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HALA GORANI TONIGHT
British Lawmakers Prepare to Vote on Brexit Deal. Aired 2-3p ET
Aired January 15, 2019 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[14:00:00] THERESA MAY, UK PRIME MINISTER: That is the test that is set for us today. It will determine the future of our country for generations.
We each have a solemn responsibility to deliver Brexit and take this country forward and with my whole heart, I call on this House to discharge
that responsibility together and I commend this motion to the House.
SPEAKER OF PARLIAMENT: Under the order of the House of the fourth of December and the 9th of January, I must now put the questions necessary to
dispose of proceedings on the European Union withdrawal motion. As I explained the sequence earlier, it should now be familiar to colleagues. I
begin by inviting Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the opposition to move amendment A.
JEREMY CORBYN, LEADER OF LABOUR PARTY: Mr. Speaker. Not moved.
SPEAKER OF PARLIAMENT: I turn to the second of the amendments. That's in the name of the leader of the Scottish National Party, Mr. Ian Blackford,
IAN BLACKFORD, LEADER OF SCOTTISH NATIONAL PARTY: Not moved, Mr. Speaker.
SPEAKER: Thank you. I turn to the right honorable member of the Gainsborough to move if he wishes amendment B.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In view of the positive response of my PM, not moved.
SPEAKER: Thank you. And finally, I invite Mr. John Baron to move amendment F.
JOHN BARON, MP, CONSERVATIVE PARTY: I beg to move.
SPEAKER: The question is that the amendment in the name of the honorable gentleman and of others, amendment F be made. As many are benefiting say,
MINISTERS OF PARLIAMENT: Aye.
SPEAKER: On the contrary. No.
MINISTERS OF PARLIAMENT: No!
SPEAKER: I think the -- I think the -- I think the no's have it. Is the honorable gentleman persisting?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No.
SPEAKER: Persistence in order. I know what I'm doing. Key point is persistence. If the honorable order -- order. If the honorable gentleman
wishes to press his amendment, he is entitled to do so. Yes, he is. Oh, yes, he is. I'll be the judge of that. The question is the amendment be
made. I'll say it once more. Aye.
MINISTERS OF PARLIAMENT: Aye.
SPEAKER: Against no.
MINISTERS OF PARLIAMENT: No!
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN HOST: Welcome to CNN special coverage of a pivotal moment in the Brexit process. Tonight, is the so-called meaningful
vote on Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit plan. Hello, I'm Christiane Amanpour.
HALA GORANI, CNN HOST: And I'm Hala Gorani. You can hear it behind me, the excitement, protesters, counter demonstrators were live outside the
Houses of Parliament and on the right of your screen you are seeing what's happening inside the House of Commons. Lots of drama there. MPs are
deciding whether to accept the deal that is taking Theresa May's government and the European Union two years to negotiate.
AMANPOUR: And we could be moments away from hearing the official results. In her speech just moments ago, Theresa May ended by saying and I commend
this motion to Parliament. We will bring you that moment and the reaction to it from the world of politics and the perspectives of business. Now
Julia Chatterley is in the city tonight with all the potential business fallout. Julia.
JULIA CHATTERLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Thanks very much, Christiane. As you mentioned we are live in the city of London to give you a perspective of
what investors are thinking at this moment as we count down the vote and beyond. But not only that, we heard from big U.K. European business
leaders warning about the risk of a bad Brexit deal and no deal exit here. But what about the lifeblood of the U.K. economy? What about the small and
medium-size enterprises? The message I've been getting today is they are simply not ready for a no deal exit and more time is need. Plenty to
discuss here live from the city of London. But for now, Hala, Christiane, I'll hand it back to you.
[14:05:00] GORANI: All right, Julia, thanks very much. We'll get back to you very soon. Christiane and I will be talking you through what is going
on including also, of course, contributions from our panel of guests, political analyst Carole Walker and our Bianca Nobilo. Christiane and I
were watching all of the drama. There is no other Parliament in the world with the kind of theater you see here. What did you just see happen?
Lawmakers have shuffled out. They are voting on what now before they vote on the deal itself?
CAROLE WALKER, POLITICAL ANALYST: You've seen the latest stage of the extraordinary Parliamentary maneuvering we've seen over the last few days.
And what has happened is we could have been facing a whole series of four votes before we got to the main vote on the prime minister's deal. But
what we saw there in just the last few minutes is three of those were pulled, one of them put down by a Conservative MP he insisted on having a
vote on it. This would say that if the U.K. gets into this North Ireland backstop, this arrangement that is intend today prevent a hard border in
North Ireland after the transition deal, the U.K. could unilaterally pull out of it without the agreement of the E.U. now, he is insisting there is
a vote on that. That's not something that is on offer from the E.U., but clearly what he hopes to do is to strengthen the prime minister's hand if,
as we expect, after the defeat which still seems likely, she tries to go back to the E.U. to get more concessions. So, we'll get the result of
this vote in the next ten minutes or so, and then they should move to the main vote on the prime minister's deal. And she still seems to be heading
for a really big defeat.
GORANI: Bianca, given that it that's been so widely heralded, I was taken by how unrattled the prime minister seemed in her speech tonight. This is
not a woman who looks like the world -- the weight of the world is on her shoulders. It looks like she's made her peace with whatever is going to
BIANCA NOBILO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I agree with you. I was front row when she gave the press conference with Shinzo Abe. I thought she looked as
relaxed and rested as she has been a long time. I think she is at peace with this. She is a beleaguered prime minister. Only just survived when
you think about how many of those people that voted for her were actually on her government payroll. So, will obligate to. She knows what is upon
Parliament tonight. Right now, as we speak, the MPs will literally be dividing into their opposing lobbies of the ayes for Theresa May's Brexit
deal and the no lobby against her Brexit deal. They will be ling up and then in order of their names, checking their names on their ballot papers.
And once everybody has vacated the lobbies, they do the counting. Then the tellers will approach the bench in front of the speaker. If we look
carefully, we'll know which side has won because the person on the right happened side as we are looking at the screen approaching the speaker will
be the side with the most votes. And then we will hear this historic truly unprecedented result that we're all waiting for.
GORANI: Again, I don't want to get too much in the weeds of the numbers, but we are expecting a defeat. The question is how big will this defeat be
for her? Will she lose by a margin of less than 100, more than 100, but less than 200, more than 200? I did a bit of research. In 1924, the
biggest defeat to date was by 166. Will we beat that?
WALKER: Well, let me just say, first of all, Hala, for any prime minister to be defeated at all on the most significant plank of government policy,
on the most important issue facing the country today as the prime minister herself said, would under normal circumstances bring down the prime
minister, bring down the government. Now, this prime minister -- and we're not in normal times -- has made it clear that even if she is defeated, she
will try to soldier on, she will try to get more concessions out of the European Union. But will we be as high as 166? There is a sense that
Downing Street has been massaging up the size of the potential defeat so that when she only loses by or nearly 100 votes, that is not seen as quite
GORANI: But she can go back to Brussels with a bit more --
AMANPOUR: Seriously, what is the option? Here we have this vote being delivered tonight which has not changed one iota from December when she
pulled said vote and tried to get more from the E.U. and basically didn't accept some sort of nice public words and guarantees and things. And there
is no majority in that House behind us. These are extraordinary times. But there is a sense of leadership not stepping up. The hard line
Brexiters have not come up with an alternative except to say, hang on, let's go out with no deal.
[14:10:00] WALKER: Well, they actually believe that we have reached the stage we're so close to the date of Brexit, they don't want any kind of
delay or deferral to that Brexit date of March 29th. The Brexiters believe strongly it would be better for Britain to leave the E.U. without a deal,
to accept a short-term Brexit, they don't want any kind of delay or deferral to that Brexit date of March 29th. The Brexiters believe strongly
it would be better for Britain to leave the E.U. without a deal, to accept a short-term sense of economic crisis, perhaps Lori is queuing up.
AMANPOUR: We are told a deep recession.
WALKER: Well, they will dismiss that as project fear. But they will argue --
AMANPOUR: There has been quantitative easing since the referendum to bolster the UK economy. They're not being honest with the British people.
WALKER: But their argument is if you leave the European Union -- first of all, you don't pay the 39 billion pounds. You've still got some leverage.
By then, negotiating from outside the E.U., once the E.U. has seen how much problems it causes the other side of the channel across the E.U. as
well as in the U.K., they can then negotiate a better deal with the E.U. than if we were trying to do that through this long convoluted process or
the transition phase, possibly then into the backstop, and perhaps two or three years from now, still arguing about what the future trade
relationship should be.
GORANI: So, a reminder to our viewers who might just be joining us what we're seeing now is a vote on a motion that is, of course, the step
preceding the vote on the final Brexit deal that Theresa May negotiated with the E.U. this motion not expected to pass, the Brexit deal as well
expected to fail. But Nic Robertson is at 10 Downing Street and he has more there on what Theresa May is hoping for tonight, because if her
expectation is a defeat as well, what's the best she can get out of this?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Well, it was clearly in the way that she talked about how that this position, the current
position had been arrived at through democracy. Was very clear in reminding the House that in a vote to hold a referendum, 470 present
members, she said, had voted for the referendum, 72 said voted against. She reminded they in triggering article 50, that 436 members present today
had voted to trigger article 50, 85 had voted against. It seems to be, if you will, Theresa May reminding everyone that they've had a stake in
getting the country to this position. She's been heavily criticized for playing this very close to her chest, but playing this, you know, by, if
you will, by her own rules, doing it her own way, appearing to take little advice from people. And that's the criticism that she is in this position
today. But I think she has sort of turned that around and said, no, we got here together. We all voted for this. Whether or not that is going to
change substantially the numbers, a vote against her tonight, that's really not clear. But that was the sense that I got from her speech. And I think
also, by the nature of how long she spent talking about the backstop agreement for North Ireland and the border and the importance -- this was
an olive branch to proffer her majority -- she is at the North Ireland is - - she has committed to the fact that North Ireland is intrinsically part of the United Kingdom, committed as well to the Belfast agreement, an
important fact, important it seems in her mind, that she really carefully spelled out everything about the backstop and the fact that in whatever
withdrawal agreement there would be in her estimation, that would always be part of it.
AMANPOUR: And go to Bianca. Nic, thank you. Let's turn to Bianca again. As everybody tries to figure out what's going on, we built a lot of drama -
- there's been a lot of drama over this. As we've all said, for the prime minister to lose so catastrophically on a key major piece of legislation,
having lost all the lead up bills to this would generally trigger a dramatic failure of the government. What is the reality in that? Even if
Jeremy Corbyn, the opposition leader, Bianca, calls a vote of no confidence, she's not going to fall, right?
NOBILO: Yes, because the Conservative MPs, many who have come out against her deal, will be voting it down tonight, have said they would still
support the prime minister in a vote of confidence in the government. Even if Corbyn were to win that and the government fell, he'd then have a 14-day
period to reform a government. There is no government that could command the confidence of the House it would precipitate a general election. It is
important, and you've touched on this. There are really two types of confidence votes.
[14:15:00] There is a formal confidence vote tabled by the opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn. Perhaps it comes tomorrow, who knows, he said soon.
There is the informal confidence vote. That's what we're seeing tonight. Flagship government policy which you need to command the entirety of the
House to get through failing. So, Theresa May could be potentially facing both an informal and formal confidence vote and maybe stagger on. Truly
GORANI: The opposition isn't in a position to capitalize on the weaknesses and the disorganization and chaos of all these Brexit negotiations. The
party with a charismatic leader who had a good message that resonated with the majority of Britons shouldn't be able to make headway here.
WALKER: There was an opinion poll last night which suggested that the Conservatives were still six points ahead of the Labour party. This is a
government in disarray. A prime minister that was defeated twice last week, that is riven by huge divisions in her party. Jeremy Corbyn doesn't
have the numbers in Parliament. And all those Conservative MP, as Bianca said, who are voting against the prime minister's deal tonight, if it comes
to a confidence vote which could bring about a general election, they'll be worried about their seats. They will rally round the prime minister to try
to prevent a Jeremy Corbyn government.
AMANPOUR: And, Bianca, in terms of a second referendum or whatever, I mean, this is the other thing Jeremy Corbyn has not been very up front
about. He is at heart a Brexiter. Although his party appears to have gone to the remain category. But he's -- so many people around Europe and
around the world, gosh, maybe there will be a second referendum. If it's up to Corbyn, that is not necessarily the case, right?
NOBILO: If it's up to Corbyn himself he may try to avert that. At Labour Party conference, the motion was adopted. If Jeremy Corbyn can't get a
general election -- we were talking about reasons why he probably can't or won't go for that -- then it's going to be Labour party policy to pursue a
second referendum. Now, whether or not remain is on the ballot remains to be seen. That wasn't specified. But they said they would explore all
options in that second referendum and that just strikes at the heart of the inherent tension in all of this, and why we're in this deadlock. Because
it's this conflict between direct democracy, the initial referendum result, leave one and representative democracy. And there is not a majority in
Parliament for Brexit. The majority is for remain, and that is what we're witnessing. That's why we don't see progress.
GORANI: So, I just want to update our viewers where we are in this process. We are not seeing the vote on the final deal. What we are seeing
is a vote on one amendment to the deal. It is expected not to pass, and that would essentially demand the right to terminate the backstop without
needing EU consent. That is not expected to pass. After that, we will see the voting go forth and unfold on the deal itself.
A lot of drama. Hiss historic. We've never seen anything like this, Carole.
WALKER: Absolutely. And the prime minister herself said in her closing remarks at the end of the days and days of debate that we've had, that this
is the most important vote which any of those Parliamentarians are likely to take part in. Give or take the next few that may happen or weeks when
she tries to come back again. But, yes, this will affect the future direction of the country. It will affect the future economic prosperity,
the jobs of many people in this country. And it will affect the lives of many people who trade with the European Union and people, indeed, U.K.
citizens right across the E.U. it is a hugely significant moment. There is, I should say, enormous frustration in Parliament that after two years
of negotiation, she's come up with a deal, which it looks like is going to be defeated tonight.
AMANPOUR: And yet --
WALKER: Which has united both sides of the House in opposition.
AMANPOUR: I mean, I don't know how you all feel about this and how you all sort of dissect this deal, but it has been said that just trying to achieve
Brexit is trying to put, you know, a square peg in a round hole or round peg in a square hole. Whatever the thing is. It is trying to mess with 45
years of established law and process and hundreds of hours of negotiations. The truth of the matter is what better deal can there be?
[14:20:00] WALKER: We undoubtedly have a divided country, a divided Parliament, a divided Conservative party. What Theresa May has been trying
to do throughout the last two years is to manage those divisions. And through that process has made promises to both sides, which is very
difficult to actually meet both of them. Some of the promises are hugely incompatible. That is why what she's come up with has brought about the
situation we've got now where she faces both remainers and leavers, hard Brexiters, those who want to stay in the E.U. also vote against her deal.
GORANI: To Christiane's point, we covered the referendum, it was an all- night thing. We were all stunned the Brexiters had won. I remember many experts saying, you cannot negotiate out of 40-plus years of membership in
just a few years. Don't rush it. You need to take your time. Article 50 was triggered. Some say -- many say, should Brexiters had won. I
remember many experts saying, you cannot negotiate out of 40-plus years of membership in just a few years. Don't rush it. You need to take your
time. Article 50 was triggered. Some say -- many say, I should say, a bit too soon without a plan.
NOBILO: The majority for that is worth noting. 400 MPs vote today trigger article 50 knowing that we would be leaving not knowing what the deal would
look like. That's point Theresa May made when she gave her speech.
GORANI: Would they now, then, consider extending the negotiation period?
WALKER: They might have to.
NOBILO: They might have to.
GORANI: They might have to, we're just weeks away now.
WALKER: What is interesting, just on that point, because there's been a lot of talk about delays or revoking article 50. If the prime minister
wants to buy a bit more time, if she wants to push the date back, she needs to get the agreement of the European Union. That they are only likely to
give if there is a specific reason -- if she needs a bit more time to get legislation through, if it were into a general election. Because there's
no agreement seeking more time, it's uncertain they would give that so she would then have to --
Why would they not?
WALKER: -- revoke article 50, she would unilaterally revoke article 50, but she'd have to get a vote through Parliament to say we're scrapping
article 50 departure on March 29. That would open a whole new can of worms.
NOBILO: And split the Tory party apart.
AMANPOUR: This Tory party, I mean they don't know when to hold it and when to fold it. They, the hardliners, challenged the prime minister and they
lost and they act as if they won. So, this is never going to end, this division in the Tory party. People said there is no Mandela-like figure in
this country who can knit together a very closely divided country and see the story of the other. Everybody is standing on such, you know,
chauvinistic ground, so to speak. When you talk to politicians and you stakeout this place, what do they say about eventually getting this country
NOBILO: One of the reasons Theresa May had been unpopular -- initially we thought she would be strong and stable. That was the message from the
media and the CCHQ, the Conservative party headquarters. That didn't work out. She's known for being detail orientated, pragmatic, she is not known
for her vision, she is not known for being conciliatory. Not known for listening and taking a wide variety of opinion and involving people. That
has stymied her throughout this process. As we heard from Labour last week, the government only just reached out to them to see if they could
reach across the aisle and come to some sort of consensus and work together on a deal.
GORANI: Now there are reports of some sort of secret contingency plan when she loses.
NOBILO: Yes. The Boles amendment which is not one of the amendments that we are seeing --
GORANI: Even the junior Brexit minister, Kwasi Kwarteng, was quoted as saying, I'm not privy to all the conversations. He's the junior Brexit
minister. How does he not --
WALKER: But at the moment, the plans are all looking -- let's say, at best -- pretty flakey. Clearly what Bianca says is right. A prime minister had
perhaps even before the triggering of article 50 or immediately after, tried to find some consensus across Parliament. It looks as though they're
getting to the results of the vote.
GORANI: Back to the House of Commons and listen to the results.
SPEAKER: We're 24. The no's to the left were 600.
The ayes to the right 24. The no's to the left 600. So, the no's have it. The no's have it on law. Thank you.
Order. I now put the main question to the House. The main question in the name of the prime minister, the question is the main motion in the name of
the prime minister. As many are as of that opinion, say, aye.
MINISTERS OF PARLIAMENT: Aye.
SPEAKER: On the contrary, no.
MINISTERS OF PARLIAMENT: No.
[14:25:00] SPEAKER: Clear the lobby.
GORANI: All right. So now the MPs, as we continue our coverage with Christiane Amanpour and Carol Walker, the MPs are shuffling out and they
are getting ready to vote on the main motion, the Brexit deal Theresa May wants so desperately to pass.
AMANPOUR: If you had to bet, what would you bet after that voice call?
GORANI: Actually, I was surprised that the ayes were stronger -- I mean, if it was kind of a volume-o-meter, I was expecting the ayes to be a little
AMANPOUR: The no's were definitely a lot stronger.
WALKER: There were plenty of no's there. I think we can't quite judge the outcome from the volume of those shouts. But I think what's really
interesting over the last few days is so many people have been compiling lists of exactly who is going to vote in which direction. We've seen few
people change their mind, a handful on either side. We've seen a couple of junior ministers resigning so they can vote against the government. And
the estimates have ranged for the scale of the defeat this is from 50 to 80 up to almost 200. Now, if you look at the number of people who have
actually said on the record they will vote against the deal, that's looking in the high 70s, 76, 77. There clearly will be more than that. I think
that the Downing Street have been, as I mentioned, massaging up the expectations so that when the defeat is anything less than, say, 100, it's
seen as maybe not too bad and the prime minister can battle on. But if she loses this vote, let's make no mistake, it will be a catastrophic defeat, a
very, very serious moment indeed for the government and for the country.
AMANPOUR: But, Yes, except it may still carry on, Bianca. She's meant to actually speak after the vote is tabled and after the result comes in. And
we've seen her. She has not given an inch tonight. She's not indicated that whatever happens would change her resolve and her direction. I mean,
if you're going to be standing outside downing street tomorrow morning, what would you next?
NOBILO: I would expect to have less answers than I thought I might. And a large part of that is because of the speaker. I figured that perhaps some
of our international viewers might not be that familiar with, but a lot of this is now at her discretion. For example, there was an amendment that
was tabled to Theresa May's deal, but had some broad support among members of her own party. But he didn't choose to select it so now we have no way
of knowing, had that tweak gone through, if there would be support for her deal. So, had the speaker allowed various different amendments to be voted
on, we'd have a better idea almost what the shape of Theresa May's deal could change into in order to give it a better chance of passing. But now
we won't know that, so it all depends, as carol references, on the scale of defeat. If it is a crushing blow, triple digits 150 upward, any less than
that is still pretty bad. There's no life left in this deal. There is almost no point going back to the E.U. to extract concessions because the
problem is people oppose this deal for such vastly different reasons. So, she needs to decide who she is going to appeal to. Is it the Brexiters,
her own back benches, or the Labour party softening on Brexit and protection of workers' rights?
GORANI: So, we expect the result of this vote in about 20 minutes time. This deal took Theresa May two-plus years to negotiate. Of course, it's an
anxious wait for businesses in the U.K. and around the European Union. Many have already made contingency plans, by the way. It's cost businesses
with a lot of money. Julia is standing by in the city of London for more on that angle.
CHATTERLEY: Thanks so much, Hala. As you rightly mentioned, investors are watching just this latest moment in this Brexit negotiation. And we have
seen sterling itself versus the dollar come under a little bit of pressure, again in the session today. Investors don't like uncertainty. And
whatever we get tonight, if it is as expected and a vote against Theresa May and her Brexit deal, it opens up a whole new range of options. We
still have a great deal of uncertainty about this part. I think the closer we get to that March 29th date, the exit date, then you're going to see
greater nervousness, particularly if it looks like we're coming toward the prospect of a no-deal exit. We don't like uncertainty. That's the message
I think from investors here. On the business side, I think the overwhelming message I've been hearing is, look, when you look at this
Brexit deal, it may be the best it gets whoever is negotiating it. The current trading relationship with Europe and say it's a better scenario. I
think it's just managing what happens after March 29th, the transition arrangement, of course, and what happens with the backstop. We'll be
discussing that here later on in the show. For now, guys, back to you.
GORANI: All right. Julia Chatterley, thanks very much. You are watching continuing coverage of --
[14:30:00] AMANPOUR: Yes, indeed.
GORANI: -- of this very important crucial Brexit vote on the deal Theresa May is hoping will pass tonight. The expectation, Christiane, though, is
that it won't and then what happens? She goes back to Brussels, has to admit defeat. Go back to Brussels and try to negotiate a better deal.
AMANPOUR: Right. And we have Richard Quest with us right now to expand on some of what Julia was telling us from the city.
You know, there are a lot of sort of -- I don't know what the right word is, but breast beaters, people who believe that actually a hard falloff
cliff edge Brexit is just what the country needs. I mean, I asked John Redwood, recently united. One of the hardliners, who said that that is
what he wants, that is what the Parliament voted for, the majority, for a hard Brexit. And that is what will be the best for this country.
RICHARD QUEST, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Those people believe, rightly or wrongly, not for us to say. Those people believe that it is the purest
form of Brexit. That anything else will leave somehow the U.K. shackled, hobbled in bed with, whatever you want to -- however you want to describe
it. That the no-way -- everybody agrees no-way is horrible. The no-way solution is not good for --
WALKER: What a nice country, Richard, come on.
QUEST: Beautiful. I'm going that -- so that's beautiful country, but there's an option for Brexit --
WALKER: Even the Norwegians tell the British that, don't do what we did.
QUEST: So, next, you come to some sort of halfway house, half in, half out. The worst of both worlds. And that's why people like John Redwood
firmly do believe that a no-deal Brexit because they say -- if you get to crunch time and you still haven't got a deal and it's no deal, they'll very
quickly put in place emergency provisions for docks, harbors, and ports, as they already have for airlines.
Flights will continue regardless. Those contingency plans are -- they don't believe it will be as bad as everybody else.
AMANPOUR: They say that and they fly in the face of a lot of experts. I mean, let's be frank. The M.P.s are not the Bank of England or they're not
CBI or they're not -- they don't have that level of expertise. But the people whose jobs it is to tell us the facts are telling us somewhat
QUEST: But they would say, Christiane, as you -- they would say and those are the same people that told us in 2016 financial --
AMANPOUR: But I was told that it's because -- and you would know this better than me -- the government did quantitative easing the Bank of
England did and prevented it had from being Armageddon.
QUEST: But it want the undercurrents. They would say that 2016, it was going to be -- if you voted for Brexit, it would be financial Armageddon,
turn off the lights and go home. That didn't happen -- that was a strong argument to say. That didn't happen because everybody anticipated the
worst wouldn't come about.
Now let's see, which is why it's very important tonight to watch the markets, because we do inch ever closer.
GORANI: But I've got -- there's one thing. Those who the John Redwoods and other hardliners are saying these are all fear tactics. None of this
will come to pass. Look at what was predicted in 2016. But we already now have numbers that indicate that the British economy is being hurt pretty
Two days ago we learned that banks in this country moved $1 trillion worth of assets to the E.U. in anticipation of Brexit. All these companies and
businesses that are having to move staff, that are having to move headquarters that are having to spend money on contingency plans, things
they never would have had to do before the Brexit vote itself, happened, those are all facts. They're not fears for the future.
QUEST: The most dangerous --
GORANI: I'm sorry. I think we have some sort of movement at the House of Commons.
So, Carole Walker is with us. What are we seeing now, Carol? Walk us through it.
WALKER: Well, the vote on Theresa May's deal is underway. They have been voting for almost 10 minutes now. It's probably going to be another four
or five minutes before we get the result.
And here in the U.K. Parliament, votes still involve people actually walking through the parliamentary lobbies to cast their votes one way or
another. This is the moment that the government has been gearing up for, that parliament has been gearing up for weeks, for months. It was a vote
that should have taken place before Christmas.
The prime minister pulled that vote in the hope that, a bit of malt wines and a few mince pies might kind of, perhaps, persuade a few more of her
insight to back her deal. But as thing stand, it still looks as though she is heading for a shattering defeat.
This is the withdrawal deal to which she has said there is no alternative. She has been begging, she has been pleading with M.P.s to back her deal.
We know that pretty much all the opposition M.P.s are going to vote against it. We know that the Democratic Unionist Party which is supposed to be
propping up her party is going to vote against the deal because they don't like the provisions for Northern Ireland.
And as things stand, the question is simply how big a defeat it's going to be.
Now, as I was saying a little earlier, under normal times, a defeat like that on an issue as profoundly important, the future of the country, would
bring down the prime minister. We'll see a prime minister resign, the government brought down. She seems determined to battle on and see if she
can somehow bring more concessions out of the E.U. and come back to parliament for a further vote.
Either way, she'll probably make a short statement tonight after the results is announced. And then we'll have until Monday to come back and
say what her government is going to do.
In the meantime, it seems pretty certain that the opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn will call a vote of no-confidence in her government, which is likely
to be voted on as soon as tomorrow.
GORANI: Are those the tellers?
WALKER: The tellers are just beginning to amble into place. We need to wait until we see all four of them lined up there in front of the desk, in
front of that historic mace in the middle of the commons before the result will be announced.
When we see who is standing on which side, we'll get a clue as to which side has won. But we will have to wait for the Speaker John Bercow, who's
had so much flack throughout this process and has played a significant role in the course of events. He will then announce the result of this historic
AMANPOUR: And, Carole, when you say the prime minister's given no indication that despite the significance of a defeat on a matter of such
importance, that she would -- you know, that she would stay the course. I mean, she's given every indication of doing that. Part of that is also
because even if there was a general election, she's bound to win, right? I mean, she can't be challenged again from within her own party because they
lost the vote of no-confidence in her, the hardliners.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Order. Order.
WALKER: Let's listen to the result.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The ayes to the right 202. The noes to the left 432.
JOHN BERCOW, SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF COMMONS OF THE UNITED KINGDOM: The ayes to the right, 202. The noes -- order. The ayes to the right 202.
The noes to the left 432. So the noes have it. The noes have it. Unlocked. Point -- indeed. Point of order. The prime minister.
[14:40:58] THERESA MAY, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, the House has spoken and the government will listen. It is
clear that the House does not support this deal, but tonight's vote tells us nothing about what it does support. Nothing about how -- nothing about
how or even if it intends to honor the decision the British people took in a referendum parliament decided to hold.
And people, particularly E.U. citizens who have made their home here and U.K. citizens living in the E.U., deserve clarity on these questions as
soon as possible.
BERCOW: Order, order. There are people shouting. There will be an opportunity for other points of order, but the prime minister must and will
be heard. The prime minister.
ALL: Hear, hear.
MAY: Those whose jobs rely on our trade with the E.U. need that clarity. So with your permission, Mr. Speaker, I'd like to set out briefly how the
government intends to proceed.
First, we need to confirm whether this government still enjoys the confidence of the House. I believe that it does, but given the scale and
importance of tonight's vote, it's right that others have the chance to test that question if they wish to do so.
I can therefore confirm that if the official opposition table a confidence motion this evening in the form required by the fixed term Parliaments Act,
the government will make time to debate that motion tomorrow.
And if it happened before Christmas, the official opposition declined to do so, we will on this occasion, consider making time tomorrow to debate any
motion in the form required from the other opposition party, should they put one forward.
Second. Second, if the House confirms its confidence in this government, I will then hold meetings with my colleagues, our confidence in supply
partners, the DUP, and senior parliamentarians from across the House to identify what would be required to secure the backing of the House.
The government will approach these meetings in a constructive spirit. But given -- but given the urgent need to make progress, we must focus on ideas
that are genuinely negotiable and have sufficient support this this House.
Third, if these meetings yield such ideas, the government will then explore them with the European Union.
Mr. Speaker, I want to end by offering two reassurances. The first is to those who fear that the government's strategy is to run down the clock to
the 29th of March. That is not our strategy. I've always believed that the best way forward is to leave in an orderly way with a good deal --
ALL: Hear, hear.
MAY: And have devoted much of the last two years negotiating such a deal. As you confirmed, Mr. Speaker, the amendment to the business motion tabled
last week by my right honorable and learned friend the member from Beaconsfield, is not legally binding. But the government respects the will
of the House. We will, therefore, make a statement about the way forward and to table an amendable a motion by Monday.
The second assurance is to the British people who voted to leave the European Union in the referendum 2.5 years ago. I became prime minister
immediately after that referendum. I believe it's my duty to deliver on their instruction and I intend to do so.
ALL: Hear, hear.
MAY: Every day that passes without this issue being resolved means more uncertainty, more bitterness, and more rancor. The government have heard -
- has heard what the House has said tonight. But I ask members on all sides of the House to listen to the British people who want this issue
settled and to work with the government to do just that.
ALL: Hear, hear.
BERCOW: I will come to other colleagues. But first of all, point of order. The leader of the opposition Jeremy Corbyn.
JEREMY CORBYN, LEADER, BRITISH LABOUR PARTY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The results of tonight's vote is the greatest defeat for a government since the
1920s in this House. This is a catastrophic defeat for this government.
After two years of failed negotiations, the House of Commons has delivered its verdict on her Brexit deal, and that verdict is absolutely decisive.
ALL: Hear, hear.
CORBYN: I hear the words of the prime minister, but actions of her government of the past two years speak equally clearly. She owes only
attempting to reach out now to try to keep her failed process and deal alive after it's been so roundly rejected by parliament on behalf of the
people of this country.
Labour has laid out our priorities consistently. No-deal -- no-deal must be taken -- no-deal must be taken off the table. A permanent customs union
must be secured. And people's rights and protections must be guaranteed so they do not fall behind.
At every turn, the prime minister has closed the door on dialogue. Businesses begged her to negotiate a comprehensive customers union, trade
union leaders pressed her for the same thing. They were ignored.
[14:45:04] In the last two years, she's only had one priority, the Conservative Party. Her governing principle of delay and denial has
reached the end of the line. She cannot seriously believe that after two years of failure, she's capable of negotiating a good deal for the people
of this country.
The most important issue facing us is that the government has lost the confidence of this house and this country. I, therefore, Mr. Speaker,
inform you, I have now tabled a motion of no confidence in this government -- and I'm pleased -- I'm pleased that motion will be debated tomorrow. So
this House can give its verdict on the sheer incompetence of this government and pass that motion of no-confidence in the government.
ALL: Hear, hear.
BERCOW: First of all, come to the leader -- I will come to the right honorable gentleman, of course. But point of order, the leader of the
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: With permission, Mr. Speaker, I should like to make a short business statement regarding the business for tomorrow and the
remainder of this week.
BERCOW: I'm extraordinarily grateful to right on the lady next. Except that she can't be psychic as to what I'm thinking and I can't be psyching
as to what she's thinking.
I think the smooth and orderly way to proceed with this matter is to deal with points of order first and then to come to the right honorable lady's
statement which would be entirely proper and that was helpful to the House.
And point of order, Mr. Blackford.
IAN BLACKFORD, MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT OF THE UNITED KINGDOM: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. We should be aware of the situation that when the clock is
ticking. We have got very little time to dissolve this. The fact that it has taken us so long to get to this point, frankly, is shameful.
This is a humiliating defeat for the government. When I listen to the prime minister, it sounds like everybody else is at fault rather than her.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hear, hear. Absolutely.
BLACKFORD: We have to take the responsibility for what has happened this evening.
Mr. Speaker, I'm delighted that the leader of the opposition has come round to a motion of no-confidence. It should have happened before but, of
course, and we will support it.
Mr. Speaker, as I mentioned, it is clear the clock is ticking. The government needs to secure the safety of all our nations and should
immediately postpone the Article 50 process.
ALL: Hear, hear.
BLACKFORD: And should immediately have talks with all the leaders of the opposition parties. Let's work together in all our interests. Let's
listen to the voices of the parliamentarians that have been sent here that is not support for this deal. It must not come back again.
The obvious thing to do, the right thing to do, suspend Article 50, put this to the people and a people's vote.
ALL: Hear, hear.
BERCOW: I know the right honorable gentleman won't take offense when I say he was using the device of a point of order, as it's entirely
understandable in these circumstances to say what he wanted to say. But he was more interested in what he had to say to the House than in anything
that I might have to say to him.
It's not a matter for the chair. The right honorable gentleman has registered his view and these are the sorts of his use that can quite
properly be aired and debate and quite conceivably in discussions that take place with the prime minister and other party leaders.
But he's made his point with force and (INAUDIBLE) and he's on the record for colleagues to study. And point of order, we'll take the honorable lady
first and right on, I believe, and then others. Point of order (INAUDIBLE)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. With this result of a scale that is unprecedented in recent times, it is clear that this deal nor any
tweaks to it will get through the House of Commons.
So, can I ask for your guidance, Mr. Speaker, on how parliament can assert its authority to make sure that we can give the people of this country a
say on this deal to resolve this matter? It is a mess that needs to be resolved by the people and a people's vote.
BERCOW: Well, my response to the honorable lady is as follows. First of all, there may well be an opportunity for her to air her own thoughts on
that matter. The situation we face and the suggested way forward in the course of debate to which the prime minister, in her point of order,
referred. There is that prospect potentially unfolding, so that's one opportunity for the honorable lady.
And second would be those discussions to take place in coming days. And I dare say that the honorable lady would want to take the chance to
participate in those. More widely whether there's discussion about parliament's role or what parliament might do and what options parliament
might have, I think I can predict with complete confidence that the honorable lady will have a view about that. And that view, which is
important, will be heard.
And point of order. Mr. Angus Brendan MacNeil.
ANGUS BRENDAN MACNEIL, MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT OF THE UNITED KINGDOM: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. Prime minister spoke about the will of
parliament, Mr. Speaker. And I think we have to investigate that further. When can we test the will of those on the choices are no left, the choices
are no-deal versus the Article 50. Can we test these votes?
[14:50:06] And bear in mind, of course, that in Scotland, the European Union is more popular in the polls than the United Kingdom and the prime
minister should know that.
BERCOW: There will be plenty of opportunity for testing in the days ahead. I think the -- well, can I just take the honorable lady first? Point of
order, Dr. Philippa Whitford.
PHILIPPA WHITFORD, MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT OF THE UNITED KINGDOM: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. This isn't a political point of order. Yes to be
-- it was raised the issue of the member for Hampstead and Kilburn. And the fact that she should have been undergoing a caesarean section today for
a high-risk pregnancy. And she is comfortable with me saying she has gestational diabetes and was asked by her medical team to undergo that --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So we're back after this monumental defeat, more than double the highest estimate that people predicted this vote would go down to defeat.
It is monumental. And there's been a huge amount of conversation about a no-confidence vote.
And we're back with Hala Gorani, Carole Walker, and our chief business anchor Richard Quest, about just digesting, even higher than the worst
highest estimates for her.
WALKER: That is a phenomenal and a shattering defeat. It is worse than the worst estimates of how badly Theresa May was going to lose tonight.
And I think that it may well change the whole dynamic of what happens next. This is the worst defeat of a government this century. It is setting a new
Extraordinarily, the prime minister appeared to be composed, appeared to be sticking to her prepared script.
GORANI: She looked very much like she was expecting that to happen.
WALKER: Indeed, indeed.
GORANI: Maybe not this bad, but --
WALKER: But what we have now seen is the leader of the opposition, Jeremy Corbyn, saying that he's going to call a vote of no-confidence in her
government. The prime minister confirming that that will take place tomorrow. And interesting that during her brief statement, she talked
about how she wanted to try and now have cross-party talks to work out the way forward.
Well, Jeremy Corbyn was pretty dismissive of that idea. And mocked the whole suggestion that you could have a deal defeated on that scale by M.P.s
on all sides of this argument, and somehow think that you can salvage something from it.
So I think that we will see this confidence motion tomorrow. The prime minister may well survive that. The government may well survive that. But
whether the prime minister can now continue, I think there are now new doubts about that.
GORANI: But what happens though if the government doesn't survive --
QUEST: Well, she'll continue in the sense that she has -- I mean, what was interesting is also as soon as she saw the size of that defeat, she was the
one who said, I recognize there is no time for a confidence motion and will accept the motion if the leader of the opposition puts it. She almost
short circuited --
GORANI: Right. She knew it was coming.
QUEST: And then so now it really becomes, do all her members, all her M.P.s who voted against her on this motion, vote with her on a vote of
confidence? Because if she wins the vote of confidence tomorrow, as is expected, then we are back to square one, with no-deal that anybody can
accept. If she loses tomorrow, then we're off to a general election.
WALKER: And there is that question now as to whether maybe some of those real hardliner -- hardline Brexiteers in her party will now think that
actually things have got so bad that they're better to have a general election.
I should say, of course, that there is another option. Yes, the prime minister has survived a confidence vote from within her own party. That
can't happen again. But there is more than one way of getting rid of a prime minister.
And if the cabinet now decide that she is simply not the person to carry this through, if her cabinet, her ministers turn against her, then the
prime minister could still be forced from office, or could still decide herself that given the scale of this defeat, that it's time for her to go.
GORANI: All right. Well, stand by, everybody, because we're going to continue our breaking news coverage. A crushing defeat for Theresa May,
worse than really the worst-case scenario for the prime minister. What lies ahead? The great unknown, to be honest. Julia Chatterley has the
business angle from the city of London.
CHATTERLEY: The great unknown, Hala. It's quite fascinating as we watch that new guys are disgusted all, actually a worst defeat, even though we
were anticipating earlier on today.
And I've been watching the currency movements in light of that. Instead, it's actually is taken back a significant proportion of the losses that
we've seen. And I think it goes to all the points that you guys were just saying there.
[14:55:58] With this kind of defeat, can she now go back to Brussels and negotiate something that could have any reasonable opportunity of passing
in parliament? There's an open question about that, so there has to be perhaps a different approach here in terms of her plan B.
For investors, I think, looking at this, they're thinking, well, has this just raised the likelihood of all the things, again, that you guys were
Now, we've got a confidence vote being called by the opposition here. If we push to a general election, that delays the time horizon.
So, again, for investors, you look at the short term and you look at the medium term. And that critical date, the 29th of March here, which is
obviously that day when the U.K. is set to leave the E.U., doesn't ultimately mean we have to see some kind of postponement of that withdrawal
date hereof Article 50.
And I think these are the critical questions that investors will ask at this moment. And I go to some big players here, the likes of Peter
Hargreaves of Hargreaves Lansdown. He was the second biggest donor to the leave campaign. He's one of the big voices out there that said in light of
all the shenanigans that we've seen in U.K. parliament and from Theresa May over this deal, he doesn't believe ultimately that the U.K. is going to
leave the E.U. And he's decided he thinks that the pound looks like good value here and has actually bought the pound at this stage.
Crispin Odey, another big fund manager here in the U.K., taking the same deal and he thinks she'll go along here. So I think for investors here, an
open question about what the future looks like, not just in the 24 to 48 hours, of course, but beyond.
The critical question, of course, is more uncertainty for small and medium size enterprises. And the uncertainty that they've had over the past
several months, the past 2.5 years, just continues for another few days. The question is how much longer does it last? Richard, Hala, back to you.
QUEST: Thank you, Julia Chatterley, in the city with that. As we continue, Hala and myself moving into the -- gosh, it's 8:00. Who would
have thought -- who would have thought that the defeat would have been so long. It would have been so big and we would have been into so much
turmoil quite so quickly?
And Carole Walker is with us to try and put some context. I'm going to try and ask you to explain the absolutely inexplicable.
WALKER: How a government can survive a defeat of that nature, I guess you are talking about. Yet, this is unprecedented. Richard, this is the
biggest defeat of a government this century.
The prime minister -- her deal that she has worked on for the past two years on the biggest issue facing this country, the whole question of its
future place in the world has been comprehensively rejected by M.P.s on all sides of the arguments over Brexit.
Now, she appeared composed. She appears determined to try to remain in position. She'll face a confidence motion tomorrow, and the likelihood is
that because conservative M.P.s will not want to face a general election, who want to avoid a Corbyn government, and because we've just heard it
looks as though they'll get the support of the Democratic Unionist Party. They could survive that confidence motion.
GORANI: But Richard and Carole, if she survives the confidence motion, she has to go back to Brussels. She has to -- now, she's saying she'll consult
with the opposition party. Maybe a little too little, too late on this one, particularly. But what options does she have left?
WALKER: She has to accept that her deal is dead. It's interesting that there has just been a tweet from Jean-Claude Juncker of the E.U. saying
that the U.K. has to clarify its position.
She cannot go back to the E.U. with a blank sheet of paper. She has to come back with some form of new plan. I think the scale of this defeat
means that any hope she may have had, that I can get a little bit more reassurance on the Northern Ireland backstop and things will be OK. That
has been comprehensively thrown out the window.
QUEST: So if there's one thing that we can take away from tonight's vote - - and the anchor is with us now. If there's one thing we can take away from tonight's vote is that, as Carole says, any notion that you can fiddle
around at the edges with this. I see the wince in your face.
NOBILO: There'll be no fiddling that can get this deal through. A fiddle won't do it. She needs to substantively and fundamentally alter one aspect
of this deal or another. We were referencing this last hour. Either she's decide she's going to appeal to the Brexiteers or she's going to appeal to
the Norway of all within parliament. But she needs to pick.
And my goodness, we haven't yet another reminder that when it comes to the issue of Europe, the Conservative Party of the United Kingdom is
fratricidal. They've lost three prime ministers over Europe already and looks that to put a fourth in the most perilous and difficult situation of
prime minister --
GORANI: But you're talking about -- you have three working days --