Conservative conference 2017: Theresa May’s interview with Andrew Marr – Politics live


Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “Conservative conference 2017: Theresa May’s interview with Andrew Marr – Politics live” was written by Andrew Sparrow, for theguardian.com on Sunday 1st October 2017 08.57 UTC

Q: What will you do if there is no deal?

May says she hopes there will be a deal.

Q: Business people are scared witless of there being no deal. What will happen?

May says government departments are looking at this.

Q: No deal would be so bad for this country, people say. If you can’t get a deal, will you resign.

May says she is working to get a deal.

The deal that works for the UK will also work for the EU.

Q: I’m asking you straight questions, and you are not answering. [Marr plays the “nothing has changed” clip from her election press conference.] Your own advisers were aghast at that point. Why don’t you admit things have changed?

May says she has announced a change to tuition fees.

The point she was making during the election was that the principle behind that system had not changed.

Q: During the transition period, if EU law changes, will we accept those changes?

May says the use of the word implies the UK might not leave.

She says by the time the UK leaves, the UK will know where it is heading.

She says there will be a two-year implementation period to implement Brexit.

Q: And, if EU laws change during that period?

May says the EU law will continue to apply.

Q: But what happens if EU law, affecting say banking, changes.

May says this will be a matter for the negotiation.

Q: So that is not a yes or a no.

May says she is heading into a negotiation.

Q: Y0u spoke to Angela Merkel this week. Does she think your Florence speech changed things.

May says she thinks the speech has unblocked things. That was clear from what Michel Barnier at the end of his press conference on Thursday.

Q: The EU says the European court of justice must continue to have a role safeguarding the rights of EU nationals.

May says the UK courts would take account of ECJ judgments.

Q: Two thirds of people want rail renationalised. Can you tell people privatisation is working.

May says she can understand why people think that, especially if they are a Southern Railways customer.

But she can remember what the trains were like under nationalisation. The service is better now. There is better reliability and better choice.

Q: Louise Casey, the former civil servant, has criticised the way this is being handled. She says some families will lose their children.

May says overall the reform is a good one.

But as it is rolled out, the government must address the problems.

Q: The BBC recently interviewed a woman with 4p left because she was not getting her UC.

May says she accepts there are problems. The government is looking at this. Performance has been improving, she says.

Q: With the roll out of universal credit, some people will get no money for six weeks. How will people eat?

May says she recognises there is a problem. David Gauke, the work and pensions secretary, is looking at this.

Q: Could you pause the roll out?

May says it is important to roll out the system. But the government needs to address these issues too, she says.

May says the government will incentivise landlords to offer longer tenancies.

And it will also offer new safeguards for tenants.

Q: During the election you said there was no magic money tree. But in the last few minutes you have spent about £12bn. Where is the money coming from?

May says the government will set out its plan in its budget.

Q: Average weekly wages have fallen. People feel worse off because they are worse off. And if you are under 40 your chances of saving for a deposit for a house are worse then ever.

May says she recognises that.

The focus of the party conference will be a party that works for everyone.

The Conservatives want to ensure every generation can be better off than the last one.

That is why the government is focusing on housing.

Q: How much extra money is there for housing?

£10bn, says May.

Q: And where will the money come from?

May says the government will set out its plans in its budget.

May says the government is dealing with the deficit, and also putting more money into services.

And there are 3m more people in work, she says.

Q: What is the average wage at the moment?

May says average earnings are around £25,000.

Q: The average weekly wage is £505. Has it gone up or down on your wage.

May says people are feeling a squeeze on their incomes.

Q: Could you end up with the taxpayer paying most of these fees. Labour would get the taxpayer to pay the entire sum.

May says Labour wants people who don’t go to university to pay for those who do.

She says people who go to university make contributions to society. But so are people who don’t go to university.

Q: People have debts of up to £50,000. Will that debt be affected?

May says the government is making two changes: raising the repayment threshold. That will be worth £30 a month, she says.

Q: To students who are watching, compared to the banquet Jeremy Corbyn is offering, that will sound like a dry biscuit.

May says Labour cannot afford its banquet.

At the Labour conference Labour themselves said they would bankrupt the economy.

Q: They did not say that.

They said there would be a run on the pound, says May.

Q: Do you accept the tuition fee announcement is an U-turn?

May sidesteps the question.

This is not just an issue for students, she says. Parents and grandparents worry about the debt being built up too.

She summarises the policy.

Q: You defended that policy for years. Was that a faiure?

May says the policy has meant there is money for university.

Q: So why are you freezing it?

May says the govenrment expected universities to vary their fees. That has not happened.

So the government will look at it again.

Q: Will you consider a graduate tax?

May says the government is looking at the policy again.

May refuses to issue direct apology to Conservative party for the election result.

Theresa May is here.

Q: Can you apologise to your party for what happened at the election?

May starts with a long spiel about the conference.

Then she says she takes responsibility for the election. She is sorry some good candidates last their seats.

Q: Being sorry is not the same as apologising. Can you apologise to the party?

May says she has spoken to MPs. She will be speaking later today to activists.

She has worked for the party all her life.

She is sorry the result was not the one they wanted.

  • May refuses to issue direct apology to Conservative party for the election result.

And this, from MLex’s Matthew Holehouse, is good.

Theresa May will be on the Marr Show in a moment. Here is an assessment from the Spectator’s James Forsyth.

Here is Sky News’s political editor Faisal Islam on the Conservatives Help to Buy announcement. (See 8.45am.)

Q: Why did you organise at Brighton to stop a debate on Brexit?

There was lots of debate about Brexit.

Q: But no vote.

There was a vote on the NEC statement on Brexit, Lansman says.

He says Labour wanted to focus on other issues.

Q: There has been a lot of debate about antisemitism in Labour. As a Jew yourself, how do you feel about that?

Lansman says antisemitism is a problem throughout society. It would be strange if that were not a problem for Labour too. That is why he is so please the NEC passed a new rule change addressing this.

Q: So what do you feel when you hear people like Len McCluskey and Ken Loach saying it is not a problem in Labour?

Lansman says you have to be a Jew to experience anti-semitism. He knows it is a problem.

On the Marr Show Andrew Marr is interviewing Jon Lansman, the founder of Momentum.

Q: Would you say you are a revolutionary?

No, says Lansman. He is someone who wants to transform society.

Q: Radical socialist?

Lansman says he is happy with that.

Q: In the 1970s and 1980s people on the left seemed to hate each other more than the Tories. Is that still an issue?

Lansman says he has learnt a lesson from that. “We have put that behind us,” he says. Labour is now a united party.

He says Momentum campaigned for candidates from all wings of the party.

Q: What is your message to MPs worried about being deselected?

Lansman says Momentum is organised in all constituencies. It wants to unseat Tory MPs.

Here is some reaction to the tuition fees announcement. (See 8.45am.)

Angela Rayner, the shadow education secretary, said this was “a desperate attempt by the Tories to kick the issue into the long grass”. She said:

The fact Theresa May thinks she can win over young people by pledging to freeze tuition fees only weeks after increasing them to 9,250 shows just how out of touch she is.

Another commission to look at tuition fees is a desperate attempt by the Tories to kick the issue into the long grass because they have no plans for young people and no ideas for our country. They are yesterday’s party.

The next Labour government will scrap tuition fees entirely and introduce a National Education Service for lifelong learning for the many, not the few.

This is from the Labour MP Luke Pollard.

This is from the Labour peer Andrew Adonis, a former education minister.

But Martin Lewis, the founder of MoneySavingExpert.com, has welcomed the move. He posted this response on Twitter.

This is what Sir Patrick McLoughlin, the Conservative chairman, told BBC Breakfast this morning about the tuition fees announcement. He said:

I think it will reassure people that they won’t have to start paying back their loan until they earn a good salary.

It was the Labour party that introduced tuition fees and it was the Labour party that said they were necessary to see expansion.

We’ve listened, we’ve accepted that there was very great concern. We are taking a very balanced approach and doing what is affordable.

A Conservative MP has said the party’s conference in Manchester is being targeted by “fascists” after pictures circulated on social media of a banner reading: “Hang the Tories”, the Press Association reports. Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham and local Labour MPs denounced the banner, which was strung across a footbridge with two human effigies dangling by their necks below, PA says. It goes on:

Theresa May’s party is facing a weekend of protests in Manchester, with a national anti-austerity demonstration expected to attract thousands on Sunday and a cross-party pro-European rally due to be addressed by Liberal Democrat leader Sir Vince Cable and Tory ex-minister Stephen Dorrell.

Delegates arriving at Manchester Piccadilly station on Saturday evening ahead of the conference at the Manchester Central Convention Complex were greeted by an “unwelcome party” protest led by a choir singing anti-Tory songs.

It was not immediately clear who was responsible for the banner, which was ironically described as “charming” by Conservative MP Michael Fabricant.

Andy Burnham condemned the banner on Twitter.

Speaking to the Mail on Sunday, Philip Hammond, the chancellor, has denied a claim in last week’s Sunday Times that he sent Boris Johnson, the foreign secretary, a text on election night offering to support him as a future leader. Hammond said:

I do not recognise the words, or indeed the sentiment, that I saw written in the Sunday Times.

When you read the article carefully, it didn’t say, ‘The text said 100% behind you’. Instead, it reads, ‘Boris said I’ve had a text from Phil Hammond – he’s 100% behind me’ – not quoting me, but interpreting me …

It’s completely against my character to write down anything like that. I do not write people texts of that description.

The Conservative party conference starts in Manchester today and last night the staff at CCHQ were doubtless checking the #tomorrowspaperstoday hashtag to see what sort of media backdrop they face, and how their overnight policy announcements have gone down. They found one splash they liked so much that they retweeted it.

The Sunday Telegraph’s front page is also reasonably positive – although, as we’ll see in a moment, it may also win a prize for the most elastic use of the word “revolution”.

But, after that, it started to get a lot worse. Here are the Sunday Times and the Mail on Sunday, two papers that in normal circumstances are well disposed towards the Conservatives.

As ever, for the most reliable overview, you can’t beat the Guardian/Observer. We think Theresa May arrives at her conference in a perilous position. Here is the Observer front page.

And here is the Observer splash.

The Observer story also contains details of the three announcements made by the party overnight.

Amid growing signs that cabinet discipline is breaking down and support for the prime minister is draining away, May will announce a series of policy changes in the hope of halting her party’s potentially disastrous loss of support among voters under 45. These will include freezing tuition fees, which are due to rise with inflation from £9,250 in 2017-18 to about £9,500 in 2018-19, while ministers look again at the system.

She will also announce that the earnings threshold at which graduates start to pay off their loans will be increased from £21,000 to £25,000, and will go up in line with earnings after next year. That will mean a saving of about £360 in 2018-19 compared with this year for graduates earning at least £25,000.

There will also be more help offered to aspiring homeowners, and to renters. As well as a £10bn expansion of the Help to Buy loan scheme, [Sajid Javid, the communities secretary] will announce that all private landlords will be required to join a redress system that allows tenants to complain and see those in breach sanctioned. Javid will also oblige letting agents to be registered with a professional body and require them to meet a set of minimum standards.

Taking issue with the Sunday Telegraph, Nicola Sturgeon, the Scottish first minister, was one of several people last night on Twitter to point out that a relatively modest reduction in the amount graduates will have to pay for tuition fees doesn’t amount to a “revolution”.

Quite soon we’ll found out what May herself has to say about this. As is customary, she is starting the conference with an interview with Andrew Marr.

Here is the agenda for the day.

9am: Theresa May gives an interview to the Andrew Marr Show.

10am: Damian Green, the first secretary of state, is interviewed on Peston on Sunday and on Pienaar’s Politics.

10am: Sajid Javid, the communities secretary, is interviewed on Sky’s Paterson on Sunday and on Pienaar’s Politics.

10.30am: Conservative members attend private meeting of the national conservative convention at the conference hotel. It is expected that May will use this to issue a qualified apology to members for her role in the disastrous election campaign, which saw the party squander a huge poll lead and lose its overall majority.

2.10pm: Sir Patrick McLoughlin, the party chairman, will open the conference proceedings.

2.30pm: Damian Green speaks.

3pm: Justine Greening, the education secretary, speaks.

3.20pm: Sajid Javid speaks.

3.50pm: Ruth Davidson, the Scottish Conservative leader, speaks.

4.05pm: James Brokenshire, the Northern Ireland secretary, speaks.

4.15pm: Andrew RT Davies, the Welsh Conservative leader, speaks.

We’ve been told Greening and Javid will both be making policy announcements in their speeches.

You can read all today’s Guardian politics stories here.

If you want to follow me or contact me on Twitter, I’m on @AndrewSparrow.

I try to monitor the comments BTL but normally I find it impossible to read them all. If you have a direct question, do include “Andrew” in it somewhere and I’m more likely to find it. I do try to answer direct questions, although sometimes I miss them or don’t have time.

If you want to attract my attention quickly, it is probably better to use Twitter.

Theresa May and her husband Philip May arriving at the Midland Hotel for the Conservative party conference yesterday.
Theresa May and her husband Philip May arriving at the Midland Hotel for the Conservative party conference yesterday. Photograph: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

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Conservative conference 2017: Theresa May's interview with Andrew Marr - Politics live - NORTH INDIA KALEIDOSCOPE

Rajesh Ahuja

I am a veteran journalist based in Chandigarh India.I joined the profession in June 1982 and worked as a Staff Reporter with the National Herald at Delhi till June 1986. I joined The Hindu at Delhi in 1986 as a Staff Reporter and was promoted as Special Correspondent in 1993 and transferred to Chandigarh. I left The Hindu in September 2012 and launched my own newspaper ventures including this news portal and a weekly newspaper NORTH INDIA KALEIDOSCOPE (currently temporarily suspended).