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Brexit Super Saturday; What's Next For Trump's Impeachment Inquiry? Aired 4-5a ET

Aired October 19, 2019 - 04:00   ET

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


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UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): This is CNN breaking news.

RICHARD QUEST, CNN ANCHOR: And good morning to you. A good Saturday morning to you. I'm Richard Quest outside the Houses of Parliament in London. And you are most welcome to our special coverage. It's called or being called Super Saturday.

It is a rare weekend session of the British Parliament as they try again, one more time, to get what's known as a meaningful vote or a Brexit deal approved. The difference this time over all the Theresa May votes and the various votes on this, that and the other, Boris Johnson secured a last-minute agreement in Brussels only days ago.

There's a new Withdraw Act without the hated backstop. There is also a new protocol on Northern Ireland. There's new rules on trade. It's a feat that no one thought he could pull off.

And a few moments ago, those are the pictures you are looking at. Boris Johnson left his residence at 10 Downing Street and is now heading for Parliament behind me.

A short while ago, of course, Brussels is not London and the PM will need perhaps all and more of his powers of persuasion to get this through the Houses of Parliament. There's simply this. The mathematics is not in his favor. Theoretically, it is possible he can win today's vote.

But there are amendments that could scupper it and there are those in his own party that could be obstructionist and fail him at the last moment. International diplomatic editor Nic Robertson is with me to discuss and put it perspective.

First of all, a glorious autumnal day.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: It's a glorious day. It's a little chilly. Hopefully that's not a frost that's nipping at the prime minister's feet right now but, yes, this is an auspicious beginning for Boris Johnson's big day.

QUEST: If we break this down bit by bit, the first thing is the special nature of this Saturday. Tell me why it had to be today. Why couldn't they wait until Monday?

ROBERTSON: Yes, the first time since 1982 and the Falklands crisis, the British Parliament has met on a Saturday. It has to be today because today is the 19th and that's the day in the Benn Act, which requires the prime minister, if he hasn't got a deal through Parliament, that he will have to go back to the E.U. and ask for an extension.

QUEST: So he gets the deal during the week and he comes back to London and he has to have this deal signed and sealed or approved by Parliament by 11 o'clock tonight, I think.

ROBERTSON: They have been very specific in the act because they didn't want any loophole for the prime minister to wheel his way through. A lot of this has to do with the lack of trust in the prime minister on what he is prepared to do to get Brexit done.

QUEST: So when we look at this, the act or -- what are they considering today?

What is being voted upon today?

ROBERTSON: Well, the prime minister, first of all, will lay down what he thinks should be voted on. He has two possible proposals here. There is the deal and there is no deal.

We will also hear amendments today. Sir Oliver Letwin is putting forward an amendment that has everyone talking. It may turn it on its head today because in essence, it makes today's vote a provisional one, conditional on that three-month extension and time to go through the nitty-gritty of the law to put it into practice.

We'll get to the Letwin amendment and the -- there's three that we know so far. The House is due to sit in about 25 minutes from now. There will be prayers and then it will be order, order. We'll hear that many times, I suspect.

But before we get into the nitty-gritty, there have been many monumental moments.

Is this one of them?

ROBERTSON: It is. Theresa May had three of these meaningful votes. This is Boris Johnson's first one. He's been majorly unsuccessful with every vote in Parliament so far. Theresa May went down historically by 230 votes in the first phase of it; 149 a few weeks later in March and 40 or 58 again, when they voted on it later in March.

[04:05:00]

ROBERTSON: Boris Johnson is widely expected to do much better than that. So it is historic. If it passes, this takes Britain out of the European Union. It's historic in that there is so much on the line for this PM. This is a test of him and of the country. QUEST: Good to see you. Thank you. You'll be with us all day.

ROBERTSON: I will.

QUEST: You've got the numbers. You've got the amendments. You've got all the details. So thank you very much.

So the way the day will go, what we expect to happen, besides me keeping my voice, the Parliament will sit in just 25 minutes from now. There will be prayers. The Speaker will call the order paper. We will find out if any other amendments have been accepted over the course of the night.

Essentially at the moment, we know there are three of them. Then Boris Johnson will then open the debate. The debate should last about 4-5 hours. It's open-ended in the sense that it is a special sitting so there is nothing on the other end of it that they must get to.

Throughout those five hours, we'll be having votes on the individual amendments. We will try to give you the big picture. We will tell you why individual aspects matter without leaving you too far behind.

Joining me now is Rushanara Ali. She's a Labour Party member of Parliament.

You have already tweeted you will not vote. You call this a reckless deal. But I think it's important to understand, you're a Remainer or you're a Leaver?

RUSHANARA ALI, LABOUR MP: Well, I'm a Remainer but I'm one of those people who wanted the previous prime minister to work across party in order to secure a deal that would enable us to have frictionless trade and not damage our economic future.

And the reality is that the previous prime minister and the current prime minister have succumbed to a hard Brexit. And the European Research Group, the hard right of the Conservative Party -- and they've been trapped in this -- with these red lines.

And that is why this deal, which is even worse than the Theresa May deal, because it takes protection for Labour standards, environmental protections and other protections out of the deal, the legally binding agreement, into the future political declaration, which is not legally binding, that makes it even harder for Labour MPs to back.

And I hope my colleagues refrain from supporting it.

QUEST: If it doesn't pass tonight or this afternoon, then, of course, the Benn Act kicks in for the purposes of this question; let's assume the prime minister sends the letter tonight requesting the extension, which is granted.

What do you want to happen then?

ALI: What is important is that we seek consent from the British people on a negotiated deal. When we had the 2016 referendum, there was no clarity about what kind of Brexit people will be getting.

And what we want, what I want and many in the country want -- and there will be hundreds of thousands of people protesting today -- is a confirmatory public vote on a negotiated deal and the option to remain.

(CROSSTALK)

ALI: -- secured to do that if Boris Johnson is so confident that his transition deal is the right thing for the country, then he should be willing to put it back to the people.

QUEST: So if it fails tonight or if we do go into an extension under the Benn Act, you want a second referendum but a confirmatory vote on which deal, the one that you've voted against?

ALI: Well, look, today will determine whether a deal that Boris Johnson is proposing to Parliament goes through and --

QUEST: But I'm saying --

ALI: We'll see what happens. If it doesn't go through, I think he should go back and renegotiate a deal that is acceptable to Parliament. The problem is that the Conservative prime ministers have gone in without seeking a compromise in Parliament before negotiating a deal --

QUEST: This is going to go around in circles.

Would you prefer a general election?

Wouldn't a general election sort this out?

ALI: No, absolutely not. A general election is about the issues that affect our country beyond Brexit. We had a general election in 2017. It didn't clarify anything. What we need is a specific vote on the matter of Brexit. That's what the British people need.

[04:10:00]

ALI: Then they can look at whether the deal we have at the moment with the European Union is better than the one that Boris Johnson negotiates. I believe he hasn't negotiated a good enough deal.

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QUEST: I'm having difficulty seeing how you get from -- tonight is voted down -- and by the way, how are you going to vote on the various amendments, the Revoke amendment, for example.

Are you going the support that amendment?

ALI: We have to see which amendments get selected so I'm afraid I can't tell you that until we are able to see which amendments are selected by the Speaker. So you'll have to wait until that happens.

QUEST: The one everyone is talking about is the --

(CROSSTALK)

QUEST: I think it's almost inconceivable the Speaker won't accept that amendment.

If he does, which basically shoves it all down the road, shoves final approval until the various enabling legislation is fully in place, would you support that?

ALI: Look, my priority and my party's priority is to vote this deal down. That is the focus. There is a case for considering the Letwin amendment and we will look at that in sequence as we progress through the day. But I'm not going to tell you that's going to be the focus because we are focused on voting this deal down and that's the priority for us.

QUEST: Thank you.

ALI: Thank you very much.

QUEST: Thank you very much.

Michael Holmes is now back at the CNN Center, where there is a very busy day everywhere else.

Michael, one often thinks what is happening here is so crucial and vital but whether it's Beirut at the moment, the U.S., please bring us up to date.

MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: Exactly, yes. You're not the only one. There's lots going on around the world. Richard Quest, we'll check in with you in a little while.

Meanwhile, U.S. politics taking a wild turn yet again. New revelations in the impeachment inquiry against President Trump putting the White House in a tough spot. When we come back, we'll have that and more.

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QUEST: Good morning. A good Saturday to you and a warm welcome. It's CNN's special Brexit coverage at the Victoria Tower at Westminster, where only last week we saw Her Majesty the Queen with the state opening of Parliament.

Since then, matters have moved fast. Britain -- or the U.K. Parliament hasn't had a Saturday session in nearly 40 years. There again, Britain has never exited the European Union before. So here we are with Super Saturday. Commentators are debating what Brexit could look like as the clock ticks down.

It's at the end of the month when the U.K. is supposed to leave the E.U. This is Boris Johnson's vision, the deal he negotiated with Brussels, finalized a couple of days ago with Brussels.

The actual withdrawal act is several hundred pages long. The protocol on Northern Ireland is 30 pages long. The whole thing is extremely complicated and Parliament is expected to vote on it today. It's a hard sell. Key members of Parliament are already giving it the thumbs down.

Anna Stewart is with me this morning.

Good morning to you.

ANNA STEWART, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning. Happy Super Saturday to you.

QUEST: You don't remember the last time Parliament sat --

STEWART: It's never sat on a Saturday in my lifetime.

(LAUGHTER)

QUEST: I do actually remember, I was at university, I was at college and I wasn't actually doing the business yet, 1982, second year of college.

But, yes, I remember listening to Margaret Thatcher. Then it was the Falklands which was a serious issue of the country going to war.

Today it's the serious issue of the country leaving the European Union. You've got the numbers.

STEWART: So far it look necessarily that good for Boris Johnson but it's looking better by the minute. There are key groups of MPs that we're looking at today.

QUEST: How many votes does he need?

STEWART: He needs 320.

QUEST: That's because we've lopped off the Speaker; Sinn Fein, who don't take their seats; the deputy speakers, anybody who is --

STEWART: Yes, and, actually, when we look at the actual numbers, we're looking at 318 because there are four tellers, two of which will vote for the deal and two of which will vote against, they cancel each other out.

QUEST: So 318 or so, 320. We know the LibDems, the Labour Party will not vote for this.

So where does he get his numbers?

How many does he have on his own? STEWART: On his own, I believe he could be at 309. That's a fairly conservative estimate. Actually 22 Labour MPs, 19 of whom wrote a letter this month, saying they want a deal before the end of the month.

They may abstain, they may vote for. It takes into account two Labour MPs who have come out and said they will vote for this deal. That is in the last 24 hours. This takes into account some of the hardline Brexiteers, the ERG, the Spartans who've been meeting this morning. And slowly but surely, some of them are coming to Boris Johnson's aid here.

QUEST: But he's not yet there.

STEWART: He's not yet there but I think it's too close to call.

I was speaking to a Conservative MP last night who thought all of the ERG minus four might be on board. I think that's over confident.

QUEST: How many people will be swayed by debate versus made up their mind?

I was walking through and I just heard one say he was going to listen to the debate and then decide how to vote. I find that hard to believe.

STEWART: I find that hard to believe, as well. I think people know how they will vote. I think it's key that the Labour MPs, the ones who want to remain, who want to stop Brexit but are terrified of a general election if they're in Brexit areas.

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QUEST: Is it sensible that they're voting on this in such a hurry?

The principle upon which they're voting is a deal several hundred pages long and they're being asked to roar it through in 24 hours.

STEWART: That is certainly what the critics of this deal are saying. They need more time and they want this idea of an extension to continue up until they've gone through the legislation. They don't want to give Johnson a pass yet and keep that stick hanging over him.

QUEST: The Letwin amendment. All right, good to see you.

Michael, we're going to get technical and it will get technical as the hours go on but we'll do our best to explain and keep you across it all in the parliamentary nuances and niceties. Parliament sits in 10 minutes.

HOLMES: I thought we could have used subtitles with Anna there. There were things going on I had no idea. But it's an education.

QUEST: Michael, now, as we move forward during the course of the day, please, jump in and shout long and hard when you feel that we've left you behind. HOLMES: Yes, all right.

QUEST: Exactly.

HOLMES: Will do, my friend. We'll check in with you later, Richard, Anna, thank you.

U.S. politics, lots going on. CNN learning the U.S. president's personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, pushed the State Department to grant a visa to a former Ukrainian official, one who promised dirt on the Democrats. That's according to diplomat George Kent's testimony to Congress this week.

Kent said, when that didn't work, Giuliani then tried to get the White House to have the decision reversed. The State Department apparently stood by its guns. The visa was not granted.

But the testimony does reveal just how far Rudy Giuliani tried to go to get damaging data on the president's political opponents. Now admissions like George Kent's have put the White House on the defensive. Jessica Schneider explains what's been going on and what it all means.

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JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A cascade of current and former administration officials called to Capitol Hill in the last week. Painting a damming picture of a rogue foreign policy run by President Trump's personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani where select officials say they were pressed by the president and others to pressure Ukraine to investigate corruption which Democrats argue was purely intended for trump's political gain.

Thursday, Trump's acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney further fueling Democrats claims of wrongdoing. Admitting in a fiery press conference that the administration held up the nearly $400 million in military aid to Ukraine in a push to get the country to cooperate.

MICK MULVANEY, ACTING WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: I have news for everybody. Get over it. There's going to be political influence in foreign policy.

SCHNEIDER: Mulvaney later trying to walk back his own words by blaming the media for airing the admission. Saying in a statement, "Once again, the media has decided to misconstrue my comments to advance a biased and political witch hunt against President Trump. let me be clear. There was absolutely no quid pro quo between Ukrainian military aid and any investigation into the 2016 election."

Mulvaney using his press room pulpit to try to down play the drum beat of testimony taking place behind congressional closed doors.

MULVANEY: And I can never remember the gentleman who testified, was it McKinley, the guy, is that his name -- I don't know.

Who said that? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was George Kent.

MULVANEY: I'm sorry. I don't know who that is.

SCHNEIDER (voice-over): But the four officials who divulged details for hours on end were important players on the policy front. Fiona Hill left the White House in July, where she served as the top adviser on Russia.

Sources says she recounted on Monday how then national security adviser John Bolton was concerned about Giuliani's shadow diplomacy, even calling out Giuliani as "a hand grenade" who was "going to blow everybody up."

Hill telling lawmakers that Bolton instructed her to notify the chief lawyer for the national security council about the rogue effort from Mulvaney, Giuliani and U.S. ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland, with Bolton saying, "I am not part of whatever drug deal Sondland and Mulvaney are cooking up."

REP. TED LIEU (D-CA): It's very clear that Donald Trump and Rudy Giuliani were running a shadow foreign policy.

SCHNEIDER (voice-over): Sondland showing up Thursday prepared with opening testimony, explaining how he had no choice but to work through Rudy Giuliani since that's what the president wanted.

But Sondland insisted he "did not understand until much later that Mr. Giuliani's agenda might have also included an effort to prompt the Ukrainians to investigate Vice President Biden or his son or in to involve Ukrainians directly or indirectly in the president's 2020 reelection campaign."

George Kent, deputy assistant secretary of state testifying Tuesday that he was told to lay low after he raised complaints about Giuliani's efforts.

[04:25:00]

And Michael McKinley, Pompeo's senior adviser, who abruptly resigned this month, describing a demoralized State Department Wednesday. And his dismay Pompeo would not stand up to protect ousted Ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch.

REP. JAMIE RASKIN (D-MD): All of these witnesses are filling in the picture of what was taking place. Because the famous or the infamous July 25th telephone call it was not some kind of one-off.

SCHNEIDER: And while Rudy Giuliani's name has been at the forefront, he is so far refusing to hand over any documents to congressional committees.

At the same time, we have learned that Giuliani is at the center of a counter intelligence probe, where federal officials are looking into everything from possible financial entanglements with alleged corrupt Ukrainian figures to counterintelligence concerns raised by some of those business ties -- Jessica Schneider, CNN, Washington.

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HOLMES: And Natasha Lindstaedt joins me now. Natasha a professor of government at the University of Essex in England.

Professor, thanks so much. Quite the week. Hard to pick which extraordinary development to begin with but let's start with perhaps the situation in northern Syria.

The president again claiming what a great favor he did the Kurds with his deal with Erdogan, who, at the end of the day, gets everything he wanted and Donald Trump getting slammed by some of his bigger supporters.

Where do you think that's headed?

Is that criticism we're hearing from McConnell and others going to continue?

Is it a fracturing?

NATASHA LINDSTAEDT, PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF ESSEX: I think it is a fracturing. I think the criticism is going to continue. Republicans know, because they tend to care about national security interests and want to prevent terrorist groups from emerging again, know that, if the Kurds are weakened and if they allow Turkey to basically aerial bomb them and destroy the one fighting group that was the most effective fighting group against the Islamic State, we're going to see a resurgence of the Islamic State.

We're also going to see an opening for Russia and possibly Iran to come into the region, which they've already been doing, but to be playing a much bigger role and particularly in the case of Russia, where Russia can extend its sphere of influence and play a bigger role in terms of making some peace between the Kurds, the Turks.

And we're seeing the resurgence of Assad. So Assad didn't have control over the northeastern part of Syria. This was the most stable part of Syria and it was even a democratic project.

Now the Kurds have been forced to turn to Assad and this is going to help him gain more territory and autonomy over Syria. So it is really a lose-lose for the Republicans and the president. We're going to see them continue to criticize the president because not only did this policy endanger the Kurds but, as reports have also revealed, it's endangered U.S. troops that were forced to leave and flee because the bombings were so dangerous.

HOLMES: Yes, when you have to bomb your own bases so they don't fall into enemy hands, you've left in a hurry.

When it comes to the impeachment process, that extraordinary side of Mick Mulvaney, admitting to the quid pro quo, something that the administration has been fervently denying for some time, how do you see momentum on the impeachment when you hear things like that? LINDSTAEDT: The impeachment process has been gaining momentum because we see in a FOX News poll that there was a shift. There's a majority of Americans that are not only in favor of an impeachment inquiry but impeaching and removing the president. That is going to affect Republican lawmakers.

If they're looking at their constituencies and they're looking to 2020, particularly there's about four Senate races that could be very, very tight, that could go to the Democrats and that would tip the balance, where the Democrats would have control over the Senate.

So I think all of these Republican lawmakers have to take a look at what public opinion is saying. But there doesn't seems to be a plan to fight off this impeachment inquiry. It seems to be very ad hoc. They don't have a war room.

As a result, they're making more and more gaffes, like what happened with Mulvaney, where he basically admitted to the one thing they were trying to deny was taking place. So then they have to backtrack on this. And though they may be able to confuse some of the public, most of the public is aware that now they're admitting openly to these very things they've been accused of.

HOLMES: And we didn't even get time for the president using his own facility to host the G7 because that's a good look.

[04:30:00]

HOLMES: Professor Natasha Lindstaedt, thanks so much, appreciate it.

LINDSTAEDT: Thanks for having me.

HOLMES: We're going to take a short break. When we come back, we'll have more live coverage outside British Parliament where U.K. lawmakers will be deciding if Boris Johnson's Brexit deal is something they can all live with or not.

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QUEST: Good morning to you. Welcome to London. CNN's special coverage of Brexit under vote by the U.K. Parliament. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and members of Parliament are now converging on the House of Commons for a rare Saturday session, hasn't been one in nearly 40 years.

And to be voted on, another attempt to get the Brexit agreement through Parliament before the October the 31st deadline. It will be the fourth time; three meaningful votes under Theresa May on her deal.

But the big difference is Boris Johnson has managed to renegotiate, get rid of the so-called backstop, put together a new deal. And there is no clear indication if this incarnation fares any better than Theresa May's.

The House itself, this is what they're looking at, the Northern Ireland stays aligned; all procedures, these are the sort of terms about the Northern Ireland protocol. The Speaker is getting ready to call order. When he does so, what you will see is Boris Johnson who will open the debate.

[04:35:00]

QUEST: But in the last few moments, there has been a wrinkle, has there not, sir?

Ah, here we go, the prime minister.

JOHN BERCOW, SPEAKER, BRITISH HOUSE OF COMMONS: Before I call the prime minister to make a statement, I want to make a very few brief introductory remarks.

First, I want to thank -- and I'm sure colleagues across the House want to join me in thanking -- all of the staff of the House, who have worked so hard to facilitate the sitting today. I know many of them have had to make special arrangements to be here, as have many honorable and right honorable members.

Secondly, I would remind honorable members of what I said in my statement at the start of the session less than a week ago about the need to be mindful of the impact of what they say, not only upon other honorable and right honorable members but upon others who follow our proceedings.

Thirdly, I can inform the House that I have selected amendment A in the name of Sir Oliver Letwin and others to motion 1 and the manuscript amendment in the name of Peter Kyle and others to motion 2.

Fourth, this may be for the convenience of the House, though the second motion is debatable, I think it will be convenient for the two motions to be debated together so that reference to the second motion may be made in the debate.

And if the second motion is moved, I will put the question or questions upon that motion without separate debate. Order, statement. The prime minister.

BORIS JOHNSON, U.K. PRIME MINISTER: Mr. Speaker, I want to begin by echoing what you just said. I think all the members of the House assembling on a Saturday for the first time in 37 years and to members of the House of Commons staff who worked to make this sitting possible.

And I note people giving up there Saturdays and breaking into their weekends at a time when families want to be together and it means missing at least the ends of England's World Cup final. I apologize to the House for that. I know the honorable member of Cardiff West has postponed his 60th birthday party but not his birthday to be here.

Mr. Speaker, the House has gone to a great deal of trouble to assemble on a Saturday for the first time in a generation. And, I do hope that in assembling for the purposes of a meaningful vote that we will be allowed to have a meaningful vote.

And, with permission, I shall make a statement on the new agreement that our European friends. The House will need no reminding that this is a second deal in the fourth vote, 3.5 years after the nation voted for Brexit.

During those years, friendships have been strained, families divided and the attention of this house consumed by a single issue that at times felt incapable of resolution.

But I hope, Mr. Speaker, that this is the moment where you can finally -- we can finally achieve the resolution and reconcile the instincts that compete within us. Many times in the last 30 years, I have heard our European friends remark that this country is halfhearted in its E.U. membership.

It is true that we in the U.K. have often been a back marker, opting out of the single currency, not taking part in Schengen, very often trying to block some collective ambition.

In the last 3.5 years it has been striking that members on all sides of this house have debated Brexit in almost entirely practical terms in an argument that is focused on the balance of economic risk and advantage.

I do not think I can recall a time where I have heard a single member call for Britain to play her full part in the political construction of a federal Europe. I do not think I have a single menu -- member call for deeper integration or a federal destiny.

I do not think I have heard much of it, Mr. Speaker. There is a whole side of that debate that you hear regularly in other European capitals.

[04:40:00]

JOHNSON: It is absent from our national conversation. I do not think that has changed much in the last 30 years.

But if we have been skeptical and if we have been anxious about the remoteness of the bureaucracy, if we have been dubious about the rhetoric of union and integration, if we have been halfhearted Europeans, then it follows that with part of our hearts, with half of our hearts, we feel something else.

A sense of love and respect for European culture and civilization of which we are a part.

A desire to corporate with our friends and partners in everything, creativity -- creatively, artistically, in a sense our shared destiny and a deep understanding of the eternal need, especially after the horrors of the last century, for Britain to stand with peace and democracy in our continent. And it is our continent. And it's precisely because we are both

capable of feeling both things at once, skeptical about the modes of E.U. integration as we are but passionate and enthusiastic about Europe that the whole experience of the last 3.5 years has been so difficult for this country and so divided.

That is why it is now so urgent for us to move on and to build a new relationship with our friends in the E.U.. On the basis of a new deal, a deal that can heal the rift in British politics, unite the warring instincts in us all.

And now, it is the time for this great House of Commons to come together and bring the country together today. And, as I believe, people at home are hoping and expect. With a new way forward and a new and better deal both for Britain and for our friends and that you -- the you -- E.U. And that is the deal.

This allows the U.K. whole and entire to leave the E.U. On October 31 in accordance with the render -- with the referendum while simultaneity is simultaneously looking forward to a new partnership.

I pay tribute to our European friends for escaping the prison of existing positions and showing division to be flexible -- the vision to be flexible by reopening the withdrawal agreement. And to address the concerns in our house.

One of most important jobs is to express those concerns to our European friends, I will continue to listen to all honorable members to meet with anyone on any side and to welcome the scrutiny the House will bring to bear as we proceed to consider the withdrawal bill next week.

Today, this house has a historic opportunity to show the same breath of vision as our European neighbors, the same resolve to reach past disagreements to get it done. And moving this country forwards as we all yearn to do.

This agreement provides for a real Brexit, taking back control of our borders, laws, money, farming, fisheries and trade. Amounting to the greatest single restoration of national sovereignty in parliamentary history. It removes the backstop which would have held us against our will in the customs union and much of the single market."

For the first time in almost five decades, the UK will be able to strike free trade deals with our friends across the world to benefit the whole country, including Northern Ireland.

Article 4 of the protocol states Northern Ireland is part of the customs territory of the United Kingdom. It adds, nothing in this protocol should prevent Northern Ireland from realizing the preferential market access in any free trade deals, on the same terms as goods produced in other parts of the United Kingdom.

[04:45:00]

JOHNSON: Our negotiations are focused on the uniquely sensitive nature of the border Northern Ireland and the Republic and we have respected those sensitivities.

Above all, we and our European friends have preserved the letter and the spirit of the Belfast Good Friday agreement and upheld the long standing areas of cooperation between the UK and Ireland including the Common Travel Area.

And as I told the House on the 3 October, in order to prevent a regulatory border on the island of Ireland, we propose a regulatory zone covering all goods including agri-food, eliminating any need for associated checks at the border.

Mr. Speaker, we have gone further by finding a solution to the best question of customs which many in this house have raised. Our agreement ensures, unfettered market access for goods moving from Northern Ireland to the rest of the United Kingdoms in the internal market.

It ensures that there should be no tariff on goods circulating -- in the U.K. customs territory and less they are at risk of entering the E.U. It ensures an open border on the Ireland of -- island Ireland and a common objective of everyone in this house.

It ensures for those living and working alongside the border that there will be no visible or practical changes to their lives and they can carry on as before.

I believe that this is a good arrangement, reconciling the special circumstances in Northern Ireland with the minimum possible consequences.

And, it is precisely to ensure that those arrangements are acceptable to the people of Northern Ireland that we have made consent a fundamental element of this new deal. No arrangements can be imposed on Northern Ireland if they do not work for Northern Ireland.

The people of Northern Ireland will have the right under this agreement to express or withhold their consent to these provisions. By means of a majority vote four years after the end of the transition.

If the assembly chooses to withhold consent, these conventions -- provisions will cease to apply after two years during which the joint committee of the U.K. and E.U. would propose a new way forward in concert with Northern Ireland's institutions.

As soon as this house allows the process of extracting ourselves from the EEO to be completed, the exciting enterprise of building a new relationship with our friends can begin, which has been too long delayed.

Mr. Speaker, I do not wish to project to be the project of any one government or any one party but rather the endeavor of the United Kingdom as a whole. Only this Parliament can make this relationship the work of the nation.

Parliament should be at the heart of decision-making as we develop our approach and I acknowledge that we have not always acted in that spirit.

As we take forward our friendship with our closest neighbors and construct that new relationship, I will ensure that a broad and open process draws upon the wealth of expertise in every part of this House, including select committees and their chairs and every party and member who wishes to contribute will be invited to do so and we shall start by debating the mandate for our negotiators in the next phase.

Mr. Speaker, the ambition is contained in the role devised -- the revised political declaration which allows for this house to contort -- to determine our own laws and determinations. I have complete faith in this house to choose regulations in our best tradition of the highest standard.

Our best tradition and the highest standards of environmental protection and workers' rights. No one anywhere in this chamber believes in lowering standards. Instead --

(CROSSTALK)

[04:50:00]

BERCOW: There's a lot of gesticulation. The statement by the prime minister must be heard and it will be.

Prime Minister.

JOHNSON: Mr. Speaker, I'm grateful.

No one believes in lowering standards and we believe in improving them as we will be able to do.

Seizing the opportunities of our new freedoms, for example, free from the common agricultural policy we will have a simpler system where will we -- we will reward farmers for improving our environment and animal welfare, many of whose provisions are impossible under the current deals, instead of just paying them for acreage.

Free from the common fisheries policy we can ensure sustainable yield based on science not outdated methods.

And these restored powers will be available not simply to this government but to every future British government and any party to use as they see fit. That is what restoring sovereignty means, that is what meant in practice taking back control of our destiny.

And, our first decision, for which I will believe there will be unanimity is that in any future trade negotiations, with any country, our National Health Service will not be on the table.

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Speaker, I envisage -- I am convinced that an overwhelming majority in this house regardless of our personal views wishes to see Brexit delivered in accordance with the referendum. A majority. And in this crucial mission, there can no longer be any argument for further delay. This is someone who passionately believe that we had to go back to our

European friends to seek a better agreement. I must tell the House that with this new deal, the scope for future negotiation and fruitful negotiation has run its course. They said, they said they could not -- we could not reopen the with raw agreement.

They said we could not reopen the withdrawal agreement, we cannot change a comma, change the agreement. They said we could not abolish the backstop, Mr. Speaker. We have done both.

But it is now my judgment we have reached the best possible solution, so those who agree, like me, that Brexit must be delivered and who like me prefer to avoid a no deal outcome must abandon the delusions that this house can delay again.

There is very little appetite among our friends in the E.U. for this Brexit to be extended by one extra day. They have had 3.5 years of this debate that has distracted them from their own projects and ambitions.

And if there is one feeling, if there is one feeling that unites the British public with a growing number of officials in the E.U., it is a burning desire to get Brexit done.

And I must tell the House, again, in all candor that whatever letters -- they seek the government to write, it cannot change my government that further delays are pointless, expensive and deeply corrosive of public trust.

And people simply will not understand how politicians can say with one breath that they want delay to avoid no deal and then with an express that they still -- the next breath that they still want delay when a great deal is left to be done.

Now is the time, Mr. Speaker, to get this thing done.

And I say to all members, let us come together to end, let us come together as Democrats to end this to debilitating -- this debilitating feud.

Let us get behind this deal, the one proposition that fulfills the verdict of the majority, for which also allows us to bring together the two halves of our nation. Let's speak now, both for the 52 and 48. Let's go for a deal that can heal this country.

[04:55:00]

JOHNSON: Let's vote for a deal that can heal this country and allow us all to express our legitimate desires for the deepest possible friendship and partnership with our neighbors, a deal that allows us to create a shared destiny with them.

And a deal that also -- that also allows us to express our confidence in our own democratic institutions, to make her own laws, to determine our own future, to believe in ourselves once again as an open, generous, global, free trading United Kingdom. That is the prospect. That is the prospect of this deal. It is a great prospect and a great

deal. And I commend it to the highest.

BERCOW: The leader of the opposition, Jeremy Corbyn.

JEREMY CORBYN, LEADER, U.K. LABOUR PARTY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I join you in thanking all the staff that has come in to help us. cleaning staff, catering staff, security staff officials and our own staff. They have given up a weekend in order to help our deliberations.

I also want to thank the prime minister for an advance copy of his statement.

He has renegotiated the withdrawal agreement and made it even worse. He's renegotiated the political declaration and made that even worse. We're having a debate today on a text to which there is no economic impact assessment and no accompanying legal advice.

This government has sought to avoid scrutiny throughout the process and yesterday evening made empty promises on workers' rights and the environment. The same government that spent the last few weeks negotiating in secret to remove from the withdrawal agreement legally binding commitments on workers' rights and the environment.

This government cannot be trusted and these benches will not be duped. Neither Mr. Speaker will the government's own workers. The head of the Civil Service Union, Prospect, yesterday met the right honorable member for Surrey Heath.

And at the conclusion of the meeting he said, and I quote, "I asked for reassurances that the government would not diverge on worker's rights after Brexit. He could not give me those assurances."

And as for the much hyped world leading Environment Bill, the legally binding targets will not be enforceable until 2037. For this government the climate emergency can always wait.

Mr. Speaker, this deal risks people's jobs, rights at work, our environment and our National Health Service. We must be honest about what this deal means for our manufacturing industry and people's jobs.

Not only does it reduce access to the market of our biggest trade and partner, it leaves us without a customs union which will damage industries all across this country in every one of our constituencies.

From Nissan in Sunderland, Heinz in Wigan and Jaguar in Birmingham, thousands of British jobs depend on a strong manufacturing sector and a strong manufacturing sector needs markets through fluid supply chains all across the European Union.

A vote for this deal would be a vote to cut manufacturing jobs all across this country.

This deal, Mr. Speaker, would inevitably and absolutely inevitably lead to a Trump trade deal, forcing the U.K. -- forcing the U.K. to diverge from the highest standards and expose our families, once again, to chlorine-washed chicken and hormone-laden beef. This deal --

BERCOW: Order. I did say that the statement by the prime minister must be heard. The response of the leader of the opposition and the best traditions of Parliamentary democracy must also be heard and it will.

Jeremy Corbyn.

CORBYN: -- this deal enshrines the principle we keep pace with the European Union on environmental standards and protections, putting at risk our current rules from air pollution standards to chemical safety.

We all know the public concern about these issues. All at the same time that we are facing a climate emergency. And as for workers' rights, we simply cannot give the government a blank check.

Mr. Speaker, you do not need to take my word for all of this. Listen, for example, to the TUC general secretary, who says this -- she does represent an organization that has 6 million members affiliated to it.

This deal, Mr. Speaker, would be a disaster for working people.