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Sunday shows round-up: Sajid Javid – Labour’s spending plans ‘absolutely reckless’

10 November 2019

1:39 PM

10 November 2019

1:39 PM

Andrew Marr was joined this morning by the Chancellor of the Exchequer. The Conservatives have published a document which they claim represents the ‘eyewatering’ cost of Labour’s policies should the party win the general election, with the overall figure estimated at £1.2 trillion. Marr challenged the figures, claiming that Conservatives were relying on ‘bogus accounting’. Javid defended the costings, which include the introduction of a four day working week and trialling a guaranteed basic income for all:

SJ: Every single costing in this dossier that we’ve published today has either come from Labour’s own figures… [or] independent external sources. In some cases we have had to work them out ourselves [and] we’ve set out how exactly in the document… It will be absolutely reckless and will leave this country with an economic crisis within months.

‘It’s never good to be downgraded’

Marr also asked about the credit agency Moody’s, which is considering downgrading the UK’s credit rating, in part due to the ‘vast spending plans’ being offered as part of the election campaign. The concern is that the UK will not be able to tackle its substantial debt. Javid highlighted other factors for Moody’s’ caution:

SJ: It’s never good for any country to be downgraded… The number one thing they point to is the paralysis in decision making, and that is coming from what was a very dysfunctional parliament. The biggest economic issue facing this country… is the uncertainty over Brexit. Moody’s has recognised that.

Inquiry ‘will look at all types of prejudice’

During the Conservative leadership campaign, Javid appeared to have successfully bounced his rivals into accepting the need for an inquiry into Islamophobia within the party. Javid confirmed that such an inquiry would take place, but that it would now have a much broader remit:

SJ: We will have an inquiry into prejudice, and it will absolutely be looking into anti-Muslim hatred… At the same time, it also makes sense to look… at all types of prejudice, in any form, because it is all unacceptable.

Andrew Gwynne – Attacks on Labour’s spending plans a ‘work of fiction’

Marr also interviewed Labour’s campaign co-ordinator Andrew Gwynne. He raised the Conservative dossier on Labour’s spending plans, which Gwynne angrily declared to be completely misleading:

AG: This is an absolute work of fiction by the Conservatives… We will have a fully costed manifesto in due course… The challenge is for the Conservatives to fully cost their own manifesto.

Freedom of movement may be in Labour manifesto

In 2017, Labour’s manifesto declared that ‘freedom of movement will end when we leave the European Union’. Gwynne cast some doubt that this would happen again, referencing ‘bespoke reciprocal arrangements’ with European countries that would allow at least some form of free movement after Brexit:

AM: Will this manifesto say what the 2017 manifesto said..?

AG: I’ll be able to answer that more clearly this time next week… We are looking at reciprocal agreements with the EU 27 that allow British citizens to enjoy some of the freedoms that they [would otherwise] lose.

Caroline Lucas – Make it easier to do the right thing

The former Green party leader Caroline Lucas made the argument to Marr that the UK government should do more to help people make greener choices in their everyday lives:

CL: [It is] so much more expensive to take the train from the UK to other parts of Europe than it is to fly. There’s no reason for that – it’s because we’ve chosen not to tax aviation fuel… so let’s… make it easier for people to do the right thing.

General Sir Nick Carter – NATO is not ‘brain dead’

The chief of the defence staff General Sir Nick Carter was also touring the TV studios on this Remembrance Sunday. Marr asked the general about recent comments made by the French president Emmanuel Macron in the Economist, warning that the NATO alliance was becoming ‘brain dead’. His remarks come in the light of Donald Trump removing US forces from their posts in Syria with minimal consultation:

NC: I think NATO is an extraordinarily successful alliance… It’s not brain dead. It’s looking to the future, and it’s attempting to adapt as a consequence of that.

Trident is ‘an insurance policy’

Carter also defended the Trident nuclear missile programme. He highlighted the uncertainty of the threats that the UK would face in the future, and warned that abolishing the system was much easier than trying to re-install it at a later date:

NC: Trident is a 40-50 year programme. And if you choose not to do something like that now, it would be impossible to get back into it. And who can tell what the world will look like in 2035? So it’s an insurance policy.

Nia Griffith – Labour is committed to nuclear weapons

Sophy Ridge spoke to Labour’s Shadow Defence Secretary Nia Griffith. Griffith stressed to Ridge that despite Jeremy Corbyn’s known scepticism about nuclear weapons, a Labour government would commit to keeping the Trident missiles as part of the UK’s defence capabilities:

NG: We are absolutely committed to keeping the nuclear deterrent because it’s a very, very important part of our defence, particularly now as we see a resurgent Russia… Jeremy fully understands what deterrence means.

Labour wouldn’t ‘walk by on the other side’

Griffith also said that there were circumstances under which a Corbyn-led Labour government would intervene and deploy troops in foreign conflicts, again despite her leader’s general opposition to such action:

NG: Of course we’re going to be thinking very carefully about any military intervention, but… we think it’s very important that the UK should have a very strong voice on the world stage… There are going to be cases where we are not going to be able to walk by on the other side.

Ian Blackford – Nuclear weapons are not the answer

The SNP’s Westminster leader has argued against the continuation of the Trident system, but implied in his answer that Trident would not be a red line in any post-election negotiations in a potential hung parliament:

SR: Can you see the SNP propping up a government at Westminster that was committed to the renewal of Trident?

IB: We would simply say that these weapons are not fit for purpose… I’m not sure that we’re taking our responsibilities for conventional defences as seriously as we should be doing.

Kwasi Kwarteng – Nigel Farage ‘should step aside’

And finally, the business minister Kwasi Kwarteng told Ridge that Nigel Farage would be a hindrance to getting Brexit over the line, and suggested that he should bow out of the election. (The Brexit party leader had been due to make an appearance on Ridge’s show today, but pulled out at short notice):

KK: I’d say to Nigel, he was a big big part of the fact that we voted to leave. He’s had a political success. I think that now is the time for him to step aside… If we get a majority, we’ll be able to land [our] deal and leave by the end of January.

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