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Conservative Party Lawmakers Triggering That Vote Of No Confidence In Theresa May's Leadership To Be Held Later On Wednesday. Aired: 5-6a ET
Aired December 12, 2018 - 05:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
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THERESA MAY, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: I will contest that vote with everything I've got.
I have been a member of the Conservative Party for over 40 years. I've served it as an activist, counselor, MP, Shadow Minister, Home Secretary, and now as Prime Minister. I stood to be leader because I believe in the conservative vision for a better future, a thriving economy with nowhere and nobody left behind, a stronger society where everyone can make the most of their talents, always serving the national interest.
MAX FOSTER, ANCHOR, CNN: Diplomatic editor Nic Robertson was there in Downing Street. Erin McLaughlin is in Brussels for us. But Nic, first of all, she was very forth right with her determination to plow ahead with this. Does she know something that we don't about the vote tonight?
NIC ROBERTSON, SENIOR DIPLOMATIC EDITOR, CNN: Or do we not know the depth of her resolve. I think we've seen her resolve tested a lot lately and she's always said that she was aware that her leadership contest could come along and that she was going to fight it and they choose to challenge those MPs in a way if they were going to do it, then she would fight it. And that's exactly what she is going to do.
What she knows is she needs to achieve 158 of her Conservative MPs in a vote among her Conservative MPs, 158 of course is a simple majority. She will want a bigger number than that of course to give her a stronger mandate going forward. But she will recognize that - and as she articulated in the speech here just a little while ago that this leadership contest will be - could be particularly damaging. It could be damaging because it could affect how the Brexit negotiations will go, the contest could take time, and the negotiations themselves have a clock running that expires the 29th of March next year.
It's already a very, very difficult and fraught process negotiating with the European Union. They said that the best deal is on the table. She said the idea that a new leader could somehow inherit something different and open this all up and deliver something better for the British people that really isn't on the table. So what does she know? She still firmly believes in herself, in her ability, in her government's ability to do the best given the situation that they are in. And I think if we do ask ourselves sincerely what is it she knows that we don't, I think she strongly, strongly firmly believes that, Max.
FOSTER: Erin, the question is, how this will affect Brexit and that's how Europe will be looking at this and any sort of measure she's lost credibility, hasn't she, just by going through this process even if she wins?
ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Absolutely, Max and we heard from the President of the European Council, Donald Tusk on Twitter this morning not commenting directly on the current situation there in the U.K., but he did tweet out a photo of himself meeting with the E.U.'s Chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier and his ahead of the special summit scheduled for tomorrow. He has in the past stated that the purpose of that summit is really two-fold.
First, to discuss ways to quote, "facilitate" the U.K.'s ratification of the deal that's already been done. There's a big question mark around how exactly the E.U. 27, what the E.U. 27 can do to help Theresa May resolve the situation, to help her get this deal through Westminster, given the objections there, given the red lines of the E.U. That is not entirely clear. It is an open question.
Today's development there in London certainly complicates this situation even further, but speaking to diplomats, speaking to E.U. officials here, they really do see Theresa May as the only one, the only possible leader in the U.K. that can get this deal done. In the words of one diplomat I was talking to just a short while ago, he said that she's the only adult in the room.
So I think it's safe to say that they watch the situation unfold with concern. That being said, the other purpose of the summit that is scheduled for tomorrow is to look towards no deal preparations. I was speaking to a senior E.U. official just last week, he was expressing his concern that things were moving in that direction with each passing day in his words, a no deal option is the default option. Nothing has to happen for that no deal to be triggered on March 29th, 201 and that is a source of concern for the E.U. as well.
FOSTER: Nic, that's a frightening scenario, isn't it? That we could be heading towards a no deal, and the government is entirely focused on a leadership contest. So there are so many dynamics playing into this, but that will be one of the consideration on MPs minds here, even the ones that don't support Theresa May. They'll be considering the chaos that would ensue if they voted against her.
ROBERTSON: Yes, well one of the examples of the type of chaos of leaving without a deal that's been described or hypothesized at least because no one quite knows what it would look like could be a shortage of foods, of necessary medicines coming into the country, and a prediction that for every additional two minutes search time on any truck coming into the U.K. and leaving the U.K. to and from the European Union, France, let's say, going through the Port of Dover, could lead to a tail back of traffic in Britain, the motorway, leading to Dover, a 17-mile tail back of traffic on the motorway there, which that is just sort of an optimistic estimate as well as the sort of longer term economic knock-on effect on the economy, which is deemed to be particularly negative, worse even than the current deal or much worse than the current deal that the government has negotiated, which is in itself expected to have a negative effect on the British economy going forward.
So there are preparations underway. Theresa May has spoken about that. That they are being accelerated and being dealt with, but there is also word that the billion and a half pounds, $2 billion set aside for that early preparation for a no deal Brexit putting in place all the additional infrastructure and resources that it take to handle it, not just to border ports, et cetera, but many other issues, flights, all that sort of thing, is already spent.
So yes, there is concern, and the closer we get to that deadline without the deal that's on the table being ratified, the concern mounts and mounts with that, Max.
FOSTER: Okay, Nic, thank you. Hadas is here, trying to make sense of it, this bombshell was dropped on you this morning, wasn't it? As you were down here reporting on an average day in Westminster?
HADAS GOLD, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Well, it's still a little bit of an unusual day. We were definitely not expecting it. We knew that there was rumors that these letters were coming and that we were reaching potentially the threshold, but I think a lot of people were expecting that threshold to be reached later and maybe for this no confidence vote to be called on Monday.
FOSTER: They claimed to have reached it before, as well and it hasn't quite come through.
GOLD: Right, yes, we've seen this so many times before where there were these big press conferences, that it was going to come, and nothing ever happened, and now it's actually here. And also, at this time, you know, right as we were supposed to have actually - if you think about the timing, Graham Brady, who was the one collecting all of these letters, said that he reached the threshold last night. That was the time that we were supposed to be getting the vote in Parliament on this Brexit deal. So I think that was very symbolic that after that vote was pulled, that these - that kind of was the impetus for people to start bringing in these no confidence letters.
FOSTER: Okay, let's hear from him. I spoke to Graham Brady, the Conservative Party MP. He is in charge of an announcing this vote of no confidence and I spoke to him in the last hour.
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FOSTER: You have had a very busy few weeks and days, but you finally got the number of letters you needed last night to trigger this contest.
GRAHAM BRADY, MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT, CONSERVATIVE: That's right. The process is quite simple. If 15% or more members of the Parliamentary conservative party write letters to the Chairman of the 1922 Committee seeking a confidence vote in the leader of the Party, then it's incumbent on me to inform the leader of the party, to consult with the leader of the party, and then to organize a ballot as quickly is reasonably practical.
So I spoke to the Prime Minister last night, when she returned from her visits to Berlin and Brussels, we discussed the timing. She was very keen to have matters resolved as quickly as is possible. And we, therefore, made the announcement early this morning. She will address colleagues in the 1922 Committee at 5:00 this afternoon, and a ballot will be held immediately after that between 6:00 and 8:00.
FOSTER: And when should we expect the announcement to be made?
BRADY: We will count as soon as possibly can after that, and we will make an announcement within an hour, so I hope before 9:00.
FOSTER: If the vote goes against her, if we go through the two scenarios, what's the process then?
BRADY: Well, I think it's important to go through both scenarios, and not to presume. If the vote goes for her, then there is confidence in her as the Conservative Party leader, and then there is also a 12- month moratorium. The process could not be repeated within a 12-month period.
FOSTER: She's safe for a year in her position?
BRADY: Indeed. If it were to go the other way, then we would begin the process of arranging a leadership election to elect a successor. In the meantime, of course, the Prime Minister remains the Prime Minister until there is a successor in place.
FOSTER: And the concern about a leadership contest at this time around Brexit and with March looming is that the Conservative leadership contest process is very lengthy, you have to go out to all the party members, eventually, don't you? What sort of contingencies have you got for speeding that process up?
BRADY: Well, certainly I ran the process in 2016 when we were able to run the Parliamentary stages very quickly. It took no more than ten days. It might even be possible to conduct the process of that sort more quickly. But as you say, if there are two candidates, and that is the expectation in the Parliamentary Party. Those two candidates forward as candidates for the party in the country, then there would be a vote in the ballot and that inevitably takes longer.
The exact time table is something that would have to be agreed by the Board of the Conservative Party but that obviously is something that we should address if the situation arises.
FOSTER: You're confident there is a - if there is the resolve, you can get this process speeded up from the process that we're used to.
BRADY: I think if it were to be necessary, there would be - we'll be able to move as quickly as reasonable. FOSTER: You're known for your discretion.
BRADY: Thank you.
FOSTER: But can you describe the mood amongst the MPs that have been coming to you because the whole debate has been rotating around you for the last few days.
BRADY: I shouldn't really be drawn into that. I think, today, my role is very clear. It is to run a scrupulously fair and proper process, and I think it's important that I am entirely neutral and independent in that process, and I think if I started to comment on what colleagues have said or who thinks one thing or another, I think I would inevitably be drawn into the debate.
FOSTER: In terms of the time of your announcement, it was made before the markets opened, was that your decision or was that on advice to the Prime Minister?
BRADY: It was deliberate. We were conscious of that speculation over recent days and weeks and has on occasion had an effect on the markets. Particularly, in recent days, there was much of the speculation and it is entirely unfounded, but we thought that when we were making a serious announcement that the opportunity has important consequences that we ought to make sure it was announced before markets opened.
FOSTER: For the international audience, that won't be perhaps aware of how unusual this situation we're in right now. How would you encapsulate the pressure on Parliament and the challenge on Parliament right now?
BRADY: I suppose what I say is that the circumstances of the Parliament would know overall the government majority are inevitably more pressured, and more difficult, and less predictable than is normally the case in a Parliament in this country. Mostly, British Parliaments have a majority for one party or another, and we don't have that at the moment. So it is a time when we have got some complex decisions to take as a country, and it's a time when it is much harder to make decisions in Parliament.
FOSTER: Okay, well, thank you very much and you've got a very busy day ahead, a long day. Appreciate you speaking to us.
BRADY: Thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOSTER: He will have a long day, won't he, Hadas? Just take us through what we expect to happen from here.
GOLD: So from here out we know that now, I believe, that the Cabinet meeting has been canceled today. The Prime Minister, as far as I can tell will still have her Prime Minister Questions in the House of Commons.
FOSTER: That's in a couple of hours.
GOLD: Yes, so that should be pretty interesting and then she will address it is 1922 Committee. That is the committee that Graham Brady is in charge of, the one that collects those letters, and then the MPs will vote, and by 9:00 p.m., in less than 12 hours, we will know whether Prime Minister Theresa May will pretty much be gone or out from the leadership. Obviously, she will not immediately leave 10 Downing Street. We will have to elect a new leader before that transition happens, but we will soon know what her future holds.
Now, the betting people, actually they say that they think that she will survive. And that she will last and we are seeing more and more ministers and members of her Cabinet come out in support of her, and if anything, it's sort of ironic that in this time of chaos, a confidence vote on her leadership challenge will actually be the thing that unites perhaps members of Parliament.
FOSTER: Let's talk about the betting because we're in the realms of speculation until we hear anything more from the official sources. Labrox (ph) sending an e-mail saying Theresa May is odd's one favorite to win the no confidence vote. Boris Johnson and Dominic Raab are the joint favorites to become the next permanent leader of the Tory's and that both on the Brexiteers side ...
GOLD: Very much so.
FOSTER: ... we've got the assumption right now that anyone that replaces her has to be from that side?
GOLD: That is the assumption that they need to be even a harder Brexiteer, but that could actually backfire when it comes to dealing with the European Union, and there are some fears that a hard Brexiteer would lead to a no deal Brexit, which we've heard for months now warnings about what ...
GOLD: ... that could do to the British economy, what that could do to the European economy. I mean, there's a lot of people who are now taking extra steps now, and we know that Europe is taking extra steps now. We know that the British government is taking extra steps in preparation for a no deal Brexit because of that very possibility.
FOSTER: Hadas, thank you very much, indeed. A busy day for all of us ahead. We'll bring it all to you live from here on Abington Green. All the unfolding events. Also, coming up on "CNN Talk," we want to know what you think. Should British lawmakers replace Theresa May in the midst of Brexit? Log on to facebook.com/cnninternational to have your say. "CNN Talks" starting at 12:00 p.m. here in London and 8:00 p.m. in Hong Kong.
More on the no confidence vote and what to expect from the day ahead and how the markets are reacting as well to this breaking news next on CNN.
Welcome back to Westminster. We have a leadership contest tonight. Theresa May could lose her job, although a lot of people saying that she will have the votes to win tonight. Conservative MP Lawrence Robertson is also a former shadow minister from Northern Ireland. That's right, isn't it? And you were probably are the first person to hand in your letter of no confidence effectively in the Prime Minister back in the summer.
LAWRENCE ROBERTSON, CONSERVATIVE MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT: Yes, I handed the letter in straight after the Chequers proposals were made because --
FOSTER: This is the Brexit deal which she has been trying to sell?
L. ROBERTSON: Yes, the one in July, and I came to the conclusion then that Theresa May was, in my opinion, taking us in the wrong direction, trying to get the wrong kind of deal. I think the priorities were wrong. Many of us predicted at the time of Chequers that it would get worse, and I would suggest that it has got worse. A lot of other people I will say feel the same way. So I am afraid I cannot support the Prime Minister this evening.
FOSTER: And others on your side of the party have come around to your way of thinking. That happened this week after her decision to delay the vote on that deal. What is your understanding about what tipped it for them?
L. ROBERTSON: I think there was always going to be a reaction after yesterday or was it Monday as it turned out to be because it was very clear that the Prime Minister could not get that deal through Parliament. Even if every Conservative MP would have voted for it, it wouldn't have gone through because the DUP could not support it because of what it threatened to do to Northern Ireland.
So it was a very misguided thing to do, and many of us just couldn't understand why Theresa May was heading for edge of the cliff. Why she was insisting on bringing these proposals to Parliament when it was obvious it couldn't get through.
L. ROBERTSON: So I think all of that put together has probably tipped some colleagues in that direction.
FOSTER: So 15% of the Parliamentary Party have sent in letters triggering this process, but more than half of MPs have to vote against her tonight. It's taken a very long time for the letters to come in from when you put yours in to last night. Do you really have the confidence you can get the support you need to get rid of her?
L. ROBERTSON: I'm not going to predict how it will go, but there will be a lot more people voting against than were prepared to put in letters. If you submit a letter, that puts you under quite a bit of media attention. People ask you everywhere you go, have you put a letter in? Many people, I spoke to yesterday just don't want to be named as having put letters in. But we've heard Cabinet ministers coming out in support of Theresa May today, but it's a secret ballot, and I know for a fact, not all of them will vote for her. I know that.
So there are many, many more people that will vote against her than have actually put letters in.
FOSTER: What if she gets through, but it's a really tight vote? How does that affect her leadership?
L. ROBERTSON: Well, it will be for her to decide. From my point of view, if she survives it, I want tomorrow to come back together as a party and get on with it. Now, that doesn't mean we can agree any sort of Brexit deal she comes up with. We'll have to look at whatever it is. If she loses it, she will have to step down as leader of the Conservative Party and effectively as Prime Minister, but I can, I hope and I would appeal to everybody, we have got to be moderate in our language. We have to come back together as a party, as a government when all of this is over.
FOSTER: Will you fall behind her if she scrapes through?
L. ROBERTSON: Well, I will support her in many of the things she's trying to do with health, and education, and roads and all the rest of it. But I will only support a Brexit deal which is honest to the referendum results and honest to our manifesto, which we stood on not two years ago.
FOSTER: Is that looking like a hard Brexit to you because actually a hard Brexit is looking more likely all the time.
L. ROBERTSON: I am just going off what she herself has said. She herself has said, we can't be in the customs union. She said that in the manifesto. She reaffirmed that at Lancaster House that we can't be half in, half out. I am just asking her to honor the words that she herself have spoken.
FOSTER: But she's also got a response to the other side, the remain side as well. So she can't entirely stick to her position if it's not aligned with the party's --
L. ROBERTSON: Not really because she said again, she said Brexit means Brexit and that means coming out of the Customs Union, the proposal she's making don't guarantee that at all. In fact, they risk locking those into the customs union forever more. So we can't support that, I am very disappointed and very surprised actually that she came back with those proposals.
FOSTER: Are you a bit embarrassed of Parliament right now because a lot of the country and a lot of the world is looking in and looking at how you just can't seem to resolve this. It does seem like chaos, and this is the time we do look to our - the mother of all Parliaments to try to resolve this. And it is not happening.
L. ROBERTSON: Well, let's look across the continent though. It was very little report that Angela Merkel lost leadership of her own party just a few days ago. Okay, she'll remain as Chancellor, but lost leadership of her own party. Obviously, in Germany not everything is going swimmingly. France have got very difficult times, which I regret to see. But you know, these things are happening in other country as well.
We've all got issues. And you know what is really important is we listen to the electorate. The electorate voted to leave, not everybody. It was a fairly small majority, but they did vote to leave. We have to respect that. I think all the talk about going back to them to ask them, are you really sure, well - that is not helping. All that is not helping at all. Let's respect them. Let's honor our manifesto and commitment. We said very clearly we'll be leaving the customs union. Maybe it's an old-fashioned thing, but let's stick to what we said.
FOSTER: I spoke to Jo Johnson yesterday. He was one of those that wants a second referendum. He is also from your party as well. His view is that as long as this place can't really sort it out, maybe we should go back to the people and let them sort it out if you believe that the last referendum is a legitimate vote, then why can't the second referendum be?
L. ROBERTSON: Well, I mean, if it ends up that way, I'll be campaigning that we leave, but I won't be campaigning that we leave on the basis of what's being proposed at the moment. I don't think that would be sensible and many people feel that.
And I think even a lot of people who have voted remain really are saying, look, if we have got to say just get on with it, and I think that's a prevailing mood.
FOSTER: On your side of the party, is there a leading candidate that could step in to preplace Theresa May because the next stage of this, if she doesn't win the vote, is there is going to be all sorts of bickering, and we're going to be looking for some grown-ups in there. Are they going to emerge?
L. ROBERTSON: Well, absolutely. And we do need to get ourselves together. We do need to move this on, but it's the situation that's come about because I'm afraid Theresa May has gone against the things she herself said, and that's the problem.
FOSTER: Who will use the --
L. ROBERTSON: I'm working on that. We'll probably come back tomorrow - I'm very happy to come on tomorrow and talk about that in more detail. I'm not going to say just yet because there's one or two more discussions I need to have.
FOSTER: Boris Johnson is very well known around the world, just explain how strong his chances are of becoming the next Prime Minister?
L. ROBERTSON: Well, even though if he is interested in doing it, I can hazard a guess, but I don't know. Nobody - quite honestly, nobody has approached me to say would I support them in the event of Mrs. May falling and we've got a big step to get over yet, that's tonight --
FOSTER: Can it be a remainer?
L. ROBERTSON: I'm going to come back to that tomorrow. Well, that's the one question I will answer very directly with regards to leadership. No, it can't because we've seen what happens when we have a remainer leading the negotiations. It doesn't work.
FOSTER: Okay, I really appreciate your time, Lawrence.
L. ROBERTSON: My pleasure. Thank you.
FOSTER: Thanks for joining us longer for you. Leadership challenge against Theresa May hasn't hurt the markets this morning, though. They're continuing to rebound. We'll go to CNN Samuel Burke for that. You have to explain this one. It's all about predictions and what might happen tomorrow, I guess.
SAMUEL BURKE, TECHNOLOGY AND BUSINESSS CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Usually, Max, markets don't like uncertainty so you would think with a no confidence vote that there would be a lot of fear in the market, but if we just put up the pound, for instance, it went down a little bit when this announcement was made and when there were rumors of it, but now we're looking at it, and you see on the screen there, one pound is worth $1.25, that's actually up a little bit. That's why you are seeing the green arrow. Why?
I'm talking to currency traders, and they're saying, look, only 15% of conservative MPs have called for this vote. They are thinking that Theresa May is going to win, and that could give her one year of leadership once she faces this no confidence vote and perhaps wins, that means she's in the job and markets like consistency. This is somebody that they know. They know what type of deal that she wants. We're also seeing the stock market go up. If you look at the FTSE 100, that is up.
Usually, we would say just because of the news, what's going on here, but you also have some strong news out of United States and China looking like there's a window for some positive news, maybe some type of breakthrough on the trade war, so it's trading on both of those and across Europe you can see that the stock market is up here.
One thing that's interesting, Max, as I'm talking to these currency traders, they tell me they're looking at the betting web sites. One of the betting web sites has one MP, Sajid Javid, they have him as one of the highest bets to replace Theresa May. He has already put out a tweet saying that he is going to be supporting Theresa May.
So the traders are using the very non-scientific method of looking at betting web sites as some of their method here. You have to remember that the pound is so weak, Max. This is a currency that was about $1.44 before the Brexit vote happened. Now, it's trading around $1.25. That's near 20-month lows. A lot of people have just walked away from the pound because there is so much uncertainty here.
So even though we don't know exactly what's going to happen, so many people have shorted the pound that with just a little bit of confidence that Theresa May will win the pound is going up. FOSTER: Okay, Samuel, thank you very much indeed, we're going to have
much more on the fallout from this confidence vote in the Prime Minister, and her chances of winning that and being in place, a secure place for another year. Plus, French police hunts a suspect they already tried to arrest hours before they say he open fired on a Christmas market. More on the investigation in Strasbourg just ahead this hour.
FOSTER: We are going to have much more for you on the U.K.'s no confidence vote in the Prime Minister in just a few moments, but first, we want to get you the latest on another big story that we're following. French authorities are heading up a massive manhunt for a gunman that killed three people and wounded 13 others.
The suspect they're looking for was already known as a possible threat. In fact, they attempted to arrest the man that very morning before the shooting happened, but around 8:00 in the evening, on Tuesday local time, a gunman entered the perimeter of Strasbourg's Christmas market and began shooting at passersby. Many of whom were in the middle of their Christmas shopping.
France has raised its national security threat level to emergency terror attack status. Melissa Bell joins us from Strasbourg with more and that's right where it happened, right, Melissa?
MELISSA BELL, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: That's right. Slowly, these little side streets on which this tragedy unfolded last night just after 8:00 p.m., Max, are being reopened to the public. We know now and the figures have been changing constantly over the course of the morning, that three people sadly lost their lives, 13 remain injured this morning with a number of them in a critical condition. It is just up this street that the gunman came yesterday, carried out those killings - that attack before being confronted by security forces twice, and in one of those exchanges of gun fire, we understand, he was wounded.
And still, it's now coming up to midday local time, and he has yet to be found. That manhunt continues. Several hundred police officers, and military personnel involved in that, a couple of helicopters as well, but the big question, this morning, Max is, is he still in France at all?
Late last night, after this rampage had ended, after he had fled the scene, and as the manhunt got underway, French authorities brought up the security level here in France to its maximal terror alert level. What does that mean? It means that the borders are more carefully controlled. It means that Christmas markets will be more carefully controlled over the whole of France. But the question is did the man manage to slip across the border, which is not very far from here, before those measures were introduced? German authorities have suggested this morning that he might well be on the German side of the border.
FOSTER: Thank you, Melissa for that. We're going to be back with you as soon as we get any updates on that search. We are just hours before a leadership challenge vote from within the Conservative Party. The U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May is about to fight that battle with everything that she's got. She argued that a change ahead of government was not in the national interest, and it was bad for Brexit.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAY: The new leader wouldn't have time to renegotiate a withdrawal agreement and get the legislation through Parliament by the 29th of March, so one of their first acts would have to be extending or rescinding Article 50, delaying or even stopping Brexit when people want us to get on with it. (END VIDEO CLIP)
FOSTER: Simon Hoare MP, a member of the Conservative Party, is close to Theresa May, or a big supporter of her, and you're very confident she's going to win this vote tonight.
SIMON HOARE, MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT, CONSERVATIVE PARTY: I am, and then that can be the end to it.
FOSTER: Because she would then be in position for a year, right? She's unassailable.
HOARE: Absolutely, there is no opportunity then for another toddler's tantrum, if you will, over the next 12 months when she wins this evening.
FOSTER: Do you think we can read something into the fact that it took a very long time for those within the party who are against her to get the letters in that were required to call this vote?
HOARE: Yes, I think effectively it underscores the point that they don't really know what they want. They don't really know why they want it and if they do know or some of them know, they have no idea how to achieve it. It's what I described as a toddler's tantrum. This is bad behavior from some of our colleagues who I find very saddening.
FOSTER: They would argue that she is being very stubborn.
HOARE: Well, it's peculiar isn't it. One person's stubbornness is another person's resolute miss of purpose and I've been trying to think that the Prime Minister is being resolute of purpose. She has organized the deal. She has negotiated it over several months.
HOARE: She and I share the view that it is the right deal for the United Kingdom, delivering on the Brexit referendum, but also preserving the British economy and holding the country together as a united kingdom, and she is sticking to her beliefs that for some people, if that's stubbornness, then I think we'll just have to plead guilty than I think it's just being steadfast and sensible and working in the national interest. It's showing extreme focus and dedication whereas some of my colleagues I think have - they might have been at the eggnog, or they got a little bit excited over the Christmas spirit and they are treating the premiership of this country, the leadership of my party, and the running of the country as if these were early Christmas toys to kick around the sitting room on Christmas morning, it's not on, and it's got to stop.
FOSTER: If Brexit problems don't go away, though, do they if wins the vote tonight. She has tomorrow then to try to do something. Her soundings from Europe yesterday were very clear. They won't budge on the deal. They want that deal. But she's not going to get the deal through Parliament, so how is she going to move forward?
HOARE: Well, it is always going to be difficult, and I think one of the great difficulties is that whilst there is a majority in Parliament, which wants to leave, but leave with a deal. Trying to get a majority for what that deal looks like, feels like, smells like is incredibly difficult.
Now, I just hope that having - if that indeed is the result of the next European Council that the message comes through loud and clear from the E.U. that this is it, we aren't going to tweak it and change it, then I think that gives her the ammunition to say, "Look, I have tried. I have taken the concerns which were expressed in the House of Commons debate in those three days of last week, and I have tried, and they have said no."
Now, let's take a decision based on that. But let's also take the decision that whether it's Norway, Norway Plus, Canada Plus, Canada Plus, Plus, Plus, and any other form of mathematical sign you could possibly put in front or behind of any other country you could think of. It's all going to require a backstop. Why is that? It's because the E.U. quite rightly wanted to make sure that trading is safe and legitimate. We have a minority government in this country. We have no Northern Ireland Assembly in Northern Ireland, and we have a not particularly stable coalition in the Republic.
Now, the peace process, the Belfast Agreement bringing to an end those years of bloody mayhem that we saw in Irish politics, is a prize I think too great for anybody to want to play fast and loose with.
FOSTER: If I put a scenario to you that she scrapes through tonight and also all sorts of now quite senior MPs have come out against her, how does she continue as a legitimate leader with credibility, and everyone in Brussels and in London knows that half her party for example, doesn't support her?
HOARE: Well, in the first instance, Churchill said that a majority of one is enough. I think she will win and will win very comfortably today. There will be a most delicious irony were she to win by 52% to 48%. Because of course with that differential, we all have to accept results, don't we? So whatever the results --
FOSTER: You're referring to the Brexit vote.
HOARE: I'm referring to the Brexit vote, absolutely. But I think she will win, and she will win handsomely, and I think because, I mean, certainly the responses I've had from constituents' today through e- mail or through Twitter has effectively been saying, what the hell is your party doing?
FOSTER: What's Parliament doing?
HOARE: What's Parliament - you have been entrusted with I would describe it as a sacred duty of providing the government of this country. We don't govern by right. We govern with the consent of the people, which was given to us at a general election. To use it now as some sort of play thing in the most cavalier way, I think is confusing to the electorate.
They are saying - they are just looking at scans. It's bad enough to do this at any time, but to do it a week before we rise for the Christmas recess, to do it in such a short period of time before Brexit, people are saying, if you could change the Prime Minister every day between now and New Year's Eve, it doesn't change the arithmetic of that place over the road, which is in favor of leaving the E.U. with a deal.
So, the only thing that's going to change that is to have a general election, and I didn't come into politics, I didn't join the Tory Party in 1985. It's a party I love and I have defended and supported through thick and thin, to hand the keys of Downing Street to an incredibly hard left government that wouldn't be able to spell the words national interest if they were given seven weeks to do.
FOSTER: Simon Hoare, thank you for joining us.
FOSTER: Hopefully, you'll win the vote, I mean, from your perspective, you'll win the vote, and you can get on to eggnog tonight.
HOARE: Well, strangely, I did this rather weird thing on the 1st of January this year, I decided to stop drinking and see how long I would go ...
HOARE: ... and I haven't had a drink all year.
FOSTER: Well, congratulations.
HOARE: And I have survived.
FOSTER: What if you win the vote?
HOARE: No, I have survived all sorts of things, including the death of my father, the other month, and I didn't resort to having to have a drink then so I'd be damned if I'm going to be pushed into breaking my sacred vows of not having any booze this year.
FOSTER: Appreciate you talking to us out in the cold, yes.
HOARE: It's a tough gig, though. FOSTER: Thank you very much. You best get warm inside. You have got
a long day in there today. Theresa May, despite facing that no confidence vote, says she will defend her leadership with everything that she's got, and Simon is just one of her supporters. Why she's clinging to power in the face of such resistance from her own party, next.
Britain could be looking at a new Prime Minister in the coming weeks if Theresa May doesn't survive her party's no confidence vote over her handling of Brexit. The vote is happening a few hours from now, Wednesday evening local time here in London.
Earlier we heard from the Prime Minister. She vowed to contest the vote and to defend her leadership with everything that she's got. If she does survive the vote, she can't face another party revolt for another year. Analysts say that may clear the path for her Brexit deal. May has been revisiting the E.U. leaders she's been speaking to for weeks now trying to garner their help in getting the Brexit agreement they agreed upon last month pass through the U.K. Parliament.
Joining me now for a discussion on where we go from here is Quentin Peel. He is an associate fellow with the Europe Program of the think tank Chatham House. I mean, where do we go? Is there really, you know, the immediate concern is for the Conservative Party, isn't it?
QUENTIN PEEL, ASSOCIATE FELLOW, EUROPE PROGRAMME OF CHATHAM HOUSE: It is, I mean, at one level, this doesn't change anything about Brexit. The Brexit situation is as deadlocked as it was before regardless of who is --
FOSTER: But could this unlock it if she survives or if they replace her?
PEEL: I think that the Tory Party is teetering on the brink of a complete split, and even if she survives that split may happen, and if she goes, I think it will happen too because we've probably got a more hard lined Brexiteer as Prime Minister, and they would lose that wing of the party that is desperate to stay close to Europe. So we're in a situation where if you like, the national interest is actually being held hostage to the division of the Tory Party, but that has been the fundamental situation throughout these negotiations and it's why we have a deal on the table that is unacceptable to half the Tory Party.
FOSTER: Obviously, the Labour Party split as well. Is there discussion between centrists generally ...
FOSTER: ... and moving forward with some sort of new block?
PEEL: It is interesting. I think the only thing that might stabilize the situation would be some sort of government national unity. I know there are people who have been discussing that, but nobody has really put their head above the parapet and nobody is out there obvious to lead it either. FOSTER: Explain how that works.
PEEL: Well, I don't know how it works. We haven't had one really since the 1930s.
FOSTER: But how did that work?
PEEL: Well, it wasn't a great success, but nonetheless, the great depression eventually came to an end and it very difficult to see how it would work and it is, if you like, not very British. But we are not in a very British situation. We are at terribly badly divided country.
FOSTER: When you say not very British, you talk about the fact that we've always had two dominant parties, and that's how the Parliamentary system has been built up over the years, and how it operates, and at the moment it's almost defunct because all the parties are split over Brexit.
PEEL: Absolutely. What the polls are telling us is that people, if you like, are more passionate about the division over Brexit than they are about the division between parties. So the parties are actually very weak even if the polls suggest that they're actually level pegging. The other thing, which is fascinating at the moment, is the fragmentation of the whole country.
You've got a situation where if Brexit goes ahead, we could lose Scotland and Ireland could eventually even be reunified. So you've got a situation where the United Kingdom's integrity is actually called into question by the Brexit process.
FOSTER: And what about Theresa May's sort of immediate future? The more people I speak to here this morning does seem the more likely that she's actually going to win the vote because even those who are against her, some of those against her don't want the chaos that would ensue if she went.
PEEL: I think that that is the likely situation, but she will stagger on, and she will be mortally wounded.
FOSTER: And what's the impact of that for the government?
PEEL: I think her chances of delivering the Brexit deal she's put on the table are zero. I just don't think there's any way she's going to get that through. Even with the terror of falling out without a deal at all on the table, and I think she's going to have to find another way, and I think eventually, but it just buys time, which is very difficult. She'll have to say, okay, I'm going to put it back to another referendum, or something because this Parliament behind us is completely deadlocked.
FOSTER: Couldn't she get Brexiteers, David Davis, Dominic Raab in around the table and say, look, what can we agree on here to move forward and the DUP perhaps as well?
PEEL: If she did, she might lose the other half of the House of Commons and she's tried it, after all. She brought David Davis and Boris Johnson into the government, and they stormed off. So they couldn't take it, and up until now the Brexiteers have proved so hard line on wanting a hard Brexit, and so refusing to recognize that the Irish border problem is a very real issue, that actually they've dug their own grave.
FOSTER: What about - what are you hearing from Europe on dealing with Theresa May after this vote which could, as you say, leave her mortally wounded?
PEEL: I think that Europeans are looking at this and they are saying, "Look, we are being asked to help. We're being asked to get this agreement across the line, but what's the point if she can't deliver any deal any deal in Westminster? So if we made big concessions, we're not sure that they would actually fly."
So I think they're very unwilling to go beyond a certain point. They absolutely don't want a crashing out. So I think everybody has an interest in either delaying the process or stopping the process.
FOSTER: So you are looking at either a hard Brexit or a delay at the moment?
PEEL: No, I don't think a hard Brexit is really on the cards any longer.
FOSTER: But it's getting more likely the less - the more deadlock there is.
PEEL: I think the choice is between, yes, no deal and no Brexit. And that is the real choice that's out there, but no Brexit is a real possibility, and what John Major said yesterday, which he said any responsible government would actually at this stage say we can't unite the country, we can't unite Parliament we are therefore going to stop the process.
FOSTER: What about the vote tonight, so we will get the result. We think about 9:00. The markets look pretty strong today. They're all up today because they think, presumably, that she's going to remain in power. They're looking towards their certainty. If she loses the vote tonight, though, are you concerned about the markets tomorrow?
PEEL: Well, I think the markets will certainly go down further, and I think quite a lot is built in of the sheer chaos factor that they've been conscious of all the time, but -- and I don't think we're looking at the tarp like situation of America where literally ...
PEEL: ... there was going to be meltdown if they didn't come to an agreement. I don't think we're looking at meltdown in the markets, but we're thinking at a very punishing period.
FOSTER: Quentin, thank you very much, indeed. We're all none the wiser, really, but we will find out tonight at least who is or isn't going to be in power later on. Thank you for joining us. You're watching "CNN Newsroom." Final thoughts for this hour on today's development. We'll go back to Downing Street for the latest on Theresa May's chances of winning tonight's confidence vote.
Welcome to Parliament in London, where a vote of no confidence in the British Prime Minister Theresa May has been triggered by her party. A ballot of conservative MPs will be held later on Wednesday with the results being announced in the evening. The Prime Minister has vowed to fight that challenge.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
THERESA MAY, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: Sir Graham Brady has confirmed that he has received 48 letters from Conservative MPs, so that there will now be a vote of confidence in my leadership of the Conservative Party. I will contest that vote with everything I've got.
I have been a member of the Conservative Party for over 40 years. I've served it as an activist, counselor, MP, Shadow Minister, Home Secretary, and now as Prime Minister. I stood to be leader because I believe in the conservative vision for a better future, a thriving economy with nowhere and nobody left behind, a stronger society where everyone can make the most of their talents always serving the national interest.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOSTER: Diplomatic editor Nic Robertson was in Downing Street for that speech. We are in unchartered territory really, or at least, it's difficult to work out, because this is an anonymous vote tonight and we don't really know which way it is going to go but, what sort of feeling are you getting on her potential success tonight?
ROBERTSON: You know, I think the sense here is that she will do it, I mean, that's the indication that I have been getting, but as you say, we're in unchartered territory. It's a febrile situation. MPs tweet one way and may vote in the secret ballot in a different direction.
The vehicles waiting to take Theresa May along to Parliament for Prime Minister's Question Time coming up in an hour or so does seem to - today, she's maybe leaving a little early. Perhaps she has a few key conversations to have over that period of time that she will be there. A hundred and fifty eight votes is what she will require.
But I do sense and I did sense from her speech today, you know, she wasn't strident, her tones were measured. She said all along that she would fight this. She knew that it would potentially be coming and she seems very ready in her speech for it today.
But again, we don't know how it is going to go, Max, but if you had to guess at this moment, I would say it's in favor of over how many over that 158, of course, that also is a very, very big question, Max.
FOSTER: If she does survive tonight, she will be wounded, won't she? How will that affect the Brexit negotiations in Europe?
ROBERTSON: Well, as much as what we hear from the European Union that it's the best deal on offer, the European Union is going to find she is the best Prime Minister on offer. So undoubtedly, she will continue with - along the track that she's been going along.
ROBERTSON: She wanted reassurances when she went to meet with the Dutch Prime Minister yesterday, Mark Rutte; the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, and, again, with E.U. Chiefs when she was in Brussels. At the end of the day, there was something in the language of Juncker, something in the language of Merkel's MPs that indicated that they understood a little bit of her predicament, they are not going to open up that deal again, but there perhaps is something that they can do in the language aroundt he backstop agreement over the border with Northern Ireland that can help her.
The best deal on the on the table she has said, they've said and she may end up, again, as I said at the end of today being the only Prime Minister on offer to the E.U. negotiate with.
FOSTER: Okay, Nic Robertson in Downing Street. We're going be here in Abington Green as well all morning covering the unfolding events in the British government and Brexit and coming up on "CNN Talk," we want to know what you think. Should British lawmakers replace Theresa May in the midst of Brexit? Log on to facebook.com/cnninternational to have your say. "CNN Talk" starting at 12:00 p.m. here in London, 8:00 p.m. in Hong Kong. I'm Max Foster outside the Houses of Parliament. Thank you for joining us. You're watching CNN.
ALYSIN CAMEROTA: We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world, this is "New Day," it is Wednesday, December 12th, 6:00 here in New York and we do have some major breaking news to tell you about. This is with one of America's closest allies. A possible government shake-up in the U.K. where just hours from now Prime Minister Theresa May faces a no confidence vote, meaning that her days as Prime Minister could be numbered.
This has all of Europe as well as investors here in the U.S. on edge so we will go live to 10 Downing Street in just moments.
Also happening this morning, President Trump's former personal attorney and fixer, Michael Cohen will learn his fate. He will be sentenced for eight counts, including that campaign finance violation that ties a Federal crime directly to the President. The President is dismissing all of this in a wide ranging interview with Reuters.