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Decision Day For Brexit; Brexit Vote Day: May Faces Crucial Test Over Deal Reached With EU; May Makes Final Call For Support For Her Deal; Letter From EU Lawmakers Asks U.K. To Remain; EU Publishes Letter In Effort To Save May's Deal; The "Backstop" For Northern Ireland Explained; European Shares Jump In Early Trade; Outcome Could Wreak Havoc On British Pound, Stocks; Democrats May Subpoena Interpreters Amid Reports Of Trump Secrecy About Talks With Putin; U.S. President: "I Never Worked For Russia"; Trump Sends Letter To Kim Jong Un; Beijing Slams Trudeau For Making "Irresponsible Remarks"; China Sentences Canadian To Death For Smuggling; China Condemns Canadian PM Trudeau's Remarks Critical Of Robert Lloyd Schellenberg Death Sentence; Tokyo Court: Former Nissan Chair Carlos Ghosn Denied Bail; Polish Mayor Dies After Being Stabbed Onstage; Donald Tusk Vows Hatred Will Not Prevail; May Faces Crucial Test Over Deal Reached With European. Aired: 4:00-5:00 a ET
Aired January 15, 2019 - 04:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
THERESA MAY, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: But when the history books are written, people will look at the decision of this House and ask, did we deliver on the country's votes to leave the European Union? Did we safeguard our economy, our security, and our Union? Or, did we let the British people down?
JEREMY CORBYN, BRITISH LABOUR PARTY LEADER: The government is in disarray. It's time for a general election. It's time for a new government.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MAX FOSTER, ANCHOR, CNN: Thanks for joining us. I'm Max Foster live from outside of the U.K. Houses of Parliament in London. This is a special edition of CNN Newsroom.
In a matter of hours from now in the House of Commons just behind me, the U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit deal faces its final test. The delayed vote in Parliament. A decisive defeat of the deal is all but certain, the key question is by how much. Some estimates predict she could lose by more than 100 votes, some papers putting it more than 200 votes in the face of what could be a historic loss. Theresa May made the last-minute plea for the deal that pleases no one it seems.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAY: That's why I say to members on all sides of this House, whatever you may have previously concluded over these next 24 hours give this deal a second look. No it is not perfect and yes it is a compromise. CORBYN: During the past two years of shambolic negotiations, the
Prime Minister has failed to listen. She hasn't once tried to work with Parliament to construct a Brexit deal that this House and the country can support, and now she's left facing a humiliating defeat and is blaming everybody, but herself.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOSTER: But, of course, under the proposed deal, the U.K. would remain in the EU's single market until December the 31st 2020 but would lose all EU voting rights. During this transition period, the U.K. would still be subject to EU laws and regulations avoiding the need for hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland.
Now, EU citizens arriving in the U.K. during the transition would have the option to stay there and vice-versa as well, the U.K. would pay its outstanding EU budget commitments in a divorce bill that could total around $60 billion. If the transition period has extended into 2021, a backstop solution would kick in, the U.K. would remain in the customs territory with the EU but controversially it could only leave with permission from Brussels.
The Labour Opposition Leader Jeremy Corbyn has demanded a general election if the deal is defeated, but uncertain too is whether he has the votes for that. Hadas Gold is outside 10 Downing Street. So put this into context for us, where will this vote lie in history?
HADAS GOLD, REPORTER, CNN: Well, if Theresa May is defeated by more than 166 votes, it would be the biggest marginal defeat since 1924 and those numbers you were reading earlier go to that effect that it could be in that range. We're here at 10 Downing Street. There's a lot of excitement here and a lot of reporters. We're starting to see some members of the cabinet starting to trickle in for a cabinet meeting where likely Teresa May and her cabinet will be discussing what will happen in the likely event that this deal fails to pass.
Now, according to a recent amendment passed in Parliament she'll have to come back within a few days with an updated either deal or statement on what she plans to do next. But the margin of defeat tonight matters, because if it's a slim margin she might be able to go back to Brussels, might be able to ask for some extra concessions especially on issues such as the backstop the Irish border and tried to avoid a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
If the margin of defeat is incredibly large, we might see her possibly going for a plan B, trying to change her deal, change her plan. Also, of course, there's the chance of a no-confidence vote tabled by Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party that could trigger a general election. A lot of these options of what might happen after a likely defeat tonight will probably mean that the deadline for when the U.K. actually exits the European Union currently on March 29th will have to be extended, Max.
FOSTER: In terms of that vote of confidence in the Prime Minister, we're hearing it would be called tonight. It would happen tomorrow. But if Jeremy Corbyn doesn't think he's going to win it, why would he go ahead with it?
SAMET: I mean, he wants to be Prime Minister. He thinks that he could negotiate a better Brexit deal than what's currently being done.
And maybe, I mean, everything seems to be in flux right now, he thinks that it could be possible. He did say and he has said over and over again that he will only table a no-confidence vote if they think they will likely win. So while he's pretty much guaranteed, he will do it. There's still the possibility that that won't happen. But you're right that there is no really big consensus over that this no- confidence vote will win, because it's one thing for members of Theresa May's party to vote down her deal, it's another thing for them to vote down her as Prime Minister or vote down the Tory Party leadership.
FOSTER: Okay. Hadas, thank you very much. Let's bring in Simon Hart. He's a Conservative MP who's Theresa May's deal. You've been quite consistent on that, haven't you?
SIMON HART, BRITISH CONSERVATIVE MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT: Yes.
FOSTER: Are people genuinely coming around to your way of thinking at least to the extent where they might abstain tonight?
HART: Abstentions haven't really been mentioned which is an interesting point. I don't think insufficient numbers will make a huge difference to be honest with you. I think people have -- they've dug themselves into a bit of a trench on this. I think they need to release a bit of anger tonight. I think that if there is a vote of confidence tomorrow then I think we sort of always reset the clock. And what we've got to do is find something we can agree on. He have lots of stuff we disagree on. We're yet to find something we can agree on.
FOSTER: But all of the options that come out of a loss tonight have different camps already. People have already sort of factored that in, haven't they? So whether it's a second referendum, a general election going back to Brussels, everyone is in their camps already so there is going to be no agreement.
HART: Well, this is probably. By the end of this week, we will probably voted down the deal. We would have found a way of blocking no-deal. The second referendum doesn't seem to be gathering much momentum at the moment. Lots of stuff that we won't do or can't do, nothing that we can coalesce around.
However, I think that there is a possibility that after tonight there may be some positive sort of travel in terms of the agreement, but perhaps with some amendments which deal with some of the problems you highlighted earlier on around the backdrop. That is a possible route we could go.
FOSTER: So that requires Theresa May going back to Brussels and getting a deal. They said they're not going to do it, but that's the last hope, is it?
HART: Well, there's always hope. I think there's still, hopefully. I think the problem with that is that it then does become Brussels' problem rather than U.K. problem. The accusation is we're not doing much, U.K. government is doing much. If Parliament can actually set out what would be necessary in order to get this over the line, then next move is Brussels.
Now, Brussels are serious about wanting to do a deal rather than no- deal, then they would have to consider that quite seriously. Now, I'm not able to predict whether that's going to happen or not, but that is the situation. As we said, if not some of the worst-case scenario options which are banding around having to go back to the elected -- delay Article 50, go back to the electorate on another referendum or even a general election. By the way, none of which necessary resolve this. They'll just delay the agony another 18 months or two years. Those then become real.
FOSTER: It does. Well, from someone who doesn't operate here, it seems as though a delay seems the most likely option. That's where you're going to get the most amount of compromise where Brussels is willing to move at this point.
HART: Yes and yet the very sort of ideological Brexit deal is wanted in a perfect chain. I'm terrified by the idea that if that March 29th deadline is missed, then it's the beginning of the end or Brexit because other devices and trickery are deployed in here which would make it very difficult to like reinstate Article 50. I think March 29th is important in this for that reason.
So if we vote down the deal tonight, any other deal will require time which we haven't got much of. That means extending or revoking Article 50. That means a big question mark hangs over the future of Brexit. So it's a day of be careful what you wish for, because as I said by wanting everything, some of these guys will end up with nothing, and they will only have themselves to blame.
FOSTER: But they would say Theresa May has actually got herself into this corner where it's either her deal or no-deal effectively, which is very uncomfortable situation for many of the MPs here, trying to find some sort of compromise.
HART: Yes, that's really but the trouble of the PM has had is that if she moves slightly in one direction, a whole bunch of Brexiteers ambushed her and rebel and vote to that. If she moves slightly in the other, a whole lot of remainders do the same thing. The space in which he has to operate is very, very limited, so these people can't just blame the PM. The problem is PM has the majority of 11 and 30 rebels on either side of this debate. There is no room for maneuver. So it is the only deal which can vaguely -- at least it's got the support of Europe.
FOSTER: The biggest issue obviously is the Northern Ireland border, what are you hearing from the DUP, from Dublin about any possible movement now which could unlock this whole process?
HART: Well, it is absolutely critical, but there isn't much indication yet of movement. If there is a solution which the DUP can live with, then I think that changes everything. Now, that may emerge in the next few days. There is an amendment done today which I've signed actually which addresses the or begins to address the Northern Ireland backstop by putting a time limit on it, by putting a date of 31st December 2021 as the expiry of the backstop.
That's I think the beginning of an effort being made to address that problem. It may not be right to date, but maybe we can get the tide to turn today and see if we can find a way. If they put it back to Brussels and say, "If you want an agreement, this is what it'll cost."
FOSTER: Take us through the Prime Minister's speech just before 7:00 and then the amendments start being discussed at 7:00.
HART: Yes, I haven't seen today's order paper. I don't know how many amendments the speaker has selected, it's up to him to select amendments. They are normally taken first, followed by the main motion.
FOSTER: When do you think that will be?
HART: I think it could be around sort of eight or nine o'clock tonight. That's what we call here protected time and this is going to go on quite later...
FOSTER: And if she's defeated by less than a hundred, then that's good news for her, over a hundred is bad, over 200 is a disaster. And The Telegraph which is leaning towards your party is putting it more than 200, which would be unprecedented.
HART: It would be a record defeat, that's right. I don't think any government has ever been defeated by that scale. And so I think a double-figure defeat would be considered a considerable victory.
FOSTER: ...one of her supporters.
HART: Well, I think we're looking at a confidence vote triggered by the opposition tomorrow which I think --
FOSTER: They can't win.
HART: No, I think we could probably win that and that means actually the PM survived her parliamentary confidence vote and a party won, that means there is time then to chip away this ...
FOSTER: When did she give up, fed up with all of this? HART: Well, one of the things which I find from members of the public
is some admiration that whatever we may say about the PM, she is very, very resolute and some would use a different word, very, very, very resolute, and has got extraordinary stamina. She's not somebody who's going to roll over easily.
FOSTER: No, absolutely, she's already proven that. Thank you very much indeed for joining us.
HART: Oh, sure. Thank you.
FOSTER: As lawmakers in Parliament prepare them to vote, we want to hear from you. Get your phones, your tablets, computers. Go to cnn.com/join. The question we're asking, what's the best Brexit option for Britain? The deal Theresa May negotiated with EU leaders, leaving the EU with no-deal or a second referendum. You can cast your votes at cnn.com/join. You'll see the results at the bottom of your screen as well. We will be monitoring.
Coming up with CNN Talk as well we want to know what you think, should lawmakers back Prime Minister May's deal. She's warned that a no-deal could lead to the breakup of the United Kingdom or should opponents hold fast and risk crashing out the EU without an agreement. Log on to Facebook.com/CNN International for that to have your say. CNN Talk starting at 12:00 p.m. here in London, that's 8:00 p.m. in Hong Kong.
You're watching CNN Newsroom. EU leaders also trying to say Theresa May's Brexit deal, we'll look at the assurances they've given and cross to Brussels for the latest reaction from them.
FOSTER: Welcome back to Westminster. EU leaders are reiterating assurances about the most contentious aspect of the British Prime Minister's Brexit deal, the so called Irish backstop saying they don't want it to come into effect and if it did it would only be temporary. Erin Mclaughlin looks at the tense and lengthy negotiations that have brought us to this moment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So we are at an impasse.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Brussels has got us exactly where they want us.
JEREMY HUNT, BRITISH FOREIGN SECRETARY: We do now face the real risk of no-deal by accident.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: As the intensity of Brexit negotiations ratcheted up, so too did the complaints from British lawmakers.
HUNT: At the moment, you, European friends seem to think the way to keep the club together is to punish a member who leaves. DONALD TURK, EUROPEAN COUNCIL PRESIDENT: The EU 27 does not and will
not pursue a punitive approach. Brexit in itself is already punitive enough.
MCLAUGHLIN: From the outside the EU set clear red lines on what it was prepared to negotiate, what it wasn't.
MICHAEL BARNIER, UE CHIEF BREXIT NEGOTIATOR: The single market and its four freedoms are indivisible.
MCLAUGHLIN: Part of a strategy which landed the EU with a favorable draft deal. The 27 united around a common position and a rigid structure for the negotiation.
OLIVER PATEL, EUROPEAN INSTITUTE, UNIVERSITY COLLEGE LONDON: The U.K. has constantly tried to go around the Commission to try and get sort of special deals with different countries to try and play them off against each other, divide and rule, but it hasn't been able to do that.
MCLAUGHLIN: And a relative commitment to transparency.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'd like to show what we've done.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MCLAUGHLIN: Showing the world exactly what the EU wanted from Brexit and why.
PATEL: Before the U.K. had even had a position, because it was so early on in Teresa May's premiership, the EU had already published all of these documents. So it showed the U.K.'s domestic audience how unprepared it was and it also forced the U.K. to respond with its own position.
MCLAUGHLIN: From the outset can be argued that the process was rigged in the EU's favor, with Article 50 of the EU treaty allowing only two years for negotiation. The U.K.'s primary trump card when to trigger the process, rushed to satisfying Brexiteers, forcing the U.K. into time-pressured negotiations.
PATEL: Yes, they've used clever strategies but they also just have the no-deal. It's just so much worse for the U.K. than the EU which kind of puts pressure on the U.K. to just agree with whatever the EU suggest.
MCLAUGHLIN: But it could all be for naught if the deal fails to get through Westminster and all of this ends in a messy and costly no-deal scenario. So was the EU too successful? Did it overplay its hands? Well, that remains to be seen. Erin McLaughlin, CNN London.
FOSTER: Well, for more on how the process is playing out, the EU headquarters, I'm joined by CNN's Melissa Bell in Brussels. They sent a couple of letters over did they to Parliament to try to reassure MPs yesterday, it didn't seem to do the trick though. How do you interpret those letters and their significance? Is there anything real in them?
MELISSA BELL, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Well, when you read them, of course, Max, they are really interesting and Donald Tusk in particular speaking for the European Council explains that the EU also wants this withdrawal agreement to go through. The EU does not want the United Kingdom to go crashing out of the European Union. But, of course, fundamentally as Erin's report just reminded us there, there is a difference in the impact that a no-deal Brexit has on the U.K. and on the EU which of course put EU to a much stronger position.
But in those letters, both Donald Tusk and Jean-Claude Juncker really went as far as they could, Max, to try and encourage MPs to vote in favor of the deal that's been agreed, after all those many months of difficult negotiations because it is the EU believes the best deal possible as well, and in those letters try and reassure MPs particularly on that sticking point, the backstop.
That sort of safety net that prevents a hard border being brought back between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic. Really trying to remind MPs that look the EU has been absolutely clear on this, not only in the withdrawal agreement but also in the political declaration that goes alongside it to say that the backstop will be avoided as much as possible.
The transition period will be used to try and find an agreement that means that its implementation is not necessary. And if it is implemented, the EU will do all that it can to make that period as short as it possibly can. But, of course, and reminding of course the readers of the letters in them that what the European Council says its conclusions have a legal force in terms of the direction that the EU takes, and it's negotiating positions going forward. Also, reminding readers that what the EU wants most of all is a relationship with the U.K. based on this withdrawal agreement that it will be as deep and as broad as it possibly can.
The trouble with that, Max, is that however much Donald Tusk and Jean- Claude Juncker try and reassure MPs on that question of the backstop and the intentions of European Union, they're by definition trying to convince the MPs that are essentially the most skeptical of the EU's intentions and motivations. So it's very difficult to see how those letters could possibly have made much headway with those MPs who voted for Brexit in the first place. They're essentially being told, trust the institutions that you've never actually trusted and that you've chosen to leave, Max.
FOSTER: So Theresa May, she loses the deal tonight, her next stop is most likely to be Brussels to try to renegotiate something. How open are they to that?
BELL: Well, we expect that to happen very quickly because of course what happens if the vote goes against Theresa May tonight, Max, and the expectations as we've been saying are that it will, she really has three days to try and come up with that plan B as per the amendment that passed last week, which means that she would have to be back in front of MPs we expect next Monday. Which means that she really has to get to Brussels pretty quickly to see what concessions she can get. Very unlikely, very difficult to see what she possibly could get.
Every time she's come back, she's been told, "This is the best deal you're going to get." And again the EU is in a position of strength here. It also has to take this position, Max. It's looking ahead to European elections, populists are threatened to do well in a number of different European countries, Euroskeptics amongst them, and the EU has to say and it's an existential question for it that leaving it is not an easy thing. That's been their position from the start and they've been very a hard line when it came to negotiations with Britain, because of strategically what it means for them.
Possibly, the only thing that they could give Theresa May at this time is a little extra time and there is some speculation that that is a possibility. The current session of Parliament will not be changed, will not come to an end until July, so there is that possibility of slight extension beyond March 29th. But it's difficult to see what else you could possibly get.
FOSTER: Okay. Melissa, thank you. As Melissa mentioned, one of the most divisive issues hanging over this Brexit deal is what's called the Brexit backstop which deals with a difficult situation, what to do about the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, that's the only land border between the EU and the U.K. Right now, the EU's single market makes it easy to people, goods and services to flow across.
When Britain leaves the EU, all of that could change. That's where the Brexit backstop comes in. It's a fallback plan to ensure that trades doesn't grind down in physical checks or infrastructure along the divide. In the draft withdrawal agreement, the U.K. would follow current EU customs rules to keep the border open, but the backstop faces a lot of criticism. The biggest complaint some MPs are weary of being subject to such levels of EU regulations after Brexit. To make more sense of this, let's bring in our political contributor, Robin Oakley.
And you've been operating here for many, many years, decades there I'd say. This doesn't compare with any other story that you cover though, does it?
ROBIN OAKLEY, POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR, CNN: No. This is an unbelievable situation. Three years after the referendum, nearly three years, two years after negotiations opened with the EU, we still not have the slightest idea of what shape Brexit will actually take if indeed it happens at all. We've got the Prime Minister talking about the potential paralysis of Parliament. We've got MPs getting up to various stratagems to avoid what they're calling national suicide.
And the whole country has been divided by this issue in a way that in 50 years reporting politics, I've never come across such bitterness and such anger as we're getting on the Brexit issue. People are going to be divided until remainers leavers for decades to come it seems. FOSTER: What's the best Brexit option for Britain, we're asking our
viewers today. It's not a scientific poll, but we've got lots of viewers so it's relatively scientific. Theresa May's deal says 18%, I think that's the best option, but second referendum they're going for 76%. But please bear in mind lot of international viewers, obviously.
OAKLEY: Well, of the various options, what we know from parliamentary votes that we've had up until now is that there's no majority in parliament for no-deal.
It's going to become absolutely clear tonight by the scale of Theresa May's defeat on her plans, that there's no majority in parliament for her plan. And at the moment, at least, there is no majority in parliament for a second referendum. Almost anything that comes up as a replacement for Theresa May's plans, assuming they're defeated, will involve at least the extension of Article 50 beyond March the 29th if not indeed it's rescinding altogether.
So there's an awful lot to play for now. Theresa May, I think, it's an amazing thing really in a British Parliament to have a Prime Minister who if she gets a defeat by less than a hundred votes tonight, that will be considered as ...
FOSTER: But that's impossible, isn't it?
OAKLEY: It seems impossible. It looks like nearer 200 than a hundred...
FOSTER: But when we get to over 200, we're talking this is unprecedented, it's historic. I mean, it's all of these things.
OAKLEY: Yes. And the question then is how long is Theresa May going to go on. She's been very resilient, she's been very courageous in many people's terms. Other people call her stubborn, but how long can she take it. She's had so many setbacks, so many reverses. Is there going to be a point at which she said, "Ah, to hell with this. I've had enough."
FOSTER: Yes, but that's not in her character though, is it?
OAKLEY: It's not her character and I don't think that's going to happen. What could happen is if the next step gets a number of her cabinet ministers lined up behind a different version of Brexit to hers, then we might get the option ...
FOSTER: Plan B.
OAKLEY: ... yes, some kind of plan B. If that's supported by a hefty number of cabinet ministers, we might get the men in grey suits going along and saying, "Theresa, we know technically you've survived the vote of confidence in the party. Technically, you're there for another year. But we just don't think you can do it. Please, for the sake of the party and the country, step down." That could happen.
FOSTER: Robin will be back later in the show accompanied by his bells and his drums. He takes them with him everywhere he goes. We'll be looking ahead how British Parliament's upcoming Brexit vote is affecting financial markets as well. We'll have a live report next for CNN Newsroom. Plus a former Canadian Ambassador to China is warning relations between the two countries are at a crisis point, more on the death sentence given to a Canadian that secured -- that soured relations rather.
Welcome back. I'm Max Foster, live outside the U.K. Houses of Parliaments in London.
A special edition of CNN Newsroom for you today. Equity markets across Europe well over an hour into trading. Today, the main European stock market is higher, raising some of the losses on Monday. London's FTSE is up ahead of the crucial Brexit vote. They're all up. It follows an upbeat day in Asia as well, shares in Hong Kong and Shanghai left higher as investors there shrugged off concerns over Brexit for today at least. CNN's Anna Stewart joins us live from Paris, what would that be, it's London in fact. They either don't care or they're going to worry about it tomorrow.
ANNA STEWART, REPORTER, CNN: I think they're just waiting, Max. Everyone is ready to see what the bet will be later on today. You've got a feel for some of these traders. I mean poor Theresa May is not looking properly forward to the result tonight, but nor are our currency traders particularly when it comes to the British pound which has been so volatile throughout the whole Brexit process. Ever since we voted to leave in 2016, the sterling slumped some 31 year low I think it was, $1.33, you'll now see that $1.28 is fairly flat. It has been for the start of the year. It's flat today, but we could see that be very volatile going forward.
Now, let me give you some of the worst-case, best-case scenarios. From JPMorgan, best-case scenario her deal is voted through, perhaps not today but in the coming days. You could see the pound rise 3% to 5% against the dollar. Worst case scenario, crashing out. Well, that could take the pound close to parity with the dollar. Most likely case scenario let's be conservative here, CMC market suggest that if there's just a defeat today between 100 to 200 votes, we could expect to see the pound trading around at $1.24.
So it's still quite a lot of softer than we're seeing today. Why do this matter? Well, it means that living costs are rising for Brits, there's more expensive companies to import materials. Of course, for lots of exporters it's good news, particularly you always know on 50, 100, you actually see a positive reaction when you see a softening of the pound because many of those companies make their money in dollars, Max. FOSTER: We should probably point out that companies aren't pretty
well prepared for no-deal Brexit, aren't they, the supermarkets, the car companies, the hospitals, they've all been preparing for months.
BURNETT: Yes, whether it's stockpiling or moving talent from the U.K. to the EU or getting additional licenses, many, many contingency plans have already put into effect. I saw a fairly and credible report from EY earlier this week that says banks and financial services have now shifted $1 trillion from the U.K. to the EU, an extraordinary number. We knew that Deutsche Bank, Citi, Goldman Sachs have all shifted some resources there, but that's a huge figure when you think about it.
We've also just seen a lack of business investment, a slight drop-off, and in consumer spending. So although we're looking at the market reaction and the fallout to come, you got to understand that businesses and economies already feeling the effects of the decision to leave the EU.
FOSTER: Okay. Anna, thank you. The Bank of England warning Britain about the consequences of a disorderly no-deal Brexit. It says a worst case scenario we could see the worst economic decline ever in the U.K. The BOE says GDP could drop by 8% if the U.K. leaves the EU without a deal, but would expand again by 2023. Unemployment could rise from its current rate of 4% to 7.5%. Inflation would surge to 6.5% from its current 2.4%, and house prices would fall by 30%.
The good news is that the Bank of England finds British banks in good shape to withstand the crisis. Let's bring in John Peet. He's a Political and Brexit Editor at The Economist. A lot of pro Brexit lobbyists would argue that the Bank of England is very much against Brexit. This is all motivated by that.
JOHN PEET, POLITICAL AND BREXIT EDITOR, THE ECONOMIST: Well, I think the bank was talking about a worst case scenario and it was quite careful to say this was not an actual forecast. This was a sort of an exercise in a sense to see how well the British banks could withstand what they thought the worst thing that could happen.
FOSTER: And that side of it was positive.
PEET: And that side of it was positive. The British banks are quite well capitalized but, of course, the numbers they looked at were particularly over ordinary people.
FOSTER: Yes. So house prices falling by 30% would be very painful, wouldn't it? Inflation going up will be very painful to people. Do you think they're thinking about that? Are they too focused on the arguments and the politics here?
PEET: Well, I think the trouble is that there's a whole group of MPs who think that no-deal just wouldn't be anything like as bad as the doomsters say and that Britain trades with the rest of the world, long trade organization terms, why not do that with the European Union. And then, there's another group of MPs who think like the bank that no-deal could be pretty serious. And they just don't sort of meet each other, there's no sort of common ground between them. FOSTER: What's your analysis saying?
PEET: I think no-deal would be pretty bad for the economy and I think it would be very bad for the European Union and it's happening. It would happen after all, this is a sensitive time for the whole world economy. So no-deal would not be a sensible thing to go for and I think a majority of MPs agree with that analysis. The difficulty is that no-deal is written into the legislation. To stop it happening, we have to come up with an alternative.
FOSTER: And hundreds of MPs here have constituencies that voted for Brexit.
So they have to take that into account when they go back to the electorate for another vote which could be sooner than we sort of had expected. How do they account for that and account for the concerns that you're describing there?
PEET: Well, I do think that there is something in the argument that people who voted to leave in 2016 did not expect it to be potentially as damaging as a no-deal Brexit. It could be. They thought that in a sense we could have the benefits in Britain of access to single marketing and all that we now have. But at the same time escape all the rules of the European Union, because they were told that. Compromises that are having to be made involve paying, either you accept your going to be much more closely aligned to the European Union than you wanted to be or you're going to have a real bad economic hit. And I think MPs are going to have to explain that to their constituents.
FOSTER: If they start moving towards an idea of a second referendum or some sort of delay looking towards sort of not leaving, do they need more time for people to feel the pain almost?
PEET: I think the real question is what do you do before the 29th of March. I mean if you don't do anything before the 29th of March, there is going to be a period of enormous uncertainty and considerable pain. So the first thing they would have to do is stop that happening, perhaps by extending the period for the Brexit negotiations, perhaps by calling for a second referendum as you say.
The trouble is at the moment there doesn't seem to be a consensus in Parliament for any particular course of action, not for Theresa May's deal, not for a second referendum, not for extending the Brexit period, not for a different option like the Norwegian option. But the next sort of week or so, they're going to have to come up with something that can command the majority.
FOSTER: Because this vote in a way is the beginning of the end game, isn't it, where they really do have to find some sort of way forward. Is there any indication about what they might coalesce around a way forward?
PEET: I don't think there is at the moment. I mean that is one of the reasons why people are quite worried and quite uncertain. Theresa May plays her cards very close to her chest. She hasn't sort of said what she would do if and when the vote is defeated. She might go back to Brussels and seek more concessions, but a lot of people think there are not going to be an offer. So yes we are approaching the crunch point.
The one thing that has clearly emerged in the last week or so is that there is a majority of MPs who do not want to leave the European Union with no-deal. So I think that is going to make a change, but time is very short.
FOSTER: But the majority of MPs here are pro remain, aren't they actually, ultimately.
PEET: I mean in a sense, what we have is a problem that was there from the beginning. The majority of the country voted to leave, but the majority of Parliament wants to remain.
FOSTER: And that's what we're trying to throw here.
PEET: And that is a sort of fundamental difficulty in a way sort of about direct democracy versus representative democracy, and it's not easy to solve.
FOSTER: Okay. John Peet, thank you very much indeed. As lawmakers in Parliament prepared to vote, we want to hear from you. Get your phones, our tablets, and computers out, go to cnn.com/join. The question we're asking, what's the best Brexit option for Britain? The deal Theresa May negotiate with EU leaders, leaving the EU with no- deal or that second referendum. Cast your vote to cnn.com/join. We'll update you with results throughout the day. You can see them there at the bottom of the screen, second referendum way out of France.
U.S. Democratic lawmakers are considering subpoenaing President Trump's Russian interpreter's following reports. He tried to keep some of his conversations with the Russian President a secret. The extraordinary denial, the President is now giving for you just ahead.
KRISTIE LU STOUT, ANCHOR, CNN: I'm Kristie Lu Stout in Hong Kong and we will return to Max Foster in London with more on the crucial Brexit vote ahead today. But first here are some of the other stories that we are following. In the U.S., Democratic lawmakers are discussing whether to subpoena the President's interpreters. There are reports that Mr. Trump has made extraordinary efforts to keep the content of his one-on-one talks with the Russian President a secret.
One occasion in 2017 taking his interpreter's notes and telling her she couldn't discuss the meeting with anyone. Donald Trump is calling the reports fake news and says he has one-on-one meetings with many leaders all of the time. He spoke to reporters on Monday and not only unleashed on Democrats and the FBI, but also flat-out denied working for Russia. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONAL TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I never worked for Russia and you know that answer better than anybody. I never worked for Russia. Not only did I never worked for Russia, I think it's disgrace that you even asked that question, because it's a whole big fat hoax.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STOUT: It is an extraordinary thing to hear coming from a U.S. President. CNN's Fred Pleitgen is in Moscow with much more on this and Fred again the U.S. President has denied working for Russia and what is Russia making of all this?
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Yes. Well, it's been interesting Kristie, because over the past day, day and a half, and over the weekend we really haven't heard anything from any Russian officials, and then finally today there was something in an interview by the (inaudible) to a local paper here called Arguments and Facts.
And in it, he was asked whether or not there was some sort of conspiracy between Vladimir Putin and U.S. President Donald Trump. And he so denied -- that President Trump ever worked -- he says America has found itself in a situation unique to itself. There's a division both in society and in the government and this is why it's so difficult for President Trump to work.
It's a pattern that we've seen in the past from the Kremlin. They essentially saying that they believe that President Trump wants better relations with --
STOUT: We apologize for this technical issues with that live hit with Fred Pleitgen. We'll try to take care of that. Our apologies there. But meanwhile on Donald Trump, watching him very closely, Mr. Trump has also reached out to the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-Un, this time with a letter. A source has told CNN that the letter was flown to Pyongyang and delivered by hand over the weekend and the source also said that one of North Korea's top negotiators could visit Washington this week to finalize deals or details for a second U.S. North Korea summit.
Now, a former Canadian Ambassador to China is warning that relations between Canada and China are at a crisis, that is Beijing is calling on the Canadian Prime Minister to stop making "irresponsible remarks" about the death sentence given to a Canadian smuggler. Robert Schellenberg was convicted on November the 20th for being an accessory to drug smuggling. He was given 15 years in prison. He appealed his conviction and after retrial was convicted of a primary role in the smuggling and sentenced to death. Let's bring in CNN's Steven Jiang. He joins us live from Beijing. And Steven, why did China sentence this Canadian man to death?
STEVEN JIANG, SENIOR PRODUCER, CNN: Well, Kristie, what stands out in his case is really the timing of it all, because Schellenberg was actually first arrested in December 2014. As you mentioned, it took almost four years for the Chinese court to hand down his first conviction and sentence. Then, he appealed last November. What happened shortly after that was the arrest of Meng Wanzhou, a Senior Executive from this giant Chinese tech firm Huawei in Canada. And that move really has infuriated the Chinese government and plunging bilateral relations between Canada and China to a historic low.
So then all of a sudden, Schellenberg's case seems to have become fast-tracked. He soon got an appeal hearing during which the court sided with the prosecution who claimed that half uncovered new evidence against him. Two weeks later, he had a new trial. As we mentioned, yesterday on Monday, and was quickly convicted and sentenced to death.
That's why a lot of people believe this is a highly politicized case despite the strong denial from the Beijing government. Keep in mind the ruling Communist Party here has absolute control over the judiciary and officials and state media have been warning all along that Canada would face serious consequences if it does not free Ms. Meng. That's why this latest conviction, Kristie, is really making even more people convinced that Mr. Schellenberg has become a pawn in an increasingly nasty diplomatic fight, Kristie.
STOUT: And this just in, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is now going after those comments given by the Canadian leader, Trudeau, remarks that he made that was critical about the death sentence given to this Canadian citizen. At the daily briefing, the MOFA spokeswoman said this, "We express our strong dissatisfaction over Trudeau's comment. We urge Canada to respect the rule of law. Respect China's judicial sovereignty. Stop its wrongdoing and stop making irresponsible remarks."
Your thoughts on those latest comments from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as we have the fate of this Canadian citizen who has been sentenced to death, hanging in the balance as well as additional Canadian citizens who are detained and held we don't know where inside China.
JIANG: That's right. These remarks are not surprising, given China's very hard line position on this issue from the beginning since Ms. Meng's arrest. And also keep in mind the same spokeswoman also criticized Canada's latest travel warning for Canadians traveling to China and saying this is Canada acting as a thief calling out for thieves because she said in the minds of the Chinese government it's Canada, not China that has arbitrarily enforced so-called laws by detaining Ms. Meng.
So this is really very much interconnected, all these cases, even though publicly China has strongly denied any connection between them. And as you mentioned, China has also detained two other Canadian citizens on national security grounds since Ms. Meng's arrest. Now, they are still languishing behind bars and another interesting thing to remind our viewers is even the Chinese Ambassador to Canada himself last week in an Op-Ed piece, in a Canadian publication all but acknowledge that these detentions are China's self defense. So really if China is denying the political nature of these cases,
probably its Ambassador has a slip of tongue to really shed more lights on this issue, Kristie.
STOUT: And to remind our viewers, this is all part of a broader conflict between China and the United States, and yet China is going after Canadian citizens and not Americans.
JIANG: That's right because Ms. Meng's arrest was really because the U.S. authorities request her arrest in Canada for her alleged role in violating U.S. sanctions against Iran. Now, so far the U.S. is not saying much at least publicly about this case in terms of Mr. Schellenberg. But Mr. Trump, the U.S. President has mentioned in the past that Ms. Meng's case is negotiable in the bigger scheme of U.S.- China relations, especially in terms of trade talks.
So some analysts have said Mr. Trump's talks actually probably have given Chinese authority some hope by politicizing this case is actually to their advantage. That's why you have seen all of these moves against Canada. So this is increasingly a messy, a diplomatic entanglement between all of these three countries. But, obviously, as you say a man's life is on the line now, Kristie.
STOUT: Steven Jiang reporting live from Beijing. Thank you. Now, in Japan bail has been denied for former Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn. The Tokyo District Court took the action a short time ago. Ghosn was indicted on two more allegations of financial misconduct on Friday. He's been in jail since his re-arrest in December.
Poland is giving more details on the suspect in the brazen killing of the Mayor of Gdansk. Pavel Adamovich, was stabbed in front of thousands of people at a charity event on Sunday. A 27-year-old suspect is now in custody. Authorities say he has a criminal record, including bank robbery, and that he blame the mayor, and his party for being sent to prison.
The mayor was a progressive who championed immigrants, minorities and gay rights, and people have been honoring him with vigils, and also condemning the hostile rhetoric in Polish politics. The European Council President Donald Tusk was born in Gdansk and here's what he told the city on Monday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TUSK: And today I want to promise to dear God in all names, the people of Gdansk, Poles, and Europeans that for you and for everyone we will protect our Gdansk, our Poland, and our youth. That hatred will not prevail. We will stand up against it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STOUT: You are watching CNN Newsroom and still to come, back to Brexit, as we get ever closer to that key vote in parliament on Theresa May's withdrawal deal. That's next. FOSTER: Welcome back to Westminster. We're returning to today's key
votes on British Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit deal. British Members of Parliament begin voting on amendments to the deal at 7:00 p.m., local time, with a final or meaningful voters is being called between 8:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m., we think. This is the final day of debate. Parliament looks all but certain to deliver a decisive defeat on the deal. It's just really how big that defeat is.
Throughout the day, we're asking you, our viewers, what's the best Brexit outcome for Britain. Here are the results. So far you see only about 10%, one in 10, saying Theresa May's deal is the best option for the U.K. Eight out of 10 saying a second referendum. Many of you, of course, outside the U.K. but that's the international view. Joining me Hilary Benn, Labour MP, what do you think of that?
HILARY BENN, BRITISH LABOUR MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT: Well, these are viewers around the world. Yes, in the end it's the opinion of the voting people in the British Parliament really that count.
FOSTER: Yes. And crucially the members of parliament voting tonight, you almost scupper to these votes on the meaningful deal with an amendment. Just explain what you're trying to do?
BENN: Well, I put down amendment that rejected the Prime Minister's deal and also rejected no-deal, but I withdrew that last night for three reasons. The first is that there are some MPs who are very strongly opposed like me to leaving with no-deal, but have committed to back the Prime Minister's deal so they couldn't have voted my amendment. Secondly, I was persuaded by the argument we should have a clean up and down vote on the Prime Minister's deal to reveal the full extent of what I think will be Parliament's opposition to it.
And for me, the third and most important reason is we now have another means of ensuring. We don't leave with no-deal which is Nick Boles' bill that he'll be publishing I think later today that would give Parliament, if he's successful, the chance to pass legislation. And I think one way or another, whatever happens, we will not be leaving on the 29th of March without a deal and that's really important to businesses and the people who work in them who are so worried about what that would mean for the British economy and their jobs.
FOSTER: By withdrawing your amendment you put a lot more focus on the votes tonight. So ultimately it will be a real expression of how much support there is for the seal or otherwise. People talk about The Telegraph talking about more than 200 rebels effectively against this deal.
BENN: I don't know what the numbers are going to be. As ever with Parliament, you have to wait for the votes to be cast and then they will be counted. But I think there's little doubt that the Prime Minister is going to lose by very large margin, because this is a deal that pleases almost no one.
FOSTER: And she's been trying to speak to MPs, doesn't she? The more difficult ones.
BENN: Yes, but in the last, what, two to three weeks?
BENN: This has been going on for two and a half years. Now, if the Prime Minister at the start of the process has said, "Look, this is a big national challenge. How do we bring the country together? Let's reach out."
She's completely failed to do that, because she's been transfixed by the arguments in her own cabinet that led to two years of bickering before they even worked out what to ask for.
FOSTER: Take us to what's likely to be the Labour response to them, because Jeremy Corbyn has said he will call a vote of confidence in the government which could be called tonight and it would happen tomorrow, is that correct?
BENN: It could happen tomorrow. I mean, I would expect a motion to be put out. It's for the Shadow Cabinet to decide when they choose to do that. And then Parliament will vote on whether it has confidence in the government or not.
FOSTER: They are not going to win it though, are they?
BENN: I would be surprised if we win it. Listen, I hope we have a general election, don't get me wrong. But I find it hard to believe that any Conservative MP would vote to trigger that and the DUP have said the representatives from Northern Ireland that as long as the Prime Minister's deal is defeated, then they would back Theresa May in a vote of no-confidence.
FOSTER: So what's the point in calling a vote of confidence do you think?
BENN: Well, look when a Prime Minister has lost by the kind of margin we're likely to see this evening on the single most important policy of her administration. I mean, this is unprecedented. Then well, of course, you should do that because it would be a devastating blow to the whole of our strategy over the last two and a half years.
FOSTER: But you can only do it once, should he choose better moment when he's more likely to win it on that basis.
BENN: Well, in the end you win it or you don't win it. Again, depending on the votes of Member of the Parliament. But immediately after the Prime Minister has had her major policy rejected in this very public way, it seems to me like a very good time to do it.
FOSTER: The international audience may not be aware of all of the divisions within the Labour Party as well. Jeremy Corbyn in the situation where he's pro Brexit but most of his party isn't and that's actually coming to a reckoning as well, isn't it that attention which all of this is playing into? BENN: Well, I think the thing about Brexit is it's divided the nation
and there are different views within all of the parties. By the way, it's not correct to say is Jeremy is pro Brexit because he voted to remain in the referendum. We've said we want a customs union. We said we want a close relationship with a single market.
Now, if the Prime Minister does reach out after this defeat to see if we can find a way forward, that would be a start. I'm not holding my breath for that. And if she can't do that, then I think Parliament needs to take control of the process, and the bill I referred to earlier would be a means of doing that, because we've got a job of work to do as parliamentarians. If the government can't do it and their central policy has been rejected, then we as Parliament must take control.
FOSTER: That does set a precedent there, doesn't it. So when there's a Labour government in the future, you'd have to sort of lose, effectively let go of some of your authority as well.
BENN: Well, it's only because this government can't get its policy through. Now, if you have a future Labour government, I hope with a good majority, then as long as it didn't get its policy through, governments don't need to worry about that. This is a function first of all as the fact the Prime Minister called an election in 2017 and lost to majority. And secondly, she's come up with a policy but a lot of MP say, "We don't agree with this."
FOSTER: Okay, Hilary Benn, thank you very much indeed.
BENN: It's my pleasure for you. Thank you.
FOSTER: A long day ahead. Thank you very much indeed for joining us. Coming up on CNN Talk, we want to know what you think, should lawmakers back prime minister May's deal. She's warned that a no-deal could lead to the breakup of the U.K. or should opponents hold fast and risk crashing out of the EU as it's been called without an amendment. Log on to Facebook.com/CNN International to have your say.
CNN Talk is starting at 12:00 p.m. here in London, that's 8:00 p.m. in Hong Kong. Stay with CNN for a special Brexit coverage all day leading up to the vote and well after as well. We'll have live reports from London, Brussels, all around the world on the impact of Parliament's decision. I'm Max Foster in London. Thank you for joining us, so I'll be back after this break for another hour of CNN Newsroom.