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UK Lawmakers to Vote on Eight Alternatives to Theresa May's Deal; Trump Meets with Wife of Venezuela's Juan Guaido; Administration's Proposed Budget Cuts Cause Backlash; More Than 110,000 People Displaced in Mozambique; Malaria, Cholera, Other Illnesses A Threat in Mozambique. Aired 1-2p ET

Aired March 27, 2019 - 13:00   ET


[13:00:00] HALA GORANI, CNN HOST: Hello everyone, live from London. I'm Hala Gorani. The Prime Minister's political future hangs in the balance.

She's behind me trying to win over her own party, again while lawmakers look for a way forward without her on the rocky road to Brexit.

Moments ago, in the oval office, Donald Trump tells Russia to get out of Venezuela as he publicly recognizes Juan Guaido's wife as the legitimate

First Lady of that country.

Then CNN speaks to one of the Russians at the center of Robert Mueller's investigation, what Sergei Kislyak told our reporter in Russia?

It's another big evening in this complicated and long Brexit process. Theresa May is meeting with her own back benchers leading to speculation

that she could set out a timetable for her own resignation. We will keep in nine was going on throughout the hour. Of course, also happening right

now, just down the hall from that meeting. Something that seemed unprecedented a few days ago. Lawmakers have taken

control of the Brexit process. They are debating alternatives to the Prime Minister's deadlock deal. In the next few hours they will vote on eight

different ideas. Let's get the view of someone who knows Theresa May. Joey Jones was her spokesperson. He now works as strategic counsel for

Cicero Group.

Ian Dunt is editor of "Politics.Co.UK" and the author of "Brexit -- What the Hell Happens Now?" Ian, what the hell happens now with regards to the

way forward? Prime Minister Theresa May might not get another vote on her deal because the Speaker said it better be significantly different from the

first two times that you presented it to Parliament.

IAN DUNT, EDITOR OF "POLITICS.CO.UK": Exactly, there is kind of a twin track process. You have got the MPs on the one side were basically

operating independently of the government and try to come up with a solution. And then you've got Theresa May saying she can get this deal

through. She has been bringing over previous critics of her deal, Brexit hard liners, like Jacob Rees-Mogg, Boris Johnson starting to slowly come


And yet she has two problems. The first one is the numbers does seem to be there yet. The DUP a hard-right party that props up her government don't

seem to be willing to support it and it does seem like she has enough Labour supporters either.

Second problem is the Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow, who again fires a shot across the bow earlier today, just about an hour ago and

said, unless you come up with some real changes, I'm not still not sure if I will allow you to put it forward. Looking pretty difficult for her.

GORANI: We'll see whether or not she's able to put it forward. With regards to the numbers, she's in a better position now than she was just a

few days ago with the likes of Jacob Rees-Mogg saying I will support you if you get the DUP on board. Right?

JOEY JONES, FORMER SPOKESPERSON FOR THERESA MAY: Yes, but there is a big if there is you were saying with the DUP. Let's wait to see where we get

that. Everyone continues to look at one another to work out who will jump first. The initial movement, some people are suggesting should come now at

this moment from the Prime Minister in one of the committee rooms in there talking to her own party with the idea she should signal timetable for her


GORANI: Which you do that though? She's hung on. She has hung on despite election losses. Despite the fact she's promised not to be on board. Not

to stay on board if the deal gets through to negotiate. Would she do that? Doesn't seem like it's in her nature and you know her.

JONES: I agree it's not in her nature. When she said she would not fight the next general election. That is bound for 2022. One might come around

a little sooner than that. She found that extremely difficult. To some extent, it's the statement of the optics. He's she's not going to be Prime

Minister for that much longer. She can only do that once. She can only resign or signal her departure once. What's the point of doing it unless

it will get her over the line? That's one of her last pieces of political capital. One the last issues that she can use to exert leverage.

GORANI: The last real card she can play that she's still holding. For international viewers who are not familiar with every granular aspect of

these amendment, what is the most significant one? One or two of the most significant ideas being presented by MPs today?

[13:05:00] DUNT: It's the second referendum. It basically says whatever the deal is no matter what it is we want to have a public vote on this

thing. Now over a year remain campaign has been trying to get Labour, the opposition party to back this thing. It's been very, very difficult.

Today they succeeded. Labour fell in behind it. That still does not give you the numbers for it you would still he probably about 40 Tory MPs maybe

to come on site as well.

But certainly, that starts looking like a tenable option to pursue.

JONES: I will tell you one thing. I am looking forward to seeing some actual numbers in black and white. For so long we have been fighting a

phony war around these issues.

GORANI: In terms of what?

JONES: Any of these issues really.

GORANI: There was an amendment that called for the potential of a second referendum. That didn't get any of the numbers. You had a lot of


JONES: A lot of people said the time isn't right. It was a bit of a fake vote. We need to see where the Commons is on some of these issues. It's

likely that none of them will garner an overall majority. If one of these options, maybe 50 or 100 short then the potential to crystallize, to

coalesce around that particular idea begins to be more than just a germ and you can see momentum building over the coming days.

GORANI: We're still not there. Jacob Rees-Mogg, the hardliner wrote in "The Daily Mail", we mentioned tweeting out half a loaf is better than no

bread. That's been the Prime Minister's strategy all along. Support might be an imperfect Brexit but the risk is down the line. You might not get a

Brexit at all. That is kind of what he is saying is in it?

DUNT: It is what they're saying. You still wanted DUP support. We still don't have it there. She spooked the hard liners. The moment that

Parliament started taking control. The Brexit hard liners, they seem to be running away from us.

GORANI: The strategy worked.

DUNT: On what basis does he get to say this stuff. Just a few weeks ago he was saying that Britain could be a slave state. Now he is supporting

it. If you go on Facebook, go because we live in the most ludicrous times ever. There are Rees-Mogg fan groups on Facebook. They are in meltdown

today with accusations of betrayal and he sold out the country. Things are especially volatile even within remain and the hard-line Brexit camp.

GORANI: I ask you, both of you to tell our international viewers, are we closer at all to all of this getting cancelled. To Britain saying never

mind, revoke article 50. You know in mainline Europe, especially the EU supporters, that's their fantasy. Britain will finally wake up and realize

it's a mistake.

JONES: The fantasy is a sort of Bobby Ewing moment that I have had to explain to some of my younger colleagues at Cicero, you open the door and

realize it's all a dream. That to some extent is what some people feel a referendum might be like. Turn back time to a more innocent age before the

first referendum happened.

I'm afraid that cannot happen, if we do go for a second referendum, it's going to be bloody, bitter. It will be ever bit as difficult as the first

perhaps more challenging.

GORANI: Maybe Ian can explain, you don't have to ask the same question but don't the British people deserve a say on what kind of deal they get. Why

would that be bloody? Why would that be divisive?

DUNT: It is a divided country.

GORANI: You're asking people yes or no, you are asking people, yes on this deal or the status quo.

DUNT: That's true, the thing is, the intellectual argument becomes harder to resist the more that MPs change their mind. The more that Theresa May

keeps on putting the same question. Put forward three times. Jacob Rees- Mogg changes his mind over and over again one way or the other. And suddenly the question why doesn't the public do the same thing becomes more


JONES: I can see the intellectual argument. Listen or go talk to the people behind us. This is not just an intellectual argument. One of the

things Theresa May has identified, there's a pretty big constituency in the country is hang on a minute, did you not get it first time around. We did

vote on this. Why have you not, all politicians, been able to execute that vote. That's hump that you've got to get over.

GORANI: They voted for Brexit but not what kind of Brexit. This is what we have been debating.

DUNT: Exactly. In fact, when you start putting a particular kind of Brexit forward, you get very low levels of support. May's deal itself,

very low levels. And it has been pretty much over a year since we have seen almost any poll suggested as majority support for Brexit. So again,

day by day, the arguments for another vote get stronger and stronger.

GORANI: I've actually seen some polling that suggested if you remove the don't knows, that the remainers have gained significant ground, obviously

that is polling, polling was wrong in 2016. So, we are not going to go there.

[13:10:00] But anyway it is out there. Thank you very much. By the way, this evening we'll be covering a series of indicative votes. My colleague

Richard Quest will be doing that. Thanks to both of you.

The White House meeting today with President Trump and the wife of the Venezuelan Assembly President Juan Guaido. Fabiana Rosales says

Venezuela's interim President has been attacked back home. She says she fears for his life. The President spoke out about what's going on.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Venezuela is a country with tremendous potential. People are starving. They are being killed. They

are being beaten. What's going there is u unfathomable to everybody that's getting reports. We're getting reports that are horrible. The potential

of Venezuela, if done properly, and with democracy, would be incredible.


GORANI: During meeting, President Trump gave a blunt warning to Russia as well. We were able to see some of these images of planes. It gave this

warning to Russia. Listen.


TRUMP: Russia has to get out. What's your next question?


GORANI: White House reporter Stephen Collinson joins me now. First of all, let's talk about that very short sound bite. Russia needs to get out.

That was pretty blunt coming from the President.

STEPHEN COLLINSON, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: It was. This is one of the dangers they had feared. The potential for this almost old-style cold war

proxy confrontation between the United States on one side of the conflict and Venezuela's allies there. Is this Trump being Trump. Are there real

teeth behind this threat or does it press a stiffening of U.S. policy in this area or is the president talking about the cuff? We have seen how

sometimes the President's threats in these situations haven't been carried through. Just go back to fire and fury with Kim Jong-un. It looks like an

escalation. Opposite that of Russia and that is a statement that could come back to haunt him as he works out how he will go forward here.

GORANI: Yes, especially by hosting the wife of Juan Guaido. Let's talk a bit about some domestic politics here that have Democrats very angry.

Obama care, Donald Trump, the administration is asking a federal appeals court to quash Obama care entirely.

COLLINSON: Yes. That came out of the Justice Department. A bit of a surprise as Donald Trump was having his victory lap over escaping from the

Mueller investigation. The reason why this is surprise because it creates a real political problem for the President himself if it goes through the

court system and to the supreme court and Obamacare is finally killed off. It could have huge consequences in the United States. Millions of people

could lose their health care. The benefits under Obama care for pre- existing conditions. That could happen right in the middle of an election in 2020.

Donald Trump doesn't have an alternative nor the Republicans. For all the years they spent trying to kill Obamacare, they have never come up with an

alternative solution. It's also given the Democrats an opportunity, as they try and get back at Trump following the Mueller drama and they've had

their own problems with messaging on health care too. Republicans were quite effectively calling them socialists and saying they want to take over

the state. They want the state to take over American health care. It's

[14:15:00] GORANI: Last one because there are budget cuts that are raising a lot of eyebrows especially when you consider the numbers, the dollar

figures. There are budget cuts of $18 million in funding for programs like the Special Olympics. It could really hurt the disadvantaged people. It's

the equivalent of five Donald Trump trips to Mar-A-Lago. That's why people think why are you doing this?

COLLINSON: That's right. And the political attacks write themselves. This came out with a hearing with Education Secretary Betsy DeVos when she

was challenged on this decision which is very callous. I think it tells you a bit about the selective morality of the administration. Their

argument is this a private organization. Devos said this is a private organization and we have difficult budget cuts to contemplate because of

the situation on the budget. The fact is this was announced by billionaire education secretary who appointed by billionaire President who pushed

through a tax cut which has really raised the deficit, has caused the need for these budget cuts and benefitted rich people. Democrats control the

House even when the Republicans control the Congress. These budget cuts didn't get through to the education department.

GORANI: Now that the Mueller investigation is over, maybe now the conference shifts to actual policy proposals. We'll see how that changes

the conversation as well. Thanks very much.

A key figure in that investigation of the Trump campaigns ties to Russia is speaking out for the first time since the Mueller probe ended. You may

remember this picture. A summary of the Mueller report says it doesn't find the Trump campaign assisted Russian government interference in the

2016 election. Our Fred Pleitgen talked exclusively with Kislyak who says the whole story about Russian interference is a hoax.


SERGEY KISLYAK, FORMER RUSSIAN AMBASSADOR TO THE U.S.: First of all, you need to return to normalcy in the United States in political reality to be

able to judge the world around you, including Russia in a reasonable way. The you will return to the understanding that you and us can do a lot of

things that serve your interests and ours, and serve the interests of international stability.


GORANI: Fred joins me now from Moscow with more. We're starting to hear more reaction in Russia and now what else did he tell you. Were the

conclusions that we believe Mueller reached based on a four-page summary?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. I asked him whether or not he felt he had been exonerated. He was under a lot of

public pressure many the United States as well. It was not just his meeting with President Trump inside the oval office. It was several

conversations that he had with Michael Flynn. Certainly, he was someone who for a long time was at the center of a lot of morale that was there

within the Trump ties. Led the Trump ties to the Russian federation. He says that he thinks the whole Mueller report in it itself was a hoax. The

most important thing is he believes the relations between Russia and the United States are victims of political climate. He didn't really want to

talk about the fact whether or not he felt exonerated by the fact this report or what we think this report might have, says there was no

collusion. He also says he doesn't believe that the relations will get better any time soon. He says he hopes that will happen but he thinks

right now the political climate inside the United States simply won't allow that to happen. One of the things that's really important, when we talk

about the reactions we have been getting from Russia since the Mueller report or since the Mueller report dropped and the bar letter came out is

the Russians still have not acknowledged there ever was any meddling in the U.S. election. There are some who are taking a victory happen and there

are other who is are saying that they don't believe it. Will lead to better relations because the allegations and what the United States says is

the proof that Russia did meddle in the 2016 election, that is still very much out there. That's still something that is giant problem for relations

between the U.S. and Russia. Hala.

[14:20:02] GORANI: All right. Thanks very much. A lot more to come this evening. We're live many Mozambique. Another threat unfolds as aids

workers try to reach thousands.

A report on the radical steps one U.S. county is taking as it battles Measles. Vaccinate your kid or you're not welcome.


GORANI: CNN has been on the ground and in the air of Mozambique. The scare of the disaster of the cyclone is coming into sharper focus.

Officials are scrambled to get aid to survivors who have lost their homes and their livelihoods. The country's environment minister spoke to CNN

about what critics are calling a chaotic distribution process.


CELSO CORREIA, ENVIRONMENT MINISTER, MOZAMBIQUE: It's where we have been living from day one. Our approach has been saving lives. We did in the

city we restored water in less than 72 hours. We have been distributing in the neighborhoods together a product to purify water. The risk of an

outbreak of cholera in this city is very high. So, we gave focus to this health issue.


GORANI: Health, shelter, water, sanitation, all desperate needs for narrowly two million people in the aftermath of this cyclone. He's been

talking to health workers about the immediate threats of disease. We heard it there in that short clip. Dirty water is a terrible situation. The

risk of cholera is a lot higher. What are officials telling you there?

FARAI SEVENZO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Exactly. You remember all those dramatic pictures of water everywhere. You drive 150 kilometers inland.

There's still more water. We went to a place and we want to see how Mozambique was dealing with the process of recovery.

Two weeks after cyclone struck. The recovery process is under way. Every cable is once again been connected to Mozambique's national grid. Working

their way along the part to replace broken cables. The banks have re- opened. It denied people access to their money. The purpose of rebuild sg the natural step for many. Roofs must be replaced and life must go on.

For some, it's slipping into memory as schools and banks reopen. Rural people who survived have shelter. The medical center is looking after 50

adults and 85 young children who lost everything to the cyclone. There are bigger camps elsewhere. All trying to cope. The sadness of loss is the


[13:25:00] AID WORKER: Where the most people died in our province was Mutarara. There are more rivers there. Those rivers burst their banks and

people were trapped there and couldn't get out. Here the disease we're seeing the most of is Malaria. Cholera has not yet started. What we're

seeing is severe diarrhea.

SEVENZO: Today she's tested nine people for malaria which is their biggest concern. I'm going to be the tenth person she tests today. Of those nine,

two had malaria. As soon as they have it, they can take preventative measures and give the medicine they are need. I see something happening,

so I am clear. For now. This is cyclone water?


Kids, this water can cause dysentery. And have you heard about cholera? Didn't a lot of people here die of cholera? Do you want to die?

SEVENZO: They went straight back after you told them.

That is the most frightening thing. The idea there's these cases of cholera, it's the entire country because the water went everywhere. A

massive education program to ensure the kids take it seriously. The health official told me earlier when we did that, she said that some will listen

and some will not. This is massive risk. This is the future to contain a very serious water born diseases. Much to do before this crisis can be


GORANI: All right. Thanks very much. Our teams on the ground there.

Still to come, all the latest developments on Brexit as MPs prepare to vote on alternatives. New ideas, if you will. Trying to chart the way forward.

We'll be right back.


[13:30:00] HALA GORANI, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Let's return now to Brexit. It's another significant evening here in Westminster where yet

again Theresa May's future is in doubt. Very much in doubt. Lots of rumors rolling around what she may have promised to get her deal through.

As we speak, the prime minister is meeting with her own backbenchers, and that is leading the speculation that she could, in fact, set a date for her

own resignation to say, look, back me on this and I'll step aside. I won't negotiate the rest of the agreement with the E.U. We'll bring you any

updates on that meeting as we get them.

Meanwhile, M.P.s are having their say and they're debating alternatives to May's twice rejected withdrawal plan. They're trying the find a way

through the impasse. They'll vote on the menu of different options previously dismissed by the prime minister, including, but not limited to a

second referendum.

This is all basically just to sum it up, for people watching all over the world. It's just a way for parliament, after having seized control of the

process, to say, let us vote on just the menu of things and we'll try to see which one is able to gain critical mass. That's really what the

process here.

So you have tiny little increments of the story, but the constellation of everything could lead, certainly, to a clear idea of where parliament wants

to go.

Now, this is parliament and this is Central London. It's not the rest of the country. Far from it, if you traveled outside of London. It's a

completely different picture.

Anna Stewart is in Boston, Lincolnshire. Not Boston, Massachusetts. Boston recorded the highest majority of Brexit voters in the U.K. with more

than 75 percent voting to leave. What did they tell you, Anna, they want politicians to do now?

ANNA STEWART, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, even suggesting this whole idea of these indicative votes tonight. For many people, it's

actually a betrayal of Brexit. Because most people here, as you said -- you know, this is -- if there was a Brexit capital of the world, I think

Boston would be it.

Most people voted to leave nearly three years ago. They don't think that some of the options on the table deliver this democratic vote that they --

that they gave a second referendum, a softer Brexit. We have been putting some of the options to the people though. And take a listen to what

they've said.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Take the referendum was a definite no.

STEWART: For you guys, no-deal Brexit.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's better than the deal that some offer. I mean, she said right from the start no-deal is better than a bad deal.


STEWART: Are you just fed up with talking about it?





STEWART: The most popular option, actually, that I gave people was a no- deal Brexit and that isn't one of the things on the ballot paper this evening. A no-deal Brexit, already pretty much been ruled out. We know

parliament hasn't got an appetite for it. There isn't a majority for it.

But then you come to some of these leave areas around the U.K. and people would much prefer that than almost any of the other alternatives. And it

does make you question whether politicians in Westminster have lost touch with the people that they represent out here.

GORANI: It's breaking news. All right. Anna Stewart is in Boston. Oh, there you are.

Listen, Anna, I want to ask you something else. What do the people in Boston, very, very heavily leave? Things the prime minister should do

because we are getting breaking news. And I'm going to read it as it was sent to me. Theresa May has said that she will stand down as prime

minister once Brexit has been delivered. In other words, she will not be in charge for the next phase. So presumably, she's told her backbenchers,

if you back me on this deal, I promise to step down. I won't be negotiating the future relationship.

What do Brexiteers want their prime minister to do? Do they want to see her go?

STEWART: It'll be interesting to ask people that this evening and tomorrow morning, because so far, say most people have lost confidence in the prime

minister in the leave areas I have been to. I would say they've lost confidence though in the government and in politicians in general. Not

limited just to Theresa May.

I think they feel like the process has not been poor. They don't feel particularly well represented. I'm not sure whether the prime minister

stepping down in the summer will help them or help this Brexit process though. I suspect the feelings on this won't change.

GORANI: Well, I'm going to ask -- OK. Anna Stewart in Boston. Thanks very much.

Carole Walker is joining me now. So this is breaking news coming into CNN that the prime minister has essentially -- she's trying -- this is her last

card, right? I will leave if you just support me on this. I won't negotiate the next phase. This is the breaking news coming into us.

According to sources.

CAROLE WALKER, POLITICAL ANALYST: Upon speaking the prime minister is talking to conservative M.P.s in the 1922 committee. There are M.P.s in

there who have said that she has told them that she will not lead the party and lead the country through the next phase of the negotiations. She wants

to see this stage of the Brexit process through and is then prepared to stand down and hand over the reins of power.

[13:35:12] Now, this is an appeal to M.P.s to say to them, look, back my withdrawal deal. Get through this phase of the Brexit process and then she

will allow a leadership contest so that the conservatives can choose somebody else to take them through the trade negotiations.

GORANI: Will this strategy work? Because it's the deal these M.P.s say they ate. Will the departure of the prime minister, after this phase, be

enough to placate them?

WALKER: That's a $50,000 question, Hala.


WALKER: It May well convince some of them who have been so exasperated by her handling of the negotiation so far who feel that she has simply

conceded at every stage to the demands of the European Union and it may well help her.

The trouble is that there is still a hard core of Brexiteers who have said that they won't accept her deal. There are also some strongly remain

supporting M.P.s in the Conservative Party, and this may not affect their judgment.

Crucially though, we're also hearing suggestions that the DUP, the Democratic Unionist Party, may well be giving a statement in about half an

hour's time. That is not confirmed. We don't know what they're going to say. But what we do know is that a number of conservative M.P.s, including

people like Jacob Rees-Mogg who is one of the leaders of the ERG group of Brexiteers has said that the decision of the DUP will be crucial.

Now, the

GORANI: Let me just -- I'm sorry to jump in, but would all of this has been, in the end, all this drama, all this division, for in the end that

the prime minister's deal to be supported? Because she's promising to step down. That's really the only variable here. Right?

WALKER: Well, I think that there a number of factors at play here. I think what we're seeing, as you've been discussing these indicative votes

are going on, we'll get the results of those later tonight. But the expectation is that they will show that there is majority in the Houses of

Parliament for some form of much softer Brexit. Some form of customs union with the European Union. Perhaps with a single market, possibly as part of

the EA area.

All of that is the absolute anatomy to the Brexiteers who feel that it would simply tie the U.K. forever into far too close an arrangement with

the European Union and that we would be rule takers not able to influence the decisions but having to accept many of the judgments from the E.U. So

there is that process going on.


WALKER: At the same -- and that has made -- has made many Brexiteers look over the precipice and say, well, I don't like the prime minister's

withdrawal deal I never have but it may will be better than the alternative, because they may now be looking at this and thinking that --

GORANI: As Jacob Rees-Mogg said, Hardline Brexiteers half a loaf is better than no bread.

WALKER: Absolutely. And David Davis, former Brexit secretary said that he felt that the alternative to the prime minister's deal would be a cavalcade

of chaos.

So those are the sorts of judgments which Brexiteers are making. They've now got a commitment from the prime minister that she's not going to leave

them through the next stage of the negotiation. So they may well then calculate, particularly, if the Democratic Unionist Party now say that they

may, perhaps be prepared to accept the deal. We don't know if that's what they're going to say.

GORANI: Is that all she needs if she gets them? Now, she needs more than just them. She needs her backbenchers. She needs them.

WALKER: She need 75 conservative M.P.s to change sides.

GORANI: She lost by 149 last time.

WALKER: Exactly. So if you have 75 which one side to the other, perhaps you'll also get some other Labour M.P.s coming on the side because Labour

M.P.s, those who are in strongly leave supporting constituencies, some of them May also be concerned about the way that events are moving in these

indicative votes.

So you've got a series of different scenarios moving here. We know that the government is making arrangements so that the House could sit on

Friday. We know that the prime minister would like to bring her deal back this week, but will only do so if she feels it has a chance of getting


But having now made this promise to the 1922, it's very difficult to see her then ducking out of the chance to bring her withdrawal agreement back

for a third go. But it has to be said, at this stage, if there's still -- there's by no means any certainty that she's got the figures to get it


GORANI: I just want to repeat for our viewers the breaking news. Just in the last few minutes, a source telling CNN, the prime minister says she

will step down after Brexit is delivered which means she will not negotiate the next phase.

[13:40:03] And crucially, as you said, the DUP, the Northern Ireland party is going to make a statement in the next few minutes if she gets their

support. Could she get the deal through? But also, she needs to be able to present the deal.

The speaker of the house has said -- has said, don't try to circumvent me. I've already told you, unless this deal is significantly different from the

first two times, it ain't happening.

WALKER: Well, this could be another really significant factor in all of this. The Speaker John Bercow, who if you remember often the last

meaningful vote, issued this warning to the government that was a parliamentary ruled. That meant you could not bring back the same motion

time and time again.

Now, this afternoon he stood up and reminded the government and said, look, if you are going to try to bring back this meaningful vote a third time,

you have to meet my tests for this if it's significantly different from the deal that was put forward last time around.

Now, it's very difficult to indeed to know exactly what the Speaker's test are, because he has his own interpretation of parliamentary rules.

But clearly, there are various factors which the government could bring into play. For example, the new assurances given by the European

Commission in terms of making strong endeavors to ensure that neither side is trapped in the backstop. That has been turned into a legally binding



WALKER: The government could use that as a significantly different factor. And I'm sure that the lawyers and the draftsmen and the parliamentary

experts in Downing Street will be looking very closely at the precise terms of any new deal which the prime minister may bring back.

GORANI: Reiterating the breaking news. The prime minister saying she will step down once Brexit is delivered. But according to the reports I'm

reading, she has not provided a date for that. But obviously, there is a marker there, a milestone once the Brexit deal is passed. She hopes


Carole, we'll see you in a few minutes with more on our breaking news. Quick break. We'll be right back. Stay with CNN.


GORANI: A reminder of the breaking news this hour. A Conservative Party source has told CNN that the Prime Minister, Theresa May, said she will

stand down once Brexit has been delivered. No date given. This means she will not be in charge for the next phase of negotiations with the E.U.

Well, British politicians continue to wrangle over the way forward. What are European leaders saying about all of this? Donald Tusk warned against

betraying the increasing majority of British people who want to stay in the E.U., according to him.


DONALD TUSK, PRESIDENT OF THE EUROPEAN COUNCIL: You cannot betray the six million people who signed the petition to revoke Article 50. The one

million people who marched for a people's vote or the increasing majority of people who wants to remain in the European Union.


[13:45:01] GORANI: So a rally in calls for those who disagree with Brexit from Donald Tusk.

I want to bring in Carl Bildt now. He's a former prime minister of Sweden. He joins us from Stockholm. Carl Bildt, first, reaction to this breaking

news. The prime minister has essentially said, look, I'll remove myself from the equation. I will step down if you just support this deal I

negotiated. What do you make of that?

CARL BILDT, FORMER PRIME MINISTER OF SWEDEN: Well, I think what has happened clearly in the last few days, and indeed that's what we're seeing

today, is that the government is losing control of the entire process. And whether there would be people's vote, that's perfectly possible, I

understand, or some sort of softer Brexit belong some of the amendments that are on the table that it clearly lines different that will be taken by

the house that is advocated by the prime minister so far. So from that point of view, that's (INAUDIBLE) in what she's saying.

GORANI: But the prime minister could pull it off in the end. I mean, against all odds, really. Because her conservative M.P.s, you know, Jacob

Rees-Mogg, in this country, he said if the DUP of Northern Ireland supports the deal, I'll support it too. I mean, she needs to win over 75

conservative M.P.s. It's starting to look like it's possible, especially as she has vowed to step down.

Would it be the best thing, do you think, for the U.K., for a deal, any deal to be adopted so finally they can move over to the next phase?

BILDT: Yes. I mean, the next phase is rally what is decisive. And what is interesting with the process that is now going on, as we speak is that

they are finally having a serious debate on what's going to happen after the withdrawal, either the people's vote and the entire thing will be up in

there and we'll see what happens, and perhaps that we remain.

But otherwise, some sort of more decent way of maneuvering your alternatives. What has been the line from the government, so far, has been

too many red lines that have made it really very impossible from the U.K. and the E.U. point of view.

It is now a softer, more constructive, more formal looking approach that demands a majority to the House of Commons. That might be a good way.

Still the second best, because the U.K. would still lose it. Those lost its voice in Europe. But we'll remain part of something to this.

GORANI: Yes. Well, that's the problem. There's no clear cut majority for anything at this stage. That's why there's such an impasse.

Would you support the idea of a much, much longer extension or would that just be keeping -- kicking the can down the road and keeping the continent

and the U.K. in a state of limbo for too long?

BILDT: Well, if there's somebody already now for people's vote. Of course, that's going to take quite some time. I mean, no question about

that. And I'm quite certain that the European Council, as Donald Tusk say, would be ready to accept that.

If there's something else, let's see. But that will be known the withdrawal agreement any how the sort that is now on the table is not quite

will be able to get that. But that will be more clear for what happens thereafter. So far, that means sort of turmoil, both from the withdrawal

agreement and complete turmoil of what's going to happen thereafter. So if they manage to get out of it (INAUDIBLE) that wouldn't hurt but it's very,

very mildly.

GORANI: Carl Bildt, the former prime minister of Sweden. Thanks very much for that reaction.

Where are we going to? Sorry. I'm having a few audio problems. Apologies for that. Oh, Carole, where I'm told to come to you. OK. Sorry about

that. I was just having a few problems hearing what my producers were telling me.

So let's talk a little bit more about this breaking news. Because how significant is it? The prime minister didn't give a date but she did

promise to step down if M.P.s support her deal.

WALKER: Look, this is huge moment. The prime minister has been under enormous pressure for months, indeed, ever since she lost the conservative

majority when she called the general election two years ago. But she has always thrown out or been determined to stick at it. Those around her say

that throughout all, that she has been driven by this sense of public service. This dedication to public duty. This determination to try to see

the process through.

But I think that over the last few weeks and days, she has had to face up to some pretty bleak facts. She has lost control of the process. M.P.s,

as we speak, in the Houses of Parliament, are voting or about to vote on their own preferences for the next phase of the Brexit process.

She has gone down to two of the biggest defeats in British political history on the most important policy of the government. The one and only

overriding priority of the government, and many, many M.P.s and ministers now see her as being incapable of carrying through the next phase of the


[13:50:11] Now, what our cabinet minister has said to record this evening is that she is prepared to stand down in the national interest to try to

secure an orderly Brexit. But of course, it's by no means certain that her departure will actually achieve that.

GORANI: And also, you have a whole next phase. This is just the withdrawal agreement. This is not the future relationship. And by the

way, whoever takes her place could be a much, much harder line -- a hard line, I should say, Brexiteer. Here you have a middle of the road prime

minister, but you could in her place get someone who's going to be a very different negotiator.

WALKER: Absolutely. I mean, the prime minister's resignation or that she hasn't resigned. She hasn't given us a date. She hasn't said exactly when

she's going to go, but her offer to stand aside once we're through with this phase is intended to persuade M.P.s to vote for her withdrawal


It is still no means certain that she has the numbers for that. A number of M.P.s have already moved. Others may now do so given the commitment

she's made that someone else will take over. But, yes, the under current now is that all those M.P.s and ministers who have been quietly pursuing

their own leadership ambitions through some discreet dinners, and so on.

This will now be an open season on the conservative leadership, as you have mentioned there, the overwhelming majority of M.P.s in parliament and the

overwhelming membership of the conservative party which also has the say in choosing the leader is pretty Euro skeptic. So the chances are it will be

a much more of a hardline Brexiteer. Certainly the Brexiteers and parliament will be hoping that there'd be one of their own who takes on the

next phase.

GORANI: Sure. It wasn't just about the deal then, was it, in the end? It seems like, Carole Walker, we'll have more coverage of this breaking news

coming up after the break. Stay with us.


GORANI: Welcome back. Let's remind you of our breaking news. Theresa May says she will step down earlier than she'd planned if conservative M.P.s

back her deal.

Just a few minutes ago and I have in hand here the speech that she delivered to the so-called 1922 committee, this evening. I know some

people are worried, she said that if you vote for the withdrawal agreement, it will take that as a-- I will take that as a mandate to rush on into

phase two without the debate we need to have. I hear what you're saying. I'm prepared to leave this job earlier than I intended in order to do what

is right for our country.

Carole Walker, Bianca Nobilo are here. Bianca, let me start with you. What was the mood in that room? I'm reading reports that there was


BIANCA NOBILO, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: Well, it was -- it was quite subdued to start with. I was waiting just outside and the way

that these M.P.s expresses support for things that they bang the tables real loudly. It's very muted banging when the prime minister came in. She

looked in fairly good spirits. Many commented, perhaps, a weight has been lifted because she's thinking that she might step down. Then she gave her

speech to these backbench M.P.s and her cabinet.

And the gist of it was she is prepared to step down after she gets her Brexit deal through because she believes that could be what's best for the

country and for the party. And the implication I heard from lawmakers believing that rumor was that if her deal passes, and when it does, that

will almost immediately precipitate a leadership contest. So that would fire the starting gun to say, OK. People get on maneuvers. Who's going to

be the next prime minster?

[13:55:13] GORANI: For that plan to work though, she needs to get the deal through. Does she have the numbers, Carole walker?

WALKER: At the moment, it doesn't look as though she does. I mean, it was interesting that she went on to say in that speech that she made in the

meeting, appealing to everyone in the room to back her withdrawal agreement so that the country could deliver on the promise that it made to deliver

Brexit, which the people voted for nearly three years ago.

But this speech may well sway some members of the ERG, some of those Brexiteers. There will be a hard core who are still not prepared to vote

for a deal which they feel leaves the U.K. shackled far too closely to the European Union. We still haven't solved the backstop -- that thing --

WALKER: Exactly.

GORANI: That was supposed to be the deal breaker is still enshrined embedded in this agreement.

WALKER: Indeed, there are a lot of rumors of a statement coming up fairly shortly from the DUP who, of course, are providing back up to the

government here in parliament. And many conservative Brexiteers has said they will be guided by what the DUP says.

Until now, they have been holding out implacably opposed to the deal, because they feel that it would create different arrangements in Northern

Ireland from the rest of the U.K.

But if the DUP give some signal, they may be prepared to support the prime minister, well, then that could really be a game changer.

NOBILO: Because if the DUP support her, that will be the first domino to fall. You see the ERG and her backbenchers, they wanted to try and get a

change in leader because they are concerned that Theresa May, as a former remainer, and somebody who used to be secretary, who wants that kind of

close relationship with the E.U., would not strive for the kind of, you know, distant and global looking relationship that they want to see.

However, the DUP have always maintained that their issue is needing it to be legally binding rather than the leader itself in favor of what they


GORANI: It's incredible to imagine that the whole Brexit process now rests in the hands of a small Northern Ireland party that the Brits did not vote

to put in any position of majority that are propping up a minority government. That they hold the key. This is where we are in this country


NOBILO: -- party hold the key as well, because those two work very closely together.

GORANI: We have to go. But I know we'll see the two of you in next few hours. We're out of time for this hour. Carole and Bianca, thanks very

much. "AMANPOUR" is next.