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Sat, 8 August 2020

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New appointments this week in UK politics, the civil service and public affairs Member content
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New appointments this week in UK politics, the civil service and public affairs Member content
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New appointments this week in UK politics, the civil service and public affairs Member content
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By Hft

PoliticsHome Sunday Shows round-up: What did you miss on Andrew Marr, Sophy Ridge and more?

PoliticsHome Sunday Shows round-up: What did you miss on Andrew Marr, Sophy Ridge and more?

PoliticsHome staff

11 min read

Your guide to what's been moving on the morning politics shows



08.30 Sophy Ridge on Sunday, Sky News 

Security minister Brandon Lewis condemned the arrest of the UK's ambassador to Iran. "We believe that the actions yesterday with the Ambassador was totally unacceptable and Iran needs to step back from that kind of activity and play a proper part in working with partners to de-escalate and I think we as a country do have a part to play working with our partners," he said.

Lewis reiterated the Government's call for a "full, clear, transparent investigation" into the Iranian downing of Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 to "get to the bottom of exactly what happened both globally and for Iran itself to make sure nothing like this could ever happen again".

He added: "It is completely unacceptable.  I don’t want to get into pre-judging the specifics of what may have happened, that’s why it is so important that we all continue to ensure that there is a proper transparent investigation."

The security minister was also pressed on whether the deal to restore power-sharing to Northern Ireland would mean the setting up of the controversial Historical Investigations Unit to investigate unsolved killings during the Troubles. Conservative MPs have accused the unit of pursuing ageing veterans for incidents that took place in the line of duty.

Mr Lewis said: "There is a difference between ensuring there are no vexatious claims and making sure that people have got clear knowledge of what has happened and what has gone on in the past. But we are very clear, we don’t want to see vexatious claims, we want to see an end to that and we are going to bring forward some steps to ensure that that’s the case exactly as we promised we would."

Labour MP Clive Lewis argued that an "element of racism" lay behind Britain's push to leave the European Union.

The leadership hopeful said: "I think part of the Brexit campaign and part of the undertone of Brexit from some politicians, Nigel Farage and others, had racism at its core, at its heart."

And he added: "I think for anyone to say there was not an element of racism in the Brexit project as an endeavour were basically wrong...

"Now that doesn’t mean that every single person that voted for Brexit is a racist. Some of my family voted for Brexit. But I think there were drivers within that campaign that certainly were very unsavoury and what I would call racist."

The shadow minister also urged his Parliamentary Labour Party colleagues to tackle "structural sexism" and "structural racism" in their ranks as he was pressed on the reasons for his lack of nominations in the leadership race so far.

He said: "I have never said that it is because of my colour that I am not being nominated by my parliamentary colleagues but what I was saying is if you want to understand why we haven’t had a woman, why we haven’t had a person of colour as leader of the Labour party then we have to look at the entirety of the issue which is that those structural issues do exist."

Mr Lewis also talked up plans for a referendum on the monarchy, arguing that it would help give "people a real say over the kind of country they want to live in".

Shadow Business Secretary and fellow leadership contender Rebecca Long-Bailey rejected Jeremy Corbyn's claim that Labour "won the argument" despite losing the general election.

Asked if she agreed with that analysis, Ms Long-Bailey said: "Not at all. We didn't win the argument. If we'd won the argument we would have won the general election, and unfortunately we didn't."

Setting out the reasons for Labour's defeat, the leadership contender said: "We just weren't trusted. And that goes for the message we put forward in our campaign which didn't bring together all the positive aspects of our manifesto. We weren't trusted on Brexit. We weren't trusted to deal with anti-semitism within our own party. Key issues, and you've got to earn trust, it doesn't just happen overnight, unfortunately."

Elsewhere Ms Long-Bailey said she would "straight away" adopt a set of new pledges compiled by the Board of Deputies of British Jews which urge Labour to resolve outstanding cases of anti-semitism, increase transparency in the complaints process, and prevent the re-admittance of repeat offenders.

Speaking about the party's handling of cases of anti-Jewish abuse, the Salford and Eccles MP said: "I wasn't happy with how our process was being run, to be honest. I don't think we were dealing with complaints quickly enough, and I think that was quite clear, been quite vocal about that."

She also admitted to being "annoyed" by the "continuity Corbyn" candidate label that has become attached to her campaign - and vowed to end the "completely unelected" House of Lords if she wins the Labour top job.

Former International Trade Secretary Liam Fox said the Iran nuclear deal is "dead" amid heightened tensions in the Middle East

He warned: "I think when the US withdrew from that deal it was dead.  Some people said it was still on the table, I have spent enough time as a doctor to know that just because you’re on the table it doesn’t mean you are going to get off it successfully.”
 
He also argued that doing a trade deal with the EU before the end of the year was “achievable”.

But he added: "The questions are not going to lie around issues of tariffs or quotas which you would normally get in a trade negotiation, that’s normally what takes up a lot of time, it will really be around the regulatory issues.  It will be about access to the single market.  What’s clear is that we will be outside the single market therefore you can’t have what is called frictionless trade. There will be some friction in that."


09.00 The Andrew Marr Show, BBC One

Irish deputy prime minister Simon Coveney said the European Union would "not be rushed" into signing off on post-Brexit agreements with Britain despite a UK law setting a fixed deadline on the talks.

The Tánaiste said: "When people talk about the future relationship in the UK in particular they seem to only talk about a future trade agreement. Actually, there's much more to this than that."

"There's fishing, there's aviation, there's data. And there's so many other things."

He added: "I know that Prime Minister Johnson has set a very ambitious timetable to get this done, he's even put it into British law. But just because a British Parliament decides that British law says something, doesn't mean that that law applies to the other 27 countries of the European Union.

"And so the European Union will approach this on the basis of getting the best deal possible, a fair and balanced deal to ensure that the UK and the EU can interact as friends in the future. But the EU will not be rushed on this just because Britain passes laws."

He also urged British politicians to ignore calls to adopt the "language of enemies not friends" as the two sides thrash out a post-Brexit relationship, saying the UK and EU now had "a vested interest in working together, not to try and outmanoeuvre each other".

Appearing again, Security minister Brandon Lewis called for a "good, ambitious agreement" with the EU on security and said it remained in the UK's interest to stay a part of the cross-country policing arrangement Europol after Brexit.

He argued that was "achievable" to get an over-arching post-Brexit agreement signed off before Britain leaves the EU transition period at the end of 2020, saying: "The Prime Minister’s got a pretty good record of getting things done."

"Let’s remember we are talking about a prime minister where people said we couldn’t reopen the Withdrawal Agreement - he did that in under a hundred days, got a new agreement.

"[People] said we couldn’t get it through parliament, we got the General Election, got a majority and just this week we had that vote, we are leaving the European Union."

Mr Lewis was also pressed on when a long-delayed report into Russian influence in British politics by the Intelligence and Security Committee would be published.

He said: "Well, one of the things around the rules the way these things work is you have to have a chairman of the select committee. We don’t have that yet, but we will have that soon. That report will be published in due course."

The security minister meanwhile refused to wade into the row over protection costs for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle if the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge choose to step back from senior royal duties as they have suggested.

Asked if the Government would stop funding their security arrangements, he said: "We have never commented on the money and how the money is spent and what we spend on the security of individuals, royal family or other protected individuals. And I’m afraid – as tempting as it is Andrew, I’m not going to start that this morning."

 But Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry insisted that British taxpayers should continue to foot the bill for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's security.

"Listen, Harry spent 20 years on the frontline in Afghanistan, through many tours of duty. He has done great service, just on the basis of that," the Labour leadership contender said.

"And I just hate to think what he must be thinking now, having used his instinct to try and defend this country and now he has his much loved wife and baby, under the type of media scrutiny they are suffering."

Ms Thornberry also said Labour's policy on Brexit had been "disastrous" for them in the general election.

"I really did try to stop us going for a general election," she said. "My view was you could not have a general election over one issue. That was basically a referendum.

"By doing what we did, we let [Boris Johnson] wrap himself up in the lie that he could get Brexit done without a referendum, and he got five years in powers as a result of it, and that will be a disaster for our country."


09.00 - Pienaar's Politics, BBC Five Live

Appearing again, Labour leadership candidate Emily Thornberry said she remained confident she would make it through to the next round of the party's process for picking Jeremy Corbyn's successor.

She has 10 declared MP or MEP supporters out of the 22 required to advance to the next stage, but said she believed she would make it over the line by tomorrow's deadline.

"The conversations I've had over the last few days have made me pretty positive...unless none of the train lines go down I think I'll be alright," she said.

"I am going to get over the line. Listen, it is tight, but I am going to get over the line. So long as nobody falls away I am going to be fine."

Meanwhile, she also clarified her comments from earlier this week where she gave Jeremy Corbyn a scathing review for his time as leader. 

"I'm very attached to Jeremy Corbyn," she insisted. "I have a great deal of affection for him, and if you see the context, I gave him 10/10 for principle, 10/10 for his ability to be able to inspire the party, to speak from the heart, all of those things are really important. 

"But the most important thing is to win elections, and we have lost two. So for that reason, I gave him 0/10 for winning elections."

In a third apperance, security minister Brandon Lewis said the UK had a "loud voice" in security matters around the world despite the US failing to give them advance notice of their strike against Iranian general Qassem Soleimani.

“We’ve got a loud voice. I think we can use that very, very well.  I think we do tend to utilise that well. I think the Prime Minister’s highlighted that in just the last nine months, in the way that he negotiated and got that deal with the EU that people said he couldn’t do," he told the programme.

“I think we are a country that can continue to play a very important part in the world. I’m very confident that we can do that. It’s part of what makes us such a great country to be in.”   


 

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