Sophy Ridge on Sunday
Nick Thomas-Symonds, the Shadow Home Secretary, discussed Labour’s plan to tackle violent crime and support victims. He did not comment on whether the rumours are true that Anneliese Dodds will soon be axed in her role as Shadow Chancellor.
- On county lines: “We need to see strategic leadership on this issue at the Home Office. I think it was a grave error to abolish the serious violence taskforce, which was announced to great fanfare.”
- He added: “We need to do all we can to give these young people who are getting drawn into county lines the opportunity to make a very different life.”
- On Labour’s plan to tackle violent crime and support victims: “We need more police out there on the streets, not behind desks. We need to make sure that we change our approach to preventative services, not to see them decimated as we have over the last decade. We need tougher sentences, for example for rape. And we need now to have a victims’ law.”
- On victim support: “Putting victims first is so, so important, and that’s why I believe we now have to have legal duties to ensure that victims get the support they need from start to finish in the criminal justice system.”
- On low conviction rates for rape: “What we need to be putting in place is that support for rape victims at the very start. Secondly, we need to be fast-tracking rape and serious sexual violence cases through the system.”
- He added: “We also need a specific minister with responsibility for this, with responsibility for rape and serious sexual violence… so that you can drive change right through the system.”
- Asked whether a teacher should have been suspended recently for showing a cartoon of the prophet Muhammed to their class: “I think the school has acted. That has now obviously taken place. That action has happened. I think what now needs to happen, as I say, is we need to lower the tension.”
- On Scottish Labour rejecting the Tory pro-union coalition proposal: “Labour is putting forward its own strong arguments at this election… That’s the case that we are putting forward to the people of Scotland.”
- On a potential Covid ‘traffic-light’ system for international travel: “If that is put forward in due course, I’ll of course look at it and consider it in the light of the circumstances at the time.”
- On the current coronavirus border measures: “The priority at the moment is the gaping hole in our defences at the border and closing that… We do not have that comprehensive hotel quarantining system in place at our borders.”
- On reports that Shadow Chancellor Anneliese Dodds might be sacked: “I don’t take any notice of the gossip and the speculation that appears in the newspapers around this. It’s something that’s part of political life. Anneliese Dodds, I’ve been working with over the past 12 months, is doing an excellent job, and it’s a very strong team led by Keir Starmer. We’re the ones who’re putting forward the very clear choice at this election.”
Douglas Ross, the Scottish Conservatives leader, appeared on the show this morning. On the potential for an independence referendum after the May elections, he said: “The PM has been clear he’s not going to grant a second independence referendum.”
Conservative minister Oliver Dowden told viewers that the government taskforce for travel is looking at “all options” to allow summer holidays this year but warned that “there are challenges with international travel”.
On reports that the government is considering giving 3.7 million vaccines to Ireland, he said: “We don’t currently have a surplus of vaccines, if we get to that point, we will make decisions on the allocation of that surplus.”
The Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Secretary insisted that we are “still on course with the roadmap” for easing Covid restrictions but would not provide any details on the dispute with the EU over the vaccines and the supply chain.
The Andrew Marr Show
Mark Drakeford, the Labour First Minister of Wales, shared his thoughts on coronavirus restrictions, the potential for a domestic vaccine certification and polling that shows Labour faces Senedd losses in May.
- On when he can say it’s the last lockdown: “I’m afraid I don’t think anybody responsible in my position will be able to do that any time soon.” He cited concern over new variants.
- On Wales unlocking: “I’m hoping that by the end of April people will be able to enjoy outdoor hospitality. Meeting indoors we know is always more dangerous – that will likely have to wait until May.”
- He added: “I’m not prepared to give people false assurances too far into the future.” He will set out restriction plans for April and part of May on Thursday.
- On a vaccine certification system in the UK: “I think there are definitely prizes to be won through domestic vaccine certification. But there are some very big practical and ethical challenges to face as well.” He mentioned those who cannot be vaccinated for health reasons. He said the system would need to be “fair and reliable” and that the four nations should work together on it.
- Drakeford reiterated that he thought “the mask-wearing, the hand-washing, the social distancing, and so on” would not be over by the end of the year.
- On why Labour is facing Senedd losses and a ‘drubbing’ in May: “I don’t think that ‘drubbing’ is about to happen… I do think this is a challenging election for Labour in Wales.”
- Asked whether he is a unionist: “I believe in the United Kingdom. I believe that Wales is best secured through participating in a successful UK and the UK is better for having Wales in it.”
- On three Labour candidates and 51% of Labour members in Wales being pro-independence: “The experience of coronavirus on the one hand and the Johnson government on the other has undoubtedly made many people in Wales wonder whether we’d be better off in a more detached position.”
- He said support for Welsh independence is more realistically at 14% than 39%.
The union "is in greater peril today than it's been at any time in my political lifetime"
— BBC Politics (@BBCPolitics) March 28, 2021
Oliver Dowden was asked whether this would be the last lockdown. “This is why we have chosen to go on this cautious path. The aim of doing this is to make sure it’s irreversible,” he said. He added that “you can’t rule things out” but “we have every confidence” that it will be the last.