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QUEST MEANS BUSINESS
British Lawmakers Vote Against Theresa May's Brexit Deal; British Lawmakers to Vote on No-Deal Brexit Tomorrow. 3-4p ET
Aired March 12, 2019 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BIANCA NOBILO, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Well, so they need the unanimous consent of all of the member states in order to approve an extension and
Article 50 that part of the treaty which explains how a member state can leave is actually very short and doesn't say anything about what length of
time and extension might be. So that is the big question.
RICHARD QUEST, ANCHOR, CNN: I get the feeling that the Brexit Secretary is finished. Let's listen in to the House.
JOHN BERCOW, SPEAKER, HOUSE OF COMMONS: "Aye."
BERCOW: Of the contrary no.
BERCOW: Clear the lobby.
QUEST: And so the voting is underway, the MPs clear the lobby, they will then process through two divisions, the 'ayes' and the 'neys' where they
will be physically counted.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, ANCHOR, CNN: Anybody detect a volume change?
QUEST: In what in me? Or --
AMANPOUR: No, in 'yays' or 'neys.'
HALA GORANI, ANCHOR, CNN: It's always a volume change in Richard.
GORANI: I didn't, but I wasn't listening.
AMANPOUR: I was listening clearly.
NOBILO: ... noise because if they don't make a noise in Parliamentary procedure, it's often just nodded through.
AMANPOUR: No, I know, but generally, the noise level shows which way it is going. Did you do any noise reading? Bianca?
NOBILO: I didn't. Because I was twiddling with my little -- I have feed down here.
QUEST: So they are now filing out through the lobby. We have roughly 15 minutes or so, Nina Dos Santos, are you in Downing Street - well, you are
at Downing Street? But are you there?
NINA DOS SANTOS, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: I am indeed. I'm definitely here. We know the Chancellor is not here because he's gone there, presumably also
the Prime Minister as well, but we haven't seen her. She did enter earlier on through today -- throughout the course of the day through the back
entrance and maybe she's still using that. And we are expecting a statement from the Prime Minister after we have the final decision here on
this vote, which is you said, Richard, you know, according to the Parliamentary math, it doesn't look as though it's going to go her way.
There's a lot of speculation that she might lose by 100 to 150 seats.
It wouldn't quite be the 230 strong historic majority that she lost by last time with that humiliating round one of these meaningful votes. But the
important thing here is that what this will do is bounce us through to another sequence of events that you've been discussing over the last five
minutes with our colleagues.
One, that next vote that set to happen the day after if this deal is rejected, what should be on eliminating a potential for a no-deal and then
after that, another meaningful vote on the issue of whether or not the U.K. and its lawmakers would back the Prime Minister going back to Brussels to
ask for an extension.
Now in the meantime, what we've heard from Brussels, at least via the Twitter sphere is Michel Barnier who is in charge of these negotiations
from the side of the European Commission saying well there seems to have been a little bit of a misunderstanding and you know, the delay was part of
the withdrawal -- it would be part of the withdrawal agreement here.
So the idea is he's trying to say you have to go for her deal first and then try and get some kind of delay, so that confusion reigns here and at
the meantime, as you were talking about it with Christiane, we have real fear here potentially inside Number 10 Downing Street about the unity of
the U.K. as well from here with obviously, Sinn Fein making noises about United Ireland here, the DUP which the current government relies upon to
make up its slender majority in Parliament being out of step with what some of the people of Northern Ireland would like to see and then of course
confusion reigning inside even Theresa May's own party which fears that if they don't manage to deliver Brexit in whichever form it is, or they may
have lost the confidence of the people and also of course, within her own Cabinet, they are still split as well.
So for the moment, the stakes are really high and that's why I oversee looking at who's filing into these lobbies on the left and right to try and
get an idea of you know whether she will win or lose and if so, by which majority is really important to get an idea of how much authority this
government currently has to figure out where they're going to go from here, Richard.
AMANPOUR: And look, let's just point out again, the head of the E.U. said yesterday after meeting with Theresa May, let us be crystal clear if this
vote fails, Brexit might not happen at all. So thank you there, Nina dos Santos at Downing Street.
We also have Nic Robertson in Londonderry, Northern Ireland close to the border with Ireland. Anna Stewart joins us from Edinburgh, Scotland where
people voted to remain back in 2016 and Erin McLaughlin is in Brussels bringing us the European perspective.
And we're going to hear from all in a minute back to where we are though right now outside Parliament and our Bianca Nobilo.
GORANI: And to update our viewers on the E.U. side because you were saying that is of course the essential part in all of this, and Michel Barnier,
the chief E.U. negotiator is reminding MPs, you get no transition if you leave without a deal. You don't approve a negotiated deal.
GORANI: And that leaves the UK where overnight?
NOBILO: Well, what about the extensions --
QUEST: What he was saying was, the reason he said that was, he said in his tweet, I've been listening to the House of Commons debate and there seems
to be a view that you can have a transition without a withdrawal agreement. You cannot. It's basically, "No-deal Brexit."
GORANI: Yes, exactly. But if there's an extension, there's an extension. Then obviously, this is a period of top --
QUEST: Even if there is an extension, you're still in the E.U.
GORANI: No, of course, yes. No, yes.
NOBILO: But I think it's significant that Michel Barnier has made that intervention. And last night Young Conssett (ph), he's been following the
debates in the House of Commons, day by day, if not hour by hour. And Christiane, you mentioned earlier, the fact that the E.U. in some respects
have been beating their head against a wall because they're trying to negotiate with the U.K., and it's been so difficult.
And one of the main reasons for that it's been cause even though the referendum result was in favor of leave, the Parliamentary arithmetic, the
number of MPs in the House of Commons are in favor of remain. So that has made things difficult from the get go. And this is this tension between
direct democracy by referendum and representative democracy by Parliament.
AMANPOUR: And can I just sort of point out just in case people are wondering why we're all little punch drunk is because it is really
difficult to make sense of this. It is really difficult to digest the fact that something of this monumental magnitude is descended into what many
have described as far as a lack of leadership and inability of consensus politics, and just a complete and utter shambles, really, in terms of
And I was just speaking to the former U.S. Ambassador to the E.U. and on a very practical and pragmatic level, he told me that this government has not
even put into place basic safeguards for some of the basic things that have to keep happening every day in order to keep the country standing.
GORANI: But, I mean, disentangling yourself from a 45-year partnership --
AMANPOUR: But you can make basic --
GORANI: You can but --
AMANPOUR: Preparatory --
GORANI: All of their time and energy is spent negotiating line by line these deals that can't get through Parliament.
QUEST: Yes, but that's the point. That's the point.
GORANI: I'm not sure anyone thought that in two years, you could establish the framework, the infrastructure, the financial linkage --
AMANPOUR: They did think it, that's why we're here.
QUEST: I think -- everybody knew that there was going to be - there had to be a transitional period of some sort. What I didn't think they thought
was that it was going to be so difficult to get an agreement through the House. I didn't - I don't think that people had been fully factored in the
depths of division that was going to fight until the very end.
AMANPOUR: A former major British official working in the E.U. told me two years ago, "Mark my words, Northern Ireland, the border is going to be it,"
and nobody figured that out. It was just this cavalier discussions about "Oh, yes, we can fix that with electronic monitoring and this, that and the
NOBILO: But even in the referendum campaign, it wasn't even mentioned by the remain campaign as a very persuasive argument ...
AMANPOUR: Or by anybody.
NOBILO: ... that they've had on their side because it wasn't -- it was either underestimated or completely overlooked in the referendum campaign
AMANPOUR: We are in the round hole, square peg moment. We just are. We always have. It is just going to be incredibly difficult to make this
thing happen out of all of this.
QUEST: And let's assume everything just go according to plan and/or whatever plan that might be. Let's assume ...
GORANI: What plan is that?
QUEST: ... that you do through a transitional period. You still have got a problem with Northern Ireland even if you solve the goods issue by having
a tariff free or whatever or electronic. You've still got the problem, how do you stop or monitor E.U. citizens going into Ireland, crossing the
border. In doing so, they become illegal immigrants into the U.K., but they could do it and then because of the common travel area, just coming
across to the U.K. Nobody has come up with that solution.
NOBILO: Right, well, the Brexit supporters and those who are opposed to the backstop will say there are creative solutions ...
AMANPOUR: But what are they?
GORANI: ... that experts -- well, just monitoring from the air or I'm not sure. I mean none of them sound like practical solutions, right? But
that's what you're hearing from Boris Johnson's and the Jacob Rees-Mogg's.
NOBILO: Yes, I mean, it's usually they talk about managing it through technological solutions usually...
GORANI: That don't exist yet.
NOBILO: ... revolving around trusted trader schemes, number plate recognition, but you mention the issue of people and that's something I
haven't heard addressed in committees yet.
QUEST: Because there is no solution. There is no solution. Once you're - -
GORANI: Either you have a border or you don't.
QUEST: Once you're through the Schengen border at the beginning of Ireland, on the coast of Ireland on Dublin Airport, you're free to then
cross into Northern Ireland because it's the common travel area, which they are committed to keeping under the Good Friday Agreement and therefore,
into the U.K. on the boat or the plane.
QUEST: I mean, it sounds --
AMANPOUR: It's easier than when Britain was in the E.U.
QUEST: Oh, yes. These are issues that are real issues that they are going to have to deal with, but the biggest issue tonight, of course, it's just
something to get through the House. And let me remind you, the House is now voting on the government's motion to go ahead with Theresa May's
They are nine minutes into the vote. So another four or five minutes. She is expected to lose this vote, the Prime Minister. That is, the issue is
by how much?
GORANI: Yes, 650 Members of Parliament, a simple majority is needed. The votes started 10 minutes ago. On average, these usually take about 15
minutes, and then the tellers make their way to the Speaker and that's when the announcement is made.
Bianca, the big question of course is if Theresa May loses by a lot, she's going to be under so much pressure to resign.
NOBILO: She will be. I was speaking to Members of Parliament last night who were saying the back benchers are already on the move, some of them
because they're so frustrated with the way that May has conducted these negotiations.
And that's because they were waiting to find out what legally binding changes she was going to get. So either they were always going to want to
challenge her anyway or they were generally giving her the benefit of the doubt. But when they got back what they got back last night, they think
fairly convoluted changes that do not amount to what they asked for, what they instructed her to go and get - that was it for them and they want to
see her out.
QUEST: What does resignation gain anybody with only 18 days before you're out?
AMANPOUR: It's not going to happen?
QUEST: I mean, surely, I fully understand that she is not going to last long. But to leave --
AMANPOUR: She doesn't have to go until November.
QUEST: No, but I mean, she's not likely to go and meet -- I mean, who would take over?
NOBILO: Oh, this is the question. I mean, there are obviously people ...
AMANPOUR: There are plenty of people vying ...
NOBILO: ... with leadership ambitions. But it's not something that it would be sensible for any of them to launch at this moment in time with 17
days to go, as you mentioned.
QUEST: Go ahead.
AMANPOUR: Well, where do you see -- just as we wait to see what's going on, Bianca, how much impact has the defection of certain Tory MPs had? I
mean, obviously, we've had Labour MPs for a different reason, the anti- Semitism and the other -- well, nine in total have left Labour and the Tory Party, how much impact has that had at all on politics right now?
NOBILO: Less on the Tory Party, I would I would make that assessment. And that's because those other members of Parliament that the Conservative
Party knew they didn't have on their side anyway. So Anna Soubry was an incredibly vocal Member of Parliament. She supported a second referendum.
She still does campaigns heavily for that. Her colleagues as well were along a similar vein.
In fact, some people even said that they didn't really sit comfortably within the Conservative Party like Sarah Wollaston and Heidi Allen, so the
Labour Party, it was slightly more complex, because it wasn't just the issue of Brexit. It was issues related to anti-Semitism and other issues
they had with the way in which the Party is being led.
So I think that the defections had a limited impact on the Conservative Party where they may have had more impact is when the leaders of Labour and
Conservatives are thinking about the possibility of a general election in the near future, which cannot be ruled out especially as the political
weather gets more and more unpredictable and then they see the polls and this new independent group, as you mentioned, Christiane, which is where
these MPs defected to that is holding very strongly around 14%.
So that makes them wonder as well, how they're going to do in some of these key seats and what it would mean for them electorally.
GORANI: And we're seeing the chamber fill back up now. So we should be really minutes away from the vote tally announcement. There they are.
There are four tellers who walk up to the speaker, right, Bianca and then the Speaker asks them to give the House and him and the rest of the country
and the world the results.
NOBILO: Any moment now, we'll be hearing those numbers declared and it really will be a matter of degrees. There's been talk today among
lawmakers I've spoken to about whether or not if May get a resounding defeat, will she then declare that she's going to seek an Article 50
extension immediately to buy herself some time and whether or not she can do that on her own? It opens up a whole host of questions.
It definitely puts fresh question marks over her position as leader as well given that she is synonymous with her Brexit plan. This is her flagship
policy and she's not able to command the confidence of the House if she fails yet again.
AMANPOUR: So the way it's been choreographed is that after tonight's vote, presuming she loses, there will be these other two votes. So tomorrow is
expected to be take no-deal off the table and the following day is expected to be vote for an extension of Article 50.
Now Theresa May herself doesn't want to take no-deal off the table. She wants to keep it as leverage with the E.U. So describe the circumstances
around that. What happens if a whole load of her Cabinet decided to vote or MPs to take it off table?
NOBILO: This is a really significant point because the big question certainly for a Parliamentary nerd, but also significant for other people
is how will the government whip -- so in the U.K., there are three types of whips, the one whip, the two line whip, and the three line whip. The three
line being the most severe.
If you defy a three line whip, that is serious business for your Party. You are in real trouble. So what will the Prime Minister do? When she's
faced -- if she's faces as we expect with that vote on whether or not to approve a no-deal, well she's maintained throughout that she doesn't want
to take it off the table, so how will she tell her party to vote?
AMANPOUR: A free vote? Vote their conscience.
NOBILO: So a free vote has been discussed for so many months now. The Cabinet are keen on it because it's made up of constellation of remainers
and leavers. Free votes are usually reserved for moral issues. It would be very unusual, again, to be applied to such a key policy in an
QUEST: Is it even possible to whip on this issue because on certain grounds -- because people will say it's a conscientious vote, it's about
the future of our country, and she's likely to lose considerably in terms of number of MPs who would not obey the whip.
GORANI: And Theresa May just walked back in by the way.
QUEST: Oh excellent, and so we're getting quite close to the votes just about 15 minutes. We'll start to see the tellers muster at the dispatch
boxes and at the table in front of the mace.
QUEST: We've only had one -- I think we've had one mace raising and joining this in some way, if I am not mistaken in the past.
AMANPOUR: Even for the non-Parliamentary nerd like myself, what is the difference between a three, two and one line whip? What does that even
mean in real language?
NOBILO: So it's increasing order of severity, so a three-line whip is something where let's say you're a Member of Parliament, you have an
important engagement somewhere in the country. You need to come back for that you need to vote. It means the government needs your vote and it's an
essential vote for you to be at.
If it's a one-line whip and you have a constituency tombola that you're doing in order to raise money for your local charity, they will let you go,
so that's --
AMANPOUR: So government decides how many lines to put in the whip.
AMANPOUR: Got it.
NOBILO: That's true indeed.
GORANI: But the bigger picture obviously, Christiane, Richard, Bianca is this could be another big defeat for the Prime Minister. This could mean
another big defeat for her Brexit deal, and it is the great unknown. Let's be honest, this is the only story I've ever covered in my life, where high
level politicians and people who are in meetings tell you candidly, I have no idea what's going to happen in the next few hours, in the next few days.
And anyone who tells you otherwise is delusional or is lying.
QUEST: But it's also one of the only stories I can recall where people are going against their own Party because they so passionately believe we can
argue and the nation can debate the merits of leave, don't leave the Customs Union, single market.
But people like Jacob Rees-Mogg feel very strongly, they feel very strongly about it. And they see their obligations here as being more than two party
or even to Parliament, they are fighting for what they see as the country.
NOBILO: And MPs often say, I remember this the first time I started working in Parliament, most MPs tell you that you have to always weigh off
on every issue, country, party, constituency, the area that you represent. And in this instance, it's interesting because some MPs are putting their
party first, a lot of MPs are putting the country first and what they think is best for the country. And not all MPs are putting the area they
represent first, because there are many MPs that are voting in a different way than their constituency voted.
AMANPOUR: I mean, one of the big criticisms has been in fact that many of the politicians are actually not even putting their party or they are like
putting themselves and their ideology ahead of the country. And I think that's very important. You know, there's a reason as patriots again, you
know, talking to the former Ambassador of the United States to the E.U., in this country, it has a reputation that it has nurtured for hundreds of
years of this great bureaucracy, this great civil service, this phenomenal pragmatic, consensus driven you know, political can-do-ism.
And this has shattered people's faith. This meltdown has shattered people's faith in that history.
QUEST: Winston Churchill always used to say that the House was built for particular size for a particular reason, there aren't enough seats for
everybody. There are 650 MPs, but there's not enough room and you can see there. I mean, it was designed in the post war after it was bombed
specifically for moments like this, those moments when they wanted to capture an elevated sense of emotion and an elevated sense of importance.
GORANI: And it's a crucial moment in U.K. history. I mean, this is a country that for many centuries had what it thought to be a great colonial
empire. It's become a vibrant economy in the top 10, but it doesn't have that of course, footprint in the world and ...
GORANI: ... a lot of the Brexiteers maybe have some nostalgia of those greater times.
NOBILO: I think they do.
GORANI: This is something they'd like to regain as an independent nation.
QUEST: Mark Rutte, the Prime Minister of Denmark said --
QUEST: Sorry, I beg your pardon, in the moment at the Netherlands, he said, "Britain outside of the E.U. he will turn into a middling country in
the middle of the Atlantic."
GORANI: I mean --
AMANPOUR: You know what, the truth of the matter is, no matter what you think about which side of the debate, the real issue is the way the
politics are being conducted. The way this reality is being conducted. That's the real issue, not whether leave remain obviously everybody has
their own view on that.
QUEST: It looks the Speaker is starting. Let's listen in. Yes, so what's been going on as you -- we said it was going to take 15 minutes, it's over
20. They normally go very much according to time. That was speaker investigating the delay in the lobby, we should have by now, Bianca, we
should have been seeing the tellers returning. The House is full, so there's something gone awry.
NOBILO: It's unusually long. This is now as you say, over 20 minutes, I make it about 21 minutes.
QUEST: It looks like these other tellers coming through. Yes, let's listen in to the House.
JOHN BERCOW, SPEAKER, HOUSE OF COMMONS: Order. Order. The 'ayes' to the right, 242. The 'no's' to the left, 391.
The 'ayes' to the right 242, the 'no's' to the left 391. So the 'no's' have it. The no's have it. Unlock.
Order. Point of order. The Prime Minister.
THERESA MAY, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: I profoundly regret the decision that this House has taken tonight.
I continue to believe that by far the best outcome is that the UK leaves the EU in an orderly fashion with a deal, and that the deal we have
negotiated is the best and indeed the only deal available.
I would like to set out briefly how the Government means to proceed.
Two weeks ago, I made a series of commitments from this dispatch box regarding the steps we would take in the event that this House rejected the
deal on offer. I stand by those commitments in full.
Therefore, tonight we will table a motion for debate tomorrow to test whether the House supports leaving the European Union without a deal on the
29th of March.
The Leader of the House will shortly make an emergency business statement confirming the change to tomorrow's business.
This is an issue of grave importance for the future of our country. Just like the referendum, there are strongly held and equally legitimate views
on both sides.
For that reason, I can confirm that this will be a free vote on this side of the House.
I have personally struggled with this choice as I am sure many other Honorable Members will. I am passionate about delivering the result of the
But I equally passionately believe that the best way to do that is to leave in an orderly way with a deal and I still believe there is a majority in
the House for that course of action.
And I am conscious also of my duties as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and of the potential damage
to the Union that leaving without a deal could do when one part of our country is without devolved governance.
I can therefore confirm that the motion will read:
"That this House declines to approve leaving the European Union without a Withdrawal Agreement and a Framework on the Future Relationship on the 29th
of March 2019; and notes that leaving without a deal remains the default in U.K. and E.U. law unless this House and the E.U. ratify an agreement."
MAY: I will return to the House to open the debate tomorrow and to take interventions from Honorable Members. And to ensure the House is fully
informed in making this historic decision, the Government will tomorrow publish information on essential policies which would need to be put in
place if we were to leave without a deal.
These will cover our approach to tariffs and the Northern Ireland border, among other matters.
If the House votes to leave without a deal on the 29th March, it will be the policy of the Government to implement that decision.
If the House declines to approve leaving without a deal on the 29th of March, the Government will, following that vote, bring forward a motion on
Thursday on whether Parliament wants to seek an extension to Article 50.
If the House votes for an extension, the Government will seek to agree that extension with the EU and bring forward the necessary legislation to change
the exit date commensurate with that extension.
But let me be clear. Voting against leaving without a deal and for an extension does not solve the problems we face. The EU will want to know
what use we mean to make of such an extension.
This House will have to answer that question. Does it wish to revoke Article 50? Does it want to hold a second referendum? Or does it want to
leave with a deal, but not this deal?
These are unenviable choices, but thanks to the decision that the House has made this evening they are choices that must now be faced.
BERCOW: Point of order, Mr. Jeremy Corbyn.
JEREMY CORBYN, LEADER, LABOUR PARTY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The government has been defeated again by an enormous majority and they must
accept their deal, their proposal, the one the Prime Minister has put is clearly dead and does not have the support of this House.
And quite clearly, no-deal must be taken off the table. We've said that before and we'll say that again.
But it does mean the House has got to come together with a proposal that could be negotiated. The Labour Party has put that proposal and we will
put that proposal again because the dangers of what the Prime Minister is proposing are basically that if she carries on, threatening us all with the
danger of no-deal, the danger of that knowing full well the damage that will do to the British economy.
This Party will put forward our proposals again, which are about a negotiated Customs Union, access to the market and protection of rights.
Those are the ones we'll put forward. We believe there may well be a majority for them, but there will also be the potential of negotiating
The Prime Minister has run down the clock and the clock has been run out on her. Maybe, it's time instead we had a General Election and the people can
choose who their government should be.
BERCOW: Point of order. Order. Point of Order. Mr. Ian Blackford.
IAN BLACKFORD, MP, SCOTTISH NATIONAL PARTY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. This is a humiliating defeat for the government this evening and this deal
should not come back in any way, shape or form again.
Mr. Speaker, people will once again be looking on at this Parliament and at this government in despair. The next few days are the opportunity finally
to take some essential steps.
Tomorrow, we have the opportunity to vote to block any attempt to leave the E.U. without a deal and the Prime Minister must act as Prime Minister, not
as the Tory Party leader and bring her Party into line. Stop the U.K. being dragged off a cliff and vote against a no-deal Brexit.
As Prime Minister, it is the duty of the government to act in all our national interest and that means ruling out no-deal, and then we in the
Scottish National Party will be prepared to engage in discussion with the government on securing an extension to Article 50 that is long enough to
enable the issue to be put back to the people.
This afternoon, the First Minister of Scotland told the Prime Minister that in the event that the deal was voted down again, we would engage
constructively on sensible proposals. These proposals must include another E.U. referendum.
Mr. Speaker, can you advice on what options are open to the House to bring these proposals forward swiftly in the interest of time. We have a
responsibility to end the uncertainty for all our concessions and all our businesses.
JOHN BERCOW, SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF COMMONS OF THE UNITED KINGDOM: Thank the gentleman for his point of order which I think was probably directed as
a wider --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, HOST, AMANPOUR: So there you have various MPs standing up, talking about what's just taken place in the houses behind me.
And what we've seen is Theresa May's Brexit deal has once again been roundly defeated, only less harshly than last time in January.
She lost by 149 votes compared to 230 a month ago. She also two months ago, she also talked about laying out the table for the next two days,
voting whether or not to take a no-deal off the table will happen tomorrow. And the following day, depending on how that goes, we'll have a vote about
an extension of article 50.
Very importantly, and we'll get our political analyst Carole Walker to help us through this, she said and she freed and released her MPs to have a vote
of conscience, if you like, a vote of conscience, a free vote on this matter tomorrow.
CAROLE WALKER, POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, absolutely. This is a Prime Minister who has gone down to another shattering defeat. You're right, it
wasn't quite as enormous as the biggest ever defeat which she went down to in January. But nonetheless, with 17 days to go until Brexit, her entire
strategy is now in tatters.
This is a Prime Minister who now was unable to say what she felt the next step should be, was unable to whip her party. She knew that if she
required her government to support a no deal that one half of her cabinet would have walked out.
If she had required them to support an extension, another half of her cabinet would have walked out. The only thing she could do was to allow a
free vote. I think it underlines her complete loss of authority, her complete loss of control over events. And she will now simply be bound by
what happens over the next two days of votes.
HALA GORANI, HOST, HALA GORANI TONIGHT: Hillary Ben, sorry, the chair of the Brexit Select Committee said we need another way forward, we're done
essentially voting on this.
RICHARD QUEST, HOST, QUEST MEANS BUSINESS: We need to go to Julia Chatterley in the city of London tonight. Julia, I beg to suggest that the
pound has rallied on this. It was down over 1 percent, it's now three- quarters of a percent. Explain.
JULIA CHATTERLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's just a little move higher, Richard. So, I don't want to put too much emphasis on this right now.
What I will say is there were no surprises here for investors. Investors had looked at this and said you know what, we're not anticipating this deal
to pass tonight, and that's what we got.
So it's a bit of reinforcement really of the view right now. I think we look ahead as Theresa May did in the House of Commons just now, and looked
at the vote tomorrow, and I think that's where all the emphasis is going to be. What investors look for in these situations is the surprise.
Did they get caught out tonight? No, they didn't. If we get to that vote tomorrow and what's anticipated here is that parliament will rule out a
no-deal exit, then again investors will be getting confirmation of what they expect. The surprise of course tomorrow would be if parliament
doesn't rule out a no-deal exit and then you could see the pound really move.
And I've spoken to investors that say we could see the pound 10 percent even lower versus the U.S. dollar if we get a surprise tomorrow. So
instantly, markets move ahead to the next event and they're already I think looking at this and saying, let's look at the vote tomorrow and let's see
what we get there. And the anticipation is we rule out a no-deal exit here, if we don't, then all bets are off. Richard?
QUEST: Julia, the equity markets, the FTSE, you and I have discussed this before. But -- so why -- it may not have improved much over the last few
years, but bearing in mind the parlor state of the economy with a no-deal Brexit or just more uncertainty. Why is it -- why is it still at its
CHATTERLEY: Yes, counter-intuitive this one. Remember, when we see sterling weaken, our exports here in the U.K. get cheaper. Those have
supplies that they send elsewhere in the world get cheaper, they're more easily bought. So we tend to see this counter effect.
When sterling weakens, the FTSE 100, even the FTSE 250, the smaller stocks benefit. And in fact, what we've seen since that referendum back in 2016
is a 17 percentage point rise for the FTSE 100, it's just one of the anomalies of having big companies that export to elsewhere --
QUEST: Right --
CHATTERLEY: In the world. When your currency weakens, your exports get cheaper.
[15:35:00] Julia Chatterley in the city, keep watching, please, we'll be back with you shortly.
GORANI: Of course, Brussels, certainly, there's a lot of talk in Brussels and among EU leaders about today's vote. Erin McLaughlin joins us from
there. So the margin of defeat is about 14 -- if it is 149, we're in the triple digits, certainly, it's not less than a 100, it's not a small
What are EU leaders and sources saying about what happens next with this deal? Will they renegotiate it? Add a piece of paper, kind of about good
faith, this that or the other or is this the end of the line for the talks?
ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Oh, Hala, we just received first official reaction almost instantaneously as that vote came down. The
spokesperson for the President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, texted me a statement saying, quote -- let me read you part of it, "that he
regrets the outcome of tonight's vote.
But on the EU side, we have done all that is possible to reach an agreement. Given the additional assurances provided by the EU in December,
January and yesterday, it is difficult to see what more we can do. If there's a solution to the current impasse, it can only be found in
Echoes of what we heard from the president of the European Commission Jean- Claude Juncker in that joint press conference last night in Strasbourg alongside British Prime Minister Theresa May making it very clear that
there will be no third chances on this.
That there will be no more reassurances on top of the reassurances already offered with respect to the controversial Northern Irish backstop, that the
EU has nothing more to give on this. In this statement, president of the council Donald Tusk making it very clear that at this point in the EU's
view, the ball is very much still in Westminster's court.
GORANI: All right, Erin McLaughlin in Brussels, thanks very much.
AMANPOUR: So everyone, let's get the view from Northern Ireland, which really is the key sticking point here. International diplomatic editor Nic
Robertson is in Londonderry. Nic, you and I have worked together covering the troubles, covering the Good Friday Agreement.
We know what a huge obstacle the backstop is. And Theresa May talked about the fact that, you know, there's an additional problem, there's no devolved
government right now where you are, and you're standing at Stormont.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Christiane, where I am right now is where you and I both stood just 20 or so years ago watching
young men from the bog side in Londonderry, Derry, throwing petrol bombs at police, who were responding with baton rounds, rubber bullets.
It was an intense confrontation, and people thought that had been put behind Northern Ireland 20 years ago now, after the peace agreement. But
the real concern is, and this is precisely what you've been talking about here, is while the whole of the country worries about the uncertainty, the
current state of the Brexit talks are at -- over businesses.
How can businesses invest, you know, so many concerns there. The growing and big concern here as you have been saying is that constitutional
question. Northern Ireland's future has suddenly been thrust back front, and center. The Democratic Unionist Party prop up Theresa May's government
with her slender majority, are determined to make sure that Northern Ireland does not slip one iota away from its ties with the rest of the
United Kingdom and towards a united Ireland.
But the other political aspiration here for united Ireland feels that this is perhaps a moment that pulls people closer together. Eighty percent of
the people in this city here voted to remain in the European Union. Tomorrow, Theresa May has said that as part of the Brexit plans for a no-
deal Brexit, the government will lay out what it will do for the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
And this of course is the central concern. Any amount of infrastructure put along that border would very likely increase the activities of groups
like the new IRA who blew up a car bomb just a few yards from this hotel a couple of months ago, and just over the last 24 hours claimed
responsibility for those incendiary bombs that were sent to Waterloo Station, Heathrow, City Airport and Glasgow Airport last week.
So this atmosphere that we're in, where this contentious issue that led to all the troubles in the past resurfaces at a time when dissident Republican
groups are threatening increasing levels of violence.
[15:40:00] The concerns here must be -- must be very high for Theresa May, for everyone here that lives in Northern Ireland because the issues of the
past are resurfacing. And many people here would say that is in part because Theresa May has been guided by the wishes and thoughts of the
Democratic Unionist Party.
And that's part of the difficulty that everyone here right now in Northern Ireland, particularly in this city of Derry feel very keenly. We're just a
couple of miles from the border here.
AMANPOUR: Exactly, Nic, and of course, I know you're not in Stormont, you are in Londonderry, and really important that information you come with.
And let's just not forget that two-thirds of the people of Northern Ireland say that they'd rather remain in a single Customs Union if it avoids a hard
And furthermore, some two-thirds according to the latest polls of the "Irish Times", et cetera say that they would favor a separate deal with the
EU than the one that perhaps happens with the U.K. So it's a very big issue in Northern Ireland right now.
GORANI: And threatening the territorial, basically, integrity of the country. Lord Norman Lamont; you're a former conservative chancellor,
you're a Brexit supporter, but what's going on? What's going to happen now that this deal has been defeated soundly for the second time? There will
be a vote tomorrow on whether or not to leave without a deal. And I know you don't support that outcome. Are you worried, though?
NORMAN LAMONT, FORMER BRITISH FINANCE MINISTER: Well, you described me as a Brexiteer, which indeed I am --
GORANI: Yes --
LAMONT: But I actually would have voted with the government tonight.
GORANI: Yes --
LAMONT: But I was not surprised that the government lost, and indeed, someone asked me for my forecast of the government majority, I said 150, I
was wrong by one vote.
GORANI: OK --
LAMONT: It was quite obvious to me that the Attorney General's opinion had not satisfied people and --
GORANI: You are potentially facing a no-deal outcome here if the vote doesn't go --
LAMONT: And tomorrow, there will be a vote which could rule out no-deal. That is right. I expect that will be carried tomorrow.
GORANI: Yes --
LAMONT: The day after that, there will then be a vote on whether there should be an application to extend the date of leaving. And I think,
although less certain, that, that will be carried.
QUEST: But there has to be a logic to this. And the logic does say that if you voted to take no-deal off the table, ergo, you do vote to extend
because the two are rather -- unless you are --
LAMONT: Yes --
QUEST: The most Brexiteer that just wants to take it off the table, but still wants to vote -- doesn't want to extend because that is the default
position in the U.K. law at the moment.
LAMONT: No, that's absolutely right. I don't disagree with that.
QUEST: So what -- I mean, you don't expect or maybe you do, Europe to make any further last-minute concessions. Some idea that next week's council,
the rabbit will be pulled out of the hat.
LAMONT: Well, it has been known before. It's not entirely impossible. But of course, you would have to demand a pink, white, or red rabbit.
They'd have to know what they want. I mean, the situation at the moment is nothing seems able to command a majority in the House of Commons.
I mean, I think what we may have at some stage after an extension -- I mean, first of all, they have to decide how long the extension is for.
They will have then to get permission from the EU, there may be conditions attached to it. Some people favor a short extension, but the short
extension only makes sense if you know what it's for.
Other people say, well, if you don't know what you want, let's have a very long extension, maybe 21 months, which more or less coincides with the
implementation period, and have the two running in parallel. But what I think will happen at some point is there will be a series of indicative
votes so that the government can see what people can form a majority around.
I mean, my guess -- I don't at all favor this -- is something like the Norwegian solution.
AMANPOUR: I'm curious to know what caused all those other MPs to change their votes. She obviously had a lesser defeat than she did back in
January. And whether you would have voted for or against her last time in January and what may have changed your mind this time.
LAMONT: Well, I would have voted the last time probably against the government.
AMANPOUR: Right --
LAMONT: This time, I think I would have voted again for the government. Not because anything has changed, that's why she was -- anything much has
changed. But Jeffrey Cox did say that although there was no guarantee that the U.K. could get out of the backstop, the risk could be lessened.
AMANPOUR: Yes --
LAMONT: Well, that for me was enough excuse to slightly alter my position. But I would have altered my position because actually I think there is a
risk to the whole Brexit project.
AMANPOUR: Well, those lost you there, yes --
LAMONT: And also, I think it makes the Norwegian solution, joining the European Economic area more likely, which I don't think is a very
[15:45:00] I would rather have had Mrs. May's views than the Norwegian solution or ruling out no deal, which is where we will be.
QUEST: So are the -- are the most strident Brexiteers --
LAMONT: I'm glad that I'm not a great moderate.
GORANI: Sure, we can say that.
QUEST: Are the great -- are the most strident Brexiteers, are they now playing with fire with their own ambitions here? Because at the end of the
day, you, I mean -- the Norwegian solution, which I think many people do accept is probably the worst of all --
AMANPOUR: And even the Norwegian say you don't want this --
QUEST: Yes, that's right, a country like the U.K. to -- it would -- it is the vassal state --
GORANI: Yes --
QUEST: Solution, but they could end up with it. They could have overplayed their hand.
LAMONT: Well, I think there is a danger of that. And I said that to some of my good friends in the commons who were arguing very fiercely to vote
against the government. That -- you know, they're in danger of checking out the baby with the bathwater and losing it all. That is --
QUEST: What do they say?
LAMONT: Well, they think not. They think there's more latitude there.
AMANPOUR: But where? Where do they see the give? In the EU? Who's going to cry, uncle?
LAMONT: Well, I don't know quite what they see. I think they think that in the end, the fact that there is a big demo -- you know, there is a big
block of public opinion in favor of withdrawal, of leaving the EU, you know, and that has got to be honored, that promise has got to be met, I
think that's what they're relying on.
AMANPOUR: Norman Lamont, former chancellor of the Exchequer, thank you so much for joining us, thank you. Now, we go back to our Nina dos Santos,
who's at Downing Street. Nina, I don't know whether the Prime Minister has come back or what you're hearing from out there. But you know, she's laid
out -- she's laid the table for the next couple of days.
NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's right, and obviously, she said that MPs are going to get a free vote on that next step, which is
potentially ruling out a no-deal scenario, voting on that. Not according to party lines, but basically according to their conscience.
And that in itself is quite significant because obviously it's telling, given the fact that we're talking about a government here that -- at least
a Prime Minister that has twice lost two of these meaningful votes in spectacular fashion.
We haven't seen the Prime Minister back here at number 10 Downing Street as yet. We haven't seen her chancellor next door at number 11 either. We're
expecting them to come back at some point within the next hour or so. But one thing that they're probably going to have to think of overnight is how
Theresa May, the Prime Minister, who of course steered these country through these tortuous Brexit negotiations, alienating so many people on
both sides of the aisle and even on either side of her cabinet table.
How will she vote in that deal on a no-deal scenario in that free vote tomorrow? Because she will have to be voting according to her own
conscience and her own principles. And all the way through, this lengthy procedure in this run-up to March the 29th, she has said I've always said
no deal is better than a bad deal.
And she's continued to doggedly stand by this deal that she's championed and put back on the table and not very much changed fashion today. She has
continued to say that is a good deal and it's the best deal that she's going to get.
So from here, we have that vote on the no-deal scenario, and then potentially more votes on the issue of a delay from here. Big question is
as you heard Norman Lamont say before, what would that delay be for and how long would it be? Would it be enough to embrace something like a Norway
model that has a bit more consensus on either side of the aisle?
Would it be enough to embrace a second referendum which of course the opposition is suffering too notably. So those will be the next big things
that will come up in the political sphere over the next few weeks, Christiane.
AMANPOUR: Nina, thank you. I wonder if she rues the day, the Prime Minister, when she said no-deal is better than a bad deal.
QUEST: Yes, well, according to an election in the middle of it. Right, in the middle of Britain's Brexit debacle, 11 lawmakers from the conservative
and labor parties, they left to form the so-called Independent Group. One of their members Mike Gapes is with me now and with us now. Good to see
you, Mike, so how are you going to vote tomorrow?
MIKE GAPES, BRITISH INDEPENDENT GROUP MP: Well, I'm going to vote to stop no deal. We will try and get an amendment to the motion that the Prime
Minister is going to table, though we haven't yet seen the text of the motion. We've only heard what she said in the chamber, but then it's a
matter of whether the speaker selects those amendments.
We put an amendment down today, but it wasn't selected. The amendment we had today was calling for an extension of the process to allow a people's
vote on an outcome that parliament would determine because we believe that the public -- a referendum got us into this mess, and the only way we'll
get out of it is to have a referendum to give the people a final say on whether they accept the proposals, the deal or the better deal that we
already have by remaining in the EU.
[15:50:00] GORANI: So that would be the question, remain or Theresa May's deal?
GAPES: Or a variation of it if parliament voted for it --
GORANI: You voted against tonight?
GAPES: Of course, I did because Theresa May's deal is worse, much worse economically, politically in terms of the influence of our country than
staying in the European Union. And in fact, it was unpopular with the arch hard-line remain --
GORANI: Leavers --
GAPES: Leavers as well as those of us who want to remain.
QUEST: But the -- we are, according to Norman Lamont, who's very astute on these matters. We are heading towards or the U.K. I should say is heading
towards a Norway solution, a Norway option. And it goes like this. No deal goes off the table tomorrow, extension voted for, going into a long
extension, only way out of it, Norway solution.
GAPES: The problem with that is the European Union to get an extension, we have to get the agreement of the other 27 EU states. And the EU will only
give an extension beyond May the 23rd, which is the European parliament --
GORANI: Yes --
GAPES: Elections. They would only give an extension beyond that period for something like an election or a referendum. They won't I believe give
an extension for further negotiation discussion, and indecisive outcome. So I think the Norway option might have been a goer two years ago, but
frankly, that it is not a credible position at this stage. It would require a very lengthy extension in order to negotiate it.
AMANPOUR: Were you surprised when the Prime Minister called for a free vote, said that she'd allow a free vote and not a whip?
GAPES: Given the chaos in her government, the fact that she had ministers who had openly said that they would vote against no deal, and if they were
whipped, they would defy the government and therefore have to be sacked. This is basically -- she's trying to preserve her party. That's what she's
QUEST: Well, you don't -- you don't have to worry about that anymore, do you, having to follow a bit?
GAPES: No, I feel liberated. A weight has been lifted off me, I am now amongst a very nice group of people with a common vote -- goal. We are
working together and we -- I left the Labor Party after 50 years of membership for three reasons, not simply because the leadership of the
Labor Party are trying to facilitate Brexit.
But secondly, because of the anti-Semitism, and thirdly because of Jeremy Corbyn's foreign policy being wrong on Venezuela, Russia and Syria.
AMANPOUR: Fascinating, thank you so much.
GORANI: Mike Gapes, thank you very much for joining us. MP from the Independent Group.
QUEST: Thank you sir, thank you.
AMANPOUR: So let's check in again with the business community in the city of London and Julia Chatterley.
CHATTERLEY: Christiane, thank you so much for that. I'm joined now by Bob Sanguinetti, he's the CEO of the U.K. Chamber of Shipping. Great to have
you with us, and just for context here, you represent 200 firms that ultimately facilitate 95 percent of the trade here done in the U.K.
BOB SANGUINETTI, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, CHAMBER OF SHIPPING, U.K.: That's correct, yes.
CHATTERLEY: OK, what do you make of the decision, the voting down of the deal tonight?
SANGUINETTI: Well, the development today has clearly taken us one step closer to leaving the EU without a deal. We've been arguing all along
about the importance of being able to continue to trade seamlessly with our biggest trading partner across the channel. Clearly, a no-deal would not
So, we believe that would not be good for business, would not be good for industry, and would not be good for the consumer.
CHATTERLEY: I mean, what's best at this moment, then? Is it to see this week ruling out a no-deal exit and a postponement of that March 29th date?
Is that what the business community that you represent now want to see? Because right now, there's no deal ultimately or an alternative on the
table here. So we simply need more time.
SANGUINETTI: Well, the business community wants stability and it wants clarity going forward. And clearly we don't have that at the moment.
There's huge instability as a result of the latest development. So we would urge politicians on all sides of the house to work together, to put
aside party politics and personal interests and work for the national interest and find a deal that is good for business for the U.K. and the EU
CHATTERLEY: So Brexiteers would argue at this moment that leaving without a deal allows the U.K. to rearrange, organize a new trading relationship
that in the interim will default to World Trade Organization rules as far as trade is concerned. What do you think of that and what will that mean
for the businesses you represent?
[15:55:00] SANGUINETTI: Well, shipping is inherently a flexible industry. So shipping will adapt to the circumstances and deliver to the needs of the
country. But if we move away from trading seamlessly with our largest trading partner with no checks and controls, or very limited checks and
controls, one day into an environment where checks and controls are introduced.
That clearly will introduce delays and disruptions to logistics supply chains, putting at risk manufacturers, businesses, and obviously impacting
on the consumer. So it can adapt, it will adapt, the government and ourselves have been working very closely to minimize the impact of a no
deal. But even with that, there would be disruptions, which would take some time to overcome.
CHATTERLEY: So you just want to see a deal of whatever kind?
SANGUINETTI: That would be good.
CHATTERLEY: Bob Sanguinetti, the CEO of the U.K. Chamber of Shipping. Guys, I'll hand it back to you.
AMANPOUR: Thank you so much, Julia, and thank you all for watching CNN's special coverage of the latest developments in the Brexit saga. That is it
for me, but stay with CNN.
GORANI: We'll be right back.
GORANI: It is 8:00 p.m. in London and across the U.K., welcome to our special coverage of a crucial moment in Brexit. And it's not a good day
once again for the Prime Minister Theresa May. I'm Hala Gorani.