Return to Transcripts main page


May Faces Crucial Test Over Deal Reached With EU; EU Publishes Letter In Effort To Save May's Deal; Issue of Northern Irish Border Remains A Sticking Point; "Backstop" Designed To Keep Irish Border Open After Brexit; China-Canada Relations At A "Crisis"; Outcome Could Wreak Havoc On British Pound, Stocks; U.S. President: "I Never Worked For Russia"; China Sentences Canadian To Death For Drug Smuggling. Aired: 5:00-6:00 a ET

Aired January 15, 2019 - 05:00   ET



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 vote 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.


MAX FOSTER, ANCHOR, CNN: Thanks for joining us. I'm Max Foster live from outside the U.K. Houses of Parliament in London. This is a special edition of CNN Newsroom. Now in just a matter of hours from now in the House of Commons just behind me here, 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 a hundred votes, even 200 in the face of what could be a historic loss, Theresa May made the last-minute plea for the deal that pleases no one.


MAY: That's why is 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. Note it's 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 the 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: Well, of course, under the proposed deal the U.K. could

remain in the EU's single market until December the 21st, that would be in 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 a 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 the U.K. would pay its outstanding EU budget commitments in a divorce bill that could total around $60 billion. If the transition periods 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.

Let's speak to Hadas Gold. She's over at Downing Street trying to make sense of all of this for us. It truly is a historic moment particularly if it goes above 200 votes against this deal, but if that's the case if she loses what does happen next?

HADAS GOLD, REPORTER, CNN: Well, Max, the margin of defeat matters here because if it's a slimmer margin than those numbers that you were calling out earlier, perhaps Theresa May could decide to just try again. According to a recent amendment passed in Parliament, she has to return within three days with a new statement or some sort of new deal or update. She might go to Brussels and try to get some extra concessions on issues such as the backstop or the Irish border as you were reading out earlier.

But if the margin is as large as some reports are placing, anywhere from a hundred to 200 votes, that could spell a different direction for Theresa May. She might have to abandoned the current deal, try a different sort of Brexit deal, maybe a Norway style. There will also likely be a no-confidence vote tabled by the Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn. That could trigger a general election.

A lot of those options on the table could result in a delay of the actual Brexit date. A request to Brussels to extend that date from March 29th to a later date to allow time to work all of this out. But no matter what happens as a Cabinet Secretary said this morning on the BBC that if MPs vote down this deal, then in the words of Jon Snow, winter is coming.

FOSTER: Absolutely. The huge amount of concern about the impact this would have on ordinary people, on businesses as well, business is very clear that they would rather have this deal go through. But there's so much politics here, how much sense is the nation making of all of this, because certainly internationally looking at our poll they're pretty engaged in this, but are Brits?

GOLD: Well, for a lot of people it's just confusing. For a lot of people honestly who are normally very tuned into politics, this whole process is confusing because it's just not clear which way you're going to go. We are in uncharted territory.

[05:05:00] We've never been in this situation before. But you're right that

businesses just want to know what's happening. They might not like this. When you talk to certain business leaders and they say, "Sure, A lot of this deal, I don't like, but all I want is clarity. I just need to know how to prepare." Because right now a lot of them are preparing for a no-deal scenario and if they don't need to be preparing for no-deal, if there is some sort of deal coming forward, they want to know what that is so they can better prepare and better plan for the future, because right now they feel like they're stuck and in a holding pattern until they get some sort of clarity.

FOSTER: Okay. Hadas, thank you very much indeed. As you can see from our unscientific poll, a second referendum where 8 out of 10 of you suggesting that's the way forward for the U.K. Let's bring in Christine Jardine, a Liberal Democrats MP. You're up for a second referendum presumably.

CHRISTINE JARDINE, BRITISH LIBERAL DEMOCRAT MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT: Yes, have been for about two years. I always thought it was going to be the only way to settle this and now we're in the point where you've asked the people. You can't deliver what you said you could deliver, so the only way out of it is to go back and say, "Look, we've got this wrong. Do you really want to do this? Is this deal what you actually want?"

Because the deal is the important thing, not the principle about do you want to lead the European Union, but the deal to actually -- this is what it's going to mean and what it's going to mean, it's not going to be good for any of us.

FOSTER: But she's got this place into a corner effectively, hasn't she, saying it's either her deal or no-deal. Are you going to go for her deal?

JARDINE: I don't think she's got the Parliament into a corner. I think she's got herself into a corner. She might well be saying it's her deal or no-deal. But Parliaments now made that very, very difficult. And last night, the theme from the Conservative benches was, "If you all vote for the deal, you may not get Brexit."

Now, that can only mean to me that they are worried that if it goes back to the people, if there is a second referendum, the people will say, "No, actually you can't do this in a way that would be good for the country. So we don't want it."

FOSTER: But when it comes to the second referendum, it comes down to what question you're going to ask and inevitably don't you end up going back with the original question in which case why would you hold another referendum?

JARDINE: Well, it's not the original question. It can't be the original question, because there is a deal on the table now. Theresa May has spent two years trying to get a deal and this is the best decision yet.

FOSTER: What would the question be then? JARDINE: The question would be, are you satisfied although that's

something (inaudible) the commission, are you satisfied to leave the European Union on this deal or would you rather stay? I think people will know, see, now that we've actually seen what it will mean and we'll say, "No."

FOSTER: But what about the option if no-deal which a lot of people are wanting there as well. If you have three questions as well it would split the leaver vote, wouldn't it?

JARDINE: Well, I think realistically people are not going to vote for no-deal. I think realistically no-deal is not going to be on the ballot paper because it's been ruled out as good for the country. Why an F would you do something, would you ask people to do something that every economist, most of the House of Commons are saying it would be bad for the country and it could be catastrophic.

FOSTER: The point I'm really making is you're not going to agree of the questions for second referendum even if you get people moving towards the idea of a second referendum.

JARDIN: I think people are moving towards the idea of a second referendum and the actual wording will be up to the Electoral Commission. But what is important is what happens in that House today, we will be making it absolutely clear to the Prime Minister that no-deal is not an option. We've already done that and we will just be reinforcing that today.

So she cannot possibly want three questions on the paper and she's not going to get three questions on the paper because Parliament is going to defeat her deal and then she's going to have to be realistic and stop. As a parent, you tell your child that anybody can make a mistake, but the real mistake is not admitting when you got something wrong and changing it.

Theresa May needs to think about that today. The Conservative government needs to think, "You know what? We got this wrong. It can't deliver what we said we can deliver and we have to be upfront with people about it." That's what the people will never forgive, a government that's not upfront with it.

FOSTER: What sort of scale of defeat do you think we're looking at tonight? How many?

JARDINE: I don't know. It's very difficult. Certainly even last night, I was speaking last night in the chamber, in the debates, and I was surprised at the number of Conservatives saying they're not going to support the deal.

FOSTER: One hundred? Two hundred?

JARDINE: I don't think of this because I think the people who are suggesting the numbers are bigger are getting into expectation management. The Conservatives are trying to now tell us that a defeat isn't good without bad, because it could massive. A defeat will mean that we have to go back to the country and say, "Look, do you want to go through this, because the deal isn't any good, and it's the best deal we could get.

FOSTER: Perhaps that will be Brussels first stop though presumably, going to try to negotiate something to bring back to you guys to vote on here. Are you hopeful that she got to bring something back that you would vote on?

JARDINE: Which she's failed so far and I really don't think -- I mean, the European Union made it clear that this is the deal.


She's failed.

FOSTER: But she's got a plan B, she's just not talking about it presumably.

JARDINE: You would hope that she had a plan B, but I'm not so confident. Here we are. It's after 10 o'clock in the morning. We're voting this evening and there's suggestion of the plan B.

FOSTER: Well, the reason she hasn't come out with the plan B is because then it would undermine her vote in the vote tonight.

JARDINE: Well, we all thought that she must have a plan B last week, I'm sorry, last month when she pulled the vote. I thought last week there'll be a plan B and she's come back after Christmas or something but --

FOSTER: But she can't have a plan B when she's (starting to) vote on plan A.

JARDINE: Yes, but she already should know by now if she had a plan B we could be voting on plan B, because this is still plan A. And plan A we already know it's going to fail. So there is no option now but to say, "We've got this wrong, we need to go back to the people and say, 'This is the best deal we could get. Do you still want to leave the European Union? This is how bad it's going to be. We've seen what the economic impacts is going to be. Do you really still want to do this?'"

We've seeing that for two years and gradually the other parties have come around to that. There are lots of voices last night from the Labour benches saying that. There are lots of voices from the SNP and we've been seeing it for two years and actually we're now getting people on the Conservative benches, there are saying as well, "I think it's time actually that Theresa May stop trying to talk at us and tell us why her deal was the only option." And listen to people saying, "No, there is another option and there is a way out."

FOSTER: She worry about the disconnect between Parliament and the country, because reality is Parliament is overwhelmingly pro remain. The public voted to leave. Isn't that the problem that we've got here?

JARDINE: Well, for me I came to Parliament after the referendum. I came from a constituency that voted overwhelmingly to remain and is still overwhelmingly remain.

FOSTER: So it's easy for you, but what about the a remain MP and a leave constituency?

JARDINE: We've got a responsibility to the public to do what is best for the country, not what is best for us but what is best for the country. And I think if we do, do that's one of a huge disconnect between us and Parliament.

FOSTER: You can't go against the country.

JARDINE: No. But the people are looking at Parliament at the moment and they're looking for leadership. We had a referendum.

FOSTER: You're saying the leadership to go against the referendum.

JARDINE: No. What I'm saying is we had a referendum which was we keep forgetting incredibly close. And in principle it says, people want you to leave the European Union. There are a lot of reasons for that, a lot of that was about exactly the sort of dissatisfaction you're talking about. People felt the children weren't going to be as well off as they are for the first time ever that was going to happen.

And what we've got now is a situation where a lot of people are saying, "You know actually when I voted leave, what I expected is not what I'm getting. What I was promised is not what I'm getting." And that's not because people are wrong, it's because that they weren't given the full picture, know they've got the Parliament now has the full picture and that's why we have to go back to the people.

We're not saying to the people, "We'll do something different from what you said." We're saying to the people, "Are you sure this is what you want, because these are the actual consequences, not what was on the big red bus."

FOSTER: Okay. Christine Jardine, thank you very much indeed.

JARDINE: Thank you.

FOSTER: And good luck with the vote tonight, it's a long day.

JARDINE: Oh, thank you.

FOSTER: Take a nap this afternoon. Coming up with CNN Talk, we want to know what you think, should lawmakers back Prime Minister Theresa May's deal as she's warned that a no-deal could lead to a breakup of the U.K. or should opponents hold fast and risk crashing out as they call it of the EU without an agreement.

Logon to International to have your say. CNN Talk starting at 12:00 p.m. here in London, 8:00 p.m. in Hong Kong. You're watching CNN Newsroom. EU leaders are also trying to save Teresa May's Brexit deal. We'll look at the assurances they've given and cross to Brussels for their latest reaction there.

[05:15:00] Demonstrators from both sides out in force here in Westminster. EU

leaders meanwhile 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 historic moment.


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.


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.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'd like to show what we've done.


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, one of the most divisive issues is that Brexit backstop which deals with a difficult question, 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 for people, goods, services to flow across. But 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 trade doesn't grind to a halt in physical checks or infrastructure along the divide. In the draft withdrawal agreement, the U.K. would follow current EU customs rules to keep that border open. The backstop faces a lot of criticism. The biggest complaint being that some MPs are wary of being subject to such levels of EU regulations after Brexit.

For more on how the process is playing out at EU headquarters, I'm joined by CNN's Melissa Bell in Brussels. They sent some letters over to Parliament yesterday. Some question here about whether or not they were legally binding. Just take us through what they said and whether or not they would stand up in court.

MELISSA BELL, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: It was all about the backstop that you mentioned because, of course, this is the key wary of those MPs who are planning to vote against Theresa May's deal.


And what Donald Tusk and Jean-Claude Juncker outlined in that letter, Max, was that this backstop really was just a safety net and that the European Union would endeavor as it has set out, not only in the EU's withdrawal agreement but also in the political declaration that goes alongside that the EU and its institutions are going to do everything they can to use that transition period that would go from the 29th of March through to the 30th of December 2020 to try and hammer out the future deal that will bind the EU to the U.K. The trade deals. How the relationship will work that they will use that time to try and avoid the backstop being implemented at all that safety net that prevents as you explained the return of the hard border between the Irish Republic and Northern Ireland.

Also, laying out in that letter, Max, that if the backstop did prove necessary at one point because of that transition period had not given sufficient time to fashion the future of relationship between EU and the U.K., well then in that case the EU will do all that it can to ensure that it was time limited. But that was really as far as they could go. As to the legality of what was in the letter, Donald Tusk in particular, Max, laid out that the EU council's conclusions were legally binding within the EU.

They have weight. They have a sense. It is they that define the positions and the future negotiating positions of the European Union. But, of course, the trouble with that is that the European leaders are trying to sell this agreement to, the people they're trying to convince of this are the very people who distrust the European Union and its leaders and its institutions the most.

FOSTER: In terms of what happens tomorrow, I just want to ask you, Theresa May is expected to go there if she lose this vote tonight try to renegotiate, but they've ruled out, haven't they, any further discussion. This is the only deal.

BELL: That's right and once again there were some speculation in the British press that perhaps this conversation between Angela Merkel and Theresa May that had taken place over the weekend had led to assurances being given to Theresa May. We've been hearing from a German government spokesman saying that that is absolutely misrepresented in the business press, the conversation was misrepresented and that the German Chancellor had given no more assurances than those outlined in the letter we just spoke about, Max, and that were outlined back in December.

You really get a sense that the EU is unified on this question, has been throughout. Its position has been consistent. It hasn't changed. It's been as far as it can go and as we just heard, of course, it is far worse for the United Kingdom to leave without a deal than it is for the European which also, remember Max, is looking ahead to crucial elections that will define its future and that Euro files those that work within Europe and that believe and it hope we'll see the Euroskeptics lose out, Max.

FOSTER: Well, to make more sense of this. Let's bring it up, let's call a contributor, Robin Oakley. There are some amendments that might address this backstop issue coming in before the vote tonight.

ROBIN OAKLEY, POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR, CNN: There are indeed, Max. Two of them. One which would give British lawmakers the power to cancel on Britain's behalf without EU consent to cancel the backstop. Another would put a specific time limit on it. Now, if either of those amendments goes through, those will, of course, invalidate May's deal and would be a problem to her. But at the same time, they might be a clear demonstration to Europe's

negotiators that if they can go just one step more, putting into firmer legally upstanding language, the concessions they've tried to make to Theresa May to get the deal through, then she might be able to work on her rebels and with a bit of time to play to get more backing and bring her deal back to Parliament once again having been rejected.

FOSTER: Tell us more about this vote of confidence, because Jeremy Corbyn says he'll call it tonight when the votes loss, it could happen tomorrow, but we talked to Hilary Benn earlier. What do you make on that conversation because he says even though they don't expect to win it, they have to call it, there's also a duty there.

OAKLEY: Yes, its parliamentary show and Jeremy Corbyn is going to look ridiculous if he doesn't call the vote of confidence. He's been threatening to do it for so long in so many stages of this process. And if he doesn't do it on the day after the British Prime Minister has suffered one of the biggest ever parliamentary defeats, he is going to look pretty absurd.

Okay, it's going through the motions because the DUP, the Northern Ireland MPs who will have voted against May's deal, so long as May's deal has been defeated, they will support her in a vote of confidence in the House of Commons. It sounds ridiculous, but that's the way the system works.


So it's unlikely that the vote of confidence would go against Theresa May. She's just about going to be able to scrape the votes together to survive in that. If she doesn't, well, of course this 14 days for transfer, a new government to be formed. If not, there would then be a general election.

So there is that threat in the background and some people are even suggesting that Theresa May might try herself to call an immediate election saying that Labour's policy on Europe is totally confused. They've just been constructively ambiguous, the whole way along just leaving all the difficulties to the government and that she has actually got a direct plan to put to the people.

The problem is a general election isn't really going to solve anything, because the two parties going to remain with all their divisions. Both parties at the last election promise to uphold Brexit and both were against the single market and the full customs union at the last election. So it could be a complete another mishmash, if we do have an election and the thing to think about is referendum.

FOSTER: What about the plan B, presumably she's got one but she can't reveal it before the vote tonight but what do you think is?

OAKLEY: Actually, part of Theresa May's problem all along is that she doesn't take many people into her confidence and people are left wondering and they will put the worst construction on what does come. I think her only plan B at this stage is likely to be going back to Europe and having one more go.

And the longer she keeps the whole time process going, the closer we get to leaving the EU on March the 29th, if there is no deal, if no package on her lines has been agreed or an alternative produced by other people has been agreed, we go out on March the 29th with no deal, and pretty well the whole British industry and most financial institutions are highly alarmed by that.

So as that risk increases and it's hang there in the balance, if she can get little bit more wiggle room out of Europe, she's going to hope that she can pull more of the rebels over to her and some of the people who are just scared all together of going out with no-deal. We'll very, very reluctantly come around to backing her deal.

FOSTER: Okay. Robin, thank you. Lots of monitor, let's say. Throughout the day we're asking you, our viewers, what's the best Brexit outcome for Britain. Here are the results so far. You can see them at the bottom of the screen. So one in 10 is saying Theresa May's deal is the best option, leaving with no deal just under one in 10, the second referendum option though, eight out of 10 of you think that's the best option.

Interesting, many of you are outside the U.K., most of you are outside the U.K., of course, but that seems like the outsiders preferred route out of this. We'll get back to our top story across in a moment, but we're going to take you to the British Parliament behind me and the upcoming Brexit vote and how it's affecting the financial markets down the road in the city. We'll have a live report on that view.

Plus, a former Canadian ambassador to China is warning the relations between the two countries is at a crisis point. We'll have more on the death sentence given to a Canadian man this damaging relations even more.


Welcome back. I'm Max Foster live outside the Houses of Parliament here in London. This is a special edition of CNN Newsroom. Trade across European equity market is well underway. The main markets are modestly higher as you can see. London's FTSE up ahead of that crucial Brexit votes. They're not up hugely. It follows an upbeat day though in Asia. Shares in Hong Kong and Shanghai left higher as investors there shrugged off concerns there with Brexit for today, at least.

CNN's Anna Stewart joins us live from London. Do you think they're taking much notice of this note or do you think they're just waiting to see what comes out of it?

ANNA STEWART, REPORTER, CNN: I think everyone is waiting and watching to see what bets they should make at this stage. I mean sterling in particular has been really sensitive to every movement we've had on Brexit, essentially we're seeing traders trade on politics as opposed to economics. They have been for two and a half years. When the vote came through in 2016, the referendum vote, we saw sterling plunge to $1.33. It was the lowest in 31 years. Look at it now, it's at $1.28 and it has been now for many months.

It's been around this handle for some time. The odds spiked like yesterday, there was a report that some of Theresa May's more Brexiteers, staunch Brexiteer MPs might come on and vote with her. That report collapsed so did that that little spike in sterling as well. So we're back to $1.28. The question is, yes, what will happen later on with this vote?

Now, I'll give you worse expectations, best expectations and then what I think will happen. So worse expectations, Max, we crash out of EU. Analysts estimate that we could see pounds slump by the end of March to near parity with the dollar. Best-case scenario, this vote passes maybe not today but in the coming days we could see the pound rise 3% to 5% or the more likely option which is Theresa May's vote is defeated, perhaps by between a hundred and 200 votes. And then we do see the pound fall but only to maybe $1.24 or $1.25 and then we see what happens with the Prime Minister, does she go back to Brussels, does she try and memo concessions. The deal might not be dead at the end of today.

FOSTER: What about the more practical concerns of businesses heading into this potential no-deal scenario. Are they prepared?

STEWART: Many businesses are. I'd say particularly the larger businesses which can afford to spend money on contingency planning and let me tell you it's incredibly expensive, smaller businesses are struggling, and they are having to just wait and see what happens. Some businesses I've spoken to are genuinely worried about the future and whether they'll be able to operate in the EU, whether their margins will take a huge hit, whether they'll exist after March this year.

Big businesses, lots of movement, I will mention one fascinating report from EY last week saying that in terms of banks and financial institutions they've shifted a trillion dollars worth of assets from the U.K. to the EU already. We know that Citibank, Deutsche Bank and Goldman Sachs have all moved certain assets and jobs over, but we didn't have that figure. It's a huge amount and that's just now.

A lot will depend on what the outcome is and perhaps we don't know that for some time. Perhaps, of course, Article 50 is extended, but the uncertainty is already hitting businesses.

FOSTER: Okay. Anna, thank you. Let's bring in Quentin Peel. He's an associate fellow with a Europe Programme at Chatham House. You've been covering these types of votes for many, many years but I guess this is something we've never seen in our lifetime either.

QUENTIN PEEL, EUROPE PROGRAMME, CHATHAM HOUSE: Yes, I think it is quite extraordinary and the defeat that Theresa May is likely to suffer tonight could be the biggest defeat that government suffered for almost a hundred years or more. And then the remarkable thing is we don't expect her to resign, which is it's just an extraordinary situation where you have a totally divided ruling party, you have a divided opposition, you have a bitter issue which has divided the country, and Parliament is effectively deadlocked. That's extraordinary thing.

FOSTER: And it feels detached as well, doesn't it, because if so many MPs are pro Europe, pro remaining in Europe, and the public voted to leave, there's that disconnect that seems to be underlying many of the issues here.

PEEL: Yes, I'm not sure it's quite that stark, because in a way Parliament is reflecting exactly the split and the deadlock in the country.


After all it's not as if the country is very overwhelmingly for leave or remain. The opinion polls suggest that it swung slightly back now to more of a remain position. But what you are seeing, I think, is the confrontation between direct democracy, a referendum, and parliamentary democracy, the House of Commons. And the two are not on the same page. And so the entire exercise has been trying to reconcile one decision with the other and it hasn't proved doable.

FOSTER: And looking at our poll, most people suggest that the U.K. should go back to a second referendum which may address the issue you just highlighted, but it's going to cause huge amounts of frustration for all of those people who haven't changed their mind and will be voting in the same way for a second time and wonder why on earth they're being asked.

PEEL: Yes, I think that's true and I think it actually shows why direct democracy is a very bad system of democracy. It reduces everything. To black and white, it's incredibly divisive and it doesn't produce any solutions. It's like a national opinion poll really and not a decision, so that's really the problem we got ourselves into by having the referendum.

And as you say, not a huge amount of people have changed their minds. So the one side is certainly saying, "Why should we vote again?" But the other side is saying, "Yes, we want to vote again, because people have changed their minds and now we know what Brexit looks like."

FOSTER: To explain the drum and the bell.

PEEL: I think that's the pro Brexit ...


FOSTER: These demonstrators -- Big Ben isn't operating at the moment. They've got a similar ringing to it there, hasn't it?

PEEL: I'm very struck that the busses that come around act for pro Brexit look almost exactly like the tourist busses going round London and I think they're both of a rip-off mission.

FOSTER: I think the best moment yesterday was when you had a remain bus and a leave bus both saying, "Beep for remain, beep for leave." As they're beeping, everyone was cheering. Is that one moment of unity we've added in this whole process. She's got until Monday, hasn't she, to come back with a plan B. What you think is in the plan B?

PEEL: Well, my heart sinks if it's just, "I'm going to go back to Brussels and try and get a few more concessions."

FOSTER: But she would have done that before Monday, would she?

PEEL: She might well have done and because I fear that the defeat of this deal is such that actually it's simply no longer a runner. Now, what is also possible is that she says, "Let's look at all the other options. Okay, I'm prepared to stand back. Look at the Norway options, stay in the single market, but still have freedom of movement."

Very unpopular with the leavers, but could manage to get a majority in the House of Commons. So that's one possibility, but would she possibly go for a second referendum or would she insist that no-deal is the only opt-out we'll crash out, in which case I think Parliament will stop her.

FOSTER: Will this process continue until that leave date which is when -- that's the scenario that's playing out at the moment, isn't it? We're heading towards a no-deal.

PEEL: Yes.

FOSTER: So this debate will continue until we reach that day at the end of March.

PEEL: Well, it can't go right to the line, because clearly to try and get out of it which is what a majority in parliament want requires a bit of time. So we'd know, I think, by the beginning of March what we were going to do, crash out would become clear. But for businesses and anybody who's actually affected by this process, they have to start planning now on the assumption there will be no-deal.

FOSTER: And as Anna was saying, they are planning already but they're still very worried about that option. Quentin, thank you very much indeed. As lawmakers in Parliament prepare to vote, we want to know what do you think. Get your tablets out, get your phones out, computers whatever you got. The question we're asking, what's the best Brexit option for Britain? The deal Theresa May negotiate with the EU leaders, leaving the EU with no-deal or that second referendum. You can cast your at vote at You can see the results at the bottom of the screen. Second referendum way out in front.

Meanwhile, U.S. Democratic lawmakers are considering subpoenaing president Trump's Russian interpreters following the reports he tried to keep some of his conversations with the Russian President a secret. The extraordinary denial the President is now giving 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. Listen.


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.


STOUT: Oh, it's quite incredible to hear that from a U.S. President. CNN's Fred Pleitgen is in Moscow with much more on story. Now, Fred, it has come to this, a U.S. President feeling compelled to say he is not a Russian agent. What does Moscow make of this?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, on the south lawn of the White House it looked like to me he even said that certainly really a remarkable moment in U.S. politics and it was quite strange because over the past couple of days we really hadn't heard very much from the Kremlin or from any Russian politician for that matter, Kristie. Well, all of that change today in an interview with a Russian newspaper. The spokesman for the Kremlin, Dmitry Peskov.

He came out and he also flat-out denied that President Trump ever worked for Russia. He was actually asked whether there was some sort of conspiracy between Vladimir Putin and President Trump and he said quote, "This is a conspiracy that has no relation to reality." He says this is an internal American problem and he also says that he believes that all the problems that President Trump have are due to divisions inside America that make it very difficult for President Trump to pursue his policies.

The Russians, of course, for a very long time have been saying that they believe that President Trump wants better relations between the U.S. and Russia, but that he's hamstrung by some members of Congress and, of course, by the Mueller investigation as well. Of course, the big summit that many people are talking about were many Democrats especially would like to see some more notes from those from meetings or I think what we're seeing on our screen right now was that summit in Helsinki earlier in 2018, in the summer of 2018, where you had that two-hour one-on-one meeting between President Trump and Russian President, Vladimir Putin, where afterward President Trump essentially sided with the Russian President against his own intelligence services saying he did not know why the Russians would have wanted to meddle in the United States election. So certainly there are a lot of people in Washington who would like to

know more about that. But again the Russians for their part are saying, "No, President Trump never worked for us." And they're also saying that they believe all of this is an internal matter inside the United States, Kristie.

STOUT: Got it. Fred Pleitgen, reporting live for us in Moscow. Thank you. Now, Mr. Trump 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. The source also said that one of North Korea's top negotiators could visit Washington this week to finalize details for a second U.S. North Korea summit.


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 drug smuggler. Robert Schellenberg was convicted on November for being an accessory to drug smuggling and given 15 years in prison. But after a retrial he was convicted of a primary role in the smuggling and sentenced to death.

Let's go straight to CNN's Steven Jiang live for us in Beijing. And Steven got this war of words between Justin Trudeau and Chinese officials, what does all of this say about the state of relations between Canada and China?

STEVEN JIANG, SENIOR PRODUCER, CNN: Well, the status, the state of relations between the two countries really at a historic low ever since the Canadian authorities on December 1st arrested Meng Wanzhou who is a Senior Executive from a giant Chinese tech firm, Huawei. Now, they did that at the request of the U.S. authorities who accused Ms. Meng violating U.S. sanctions against Iran.

Now, that Canadian move has really infuriated Beijing and relations have really plummeted ever since. Now, why is that related to the Schellenberg case? Because Schellenberg was actually arrested back in December of 2014. As you mentioned, it took the authorities almost four years to hand down his first verdict and sentencing. Then, he appealed, but what happened shortly after his appeal was that arrest of Ms. Meng.

Then, all of a sudden his case seems to have become fast-tracked. He soon got an appeal hearing during which the court sided with the prosecution who claimed to have uncovered new evidence against him and two weeks later, on Monday, yesterday, he stood a new trial and then was quickly convicted and sentenced to death. Now, one thing to remember here, of course, is the ruling Communist Party and its leadership have absolute control over the judiciary here and officials and state media had been saying all along that Canada would face severe consequences if it did not free Ms. Meng.

So that's why this latest conviction, Kristie, is really making more people convinced more than ever that Schellenberg has become a pawn in this increasingly nasty diplomatic fight, Kristie.

STOUT: Yes, and all of this coming to ahead with relations reaching a crisis point that according to a former Canadian Ambassador telling to CNN. Stevens Jiang reporting live for us from Beijing. Steven, thank you so much.

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 shocking 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. They're 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.


DONALD TURK, EUROPEAN COUNCIL PRESIDENT: 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.


STOUT: You are watching CNN Newsroom and still to come, your views on the best Brexit outcome and we'll have more analysis on what the options mean for Britain.


FOSTER: Welcome back to Westminster with the bells and the drums tolling. It's not Big Ben. These are demonstrators. They're out in force on both sides. Returning to our key vote on the 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 final votes on the meaningful vote between 8:00 p.m., 9:00 p.m. we think this is the final day of debate. Parliament looks all certain to deliver a decisive defeat on the deal.

Throughout the day, we're asking you, our viewers, what the best Brexit outcome is for Britain. You can see the results there at the bottom of the screen, one in 10 just over say Theresa May's deal are far more object for a second referendum just over eight out of 10, leaving with a no-deal is seen as a very bad idea according to the three options we have up on our screen. For more I'm joined by Labour MP, Kate Hoey. A leaver within the Labour Party. KATE HOEY, BRITISH LABOUR MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT: Yes.

FOSTER: So you're a minority within your party, at least?

HOEY: I may be a minority in Parliament, but I'm not a minority amongst Labour supporters and, of course, millions of the 17.4 million people who voted to leave were Labour supporters in Labour constituencies with Labour MPs.

FOSTER: And rumor has it that your leader is also on your side of things, even though voters remain in the referendum.

HOEY: Well, I've been 30 years Member of Parliament this year and every lobby that was against the EU which I was in, Jeremy was also in. But he is leader of the party and he's trying to keep the party together and obviously very keen to support what the party members say.

FOSTER: Which is a very difficult balancing act, isn't it, because when most of your party wants to remain within the European Union and there's an opportunity potentially for going for a general election, which he might win, how does he take this forward? He's talked about this vote of confidence. What do you think his strategy is?

HOEY: Well, of course, since the referendum we've had a general election where our manifesto was very clear that we would honor the result of the referendum, and that we would leave the single market, and that we would want some kind of customs union but not the customs union. So our manifesto is clear, so the MPs even if they were remainers have committed themselves to honouring the referendum result.

Now, obviously any leader of any opposition would like to have a general election and he will judge whether it is the right time to have a vote of no-confidence when the Prime Minister is defeated tonight. I think that may also depend on the margin of how much she is defeated by, whether he decides to go for a vote of no-confidence is obviously not a lot of point is going for it just for the sake of it if you're not going to win.

FOSTER: But Hilary Benn suggests that there's no option really but to call this vote of confidence. Also, our own Robin Oakley saying he's been talking so much about a vote of confidence. He needs to go for it now. Isn't that an odd situation when he doesn't think he's going to win it as long as the DUP are on the side of the Conservatives?

HOEY: Well, I think he has to judge the push there is within the party members to do something and show that we think the government has handled it badly.

FOSTER: So it's a symbolic vote of confidence, probably?

HOEY: I think it could well be but, of course, sometimes people in the country may think that it's not very sensible to go for a vote of no-confidence at a time when the country is in great turmoil in the sense of what's happening at the moment. FOSTER: So it's not a definite?

HOEY: I don't think any of us know. I would be very surprised if he's made up his own mind finally now. But the chances are we will get a vote of no-confidence sometime in the next few days.

FOSTER: It's an odd situation MPs like yourself find yourself in, because traditionally you'd always work with Labour MPs but you're increasingly working with Conservative MPs, aren't you, who shared the same view of Brexit. What's it been like over the last few months?


HOEY: Well, both sides are doing that. I mean Labour MPs who are strong remainers and want the people's vote so-called. We are working with people on the Conservative Party and I think sometimes people ...

FOSTER: People buy it.

HOEY: Well, I think sometimes people think that everyone is falling out and shouting at each other, because that's what the public see in Prime Minister's questions. Actually, there's a lot of cross party where it goes on in Parliament on many issues, issues to do with international affairs and issues to do with local issues, so it's fine. They're not enemies, they're all people.

FOSTER: Oh, good. It was coming together in a sort of strange context right now.

HOEY: Yes, it is actually.

FOSTER: Thank you very much indeed, a long day ahead of you. Thank you. Coming up for 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 United Kingdom or should opponents hold fast and risk crashing out, as they say, for the EU without an agreement.

Log on to International to have your say. CNN Talk starting at 12:00 p.m. here in London, that's 8:00 p.m. in Hong Kong. Do stay with CNN's special Brexit coverage all day leading up to the votes and well after as well we'll have live reports from London, Brussels and all around the world on the impact of Parliament's decision today. I'm Max Foster here in London. Thanks for joining us. New Day With John Berman and Alisyn Camerota is coming up next for you.

DAVE BRIGGS, ANCHOR, CNN: ... and you don't even know this post existed.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, ANCHOR, CNN: I think we're 20 years too late, don't you think.

BRIGGS: Oh, man. I don't get Instagram. Now, I realize why I'm so bad at it.

ROMANS: Thanks for joining us. I'm Christine Romans.

BRIGGS: I'm Dave Briggs. New Day starts right now.


TRUMP: I never worked for Russia. It's a whole big fat hoax.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Russia could not have asked for a friendlier United States President.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Over my dead body.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am beginning to feel as to why I'm on the seventh Manchurian candidate.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Make no mistake, the shutdown is caused by President Trump.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So here we are because the Speaker of House has decided that enforcing our own laws is now immoral.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's no longer a political issue now. It's a human issue.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is New Day with Alisyn Camerota ...