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HALA GORANI TONIGHT
British Prime Minister May to Step Down June 7; EU Says Resignation Does Not Change Brexit Deal; Pound Under Pressure After May Announcement; Tears, Tributes and A Turbulent Time at The Top; British Prime Minister Theresa May To Resign June 7; Conservative Party To Pick new Prime Minister By Mid-July; Police: Explosion In Lyon Injures Seven People; U.K. Reacts To News Of May's Resignation. Aired 2-3p ET
Aired May 24, 2019 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[14:00:00] HALA GORANI, CNN HOST: Hello and welcome, I'm Hala Gorani live outside the Houses of Parliament in London. Tonight, the end of May and a
momentous day here in the United Kingdom. British Prime Minister Theresa May has announced her resignation. She will step aside officially June 7th
as the Conservative Party leader and then her party will have a new leader in the UK, a new Prime Minister by mid-July.
Theresa May's was a turbulent tenure as leader of the UK marked by dogged persistence and dominated by just one divisive issue, Brexit. And in the
end, it was the news we were all expecting today. Rivals on both sides of the aisle have been pressuring her to step down for months time and again
she stood firm in the first of relentless criticism. It was only at the very end that her emotions showed through.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
THERESA MAY, PRIME MINISTER, UK: I have done everything I can to convince MPs to back that deal. Sadly, I have not been able to do so. I tried
three times. I believe it was right to persevere even when the odds against success seemed high. But it is now clear to me that it is in the
best interests of the country for a new Prime Minister to lead that effort. So I am today announcing that I will resign as leader of the Conservative
and Unionist Party on Friday the 7th of June, so that successor can be choSEN.
I will shortly leave the job that it has been the honor of my life to hold. The second female Prime Minister but certainly not the last. I do so with
no ill will but with enormous and enduring gratitude to have had the opportunity to serve the country I love.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: Emotional there at the end. Theresa May delivering the speech that she never wanted to give. Phil Black is outside 10 Downing Street for
us tonight. So what happens next then for Theresa May, Phil, in the immediate future?
PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So Theresa May, Hala, stays on as Prime Minister for the immediate future while the Conservative Party begins the
heated contest of trying to determine who her successor will be. So she doesn't formally step down as leader of the Conservative Party until June
7, crucially, that is after the Donald Trump state visit so she remains Prime Minister in name and perhaps some less so in authority during that
important state occasion.
But and then after that she will sort of take on a caretaker type role, if you like, remaining Prime Minister as the candidates within the
Conservative Party begin fighting it out. Initially in votes that will take place among Conservative MPs here in Westminster, and then once those
numbers of candidates have been reduced to the final two by those votes held by members of Parliament, it then goes open to the Conservative Party
membership across the country.
We'll see something of a national leadership campaign by those final two candidates. We are told that the Conservative Party is also deeply aware
of the fact that this isn't just the next Conservative leader, it is the next Prime Minister for the whole country. And so they say that events
will be organized to ensure that these candidates also mix with, face questions from, meet with people who are not natural Conservative voters.
That said, it does come down to Conservative Party membership who will mail in their ballots and determine the next leader of their party, the next
Prime Minister. And that should if all goes to plan happen before the end of July. Hala.
GORANI: All right, Phil Black, at 10 Downing Street, thanks very much. So ultimately Theresa May was forced to step down for failing to deliver on
her signature policy shepherding Britain's exit from the EU. And she leaves behind more questions than answers. What is next for Brexit? Who
will take over? I'm joined now by a former Conservative MP, Sir Malcolm Rifkind and Alastair Campbell, former press secretary for Labour Prime
Minister Tony Blair. Thanks gentlemen, for being with us. Sir Malcolm, fist of all, who would you like to see take the place of Theresa May?
SIR MALCOLM RIFKIND, FORMER MP, CONSERVATIVE PARTY: Right, I want to see a Prime Minister who has proven experience running great departments of state
and shows that he or she has the capabilities to actually be -- most difficult job in government. Much more difficult than any other. We want
someone with experience and ability to prove it.
GORANI: Any names?
RIFKIND: I can find it easier to name people who don't meet up these standards as they meet them.
GORANI: So name one that doesn't.
RIFKIND: You'll have tap me later on in the interview.
GORANI: Alastair Campbell, what difference does it make if Theresa May is the Prime Minister or someone else is the Prime Minister when it comes to
[14:05:00] ALASTAIR CAMPBELL, FORMER PRESS SECRETARY FOR LABOUR PRIME MINISTER TONY BLAIR: Well, certainly Brexit has at its heart real
challenges and inconsistencies that have been very difficult for her to deal with. But I do think that her personality and the way that she has
approached the job from the word go when it seems to me that she sort of decided, because she was worried that she was going to be seen by
Brexiteers as a remainer, she governed essentially for the 52 percent. And I think didn't make any real effort to bring the country together.
And I think the other thing that Malcolm might want to throw into the mix, is that whoever they decide to elect, and I think it is absurd that it will
be elected just by the members of the Conservative Party and public have no input just as they don't want the public to be involved in the second
referendum. But I do think it is got to be somebody who can start to bring the country together. Because this is a massively divided country.
GORANI: Is that even possible at this stage? Because whoever takes her place will be on one side or the other of the Brexit debate.
RIFKIND: Well, we're assuming and perhaps correctly that the fundamental issue for the new Prime Minister will be the same one has brought town
Theresa May Brexit. And what the arithmetic shows in the House of Commons is that no government can actually deliver Brexit unless either all of its
own supporters vote on the same side which they failed to do. Or she doesn't have to attract all the opposition, she doesn't need the whole
Labour Party. What she needs probably is about 30, 40 opposition MPs, mainly Labour MPs.
GORANI: So you can have a polarizing figure then, you have to have someone who can appeal to the other side.
RIFKIND: This is much more complicated that that, it would be bad enough. It is more complicated because in order to attract people from the other
side, you have to make concessions that you wouldn't otherwise have chosen to make. Should we have a Customs Union, should we have a second
referendum to confirm whatever is decided? As soon as you move in that direction, some of your existing supporters jump ship and say sorry, that
wasn't the deal.
CAMPBELL: And that suggests that we end up with a general election. But then that is a problem as well because that is not going to resolve the
issue either. And that is why I think ultimately this is going to go back to the fundamental question does the country actually want to pursue Brexit
at all. If that question is put, we don't.
RIFKIND: For the first time in my political career, I'm in danger of agreeing with Alastair Campbell. This really disturbs me. For all sorts
of reasons we haven't got time --
GORANI: So, you think a second referendum?
RIFKIND: I don't want a second referendum because --
GORANI: Do you think that is the most likely outcome?
RIFKIND: Not necessarily the most likely, but I think it has become more likely than it would have been even a few weeks ago. And I'll tell you
why. Because whether you have a general election -- if you have a general election, on what manifesto does the new Prime Minister fight that will
unite the Conservative Party? I doubt if there is one. And indeed, there is a very serious risk that you allow Jeremy Corbyn to win the election.
CAMPBELL: Labour does not have a united policy either.
RIFKIND: That's right. Winston Churchill, everybody quotes Churchill but he made one marvelous remark. Which applies to Labour as well as Tory
politicians. He said in politics you shouldn't commit suicide because you might live to regret it. And that is the danger we are facing now.
GORANI: Well, could that apply to the country though in a way. Because lots of people outside the U.K. look at what is happening here and saying
why in this country in many ways because of Brexit sort of self- destructing? Its political class, its democracy.
RIFKIND: Look, before Alastair replies, I want to make one point which I don't think is made often enough. Yes, it's a shambles, yes, it's a mess.
But it's peaceful and it's Parliamentary, this dispute. We don't have yellow vests, we don't have buildings being burned down. We don't have
riot police in the streets. And if the government is losing power over Brexit, which it has been, it's been Parliament has had the opportunity to
take it. That's a very British approach.
GORANI: You don't have the yellow vests, I agree with you, but you do have gatherings for instance the ones that Nigel Farage is organizing where you
have some incidents. Is there a risk here then with the resurgence of this wing of the Brexit supporters that this could descend into something
CAMPBELL: The campaign has always been tough. And don't forget you know in the first referendum, an MP was murdered. And I think that actually - I
think Malcolm is right in the debate, there's some nastiness in the debate, but it is actually not that bad. But I think that fundamentally we're
going to have to go back to this very basic question. And I think -- I do believe that if Theresa May at a certain stage in the recent past that
actually I think she could have got her withdrawal agreement through.
If she had been just a little bit more able to lean toward the idea that it would then have to be confirmed by the people, she is going -- she was
going to split her party anyway and she's ended up with that split party forcing her to leave. So I think in the end this is not going to be
resolved by this place, it has got to go back to the people.
RIFKIND: And let me respond if I may. Because one of the things that I think surprised everyone was we thought when Parliament had the power to
reach a decision as to what ought to happen, it would take that decision. What we have seen is Parliament as divided as the government and as the
political parties. Now the reason I --
GORANI: Although the majority against the no deal Brexit.
[14:00:00] RIFKIND: A huge majority against no deal. But what I think is perfectly possible now, which I wouldn't have agreed with Alastair a few
weeks ago, is that if it proves that even with the new Prime Minister it is impossible to reach a clear verdict in Parliament as to what a majority are
prepared to live with, then I think there is the case for having a referendum but not on the same question as last time.
GORANI: What question?
RIFKIND: If you have the same question, in or out, what happens if they say out, you're back to where they are now. What kind of out? So I think
it has to be a binary choice. Do you want remain or do you want the deal with or without a Customs Union that is available that we know the EU can
accept. Now, the advantage of that, however narrow the outcome, and if it's binary, there are only two choices, then somebody has to win. However
narrow it is, you can implement it right away. You don't have to start a new negotiation arising out of that decision.
GORANI: But this is what brought down Theresa May, the fact that she wanted to embed within her Brexit withdrawal deal that question, right?
CAMPBELL: No, that's what brought her down at the end. But I think because every step of the way she has been so resistant to change. When
she finally made the change particularly reaching out to Jeremy Corbyn, Malcolm's party went crazy.
RIFKIND: Yes. No. Well, but this is the point. It was always obvious on such an emotional issue and such a high-profile issue that if you start
making compromises to the opposition parties, you upset your own people. Because the compromises you are making, you weren't wanting to make.
Theresa May didn't want to discuss Customs Unions or second referendums. She acknowledged the arithmetic. And actually people are forgetting during
the course of the last year, she produced what was originally a vast majority of, what about, 200 against her deal down to 30. She made a lot
of progress but she couldn't get the final way through.
GORANI: We're seen all over the world and there is one name that people recognize in U.K. politics beyond Theresa May. And that is Boris Johnson.
RIFKIND: I knew that name would come up at some stage in this interview.
GORANI: Is Boris Johnson the man do this? I mean this is a man who campaigned during the Brexit referendum campaign as you know using figures
and facts that at best were --
RIFKIND: Quite a lot of politicians on both sides got up to that kind of behavior.
GORANI: -- distorted. Yes. Is he the man for the job?
RIFKIND: Let me answer -- I will answer the question but let me answer it in this way. Under the rules of our party, if there where more than two
candidates going for the leadership, which there will be, there will be five or six, the members of Parliament themselves have the exclusive right
to decide the final two. That's only the final two that go through to the party membership, 125,000, to say who they want.
Now if Boris Johnson wants to be Prime Minister, he has to be able to persuade at least half the members of Parliament that he is the right
person. If he fails to do that, it would be intolerable if some third candidate got onto the list that the MPs didn't want. We've done that once
before. That's how Jeremy Corbyn became leader of the Labour Party because the party members chose somebody the MPs couldn't live with.
The Tory party must avoid making that same mistake otherwise you've seen the consequences for Labour --
CAMPBELL: This is Malcolm's way of saying he doesn't want Boris Johnson.
GORANI: It doesn't sound like you would be in support of him. What do you think of Prime Minister Boris Johnson if that's what ends up happening?
CAMPBELL: I think it is terrific. I think that -- I've known him for a very, very, very long time since we were young journalists together. And I
think the idea of him as Prime Minister is just a symptom of how low our policies have fallen. I think it is awful actually that two of the key
characters in the campaign of lies and misinformation that helped deliver Brexit, Farage is about to become top in the European elections. And Boris
Johnson it seems is about to become Prime Minister. We say we want politicians who tell us the truth.
GORANI: So what is the problem, why is this happening? It's a failure of the establishment on some level? It has to be.
RIFKIN: No. There is no doubt that Boris Johnson is the most charismatic of all the likely candidates. So in this popular stage that we are living
with in many countries, that appeals to a lot of people. You ask me would I want Boris Johnson to be Prime Minister? Johnson is not a Trump. He is
highly intelligent. He reads a lot. And on all issues other than Brexit, he is actually very moderate middle of the road sort of guy.
So it is not his opinions that worry me. What worries me is as we saw when he was Foreign Secretary, he was not able to handle that job effectively.
He was one of the poorest Foreign Ministers we've had for many years. So if you can't do the one government job that you've been given, I will take
a lot of persuading that he is the right person to be Prime Minister.
CAMPBELL: Who is on that list of 12 so far?
RIFKIND: Oh, there are a number who are perfectly competent who don't have Johnson's charisma. Jeremy Hunt, Sajid Javid even Dominic Raab on the
Brexit side, highly competent without the problems Boris has.
CAMPBELL: You didn't mention Michael Gove.
RIFKIND: Michael Gove is a very, very bright --- he is one of the brightest guys. But I'm not sure he has the personality.
GORANI: These are all names that could potentially become household names around the world. Malcolm Rifkind, Alastair Campbell, thanks so much to
both of you for joining us.
Now, the former Prime Minister David Cameron gave his reaction to Mrs. May's resignation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[15:00:00] DAVID CAMERON, FORMER PRIME MINISTER, UK: I feel desperately sorry for Theresa and for Phillip. I mean she worked incredibly hard. She
is a dedicated public servant and I know what it feels like when you come to realize that your leadership time has finished, that the country needs a
new leader and it is extremely difficult and painful to step outside Downing Street and to say those things.
But I think that she is and she was a dedicated public servant. She worked incredibly hard on our behalf and I think she deserves our gratitude for
that and this will be a very difficult day.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: All right. Well, few people have had more face time with Mrs. May lately than Europe's leaders. They have been reacting as well to the
news of her resignation saying it does not change, it does not change the European Union's position on the Brexit deal it negotiated with Britain.
And a spokesperson for the European Commission President spoke following the news. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MINA ANDREEVA, DEPUTY CHIEF SPOKESWOMAN, EC PRESIDENT: President Juncker following Prime Minister May's announcement this morning without personal
joy. The President very much liked and appreciated working with Prime Minister May and as he said before, Theresa May is a woman of courage for
whom he has great respect. He will equally respect and establish working relationships with any new Prime Minister whomever they may be without
stopping his conversations with Prime Minister May.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: Well, with more reaction from the EU, Erin McLaughlin joins me now live from Brussels. What are you hearing, Erin?
ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, LONDON BUREAU: We heard from a variety of EU leaders today, Hala, come out and praise Theresa May
for her courage and determination. We heard from Mark Rutte, the Dutch Prime Minister say as much. And he also said the problem in all of this
was never Theresa May, the problem is the Tory party red lines. Take a listen to what he had to say to journalists earlier today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARK RUTTE, DUTCH PRIME MINISTER: The problem of course is not Theresa May. To the country I believe she is courageous Prime Minister. She still
is for the next weeks. Our personal relationship is excellent. I trust her. I think that the problem is not Theresa May. The problem is the
situation in which she had to work within the red lines of the Good Friday Agreement.
The U.K. not wanting to stay as a member of the Customs Union, not wanting stay as a member of the internal market. And given all those red lines, it
was almost impossible to come to something which command a majority in the House of Commons.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MCLAUGHLIN: And those variables await her successor. We heard from the Spanish government spokesperson today give a rather pessimistic outlook for
this entire process saying that the U.K. crashing out of the EU seems, quote, almost impossible to avoid at this point. Forecasting a, quote, new
hard Conservative leader and a, quote, hard Brexit for the UK.
One-member state saying publicly what pretty much everyone else that I've talked to here today, Hala, has been saying privately, I was exchanging
messages with one diplomat who texted me quote, Boris can only go one way. So putting money on an October 31st no-deal scenario. Plenty of people
here expect a hard Brexiteer to be Theresa May's successor and the name on many people's minds here is Boris Johnson. Hala.
GORANI: All right, Erin. Still to come tonight, we'll have more on what Theresa May's resignation means for Brexit. And the future of the country
[20:00:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
GORANI: Welcome back to our live coverage. We're outside the Houses of Parliament in London. With British Prime Minister Theresa May's impending
resignation, let's talk more about what that means for the country and Brexit.
Liam Halligan, economics commentator at "The Telegraph" is now with me. So what does that mean? Let's talk first of all about the economy because I
know that those who support Brexit have said you know we were warned that the country voted in favor of Brexit, everything would just, you know, go
to hell essentially. It didn't. But now where are we in terms of the economy of this country and how what is happening in the Houses of
Parliament is affecting ordinary people?
LIAM HALLIGAN, ECONOMICS COMMENTATOR, "THE TELEGRAPH": Well, the U.K. is sort of growing OK, it's growing about 1.5 percent. Probably growing
faster than Germany at the moment and France. The whole of the EU is quite sluggish. America of course is growing a bit faster. But Europe in
general is quite sluggish at the moment. I never bought the treasury's project fear that just voting for Brexit would lead as they said to an
immediate and profound economic shock.
What I would say now though is that all of the delay, Theresa May's delay, all these political shenanigans they are definitely having an impact on
investment now. I know a lot of people in business who are sitting on cash waiting to make investments in factories and other kinds of projects to
employ more people. And they are waiting to see what happens. And wouldn't you because there is so much uncertainty.
And an awful lot of people in financial markets feel that U.K. stocks and shares are undervalued and if we did actually get some clarity on Brexit,
whatever it is, then these shares would recover quite quickly as money rushed in.
GORANI: And as you know. What did happen after the referendum is the pound lost a lot of ground. Investments were delayed.
HALLIGAN: It had been stoked up a lot in the few months before.
GORANI: It had. But it's remained at levels that it sunk to in the months after the referendum. So you do have and every time there is the prospect
of a second referendum, you see the pound bounce back up. So it does seem to me like at least the business community would prefer status quo to
whatever is coming next.
HALLIGAN: I'm not sure that is true. The pound returned basically to where it had been about a year before. The IMF said before in January 2016
the pound was 20 percent overvalued. You know, the UK's manufacturing sectors expanded every month. 34 months in a row since the referendum.
And the pound has helped that. The U.K. continues to attract a lot of foreign direct investment.
But look, I voted to leave as you know. And you know the stuff that we nerd over and
talk about endlessly, the politics, is now harming the U.K. economy, this endless delay is harming the U.K. economy. What a lot of people I know in
business want, they just some kind of clarity. They want a decision. Whatever the decision is.
GORANI: Even if it's a hard Brexit?
HALLIGAN: In the end, this isn't said often enough, the UK's total exports to the EU are about 10 percent of GDP, they are about a tenth of the
economy. 92 percent --
GORANI: So you're saying that in order to make the point that it is not that important? Or that it is important? Half its trade is with the EU.
HALLIGAN: It is about 42 percent of the trade. Of the exports. But an awful lot of our economy actually has nothing to do with EU, I'm not saying
it is not important. I write books about it for a living.
GORANI: No, of course.
HALLIGAN: Whether or not the U.K. economy goes to hell in a hand basket or soars to the moon is not really contingent on what is happening with the
EU. There are many, many other aspects of our life. Eight percent of firms export to the EU.
GORANI: Eight percent of British firms export to the EU.
HALLIGAN: Export to the EU, yes.
GORANI: And if there is a hard Brexit, we're talking about a whole different situation than for them, aren't we?
HALLIGAN: I would call it a clean Brexit. What people put in their manifestos, Tory and Labour, in 2017. And I think as I've written many
times, there are advantages to being outside the single market and the Customs Union. The Customs Union is a protectionist block. It covers 15
percent of the world economy, 85 percent of the world economy is outside the Customs Union. I'd rather make trade deals that suit the U.K. with
these countries than being locked into the EU's trade deals which tends to benefit France and Germany more than they do the U.K. as a big service
GORANI: If it's benefitting France and Germany, it is not benefitting them enough. Because as you mentioned, Germany especially is suffering from --
HALLIGAN: That's partly from the auto trade, the switch to diesel, the emissions and all the rest of its. So Germany is probably facing a
recession if it isn't already in recession.
GORANI: Liam Halligan, thanks very much, thanks for being on. Reactions to Prime Minister Theresa May's upcoming resignation are still coming in.
The opposition leader in this country, Jeremy Corbyn says Mrs. May is right to step down.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEREMY CORBYN, LABOUR PARTY LEADER: She clearly cannot command a majority in Parliament. She clearly has lost the confidence of her own MPs. And in
all the discussions she's been having with her MPs, they have all said one thing to her that they don't support her strategy. The reality is a new
Conservative leader isn't going to solve the problem.
There has to be another opportunity of people in this country to decide who they want to be in their government, how they want the government to be
run, what the long-term strategy is of that government? I think we need a general election.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: With more on the reaction to Mrs. May's resignation, Nina dos Santos
Joins me now. What happens now to the party? Because Theresa May has announced that she'll resign from the leadership of the party on June 7th
but it doesn't solve the problems of the party and the divisions that have been such an issue for the Conservatives.
NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN EUROPE EDITOR: No, it's interesting that you mention that. And in fact obviously, one of the reasons why they are facing so
much pressure is the very person who created a lot of pressure and questioned them into announcing a referendum during David Cameron's time
just caused the Brexit problem itself. Nigel Farage.
I just want to bring you a tweet that he has tweeted today that has been retweeted around about 28,000 times. Saying, it is difficult not to feel
for Mrs. May but politically she misjudged the mood of the country and her party. Two Tory leaders are now gone whose instincts were pro-EU, either
the party learns its lesson or it dies.
GORANI: Does the party want to take lessons from Nigel Farage?
DOS SANTOS: Well, this is the point you see, I mean obviously, it's not quite the right person to lecture, but the reality is, is the pressure is
coming from various sides here including from obviously the hard Brexit faction within the government and also competition from people like Nigel
Farage including on Twitter. Remember, of course, he is the head of the you new Brexit Party.
Now, the reality is that this is a party that has also been in government since 2010. So we've had nearly a decade of the Conservative Party in
government. That is one of the reasons why you are starting to see people like Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the opposition use this as an opportunity
to agitate for another election not another referendum.
GORANI: Well, no matter who is Prime Minister in a few weeks, they will also be facing the same problems with the EU. The EU has said we spent 2
1/2 years negotiating this deal. As far as we're concerned, that is the deal.
DOS SANTOS: Yes, that's right. And in fact you heard in a number of EU leaders' responses to news of Theresa May's resignation today little hints
about that. The Spanish government came out with a statement saying that they believe that this meant that hard Brexit was more likely to happen
The logic think being that whoever would take over the Conservative Party come July 20th after a leadership contest, Hala, would be somebody who
would naturally be more attuned to securing a no-deal Brexit rather than having a softer version of Brexit in accordance with Theresa May's deal.
It seems though Theresa May's deal has completely gone out the window now. And also, we saw Dutch Prime Minister, Mark Rutte, say very quickly, well
loo, I thanked Theresa May for her work, I enjoyed my interactions with her, but the offer of a deal before October 31 still remains on the table.
So the EU continuing to say that is the deadline irrespective of who the next Tory leader is, Hala.
GORANI: All right. Nina dos Santos, thanks very much. Still to come tonight, tears, tributes and a turbulent time at the top. Theresa May is
leaving Downing Street. What now? We'll be right back.
[14:30:12] HALA GORANI, FOX NEWS CHANNEL CORRESPONDENT: A reminder of our top story. We're nearing the end of May in more ways than one. The
British Prime Minister Theresa May says she's standing down. Her Conservative Party is discussing who could replace her after she leaves the
leadership of the party on June the 7th.
The former foreign secretary Boris Johnson is the frontrunner. Other contenders include foreign secretary, Jeremy Hunt, former works and pension
secretary, Esther McVey, and the international development secretary, Rory Stewart.
As experts debate Theresa May's legacy, her personal strength has never been in doubt and her perseverance which is why her resignation was moving
to some people here in Britain.
Phil Black has more.
THERESA MAY, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: So I am today announcing that I will resigns a as leader of the Conservative and Unionist Party on Friday the
7th of June, so that the successor can be chosen.
PHIL BLACK, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A moment so often predicted had finally come, Theresa May acknowledged she must step
MAY: We will lead --
BLACK: It marks the end of a prime minister notable for defiantly holding on to power. Notorious for embracing short repetitive slogans.
MAY: The strong and stable leadership. Strong and stable leadership. Strong and stable leadership and the strong and stable government.
BLACK: And both marked and grudgingly admired for displaying a baffling willingness to dance terribly in public.
The self-styled dancing queen of British politics is leaving the stage.
Theresa May rose to become prime minister after her predecessor, David Cameron found himself on the wrong side of the Brexit referendum result.
DAVID CAMERON, FORMER BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: I think the country requires fresh leadership to take it in this direction.
BLACK: May too had wanted Britain to remain in the European Union about promise to deliver the people's vote.
MAY: Brexit means Brexit and we are going to make a success of it.
BLACK: But what followed was stumbles and mistakes. None bigger than May's decision to call an unnecessary election in 2017. The result was
disastrous, May lost her party's parliamentary majority. Suddenly, everything, especially Brexit, became much harder.
The Conservative Party kept her as leader because there was no obvious alternative. And a contrite May was determined to carry on.
MAY: I hold my hands up for that. I take responsibility. I led the campaign. And I am sorry.
BLACK: But it was during that same speech that things began to fall apart. Literally. After being interrupted by a protester and struggling through a
MAY: Our economy is back on track.
BLACK: The letters behind her started to drop off one by one. At the time, many saw it as a powerful metaphor for her struggling leadership.
May clung on by promising all sides she could deliver a Brexit that would somehow keep everyone happy. But her tactical contradictions were exposed
at a crunch cabinet meeting at the prime minister's country residence, Chequers.
There, she tried muscling senior ministers into backing her preferred Brexit plan. But two of her government's most prominent hard line
Brexiteers announced they couldn't stomach it and resigned. Among them was Boris Johnson who quit as foreign secretary, embracing a new role as the
prime minister's chief critic on all things Brexit.
BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH CONSERVATIVE MP: -- self-governing Britain but he's genuinely open to the world, not the miserable permanent limbo of Chequers.
BLACK: May also had to deal with difficult Brexit at the height of America's president who even backed Johnson as a potential successor.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Boris Johnson I think would be a great prime minister.
BLACK: Still May persisting as key deadlines in the Brexit negotiations loomed.
MAY: Ninety-five percent of withdrawal agreement, as I said, has been agreed.
[14:35:00] BLACK: But the stickiest issue in the divorce settlement never changed. Guaranteeing the Irish border stays open while also ensuring the
U.K. sovereignty over its own territory.
Ultimately, May's attempts to sell this and other Brexit puzzles failed to earn necessary support in order to pass an agreement with the E.U.
JEREMY CORBYN, BRITISH LABOUR PARTY LEADER: After two big rejections by the House, she must have noticed there isn't much support for the deal that
BLACK: Brexit has forced out two conservative prime ministers. Someone else must now try to steer the country through the most important and
divisive political challenge in recent British history.
MAY: I will shortly leave the job that it has been the honor of my life to hold. The second female prime minister, but certainly not the last. I do
so with no ill will, about you with enormous and enduring gratitude to have had the opportunity to serve the country I love.
BLACK: Phil Black, CNN, London.
GORANI: Well, there are many more angles to look at here. Ian Dunt is the author of "Brexit: What the Hell Happens Now?" What the hell happens now?
IAN DUNT, AUTHOR: I really regret calling the book that because people would ask me those questions --
GORANI: I'm sorry for not being more original.
But what does happen now? Because what difference does it really make who is the prime minister? I keep asking everyone that, because the
fundamental problems are still there, not matter who takes over.
DUNT: Yes, exactly. It's basically exactly the wrong answer to the question. It doesn't really matter who the Tory leader is. It doesn't
really matter who the prime minister is. It's something much more fundamental than that.
The problem is you can't get anything through parliament. Even if someone tries to force through no-deal now. Let's say Boris Johnson gets a trust
forced through no-deal, Parliament is not going to let that happen. There are mechanisms available. John Bercow, the speaker has made it quite
clear, some not very subtle hints that he will provide those mechanisms people to stop it. They will stop it there.
If he tries to put another deal through, it is going to be the same as the deal that the E.U. have already offered, they've been cleared that will not
change and that means the backstop.
So at the end of it, when you look at it in the round, you think, the arithmetic in parliament has not changed.
GORANI: So you need another election.
DUNT: Yes, basically, you come up to solutions, right? An election or a referendum. And those are the only way to try and break the deadlock with
all of this messing around just as delaying the moment of one of those two things has to happen.
GORANI: Let's say you have a general election and you have a similar picture in parliament. Or you have another referendum and let's say Brexit
wins, you're back at square one.
DUNT: Yes, exactly. And that's exactly what could happen.
GORANI: So it's a circular situation potentially for the U.K. and it could go on for a long time. Couldn't it?
DUNT: Yes, people sort of have almost stopped saying this, but the problem is Brexit itself, it is a monstrous thing to try and do. It is fiendishly
difficult. It requires basically the whole capacity of government and the civil service. And it will probably take about five to seven years to do
properly and it will hurt.
And the truth is that until people start talking realistically about those tradeoffs, they will not be able to get a different answer to the one that
GORANI: And it won't solve any divisions in this country if there's another referendum and remain wins, right? Because you'll have a whole
whatever the 52 and change that voted for Brexit the first time around that will feel cheated.
DUNT: Yes, I think there's divisions that are permanently, because, of course, those divisions aren't really just about Brexit. They're not
really just about the E.U. We talked about the E.U.
The E.U. is how we happen to reflect this problem. The reality is that it's a culture war. It's a culture war that it's the same as the one that
you're seeing in Italy, the same as the ones you're seeing in Hungary, the same as the ones you're seeing in the U.S. There's a culture war that
people want closed societies versus open societies. And there were people that are comfortable with diversity, with cities, with a sort of more
advanced global economy, global economy and people that are not. And that battle is not going away. It's in stark relief and it's not going
GORANI: But when it comes to the E.U., it is the case that usually when in a referendum you ask the people of other countries and in the past we've
seen it with Maastricht and others really.
Usually the anti-E.U. side does very well. So this predates kind of these populist movements and stuff like that. The good old days of the
establishment when they were sitting more comfortably, right?
DUNT: Well, basically the E.U. in these sort of stands for the status quo. Basically, it means you like things as they are. Most of the time, you
give voters a choice over, do you like things as they are? They will say no. Actually, as a matter of fact, I want to kick the system a little bit.
So over and over that is the response that you get, when you had Macron asked about this. Macron is obviously very anti-Brexit, very pro-E.U.
which was quite clear. He said if we did this kind of thing here in France, we would have gotten the same result.
GORANI: Yes. And now, I absolutely believe that. I mean, there are opinion polls that reflect that potentially. But the problem with the --
it's not the problem, but the particularity of the U.K. is that the opposition also is lukewarm. I mean, the opposition leader is seen as
someone who is not at all passionately E.U. Quite the opposite.
DUNT: Honestly, I have spent the last three years trying to figure out what Labour's policy on Brexit is and it is completely impossible to do.
They put out these mercurial statements. They don't really mean anything. Sometimes they sort of try to suggest something to remainers, sometimes the
[14:40:04] Their choice that -- you know, sort of split as a party, but also, you're right, Jeremy Corbyn, when we look at his old speeches is very
critical to E.U. And he's not critical in a way that, frankly, makes any sense.
He's mostly critical of E.U. and then she's like thinking -- I mean, there's one speech where he says it's part of a conspiracy with NATO to
take over the world and so -- it's babbling conspiratory or non-sense. But that is the kind of things going on in his head.
You talk to Labour people around him when they have those meetings. He says like it's not even in the room. He's like he's closer but there's no
body, there's no spirit, there's no soul inside of him. He's basically (INAUDIBLE) it's an instinctively negative way.
GORANI: Well, just last question then. I wonder -- I mean, maybe the question isn't what is the solution, but what could -- because this is just
intense crisis that's been going on for long.
You can't be in a chronic state of crisis for two and a half years. I mean, at some point, exhaustion has to set in, right?
DUNT: I think we're probably exhausted already actually.
GORANI: But even -- but the public, the politicians, all of them at some point even just out of shear tiredness has to come to some sort of
consensus here. Don't we?
DUNT: And it will be an election or a referendum. And you're right, it could end up that that's -- you know, sort of get is in the same sort of
stagnation that we've got right now, the same confusion. Or it's possible that it won't.
I mean, elections right now are extremely volatile in this country as many others. They could go any which way you could lose.
And the same with the referendum. These things can change. They can mix up. So if there is a solution, it will be one of those two things with
some kind of clear result. But if I was a betting man, I would not have the confidence to put money on it.
GORANI: I thought you were going to end on an upbeat note.
DUNT: Oh, absolutely not.
GORANI: Anyway, have a great weekend, Ian Dunt. Always a pleasure having you on. Appreciate your time.
Big Cash is a Conservative M.P. and chairman of the European Scrutiny Committee and he joins us from Staffordshire. I hope I pronounced that
correctly, Bill Cash. I tried my best with these pronunciations.
BILL CASH, MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT OF THE UNITED KINGDOM: (INAUDIBLE)
GORANI: Thank you. Your thoughts on the -- on the Theresa May announcement. What do you think should happen now?
CASH: Well, she (INAUDIBLE) a long time ago. I called on her to resign on the floor of the House of Commons several weeks ago. The reality is that
she got this wrong from the beginning. She actually started talking about the idea of bringing together the "remain" votes and the "leave" votes and
circumstances when she also was saying that Brexit means Brexit.
The reality is that this is about our democracy. This is about who governs the United Kingdom. In all of discussion that I've been hearing all today,
very rarely have people actually focused on what it really is all about.
What is this about is very simply this, the United Kingdom does not want to be governed by majority vote of other countries. And I'm sure an American
audience would really understand this. They would never contemplate the idea of being governed by other countries or having a Supreme Court which
was being governed by another Supreme Court. And that is what's been going on.
British people and this great country, which has saved euro twice over the last hundred years with American help, my father was killed fighting in
Normandy with Americans. Got the military cross. It's the SS Panzer Division (ph).
And the reality is that was fighting for liberty. This has been a completely different situation. This is actually something which we are
fighting about in terms of modern politics to stop the United Kingdom from being governed by other countries. It's about democracy. And the British
people voted by a significant majority to leave the European Union.
It took the establishment by surprise. But actually, that's what people really think. And what's going on right now is that because of the failure
of their attempt to deal with this problem by giving in to the European Union, and as you said, I'm chairman of the European Scrutiny Committee, we
put out a report last March in which we said that the greatest mistake was the one that she made which was to allow the E.U. to impose terms and
conditions and guidelines upon us.
We're equal partners in this arrangement of leaving the European Union. And it's been by a vote by the British people --
GORANI: Bill Cash, if I can jump in -- if I can jump in, would you -- so, are you comfortable with the idea of no-deal? I mean if on October 31st
and because time is running out now, there is no-deal, you don't think that would be damaging to the U.K.?
CASH: Well, look, bottom line is this. I don't think no-deal is the disaster that some people are trying to make it out to be. The fact is
that 90 percent of all the future growths in the world and that is according to the European Commission, is going to be outside the E.U. Our
trade deficit with the E.U. runs it about 100 billion pounds a year.
[14:45:09] The reality is the single markets and the way in which the E.U. has functioned, the domination of the E.U. itself by a majority vote and
led primarily by Germany, is actually not in British national interests. And the people have voted against those arrangements. They don't want to
stay in the European Union. We just had the European election.
All over Europe people are voting with their feet against the European Union it is now. And the bottom line is that we are about to have a new
leader of the Conservative Party. He or she has got to be a convincing Brexiteer.
By that, I mean somebody who really is going to lead. And if that means no-deal, we've had two years, they tried to negotiate something, the E.U.
has been completely --
GORANI: All right.
CASH: Those all kinds of inspections and -- it's about -- it's --
GORANI: Bill Cash, thank you so much for your time.
CASH: Very nice to speak to you.
GORANI: Thank you so much for your time this evening. Appreciate you joining on this day. The day that Theresa May has announced that she is
stepping down as leader of the Conservative Party in just a few weeks.
Still to come tonight, an explosion in Lyon, in France as the city enjoyed a Friday summer evening. What happened? We'll bring you that story, next.
GORANI: News coming out of Lyon, France right now. Police say seven people have been injured in an explosion that authorities believed could
have been caused by a parcel bomb packed with nails. A terror probe is now open.
Melissa Bell is in Paris. What more do we know, Melissa, about this explosion?
MELISSA BELL, CNN PARIS CORRESPONDENT: Hala, it was at 5:30 P.M. local time, so at the height of rush hour in the very heart of Lyon at the time
when it would have been bustling with people, leaving work, going out for a drink and what was a beautiful summer's day that this parcel bomb exploded.
We understand that it may have continued nails.
Now, the toll for the time being that we're hearing from authorities for the wounded, there is no one, we understand, who's been fatally wounded,
but those wounded is at seven. But that toll could well rise and already, the French media are speculating that the toll could in fact be higher.
We're understanding that they're largely in the main part, Hala, fairly superficial wounds. Nothing from what we're hearing for the time being
But clearly, security is now going to be beefed up once again in France. The man believed to have been responsible for putting this parcel bomb down
in front of a bakery at the height of rush hour at the center of Lyon is still on the run as I speak to you, Hala, and being searched for by
An anti-terror investigation has been opened. It had initially -- initially that opened an investigation locally for voluntarily homicide.
That's now been changed.
[14:50:07] We understand that the chief prosecutor here in Paris, the man who takes charge of this anti-terrorist investigations is even now on his
way to Lyon to get a better idea on the scene of exactly what happened.
GORANI: So was -- did anyone spot the person placing the parcel bomb? And in Paris, I wonder if it's the same -- or in Lyon, I should say, I wonder
if it's the same as London where there are lots of street security and CCTV cameras. Any idea as to who might have placed that parcel or that
suspected parcel bomb there?
BELL: That's exactly right, Hala. This particular part of Lyon is very touristy, very active, very busy with people, and full of CCTV cameras.
That's what we've been hearing over the course of the evening, ever since the attack took place that they believe they'll be able to get a better
idea of who was responsible at once they've had a look at that.
We've been hearing from French media already that their man, they're looking for was seen on that CCTV footage riding up on a bicycle, dropping
the parcel and then riding off two minutes before it exploited.
So the man still actively being looked for here in France this evening. This, of course, just ahead of the elections on Sunday. People will be out
to vote and already authorities are saying that they are beefing up security as a result of what's happened tonight. Not just tourist
locations and parts of the country that are busy, place of religious worship as well, but also, of course, that they'll be paying particular
attention to Sunday's vote to make sure that that stays entirely safe. Hala.
GORANI: All right. Melissa Bell, thanks very much.
When we come back, we'll have a lot more on the resignation of Theresa May.
GORANI: Resolute confident, stoic, Theresa May has always seemed unflappable. And yet, when the time came for her to step aside as Prime
Minister a few hours ago, Mrs. May let her emotions show through. At least for a moment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAY: I will shortly leave the job that it has been the honor of my life to hold. The second female prime minister, but certainly not the last. I do
so with no ill will, but with enormous and enduring gratitude to have had the opportunity to serve a country I love.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: We know that Mrs. May's tenure was difficult. She faced opposition at home, abroad, and within her own party. How does the public
feel now that she's on the way out?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I feel really sorry for her because she had -- it was a -- it was really difficult mandate for her to execute. So it's an
impossible task that she did to the best of her ability. So I'm starting out (INAUDIBLE) then you look at the reality of it and then where we are.
And there's still a long way to go yet.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Definitely feel sorry for her, but at least she can take a holiday now.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She's lost -- she lost the bloc months ago. She just was being completely unrealistic. I don't know. She just seemed to have
convinced herself. Maybe she just looked in the mirror and said everything is okay. But she was just -- she was deluded. She was deluded.
[14:55:01] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I agree.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: Well, I'm joined now by political analyst, Carole Walker. What did you think when you saw Theresa May there tearfully toward the end
really show her emotion too?
I wonder if during her tenure if she'd shown more of that, it would have made a difference?
CAROLE WALKER, POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, she certainly had a very difficult period in office. And what is fascinating is the drama that we've seen
today, the emotion that we've seen today, comes after months when the prime minister has resisted all attempts to oust her, refusing resolutely to
Earlier this week, in refusing to see some of her senior ministers who were coming to talk to her.
Hala, we're now two years almost from the time that she called the general election, she didn't need to call, lost her overall parliamentary majority.
And at that stage, the former chancellor, George Osborne, said she was dead woman walking.
Since then, she survived a confidence motion from her own party. Three huge defeats on this central plank of her government's policy, her Brexit
Now, today, I think she finally had to face up to the fact that she'd lost the support of her cabinet, her party, and she'd run out of options to try
and get this Brexit deal through.
GORANI: Well, I thought it was incredible that it was not until the last few seconds that her voice broke and she shed a bit of a tear. I think
anybody can understand that reaction with all the pressures, as you mentioned, that she's been under.
So let's look to the future now. Possible successors. The name that keeps coming up again and again is Boris Johnson.
WALKER: Boris Johnson is certainly the favorite to win this competition. I think that there are certainly an awful lot of conservative MPs who May
have had doubts about. Boris Johnson in the past are saying look, the party is in dire straits, the party has braced for some terrible results
from those European Union elections. A couple of weeks ago, it lost hundreds of conservative counselors.
Boris Johnson is a known campaigner. Before, he took on some of the big jobs here at Westminster. He won as Mayor of London here in a city that
traditionally votes Labour. His support for Brexit was seen as crucial in swinging that referendum vote back in 2016.
And I think many in the party are thinking that he could be the man to try and lift the party off the floor. But these --
GORANI: But he wants to appeal to the opposition at all. Yes.
WALKER: These leadership contests are unpredictable. If you look back at all the previous elections in recent history, the favorite has not emerged
as the final winner. So as far from a foregone conclusion. The man who succeeds him, Jeremy -- succeeded him as foreign secretary, Jeremy Hunt, at
the moment, probably has more signed up supporters than Boris Johnson does.
GORANI: Carole Walker, thanks very much. We'll speak to you soon.
Thanks for watching. Quick break. I'll see you on the other side.