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QUEST MEANS BUSINESS
British Lawmakers Vote Against Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit Deal. Aired: 4-5p ET
Aired March 12, 2019 - 16:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN BERCOW, SPEAKER, HOUSE OF COMMONS: Order.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The 'ayes' to the right, 242; the 'no's' to the left, 391.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: The measure was crushed. Theresa May lost by a 149-vote margin. Parliament will vote again tomorrow and decide if it wants to leave without
any deal at all. That will be the question. The clock is ticking down to March 29th, the deadline. The chance that the U.K. will crash out of the
E.U. in 17 days' time risking chaos and damage to its own economy has just increased.
Let's see. Where are we going to now? Oh, Nina dos Santos is as Downing Street. This is our team of reporters covering this important story. Nic
Robertson in Londonderry, Northern Ireland close to the border with Ireland. Anna Stewart is in Edinburgh, Scotland. People voted to remain
overwhelmingly back in 2016. Erin McLaughlin is in Brussels to bring us the European perspective. We will hear from all of them in a minute.
But let's break down what happened this evening. Carole Walker, our political analyst is here. Bianca Nobilo is here as well. So Carole, it's
a defeat by a margin of the 149. We were discussing before the vote that perhaps if she lost by, you know, 50, 60, 70, anything under triple digits
that perhaps she would try to kick the can down the road and get this deal through Parliament once more. But with these types of numbers, what are
CAROLE WALKER, POLITICAL ANALYST: This is a second decisive defeat for the Prime Minister. And when you heard her speak tonight, you felt like this
is really a Prime Minister who's really running out of road now. She will, she confirmed tonight, come back to the Commons, offer the chance to leave
with no-deal. That is very unlikely to go through, and it does seem very likely that then on Thursday, the Commons will vote for a delay.
The problem is, a delay for what? For how long? She has been sticking doggedly to this deal. She got the reassurances that the best she could
hope for out of the European Union, the European Union, I am making it clear, they don't have any more to offer. It's not even clear what she
could request at that European Union Summit. This is a Prime Minister who has had to offer a free vote on those votes over the next couple of days
because she can simply no longer impose her authority on her government and on her party.
GORANI: So just to recap for our international viewers, I mean, here is a Prime Minister who has twice tried to get a deal through, twice she has
been smacked down and that deal has not gone through. Lost by triple-digit margins. She is still at it. What are her options? Because even if she
goes to the E.U. next week saying, "Give me just -- I don't know, one more addendum, one more paragraph that I can claim is legally binding," even if
they give her that, that is not going to be enough.
BIANCA NOBILO, CORRESPONDENT, CNN:: What a we saw tonight is yet another example of the singularity of Brexit, in that yes, it was a definitive
defeat for the Prime Minister, but it was improved from the last defeat, the historic 230 votes. So if it had been in the margin that you both were
talking about of somewhere not in triple digits, then maybe that would have been an instructional almost, to go and try again, and bring it back for
the third time with some tweaks that there was still life in her deal.
But once again, we have landed in the political gray area. Yes, it's a definitive defeat, but it's not as bad as last time, but it's not good
enough to be encouraging.
GORANI: Yes, I mean, it's not as bad as the worst defeat in British Parliamentary history. It's not a victory either.
NOBILO: I mean, it's all relative. The history has made its premise and those are the kind of barometers that we've got.
GORANI: But you need a majority to get this deal through, and there are only 17 days left. I mean, are people just living in complete fantasy land
WALKER: Every single Member of Parliament thinks that they're voting on their own best principles and the problem is that there are such deep
divisions, the Prime Minister has simply failed to develop any kind of consensus throughout this process and that is why we have now reached this
point of crisis.
GORANI: How do you develop a consensus in this environment? You're asked to negotiate an impossible deal in two years.
WALKER: Well, if she had earlier on in the process tried to reach across the House, tried to try and build a consensus at that stage then that might
have been a realistic proposition.
Yes, she left it far too late to try to make this gesture to the opposition leader to have talks, by that stage it was far too late. The Labour Party
by that stage had decided that the best thing it could do would be to try to make sure that it wasn't, if you like, tainted by this deal, which has
now gone down to this defeat.
NOBILO: However, she would have risked splitting her own party. And this is why it's so challenging because when she lost her majority in 2017, she
lost a lot of power and authority. Now, had she gone across the aisle and reached out to Labour earlier on, then she would have risked fracturing her
own party. Divisions which would have been latent --
GORANI: But her Party is fractured already.
NOBILO: It is fractured but --
GORANI: They tried to bring her down, her own Party.
NOBILO: Yes, but then they did agree to at least begrudgingly to get on side. It's a very complicated scenario. It is not by any means a happy
familial relationship within the Conservative Party right now. But what I mean is, is had she prioritized a softer Brexit and reaching across the
aisle, she would have risked far deeper divisions within her own Party and that Brexiteer fraction splintering off.
GORANI: But clearly her strategy of trying to appeal to the Brexiteer faction has backfired in the nastiest kind of way. They have not supported
her, even if she's got a few more on board this time around compared to January, we are still talking humiliation this evening.
WALKER: I think this is a humiliation for the Prime Minister. And I think it is now simply a matter of time as to how long she will remain as leader.
I think that no one is going move her at this precise moment, but any Prime Minister to go down to two shattering defeats on the most important policy
for this country, for her government, it seems impossible that she can stay in power.
Now, I know that we have been saying that after some previous setbacks and she has shown extraordinary resilience, but as she struggled through whole
through, through that statement this evening, there really was a sense that it's very hard to see how much longer she will remain in power.
GORANI: She really needs to drink some hot tea and honey tonight if she wants to talk tomorrow in the House of Commons because she has pretty much
lost her voice entirely. I mean, every third word is completely hoarse.
NOBILO: She has and it was a difficult delivery to what -- reminiscent of that disastrous conference speech she had where there were moves to oust
her almost immediately afterwards where the background behind her fell apart. Where somebody presented her with a form that you give somebody
when you fire them. And then she lost her voice.
And I think even though we have to obviously be sympathetic, politicians are humans. It is also important as Prime Minister to be able to command
the confidence of the House. These sort of nonverbal presentations are very important. The fact that she is actually struggling to get the words
out just underscores her weakness and her frailty in her position.
GORANI: Well, she has -- I mean, it seems like she's unwell. I mean, is there -- has there been any communication?
NOBILO: It's been a lot of late nights. Last night, it sounded like she was starting to lose it.
GORANI: Losing her voice.
WALKER: She has been a woman under extraordinary personal, as well as political strain, and I think that showed in every fiber of her performance
GORANI: Though you could look at it in another way -- she is one of the most resilient politicians I have ever covered regardless of what you think
of her politics. Just to remind our viewers who may be tuning in now. Theresa May's Brexit deal was defeated by a margin of the 149. The no's,
391, the yeses, 242. You need a simple majority. Of course, she was far from achieving that and importantly, she told the House that they will be
able to vote on rejecting a no-deal scenario tomorrow, but she said voting against leaving without a deal and asking for an extension will not solve
the problem. She has a point.
WALKER: That is absolutely correct. I mean, even if it as it seems likely, Parliament tomorrow votes against leaving without a deal, that does
not prevent the U.K. leaving without a deal.
Legally, the default position is that on March 29th, the United Kingdom will leave. If a deal hasn't been agreed and clearly, it hasn't been
ratified. It's been rejected once again -- at the moment, we're heading towards leaving without a deal, there has to be a motion put through the
Houses of Parliament to revoke Article 50 or an agreement with all other E.U. 27 countries to have a delay, if that is going to be avoided.
So even if there is a vote tomorrow, that doesn't revolve anything and even if the House then votes, as seems likely for a delay, the question is, what
is the delay going to be for? They have to decide. The Prime Minister doesn't need to appear to have a plan for anything fresh to ask for from
the European Union.
GORANI: And now, we have got to get to Julia Chatterley. Michel Barnier, the E.U. negotiator said just, "Reminder, reminder, if you do not ratify a
deal, there is no transition period." There is going to be a brutal next- day, brutal hangover for anyone -- Julia Chatterley is in the city tonight, and the pound kind of bounced back, which I thought was interesting. What
other reaction are you hearing?
JULIA CHATTERLEY, ANCHOR, CNN: You know, Hala, I think what we saw tonight was what the markets and what investors were expecting.
CHATTERLEY: They simply weren't expecting this deal to pass in light of what we heard from the Attorney General earlier today. There was that
brief period of optimism yesterday, and then overnight of course when we saw Theresa May go to Strasbourg ad try and thresh out some amendments
here, or at least some guarantees, that then filtered way throughout the session.
And right now, I think, market investors got what they were expecting. They instantly look to tomorrow, and I think this is the bigger point
because I've spoken to some big investors over the last couple of weeks and they have looked to all the probabilities and said, actually, the only
thing at this moment and even now that they think that Parliament can agree on is to rule out a no-deal exit.
So I've spoken to a number of big investor that was taken pretty sizable bets that tomorrow Parliament will rule out that no-deal exit. Now
actually, then we could see sterling higher than where it sits today. This vote was a bit of a nonevent for them. Tomorrow will be key.
If we get a surprise tomorrow and Parliament don't rule out a no-deal exit, then we could see the pound significantly lower. So I think right now,
it's literally trading session by trading session. Tomorrow is going to be pretty critical, then of course we move on to Thursday as you guys have
been discussing over the last couple of hours and then beyond there of course, that March 29th date, but at least for now, ruling out the worst
possible scenario as they see it, which is a no-deal exit would be a possible thing for sterling. It doesn't mean an end to the uncertainty of
course for U.K. businesses and you and I, Hala have discussed this this in the past -- a real challenge, the ongoing uncertainty for U.K. businesses
and really nothing about this week clarifies that for them, including if we see some kind of extension this week, too, the uncertainty continues.
GORANI: All right, Julia Chatterley, thanks very much. We'll have a lot more of our special coverage after a quick break. Stay with CNN.
RICHARD QUEST, ANCHOR, CNN: Busy night in the Houses of Parliament. MPs rejected the Prime Minister's motion of a plan that she's been trying to
get through for many months and tomorrow, there will be a vote on whether to take no deal off the table.
GORANI: Right, and there was a statement issued by European officials literally seconds after the result. I presume they were anticipating a
defeat for the Prime Minister. Erin McLaughlin is in Brussels with more reaction from Europe.
ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: You're right, Hala. In light of the advice from the Attorney General there in the U.K., this was entirely
expected from E.U. officials. That was definitely the sense I was getting throughout the day so, almost immediately following the vote, reactions
started to pour in from the European Council as well as from the European Commission. The overarching message being that they regret the vote. They
really wanted to see is the deal cross the line tonight, but saying very firmly to MPs there in Westminster, "Do not look for the E.U. for answers."
We heard from Michel Barnier, the Chief Brexit negotiator for the European Commission on Twitter say the following. Let's just pull up the tweet, he
says, "The E.U. has done everything it can to help get the withdrawal agreement over the line. The impasse can only be solved in the U.K. Our
no-deal preparations are now more important than ever before."
This was echoed from the statement we heard from Donald Tusk, the President of the European Council saying that a no-deal possibility is more likely
than ever before. From the Commission, Margaritis Schinas the Chief Spokesperson there saying that no-deal is more likely than ever before, but
also, no Brexit is more likely than ever before, something that the President of the Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker said last night when he
was meeting with Theresa May in the event this deal did not cross the line, an apparent jab to the ERG and hard liners there in the United Kingdom.
GORANI: Erin McLaughlin in Brussels. Thanks very much. Political analyst, Carole Walker and Bianca Nobilo are here with Richard Quest and
QUEST: And a very large helicopter.
GORANI: And a very loud helicopter, but interestingly, the protesters and demonstrators seemed to have lost a bit of their energy.
NOBILO: They peaked in the aftermath of the vote when they went --
WALKER There was huge excitement on both sides.
GORANI: They sure did.
WALKER: On both sides.
QUEST: The DUP, which is the Northern Irish Party that's keeping up the Prime Minister, propping up her government, the DUP says that a no-deal
must be kept on the table. Therefore, obviously, the DUP is going vote for a no-deal to be kept on the table, but the majority of the House tomorrow
WALKER: It seems pretty unlikely that the Commons is going to vote for a no-deal Brexit. I think that will be rejected tomorrow. Despite the fact
that not just the DUP, but many Cabinet Ministers did feel that it was very important to keep that on the table as the U.K. attempts to try and
I think we are into such uncharted territory but what many people now expect is that if no-deal is then voted off the table, we do then move to
this vote which is on a delay, but at that stage, all kinds of other amendments, all kind of other options could be put on the table by back
NOBILO: The fact that the Prime Minister is allowing a free vote on this issue of a no-deal tomorrow is really significant.
NOBILO: So it's unusual for a Prime Minister to allow that. It's usually only on matters of conscience or ethical questions, things like what do
with embryos or hunting, some bills to do with crime, same sex marriage -- these types of things are where they allow free vote. So that's what's
going to take place tomorrow.
I think it's interesting that so many of the Prime Minister's own MPs have pressured her to keep that option on the table because they feel without it
Britain wouldn't have leverage. But an E.U. source said to me once, and I apologize for the harshness of this analogy, the issue with threatening no-
deal is it's like the E.U. shooting itself in the foot and Britain shooting itself in the head. So yes, it's some sort of leverage, but it's not
something that is going to get you an excellent deal with the E.U. is the point that they were making.
GORANI: Meaning that a no-deal harms the U.K. more than it harms the E.U.
QUEST: Let me just ask you there before you do it. So humor me, if you'll be as kind. The E.U. votes for -- sorry, the House votes take no-deal off
the table. The House then goes on to vote for an extension, and you're talking about sorry, Bianca, you were talking about what back bench
amendments, indicative votes.
NOBILO: I knew you might do that.
QUEST: No, no. But the point is, the bit is surely, once they have voted for an extension, the whip hand has completely gone to the E.U. who can
demand an election, who can demand a referendum as a price for giving a return.
WALKER: Well, I don't think the European Union could impose a general election on the country, but I think the difficulty is, and we have been
hearing it from the E.U. tonight, they are saying very clearly that they have offered all they're prepared to offer and it's very difficult indeed
to see even what the Prime Minister would ask for when she goes to that E.U. Summit next week.
If she had lost by a narrow majority, she could perhaps have said, "Look, I need a little bit more reassurance," she could have perhaps then tried to
come back with a similar deal with some extra reassurances, but this was a hugely decisive rejection of her deal.
If no-deal is taken off the table, it's difficult to see what she's going to ask for, it's difficult to see what a short delay would even achieve,
and it's difficult to see then how that happens. It's also just worth underlying the point that even if the Commons votes tomorrow, that it
doesn't want to leave without a deal, that doesn't mean that that's necessarily what's going to happen.
The default legal position is that the U.K. leaves the E.U. on March the 29th and there has to be a motion, put through Parliament to either revoke
Article 50 or an agreement with a rest of the E.U. for a delay for that to happen.
GORANI: Just remember, the European election -- this cannot be an indefinite process. Their European elections are May 23rd, May 24th. If
the E.U. hasn't left by then -- sorry, the U.K. -- they have to participate in these elections, don't they?
NOBILO: It would be yes, another form of constitutional crisis if they didn't. And why this is so confusing is I think it is likely that there
would be a majority in the House of Commons for an extension because that is sort of have been expressed in other ways up until this point.
Why is it so confusing? It is that Article 50, which even the authors of that, the mechanism by which the U.K. is leaving the E.U. said it was never
intended for use. It's so short. It doesn't specify anything about an extension. It just says that the leaving member state can simply ask and
unanimous consent, they can get one. So there is nothing about the time scale. Will it be technical like six weeks? Could it be two years as
mentioned by some?
QUEST: No, it will be political. It will be political -- no, but in the sense of, you know, you've got get over the E.U. elections, the
Parliamentary elections. It will be political to give either enough time so that this place -- not find a solution, but in the eyes of the E.U., the
whole thing goes away. In the eyes of the E.U. a second referendum --
GORANI: Is that the hope, though? I do wonder, does the E.U. really want now the U.K. to hold another referendum and vote remain. I wonder that.
WALKER: Theresa May is --
GORANI: That is more chaos for the E.U. than I think even it is prepared to accept from --
WALKER: Theresa May is warning tonight, throughout the day and indeed for weeks has been that if the Commons doesn't vote for her deal, that there is
a risk of Brexit not happening. And I think at the moment, it does -- the course ahead is so uncertain.
What is interesting is that the Labour Leader, Jeremy Corbyn did not tonight talk about a second referendum, which is what many in his Party
wants. He was talking about a general election. And a general election is what many conservative MPs are talking about tonight.
GORANI: All right, it's the unknown, it's uncertainty. Frankly, if you look at the situation, and all the competing forces ...
GORANI: ... it is virtually impossible to imagine any kind of solution that is acceptable by all that will unite the country that will come any
QUEST: Because people are fighting for things that they believe in strongly and some see the opportunity of a lifetime's opportunity to get
what they've always dreamed.
We'll continue tonight as we continue. We'll get the perspective from Europe on tonight's development and we'll be in the national regions.
We'll also be speaking to a German politician, an MEP to get their view as well.
GORANI: Well, let's get the European perspective on all of this. Hans Olaf-Henkel is a German politician. He is a member of the European
Parliament and he joins us now from Strasbourg. Your reaction to what we saw in the House of Commons this evening?
HANS OLAF-HENKEL, MEMBER OF EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT: Well, quite frankly, I'm enthusiastic about it because I'm a devoted remainer. I think that Brexit
is bad both for E.U. and the United Kingdom. And this opens in my opinion the way towards a second referendum.
GORANI: Yes. How do you see -- in what -- how do you see this leading to a second referendum?
OLAF-HENKEL: Well, look, tomorrow there will be a vote on a no-deal Brexit. They would be of course defeated. Then there are only a couple of
days left, so then there would be, I think that the next scenario, there would be a request for an extension. And I would do everything possible
here to help the E.U. accepting that extension, by the way, without any conditions. Then what? Then I think the only answer to get out of this
mess is to ask the people three questions -- do you want the no-deal Brexit? Do you want Mrs. May's Brexit, or do you want to remain? I think
that's the only way out.
GORANI: Do you think the European Union will give the U.K. an extension? And if so, how much of an extension do you think that they would be willing
to give Theresa May at this stage?
OLAF-HENKEL: Well, that's a good question. I am not sure that the 27 countries will agree to that extension.
OLAF-HENKEL: At least, I myself talked to a number of leading statesmen and heads of government, and they, I think will do this, I hope without
condition. That's the question. Because if they're under condition, then of course it becomes more complex. And then as far as the duration is
concerned, at least for three months.
But the interesting point is that the European Parliament would have to agree to any deal. And the last time the European Parliament meets is
early April, so I think the chance that the extension for three months may not be enough or very high, so very well be that Britain slips into a
remain situation without having to ask the British public.
GORANI: Slips into it by essentially extending for longer and longer periods of time. Hans Olaf-Henkel, thank you very much for joining us, a
German member of the European Parliament, speaking to us from Strasbourg.
Carole Walker and Bianca Nobilo are still here. And this German MEP was saying, Carole, that he believes that if the House of Commons votes to
extend negotiations and talks that they could slip into a remain without having asked the British public.
WALKER: I think there is certainly, as you heard there, an argument which some would support, for saying that if you've got to have a delay, it
should be a longer delay. There's no point in having a delay just for effectively a few weeks before those European Parliamentary elections
starting on May 23rd.
That is something the hard line Brexiteers always feared. Extraordinary and ironic that their behavior in rejecting the deal has opened up this
Listen, there are MPs discussing all kind of different options. The Prime Minister's spokesman has denied that she has been discussing resignation
with some of her senior team tonight, but I think a lot of people do feel that she has simply run out of road and that there is talk about a
potential general election. That is certainly what the leader of the opposition raised.
And I think many people feel that a general election is a possibility now given that this Parliament seems incapable of coming to a clear agreement
on what they want.
GORANI: And stand by, Bianca because we have to go to Scotland right now. We have Anna Stewart there. And we have reaction from Nicola Sturgeon as
well, Scotland's First Minister who has some strong words for the Prime Minister this evening.
ANNA STEWART, REPORTER, CNN: Yes, yet again another strong statement. This time on Twitter, Nicholas Sturgeon, the SMP First Minister saying the
Prime Minister and the U.K. Government should be hanging their heads in shame this evening. She says tonight's outcome was entirely predictable
and if they had been prepared to listen at any stage and engaged constructively instead of simply pandering to Brexit extremists, they could
have avoided it.
Instead we now have a government that's effectively ceased to function and a country that remains poised on a cliff edge, and this is acrid statements
we heard from her earlier today saying not enough compromise has been done. Of course, now, the Prime Minister will be forced to compromise with two
more dates of crucial votes in Parliament that could see her seeing much more control of the whole process -- Hala.
GORANI: Anna Stewart, thanks. An update there from Edinburgh. Bianca, we were going back to you and you were responding to what Carole was saying
there about an extension having to be somewhat meaningful to get more clarity on a deal or at least come up with some sort of deal that could
NOBILO: Yes, the mood music from the E.U. has been that they want a clear reason why Britain would be asking for an extension and I think as we have
just heard from Anna Stewart there, it is appropriate to talk about the issue of a second referendum because the Scottish National Party in the
U.K. Parliament, one of the biggest parties, it has 35 lawmakers, they support a second referendum.
That of course could be one guise under which you ask for an extension. And when I speak to the Peoples Vote Campaign, which is the campaign
pushing for a second referendum in Britain, they always said to me from many months ago, that their thinking was this -- they thought first all, we
need to get the Labour Party to officially back a second referendum.
GORANI: Which they're not doing.
NOBILO: Well, so they have conditionally. So they have made progress in that respect. A few months ago nobody had backed it that they needed to in
order for it to become a reality. Then after that, they needed to get an extension because obviously there needs to be time in order legislate to
have a second referendum and you need to put the whole process of leaving the E.U. on I.C.E.
Labour's -- the Shadow Brexit Secretary Keir Starmer has also said that in his view of events, remain would be an option on that ballot paper.
NOBILO: So, in terms of the prospect of a second referendum, the failure of this vote tonight by 149 votes does put options like that, obviously, an
extension, and also as Carole was saying, a general election, they all increase in probability, I think.
GORANI: The great unknown. Many, many potential avenues ahead. Thank you. We're going to get back to you after the break and I'll also be
speaking to Tory MP, Charles Walker. Stay with us.
GORANI: Conservative MP Charles Walker joins me now and Bianca is with us as well. How do you vote this evening?
CHARLES WALKER, MP, CONSERVATIVE PARTY: I voted with the government and I voted for Brexit. I've always voted for Brexit. I voted for Brexit
tonight and at any other opportunity I'll vote for Brexit again, if we get another chance to vote for Brexit that is.
GORANI: You have a couple more question in the next few days. The one tomorrow is, will you vote for or against a no-deal outcome?
WALKER: I've always voted for Brexit and I don't believe we can take no- deal off the table. So I'll be voting to keep no-deal as an option.
GORANI: But you could end up with no deal.
WALKER: We could, yes, and then when we end up with that, some of my friends, and they are friends and I don't mean this in a spiteful way on
the ERG, they might be scratching their heads wondering what they have achieved.
GORANI: Yes, but why then would you not take no deal off the table. It's more destructive to your country than it is to the E.U.?
WALKER: Because I cannot believe that in negotiations, serious negotiations, you say, by the way, we are going take no-deal off the table.
It's a bit like a trade union going to negotiations with the bosses and saying, "But not worry, we won't strike." Oh, that's very kind of you.
See you later.
NOBILO: Charles, I am curious because you mentioned that some of your friends and colleagues might be left scratching their heads if the
situation is we leave without a deal or something along those lines. But every day, politicians have to vote on what can be matters of conscience
and compromise is an essential part of politics, so how do you think the Party has got to this point?
WALKER: Well, comprise is an essential part of politics, but we haven't seen much of that tonight. And I think I need to be clear. No leave is
much more likely than no deal. So I am going vote for no-deal tomorrow, but Parliament will vote, Parliament will say, let's take it off the table.
So I've always said as a Brexiteer -- now I'm losing my voice. That it is much more likely that we have a no-leave scenario than a no-deal scenario.
So I fully expect tomorrow, no-deal to be taken off the table and then we are getting into the territory where it becomes less likely the U.K. will
leave to E.U.
WALKER: And again, as someone who is a Brexiteer and a pragmatic Brexiteer, I find it hard to understand how we have reached that point.
GORANI: What do you mean you find it hard to understand?
WALKER: We had 50 people who support Brexit, voting with Jeremy Corbyn tonight and the Labour Party who clearly are against Brexit. So we have
got the people who most ardently believe in Brexit voting against Brexit and that is extra--
GORANI: Because they don't like the deal. They think they deal is the worst of both worlds.
NOBILO: Or they don't fully comprehend that they may not in fact leave as a result of that vote. What might it take to convince them?
WALKER: It might be too late now. I don't think that there is an appreciation that we had a country that voted leave, albeit narrowly, but
we voted leave and most Members of Parliament actually voted to remain.
So we've got a no leave country and members of Parliament who want to remain, so given the opportunity to remain, I think quite a few Members of
Parliament will take that opportunity, so I think we are in a really difficult situation now.
GORANI: Do you think there should be some people's vote? I am not saying a repeat of the question, but why not? Because you ask the British people,
do you want Theresa May's deal? Here it is. Or do you want to status quo which is to remain? What is wrong with that democratic process? In the
end, it's not the same question, it's not denying the results of first referendum. It's expanding.
Now you have the information. Now you know what the impact is, what's wrong with that?
WALKER: Because a referendum would take nine months and people haven't got nine months to wait. I think what is the most likely outcome this evening
is a general election called within the next few days or week. No government can continue like this. I think there's a chance, a good chance
that Theresa May will decide, look, the public is with me on this. I've got a difficulty with Parliament. Let's try to get a new Parliament.
GORANI: But what does that - let me ask you, what does another general election achieve at this point?
WALKER: It gives you a functioning Parliament. We have now got a failing Parliament. It's normally governments that fail. We have now got a
failing Parliament. We have a Parliament that is excellent at telling people what it's against, but it has no idea really what it's for.
GORANI: But the country is divided to an extent that you could end up with a similar picture where you don't have a clear majority for anything.
WALKER: You could, but it couldn't be any worse than now. And a referendum as you said, that would be eight or nine months away, eight or
nine months, why not six weeks where you could up in the same place.
GORANI: Here's another question. I will ask you something from around the world, I hear this all the time. The U.K. was a member of the E.U. for 45
years plus. What is the rush that you have to rush? Can't wait another eight or nine months to ask a question that the British people can consider
with cool heads?
WALKER: Because you ask the question in nine months and we would have the same result. You're absolutely, you're no further forward. What would
take the country further forward -- I'm not calling for a general election, but when governments can't get their legislation through, you tend to have
general elections. That is what history suggests.
So what I am -- where I think it might well be is the Prime Minister could well go back to the country, see if she can get a majority and then try and
get it through.
GORANI: Charles Walker, Conservative Member of Parliament. Thank you so much for joining us and stay with me, Bianca, we are going to go to Julia
Chatterley in the city who has a guest -- Julia.
CHATTERLEY: Thank you so much, Hala, actually, I am just on my own right now, I don't have a guest for you at this moment, but I will tell you, I
have been listening into your conversation. The real challenge here for U.K. business is as you said, what's the harm going on for another few
months more in order to get the vote from the public again on ultimately what they need.
The problem is the ongoing uncertainty of course for U.K. business that's had no real clarity of what the outcome is going to be over the last two
and a half years. The only thing, I think, ultimately big investors can say when they look at the shambles quite frankly that's going on right now
is they ultimately believe Parliament will agree this week to roll out a no-deal exit. I think that's one of the only things among the people that
I've spoken to is what they ultimately believe. And we could, if we see that, see some kind of relief for U.K. assets this week in particular.
This risk, of course, as I've said to you earlier, in previous shows is if they won't see the no-deal exit option rolled out this week, then all bets
are off and I think you would see a real concern once again. But there's such a lack of clarity even beyond what we see this week and what happens
on March 9th. A lot of confusion, I think for voters right now, a lot of frustration at MPs as well and for U.K. businesses, as they watch a great
deal of uncertainty about what the future looks like for them, but also for the kind of decisions that businesses have to make not just on a weekly
basis, but on a six-month or one yearly basis, two-yearly basis as far as their outlook is concerned is the real challenge here.
So I think a lot of people -- and you have also heard from even those that represent things like the shipping industry here in the U.K. that actually
they simply want greater clarity here and progress towards some kind of an arrangement or a deal is what they're demanding here.
I'm sure the phones are off the hook today with the U.K. Government getting challenged left, right, and center, come on, guys, what next -- Hala.
GORANI: Okay, Julia, thanks very much. Uncertainty, the markets hate that. The pound though bounced back a little bit. There is a little more
clarity, potentially. James Cleverly is the Deputy Chair of the Conservative Party. He is here with me and Bianca Nobilo is here with me
First of all, you voted in favor of Theresa May's deal and tomorrow, you're presented with another question, take no-deal off the table, yes or no?
JAMES CLEVERLY, DEPUTY CHAIR, CONSERVATIVE PARTY: No. Quite simply I think the position I've taken for the last couple of years, which is that
as soon us a take no-deal off the table, the E.U. has no incentive to negotiate further. Indeed, the challenge that we've got, is that if the
House basically says to the E.U., if the House of Commons says to the E.U. that unless we have an agreement, we are not leaving at all, we are in a
perverse situation where the E.U. has actually even got an incentive to be less accommodating --
GORANI: But what more do you want to negotiate. This deal seems to be fine with you. You voted in favor of it.
CLEVERLY: Well, I mean, I would have been happy for this deal to go through. Others didn't. So it's not all about me, as much as I would like
it to be, it's not all about me.
And other people want to see if we can explore further concessions. I've spoken with Members of Parliament who believe that there's more that they
can get from the E.U. I'm not convinced. I'm genuinely not convinced.
GORANI: Well, they have said that's it. No third chances, Juncker.
CLEVERLY: Well, that's the position that they have taken. That's one of the reasons why a number of MPs who voted against the first draft of this
agreement voted for it this time around because they believe that this is the last chance of delivering an orderly Brexit.
GORANI: In favor of an extension? Yes or no?
CLEVERLY: No. I can stop you there as well because it doesn't achieve anything. Because again, if we are saying that we are going take no-deal
off the table and it was going to hang around for a little bit longer and then hope that something magic sets that stuff up --
GORANI: You're setting this country up for a crash out on the 29th?
CLEVERLY: No, what I'm doing, I think what the Prime Minister is seeking to do is making sure MPs realize that fundamentally there are only two
choices ultimately ahead -- which is to leave the E.U. with an agreement or not leave at all.
GORANI: So back them into a corner. Say to them it is going to be Armageddon and disaster unless you adopt my deal. That's the strategy?
CLEVERLY: It's not backing people into a corner. It's making people realize the reality of the situation. Ultimately, we have to respect the
outcome of the referendum in 2016, so we got a leave, and the best way of leaving is to leave with an agreement. That is what the Prime Minister is
reminding people of.
GORANI: Okay, Bianca Nobilo, stay with me. James Cleverly, thank you so much, Deputy Chair of the Tory Party for joining us on this important
evening on CNN. We'll be right back with more after this.
GORANI: Welcome back. An eventful night here in Westminster with implications for the entire U.K. Our reporters have been dispatched to all
corners of the country. Last words from Anna Stewart in Edinburgh and Nic Robertson Northern Ireland in a moment.
First, Bianca Nobilo is here with me. So you know what I did pick up is we spoke to a few MPs and many of them, whether they are remainers or Brexit
supporters, said I will vote to keep no-deal on the table. Which I thought, so there's a possibility that that will be the case tomorrow.
NOBILO: I mean, I think I am not sure how representative a sample we spoke to. I am not sure it will get through, but I think --
GORANI: I was just saying, I was expecting to hear a lot more --
NOBILO: I agree with you. I was surprised by some of the people that said that they were willing to keep that on the table. And this is where it
gets really difficult because when you think of no-deal and all of the worst associations with it and the impact it could have on people's jobs
and the ability to get food and medicine. If we believe the worst reports, it is hard to reconcile that with the political fact that if you remove
that as leverage, you obviously do take away an incentive for the E.U. to give you the best deal.
And it's very hard because you're balancing the human interest element against a very political negotiating tactic and it just doesn't sit
comfortably, but that is what is going on.
GORANI: But as we were discussing, you and I earlier saying to the U.K. I refuse take this extremely harmful outcome off the table that would hurt me
way more than it would hurt you, just so I have more leverage, I don't know, it just defies logic to some people.
NOBILO: It does, but when we look ahead to tomorrow, and the fact that the Prime Minister has allowed a free vote, probably to avoid resignations from
within her own government and those on the government payroll it is also probably because she knows that there isn't a majority within the House of
Commons to support a no-deal scenario.
However, we did just speak to James Cleverly who voted remain originally and is now supportive of the Prime Minister's deal and he is going to back
a no-deal tomorrow. So it is interesting. I think there will be more support of it than we would have assumed a few months ago.
GORANI: It's what we were -- yes, absolutely. I picked up the same. We have a couple of minutes left, so we are going to go to Anna Stewart who is
in Scotland and then Nic Robertson who is at the border, very close to the Northern Ireland-Ireland border.
Anna, let's start with you and Scots not too happy about what they're witnessing in Westminster.
STEWART: Well of course, Scotland voted overwhelmingly to stay in the first place. Every single council area voted to remain. Here in
Edinburgh, that was 74%. So tonight, there's a sense in many of Scots minds that this defeat really reflects a lack of compromise from the
government, a lack of engagement.
Certainly, from the people I had spoken to today in Edinburgh, they feel like they have not been listened to. The First Minister came out with a
tweet shortly ago said that the government should be hanging its head in shame. That there needs to be more compromise. She wants a second
And of course the government will have so compromise now because they have got two more days, two more votes and they are likely to lose power to
Parliament -- Hala.
GORANI: All right, Anna, thanks very much. Nic Robertson over to you. Likely reaction from your vantage point.
NIC ROBERTSON, INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR, CNN: Well, the Democratic Unionist Party have taken the decision that everyone expected them to take,
which was a hard line position indeed. They're sort of doubling down that and they are saying that, you know, a no-deal Brexit needs to be kept on
We have also heard from Sammy Wilson, their MP Spokesman from one of their ten MPs in Westminster, they are saying very clearly that Paragraph 50 --
this goes back to the documents agreed by Theresa May and the European Union back to 2017 -- Article 50 or 0.50 in that Paragraph 50 is about the
constitutional and economic integrity of the United Kingdom.
They said if only that was sorted out, then of course, a deal would easily be in the pocket. The fact is that the Democratic Unionists are going to
take a very, very hard position on this. They have said and they are on the record of saying that a no-deal would suit them just fine. So we know
their mindset going into the vote tomorrow.
But I think very importantly in Northern Ireland tomorrow, Theresa May has said that the government is going publish its plan should there be a no-
deal Brexit. Their plans on what would happen in Northern Ireland, so everyone is going to be watching that very carefully to see what it means
for the border. Are there any hints there about physical infrastructure at the border? Of course, if that were the case, everyone here would be
worried about the potential fall, that triggering an amount of violence.
ROBERTSON: And in all of this, we know businesses across the country are terribly hurt and impacted, but businesses here in Northern Ireland,
retailers who trade across the border, hugely worried, hugely frustrated. Northern Ireland is way at the end of the supply chain in the United
Kingdom. We were talking to pharmacists over the weekend who believe that they will be absolutely running out of medicines here in a no-deal Brexit
scenario. They will be a very a long way from any chance of resupply.
GORANI: All right, Nic Robertson, Anna Stewart, thanks to both of you. So Bianca, here we are at the end of our special coverage. Richard Quest will
be picking up after the break. Again, it is the unknown. Tomorrow this time, we'll have the result of another vote.
NOBILO: We will and I think the top lines for today really is obviously, the Prime Minister managed to scrape a couple of people over to her side
from that historic defeat of 230 to this defeat of 149. But what she really needs is not only to mop up more of her own back benchers, but she
needs some Labour support and that didn't move. She had the support of three last time and three tonight.
GORANI: Very divided Parliament, a divided country. Thanks very much from Bianca and myself and the whole team. Richard Quest is coming up next with
more. I'll see you next time.