Jeremy Corbyn - 'I want a close relationship' with the EU
The Labour leader was Andrew Marr's chief guest of the day. Marr began by asking for Corbyn's personal stance on Brexit, something which has proved highly elusive since the referendum result in 2016. Corbyn happily gave the Labour party's position, but once again refused to be drawn on the issue:
AM: Do you want this country to leave the EU or not?
JC: We're going to put that choice to the British people, and they will make that decision... I want a close relationship with the EU in the future.
'You don't know' who I'm going to negotiate with
If Labour wins the upcoming election, the party plans on re-negotiating a Brexit deal with the EU. Marr challenged Corbyn on the likelihood of getting a good deal while so many of his top team are vocal supporters of remaining inside the EU:
AM: It's not a very strong army at your back, is it?
JC: You don't know who I'm going to take with me into those negotiations... There would obviously be a team of people who would be involved in this. They would be representative of all parts of the UK, and areas that have different views.
'There will be a great deal of movement' after Brexit
At the 2017 election, Labour's manifesto stated that 'free movement of people will end' when the UK leaves the EU. Corbyn was considerably less strident about this proposition today, stressing both the importance of migration and the issue of family reunion:
AM: Will free movement end when we leave the EU?
JC: There will be a great deal of movement.
AM: A great deal of movement- so free movement will not end?
JC: ...You'll have to wait until Thursday.
Trident may be up for negotiation
Corbyn signalled that Labour could meet one of the SNP's stated aims — the scrapping of the Trident nuclear weapons system — if there was a hung Parliament. Stopping short of agreeing with the SNP position, Corbyn suggested that it could be a bargaining chip for a post-election deal:
JC: I think the SNP would actually agree with me... that the priority has to be giving realism to the nuclear non-proliferation treaty [of 1970]...
AM: So the Trident boats stay?
JC: Well they would be part, obviously... if you're into nuclear non-proliferation discussions then clearly every country's nuclear weapons go into that equation.
'Not sure' Nato is most successful military alliance
Last week, General Sir Nick Carter dubbed Nato the 'longest and most successful alliance in military history'. Corbyn, a known-Nato sceptic, did not appear to agree, but implied from his response that he had no plans to withdraw from it:
JC: I'm not sure I'd define it as that. I would define it as a product of an attempt to bring people together during and after the Second World War... Our voice will be in Nato there to try and reduce tensions between countries.
Dominic Raab - No 'arbitrary target' for immigration
Marr also interviewed the Foreign Secretary and quizzed him on the Conservatives' plan for immigration outside the EU. The Prime Minister and Home Secretary have given the impression that they will seek to reduce overall immigration, which is currently estimated at around 226,000 new arrivals a year. Raab refused to guarantee a net reduction, suggesting the levels could fluctuate as required:
DR: We're not going to fix on an arbitrary target... What we'll do is make sure that the government and Parliament has got control over immigration... We can make sure that by exercising a points based system, we've got control year by year.
We will seek to repatriate orphans to the UK
A leaked report from the National Security Council has suggested that several cabinet ministers, including the Home Secretary, have raised objections to the return of British-born children who were taken by their parents to Syria to join IS. Raab downplayed the leak and insisted that the government fully intended to repatriate the children where possible:
DR: Where you've got orphaned children, or unaccompanied minors without their parents - and there's no security threat - of course we will seek to repatriate them to this country.
No deal 'not remotely likely'
While discussing post-Brexit fishing arrangements, Marr raised the question of whether leaving the EU without a deal was still on the table. Raab responded that it was not:
AM: Could we leave without a deal?
DR: No... I don’t think it’s remotely likely.
Brandon Lewis - 'No job offers' to the Brexit party
The security minister Brandon Lewis joined Sophy Ridge. Ridge raised accusations, including from the Brexit party MEP Ben Habib, that Conservative party officials had offered jobs to Ann Widdecombe and other figures in return for standing down as Brexit Party candidates. If true, this would be contrary to electoral law. Lewis defended his party's conduct:
SR: You can guarantee that no conversations have been going on about offering jobs to Brexit party members or candidates?
BL: There have been no job offers. We're not doing deals with anybody.
Conservatives will bring in 'much fairer' immigration system
Lewis, a former immigration minister, also told Ridge that he was confident the Conservatives would bring immigration down with their points system proposal, and that he felt it would be fairer than the current state of play:
BL: We will reduce immigration... We are also going to restrict benefits, so that when people come over from the EU, they will have to wait - like everybody else... wait 5 years before they can get access to benefits. So it's a much fairer system for everybody.
Jonathan Ashworth - People are doing 'DIY dentistry'
The Shadow Health Secretary also joined Ridge to discuss Labour's latest plans for dental healthcare. Ashworth explained why his party was planning to abolish charges for dental checkups:
JA: We do have an oral health crisis in the country... More and more people are doing what is called 'DIY dentistry' because they cannot afford to go and see a dentist... We think by expanding access [that] will also have knock-on effects of improving children's health as well.
Tories have 'never delivered' on immigration
Ashworth slammed Brandon Lewis' aspirations for immigration, but refused to say whether immigration under a Labour government would go up or down:
JA: A Labour government will have a balanced, fair approach to immigration...
SR: What does that mean? Does that mean you want to see it go up or down?
JA: What Brandon Lewis is saying, 'We've got these targets, it's going to go down'. They've never delivered on that ever... You run an immigration based on the needs of your economy... A Labour government is not going to set an arbitrary target.
Sian Berry - Greens 'are putting forward big ideas every day'
Ridge also spoke to the Green party's co-leader Sian Berry. Berry enthusiastically put forward her party's plans, but Ridge confronted her with figures from The Times which costed the Green's spending pledges at around £959 billion:
SB We are putting forward big ideas every day in this election...
SR: It looks like it!... Don't you have a responsibility to be realistic?
SB: The Times has overestimated the cost of [universal basic income], but I'm not going to mess about. We are planning to invest an awful lot in this country.
Dame Carolyn Fairbairn - Immigration should not just be 'brightest and best'
The CBI's Director General told Ridge why she felt current immigration proposals from the Conservatives could be too restrictive for businesses:
CF: When we hear talk about 'brightest and best', I think that is a worry. If you do want to build 200,000 houses a year, you don't just need the architects and the designers. You need the carpenters, the electricians, the labourers... It's people at all skill levels across our economy that we need.
Labour could 'crack the foundations' of our economy
And finally, Fairbairn raised Labour's programme for nationalisation as a concern that could seriously impact business investment:
CF: We look at the policies on the table and we have real concerns that they are going to crack the foundations of our economy... I have talked to businesses who are already sitting there thinking 'Maybe we're next'.