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Sunday shows round-up: Boris insists no-deal Brexit still possible

29 September 2019

10:31 PM

29 September 2019

10:31 PM

Boris Johnson – Death threats against MPs are not ‘humbug’

With the Conservatives gathering in Manchester for their party conference, the Prime Minister was Andrew Marr’s big guest of the day. After an eventful few weeks, Marr was not short of topics to discuss. He began with the furore created during the recall of Parliament, when Johnson appeared to dismiss complaints about safety by the Labour MP Paula Sherriff as ‘humbug’. Johnson responded that he took MPs’ security concerns seriously, and that his remarks were taken out of context:

Boris Johnson condemns threats to MPs but defends his use of language like “surrender act” #Marr https://t.co/rTWgTtH6AN pic.twitter.com/JJuiazoS1Q

— BBC Politics (@BBCPolitics) September 29, 2019

BJ: I want to make a very important distinction between… threats and abuse directed at MPs, which is totally unacceptable… and what I think is the legitimate use of old tried and trusted metaphors to describe certain parliamentary acts… If you cannot use a ‘metaphor’ like surrender… you are diminishing parliamentary debate.

Boris pressed over businesswoman link

Marr pressed Johnson over his links to the American businesswoman Jennifer Arcuri. It has been reported that Arcuri enjoyed ‘privileged access’ on three trade missions while Johnson was mayor of London, as well as securing an entrepreneur visa and £126,000 of government grants. Johnson insisted that his relationship with Arcuri was above board:

Challenged over links with businesswoman Jennifer Arcuri when mayor of London, the PM insists “There was no interest to declare” #Marr https://t.co/m3LijkCSoe pic.twitter.com/gz41tLdou6

— BBC Politics (@BBCPolitics) September 29, 2019

BJ: Everything was done with full propriety… There was no interest to declare. Let’s be absolutely clear, I am very, very proud of everything that we did and certainly everything that I did as mayor of London.

No deal with the EU is still possible

The Prime Minister told Marr that he was still aiming to reach a deal with the EU, but that he would not be seeking a tweaked version of Theresa May’s Withdrawal Agreement. Johnson reasserted his position that leaving the EU on the 31 October was entirely possible. This would mean finding a way to subvert the Benn Act, which Johnson has dubbed the ‘surrender bill’, as it imposes strict limitations on the government by demanding that it asks for an extension to negotiations:

Boris Johnson insists a deal with the EU is still possible by mid-October. #Marr https://t.co/qd5dGPjf4Q pic.twitter.com/CfQYkGgodC

— BBC Politics (@BBCPolitics) September 29, 2019

BJ: Obviously the chances of deal or no deal depend very much on the common sense of our friends and partners. It has not been helped by the ‘surrender act’…

AM: Can we still leave the EU on 31st October without a deal?

BJ: Of course we can… [but] what we want to do is get a deal… There’s the opportunity now to get a good deal.

Angela Rayner – PM has ‘strategy to divide our country’


Marr’s other guest was shadow education secretary Angela Rayner. Rayner attacked the Prime Minister for his use of language and argued that his choice of words were offensive by design. Rayner conceded that comments from her side of the House had also crossed the line of acceptability:

MPs on all sides must “dial down” their language says Labour’s Angela Rayner, accusing Boris Johnson of trying to “divide” the country. #Marr https://t.co/rTWgTtH6AN pic.twitter.com/eWogMaESvg

— BBC Politics (@BBCPolitics) September 29, 2019

AR: I’m really disappointed with the Prime Minister… he’s got a direct strategy to divide our country. To suggest in any way that we are surrendering… I think is really damaging… We have a responsibility now, as parliamentarians, to dial down [our] language.

Private schools should disappear in five years

Rayner also made clear that she was fully behind the spirit of a motion passed at the Labour conference last week seeking to abolish private schools:

Labour’s shadow education secretary Angela Rayner says “elitist” private schools “have been subsidised by the taxpayer for far too long” #Marr https://t.co/kYMaiTvwWn pic.twitter.com/8w2KVF18nX

— BBC Politics (@BBCPolitics) September 29, 2019

AM: Would you like, after five years of a Labour government… to have no private schools left in this country?

AR: Yes, I want a comprehensive state education system, and I want to stop subsidising private education.

Nigel Farage – ‘Of course I will stand’ at next election

Sophy Ridge interviewed the leader of the Brexit party Nigel Farage. Farage said that the Brexit party was now planning on standing in almost every seat across the UK and that he was fully prepared to be one of the candidates. However, he told Ridge that he would wait until the last minute to announce where he planning to stand:

‘Of course I’ll stand at the next election’ says Nigel Farage.

Though the Brexit Party Leader refuses to say where, admitting he’ll only reveal it “right at the end”. #Ridge

Follow Sunday politics live here: https://t.co/mjxKKK6vk4 pic.twitter.com/TY6mGkBPPB

— Ridge on Sunday (@RidgeOnSunday) September 29, 2019

NF: Yes, of course I’ll stand, and I will lead the charge on behalf of the Brexit party… If we get to the 1st of November and we haven’t left the EU, you will see support for the Brexit party rise considerably… We’ve got a very very important role to play.

We’re ‘happy to help’ Boris win a majority

However, Farage continued by saying that he would be happy to foster a ‘non-aggression pact’ between the Brexit party and the Conservatives. He even hinted that he could explicitly endorse the Conservatives in some areas – but only if they agreed to endorse his requests for a ‘clean break’ (i.e. no deal) Brexit:

“Here is a way for Boris to get a big, workable majority. We’re happy to help with that.”

Nigel Farage says the PM would gain a big majority of 60-100 seats if he signed up to an election pact with the Brexit Party. #Ridge

Follow Sunday politics here: https://t.co/mjxKKK6vk4 pic.twitter.com/2anaYzMXMC

— Ridge on Sunday (@RidgeOnSunday) September 29, 2019

NF: In those marginal constituencies… I could actually personally help to swing some for Boris… Here is a way for Boris to get a big, workable majority. We’re happy to help with that, but it’s got to be the right policy.

Language controversy is a ‘distraction by Remainers’

Ridge questioned Farage over a line from a recent speech he made in Newport. Farage declared that once Brexit was done, ‘we’ll take the knife’ to ‘overpaid pen-pushers in Whitehall’. Farage was unrepentant and suggested that Remain supporting politicians were trying to hem in the political debate by trying to control politicians’ choice of words:

Nigel Farage says concerns over abusive language are a ‘remainer distraction’ by people who want to halt Brexit.

Farage was investigated by police for saying “we’ll take the knife” to civil servants. #Ridge

Follow Sunday politics live here: https://t.co/mjxKKK6vk4 pic.twitter.com/JDLSIWaYCF

— Ridge on Sunday (@RidgeOnSunday) September 29, 2019

NF: It would have been much better to say ‘take the axe’ to Whitehall, because that’s the more traditional term… [But] all of this is a massive distraction that is coming from the Remainers who want to halt the democratic process in this country.

Matt Hancock – Hospital money will come ‘in the future’

Ridge also spoke to Health Secretary Matt Hancock. Today the Conservatives have announced a new policy to either build or upgrade 40 hospitals across England. However, the government has currently only put up £100 million for 34 of the hospitals. Ridge asked why this was the case:

“The rest of the money will come in the future” – Health Secretary Matt Hancock is pushed on how the government will pay for the 40 new hospitals announced today. #Ridge

Follow Sunday politics live here: https://t.co/mjxKKK6vk4 pic.twitter.com/oMmv9m8b7b

— Ridge on Sunday (@RidgeOnSunday) September 29, 2019

SR: Where’s the rest of the money coming from?

MH: That’s the seed funding. The rest of the money will come in the future from taxpayers… The government is giving the go ahead to all 40, and we’re giving the money immediately to the first 6. For the following 34… we’re giving funding now to get the projects ready.

David Gauke – Benn bill ‘not cooked up with Brussels’

Former Justice Secretary David Gauke was notably one of the 21 rebels who was expelled from the Conservative party earlier this month after voting for the Commons to take control of the Brexit proceedings. The government has since announced that it would examine whether Remain supporting MPs has ‘colluded’ with members of the EU in producing the Benn Act. Gauke rejected any such claims:

“It’s not true” – David Gauke denies that the anti-no-deal law was cooked up with Brussels.

He says Downing Street is feeding the narrative “anyone who disagrees with No.10 is somehow unpatriotic or an enemy or wanting to surrender”. #Ridge

More here: https://t.co/mjxKKK6vk4 pic.twitter.com/TPCPQkSGiu

— Ridge on Sunday (@RidgeOnSunday) September 29, 2019

DG: Here is a very good example of a No. 10 briefing… providing no evidence that there was anything supporting the [idea] that there was help coming from foreign countries. It’s not true, but even if it were true, the use of language of that sort is completely disproportionate.

And finally, Gauke told Ridge that it was still his ambition to return and to represent his former party:

DG: I consider myself a Conservative. I’ve been a member of the Conservative party for 29 years… I would like to fight the next general election… as a Conservative candidate.

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