Matthew Taylor

Sunday shows round-up: Theresa May’s hard-headed Brexit

Sunday shows round-up: Theresa May's hard-headed Brexit
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Theresa May: People voted from the heart, but I must be hard-headed

After an outbreak of discontent in the Conservative party over her Chequers Brexit plan, the Prime Minister took to the Andrew Marr Show to defend her policy. The plan led to David Davis and Boris Johnson quitting the cabinet, and there are rumours that more ministers could follow in the coming days. There is also the possibility that May could face a vote of no confidence in her leadership at any point. Marr asked her if the Chequers Agreement was letting her party and the country down:

AM: There are an awful lot of Conservatives...and members of your own party and members of your own government who think this is a really bad deal, and the reason they think it's a bad deal is that it keeps us far too close to the EU...

TM: I recognise that there will be many people... who feel really strongly, who feel passionately about this issue, about leaving the European Union, and many people voted from the heart... My job as Prime Minister is to deliver for them, but also I've got to be hard-headed and practical about this, and do it in a way that ensures we get the best interests for the UK.

May defended her controversial proposal of a 'common rulebook' with the EU, saying 'it does allow us to do new trade deals around the rest of the world', and said that 'some of these are regulatory standards that we wouldn't want to change anyway...We want to continue to be a country that has high standards'. May said that she had been talking with David Davis about the rulebook 'for some time' before the Chequers summit.

May: Trump told me to sue the EU

May also disclosed some information alluded to during a press conference with President Donald Trump at Chequers on Friday. Trump said that he had given the Prime Minister some advice on how to conduct a tough negotiation with the EU. In her interview, May decided to reveal all:

AM: The whole country wants to know Prime Minister. What was that brutal tough suggestion?

TM: He told me I should sue the EU...Not go into negotiations, sue them!... But interestingly, what the President also said at the press conference was 'Don't walk away. Don't walk away from those negotiations because then you're stuck'. So I want us to be able to sit down to negotiate the best deal for Britain.

Elsewhere in the interview, Marr asked what would happen if the EU rejected the Chequers plan. May replied 'So far they haven't said no. So far, they've said that they are willing to sit down and talk about this'. She reasserted that 'free movement will end' and if all else failed, she reiterated that 'no deal is better than a bad deal'. On a potential leadership challenge, May told Marr 'I have always said that I am in this for the long term'.

Jacob Rees-Mogg: Theresa May is a Remainer who has remained a Remainer

Veteran eurosceptic Jacob Rees-Mogg has castigated the Prime Minister for her choice of words in her Marr interview. The Chairman of the European Research Group said in an interview with Sarah Smith that the Prime Minister's red lines 'were not respected' and questioned whether her heart was really in delivering the right Brexit for the UK:

SS: The Prime Minister...made very clear she thinks that the plan set out at Chequers does respect all of the red lines she had laid out before. Can you agree with her on that much?

JRM: No I don't...The government unfortunately believes that Brexit is not a good thing in itself. It seems to think it has to be tempered with non-Brexit, and that was when the Prime Minister said 'people voted with their hearts' and she was doing something with her head. In my view and in the view of most Brexiteers, head and heart come together. Brexit is enormously positive, a huge opportunity for the country, and I'm afraid the Prime Minister doesn't see that, and it's why I think she is a Remainer who has remained a Remainer.

Rees-Mogg did not call for the Prime Minister's resignation, however, telling Smith 'she still has the opportunity to change her policy', and referred to her Lancaster House speech in 2016 as 'a good basis to do things on'. However, he cautioned her against 'splitting the Conservative party' by relying on Labour votes to push her eventual deal through the Commons, calling that 'a very divisive thing for a leader of the Conservative party to do'.

John Mann: Labour would 'lose the working class' over a second referendum 

The prominent Labour backbencher John Mann, one of only a handful of opposition MPs to campaign for a Leave vote, has said that Jeremy Corbyn will 'lose the working class' if he decides to go down the path of a 'people's vote' on the final Brexit deal. This is what he told Sophy Ridge:

SR: At the minute the Labour leadership isn't ruling out what they call a 'people's vote'. Is that something that concerns you?

JM: Well, everything I've heard from Jeremy Corbyn is ruling that out. I think he'll stick to that. I certainly hope he will. He'll lose the working class if he doesn't.

Mann continued 'I'll not be the same lobby as those who want to scupper Brexit, and if [those MPs are] in the lobby with Jacob Rees-Mogg, then I think the public will be asking some very big questions'. Mann tore into those advocating no deal, saying 'I think Rees-Mogg and his little gang need to be honest, that when they're saying 'no deal', what they mean is we abide by the rules and regulations of the World Trade Organisation', which Mann  described as 'disastrous' and 'not what people voted for'.

Tom Watson: Labour would bid for the 2030 World Cup

And finally, after football fever has been sweeping the nation, Labour's Deputy Leader Tom Watson told Sophy Ridge of his ambitions for the sporting event coming to England, even if that means working across the parties to try and bring both the tournament and the trophy home:

Football might be coming home afterall - @tom_watson says one of the first things a Labour government would do would be attempt to secure hosting the 2030 #WorldCup

— Ridge on Sunday (@RidgeOnSunday) July 15, 2018

TW: We were disappointed in [2010] when we did the World Cup bid. It seems to me that we should be bidding for the World Cup 2030. And that's a few years off, and we don't know who's going to be in government in a few years time. If we're in government, I hope it's one of the first things the Labour government does, which is work with our FA to try and put a World Cup bid together. If the Conservatives are... in government then we'd like to work with them to make sure that a bid is successful.