Sajid Javid - Our priority 'must be law and order'
The Tory leadership race is becoming a crowded field, with thirteen candidates now setting out their stalls as they aim for the premiership. Andrew Marr spoke to two of the hopefuls, including Home Secretary Sajid Javid. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Javid wished to talk about boosting resources for the police if he attains the country's highest political office:
AM: If you'd had your own way, we'd have more police on the beat now?
SJ: Yes... A priority must be crime and law and order... If I was leader and Prime Minister, I would want to see more police on the streets, and I think it's justified.
'You have to prepare for no deal'
The Home Secretary also spelled out that while he was in favour of a Brexit deal with the EU, he would be taking the possibility of a no deal exit very seriously:
SJ: You have to prepare for no deal... I passionately want a deal [but] ...there is a real possibility that a no deal could happen, and it's absolutely responsible to prepare for that... I want to use the time we've got to prepare even more.
A 'modern digitised border' is necessary for the union
Javid was adamant that a digitised border between the UK and the Republic of Ireland was perfectly possible and indeed necessary in order to secure a deal and break the current deadlock over the controversial backstop:
SJ: I've commissioned work from Border Force... What I am sure of is that a modern digitised border, which is a completely open border with no infrastructure... is necessary to protect our union... I think it is right that we pay for it, because economically it makes sense because it will unlock a Brexit deal, and morally I think it is right because we are committed to peace on the island of Ireland.
Huawei shouldn't have access to 'sensitive' UK data
Javid also said that it was extremely unlikely that he would allow the Chinese technology firm Huawei to have a role in building the UK's 5G infrastructure:
AM: Huawei - yes or no?
SJ: I would not want any company - whatever country it is from - that has a high degree of control from a foreign government to have access to our very sensitive telecommunications data.
Andrea Leadsom - 'I'm going for a managed exit'
Marr also interviewed the former Leader of the House of Commons, whose resignation from government has been credited with bringing about Theresa May's departure. Leadsom, who stood against May in 2016 before dropping out of the race, told Marr of how she planned to move things forward with the European Union:
AM: You're going for no deal?
AL: No, I'm going for a managed exit... There's a very significant difference... What I’m suggesting is making an offer to the EU for things... that were already agreed in the withdrawal agreement that will enable us to leave with a managed exit... There are now very sensible pre-agreed measures that we can put into place before the end of October.
There will be 'no alliance' with the Brexit party
Leadsom told Marr that despite the considerable electoral threat posed by Nigel Farage's Brexit Party, she would not countenance any pact with them if she becomes Conservative leader:
AM: Could you envisage yourself doing an alliance or a deal with the Brexit party going forward?
AL: No. I'll talk to all political parties, I think it's important to reach out. But there won't be an alliance.
Woody Johnson - 'Give people a choice' on food
The US Ambassador to the UK joined Marr ahead of President Donald Trump's state visit, which will begin tomorrow. Marr was keen to discuss the possible areas of contention in a future trade-deal with the US after Brexit:
AM: Does Britain have to accept American agricultural and food standards in order to get that deal?
WJ: No, but I think there's going to have to be some deal where you give the British people a choice. If they like it, they can buy it. If they don't want it they don't have to buy it... Even the EU has taken a position that... the American food supply is as safe as anything in Europe.
Healthcare 'would be on the table'
Marr continued his line of questioning, this time with regards to potential implications for the National Health Service. Johnson argued that the UK had nothing to fear, but suggested that American negotiators would see the health service as fair game:
AM: Do you feel that healthcare has to be part of the deal?
WJ: I think probably the entire economy in a trade deal - all things that are traded - would be on the table.
AM: Which includes healthcare?
WJ: I would think so.
Jo Swinson - 'There is no limit to my ambition for the Lib Dems'
Marr's final political guest was Jo Swinson, who is running to replace Sir Vince Cable as leader of the Liberal Democrats. With an unusually strong performance in the recent European elections and one polling company putting the party in first place nationally, Marr asked Swinson if the sky was the limit:
JS: There is no limit on my ambition for the Liberal Democrats. I think we are at a pivotal moment in our politics, where the two party structure is fracturing and there is a real appetite for a liberal movement, for people who believe in our values... Those people are joining us in their thousands.
I 'regret' the bedroom tax
Swinson defended her party's record in government but told Marr that she did regret some of the cuts that they had endorsed during the coalition years. She highlighted the so-called 'bedroom tax' in particular, but rejected criticism that the Lib Dems were in effect, the 'pro-Remain wing of the Conservative party':
JS: I think in 2010, with the financial crisis that was unfolding, we did need to make cuts...
AM: Do you regret any of those cuts?
JS: Of course. The bedroom tax being an example... We shouldn't have let that through... We didn't get everything right, but we did do a lot of good.
Sam Gyimah - The country needs 'a final say'
The former Universities Minister Sam Gyimah has become the latest MP to declare his candidacy for the Conservative leadership. Gyimah, the only contender advocating a second referendum, outlined his platform to Sky's Niall Paterson:
SG: I would have a referendum in which there is no deal on the ballot paper, Theresa May’s deal and a remain option. Now this will mean that everybody has their option on the ballot paper. A referendum doesn’t automatically mean that the result of the 2016 referendum is overturned. The country could still stay loudly again, now we know the terms of departure and what is negotiable, that it still wants to leave.
'I'd vote Remain' in that referendum
Unsurprisingly, Gyimah told Paterson that his preference was still to remain within the European Union:
SG: I would vote remain... But mine would be one out of millions of votes, so that’s not the important thing. And if I was Prime Minister I wouldn't actively campaign for that. I think what we should remember is, Leave or Remain, we all care about our country.
Sadiq Khan - We shouldn't 'roll out the red carpet' for Donald Trump
The Mayor of London has critiqued the decision to award President Trump a full state visit to the UK, despite the trip coinciding with the 75th anniversary of the D-Day Landings. In today's Observer, Khan has likened Trump to a '20th Century fascist':
SK: I don't think we should be rolling out the red carpet... I think a close ally is akin to a best friend, and the thing with a best friend is of course, you stand shoulder to shoulder with them at times of adversity, but you’ve got to call them out when you think they’re wrong. And there are so many things about President Donald Trump’s policies that are the antithesis of our values in London, plus our values as a country.
'Lack of clarity' cost Labour at the elections
Khan argued that Labour's poor performance at last week's European elections, which saw the Liberal Democrats win almost twice as many seats, was because Labour had ducked the chance to wholeheartedly endorse a second referendum:
SK: A big issue was that of clarity in our position on Europe, a big issue was the fact that we’re not being stronger in relation to the need for a public vote... All that we are presented with now from the government is a million miles away from what we were promised in the referendum campaign, and in the light of that, the British public for the first time should [have] a say.
Ann Widdecombe - The Tories 'have gone mad'
Newly elected Brexit MEP Ann Widdecombe told Paterson that she despaired of her former party, suggesting that it was too inward looking to deliver Brexit:
AW: The nation is pretty angry. That is why it’s turned against the two main parties. It’s angry with the fudge, it’s angry with the obfuscation. My former party has gone mad - it has now got 13 candidates for the leadership!... We have tapped into a vein of anger and frustration but it’s with a very clear aim, it’s to get us out of the EU and deliver what the people asked for.
Farage 'right' to have no manifesto
Widdecombe also defended her party's unusual decision not to publish a manifesto for the European election campaign:
AW: I think Nigel Farage was absolutely right to resist the pressure for a manifesto and a broad range of policies in the Euro elections for this reason – we had but one policy which was leave without a deal, and that took us to the top of the poll. And nobody can say, 'Oh, we voted for you for other reasons'!
David Gauke - I can't serve a 'no deal' government
The Justice Secretary said that he would be prepared to leave the cabinet on principle if the new Prime Minister and cabinet decide to pursue no deal with the EU as an active policy choice:
DG: I don’t think you can completely take [no deal] off the table because the European Union might refuse any kind of extension... so I accept that we should prepare for it... [but] I wouldn’t support that policy and I wouldn’t be able to serve in a cabinet that pursued that policy.
Nicky Morgan - I'm backing Michael Gove
And finally, the prominent Remain supporting MP Nicky Morgan has told Sky News' Kimberly Leonard that she is backing the Brexiteer Michael Gove for the leadership:
NM: Michael is absolutely determined to deliver Brexit. He led the Vote Leave campaign and he wants to see that through, but also wants to make sure that there is a deal as we leave the European Union. He is ready to lead the country, to unite the party and the country, and to deliver Brexit, and I think that's the most important thing.