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QUEST MEANS BUSINESS
Theresa May's Cabinet Backs Brexit Draft Deal; Pound and U.S. Stocks Seesaw; British Business Community Reacts to Draft Brexit Deal
Aired November 14, 2018 - 15:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
HALA GORANI, ANCHOR, CNN: Hello and welcome once again. I'm Hala Gorani. Tonight, we continue our breaking news coverage of this Brexit draft
agreement. Theresa May says her cabinet has backed the deal that she negotiated with the European Union. Now, it caps what's been called the
most dangerous day in Theresa May's premiership.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
THERESA MAY, PRIME MINISTER OF THE UNITED KINGDOM: I firmly believe that the draft withdrawal agreement was the best that could be negotiated, and
it was for the Cabinet to decide whether to move on in the talks. The choices before us were difficult, particularly in relation to the Northern
Ireland backstop, but the collective decision of Cabinet was that the government should agree the draft withdrawal agreement and the outlying
This is a decisive step which enable us to move on and finalize the deal in the days ahead.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: Well, here's what we know. The Prime Minister was holed up inside Downing Street for more than five hours trying to convince her ministers to
sign off on the deal. She was successful according to what she said outside of 10 Downing. So far, we're not seeing any resignations in
protest and that's quite significant. Now, Theresa May also said she will address Parliament tomorrow, Thursday.
Rumors are swirling of a leadership challenge. We can't confirm anything for you on that front. We do know that the Labor Party stands opposed to
this Brexit agreement, and many in Theresa May's own conservative party are not supporting this deal. A lot of very hardcore Brexiteers are saying
this is the worst of both worlds.
Just minutes ago, EU officials published the full text of the draft. It is almost 600 pages long. We're combing through it as fast as we can. We're
also expecting to hear from Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier any minute in Brussels and the question is going to be, will he say we have enough. Well
done, Theresa May, you've got the support of your Cabinet. We have enough to move on to the next phase. What is the next phase? It is of course a
big summit at the end of November on November 25th.
But the big challenge for Theresa May will be to get this deal past Parliament. First of all, will there be a vote of no confidence. We spoke
to a conservative MP just a few minutes ago, it didn't sound like this was something that the party was preparing.
But secondly, the most important thing is will Parliament embrace and support this Brexit deal? Because we have on the left and on the right and
everywhere in between people who oppose it for varying reasons. Let's get the latest developments, Bianca Nobilo is outside Number 10 Downing Street
and Erin McLaughlin is in Brussels.
And Erin, I want to start with you because we just got our eyes - you were just able to get your, not your hands physically but online, this draft
text was published and put out. What are we learning?
ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: That's right, Hala. The draft text is 585 pages long, but we also have a copy of a joint statement put out by
both the United Kingdom and the EU. I have it right here. My producer highlighted here in pink perhaps the most contentious part of this draft
deal, which is the Northern Ireland backstop solution.
Let me just read to you very quickly what it says in this statement. It says, "The draft withdrawal agreement contains a protocol on Northern
Ireland that provides for a legally operative backstop including a single customs territory between the European Union and the United Kingdom.
Neither the union nor the United Kingdom wishes to see the backstop enter into force. Were it to do so, it would represent a suboptimal trading
arrangement for both sides. The withdrawal agreement also sets out the parties shared intention to negotiate a future agreement that supersedes
the relevant provisions of the protocol."
At the end of this statement, Hala, it also has a section that says, "Next steps." Those next steps say, "The negotiations on the full political
declaration continues and the negotiators are determined to reach a successful conclusion by the end of November."
So it seems the negotiators have concluded with the withdrawal agreement. They are still discussing that political declaration that's supposed to
outline the future relationship. We are waiting to hear from Michel Barnier who is expected to speak very shortly at the Commission just behind
GORANI: Let's cross over live to Brussels where Michel Barnier is about to speak.
MICHEL BARNIER, EU's CHIEF BREXIT NEGOTIATOR (Through a translator): The full draft agreement from the orderly withdrawal of the United Kingdom as
agreed by the negotiators on both sides.
BARNIER (Through a translator): We are also together publishing a commented plan of the joint political declaration on the framework for our
future relationship, and all that is the result of intense negotiations - very intense negotiations, which started 17 months ago, and I would like to
thank - I would like to thank our two teams, the UK team and the team that has been working for me for their commitment and hard work, and personally
I would like to say that it's an honor and a privilege to have been part of a quite exceptional team here.
Now, this agreement is a decisive, a crucial step in concluding these negotiations. It's also the achievement of a method, methodology, which
has been negotiation carried out in transparency from the word go and fully in the respect of our respective mandates.
Now, this draft withdrawal agreement, ladies and gentlemen, includes 185 articles, three protocol, and a series of annexes. This is the draft in my
hand here, the draft agreement between the United Kingdom and the European Union. There's no more colors in here you'll notice. There are no more
bits in green the way there were before and white is the new green so to speak.
And I certainly hope that each and every one of you will take some time, some time to read calmly and closely to read the whole of the text. This
is a very specific and very detailed document as you would expect from an international agreement at such an exceptional time in bringing legal
certainty to all those and there are very many of them, to all those people and on all the subjects, where we have to manage the consequences of
And I'd like just to mention five of those particular areas. First of all, citizens' rights. Citizens' rights have always been our common priority.
Of course the priority of the European Parliament and of many of the states as well. European citizens who live in the United Kingdom, but also
citizens of the United Kingdom who live in a country of the Union and established there before the end of the transition period will be able to
continue to live their lives as before in their country of residence.
They will be able to continue to live in that country of residence, to study there, to work there, to receive benefits there, or to be joined by
their families there throughout their lifetime and then there's the financial settlement. We've agreed that the financial commitments entered
into amongst the 28 be respected amongst the 28 all those financial commitments together. We wanted to reassure all those who have projects
through regions supported by the European budget in the Union and of course in the United Kingdom.
And my third point, there are many other subjects of course, on which we have had to reach an agreement, and on which we have reached solutions to
organize in each sector this orderly withdrawal. For example, those questions related to Euratom, for example, the protection of intellectual
property, existing intellectual property rights. The 3,000 geographical indications or some one million trademarks, drawings, or community models,
and then of course there is the use of and the protection of personal data exchanged before the end of the transition period.
But one fourth major area where I think we found a good solution is the governance of the withdrawal agreement. It is important for us, and it is
important for the United Kingdom that this agreement be well-implemented. It's all about the credibility of the agreement itself. Like for any
international agreement, this draft agreement creates a framework with the first stage of political resolution for dispute.
BARNIER (Through a translator): So if there is persistent disagreement, the resolution of those conflicts by an arbitration panel and where the
disagreement concerns interpretation of the union law and the European union law appears everywhere in the agreement, the court of justice of the
European Union will continue to play its role.
And then the fifth point we've agreed on a transition period. The United Kingdom will leave the European Union as the United Kingdom wished and
leave all the institutions on the 29th of March, 2019, but for a period of 21 months from the 30th of March to the 31st of December 2020, we have
agreed to preserve the current situation with respect to the internal market, with respect to the customs union, and with respect to the European
policies and all the rights and obligations that go along with that.
This will enable the citizens, but also administrations and of course business and in particular small to medium-sized undertakings to prepare
and to adapt - but to adapt just once to change before the implementation of the future relationship. We also have the possibility of extending this
once for a limited period by joint agreement.
Ladies and gentlemen, our agreement also includes three protocols. One of those protocols is on Gibraltar that creates the basis for the Ministry of
Corporation on a series of subjects, the rights of citizens, taxation, tobacco, the environment, fisheries but also police and customs
The Gibraltar protocol is part of a broader package of bilateral agreements between Spain and the United Kingdom which relate to Gibraltar, and I'd
like to take the opportunity to thank the two governments for that bilateral work.
The second protocol relates to Cypress and the sovereign basis in Cypress. This enables the continuity of existing agreements in and around these
bases between Cypress and the United Kingdom, in particular to enable the 11,000 Cypriot citizens established on territories and the British
sovereignty to continue to live as they do today.
BARNIER: Ladies and gentlemen, the third protocol concerns Ireland and Northern Ireland. We have now found a solution together with the UK to
avoid a hard border in the island of Ireland. First, we will use our best endeavors to solve this issue for the long-term through future agreements.
If are not ready by July 2020, we could generally consider extending the transition to provide for more time. Only at the end of the transition,
extended or not, we are still not there with the future agreement, with the backstop solution that we agreed today kicking in. This backstop solution
has evolved considerably from the original EU proposal from February this year. Over the last few weeks, we have worked with the UK on the basis of
In the backstop scenario, we agreed to create the UE-UK single customs territory. Northern Ireland will therefore remain in this same custom
territory like the rest of the UK. In addition, Northern Ireland would remained aligned to those rules of the single market that are essential for
avoiding our border. This concerns agriculture goods, as well as all products.
The UK would apply the EU's customs code in Northern Ireland. It would allow Northern Irish businesses to bring goods in the single market without
restrictions which is essential to avoid a hard border.
BARNIER: The text of the protocol also makes clear that the Northern Irish economy retains unfettered market access for the rest of the UK. At the
UK's request, Northern Ireland will apply all the rules of the single market for of (inaudible). This is in the interest of the economy of
Northern Ireland and Ireland.
This single EU-UK customs territory would mean that UK goods get tariffs and quota free access to the EU 27 market. For competition to be open and
fair in such a single customs territory, we have agreed provisions and stated competition, taxation, social and environmental toll standards.
This will guarantee that both EU and UK manufacturing will compete on a level playing field.
An essential condition for the single customs territory to cover fisheries and agricultural products will be to agree between the union and the UK on
access to waters and fishing opportunities. Overall, these backstops shows that we have been able to find common ground and meet our common
Number one, to protect the Good Friday agreement in all its dimensions, North-South cooperation and all Ireland economy. Number two, to preserve
the integrity of the EU single market and islands placed in it. Three, to respect the UK's territorial integrity and constitutional order. Four, to
protect the common private area between Ireland and the UK.
Finally, let me repeat that this backstop is not meant to be used. Our objective remains to reach the new agreement between the EU and the UK
before the end of the transition.
BARNIER (Through a translator): And this leads me to my final point, which relates to the framework for the future relationship, which is part of this
sort of annotated outline, which we're publishing at the same time. We're preparing, and we will be ready to start that negotiation the very day
after the United Kingdom withdraws from the European Union on the 30th of March, 2019.
Now, what we have today is an outline of a political statement, and we're drawing the basis for an ambitious partnership, which we want, which is a
free trade area based on regulatory and customs cooperation in depth and with a level playing field.
Our objective is to abolish customs duties and quotas for all goods based on what we're proposing in the withdrawal agreement, a single customs
territory. Of course, as the European Council gave me a mandate, that will be the condition. The condition of a new agreement on fisheries will
apply. Then there will be sectoral agreement which are needed and expected in transport and energy. Third, cooperation on internal security, police
and judicial cooperation, and of course, this is an important point for the whole of Europe in foreign policy and external security and defense.
Of course at this stage, as I said it's an annotated outline, the basis of a plan. We're going to start working with the 27 member state, and I will
start tomorrow with the European Parliament on this draft political declaration. The objective of course being with the United Kingdom to
finalize the declaration in order to be able to present it to the European Council.
Ladies and gentlemen, we, as you know, we've reached a crucial stage, an important moment in this extraordinary negotiation, which we entered into
at the request of the United Kingdom.
BARNIER (Through a translator): There is still a lot of work. I know that the path is still long and may well be difficult to guarantee an orderly
withdrawal, and beyond the orderly withdrawal, beyond the orderly separation to build something, to build an ambitious and sustainable
partnership with the United Kingdom, there is still work to be done here in this this house under the authority of the President, Jean-Claude Juncker,
and with the college of commissioners and with all the commissions departments, which I want to thank most personally for their work, and then
over the road with the President Donald Tusk and his team, the Austrian presidency and all the different presidencies which in the past and in the
future, and the 27 governments who have always showed me their trust.
And of course, not least, Mr. Tajani and the European Parliament, Mr. Verhofstadt, and all the members of the Brexit steering group who have
always shown their trust in me and their vigilance, I must say.
I have worked with my team and in the name of the European institution, and I shall continue to work in precisely the same way. Methodically and in
the same respect, the same very great respect that I have for the United Kingdom.
This negotiation has never been in my mind and never will be one against the other. Never. I have always said that we're negotiating with the
United Kingdom, not against the United Kingdom, and in the respect of their sovereign choice, the choice they made to leave the European Union, and
tonight as I said, it's a crucial step towards this orderly withdrawal.
That step is a condition, the very basis for the trust, which we need in negotiating a new partnership. The United Kingdom will remain our friend,
our partner and our ally. Theresa May this evening stated that we've taken a decisive step, a decisive step, and tonight within my own
responsibilities as the negotiator for the European Union, I believe that we have made decisive progress.
BARNIER: Today in my responsibility, as the EU negotiator, I consider that we have achieved decisive progress.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Merci, we can now switch to your questions. I will start with Europe. Give me a second here.
GORANI: All right, Michel Barnier, the chief Brexit negotiator for the European Union there concluding a statement. Many important details there
outlined by Barnier that we hadn't gotten while Theresa May, the UK Prime Minister was successfully, it appears convincing her Cabinet to support her
on this draft text, 185 articles. We're talking about almost 600 pages in this draft agreement.
This is something that I know our reporters will be going through as quickly as they can. He, Michel Barnier saying this brings legal certainty
to EU citizens living in the UK and vice versa. There will be a transition period of 21 months. It could be extended by joint agreement, according to
Michel Barnier outlining what's in this draft text.
And then he talked about the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland saying that if by July 2020, there is no agreement to
avoid a hard border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, that there could be an extension. Beyond that, the backstop proposal would
He did mention an EU-UK single customs territory that Northern Ireland would remain a part of, and this is something that has created some
controversy with those members of Parliament who would prefer to have a united Northern Ireland within the UK outside of the EU.
Erin McLaughlin is in Brussels with more. Erin, talk to us a little bit more. What more did we learn? What are some of the big important
headlines from Michel Barnier? Because this is our first opportunity really to hear from someone who was the chief negotiator on the European
MCLAUGHLIN: That's right, Hala, and critically he's declared that decisive progress has been made in these negotiations and we now have a copy from
the Commission, a press release declaring the decisive progress in these negotiations ...
MCLAUGHLIN: ... has been made, and that is significant because this document is what is necessary for the President of The European Council,
Donald Tusk to call that emergency summit, which potentially could happen by the end of November, the date that's been talked about specifically is
November 25th, although that has yet to be confirmed.
And so now Barnier himself saying that we are at a critical stage, a crucial moment in this process. He also, though, I thought it was
significant when he recognized that there is still a lot more work to be done, that there will be a difficult road ahead in all of this.
I also thought it was significant how he switched to English when he was talking about that Northern Irish backstop solution. After all, that is
seen as the most contentious portion of this process. That is what has held up the negotiations, both sides pouring over this draft text for
months trying to reach an agreement, and finally arriving at that backstop solution that would involve a customs union for both the UK and the EU as
well as a greater regulatory alignment for Northern Ireland. That is what's going to be the tough sell to the United Kingdom.
But in terms of the next steps, now that this draft text has been released, it goes to the capitals for scrutiny. Tomorrow, we expect to hear from the
President of the European Council, Donald Tusk call for that summit.
GORANI: Erin McLaughlin, live in Brussels, thanks very much. Let's get perspectives now on what Michel Barnier outlined regarding The Northern
Ireland border. Let's speak to Alistair Carmichael, he is the spokesperson for the Lib Dems here in the UK overseeing that portfolio. And the DUP MP
Sammy Wilson. Thank you so much for being with us.
SAMMY WILSON, DUP, MP: Good evening.
GORANI: You must be disappointed tonight?
WILSON: Not just disappointed, extremely angry. Because of course, the Prime Minister May had promises, very specific promises not once but on a
number of occasions to Parliament and to the people of Northern Ireland that Northern Ireland would not be treated differently from the rest of the
GORANI: And you see this as what essentially? Is Northern Ireland --
WILSON: Now we see Northern Ireland being hived off from the rest of the United Kingdom. It's going to be subject to EU regulations which will be
decided in Brussels, imposed on Northern Ireland with no ability for Northern Ireland to either refuse them, even if they are damaged into our
economy or to alter them even if they are going to have an impact on our economy, and will lead to Northern Ireland's economy diverging further and
further away from the Britain economy, which is our main market.
So it has economic consequences for Northern Ireland, and of course has important constitutional consequences.
GORANI: To you Alistair Carmichael, I presume your reaction is very different?
ALISTAIR CARMICHAEL, LIBERAL DEMOCRAT POLITICIAN: It's not really because actually, what you're hearing from Sammy is I think a very, you know,
unexpected analysis, and reaction to the deal because the truth of the matter is that for months, years now almost Theresa May has promised
different things to different people in different places and at different times, and what you're seeing today is that chickens are coming home to
roost, and the fact of the matter is that you're not able to deliver all the contradictory things that she has promised at different times.
Now people are seeing the real sheep, the real meaning of Brexit. That is why the people who haven't voted to leave now see the destination to which
they are being taken, should be given the opportunity to say, yes, we will take that destination, or no we prefer to stay in a referendum on the deal,
the people's vote is the only way to get through this.
GORANI: Sammy Wilson, do you now regret supporting Theresa May's not quite majority in order to allow her to govern?
WILSON: No, first of all, we didn't regret voting to leave the EU. Secondly, we didn't regret making a promise to the government that we would
help them to see this Brexit through.
GOARNI: But now do you regret it?
WILSON: No, I mean, broken promises having made not just to us, but have also made to members of her own party, and that was - that is regrettable,
but it doesn't mean that we regret the path which we have gone down. We believe it's retrievable, and we believe that the first --
WILSON: We believe that the first step to retrieving that is to make sure that the majority in the House of Commons votes this deal down when it is
presented and I suspect that given the numbers of people who have already come out against this that the Prime Minister is not getting this through
the House of Commons.
GORANI: Do you feel betrayed by the Prime Minister?
WILSON: I think that there are a lot of people who feel betrayed.
GORANI: But do you?
WILSON: Personally, I feel betrayed, yes, because there are so many mixed- shift promise, and you abide by your part of the agreement. Don't forget in this whole Brexit process, 50 percent of the votes of the government
required to get the Brexit process to the point where it is today would not have been secured had it not been for our votes.
So we fulfilled, honorably fulfilled our obligations and our responsibilities and find that the Prime Minister has willy-nilly, just
dispensed with the promises she made to us. And of course we feel betrayed, but there are a lot more other people in our party who feel
betrayed as well.
GORANI: I'll ask you Alistair Carmichael, where do we go from here because the second referendum doesn't seem likely --
ALISTAIR CARMICHAEL, SCOTTISH LIBERAL DEMOCRAT MP: Well --
GORANI: There's no real political will behind it.
CARMICHAEL: Well, you see that, but no opinion polls are returning figures regularly, seeing that more than 50 percent people wanted --
GORANI: Do you still need political will?
CARMICHAEL: And at that -- no, and I think -- look, I think what you see here is a pretty clear indication that come the votes, Sammy and I will
both be in the same lobby against this deal for very different reasons.
CARMICHAEL: That illustrates the fact Theresa May has struggled, it took her five hours to get past the people whose loyalty she should take for
granted. The cabinet, the people who are right at the heart of her government. The chances of her getting it past the House of Commons now
are vanishingly slim.
In that instance, the only way if parliament cannot resolve this matter, then the people must. That's why we must have the people's vote.
GORANI: Sammy Wilson, thank you very much, Alistair Carmichael, thank you --
CARMICHAEL: Thank you --
GORANI: To both of you for joining us, we appreciate your time this evening. We're going to take a quick break, more of our breaking news
after this on Cnn, don't go away.
[15:35:00] GORANI: Welcome back. It was a victory for Theresa May tonight at least. The British Prime Minister says her cabinet is backing
her draft Brexit plan. Mrs. May has crossed a big hurdle, but she says she expects difficult days ahead.
Investors are reacting to the news from London already, the Dow is climbing back from the lows it hit earlier today. We're also getting our first
reactions in from the business community. Anna Stewart is following it all. Are we pinning this bounce back on this deal that Theresa May was
able to get backing for within her cabinet?
ANNA STEWART, CNN REPORTER: Exactly on Sterling, Hala, as soon as she started speaking --
GORANI: Because actually, it doesn't look like it's bounced back enough, we're still down a 100 points, yes.
STEWART: Well, you know what? We saw it rise --
GORANI: Yes --
STEWART: To the $1.30 this morning on hopes it would hit a deal, we've had such a rocky ride of the day. Every investor really trading on every
single noise that came out of Westminster. Well, we are now back up to $1.30. It doesn't seem high, right? But you know what? This is the sort of
psychological barrier where sterling has been for some time now ever since the referendum really where it was $1.50, as soon as the results came in,
it slumped to $1.30.
And this is really where it's been. We are getting reaction as well as you said from the business community, let me bring you what we have from the
BCC, the British Chambers of Commerce, they've welcomed the move as had all of those Forex investors.
But they say "this may be the end of the beginning, but not yet the beginning of the end. Our firms need clarity and precision on the specific
terms of trade they will face in the future, many of which are still to be agreed."
Hala, and this is because as you've been talking about, first of all, we are at the beginning of this process, yes, it's gone through cabinet, it
has to go through parliament, it has to go through the EU, and this is just the transition period. Firms will still need some clarity sooner rather
than later on what the trading relationship will be.
GORANI: Anna Stewart, thanks very much. Kevin Brennan is a British member of parliament for the Labor Party, I'm also joined by James Morris who's a
conservative member of parliament. Thanks to both of you. First, let me ask you, what is your reaction to this announcement by the Prime Minister?
JAMES MORRIS, BRITISH CONSERVATIVE MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT: Well, look, I think this is a very significant moment. The cabinet has agreed to the
withdrawal -- draft withdrawal agreement, so this is a very significant moment.
We have a withdrawal agreement which can now be put forward to parliament for discussion and for a vote. Now, this has been a very hard negotiation.
The Prime Minister in the British government has been seeking to get an agreement in the national interests, which respects the result of the
referendum in June 2016.
It takes control of our borders once again, but also is firmly focused on ensuring future U.K. prosperity with a political declaration, which gives
us an indication that we will be able to come to good terms on free trading relationship with the European Union.
GORANI: So you will be voting in favor really?
MORRIS: I haven't seen all of the detail of the withdrawal agreement, I haven't -- no, I haven't seen all the detail of the withdrawal agreement,
but this is a significant moment.
GORANI: She's going to have a hard time. Do you PMPs -- I just had one of my guests here, PMP, Sammy Wilson said no way, Lib Dem, no way, other Labor
Party members are saying this is the worst of both worlds, and so are some Tories. It doesn't sound like she has the numbers?
KEVIN BRENNAN, BRITISH LABOR MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT: Well, it doesn't sound like she has the numbers. I mean, the draft agreement itself I understand
is about as long as a Harry Potter novel, so it's --
GORANI: Six hundred dollars, almost $600 --
BRENNAN: And probably not quite as entertaining under this, but then I think is a bit of a significant overnight reading to be done by --
GORANI: Yes --
BRENNAN: People if you want to get to grips with that. But we do know that there are bones of it from reports, and it doesn't sound like it
satisfies the test that the Labor Party have set which were based on the original words of the government about what they said they would achieve
And ultimately, this is a -- you know, this is a deal that doesn't actually settle most of the big questions that there are about our future
relationship with the European Union. It's a bit of a pig in the poke anyway, we don't really know what we're going to get at the end of a
transition period. So I doubt very much that she can command a majority in the House of Commons.
MORRIS: No, well, I don't agree with that. Look, the choice which is going to be presented is this is the best deal that is available, that the
British government has negotiated, and the choices between that and a no deal, which would be not a good result for the U.K. economy. And --
GORANI: Or there's a certain --
MORRIS: That is not -- that's not what she said tonight -- what's interesting was it on the set pretending to be -- what this -- what this
deal does is it also ensures continuity for British business, ensuring that we have the very good prospect of a negotiated, good free trade deal with
the EU and securing Britain's prosperity. That's absolutely the key to this --
GORANI: Kevin, if you could just allow me to run this sound-bite --
BRENNAN: Yes --
GORANI: From Theresa May --
BRENNAN: Yes --
GORANI: Because what you just mentioned, this is one of the things she said on the steps of 10 Downing Street a little earlier. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
THERESA MAY, PRIME MINISTER, UNITED KINGDOM: The choice before us is clear. This deal which delivers on the vote of the referendum, which
brings back control of our money, laws and borders, ends free movement, protects jobs, security and our union or leave with no deal or no Brexit at
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[15:40:00] GORANI: Well, we -- she says or leave with no deal or no Brexit --
BRENNAN: Or no Brexit at all. In fact --
GORANI: At all.
BRENNAN: And we've had this back and forth in the Commons, you know, in recent weeks many times, and I asked the Prime Minister a question on, you
know, just a couple of weeks --
GORANI: Yes --
BRENNAN: Ago on this, and up until now, she has tried to maintain this fiction, which everybody knows is a fiction that there's -- either, it's
either Prime Minister's deal or Britain has to crash out of the European Union with no deal whatsoever.
And everyone knows that is not the case. If the House of Commons votes down this deal, then the Prime Minister, there's a process that's been set
in place, the Prime Minister will have to go away, maybe I don't know, she might resign over that, I don't know, but she would have to go away and
come back with another option.
And one of those options must be -- if there's not to be a general election, that there will be another vote potentially on whether or not we
remain in the European Union.
GORANI: James, that is a third -- that is a third way.
MORRIS: And this is -- I mean, this is massive speculation. Look, we have significant milestone tonight, which is what we have a withdrawal agreement
in play in the U.K., which the Prime Minister will make a statement tomorrow and all of the detail will be available for people to look at, and
then that will be voted on in the U.K. parliament.
It is the best deal that the U.K. government can present, it has been -- it's been the work of a lot of hard negotiation --
GORANI: But is it better than staying in the EU?
MORRIS: It provides the ability for us to -- it respects the result of the referendum, and it also locks in our ability to do trade deals around the
world in areas of the world where there is great opportunity for the U.K. to develop its relationships around the world, and it respects the vote of
the referendum taking back control of our laws and our borders.
That is what the Prime Minister has now presented, is going to present to parliament --
GORANI: Yes --
MORRIS: For a vote.
GORANI: Is this not staying loosely within the Customs Union --
BRENNAN: Well --
GORANI: But not being able to really vote on any of the rules that govern it?
BRENNAN: Well, it is, and that's only for a temporary period we think or apparently according to the deal that could be extended further by mutual
agreement, and we don't know on either as Sammy Wilson was talking about earlier on what the situation is with regard to northern Ireland in the
And whether that will have a different relationship with the European Union than the rest of the United Kingdom.
GORANI: It sure sounds like it according to Michel Barnier --
BRENNAN: So there are exactly, I mean, there are a huge numbers of unanswered questions, despite two years, I was one of those who thought we
shouldn't trigger article 50 because the government didn't really know what it was trying to negotiate, and now that harvest is coming home at this
It's a pretty bitter harvest, and there are very few pickings for people to really understand what our future relationship is supposed to be in the
GORANI: And do you think Theresa May will survive this if parliament votes against her --
MORRIS: Well, again --
GORANI: And she loses --
MORRIS: Look, you're talking about scenarios that we haven't got to. Where we've got to tonight --
GORANI: It's all we've got --
MORRIS: No, where we've got --
GORANI: Yes --
MORRIS: To tonight --
GORANI: Yes --
MORRIS: And people like Kevin and other people in the opposition and other parties have said, we wouldn't ever get to the point where we had a draft
withdrawal agreement. We have that tonight --
GORANI: Yes --
MORRIS: The cabinet has agreed it, and all of the detail that Kevin is looking for will be available tomorrow when the Prime Minister gives a
statement, and then it will be for parliament to decide whether it wants to fulfill the band-aid to the referendum and secure Britain's future
BRENNAN: But we also know --
MORRIS: It's a national interest, it's a national interest.
BRENNAN: We do also know that a large number of people in the cabinet said they were opposed to the deal tonight, and for the moment, they are keeping
collective responsibility, they're keeping quiet. But I wonder whether over the next day or two rather like with Chequers, we'll see --
GORANI: Yes --
BRENNAN: Some of those people peeling off in resignations from the cabinet. We'll have to wait and see, but I suspect tonight's situation is
not what the situation will be tomorrow or the day after.
GORANI: Thank you members of parliament, Kevin Brennan and James Morris for joining us, we really appreciate it. A quick break here on Cnn, we'll
have a lot more when we come back, don't go away.
[15:45:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
GORANI: Earlier, I spoke to two members of parliament on different sides of the Brexit debate, Daniek Kawczynski, a Brexit supporter and Peter Kyle
a big remainer, and unsurprisingly they clashed. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PETER KYLE, BRITISH LABOR MP & BREXIT REMAIN SUPPORTER: Your point about going forward, you asked a question about when stability going forward.
The bad news is there is no way forward that has complete political stability for our country or economic stability if we do -- she has to get
her deal through, we are then going to enter a two-year period of implementation where there is complete uncertainty that will happen after
So the negotiations are going to go on and on. What we've seen for the last two years would be the new normal. If we do have a vote to have a
referendum and go back to the people, there will be a period where it will be really quite traumatic for our country and there will be resolutions at
the end of it --
GORANI: You'll back a second referendum?
KYLE: Of course I do. And --
GORANI: Yes --
KYLE: I think this started with a referendum and just to make them very quick once I can --
GORANI: And you're hoping it ends with a referendum --
KYLE: I do, your previous -- your previous guests --
GORANI: Yes --
KYLE: Said --
GORANI: Yes --
KYLE: That there would be the same result. It's a --
GORANI: Yes --
KYLE: Different question. The first referendum is based on promises, this one will be based on fact. And actually, when people look at the deal,
they don't like the deal.
GORANI: Daniel, what about asking Britains if they like the deal. This isn't a referendum about leaving or staying, it's about -- it's a question
DANIEL KAWCZYNSKI, BRITISH CONSERVATIVE MP & BREXIT SUPPORTER: I haven't interrupted Peter at all --
GORANI: Yes --
KAWCZYNSKI: When he's been speaking, so I hope you'll let me speak this time. Look, we've had the referendum and 17.4 million people voted to pull
out of the European Union. I think they knew exactly what they were doing. The British electorate is very sophisticated and very intelligent.
And they were -- we had operation fear from George Osborne saying that unemployment will go through the roof and that mortgage interest rates
would drive up interest payments on their homes.
None of that has happened. We're a very strong and resilient country and we must stand by the referendum result -- and by the way, to answer Peter's
point, look, we tried very hard to work with these people, we pulled out of the EBB-ED group in the European parliament.
We worked with like-minded parties from other countries for 15 years to try to change the direction of travel of the European Union away from the
federalist agenda. It failed, but we didn't do this referendum just whimsically. We spent 15 years trying to avoid this position, that Germany
and France are hell bent on the course of creating the super national state, which by the way will serve their interests but not the interests of
small countries --
GORANI: You clearly --
KAWCZYNSKI: Like Greece --
GORANI: Yes --
KAWCZYNSKI: Who have been sacrificed on the altar of the --
KYLE: This is -- this is --
KAWCZYNSKI: Super national state --
KYLE: This is complete mumbo-jumbo conspiracy theory toward people taking over the world, nonsense. I was in Poland just yesterday -- no, I was in
Poland just yesterday and I visited Auschwitz, and then you stand there and see how far that country and our continent has come since those dark
times. It's come together.
It's come to these places and created stability, economic stability, political stability and 70 years of peace because of our coming together to
tackle problems. There is federalism. There is a movement for federalism in the EU, the reason it hasn't happened in the last 40 years is because
Britain has been a dominant force and we used the --
GORANI: Do you accept that?
KYLE: Opt out and the veto which we are about to give up --
GORANI: Yes --
KYLE: Believe me, we are going to be as influenced by the EU as before --
GORANI: The British leader will be gone and the opt out will be gone.
KAWCZYNSKI: Either, the most important thing, the European Union hasn't kept the peace on the continent of Europe, it's NATO --
KYLE: Oh, come on --
KAWCZYNSKI: An organization that hasn't lost a square inch of territory since its inception 70 years ago, anchored I might say in the strength of
the world's only super power.
[15:50:00] What these people are trying to do and we've seen it with Macron already is push away the Americans and create a single European
army, if they do that --
GORANI: Well --
KAWCZYNSKI: It will be catastrophic --
GORANI: Because --
KAWCZYNSKI: For the defense of this --
GORANI: He's very clear about making a distinction --
KYLE: Politics --
GORANI: Between the Americans and some of the issues he has with the Trump administration --
KYLE: Political --
KAWCZYNSKI: Send the Americans away --
GORANI: Yes --
KYLE: Political institutions if we need the peace --
GORANI: Quick last word --
KYLE: Not --
GORANI: Yes --
KYLE: Military threat.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: Well, there you have it. A spirited debate, we've had many of those this evening, we'll be right back with Nic Robertson's final
GORANI: Well, we've been following breaking news this hour, Theresa May says that her cabinet is on board with a draft plan for Brexit. So does
that mean she survives? Will there be a vote of no confidence? What happens with the Brexit process itself?
Nic Robertson is here with more on that. We were discussing earlier that, that Chequers deal, that was the first proposal Theresa May had that she
had gotten the backing of her cabinet, and then two days later, took two days, two high profile resignations happened. So it doesn't mean she'll
keep this backing or this support.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: It doesn't, and if you think about it, those two high profile negotiations -- two high profile
people who left her cabinet, who resigned are actually now outside that cabinet and are actually a -- will be an influence over those who are in
the cabinet today who will be making up their minds what to do.
So yes, I mean, the pull factor of getting out of the meeting of sort of being talked through by Theresa May of having explain to you in detail,
partially, again, we heard how tired she was coming out. She had clearly put a lot on the line, a lot of emotional effort into it with her cabinet
So the chance of them backsliding, changing their minds is quite possible when they hear from their colleagues. And let's face it as well, they
haven't really had time themselves to go into the detail of these 585 pages.
GORANI: But we have the broad outlines, Michel Barnier spoke about the rights of EU citizens and the U.K. and vice versa. I mean, there will be a
transition period, we're not falling off a cliff in March of 2019. It can even according to Michel Barnier presenting this text be extended. We
might have a situation where the current status quo lasts two years or more?
ROBERTSON: And I think for some of the -- for both ends of the spectrum here with Theresa -- for Theresa May of the Brexiteers and the remainers,
you know, the longer that transition period looks, actually the worse it looks for them.
[15:55:00] And that actually -- although, you know, this is meant to help with the negotiations, the reality is that's also a detraction for the
critics of this right now.
GORANI: But I wonder if there is some hope within the EU that the longer this transition period lasts, the more probable it is that there will be
some sort of second vote?
ROBERTSON: They've held out that hope in the beginning. They say that they have given up on that. But you know, when you do talk to, you know,
whether it's taxi drivers in Brussels, the people on the street in Paris, that is a very common question.
So I think that, that sense -- and we heard from, you know, Angela Merkel just yesterday saying that it is a great shame, and we've heard that from
Emmanuel Macron that it is a shame that this is happening, and that it is not in the interests of Europe.
So of course, there might be a hope that this -- Britain's decision could be reversed. But I think what we've seen today really lifts the lid for
all those spectators to the spectacle of what's going on in Britain right now, this sort of internal machinations of Brexit.
It lifts the lid on just how murky it is, if you will, how it is an incredibly difficult process for the Prime Minister, how froth it is, she's
said that, Michel Barnier has said that. So anyone looking and on this process right now has to know that it could still go any one of many ways,
and the second referendum is one of those that's perhaps not the nearest shot.
GORANI: Not the nearest shot, but we've been surprised in the past. We have a minute left here, I mean, where does that leave this country?
Because we have no clear path, right? Markets hate uncertainty, the pound has lost a lot of ground, corporations and big industry groups have already
made and are making now plans for a hard Brexit.
They're moving jobs, they're saying don't do it, this is going to be damaging. Is this inevitable?
ROBERTSON: I think they will be unnerved. Anyone who has a financial stake in this and an emotional stake in it, a political stake in it all is
going to be unnerved because it's uncertain. And I think there's no escaping that this evening.
They might be slightly buoyed by the fact that Theresa May every time she's written off, manages to write herself back in, but the script for her seems
to be --
GORANI: OK --
ROBERTSON: Running out of road.
GORANI: Nic Robertson, thanks very much, and that's going to do it for me as well, I'm Hala Gorani, do stay with CNN, we have a lot more ahead.