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HALA GORANI TONIGHT
Past Drug Use as Issue in Upcoming Conservative Party Election; Carrie Lam Response Following Hong Kong Protests; Helicopter Crash Near New York's Times Square. Aired 2-3p ET
Aired June 10, 2019 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: "Here be dragons," an old idiom referring to uncharted territory. While the relationship between China and Africa is
relatively new, here, the reference is to a Chinese dragon on African soil.
PAULA NEWTON, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: I'm Paula Newton in Caracas. And this is CNN.
BIANCA NOBILO, CNN ANCHOR, HALA GORANI TONIGHT: Hello everyone. Live from CNN London, I'm Bianca Nobilo standing in for Hala Gorani, tonight.
We've just found out who's officially in the race to become Britain's new prime minister. But while Brexit should be dominating the conversation,
it's controversy over past drug use that has people talking tonight.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have not received any instruction or mandate from Beijing.
NOBILO: After mass protest comes the fallout. I'll speak to Britain's last governor of Hong Kong about whether Beijing is calling the shots.
And CNN investigates the extraordinary dangers facing North Korean women who defect from their country and are trafficked into the cybersex
The race to become Britain's next prime minister is on. In the last hour, 10 candidates were announced in the battle to take over from Theresa May.
Brexit is looming over the contest, as you'd imagine. But another issue has unsettled one of the key runners. Nic Robertson reports.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Please welcome Michael Gove.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR (voice-over): At the center of a leadership drugs controversy, cabinet member Michael Gove came
out, guns blazing, launching his bid to run the country.
MICHAEL GOVE, SECRETARY OF STATE FOR ENVIRONMENT, FOOD AND RURAL AFFAIRS OF THE UNITED KINGDOM: I am now ready to unite, ready to deliver, ready to
ROBERTSON (voice-over): Immediately running into the reality of his admission this weekend, he used cocaine 20 years ago.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You thought it was OK in a London dinner party, to break the law by snorting cocaine.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can the public really trust you when you privately take cocaine --
ROBERTSON (voice-over): He insisted he'd dealt with the issue, over the weekend.
GOVE: Yes. It was a crime. It was a mistake. I deeply regret it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Should you have gone to prison?
GOVE: Well, I was fortunate, in that I didn't. But I do think that it was a profound mistake and I've seen the damage that drugs do. I've seen it
close-up and I've also seen it in the work that I've done as a politician.
ROBERTSON (voice-over): He has plummeted, from going the distance to also- ran. And is accused of hypocrisy. One rule for the elite, another for everyone else.
SAYEEDA WARSI, FORMER CONSERVATIVE PARTY CHAIR: I think that Michael Gove needs to now step away from the leadership race. I think it is completely
inappropriate for him to continue --
ROBERTSON: But Gove isn't alone. Of the 10 candidates vying to become prime minister, seven admit to taking illegal drugs, including the former
foreign secretary -- and bookies' current favorite -- Boris Johnson, raising questions about suitability and moral compass.
ROBERTSON (voice-over): The form so far, Boris Johnson admits cannabis use, clouds the issue on cocaine. Frontrunners Jeremy Hunt, Andrea Leadsom
confess to cannabis use, as do outsiders Dominic Raab and Esther McVey, Overseas Development Secretary Rory Stewart says he tried opium at a
wedding in Iran.
Home Secretary Sajid Javid is one of only two candidates who say they've never touched drugs. He has a message for the others: Drugs fuels crime.
SAJID JAVID, HOME SECRETARY OF THE UNITED KINGDOM: It doesn't matter whether you're middle-class or not. Anyone that takes Class A drugs, they
need to think about the supply chain that comes from Colombia, let's say, to Chelsea. And the number of lives that are destroyed along the way.
ROBERTSON (voice-over): About being under the influence while in the highest office, Britain's much-loved and sometimes tipsy P.M. Winston
Churchill had this to say: "The Gin and Tonic has saved more Englishmen's lives and minds than all the doctors in the Empire." Perhaps an apocryphal
quote, an indication, however, of how attitudes change.
Boris Johnson, who counts himself Churchill's political heir, is currently odds-on to win even after admitting illegal drug use. But Johnson may not
be a shoo-in. Despite the drugs' distractions, campaign issues are breaking through. Biggest of all? Brexit with or without a deal.
And that is every bit as controversial as it was under outgoing P.M. Theresa May.
[14:05:02] NOBILO: Nic Robertson joins me now on-set.
So, Nic, I suppose the key argument here is whether or not people want politicians who may not be perfect, who could have erred earlier in their
lives, were teenagers or young adults who made mistakes, very much unlike Theresa May, the outgoing prime minister, who famously said, when asked
what rebellious things she'd done, she said she ran through a field of wheat.
Or do they think it's hypocritical for politicians who will be guiding the new legislation over drugs, to have taken drugs themselves. Is that really
what's at stake here?
ROBERTSON: I think that's the essence of it, that the country can stomach leaders who are less than perfect. History tells us that. Less than
perfect in a number of different ways.
But when it comes to drugs, I mean, this is an issue if Michael Gove was to be the person who would emerge, and as an education minister, he signed off
on legislation that would put stricter and tougher strictures on teachers if they were have found to have used Class A drugs. So that's seen as
controversial, it's seen as hypocritical. But I think it --
NOBILO: So basically, a teacher -- you might be barred from being a teacher, but you could hypothetically become prime minister, is that the
ROBERTSON: You could hypothetically become prime minister. And I think at the end of the day, that's not going to sit well with the electoral --
whatever the party thinks -- whatever the party thinks, either the M.P.s or the grassroots in the party, they have to also think, as they are, about
the next election. So I -- this does seem to be something that everyone's conscious of.
NOBILO: And do you think it's going to damage Michael Gove's campaign irreparably? Because Gove, Jeremy Hunt and Boris Johnson have been
considered to be the frontrunners, mainly because they had the highest tally of M.P.s behind them.
And while we're on that, Nic, actually, I should ask you this first. So at this point in the contest, even though it's all playing out in the media
and the country, obviously, have opinions. It really matters what M.P.s think in the Conservative Party -- because they're the ones who are going
to whittle down the candidates to the final two -- and then what the membership thinks.
NOBILO: So what do they think?
ROBERTSON: Well, I think in the context of Gove, I mean, it has hurt him if you sort of look at the -- you know, the odds that the bookies are
giving him today compared to what they were giving him on Friday. There's no doubt it has had an impact.
ROBERTSON: And who has really done well today? Well, that's the foreign secretary, Jeremy Hunt. And brought in the support of sort of two senior
and respected figures within the Cabinet: Penny Mordaunt, who was a hard Brexiteer, and Amber Rudd, who was a Remainer back, you know, when everyone
was voting for this a few years ago. That's significant. So he's moving ahead.
And I think, really, to answer the question, anyone in this race -- because Boris Johnson is looking so strong -- anyone else in this race has to get
down to that final two and has to know they can't afford a slip. Because the other candidates at the front of this are also potentially very strong.
NOBILO: And it is historic. Because I think this is the first time ever that the Conservative Party membership will have chosen a sitting prime
minister, so there's huge amounts riding on it. Nic Robertson, thank you so much.
Turning now to an extraordinary display of dissent in Hong Kong. Crowds turned out in huge numbers to protest an extradition bill that critics say
eats away at freedoms. The city's government isn't backing down, and neither are the protest organizers. Here's our Matt Rivers for more.
MATT RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, after Sunday's historic march, Monday here in Hong Kong was really all about how was Hong
Kong's government, under the leadership of the Executive Carrie Lam, going to respond?
There were some people that were hoping that, given the massive amount of protestors that were seen walking the streets on Sunday, that perhaps it
would persuade the leader here of Hong Kong's government to change her mind and back off of this extradition bill that she's pushed for so hard for so
long. But that didn't happen.
RIVERS (voice-over): Hundreds of thousands of people out on the streets, proves democracy is in good hands, Hong Kong's leader claimed on Monday.
CARRIE LAM, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OF HONG KONG: Rights and freedoms of individuals, of journalists, et cetera are fully protected.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Step down, Carrie Lam! Step down, Carrie Lam!
RIVERS (voice-over): But Carrie Lam waved away the concerns of this vast group of people -- more than 1 million, organizers say -- who fear that her
government's legislation to allow extradition to China would undermine the rule of law here.
LAM: This bill is not initiated by the Central People's Government. I have not received any instruction or mandate from Beijing.
RIVERS (voice-over): "Please save my daughter," was the message from this man who brought his child --
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