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CNN International: May Addresses Parliament for Last Time as Prime Minister. Aired 7-8a ET
Aired July 24, 2019 - 07:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
RICHARD QUEST, CNN ANCHOR: The breaking news we're following: Boris Johnson has been elected leader of the Conservative Party.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BORIS JOHNSON, INCOMING U.K. PRIME MINISTER: No incoming leader has ever faced such a daunting set of circumstances.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Boris campaigned for Brexit and believes in the mission.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't believe he can get a deal through the House of Commons.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's growing in more charges than Theresa May.
JEREMY CORBYN, LEADER, U.K. LABOUR PARTY: Well, he's been elected by less than 100,000 people. I'm ready for a general election.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think he's a smart person but I don't think he has any special interests in his heart other than his own.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm delighted for the country that Boris has become the prime minister. I think he will be a great prime minister.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, I think he's going to be a disaster.
TRUMP: He'll get it done. Boris is good. He's going to do a good job.
JOHNSON: I say to all the doubters -- dude, we are going to energize the country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: Prime minister's question time. Prime minister is actually speaking.
THERESA MAY, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: -- from the back benches where I will continue to be the member of Parliament for Maidenhead.
JOHN BERCOW, SPEAKER, BRITISH HOUSE OF COMMONS: Ruth Cadbury.
RUTH CADBURY, LABOUR MP: I profoundly disagree with many of the decisions that the prime minister has made and many of the things she says but I recognize that she does have a respect for public service and for the future of our country, so how does she feel about handing over to a man who, among many things, is happy to demonize Muslims, is prepared to chuck our loyal public servants and diplomats under a bus and promises to sell our country out to Donald Trump and his friends?
MAY: I am pleased to hand over to an incoming leader of the Conservative Party and Prime Minister who I worked with when he was in my Cabinet and who is committed, as a Conservative who stood on a Conservative manifesto in 2017, to delivering on the vote of the British people in 2016 and to delivering a bright future for this country.
BERCOW: Bob Blackman.
BOB BLACKMAN, CONSERVATIVE MP: I rise to thank my right honorable friend not only for her loyal service as Prime Minister over the past three years but for her 33 years of public service, which is a record to be proud of. I also thank her for her personal support in helping me get my private member's bill -- now the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 -- on to the statute book. Does she agree that it is far better to prevent people becoming homeless, to use the taxation system to combat obesity and to prevent people smoking in the first place? Does she agree that prevention is far better than cure?
MAY: First of all, I thank my honorable friend for all his work on the Homelessness Reduction Act, which, crucially, we are seeing actually having an impact -- that is so important for the people who are benefiting from the work he did. I know that he has been doing a lot of work as part of the all-party parliamentary group on smoking and health. I agree that we need to start viewing health as an asset to protect throughout our lives. That is why we have taken bold action on smoking and childhood obesity. I am proud that we have delivered not only the biggest ever cash boost in the history of the national health service but a long-term plan that, as he said, will focus on prevention -- as well as on cancer care and mental health -- trying to ensure that people do not get ill in the first place. Preventing smoking and obesity are key parts of better lives for people in the future.
BERCOW: Jeremy Corbyn.
CORBYN: Today marks the final day in office for the prime minister and I pay tribute to her sense of public duty. Public service should always be recognized. Being an MP, a Minister or indeed a Prime Minister is an honor that brings with it huge responsibility and huge pressures personally and, I am sure the prime minister and probably the whole House would agree, on those very closest to us, who are often not able to answer back for the criticisms made against them. I hope --
[07:05:00] CORBYN: -- Mr. Speaker, that she has a marginally more relaxing time on the back benches. Perhaps, like the chancellor, she will even help me oppose the reckless plans of her successor.
CORBYN: If I may continue --
CORBYN: -- I am glad the government party is in such good heart today, for tomorrow it won't be.
In the past three years, child poverty has gone up, pensioner poverty has gone up, in-work poverty has gone up, violent crime has gone up, NHS waiting times have gone up, school class sizes have gone up, homelessness has gone up and food bank use has gone up. Does the prime minister have any regrets about any of the things I have just said?
MAY: It is very good to see the Conservative Party in good heart; it is more than I can say for the Labour Party. But let me just say something to the right honorable gentleman about my record over the past three years and how I measure it. It is in the opportunity for every child who is now in a better school. It is in the comfort for every person who now has a job for the first time in their life. It is in the hope of every disadvantaged young person now able to go to university. It is in the joy of every couple who can now move into their own home. At its heart, politics is not about exchanges across the dispatch box. Nor is it about eloquent speeches or media headlines. Politics is about the difference we make every day to the lives of people up and down this country. They are our reason for being here and we should never forget it.
CORBYN: Yes, politics is about real life and politics is about what people suffer in their ordinary lives. I did not mention that per- pupil school funding has gone down, police numbers are down and GP numbers are falling. In the 2017 Conservative manifesto, the prime minister promised that no school would have its budget cut, that she would protect TV licenses for the over-75s and that she would halve rough sleeping. Which of those pledges is the prime minister most sorry not to have achieved?
MAY: I am pleased to hear that the right honorable gentleman spent some time reading the Conservative Party manifesto from 2017 -- he has not been known for always reading the documents he stands up and talks about. Had he read the manifesto properly, he would know that we made a pledge on rough sleeping: to halve it by 2022 and to stop rough sleeping by 2027. I am pleased to say that in the past year we have seen rough sleeping going down. In particular, rough sleeping is going down in those areas where this government have been taking action.
CORBYN: I do not quite know where the prime minister gets her figures from on rough sleeping. All I know is that I travel around this country, just like other members of this House and I talk to people who have had a disaster in their lives and end up rough sleeping. We are the fifth richest country in the world. It is surely wrong that anyone should end up sleeping on the streets of this country. We can and should do something about it.
I have often disagreed with the prime minister and have many criticisms of her policies but I welcome the reduction in the stake on fixed odds betting terminals, the adoption of the children's funeral fund and the scrapping of employment tribunal fees. Which of those policies is the prime minister most proud of?
MAY: I am proud of all the policies that we have introduced that have been improving people's lives. I am proud of the fact that through the balanced management of the economy that we have done, we now see more people in work in this country than ever before. I am proud of the fact that there are more children in good and outstanding schools. I am proud of the fact that the attainment gap between the disadvantaged and the advantaged has been narrowed under this government. And I am proud of the fact that we are putting the biggest --
MAY: -- cash boost in its history into our national health service. We are ensuring that the national health service -- the most beloved institution in this country -- will be there for people into the future. This is a Conservative government -- my government -- delivering on the things that matter to people in their day-to-day lives.
CORBYN: The prime minister may have noticed that none of those things that I mentioned were actually in the Conservative Party manifesto in 2017 but every one of them was a Labour pledge in 2017. On Brexit, the prime minister's own red lines ruled out any sensible compromise deal. Only after she had missed her own deadline to leave did the prime minister even begin to shift her position but by then, she no longer had the authority to deliver. Her successor has no mandate at all. Does she have confidence that Boris Johnson will succeed where she has not?
MAY: I worked tirelessly to get a good deal for the U.K. and I also worked hard to get that deal through this Parliament. I voted for the deal. What did the right honorable gentleman do? He voted against a deal. He voted to make no deal more likely and when there was a prospect of reaching consensus across this House, the right honorable gentleman walked away from the talks. At every stage, his only interest has been playing party politics and frankly, he should be ashamed of himself.
CORBYN: We have had three years of bungled negotiations and we now have the spectacle of a Prime Minister coming into office with no electoral mandate looking for a Brexit deal that has been ruled out by the European Union or in the case of a no deal, ruled out by the majority in this House and by anyone who understands the dangers to the British economy of a no deal. The next Prime Minister thought the Isle of Man was in the European Union and that the European Union made rules about kippers that, in fact, were made by the government that he was part of. He also said that the U.K. could secure tariff-free trade through Article 24 of the general agreement on tariffs and trade, despite the international trade secretary, the attorney general and the governor of the Bank of England all confirming that that is not possible.
At the start of 2018, the --
CORBYN: -- it's coming, don't worry. At the start of 2018, the prime minister herself set up a new unit to counter fake news, charged with "combating disinformation." How successful does she think that has been?
MAY: I have to say to the right honorable gentleman that I fear that our success has not been what we wanted it to be from the amount of fake news and fake information that he uses at that dispatch box.
CORBYN: Maybe the prime minister can have a word with her successor on the way out but let me conclude --
CORBYN: -- for today. Let me conclude by welcoming some of the prime minister's notable U-turns over the last couple of years. The cruel dementia tax was scrapped. Plans to bring back grammar schools were ditched. The threat to the pensions triple lock was abandoned. The withdrawal of the winter fuel payments was dumped. The pledge to bring back foxhunting was dropped and the government binned their plan to end universal free school meals for 5- to 7-year olds. The prime minister has dumped her own manifesto. Given that her successor has no mandate from the people -- no mandate on which to move into office -- does she not agree that the best thing that the right hon. member for Uxbridge and South Ruislip could do later on today when he takes office is to call a general election and let the people decide their future?
MAY: My first answer to the right honorable gentleman is no. If he wants to talk about people ducking manifesto commitments and commitments made during general election campaigns, might I remind him that the party and he said that --
MAY: -- they were going to abolish student debt? After the election, no, he rolled back on that promise. What else did he say during the general election campaign? He said he was committed to Trident. What did he say afterwards? He said, no, he was not committed to Trident at all. He has broken promise after promise to the people of this country.
As this is the last time that the right honorable gentleman and I will have this exchange across these dispatch boxes --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you going to answer the question? MAY: I was going to say that it is a strength of our British
democracy that the prime minister and the leader of the opposition have these exchanges across the dispatch boxes every week, two swords' lengths apart and that no quarter is sought and none is given. That is as it should be in our adversarial parliamentary democracy. But he and I are very different people and very different politicians and we approach the issues the country faces in different ways. I have spent all but one of my years in the House on the Front Bench trying to implement the policies I believe in, while he has spent most of his time on the Back benches campaigning for what he believes in, often against his own party but what we have in common is a commitment to our constituencies. I saw that after the terrorist attack in Finsbury Park Mosque in his constituency. Perhaps then I could finish by saying this: as a party leader who has accepted when her time is up, might I suggest that perhaps the time is now for him to do the same?
BERCOW: I call Glyn Davies.
Don't be shy, Mr. Davies. Assert yourself, man. We must hear from you.
GLYN DAVIES, CONSERVATIVE MP: I first met the prime minister when she came campaigning with me in Berriew in the difficult and dark days of the late 1990s and she has been a great friend of Wales ever since. Only recently, her government approved the end of the M4 tolls and several other great measures for Wales. Will she encourage her successor to introduce a bill to extend the general election franchise to all British citizens living overseas, where there is a wide Welsh diaspora?
MAY: I thank my honorable friend for his remarks and for highlighting the work the government have done in Wales. I would add that over 95,000 people in Wales had a pay rise this year as a result of the national living wage and that employment in Wales has risen by 167,000 since 2010. Conservatives have indeed been delivering for Wales. I know the concern about the franchise for overseas voters and I am sure that my successor will wish to look at that.
I discovered a new part of my honorable friend's past recently. I believe he was once the bodyguard to the legendary Hollywood actress Lauren Bacall.
MAY: I think his red face tells us all.
IAN BLACKFORD, SNP WESTMINSTER LEADER: Prime Minister, it is fair to say that we have had our differences -- it has not often been a meeting of minds -- but with her standing down today, the time for holding her to account has passed. The burdens of office are considerable, the loneliness of leadership can be stark. At times we have clashed on points of political difference but equally we have stood together when it has been right to do so -- over Salisbury and other threats to the U.K.'s national security. She rightly made sure that opposition leaders were informed at key moments in national security. In particular, her chief of staff, Gavin Barwell, always sought to make sure that I was kept informed of important developments. Prime Minister, I wish you and Philip --
BLACKFORD: -- all the best for the future.
As the prime minister departs, is she confident that the office of Prime Minister can be upheld by her flagrant successor?
MAY: I thank the right honorable gentleman for his remarks. He is absolutely right: he and I have a difference of opinion on some key issues but I have been grateful for the position that the SNP has taken on key issues of national security, when it has stood alongside the government as we have faced the actions of our enemy. I understand the right honorable gentleman's point about keeping opposition leaders in touch with things that have happened. I would also like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to Gavin Barwell, who was a first-class member of this House, a first-class minister and has been an absolutely first-class chief of staff.
In answer to the right honorable gentleman's question: yes, I congratulate my right honorable friend Boris Johnson on winning the Conservative leadership election. He will take over as Prime Minister and I look forward to a first-class Conservative government under his leadership, delivering for the whole of the United Kingdom.
BLACKFORD: The prime minister-elect has no mandate in Scotland. He has no mandate from the people. The government he is busy forming have no mandate in Scotland. Scotland deserves better. A snap YouGov poll shows that 60 percent of people in Scotland are dismayed and disappointed by the new Prime Minister.
Those of us on the SNP Benches have tabled an early-day motion, with friends from parties across this House, rejecting the idea of this House being shut down before November. Following Parliament's overwhelming message in last week's vote, may I invite the prime minister, in one of her first actions as a back bench MP, to sign our early-day motion and join efforts to stop the suspension of Parliament under any circumstances?
MAY: As I said in answer to the right honorable gentleman's first question, I accept that he and I have differences on a number of issues. We both have a passion for delivering for the people of Scotland. I want to do that with Scotland as part of the United Kingdom; he wants to take Scotland out of the United Kingdom. We have a mandate from the people to form a government of this country. That is how we run things in the parliamentary democracy that we have in this country. We also have a mandate from the people to deliver on the result of the 2016 referendum. If the right honorable gentleman is so interested in delivering on mandates from the British people, he should have voted on the deal to take us out of the E.U.
PAULINE LATHAM, CONSERVATIVE MP: The Derwent Valley cycleway is an aspirational project running through my constituency. It would create an off-road cycleway between Derby and Baslow, providing an alternative commuting route, encouraging tourism, encouraging cycling among the young and improving the health of the local population. Does the prime minister agree that more funding should be made available to support this and other, similar projects?
MAY: I recognize the importance of increasing cycling and walking. It is important for people's health and the local environment. Schemes such as the Derwent Valley cycle way provide significant benefit to the local economy as well as to health and the environment. We have doubled our spending on cycling and walking in England and our local cycling and walking infrastructure plan enables local authorities to take a strategic approach to planning improvements and to integrate them into wider plans for transport and economic development. I am sure the issue will continue to be supported by Conservatives in government.
CHI ONWURAH, SHADOW MINISTER: In Newcastle, the prime minister's departure invokes neither the despair of a Rafa Benitez nor yet the joy of a Mike Ashley and she may take comfort from that but as she considers her choices -- House of Lords, dignified retirement, working with her successor -- may I ask her to work to bring dignity and choice to others? She is a WASPI woman; will she dedicate --
ONWURAH: -- her prime ministerial retirement to justice for all WASPI women?
MAY: First of all, we have put 1 billion extra pounds into the pension system, recognizing concerns that were expressed by women about the changes to pensions. But she references what I am going to be doing in the future but I thought I had already made that very clear: I will be continuing in this House as the member of Parliament for Maidenhead.
BERCOW: Fellow's question (ph), Michael Fabricant.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Question for (INAUDIBLE).
MAY: I'm sure my honorable friends will join me in saying how pleased I am with the economic growth we have seen in the West Midlands Combined Authority's area, output has increased 27 percent over five years, productivity increased at twice the national rate last year and employment has increased since 2011.
And I think that the West Midlands Combined Authority shows precisely what a local, visible, innovative leadership can do and how it can be the key to building a strong economy and a fairer society.
BERCOW: Michael Fabricant.
MICHAEL FABRICANT, CONSERVATIVE MP: With the prime minister's active encouragement the mayor of the West Midlands was elected in May 2017 and she has supported him and the region ever since.
Over 2 billion pounds, Mr. Speaker has been given to the region by the prime minister in the form of grants and guarantees for transport and so many other worthwhile projects. So on behalf of the people of the West Midlands, may I thank her and may I also ask that she continues in Parliament as a strong advocate for local devolution? MAY: I remember the conversation I had with Andy Street when I was encouraging him to stand for the mayoralty of the West Midlands. And I am very pleased that he did. He has been delivering for the people of the West Midlands ever since his election.
I also thank my honorable friend for highlighting the excellent work that we have done for the West Midlands: government working with that combined authority shows the benefits of the very local devolution that my honorable friend has referred to.
This is a very good example of what that innovative and visionary leadership can do at a local level in improving the lives of people.
BERCOW: Kevin Brennan.
KEVIN BRENNAN, SHADOW MINISTER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Outgoing American presidents get to pardon anybody they want. If the prime minister could, would she pardon her successor for sabotaging her premiership purely for his own personal ambitions?
MAY: My successor will continue to deliver the Conservative policies that have improved the lives of people up and down this country since we were elected into a coalition government in 2010.
There is a long list of improvements that have taken place in people's lives, and I look forward, on the back benches, to giving my full support to the next prime minister as he takes us forward, delivering on Brexit and continuing to deliver on those Conservative policies.
BERCOW: Patrick McLoughlin.
PATRICK MCLOUGHLIN, CHAIR, EUROPEAN STATUTORY INSTRUMENTS COMMITTEE: May I thank my right honorable friend for the way in which he has conducted herself as Prime Minister of this country, for the dignified way in which she has approached the job and her responsibilities?
May I ask her to reflect on the fact that when we both first joined the government in 2010, for every 4 pounds, the government were spending we were borrowing 1 pound.
Yet as she leaves office today for every 34 pounds, the government spend we are borrowing 1 pound?
She has left an economy that is in a much more stable position than when it was inherited. To do that she has had to make some very difficult choices, and choices we may not have wanted to make, but we have got the economy on a sound footing and I thank her for that.
MAY: I thank my right honorable friend for pointing out that fact about government borrowing and for highlighting the work we have done for the economy, delivering that balanced approach.
I would like to thank my right honorable friend the chancellor for the work he has done in delivering that.
What does that mean?
It means borrowing at its lowest level for 17 years; it means the lowest unemployment since the 1970s, wages growing at their fastest for a decade and debt falling. That is what my government have delivered: more jobs, healthier finances and an economy fit for the future.
BERCOW: Yasmin Qureshi.
YASMIN QURESHI, SHADOW MINISTER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
The Education Committee published its report on Friday, stating that the government should urgently address underfunding in further education by increasing the amount from 4,000 pounds per student to --
QURESHI: -- 4,760 pounds.
Will the Prime Minister agree that raising the rate will benefit the excellent Bolton sixth-form college in my constituency, as well as many other colleges that are also under severe financial pressure, some of which are actually going under?
MAY: Obviously, I always look at Select Committee reports with care. Actually I commissioned the Augar review of post-18 education funding and that review has been very clear that more money needs to go into further education and into sixth forms.
I want to see that happening. Indeed, I think that, just as my government have given a priority to the National Health Service in looking at funding for the future, the next government should give priority to education so that we can see that money going into further education and sixth forms and ensure that for every young person there is an avenue through education and training that suits them and their talents and gives them the best opportunities for their future.
BERCOW: Helen Grant.
HELEN GRANT, CONSERVATIVE MP: Mr. Speaker, the prime minister has always --
QUEST: So it is the ultimate political baptism of fire in every which way, backwards, the outgoing prime minister Theresa May taking PMQs. And the fascinating part is the variety of issues across --
SOARES: Absolutely. She was defending her record as we heard as prime minister. And she was also trying to defend her successor. Attacks from Jeremy Corbyn, Bianca Nobilo here with that.
What did you make of what she had to say?
BIANCA NOBILO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: She was quite feisty today. She was quite feisty. She was trying to twist the knife into Jeremy Corbyn in her final performance, the prime minister's question time, saying recognizing I've decided it's my time to leave. Maybe you should, too. That was one of her last remarks to him.
It's interesting, because even though Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn are not strong orators, people often say this is often boring and monotonous, compared to the days of Blair and Cameron, when they would face off against each other.
But Theresa May might actually be currently a stronger performer at the box than Boris Johnson. We think of him as charismatic, very enthusiastic, wordsmith who loves rhetoric. But actually behind the dispatch box, he's never been particularly strong.
There are others like Michael Gove who really stand out. We know Boris Johnson to be charismatic not because of his time as a parliamentarian but because of how he's been in the media and how he controls his own narrative and appearances.
NOBILO: But that's not necessarily what people are looking for from the prime minister.
QUEST: What's the significance of the prime minister's questions?
She's well briefed. She spends most of the morning of PMQs working out what MPs are going to ask. Because she can see the names on the order paper and it's a supplementary that usually is the zinger.
NOBILO: It's significant because it's the opportunity for the country to watch the prime minister being held to account on a weekly basis by the leader of the opposition. It's considered to be the real selling point of the parliamentary calendar each week and it's important as well, as Theresa May mentioned in an adversarial political democracy, it's two sword lengths apart.
So Theresa May versus where Jeremy Corbyn was two sword lengths apart. That's almost meant to symbolize that this is a combative, robust parliamentary democracy. You have the opposition scrutinizing the government in power and we're watching that entire system almost collapse before our eyes. The two-party system we've known so well is under so much strain.
SOARES: What we've heard, this is her last PMQs, she's still prime minister.
SOARES: Until she walks out of Buckingham Palace. Her time in office, because Jeremy Corbyn, being very gracious, saying she's a public servant and kudos to her.
NOBILO: We should temper our compliments; they've both been gracious toward each other. Jeremy Corbyn said he recognized her public service. Almost everybody says that about Theresa May, criticize her however you like.
But actually nobody can fault the fact that she's dedicated to public service. She said she's going to remain as a back bench MP. Most people, when they're out of the job, start a speaking or writing career.
Not Theresa May. Equally in kind, her response to Jeremy Corbyn, after being opposite him for all this time, the only common ground she could find was precisely about, I don't know --
NOBILO: -- constituency --
QUEST: We both care about our constituents.
QUEST: At which point, when the prime minister said that, I heard a snort of derision from Ms. Nobilo over there.
QUEST: -- sort of said --
QUEST: -- that's basically the lowest.
NOBILO: Well, I mean literally the smallest common ground could you possibly want.
SOARES: She was already facing attacks by Jeremy Corbyn regarding her successor.
NOBILO: That gave us a little taste of how difficult it's going to be for Boris Johnson, we heard from the leader of the SMP as well as Jeremy Corbyn and other back benchers, criticizing him and highlighting his flaws. He won't arrive in a House of Commons which is well dispose to his premiership. He'll have some supportive allies but it will be incredibly polarized.
QUEST: Let's go to Nic Robertson in Downing Street.
The prime minister is just sort of wrapping up PMQs and she'll head back to where you are.
Once she's there, what happens?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: She'll go back inside Number 10. We saw from inside Number 11 on social media, Phillip Hammond went around shaking hands of staff, saying goodbye. The thank yous, the goodbyes. We can expect some of that to happen for sure. She might get to just enjoy that moment. She had the last word with Jeremy Corbyn and pulled out the sword or
the knife if you will, with his political blood dripping off of it the last word, why don't you step down, too?
She may like to revel in that moment. But this will be behind the doors here. A moment where she won't have time to reflect but will have time to pay her respects to her staff. No doubt she'll have done much of that already over the last 24 or so hours.
This will be the last moment. She'll think about it and she'll think about it as she comes out to onto the steps, onto the street here to give her final speech and she'll no doubt reflect on some of the things she spoke about when she made her speech here just over three years ago.
She talked about fighting the burning injustices, about how blacks are treated more harshly in the criminal justice system, that white working class are less likely to go to university and state school pupils are less likely to reach the top of professions and women less than men.
And she'll probably, I think we can expect, try to take off -- in fast order but show where she has made success, what she has delivered here. Unlike what she's tried to do in Parliament today, she won't be challenged. Everyone will be silent and listening to her last words.
SOARES: Give us a sense of what you have seen outside 10 Downing Street, the mood. It's not the first or perhaps the last changing of the guard that you have seen.
ROBERTSON: We have, unusually here for journalists, an additional little space, an additional riser of platforms, both sides on the doors of Number 10 up and down the street here. But every time the front door of Number 10 or Number 11 looks like it's about to open, the cameras are all out. Everyone is trained on it.
And of course, when you have so many cameras here, when Theresa May stepped out of the doors to get into her car, the cacophony of shutters from cameras going off, it doesn't have much to compare it with. You have to be a big showbiz event to match that sort of sense of occasion and moment.
And I think that's what everyone is preparing here with Boris Johnson. Theresa May, she will come back and make that speech. But it's Boris Johnson everyone is waiting for now.
SOARES: There's a change in the air, isn't there?
QUEST: Nic Robertson in Downing Street, you have a busy few hours ahead because you are where all the action is going to be happening.
SOARES: Joining us is Henry Newman, the director of Open Europe, a think tank focusing on the U.K.'s new relationship with the E.U. He is also political adviser to environment minister Michael Gove.
A new relationship with the E.U. How do you envisage that to work out?
HENRY NEWMAN, OPEN EUROPE: That's a key test for Boris Johnson. He set himself a target: do or die Brexit by the 31st of October. A lot of people think it's not possible. So he'll have one of the shortest honeymoons of any new prime minister and it's going to be very, very difficult for him to do that. But I do think there's a path through.
QUEST: What is that path?
I mean you know, I have sat and looked at this upside down, which way and backwards. Unless Europe gives ground on the withdrawal agreement, which they say they won't, I don't think you can do it.
NEWMAN: If you get out without a deal or you could get a different deal, it's coming back. I think Europe will tear up the red lines completely.
But will they move enough?
Because they're going to recognize --
NEWMAN: -- the key thing, the litmus test for this will be the attorney general, the top legal officer's advice. He said there was --
NEWMAN: -- a risk that the U.K. could be permanently stuck in a relationship with the E.U. as a result of the current treaty.
That's why Parliament rejects it. I think if Boris Johnson can get a change, that will be difficult but the E.U. will want to resist conceding further. But they'll recognize that the current deal won't work. The deal is not passing Parliament. Theresa May tried three times and failed. She tried to reach a cross-party agreement with Labour and that failed.
So what way forward do the E.U. see?
They must look at the politics in Britain and think, there's not about to be a clear majority for Remain. A second referendum still seems a long way away. And they don't want a no deal, either. The best way would be a bit of compromise on both sides and a new path.
And Boris Johnson might be somebody with the political skills to be able to sell a deal because Brexiteers would have the confidence that he would make sure that the future relationship is one that he would want.
SOARES: I'm sorry to pour cold water on what you're saying but it's taken three months to get here. We still don't have a solution. We've got -- he's got 100 days. NEWMAN: It's going to be difficult. And the particular difficulty I
think will be when he sits down for Parliament, he'll have two groups on the back benches of his own party which are concerned about his Brexit policy.
On one side, maybe 3 dozen are determined to stop a no deal Brexit almost at any cost. They've said they'll even threaten to bring down the government to stop a no deal. On the other side of the party, he's got MPs determined that, whatever happens, he must leave by the 31st of October.
So his political room for maneuver is so tight --
QUEST: All of these arguments and all of these positions were well known back in March. And then in April -- and they were unable to be rectified and reconciled then. You're pinning an enormous amount on the abilities and characters of one man, basically, aren't you?
You're saying he's able to do this.
NEWMAN: He might be able to. That's the question. I think I don't know the answer. I don't know what Boris Johnson's Brexit policy. He said some things --
NEWMAN: -- that's both an advantage and a disadvantage of course, I also think that the problem we've had in the whole process is that MPs in Parliament behind us haven't actually had to face a counter-point. They kept kicking the can down the road and delaying rather than deciding.
Ultimately, there are just three choices. either you stop Brexit, cancel it, after revoking Article 50 or you can stop it, you can leave with a deal or you can leave without a deal. Those are the only three options. You've got to choose one of those.
QUEST: Parliament has singularly refused to do that.
NEWMAN: And by actually kicking the can down the road, by always feeling they didn't have to face a deadline, they've been able to avoid the decision point.
SOARES: You've got Jeremy Corbyn possibly throwing him a curve ball.
NEWMAN: The big mystery is why the Labour Party have been so absent from the stage. I thought it was interesting to hear Prime Minister May in her last PMQs, turning the screw on Jeremy Corbyn, saying my time is over, you should leave as well.
SOARES: You didn't back my deal.
NEWMAN: The Labour Party promised to respect the referendum result if we voted, trigger Article 50 to start the exit process in the E.U. and then turned around and said, we don't like the deal, we don't want to leave in this way. QUEST: All the power is with the Europeans.
NEWMAN: Some of the power is with the Europeans.
SOARES: The upper hand.
QUEST: You've got the power. They either offer him something that he can then try to get through Parliament or they don't. In which case he's going for a no deal Brexit. With all the difficulties that come here.
NEWMAN: If you talk to Europeans they think that Boris Johnson might be something like Nixon to China. He'll go to Europe and strike a soft compromise and come back and sell it.
I don't think so. I think we should use a different Cold War analogy. Boris Johnson is prepared to pursue mutually assured destruction. We could go to a no deal, damaging for both sides. He's been clear he wants a negotiated outcome. That would be the overwhelming interest of both sides.
I think he is willing to play tough, play hardball with the E.U. and try and get further concessions.
SOARES: We heard from Europe today. The Germans are prepared to change some of the language. But they're not prepared to budge.
NEWMAN: What I here from inside the negotiating team is they're willing to consider surgical changes. Of course, one person's surgery, I think if you're talking appendix or open heart surgery, surgical changes can mean a great deal.
QUEST: It's the backstop. The backstop is the problem.
QUEST: And without the backstop or something remarkably similar, you're throwing the taoiseach and the Irish government under the bus.
NEWMAN: What the Irish government need is the surety that they won't be sold out in the future. It's very difficult to see how they could, now having gone so far, could really pull back that much.
But equally, I think the Irish will recognize and they've said this, that a no deal means no backstop at all. They could be facing the situation in 100 days, where potentially they have to erect a hard border on the island of Ireland because of their stubborn insistence --
NEWMAN: -- to solve the problem of a hard border in the future.
SOARES: Have you heard anything from Boris Johnson when it comes to the backstop?
All I've heard is hyperbole, comparing it to the moon landing, saying there's technology in which we can solve this.
Have you heard any details to suggest which way he might go?
NEWMAN: There is a way to resolve this. The E.U. is basically also accepting that now. The E.U. has put themselves under a new legal duty that, if the majority agreement is passed, they will find arrangements with the U.K. to replace the backstop. Otherwise, the Brexiteers are right. The backstop is a way of trapping the U.K. permanently.
If the E.U. is saying this is the only odd site, then you've got to accept this and live with it.
QUEST: Stay with us, please. Stay with us.
Let's go back to Parliament, it's 12:45 and in the next five minutes, prime minister's questions should be coming to an end. Let's listen to Theresa May.
MAY: -- from his own experience is changing people's lives and improving those lives for the better.
BERCOW: Ah, yes, a singular denizen of the House: Sir John Hayes.
SIR JOHN HAYES, CONSERVATIVE MP: The prime minister and I first encountered the "bumping pitch and blinding light" of parliamentary life together in 1997 and, since then, over many tests, have endured some defeats and enjoyed many victories.
As she reflects on her innings on the Front Bench, will she count among her greatest achievements the falling number of workless households, which has succored personal responsibility, secured family stability and nurtured communal pride? Will she continue that work and, in doing so, unite the whole House in that mission?
MAY: I thank my right honorable friend for that and also thank him for all the work that we did together when he was a Home Office minister. He worked very hard to ensure that what I believe is an extremely important and pioneering piece of legislation, the Investigatory Powers Act 2016, went through this House.
I am very happy to welcome the fact that we now have that low number of workless households in this country. We all know that children brought up in a household where there is work are more likely to do better at school and more likely to succeed further in their own lives.
Reducing the number of workless households is an important aim and one that I would have hoped could be accepted and championed across this whole House.
BERCOW: Ian Austin.
IAN AUSTIN, INDEPENDENT MP: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
May I start by associating myself completely with the final answer that the prime minister gave to the leader of the opposition about his need to consider his future?
AUSTIN: Hold on, hold on. (INAUDIBLE) as well.
It is absolutely clear to me that the vast majority of Labour MPs agree with her, too.
AUSTIN: Mr. Speaker, Mr. Speaker, hundreds of people -- hundreds of people -- hundreds of people have come to my community meetings in the last few weeks. They are worried about antisocial behavior, car crime, burglaries and violent crime, too.
They want more police on the streets and more criminals locked up, so will the prime minister urge her successor to make sure that West Midlands police gets all the support it needs to keep people in Dudley safe?
MAY: First, I congratulate the honorable gentleman on his appointment as trade envoy to Israel. He has done a lot of work on anti-Semitism and should be congratulated on it.
We have been ensuring that we put more money into police forces: around 1 billion pounds extra is available to police forces this year and many police forces around the country are recruiting more officers.
On the theme with which the honorable gentleman started his question, I imagine that to him and to others it is a matter of great sadness that the leader of the opposition took the Labour Party through voting against extra money for the police and against extra powers for the police.
BERCOW: Victoria Prentis.
VICTORIA PRENTIS, CONSERVATIVE MP: Mr. Speaker, 31 people were killed in Idlib yesterday and many tens of thousands of people were displaced -- again. I thank the prime minister for her personal commitment to Syria and to international development more widely. I would like her to join me in reassuring the people of Syria that all of us here will continue to remember them.
MAY: First, I commend my honorable friend's work in setting up Singing for Syrians, which has been raising funds --
MAY: -- for people in Syria and the commitment that she has shown to the people of Syria. We remain and the Conservative Government will remain, committed to working for a political solution in Syria that can provide the stability and security that the people of Syria deserve.
BERCOW: Nigel Dodds.
NIGEL DODDS, SHADOW DUP SPOKESPERSON: Mr. Speaker, can I join others in thanking the prime minister for her years of public service as Home Secretary and as the prime minister, for the thoroughly decent, dedicated, honorable way she has carried out all her our duties and for the very courteous and proper way she has dealt with us as a party.
Working together, we have ensured that there actually is a Conservative and Unionist government of the United Kingdom, which will please many in the House. I will also please Labour members by saying that we have ensured that there is no early general election.
Now that the prime minister has more time on her hands with her dear husband, Philip, I urge her to come to Northern Ireland and avail herself of the many walking opportunities there. She will have seen the wonderful Open championship this weekend in Royal Portrush, which was a credit to Northern Ireland and to the United Kingdom. The warm hospitality of the people of Northern Ireland was on show and it is open to her as well.
MAY: I thank the right honorable gentleman for the discussions we have had and the support he has continued to give to the Conservative and Unionist Party so that there is a Conservative and Unionist government in this country. I thank him for the warm invitation to Northern Ireland he has given to me and Philip.
I have enjoyed my visits to Northern Ireland. I congratulate all those in Northern Ireland who were involved in putting on the Open championship at Portrush. There was a slight issue with the weather, which may have favored those who came close to the top of the championship, but it was an excellent championship and many people will have seen the delights and benefits of Northern Ireland when they attended that event.
BERCOW: Jacob Rees-Moog.
JACOB REES-MOGG, CONSERVATIVE MP: As somebody who has not invariably seen eye-to-eye with the prime minister, may I thank her for her remarkable public service, for showing that highest of virtues, a sense of duty and, on top of that, for being willing to deal with enormous courtesy with people who must on occasions have been annoying to her?
On behalf of many people, I thank the prime minister.
MAY: Can I say --
BERCOW: Order. Fortunately, because the honorable gentleman's voice carries, I was able to hear his question, but I am at least as interested to hear the answer.
MAY: I thank my honorable friend for his remarks. This place is about debate, argument and discussion about the issues that we all believe in so passionately and that matter to us all. Those debates and discussions are best held when they are held with respect and courtesy.
I thank my honorable friend for the courtesy that he has shown to me in our discussions together. I look forward to probably continuing some of those discussions when I join him on the back benches.
BERCOW: Jo Swinson.
JO SWINSON, DEPUTY LEADER, LIBERAL DEMOCRATS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
When I think of girls growing up in East Dunbartonshire, it is inspiring for them to see women in positions of power, whether that is as First Minister of Scotland or as Prime Minister of our United Kingdom.
What advice does the prime minister have for women throughout the country on how to deal with those men who think they could do a better job but are not prepared to do the actual work?
BERCOW: Prime Minister.
MAY: My advice to all women is to be true to yourself, persevere, keep going and be true to the vision that you are working for. I congratulate the honorable lady on her election as leader of her party.
I am pleased that we have a Member representing a Scottish constituency who is a leader of a United Kingdom party. That goes to show that we are one United Kingdom and MPs from the four nations of our Union sit in this House on the basis of equality.
I also congratulate the honorable lady on becoming --
MAY: -- the first woman to lead the Liberal party. And as I stand down, I am pleased to be able to hand the baton on to another female leader of a political party.
As I look around the chamber, I have to say that we almost have a full set. My party has had two women leaders, the Liberal Democrats now have a woman leader and the SNP has a woman leader, as does the DUP, Plaid and the Greens. Even --
Wait for it. Even the independent TIGger group, Change U.K., or whatever they are calling themselves this week, are now on to their second woman leader. There is only one party in this House letting the side down: the Labour Party.
HELEN WHATELY, DEPUTY CHAIR, CONSERVATIVE PARTY: I thank my right honorable friend for all she has done for women in Parliament and in this country, from co-founding Women2Win to tackling domestic abuse and modern slavery and legislating to make our society more equal. Will she urge her successor to build on her work and make Britain the best place in the world to be a woman?
BERCOW: Prime Minister.
MAY: I am very happy to urge that commitment for the future. I thank my honorable friend for raising that issue. I am very pleased that under my government, we have seen the gender pay gap at a record low, female employment at a record high and a record percentage of women on executive boards.
With our women's empowerment road map, we are now looking at how we can empower women in this country from school to retirement. I want women in this country to feel that there are no limits to how far they can go and what they can do with their lives.
BERCOW: Yvette Cooper.
YVETTE COOPER, CHAIR, HOME AFFAIRS COMMITTEE: We have disagreed on many things over the years, but the prime minister knows that I have long respected her resilience, commitment to public duty and seriousness, as well as her work on national security. I assure her that there is much to be done from the back benches. She knows that I once said to her that I believed she was not the kind of person who would take this country into a chaotic no-deal scenario, not least because of the advice she had had on the risks to our national security. I am fearful about her successor, so can she reassure me that she really thinks, in her heart, that her successor will take those national security warnings as seriously as she has? If he does not, in October, will she speak out?
MAY: First, I have every confidence that my successor will take all the issues that he needs to look at in making these decisions and others across Government as seriously as they need to be taken. I also say to her -- I am sorry, but I will say this -- that she is absolutely right that I have always said that I believe it is better for this country to leave with a good deal and I believe we negotiated a good deal. I voted three times in this House for a good deal. I spoke to the right honorable Lady about this issue. If she was so concerned about the security aspect of no deal, she should have voted for the deal.
DAME CHERYL GILLAN, CONSERVATIVE MP: In every aspect of her public life, the prime minister has put her heart and soul into giving people the best chance in life. Without understanding, autistic people and their families, who number 2.8 million in the U.K., are all at risk of being isolated and developing mental health problems. In thanking the prime minister for all the work she has done in furthering the debate surrounding mental health and removing the stigma, may I ask her whether, after she has left the Front Bench to spend more meaningful time with her husband Philip, she will join the all-party parliamentary group on autism and become a champion and advocate for autistic people throughout the country?
MAY: I thank my right honorable friend for her question and for the groundbreaking work she did on the Autism Act 2009. That legislation helped to raise people's awareness of the issues experienced by those on the autistic spectrum and greatly increased our understanding of what we need to do to enable people with autism to lead fulfilling lives.
There are many issues in which I want to take an interest when I am on the back benches and this, along with the wider issue of mental health, I want --