Return to Transcripts main page


U.K. Lawmakers to Vote on Alternatives to May's Deal; Frustrations among Britain's on Both Sides of Divide; Speaker Announcing Which Brexit Alternatives Will Be Put to MPs; Saudi Rights Activist Appears in Court; Al-Hathloul Allegedly Subjected to Torture in Jail; Trump Meets with Wife of Venezuela's Juan Guaido. Aired 11-12p ET

Aired March 27, 2019 - 11:00   ET


[11:00:00] JULIA CHATTERLEY, CNN HOST: Hello and welcome to this special edition of CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Julia Chatterley outside the Britain's

Houses of Parliament in London. And we begin with -- what else -- Brexit. On another jampacked day here in Westminster. Lawmakers are about to begin

debating alternatives to Theresa May's twice rejected withdrawal plan as they try to find their way through the current impasse. They will consider

a whole menu of different options previously dismissed by the U.K. Prime Minister. And they include, leaving without a deal, a second referendum

and a Norway plus soft Brexit option which would keep the U.K. in the single market.

Lawmakers will then cast indicative votes on some of those options and most popular will be put to a further vote on Monday, so narrowing it down. One

option Parliament won't be voting on today, of course, is Theresa May's deeply unpopular Brexit deal, but the Prime Minister isn't giving up hope

on it yet. She will meet with her party later, and there's speculation that she could offer to resign in exchange for support to finally get her

deal over the line after the third time of trying.

Earlier Mrs. May pitched her plan to Parliament once again.


THERESA MAY, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: We are continuing to work to ensure that we can deliver Brexit for the British people and guarantee that we

deliver Brexit for the British people. We have a deal which cancels our EU membership fee, which stops the EU making our laws, which gives us our own

immigration policy, ends the common agricultural policy for good, and the common fisheries policy for good. Other options don't do that. Other

options would lead to delay, to uncertainty and risk, never delivering Brexit.


CHATTERLEY: And Bianca Nobilo joins us now. Bianca, we are waiting for the House Speaker to speak to narrow some of those options. But we're just

seeing live pictures here of voting going on. What are we seeing right now?

BIANCA NOBILO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: As you mentioned, speaker of the crowd which of the options will be selected for debate tonight and voted on, but

only if what they're voting on right now goes through. So this is what's called a program motion. I don't want to bore your viewers to tears so I'm

going to leave that there. But essentially, it's necessary for the indicative votes to happen. It's a motion that was put down by Oliver

Letwin, who is the author of this amendment and it's really his brain child, supported by a few others. So if this doesn't pass and the have the

government have whipped against it, then there will be no voting this evening on the various different Brexit options, but it's still likely to


CHATTERLEY: Yes, the expectation is that we are going to see votes tonight and as I mentioned, the House Speaker will tell us exactly what we are

looking at and narrowed down from those 16 available choices, what exactly we're going to vote on. What are the most likely options here? Because we

ran through a few of them there. We're going to see a whole width, breadth of possible options, ranging from the toughest form of Brexit, second

referendum, to a perhaps some far more close relationship with the EU going forward. The so-called remaining in the customs union. Walk us through

this too.

NOBILO: When I spoke to John Bercow -- I interviewed him about a month or so ago. And he went through his process by which he selects things. And

he says he first of all looks at where there's the most support. So lawmakers will add their signatures to various different options. So that

gives you a very clear idea of where the support lies. Then he also wants to express the fullest will of the House. So that means the biggest

spectrum of views. As you say, from views that the Brexiteers will hold, wanting to reaffirm the referendum result, right over to revoking Article

50 to avoid a no deal. So there is a real spectrum out there.

So we'd expect John Bercow to select sort of peppered their entire spectrum and crucially pick from where there is the most support. So there's issues

around a softer Brexit, a customs union, and it is incredibly significant because as the government had pointed out, whatever Parliament do choose to

support, if there is, indeed, majority support for anything at this stage or next week, it needs to be negotiable with the EU. And the government

has said that they won't actually act on whatever the result is for sure because it goes against their manifesto pledge and, you know, it remains to

be seen whether or not the Prime Minister can even act on that without splitting her party.

CHATTERLEY: So we'll come again to this in a moment, but before we even see voting begin, we know that we're going to see Theresa May address the

1922 committee, her Conservative Party. And there's been wild speculation throughout the morning and the early afternoon, over quite what she's going

to say to them.

[11:05:00] Some think she may indeed offer to step aside if the Conservatives will vote for her deal. Are we going to see Theresa May

potentially trying to bring her deal back? As she indicated earlier today for a third try.

NOBILO: It does all right on this meeting. Because precisely those MPs that she needs to support her will be the ones she's trying to address

tonight. It all happens in a little corridor in the oldest part of the Houses of Parliament. They'll all gather there, and Theresa May was

supposed to address this very committee last week, but then she backed out at the last moment through a lot of frustration of her own members of

Parliament. She may well set out a timetable for departure. This has been speculated about for some time. The way it's been frame to me by members

of her own party is that she's safe until December, technically. Because there was an attempted vote of no-confidence in her last year that she

managed to scrape through. However, they say that what is the point in not offering to stand down now than saying you're going to be a caretaker

minister for a number of months, perhaps until July or August, and then there'll be another leadership contest and there'll be a new leader in

place. It's only a few months more, really, that she would be in power until December when they would oust her, anyway. The next opportunity they

have to do it.

So that's what you're hearing from those lawmakers that want the Prime Minister gone because they don't like how she's handled negotiations and

crucially do not want her in charge of that next phase. If, of course, the U.K. even gets to it.

CHATTERLEY: Yes, exactly. And we'll get perhaps some indication of what Parliament will vote for if not her deal when we see those votes come

through tonight. And as mentioned, we are waiting for the House Speaker to give us a sense of at least what's going to be voted on tonight. Bianca

Nobilo, thank you so much for that.

Clearly there's frustration on both sides here on how the government is handling the situation. Anna Stewart has been in Kingston upon Thames for

us today in Lincolnshire a mainly leave the area. While Nina dos Santos is in Kingston which voted majority to remain in the EU. So we've got both

sides covered here. Anna, I'm going to come to you first. You said this was the equivalent of the Brexit capital of the U.K. earlier today. What

are people telling you about the ongoing negotiations and whether or not they still just want to see the U.K. leave, however it happens?

ANNA STEWART, CNN REPORTER: Yes, this had the highest recorded number of leave voters throughout the U.K. on Brexit. Minds haven't changed much.

Now I know you and Bianca are waiting for the Speaker to narrow down the options of these indicative votes. We've narrowed them down a little

ourselves, and we've been giving them to people around this market town to see what people would most like to see what's voted on, voted for. Let me

introduce you to Clive. He's a pensioner and he would like us to leave the U.K. no matter what. But listen to what he had to say about all the other



STEWART: What do you think of all these different options? So we have the Prime Minister's Brexit deal.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No idea what it is.

STEWART: Prime Minister's Brexit deal.


STEWART: Second referendum.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sign me up, really.

STEWART: Cancel Brexit.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, no. We've got to come out. That's it.

STEWART: Free trade agreement?


STEWART: Customs union?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Don't know -- what the hell that's about. Nobody knows.

STEWART: Single market. Same answer?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, single market, that's just like being in the EU.

STEWART: Last but not least, a no-deal Brexit.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, over it. Yes, get out.

STEWART: Get out no matter what.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes and take our money with it.


STEWART: Very clear opinions there. Clearly, he wants to leave the EU. Also you can hear some of the frustration and confusion about all the

different options. Frankly for people here who very clearly vote to leave the EU, they can't understand why MPs are now looking at all these

different options of Brexit nearly three years on -- Julia.

CHATTERLEY: Yes. Frustration. Too much time taken. We get it. Ana Stewart, thank you for that. Nina, bring on the opposite side because

clearly, you've been getting a measure of sentiments somewhere that voted to remain. How have they been taking this ongoing debate and machinations

of this?

NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well Kingston upon Thames is a place that voted 61 percent in favor of remaining in the EU nearly three years

ago any massive turnout of over 78 percent. It's the type of place -- to give you an idea, Julia -- that young families move to so that they can get

a small House with a garden and move out of the expensive confines of the city of London. You've also got pensioners as well who like the sort of

tranquil ideal of the banks of the River Thames with the rowers going up and down. And that sort of demographic gives you a bit of a split as well.

I've been polling people in the local marketplace for the best part of the last few hours over the course of the morning, and broadly speaking, the

youngsters want to revoke Article 50, or more democratically, they would like a second referendum. When it comes to the golden oldies here, they're

firmly in favor of no-deal or if they can't get that, Theresa May's deal. And there's a fair amount of flip-floppers as well. Like this gentleman

who's just become so disenchanted with how things have been handled.


[11:10:00] DOS SANTOS: We've got various options here on the Brexit impasse. Which one would you favor?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would favor Theresa May's Brexit deal or the no-deal Brexit.

DOS SANTOS: Were you a Remainer or are you still a Remainer, or are you a Leaver?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was a Remainer originally, and I have changed my mind to leave the European Union.

DOS SANTOS: So you can use a red marker there.


DOS SANTOS: Go on, mark off which ones you want.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want this one or this one or this one.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Simply because I think we just need to get out of the European Union now and make a go at getting the country back on its feet.

Because there is so much dispute going on and political unrest, and I think the next thing the U.K. needs to do is fix their political storms of

everything and political whole demeanor of everything as well.

DOS SANTOS: And Brexit is a distraction to that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Brexit is a big distraction to that.


DOS SANTOS: You know, Julia, there are so many other things that people across the capitol and further afield want to talk about knife crime,

austerity, the rising number of food banks across the U.K., childhood poverty that Theresa May at some point promised to eradicate and has U-

turned on. So there are so many things that people here would like to see the agenda focused on, and for that, they say they just want Brexit over

and done with, even if we're talking about the remain heartland here. And they would rather see the country stay inside the EU than leave it


CHATTERLEY: Yes, but you raise such a great point, Nina, and it came out in the Prime Minister's questions earlier. There are so many other big

issues that need to be discussed here and we're not discussing them because we're focused on this. Nina dos Santos and of course, Anna Stewart

earlier, thank you both for that perspective.

All right, let's bring in a lawmaker who has changed his mind on backing up Theresa May's Brexit deal, the Conservative member of Parliament, Nigel

Evans. He's also a member of 1922 Committee, of course, as well. Nigel, great to have you with us.

NIGEL EVANS, BRITISH CONSERVATIVE MP: Thanks very much, nice to be here again.

CHATTERLEY: What are you expecting Prime Minister May to come to the 1922 committee today and say? Do you think she's going to offer her resignation

for votes?

EVANS: I hope so. I think that what is going to be necessary to giving encouragement to someone on the Conservative side who fear that should

somehow or other she gets her deal through. That Number Ten can't turn around and then say, oh, this is a great success for the Prime Minister and

she's going to carry onto the next stage of our withdrawal which is the future trade relationship with the European Union.

CHATTERLEY: You said necessary, but not sufficient. Will it be sufficient?

EVANS: Well we don't know. They are doing a lot of work and they're working with the DUP to see if they can come across. Of course, the DUP --

I don't know if they realize and I'm sure they do -- their leverage is massive on all of this. What we're talking about surely is getting this

deal over the line. Then we're talking about the future trading relationship with the European Union. In which probably will mean that a

backstop is not going to be necessary. And even if they felt the government was letting them down, they could pull the plug. Their leverage

is massive. They are the umbilical cord by which the government governs. And so they really do have a lot of leverage.

CHATTERLEY: The DUP, of course, we're talking about this party that backs the Conservative government right now, and it's so crucial in terms of the

votes for Theresa May's deal here.

EVANS: There's ten of them, and because of the failed general election in 2017 when we went into a minority government, it meant that we had to rely

on them for votes.

CHATTERLEY: The question is what we get from the votes tonight. We're waiting for House Speaker John Bercow to say exactly what MPs are going to

be voting on. It is a free vote for the conservative party here.


CHATTERLEY: Except the cabinet themselves are not going to be voting.

EVANS: Yes. This is just indicative votes. After all, all it's going to do is point direction for the Prime Minister to work out what could likely

pass or not. But what we heard from the Prime Minister's questions a couple hours ago was that she doesn't want to go anywhere near a customs

union or a single market which stops her from doing trade deals with the rest of the world. And during PM Qs, we had the American Ambassador, Witty

Johnson, sitting in the public gallery listening to all this. He's being very vocal on the desire for the United States of America and the United

Kingdom to do a very, very deep trade deal and as quickly as possible. And so, to do that you can't be in a customs union or a single market.

CHATTERLEY: But the problem perhaps here is that that could be some of what we see a majority, a significant majority of Parliament saying, OK,

that's the kind of future relationship that we could look at. It would ease the problem of the toxic backstop for many people as well in the

current arrangement to try and get the U.K. out of the EU. Does that then perhaps send a message to the Brexiteers here to say, look, Parliament is

willing to go for something or at least has the numbers for a far closer relationship between the EU and the U.K. going forward. If you don't back

Theresa May's deal at the final, final moment, you could be stuck with that at some point.

[11:15:00] EVANS: I think that may be a strategy there somewhere along the line. We know we've got a Parliament that three-quarters of the MPs voted

remain, so that wouldn't surprise me that they want some sort of customs union, single market. I mean some of them would just love to revoke

Article 50 completely and stay in the European Union. Well that would be a betrayal of the British people and how they voted.

So it may well be a strategy when it comes to the meaningful vote to say to people on the European Research Group -- that is the hard Brexiteer line --

to say to them, listen, I know you don't like Theresa May's deal, but at least it does get us out of the European Union. It does get us to stop

paying billions into the European Union. It does get us stopping being just a decided by the courts and allow us to do the free trade deals. Now

you can have that or you can be stuck in some form of hotel California where you've checked out but you haven't left. And that would be a

disaster. The British people aren't thick, they would see through that immediately and Britain would become vassal state and rule taker costing us

billions. We would have no control over our immigration.

CHATTERLEY: How important is it for the Brexiteers here that Jacob Rees- Mogg, the so-called arch Brexiteer here, if the European Research Group came out this week and said, actually, this deal, Theresa May's deal, is

better than a no Brexit at all. Which is the risk here, as far as he's concerned. How pivotal has that moment been, do you think, for people that

you speak to, all the big Brexiteers in the party?

EVANS: It's big, but he's not alone, let's put it that way. Because we have our own WhatsApp group of ERG-ers, and I've been reading them over the

past few days and there's been a shift. There's been a shift as people realize that what's on offer is not nirvana. Which is completely leaving

the European Union on WTO rules. That's been taken off the table. The Prime Minister took it off the table two days ago when she said that would

only pass if Parliament wished it. They don't wish it.

So what have you got left? You got the Prime Minister's deal or you've got a lot worse. And what Jacob has done, he sat down, he's looked at all the

options and he's thought, all right, nirvana is off the table, what's left? At last he said, well, her deal not brilliant, but let's at least step over

the line.

As somebody said to me the other day, hey, let's get the arrows shooting in the right direction, at least. And by leaving the European Union, whatever

happens next, at least we've got the opportunity to stop dismantling anything we don't like. But if you're still in the European Union it's a

lot easier to stay in than when you left, the big question is do you want to rejoin? And the answer has got to be no.

CHATTERLEY: And that WhatsApp group very quickly though. There're clearly people who just still disagree.

EVANS: There are some purists there who at this moment in time don't quite see it. But when the offer is her deal or something much worse, they've

got to make their mind up. Once they know nirvana is off, and also the fact that you could extend Article 50, which means we're fighting the next

European Union elections and that would be a disaster.

CHATTERLEY: And that's why these votes tonight could be really important. Nigel Evans, thank you so much for that.

EVANS: Thank you.

All right. CHATTERLEY: We're going to take a quick break here, but still to come as British lawmakers prepare to vote on a range of alternative

plans, as we just discussed. That alternative of course to Theresa May's Brexit plan. We'll hear from someone who wants another referendum on EU


Plus, Mozambique struggling to recover nearly 2 weeks after cyclone Idai rips through southern Africa. Our Becky Anderson gets a tour of the

devastation. She's there for us after this break. Stay with us. You're watching CNN.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) JOHN BERCOW, U.K. HOUSE OF COMMONS SPEAKER: The ayes to the right, 331, the noes --

CHATTERLEY: OK, we are breaking in here. Let's listen in to House Speaker John Bercow.

BERCOW: -- so the ayes have it, the ayes have it, unlock.


[11:20:00] We now come to the motions relating to the United Kingdom's withdrawal from and future relationship with the European Union. I

informed the House that I have selected the following motions for a decision by recorded vote.

Motion B in the name of Mr. John Baron.

Motion D in the name of Mr. Nicholas Boles.

Motion H in the name of Mr. George Eustice.

Motion J in the name of Mr. Kevin Clarke.

Motion K in the name of the leader of the opposition.

Motion L in the name of Joanna Cherry.

Motion M in the name of Dame Margaret Beckett.

And motion O in the name of Mr. Marcus Fysh.

I shall call John Baron to open the debate and to move -- the honorable gentleman doesn't need to be unduly concerned, and he will do so by moving

his motion, motion B -- colleagues, please -- with which it will be convenient to debate all other selected motions on the order bay. But the

debate may continue until 7:00 p.m.

The first signatory of each of these motions, colleagues, has until 4:00 p.m. to inform me that they do not wish a recorded vote to take place on

their motion. Shortly after 4:00 p.m., I will confirm on the strength of the intelligence I've received my selection of motions. At that point,

colleagues, voting forms will be printed. They will be available from the Vote Office and in the division lobbies from approximately 6:30 p.m.

An announcement will be made on the enunciator when they are available. The forms will look very similar to Deferred Division Forms except that

they will be green and they will list the title and letter of the selected motions. The text of the motions is in the order paper. Moreover, I hope

it will be judged to be for the convenience of the House, and it has been requested of me, that large numbers of copies of the order paper will be

available in the division lobbies.

The voting period is expected to start shortly after 7:00 p.m. and will last for half an hour. During that time, I will suspend the House. The

enunciator will display the end time of the voting period. Members with surnames from A to K should hand their forms in, in the Aye lobby at the

relevant desk for their surname. And members with surnames from L to Zed, should hand in their forms in No lobby at the relevant desk.

As with deferred divisions members may not vote aye and no to the same motion.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If they're in the cabinet.

BERCOW: I shall not respond to that disorderly heckle. However, if that were to happen, what I have just counseled should not, the vote would not

be counted.

As with deferred divisions, members may not hand in forms on behalf of other members. Each member must hand in his or her own form. Members with

proxy votes in operation will need to get their nominated proxy to hand in their form. A short note is made available in the vote office confirming

these arrangements.

I will announce the results in the chamber as soon as they're ready which will certainly not be before the conclusion of proceedings on the statutory

instrument relating to exit day. The results of the votes will be published in the same way as Deferred Divisions.

On the Commons votes website, an app, and enhancer showing how each honorable member voted on each motion.

Colleagues, last Monday the 18th of March, I made a statement to the House explaining the standard which would have to be reached for me to allow

another so-called meaningful vote under the statutory framework provided in the EU Withdrawal Act 2018.

[11:25:00] I cited page 397 of Erskine May and concluded that a proposition which is the same or substantially the same may not be brought forward

again during the same parliamentary session. This Monday, the 25th of March, in the course of answering questions following her statement, the

Prime Minister accepted this constraint saying that, and I quote, I am very clear about the strictures that Mr. Speaker gave when he made his statement

last week. And were we to bring it forward a further motion to this House, we would of course ensure that it met the requirements he made.

I understand that the government may be thinking of bringing meaningful vote three before the House either tomorrow or even on Friday, if the House

opts to sit that day. Therefore, in order that there should be no misunderstanding, I wish to make clear that I do expect the government will

to meet the test of change. They should not seek to circumvent my ruling by means of tabling either a standing motion or paving motion. The table

office has been instructed that no such motions will be accepted.

I very much look forward, colleagues, to today's debate and votes which give the House the chance to start the process of positively indicating

what it wants. To move the first motion, I call the honorable gentleman, the member for Basildon and Billericay, Mr. John Baron.

JOHN BARON, BRITISH CONSERVATIVE MP: Mr. Speaker, can I thank you for choosing this particular motion, and I refer honorable and right honorable

members to motion B.

BERCOW: Order. I should be most grateful if -- no, no, I've already called the gentleman. And he started to speak. In any case I'm on my

feet, so the honorable gentleman shouldn't rise to his feet when I'm on mine. And somebody as concerned with procedure as the honorable gentleman

might usefully become acquainted with that important procedural fact.

I was just going to appeal to colleagues -- and I think the intervention has helped me to do so -- to leave the chamber quickly and quietly so that

we can proceed with the debate. And each contributor enjoys the respectful attention of the House which he or she deserves. Mr. John Baron.

BARON: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I look to move motion B submitted in my name and other right honorable and members of this House.

And that is, the motion reads, so the House is absolutely clear that this House agrees that U.K. shall leave the EU in the 12th of April 2019 without

a deal.

May I suggest to the House that actually, as we stand at this point in time, this is in law the default position of triggering Article 50. We all

knew, those that are here who did vote for it in February 2017, that what we were voting for. It simply said that we would leave the EU on the 29th

of March with or without a deal. And we passed that by 384 votes in February.

And what I would suggest -- I will do in a second, I'm going to make some progress first. What I would suggest now is that whilst Article 50 can be

extended -- I voted against the extension but it can be extended -- we should still as a House reflect on that vote and recognize that whilst most

of us in this place want a good deal, many of us have taken the view that the deal that went off the Prime Minister is not a good deal. And,

therefore, the legal default position is that we leave on no-deal/WTO terms.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I thank my little friend for giving my task at clarifying question about the meaning of this amendment. Does the

honorable member mean to say by this amendment that even if a deal is reached and agreed before the 12th April, which would nonetheless still

seek to leave without a deal?

BARON: My honorable friend is right to seek clarification. No, my preference, as I've already stated, is that we leave with a deal. And if

we do leave with a deal with the backstop duly amended so that we could not, as a country, be caught indefinitely in that backstop, that would be

my preference and then this would no longer apply. Which is why the dates are set there, because as the honorable member will well know, that's the

date given by the EU if there is no-deal. Sorry, if there's no agreement.

[11:30:00] But can I remind members also, that whilst most of us in this place prefer a good deal to no-deal, no-deal is still preferable to a bad

deal. And we are left in this position now, given that it looks as though the Prime Minister's deal, unless there is a major shift in this place, is

not going to pass. I don't think it will come back, but even if it does, I don't think it will pass. The default position is we're leaving on WTO


I would just like to remind the House, Mr. Speaker, that actually despite all the predictions of doom and gloom, we trade profitably on WTO terms

with the majority of the world's GDP outside the EU. And we have been assured on several occasions -- I will in a second. We have been assured

on several occasions by ministers and, indeed, by the Prime Minister that we are prepared for a no-deal exit. I will give way to the honorable lady.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you Mr. Speaker. I most grateful to the honorable gentleman for allowing me to (INAUDIBLE) him. Let me just take a

minute to remind the House, and particularly the honorable member that Northern Ireland does not have an executive. Does not a government since

January 2017. We have no ministers in Northern Ireland. The head of the Northern Ireland civil service has warned as recently as the beginning of

this month of they -- and his word where, the grave consequences for Northern Ireland if we were to leave without a deal. Does the honorable

gentleman have any respect at all for the head of the civil service in Northern Ireland or for indeed the people of Northern Ireland?

BERCOW: The honorable gentleman responds.

It might be helpful to the House if I explain that no fewer than 47 members are seeking to contribute in the debate from the back benches with a very

constrained timetable, plus three front benches. So speeches of more than about five minutes --

CHATTERLEY: We're going to leave the House Speaker, John Bercow, speaking there. I can make this real simple, I think. There is a whole smorgasbord

of options, an array of options on the table in tonight's vote. We'll get an analysis. But also a warning there from John Bercow to Theresa May

saying, if you want to bring your deal back to drawing board, back to the table here in Parliament, you have to abide by my terms. Which is that

this deal has to have changed. It was an interesting point in light of what Theresa May said earlier today and Prime Minister's questions.

Let's talk this all through. We're joined Robin Oakley to give us some thoughts on what he with saw here. So eight, eight different proposals on

the table, and they range from no-deal -- as you started to hear being discussed there -- right down to the closest remaining relationship between

the U.K. and the EU after Brexit.

ROBIN OAKLEY, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Exactly. The full-range smorgasbord, as you said. If you're in the House of Commons and you can't

give support to one of these, then you shouldn't be in politics at all. The two I think that catch my eye most of all as being likely to affect

events. Labour Party, of course, is whipping its MPs in support of some of these discussions. And there whipping their MPs in support of having a

confirmatory public vote, a second referendum to confirm a deal that is done. They say they wouldn't need that if it was a Labour government in

power of a new deal. But if May's deal goes through, they want it subject to a confirmatory referendum of the British people.


OAKLEY: Which of course, interesting in the light of a million people marching in London at the weekend.

CHATTERLEY: And almost 6 million people signing a petition saying they want to see Article 50 revoked and remain, so it is important point.

OAKLEY: Absolutely. And the other one, of course, that Labour are whipping their MPs to support, that is, instructing them to vote for, is

customs union. Well course that's long been Labour policy. And as you've been saying through a number of programs, custom union gets around to some

extent the question of the Irish backstop, which has been such a problem for so many people. But of course the Brexiteers don't like the idea of

customs union because it stops Britain making its own separate trade deals and that brings other restrictions as far as they're concerned.

CHATTERLEY: So to summarize, because I think you pulled out the two most important points here. If we do see, and it is an if, Parliament reach a

majority for a softer form of Brexit, that creates real trouble for Theresa May because it ramps up pressure already.

[11:35:00] It also sends a key signal to the Brexiteers once again that Parliament will vote for a softer form of Brexit here if you aren't


OAKLEY: It makes things really interesting. If, for example, the House of Commons does coalesce around the idea of a customs union, a softer Brexit

on those terms, if it is the few of a majority of MPs, they will be instructing the government to act on that. Which would mean reopening

negotiations with the European Union. That's another question of course.

But Jeffrey Cox, the Attorney General, who has caused Theresa May a few problems along the line. He said the government would have to pay regard

to an instruction of that kind to the House of Commons.

And interestingly, Kenneth Clarke, former chancellor of the Exchequer, father of the House, longest sitting MP. He says that if the government

was given an instruction like that from the House of Commons on those lines and defied it, it would be a vote of confidence matter. And so that takes

is into exciting territory. And of course, Stephen Barclay, the Brexit secretary, he suggested that faced by that situation, House of Commons on

one side, cabinet on the other side on a key question, raises the question of a general election. Well that is a quagmire that an awful lot of people

on both sides don't really want to get into just yet -- Julia.

CHATTERLEY: We don't even want to go there yet. Tell them to just leave us here talking. The point is eight different options to be voted on

tonight. Before that, as we discussed, Theresa May is going to address the Conservative Party. Some as we've heard throughout the day wanted to hear

her say, I will resign at that point, if you sign on to my deal. The question is, even if she offers that it may not be enough to get her deal

through. And as you heard there from the House Speaker, he was warning that she has to change her deal if she wants to have a third meaningful

vote in Parliament. We shall see how this plays out. Plenty more to come. For now we're going to take a break. Stay with us. You're watching CNN.


CYRIL VANIER, CNN HOST: Hello and welcome back to this special edition of CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Cyril Vanier with the day's other big stories. A

lot of news around the world today. Starting with this.

Life is cautiously returning to normal on both sides of the Israel/Gaza border after days of cross-border attacks. Palestinian militants launched

several rockets at Israel overnight prompting retaliatory fire. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is promising more military action if necessary.

The suspect in New Zealand's deadly mosque shootings, sent money to a leading member of Austria's far right movement. That's according to the

Austrian Chancellor who says his government is exploring whether to ban the extremist group.

[11:40:00] Prosecutors are now investigating possible criminal ties between the shooter and the movements leader.

U.S. aviation authorities are investigating an emergency landing at this runway in Florida. It involved a Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft. The Southwest

airlines plane was being flown to California for storage while the fleet remains grounded after two deadly crashes. There were no passengers on

board and the plane landed safely.

She has been behind bars for nearly a year. And she says she's been subjected to torture. All of this for speaking up for women's rights.

Saudi activist, Loujain al-Hathloul, appeared in court today for a second hearing in Riyadh. In one of the more puzzling aspects of this case, she

and another women's rights activists were arrested just weeks before Saudi Arabia actually lifted its ban on women driving.

Dozens of countries, including the entire European Union, are demanding that her case be dropped. They say this is an outrage. Western diplomats

and news organizations were blocked from the courtroom today, but al- Hathloul brother, Walid al-Hathloul has new information on the proceedings. He joins us now live from Toronto. Walid, I have lots of questions about

the trial, but first, how is your sister doing?

WALID AL-HATHLOUL, BROTHER OF LOUJAIN AL-HATHLOUL: I hope she's fine. Being in jail for ten months is not an easy experience. She went through a

lot of challenges and difficulties, especially that she was subjected to torture and sexual harassment. So it wasn't an easy moment for her.

VANIER: How is she being treated? And I want to put this in some context. Because earlier this year, your sister Alia shared this in a "New York

Times" editorial. And this is chilling. She wrote this.

My parents visited Loujain in at the Dhahban prison in December. They asked her about the torture reports and she collapsed in tears. She said

she had been tortured between May and August when she was not allowed any visitor. She said she had been held in solitary confinement, beaten,

waterboarded, given electric shocks, sexually harassed and threatened with rape and murder. My parents then saw that her thighs were blackened by


I also want to stress that Saudi Arabia denies the allegations of torture of any form. In November a Saudi official had told us here at CNN, quote,

the kingdom of Saudi judiciary system does not condone, promote or allow the use of torture. Anyone, whether male or female being investigated is

going through the standard judiciary process led by the public prosecution while being held for questioning which does not in any way rely on torture,

either physical, sexual or psychological.

So in light of this, I just want to ask you again, how is she doing?

AL-HATHLOUL: Well that's completely wrong. While she was subjected to torture, she was subjected to sexual harassment, and that was overseen by

the top adviser of the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Saud al-Qahtani who was actually, you know, threatening to rape my sister and kill her and

cut her body into pieces. That's what she was experiencing at that time. Until now, we don't know where Saud al-Qahtani is. We have no idea where

he is. In fact he's the one that should be in court today, not my sister. But like this guy is nothing but a gangster. He is a rogue wearing a suit

and yet we don't know where he is.

VANIER: Tell us about the charges. Tell us about this latest day in court. The trial started just earlier this month. What did you find out


AL-HATHLOUL: So what my sister asked for today was to have another month to respond to the charges, because the first session was -- started two

weeks ago and she was only allowed to have two hours to meet with a legal representative in order to see how she would be able to respond to these

charges, and two hours is not enough. She was arrested for ten months, and now after ten months, she is only allowed to have two hours in order to

answer and be able to answer to the charges that she is facing.

VANIER: What specifically are the charges, have you found out? Because for a long time we didn't know precisely.

AL-HATHLOUL: Most of the charges are related to her human rights activism, like dealing with Human Rights Watch, contacting them and contacting the

Amnesty International. These are the charges that she is facing.

[11:45:00] One of the charges is actually applying for a job at the United Nations. That's a charge --

VANIER: That is an official charge, applying for a job at the United Nations? That is written in black and white as an official charge?

AL-HATHLOUL: Correct. Correct, yes. That is mentioned in the list of charges, that she is applying -- she applied for a job at the United


VANIER: Wow. I'm not sure when applying for a job at the U.N. became illegal in Saudi Arabia. We would love to see those charges.

AL-HATHLOUL: I'm in Saudi Arabia, I mean what I know is Saudi Arabia is a member of the United Nations. So I'm not sure how this is a charge.

VANIER: Yes. And the U.N. upgraded Saudi Arabia, I believe it was a few months ago, for the arrest of these activists and these human rights

campaigners. The U.N. and Saudi Arabia have been at loggerheads over this. About her defense, she now has a lawyer? Because she didn't for a long

time, was my understanding.

AL-HATHLOUL: Yes, after the first session, we got approached by several lawyers but we decided to go to the court with no lawyers. Because, like,

we saw how they responded to the charges and they're not showing any professionalism in terms of how they should answer or respond to these

charges. So we decided to go with no lawyers.

VANIER: Have Saudi lawyers contacted you since this all began? She was arrested -- Loujain was charged in May of last year. Have Saudi

authorities said anything to your family? I know your parents are still in Saudi.

AL-HATHLOUL: Absolutely not. We have no communication with the Saudi government. In fact, we actually sent countless letters to the government

without any response from them. So we don't have any sort of communication with them. We've tried to, but so far, we were not able to do that.

VANIER: All right. Walid, respectfully, I'm going to have to interrupt you. The President of the United States, Donald Trump, speaking with the

wife of self-declared Venezuelan President Juan Guaido.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: -- we know what's going on. We know exactly what's going on. Our Vice President Mike was there for a

period of time and got to know your husband very well. But I just want to say were going to have a terrific conversation. We already have. And a

lot of progress is being made with all of the problems. A tremendous amount of progress is being made.


TRUMP: Venezuela was a country with tremendous potential and is still a country with tremendous potential. But people are starving. They're being

killed. They're being beaten. What's going there is unfathomable to everybody that sees and everybody that gets reports. We're getting reports

that are horrible.

The potential of Venezuela, if done properly and with democracy, would be incredible. It was one of the richest companies, certainly one of the

truly rich countries of the world, and now it's one of the poorest countries of the world. You look at what's happened despite oil, the oil

is not coming out. Everything is broken. They have no water. They have no electric, the lights are out. In fact, I understand just today they had

a big blackout. So we're very much in contact with your husband and with everybody else and a lot of things are happening. Many things are

happening. Please.


TRUMP: So in conclusion, I want to say that having you and your representatives with us has been incredible. I know you've also suffered

emotionally. I'd love to have you say a few words to the media.


TRUMP: So just in concluding, I want to say again, to have you and your friends and representatives with us is incredible.

[11:50:00] I know that you've also suffered tremendously and I'd like to you many to say a few words. But please, first Lady, we would like to have

you say a few words to the media.




(through translator): Thank you very much, and Mr. President it is an honor for me to be here. I thank you, I thank the Vice President. It was

a pleasure meeting you as well, and Mr. Bolton, it's an honor to count on you as we do. Venezuela is going through a terrible crisis. The power

crisis is very serious. Children are dying, are dying in hospitals. Children are dying because they have no food. Hospitals are in darkness.

The crisis is serious.


(through translator): I fear for my husband's life. Yesterday he was attacked, his life was attacked. Also, his chief of staff, Roberto

Marrero, was kidnapped in a very violent and vile manner.


Translator: Not only is he his chief of staff, he is our personal friend.


(through translator): Yesterday also they detained his mother's cousin. He was accused of terrorism. And Gustavo Guaido, his brother, was also

accused. So they are hitting everything that is closest to him, trying in that way to destabilize him.


(through translator): But what they don't know is that when they do that, what they're doing is pushing us forward. We will not rest. We are here

to save lives and to give back freedom. We want to save our children, we want to save our elderly who are the ones who are suffering. And this is

what Venezuela is going through.


[11:55:00] (through translator): Venezuela is not alone. The U.S. is with Venezuela. The international community is with Venezuela. The world is

with Venezuela. The world sees and the world hears the terrible consequences of this dictatorship. But Venezuela decided that this is the

year of peace, and we are going to be able to get to go forward.


(through translator): We also want to warn the world that what we are seeing is a wave of attacks against the President. There is repressions,

there is prison, and what they want is to attack him.


(through translator): We're fighting for life and death, and we know that we'll triumph in the end is life.


(through translator): I know that you be part fortunate of this process.


(through translator): Thank you.

TRUMP: Thank you very much.

VANIER: You have been listening to the President of the United States, Donald Trump, who has been hosting a person that he now refers to as the

first lady of Venezuela, Fabiana Rosales, the wife of the opposition leader, Juan Guaido. You're looking at live pictures right now. And I do

think that the symbolism of this is at least as important as the content. You have the U.S. which has thrown its weight behind the opposition leader

and self-declared President of Venezuela, who is now welcoming his wife, calling her and referring to her as first lady.

We're going to have much more coverage on this and our other stories. From Julia Chatterley in London, from myself here in Atlanta, this has been

CONNECT THE WORLD. Thank you for watching.