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Sunday shows round-up: Grant Shapps – We will be ready for no deal

25 August 2019

1:12 PM

25 August 2019

1:12 PM

Sophy Ridge returned this morning after a few weeks holiday. Representing the government was the Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps. Shapps was upbeat about the UK’s prospects should it encounter a no deal Brexit, and proudly told Ridge that his department was fully equipped to tackle any challenges:

SR: Will you be ready?

GS: We will be ready. In fact, I would say we’re more prepared than most people realise.

Heathrow’s third runway could be blocked

Shapps told Ridge that the controversial planned third runway at Heathrow could still be halted by legal cases. He also raised the possibility that the runway may not pass certain key department tests, but said that the Prime Minister (who campaigned vociferously against the runway) would not personally move to block it:

GS: The whole thing has to stack up… Parliament has already voted for it. There are legal cases which might block it… Another minister – not me – will have to weigh up whether this will meets all the tests – the environmental tests, but also the passenger test.

‘Everything is possible’ for HS2

Ridge bought up the subject of HS2, which the government has now decided to place under review. Shapps said the project’s entire future rested on the conclusions of this report, which is due by the end of 2019:

SR: HS2 could be scrapped?

GS: Everything is possible… If you start with a blank piece of paper… then any outcome is possible from that.

Barry Gardiner – Jo Swinson ‘extremely petulant’

There has been much talk of a plan to topple the government and install a new one which would offer a second referendum on Brexit. However, significant fissures have emerged between the parties with Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson insisting that Jeremy Corbyn could not be the caretaker Prime Minister in this scenario. Labour’s Barry Gardiner argued that Corbyn must lead such a government and anything else would put the Queen in a difficult position:

BG: I think it was extremely petulant of Jo Swinson… to come out and dismiss [our] proposals in the way that she did… [We’re offering] a fail-safe procedure in order to stop no deal…

SR: You could have a unity government led by a different MP couldn’t you?…

BG: …If Jo Swinson wants to propel Her Majesty into a constitutional crisis… that would be forcing the monarchy into a very embarrassing and difficult judgment call.

NHS ‘open to attack’ in trade deal

The Shadow International Trade Secretary also expressed his reservations about a post-Brexit trade deal with the United States. Boris Johnson has publicly said that the NHS is ‘off the table’ in the negotiations, but Gardiner stated that this was not the case:

BG: Because of… the [2012] Health and Social Care Act, competition is now enshrined within the NHS. That means any services in the NHS are open to competition and they are open in a trade deal to attack.

‘You can’t sell off our future for cheap beef’

On another potential trade deal, this time with Brazil, Gardiner highlighted his overriding concerns about the Amazon rainforest, which has seen 72,000 fires started this year alone. Many of these fires are started illegally by ranchers to clear land for their cattle, something which Brazil’s President Bolsonaro has been seemingly lax about combatting:

BG: In the last 8 days, 1000 square kilometres of the rainforest has been destroyed… I want to do trade [with Brazil], of course I do, [but] you cannot sell off our environment and our global future for cheap beef.

Andy Burnham – We will fight for HS2

The Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham put in a staunch defence of HS2 and declared that Northern cities would be furious if the government reneged on its commitment to the Northern Powerhouse:

AB: If this review is about scrapping it then the government better get ready for an almighty fight with the cities of the North and, I understand, the Midlands too… We’ve had plenty of promises over the last few years… but what we now need to see is action and delivery.

We salute Ariana Grande

Burnham also praised the singer Ariana Grande, who is returning to perform at Manchester Pride more than two years after a suicide bombing after one of her concerts at the Manchester Arena, which killed 22 innocent people and injured many more:

AB: She has always spoken so powerfully and emotionally about the city ever since the appalling atrocity of 2017… She’s showing a continuing commitment to the city and we salute her for that.

Sir David Warren – Trump can’t deliver trade deal alone

And finally, the UK’s former ambassador to Japan, Sir David Warren, has warned that a trade deal with the US will not be as plain sailing as securing the good will of Donald Trump:

DW: No matter what the President says about delivering a trade deal, he’s going to have to get any trade deal through Congress, and in Congress he’s going to find that there are Senators, Congressmen and women whose constituents are affected by the trade concessions he’s going to have to make.

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