Steve Bannon Special

July 13, 2018

In the midst of Donald Trump’s headline-crazed visit to the UK, Steve Bannon - the man who arguably won Trump the Presidency - sat down with us for this exclusive podcast interview.

On the agenda: Bannon's predictions for Brexit, why he believes that the moment is ripe for Boris Johnson to make a move against Theresa May, revelations about the private advice that the U.S. President gave to the Prime Minister on how to handle negotiations with the EU -- and the key role that Margaret Thatcher played in shaping Trumpism.

Strap yourself in: it’s a breakneck half-hour.

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Theresa May can only get Chequers deal through Parliament with Labour MPs’ support, says ex-Brexit minister

July 11, 2018

What on Earth is going on in Westminster? Will more ministers follow Boris Johnson and David Davis in walking out on the Government? Is a 'no-deal' scenario now looking more likely? Will Theresa May need Labour MPs to get her Chequers deal through Parliament? Would a bad Brexit be beneficial to Labour? And can you say that sentence three times, fast?

In the wake of one of the most extraordinary 72-hour periods in modern British political history, Chopper’s Brexit Podcast dons its oxygen tanks, plunges into the murky depths of Brexit, and returns clutching insightful pearls of wisdom from the key players in the drama.

Joining us this week are former Brexit minister David Jones MP, shadow Brexit Secretary Sir Keir Starmer MP and filmmaker David Wilkinson plus expert analysis from The Telegraph’s Political Editor, Gordon Rayner and Europe Editor, Peter Foster.

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“No more Mr Nice Guy if Brexit goes wrong”, says Nigel Farage

July 6, 2018

Is Nigel Farage planning on talking Brexit with his friend, Donald Trump when he visits London? Will Cabinet ministers become former Cabinet ministers at this weekend's meeting at Chequers? Who are the 'Releavers'? And how do people on the streets think the negotiations are going?

Listen to Chopper's Brexit Podcast for full enlightenment.

Joining us this week: Nigel Farage MEP; Chair of the Conservative Policy Commission, Chris Skidmore MP; Owen Paterson MP, and polling whiz Tom Clarkson of Britain Thinks.

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Don’t worry, David Davis has a titanium-plated spine, says Jacob Rees-Mogg

June 29, 2018

Is Theresa May en route to a 'soft Brexit'? Will Big Ben bong to mark the big day? Are more ministers going to resign over Britain leaving the EU? And what does negotiating Britain's withdrawal have in common with a game of chess?

Chopper's Brexit Podcast has the answers.

Joining us today: Andrea Leadsom MP, Leader of the House of Commons who helped take the EU Withdrawal Bill through Parliament; Jacob Rees-Mogg MP, prominent Brexiteer and leader of the European Research Group, Lord Adonis, the Labour peer dubbed 'Remainer in Chief' and Andrea Jenkyns MP who quit as Parliamentary Private Secretary to speak out on Brexit.

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I will restart donating to the Conservatives when Theresa May has resigned, says City millionaire

June 22, 2018

Will the Conservatives’ biggest ever donor give to the party again? Is Brexit a modern version of the Suez Crisis? What’s it like to put at risk a 20-year friendship with the Prime Minister? And what can a South Georgian rat problem teach us about leaving the European Union? 

Chopper’s Brexit Podcast has the answers. 

On the guest list today: Stuart Wheeler, City financier and political activist; Phillip Lee MP, who resigned from the Government last week; Charlie Mullins, the Pimlico Plumbers founder and a former Tory donor; Robert Buckland MP, the solicitor general, who took the EU Withdrawal Bill through Parliament; data guru Henry Morris, on why going to public school matters to employers, and Lord Ridley, who updates us on the rats. 

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Theresa May is an ‘increased figure’ after week of Brexit chaos says former minister David Jones

June 15, 2018

A leadership challenge against Theresa May is “very unlikely” according to former Brexit minister David Jones.

 
Mr Jones, who was sacked by Mrs May in January’s Cabinet reshuffle, told Chopper’s Brexit Podcast the Prime Minister had come out from this week’s votes as “an increased figure”.
 
He said: “It is very unlikely – I don’t see any reason why there should be. The fact is we should all now be focused on getting the best deal for the country as we go through the Brexit process.
 
“We have only got nine months until we leave the European Union. We couldn’t afford a three month Conservative leadership process which is what that would amount to.”
 
Mr Jones said Dominic Grieve, the former Attorney General, was “very unwise” to have been caught meeting with anti-Brexit groups like Best for Britain.
 
Mr Jones said: “He has been at pains to say that he has not been trying to damage the Brexit process but frankly attending what appeared to be secret meetings in Europe house which used to be Conservative party headquarters is not doing him any favours and I think he will live to regret that.”
 
Also on Chopper’s Brexit Podcast, Tim Bentinck, who plays the lead role of David Archer on Radio 4’s The Archers, says that the long-running serial is scrupulously about not being biased in favour of Brexit.
 
Bentinck said: “The Archers has always been apolitical. If they ever ever delve into politics you will find that one person will come up with one side of the argument, someone else will come up with the other side of the argument.
 
“That argument will be balanced and it will never be a resolution to that argument.”
 
Bentinck declined to say how the fictional characters voted in the referendum – but he suggested David Archer’s farming rival Brian Aldridge would have backed Leave.
 
He said: “Archers can’t be political – it really can't. Who knows what they actually voted in the referendum – but clearly Brian voted to leave didn’t he?”
 
Other guests are Tory MP Bob Seely, who has written a paper about Russia’s projection of its influence in the UK, Femi Oluwole , co-founder of Our Future, Our Choice on why the UK needs a second vote on the Brexit deal, and James Rothwell, the Telegraph’s Brexit Correspondent on the fate of Penka the cow.
 
Chopper’s Brexit Podcast is available here from 6am: https://choppersbrexitpodcast.telegraph.co.uk/
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Archbishop of Canterbury plan for more taxes will hit living standards and push wage growth into reverse, says Treasury minister Robert Jenrick

June 8, 2018

Increasing taxes to fund a cash boost for hospitals could hit living standards and push wages’ growth into reverse, a Treasury minister Robert Jenrick has said in a rebuff to the Archbishop of Canterbury.

The Most Rev Justin Welby said Theresa May’s Government should find its “nerve” and "courage" to raise taxes to fund public services like the National Health Service.

There is a live debate in Whitehall over whether Mrs May should increase taxes to fund a £4billion cash injection for the NHS, ahead of the health service's 70th birthday next month. 

But Mr Jenrick warned against more tax rises, telling Chopper’s Brexit Podcast today that the tax burden was “relatively high by historic standards, approaching the highest it has been for 50 years”.

He said: “I would be concerned not to increase taxes too much because living standards matter to people in this country – real wages just tipping into the positive.

“This is a moment where you have to be careful not see that pushed that into reverse.

“We have worked very hard to reduce taxes particularly for working people and those on lower incomes and we have had success at that.

“The tax burden in this country is still relatively high by historic standards – it is approaching the highest it has been for 50 years – so we have to be cautious about putting up more taxes particularly because the overriding concern has to be living standards.”

Mr Jenrick also suggested he was against forcing pensioners to pay National Insurance Contributions to fund the NHS.

He said: “That is a decision that will have to be made as we approach the budget – I think it is very important that people are encouraged to keep working if they are healthy and want to keep doing it… it is very important to the economy that they are incentivised to keep working.”

Mr Jenrick, who is backing a new 50p coin to mark Brexit, also said other coins could be minted.

He said: “You could do that for other coins but that really is a decision for the royal mint. In recent years the 50p coin has been the one that has been used most for commemorative coins.”

Other guests on today’s Chopper’s Brexit Podcast are: Robin Walker, an Exiting the European Union minister, Eloise Todd, chief executive of Best for Britain, Polly Mackenzie, chief executive of Demos and James Rothwell, the Telegraph’s Brexit correspondent.

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At least one Remainer Cabinet minister to resign over Brexit by the Autumn, says peer

June 1, 2018

There will be at least one resignation in the Cabinet when we see the terms of the Brexit deal in the Autumn, and it could be as many as four or five, a peer and former Labour minister says today.

Lord Adonis, a keen Remainer, forecasts a “crisis” in Parliament when MPs are presented with the Brexit treaty. He tells today’s Chopper’s Brexit Podcast talk of at least one resignation is the “common gossip in Westminster”.

Lord Adonis says: “I think it’s very unlikely to be someone from the right - the Prime Minister is giving in to them and giving them everything they want. It’s much more likely to be one of the pragmatic, sensible people who people who believe in British trade and don’t want to trash the country”.

The Labour peer is joined on the podcast by Conservative MP and Brexiteer Michael Tomlinson who dismissed the prediction as “wishful thinking”.

Lord Adonis believes the solution is to hold a second vote on the terms of the deal: “The issues involved are so great - they’re the most important issues since I’ve been involved in public life - the right thing in the Autumn would be for Parliament to refer the Treaty, when we see it, to the people for a people’s vote.”

Also on Chopper’s Brexit Podcast, available from 6am on Friday morning, Stanley Johnson, father of Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and a one-time Remainer who says he became a Brexiteer for the sake of democracy.

But Mr Johnson doesn’t rule out a return to his former side: “Of course I’ve been loyal to Brexit, but if it appears to be the case that we’re not going to put in place the whole raft of EU measures which we have and we’re not going to achieve this enforcement mechanism which I think is vital, I wouldn’t say I might not change my mind.”

Other guests include the Telegraph’s Political Editor, Gordon Rayner; Brexit Editor, Dia Chakravarty; and Europe Editor, Peter Foster, and Chris Waterman who sings a familiar tune with a Brexit twist.

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Theresa May needs to quit as Prime Minister over ‘Greek tragedy’ Brexit talks, says major Conservative party donor

May 25, 2018

Theresa May needs to be quit as Prime Minister to because the Brexit talks "resemble a Greek tragedy and it only ends when everyone is dead", a leading Tory party donor says today.

Jeremy Hosking, a City financier who has donated £375,000 to the party since 2015, says the Government’s strategy to exit the European Union had to change.

Mr Hosking is the first major donor to speak about against Mrs May and her Brexit talks.

He tells today’s Chopper’s Brexit Podcast that it is time to take decisive action to ensure that Britain gets the best possible deal to leave the EU in March next year.

He says: “We are three-nil down and it is half time. We are in the dressing room having half time oranges and the plan is to wait until we are six-nil down and hope for a miracle in injury time? It just resembles a Greek tragedy and it only ends when everyone is dead.”

Mrs May had to be replaced “as soon as possible. There needs to be an audit on the strategy – the strategy is not working.

“I feel like a bit like the story of the emperor’s new clothes – someone has got to say it – it ain’t working.

Mr Hosking claims that the difficulties over the talks were part of a "deliberate" attempt to keep the UK in the EU, saying: "I personally have joined up my dots and concluded that it is deliberate... It doesn't really matter if it is deliberate or not if it is a failing strategy."

Mr Hosking says other donors shared his concerns. "The collapse in morale in the last four weeks is absolutely staggering. 

"We see absolutely no way out of the box on the current strategy, the same team is being sent out after half time with the same inability to play football, and they are scoring goals at will... Our troops are on the beach and they are surrounded."

He adds: “There very definitely needs to be a change and a reset. You would need to have a new person to implement a strategy that is completely different to the old strategy.

“A lot of the parliamentary Conservative party think everyone is going very well – and I am talking about some of the Brexiteers. 

“It is a bit like the man who jumps out of the 50th Storey window – as they fly by the 20th Storey it is all going great but it is not going to have a happy ending.

 “The way it is going at the moment we are going to wake up in February 2019 and realise it is not going very well and we have only got injury time to score five goals.

He says that "somehow being a Brexiteer is politically incorrect. Those who oppose Brexit are playing on that like mad. There is a Pavlovian reflex from people to believe it, that we are xenophobes, racists and wife-beaters".

Eurosceptics were considered to be “nutters and lunatics”, he complains.

The party’s leadership felt that “the people who voted to leave didn’t really mean it and he idea of the Tories betraying Euroscepticism – and they are repeat offenders in this regard – that is still OK”.

Separately, David Mundell, the Scottish secretary, says people in Scotland were getting bored of the SNP’s repeated calls to make Scotland independent.

He tells the podcast: “The public’s appetite for discussing these issues is waning. People are fed up across the political spectrum of constantly hearing about independence and constitution.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Even people who voted yes in 2014 – a lot of those people don’t want another independence referendum because it was a very divisive event.

 

“And although we politicians went out afterwards and said ‘isn’t it great, 80 per cent of people voted, virtually everybody who was alive in Scotland voted in that referendum.

 

“And although we say it is great public engagement, most people hated it when you speak to them, they hated the fact that they fell out with friends and family, with people in pubs like the Red Lion.

 

“People were divided, at their work they were divided. It was very intense in the final weeks. In the street you could not go out and avoid it.

 

“People don’t want to return to that. They feel it was a once in a generation event. There was a divisive result in favour of staying in the United Kingdom and we should leave it be.”

 

Mr Mundell, the second longest serving Cabinet minister who voted to Remain in the EU at the 2016 referendum, says he would vote to remain again if there were a referendum today.

 

He says: “I voted Remain and I would probably still vote Remain but I accepted the result.”

 

Asked how he deals with abuse from nationalists on Twitter, he says: “I just don’t look at it. I know what I am taking on.

 

“I asked to do this – nobody is making me. It is a harsh political environment in Scotland, indeed across most of the UK, you just have to get on with it.”

 

Other guests are Ayesha Hazarika and Tom Hamilton, former aides to ex-Labour leader Ed Miliband, who have written “Punch & Judy”, an account of preparing for the weekly Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Commons.

 

Chopper’s Brexit Podcast is available on the Telegraph’s website and iTunes from 6am on Friday May 25

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Theresa May should walk away with no deal from Brexit talks instead of showing ‘weakness’, DUP says

May 18, 2018
Theresa May should walk away from the EU without a deal instead of showing "weakness" by tying Britain to the Customs Union beyond 2021, the Democratic Unionist Party, has warned.
 
Sammy Wilson, the DUP’s Brexit spokesman, also criticised “geriatric” members of the House of Lords for trying to weaken Government legislation to take Britain out of the European Union with 15 amendments.
 
Mr Wilson was speaking after The Daily Telegraph disclosed that the Government will tell Brussels it is prepared to stay tied to the customs union beyond 2021.
 
Mr Wilson – whose party’s MPs are keeping Mrs May's Conservative Government in power - told Chopper’s Brexit Podcast today: “I don't believe it is necessary for us to stay in beyond that period. In doing so the PM shows a sign of weakness to EU negotiators - if they stick their heels in, she will concede.
 
“When the PM has stuck her heels in, as she did in December, they changed the agreement. As she did in March, when they said they wouldn't accept the legal agreement, they backed down. 
 
“She should learn from that. Stand up to them. They need the deal, they will back down. Do this kind of thing where you sway with the wind you will come off worse.”
 
On the House of Lords’ amendments Mr Wilson – who was debating Brexit on the Podcast with Labour MP Ian Murray - said the Government should seek to reverse them all in the House of Commons.
 
He said: “They not experts. They are a bunch of geriatric members, most of whom are on the EU payroll. You expect them to vote the way they have done.”
 
Also on the podcast, Hilary McGrady, the new director general of the National Trust, said the Trust is willing to forego millions of pounds in EU subsidies to improve the UK’s natural environment.
 
She said: “We may well take a financial hit as an organisation on the back of this but that is good, we are cool with that because that means we will get benefits for nature and that is what the charity is here to do.”
 
Kemi Badenoch, the Conservative party’s vice chairman for candidates, also said that parliamentary hopefuls should consider deleting their Twitter feeds.
 
Ms Badenoch has written to Conservative candidates who have applied to stand in the 2022 general election to say that their social media accounts are now “fair game” for their opponents.
 
Ms Badenoch - who became a vice chairman in January - told Chopper’s Brexit Podcast that it was not “bad advice” for candidates to delete their social media history as soon as they are selected.
 
She said: “I have already sent advice to candidates and what I have said was ‘be aware that your social media profile is now fair game, you can’t expect people not to take it into account. Think about what you say and how you say it when you use social media’.
 
“If you are unable to control yourself, then delete your account might be the advice that I give - but you have to look at it almost as if it is the real world now.”
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