Return to Transcripts main page
QUEST MEANS BUSINESS
U.K. Lawmakers Reject Amendment, Call for Brexit Extension; U.K. Lawmakers Reject No-Deal Brexit. Aired 3-4p ET
Aired March 13, 2019 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
RICHARD QUEST, ANCHOR, CNN: ... had been the only major Aviation Authority that hadn't grounded the MAX 8 and reaction to the crash in
Ethiopia of Ethiopian flight 302, with 157 people perished in that.
HALA GORANI, ANCHOR, CNN: This is what the President had to say a few moments ago
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Any plane currently in the air will go to its destination and thereafter be grounded until further
notice. So planes that are in the air will be grounded if they are the 737 MAX, it will be grounded upon landing at the destination. Pilots have been
notified. Airlines have been all notified. Airlines are agreeing with this. The safety of the American people and all people is of paramount
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: The paramount concern except only last night, the Federal Aviation Administration was saying that it would not do so because there was no new
evidence and it specifically said that it was not -- that there was no evidence upon which to base a grounding.
During the day, the Canadians said that they'd seen some satellite data that seems to show various altitude changes. And that sort of made the
Canadians which left the Americans on their own.
GORANI: But why is there - why are we seeing this 180 from the President?
QUEST: We are seeing it because it was becoming ridiculous. We are seeing it because the FAA had decided to take a "we are alone view." We don't
care what anybody else is saying. We show respect to the Australians, the British, the German, the French, everybody else but -- the Chinese, but we
were not going to change it.
Now that became untenable. It absolutely became a situation that could not continue.
GORANI: And the Canadians banned the MAX 8 from their airspace, and MAX 9 as well, I think.
QUEST: Yes, they basically -- larger variant -- same plane, larger variant.
GORANI: But so they say they did that because there was some additional evidence based on satellite imagery, can you talk to us through that.
QUEST: We don't know what that satellite imagery is and don't know what that -- I am guessing it's some sort of ADSP data, something that shows
that the plane was either purposing or that it was actually making quite extreme altitude changes, exactly the sort of thing that we saw with Lion
Air, and the other one of the point I think is worth saying.
You know, the relationship -- this is calling into question by the way the relationship between Boeing and the FAA.
GORANI: Yes. We're going to -- and by the way, I just want to remind our viewers that we're here at Westminster and I want to discuss this Boeing
story more, but right this second, is when this vote on an amendment is taking place before the main government motion on whether or not to take
no-deal off the table.
QUEST: Right, so -- as you as you can tell we are watching two breaking news situations this evening. And we will be across both of them as they
happen in all the developments.
Carole Walker is with us. Carole, while we were talking about Boeing, you were hopefully understanding which amendment they're voting. What are they
CAROLE WALKER, POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: The Parliament is voting right now on the first of two amendments. This an amendment put down by backbench
MPs, who say that the government should rule out leaving the E.U. without a deal completely.
Now confusingly, there is a government motion that is very similar to that, but the government motion points out that all the MPs could vote to leave,
not to leave the E.U. without a deal, it also points out that legally the position is that by default, Britain will leave on March the 29th unless
something happens before that before that happening.
GORANI: So just to sum up they are voting on preventing something from happening that will happen anyway unless something big happens to prevent
that thing from happening.
WALKER: What is really going on here, Hala is MPs, ordinary MPs seizing control from the government of the whole process of Brexit because the
Prime Minister having had two shattering defeats on her own deal has effectively lost control of the entire process.
What MPs are really worried about is that things are so chaotic that the U.K. will leave without a deal and that will cause huge problems for
businesses across the country.
QUEST: What this amendment does this the substantial different as I'm just reading about it is that it sets out that you can't go without future
arrangements. But I think it's worth taking a moment with your permission for just all of us to look at how we got here. How we got into the
position where we're talking about amendments upon amendments for this.
GORANI: Sure and also but just reminding our viewers that these amendments are not binding, right? I mean, these are indicative votes.
WALKER: These votes are --
GORANI: It expresses the will of the House.
WALKER: Parliamentarians taught to instruct the government what happened, and I think what's going to happen is that tomorrow, we're going to see a
lot more of that because tomorrow ...
WALKER: ... we're going to see a lot more of that because tomorrow MPs are due to vote on whether to delay Brexit and at that stage, various
different competing factions are going to pile in and say what they think should happen if there is a delay.
Of course, even before we get to that stage, all the other 27 E.U. countries would have to agree to a delay and it's by no means, sir that
that is going to happen. President Macron has been insisting that the U.K. cannot start trying to renegotiate a deal that has already been negotiated,
and that there is going to be no further changes and if there's going to be a delay, it has got to be for a purpose.
GORANI: Right and they've said that as well. What purpose would that be?
QUEST: A bit chesty this evening, having been out in the rain all evening as well. The reality though is -- there's a slightly unrealistic feeling
about all of this because it feels like, Carole, correct me or put me right, it feels a bit like moving the chairs on the Titanic with all these
amendments and all these things when Europe has said, we're not renegotiating. Tell us what you want and if not just leave.
WALKER: Well, look what is going on here is that the Prime Minister is under huge pressure to change her strategy. She's gone down to two
shattering defeats on her deal, but shows absolutely no sign of changing course. Even though her own Chancellor, Phillip Hammond today said, "Oh,
look it's time to try and reach consensus." She is still hoping that she can bring back her deal a third time.
GORANI: All right. Where there is hope there is life. CNN has teams fanned out across the U.K. for reaction to these latest developments. Nic
Robertson is in Londonderry, Northern Ireland also known as Derry close to the border with the Irish Republic. Anna Stewart joins us from Edinburgh,
Scotland where the vast majority voted remain back in 2016. Phil Black is in the leave town of Whitby in Northern England. And we have Erin
McLaughlin in Brussels for reaction from E.U. We are going to hear from all of these correspondents this hour.
But first, let's go over to Number 10 Downing Street, Nina dos Santos is there.
NINA DOS SANTOS, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Hi, thanks very much. Hala, well, as they vote on these amendments, I wanted to tell you that over the course of
the day, one thing I've certainly noticed standing outside Number 10 Downing Street for the past two days is that the Prime Minister has been
extremely conspicuous in her absence.
She's gone in and out of the back door of Number 10 Downing Street. A number of her Cabinet ministers have gone in and out to the back door
through the Cabinet Office and a lot of the photographers have been very disappointed that they haven't managed to get a picture of a fraught Prime
Minister in this weakened position because as I said, the only person really senior of stature in her Cabinet who is coming in to the front door
over the last few days is Philip Hammond, the Chancellor whose job it was supposed to be today to deliver what is normally a big day in the political
calendar in the U.K., his spring statement, a health check and mini budget of the U.K.
Now, he did do some of that saying that the U.K.'s economy was being weakened by Brexit, that the instability and insecurity that a no-deal
Brexit would bring would have some devastating consequences for the economy that obviously focusing MPs minds as they go into this crucial vote this
evening. But he also as Carole was just pointing out, before decided to seemingly change tack on the Prime Minister.
She's still saying that she doesn't want that no-deal is better than a bad deal, but she still thinks that she has the opportunity of getting a good
deal. He now says that it's time to reach a consensus, so obviously the way how this no-deal vote this evening goes, with obviously informed debate
for going forward on that potential for an extension, but also building more of a consensus and scrapping the Prime Minister's deal that obviously
will leave her even more weakened in her position in Number 10.
QUEST: All right, Nina. Nina is in Downing Street. Nic Robertson is in Derry tonight, where I think Nic, the weather is being less favorable to
you this evening. Hopefully, you are keeping dry or at least, not getting too wet and the DUP took her down or was part of the reason she failed last
night. What does the DUP and the northern Irish Parties want on a no deal vote?
NIC ROBERTSON, INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR, CNN: They want to keep the no-deal on the table. They feel that Theresa May can go back to the
European Union and continue to negotiate as Sammy Wilson said last night that they are used to negotiating in a very tough man here in Northern
Indeed, I've have sat in his house and chatted with him about it and he will tell you at length just good the DUP are negotiating and that is
saying that Theresa May really can get more out of the European Union, he was ruffling feathers here today, Richard, I have to say as the British
government's announcement of its no Brexit plans, the idea of no tariffs ...
ROBERTSON: ... on the border here with Republic of Ireland. The European Union, no barriers, no checks on trade across the board or rather, should
there be a no-deal Brexit scenario.
The Irish Farmers Association have called it akin to creating the Wild West here. The Northern Irish Retailers Consortium have said that no checks and
know tariffs are no solution at all. The Irish European Affairs Minister has said that this is a lose-lose situation for everyone on the island of
Ireland and it will be particularly hard hitting for farmers.
Let me just explain and do this very quickly for you. Back in the days of the troubles and the violence here, the IRA was able to exploit the border
to make profit, so the concern is that the criminal gangs and potential or the terrorists may exploit this situation on the border to finance
terrorism and to finance criminality.
There's also big questions for Irish businesses should they export through Northern Ireland to mainland U.K. and avoid tariffs that they would get if
they were just exporting directly to mainland U.K. All of this big questions.
QUEST: Excellent. Keep watching that time. That tariff -- it's always the little things in the end of the day that turn out to be the most
difficult parts of the whole Brexit process.
GORANI: Indeed, Phil Black is in a fishing town called Whitby -- that may be our international viewers are not familiar with. I certainly learned of
QUEST: It's a beautiful parts of the country.
GORANI: I heard some of the best fish and chips.
QUEST: Legendary. Legendary.
GORANI: So the reason we're discussing Whitby is because if you want to understand why some people voted Brexit, especially among those who don't
understand the logic behind it. Well, you could ask -- you could do worse than asking a fisherman in Whitby and that's what our Phil Black did today.
So what are they telling you about the prospect of a no-deal, are they so keen on leaving they'd rather leave with no-deal than not at all?
PHIL BLACK, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Yes, that's exactly right, Hala. The thing with the fishing community here in Whitby and indeed, around the
British coast, it's no secret that they don't like the E.U., because they don't like its common fisheries policy, its enforced quotas, which they say
have driven boats out of business, and the access that other European boats then get to British waters.
They've been angry about this for years, decades, even. So they were prepared to support the Prime Minister's deal because she promised to
freedom of the common fisheries policy. They've always said, though, that if the Prime Minister's deal can't get through, and they were a little
skeptical whether or not that would in fact, give them what they long for most of the end, but they've always said that a no-deal Brexit scenario
would give them that -- that one holy grail day, that thing that they have wanted, that thing they voted in the referendum, and so they will be very
disappointed if that's taken off the table today.
GORANI: All right, thank you. Phil Black in Whitby, in the north of England, a major leave town among many in that part of the country.
QUEST: Carole Walker, the fishing industry while we just wait for the tellers and I'll interrupt you if we see them. The fishing industry feels
very strongly about the whole thing, because they do believe that the European Union fundamentally fish their fish.
WALKER: Yes, essentially, many fishermen voted for Brexit because they're very annoyed at how much of the fishing quota in British waters goes to
E.U. boats. The flip side of this of course, though, is an awful lot of those fishermen sell their fish to the European Union. So there is going
to have to be as there is in so many different sectors across the economy a big battle after Brexit as to exactly what is going to happen.
The fishermen are convinced they're going to get a good deal out of it. But if the U.K. turns around and says, "All right okay, now that we're out,
you E.U. fishermen, we're going to keep these British territorial waters for our own fishermen." The E.U. could very well retaliate and say, "Well,
that's fine. But we're going to slap huge tariffs on U.K. fish that you may want to sell to France, to Holland, to Belgium and other countries
across the European Union."
GORANI: And part of the reason these controls were put in place as we await the arrival of the tellers is to prevent overfishing and the
depletion of fish populations. It wasn't done for no reason.
WALKER: Well, they will still be overall quotas.
QUEST: I mean, in my lifetime fish war, the gunboats, Iceland and all of that.
WALKER: These issues get highly contentious and fishermen certainly feel very strongly indeed about it. But it's clear that many, many of those
fishing communities feel that they've been getting a bad deal under the E.U. Many of them voted for Brexit, but they're still wanting to know ...
WALKER: ... precisely what the terms are going to be once they're outside the common fisheries policy, which they hate so much.
QUEST: Quite a lot of comments this morning on the morning news programs about how the comments -- I'm looking at the cameras just pans nicely over
while I make my point that the government benchers yesterday which runs on the left were not full that the MPs the from the government side that they
attended for the least possible time necessary and then got out.
WALKER: Quite extraordinary when Parliament is deciding on and voting on the Prime Minister's deal which will determine the future destiny of the
United Kingdom that many MPs were not there to support the Prime Minister and I think it really just reinforced what a precarious position Theresa
May is in.
We've heard her struggling hoarsely through two days in Parliament. She got through Prime Minister's Questions today, but is still clearly really
struggling with her voice. She allowed other Ministers to take the lead in the debate this afternoon and I think it is a further indication of just
how precarious the Prime Minister is.
There is huge discussion about when she is going to leave it's no longer a question of whether she can invite some, but when -- I think we're coming
up to the vote.
GORANI: Yes, let's listen in.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The 'aye's to the right 312, the 'no's' to the left 308.
JOHN BERCOW, SPEAKER, HOUSE OF COMMONS: The 'aye's to the right 312, the 'no's' to the left 308, so the 'ayes' have it. The 'ayes' have it.
Order. Order. We've come now to amendment F for Freddie in the name of the right Honorable gentleman of Ashford who moves it formally. The
question is that amendment F be made as many as are there opinion, say 'aye'.
BERCOW: Of the contrary, no.
BERCOW: Division. Clear the lobby.
QUEST: That is what it is all about. This amendment -- this amendment which really was pretty much a carbon copy of the government's except for
this requirement that it basically says there needs to be a discussion. You can only leave without a deal and also you need to know what the future
WALKER: Yes, this amendment passed in defiance of the government's wishes that is yet and further rebuff for the Prime Minister. It says --
GORANI: You can hear the cheers behind us.
WALKER: We're hearing big cheers from one side of the protesters out here. This just bluntly says that the U.K. should not leave the European Union
without a deal. Now, as we were saying earlier, this doesn't mean that somehow miraculously, the U.K. is not going to leave with no-deal, but it
does send a very firm instruction to the government and it does make it even more difficult for Theresa May to get anything at all further out of
the European Union.
GORANI: The reason we're hearing these cheers presumably from pro-E.U. demonstrators, obviously not Brexiteers, is that this really -- it's
unequivocal, I mean, the language is saying we are ruling out a no-deal Brexit under any circumstance, right?
QUEST: No, and also --
GORANI: And also requires a framework --
QUEST: That's right, and this particular amendment had the wording that it required a framework of what the future relationship would look like. In
other words, we're not leaving without a deal or without an idea of what is going to happen. But to a certain extent, this argument or this discussion
over leaving without a deal or taking the taking the no-deal option off the table, aren't they a bit in cuckoo land?
They all say, "Well, it's the last bargaining chip," the E.U. doesn't care anymore.
WALKER: Which is precisely why many Brexiteers in Parliament on the Conservative side are saying and have been saying very loudly over the last
few days. Look, I know there are going to be huge difficulties with no- deal. I know it's going to be difficult for many businesses, that there'll be queues at some of the ports, that a lot of the bureaucracy will be
thrown into chaos, but it's better just to leave without a deal because at least once we're outside, then the U.K. would be free to negotiate a future
trading relationship on its own terms instead of being locked into what the E.U ...
WALKER: ... is now increasingly dictating will be the terms of Britain's departure.
GORANI: So they are now voting on the Malthouse compromise amendment, not an airport thriller title, but an amendment that calls on the government to
seek a Brexit extension. Richard, Carole and I will be back after a quick break with more on the vote in the House of Commons. We will be right
GORANI: Welcome back to our special Brexit coverage here. This is day two of some very important voting at Westminster.
QUEST: May I just apologize or explain, if you do catch me looking down at my phone. I'm not updating my Facebook status or anything like that. I'm
actually making sure that we're getting exactly whatever the news is coming from there, but it might look a little bit odd.
GORANI: Right. Thank you for that clarification.
QUEST: And I mean, Bianca Nobilo is just managing to put her phone down.
GORANI: And she may be smiling.
BIANCA NOBILO, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: I was shot there. I was making sure.
GORANI: Because the pound is up significantly. I mean one and a fifth percent, so the pound now trading at $1.3235. Presumably some of that is
this from - in terms of a sense of relief following the passage of that amendment, though, as you were explaining, and as you've been explaining
all day, it's not binding, but it is expressing the will of Parliament that there should be no no-deal scenario, Bianca.
NOBILO: That is what it's expressing. We know that Parliament thinks this already. We know that they're against a no-deal situation. And the reason
why this amendment was necessary, why the authors of it said it was necessary is because the Prime Minister's motion that she chose was so
convoluted then it was slightly confused. So they want to something that gave the House of Commons and gave the country and business more clarity.
So this very clearly expressed that the House of Commons by a majority of four, I think, votes to reject a no-deal in all circumstances. So that is
different to what the Prime Minister's amend -- what the Prime Minister's motion said.
Also, the Prime Minister has indicated that even if there's an extension, it doesn't preclude a no deal later on in the year. She said that the
cliff edge could even be sharper, so this also undermines Theresa May's position on that as well, which I'm sure business will be relieved to see.
QUEST: The amendment that they are currently voting on calls for an extension of Article 50 until May of this year and a transition period to
2021. What in their right minds makes them think that the E.U. will give them a transition period for two years or 18 months without having a deal?
Barnier said that it is not going to happen.
WALKER: Absolutely, Richard and you were talking about the surreal nature of these votes. This one has been dubbed the unicorn amendment because it
is essentially a fantasy creature.
WALKER: It essentially says, "Let's put everything on hold for a couple of years, effectively have a transition period. But without a withdrawal
agreement," and the European Union have said very clearly that unless there is withdrawal agreement, you're not going to get that standstill for two
years. This is saying, let's have something which is completely unrealistic and would give us two years when we will stay with all the
current arrangements that we have with the European Union while we negotiate a future trading relationship, I should say, it is very unlikely
GORANI: So we have just a few minutes before the result of this vote on this amendment is announced, so we can go to Brussels in the meantime, and
Erin McLaughlin is there. This amendment is calling on the government to seek an extension of the Article 50 to 22nd of May of this year. What is
the likely European response to this?
ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Well, this idea that you could have a transition without a withdrawal agreement, as Carole was just pointing out
is a non-starter for the E.U. and this is actually a particularly sensitive point because I don't know if you remember yesterday during that intense
debate in Westminster, which Michel Barnier, the chief Brexit negotiator for the E.U. was watching.
He specifically tweeted out calling out Parliamentarians at the time saying that there will be no transition without a deal. The E.U. has been very,
very clear on that, Hala.
GORANI: All right, Erin McLaughlin. Thanks very much. So we're just minutes away there from learning the result of this vote. This, as we were
telling our viewers amendment calls for the extension of Article 50 until 22nd of May, and this two year transition period as well. But the E.U. has
been quite clear, Carole, that there needs to be a significant reason that they would agree to an extension, right?
WALKER: Yes, I think we're going to hear a lot more about a delay tomorrow when there's going to be a specific motion down that says, "Look, we simply
have to delay Brexit." But yes, we've heard from President Macron again today saying, "Look, we're not going to renegotiate a deal that has already
been negotiated. We're not going to just have a delay while the U.K. tries to work out something different. There has to be a purpose for it."
QUEST: And on that point of not having just a delay for the sake of, Bianca, there seems to be a view that you can take no -- you can lose the
Prime Minister's deal, you can say you don't want to have a no-deal. You can ask for an extension. But then what happens? What goes in its place
of a deal? You're not going to be able to cobble together another withdrawal agreement between now and the end of May or whenever, because
you don't want vote in the European elections.
NOBILO: That is the very precarious political situation that exists right now. MPs that I've been speaking to today have said that maybe if the
government allowed Parliament indicative vote as a way of expressing their support for various different scenarios like formations of Customs Unions,
or softer Brexit, that might be a way to rather quickly figure out where the consensus is in Parliament.
QUEST: But even if you've got your consensus, you still have got to get a new deal to effects that consensus with all the other stuff. Admittedly,
they've done the divorce bit, I mean, it's going to take them another six, seven, ten months to do that.
NOBILO: It would do and that's why Liam Fox who as he is Secretary of State for International Trade, he was closing that debate, has a bit of a
checkered political history but he was on strong form and he was saying that there are actually many dangers to asking for an extension. It takes
all of the leverage out of the U.K.'s hands. We don't know what price that the U.K. would have to pay the E.U. in order to secure that. It doesn't
really solve anything and he says you have to question whether or not in this situation responding to the directive from the British people who are
the servants here and who are the masters, so he was saying we need to deliver the result of the referendum.
GORANI: But all of these -- I mean Liam Fox and others, they want the May deal to go through so they'll find reasons to I guess to argue --
NOBILO: But he wasn't a fan of it to begin with and he pointed that out. He said, "Look, we've all had to make compromises." He was a very
vociferous and ardent Brexiteer. He has, but it's not his ideal scenario by a long stretch.
WALKER: That's why --
GORANI: I am sorry. I'm sorry to jump into, the tellers have arrived.
WALKER: The tellers are there, so we should get the results of this vote any minute, but I think that is --
GORANI: Two of the four.
WALKER: Why Theresa May is still clinging to her deal. She is still hoping that Brexiteers like Liam Fox will be so worried that they'll lose
Brexit altogether that when she brings her deal, which has been comprehensively defeated twice, she brings it back yet another time next
week that she still has a chance of getting it through.
QUEST: It really does come down -- while we wait for the third and fourth teller just to get into position. It really just comes down to either
extend for quite a period of time because you're going to have to put in place a replacement of sorts for this.
We're watching the vote or the tellers are about to give the results any second now. It's an amendment now that's expected to go down, probably
quite heavily. It's interesting to see exactly what I'm saying now -- no, it's interesting to see what --
BIANCA NOBILO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The interesting thing about this amendment is it's been tabled by remainers and leavers alike. So as Carole
points out, it is a bit of a unicorn, a fantasy amendment, and that just shows us why we're in this difficult position because the only thing both
sides can agree on is something which doesn't have --
QUEST: Doesn't rule out --
NOBILO: Any hope of actually becoming a reality.
QUEST: And it doesn't rule out a no-deal Brexit.
NOBILO: Oh, no, quite the opposite. It intends to manage a no-deal Brexit.
HALA GORANI, HOST, HALA GORANI TONIGHT: But it isn't -- I think really this -- were we expecting the First Amendment to get through though?
WALKER: Yes, because it was very similar to an amendment that went through in January.
GORANI: But more strongly worded though, the one -- it really saying under no circumstance would we support a no-deal --
WALKER: I think that we had always expected that, that was going to be the case, although clearly, the government, the Prime Minister had been hoping
that her rather more nuanced motion, which says, well, we don't want to leave without a deal, but that is a default position unless we've got a
It's a slightly contradictory amendment, and that's why that motion was put down, that was why MPs voted for it, because there's a majority of MPs who
are severely worried about the economic impact of a no-deal Brexit.
GORANI: Well, what's --
NOBILO: But even so, it doesn't preclude a no-deal and we should remind our viewers that it will take another agreement, a compromise agreement
being struck in order to avoid a no-deal scenario unless MPs vote for Theresa May's deal or get that extension. So we're still in dubious
GORANI: But let's leave Westminster, what is the country because there have been polls that have been conducted over the last several months, some
polls even suggesting that a majority of people in this country would favor another referendum or that they would favor potentially or that maybe if a
referendum were held today, that a majority of Britons would vote to remain.
WALKER: Well, a lot of it depends on what you ask. The country is still deeply divided. If there were another referendum there has been the polls
suggest, a slight shift towards a majority for remain. But don't forget, on the eve of the referendum in 2016 --
GORANI: Yes --
WALKER: The polls suggested that remain would win. And I think it's very difficult --
GORANI: Hopefully, they've corrected their methodology two years, two and a half years --
WALKER: It's very difficult to know what the circumstances would be --
GORANI: Yes --
WALKER: Of a second referendum. And certainly, there are many politicians --
GORANI: I'm talking about the ballots --
WALKER: What would be -- what would be the question --
GORANI: Yes, but I think most often, the question I hear from --
QUEST: Yes --
GORANI: From people who supported people's vote is would you want May's deal or do you want to remain?
QUEST: Can I --
GORANI: Yes --
QUEST: Because the pound is going up --
GORANI: That as well --
QUEST: The pound is going up while we wait for these tellers. We're now at 1.3 percent, so the market is clearly saying look, you know, we're
liking the security that will come from taking no deal off the table. At least we now know that there will be assuming this will --
GORANI: But is it off the table?
NOBILO: It is not --
QUEST: Well, I'll tell you, the market is assuming now that this is -- there we go --
GORANI: There should be --
Let's listen to the announcement.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Order. The ayes to the right, 164, the nos to the left, 374.
JOHN BERCOW, SPEAKER, HOUSE OF COMMONS: The ayes to the right, 164, the nos to the left, 374. So the nos have it. The nos have it. Unlock!
Order! The question is the main motion as amended. That is to say as amended by amendment A. The question is the main motion as amended. As
many as that have been in, say aye.
BERCOW: Of the contrary, no!
BERCOW: (INAUDIBLE) clear the lobby!
GORANI: So this amendment -- this amendment soundly defeated.
QUEST: Right, so they're now voting, this is really complicated stuff. They're now voting on the main government motion. However, it is the
government's motion that has been amended by the first one that passed.
[15:35:00] WALKER: It is what we're seeing and what we're likely to see is another majority in favor of this motion, and you're right. What this
does is that it sends an even stronger signal that parliament does not want to leave with no deal, and what it also does is underlines once again
the Prime Minister's complete loss of control of this process, complete loss of authority over the House of Commons.
She had to allow a free vote on these issues today because she knew that if she tried to whip her cabinet one way or another, she would have
resignations from one side or another. And this is sending out a far stronger signal about the dangers of no deal, about rejecting no deal than
she wanted to give because she's simply lost control of events.
GORANI: Yes --
NOBILO: I think also the Prime Minister, as Carole says is losing authority. The only way now she can really take control of this process
back this week, as it's just bleeding away from her, is to announce tomorrow preemptively that she's going to try and seek an extension with
the EU, because if she gives it back to parliament, that choice, then it can be amended in any which way and she'll then be forced to follow that
when she approached the EU --
GORANI: So --
NOBILO: To ask for it, so she could in essence just decide that, that's the course she's going to take. We don't know that --
QUEST: It's unlikely --
NOBILO: There was a cabinet huddle -- well, there was a cabinet huddle about two and a half hours ago, which is normal in these sorts of
circumstances. This heightened state of politics, we don't know what they were discussing, but it will be something of significance in terms of next
steps. So that's her -- an option that we should be aware of floating around.
GORANI: If this motion is approved, is it approved with the amendment that was passed?
QUEST: Yes --
GORANI: That's how the whole --
WALKER: It is indeed --
GORANI: Packaged then --
WALKER: It is indeed, and I think what will be interesting --
GORANI: And is it binding?
WALKER: No, it's not legally binding. The legal situation is --
GORANI: When is anything legally done?
WALKER: Still that the U.K. leaves the European Union on March the 29th. That can --
GORANI: Yes --
QUEST: Right --
WALKER: Only be changed --
QUEST: Right --
WALKER: By legislation, by revoking article 50 or by an agreement with the EU to delay it --
GORANI: But it's the will of parliament -- it's the will of parliament.
WALKER: It is the will of parliament --
GORANI: So at what point do you -- if you accept that the referendum vote was a democratic expression of the country, do you not need to accept that
the will of parliament is a democratic expression of the parliamentarians - -
WALKER: That she --
GORANI: Who were voted --
WALKER: There are two different types of democracy --
GORANI: No, I get them, I understand there are two different types of democracy, but you can't say one is rated --
QUEST: Right --
GORANI: More than the other. That's my question.
WALKER: This is -- this is the battle between the will of the people, where a majority voted to leave and a majority in the houses of parliament
where there's a majority --
GORANI: They've expressed --
QUEST: So --
GORANI: Their will --
WALKER: Still remain --
QUEST: So --
GORANI: They've expressed their will --
QUEST: Let's go to Downing Street.
QUEST: Nina dos Santos is there. Look, Nina, you would have been listening closely, I am sure, to Bianca talking about how authority is
slipping from the Prime Minister. In Downing Street, is there a feeling that that's happening?
NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, you can imagine there will be all sorts of aides looking at those television screens and looking at how these
two amendments have passed, have panned out and really wondering whether what we'll be expecting now is resignations from members of her divided
You remember that resignations from her cabinet at the end of last year over the subject of Brexit nearly precipitated the Prime Minister's
downfall. They precipitated a vote of confidence in her. Now, she managed to win that, which means that her position technically should be safe from
leadership challenges over the next ten months to come.
But that doesn't necessarily mean that this is a Prime Minister that -- who is, as Carole was just saying, has proved that she seems to spectacularly
lost control of her command of the house, her command of some of her MPs, and indeed, if it seems the command of her cabinet with resignations,
perhaps overnight or tomorrow morning.
If that's the case, well, that really throws the Prime Minister's position into jeopardy. So you can imagine all the various aides behind me in these
two buildings, number ten and number 11 where the chancellor resides. The chancellor who appeared to almost turn his back on the Prime Minister
earlier on today in the House of Commons, they will be looking at this and really wondering what the future of this government is likely to be.
And also, the position of the DUP in Northern Ireland over this no-deal vote is crucial as well, because remember the DUP supposedly was supposed
to back the government, supposedly was supposed to make up the numbers of that slender majority, a majority that Theresa May shaved off quite
significantly after that ill-fated general election a couple of years ago.
And if indeed there were to have been the house voting in favor of a no- deal, that could have caused in future the breakup of the European -- the U.K. and the unification of Ireland. At the same time, we've got the
Scottish National Party now agitating for the independence of Scotland.
So here in number ten, there will be some people who will be asking themselves what will this really mean for the future of this country as a
United Kingdom, not just as a United Kingdom, as part of the European Union. Richard.
[15:40:00] QUEST: Right, thank you, Nina. We're just trying to understand and get our heads around some parliamentary shenanigans that
have been going on. Until now, the government had said that it was going to give its MPs on the conservative side of the house a free vote. That it
was going to allow them to vote as their conscience dictates. Oh, we're hearing, Carole Walker, that might not be the case.
WALKER: Well, what appears has happened is that the government had originally said, yes, there's going to be a free vote on the government
motion. But since the amendment went through, so the motion is now not what the government wanted, but is a bold statement that the U.K. should
not leave without a deal.
That the government has now imposed what's called a three-line whip, the most strict instruction it can issue to MPs and ministers to vote against
this motion. So there is now the risk that some MPs who are very concerned and some ministers who are very concerned about taking no-deal off the
table will now feel that they have to resign in order to vote against it.
We've had people like Liz Truss, a very senior --
QUEST: Before --
WALKER: Minister in the Treasury was on the airwaves this afternoon explaining why she did not want no-deal taken off the table --
QUEST: Just -- I do need to understand --
WALKER: Is she not going to resign?
QUEST: Just a second, before we get to that, I need to understand. What is the difference between -- Bianca, between the original amendment that
the government has put on the table and the amendment that -- the original motion that was on the table and the amended motion? What is the
fundamental difference between the two?
NOBILO: The fundamental difference is the original motion is the Prime Minister's position as stated. So that's the fact that this house declines
to approve leaving the European Union without a deal, meaning it's not the desirable situation.
But it notes that leaving the EU on the 29th of March is the default unless there's another agreement --
QUEST: Right --
NOBILO: It's convoluted, but it's a way of saying we don't wish to pursue no-deal, however, we understand that, that is currently the default. Now,
the amended motion is this house rejects leaving the European Union without a deal, full stop in any circumstance.
Which removes all the leverage from the Prime Minister. Again, we note it's not legally binding, even if it were to pass, but in terms of
political pressure and expediency, she would have to follow the will of the house.
WALKER: Yes --
NOBILO: And she'll need to design all of her future options based upon what the House of Commons has expressed.
GORANI: So this is inside Westminster, it's politics on a granular level, but throughout the country, people feel very passionately about Brexit,
about whether or not it's good for them. Some of them may even have changed their minds since the referendum in 2016, and some of them, maybe
most of them, according to some polls haven't.
We're going to Anna Stewart, she's Edinburg, Scotland, where you'll remember that a vast majority, more than 60 percent, 62 percent voted to
stay in the EU. And Phil Black is in Whitby in the north of England where there has been, in fact, really a position to exit the EU, that has not
changed very much.
Now, let's go to Anna Stewart in Scotland, and see what's going on from her vantage point.
ANNA STEWART, CNN REPORTER: Well, Hala, I think what's interesting today, the morning after that huge defeat, it was a lot of eye rolling, I'd say in
Edinburg. As you said, the vast majority of Scotland voted to leave -- sorry, voted to remain in every single cancel area.
And what was interesting today from speaking to people is perhaps the European Union isn't the only union facing a potential breakup here,
because there are increasing calls for independence, both from Northern Ireland as well as Scotland. Independent political parties are really
pushing their agenda, they're seizing this opportunity.
I spoke to people in town today and asked what they want to happen next in the political process.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everybody seems so undecided, and that they need to go back to the people and say, right, we've had all these discussions, nobody
seems to agree, what do you want now?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would like to think they would vote against the no deal. Tough option. I would sincerely hope that it goes back to the next
referendum, and I would truly hope that everybody realizes it's just a really bad idea all around.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're now potentially not going to be part of the EU and Scotland could have the chance to thrive as their own country. So I
think I would be for another independence vote.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEWART: So Hala, for many people, as you can hear there, one of the reasons that they voted to stay in the U.K. in the Scottish independence
vote in 2014 was because the U.K. was in the EU. Now that seems to be disappearing by the minute.
[15:45:00] More and more people I've spoken to who voted against Scottish independence a few years ago would change their mind now. I haven't yet
met anyone who would change their mind, however, on Brexit.
GORANI: All right, Anna Stewart in Edinburgh, Scotland, thanks very much.
QUEST: Phil, we're going to come to you, but we're going to be brief -- we're going to keep it brief if we may, and I may need to interrupt you
because we're in the minutes just before they come back. In Whitby, they don't really care what's going on down here, they just want to leave.
PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, indeed, Whitby and across northeast England, too, Richard. Remember, the northeast was a huge Brexit voting
area, with local results consistently in the 50 percent and above, even above 60 percent in some places. And when you talk to people in these
communities, they tell you that they want Brexit as quickly as possible, regardless of the consequences.
They're talking about a no-deal scenario. A lot of people have wanted that from the outset. They just want Brexit and they want it as soon as they
can possibly get it. Others will say no deal is now preferred solution, we'd like a deal if it's possible, but no deal is better than no Brexit.
So all of these people are going to be hugely disappointed by anything that makes that sort of situation less likely. And then of course, we have been
talking about the fishermen as well here in Whitby and other places along the Yorkshire coast, and indeed around the U.K. coast, really.
Fishermen who have long disliked the EU for one single issue, one single reason. They are single-issue Brexit voters, and that is the EU's common
fisheries policy, that the rules and regulations that set quotas and determine access to British territorial waters. They want to get out and
they see a no-deal Brexit scenario as the ultimate guarantee of securing that holy grail for them. So they will be hugely disappointed if that is
removed from the table, Richard.
GORANI: All right --
QUEST: Right --
GORANI: Thank you very much Phil Black is in Whitby in the north of England, and the chamber is filling back up, Carole and Bianca. And this
is a vote on the government's motion to prevent a no-deal Brexit. But things have changed because an amendment was passed that altered the
meaning and the sort of -- well, how would you say it?
QUEST: The reading --
GORANI: For the reading of the -- no --
QUEST: No --
WALKER: It changed the --
GORANI: No --
WALKER: It changed the --
QUEST: The purpose --
WALKER: Significance --
QUEST: Yes --
WALKER: Of the motion altogether. And I have to say that it sounds as though there are now some really chaotic scenes going on because very -- at
the last moment, the government decided that it would whip its MPs, require its MPs and ministers to vote against this motion because it's not the
government's original motion.
It's been changed by that earlier vote, which basically says that the U.K. should not leave the EU without a deal. Now, that whipping announcement
was made very late in the day while MPs were voting on another amendment. But it seems that many of those ministers who are really concerned about
no-deal are unhappy about being whipped -- about being whipped against this and are --
QUEST: Right --
WALKER: Refusing to comply --
GORANI: Yes --
WALKER: So the question now is whether they will be disciplined, will they be sacked, will they --
GORANI: Yes --
WALKER: Feel they have to resign?
GORANI: Sure --
NOBILO: And will they vote against or will they abstain or will they vote for it?
QUEST: Yes --
NOBILO: One of those three and --
QUEST: The viewers watching may well say, well, you know, it all sounds like a bit of a shambles.
NOBILO: It does, and that's exactly what I'm hearing what Carole said. An MP just texted me, said literally could not have gone worse tonight. This
is a nightmare scenario for the government. There's chaos and confusion in the --
GORANI: But why is there confusion if the expectation was that the First Amendment would pass?
WALKER: Well, it seems that -- it seems that they didn't see it coming --
GORANI: Yes --
WALKER: Sufficiently --
QUEST: Yes --
WALKER: And get the whipping instructions sorted out in time to ensure that things happen smoothly. And I think that what Bianca is saying is
absolutely right. And this is just going to add to the sense of chaos and confusion and the anger and resentment at the Prime Minister's handling of
this entire process.
GORANI: And how does this affect the Prime Minister and her strategy?
WALKER: It affects the Prime Minister because if the government have indeed put this on a three-line whip, that is the most severe instruction
you can give MPs in terms of the fact that they have to vote in-line with the government. Now, if members of the parliament define a three-line
whip, it can be as severe a punishment as having the whip withdrawn.
Which means you're essentially expelled from the party. Now, these are unprecedented times. I think that's unlikely, but it puts members of
parliament and particularly junior ministers and those on the government payroll in a very difficult position when they don't want to vote on the
government line, they want to rule out no-deal.
QUEST: Nina is in Downing Street, Nina, I'll say to you what I said to Phil, while the voting is taking some time to get the results. I'll
interrupt you if we see the tellers coming back and coming forward. Although, I think we might be quite close.
NOBILO: Yes --
QUEST: Nina, the government, the British government tonight seems to be in shambles.
DOS SANTOS: It does. The government is in shambles, the Conservative Party is deeply divided. There will be people who will be fearing for the
future of the Conservative Party if they don't manage to deliver Brexit in some form.
[15:50:00] And that's sort of what's going on here with members of the government, as you can see him standing even --
QUEST: Drop you, I'm going to stop you, let's go to the house.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The ayes to the right, 321, the nos to the left, 278.
BERCOW: The ayes to the right, 321, the nos to the left, 278. So the ayes have it, the ayes have it. Unlock! Order. Point of order, the Prime
THERESA MAY, PRIME MINISTER, UNITED KINGDOM: Order, point of order, Mr. Speaker, the house has today provided a clear majority against leaving
without a deal. However, I will repeat what I have said before.
BERCOW: The house must calm itself, long time to go today, subsequent days, be calm. Mrs. Prime Minister.
MAY: Mr. Speaker, these are about the choices that this house faces. The legal default -- the legal default in U.K. and the EU law remains that the
U.K. will leave the EU without a deal unless something else is agreed. The onus is now on every one of us in this house to find out what that is.
The options before us are the same as they always have been. We could leave, we could leave with the deal, which this government has negotiated
in the past two years. We could leave with a deal we have negotiated but subject to a second referendum, but that would risk no Brexit at all.
Damaging. The fragile trust between the British parliament -- damaging the fragile trust between the British public and the members of this house. We
could seek to negotiate a different deal, however the EU has been clear that the deal on the table is indeed the only deal available. Mr.
Speaker, I also confirmed last night --
BERCOW: Order. The great likelihood, I await further comment. But I think I can say this without fear of contradiction, is there will be
further opportunities for these matters to be debated. But in the immediate term, please let us have some courtesy. Of that I think we can
be sure, there will be further debate on these matters. The Prime Minister.
MAY: Mr. Speaker, I also confirmed last night that if the house declined to approve leaving without a deal on the 29th of March 2019, the government
would bring forth a motion on whether the house supports seeking to agree an extension to article 50 with EU which is the logical consequence of the
votes over the past two days in this house.
The leader of the house will surely make an emergency business statement, confirming the change to tomorrow's business. The motion we will table
will set out the fundamental choice facing this house. If the house finds a way in the coming days to support a deal, it would allow the government
to seek a short, limited, technical extension to article 50, to provide time to pass the necessary legislation and to ratify the agreement we have
reached with the EU.
But let me be clear, such a short technical extension is only likely to be on offer if we have a deal in place. Therefore, the house has to
understand and accept that if it is not willing to support a deal in the coming days, and as it is not willing to support leaving without a deal on
the 29th of March, then it is suggesting that there will need to be a much longer extension to article 50.
Such an extension would undoubtedly require the United Kingdom to hold European parliament elections in May 2019. I do not think that would be
the right outcome. But the house needs to face up to the consequences of the decisions it's taken.
BERCOW: Order! I thank the Prime Minister for what she said. Point of order, Mr. Jeremy Corbyn.
JEREMY CORBYN, BRITISH LABOR PARTY LEADER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, tonight, this house is once again definitely ruled out no deal.
The Prime Minister said the choice was between her deal or no deal.
[15:55:00] In the last 24 hours, parliament has decisively rejected both her deal and no deal. While an extension of article 50 is now inevitable,
the responsibility of that extension lies solely and squarely at the Prime Minister's door. But Mr. Speaker, extending article 50 without a clear
objective is not a solution.
Parliament must now take control of the situation. In the days that follow, Mr. Speaker, myself, the shadow Brexit secretary and others will
have meetings with members across the house to find a compromise solution that can command support in the house. This means, Mr. Speaker, doing what
the Prime Minister failed to do two years ago in searching for a consensus on the way forward.
Labor has set out a credible alternative plan -- honorable members, honorable members across this house are coming forward with proposals,
whether that's for a permanent Customs Union, a public vote, Norway-plus or other ideas. Let us, as a House of Commons, work now to find a solution to
deal with the crisis facing this country and the deep concerns that many people have for their livelihood, for their lives, their future, their
jobs, their communities, and their factories.
It's up to us as a House of Commons to look for and find a solution to their concerns. That is what we were elected to do.
BERCOW: Point of order, Mr. Ian Blackford.
IAN BLACKFORD, MP, UK SCOTTISH NATIONAL PARTY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Let's be in no doubt that we're in a constitutional crisis. And we're in a
constitutional crisis at the making of the Prime Minister that has run down the Brexit clock.
And what we see from the Prime Minister is a denial of the facts, that she's faced two anonymous defeats on her meaningful vote. Her deal is
dead. And I am delighted that the House of Commons tonight has given a very clear expression that this house under no circumstances or no time
limit wants no deal.
And what the Prime Minister should have done this evening is come to the dispatch box with a degree of humility, accept that she has failed and to
immediately put in place the legislation to withdraw from legislation the threat of us leaving the European Union on the 29th of March.
Why has the Prime Minister not done that? What this house needs to do tomorrow is to take control of that process. We don't need a time limited
extension to article 50. It must be open-ended, and I for one welcome elections to the European parliament.
But we know, Mr. Speaker, we must move on, and having meaningful debate about the people vote, and yes if necessary. We have to look at the
revocation of article 50. But let me say this to the Prime Minister. I repeat again that Scotland will not be dragged out of the European Union
against its will, and everything which has gone on in this house is a determination that the best interests of the people of Scotland will be as
an independent European nation.
BERCOW: I will come to the honorable gentleman, but I will take the leader of the little Democrat Party first. Yes, point of order Quincy Gable(ph).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Speaker, now that the house has given effect to its will so clearly on separate occasions, can you give us the benefit of your
help and your advice, as to how to translate these declaratory motions into practical action?
BERCOW: If the right honorable gentleman would forgive me, and to be honest, even if he won't, I prefer to hear remaining points of order and
then to invite the leader of the house to deliver the supplementary or emergency business statement.
And we will see what is intended to take place tomorrow, and we may well learn tomorrow of what is intended to take place in subsequent days. There
has been a clear expression of will by the house. I rather imagine there will be conversations amongst colleagues.
What I would say to the right honorable gentleman is ultimately, the house can debate what the house wants to debate. And we will see what it wants
to debate and what shape events take in the days to come. I don't want to express myself more forcefully on the matter, I don't think that would be
But the right honorable gentleman, need be in no doubt that these messes will be fully debated and members will have the opportunity to put their
point of view and in all likelihood, many propositions will come to be tested.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Point of order --
BERCOW: The honorable gentleman, forgive me, I'll just take the point of order first from --