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CONNECT THE WORLD
Manhunt Underway in Netherlands; Three Dead, Nine Wounded in Netherlands Tram Attack; New Zealand Prime Minister Promises Gun Reform; Facebook Initially Failed to Notice New Zealand Attack Video; White House Defends Trump By Saying the President Is Not a White Supremacist; Trump Says Media Working Hard to "Blame Me" for Massacre; New Details on Drone Attack Aimed at Venezuelan President; Statement from U.K. House of Commons Speaker; Speaker, U.K. Government Cannot Resubmit Same Proposal. Aired 11- 12p ET
Aired March 18, 2019 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[11:00:00] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARK RUTTE, DUTCH PRIME MINISTER (through translator): Can we talk of terrorism? We will investigate that, but I'm very worried.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST: Breaking news this hour. A manhunt is under way after a gunman opens fire inside a tram. Multiple people are dead. The
threat level in a Dutch province raised to the highest level. Dutch authorities say they cannot rule out terrorism.
Also ahead this hour.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JACINDA ARDERN, NEW ZEALAND PRIME MINISTER: When Australia found itself in a similar to where we find ourselves now, they took 12 days to make the
decision. We have taken 72 hours.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
New Zealand's Prime Minister wastes no time taking gun reform head on. The country grappling with its deadliest terror attack in history.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Ahmed is seven months old. He arrived from Behrouz. Care providers here had had to take him to a local
hospital where he stayed for the past couple of weeks. After treatment, we are being told that he weighs about 3.7 kilograms. That is how much a
newborn would weigh.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: It is hard to believe, but he is one of the lucky ones. We're going to take I inside a al-Roj camp in northern Syria where 250 children
who have lived through hell face a daunting future.
Hello and welcome. You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD with me, Becky Anderson, from Abu Dhabi where it is 7:00 in the evening.
An attack on our tolerant and open society. That is how the Dutch Prime Minister describes today's attack in the Netherlands. We now know three
people are dead after a gunman opened fire on a tram. Nine were wounded seriously. Police have just released this image of the suspect. It's a
37-year-old Turkish man. He is still on the loose. Authorities are still looking at whether this was a terror attack. Here is the Prime Minister.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARK RUTTE, DUTCH PRIME MINISTER (through translator): This was an act of terror. That is an attack to our society. An attack on our tolerant and
open society. If indeed this is an act of terror, then of course there is only one response possible and that response is as follows. That our
state, our democracy, we are stronger than fanatics and violence. We will not stop to fight intolerance, never.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: An intense manhunt is under way and it is focused on the town of Utrecht. Very close to where the attack was carried out. CNN's Richard
Quest is there with the very latest -- Richard.
RICHARD QUEST, CNN BUSINESS EDITOR-AT-LARGE: Becky, I can do no better perhaps than to step out of the way and you can see the scene of the crime.
The forensic police officers you can see moving inside just behind the blue shields. Which were put up by the fire brigade a short while ago we
believe to protect the privacy of the bodies, the three bodies that are probably still in the tram.
Forensic officers have been photographing not only inside the tram but all the local vehicles as they determine what is relevant and what is involved
and what is not. Over to the left of me and further down the road about half a kilometer away, that we believe is where the latest police operation
is under way as the search continues.
A few moments ago I saw several Mercedes cars speeding through this way. Inside you could see rapid response officers wearing black Vancouver
helmets. But so far, we've heard no indication of what's actually going on. So, Becky, the scene is in complete lockdown. Local residents have
been told not to leave their home. And, Becky, the area, this part of Utrecht is at level five which is the highest classification of terror.
ANDERSON: Yes, that is remarkable. And I'm sure the atmosphere very difficult. Richard, this is a developing story, of course. What more, if
anything, do we know about the man who is being named, clearly the suspect, in this case?
[11:05:00] QUEST: Right. Well, not much, although it's impressive speed with which the Dutch authorities put the picture out. You've shown the
picture. That was taken only four minutes before the attack took place. The picture is at 10:41 and there is a second picture of him on the tram
and the attack takes place at 10:45. It is believed -- although not confirmed by the authorities -- that he has had numerous -- has an
extensive criminal history of one sort or the other. But the exact details of which are not known. Within the local community he was described as a
difficult person but nobody believed he had terror activities. But at this stage, of course, that is just pure speculation. We're getting the drips
and drabs of the information over who he was, where he lived, and what he was involved in.
ANDERSON: And just describe that neighborhood, if you will.
QUEST: I will. Absolutely, and I'll get out of the way and we can actually show you the neighborhood. The neighborhood -- Utrecht is a
university town. It's got a beautiful downtown with canals and things. But this particular area is primarily either light industry or residential.
Not wishing to be disrespectful to the residents, there doesn't seem to be much remarkable about this part of town. It's about a 40-minute drive or
so from Amsterdam. It took me about 40 minutes. At the moment the police have widened the cordon of this particular area. So even if you're coming
off the interstate from Amsterdam it's impossible to get to this part. And our producer who came up from Brussels, buyer Rotterdam on the train was
telling us that the station here in Utrecht is under much heavier police guard that which of course is to be expected.
ANDERSON: Richard Quest at the scene for you. Richard, thank you. It is six minutes past 4:00 there in the afternoon.
And viewers, I want to show you a tweet now from the controversial far- right Dutch politician, Geert Wilders. Who calls the shooting, quote, terrible news and sends his thoughts to the victims and their loved ones.
Wilders also says, rightly the campaign has been stopped under these circumstances. Now he is referring to provincial elections on Wednesday
that will decide who's in the upper House of Parliament. Wilders, as we know, has built his reputation and his following around anti-Islamic
sentiment. Among his outrageous statements he has called for a ban on all Muslim immigrants to the Netherlands and says the Muslims are there, those
who are there should leave.
In New Zealand which is itself still processing last week's mass shooting, agony now turning into action. The Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says her
cabinet has agreed in principle to reform the country's gun laws. Now she's also being praised for her strong leadership. These images show you
The death toll now stands at 50. Dozens more are still recovering from injuries. People across the country have been sending the messages of
encouragement and positivity.
In other developments, police say it was a single gunman who carried out the attack on two mosques. Authorities have scrambled the largest
investigative team in New Zealand's history. Martin Savidge is in Christchurch. My colleague Samuel Burke in London with more on the role of
social media played in the aftermath of this attack. Indeed, in this attack itself. And how tech firms are responding. Martin, first to you,
what's the latest where you are?
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well the investigation right now -- as you've already heard -- is massive on the part of the New Zealand
government, but they've brought in international partners to help them. The Australians have conducted a number of search warrants. Of course, the
suspect in this case is from Australia and we're told at least two homes were searched in Australia by authorities there. They say that it was at
the request of the New Zealand government. They believe to be homes that belong to family members of the suspect. We haven't heard about anything
that was recovered.
But what it would suggest is that even though New Zealand authorities have said the gunman acted alone in carrying out the attack. The obvious
question was, did he have any logistic support before carrying out that attack? Where did the money come from that allowed him to purchase the
weapons, the ammunition and to also travel abundantly before the attack? These are questions that are often asked in the aftermath in mass
And then the other point, to the international effort. The FBI has now joined this investigation. There are a couple of reasons that this U.S.
law enforcement agency could be involved.
[11:10:00] One is just because unfortunately tragically in the United States they have a great deal of experience of investigating mass
shootings, particularly those motivated by hate or by race. Then on top of that it's possible there could be a dual nationality among the victims,
which we haven't heard from yet or possibly some kind of connection back to the United States yet to be explained.
So that's where the investigation stands. The real question many want to know is was there any red flag? Anything authorities missed? Or anyone in
the public who may have known in advance and failed to say anything about it -- Becky?
ANDERSON: Remarkable. Martin, thank you for that.
Let's get to London. Facebook says it continues to work around the clock, Samuel, on removing these uploads. We're working -- what? 72 hours or
more now after this actual attack. Social media right in the thick of things for the wrong reasons once again.
SAMUEL BURKE, CNNMONEY BUSINESS AND TECHNOLOGY CORRESPONDENT: Becky, Facebook has released some new information that we're putting on the screen
for you right now. On the surface it might sound good that they were able to block most of the videos being uploaded. But just take a look at this
Number one, Facebook didn't notice the video on their own. That was broadcast live of this terror attack. It was the police who had to alert
them. So clearly, whatever structure they have in place to monitor Facebook live is not working.
Yes, Facebook blocked 1.2 of the 1.5 million attempts to upload the video in the first 24 hours. But it's simple. Do the math. That means that
video went up 300,000 times and Facebook won't tell us how many times it was viewed and by how many people. Becky, you and I both know as well as
your audience that it only takes one YouTube video to be viewed millions of times. So if there were 300,000 instances of this video up over 24 hours,
which is an eternity in social media time. Imagine all the people who viewed it, who may be viewed it accidentally, who could be radicalized by
this. And that really gets to the heart of what's the problem here. We know from so many terrorism experts that it takes a short amount of time on
social media. Maybe not one video, but it contributes to people being radicalized much in the way it looks like the attacker himself was
radicalized based on what we saw in the manifesto referencing social media influence.
ANDERSON: Samuel Burke's in London on that part of the story. Samuel, thank you for that.
As authorities press forward, let's remember the victims, loved ones of the victims are looking back, honoring the legacy of their family and friends
through memory. One of the stories that we've heard is that of a 25-year- old Indian woman whose dream was to live and work in New Zealand with her new husband. Alexandra Field has that story.
ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They were newlyweds from India who decided to call New Zealand home. Ansi Alibava
and Abdul Nazar. It was her dream, so he shared it with her until it was cut short.
ABDUL NAZAR, WIFE KILLED IN TERROR ATTACK (through translator): No one would expect something like this to happen here, he says.
FIELD: On Friday at Al Noor mosque in Christchurch Ansi set with the women. Abdul was with the men.
NAZAR: Then one person broke the glass. Then I ran away.
FIELD: When the gunfire stopped, he says she was dead. I saw her lying on the road. Ansi had run from the mosque in her socks.
NAZAR (through translator): She loves to travel. She loved reading, watching English movies.
FIELD: A few weeks ago Ansi finished her courses here at Lincoln University where a vigil was held for those killed on Friday's attack.
With a masters in agricultural business management she hoped to get a good job so they could support their struggling families in India. Abdul
stocked shelves, Ansi worked part-time while completing her degree.
TALI AO, CLASSMATE OF SHOOTING VICTOM: She was my best friend. She was a very ideal person and she really loves her husband. Her husband really
loves her. It was an arranged marriage. So I could see them really discovering each other and they really like each other. I could see their
love that they have.
FIELD: The 25-year-old is one of at least five Indian nationals killed in New Zealand's largest mass shooting. Abdul is staying with friends while
he waits to be able to take her body back to India.
RENJU GEORGE, FRIEND OF SHOOTING VICTIM: They used to live at my house when they first came to New Zealand. So he didn't want to sleep in the
room where they were sleeping before. He kept crying in the night. Kept waking every two or three minutes and just looking for her arm.
FIELD: On top of his grief, Abdul his heavy burdens. Ansi took out tens of thousands of dollars in loan to fund her education.
[11:15:00] A Givealittle page online now aims to help him pay down her debt. It was her student visa that allowed them to come to New Zealand.
But he hopes to be able to stay where he says their memories are to live the life they planned. To hold onto the dreams they shared. Alexandra
Field, CNN, Christchurch.
ANDERSON: Well, in the wake of these sickening attacks, we are seeing an outpouring of condolences for the victims. They've been happening around
the world. This was the seen in Islamabad and Pakistan. People gathered for a candle light vigil for those who lost their lives. Some offering
prayers, other holding signs saying they stand with the victims.
And take a look at this. These photos were posted by Jeremy Tibbetts on Facebook. He and other members of his New York Jewish community went to a
local mosque. They wanted to show their solidarity with the Muslim community there. One sign reads we should be together in joy, not just in
And you'll remember these heartbreaking injuries from October of last year. They are memorials after the deadly Tree of Live Synagogue shooting in the
U.S. city of Pittsburgh. While Muslim communities in that area raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for the victims there, now the Jewish
Federation of Greater Pittsburgh has set up a fund to help the Christchurch victims.
Well from words and gestures of support to comments that are sparking fury and outrage, you may have seen this next video online. Let me set this up
for you. You're about to see a far-right Australian lawmaker almost literally wear egg on his face. Senator Fraser Anning blamed the slaughter
of those at Christchurch mosques on immigration policy. Saying they, quote, allowed Muslim fanatics to migrate to New Zealand in the first
place. Now take a look at this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FRASER ANNING, AUSTRALIAN LAWMAKER: When people are getting attacked in their own --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: That was the moment when a teenager smashed an egg on the side of his head as the senator was holding a news conference. This video has
gone viral and he throws a punch at the boy's face and then takes another swing before the two were separated. The teenager was tackled and held on
Well the White House is defending Donald Trump against criticism that he's not doing enough to denounce white supremacy after the massacre. The U.S.
President raised eyebrows when he said he doesn't believe white nationalism is a rising threat worldwide and he hasn't offered a direct message of
support to the Muslim community. Although he condemned the mass killings as terrorism. Here's what one of his top aides told Fox News.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICK MULVANEY, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: I've seen the President stand up for religious liberties and individual liberties. The President is not
a white supremacist. I'm not sure how many times we have to say that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Let's get some perspective now from CNN White House reporter, Stephen Collinson. The White House defending Donald Trump against
criticism he's not doing enough to denounce white supremacy after the massacre. He's not. He's not doing enough. Period.
STEPHEN COLLINSON, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Right. And how bizarre is it that the acting chief of staff of the White House has to go on national TV
and say that the President of the United States is not a white supremacist. I mean, I think that tells us a lot about this situation.
Look, it's clear that the President doesn't want to come out and condemn white supremacy. That's the only conclusion you can draw. It was the same
-- remember when there were those far-right marches in Charlottesville, Virginia, where he said there were very fine people on both sides. The
truth is there is a small minority of Donald Trump's base who seem to be sympathetic towards some of these arguments and are especially sympathetic
to the idea that the President is coming out against political correctness.
What we saw this weekend, and it's not unusual, is a Twitter tirade from the President about all the things that he cares about and among those
things was not the fact that this attack, as you said, took place in New Zealand against Muslims. There have been in the past occasions when the
President condemned violence against other religious faiths. For example, when a number of Christians were killed in 2017 in suicide attacks in Egypt
when he said there needs to be an end to anti-Christian bloodletting. Eventually he called the Pittsburgh attack -- which you referenced a few
moments ago -- as an anti-Sumgait attack. He has not pointed out despite his condemnation that this was an attack on Muslims and given his rhetoric
in the past which is clearly critical of Islam, that is what is raising these questions.
ANDERSON: Stephen, one of the few Muslim members of Congress is taking on President Trump after he retweeted an article suggesting some of Ilhan
Omar's fellow Democrats are already looking for a candidate who might replace her in the next election.
[11:20:03] Let's remind our viewers she was elected during the midterms in November. Congresswoman Omar tweeted the following. I am sorry, Mr.
Trump, I am for real. You can't #Muslimban us from Congress. Stephen, is the U.S. President an Islamophobe?
COLLINSON: I think what we can say is that he is clearly using anti-Muslim language for political gain. Over the weekend one of the tweets that he
put out was complaining that a Fox News host was apparently pulled from the air from her show on Saturday a week after questioning whether Ilhan Omar's
head scarf was contrary to the principles of the U.S. constitution. Which of course allows free expression of religious beliefs.
And during the campaign, remember, the President called for a complete shutdown of Muslim immigration into the United States. He said that Islam
hates us on the campaign trail. You know, there's always this debate whether he is an Islamophobe or is a racist. What he does is he goes right
up to the line of using racist and anti-Islamic rhetoric in order to pursue his political priorities.
It's very interesting that the first tweet the President -- or one of the tweets the President puts out today was complaining that the fake news
media is blaming him for the Christchurch attacks. Now what has been happening is people haven't been blaming him specifically for the attacks.
They've been saying he should do more to condemn them and to seriously address the issue of white supremacy. But it's in the President's interest
to appear that he's being victimized by what he calls the fake news media because that helps bind his base. It reinforces the brand of this guy
that's willing to stand up for America and what he sees as American values and that's why this is -- what the President is doing, whether he's an
Islamophobe or not, he's using anti-Islamic imagery and language for his own political gain. Some people would say that's the same thing. Some
people would say that he's being even more cynical and using that kind of approach to sort of help himself politically.
ANDERSON: He has been criticized for his response as not appropriate. That is why he is being criticized. And he has been roundly criticized for
that. You are absolutely right to point that out. Thank you, Stephen.
Still to come, a brazen plot to kill Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro uncovered in a CNN exclusive. We'll hear from one of the apparent
organizers behind the chilly but unsuccessful attack.
Plus, they got out of Syria's battle zone but they're fight isn't over. We are going to take a look at what is next for the children of ISIS.
[11:25:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
ANDERSON: The standoff between Venezuela's sitting President, Nicolas Maduro, and the President of the National Assembly, Juan Guaido nearly
didn't happen. That is because there Maduro was targeted in a drone attack in August. Videos provided to CNN apparently show the attack was carried
out by commercial devices that were bought online and prepared over weeks by army defectors. One of the apparent organizers claims he met with U.S.
officials after the attack but the U.S. has declined to comment on that. Well, the plot ultimately failed, but it could have killed dozens of
civilians. Nick Paton Walsh has this exclusive report from neighboring Colombia.
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They thought it was fireworks first. But it was a drone bomb. The brazen
assassination attempt against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. The first bid to kill a world leader with commercial drone technology bought
online. It could have killed everyone on stage or dozens of civilians nearby if it missed.
The crowd scattered and Venezuelans began to wonder what really happened. Was it a fake? Even now the opposition leader Juan Guaido told CNN he
condemned the attack and thinks Maduro staged it to get sympathy.
JUAN GUAIDO, VENEZUELAN OPPOSITION LEADER (through translator): It ends up making them look like victims, he said. I think this was something
internal done by the government and so definitely no such options are not good.
WALSH: CNN has tracked down one of the apparent organizers of the attack who supplied these videos seen here for the first time to prove his role in
what he claims of a genuine assassination attempt.
(on camera): Why did you plot to kill Nicolas Maduro? This is a peaceful protest moment. Why did you think an assassination plot was necessary?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE, APPARENT ORGANIZER OF ATTACK ON MADURO (through translator): We have tried every peaceful and democratic way to bring an
end to this tyranny that addresses itself as a democracy. We have friends who are in custody, tortured. This was a hard decision.
WALSH: Were you not worried about potentially killing innocent people, flying a drone with that much explosive straight into a crowd?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That was the risk we had to take. We cared about that. The Venezuelan people are always the ones feeling the consequences.
WALSH (voice-over): The drones they say, were purchased online from the United States and brought over six months ago to this rented farmhouse
somewhere in Colombia. We aren't showing you the details of how they say they made the bomb here but they blew one up in a test. And in the remote
countryside, they practiced the tricky bit. Flying the drones high enough to not be seen and then down at a steep and fast enough angle to hit their
It got intense here. They even tried it at night in case that's when the chance to strike comes. Later they said they dismantled the device to
sneak it in to Venezuela. Their videos show it being reassembled and then ready hours before the attack.
A presentation days after the attack while Venezuela's interior minister confirms part of the attacker's story including the part of the drones
which both detonated prematurely.
The cell signal blockers that protect Maduro from attack had been switched off, the organizers said. But suddenly came back on thwarting the attack.
The U.S. National Security Adviser, John Bolton. the morning after, thought it might have been faked.
JOHN BOLTON, U.S. NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR: A pretext set up by the Maduro regime itself to something else.
WALSH: But U.S. officials briefed on the intelligence have since concluded the attack was a genuine attempt gone wrong. And separately, the organizer
said he met with several U.S. officials three times after the attack.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): After they set up three meetings which I imagine were to collect information to study the case. But it
didn't go past that.
WALSH (on camera): And did they offer to help you try something like this again, or were these meetings just about them finding out more about you?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I think both. They wanted to get information and then we asked for things in return. They took notes on
this and we asked if they would be able to help. Then they simply left with their notes and they never appeared again.
WALSH (voice-over): CNN could not find proof these alleged meetings happened. A State Department spokesperson would not comment on the claim,
but to say our policy is support and peaceful transition in Venezuela.
[11:30:00] Venezuelan officials said the plot that shook the capitol was assisted by Colombia and the U.S., which both have denied. It unveiled a
blend of (INAUDIBLE) and ingenuity using technology that's terrifyingly simple to get. Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, Bogota, Colombia.
ANDERSON: You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Becky Anderson. We are out of Abu Dhabi for you where it is half past 7:00. And the other side of
this break, we go to northern Syria for you where the kids, the children of ISIS fighters are dealing with the aftermath of war.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN BERCOW, SPEAKER OF BRITAIN'S HOUSE OF COMMONS: A motion on Brexit.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: All right, let's get you to London and to the U.K. Parliament. The Speaker of the House of Commons delivering its statement.
BERCOW: -- provided in the EU withdrawal at 2018. On the 13th of March, however, the right honorable lady, the member for Wallasey, asked from a
point of order of Column 394, whether it would be proper for the government to keep bringing the same deal back to the House adding an item. I replied
that no ruling was necessary at that stage, but that one might be required at some point in the future.
Subsequently, members on both sides of the House and indeed on both sides of the Brexit argument, have expressed their concerns to me about the House
being repeatedly asked to pronounce on the same fundamental proposition.
[11:35:00] The 24th edition of Erskine May states on page 397 that, and I quote, a motion or an amendment which is the same in substance as a
question which has been decided during a session may not be brought forward again during that same session.
It goes on to state that, and I quote, attempts have been made to evade this rule by raising again with verbal alterations the essential portions
of motions which have been negative. Whether the second motion is substantially the same as the first is finally a matter for the judgment of
the chair. This convention is very strong and of longstanding dating back to the 2nd of April 1604.
Last Thursday the honorable gentleman, the member for Rhondda, quoted examples of occasions when the ruling had been reasserted by four different
Speakers of this House, notably in 1864, 1870, 1882, 1891, and 1912. Each time the Speaker of the day ruled that a motion could not be brought back
because it had already been decided in that same session of Parliament.
Indeed, Erskine May makes reference to no fewer than 12 such rulings up to the year 1920. One of the reasons why the rule has lasted so long is that
it is a necessary rule to ensure the sensible use of the House's time and the proper respect for the decisions which it takes.
Decisions of the House matter. They have weight. In many cases, they have direct effects not only here but on the lives of our constituents. Absence
of Speaker intervention since 1920 is attributable not to the discontinuation of the convention but to general compliance with it.
Thus as Erskine May notes, the public bill office has often disallowed bills on the ground that a bill with the same or very similar long title
cannot be presented again in the same session.
So far as our present situation is concerned, let me summarize the chronology of events.
The draft EU withdrawal agreement giving effect to the deal between the government and the EU was published on the 14th of November. And the
agreement itself together with the accompanying Political Declaration on the future relationship received endorsement from the European Council on
the 25th of November.
The first scheduled vote on what I will here after refer to as "The Deal" was due to take place on the 11th of December. However, on the 10th of
December the vote was postponed after 164 speeches had already been made over three of the five days allotted for the debate. That postponement was
not caused by me nor by the House but by the government.
Indeed I pointed out at the time that this was deeply discourteous to the House and I suggested that the permission of the House for that
postponement should be sought. Regrettably, it was not.
[11:40:00] Over five weeks later, following a further five-day debate, the first meaningful vote was held on the 15th of January which the government
lost by a margin of 230 votes. The largest in Parliamentary history.
Subsequently, the second meaningful vote was expected to take place in February, but once again, there was a postponement. It finally happened
only last Tuesday, the 12th of March. The government's motion on "The Deal" was again very heavily defeated.
In my judgment, that second meaningful vote motion did not fall foul of the convention about matters already having been decided during the same
session. This was because it could credibly be argued that it was a different proposition from that already rejected by the House on the 15th
of January. It contained a number of legal changes which the government considered to be binding and which had been agreed with the European Union
after further intensive discussions. Moreover, the government's second meaningful vote motion was accompanied by the publication of three new
documents. Two issued jointly with the EU and the third a unilateral declaration from the U.K. not objected to, by it.
In procedural terms, it was therefore quite proper that the debate and the second vote took place last week. The government responded to its defeat
as it had promised to do by scheduling debates about a no-deal Brexit and an Article 50 extension on the 13th and 14th of March respectively.
It has been strongly rumored, though I have not received confirmation of this, that third and even possibly fourth meaningful vote motions will be
attempted. Hence this statement which is designed to signal what would be orderly and what would not.
This is my conclusion. If the government wishes to bring forward a new proposition that is neither the same nor substantially the same as that
disposed of by the House on the 12th of March, this would be entirely in order. What the government cannot legitimately do is to resubmit to the
House the same proposition or substantially the same proposition as that of last week which was rejected by 149 votes.
This ruling should not be regarded as my last word on the subject. It is simply meant to indicate the test which the government must meet in order
for me to rule that a third meaningful vote can legitimately be held in this Parliamentary session.
Yes, indeed. Point of order. Point of order, Mr. Peter Bottomley.
PETER BOTTOMLEY, BRITISH CONSERVATIVE MP: Mr. Speaker, can I put three points following your helpful statement? The first is the beginning of it
you referred to may and not the word must. At the end you used the word must and not the word may.
And the second -- those are the first two points. The third point is this. When Sir Ian Gilmour put forward a provision effectively putting
(INAUDIBLE) and coffee in betting offices, the puritans objected, so withdrew the bill. And shortly after there was a bill called,
Miscellaneous Provisions Bill was passed because no one noticed it. It had to do with coffee and (INAUDIBLE) in betting shops. But there are times
when the title changed and perhaps it's a long title changed. Something the government put forth might be accepted by the chair but must be ruled
SPEAKER: Well I'm not sure there were three points there. I detected only two. I don't wish to be unkind or discourteous to the right honorable
gentleman. Whom I hope I always treat with the utmost respect.
[11:45:00] But I am somewhat foxed and befuddled by his first observation which wasn't as overpoweringly clear to me as manifestly it was to him. I
simply referred to Erskine May. I wasn't conscious that I had use the words may early in my statement and must at the end of my statement in a
way which would brook of contradiction. If the gentleman wishes to labor under that impression and can subsequently for indeed be open to the
suggestion that they were contradictory.
If the right honorable gentleman wishes to labor under that impression and could subsequently convince me over either a cup of coffee or a cup of tea
that I have erred in some material respect, then I would say to the right honorable gentleman that I shall always be prepared to profit by his
As far as the point in respect to the lady in Gilmore is concerned, I am not familiar with that particular example. I suspect that it would be
interesting reading and I will add it to my list in the period of days that lies ahead. And I thank him for what he said and the courtesy with which
he has said it. I will come to the right honorable gentleman. I might perhaps go to the chair of the European scrutiny committee, Sir William
SIR WILLIAM CASH, BRITISH CONSERVATIVE MP: Mr. Speaker it seems to me that what you said makes an enormous amount of sense given the fact that this
has been defeated on two separate occasions. And unless there is a substantial difference, it must follow that what you have said in a very
important statement makes an enormous amount of sense. I just wondered one thing with regard to the precedent of 1604, whether there was any
connection between that and very shortly after which is the gunpowder plot.
SPEAKER: Well, the honorable gentleman is a far superior historian. He may know. I will not say. And I appreciate also his sense of humor on
what is nevertheless an extremely important occasion. But I thank him for what he has said. I've always respected the honorable gentleman as a
principle and emphatical parliamentarian.
In fact, I think across this House, whether people agree with the honorable gentleman or not, they know of one thing which I once said as he knows on
the occasion of Her Majesty the Queen's visit to this place and directly to her, that the honorable gentleman, the member for Stone, speaks and votes
only and always as he thinks the national interest requires. There can be no greater compliment to a member of Parliament than to say that to him or
IAN BLACKFORD, BRITISH MP: A point of order.
SPEAKER: A point of order for Mr. Ian Blackford
BLACKFORD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Can I thank you for your statement this afternoon? We do indeed live in interesting times. I think it is
fair to say, Mr. Speaker, without any constitutional crisis and seek your advice on how we can convey a message to the government that the issue of
leadership is now most important and indeed imperative. And what can we do to convey upon the Prime Minister that she must immediately call a meeting
of all opposition leaders in order that we can react to this crisis and find a way ahead? And more over that the Prime Minister must immediately
meet with the heads of government in Edinburgh and in Cardiff.
SPEAKER: The right honorable gentleman has made his point with force and alacrity. It's not I think for me to say who the Prime Minister should or
shouldn't meet, but that point is registered. It is on the record. If I know the right honorable gentleman as well as I think I do, it will be
repeated by him with some passion and vociferousness in the days ahead. And not least because of the force with which it is articulated again and
again and again. I feel certain that it will be heard, whether it's heeded remains to be seen, but it will be heard.
JACOB REES-MOGG, BRITISH MP: A point of order.
SPEAKER: Yes, a point of order Mr. Jacob Rees-Mogg.
REES-MOGG: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. First of all, may I say how delighted I am that you have decided to follow precedent, which is something I'm
greatly in favor of. And dare I say there is more joy in heaven over one sinner who repented in the 99 need of repentance.
But I wondered if he might help the House with two points of clarity. The first is, would his indication today prevent the second reading or even the
first reading of the so-called Wave Bill that may have the same effect of confirming the meaningful vote, and would I be right in thinking that a new
session after a prorogation would allow the motion to be returned to the House?
SPEAKER: I think that the House would decide on the principle of the Wave Bill at second reading if we got to that point. The point that the
honorable gentleman makes and if he'll forgive me saying so, partly rhetorical question accompanying it about post -prorogation and new
session, seems to me to be self-evidently valid. I am not advocating that.
[11:50:00] But that point is self-evidently valid and I thank the honorable gentleman for what he said. I will come to the right honorable gentleman,
because the right honorable lady raised a point of order with me. Perhaps I can identify Angela Eagle.
ANGELA EAGLE, BRITISH LABOUR MP: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Will you confirm to the House today that the point of this ruling in Erskine May was to stop
the bullying of the legislature by the executive and to exclude the facts that MPs may be either being strong armed, bullied, or bribed with issues
such as the sacking of the current civil servant who's been in charge of the Brexit negotiations. Who by the way actually predicted when overheard
in a Brussels bar that what we've seen, meaningful vote one, two, three, four, five, adding a different item would be their way of getting this
botched deal through the House?
But that the Erskine May rules are precisely to avoid the kind of spectacle that we have been witnessing in the last few months. And will he take the
government's other behaviors, ignoring votes of Parliament, making a distinction between votes which somehow are binding and not binding.
Refusing to grant opposition days, beginning not to vote in opposition days and to ignore those issues that are actually passed by this House which
have devalued Parliament's opinion. And will he say to the House today that he is going to take account of all of this behavior as he judges
meaningful vote three and any motion which the government may bring forward?
SPEAKER: I'm very grateful to the right honorable lady for the point of order. I will reflect very carefully on what she said to me. She's an
extremely experienced and seasoned parliamentarian and of course, a former shadow leader of the House. So I will factor into my thinking the
considerations that she has adduced.
I don't think that there is one single rationale for the emergence and continuation of the convention. I touched upon some of the thinking behind
it in my statement. I think it would be true to say that a concern with the judicious use of parliamentary time when that time is finite and the
avoidance of its wastage is an important factor.
Another important factor, colleagues, is ensuring clarity and consistency so far as the statute book is concerned. Associated with, underlying all
of that, I think there is a concept of respect for the importance of decisions made by the House and wait to be attached to them. So I will
reflect very carefully on these matters.
And I very gently say to the honorable gentleman member of the northeast Summerset. Because I failed to respond to that point and it was a very
good and wittingly delivered one. So far as tradition is concerned, he has a perfectly fair point. A tradition does matter. It is important. What I
would say to him is just because it isn't desirable to follow precedent in every case, irrespective of circumstance, doesn't mean that it is justified
not to follow it. It depends on the particular circumstance. It depends, for example, whether one is facilitating the House and allowing the
expression of an opinion which might otherwise be denied. As was the case on the 9th of January.
In this case, of course, where we are talking about the same question rule, I have already explained that this matter has been treated on by the House
and therefore the question of whether a subsequent motion is the same or substantially the same is a live matter for consideration and judgment at
the appropriate time. In fact, that seems to me to be so obviously commonsensical an observation that only an extraordinarily sophisticated
person, perhaps bereft of such common sense, could fail to grasp it. And the honorable gentleman most certainly wouldn't fall into that category
because he is both extraordinarily sophisticated and blessed, I feel sure with a very large supply of common sense. Point of order, Mark Francois.
[11:55:00] MARK FRANCOIS, BRITISH CONSERVATIVE MP: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. You have said memorably in the past that sometimes we have to take the
rough with the smooth. Well, it seems to me today that that applies to others. Can I ask if this principle applies in other contexts as well? So
for instance, the House voted a few weeks ago on what became known as the Cooper-Boles Amendment. You overturn standing order 14(1), essentially to
take control of the order paper for a day. That was rejected.
Last week the house then voted against what became the Ben Amendment. But which was, I would argue, substantially similar to the original Cooper-
Boles Amendment to take control of the order paper and override standing order 14(1). Now you on that occasion, sir, judge that it was permissible
to ask this question because it was not exactly the same as the first one.
ANDERSON: Right, while this is the chamber of the House of Commons and the Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow, in very dense language -- it
has to be said effectively -- telling the British government stop recycling your Brexit plan and wasting our time. He insists any new one -- Brexit
plan that is -- must be different and meaningfully so from the last two.
That means the Prime Minister, the British Prime Minister has another hurdle to jump over to convince the Speaker of the House that her plan is
different enough from her last one to justify a new vote. Remember, of course, her first so-called meaningful vote was defeated by the largest
ever majority in Parliamentary history. The second one, well, it didn't fare much better.
Two weeks away from the Brexit deadline and still the U.K. does not know whether it is two weeks away from Brexit.
I'm Becky Anderson. That was CONNECT THE WORLD. Thank you for watching this hour. CNN continues after this short break.