Sunday shows: Labour figures on leader race, the Lords and Scotland

Ridge on Sunday

Ridge interviewed leadership candidate Jess Phillips, who talked about Labour’s election defeat, her candidacy for leader and whether the next leader should be a woman.

  • On why people rejected Labour at the last election: “The fundamental was trust, was leadership – they didn’t trust our positions on the big issues of the day, in lots of cases they didn’t know what they were and also they just didn’t trust that we could deliver the things that we were saying.”
  • Asked if Corbyn was a good leader: “There should have been instituted in the party… a much more listening approach… A good leader needs to recognise dissent and be able to listen to it.”
  • Asked if she is the Remain candidate for leader: “People are ok if you are clear and you are honest about what you think. And then they will give you a hearing on other issues. So I’m not an uber-Remainer – I don’t feel the need to present myself as an uber-Remainer.”
  • On campaigning to rejoin the EU: “I don’t think that this is a conversation which is even open to debate at the moment… There is no plan to have some sort of campaign to re-join the EU.”
  • On decriminalisation of drugs: “I’m definitely open to different models around decriminalisation… I think we do need to have a conversation because what we’re doing now is currently not working.”
  • Asked about abolishing private schools, she said: “I think that private schools should be treated like businesses, not like charities, and they should be taxed accordingly, but I think that having an abolitionist route at this stage – there will need to be a whole system change.”
  • On the fact that Labour could fail to elect a female leader: “It does a disservice to the Labour Party’s record on women… I think it will be embarrassing and what’s more, it gives absolute grist to the mill and ammunition to our other side.”

Labour deputy leadership candidate Rosena Allin-Khan was asked about her candidacy, what went wrong in the 2019 general election and who should be the next leader.

  • On the election: “The time it took to get to our ultimate position on calling for a People’s Vote took too long. I also think that we had a manifesto… nobody believed was actually credible. And the leadership came up a lot on the doorstep.”
  • On whether it was Labour’s decision to back a second referendum that was the problem: “We took too long coming to that position as a party and as a result we lost trust of people in both Leave and Remain seats.”
  • On a Remainer London MP as deputy: “I do wholeheartedly accept that we are leaving the EU… my lived experience will allow me to connect with voters around the country.”
  • Shown the latest deputy leader poll from YouGov: “It’s never game over… If there’s one child that’s influenced by my story, it doesn’t matter that I’m on 8% because I’m winning being right here getting those messages out.”
  • Who she would like to be the next leader of the Labour Party: “I don’t have an opinion at this point.”
  • On whether the next leader should be a woman: “I would really like to see a woman at the top of the party now but fundamentally we have a rebuilding process that is going to take years… And it’s got to be about the best person for the job.”
  • On whether Jeremy Corbyn’s chief of staff, Karie Murphy, should get a peerage given that she’s currently being investigated by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC): “I would like to see the outcome of the EHRC report. And I don’t know Karie Murphy personally.”

The general secretary of ASLEF union Mick Whelan discussed the Labour leadership contest and the government’s plan to introduce minimum service agreements.

  • Asked whether he would say who is he supporting: “Not yet. We’re meeting with many of the candidates over the next few days.”
  • On whether the union will back Rebecca Long-Bailey: “Not sure yet, because ultimately people don’t seem to understand member-led organisations… they will decide the nomination of ASLEF to that process. It won’t be Mick Whelan.”
  • Asked whether rail nationalisation is a red line in who the union will decide to back: “No. It’s a major thing for us.”
  • On whether ASLEF is at war with the government over the introduction of minimum service agreements: “I am at war with the ethos of forced labour. Any form of indenture or slavery.”

James Cleverly also appeared on the show. Asked about Tory MP Jamie Wallis and his connection with the “sugar-daddy.com” dating website, the party chairman said “I don’t know that he has done anything wrong”, and whether the party would be taking disciplinary action, he added: “It’s not my job… we’re not an investigation unit.” He also confirmed that the government is “looking into” moving the House of Lords out of London, to a location such as York.

The Andrew Marr Show

New Labour MP Nadia Whittome – the Baby of the House, at 23 – joined Marr to review the papers, discussing the latest on Meghan and Harry, her decision not to take a full MP’s salary, and the idea of moving the House of Lords out of London.

  • On Meghan and Harry: “Ultimately, I think, this is a 35-year-old man who has been on the front pages every day because he didn’t ask his nan before he moved out. What this really speaks to is the culture war happening in this country.”
  • On whether there is a racial element to the press coverage: “The press has clearly treated Meghan very differently to Kate… When you see two Daily Mail articles about the same two issues – avocados, baby bumps, Meghan and Kate – what else do you call it?”
  • On giving up half of her MP salary: “Everyone deserves a pay rise – firefighters, teaching assistants, nurses. And I’ll take mine when they get theirs.”
  • On whether she has decided who to back as the next Labour leader: “I honestly haven’t. I have certain criteria and, as people’s policies unfold, I’ll be watching and listening.”
  • On moving the House of Lords out of London: “I just think this is so superficial. Working-class people – whether in the North, the Midlands or the South – don’t care about the unelected House of Lords. We want jobs, we want proper investment, and meaningful decentralisation of power.”

Ian Murray, Labour’s only remaining Scottish MP and deputy leadership candidate, also appeared on the show to discuss his campaign.

  • On Labour needing to win in Scotland: “It’s one of the rules of British politics that a Labour government has to run through Scotland, but after the disaster of the election on 12th December Labour has to reconnect with all the nations and regions of the UK.”
  • On constitutional questions facing Labour: “If the Labour Party doesn’t stand by its values and its principles and take a side, then standing in the middle of the road gets you hit by both sides. We’re principally against independence… let’s make the positive case for the UK.”
  • On whether Scottish Labour needs a new leader: “Richard Leonard had a real opportunity to wipe the slate clean, to start again, he responded in June when the public said they didn’t like our position on Brexit and he came out very strongly to stay.”
  • On the idea of a federal Britain: “I want to set up the Labour Campaign for Britain’s Future, which will look at not just galvanising the public towards how they are governed both at national and regional level but also what our future relationship is with the EU.”
  • On separating Scottish Labour from UK Labour: “Absolutely no. We’re a UK party and I think we have to act as a UK party.”
  • On Lisa Nandy’s comments about learning lessons for Scotland from dealing with “narrow divisive nationalism” in Catalonia: “I absolute agree with her and it’s been spun out of control what Lisa Nandy said.”
  • On nationalism in Scotland: “The most important thing is to have a Labour Prime Minister walking through the doors of No10, and that will defeat nationalism in Scotland – I’m very confident of that.”

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