Sunday shows: Shami Chakrabarti, Lisa Nandy and Sarah Jones


The Andrew Marr Show

Shami Chakrabarti discussed whether the Prime Minister can bypass the Benn Act, as well as the timing of a snap election and Boris Johnson’s Brexit proposal.

  • On whether the Benn Act contains any loopholes: “[The Benn Act] was drafted with great care after a great deal of cooperation across the House of Commons. And it’s very, very specific and explicit about a personal duty on the Prime Minister to either get a deal through the House of Commons or persuade the House of Commons that no deal is plausible, or he has to write a letter.”
  • You’ve seen what he said to the Scottish Court of Session which implies that he will send that letter: “Well he speaks with a forked tongue though doesn’t he, because he says one thing to the court and another thing to you – for example on your programme last week, I obviously watched that interview with great care. He seems to have a very casual relationship with the law. He seems to think that he’s above the law. As the Supreme Court showed a few weeks ago, he is not. No one is above the law, even a British Prime Minister.”
  • On the timing of a snap election: “If Boris Johnson kicks and screams but complies with the law, that would be a good thing – he would have at least complied with the law. Once that’s done then I think we’re looking realistically at a general election certainly this side of Christmas – hopefully substantially before Christmas.
  • On Johnson’s Brexit proposal: “What he’s currently proposing cannot get through, because what he’s currently proposing jeopardises the Good Friday Agreement, and rights and protections that Ireland and the rest of the EU will insist on – as well as us.”
  • On Labour MPs prepared to vote for a deal: “I don’t think that there are 30 or 40 MPs that would vote for any deal. They care as much as I do about rights and protections and food standards and so on.”

Ridge on Sunday

Lisa Nandy, MP for Wigan, talked about Boris Johnson’s latest Brexit offer, Labour MPs for a deal and reselections.

  • On Johnson’s latest Brexit offer: “I could support a deal, I would support a deal. The problem is that at the moment we don’t have a deal. What we’ve got is a proposal which stands virtually no chance of being accepted by the EU, which creates two borders on the island of Ireland, which is completely incompatible with existing international law and which rips up the worker’s rights and protections and environmental protections that we spent several months at the start of this year negotiating with the former Prime Minister. I would vote for a deal but this is not a deal, this is a pre-election party political broadcast from the Prime Minister. The truth is, for all of the talk about getting Brexit done, we’re further away from achieving a deal than we were two months ago when he became Prime Minister.”
  • How many Labour MPs do you think are serious about trying to get Brexit over the line? “I think there are a lot of Labour MPs, there are about 40 still who have been working cross-party for the last three years trying to find a way to achieve a deal and there are still discussions going on.”
  • On Theresa May’s withdrawal agreement: “There are many of us who are currently working to see if there’s a way that we can bring that bill before the House for the first time and make sure that we can agree that deal. If we are serious about preventing no deal that is the only way to do it.”
  • On Labour reselections: “I think it is obviously important that we always go through reselections. I’m going through mine now and we always go back to our party members and ask for their support again to stand at a forthcoming general election, and I think that accountability and that level of democracy in the party really matters. What is problematic about the process that we’re currently going through though is that we’ve seen a number of MPs targeted and plunged into a full open selection process with a general election just weeks away. To the outside world, to the public, that just looks like Labour fighting with itself rather than providing a unified force that is capable of going out and talking to the country. You can see that reflected in the opinion polls.”

Sarah Jones, MP for Croydon Central and shadow housing minister, talked about the death of teenager Harry Dunn, Labour’s housing policy and the party’s Brexit position.

  • On Harry Dunn, who was killed in a traffic accident involving the wife of a US diplomat (the suspect left the UK and is claiming diplomatic immunity): “I’ve heard the interview with Harry’s family, and it is absolutely heart-breaking. Of course, we want the Foreign Secretary to be having the conversations to try and get some justice into this. It’s hard enough that you lose a loved one so young but you have to know that there’s going to some kind of justice done in terms of what happened and holding those people to account, so I think it’s right that the Home Secretary should have those conversations with the Americans to try and see if we can resolve this situation.”
  • On whether Labour would give tenants the right to buy their homes at a discounted price: “That’s something that we haven’t announced as policy, it’s something that John McDonnell is looking at, that John Healey, the Shadow Secretary of State for Housing, is looking at. It’s something that is being debated across the political divide – is there some sort of first dibs if the house is for sale that could go to the tenant and some sort of tax break that would incentivise the landlord or the tenant to be able to buy.”
  • On Labour’s Brexit position: “We have the Conservative view, which is get out whatever happens, we have the Lib Dem view, which is let’s stay in whatever happens, and we never had a referendum where people actually made a decision so let’s forget it all. Labour’s position is really clear: you’d have to put it back to the people. What I am saying is that it’s honest and it’s the only compromise position between these two extremes where everybody is getting angry and fighting each other over these two extreme views.”

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