Matthew Taylor

Sunday shows round-up: Raab ‘excited’ to work with Biden

Sunday shows round-up: Raab 'excited' to work with Biden
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, Picture credit: BBC, Marr
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Dominic Raab – ‘I'm excited' about working with President Biden

On the morning after Joe Biden was declared President-elect, the Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab offered his congratulations to Mr Biden and his running mate Kamala Harris. Raab told Sophy Ridge that the Biden administration would find plenty of common ground with Boris Johnson's government:

DR: The things that President-elect Biden wants to achieve internationally... not just security and counter-terrorism in the Middle East, but coronavirus and returning to the Paris Climate Agreement – these are all things which... we'll have a huge amount to co-operate on and I'm excited about working with the new administration.

We've got 'full faith' in the checks and balances of the US

Andrew Marr asked Raab if there was any truth to Donald Trump's persistent claims that the elections had been marred by electoral fraud, something which Trump has indicated he will pursue in the courts:

AM: Were these elections a completely legal and fair process?

DR: ...I think they were... We've got full faith in the checks and balances of the American system to reach a clear result... I think, particularly if you're the government, you've got to tread carefully and sensitively and not risk being perceived to be interfering in either the campaign or the aftermath.

We're 'listening' to US concerns about Internal Market Bill

Marr also picked up on President-elect Biden's attitude to Brexit and how this might affect his relationship with the UK. However, Raab did not answer his question about whether the government would change its Internal Market Bill, which was infamously described as potentially breaking international law 'in a specific and limited way':

AM: The new incoming team have been very clear that they want to see changes in the Internal Market Bill... [Are you] prepared to move in any way?

DR: We, of course, listen to the concerns of our American friends... We have also had the opportunity to explain to [US Congress members] why we're taking the approach that we are and the pressure that the EU has put on the Good Friday Agreement.

Marcus Rashford is a 'tremendous character'

The Manchester United footballer Marcus Rashford has scored another success, with the government announcing that the free school meals campaign he championed will be extended once again, this time over the school holidays. Raab paid tribute to his efforts:

DR: I think that Marcus Rashford... has stood up as a tremendous character... I don't think there's any real difference here, even in the debate. We all want to look after the most vulnerable. The question is the best way to do it.

Nick Carter - Remembrance Day will be 'particularly tough' this year

The Chief of the Defence Staff, General Sir Nick Carter made his own tour of the TV studios for Remembrance Sunday. He expressed his sadness at how this 11 November would have to look very different from previous years:

NC: It's going to be very different this year... and I think that's going to be particularly tough on our veterans, who traditionally have had the opportunity to get together and to talk about their memories and their reflections... and I think that's why we need to remember why remembrance matters.

Quarter of British Army 'might be robots' in 10 years time

Carter told Sky News' Deborah Haynes that he could see a not too distant future in which the UK's armed forces could be made of even sterner stuff than they are now:

NC: I think you're going to see an armed forces that's designed for the 2030s... We will absolutely avail ourselves of autonomous platforms and robotics wherever we can... I suspect we could have an army of 120,000, of which 30,000 might be robots - who knows?

ISIL 'has not gone away'

Carter reflected on the recent terror attacks in Paris, Nice and Vienna, noting that the problem of Islamic extremism was not likely to fade into the background during the 2020s:

NC: The plain fact is that the challenge of Daesh, of the Islamic State has not gone away, and we have forces deployed in parts of the world at the moment that are dealing with that particular challenge. It's a clear and present threat, and it's one that we should all be alert to.

A third World War 'is a risk'

If that wasn't enough of a worry, Carter added that a possibility of a third World War, however remote, was always on the cards. However, he stressed the importance of remembrance as a means to prevent it happening again:

NC: History might not repeat itself, but it has a rhythm... [Another World War] is a risk, and I think we need to be conscious of those risks, and that's why remembrance matters. Because if you look back at history, hopefully you learn from their experience and you make sure that you're very cautious about how you manage... regional conflicts.

David Lammy - We will 'seek to replicate' Biden's winning strategy

Returning to more political matters, Marr spoke to shadow justice secretary David Lammy, and asked him if there were any lessons for the Labour party to learn from Joe Biden's victory:

AM: Do you learn the lesson that... you win elections nearer the centre than the left?

DL: I think that the Labour party in this country wants to be a party for the whole nation and not just one tribe. That's what we've seen in the United States... and of course we will seek to replicate that. It's why we've sought to be constructive with the government where we can on coronavirus.

Sajid Javid - UK can't avoid tax rises

Rishi Sunak's predecessor as Chancellor, Sajid Javid, told Ridge what he saw as part of the UK's inevitable future mission to bring public spending back under control after the costly coronavirus crisis:

SJ: I think the best way to do that... is to control public spending even more tightly... I'm not going to pretend with you for a second that you're going to be able to avoid having to raise some taxes... When taxes are changed I think it's really important that it is not taxes that hit work incentives or hit businesses.

Emily Thornberry - Boris will struggle to move on from Trump

The shadow international trade secretary gave her two cents on the future relationship between Boris Johnson and Joe Biden:

ET: There has been a general approach, a populist approach from Boris Johnson which I think he has had in common with Donald Trump, and that is why they have had such a close friendship, that is why they have been so mutually congratulatory, and it'll be very difficult I think.. to move from that to being close to Joe Biden.

Chris Coons - Boris is much better than the 'caricature' in US press

And finally, Chris Coons, the Democratic Senator for Delaware – who is one of Joe Biden's closest allies – told Marr that he had been pleasantly surprised after meeting Boris Johnson, whom he felt had been somewhat misrepresented over the past year or so:

CC: He's struck me as someone who is more agile, engaging, educated and forward looking than perhaps the caricature of him in the American press would have suggested... and it's my hope that President-Elect Biden has a similar experience.