Sunday shows: Labour “comparing notes” with Democrats, says Lammy

The Andrew Marr Show

Shadow Justice Secretary David Lammy discussed the 2020 US election this morning, describing it as a “reset moment” and telling viewers that the Labour Party is “comparing notes” with the Democratic Party after its success.

  • On the US 2020 election: “Electing Joe Biden on a ticket that’s about unity, that’s about decency, bringing the states back together and re-entering the global world in a multilateral way, must be a good thing… It’s a reset moment.”
  • Asked if there are lessons to learn from the result for the Labour Party: “The centre-left has been on the back foot across the western world… Of course we are comparing notes, talking to one another.”
  • He listed: “How do we defeat those with this populist tradition? How do you move forward against a backdrop of culture wars? How do you re-listen to voters? And how do you run effective, modern campaigns for the 21st century?”
  • He added: “[Labour] wants to be a party for this whole nation, not for just one tribe. That’s what we’ve seen in the US with Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, and of course we will seek to replicate that.”
  • On links with the Democrat Party: “I’ve got longstanding relationships with Democrats. Most of my colleagues have who’ve been in parliament for a significant period. We’re sister parties, in a sense.”
  • On his personal connections with Democrats: “My friendship with former President Barack Obama is well-documented, well-known, and I was speaking yesterday to Senator Patrick Leahy, the Father of the House.”
  • Asked whether Labour has told the Democrats that Labour will now support Brexit: “I don’t think we’ve been discussing issues like Brexit – that is for the government to negotiate.”
  • On the UK’s relationship with Biden: “For Boris Johnson, it was foolish to put the Good Friday Agreement on the table in the way that he did when you know you’ve got an Irish American who might become leader of his country.”
  • On Boris Johnson’s past comments about Democrat figures: “It was foolish to insult Barack Obama. Foolish to insult Hillary Clinton. All of those things we’ve reflected and discussed with our Democratic colleagues.”
  • Pressed on the Democrats’ view of Labour supporting Brexit: “They recognise that this was an intense debate here in the UK. The decision has been made, we’re leaving the EU. The Labour Party accepts that we’re leaving.”
  • Asked whether a deal is more likely with Biden as President: “It would be very good for us to have a deal with the US but clearly Europe comes first. 47% of our trade is with the EU, and that deal has to be struck with them.”
  • On supporting the government over stronger enforcement of Covid restrictions: “I’d like to see the evidence, we mustn’t be too draconian… We’ll support them if it’s clear the infection rate isn’t coming down and people are flouting the rules.”

Sophy Ridge on Sunday

Shadow International Trade Secretary Emily Thornberry discussed the US election and criticised the UK government for “sucking up” to Donald Trump even as the President continued to deny the results of the vote this week.

  • On Trump refusing to accept the results: “I don’t think anybody can be surprised. I think it is very much the sort of pattern of behaviour that he indulges in and he has told us himself for some time that this is what he was going to do.”
  • On the UK response: “It’s very important that we speak with one voice on this. And we’re quite clear that there’s been an election, there has been a huge turnout, all the votes have been counted and President Biden is President Biden.”
  • On the UK relationship with Trump: “The government had a choice when he was elected. They could have spent their time holding his hand, sucking up to him and hoping to get some crumbs from the table, and how has that worked? We have got nothing from that.”
  • On the Tories and Trump: “We have seen the way they never criticised, they have never said they disagreed with him. Even during the election itself, we saw them being mealy-mouthed and not standing up to Trump.”
  • On Trump and Johnson: “There has been a general approach, a populist approach, from Boris Johnson that I think he has had in common with Donald Trump, which is why they have had such a close friendship.”
  • On the incoming President: “Now we have with Joe Biden somebody who does understand that we have to work together. It’s not a question of America first, it’s a question of the world first.”
  • On a US/UK trade deal: “The reality is that getting an all-singing, all-dancing trade deal is something that takes many years and is quite complex and quite difficult to put together.”
  • On whether she had spoken to Jeremy Corbyn since his suspension from the Labour Party: “I haven’t spoken to Jeremy. I’m probably going to be seeing him today obviously as it’s Remembrance Sunday.”
  • On her view on the disciplinary action: “I am not expressing an opinion on the disciplinary process in regards to Jeremy because it has always been my firmly held view that it is not for politicians to make decisions on this front.”
  • She added: “The EHRC report has also specifically said that politicians should keep out on this and it should be done in an independent way, so, whatever my private views are, I am not going to express them on national television.”
  • On whether she regretted serving in Corbyn’s shadow cabinet: “I felt that it was a struggle but that we were going in the right direction. The processes were taking too long to improve but they were getting better.”
  • On political interference with the complaints process: “I didn’t know the extent of the issues in terms of the interference… I didn’t know the extent of that because obviously, I’m not on the NEC.”

First Minister Mark Drakeford also appeared on the programme. He discussed the end of the Welsh ‘firebreak’ lockdown tomorrow and said the country would not return to a “patchwork of local measures” in the coming weeks.

  • On the success of the lockdown: “We said all along we won’t know the effect of the firebreak until beyond the firebreak period but early indications… tell us that people have done what we’ve asked of them.”
  • On the rising numbers of Covid cases in Wales: “That was inevitable. The people who were falling ill during the two weeks of the firebreak period were already infectious before the firebreak period began.”
  • On the impact of the Welsh lockdown: “It is only in the couple of weeks after the 9th of November that we will see the impact of the firebreak. Then is when we hope to see numbers declining.”
  • On whether Wales would return to local restrictions: “We will not go back and rely on a patchwork of local measures, we are going to have a new national set of rules that are clearer and I hope simpler, and therefore easier to follow.”
  • On how the country will respond to local outbreaks: “That does not mean, of course, that if there are local flare-ups that local action may not need to be taken. But it will not be a reliance on entirely local measures.”
  • On Christmas: “The restrictions that people have had to live with are very difficult and demanding, everybody is tired and fatigued of coronavirus. If we could offer some respite over the Christmas period that is what we would want to do.”
  • On how the UK could ease restrictions for Christmas time: “It needs to be a common plan and a common approach, where the rules are the same – as much as we can make them – across the UK for that very special period.”
  • He added: “The only way to do that is for us to have that opportunity to meet and talk together. We have been promised we will have that opportunity this week. I really hope that the UK government is serious about this.”

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab argued this morning that there is a “huge bedrock of underlying interests and values” between the US and the UK, which mean Biden would “have no greater ally and no more dependable friend than the UK”.

Asked about reports that Biden dislikes the Prime Minister for his past comments on Obama and the UK government’s response to Black Lives Matter, Raab said: “There will always be points of tension in any relationship.”

The Foreign Secretary also declared that he would “make no apology” for “treading very sensitively and carefully” after he was criticised for a tweet that was seen to be sympathetic to Trump’s false claims of electoral fraud.

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