Sunday shows: Nandy and McMahon on racism, Trump, EHRC and unlocking

The Andrew Marr Show

Lisa Nandy, Shadow Foreign Secretary, made clear that Labour wants to support the unlocking (“but it has to be safe”) and said she was no longer calling for an extension to the Brexit transition period.

  • On the safety of Black Lives Matter protests: “It must be safe. People should socially distance. Please take precautions. But I’m very proud of the people coming out and speaking up. I’m someone who has lived in racism through my life… and it requires you to take an active stance against it.”
  • On racism in the UK: “Look at what’s happened in the last 30 years and tell me that enough has changed… Those words “I can’t breathe” really matter to people. And it’s why the silence from the Prime Minister, the refusal of our Foreign Secretary to comment on those matters, have really upset people.”
  • Asked about protesters who were violent towards the police according to Marr: “I would say to them, it’s wrong, stop it, and more than that… It also has the effect of dampening the voices of those who are calling for change.”
  • On Trump: “This is a deliberate election strategy. I have no idea whether Donald Trump is a racist or not a racist. What I do know is that in the run-up to the American elections, this is one of the ways that politicians try to activate their base. They divide people to try to advance their own cause.”
  • On whether Labour supports the unlocking: “We support the easing of the lockdown restrictions but it has to be safe. We want the government to take a cautious approach… The test, track and trace system needs to improve.”
  • Pressed on whether it is safe to unlock at this rate: “We haven’t seen all of the science because the government won’t release it. But we do want to see lockdown easing: there’s a huge impact on people of being in lockdown.”
  • On whether Labour backs relaxing Sunday trading laws, as planned by the government: “No. I think this is the wrong thing to do. I’m not at all convinced that this will actually help to get the economy back on track.”
  • On extending the Brexit transition period: “When I said there had to be an extension, the talks were stalled and it didn’t look like there was any prospect of there being a deal. Since then, the talks have got back up and running… What I’d really like the government to do is get us a good deal.”

Professor John Edmunds, a member of the scientific advisory group SAGE, told Marr: “I wish we had gone into lockdown earlier. It cost a lot of lives.”

Matt Hancock represented the government on Marr. Asked whether he agreed with Edmunds’ view, he said: “No, I think we took the right decisions at the right time.”

  • On starting lockdown: “I’m sure that taking into account everything we knew at that moment, my view is that we made the right decisions at the right time.”
  • On the current R rate: “It is between 0.7 and 0.9… We don’t want R to go above 1.”
  • Asked whether ‘if there is an increase in infections, the government will impose a national lockdown’: “We’ve always said that.”
  • Asked how many people have been contacted through NHS Test and Trace: “Sadly, I’m not going to tell you that.” He said he wanted the statistics authorities to be happy with the data first.

Ridge on Sunday

The Shadow Transport Secretary Jim McMahon discussed the Black Lives Matter protests in London and the implications for the transmission of Covid-19.

  • Asked if the UK is racist: “I think there are definitely pockets of very deep-rooted racism in this country – I wouldn’t say it’s the majority but where it exists it’s very deep… It’s unavoidable to say that racism exists.”
  • On the impact of protests on the spread of Covid-19: “I think first of all we need to dispel some idea that the UK has been in a bubble and all of a sudden these group of people who are demonstrating have come out of that.”
  • He added: “I’ve got to tell you from my own casework here in Oldham, there are thousands of people – there’ll be hundreds of thousands of people around the country – who have been going to work.”
  • Asked if he thought people were right to protest: “We are really fearful that we’re going to get a second spike in the virus… My point was more that there are people who are forced to break social distancing every day going to work.”
  • On the introduction of the 14-day quarantine for people coming to the UK: “Our real concern is that the government just haven’t got a plan – they seem to go from one extreme to the other.”
  • Asked whether MPs should wear face coverings: “I’m going to do what I believe is the right thing, which is to wear a face mask on public transport.”
  • On Jeremy Corbyn’s comments about the EHRC and its investigation of Labour antisemitism: “Of course it’s related to government, but my view is that it will act with integrity – it will look at the evidence base and it will provide practical solutions.”
  • He added: “It’s only when you face up to these issues, you can address them. Burying your head in the sand, ignoring them, pretending that they’re not there – even though we wish they weren’t there – I’m afraid just doesn’t deal with it.”

Margaret Hodge, Labour MP for Barking, discussed the scrapping of remote participation for MPs. She said that the changes had been introduced as a political move to get “the crowds behind Boris” and claimed that she has been “disenfranchised and discriminated against”.

  • On voting: “We’ve won a bit of a victory in that the government decided at the end of last week that those of us who can’t go in… we can vote by proxy.”
  • On debates: “I can’t take part in debates around legislation. So tomorrow there is a debate on virtual access, and I would like to virtually take part in that debate. I’ve been told I can’t do that.”
  • She added: “I am being disenfranchised and discriminated against on a debate that is discussing my disenfranchisement and discrimination. It’s just a nonsense.”
  • On the virtual parliament: “Just because it’s a bit clunky – is that a good enough reason for excluding so many MPs like myself who want to take part?”
  • On holding the government to account: “I’ve been prevented from doing so by rules that have been brought in not to make parliament more accountable and better but actually for political – not public good – reasons.”
  • On the political nature of the changes: “I think this is about getting the crowds behind Boris at PMQs rather than good governance.”
  • On the legislation: “Isn’t it outrageous that a government that introduces legislation through the House then takes it upon itself to ignore, or find a loophole, so that it acts against the legislation?”

Matt Hancock said that the Black Lives Matter protests are “undoubtedly a risk” for increasing the rate of transmission of Covid-19 and that “gathering in large groups is temporarily against the rules”.

The Health Secretary insisted that the UK is not racist. Asked how many black people there are in the cabinet, he replied that there are a “whole series of people from a BAME background” and named Rishi Sunak and Priti Patel.

On the possibility travel abroad this summer, Hancock said: “I really hope that people are going to be able to fly to go on summer holiday.” But he added that “we’ve got to take an approach that starts with caution”.

 

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