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HALA GORANI TONIGHT
Theresa May Comes Out Fighting Amid Political Turmoil; EU Reacts to Brexit Draft Deal; May Defends Brexit Deal as In UK's National Interest. Aired 2-3p ET
Aired November 15, 2018 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[14:00:00] HALA GORANI, CNN HOST: Hello and welcome, I'm Hala Gorani. We are coming to you once again this evening live from Westminster in London.
Theresa May is coming out fighting again after a manic day of political chaos brought about by strong opposition to her draft Brexit deal. She
came out to a press conference with one clear message, I am going to see this through. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
THERESA MAY, PRIME MINISTER, UK: Leadership is about taking the right decisions not the easy ones. As prime minister, my job is to bring back a
deal that delivers on the vote of the British people, that does that by ending free movement, all the things I raised in my statement, ending free
movement, ensuring we are not sending vast annual sums to the EU any longer, ending the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice. But also
protects jobs and protects people's livelihoods, protects our security, protects the union of the United Kingdom, I believe this is a deal which
does deliver that. Which is in the national interest. Am I going to see this through? Yes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: All right, she is going to see through through she says. By the way, anyone wondering what is going on behind me, very loud protesters, a
small group but a very vocal one demanding another referendum saying we want a peoples' vote and we want it now. They have been here for several
hours. They certainly are motivated and attracted perhaps by the cameras.
The defiance of the prime minister came after a stunning day here in Westminster, it started with a big resignation for her, Dominic Raab, the
man who has been leading Brexit negotiations with EU quit saying that he could not, quote, "in good conscience support the deal." A slew of other
ministers followed suit. And then it was to the House of Commons where the prime minister was attacked from all sides answering questions for three
hours. Some of those attacking Mrs. May were from her own party with key Brexiteers demanding a vote of no confidence.
So, with all that, where do we stand? Let's get the very latest. Bianca Nobilo is here with me outside parliament. Nic Robertson is outside
Downing Street. Bianca, I will get to you in a moment. Nic, I want to start with you. We were all waiting at 5 p.m., she called this news
conference, it started with a bit of a delay to hear from the prime minister because there was a possibility that she would choose to step
down, but she didn't and she is vowing to see this through.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: She didn't choose to step down, she doubled down. She doubled down on those three hours of
combative questions that she received earlier in parliament. She doubled down on the questions that she was asked from the reporters there
continuing to stick to her message, continuing to say that she was trying to deliver the best deal. She didn't flinch from that. There were a
couple moments of levity where she misrecognized correspondents in the room. That made her smile and it did give you the sense that this is
someone who has not sort of disappeared into a bunker of remorse or is ready for indecision, that she is very clearly focused on where she is
going, that she moments of levity, but very much focused on delivering the Brexit that she wants to deliver. And I think the take away from this
morning and this afternoon is if her party wants to remove her from leadership of the party, they are going to have to fight her all the way
for it. And this is what she said in the past that she would, that she is ready for that fight, that she would take on that fight, and she has given
every indication of being ready for it today.
GORANI: All right, Nic Robertson at 10 Downing Street. As I mentioned I am going by Bianca Nobilo, our reporter on this story. I am also joined by
the former spokesperson for Theresa May, Joey Jones, and Sir Robert Neil, a Conservative MP who is a Remainer though, who would have preferred to stay
in the EU. Joey Jones, I'm going to start with you. What is going through Theresa May's mind this evening?
JOEY JONES, FORMER SPOKESPERSON FOR THERESA MAY: I think at the moment she will just be moving -- it will be tunnel vision. She will just be thinking
about what is the next thing that I've got, the next hurdle that I've got to get over, what is the next problem that I've got to confront? And
hoping that that will get her through to tomorrow. I think that it is very difficult when you are in the maelstrom that will be surrounding the prime
minister at the moment to take a step back to see things in perspective.
GORANI: Do you think, one MP I spoke to earlier said that maybe she is a bit delusional, that she doesn't realize that she cannot survive.
[14:05:00] JONES: There have been two I think big occasions where she came across as being in denial as events moved beyond her control. One was
during the election when she did that thing of saying nothing has changed around the issue of social care just as the policy was unraveling around
her. And the other was late morning after that fairly cataclysmic election result for her where she gave a performance that was completely tone deaf
and did not reflect the reality of situation.
GORANI: And in this case?
JONES: In this case I don't think that she went far enough in my view to move the momentum forward, to show that she had the ability to shape events
rather than to be shaped by them.
GORANI: And Sir Bob, you are in favor of this deal, but many within Theresa May's party are against it. Why do you support it?
SIR ROBERT NEILL, BRITISH CONSERVATIVE MP: A number of people are against it, but sometimes like we've got here tonight the most vocal are not always
the majority. I think there are many Conservatives who want the prime minister to be able to make progress on this. And at the end of the day,
no one has come up with any credible alternative that tries to square the circle between the vote to leave the EU which I regret which I accept is a
fact of life and doing so in the way that doesn't damage the economy, doesn't hurt people's jobs and livelihoods. So, she is right to carry on.
We will obviously have to take this a step at a time as Joey rightly says. And that is in her nature. She is a fighter.
GORANI: She is resilient, she's proven that.
NEILL: I think what we need to do is all my colleagues need to calm down a bit. Take a step back. Not the easiest thing to do in the world, Joey.
But still worth saying even if they don't listen and actually this reflects what is the alternative. Do you really want to destabilize the prime
minister? The only person who is going to benefit from that is actually going to be Jeremy Corbyn, and he is going to get us into an even worse
mess on this.
GORANI: And Bianca, you have been covering what is happening at Westminster. Does the prime minister -- because it doesn't appear that she
does have the votes to get this through parliament. And if she doesn't, what does that mean, where does that leave us?
BIANCA NOBILO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I think if were to give a definitive answer to that, it wouldn't be valid because at the moment many people
certainly in the middle of the debate, not necessary the Brexiteers or the staunch Remainers or those advocating a second referendum, they just
haven't made up their minds. Either they are still wrestling with this, and MPs have been examining their own consciences and trying to decide
which way they should vote. I mean, Joey and Robert both make important points, they say a week is a long time in politics, but examine the last 24
hours. The prime minister wrestling with her cabinet for five hours and then giving the statement saying that they agreed to take this forward and
then the seven resignations and then three hours in the chamber today, she is nothing if not resilient.
GORANI: Yes, and also you know her well, she seemed very relaxed. It is not normally something that we associate with Theresa May being relaxed and
jovial and joking with reporters. What do you make of her behavior today?
JONES: In the press conference?
JONES: She would have been very tired by that point and the tone at the outset of the press conference was electric actually. I think that it was
very -- there was a sense of humanity that came over and I think that there are lots of people thought what is going on here actually that could be her
saying, you know what, I've run out of road which is not the way that she went. But the tone was strikingly different to the one that she was taking
in the chamber. But to be honest, I think that there is an element of -- and I've seen politicians not just Theresa May but many others in Downing
Street with their backs toward, there is an element of gallows humor about the whole thing. And she is going to need that if she is going to be able
to muddle through in the coming days and the weeks and months ahead.
GORANI: And, Sir Bob, if the prime minister is not able to get the Brexit plan through parliament, what where does that leave your country in terms
of the inevitably moment when it has to Brexit and leave the EU?
NEILL: If she were not able to get this through, we will be played into a very real crisis because this is the only proposal that would enable us to
leave and at the same time not risk a financial meltdown with the consequence of a no deal Brexit. Parliament I think would have to step in.
Some people posit the second referendum. But I think there are a lot of practical difficulties around that. And I am not sure it resolves the
issue either rather than prolongs the division.
But it would be possible for parliament to amend. We have what is called the meaningful vote that is coming up. It is clear that parliament can
amendment the motion around the meaningful vote. I'd rather get it through as it is and then we get into the real negotiations about the future
[14:10:00] But that might be a way forward. And I think there is a number of options there, but none of it should be ruled out apart from the fact
that I do not think that any Conservative MP is going to vote for a new general election.
GORANI: For another general election because of the risks it poses for the party.
NEILL: It would take too much time out for the campaigning. And secondly, I do not want any risk of Jeremy Corbyn whose I think his approach would be
even more chaotic than anything that we've seen.
JONES: More chaotic than now?
NEILL: Absolutely. Corbyn has been two faced about this. He has pretended to Remainers that really he will give you a second referendum,
but we know that Corbyn is an arch Leaver. He has always been a Euro skeptic and he in fact has contradicted his own person earlier on by saying
you cannot stop it.
GORANI: You can't stop it, that it is irreversible. In your opinion is it irreversible?
NEILL: Only way it could be reversed is if we get back to the British people. It can't be reversed by parliament by its own accord. But equally
when I voted to take back control in the parliamentary sense. I think parliament has to have the first stab at sorting this out. And if we get
deadlocked, I suppose all bets are off, the bar I would say that one which I think would cause the country real turmoil for the whole length of the
general election campaign. And we don't have time for that.
NOBILO: And in the quote from the placard I just got knocked on the head with walking towards this direction. It says Brexit is a big deal, but not
a done deal. So, a lot of people are pushing for that other option.
GORANI: And lastly, what are we looking out for tomorrow, give us some hint as to what will than.
NOBILO: Inevitably we remain on resignation watch. Because even though there weren't resignations last night following the cabinet people were
cautioning that we should look back to when Theresa May announced that she had come to a plan at Chequers and of course we have the resignations of
David Davis and Boris Johnson that followed. So, we have to keep an eye on that. Also, they we have seen Jacob Rees-Mogg, the chairman the ERG,
declaring he has written a letter calling for a vote of no confidence in the prime minister.
GORANI: ERG being?
NOBILO: The European Research Group which is the arch Brexiteer wing, if you like, of this debate. There requires to be 48 letters asking for a
vote of no confidence in the prime minister to trigger one, so that is something which all keen-eyed political observers are looking out for as
GORANI: All right. Sir Robert Neill, thank you very much. Joey Jones, former spokesperson for Theresa May, Bianca Nobilo our reporter on the
story, one of many covering this, thank you to all of you.
Erin McLaughlin is in Brussels with EU reaction to what has happened in the U.K. today. Over to you.
ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, LONDON BUREAU: That's right, earlier today we heard from the President of the European Council,
Donald Tusk, reiterate the common position here in Brussels that Brexit is lose/lose for both U.K. and the EU, making a pledge to the British people
that he is going to try to make this process as painless for them as possible going forward. He said that the EU is preparing for any
eventuality and saying that the EU is most prepared for a no Brexit scenario, ruffling quite a few feathers there in the UK with that line.
Take a listen to what he had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID TUSK, PRESIDENT OF THE EUROPEAN COUNCIL: This is not for me to comment on the latest developments in London. All I can say is that we are
prepared for a final deal with the United Kingdom in November. And we are also prepared for a no deal scenario. Of course, we are best prepared for
a no Brexit scenario.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MCLAUGHLIN: And in terms of preparing for that final deal, he announced that extraordinary summit to take place on November 25th, that is where the
27 EU leaders are expected to sign off on this deal that requires unanimous approval. But there is much more work to be done in that direction. While
the withdrawal agreement has been negotiated and signed off by Theresa May's cabinet, the future declaration, a political declaration that is
expected between the U.K. and the EU is still a work in progress. Presumably that will need to be signed off by Theresa May and her cabinet
as well. The deadline for that according to him is Tuesday, unclear how that will happen given the number of ministerial resignations we've seen
today in London.
[14:15:00] GORANI: And a what is plan B for the EU?
MCLAUGHLIN: I think at this point it very much remains to be seen. But one thing that we are hearing from EU leaders, including Angela Merkel,
that there is no more room for negotiations, serious movement on that withdrawal agreement, that 585-page text which is now distributed to the 27
capitals being scrutinized line by line across the EU. There may be small tweaks ahead of this extraordinary summit, but the EU is standing by its
principles that in terms of that North Ireland back stop, there has to be a balance in terms of rights and obligations. So, nothing fundamental is
what I'm hearing in terms of possibilities for any sort of renegotiation in that direction.
GORANI: All right. Thank you very much. Erin McLaughlin live in Brussels. We'll be right back with the very latest from Westminster and
other news stories that have made headlines today.
GORANI: Welcome back. Earlier in the day Theresa May faced some pummeling you could say in the House of Commons. She laid out exactly what she sees
in the deal that works of course facing some opposition. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAY: So, Mr. Speaker, the choice is clear. We can choose to leave with no deal. We can risk no Brexit at all. Or we can choose -- or we can choose
to unite and support the best deal that can be negotiated. This deal. A deal that ends free movement, takes back control of our borders, delivers a
free trade area for goods with zero tariffs, leaves the common agricultural policy and the common fisheries policy, delivers an independent foreign and
defense policy, while retaining the security cooperation to keep our people safe.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: I'm joined now by Katie Perrior, she's Number 10 Downing Street former communications director for Theresa May. You resigned after the
announcement of a snap election. I'm sure that you listened to the prime minister deliver her statement and take questions. What did you make of
her decision to fight on?
[14:20:00] KATIE PERRIOR, FORMER COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR FOR THERESA MAY: I think that she is no different than the woman we know. She is a public
servant. She has been of a vicar, so she has brought up in this household which is, we live to serve. And so, until we tell her we know longer want
her, she is there for the duration. She says this is what we have to do. Back me or get rid of it, but I might end up with no Brexit if you are not
careful. So be careful what you wish for.
GORANI: Do you think that she is a believer in this Brexit deal that she negotiated that some have criticized as being having to abide by rules and
then you don't have any say in shaping in Brussels?
PERRIOR: Listen, it is a bum deal, but it is the only deal on table right now. And the choice seems no breaks it at all, we crash out with no deal,
and that is international world tariffs and all kinds of problems and employment risks, or we take this deal
and give a little bit of give or take, it's an offer on the table. And she has brought us to this point. She truly believes that the best deal is on
offer and she used language that I don't often see from her. With my head and my heart, with every fiber of my being. She is throwing herself into
GORANI: This is unusual for her.
PERRIOR: Very unusual for her. She doesn't speak emotionally. She doesn't use her personal being to try to get political whims. And she is
doing it now. She is the last chance saloon, but at the same time she is throwing herself into it.
GORANI: And she was laughing and joking with journalists as well. She didn't seem like someone who has gone through the traumatic question and
answer session in the House of Commons that she had.
PERRIOR: Well, if you compare her to the general election, that came as a massive shock and I could tell when she had been on stage that night, she
had been crying. There was none of that today. She expected this for weeks and months. She knew this was coming and so she prepared for it.
She is facing down those people in her party and this is a choice now. We back her or get rid of her and get someone else. But time is running out.
And we've got to get a deal.
GORANI: And what about then those who would like to put forward a vote of no confidence and oust her, do they have the numbers that they need?
PERRIOR: They probably have the numbers for a vote of no confidence, those letters are going in, there is a system here. Have to write letters, you
get 48 letters. You trigger that vote of no confidence. They probably have those numbers. They need over 150 people to try to oust her when that
vote comes. I don't think that they have those numbers. And I think that she will probably stay. Stare them down, she will probably stay. But
whether or not she gets Brexit deal through, whether not she stays after that I think will be very problematic.
GORANI: All right. Katie Perrior, the former communications director for Theresa making a 10 Downing Street. Thank you so much for being on CNN.
Meanwhile, the opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn also had harsh words for the prime minister's Brexit deal calling it a leap into the dark.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEREMY CORBIN, BRITISH LABOUR PARTY LEADER: The government, Mr. Speaker, is in chaos. Risk leaving the country in an indefinite halfway house
without a real say. When even the last Brexit secretary who theoretically at least negotiated the deal says I cannot support the proposed deal, what
faith does that give anyone else in this place or in this country. The government simply can't put to parliament that half-baked deal that both
the Brexit secretary and his predecessor have rejected.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: Theresa May has seen leading members of the conservative party submit letters of no confidence. We were discussing that with her former
communications director. One of them was leading Brexiteer Jacob Rees- Mogg, here's what he said in parliament.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JACOB REES-MOGG, BRITISH CONSERVATIVE MP: She is unquestionably honorable. But she said that we would leave the customs union and then says otherwise.
My friend said that she would maintain the integrity of the United Kingdom. But protocol says otherwise. She said that we would be out of jurisdiction
of the Court Of Justice. 174 says otherwise. And as my honorable friend says and does, they no longer match, should I not write to my honorable
friend and sail west.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: Let's hear from a Brexit supporter from within Mrs. May's own party, I am joined by conservative MP, Peter Bone. Thanks for being with
us. What did you make of the prime minister's statement and news conference today? She said that she is going to see this through.
[14:25:00] PETER BONE, BRITISH CONSERVATIVE MP AND BREXIT SUPPORTER: Well, my view is that we need to have a proper Brexit, a clean Brexit, one that
people voted for. And I wanted the policy to change, not the prime minister. But clearly the prime minister is not going to change the
policy, so therefore the only way to change the policy is to change the prime minister.
GORANI: Who would take her place to deliver what you call a clean Brexit?
BONE: It will be up to the party members to decide. But I assume that the party members across the country who are heavily Leave supporters will
choose someone who believes in leave.
GORANI: But leave how, crash out without the deal? You don't have time to renegotiate it.
BONE: Crash out, thrash out, that is a wonderful word.
GORANI: Leaving abruptly without an agreement, which means that you end up --
BONE: But that's the point, it's not without agreement is it? We'd be trading on WTO rules in the exact same way that we trade with the United
States and the United States of America is our biggest single trading country. We don't need to have an agreement to do trade. We don't need to
have an agreement with the EU.
GORANI: So, it is not something that frightens you, leaving without a deal?
BONE: Not at all. That poses another bonus for British taxpayers, it is the 39 billion pounds that we could give to the EU, we could use in our own
country. That 60 million pounds in every constituency in the country. And we could do a lot with that, well, certainly my constituency.
GORANI: You are not concerned about what corporation and industry groups are saying that they are making contingency plans, the pound has lost 2
percent today alone, because of what they perceive is political chaos. None of that concerns you?
BONE: The evidence is we are getting a lot more inward investment, we are the fastest European country in the G7, we have high employment and we have
very low unemployment. None of these things that you put to me seem to be matching what is happening in the country and we're having a massive amount
of inward investment. So, I think that we are in a strong position to come out on WTO terms.
GORANI: And so, you would support a vote of no confidence?
BONE: Oh, I think that has to be settled now. Your previous guests indicate that we have to have the vote to know whether the prime minister
has the support of her party or not.
GORANI: But if she has the support --
BONE: She will carry on. If she hasn't, we will have a new leader.
GORANI: I'm sorry. My producer is telling me something. What, Leroy? All right. Have you handed the letter in?
GORANI: You have done that. All right. That is what we wanted to settle that. So, let's look forward though. Because there is the real
possibility that most of the members of your party will say OK, I'm not in love with this deal, but the alternative is horrible. So, if there is a
vote of no confidence, I will vote to keep prime minister May in place. Then where does that leave you? You have to embrace that deal then.
BONE: Well, your point is that may happen. Anything could happen.
GORANI: Of course.
BONE: My view as a prime minister if I would lose a vote of confidence there be removed, or so many people would vote against her that she would
feel that she has to resign. And I think we have to find that out. We can't carry on in this false way with so many of her MPs not supporting
GORANI: Lastly, is there is a name that you would like to see, leader of the party, of our party?
BONE: No, but I do want someone who is a genuine Leaver. And the important thing is the members of my party must elect that person. It must
go to the membership so they have the authority to say this is what the conservative members have said, therefore I have a mandate for my kind of
GORANI: Peter Bone, many thanks for joining us, appreciate it. Quick break on CNN, will be right back.
[14:30:20] HALA GORANI, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Well, it's been a long and difficult day for the British Prime Minister, Theresa May, her job on this
day is to defend the draft Brexit agreement that she unveiled on Wednesday. And there is dissent on all sides. For more than two hours, May answered
questions in parliament about the deal. Many from members of her own party who don't like it.
So far, two members of her cabinet and several other government officials have resigned in protest, among them, her own Brexit minister who
negotiated the deal, alongside her.
But in a news conference a short time ago, the prime minister warned that rejecting this agreement means an uncertain future.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
THERESA MAY, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: This deal delivers what people voted for and it is in the national interest. And we can only secure it if we
unite behind the agreement reached in cabinet yesterday. If we do not move forward with that agreement, nobody can know for sure the consequences that
will follow. It would be to take a path of deep and grave uncertainty, when the British people just want us to get on with it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: One of the first defections after the prime minister's Brexit blueprint was from Shailesh Vara, minister in the Norther Ireland. IN
office, he tweeted his resignation letter saying, "The plan would leave the U.K. in a halfway house." And Shailesh Vara joins me now. Thanks for
being with us.
You were telling me you were the first resignation.
SHAILESH VARA, BRITISH CONSERVATIVE MP: Yes, I was. It was about seven, 25 --
GORANI: You're a remainer.
VARA: I voted to remain but I have to say if there was another referendum now, I would vote to leave. I would.
GORANI: Really? Why is that? Because oftentimes, I hear that when people changed their minds, it's in the other direction. In this case, you would
change your mind to leave. Why?
VARA: Absolutely. Well, I have to say, initially when I had to decide, I could have gone either way. But on balance, I opted to remain. But after
seeing the negotiations, as they have evolved over the past 18 or so months, it is clear to me that really, we are better off doing our own
If you look at the way that the U.K. has been treated by the European Union, the fact that they've insisted at the outset that it had to be their
agenda. They've insisted that, you know, they have to sort out the money aspects first, the 39 billion pounds.
And then despite the United Kingdom making concessions, we, for example, said that there would be certainty of residency for the three million plus
E.U. since living here. They didn't do the same for the one million plus U.K. citizens living in their country.
GORANI: But in this grab deal, it appears as though there are some provisions made to ensure that people who live in the U.K. or in the E.U.
VARA: They've done that -- no. But, you know, the way it has been extracted from them, we made that concession a long time ago.
GORANI: But it's a negotiation. I mean, The E.U. is negotiating, it's playing hard ball. And why wouldn't it? You have a member state that
wants to leave. They don't need to make it easy on that country.
VARA: But the way they treat to the British parliament in Salzburg, that's not the way that --
GORANI: Were they ignored her when she was with --
VARA: They did a lot of things which you don't do to your fellow European leaders, you wouldn't do to any country leader.
GORANI: You could argue Donald Trump disrespected Theresa May in a phone call this week and yet, still the U.K. wants a close relationship with the
VARA: Well, I think we all agree that Donald Trump is perhaps a unique individual in terms of how he deals with all sorts of individuals the heads
of state down to ordinary people.
GORANI: Where do we go from here? Because the British prime minister is resilient. There's no doubt about that. She may face a vote of no-
confidence, but it's possible that the conservative party will say, we don't want to risk ousting her right now because it could mean more trouble
down the road.
At that point, she's kind of won, right?
VARA: For me, this has never been personal. It's been about the individual, it's about the proposal that's been put on the table. We have
585-page document. It is making proposals which I think would be fundamentally bad for the United Kingdom. And I think it's important to
say what those issues are.
Basically, the deal on the table says that the United Kingdom would be bound in customs arrangement with the E.U. And would be bound by rules of
over which we have no say. And if we wanted to leave that customs arrangement, we can't do it unilaterally. We have to follow a particular
process and ultimately a third party arbitration system does it.
Now tell me if the people of the United Kingdom said they wanted sovereignty and they didn't want the hand of another -- the hand of the
E.U. over it, what is sovereign if we are going to be but we can't leave the customs arrangement without going to an arbitration panel?
GORANI: You spoke with Theresa -- obviously you -- did you have an opportunity to speak with her face to face?
VARA: I didn't take up the opportunity as a member of parliament. I have no doubt that she would have seen me. But I've made up my mind and I was
convinced that basically she would simply reiterate arguments and try to persuade me not to go.
[14:35:04] But I've been in this long enough, as you mentioned in the introductory passage and I'm very fairly familiar with what's been
happening as many people are. And so I didn't think it'd be a worthwhile in size until I resigned. And I've sent my letter.
Shailesh Vara, thank you so much for joining us on CNN.
VARA: Thank you.
GORANI: We appreciate it.
A quick look at how markets are reacting. The British pound lost quite a bit of ground in the first few hours of the trading day, is currently down
almost two percent, at 1.2745. And U.K. bank stocks are also not doing too, too well. Anna Stewart is watching markets for us. Anna.
ANNA STEWART, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, we could see the anxiety just before the prime minister's press conference. That was when you saw Sterling drop
by two percent. The biggest drop we've had today. It's come up a little bit, but actually still under pressure, to be honest.
Now, in terms of context and the whole Sterling story, it was actually down to $1.26 in August. It was down $1.20 last year. SO it's not at the
lowest we've seen. But I'd say in terms of a daily drop, it's pretty significant.
Now, Hala, you did mention these banking stocks. What's been really interesting is the stock market impact we've had. Usually, Sterling forces
much as it has, you would expect the FTSE 100 to rise because most today's companies make their profit in dollars.
However, this afternoon, some of the sectors are more domestically exposed like banking also like retail, home builders, were not so badly that
actually drag the whole index into the red, FT-100 did close down somewhat flat by the end of it. But some of the bank stocks I've mentioned, RBS,
British Bank, that lost nearly 10 percent at the end of the day, which means actually why $3.6 billion off its market cap. Hala.
GORANI: All right. Thank you very much, Anna Stewart for that. And bank stocks didn't do too well either.
Apology for chaotic situation here. Not chaotic, I shouldn't say that, but we're setting up guests and saying goodbye to some guests and welcoming
others including Professor Jonathan Portes who's a professor of economics and public policy at King's College London.
Let's talk a little bit -- when I speak to Brexiteers and those who support the idea of exiting the E.U., they always say look, it doesn't matter even
if we leave without a deal because we do -- we trade goods and services with the U.S., with WTO rules. What's the big deal? We just become any
other third country. What would you say to that?
JONATHAN PORTES, PROFESSOR OF ECONOMICS AND PUBLIC POLICY, KING'S COLLEGE: Well, the problem is, of course, that's absolutely right. And over time,
we could adjust to trading with the rest of Europe on WTO rules. But you have to remember that the infrastructure has grown up around the single
People of companies have supply chains that depend on frictionless trade. The Dover Calais route has (INAUDIBLE) for doing the sort of checks that we
do on things that go in between the U.K. and the U.S. through other routes.
So the idea that there wouldn't be very substantial temporary, at least --
GORANI: But they would be temporary?
PORTES: Well, temporary depend -- we don't know how long it would be. Would it be weeks, months, perhaps years? It takes a long time to create a
customs infrastructure from nothing and we've really hardly started. That's one aspect of the trade aspect.
The second aspect is that the E.U. is not just about trade, it is a whole legal and regulatory apparatus. That we have become embedded in. And, of
course, planes can fly between the U.K. and U.S. as they do now without us being single market with the U.S.
But planes flying between the U.K. and the rest of Europe, under rules that are said as part of the E.U. That will just vanish.
GORANI: It's unraveling this entire infrastructure that has been the basis and the foundation of the trade relationship that could take years and be
GORANI: But have you had an opportunity -- I know it's on 600 pages almost. But have you had an opportunity to look at this draft text and
would it keep in place as some have said the customs area, the customs rules but it wouldn't give the U.K. the ability to influence those rules?
PORTES: That's right. It would effectively keep us within the E.U. Customs Union for goods so we would have the same tariffs and the same
external trade rules as the E.U., essentially for the indefinite future. So that would have the advantage of it wouldn't remove the frictions of the
borders, but there's all these other regulatory issues, but it would substantially reduce those frictions and it worked disruption.
But it has the downside that it means that doing trade deals with the rest of the world. I mean, we're not going to be getting chlorinated American
chicken anytime soon under these rules.
GORANI: Well, I'm not sure this would be a huge disappointment for a lot of people in this country, but what about financial services? Because that
is a huge industry in this country. And access to European banking markets is a big, big must for some of these banks. Some of the banks have made
contingency plans to move staff and even in some cases office space and headquarters to other countries.
[14:40:02] PORTES: So for financial services, it's a mixed bag. The plus side of the withdrawal agreement is that we have this day of execution, we
have this transition period where absolutely nothing changes until December 2020. So they don't have to rush to do anything necessarily.
But the disadvantage is that this agreement says nothing about the future relationship on financial services. In the political, the nonbinding
political declaration, there's some vague words about doing our best to secure equivalence, so there is some form of mutual equivalence rules for
financial services. But that's a blank postdated check that we don't know whether it will ever be cashed.
GORANI: And lastly the movement of people, she's saying that's it, the free movement of people is done, but there are provisions for guaranteeing
the status, I mean, from what I've read, of E.U. citizens who already live in this.
PORTES: That's correct. So the withdrawal agreement, and this is a big deal, would protect largely not entirely, but mostly the position of the
three million or 3.5 million Europeans living here and the million or so Brits in Europe. If there's no deal, those people are -- they won't become
illegal immigrants overnight, but they will be, to some extent, thrown into limbo. There'll be question marks over their future. And that's a big
worry for them, obviously.
GORANI: Well, thank you very much, Professor Jonathan Portes. Appreciate it. Really appreciate having you and clarifying some of these points.
Especially for our viewers who live abroad. One of the main questions is always, what are my rights if I live in the U.K. and I'm an E.U. citizen?
Thanks so much.
Members of parliament had a chance to question Theresa May's plans earlier and they certainly questioned those plans lawmaker after lawmaker hammered
her. Take a listen.
All right. We do not -- we do not have that sound. We'll try to find that for you la little bit later.
Still to come tonight, we turn to other world news. In Saudi Arabia, prosecutors revealed the kingdom's official version of Jamal Khashoggi's
death confirming some disturbing details of the journalist's murder but not everyone is convinced. We'll be right back.
GORANI: Saudi prosecutors are reviewing grisly details of the murder of the journalist, Jamal Khashoggi, as they vow to seek the death penalty
against five of the 11 suspects in the case. They say Khashoggi was injected with a deadly dose of a sedative after he entered the Saudi
consulate in Istanbul, then his body dismembered.
Prosecutors say that that was not the original plan and insist the Saudi Crown Prince had nothing to do with it. Now, the United States responded
quickly to the statement announcing economic sanctions on 17 Saudi officials.
Let's get more now from Sam Kiley in Abu Dhabi and Elise Labott in Washington.
So, Sam, what are they saying, the Saudis, that these were just rogue assassins that decided to kill one of the most prominent royal family
critics -- Saudi royal family critics, without any instruction from above?
[14:45:16] SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hala, that's exactly what they're saying. They're repeating this term rogue element,
that was what Adel al-Jubeir said, he's the Saudi foreign minister, after the prosecutor spokesman had given his delivery of the narrative of what
So the insistence is going back, if you like, to the point made very early on by none other than Donald Trump that his view was that some kind of
rogue element had done this.
Essentially, if I outline to you, Hala, what the prosecutors' model is, if you like, the Saudi position is that General al-Asiri, who is the deputy
head of intelligence in Saudi Arabia gave an order that Mr. Khashoggi should be persuaded to return home and if that didn't work, should be made
to return home.
A team was dispatched to Istanbul to achieve that on the ground, according to the Saudi prosecutor. The chief negotiator decided, without reference
it would seem, to Riyadh, without reference to the royal court that that wouldn't be possible in terms of a rendition, and that he should be killed
if he wouldn't return home.
There was then a struggle according to the prosecutors during which he was injected with a fatal dose of a sedative, dismembered and then his remains
handed over to an unknown Turkish collaborator. The only detail on the collaborator that has emerged is that there is now a sketch that has been
provided by the individual who allegedly handed over the body.
Still no name, which seems to me extraordinary that one would have a collaborator to whom one would could hand a body but not know his name.
Nonetheless, that is the Saudi position. And ultimately, this is really a narrative that has been around for some time. And I know we'll hear a bit
about that no doubt from Elise.
But I think ultimately what this is really trying to do, Hala, is put a firewall between the perpetrators of the act and any suggestion that it was
ordered, that the murder, the premeditated murder, which is how it's now described by the Saudis, was ordered by anybody external to the team on the
GORANI: All right. And, Elise, the U.S. is imposing sanctions on individuals, 17 individuals. Do we know who they are and what type of
ELISE LABOTT, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, a lot of them, Hala, are part of the 18 that the Saudis originally -- combination of detentions
and arrests. Many of them ministers, deputy ministers, loyal to the -- members of the royal court. Very similar to the list that the Saudis have
been putting out there including Saud Qahtani, the former advisor to the advisor to the Crown Prince who had a lot of dealings with Jamal Khashoggi
over the years.
These are a kind of second tranche of sanctions. The first one was a couple of weeks ago under the Immigration and Nationality Act. Now, this
is under the Magnitsky Act, which is a global sanctions regime -- it was originally created for Russia. But now against violators of human rights
and it's anything from travel bans to freezing assets.
What's very interesting here is those other sanctions were very easily imposed, the bar and the conditions weren't very high. These sanctions
call for a completed investigation. And so that would suggest that the United States has completed its -- or is close to completing its
investigation and is pretty close to wrapping up what they think is responsible.
As Sam said, I think it's pretty clear that the U.S. is willing to -- or by the narrative or believes itself that Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman did
not give the order.
GORANI: So this is it then, Elise? This as far as America will go?
LABOTT: I think that's as far as the administration is going to go. Now, we know that Congress, many members of Congress, have called for tougher
actions against the Saudis. There was -- we're discussing there was a lot of concern about the Saudi government and Mohammad bin Salman. Not just
about this. This, I think, was maybe one of the final straws.
But there was concern about actions in Yemen. And so I think Congress could work on denying some of those arm sales to Saudi, not approving those
type of arm sales. I think that's where Congress is really going to have the input here.
I think President Trump, Secretary Pompeo, the administration has made clear that it doesn't want to sacrifice the strategic relationship with
Saudi Arabia by going down the road of punishing the government itself.
[14:50:06] GORANI: Yes. And, Sam, lastly, we obviously -- we don't know - - I mean, does this mean the loved ones and the family and the fiancee of Jamal Khashoggi will never get a body to bury? What are we to make of
these statements that the Saudis are conforming that there was dismemberment and all that other terrible grisly level of detail that we
KILEY: Well, this is -- in fact, the Khashoggi family is going to be holding a kind of a memorial service, if you like, tomorrow in prayers,
during Friday prayers inside Saudi Arabia to, in a sense, try to give themselves some kind of closure to this. There's no formal funeral because
there is no body. This is a position or an aspect of the case that the Turks are pretty incensed about as indeed, one can imagine are the family.
But Saudis, for all of their protestations and cooperation, for all of their insistence that they handed over the body to a collaborator, they're
unable to identify this collaborator, won't say what happened to the body, have not allowed the search of the drainage system underneath the consul's
residence inside Turkey. And therefore at the moment, it is still a matter of speculation as to what actually happened to Mr. Khashoggi's remains.
But on top of that, you also have a situation in which there are five people that the Saudis have identified that could face capital punishment
for this crime. And as far as the Turks are concerned, that is just not good enough. They want to be able to conduct a prosecution inside their
own country, hear all the witnesses and really flush out exactly what happened here.
That said, they haven't ultimately either presented all of the evidence that they say they have, notably a number of audiotapes that relate to this
whole case. Hala.
GORANI: All right. Sam Kiley in Abu Dhabi and Elise Labott in Washington, thanks very much.
Updating a developing story now, high profile American attorney and potential presidential candidate and lawyer to porn star Stormy Daniels,
Michael Avenatti, was released on bail after he was arrested on suspicion of domestic violence.
So I mentioned Avenatti is the lawyer for porn actress, Stormy Daniels, who sued U.S. president, Donald Trump. He says the accusations are fabricated
and meant to harm his reputation. Avenatti says he's confident that he will be fully exonerated.
CNN's MJ Lee is following that story for us. She's live in New York. What's the very latest on this case, MJ?
MJ LEE, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, there's still a lot that we don't know, even though we know that he was arrested
and then he was released on bail, as you said. We don't actually know the details of what actually happened. Was there an altercation? What kind of
an altercation was it? And if there was one, who actually was involved?
There was an initial report that said that this was involving Michaela Avenatti and his wife from whom he is currently getting divorced from. I
spoke with his wife just last night and she said that that was absolutely not true. So it seems to have involved somebody else.
Again, if there was such an altercation. But we don't know the details of what happened. But as you laid out there, Michael Avenatti is out there
saying very confidently that these are bogus allegations and he expects to be fully exonerated. Obviously, this is going to be an ongoing situation
and an ongoing investigation for the L.A. Police Department.
GORANI: All right. MJ Lee, thanks for the update.
A quick break. We'll be right back. Stay with us. We're coming to you live from London.
[14:55:24] GORANI: Another day of high political drama as Britain hurdles toward Brexit. Prime Minister Theresa May is standing defiant telling all
of her detractors that she is not going anywhere and will see Brexit through. Here's a reminder of what she said just a few hours ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAY: This deal delivers what people voted for and it is in the national interest. And we can only secure it if we unite behind the agreement
reached in cabinet yesterday. If we do not move forward with that agreement, nobody can know for sure the consequences that will follow. It
would be to take a path of deep and grave uncertainty, when the British people just want us to get on with it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: Will Theresa May's defiance make a difference? A slew of resignations kicked the day off and many members of her own party are now
calling on her to quit.
Now, in parliament, it has to be said, Theresa May took it and she took it from all sides, from members of her own party, from the opposition, from
members of parliament from the DUP, the Northern Ireland Party.
Listen to what happened, just a snippet of what happened in parliament today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEVE BAKER, BRITISH CONSERVATIVE MP: This backstop is completely intolerable and I feel confident that even in the unlikely event that
legislation before it reach this is House, it will be ferociously opposed.
MARK FRANCOIS, BRITISH CONSERVATIVE MP: The stark reality, Prime Minister, is that it was dead on arrival at St. Tommy's before you stood up. So I
plead with you. I plead with you to accept the political realities of the situation you now face.
PAT MCFADDEN, BRITISH LABOUR MP: Is it not the case that far from taking back control, this is the biggest voluntary surrender of sovereignty. It's
time to think again.
JULIAN LEWIS, BRITISH CONSERVATIVE MP: Can the prime minister describe any surer way of frustrating the referendum result and ultimately remaining in
the European Union than to accept a Hotel California Brexit deal which ensures that we can never truly leave the E.U.?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: Thanks for watching. In fact, stay with us, because I'll see you after the break. There is more breaking news coverage ahead. Stay with