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CONNECT THE WORLD
U.K. Prime Minister Prepares to Pitch Deal to Parliament; UAE Pardons and Releases British Academic Matthew Hedges; Ukrainian Parliament Votes on Martial Law After Russia Seizes Three Ships near Crimea; Aid Groups to the U.S., Stop Yemen Suffering; Teargas, Arrests as Margaret's Russia U.S. Border Crossing; British Prime Minister Pushes Parliament to Improve Brexit Deal;
Aired November 26, 2018 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[10:00:00] LYNDA KINKADE, CNN HOST: Hello and welcome to CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Lynda Kinkade live in Atlanta. Thanks so much for being with
Well, deal or division? You decide. That is the message from the British Prime Minister who is going to present on Brexit shortly. As she hopes to
turn her draft deal into a done deal. Theresa May has just scored a big win in Brussels, where EU leaders unanimously approved her plan at an
historic summit. But her biggest challenge will come on the Homefront. Mrs. May has two weeks to convince Parliament to back her deal. And after
a cabinet meeting earlier today, that is her focus this hour. Our Bianca Nobilo joins us now live from outside 10 Downing Street. Good to see you,
Bianca. The PM, of course, in full PR blitz mode right now trying to sell this deal to the British people, to the British lawmakers, as the only deal
on the table.
BIANCA NOBILO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, the Prime Minister is doing exactly that. In this is not a Prime Minister who is particularly comfortable in
the spotlight. She's not known to be media friendly. She is not a fan of the big perform PR machine. But that is precisely what she's doing, Lynda.
Now she's also singing off the same hymn sheet as the EU leaders who have also reinforced that this deal isn't getting any better. This is the only
deal on the table.
The Prime Minister has also written an open letter to the British public, incredibly rare occurrence calling on them to unite and back her Brexit
plan. She is also trying to get the cabinet on her side. There is a special cabinet meeting held just a few hours ago behind me which is
unusual. Cabinets usually are on a Tuesday. Now that cabinet is in incredibly divided. And she needs them on side if she plans to sell this
deal to the rest of Parliament. She's been doing radio phone-ins with questions from the public. She's been giving impromptu speeches and today
she will be addressing the House of Commons imminently as the next part of her big sales pitch to try and get her Brexit deal through Parliament.
KINKADE: As you say, Bianca, the Parliament is deeply divided, over this. And Theresa May is hoping to push through this vote on the deal, in the
coming weeks. But with political opponents, and allies vowing to vote against it, at this stage, it doesn't look like she's got the numbers, does
NOBILO: No, it didn't. People have been speaking for many month now about the fact that the Prime Minister doesn't have the so-called Parliamentary
arithmetic. That's because she only governs by a slender majority with the help of the Democratic Unionist Party. She relies on ten of those MP's.
Now, they've stated that they will not be backing her deal. The opposition Labour Party also came out yesterday to say that they will not be
supporting the Prime Minister's deal either. Now that didn't come as a surprise. But the government is still hoping they might be able to count
on some opposition support. And actually, they will be briefing some Labour Party MP's today to see if they can win them around.
But as it stands, no, the Prime Minister doesn't have the numbers. And I was talking to an MP the other day, and he told me that really Parliament
is now divided between the idealists on both sides. Those who want to see a harder Brexit and could potentially count on no deal, and then those that
would like Britain to remain in the EU and prefer the prospect of a second referendum. He said there's so few pragmatists in the middle that are
willing to go for this deal, because they think it is the best thing for the country, and it is in the national interest.
KINKADE: So, if this deal is rejected, in Parliament, there is some suggestion that the Prime Minister will push to extend that Brexit deadline
past March 29 of next year. Is there any indication that the EU will be receptive to that?
NOBILO: Well, if we think about what the EU leaders have been saying over the past few months, they are still really saying that they want Britain to
remain in the EU. And that would be their ultimate option. That's their preferred option. Donald Tusk just last week said the no Brexit scenario
was the best scenario as far as the EU is concerned. So, there is an indication that they might be willing to continue talks with the U.K. But
in terms of the extension of Article 50, that would require the unanimous approval of the 27 EU member states and the U.K.
Now, that is something that will be met with a lot of resistance from inside the Prime Minister's cabinet and from the Brexiteers in her own
party. It would however be essential to prevent a no deal scenario if Theresa May doesn't get her Brexit deal passed because let's not forget,
that the default is, if Theresa May's deal doesn't go through that Britain is still leaving on the 29th of March 2019. But extending Article 50 would
be vital if there was to be a second referendum.
[10:05:00] Now, those by no means the most likely option. But there is a big campaign for it in the U.K. and cross-party support from MP's. But to
have that kind of referendum, Lynda, as we did in 2016, it takes time and it actually takes legislation going through Parliament. You have to decide
on the question, et cetera. So, extending Article 50 would be necessary in the event of the second referendum too.
KINKADE: It could get very complicated in the coming months. Bianca Nobilo, good to have you with us. Thanks so much.
Well, it has been a very busy few days in Brussels as we were just discussing. Our correspondent Erin McLaughlin was following all of the
developments there and has this report.
ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Lynda, the Sunday summit was a somber occasion. It's no secret that European Union regrets Brexit. Jean-Claude
Juncker, the President of the European Commission, went so far as to call the day a tragedy and it was a heavy heart that the 27 remaining leaders
signed off on that so-called divorce deal. And while they were united in their sadness, they were also united in their message to the United
Kingdom, that given the negotiating constraints on both sides, this was the best possible deal Theresa May could have reached. The Mark Rutte, the
Dutch Prime Minister, went so far as to direct that message at British lawmakers. Take a listen.
MARK RUTTE, DUTCH PRIME MINISTER: The situation is that there is no plan B. This is the deal on the table. And if anyone would think in the United
Kingdom that by voting no, something better would come out of it, they're wrong. This is the best we can get to, for both the European Union and
United Kingdom. And if there was anything better, I can tell you Theresa May would have got it.
MCLAUGHLIN: It was a sentiment echoed by the British Prime Minister Theresa May during her press conference. It remains, of course, to be seen
whether or not this is an effective strategy to get this divorce deal across the line at Westminster. Whether British lawmakers are actually
listening -- Lynda.
Erin McLaughlin there.
Well, stay with us here at CNN. We will bring you Theresa May's speech to Parliament as it happens. That's in about 20 minutes or so.
We're turning to the Middle East now. Where a British academic has been released from a UAE jail. Matthew Hedges was pardoned after being
sentenced last week to life in prison for being a spy. Well, a UAE official says Hedges will likely leave the country sometime today. Our Sam
Kiley is following the story for us from Abu Dhabi and joins us live. Sam, he was facing life in prison. No doubt a lot of relief from his wife and
SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, immense relief, not only for his family, but also for the United Kingdom and the United
Emirates in terms of their bilateral relations. These two nations, are very, very intimately entwined, and yet almost not by blows but came to the
diplomatic equivalent of certainly the British suggesting when he was jailed, there could be unspecified bad consequences for the Emirates
following his life sentence.
Now, the Emirates insist that he was a spy but that he is been given clemency following an appeal by his family on the 47th anniversary of
independence from the United Kingdom for the Emirates, which falls this week. Traditionally, there are a number of pardons being issued, some 780
or more, were issued. Today, as part of that, and Mr. Hedges was lucky enough to be wrapped in on that.
They came up with some video evidence that they presented from his alleged confession, as part of it, it shows him in court being asked what is his
rank in MI-6. To which, Lynda, he replied, captain. That's problematic because there are no ranks in MI-6, no military ranks and therefore that
kind of claim should be questioned. On top of that, he's also shown saying that he was both an MI-6 analyst and then later on talking as if he was a
field operator which is two entirely different jobs. The latter requiring many years of training and indeed language skills in developing agents on
the ground. Mr. Hedges does not speak Arabic.
Nonetheless, the Emirates insist they have additional evidence both electronic and documentation to indicate he was a spy. Something that he
and his family and the British government flatly reject. But ultimately, this has been I think a skilled diplomatic solution, stroke fudge, to the
whole issue, that was really undermining a very important bilateral relationship not the least in the field of intelligence. The United Arab
Emirates and the United Kingdom work hand in glove inside Yemen. Not just with regards to fighting the Houthis but more importantly from the British
perspective in terms of continued operations against Al Qaeda cells there in Yemen -- Lynda.
[10:10:00] KINKADE: Certainly, a diplomatic win for Britain and for this young academic and his entire family. Do we know when he will be able to
KILEY: The Emirates are saying that he will be released as soon as the relevant paperwork has been processed. There are -- I think I'm right in
saying there were no direct flights from here to the U.K. tonight, so he may well fly tomorrow or he may be put on the first flight out of here via
some other location. I think the Emirates are very keen for him to go home and for this whole issue to be put behind them and their relationship with
the United Kingdom.
KINKADE: Absolutely. No doubt. Sam Kiley, good to have you across this story for us, thanks so much.
Now to another story that we are following, international concerns over a standoff between Russia and Ukraine. In the past hour, Ukraine's
Parliament has been voting on implementing martial law. Ukraine accuses Russia of firing on and seizing three of its ships near Crimea.
Take a look at this video. It was released by Ukraine's interior minister. It claims to show a Russian border ship ramming into a Ukrainian vessel.
Now, Russian state media report the ships had entered Russia's waters illegally. Our CNN's Matthew Chance joins us now from Moscow. And,
Matthew, this is certainly a major escalation in the tension between Russia and Ukraine. The Ukrainian Parliament, as I mentioned, are considering
using -- imposing martial law. What could that look like?
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's always a big step, Lynda, imposing martial law, and it is certainly a step
that hasn't been taken so far by Ukraine. Despite even at the height of the conflict, that it was fighting with Russian-backed rebels in the east
of the country where thousands of people were killed. It didn't take this measure.
But you know, it is a sign of just how seriously this situation in the Sea of Azof and in the Kerch Strait, that stretch of water between the Russian
mainland and the Crimean Peninsula, that standoff is becoming that Ukrainian Parliament are debating this now, after a recommendation by the
Ukrainian President, Petro Poroshenko. What it would mean is a certain curtailment of civil liberties. It would mean that more power would be
diverted towards government institutions. And the Ukrainian government has said it would be for a limited period of 60 days.
One of the concerns that has been expressed is that this is President Poroshenko taking advantage of the military situation for his own political
ends. Because he is facing an election campaign that's taking place next year. He's trailing very seriously in the polls, and the idea that this
renewed confrontation with Russia could bolster national opinion around him. It is something that could bolster his support. And so, this is a
degree of cynicism, I think, when people look at this developing political situation in Ukraine. Nevertheless, the situation is very serious.
Ukrainian navy says that six of its sailors were injured and another couple of dozen of them have been in detention as a result of these confrontations
on the Sea of Azof there.
KINKADE: It is interesting timing nonetheless. We know the U.N.'s security council has agreed to hold an emergency meeting in about an hour
from now, to discuss this. What's likely to happen? Are Western governments likely to side with Ukraine here? And what could that mean for
CHANCE: Undoubtedly, Western government on the Security Council is divided but Western governments are bound to side with Ukraine. In fact, there has
already been expressions of support from the European Union. And from the Western military alliance, NATO, for de-escalation, calling on both sides
to deescalate in this ongoing confrontation. And of course, there is every possibility that if the de-escalation does not take place, the stage could
be set for a ratcheting up of sanctions. I think the only sort of break on that is a sense in which despite the fact that there's been broad-ranging
sanctions imposed by the West, by the United States, by its allies in Europe, on Russia, for its annexation of Crimea back in 2014, for support
of rebels in eastern Ukraine and all the rest of it.
That does not seem to have changed Russian policies significantly. It may have curtailed the Russian economy but it doesn't seem to act as a break on
Russia's territorial ambitions in the region. So that may actually hold Western powers back from taking further measures. The fact that it is
simply not having the desired impact.
[10:15:00] But nevertheless, they will have to be seen to be doing something, and sanctions is a favored strategy of achieving that -- Lynda.
KINKADE: All right, Matthew Chance, good to have you across this story for us, thanks so much, we'll speak soon.
Still to come, on CONNECT THE WORLD, we will talk to a former British ambassador to Russia about the next steps he sees in the face-off between
Russia and Ukraine.
But first, a dire warning, from the top aid agencies working in Yemen, why they say the U.S. can no longer turn a blind eye to its role in the
conflict. Stay with us.
KINKADE: Welcome back. You're watching CNN and this is CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Lynda Kinkade.
Top aid groups working in Yemen are issuing a dire warning to the U.S. government. Act now to stop the grueling war there or share the blame for
the mass famine that's unfolding. The NGO's say if the fighting continues, 40 million Yemenis, half the country's population, are at risk of starving
to death. CNN's Sam Kiley has more on the desperate pleas from those aid groups.
KILEY (voice-over): An electronic pulse tracks Nasi's battle with death. Her insides were torn out, in an air strike, carried out by the Saudi-led
coalition, that supported and armed by the U.S. and U.K. The bombing killed three of her sisters and wounded two more in Hodeidah.
MAGED GHALEB, FATHER OF AIRSTRIKE VICTIMS (through translator): We are calling on all of the honorable people of the world, all people from all
religions, anyone who has a heart to stop this bloodshed. We cannot take it. Yemenis and their children are being murdered in cold blood.
KILEY: A bipartisan bill that demands an immediate end to fighting, and to the U.S. support for Saudi Arabia's campaign is being considered by the
Senate Foreign Relations Committee. And is getting support from five of the U.S. biggest charities that are working in Yemen. They published a
joint letter calling for an end to support to Saudi Arabia, and the UAE, in the war.
ABBY MAXMAN, CEO, OXFAM AMERICA: The U.S. has been, over the course of the conflict, over 3 1/2 years, involved in supporting the Saudi-led UAE-backed
coalition in Yemen.
[10:20:00] And it has perpetuated the war. The U.S. has been an arms broker, while trying to be a peace broker, which is a difficult thing to do
KILEY: At least 10,000 people have been killed in this war. Many of them hit in air strikes like the Saudi attack on a bus that killed dozens of
children, with an American bomb. The U.N. has called for a cease fire. But there are no signs that the two biggest arms suppliers to Saudi Arabia,
the U.S. and the U.K., are going to join Denmark, Finland and Germany, in stopping the flow of weapons. And while the war wages on, aid agencies say
that 14 million people are threatened with famine and the U.N. says 400,000 children are on the brink of starvation. Sam Kiley, CNN, Abu Dhabi.
KINKADE: Well, Joel Charny is the executive director of the Norwegian Refugee Council in the U.S. He signed that scathing letter, alongside the
CEOs of four other major aid groups working in Yemen. He joins me now from Washington. Good to have you with us. I just want to start by sharing a
paragraph from that letter with our viewers.
A letter that you signed, that says, we have no means left to avert a catastrophe in Yemen. Every humanitarian effort can no longer prevent mass
starvation, if the war is not brought to an end immediately.
Now, this letter basically says do something or be complicit. This is what these aid groups, yours included, are saying to the United States.
JOEL CHARNY, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, NORWEGIAN REFUGEE COUNCIL USA. Yes, we're at a state of desperation. But it's not we who are most desperate. As you
saw in that clip before, it is the people of Yemen. They're begging the world to do something. I've been part of a group that has been engaging at
senior levels of the U.S. government on this issue for over a year. And they continue to assure us that they're doing everything that they can.
But we don't see any progress. We don't see an end to the bombing. We don't see an end to our difficulties in getting relief supplies in. The
ports continue to be blocked. And fundamentally, unless this stops, hundreds of thousands of people are going to be at risk of famine. And
we're saying to the U.S., now is finally the time to act.
KINKADE: And we have seen so many horrific pictures of children, toddlers starving to death. And I just want to alert our viewers to a recent report
from "Save the Children" which says 85,000 children may have died from hunger, or disease, since this war began. It says, blockades in the port
of the city of Hodeidah, as well as the increase in air strikes, is making the delivery of aid extremely difficult. The group goes on to say that
unlike children caught in the cross fire, children are suffering from malnutrition and famine have a chance to be saved. The big point here,
this is a manmade crisis, right?
CHARNY: Absolutely. It is not weather-related. In normal times, Yemen depends on foot import for 90 percent of its food needs and the war has
just completely disrupted the Yemeni economy. Another thing that has not been done is the payment of civil servants. So, teachers, doctors, other
medical workers, who would normally have cash in their pocket to buy food, they don't have that cash. So, we see an economy in free-fall, in addition
to the impact of the conflict, and that's why we're facing a famine situation in the country.
KINKADE: And we know that peace talks are set to take place in early December in Sweden and there is meant to be a vote calling for a two-week
cease fire. That needs to happen straight-away, right?
CHARNY: Absolutely. It needs to happen immediately. And again, that we're seeing from the U.S. and the reason for the letter fundamentally is
that we see a divide, or a schizophrenia within the U.S. government, where we talk to people who say this ending the famine in Yemen is our top
priority. We are doing everything that we can to stop the conflict. But then you get a statement from the President out of the White House, a week
ago, that more or less gives a pass to the Saudis, not only on the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, but also a pass on their role in creating the famine
situation in Yemen. The rationale being that Iran is the number one enemy of the United States, Saudi Arabia is an ally, the Emirates are allies.
[10:25:00] And it's more important that the U.S. maintain that allegiance as opposed to really giving a message that, to the Saudis and the Emirates,
that their conduct is unacceptable, stopping the famine is indeed the number one priority of the U.S. That message can work. We saw that last
December, when the President issued a statement asking the coalition to end the blockade of Hodeidah, and within a couple of week, they did that. We
need a similar unequivocal message now related to all of the causes of the famine that the Yemeni people are facing.
KINKADE: We have seen, time and time again, peace talks fail. They are meant to start up again soon. What can we expect, and how important is it
to put the humanitarian disaster at the forefront of this?
CHARNY: The parties need to own their responsibility. It is not just the coalition. It is also the rebel forces as well. Everyone needs to focus
on the humanitarian catastrophe that's looming, and act in a way that is fundamentally responsible for and in solidarity with the condition of the
Yemeni people. Whether we'll get that is difficult to predict. The pessimists have been right month after month. But what we're saying is,
the U.S. does have the power, does have the leverage, to turn this situation around if it chooses to exercise that leverage.
KINKADE: All right. We'll see how this all plays out. But great to have you on, incredible letter, and ask our viewers to read it as well. Joel
Charny, thanks so much. The executive director of the Norwegian Refugee Council in the U.S.
CHARNY: Thanks for having me.
KINKADE: If you would like to help the victims of famine in Yemen, you can head to our web site, under "CNN IMPACT YOUR WORLD". You can search for
Yemen, we put together a list of organizations helping to deliver critical food aid.
Well, live from Atlanta, this is CONNECT THE WORLD. Still to come, scary moments, the U.S. Mexico border, as police used tear gas, and riot shields
to push migrants back. We are going to have a live report from the scene when we come back.
[10:30:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
KINKADE: You're watching CNN and this is CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Lynda Kinkade. Welcome back.
A reminder of our top story. As I speak, the British Prime Minister is beginning a campaign to pitch her Brexit plan to Parliament. Theresa May
is set to address lawmakers at any moment now. And we will bring you that live when she does. May, of course, needs the approval of lawmakers to
turn her draft deal into a reality. And she faces some pretty strong opposition from all sides of the political spectrum. She does, however,
have the support of the EU, which approved the deal at a special summit in Brussels on Sunday. Well, EU leaders unanimously approved her plan at that
summit. So, we will go back to Parliament when we see Theresa May appear.
Chaos and clashes along the U.S./Mexico border. About 500 migrants from Central America rush the border on Sunday trying to cross into Tijuana into
the United States. U.S. border patrol fired tear gas at them and Mexican police used shields to forcibly push the migrants back. Well, the U.S. has
closed the border completely to keep them out. Mexican police arrested several dozen of the migrant, and they are due to be deported back to their
When things calm down, the U.S. reopened that border crossing. I'm going to get back to that story in a moment. First let's go to British
Parliament where Theresa May is speaking.
THERESA MAY, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: -- on the conclusion of our negotiations.
SPEAKER: Order. Order.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Chairman, sort out the seating arrangements. Well done.
SPEAKER: There is a long afternoon that lies ahead. Let's have a bit of quiet and respectful order for the Prime Minister.
MAY: With permission, Mr. Speaker, I would like to make a Statement on the conclusion of our negotiations to leave the European Union.
At yesterday's Special European Council in Brussels, I reached a deal with the leaders of the other 27 EU Member States on a Withdrawal Agreement that
will ensure our smooth and orderly departure on 29th March next year; and, tied to this Agreement, a Political Declaration on an ambitious future
partnership that is in our national interest.
Mr. Speaker, this is the right deal for Britain because it delivers on the democratic decision of the British people.
It takes back control of our borders. It ends the free movement of people in full once and for all, allowing the government to introduce a new
skills-based immigration system.
It takes back control of our laws. It ends the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice in the U.K. and means instead our laws being made
in our Parliaments, enforced by our courts.
And it takes back control of our money. It ends the vast annual payments we send to Brussels. So instead we can spend taxpayers' money on our own
priorities, including the 394 million pounds a week of extra investment into our long-term plan for the NHS.
By creating a new Free Trade Area with no tariffs, fees, charges, quantitative restrictions or rules of origin checks, this deal protects
jobs, including those that rely on integrated supply chains.
It protects our security with a close relationship on defense and on tackling crime and terrorism, which will help to keep all our people safe.
And it protects the integrity of our United Kingdom, meeting our commitments in Northern Ireland and delivering for the whole U.K. family,
including our Overseas Territories and the Crown Dependencies.
Mr. Speaker, on Gibraltar, we have worked constructively with the governments of Spain and Gibraltar -- and I want to pay tribute in
particular to Gibraltar's Chief Minister Fabian Picardo for his statesmanship in these negotiations.
[10:35:00] We have ensured that Gibraltar is covered by the whole Withdrawal Agreement and by the Implementation Period. And for the future
partnership, the U.K. government will be negotiating for the whole U.K. family, including Gibraltar.
As Fabian Picardo said this weekend and I quote:
Every aspect of the response of the United Kingdom was agreed with the Government of Gibraltar. We have worked seamlessly together in this as we
have in all other aspects of this two-year period of negotiation. Most importantly, the legal text of the draft Withdrawal Agreement has not been
changed. That is what the Spanish Government repeatedly sought. But they have not achieved that. The United Kingdom has not let us down.
Mr. Speaker, our message to the people of Gibraltar is clear. We will always stand by you. We are proud that Gibraltar is British and our
position on sovereignty has not and will not change.
Mr. Speaker, the Withdrawal Agreement will ensure that we leave the European Union on 29th March next year in a smooth and orderly way. It
protects the rights of EU citizens living in the U.K. and U.K. citizens living in the EU, so they can carry on living their lives as before.
It delivers a time-limited Implementation Period to give business time to prepare for the new arrangements. During the Implementation Period trade
will continue on current terms so businesses only have to face one set of changes. It ensures a fair settlement of our financial obligations --
less than half of what some originally expected and demanded. And it meets our commitment to ensure there is no hard border between Northern Ireland
and Ireland -- and also no customs border in the Irish Sea -- in the event that the future relationship is not ready by the end of the implementation
Mr. Speaker, I know some members remain concerned that we could find ourselves stuck in this backstop. So, let me address this directly.
First, this is an insurance policy that no-one wants to use. Both the U.K. and the EU are fully committed to having our future relationship in place
by 1st January 2021. And the Withdrawal Agreement has a legal duty on both sides to use best endeavors to avoid the backstop ever coming into force.
If, despite this, the future relationship is not ready by the end of 2020, we would not be forced to use the backstop. We would have a clear choice
between the backstop or a short extension to the Implementation Period. If we did choose the backstop, the legal text is clear that it should be
temporary and that the Article 50 legal base cannot provide for a permanent relationship.
And there is now more flexibility that it can be superseded either by the future relationship, or by alternative arrangements which include the
potential for facilitative arrangements and technologies to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland. There is also a termination clause, which
allows the backstop to be turned off when we have fulfilled our commitments on the Northern Ireland border. And there is a unilateral right to trigger
a review through the Joint Committee and the ability to seek independent arbitration if the EU does not use good faith in this process.
Furthermore, as a result of the changes we have negotiated, the legal text is now also clear that once the backstop has been superseded, it shall
"cease to apply". So, if a future Parliament decided to then move from an initially deep trade relationship to a looser one, the backstop could not
Mr. Speaker, I do not pretend that either we or the EU are entirely happy with these arrangements. And that's how it must be -- were either party
entirely happy, that party would have no incentive to move on to the future relationship.
But there is no alternative deal that honors our commitments to Northern Ireland which does not involve this insurance policy. And the EU would not
have agreed any future partnership without it. Put simply, there is no deal that comes without a backstop, and without a backstop there is no
Mr. Speaker, the Withdrawal Agreement is accompanied by a Political Declaration, which sets out the scope and terms of an ambitious future
relationship between the U.K. and the EU. It is a detailed set of instructions to negotiators that will be used to deliver a legal agreement
on our future relationship after we have left.
The linkage clause between the Withdrawal Agreement and this declaration requires both sides to use best endeavors to get this legal text agreed and
implemented by the end of 2020. And both sides are committed to making preparations for an immediate start to the formal negotiations after our
withdrawal. The declaration contains specific detail on our future economic relationship.
This includes a new Free Trade Area with no tariffs, fees, quantitative restrictions or rules of origin checks -- an unprecedented economic
relationship that no other major economy has.
[10:40:02] It includes liberalization in trade in services well beyond WTO commitments and building on recent EU Free Trade Agreements. It includes
new arrangements for our financial services sector -- ensuring market access cannot be withdrawn on a whim and providing stability and certainty
for our world-leading industry.
And it ensures we will leave EU programmes that do not work in our interests. So, we will be out of the Common Agricultural Policy that has
failed our farmers and out of the Common Fisheries Policy that has failed our coastal communities. Instead as the Political Declaration sets out, we
will be an independent coastal state once again. We will take back full sovereign control over our waters. So, we will be able to decide for
ourselves who we allow to fish in our waters.
The EU have maintained throughout this process that they wanted to link overall access to markets to access to fisheries. They failed in the
Withdrawal Agreement, and they failed again in the Political Declaration.
It is no surprise some are already trying to lay down markers again for the future relationship, but they should be getting used to the answer by now.
It is not going to happen.
Finally, the declaration is clear that whatever is agreed in the future partnership must recognize the development of an independent U.K. trade
policy beyond this economic partnership. So, for the first time in forty years, the U.K. will be able to strike new trade deals and open up new
markets for our goods and services in the fastest growing economies around the world.
Mr. Speaker, as I set out for the House last week, the future relationship also includes a comprehensive new security partnership with close
reciprocal law enforcement and judicial co-operation to keep all our people safe.
At the outset we were told that being outside of free movement and outside of the Schengen area, we would be treated like any other non-EU state on
security. But this deal delivers the broadest security partnership in the EU's history, including arrangements for effective data exchange on
Passenger Name Records, DNA, fingerprints, and vehicle registration data, as well as extradition arrangements like those in the European Arrest
Warrant. And it opens the way to sharing the types of information included in the ECRIS and SIS II databases on wanted or missing persons and criminal
Mr. Speaker, this has been a long and complex negotiation. It has required give and take on both sides. That is the nature of a negotiation. But
this deal honors the result of the referendum while providing a close economic and security relationship with our nearest neighbors and in so
doing offers a brighter future for the British people outside of the EU.
And I can say to the House with absolute certainty that there is not a better deal available. And my fellow leaders -- my fellow leaders were
very clear on that themselves yesterday. Our duty -- as a Parliament over these coming weeks -- is to examine this deal in detail, to debate it
respectfully, to listen to our constituents and decide what is in our national interest.
There is a choice which this House will have to make. We can back this deal, deliver on the vote of the referendum and move on to building a
brighter future of opportunity and prosperity for all our people. Or this House can choose to reject this deal and go back to square one. Because
no-one knows what would happen if this deal doesn't pass. It would open the door to more division and more uncertainty, with all the risks that
Mr. Speaker, I believe our national interest is clear. The British people want us to get on with a deal that honors the referendum and allows us to
come together again as a country, whichever way we voted.
This is that deal. A deal that delivers for the British people. And I commend this Statement to the House.
JEREMY CORBYN, BRITISH LABOUR PARTY LEADER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I thank the Prime Minister for the advanced copy of her statement. The Prime
Minister may want to try and sell yesterday's summit as a great success, but to borrow a phrase, the reality is, nothing has changed.
The Prime Minister says if we reject this deal, it will take us back to square one. The truth is, Mr. Speaker, under this government, we've never
got beyond square one. The botched deal is a bad deal for this country. And all, yes, they did was mark the end of this government's failed and
miserable negotiations. There could be no doubt that this deal would leave us with the worst of all worlds.
[10:45:00] No say over future rules and no certainty for the future. Even the Prime Minister's own cabinet can't bring themselves to sell this deal.
The Foreign Secretary said yesterday and I quote, this deal mitigates most of the negative impact.
That's hardly a glowing endorsement. The silence from much of the rest of the cabinet is telling. They know these negotiations have failed. And
they know it will leave Britain worse off. In fact, the National Institute for Economic and Social Research confirmed this today. Saying that the
Prime Minister's deal would mean our economy would be 3.9 percent smaller than it would otherwise be.
This is more than our net contribution to the European Union, which is currently 8.9 billion a year. Around 170 million per week. So why is the
Prime Minister claiming that extra money to the NHS will be due to the Brexit dividend?
Of course, Mr. Speaker, we look forward to the official treasury forecast, and indeed, the legal advice that this House voted to see nearly two weeks
ago. The Prime Minister's claim, this deal takes back control over our border, money and laws is frankly a fallacy. The reality is the opposite.
The Prime Minister says the Political Declaration should give us comfort that the North Ireland backstop won't be needed. But in June 2020, this
country will be faced with a stark choice. We can agree to extend the transition period or accept the backstop. So, can the Prime Minister
confirm that under her deal, if we are to avoid the backstop, we will have to accept whatever the European Union demands to extend the transition
period? Leaving a choice of paying more money, without a say on the rules, or enter a backstop leading to a regulatory border down the Irish Sea. So
much for taking back control of our borders, money and laws.
Mr. Speaker, it may not end there. The President of France, President Macron has already made clear what his priorities will be in negotiations
Britain a future deal. On Sunday, he said, we will concentrate our efforts in order to obtain access to the British waters, before the end of the
transition period, and of course, all our fishermen will be protected. Isn't it the case that under the Prime Minister's botched deal, we will
have to agree to those demands on access to waters and quota shares, if we want to finalize a future trade deal or extend the transition?
Breaking every promise, the Prime Minister, the Environment Secretary and the Scotland Secretary have made to our fishing industry, and our coastal
And there's another claim down over Gibraltar at the weekend. Isn't it the case that Spain -- isn't it the case that Spain now has a role over
Gibraltar benefitting from any future relationship, that is still to be negotiated? Not something the Prime Minister presented to the Commons last
Mr. Speaker, in two weeks' time, this House will begin voting on a legally binding Withdrawal Agreement and a vague wish list contained in the
Political Declaration. The Prime Minister would be negotiating that future agreement from a position of profound weakness. Threatened with paying
more to extend the transition with no say over our money, laws, or borders, and at risk of the utterly unacceptable backstop which was only made
necessary by her own red lines -- most of which have since been abandoned by her.
Is it not in the national interest for the Prime Minister to plow on when it is clear this deal does not have the support of either side of this
House, or the country as a whole?
Mr. Speaker, plowing on is not stoic. It is an act of national self-harm. Instead of threatening this House with a no deal scenario, or a no Brexit
scenario, the Prime Minister now needs to prepare a plan B, something her predecessors failed to do.
There is, since there is a sensible deal -- there is a sensible deal that could win the support of this House. Based on a comprehensive customs
union, a strong single market deal that protects --
SPEAKER: Order, order, order. When the Prime Minister was addressing the house, I made it clear that she should be heard and by and large, she was.
This chum sharing or yelling from a sedentary position, stop it.
[10:50:00] It is rude, foolish and doomed to fail. Jeremy Corbyn.
CORBYN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
There is a sensible deal that would win the support of this House. Based on a comprehensive customs union, a strong single market deal that protects
rights at work, and environmental and consumer safeguards. The Prime Minister may have achieved agreement across 27 heads of state, but she has
lost support of the country.
Many young people and others see opportunities being taken away from them. Many people who voted remain, voted for an outward looking and inclusive
society. And they fear this deal, and they fear the rhetoric of the Prime Minister in promoting this deal.
Likewise, many people from areas that voted leave feel this deal has betrayed the Brexit they voted for. It does not take back control, it will
not make them better off, and it will not solve the economic deprivation that affects far too many communities and towns and cities across this
country. This deal is not a plan for Britain's future. So, for the good of the nation, the House has very little choice but to reject this deal.
SPEAKER: Prime Minister.
MAY: Thank you, thank you Mr. Speaker.
Just to pick up on a number of the points that the right honorable gentleman made. He commented on the Brexit dividend and asked where the
Brexit dividend was. We have been very clear, very clear that we will be able to use that money that we're not sending to the European Union to
spend on our priorities, including the National Health Service. There was a time, there was a time when the gentleman himself talked about spending
the Brexit dividend on our public services.
He talks about the backstop and the Implementation Period being the alternative. Actually no, we have written in the possibility of
alternative arrangements. The key thing is, the key thing is to deliver on our commitment of no hard border between North Ireland and Ireland. A
commitment which he appeared to dismiss in his response to my statement. We do not dismiss the people of North Ireland. We believe it is important
to maintain that commitment.
He talked about, he talked about control of borders, and said that we are, our deal does not bring control of borders. But, of course, it does
because it brings an end to free movement once and for all.
I note that the Labour Party has never been able to actually stand up and say that it wants to bring an end to free movement once and for all. And
that's because they're not responding to the real needs and the real concerns of the British people on these issues. The British people want
control of our borders. They want an end to free movement. This deal delivers it.
He talked about -- I was very interested that it now appears to be Labour Party policy to be in both the single market and the customs union. I hear
yeses from the front bench. When, of course, there was also a time when the right honorable gentleman talked about the importance of having an
independent trade policy and negotiating our own trade deals. As a member, a full member of the customs union, which he was, you can't do that. So
again, he has gone back on his words, in relation to these issues.
He talked about -- he talked about the comments that President Macron made in relation to access to waters and I recognize that this has raised a
question on people about the issue in relation to being in the backstop. But for all of those who are concerned and indeed all of those who have
commented on this, I think it's important to recall, that if we were in the backstop, we would be outside the Common Fisheries policy, and we would be
deciding who has access to fish in our waters.
He mentioned Gibraltar. I quoted the Chief Minister of Gibraltar. Who made very clear, as I did, that this government stood by Gibraltar, and we
resisted changes to the withdrawal agreement, which the Spanish government wished to -- wished to make. We are clear that Gibraltar -- Gibraltar's
sovereignty will not change. It has not changed. It will not change. And we are proud that Gibraltar is British.
He said, I have to say, and finally, he talked about -- finally, he talked about dealing with issues of our economy, and those parts of the country
where we do need to enhance and improve our economy. And I have to say to him, the one thing that is absolutely clear, the one thing that will never
deliver for our economy is his policy on borrowing, taxing, and spending. It is a balanced approach in the economy that delivers.
SPEAKER: Mr. Lian Duncan Smith --
LAIN DUNCAN SMITH, CONSERVATIVE MP: Mr. Speaker, I can recognize my honorable friend's genuine endeavors in all of these matters, and just
return her to the point about the backstop.
[10:55:00] Does she recognize that genuine and real concern held on all sides of the House about what would happen if the U.K. was to be forced
into the backstop? And I listened very carefully to my right honorable friend said. And she said that the U.K. doesn't want it and that the EU
didn't want it. And we heard the other day that Ireland, said that no matter what any agreement, they would never have any hard borders. So, it
makes you wonder, why is it in the Withdrawal Agreement at all?
But the point I want to make, my right honorable friend, the question really is this, if the government, going down the road toward a
negotiation, is heading toward that point when the backstop will become invoked, does that not really generally mean that Mr. Macron is right, that
we will come under intolerable pressure to agree almost anything to avoid our entry into what my right honorable friend rightly says is something we
never want to be in?
MAY: Can I say to my right honorable friend, I do recognize the depth of concern that there has been and that remains for some members of this House
about the issue of the backstop. But I disagree with him about the position that would entail.
First of all, because, as I indicated, in my statement, and it is largely thanks to my right honorable friend and our right honorable friend the man
North Yorkshire from that we are in this position of having within the Withdrawal Agreement the recognition that there could be Alternative
Arrangements to the backstop or the extension of the implementation period that would deliver for the border of North Ireland.
But it is right, that while I recognize the depth of concern, that this is not a situation the U.K. wants us to be in, neither is it a situation that
the European Union wants us to be in. And the reason is, although strange though it may seem to some members of this House, there are members of the
European Union who actively think that the backstop would be a good place for the U.K. because of its access to the European Union markets, without
paying -- having financial obligation, and without free movement. And so that's why they don't want us to in the backstop either. Neither of us
want to invoke. It the tea shock has been clear about that. That we want to make sure that the future relationship replaces it and delivers our
commitment to the people of North Ireland.
SPEAKER: Ian Blackford?
IAN BLACKFORD, SCOTTISH NATIONAL PARTY MP: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The Prime Minister's deal means Scotland is to be taken out of the European
Union against our will. And out of the single markets, a market which is eight times the size of the U.K.
Mr. Speaker, Scotland voted to remain. Our rights must be respected. Living will rip away jobs, hit living standards and end freedom of
movement. Something that will make it harder for our precious NHS to people to attract and retain the staff that we need.
Migration has been good for Scotland. The Prime Minister talks about huge (INAUDIBLE). And outrageous slur against EU citizens that come here. But
she blatantly disregards the rights that we will all lose to live and work in Europe.
Mr. Speaker, we are not prepared to give up these rights. The Prime Minister's deal carries no majority in this House and has split her own
benches. It means a blindfold Brexit is now certain. There is no long- term agreement on our trading relationship with Europe. It is a deal filled with if's and but's.
Crucially, here we are again, with another sellout to the Scottish fishing industry. Well, we've been here before. We were stalled out. We've been
sold out repeatedly by Tory governments. Under this agreement, fishing boats registered to North Ireland would continue to gain zero tariff taxes
to the EU and U.K. markets, that fishing boats registered in Scotland, and other parts of the U.K., would not. We know that the EU will start
negotiations based on existing quarter shares.
Mr. Speaker, that's not taking back control of our waters. It is the EU exercising an effective veto. Scottish fishing communities have been duped
once again by the Conservatives. We on these benches will not, we cannot accept this sell-out from the Conservatives. I call upon the, Secretary of
State for Scotland and the deputy secretary, search your conscience, because your fingerprints are all over this.
The Agreed Declaration states that the Declaration Period after leaving the EU would be extends by one or two years. Does the Prime Minister accept
that that means that the U.K. would almost certainly be in the CFP, with no voting rights for another one or two years, totally contrary to what the
Scottish secretary has said?