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Britain Kicks Off Countdown to Leave E.U.; Nicola Sturgeon: Prime Minister Taking U.K. "Off A Cliff"; British PM: We're Leaving The E.U. Not Europe; The View from a U.K. Town that Voted for Brexit; Mapping Out the Road to Brexit; U.K. and Europe: A Fractious Relationship. Aired 3-4p ET

Aired March 29, 2017 - 15:00   ET




HALA GORANI, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Hala Gorani. We are live at the Houses of parliament in London on a historic day, and so it begins.

It's nearly 300 days since Britain stunned Europe and the world and voted for Brexit. A few hours ago, it started that tricky divorce from the

European Union with a letter, but now the hard work really begins. Nic Robertson has the story of the day.


THERESA MAY, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: The United Kingdom is leaving the European Union.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: With these words, Prime Minister Theresa May, beginning Britain's divorce from the European

Union, a 44-year embrace over.

MAY: Leaving the European Union presents us with a unique opportunity. It is this generation's chance to shape a brighter future for our country.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have you come back to take back control, Ambassador.

ROBERTSON: In the minutes before Britain's representative to the eu handing over the formal letter of departure to the E.U. Council president.

His vision of separation less rosy than May's.

DONALD TUSK, EUROPEAN COUNCIL PRESIDENT: There is nothing to win in this process and I'm talking about both sides. In essence, this is about damage


ROBERTSON: The six-page letter he received, signed by May under the watchful gaze of Robert Winfall (ph), Britain's first prime minister,

outlines Britain's desires for constructive engagement, respectful and sincere cooperation, put citizens first, secure a comprehensive agreement,

minimize disruption and give certainty, pay attention to the U.K./Ireland relationship and the peace process in Northern Ireland, protect shared

European values, begin technical talks on detailed policy as soon as possible.

MAY: I have been clear that we should seek to agree the terms of this future partnership alongside those of our withdrawal within the next two


ROBERTSON: But even in an approach, both sides are already at odds. The E.U. demands withdrawal first, only then discuss the future partnership.

TUSK: There's no reason to pretend that this is a happy day, neither in Brussels nor in London. After all, most Europeans, including almost half

the British voters, wished that we would stay together, not drift apart.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Scotland's future should be in Scotland's hand --

ROBERTSON: May's woes won't end with the E.U. Scotland's first minister lambasting her for ignoring Scotland's 62 percent vote to remain and calls

for independence, tweeting, "Today, the PM will take the U.K. over a cliff. With no idea of the landing place and Scotland didn't vote for it and our

voice is being ignored."

MAY: We are one great union of people and nations with a proud history and bright future. And now that the decision to leave has been made, and the

process is under way, it is time to come together. For this great national moment needs a great national effort, an effort to shape a stronger future

for Britain.

ROBERTSON (on camera): And now comes the long, hard slog, to deliver on that promise deal for all, a brighter future. May's own future, and her

place in history, depend on the outcome. Nic Robertson, CNN, London.


GORANI: Well, that vote last June has also triggered forces within the United Kingdom. Not everyone wanted to Brexit, obviously, but in Scotland,

a vast majority of people wanted to remain with Nicola Sturgeon calling for a second independence referendum. Angus Robertson from the Scottish

National Party spoke after Theresa May and he did not hold back.


ANGUS ROBERTSON, BRITISH MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT, SNP: The prime minister says that she thinks Brexit will bring unity to the United Kingdom, it will

not. On this issue, it is not a United Kingdom and the prime minister needs to respect, respect the differences across the nations of the United

Kingdom. If she does not, if she remains intransigent and if she denies Scotland a choice in our future, she will make Scottish independence



GORANI: All right. Let's bring in Alex Salmond, the former first minister of Scotland and now an MP in Westminster. You also had your say in

parliament today.

[15:05:00]ALEX SALMOND, FORMER SCOTTISH FIRST MINISTER: Of course. But that exchange with Angus Robertson was fabulous, talking about Scotland's

rights as a nation. Theresa May said, well, my constituency (inaudible) we should remain as well.

As if one on hand Scotland's history as European nation was somehow equivalent to an English parliamentary constituency dear to the prime

minister's heart, it's that misunderstanding of this prime minister not understanding Scotland as a nation regards itself of having right of self-

contamination, which is going to be her undoing in Scotland.

GORANI: You support a second referendum post-Brexit?

SALMOND: Yes, I do because Nicola Sturgeon put this in the manifesto last year, if Scotland gets dragged up against the will of the Scottish people,

there should be a referendum from the Scottish parliament. She won 47 percent of the vote, landslide victory. She's first minister. She's got

the backing of her parliament and absolutely entitled to put forward that position.

GORANI: But the British government has to agree to it. This isn't something that's just up to Scottish people to vote on a second time and

Theresa May saying, essentially, not now. Now is not the right time.

SALMOND: Which, of course, is, you know, self-determination, like justice delayed is self-determination, denied. British prime ministers do not have

a great track record of trying to turn down rates of self-determination of other nations.

In times gone by, the United States of America, more recently David Cameron once told me there would never be a Scottish referendum, had to change his

mind when the will of the Scottish people became clear.

And Theresa May's position may crumble, maybe not this week or next month, but it will crumble because you cannot withstand against the accepted right

of a nation.

GORANI: I get that, but unless the negotiations go well and all Britons feel like this is headed in the right direction, we're getting a good deal

out of this, in the end Brexit wasn't the disaster that many predicted that could happen?

SALMOND: Well, if that does happen, and Theresa May -- if she's got a great Brexit deal, which she will put to this parliament and every other

parliament, 27 of them across Europe, another chance, why shouldn't that stage in 18 months to two years' time, the people of Scotland get the same

opportunity to match up the Brexit/British deal against the prospective of an independent Scotland within a European context.

GORANI: Right. But from her perspective and perhaps from the perspective of many in the government Scotland had an opportunity, they voted to remain

part of the United Kingdom, we're not going to do this every two years.

SALMOND: Yes, just a couple of (inaudible), you're well aware this government, the majority, wasn't counting through its manifesto commitment

towards small business. Nicola Sturgeon is counting through a manifesto commitment to the Scottish people and Theresa May is absolutely wrong to

attack another politician for carrying forward a manifest of commitment backed by a parliament.

The bottom of this, is Scotland's rights as a nation and way, way beyond the rights of the Scottish National Party, there is a fundamental

understanding of Scotland as a nation has the right of self-determination and the days of British prime ministers standing in the way of that for a

long time, these days are over.

GORANI: But it just does feel and I hear this a lot from SNP and MPs and others that they feel like they're not getting the -- it's a question of

respect almost. Didn't consult us when you decided how to go ahead with Brexit before triggering Article 50? You're comparing a nation, Scotland,

which for hundreds of years was a nation with your constituency as somehow those two things are equal, is that fair to say? You don't feel respected?

SALMOND: Certainly true that, you know, David Cameron used to tell me, had a respect agenda towards Scotland as far as I can tell Theresa May has

disrespect agenda. It's true that she could have headed this off. If she had said to Nicola Sturgeon when she put forward the compromised proposal

from Scotland, OK. Single market, we'll try to get you to stay in, doing a special deal for Ireland, let's do a special deal for Scotland. She could

have headed off this confrontation, but she chose not to.


SALMOND: I notice this morning that staring down at Theresa May as she was signing a letter was a picture of Sir Robert (inaudible), Britain's first

ever prime minister in the 18th century, if the way Theresa May is going in the terms of the treatment of Scotland, she might be the last British prime


GORANI: I guess, international viewers are -- many ask me this, is it really possible that Britain will break up, I mean, as a result of Brexit.

Northern Ireland wanting one thing, they still want full access to the E.U. Scotland might hold a second referendum. Is it possible that this Brexit

deal will be the undoing of the United Kingdom as we know it?

SALMOND: Well, as I pointed out, the prime minister today, this is not just Scotland, (inaudible) in deadlock. The Welsh are extremely

dissatisfied. Scotland is moving for a referendum, the English split 50/50. So all around us she has created an atmosphere of disunity. I

think she should mend her ways and above all start treating Scotland with a bit of respect.

GORANI: Alex Salmond, thank you very much. Always great having you on the program. Theresa May's 15-minute speech spoke of the historic nature of

the day, there is no denying that, as Britain begins the tricky divorce process.

[15:10:08]But the prime minister was keen to stress that Brexit doesn't mean Britain needs to renegotiate its values. Listen.


MAY: This is a historic moment from which there can be no turning back. Britain is leaving the European Union. We are going to make our own

decisions and our own laws. We are going to take control of the things that matter most to us.

And we are going to take this opportunity to build a stronger, fairer Britain, a country that our children and grandchildren, are proud to call

home. That is our ambition and our opportunity. That is what this government is determined to do.

Mr. Speaker, at moments like these, great turning points in our national story, the choices we make, define the character of our nation. We can

choose to say the task ahead is too great, turn our face to the past and believe it can't be done, or look forward with optimism and hope, and to

believe in enduring power of the British spirit.


GORANI: All right. There you have it. The prime minister calling for unity, this time everyone has to work together to make Brexit work.

Alastair Campbell was Tony Blair's former press secretary during his time as the U.K.'s prime minister here with me now not happy that Brexit was

essentially happened last June and now Article 50 is triggered. Is it inevitable?

ALASTAIR CAMPBELL, TONY BLAIR'S FORMER PRESS SECRETARY: I don't believe it is. Enough people think it's a disaster, including members of the cabinet,

by the way, certainly most of the people in that place think it is, even if they're all tripped into the cabinet to vote for it.

GORANI: Members of the cabinet of Theresa May.

CAMPBELL: Members of the cabinet think it' a calamity and they're in there --

GORANI: Can you name names?

CAMPBELL: I won't. I might one day. I might one day. I know members of the cabinet who think this is a complete disaster. Most of the business

community thinks it's a disaster. Millions of people think it's a disaster.

The other thing is I think that the public are going to very quickly realize that the things they know already the promises that were made,

being utterly broken.

Extra money for the health service will be able to stay in the single market. We'll get great trade deals straight away, none of this is going

to happen.

We're going to end up with probably a little less European immigration and maybe get rid of the European quota. Stay for a few years if there's a

transitional --

GORANI: All right, this has been your position for a while, but when you think some members of the cabinet believe it's a calamity, why do they

believe it's a calamity? In the end, this is the way the U.K. is headed.

CAMPBELL: Well, maybe it is. It doesn't mean it's not a calamity?

GORANI: But why? What are the reasons for that?

CAMPBELL: The same reasons that they gave during the campaign.

GORANI: Which were?

CAMPBELL: Which were about the economy, which were about whether the gains that we're going to get from this are going to be outweighed by the losses

and they are. They know that. Theresa May probably knows that deep down. So I think that we're in a situation now where we're in kind of a "Lala

Land," where they -- they're all -- they're still saying we've gone through the phony war now. The hard reality is going to kick in.

GORANI: Right.

CAMPBELL: And they're not going to get a deal. David Davis, on the record, we will get the exact same benefits as though we were still in the

(inaudible), they're not going to get them.

GORANI: Right. And when you say "Lala Land," you mean fantasy land, not the Hollywood musical.

CAMPBELL: I wish it was a musical or play. I mean, they are in fantasy land and they actually think if they say it loudly enough, our ridiculous

right wing newspapers scream it loud enough from the front pages every day, the people will believe this is one inevitable and going to be good. It's

not inevitable and it's definitely not going to be good.

GORANI: So Before I ask you how it's not inevitable, there is -- there was a poll conducted a few months ago, Britons were asked once again, do you

still support Brexit several months later, and the majority still did. So it's not the case that most Britons think it's a disaster. I mean, public

opinion still supports Brexit.

CAMPBELL: Let's not get too carried away with the polls. I'll tell you something, I do loads and loads and loads of events and at the moment, I

always start them by asking any audience, are you broadly optimistic or pessimistic first about Brexit and then about Trump. Trump and Britain is

a 100 percent virtually pessimistic. Brexit most of the things that I'm doing is between 70 and 90.

GORANI: Are these events in London?

CAMPBELL: Around the country. I was in a school in the midlands last week, 16 and 17-year-old, and any government, any government that governs

against the interest of its young people is a government doomed to fail in my view, and the 16 and 17-year-olds, 150 of them, one of them, wanted us

to come out of the European Union.

GORANI: So anecdotal evidence.

CAMPBELL: It's anecdotal but there are so much of it. Listen, the other reason I think this is going to change, MPs, these guys, are going to be

going to their constituencies. We know that the Brexiters will come on here and they'll say I have people coming up the whole time saying this is

great, freedom day and all this nonsense, in the papers the whole time.

[15:15:05]They are going to get businesses large and small. They're going to get the academics. They're going to get the university sector. They're

going to get virtually every sector is going to be saying to them, what on earth are we doing? That is beginning to happen and I believe that what

she's done today is now going to get accelerated, I really believe that.

GORANI: Article 50 has been triggered. The prime minister herself has said there's basically no turning back from this. How could you even --

CAMPBELL: That's not true.

GORANI: Practically --

CAMPBELL: But you would have to essentially have all 27 remaining members agreeing to allowing Britain back in and if Britain does hold another

referendum is --

CAMPBELL: I accept that what she's done today is the massive concession of one of the biggest bargaining chips of the lot. She's now entered

negotiations. I still believe that there will be a desire within the European Union for the U.K. to stay in at some point.

And I also genuinely believe that British public will change their mind, and let's remember, Theresa May is capable of changing her mind. Until

June 23rd, she was a remainer. She is now hard Brexit. We have to persuade her to change her mind.

We have to persuade Jeremy Corbyn to get more active and to get more engaged, and actually start to leave the Labour Party. We have to persuade

people in Northern Ireland. You had Alex Salmond on here.

She talks about bringing the country together. I'm not going to support something I don't believe in. We're talking about the potential breakup of

the United Kingdom because of a hard Brexit policy for which frankly I don't consider her to have a mandate.

GORANI: All right. We'll see how it turns out. We have two years of this.

CAMPBELL: We have a lot longer than that.

GORANI: At least in the initial phase. Thanks very much, Alastair Campbell for joining us. Great to have you on. The reaction from Europe,

by the way, was swift. The German Chancellor Angela Merkel has called for fair and constructive negotiations with the U.K. Meanwhile, the European

Commission president says the British people will come to regret leaving the E.U. Here's what they had to say.


ANGELA MERKEL, GERMAN CHANCELOR (through translator): The British government has now officially declared its intention to leave the European

Union. We Germany, but also the other partners of Great Britain in the European Union, surely did not hope for this day. We're losing a strong

and important member state. But, of course, we respect British voters' Democratic decision.

JEAN-CLAUDE JUNCKER, EUROPEAN COMMISSION PRESIDENT: This as I said earlier a sad day because the British have decided by writing to leave the European

Union, a choice they will regret one day. But I'm feeling fine tonight because we have this kind of dialogue and because we are talking about the

European future and, in fact, although we have our weaknesses and our failures, we should consider Europe is the best place on Europe to live.

GORANI: All right. Let's bring in Richard Quest, who's been following this story closely all day, host of "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS" at the top of

the hour.

RICHARD QUEST, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST, "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS": Do you remember it was you and I sitting in this configuration.

GORANI: Do I remember?

QUEST: Nine months ago.

GORANI: We were on the air, I personally was on the air 11 straight hours, personal record. Did it feel like a momentous historic -- I mean, the

thing is when there were other events I've seen more people, gawkers, more people interested in the coverage, this time it feels different. Yet it is

a historic day.

QUEST: This is a deeper moment. Not that sort of momentum with a lot of brass bands, this is a very deep philosophical, structural issue that's

going to shift the tectonic plates of European politics for the foreseeable future because let's forget about the U.K., the other issue on the other

side of the water, because we're focusing it from here, is can the E-27 remain united or will there be a divide in rule? Will they start

fractioning off? Will they start fracturing and eventually fall apart?

GORANI: But before we get to that Angela Merkel was quite clear, the U.K. would like to discuss a trade deal in conjunction, in parallel with other

divorce issues, how to actually separate, how to consciously uncouple. However --

QUEST: The reality --

GORANI: However she has said no. We need to consciously uncouple and then we'll talk about the trade.

QUEST: There will be some form of trade.

GORANI: Some form of, but we're not talking very active negotiations. That's a difference.

QUEST: Well, Michele Bonnier is suggesting that there can be formal negotiations on the divorce, informal negotiations on the trade

relationship, so if this succeeds, then this can become formal.

GORANI: Sure. Yes, absolutely. But that's not immediate and that's not what the U.K. wants, ideally because they might get to the end of the two-

year period and not find themselves in a position of being able to sign a trade deal. That wouldn't be great.

QUEST: There won't be a great trade deal. I mean, when I say great trade deal, a big trade agreement. That will take many years to negotiate.

[15:20:00]What you're talking about here is a basic free trade agreement that sets out goods, a policy that sets out services, and, to use that

horrible phrase, transitional arrangements that sees everybody over the hump.

GORANI: With lot of these E.U. rules and regulations still in place in two years.

QUEST: No question about it.

GORANI: There is no other way.

QUEST: No, but I love the great repeal bill that's about to be put in parliament here specifically says the European decree goes into British law

so there is no uncertainty about what the position is.

GORANI: Got it. Richard Quest, see you at the top of the hour. Thanks so much.

QUEST: Thank you.

GORANI: It's a historic day for London, but was also a day of remembrance, one week ago a terror attack unfolded just meters away from here on

Westminster Bridge and parliament. Earlier today a vigil was held for the victims. Take a look.


GORANI: Police along with religious leaders and community groups held a moment of silence beneath Elizabeth Tower. They then walked across

Westminster Bridge, met police members, paid tribute -- paying tribute to their fallen colleague, Officer Keith Palmer, three others were killed in

the attack. Dozens were wounded. Some of them still in hospital and critically hurt.

GORANI: Day of reflection as well, one week ago today. Much more on this historic day still to come. On the program, we will speak to two British

MPs about Article 50 and what may lie ahead as the country begins a pain staking divorce from the E.U.


GORANI: Welcome back. We're joined now by two prominent members of parliament, Conservative Peter Bone and the Labour Party's Kevin Brennan,

thanks for being with us.

So, I'll start with you, Kevin, you didn't think Brexit was a good idea and now it's happened, Article 50 has been triggered. What's a good deal for

you? What do you think would be good for Britain at this stage?

KEVIN BRENNAN, BRITISH MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT: Well, I can't see any good in it if I'm frank about it, really. Today is a very sad day in the U.K. and

reading the prime minister's letter is one of the saddest I've read because we're cutting ourselves off with our natural ties with our neighbors in

Europe and I think it's a very, very sad day.

Although I wish the prime minister well in the negotiations with the European Union. Listening to the talk today from the European parliament,

from the commission and so on, I think it's going to be, you know, a tough -- and the reality is going to dawn on people that this is real and leaving

the European Union will do real damage to Britain.

GORANI: Well, the European Union is saying, Peter, that Britons will come to regret this, do you agree?

PETER BONE, BRITISH MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT: They're wrong. Kevin, he's always a pessimistic sort of fellow. Things will be so good, he will be

back on your show in a year saying I was wrong. This is the best thing --

BRENNAN: I doubt it.

BONE: It's Independence Day. We're going forward into the world economy and don't worry, I'm here to --

GORANI: What would be a good deal for you then? Because here you have years and years of negotiation.

BONE: No. Who told you that?

GORANI: But why?

BONE: Who told you it's years and years?

GORANI: Just take one sector, the chemical sector, another sector the environmental sector, they are tens of thousands rules of regulations,

that's all going to be negotiated within two years.

BONE: We're incorporating all these rules and regulations European Union and do it in May. The repeal bill for all those regulations into English

law. That's not going to happen and really, the basic argument is, do we have a free trade agreement or not.

Now we haven't gotten a free trade agreement in the USA, but it's biggest export market, single country with the biggest export market is the USA.

GORANI: But you're a member of the E.U. now and not a member of the WTO and so you exit the E.U. So you have a situation there where you might be

in trouble trade wise.

BONE: If we came out of the E.U. and on WTO, we would be far better off than the rest of the European Union. It's actually the European Union that

needs to do a deal with us. I mean, they have a 60 billion pound surplus with us. Much more in their interest to do a deal with us.

GORANI: OK, you disagree with that.

BRENNAN: This is the British exceptionalist argument, isn't it? But you know, everything revolves around us in the world and that everything will

be fine because everyone will want to deal with us. Of course, they'll want to deal with us and we'll have a relationship with Europe, but we have

the best possible relationship we could have with Europe economically in relation to having a single market.

GORANI: And why is that? Because you have access to the single market.

BRENNAN: Access to the single market. We can trade freely with our European partners.

BONE: Why can't we do that after?

BRENNAN: Because when we -- when it comes to it -- it's not one-way traffic and everybody --

BONE: That's the point.

BRENNAN: Think this is one-way traffic. No, no, no, no. Britain will be able to insist upon its terms with Europe and that Europe will roll over

and accept them and I think we've seen today the reality that that is not the case.

GORANI: But Peter Bone, I just want to ask you a question about Angela Merkel today, essentially saying pouring cold water on the idea that the

U.K. can expect parallel trade talks at the same time as discussing the terms of this divorce.

BONE: Well, she's --

GORANI: They're not getting any preferential treatment.

BONE: If she says that -- the directors of Mercedes-Benz and BMW will be bringing up what are you saying, that's a huge market to us. It's the

fifth biggest economy in the world, why are you going to try to stop us exporting from Germany to the U.K. I don't believe that argument. They

have much more to lose than us.

GORANI: The terms, though, they are setting the terms out of the gate. You just heard from Angela Merkel.

BONE: We set the terms. We wrote the letter. It's actually, if we walk away tomorrow and we are on world trade rules we're better off than that.

So who needs to do the deal, them or us?

BRENNAN: It's not the longest suicide note in history but it certainly is --

BONE: The Labour Party.

BRENNAN: It is a very long letter that repeatedly punches ourselves in the face in my view in terms of our future as a country and, you know, I --

although I accept Peter's sincerity in his views I think that he really is in "Lala Land" if he thinks that this will be all rosy and a year's time

everything will be settled. It won't. It will take many years. In two years' time, we will reach a position we will be leaving the European Union

if this goes ahead, indeed, it seems it will.

BRENNAN: You can't go back now, you said that.

BONE: Why not?

BRENNAN: You traded it. That's the rules.

BONE: Why don't we have an extra test on the dole that comes forward? British people voted.

BRENNAN: I accept that. Narrowly they wanted to leave the European Union, but they didn't vote on what the terms would be. Why is Peter not willing

to trust the people?

BONE: I am. No, no, no hang on. Don't put words in my mouth.

BRENNAN: Look --

GORANI: Why not a second referendum?


GORANI: The terms of the deal --

BONE: We do it differently. Why not have a general election and see which party gets -- are you up for a general election?

BRENNAN: Well, of course.

GORANI: Well, because you're -- even though you're --

BRENNAN: Peter --

GORANI: Even though your party is weak right now having a general election wouldn't benefit you. I mean, it would probably reinforce the Conservative


BRENNAN: Well, all I have to say is this, that we don't know what the deal is yet, but I think when a deal is settled, in my view, it's not

necessarily the view of everyone in my party, I didn't vote with the whip with my party when it came to triggering Article 50, it seems to me if

there is a deal, the British people have a right to have a say, a final say, on that deal because this is not just a decision to be taken on a one

off referendum. We have an incredible --

BONE: Just keep having referendums until we get your answer.

BRENNAN: Our constitution in this country where we change our constitution almost on a whim on a particular day of the week whereas we're talking

about serious detailed negotiations that will come forward with a package and why won't Peter say let's -- let the people decide.

[15:30:10] BONE: Yes, I'm trying --

BRENNAN: Well, this is the particular --

BONE: Let's go to have a general election.

GORANI: To you, then. I mean, to Kevin's point here, if indeed because, obviously, a majority of Britons voted for Brexit. That's undeniable.

We're past that. But a majority of Britons didn't vote on a deal that they knew the context of.

BONE: Right. The question was, are we staying or we're going to leave? And the --

BRENNAN: And they were told that we'll stay in a single market by lot of your friends.

BONE: Yes. Article 50 clearly says, you know, you're either going to negotiate a deal within the two years, or you're out. So that's what we

voted on, legal stay. And you know, you can dance in the pin, you can say we want another referendum to the British people to get the right answer,


The only thing I would go along with Kevin is, I see no reason at all why we shouldn't have a general election because our Prime Minister hasn't

faced the electorate. Yes, I would go in the next few weeks, see what the results would be. And if you're right, Kevin, you can, you know, not

trigger. You can come out. But if I'm right we can press ahead.

GORANI: We're going to leave it there. Peter Bone, Kevin Brennan, thanks to both of you.

BONE: Right.

GORANI: Appreciate having you on the program.

Still to come, we are losing a strong member, the words of Angela Merkel today. We got more on the reaction from Berlin to the U.K.'s triggering of

Article 50. That's coming up. Stay with CNN.


GORANI: The countdown has begun. It's the beginning of the end for the 44-year relationship between the United Kingdom and the European Union.

The Prime Minister Theresa May has sent the letter triggering Article 50 to the E.U., setting in motion a chain of events that should lead to Brexit in

two years. Mrs. May says the citizens of the U.K. and Europe should come first, but critics say she's taking the country in a reckless and damaging


Where is the U.K. going? Let's get more on the reaction from Europe. We're live from Berlin with Atika Shubert, where most Germans believe the

U.K. should not leave the E.U. But there you have it, Brexit happened.

And we also heard from the Chancellor, Atika.

ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right, we did hear from the Chancellor. She had some very sobering words, saying,

you know, this is not what Germany wanted to see, the U.K. exiting the E.U. But at least, Article 50 does give some clarity in the negotiation process,

and she promised that Germany would bring forward just very frank discussions going forward, frank but constructive.

At the same time, however, she made a point to say that Germany was particularly concerned about E.U. citizens' rights. And this was echoed

by, excuse me, the E.U.'s lead Brexit negotiator, Guy Verhofstadt. He specifically addressed this in parliament today. Take a listen.


[15:35:09] GUY VERHOFSTADT, CHIEF BREXIT NEGOTIATOR, EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT: For us, it's an absolute priority that the rights of these citizens is

settled. And we think even that it needs to be the first point, the first issue, to be tackled in negotiations.


SHUBERT: There are so many issues that need to be tackled, such as what the bill will be for all of this, but this seems to be hitting a nerve with

a lot of European leaders, what happens to those E.U. citizens that are currently living in the U.K. and vice versa for those British citizens

living in the E.U.?

They are hoping to tackle that first and get some clarity but, again, there's a long list of things they do need to get through in the next two

years, Hala.

GORANI: Right. And there's also the issue that the U.K. might be asked to pay some of the outstanding sums to the E.U. That's going to be a matter

for negotiation, how much will that be. And also, when do you start talking very seriously about a trade deal? I mean, Angela Merkel doesn't

want this to happen before other aspects of the divorce are tackled.

SHUBERT: Absolutely. The E.U. has made it very clear that they're unified, all 27 members are unified in this. In fact, the lead negotiator

on the E.U. side, Michel Barnier, put out a picture showing all 27 representatives saying they are ready to negotiate.

So it's quite clear that the E.U. wants to get some of these, what they feel are these pivotal points out of the way, such as E.U. citizens'

rights, before they even get to any sort of trade deal. But really, it's going to be a very messy negotiation process going forward.

The kinds of timeline that we have at the moment, we know that at the end of April, for example, there will be an E.U. Summit, in which they will

sort of get their negotiation teams in place and present, you know, their position going forward. And then negotiations begin in earnest May/June.

But it is going to be a very prolonged process, Hala.

GORANI: Right, absolutely. And the question of E.U. citizens living in this country, there are so many of them. So many of them work here in

London in the services industry. I mean, this type of change, unless it's settled right away, could cause a lot of uncertainty, so we'll see what

they come up with.

Thanks very much Atika Shubert, live in Berlin.

So that big question, what will happen to people from E.U. countries who are living here as negotiators prepare their conditions, nothing, we're

being told, is off the table. The future of E.U. nationals could still be in the balance, and some are being forced to put their lives on hold while

they wait for the politicians to decide their fate. CNN spoke to some European nationals in London today. Listen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A little bit like I'm struggling to think about long- term plan, staying in London. I mean, as of now I can stay here. If we move somewhere else, what should I do? So as of now, I'm on hold. I mean,

I'm lucky now that I don't have a family here. I'm young enough to have time to rearrange my life around that, but still.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You have to think about.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The answer is yes. I was planning to probably think of buying a house, just put on hold. I mean, it's too risky right now to

commit to something so big. And maybe in six months from now, we'll have to move, or in one year. And again, we work in a bank, so our, basically,

job depends on what's going to happen.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. It's difficult and I think it's a very sad day for many Europeans, I feel like, in London here and around in the country

because we built our lives here, you know, as locals. I mean, we do love this country. And now, we're not really certain what's going to happen.

It's what I believe is really sad.


GORANI: Well, there you have the point of view of E.U. nationals who live in London. Obviously, they didn't think Brexit was a good idea and they

don't want it to happen.

One part of the U.K., though, that voted overwhelmingly to leave was the seaside town of Blackpool located more than 200 miles to the northwest of

London and known for its tower and pleasure beach amusement park. Almost 70 percent of the people in Blackpool wanted to quit the E.U. Phil Black

spent the day speaking to people there at the sea front.



PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A lot of people here in Blackpool voted that way, 67.5 percent. But, of course, this is a very popular place in

Britain. It attracts people from across the country, and I'm joined by a couple of them now.

I'm sitting here, enjoying the lovely seaside in Blackpool with Ann and Paul Revel (ph). Hello.



BLACK: You guys, you're committed to the Brexit cause, correct?

A. REVEL (PH): Yes.

P. REVEL (PH): Absolutely.

BLACK: Can I get your feelings then today, on Article 50 Day? It is now under way. What are your thoughts? We'll start with you, Ann.

[15:40:06] A. REVEL (PH): Well, I think it's ideal for Britain. I think from what has gone on in the past, in the money that we've spent

unnecessarily, and I think we can sort of be independent and spend how we would wish to and use the money for our own needs rather than other things

that the European government or the European Council thinks that we should do, you know. I don't think we should be dictated to as a country. We can

do our own things, yes.

BLACK: Sure. Paul, your emotions today, what are they?

P. REVEL (PH): I'm very relieved it started. I actually thought there was quite a few objections to it suddenly. When it went through courts, I was

wondering whether or not it might get stoppered and, you know, have a second referendum and things like that. And I don't like it, to federalize



GORANI: All right. We don't like it. We want to take back control. This is what you hear a lot from people who voted for Brexit. We'll have more

coverage after a quick break.

Don't forget, you can get all the latest news, interviews, and analysis on my Facebook page,

All right. After a quick break, the U.K. kicks off its divorce from the E.U. What happens next? We speak to a British constitutional expert on

what lies ahead for everybody in this country and across Europe. Coming up.



JEREMY CORBIN, MEMBER OF THE PARLIAMENT, UNITED KINGDOM: The Prime Minister says that no deal is better than a bad deal. But the reality is,

no deal is --


GORANI: British opposition Jeremy Corbyn there arguing that Brexit is taking the country in a reckless and damaging direction. Now, with the

Article 50 process set in motion, Britain is heading into the unknown. Whether you support Brexit or not, that's undeniable because we don't know

what the final deal will be. You'll see two years of intense negotiations, setting up a new relationship with the E.U.

So how will the deal or the deals, we should say, be made and what happens if negotiations break down at any point? Max Foster has that story.

MAX FOSTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Unpicking more than 40 years' worth of treaties and agreements covering thousands of subjects won't be easy, and

it won't be quick. The U.K. has two years now to negotiate Brexit before its E.U. membership ends. Vast negotiating teams on both sides will need

to work around the clock. The priority will be the breakup.

Key issues there include, what happens to Brits living in the E.U.? What happens to Europeans living in the U.K.? How are we going to leave the

single market and stop the free movement of labor? Where do we move the E.U. agencies overseeing banking and medicine, for example, currently based

here in the U.K.?

[15:45:02] And perhaps the most difficult issue is the divorce bill. Some E.U. officials argue that the U.K. should contribute billions of dollars

into ongoing projects, at least for a while, and that is a suggestion the U.K. government thinks is absurd. Once they do reach a deal, at least 20

of the E.U.'s remaining 27 heads of state will need to approve the deal. This could involve separate time-consuming votes in national and some

regional parliaments before the European Parliament is then asked to sign off.

The U.K. parliament will also be expected to sign off on any deal, and there is the potential of no deal. The Parliament won't agree. In that

case, the talks could be extended. But all sides will have to agree on that, otherwise, the U.K. would have to leave the E.U. with no trade deal

or key policy arrangements, meaning the World Trade Organization rules will have to be something that the U.K. falls back on.

Alongside all of this, there will have to be a whole new set of agreements as well, which will underpin the new relationship. Priorities there will

include immigration and border control, trade deals and customs agreement, security and intelligence. I haven't even mentioned the deals and

agreements that U.K. is going to have to reach with non-E.U. countries.

The British government is going to have to work on lots of new trade and immigration deals with countries around the world. The U.K. says it wants

to avoid falling off a disruptive cliff edge. Well, now the clock is ticking.

GORANI: Well, what happens next? Let's discuss that with Vernon Bogdanor. He's a professor of government at King's College London, and he joins me

here live.

Thanks, sir, for being with us. So I had Alastair Campbell on, the press secretary of former Prime Minister Tony Blair. He said this is not

inevitable. We can still come back from this. Is he right?


things are death and taxes. Now, this isn't quite in that class, but the government has said, as a matter of policy, it does not intend to revoke

Article 50. So I think it's highly unlikely that we'll be in the European Union after another two years. We will almost certainly leave.

GORANI: OK. You will almost certainly leave, but will you almost certainly have a deal or even the deal that the U.K. wants?

BOGDANOR: A deal, I believe, is highly unlikely. We're talking about a free trade deal within two years, probably 18 months if you remember that

the French elections are in May and the German elections in September.

Now, the only other unit to have left Europe was Greenland, which is part of Denmark, which is a small community whose only industry is fishing.

That took three years to negotiate a deal. Now Britain is a slightly more complex economy. Are we really saying a free trade deal --

GORANI: Only slightly, yes.

BOGDANOR: -- can be achieved within two years? Canada has taken seven years.

GORANI: But why then our government officials, the Prime Minister, others, those who supported Brexit from the beginning, saying, then, that it is

possible? Are they not understanding the complexities? Are they saying it to make people feel better knowing, full well, it won't happen?

BOGDANOR: Well, the aim of the government is to get a free trade deal, and the government's view is this is as much in the interest of the European

Union as it is with Britain. But it seems to me it's very optimistic to think it will be achieved.

GORANI: Who's holding the cards here? I mean, Peter Bone, an M.P. who supported Brexit, said the U.K. I mean, it's a very important market for

the E.U. Angela Merkel can say whatever she likes, but German carmakers are not going to want her to delay, you know, the talks on free trade and

access to this market. But then again, you have the 27-member block that, perhaps, would be the one to kind of set the tone here.

BOGDANOR: The European Union has the cards. Article 50 says that two years after it's invoked, unless there's unanimous agreement to extend the

time, you are out of the European Union. So in theory, the other 27 could simply sit on their hands for two years and we would be out without a deal,

so I think the cards are in the hands of the European Union. And that was the purpose of Article 50, not to make it too easy to leave the European

Union. No one likes it when a member resigns from a club.

GORANI: Brexit supporters say, though, well, we could leave without a trade deal. We'll revert back to WTO rules.


GORANI: The U.K. is not a member of the WTO right now, obviously, because it's a member of the E.U.

BOGDANOR: No, I think we are members through our original membership with GATS.


BOGDANOR: I think I mentioned that the WTO does not depend on the European Union, so some would disagree. Well, as the Brexiters say, we could leave

without a deal. That means we become a free trade economy, a kind of global free trade hub in the way that Singapore, for example, is.

Now, we're a bit different from Singapore. Singapore relies on its tremendous skills. Now, do we use our skills to the same extent? It would

mean, for example, we couldn't protect the steel industry. We couldn't protect our farmers. We'd be at the mercy, if you like, of the free


And the great danger of that is, that the people who voted for Brexit, the so-called left behind, the people who think they've had a bad deal from

globalization, they'd get even a worse deal because we'd be more exposed to globalization outside the E.U. than inside.

[15:50:12] GORANI: You didn't sound like you're saying that this is, on any level, going to be a good thing for the U.K. For the --

BOGDANOR: Well, it's going to be difficult and we have to adapt --

GORANI: Can it be good? What's a good deal for the U.K.?

BOGDANOR: Well, the best deal for us would be a deal that enabled us to use our skills to prosper because if you have goods and services that other

people want to buy. They will buy them, whether you've got a trade deal or not.

GORANI: Right.

BOGDANOR: Our fundamental problem, which will be worse leaving the E.U., is that we have a pretty poor skills record. Our literacy and numeracy

rates are not very good. We have very good universities. We do well in educating the elite, not so well in educating those skills who are

vocational and technical. And --

GORANI: Unlike Germany which is good at that.

BOGDANOR: Absolutely.


BOGDANOR: And we'll be thrown on world markets when we leave the E.U. and that is the fundamental problem we will face.

GORANI: Vernon Bogdanor, pleasure having you on. Thank you so much for joining us on CNN.

BOGDANOR: Thank you.

GORANI: Coming up, a lot more. It's been a long and sometimes stormy relationship through the years. Now, Britain has finally started the

process of divorcing the E.U. We will take you down memory lane after a break.


GORANI: Like any other long marriage, there were good times and there were bad times. As the U.K. and E.U. proceed with the divorce, Nick Glass looks

back at a partnership that's not always been harmonious.


NICK GLASS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Britain and the European Union always a fractious, rather ambivalent relationship, never simply black and

white. Although, the idea did have an eloquent post-war champion.

SIR WINSTON CHURCHILL, FORMER PRIME MINISTER, UNITED KINGDOM: We cannot aim at anything less than the union of Europe as a whole, and we look

forward with confidence to the day when that union will be achieved.

GLASS (voice-over): Britain could so easily have been a founder member in '57, precisely 60 years ago, along with the German Chancellor Konrad

Adenauer and the French and the Italians, but a suspicious Britain declined to join the club.

As Germany and France prospered economically, Adenauer, embraced by France's Charles de Gaulle, Britain had a sudden change of heart out of

economic self-interest. But de Gaulle said, no, vetoing the British application in 1963 and again in 1967. Only after de Gaulle died did

Britain finally gain membership in 1973.

The conservative Prime Minister Ted Heath signed with a golden pen. As a keen musician, he encouraged the newly formed European Youth Orchestra.

But by 1975, Britain was already having second thoughts. The Labour Prime Minister Harold Wilson called a referendum.

HAROLD WILSON, FORMER PRIME MINISTER OF UNITED KINGDOM: The British people, in clear and unmistakable terms, have made their historic decision

that Britain shall remain a member of the European community.

GLASS (voice-over): Note that word, "historic," so persistently used in this prolonged saga. The conservative Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher

famously had her battles with Europe, arguing that Britain was contributing too much to the E.U. budget. She successful won a rebate in 1984.

[15:55:12] MARGARET THATCHER, FORMER PRIME MINISTER, UNITED KINGDOM: It is asking the community to have our own money back.

GLASS (voice-over): The Maastricht Treaty in 1992 brought about greater integration among member states over justice, home and foreign affairs, and

security. But Britain went on to opt out of the common currency, the Euro. And so did David Cameron's fateful decision announced in 2013.


GLASS (voice-over): And to Nigel Farage's triumph as leader of the U.K. Independence Party as the British voted out last summer.

NIGEL FARAGE, FORMER LEADER OF UNITED KINGDOM'S INDEPENDENCE PARTY: Let June the 23rd go down in our history as our independent day.

GLASS (voice-over): The basic question was, and remains, what has the E.U. done for Britain? Superficially, it changed our drinking habits, our

consumption of latte and cappuccino, and anything bubbly. It encouraged a flood of German cars. More importantly and divisively, a flood of people,

over 3 million European nationals living and working in Britain.

With a narrow vote in favor of leaving, the referendum showed that Britain is profoundly fractured over Europe. Manifestly, for better or worse, it

isn't quite the same country it was in 1973. And that raises a new question. What will Britain's place in the world be in the future?


GORANI: And that is an important question for this country. This has been THE WORLD RIGHT NOW. Thanks for watching. I'm Hala Gorani. I will see

you back in the studio tomorrow.

A special edition of "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS" is next.