Sophy Ridge on Sunday
Chair of the Labour Party Anneliese Dodds argued that the Conservatives need to address the “causes” of the cost-of-living crisis rather than treating the “symptoms” and told viewers that Labour is “the party of ideas now”.
- On Boris Johnson’s amendment of the ministerial code: “He has watered down the sanctions. It used to previously be the case that any breaking of the ministerial code would be a resignation issue.”
- On what Labour plans to do: “We will be forcing a vote on this. We think that ultimately politics should be clean, should be a force for good… That’s why we’re calling for that vote.”
- On the government U-turn on a windfall tax: “Finally, we are relieved that the government appears to have listened… But we are concerned that there doesn’t appear to be any plan now to deal with the causes of that cost-of-living crisis.”
- On the Conservatives: “They tend to be dragged kicking and screaming to action at the last minute. We need those longer-term plans now.”
- Asked what she has come up with in the policy review: “The core idea for Labour is right now, when it comes to that cost-of-living crisis… not just dealing with the symptoms… We’ve got to deal with those causes, as well.”
- Pushed on the “one transformative policy” Labour would introduce: “We need to buy, make and sell more in our country… If we do that then we can build growth back up again… and we’ve set out exactly how we would be delivering that. So it really is Labour that is the party of ideas now.”
- Asked whether she agrees that ‘women are born with penises’: “No I don’t agree… biological females obviously aren’t. Of course there are also trans women who have made a transition in their gender. But sex is not the same as gender… on that issue around biology, I do have a different opinion.”
'After five months of calling for a windfall tax, we are relieved the government appears to have listened on that subject'.
— Sophy Ridge on Sunday & The Take (@RidgeOnSunday) May 29, 2022
RMT general secretary Mick Lynch discussed the ongoing industrial dispute and the prospect of a strike, telling viewers that he “can’t see a way out”.
- On the strike action: “We don’t want strike action. This is a defensive action.”
- On why his members deserve a pay rise: “All British workers deserve a pay rise. It’s a bit of a nonsense that goes around especially in the media that says if we get a pay rise somehow other workers won’t get a pay rise – or if we don’t get a pay rise it will be transferred to nurses to other public sector workers… That just won’t happen. If we don’t get a pay rise, the profits of the companies will just go up.”
- He added: “Some of these profits need to be reduced so that British workers can get a pay rise… Every worker in the country is struggling right now.”
- On Andrew Bailey’s call for pay restraint: “Pay restraint? He’s on £600,000 per year. As is the chief of Network Rail. There are railway bosses taking millions home every year.”
- On increasing pay inequality: “If workers’ wages don’t go up, it means a transfer of wealth from the poor to the rich.”
- Put to him that it could lead to higher inflation: “It could lead to more inflation. But what could also stop inflation is that some of the companies could restrain their profits and return that money into lower prices.”
- Asked whether strike action is inevitable: “We’re talking to companies… But they are taking a very hardline… I can’t see a way out from the strikes… It is very likely there will be strike action.”
- On strike action over the Jubilee celebrations: “There’s no strike action by the RMT over any of the Queen’s Jubilee celebrations.”
- On the strike: “We feel we have no choice. The London mayor is attacking our people… We cannot sit idly by as a trade union… It’s my job as a trade union leader to defend our people. And this is a defensive strike, if it happens.”
- On the Labour Party: “We would like to see the Labour Party coming behind working people… And this is a measure for Keir Starmer, so that he can decide whether he is on the side of the workers in this country or the bosses.”
- Asked whether Starmer has made it clear that he is on the side of the worker: “He hasn’t made it clear at all… I’ve seen no response from the Labour frontbench that says ‘we support the workers in their struggles’ and that is the role of the Labour Party.”
Anneliese Dodds said the government has not taken any action on the “causes of the cost-of-living crisis”, noting that Labour has been calling for a mass home home insulation programme and increased energy security through the expansion of onshore wind and solar and ending the delay on nuclear.
- On Ukraine: “We’re very concerned indeed about these recent revelations. And I think we’ve just been hearing about some of the truly appalling war crimes and attacks on civilians that have characterised this conflict. We will continue to be working with the government as the opposition and, of course, wanting to work with all the other NATO countries to do everything that we can to support Ukraine in its defence of itself.”
- On the question of Ukraine ceding territory to Russia to end the war: “In this conflict, of course we’ve seen a sovereign nation being attacked by Russia, and ultimately, the President I’m sure will be focused on everything he can do to defend his country. I think it would be completely inappropriate for a politician sitting here in the safety of a London studio to pontificate about circumstances on the ground.”
- On the government’s cost-of-living support package: “Actually, for the most hard-pressed families, Labour plans would have supported them more… But you know the really frustrating thing, I would say is that, yes, we’ve seen some action finally by government on the symptoms of the cost-of-living crisis – action that, as you said, Labour had been calling for for many, many months, five months we were calling for a windfall tax. But we’re not seeing any action on the causes of that cost-of-living crisis. We haven’t heard anything from the government for example around home insulation. Labour’s been calling for many months for a mass insulation programme. That would be taking £400 off people’s bills – not just this year, but every year into the future. They haven’t done that. They also haven’t taken action to grow our economy.”
- Pressed on the government’s package being more generous than that proposed by Labour: “The message that we’re trying to get across to the public, and I would say particularly to the government, is that they need to take action to support people… Of course, we welcome the fact that the government has finally listened around some of this, but this seems to be the pattern with the Conservatives over the last few years. That they’ll be dragged kicking and screaming to take action at the last minute – as I said, five months since Labour started to call for a windfall tax – but they don’t deal with the reasons for problems in the first place. Again, when it comes to energy security. We were just talking about home insulation. Labour’s also said we need to have much more secure energy for the future. We’ve said we should be doubling onshore wind for example, tripling solar, ending the delay on nuclear. The government hasn’t acted decisively on any of those things.”
Asked whether anyone in Downing Street put pressure on Sue Gray over her report into ‘partygate’, Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis said he knows Sue Gray and that she will have put out a report that she is “comfortable with”. He added that she had “free rein” to take the report where she wanted. Pressed on whether he could guarantee there was no pressure on Gray, Lewis said he was “confident of that”.
On whether Boris Johnson would survive a vote of no confidence, Lewis said: “I don’t think we’re in that space.” Asked whether the Prime Minister would be removed if the party loses the two upcoming by-elections, he declared that he does not think so, but that he also does not think the Conservatives will lose the by-elections.