry Gardiner

It's been another busy morning.

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There was a lot to chew over on this sunny bank holiday weekend, including the fall-out from this week’s local elections, the tragic NHS error which left thousands of women at higher risk of developing breast cancer and what exactly is going on with Theresa May’s customs partnership plan. 

We may not have all the answers, but we watched the Sunday politics shows so you didn’t have to.  


In the wake of Theresa May’s plan for a “customs partnership” getting torpedoed by her new home secretary Sajid Javid, it’s fair to say nobody is any closer to knowing what the next few years really look like for the UK. 

Business secretary Greg Clark deftly avoided questions from the BBC’s Andrew Marr on reports he was “close to tears” in this week’s Brexit cabinet meeting, by making it clear it would be better to move towards the “right long-term solution” sooner rather than later.  Which is a relief. 

The pro-Remain minister also set out the government’s requirements for new arrangements on trade tariffs. 

On Peston on Sunday, Jacob Rees-Mogg - who has become something of a regular fixture on the programme - said Brexiteers’ main problem with May’s customs partnership plan was that it would in effect mean staying in the single market.

Former cabinet minister Justine Greening told Sky’s Sophy Ridge it was pro-Leavers like Rees-Mogg who the PM needs to win over as a matter of some urgency.

But her fellow backbencher Nicky Morgan cautioned against placing the views of hardline Brexiteers above others, telling the BBC’s Jon Pienaar: “Just because people shout loudest or have the loud voices in cabinet doesn’t mean that they represent the majority of Conservatives.”

She added: “I think actually what we’ve seen on Thursday from the local election results is a steady status quo let’s get on with it type performance from Conservative voters up and down the country, and I think they want the best possible Brexit deal.

“That’s what the prime minister wants and she should know most of the Conservative Party is behind her on that.”

On the question of the Northern Irish border, DUP leader Arlene Foster criticised the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier for expecting the UK to come up with a solution on its own. 

She also threw in that she expected the UK to leave the customs union in 2020 (the government has previously said we may need to remain until 2023, while full transitional arrangements are put in place).

“This is a very complex issue and the important thing is to get it right, so the future relationship is one that works for us, and for the EU as well,” she told Marr.

Labour’s John McDonnell said his party could not see a solution which did not involve some form of customs union, particularly when it came to solving the Irish border issue.

“It’s impossible,” he added, but said the government was hamstrung in bringing forward workable legislation by its own backbenchers. 

Ardent Remainer and Tory backbencher Anna Soubry had the last word on the issue, telling the BBC’s Sunday Politics: “It doesn’t matter what you call [a customs partnership], it’s what it delivers that matters.”

Local elections

The fall-out from Thursday’s vote continues, with rows over anti-Semitism in London and racism in Pendle. 

John McDonnell called on Tory chairman Brandon Lewis to apologise after a councillor who tweeted a racist joke was reinstated - winning the party overall control of the Lancashire council. 

Business secretary Greg Clark promised a full investigation into the matter and Lewis told Ridge he would “look again” at the matter.

Meanwhile, McDonnell promised to visit angry councillors in Barnet later this week, who say Labour’s anti-Semitism problems cost them their seats

On Peston, shadow international trade secretary Barry Gardiner insisted Labour came within a whisker of snatching Wandsworth council, one of its key London targets.

Gardiner (who rarely seems to have a Sunday off from broadcast appearances these days) also accepted his party had not done enough to tackle anti-Semitism and said additional steps were being taken. 

(He and Robert Peston also had a very complicated conversation/disagreement about the customs union and the European Economic Area, but frankly it’s too nice outside to get into that).

Finally, on the subject of local elections, ex-education secretary Greening refused to rule out an interesting future career option when quizzed by Sophy Ridge.

Breast cancer screening

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt revealed this week that nearly half a million women had missed out on being invited for breast cancer screening, due to a long-term unidentified computer error. 

Devastatingly, early estimates suggest scores of those women went on to develop cancer, with many losing their lives as a result. 

Campaigner and journalist Joan Bakewell told Peston something had gone “seriously wrong”.

The government has launched an independent inquiry into exactly how the error came about and promised all women who had missed out on scans would be invited for them within the next six months.

In other health-related news, BBC host Andrew Marr told viewers he would be taking a couple of weeks off while he undergoes an operation.  The veteran interviewer is reportedly having a tumour removed from his kidney.

And finally...

This.  Sorry, but it had to be shared.

And if that’s not enough politics to satisfy you, download this week’s Commons People podcast and hear us chat over an eventful week.