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Sikh MP Criticizes Johnson Over 2018 Comments on Burqas; House of Commons to Vote on Election Today; European Union Watches British Brexit Debate. Aired 3-4p ET

Aired September 4, 2019 - 15:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[15:05:13]

SIR PATRICK MCLOUGHLIN, BRITISH MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT, CONSERVATIVE PARTY: Does the Leader of the Opposition want a general election? A yes or no

will suffice.

JEREMY CORBYN, BRITISH MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT, LABOUR PARTY: Yes, well, the obviously did not hear what I just said. I was about to point out before I

was gently interrupted by the Honorable Member that the offer of the election today is a bit like the offer of an apple to Snow White and the

Wicked Queen, because what he is offering is not an apple or even an election, but the poison of a no deal.

So, Mr. Speaker, I will repeat what I said last night. Let this Bill pass and gain Royal Assent, then we will back an election so we do not crash out

with a no-deal exit from the European Union.

And so is the anti-democratic instincts of this Government that cause us concern. Despite the expressed will of the House to support the Bill

debated today, the Conservative peers, their colleagues in the Lords have tabled 92 Amendments for debate.

I really doubt that this is motivated by a desire to improve the legislation; not a bit of it, but to filibuster it. An undemocratic cabal

in Downing Street, aligned with an undemocratic and unelected House to override the democratic will of this House expressed in the Bill that we

have just given a Third Reading to. If they can't cannot win the argument, they try to shut down debate.

We had the Prime Minister deciding to prorogue Parliament in August, and today he wants to dissolve Parliament to shut down scrutiny. He cannot

handle dissent and debate in his own party, and has extraordinarily expelled 21 of his own MPs who voted against him last night. The hypocrisy

of this process is phenomenal, from a Prime Minister who twice voted against the last Prime Minister's Brexit plans.

A general election is not a plaything for a Prime Minister to avoid his obligations, to dodge scrutiny or to renege on commitments. He is

committed to renegotiate Brexit, but where is it? Where is the plan and where are the proposals? If he has a Brexit plan, be it no deal or the new

mystery proposal deal that we have yet to see any information of, then he should put it before the public in a public vote -- a referendum or a

general election -- and seek a mandate from them.

Let the Prime Minister go to Brussels tomorrow and ask for an extension so that he can seek a mandate for his unknown Brexit plan and put it before

the people.

The truth, Mr. Speaker is that this motion from the Prime Minister is about playing a disingenuous game that is unworthy of his office. I look forward

to the day when his Government and his party, all the austerity and misery they have heaped on this country are turfed out of office, and when we

prevent this country from crashing out on 31st October, with all the damage -- he knows, because he has already seen the documents -- it will do to

people's lives and job prospects in this country. It is a cynical movement from a cynical Prime Minister.

JOHN BERCOW, SPEAKER, HOUSE OF COMMONS: Mr. Kenneth Clarke?

KENNETH CLARKE, BRITISH MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT, INDEPENDENT: I do not know whether the House wants a debate, so I will be very brief. I was going to

joining if other people were going to debate, Mr. Speaker. Thank you for encouraging me, no doubt to the deep distress of everybody else waiting to

have an important vote.

I merely say that I have found these exchanges quite predictable; they had been well rehearsed before they took place. I do think that the Prime

Minister, with the greatest respect has a tremendous skill in keeping a straight face whilst he is being so disingenuous.

The fact is he is now desperate to have an election in order to bring this House's proceedings to an end, and to have the general election, clearly,

before October the 31st. He is obviously going to campaign before that on the basis that he has been thwarted in getting an amazing, beneficial deal

for this country which is actually being blocked by wicked continental politicians and by MPs in the House of Commons who have no sense of the

true national interest, which is to keep him in power.

It is wrong to say that the opposition to him is trying to reverse the referendum. A very large percentage of those who have been defeating him

in the last two days are prepared to vote for Brexit. They voted for Brexit more often than he has. He caused delay in March and he caused

delay in April but we wished to proceed on satisfactory and reasonable terms.

We now have a Bill which is the beginning of a pathway to actually give us more time for grown-up, sensible, diplomatic exchanges between each other.

The idea that the European Union are refusing us a deal because they think that they are going to trap us in it permanently is nonsense. They are

desperate to get a deal -- of course they are desperate to get a deal -- but not so desperate that they are going to accept terms that will cause

chaos in Northern Ireland, politically and economically, and will shatter the normal rules which hold together the single market and the Customs

Union upon which they are based.

The Prime Minister has thrown down dramatic conditions that he must know make any sensible negotiations pointless unless he changes his direction.

He is now Prime Minister. He is now a responsible politician with huge responsibility.

I urge him one last time to stop treating all this as a game and to use the time to actually get a serious resolution of these impossible problems to

look after the future goodwill of this country, keeping us a proper -- no doubt different relationship with our partners on the continent, and, in

particular, keeping our economic and trading relationships intact, because they are essential for the future of our children and grandchildren.

BERCOW: Mr. Ian Blackford.

HALA GORANI, CNN HOST: Well, the breaking news, just in the last few minutes, the House of Commons has approved a bill designed to stop a no-

deal Brexit by 327 votes to 299. A majority of 28. Carole Walker is still with us and we have Conservative MP Nadhim Zahawi, who is joining us as

well.

Sir, let me start with you. You support Boris Johnson.

NADHIM ZAHAWI, BRITISH MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT, CONSERVATIVE PARTY: I do.

GORANI: The House has now in as many days he has lost two votes. There's another motion now being put forth on for a general election, he might lose

that as well, because he needs a two thirds majority. Where is he going from here?

ZAHAWI: Well, I think the Bill that the House passed tonight essentially takes away any negotiation leverage that the government would have had with

the European Union. It is, as the Prime Minister said, it is Jeremy Corbyn's Surrender Bill effectively, because it all asks for is an

extension.

But what does that deliver for the country? When I speak to businesses in Stratford-on-Avon, in my constituency, and in the U.K., businesses can deal

with any outcome as long as they have certainty and they will focus on the 31st of October.

GORANI: Mr. Zahawi, you called it Corbyn's Surrender Bill, it wouldn't have gone through without big name conservatives, like Ken Clarke, the

Father of the House, the grandson of Winston Churchill. They're all standing in opposition to the Prime Minister.

ZAHAWI: And they are friends of mine, but I respectfully disagree with them. I think what this Bill does is take away any leverage. What the

Prime Minister is doing is saying, look, if this is what you want, then let's put it to the country in a general election. Now, he didn't get it

through. We may not get to through tonight, but Labour for the last two years have been effectively asking for a general election.

They have said yesterday that if this Bill does pass through the Lord's, it is going to the Lord's now, then they will vote for a general election. So

I suspect what we're going to have is a general election on the 15th of October, but not that we want a general election. We want to leave the

European Union with a fair deal, an equitable deal on the 31st of October.

But clearly, if they are good to their word that they confirmed yesterday that once this legislation passes, they will then go for a general

election, then we're going to have a general election.

RICHARD QUEST, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST, QUEST MEANS BUSINESS: I mean, that's what the Leader of the Opposition just said specifically that if

this -- once this become law, so that's -- because essentially, they don't trust the Prime Minister or they didn't say that. They said they don't

trust the Prime Minister not to get a date and then change it if that didn't become law and the reality is though, the whole -- where do we go

from now? A general election on the 15th of October, where the outcome if the polls are to be believed, create a hung Parliament?

[15:10:22]

ZAHAWI: Well, the latest analysis of the polling, I spent ten years of my life is pollster before becoming a politician, as the founder of you.gov,

is that the Conservative Party would win a majority in parliament.

I think the Prime Minister will have a compelling message to say, look, if you vote for the Conservative Party, we will get a fair deal, an equitable

deal with the European Union, because we'll have that leverage. Because we're prepared for WTO outcome, not that we want it, but we prepare for it

as the best way to get a deal, or you vote for Jeremy Corbyn and his Surrender Bill.

QUEST: Do you accept? Do you accept that there is virtually no chance of getting a new deal from the E.U. by the end of October, bearing in mind how

long it took the first one, and they require a verifiable, workable alternative to the backstop?

ZAHAWI: I don't accept that because I think the E.U. has already messaged that actually, as Angela Merkel has said that, you know, look, we've got 30

days to find a solution to what the Prime Minister was proposing, which is say, look, let's take the issue of the backstop out of the withdrawal

agreement, and then we can move forward with a deal that works that can get through Parliament.

So I don't actually accept -- and the E.U. historically, you know this because you've been covering the E.U. for so long, are the masters of the

11th hour plus one minute deal. And that's what they do. And what the Prime Minister wanted to do is be able to go to the Summit on the 17th, get

a deal and then bring it back to Parliament.

So I don't respectfully understand what my colleagues were trying to do, because it's still -- Parliament would have had time to scrutinize that

deal and do what they did today in 24 hours.

CAROLE WALKER, POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Can we just though point out the fact that the Prime Minister, he has only been in power a few weeks, he's

just suffered another defeat. He has had to sack from the party more than 20 very senior Conservative MPs as they were.

You seem to be acknowledging that he is going to lose on this effort this evening to try to get a general election. His whole strategy for

delivering Brexit is pretty much in tatters at the moment.

ZAHAWI: Well, colleagues chose to vote the way they did, in the full knowledge that the whip will be withdrawn from them, if they had control of

Parliament to Jeremy Corbyn. That is an unprecedented thing to do. And I think they were told beforehand, and it was their decision. And I respect

them for making that decision. But it was their decision to go down that path and have the whip withdrawn.

WALKER: But where does Boris Johnson go from here?

ZAHAWI: What Boris Johnson doing is doing is saying, look -- to Jeremy Corbyn -- if you really believe that the nation should decide this issue

between Boris's position which is to get an equitable deal, a fair deal for Britain with the E.U. in a proper negotiation with all the levers available

to him or a surrender bill that Jeremy Corbyn wants, put it to the country.

You've been asking for two years, go ahead and put it -- and I think ultimately Labour will have to do that because they will come under

pressure from the people and the people ultimately are sovereign.

GORANI: So the question is, of course, a deal that took three years to negotiate with the E.U. really drawing very clear lines about their

willingness to negotiate the backstop, the guarantee that there will be no hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. How in a

few weeks, will Boris Johnson magically come up with some sort of agreement that everybody -- not everybody -- but at least the majority in Parliament

will be happy with? It's unclear to me.

ZAHAWI: Well, if we end up with a general elections, I think we will do on the 15th of October. And Boris has returned as I believe he will be with a

mandate to get an equitable deal. The E.U. are the masters of a last- minute deal and they know what the parameters of that deal, it's to do with a backstop.

I think this is eminently doable. And Boris is actually saying to Labour, is look if you believe in your conviction, right? Put it to the nation in

a general election.

QUEST: Let me just ask you, let's assume that this bill passes -- and we have an election on October the 15th, and Boris Johnson is returned to

power. He still got the law of the land, which is go and ask for a delay. What does he do?

ZAHAWI: Well, he has a majority which I think -- I hope, he will, I think he will. He is able to come back to Parliament and take away that piece of

legislation that's been passed, maybe pass a reverse and go back to the E.U. and say look, negotiate with me on a fair equitable deal, and we'll

get there.

[15:15:12]

GORANI: All right Nadhim Zahawi, thank you so much for joining us, Conservative MP -- on the program. And if you're just joining us, history

was made in London here. The House of Commons has just approved -- and there goes my phone, apologies -- just approved the Bill intended to head

off a no-deal Brexit. It would force the British government to seek another extension if there is no deal with the E.U.

We just heard from Prime Minister Boris Johnson who called for elections on Tuesday, the October 15th.

QUEST: Now, Boris Johnson called it a Surrender Bill and says it effectively ends negotiations. It is worth just pausing for a moment and

just considering where we are tonight, and the frankly unholy mess that exists in British politics.

The U.K. Parliament has just voted in favor of a delay to Brexit. One that the Prime Minister says he will not go and seek.

GORANI: Yes.

QUEST: Instead, he is now asking Parliament for an election. Something tonight, he is unlikely to get.

GORANI: And also the question is, why at this point with Parliament that just voted to block a no deal grant Boris Johnson his request for an

election. If he is brought back to power, he can then with his majority reverse the law, right?

QUEST: Listen to the way Boris Johnson called for the election on October the 15th.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: Mr. Speaker, it is completely impossible for government to function if the House of Commons refuses to

pass anything that the government proposes and in my view, and the view of this government, there must now be an election on Tuesday, the 15th of

October.

And I invite the Right Honorable Gentleman to respond to decide which of us goes as Prime Minister to that crucial Council on Thursday, the 17th of

October.

I think it's very sad that MPs have voted like this. But if I'm still Prime -- I do -- I think it's a great dereliction of democratic duty, Mr.

Speaker. But if I'm still Prime Minister after Tuesday, the 15th of October, then we will leave on the 31st of October with, I hope, a much

better deal.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

QUEST: All right, that's the Prime Minister calling for the election. And Nic Robertson is outside Number 10 Downing Street. Nic, I'm sure you're

all feeling the cold autumnal wind, which is now starting to blow around us here at Westminster physically and metaphorically, and it must be near

freezing in Downing Street.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: And it must be an ice box where the Prime Minister is sitting as well, because he had a very

public evisceration by the most venerable, if you will, the Father of the House, Ken Clarke, a member of his own party, or at least he was until

yesterday, when the Prime Minister withdrew his whip and sacked him.

But Ken Clarke dealt Boris Johnson a huge blow. You could hear in Boris Johnson's speech, he lacked some of the verve that we have seen in the

past. But this was a man, an elder statesman in Boris Johnson's own party and I say he was in his own party because he was until yesterday, cutting

the Prime Minister down.

It was almost, listening to a schoolmaster talking to a school boy. The age difference perhaps the same. What Ken Clarke said was, "The Prime

Minister has shown great skill in keeping a straight face while being so disingenuous."

It is now time for the Prime Minister he said to stop treating this as a game. That's the sort of thing a teacher says to a child in a classroom.

Yet this was live on national television, a member -- a former Member of the Prime Minister's party, a venerable member, a respected member of his

party, telling the Prime Minister to stop treating this as again the Prime Minister was cut down to size by a former member of his party who the Prime

Minister cut down from the party just in the last 24 hours.

This was a public evisceration. It was a huge dressing down. It would do nothing to put a bounce back into Boris Johnson's step and it will do

nothing to convince the opposition or any others in the Parliament not backing the Prime Minister to support him in the call for a general

election right now.

The Prime Minister right now is blowing in a political wind of misfortune and it is in the opposition's interest to keep him there because they will

face him in a general election and the more diminished the Prime Minister is, the better it is for the opposition.

[15:20:06]

GORANI: Nic Robertson, thanks very much. James Blitz is the Whitehall editor at "The Financial Times," and he joins us now. You asked me while

Nic was reporting from 10 Downing Street. Do you understand British politics now, for our viewers around the world, and I get this a lot on

Twitter and on social media. They're asking simply, what is going on?

JAMES BLITZ, WHITEHALL EDITOR, THE FINANCIAL TIMES: I don't know. I have no right idea of what's going on. Boris Johnson has been quite

extraordinarily aggressive and the approach has taken the Brexit on the first five or six weeks in Number 10.

What's basically happened is that Parliament has now said, "Okay, we don't want to have a no -deal Brexit on October 31." So they are passing

legislation through the Commons today, through the Lords in the next few days that basically says, "If you don't get a deal by October the 19th,

then you have to negotiate a further extension." He said, "I'm not having my hands tied like that. So I want an election."

The Labour Party is saying, "Okay, you can have an election. But you've got to get this Bill through all its stages and on the statute first," but

although Jeremy Corbyn has said that tonight, the truth is that that doesn't really make no deal impossible.

QUEST: How come? Explain.

BLITZ: Because if Boris Johnson wins an election, which is quite possible, where the majority on whatever it is, October the 15th, he can then turn

around and say, "I'm overturning that piece of legislation."

GORANI: But then why would any opposition support the idea of a general election if it's possible that Boris Johnson, if re-elected, or if his

party gains a majority can just rip up the bill?

BLITZ: Well, that's a very, very good question. What's happened is there is an internal debate in Labour at the moment. Corbyn is saying, pass the

law and we will have an election. Other people in the Labour Party have seem -- a lot of MPs are saying, we don't just want to pass the law, we

actually have to implement this thing fully and get the extension agreed with the E.U. before we agree to on election. But that could be a process

lasting five, six, seven weeks.

QUEST: But you'd agree if that were to happen. He wins an election, where he has gone to the country and said, I am still prepared to take us out on

October 31st. Vote me in and you are giving me a mandate to do that.

Then when he comes -- if he did win, he would be perfectly entitled, legitimately to overturn and leave with no deal.

BLITZ: That is correct. But you have to understand one other piece of Boris Johnson's strategy. He wants an election in which he is going to

say, "Vote for me, no-deal Brexit or you'll get Corbyn." He mixes the two thing up.

Corbyn is a very polarizing figure in British politics. A lot of people don't like him. A lot of people don't want a no-deal Brexit, but they

don't want to vote for Corbyn either. And so mixing those two things up in an election campaign helps Boris Johnson and helps no deal.

My personal view is it will be far better if we had a referendum where people were asked straight, "no deal or stay" rather than have a general

election which is no deal versus Corbyn.

If it is no deal versus Corbyn, it requires him to make a really difficult choice if you're a kind of moderate middle of the road kind of person if

you see what I mean.

GORANI: My final question, which is would you like to leave without a deal? Or would you like to stay is quite unequivocal then? Because people

know the consequences of a no-deal for two plus years. You've had experts, the Governor of the Bank of England, others, pundits analyzing great detail

what the consequences might be. So -- and that might then just bring some finality, some closure to this question.

BLITZ: Well, it's my view, but the problem is, we look like we are moving to an election where the question for the British people is going to be,

either you have no deal, okay, which a lot of people don't want. They can see it's a catastrophe or you have to vote for this guy called, Jeremy

Corbyn, who might possibly have a second referendum, might stop no deal. But is very, very hard left, he has a legacy on anti-Semitism.

My view is that's not a good choice to put to the British public. It's a very dangerous choice. But Johnson wants that because he thinks he is more

likely to win than if he says no deal. Vote for me. And Corbyn is the other person. Do you see what I mean?

GORANI: Yes, absolutely, I do.

QUEST: Wow, what a mess. Thank you.

GORANI: James Blitz, thanks so much for joining us.

QUEST: There are other major stories that we are following and we will bring you up to date.

The Bahamas rescue operations are underway, but when you see the size and scale of the devastation, you'll realize just what an enormous task they

have. We will be there after the break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[15:27:15]

GORANI: There was an interesting moment in Parliament during the Prime Minister's Questions. A Sikh MP called out Mr. Johnson for a 2018 article

where he described burkas as oppressive and ridiculous, while proclaiming that he was against the total ban on the headwear.

Tan Dhesi asked see asked for an apology and his fiery comments even drew applause. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TANMANJEET SINGH DHESI, BRITISH MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT, LABOUR PARTY: Mr. Speaker, if I decide to wear a turban, or you decide to wear a cross, or he

decides to wear a kippah or a skullcap or she decides to wear hijab or a burqa, does that mean that it is open season for Right Honorable Members of

this House to make derogatory and divisive remarks about our parents.

For those of us who from a young age have had to endure and face up to being called names such as towel head or Taliban, or coming from Bongo-

Bongo Land, we can appreciate full well the hurt and pain felt by already vulnerable Muslim women when they are described as looking like bank

robbers and letterboxes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GORANI: Tan Dhesi, he joins us now live. That moment went viral online. Did you did you think that it would have such an impact?

DHESI: You never know which way anything is going to go. But for me, it was important that we got the message out there because people in positions

of power, they need to be held to account.

The Prime Minister can't just simply make incendiary comments and think that nobody is going to hold into account. And those comments actually had

a spike in hate crime as a direct result of that.

So I thought it was important that somebody who has been through a similar experience, that I needed to be the voice for those Muslim women. But

overall, what we've seen is that those women who are wearing burqas and hijabs that people have come along and tried to take those off, just as

somebody tried to do with me when I was at school, and somebody tried to pull off my turban. So that is why I felt very, very strongly and

passionately about that.

GORANI: You demanded an apology. You didn't get one. You didn't get one. But the prime minister said the point of my column at the time wasn't to

insult Muslim women. It was to say Muslim women are allowed to wear what they want. But then of course went on to use terribly offensive language

to describe their dress.

DHESI: Offensive, he knew exactly what was going on. His usage of words. He, like the rest of us knows that we have a platform, we have a voice and

people listen to that voice. And that is why words do have consequences

[15:30:00]

DHESI: And that is why words do have consequences. When he says something, that is why it's translated into that spike and hate crime. And

for him to think that those are just throw-away comments and that it won't have any impact, that's absolutely nonsense.

And I thought that his response, the Prime Minister's response was pathetic. And that was called out by the leader of Lib Dems and others

because neither did he apologize for his hurtful and divisive and derogatory comments.

And neither did he order an inquiry into islamophobia within the Conservative Party. Something which he and his chancellor promised on

national television.

HALA GORANI, HOST, HALA GORANI TONIGHT: And you're Sikh, you're not Muslim, right? And yet, you thought it was your duty, I guess, to defend

Muslims. I mean, I find that -- I find that as -- I know that you're -- for the reason that you're explaining which is that you two in the past

have been the target of bigots, but why specifically this? Why come to the defense of Muslim women?

DHESI: If you look at Sikh teachings, you're very right, you're very perceptive. I am a Sikh, but within the Sikh teachings, it actually says

that you should recognize humanity as one. So, if I am not standing up for those women, just because I'm a man doesn't mean that I cannot stand up for

women's rights just because I am a Sikh, doesn't mean that I can -- I should not be speaking out for Muslims.

If I don't speak up for those people, when it comes to the likes of me or you, nobody will be there to speak up for us.

RICHARD QUEST, HOST, QUEST MEANS BUSINESS: Good to see you sir, thank you very much.

GORANI: Thank you Tan Dhesi; a Labor MP for joining us, appreciate it.

QUEST: Our coverage continues, this is CNN.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

QUEST: Extraordinary events of history taking place. The House of Commons has approved a bill intended to stop a no-deal Brexit, forcing the

government to seek an extension. It now goes to the other chamber, the House of Lords where it has to pass all its stages there.

[15:35:00]

GORANI: And as we mentioned Boris Johnson called for a snap election, a vote on that is expected next hour. Well, Brussels is watching closely

from the sidelines, and let's get more on the EU's reaction to all this drama. Nina dos Santos joins us. Nina.

NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Thanks so much, Hala. Yes, well, Brussels was pretty silent over the last 72 hours waiting to see what

exactly would prevail in the series of these votes. They're also waiting for a series of technical talks that were taking place with the U.K.'s

envoy David Frost who spent five hours in the building behind me, the European Commission speaking to the likes of Michel Barnier.

And what we also have, as you can see, we've currently got a truck that's probably behind us. And -- but what we also have is now Michel Barnier

breaking his silence. Now, he headed from the building behind us to the European parliament to go and brief the European parliament Brexit steering

team.

And heading out to the building, he got a chance to speak to reporters, saying that the EU from its perspective remains calm, vigilant but also

united. Hala, that's a sign that if the EU had to choose between the down side and economic after-shocks of a no-deal Brexit from the unity of the

single market, they'd pick safeguarding the unity of the single market every single time.

And now a member of that Brexit steering committee also went further. This is Phillip Lambert(ph) who represents a growing number of green MPs inside

the European parliament who alongside the Liberal Democrats -- you heard the leader of the Liberal Democrats in Westminster Jo Swinson speak a

couple of minutes ago.

Both of these two parties made big gains here for some of the U.K. constituencies in the European parliament. Phillip Lambert(ph) is on the

green side on that Brexit steering committee of the European parliament said for all the PM's bluster about getting a deal, there are no real

negotiations it seems going on in Brussels despite the EU's door being wide open.

So, that gives you an idea about the chasm of trust between what Boris Johnson's team is putting on the table. The EU says their door is always

open, but come to us with concrete proposals and wants this -- take as the springboard launch pad, the original withdrawal deal and that idea of the

Irish backstop that Boris Johnson has made so clear he just wants to take out and scrap completely. Hala?

GORANI: All right, Nina dos Santos, thanks very much. Still to come, we'll take you through the Bahamas where rescue operations are under way to

help the people who survived Hurricane Dorian. And also, Hong Kong's chief executive scraps the controversial bill that sparked months of clashes and

chaos, but the protesters are saying it is not enough.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[15:40:00]

GORANI: Now, a Hurricane Dorian update. The center of the now Category 2 storm is about 185 kilometers off the U.S. East Coast to bringing rain,

wind and heavy surf to parts of Florida. The worry right now is an expected turn towards the northwest which could bring the storm dangerously

close to the states of North and South Carolina later this week.

Before heading toward the U.S. East Coast though, Hurricane Dorian devastated the northern Bahamas. Large areas are under water, thousands of

homes were destroyed or damaged, at least, seven people are dead, many more are missing. Patrick Oppmann is there.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The view from above the Bahamas apocalyptic. Revealing communities flattened and rows of homes

underwater, others scattered into long stretches of debris.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the worst experience I have ever had with a hurricane.

OPPMANN: This is just a small glimpse of the scale of destruction here after Hurricane Dorian battered the Bahamas for days. The deadly storm

leaving behind catastrophic devastation on Abaco and Grand Bahama islands, making rescue efforts nearly impossible.

HUBERT MINNIS, PRIME MINISTER, BAHAMAS: We are seeing the courage of Bahamian volunteers who are coming to the rescue of others using whatever

resources they have available at their hand.

OPPMANN: This all volunteer crew doing what they can by any means necessary, using boats and even jet skis.

ROCHENEL DANIEL, RESCUER: They were exhausted, some we had to carry, some couldn't even make it. First, what we found is my brother, he has cleared

lots of tree and he made us safe, but we were unable to locate his wife at the moment. We hope that she's OK.

OPPMANN: The team banding together to save the lives of family members, neighbors and even complete strangers.

DANIEL: We have a lot of people supporting us. Everybody we're going to have a team as you already know, is really hard, but you know what I'm

saying, but we shall overcome.

OPPMANN: Howard Armstrong was rescued after his house flooded to the ceiling. One of hundreds lost as the storm surge flooded neighborhoods.

He survived, his wife did not.

HOWARD ARMSTRONG, HURRICANE SURVIVOR: My poor little wife got hypothermia and she was standing on top of the kitchen cabinets until they

disintegrated, and then I kept with her and she just drowned on me.

OPPMANN: U.S. Coast Guard rescue missions are proving difficult. Cars underwater blocking the roads along with fallen trees and downed power

lines leaving people in the dark, hoping conditions will improve after experiencing the unimaginable.

MICHAEL HYNES, HURRICANE SURVIVOR: Nothing just -- nothing compares to what we went through in the past few days. You know, almost 48 hours now,

non-stop carnage.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

GORANI: Wow, that was Patrick Oppmann reporting. We'll have more on Hurricane Dorian a little bit later. Hong Kong's embattled leader Carrie

Lam has fully withdrawn the controversial Extradition Bill after three months of demonstrations. The move comes as protesters' tactics became

increasingly violent in recent weeks and were met as well with violent response in some cases.

In a video statement, she also pledged to increase dialogue with the community and seek an independent review of the political, economic and

social climate. However, Carrie Lam says the top priority is to stop the violence.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CARRIE LAM, CHIEF EXECUTIVE, HONG KONG: Fellow citizens, lingering violence is damaging the very foundations of our society, especially the

rule of law. Some people, though not many, attacked the central government's office in Hong Kong and vandalized the national flag and

national emblem.

This is a direct challenge to one country, two systems. Both have put Hong Kong in a highly vulnerable and dangerous situation. In respect of our

grievances or the death of this contentment towards the government, we cannot agree or accept that violence is a solution to our problems.

Our foremost priority now is to end violence, to safeguard the rule of law and to restore order and safety in society.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[15:45:00]

GORANI: All right, that was Carrie Lam. I understand we can go now to our Victor Blackwell who is in the Bahamas with the very latest on what's

happening there. Victor, what's happening where you are? What are you seeing?

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So, here's the very latest. We just saw a truck pull up with chain saws and tents. There's a palette of pet

food here as well. And the people here in Nassau are grateful for the support of the international community. But instead of taking supplies to

Abaco which was hard hit, we've seen the video now, they want prioritized bringing the people from the island here to Nassau.

This is the first stop for people who are blocked by the U.S. Coast Guard, by the Royal British Navy. Many of them are brought here to ambulances you

see here parked behind me or put on to buses and then placed on to -- or taken rather to the Princess Margaret Hospital here in Nassau. We heard

from some people here who say they have the resources, the can get a chopper to go over to Abaco, but the government is only regulating a

specific number of pilots, and they can't get past that barrier to go and rescue their family members. Here's more of what they said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARTYSTA TURNQUEST, HURRICANE DORIAN SURVIVOR: It's really challenging to know just that we were prepared -- I mean, before the storm, it didn't

really touch our area. So, where we live, where our family members lived, we were talking about northern Abaco, it's 15 miles away. So, the last

messages we got from them were 2:00 p.m. on Sunday.

After that, there was no cell phone service. So, cell phone service was the first thing to go. We were able to communicate with a family friend

who has a satellite phone, and pretty much, what that required was him to walk -- satellite phones as you know via skies. So, he's getting 15-second

phone calls in hurricane conditions to his sister in St. Thomas who then has to reach out to me, and then I have to disseminate information.

We sat by and watched when the minister for our portion of the islands said that they had no communication with northern Abaco. Northern Abaco

consists of five or six settlements. There are people who are still reaching out to us who we still can't account for and we are related to

those people.

So, it's challenging for us when the only information that is being shared is about one particular settlement and yes, the world, it's great that

everyone wants to help. But the need, there's still so much more that people haven't seen. There's so much we haven't seen.

Someone from our family said there's a cousin who was able to fly over, they were able to send in a video of just what they could see. Everything

is brown, there's nothing there as they narrate the 22nd video to tell us what we're looking at, it's unidentifiable, and that's one settlement.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLACKWELL: Now, just hours ago, the Bahamian government gave the all clear for authorities and resources to land on Abaco, and I spoke with the

minister of national security, he says this will be his first time on the ground. He's attempting to build some structure, some process so that

there is not chaos.

Listen, this is not a go door-to-door process because in many of these communities as we've seen in the video, there are no doors. It just looks

like piles of lumber, you can't even make out streets and pathways. We know that according to the World Food Program, 60,000 people will need food

support.

Salvation Army says that 13,000 homes have been destroyed, this will be a mammoth response needed, but as you heard from some people here -- there --

it's just not happening quickly enough.

GORANI: All right, Victor Blackwell in Nassau, thanks very much for that update. We will be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[15:50:00]

QUEST: Welcome back. One of the biggest stories of the day. In the United Kingdom, the Prime Minister Boris Johnson has asked parliament for

an early election. He wants on October the 15th after parliament passed a bill aimed at granting no-deal Brexit. The Prime Minister needs two-thirds

of members to approve his motion for another vote.

The British Prime Minister says if he wins a new election, he'll take Britain out of the EU on October the 31st, deal or no deal. Let's talk

more about this, joining me now is the Labor MP Seema Malhotra support a people's vote. First of all, these are extraordinary times, aren't they?

SEEMA MALHOTRA, LABOR MP, BRITAIN: I feel that's an understatement. None of us could predict what's going to happen in the next hour in this place,

over in the next day. And it's certainly isn't what we expected in the first week back. The truth is that what happened yesterday and today has

been a consequence of Boris completely losing trust, not just of many of his own party, but of the House of Commons, and that's why we've had to

pass this legislation tonight.

QUEST: But you would have been passing, you would have been doing something anyway to stop a no-deal Brexit, even if he hadn't prorogued

parliament for a long time.

MALHOTRA: I think we probably would have done because clearly, a vote of the house where we've expressed the view of the house on multiple

occasions. Before, it wasn't going to be enough for Boris Johnson. Everybody believes that what he wants is no deal, while he comes out with a

charade of wanting to go and get a deal.

He's done nothing to show that he's actually seriously negotiating, and that's why this was about a legal safeguard.

QUEST: How will you vote tonight on the motion for an early election?

MALHOTRA: Well, tonight, what we've seen is Boris completely defeated, and how he's treated his own party is also just despicable in my view. We are

going to be abstaining and some will be voting against the call, Boris' call, his trap for a general election, and the reason is this that he knows

if he gets a general election passed, and he says it's for October the 15th, he could change that date at any time by a royal proclamation.

He has that power, that could mean that he extends that date, parliament therefore may not be in sitting. We may not have MPs, and he could then

see us crash out with no deal, and we will be able to do nothing about it. But the second point is this. Many of us feel very strongly that if there

is to be a deal that comes back after the European Council, we should be in our place, we should have been in our place before and we should be in our

place then to scrutinize what Boris brings back.

How can he do that with -- if we don't -- if he doesn't have a parliament. I mean, it's not like he'll have an election on the 15th and we'll all be

sitting here on the 16th. It takes days if not weeks to settle in into a new parliament. Boris knows that.

QUEST: OK, but let's clarify. Assume that he loses -- he gets the general election after the new -- the bill has become law, which is what your

leader said today, basically. Once this bill is law, October 31st, off the agenda, then we'll talk about an election. But let's just say he gets that

and he has an election and his election is done on the basis of my mandate is we are leaving as soon as we can with or without a deal and he wins.

You would accept then that he has a mandate to take out the country with or without a deal.

MALHOTRA: I think there's now a legislative process in place and it's this. That by October the 19th, Boris has to come back to the house. This

is now with the legislation that he has said he's abiding by. It would be after the European Council, so the house is not stopping him going to get a

deal.

It is saying if you don't have a deal that --

QUEST: Right --

MALHOTRA: Passes the house, then you come back and you ask the house --

QUEST: Right --

MALHOTRA: If we support no-deal.

QUEST: Let's assume you get --

MALHOTRA: That would be a vote on the 19th --

QUEST: Let's say we get a delay, let's say we get an extension, let's say everything happens, but eventually, there is going to be a general election

sooner rather than later, most people seem to accept that. And if he wins and part of his manifesto is, I'm taking you out, deal or no deal, and he

wins, will you accept that?

MALHOTRA: Well, I don't think that that's where we'll get to, and this is why the big debate in the House of Commons this week has been about

sequencing.

QUEST: Right --

[15:55:00]

MALHOTRA: It's about saying, let's get Brexit done, people want Brexit done one way or the other, they want a conclusion, and we have enough of us

in terms of what we can do now as a parliament to say, let's move forward, let's get a deal and then the debate will be whether that deal is put to

the people.

We should go through that process prior to a general election, a general election will follow, absolutely. Boris now has 289 conservative members

of parliament, but he's got to be in the right order so that we deal with Brexit and we don't put the country at risk.

QUEST: Good to see you, thank you.

MALHOTRA: Great to see you.

QUEST: Yes, some people will tell you that the long running back and forth, if, when and how ever Britain will leave the EU has been one long

bore. Today's Brexit debate in parliament has been anything but boring. Hala Gorani tells us more.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BORIS JOHNSON, PRIME MINISTER, UNITED KINGDOM: I will get a deal!

GORANI (voice-over): A heated debate.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Prime Minister is acting more like a tin-pot dictator than a Democrat.

GORANI: A whirlwind drama as British MPs wrestle to rule out a no-deal Brexit. Moments are sporadic.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would sooner boil my head than hand power to the leader of the opposition.

(LAUGHTER)

GORANI: Two outlandish, pepper one of the most consequential debates in parliamentary history from the Prime Minister's creative name-calling.

JOHNSON: There's only one chlorinated chicken that I can see in this house and he's on that bench!

GORANI: And expletive dropping --

JOHNSON: Their economic policy is and I quote, Mr. Speaker by your leaf -- or bust. I say -- I say it's both.

GORANI: To insults that are hard to interpret. The speaker's attempts to regulate were usually futile.

JOHN BERCOW, SPEAKER, U.K. PARLIAMENT: Order, very rude for members, order!

GORANI: Even when using his most school mom yell --

BERCOW: Behave yourself, be a good boy, young man! Be a good boy!

GORANI: Amid the yelling and angst, one MP was perhaps a bit too calm, however.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The leader of the house has been scraped(ph) across the room three seats, lying out, as if that was something very boring for

him to listen to tonight.

GORANI: Jacob Rees-Mogg was unfazed by criticism of his meditative pose in parliament which inspired a flurry of tweets, parodying his now notorious

horizontal slouch. And another Twitter flurry erupted after a stinging defection.

JOHNSON: Our exports, our exports --

GORANI: When Tory MP Phillip Lee dramatically crossed the floor to sit with the Liberal Democrats.

JOHNSON: I wish -- I wish -- all of it.

GORANI: As the debate unfolds, MPs prepare. One tweeting a picture of himself arriving for an overnight stay, ready for a long drama-filled

evening to come.

BERCOW: Order!

(END VIDEOTAPE)

QUEST: Hala, who was watching today in parliament and Hala would be back with me for another hour of what's going on as we wait for this vote. It

is going to come this evening, the debate should be about an hour and a half to two hours long.

Which means in the next hour or so, we will get a result on whether or not there will be an election. We'll be back in a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

END