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Boris Johnson Swept To Victory Pretty Much As Predicted As The Conservative Party Leader, And Therefore, The Next British Prime Minister; South Korean Jets Have Fired More Than 300 Warning Shots At A Russian Military Plane. Aired 9-10a ET
Aired July 23, 2019 - 09:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ISA SOARES, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You are watching CNN's Special Coverage of the selection of the new British Prime Minister. I'm Isa Soares.
RICHARD QUEST, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: I'm Richard Quest. We're both in for Julia Chatterley who is off today as we are permeating and understanding exactly what has happened in the earthquake that is British politics today. No, no surprises at Westminster, Boris Johnson swept to victory pretty much as predicted as the Conservative Party leader and therefore, the next British Prime Minister.
In classic Boris fashion, he promised to do away with dud politics, and instead go for dude. You need to understand that word -- what was it? What was the first thing?
SOARES: The "D" -- what was the first D? Do you remember, Bianca.
BIANCA NOBILO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, the first D, deliver Brexit.
SOARES: Deliver -- that's it. Thank you.
QUEST: Thank you. Deliver, unite and energize. I'm not sure it's going to catch on, but it certainly is the word of the day.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BORIS JOHNSON, INCOMING BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: The mantra of the campaign that has just gone by; in case you've forgotten it, you probably have, because it wasn't going to cover it -- it is deliver Brexit, unite the country and defeat Jeremy Corbyn. And that is what we are going to do.
JOHNSON: We're going to defeat Jeremy Corbyn. I know some whacko has already pointed out that deliver, unite and defeat was not the perfect acronym for an election campaign. Since, unfortunately, it spells "dud" but they forgot the final "E" my friends, "E" for energize.
And I say -- I say to all the doubters, "Dude, we are going to energize the country." We're going to get Brexit done on October 31st. We're going to take advantage of all the opportunities that it will bring in a new spirit of can do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: Well, a staunch Brexiteer as you heard there. Mr. Johnson has vowed to take the U.K. out of the E.U. at the end of October deal or no deal. That has divided the party and will divide the countries. He is set to lead as of tomorrow.
QUEST: Bianca has come down from QE2 center at the road where it looked like it was a red eye flight.
NOBILO: It really was. There were all of these peculiar instruments playing, tons of protesters. There's a cacophony of noise, but yes, the result was as we all expected.
QUEST: In that last few seconds of what Boris Johnson said, we've really got the epitome of Johnson, which is hyperbole, rhetoric flourishes; maybe that's just what Britain needs.
NOBILO: Well, often you do see the electorate, however small it is, lurching towards the opposite direction of what they've just had, especially if it's considered to have failed and in Theresa May, we had this -- you've described what I think as sort of gray and monotonous this morning, a poor communicator that didn't get anybody excited.
In fact, that was her appeal initially, because Britain was faced with this ginormous task. We thought, "Gosh, we need somebody who is detail orientated, pragmatic, who is going to get on with the job." That didn't work.
So, now the Conservative Party are craving somebody with the vision and the enthusiasm to inject some kind of life back into the party.
SOARES: Enthusiasm, the other word, we've been hearing today is personality. And it wasn't so much about the detail, it was the personality. Can this personality deliver though because the problem there, the arithmetic as we've been saying, for quite a long time now remains the same, Bianca.
NOBILO: It has remained the same and it's more challenging in some respects. He will have a little bit of a small grace period, I think. I was just speaking to some Brexiteers walking over here, and they're not expecting jobs, they said in a Boris Johnson government, however, they're happy to try and help as best they can in trying to get this off on the right footing.
There are also different types of leadership. You can have someone who micro managers and is very detail orientated like May, or we can have a more collegiate style leader like David Cameron, Tony Blair or was somewhere in the middle you have your new executive, but also had a close inner circle that he listened to.
QUEST: But there's also this view, I was reading some articles, suggesting the country really is so fed up with this. It just wants it done, for better or worse. And there's not going to be another referendum, and it's not going to change direction. Just get on with it. And they see Boris Johnson as the man who can at least deliver that.
NOBILO: Yes, in terms of polls and psychology, and anecdotally, that is what people think in this country. I was at a barbecue over the weekend, and one of the drawbacks of having this job is everybody's speech about Brexit at all times, and that is exactly what every single person said to me. Remainers or leavers -- just get on with it.
[09:05:08] SOARES: Because also, well, they're not focusing on social issues.
SOARES: They're taking -- everything is dominated by Brexit here.
NOBILO: All the oxygen from British politics is being sucked out and being delivered towards Brexit. There are things such as you know, the knife crime epidemic in the capital, there are issues with schools, there are issues with other types of funding and, you know, elements of British politics, which are considered to be broken and need attention. And all of the focus has been off that.
And I think that's something else Boris Johnson won't want to be defined simply by Brexit. He'll have other aspects to his agenda, which he'll wants to get on with.
SOARES: There is a quick question here. I know you spoke to Boris Johnson's father. It is striking what he said regarding that relationship with the U.S.
NOBILO: Yes, well, this is going to be hugely significant in terms of Brexit, in terms of what's happening now in the Persian Gulf. He said he thought the two men were to get on. He cited as a reason for that, their similar hairstyles, but also the fact that Donald Trump spoke favorably about Boris Johnson when he was over for a State Visit.
Donald Trump also said just days ago that he had already spoken to Boris Johnson basically referred to him as the Prime Minister, then in there, so clearly they're already in communication and Donald Trump sees Boris Johnson as a similar kind of guy to himself, someone that you can do business with.
SOARES: Interesting. He actually didn't say that he should turn your back on Europe. Focus on Europe is also what he said, wasn't it?
NOBILO: Well, that's interesting about Boris Johnson. His father was a Europhile and worked in Brussels and his sister also, so he's somewhat of a black sheep in that respect.
QUEST: There's more we learned from Bianca Nobilo is that she went to a barbecue this weekend.
NOBILO: Right, right.
SOARES: And a life, I never thought she had a life.
QUEST: No, that's what I was saying. I think I was making note of this.
NOBILO: I just needed to declare it because it is so unusual.
QUEST: All right, good thing. Don't go too far away.
SOARES: And here is what will happen next if you want to know. Tomorrow, Theresa May will take part in her final Prime Minister's Questions before officially tendering her resignation to the Queen.
Boris Johnson will then assume office shortly after following his own audience with the Queen, I believe, he is the 14th Prime Minister the Queen will meet. Parliament then enters recess on Thursday with the Brexit deadline of course of October 31st. Really looming large.
QUEST: Now, President Trump has already tweeted his congratulations to Boris Johnson, saying he will be a great Prime Minister and the outgoing PM Theresa May has tweeted her support saying Mr. Johnson will have her full support from the backbenches.
Meanwhile, the E.U.'s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier says he is looking forward to working constructively with Boris Johnson to achieve an orderly Brexit and importantly, renegotiate perhaps the Political Declaration.
SOARES: We've got a less positive reaction from the British opposition leader, Jeremy Corbyn. He says Mr. Johnson's victory is not representative of the country and had been warning and warned today of a no deal Brexit.
Bob Seely is a Conservative MP, and he joins me now. Bob, great to have you here.
BOB SEELY, BRITISH MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT, CONSERVATIVE PARTY: Thank you.
SOARES: Are you surprised at all?
SOARES: By the decision?
SEELY: I thought he would get 68 percent. He got 66. It's a very, very strong endorsement whether it was 66, 64, or 68. He has won, he has won big. Good.
SOARES: Is that enough to unite with the party -- let's start off with the party before we get on to the bigger task.
SEELY: Yes, you know, we're not going to get everyone behind us. We will get almost everybody. All these people with blood curdling threats will start winding themselves in I think, and our colleagues will say, "Look, what are you doing? We have got to stick together." QUEST: How do you prevent the remainers doing to Boris exactly what
the ERG and the other side did to Theresa May? But for a different purpose, but the same result?
SEELY: Richard, I think the threat to Boris comes from many different quarters. What we have got today is a Prime Minister who is going to really go for it, and who is going to do his best to deliver Brexit or collapses Parliament trying. We have got to try our best to deliver Brexit.
So, there are many threats. And if you want to talk about the tactical implications of each one, we will be here for too long a time, but determination and vision can take you quite a long way in politics. And the game changer will be when the DUP comes aboard as I'm confident they will at the beginning of September, because we will renegotiate or restate the position of the Irish backstop.
QUEST: The reason that I force this issue though, with you is because when you and I sat here back in March and through that torrid period, it was the devil in the detail, and it was these nitty gritty, last minute obstacles that scuppered everything.
SEELY: Well, you could also say that or you could also say partly with the use of hindsight given actually the deal was dead from the word go, because the DUP had not signed up from it from the word go and there was not enough trust between Theresa May and the key people that she needed to get on board.
That now has partially been so by Boris's election. There are still remainers who are deeply distrustful and some will break away, but you get the DUP on side, as Sherlock Holmes would say, "The game is afoot." You then start to get between 10 and 40 Labour MPs from northern constituencies overwhelmingly leave who frankly know that if there's a general election, they're finished.
[09:10:09] SEELY: And so you will have enough to enable some kind of deal and a game of bluff with the European Union that may will go up to the 31st of October, and then a few minutes afterwards, but you will get a deal.
SOARES: You sound very confident that you will get this deal. You are very, very confident.
SEELY: I'll tell you what I am confident about, actually that we've got -- okay, not everyone is going to like Boris, but as Mrs. Thatcher said, it doesn't matter how much your opponents hate you. It's actually mobilizing your own side.
We've got a leader who is going to go for it. We've got a leader with energy and vision and optimism, and we are going to deliver Brexit or collapses Parliament trying because we are going to reestablish our trust with the British people, I'm happy.
SOARES: You've got a leader who will drive -- but also, we heard from the E.U., from the Elysee spokesperson saying the E.U. is not returning. SEELY: That's it.
SOARES: You believe so? Okay.
QUEST: And you and I --
SEELY: That we have no deal.
SEELY: We're leaving. We're leaving.
QUEST: When you and I spoke -- well, the dagger on it, we already know that straightforward, but you know, as well as I do that them Parliament can get involved.
But let's not get worried about that that can come further down the line.
SEELY: I have confidence, you're right.
QUEST: I'm interested -- the other night, you and I were speaking on television about Iran. How -- what does Boris Johnson -- already the Iranian Foreign Minister has tweeted congratulations to Boris Johnson. How well equipped is Boris Johnson to deal with this crisis on day one?
SEELY: Like any person on day one, you're not going to be as equipped to deal with it on day 100. But actually, Boris Johnson, look, if you want a policy wonk as Prime Minister, it doesn't work. We've had policy wonks before. The guy is a vision guy. He does the big picture. He has a Foreign Secretary. He has an incredibly good FCO. We still have some clout in our Armed Forces.
So, there are plenty of people thinking about this problem. Again, to sum it up in a sentence. Tactically, we need to get a European convoy system arranged put through the Strait of Hormuz. We need to try to reestablish a link between Iranians and Iranian moderates and the U.S. to water down Pompeo's 12 demands or at least make them acceptable for the basis of a negotiation.
But there are going to be people who are going to be working on that. But you're right, it's Boris's first day in the job, well, minus one, he is in tomorrow. He has already got two major crises. Governing is not going to be easy, but this is not Lloyd George in 1915. It is not Winston Churchill in 1939-1940. Let's put it in perspective.
SOARES: But continuing, you're keeping the Iran Nuclear Deal, that will be something that he will want to keep it seems.
SEELY: I think it's something that the U.K. has been very strongly on side for. And I think if I was Boris, I would give ground to the U.S. on stuff like Huawei. But on this, I would keep -- I would keep faith with the French and German allies.
SOARES: Bob Seely, thank you very much. Good to see you. QUEST: Now, Boris Johnson says he will be the most pro-business Prime
Minister ever. Many business leaders, however, are terrified of no deal Brexit and Johnson will need to work very hard, extremely hard in fact to win their trust.
Anna Stewart is with me. The reaction this morning so far?
ANNA STEWART, CNN REPORTER: Well, from the big business groups, the general reaction in the U.K. has been they want to see this government acting swiftly. They want to see improvement in investor confidence and business confidence.
Best reaction though or most interesting one, Richard, was actually from the German group, the BDI, they said that the threat of a no deal Brexit would be harmful and will come back like a boomerang. And they added that a renegotiation of the withdrawal agreement should not happen, it's the best deal yet, it is the best for business.
But as he said, I've been speaking to business leaders themselves and they are very wary about this new government and what it means for business, particularly given the risks of a no deal Brexit. Here's what Boris means for business.
STEWART (voice over): It's been a bumpy journey to Number 10 for one of Britain's best known politicians. Boris Johnson has a reputation for gasp and bluster. His Brexit stance has been clear from the start, although it hasn't always been communicated well.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHNSON: I will be advocating vote leave or whatever the team has called, and certainly mainly of them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEWART (voice over): Now, the world wants to know more detail.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHNSON: Brexit -- we will of course be pushing our plan into action. So, we are steady and ready to come out on October --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thirty-first.
JOHNSON: Thirty-first. Correct.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Come what may?
JOHNSON: Come what may.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do or die?
JOHNSON: Do or die.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEWART (voice over): Making no deal the default option on October 31st has businesses worried and markets jittery.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JANE FOLEY, SENIOR FX STRATEGIST, RABOBANK: Investors getting very worried and the pound beginning to price in a greater probability that we could indeed see a no deal Brexit.
I think somewhere between 110 and 105 on a no deal Brexit is certainly is a very strong probability.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEWART (on camera): As Boris Johnson prepares to enter the doors of Number 10, warnings about a no deal Brexit are growing. A government report says that U.K. could face a year-long recession and the pound could plunge 10 percent. The answer from the Boris team though, optimism.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LIZ TRUSS, BRITISH CHIEF SECRETARY OF TREASURY: They want somebody who is going to go out there and make a positive case for Britain who is going to attract business investors into our country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[09:15:08] STEWART: Then there's the new Prime Minister's wider attitude to business.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can the Secretary of State confirm and remotely justify that his response was to say, "F business."
JOHNSON: I don't think anybody could deny the passionate support of this government for business and it may be, it may be that I have from time to time expressed skepticism about some of the views of those who profess to speak up for business.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEWART (voice over): Boris Johnson has announced an array of plans including tax cuts, leading many to compare his economic policies to another maverick politician.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUSS: I don't necessarily agree with everything Donald Trump does or says. However, I do think some of the policies on economic growth have been successful in the U.S. and certainly, there are lessons to be learned --
(END VIDEO CLIP) STEWART (voice over): From cutting taxes to spending on
infrastructure, broadband, police and education is not yet clear how the new government will afford it all, especially if Boris Johnson's do or die no deal predictions blow the economy of course.
STEWART: Now, Goldman Sachs have just released a new economic research report on this event today and on the no deal Brexit prospects, they put that from 15 percent to 20 percent likelihood, but given the rhetoric we've had from Boris Johnson on no deal and the rhetoric that you've had from the E.U. saying they will not reopen the withdrawal agreement, you may think that's pretty low odds.
But in this note, Goldman Sachs say, well, this Prime Minister Boris Johnson will be so keen to avoid a general election. And also, that will mean he will have to avoid no deal Brexit and that will have to mean he will reach some sort of deal by the end of October. But how is extremely unclear -- Richard, Isa.
SOARES: He will have to and have to, but we don't know how.
QUEST: Well, that's ultimately the problem. Right. Anna Stewart. Thank you.
SOARES: It's been quite a week for Boris Johnson to really become British Prime Minister. On top of Brexit, he now faces perhaps an even more pressing issue and that is the escalating standoff with Iran.
The Iranian Foreign Ministers message to Boris Johnson, next.
QUEST: It's official. Boris Johnson has won the race for the Conservative Party leadership and will become the U.K.'s next Prime Minister. The former London Mayor beat his rival, Jeremy Hunt by a two to one margin.
Speaking in front of the party members after the announcement, he promised to deliver Brexit and unite Britain. He is set to take over from Theresa May starting on Wednesday.
SOARES: Now, Brexit may be one of the biggest challenges facing Boris Johnson in his new role. However, growing tensions with Iran may be the most urgent.
Iran's Foreign Minister tweeted his congratulations to Johnson roughly about an hour ago or so and also issued this message to him on Monday. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[09:20:10] MOHAMMAD JAVAD ZARIF, IRANIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: I think it is very important for Boris Johnson, as he enters 10 Downing Street to understand that Iran does not seek confrontation. Iran wants to have normal relations based on mutual respect.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SOARES: Matthew Chance joins us now from Khor Fakkan in the United Arab Emirates and Matthew, for Boris Johnson, it's not just Brexit, of course, but also on the top of this pile is Iran, this confrontation with Iran? How do you assess he may react to this?
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it is going to be tough. It's tough, isn't it for any Prime Minister to deal with this escalating crisis in this Persian Gulf region with the Islamic Republic of Iran, yet alone, a Prime Minister on the first day of his job, but that's exactly what Boris Johnson is going to have to do plunging headfirst into the treacherous diplomatic waters in this part of the world to try and secure the release of that British flag tanker that was captured and seized by Iran last Friday.
Twenty three crew members on board as well. It is not just a hunk of metal, there are human lives -- people -- on board that ship that have to be released as well. And it's unclear what the policy of the incoming Prime Minister is going to be.
Javad Zarif, you mentioned, he had offered his congratulations. He has tried to draw a distinction between the outgoing May government, which you described as -- to paraphrase him -- pirates for seizing an Iranian oil tanker off the coast of Gibraltar earlier this month.
And basically saying to Boris Johnson's incoming Prime Ministership, look, we want a normal relationship. We want it based on mutual trust and mutual respect and we do not want confrontation.
Now, the question is whether Boris Johnson is going to continue the policy of his predecessor in terms of the Iran Nuclear Deal, in terms of dealing with Iran in the way that it has done or whether he's going to take a much harder line. Perhaps align himself a little bit more to the Donald Trump position on Iran.
The Trump administration, of course treats Iran as a maligned force in the region that has to be confronted at every possibility. What will Boris Johnson's policy be? Well, that's the question that he has to answer.
SOARES: Matthew, on the crew that were taken, do we know -- do we have an update on how they are doing?
CHANCE: We do, we do. Yes. The Iranian state television has recently -- last night, in fact, here locally released the first images of what they say are the crew, and there's no reason to doubt them. There's 23 men from Russia, Latvia, the Philippines and India. Those are the nationalities of the 23 crew members.
They can be seen, you know, wearing their uniforms, going about their work. They seem in good health. They seem in good spirits, but obviously those shots are staged for Iranian state television cameras, and we weren't able to speak and that the journalists did not speak to any of those crew members. But nevertheless, seeing them like that will have been a relief to the families of those 23 crew members around the world.
The tanker itself though which was meant to be British flag is currently flying an Iranian flag which I think many people will see as a provocative act.
SOARES: Matthew Chance there. Thanks very much, Matthew.
QUEST: South Korean jets have fired more than 300 warning shots at a Russian military plane it says entered into South Korean airspace. The two sides do not agree on what happened. The incident occurred during what South Koreans believe was a joint Russian Chinese military exercise.
SOARES: Our Frederik Pleitgen joins us now from Moscow. So, Fred bring us up to speed. What are the Russians saying here? What is their version of events?
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Isa. It seems like quite a dangerous event that took place earlier today there in the Far East near South Korean territory. It seems as though it is two incidents and the Russians, by the way, have not actually confirmed that this was a joint patrol, at least one that was going on between the Russians and the Chinese.
There were Russian bombers and Chinese bombers. However, it seems as though there were two separate incidents that took place. In one incident, you had Russian and Chinese bombers who went into the South Korean air defense zone on what they said was a preplanned mission, a reconnaissance mission that they say was part of a maneuver that the Russians and Chinese were conducting.
They say that that route had been preplanned, but the Russians are saying that their planes were buzzed by South Korean F-16 jets.
[09:25:10] PLEITGEN: Now, in that incident, the Russians are saying that their planes were not fired at. They say that one of the F-16s that pulled away fired some flares. But of course, that is very different than firing shots.
But there was a second incident that the Russians so far have not acknowledged, and only the South Koreans are currently talking about. The Japanese scrambled fighter jets in this as well, just to make things a little more complicated, but the South Koreans are saying that a Russian command and control aircraft went around some South Korean islands going into South Korean airspace.
Now, that is a lot closer to South Korean territory, of course, and that's when the South Koreans once again scrambled a different set of jets. And that's where they say those warning shots were fired. The South Koreans are saying this happened on two incidents. And you're absolutely right, saying that around 360 rounds were discharged.
So, obviously, it seems like it was quite a dangerous incident when you have planes in the air firing shots, even though of course the South Koreans are saying these were only warning shots -- Isa.
SOARES: And correct me if I'm wrong, this has happened before has it not, Fred?
PLEITGEN: Well, warning shots is something that's very rare. I'm not sure that that's ever happened before. But you have seen incidences where both Chinese and Russian aircraft have gotten very close to that air defense zone.
The Japanese, for instance, are saying this is almost the same territory that we're talking about. There were dozens of instances in 2019 alone, where Chinese aircraft or Russian aircraft have either come close to that zone where jets had to be scramble or have actually entered that zone.
But of course all of this, Isa comes at a time where there is heightened tension in that area. You have the Chinese who in that area who are constructing, basically building from scratch new islands. They've essentially been harassing some U.S. forces that have been going on there. The U.S. has conducted some missions for instance, flying over those islands and you also have the Russians who have also been vastly expanding their patrols that they're conducting in that area.
Of course, the Russians, in part flying very close to Japanese territory and to South Korean territory, but of course also further north flying very close to U.S. territory as well and America also saying that they've had to scramble jets on more occasions than usual -- Isa.
SOARES: Thanks very much, Fred Pleitgen for coming to us live from Moscow.
QUEST: Now, Boris Johnson may have won. The party's approval, that Conservatives, the Tories -- will he play nice on the world stage? The world leaders have been making their reactions and sending their congratulations to the new incoming Prime Minister.
QUEST: A warm welcome back. It is CNN's special coverage of the race for Number 10 Downing Street. Well, the race is pretty much -- well, it is over. We know that Boris Johnson swept to victory and has been elected the new Conservative Party leader and therefore, will be the next Prime Minister of the United Kingdom tomorrow. And he is promising to deliver Brexit, unite the country and keep the opposition leader out of office.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHNSON: And of course, there's something we seek that they're irreconcilable. And it just can't be done.
And indeed, I read in my "Financial Times" this morning, the baited reader that I am. Seriously, it's a great, great, great, great British friend.
I read it in my "Financial Times" this morning that there is no incoming leader -- no incoming leader has ever faced such a daunting set of circumstances it said, well, I look at you this morning and I asked myself, "Do you look daunted? Do you feel daunted?" I don't think -- I don't think you look remotely daunted to me.
And I think that we know that we can do it, and that the people of this country are trusting in us to do it and we know that we will do it.
And we know the mantra of the campaign that has just gone by. In case you've forgotten it, you probably have, it wasn't that long ago -- it is, deliver Brexit, unite the country and defeat Jeremy Corbyn and that is what we are going to do.
JOHNSON: We are going to defeat Jeremy Corbyn.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: Now, Brexit aside, Boris Johnson's foreign affairs entree is already overflowing. As a former Foreign Secretary, he has the diplomatic experience, it is how he will lead is the issue. Nic Robertson is outside 10 Downing Street.
Well, we know what he is like. I mean, this man is not -- look, Nic Robertson, this man has a long track record in the public eye. It's not like somebody who just come off the streets. We know what he is like.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Well, we do and I think there's a sense certainly among some politicians that is, this is Boris Johnson, the leader, give him a chance, things could be different. And his critics are saying, "No, they won't. He will over promise and under deliver. He will be economical with the truth. He might even stray into outright untruths."
However, the reality is that his coming in at a particularly difficult time for any British leader, it's been a lame duck leadership for the last few months. There are massive tensions with Iran. He must deliver on Brexit. The answer back from Europe congratulating him on winning the party leadership and becoming Prime Minister tomorrow, but laying out the fence work around him.
No difference on the deal that Theresa May struck. Yes, we can talk about different language in the political arrangement going forward in the future.
He is as boxed in, as she was. So, on the on the issues that face him, they are huge and big challenges and Boris Johnson in the past, he tries to fluster and bluster and get through on energy and vitality and sporting optimism. And that's what we saw today.
But where does he go from here? And I think we're waiting to see that and there are some, as I said that are willing to give him the space and others, quite frankly, not so optimistic.
[09:35:05] QUEST: But Nic, Nic, I keep hearing everybody saying all of that, but the arithmetic is the same. The issues are the same. The Europeans have said they will ultimately the Political Declaration, but they said that to Theresa May, and that was always available to her. So, I don't want to be too cynical or skeptical at the moment that the man takes office, but it is difficult to see how it's any different.
ROBERTSON: It's very difficult. He is a different character, and people are telling us to expect to see change in the way that he handles the leadership of the country from the way that Theresa May handled it. But it doesn't matter how you handle it, still in your hands, you have the same issues.
Now, he may have the plus of the hardliner Brexiteers backing him now where Theresa May had that as a minus, but where she had a plus of the people that didn't want a no deal Brexit, that's the minus for him.
So, he is still balancing the same issues and it is very difficult to see how he changes it. He has talked about having a technical solution to the backstop. There isn't one. But he wants to go forward with optimism.
It is clear that his political partners in Northern Ireland are worried about what they -- what the new relationship with Northern Ireland might be because the Conservative Party has said they care more about Brexit than they do about the union with Northern Ireland.
So, no surprise that MPs from the Democratic Unionist Party there who are his political allies and given the majority in Parliament are already saying they are looking forward to discussing that issue.
QUEST: Nic Robertson at Downing Street, thank you.
SOARES: And while Boris Johnson was always a front runner in this leadership contest, his campaign wasn't without controversy. Past gaffes came back to haunt him. He was criticized for not being a details man. And there were revelations about his private life.
Chief broadcaster and political commentator, Iain Dale who had many of the contest hustings roughly up and down the U.K. He joins me now, a familiar face here on CNN. And Iain, you and I have spoken for the last three years about this and it has finally happened. I believe, if we say about two years ago, we didn't see this coming.
IAIN DALE, BROADCASTER AND POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: No, I think even six, nine months ago, most people thought that his leadership ambitions were dead in the water. But somehow miraculously, today, he is about to become our Prime Minister.
SOARES: But -- go ahead -- but you have been interviewing him up and down the country. We've heard so much about, you know, he is not a details man. It's about personality. It's not what you -- what did you get out of him from sitting next to him and speaking to him?
DALE: Because he is a unique personality, he is somebody who is full of bluster, full of comedy, actually full of celebrity. He's not your normal politician. So, if you're like that, people always assume that you're not across the details of policy. And it is true. There have been occasions in the past when he was Foreign Secretary, where he wasn't.
However, what I've noticed over the last month sharing this hustings is that on Sunday, unexpected issues like mental health, so I had a 16-year- old British-Asian guy in Manchester, stand up in front of a thousand people and say "I have clinical depression, what are you going to do for the mental health services so I can get better?"
And I do think to myself, because often I put myself in that position and sort of think, how would I answer that? And he gave the most brilliant answer. It was incredibly detailed. And I don't know if he's got any specialist knowledge in that area. But it was really impressive.
And there were other instances on climate change, for example, the last question that was put to him by an audience member in the London hustings, four and a half thousand people, an eight-year-old child and I had pointed to his mother, and then to my horror, I realized that she was pointing to her son, and it was too late for me to say, "Oh, no, no, we won't." So, the little eight year old boy gets up on the chair, grabs the microphone, and says, "Mr. Johnson, what will you do about climate change?" And again, he gave a very detailed answer.
Now his girlfriend is a bit of an environmentalist. And maybe she has indoctrinated him on that. I don't know. But to -- look, he is going to be a Chairman of the Board to start as Prime Minister. He is not going to be a Gordon Brown or a Theresa May, who wants to know the exact detail of everything. I think he will let his Cabinet Ministers do their jobs in a way that they haven't been allowed to do in the past few years.
SOARES: Do you think then because although he is a personality, so much driven by hyperbole, too that he can -- because he has kind of boxed himself in, hasn't he, in the last couple of weeks in terms of it's this deal or no deal. Do you think he can deliver before the 31st?
DALE: I find it hard to see a pathway to that, so I have to say, and I'm hoping that somewhere in the bottom drawer of his desk, he has got a detailed document about how he is going to do this.
But I mean, can I sit here and say, I'm confident about that? No, I can't.
DALE: Richard is bursting to get in.
QUEST: Because the one thing I've heard again and again, is people saying the last thing this country needs is another wishy washy, limp Prime Minister, and for better or worse, he is -- now there's colors to the mast. He said what he is going to do. He has got this personality. Maybe this is exactly what the country needs?
[09:40:05] DALE: Well, there is a school of thought that the Conservative Party and the country need to go through this for good or ill. If it all goes terribly wrong, and there is a big possibility, and this is sort of an all or nothing Premiership. He's got three months, and he's either going to be brilliant asset, or it's all going to collapse very quickly. And we'll all go through this again in no vote.
You can imagine us sitting out here in November doing this for three weeks. But I can't quite see how he is going to achieve it. Now, you said the Parliamentary arithmetic hasn't changed and it is getting worse all the time with these current ministers who are gratuitously resigning in my view.
And then you've also got the Brecon and Radnor bielection next week; that will reduce the majority by another seat. And so it depends how much trouble the rebels are actually going to cause him right from the beginning.
Again, Richard, you are so right when you said that all new Prime Ministers, all leaders deserve a bit of a fair wind. Now, in previous decades, we would have said that would be maybe six months to a year. He's got a few weeks in fact.
SOARES: And we've got summer recess, and I suspect that this in the next few months, he will have to -- I'm guessing he will travel to Europe, try to meet with European leaders, or do you think he will be going to the United States?
DALE: Well, I mean, there is -- I was reading yesterday that apparently, some people in his team think that he should wait for the European leaders to come to him rather than the other way around. There was even someone who says, "Well, of course, what he really wants to do is annoy them all so much that come October 31st, they all say, we're not going to extend Article 50. You can leave." And that would actually solve his problem for him.
SOARES: I'll wait for that if that was the problem at all. I feel like we're going back around in circles.
DALE: We would actually leave even though we would leave with no deal.
QUEST: We are just about out of time, but I keep coming back to -- I feel like an old broken record. All these things of Article 50 and we keep coming back to leave without a deal. Everybody seems to have forgotten that when Parliament got nasty in March, it all fell apart. They were able to pass a one clause bill. It could all happen again.
DALE: It could all happen again. On the other hand, he could find some way of preventing that happening again.
SOARES: The likelihood of the general election, very quickly.
DALE: I think the likelihood of a general election is increasing as every day passes, whether it would before October 31st or after is the moot point.
SOARES: Iain, great to see you.
DALE: Lovely to see you.
SOARES: Thank you very much.
QUEST: As you and I continue. The campaign is over. The work begins. That's what Boris Johnson said. He is undaunted by the Brexit challenge. The party's take in a moment.
QUEST: Not a moment to lose for Boris Johnson, 101 days until October 31st. That's the deadline for the U.K. to leave the European Union.
[09:45:02] SOARES: Johnson says Brexit must happen by that date no matter what even if it means a hard Brexit. The E.U.'s chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier has tweeted and I'm reading out here, "We look forward to working constructively with Boris Johnson when he takes office to facilitate the ratification of the withdrawal agreement and achieve an orderly Brexit. We are ready also to rework the agreed Declaration on a new partnership in line with European Commission guidelines."
QUEST: Now, John Longworth is with us, the Brexit Party MEP. John, the issue here. Listen to what Barnier said. "We are ready to rework the agreed Declaration on a partnership." Now, that could be the olive branch that allows this thing to become unlocked to mix my metaphors.
JOHN LONGWORTH, EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT MEMBER, BRITISH BREXIT PARTY: Yes, Boris would be absolutely insane to fall into the trap of trying to renegotiate the withdrawal agreement. You know, the withdrawal agreements and Political Declaration were an appalling deal that actually would mean that we have left the European Union. The backstop -- the only thing about the backstop was it would prevent us ever leaving, but does it make the deal any better, even if that's removed?
QUEST: So, what would you like to see Boris Johnson do? What would you -- with the status quo as we understand it, what would you like to see him do?
LONGWORTH: Well, what he should do is he should say we're leaving on the 31st of October with or without a deal.
SOARES: He has said that.
QUEST: He said that.
LONGWORTH: He should not go to Brussels at all, he should head for Geneva to talk to the World Trade Organization because it would send a very clear signal to Brussels and he should talk to them about GATT 24 because if he gets it from the horse's mouth, he can speak with confidence that it can be done.
I was there for a day last January and it was very clear that the WTO are perfectly okay for the E.U. and the U.K. to have a standstill arrangements on trade while we negotiation an FTA, and you can negotiate it for up to 10 years, you know. The fact --
SOARES: So you think he can't get a deal in time with the E.U.?
LONGWORTH: I think he has a deal. The deal with the E.U. is GATT 24, standstill arrangements and we leave. That's the deal. Because that then gives the U.K. complete freedom to do whatever else it likes.
Now, if the E.U. don't like that, which they won't, then they're facing the U.K. leaving without a deal. And 24 hours before we leave, they will go into meltdown.
SOARES: Well, they said today that the E.U. is not returning. So, they clearly -- it's an olive branch we give and we take it.
LONGWORTH: Fine. But if they are not returning, we just leave.
QUEST: So, without getting into GATT 24, into the minutiae of it. But there are strong views that they can't do and stand still because of other third party countries that would also have to enjoy the same benefits. You have to offer the same rules. All right. So, that's the first technical argument.
LONGWORTH: That's actually true. The most favored nation doesn't apply if you're actually negotiating an FTA.
QUEST: The second thing is, they wouldn't negotiate a standstill. If the U.K. didn't continue to take the freedoms, the four pillars. I mean, that's the issue. You can't have one without the other.
LONGWORTH: That's only because the E.U. says so. They do deals with all countries around the world on free trade deal arrangements. So, why not the U.K.? We won't be part of the E.U. anymore.
QUEST: No, no, John. No, you said you wanted a standstill. You're not talking about moving to a Canada or a Japan-type FTA, but a standstill. Now, the standstill would give you the same privileged access that you have at the moment without the pillars.
LONGWORTH: So, the standstill is only temporary while the FTA is being negotiated. It actually helps the E.U. who have 100 billion pounds surplus of trade with the U.K. They want to lose that, that's fine.
SOARES: And you think you can get this done in the short period of time he has?
LONGWORTH: That would be easy. You need one page of A4 to have an FTA top sheet agree to negotiate and FTA, that's all you need to do.
SOARES: I just don't think that this --
QUEST: Essentially what you're saying is you would -- you would negotiate -- arguably what they should have done, which is you negotiate the future whilst doing the Article 50 process? Which is what they wouldn't do.
LONGWORTH: Well, what you're actually doing is you're simply having a standstill while you negotiate the future. But of course, if they won't agree to that, we should leave without a deal. We will have a 200 billion pound war chest to invest in manufacturing infrastructure and tax cuts.
SOARES: How much do you think he will be listening to that as he prepares his Cabinet? How much is he going to surround himself with Brexiteers?
LONGWORTH: Well, this is being said to him without a shadow of a doubt. But the proof of the pudding is in the eating and who he appoints tomorrow will give us a very clear indication of where Boris is on this.
Don't forget IDS has effectively left hand side now, and Boris doesn't appear to be taking on board the ERG particularly, so I'm not entirely hopeful that he will actually do the right thing. It remains to be seen and if he doesn't do the right thing, the Brexit Party will triumph. The Conservative Party will be finished and we will eventually leave.
SOARES: John, thank you very much. John Longworth, thank you.
QUEST: Now, our coverage continues in just a moment. This is CNN.
[09:51:47] SOARES: What we have seen today in the last four hours or so was really a momentous power shift in British politics. The former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has been chosen to lead the Conservative Party.
QUEST: What will that mean? Well, he got twice the number of votes as his rival candidate, the Foreign Secretary, and Mr. Johnson has promised the U.K. will leave the E.U. no matter what happens. And many fear that means without a deal.
SOARES: Well, Boris Johnson will officially become the U.K.'s next Prime Minister tomorrow, Wednesday. And as we've discussed here, he will have to hit the ground running. Political analyst Carole Walker joins us now and Carole, as much as Brexit that he has to deal with, but also Iran?
CAROLE WALKER, POLITICAL ANALYST: Absolutely. He's got this looming crisis in the Gulf, we've seen those pictures of the crew of the tanker still being held in an Iranian port. He is going to have to decide what to do with that.
Of course, Jeremy Hunt, his rival for the leadership as Foreign Secretary has been very much the key minister in trying to deescalate the tension over all of that, but the new Prime Minister Boris Johnson is going to immediately have to decide how to handle this. And there are huge risks and huge difficulties. He has talked about trying to form some International Alliance to
protect shipping. How closely should the future U.K. Prime Minister align himself with the United States, which is taking a much more reversed line with Iran than the European Union? And what should he do to try to stick up for the rights of shipping, to have free movement through that crucial Strait of Hormuz without risking some potential flare up?
SOARES: But also keeping it whether -- it would be sort of interesting to see whether he sticks to the Iran Nuclear Deal, which is something that Europe really stands by.
WALKER: Absolutely, I mean, there is this very difficult situation the E.U. are clinging to their support for the Iran Nuclear Deal, although the difficulty is that Iran still feels that it is being punished by sanctions because those U.S. sanctions mean it's virtually impossible for any companies to do any serious trade with Iran, even if the E.U., tacitly say they still support the deal.
And Boris Johnson is going to have to decide how he is going to handle this. Is he going to stick to the U.K.'s traditional support for the deal as the E.U. have done? Or will he be prepared to side more closely with the United States?
QUEST: But let's just focus on that because Donald Trump is not particularly popular in the United Kingdom. We saw what happened when Theresa May held hands with him as the first foreign visitor after his inauguration. It was damaging to her politically, is it going to be damaging for Boris to appear to align himself directly with Donald Trump?
WALKER: Look, I think this is just one of the potential minefields which the new Prime Minister Boris Johnson is going to have to tiptoe through, because clearly forming an alliance, reaffirming that special relationship, trying to forge a stronger personal relationship with Donald Trump is going to be very important, not least of course, because he would dearly love to do a trade deal with the United States.
[09:55:06] WALKER: But I think if he is seen to be caving, kowtowing, doffing his full up to the U.S. President, then that will seriously annoy a great many people here in the U.K., and indeed some in his party.
So, it will be a very difficult course for him to take, but I suspect that he will want to try to forge a strong relationship. We know that Donald Trump has already been praising Boris Johnson, saying he thinks he is going to be a great Prime Minister.
The two are both seen as international disruptors. Now, that could play either way. And Boris Johnson is probably going to have to decide pretty swiftly given what is going on in the Gulf how closely he wants to ally himself to the President of the United States.
SOARES: They are definitely both very colorful figures, that's for sure, isn't it? WALKER: Absolutely. And we saw that from Boris Johnson's acceptance
speech today. Classic bit of Boris Johnson, full of optimism. We're still waiting for the detail and the gravitas.
SOARES: And often -- and hyperbole, wasn't it? Thank you very much. That does it, doesn't it, Richard for this hour of our special coverage. Thank you very much for watching.
QUEST: What extraordinary sort of events, I suspect, although Carole is thinking like many of us who have covered British politics for a long number of years. We never thought this was ever going to happen in quite this particular way.
WALKER: Indeed and it will be a big moment when Boris Johnson steps into Downing Street tomorrow.
QUEST: Which we will have full coverage for because the news never stops. This is CNN.