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Boris Johnson in Crisis; Interview With Former U.N. Deputy Secretary-General Mark Malloch-Brown; Interview With Former U.K. Secretary for International Development Rory Stewart; Interview with Former Communications Director for Tony Blair, Alastair Campbell; Interview Historian and Author and Oxford University Professor Emeritus Margaret MacMillan. Aired 1-2p ET
Aired July 06, 2022 - 13:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Hello, everyone, and welcome to AMANPOUR.
Here's what's coming up.
AMANPOUR (voice-over): A defiant Boris Johnson vows to fight on, despite losing a wave of support from his own party and from the public.
Fed-up Conservative lawmakers condemn his behavior to his face. But do they finally have the votes to force him out? Or can the master of political
survival stage yet another dramatic comeback?
AMANPOUR: Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London, where a major political crisis is under way.
Keep calm and carry on, that brand, British motto, and that is exactly what Prime Minister Boris Johnson vows, despite yet another scandal, top
ministerial resignations, losing recent local elections and plunging personal popularity.
One snap poll conducted today found that seven out of 10 British adults want him to resign. Yet again, the familiar question, how long can Boris
Johnson cling on? And it's a playbook that Americans will know all too well. Just like Donald Trump, Boris Johnson has stepped so far out of the
mainstream expectations for a political leader, and he's flung up such a volume of scandal, which has overloaded the news cycle and overwhelmed the
But the old Boris razzle-dazzle is wearing thin here, as voters grapple with the cost of living crises and transit strikes and a deficit of good
So far, more than two dozen ministers and aides have quit the government, among the most damaging, the chancellor of the exchequer and the former
Health Secretary Sajid Javid. They confronted Johnson in Parliament.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SAJID JAVID, FORMER BRITISH HEALTH MINISTER: I will never risk losing my integrity. I also believe a team is as good as its team captain, and that a
captain is as good as his or her team.
So loyalty must go both ways. The events of recent months have made it increasingly difficult to be in that team.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: But does the party finally have the votes to throw him out?
With me now is the former Tory Minister Rory Stewart.
Rory Stewart, welcome back to our program.
You have been a minister in this government, and you -- or in government. And you have had your issues with Boris Johnson. You have been politically
against him despite being in the same party. What do you think the likelihood of him actually resigning or being thrown out, what do you think
the likelihood of that is now?
RORY STEWART, FORMER U.K. SECRETARY FOR INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT: Well, he definitely, he is now in a very, very strange endgame.
As you have pointed out to listeners, he's lost 30 of his ministers and aides in 24 hours. It's an extraordinary situation, where he simply can't,
it feels like, replace them fast enough as they go. His government's collapsing in front of his eyes.
But many, many things that he's done over the last two years would have led any normal prime minister to resign. This is accumulation of events. In
fact, when historians look at it, it will be -- seem a little strange that he's resigning, ultimately, about something that his deputy chief whip is
reported to have done in the House of Commons.
And it's going to be central now to try to rebuild that confidence.
AMANPOUR: Rory, there are reports that there are ministers, Cabinet ministers in Downing Street waiting for him to return from one of his
appearances today in Parliament, and allegedly to encourage him or try to get him to actually resign.
What are their chances? I mean, he has hung on through thick and thin throughout all the ups and downs, the police, the breaking of the law, all
-- the confidence vote, all of that. Can they actually make a quorum that he will actually lose to?
STEWART: Well, theoretically, he can hang on almost indefinitely until he loses half of his party. So it's not like the American system. There isn't
an impeachment process that can be followed in this way.
Effectively, traditionally, the prime minister is there because the queen's supports them. That's no longer really true. Effectively now, the prime
minister is there when the members of Parliament support them. And there was an attempt to topple him very recently, just a few weeks ago, where 75
percent of the backbenchers went against him, but he kept the ministers.
Now he's losing the ministers first. But the humiliation is extraordinary. I mean, meeting now -- he's about to go back into Downing Street, go back
into his office, where the chancellor of the exchequer, who's the second most senior person in government, who he appointed yesterday, is going to
be waiting to tell him to go.
And there has to be a point where even Boris Johnson recognizes the time is up.
AMANPOUR: What's your gut instinct, though? I mean, he said it over and again, even today in Parliament and the like, that, no way. I mean, I have
a mandate, he said.
STEWART: Well, so there is a possibility -- and, of course, this is something that we keep struggling with -- that he will try to cling on,
like a cartoon banana republic dictator, and that it's almost impossible to get him out until 51 percent of his members of Parliament go against him.
STEWART: There's going to be -- if he doesn't go today, which any normal person would -- but you're right, he may not -- the next big challenge is
Monday, when the special committee called the 1922 Committee will almost certainly change the rules to get rid of him.
So I think we're now finally in a situation where I at least am confident that he's got hours or days left only, and there's no way he can run a
government, because what's really been happening over the last three, four months is that, because there have been so many scandals, he's been
fighting every day really to try to stay in office.
He's unable to govern. You -- in the top of the show, you talked about many of the problems facing Britain. And, of course, as with the United States
and Europe, we are entering one of the most difficult periods since the Second World War. We haven't begun to take on board the possibility that
we're going to lurch into a second economic recession so shortly after the COVID recession, that China may make moves against Taiwan, which could lead
to sanctions and countersanctions, which could paralyze our economy.
I mean, those are just examples of the scale of the challenges that Boris Johnson is facing.
AMANPOUR: So, you said earlier -- you said earlier on that it's ironic that it's this issue that might topple him, when there have been so many
other massive issues.
So I want to ask you about that. But, first, I want to play a sound bite from the health minister, who did read out in Parliament today or declare
the reasons why he could no longer support Boris Johnson and was calling for his resignation, and why he had resigned.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAVID: We have the Sue Gray report, a new Downing Street team.
I continued to give the benefit of the doubt. And now this week, again, we have reason to question the truth and integrity of what we have all been
told. And at some point, we have to conclude that enough is enough.
I believe that point is now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So, two things, Rory.
Give us a list of some of the egregious things that Boris Johnson has actually been found to have violated. And what do you think the British
public thinks when it hears a senior minister speak like that in public to the face of the prime minister?
STEWART: It's pretty extraordinary.
Well, I mean, to run through the events, he provoked Parliament to try to drive through Brexit, in other words, tried to shut the door of Parliament.
He expelled 21 members of his own party, including me, in -- because we tried to vote against him. That, again, is something that's almost never
been done by a prime minister. That was the beginning of challenging the Constitution.
He broke the Ministerial Code by lying to Parliament, and then he tried to rewrite the Ministerial Code to say that one didn't need to resign if he
lied to Parliament. He tried to rewrite lobbying rules when one of his close friends was found breaking lobbying rules. He tried to abolish the
committee to deal with them.
He got illegal money from donors to wallpaper his flat. He tried to get another donor to spend 200,000 U.S. dollars on building a tree house for
him. He presided over extraordinary parties in Downing Street during a time when Britain had some of the most severe COVID lockdowns in the world. So
people literally couldn't visit dying relatives in hospital or attend funerals.
There was a famous picture of the queen sitting isolated at Prince Philip's funeral at a time when Boris was having glasses of wine in Downing Street.
But, most recently, he appointed as a deputy chief whip a man who he knew to have been guilty of sexual assault. Earlier, he lost his job for sexual
assault. He was warned repeatedly, and he appointed him. And then, when the man has sorted somebody -- this is Chris Pincher -- in London club earlier
this week, he denied that he had any knowledge of it, despite the fact that he was going round joking Pincher by name, Pincher by nature.
And, finally, the permanent secretary, ex-permanent secretary of the Foreign Office, one of my senior civil servants in government, wrote a
formal letter to the parliamentary committee, pointing out how much Boris Johnson was lying.
This final thing, which comes on the top of having lost two enormous by- elections, lost one of the safest Conservative seats in the country, seems to have been finally the thing that drove people over the line.
But, to be honest, as I list all that, it is extraordinary that people lasted so long. I mean, there is this sort of feeling of it, which is a bit
reminiscent of what went on with Donald Trump, which is, the more that happened, the more people forgot what he had done, so that every incident
began to seem more and more trivial.
AMANPOUR: Exactly. I mean, that is a massive rap sheet, so to speak. I mean, that's a rap sheet the length of my arms and legs. And it's really
And I want to ask you, though, because your party or your former party, the Conservative Party, has traditionally been described as pretty ruthless
when the rubber hits the road. In other words, when you start losing elections, and you are no longer a great campaign asset, then they will
turf you out.
So Boris Johnson, keep saying that -- and this is this is Downing Street and his defense -- that: "The prime minister is delivering on what the
people put us here to do. He has a mandate from 14 million people."
But I want to read you the latest polls, as I alluded to, just before the resignations of those two top ministers yesterday, the likability ratings
of the two leaders. Boris Johnson is at 27 percent. This is a drop of 12 points since last September. His Labor counterpart is at 38 percent.
Likability ratings in terms of parties, Tory is at 32 percent, Labor at 44 percent.
And, as we said, there's been a 10-point drop in -- or increase, frankly, in the number of Britons who say that Boris Johnson should resign.
So, again, it is the elections and losing them that is probably going to be the defining moment for the Tory Party.
STEWART: That's absolutely right.
In the end -- I remember when I was trying to convince people not to vote for him. I mean, this man has been known as a liar and a disgrace. His
public life is rickety. His private life is even more rickety. This has been famous for 30 years. He was a big celebrity before he became a
politician, and partly famous for his chaotic personal behavior and his lies.
So when I challenged members of Parliament back in 2019, and said, how can you possibly imagine this man as prime minister, he's so clearly unfit for
office, the answer was, well, he can win elections. And he actually went on in 2019 to win this extraordinary majority, an 80-seat majority, which was
very, very remarkable because it was the fourth Conservative term in a row.
Now, of course, when it becomes clear, as you have pointed out with those statistics, that he is no longer an electoral asset, people are now
beginning to remember what should have been clear to them all along, which is, the man is a disgraceful human being.
AMANPOUR: Can I just play a little snippet of what Boris Johnson said, quite defiant still, in Parliament today?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: Frankly, Mr. Speaker, the job of a prime minister in difficult circumstances, when he's been handed a colossal
mandate, is to keep going. And that's what I'm going to do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Well, that's what he says he's going to do. We have heard all the reasons why you think that time is running short.
But let me play what his opposite number said, Keir Starmer, across the dispatch box.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KEIR STARMER, LABOR PARTY LEADER: He's only in power because he's been propped up for months by a corrupted party defending the indefensible.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So I assume that you agree because of everything you have been saying, but, again, one of the things that analysts and the pundits keep
saying, well, who else is there? Who do the Tories have to put up if Boris Johnson goes?
So what do you say to that?
STEWART: Well, at some basic level, almost anybody in Parliament would be a better prime minister than Boris Johnson. I mean, Larry the Downing
Street cat at the moment would be a better prime minister, because the point is that he simply can't govern.
The whole thing has become like a reality TV show. And this has been going on for months. It's impossible for him to have a long-term economic policy.
It's impossible for him to announce any policies or be taken seriously, because every single week, there is another scandal, almost all of them
have his own creation, almost all of them made worse because he lies and tries to avoid before he finally comes through.
So who else is there? Well, there is Rishi Sunak and Sajid Javid, who are these two very senior Cabinet ministers who resigned yesterday. There's
Jeremy Hunt, who was -- took him on before, who was -- I suppose is the kind of leader of the old guard.
There's potentially even Nadhim Zahawi, who is the new chancellor of the exchequer, but he may be the shortest chancellor of the exchequer in world
history. He took this apparent poison chalice this morning. And the chances are, if I'm right, that he's going to hold the job for only a few hours.
AMANPOUR: It is an extraordinary situation.
Rory Stewart, former minister, thank you so much indeed for joining us.
And now at Downing Street for us is correspondent Nic Robertson.
And, Nic, you just heard Rory Stewart talking about the various characters, including the current chancellor, Nadhim Zahawi, who we are hearing through
the atmosphere is in Downing Street behind you with a group of colleagues. What do you know about that and what is their intention?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Yes, we have seen Nadine Dorries, the transport secretary, go in, the secretary for housing,
Grant Shapps, go in as well, neither giving any clues away as they went.
And, in fact, Grant Shapps almost sort of sprinted up the street to avoid the question -- the barrage of questions. The expectation is that they are
in there to tell the prime minister that this is a time to go. We know that his longtime political ally, political foe, longtime Cabinet colleague,
senior member in the Cabinet Michael Gove has already told him today that it is time to resign for your own good, for the good of the party, for the
good of the country, time to step down and move out of the way.
And I think the other sort of ball that's been lobbed back into Boris Johnson's court this afternoon after hearing not only at prime minister's
question time, not only in the committee hearings, where he has said that he will continue to fight on, continue to take his mandate and do his job,
as the public have asked him to do, the 1922 Committee, a backbench committee of Conservative M.P.s, seem to be taking action that is signaled
to tell the prime minister that they could have a vote of no confidence in him as early as next week.
And it does seem to be a foregone conclusion what that would -- what that vote would be. It would go against the prime minister.That's the
implication. So all of this is stacking up, the weight stacking up. And, as you say, the Cabinet members, the most senior, Nadhim Zahawi, as you say,
inside Number 10, Number 11, right now waiting for the prime minister's return, as are, I have to say, dozens upon dozens upon dozens of
AMANPOUR: Of course there are. This is an amazing political crisis and everybody wants to see whether this Houdini is going to be able to pull out
one of his tricks again.
But, Nic, let's just quickly ask you, when do you expect him back? And just also Rory Stewart alluded to it. Boris Johnson has been known and in fact
censured for his dishonesty and misleading behavior before. He was a journalist and he was fired from his newspaper for making up a quote. He
was a minister and he was fired from his position for not telling the truth to Parliament about an extramarital affair.
This stuff has stalked him throughout his career.
ROBERTSON: Eventually, it's built up a weight. And that's what appears to be the case now. The proverb, old proverb, is the straw that broke the
And Chris Pincher's sexual misconduct over the past week, and everything, the way that Boris Johnson has handled it, has exposed him to that
additional straw that has now landed on him, and it does seem to be the one that's finally going to crush his aspirations for, as he was talking about
only a week ago, a third term in office.
The message coming from his party, the message coming from the public, the message coming around for him is that he must go. He seems to be the only
one who is deaf to it. And extraordinarily here, Christiane, it is, as you say, such a historic moment. And there are so many journalists lined up.
But I'm looking through to the Foreign Office, which, as you know from your time down here, is just the other side of the camera behind me here. People
working in the British Foreign Office, Foreign and Commonwealth and Development Office are lined up at the bars here looking into Downing
Street to see what's going to happen to the prime minister.
The eyes of the country are on the street, on this spot right now.
AMANPOUR: It's an extraordinary situation and, as Rory Stewart said, one entirely of the prime minister's own making.
Nic Robertson, thank you very much.
And for more on this, we're going to turn to Mark Malloch-Brown. He's a member of the House of Lords. And he's also president of the Open Society
Foundations. He's joining me now from Pennsylvania.
So, Lord Malloch-Brown, welcome to the program.
MARK MALLOCH-BROWN, FORMER U.N. DEPUTY SECRETARY-GENERAL: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: It is fair to say that we were going -- we asked you on to our program to talk about something other, and we will get to it.
But being that you are British, that you are in the House of Lords, and this crisis is unfolding in this country, what is your view from where you
are on what's happening and where you think it's going to lead?
MALLOCH-BROWN: Well, of course, Boris Johnson has just gotten back from a 10-day sort of almost round-the-world trip to at least a series of summits,
NATO and G7 and commonwealth summits.
And that was a Boris Johnson who was on as good form as it gets, I mean, leading on Ukraine, very much America's closest partner on those European
security issues, claiming that he was able to be so forward-leaning because he was no longer constrained by the E.U. membership of the past, et cetera.
So he came -- he landed back in Britain with a bump, instead of having, like American presidents do when they travel abroad, getting that lift in
the polls, he found himself dropped on his backside quicker than he could have imagined with an incident which in its beginnings was quite small.
I mean, a groping deputy chief whip getting drunk in a Tory club didn't compare to the transgressions of Johnson and his government in the past,
seemed to be in the same league. But what it's done, of course, is reconfirm this is a man who lies. And, ultimately, the British political
culture just can't swallow that.
AMANPOUR: You are a Labor peer. And, obviously, your party leader, Keir Starmer, I guess this is great for him, although is it? Does he wants to
see Boris Johnson get turfed out now? Or would it be better for him when an election does come -- and it was meant to happen in a couple of years -- to
fight what presumably would have been an increasingly weakened Boris Johnson?
How do you think the Labor Party looks at this?
MALLOCH-BROWN: Well, a little sort of lost in these headlines is the fact that Keir Starmer faces his own threat to his leadership, in that he's
being investigated for a partying charge during COVID lockdown, a much humbler, milder event than what went on in Downing Street, but one which he
said, if he's found guilty of and fined by the police, he will resign as party leader.
So it's not impossible that we will find both parties engaged in leadership elections. I think, in truth, Keir Starmer will be relieved, like the rest
of the country, by a change in prime minister. I mean, we all may be party creatures, but we're Brits first and foremost.
And our country is in terrible crisis, with a looming and only worsening economic crisis around food and fuel prices, et cetera. And a government
that just can't function isn't great for any of us, and I suspect Starmer would -- and I -- by the way, I'm a crossbencher, not a Labor peer anymore.
But I think Starmer would probably prefer to face a slightly more effective Tory leader, so that the country he hopes to inherit after an election is
still a functioning country and has a shot at beating its economic problems.
AMANPOUR: So let me ask you now really the main reason why we had previous to this moment of crisis invited you on, because it goes to actually what
you were talking about, the fact that Boris Johnson is weakened at home and then, presumably, unable to deliver on the kinds of foreign policy pledges,
the kind of necessary British help to the world that you are calling for.
You wrote about the G7 summit, which you mentioned, that the leaders there missed a chance. You said that there was a need to have a Marshall Plan
outline for the world, particularly in Ukraine and because of the food crisis around the world, but what, of course, they got, you said, was a
Talk us through that. What does somebody like British prime minister or the French president or the German chancellor, not to mention the U.S.
president, what do they need to do, in your view, for -- to address these issues?
MALLOCH-BROWN: Well, sadly, this British government and this prime minister have pretty much pulled themselves out of much of a role on this,
because they have slashed British foreign aid, cutting more than four billion pounds from it, taking it from 0.7 percent of our GDP to 5 percent
-- I mean, 0.5 percent.
And, in doing that, they have lost leadership on this. So Johnson's leadership is really just about Ukraine. But at the G7 summit, there was a
talk of a Marshall Plan for Ukraine.
And my counterpoint is, look, Ukraine is the tip of a wider crisis, and that Ukraine has also exacerbated that crisis, which is a crisis of the
sort of breakdown of the kind of global economy translated into massive food price increases and food supply disruptions, massive energy price
disruptions, and increases with oil now above $120 a barrel, and that, unless we can address that wider crisis, then we're going to lose the war
for the narrative around Ukraine.
President Putin and his allies are arguing that the food crisis is Western- induced because they're stopping Russian grains and Ukrainian grains and Russian fertilizers from reaching the world markets. It's much more
complicated than that.
But what is the case is that the West seems so consumed by Ukraine and a war in Europe that it cannot focus on a global crisis which threatens at
least as many lives, tragically, through hunger and economic hardship as the war in Ukraine.
It's not a matter of either/or. It's not a matter of losing our focus on a war created by an extraordinary act of Russian ruthless aggression and
intervention. But it's a matter of being able to deal with two problems at once, juggle a couple of balls at the same time, and really get focused on
this wider crisis.
The U.N. reports that there are 94 countries which have got a triple crisis of food, fuel and debt at the moment. This is as bad a moment as we have
seen in decades. And the West is not asleep at the wheel, but so preoccupied with Ukraine, that it's not offering leadership on this wider
AMANPOUR: Lord Malloch-Brown, stand by. We're having some issues with your actual satellite, and we're going to come back to you in a sec for some
more of the foreign policy and the development policy.
But I want to turn to our next guest, who has spent his career on the opposite side of the political divide, of course, to Boris Johnson.
Alastair Campbell was spokesperson and adviser to the former Labor Prime Minister Tony Blair, but, more recently, he's been building bridges hosting
the podcast "The Rest Is Politics" with Rory Stewart, our first guest tonight.
Alastair, welcome to the program.
I don't know whether you heard our conversation with Rory, but you have obviously been discussing it in your podcast anyway, that this does seem
the moment that the -- I don't know -- I was going to say the vultures, but, actually, I don't know, somebody's circling to finally get rid of
Boris Johnson. Do you agree?
ALASTAIR CAMPBELL, AUTHOR, "THE BLAIR YEARS: THE ALASTAIR CAMPBELL DIARIES": Well, I hope so.
I mean, Rory and I actually had a bet on the podcast recently. I said I didn't think that Johnson would survive to the next election. Rory thought
that he would. But I think Rory accepts and I think anybody with a political brain in their head accepts now that Boris Johnson is toast, he
And the sooner he recognizes that, the better. And it was interesting listening to Mark Malloch-Brown there. He's absolutely right. The big
challenges home and abroad are not being confronted. The British government is effectively impotent and disabled. Johnson parades as a great war
leader. He's using Zelenskyy the same as he uses everything else that comes in his path. He cares only about his own survival.
He's got no plan for Britain. He's got no vision for this so-called global Britain that he's building after Brexit. Brexit is going wrong, the
economy's going wrong. public service is going wrong. And he's utterly debased the standards on which British public life is meant to be run.
So, honestly, I just don't want to see him out. I want to see him out. I want to see the whole rotten Cabinet out who propped him up. I want to see
our media culture change, because they have propped him up as well. And I actually think -- he was talking about serving his third term. He's going
to serve a third term.
I think it's the first term in prison he should be serving for misconduct in public office. He is an utter disgrace. And the sooner he is out, the
AMANPOUR: Right, Alastair, don't pull your punches, all right?
CAMPBELL: I shall not.
AMANPOUR: Not on this show, for sure.
CAMPBELL: I shall not.
AMANPOUR: But let me ask you. He was found to have broken the law. That is what fining him was. That is what the police actually declared over the
Why wasn't he held accountable?
CAMPBELL: Well, as I say, I think our political and media systems are failing in this country.
He's not held to account because our Constitution has always depended on the idea that the people who get to the top ultimately are good chaps. They
will do the right thing. They are honest. They're decent. They're honorable people.
You still to this day can't call him a liar in the House of Commons, because you cannot call another member of Parliament a liar.
The guy is a pathological liar. He will be lying now to those Cabinet ministers who are trying to get him out.
AMANPOUR: Well, they're all saying, I have to say -- I mean, Sajid Javid and others, they talked about dishonesty. They talked about -- and the
senior foreign --
CAMPBELL: They've all tolerated it. They've all tolerated it. They've known it all his life. He was a liar as a journalist. He was a liar as
mayor of London. The guy is incapable of telling the truth.
AMANPOUR: And yet he was a winner. He was a great campaigner and that's why he is the way he is. He got a massive majority --
CAMPBELL: He got a big majority. It was a half of --
AMANPOUR: It was a big majority --
AMANPOUR: And he broke through your red label wall.
CAMPBELL: Right. OK. Let me just say, he -- it was half majority that we won in 1997. He was up against Jeremy Corbyn, who I believe the country was
never going to let as prime minister. And yet again campaigned on the pack of lies about Brexit. And the tragedy about Johnson is that he's going to
go and he's going to be condemned to the dustbin of history. However, Brexit is going to be with us for some time to come.
AMANPOUR: Because even -- OK. Let's just jump ahead then. Let's say he goes. Let's say there's another election, sooner rather than later, and
Keir Starmer is actually, you know, challenging that election. Keir Starmer has said, Brexit is done. There is no way, no how that any of it is going
to be changed. Not freedom of movement. Not whatever the, you know, the trade -- nothing. That it's going to continue like that.
CAMPBELL: Well, that's because --
AMANPOUR: So, what's the difference, then?
CAMPBELL: Well, at least --
AMANPOUR: In your view.
CAMPBELL: -- Keir Starmer is at least an honest guy who believes in public service and has integrity. However, let me tell you, on the I don't agree
with labor's position on Brexit. I think that ultimately, leadership is about telling the truth about the state of the country, and the challenges
Now, I completely understand that politically it's very difficult to reverse the decision. But there is lots you can do to improve the way
things are. There are things that you can do now to fix the Northern Ireland Protocol. I think it's silly to rule out the customs union and --
AMANPOUR: And the Americans are going to get very, very angry policy-wise and trade-wise --
CAMPBELL: But listen --
AMANPOUR: -- if this Northern Ireland Protocol is --
CAMPBELL: Christiane, on --
AMANPOUR: -- is changed.
CAMPBELL: -- on the Northern Ireland question, Joe Biden cares about Northern Ireland. A lot of American politicians care about Northern
Ireland. Boris Johnson couldn't give a damn. The Good Friday agreement was not invented here. Brexit was invented here and he has to pretend that
Brexit is being present --
AMANPOUR: Where are the polls on Brexit now? What are the people saying?
CAMPBELL: They've shifted.
AMANPOUR: They're still supporting it?
CAMPBELL: They've shifted. People like me, who were passionately against leaving the European Union, Brexit -- this is according to the latest poll.
And Brexit now matters more to us than it does to those who were passionately for leave because it has gone down the order in terms of what
people care about.
People care about the cost of living crisis. I think Brexit is related to that. They care about their public services. Ditto. But, listen, I accept
that the next election is not going to be about whether we go back into the European Union.
AMANPOUR: Yes, of course not.
CAMPBELL: I wish that were the case, but it's not. Now, Johnson, he has, in my view, delivered precisely nothing as prime minister. He goes, -- the
AMANPOUR: I'm trying to wreck my brains.
CAMPBELL: What they say --
AMANPOUR: The economy --
CAMPBELL: What they say is that we had the biggest rollout, the best rollout --
CAMPBELL: -- the vaccine rollout. We had a good vaccine rollout --
AMANPOUR: Very good.
CAMPBELL: -- thanks to some brilliant scientists. We've actually done, I think, pretty badly on the economy in relation to COVID.
He goes on about Ukraine. The British military, despite a decade of austerity shredding it, is still pretty strong and has done a good job. And
politically, there's been a massive support. The idea that Johnson is some kind of Winston Churchill is a joke. And then thirdly, you got Brexit done.
Well, Brexit is turning out to be a complete disaster.
AMANPOUR: Well, let's just --
CAMPBELL: Public service is --
AMANPOUR: --let's just --
CAMPBELL: -- cost of living --
AMANPOUR: -- talk about that because he promised this huge -- remember the bus? The famous bus --
AMANPOUR: -- with the hundreds of millions of pounds --
CAMPBELL: That was a lie.
AMANPOUR: -- that would go to the NHS.
CAMPBELL: Yes, it was a lie.
AMANPOUR: And now the NHS is hurting.
CAMPBELL: It was a lie. The guy lies pathologically, compulsively. He doesn't know the difference. I mean, Dominic Cummings -- I have a lot of
criticism of Dominic Cummings but I do think he's right when he says that Johnson literally doesn't know. Rory -- you talk about Rory Stewart in our
podcast. Rory Stewart tells stories virtually every week of lies that were told to him, of lies that were told to colleagues.
AMANPOUR: Well, I know for a fact that there are world leaders who actually --
CAMPBELL: So, do I.
AMANPOUR: -- brand him a --
CAMPBELL: So, do I.
AMANPOUR: -- liar.
CAMPBELL: I'll tell you what --
AMANPOUR: I know that for a fact.
CAMPBELL: -- President Macron is open about the fact that Johnson lied to him. Lied to his face. And that is a big thing to do, world leader to world
leader. You know, people might think politicians lie all the time. In truth, they don't. The -- they do diplomacy and sometimes you don't tell
the whole truth. You don't tell direct lies to each other.
AMANPOUR: Can I ask you about your own party leader right now? Keir Starmer. As --
CAMPBELL: I was expelled from my party.
CAMPBELL: As you may remember, from Keir Starmer.
AMANPOUR: Yes, I do. Where are you now then?
CAMPBELL: My heart is --
AMANPOUR: What party are you in?
CAMPBELL: -- My heart is still with labor.
AMANPOUR: Well, actually your former prime minister is trying to create a third way. So, maybe you'll be invited back. We'll talk about that in a
moment since you say politics are dysfunctional.
But first and foremost, Lord Malloch-Brown reminded everybody that also Keir Starmer has his police inquiry, you know. Is it the kettle calling the
AMANPOUR: Well, how is this going to --
CAMPBELL: Well, I --
AMANPOUR: -- resolve?
CAMPBELL: -- I don't know. But I don't think you can remotely compare what's on the surface was Keir Starmer having a public peer working away
from home with some colleagues after they've been campaigning. And a culture within Downing Street of utter impunity about lawbreaking.
Downing -- 10 Downing Street is now the most fined building in the United Kingdom as a result of COVID.
AMANPOUR: And let's just not forget, he was the first prime minister --
CAMPBELL: To break the law.
AMANPOUR: -- to have been be fined and to have been found --
CAMPBELL: And as John Major say --
AMANPOUR: -- to break the law.
CAMPBELL: -- as John Major said, that should've been an open short case (ph).
AMANPOUR: Former Conservative prime minister.
CAMPBELL: If you break the law, you've got to go.
AMANPOUR: Now, Tony Blair has said, having won three elections like Margaret Thatcher won three elections, and like Boris Johnson says he will
CAMPBELL: Yes, yes. Well --
AMANPOUR: Tony Blair says that --
CAMPBELL: I'm a pig and I'm going to fly.
AMANPOUR: -- A, you need that amount of time, like 10 years to actually deliver transformative change. But B, he has now come out with a -- an
alternative. He wants to try to see whether he can again find some middle ground of politics that's neither extreme right, left, but can actually get
governance done. Can you tell us where that stands and does it have a hope in hell?
CAMPBELL: Well, I think it certainly can make contributions to the debate, and I think it's already doing that. And I think that -- when I -- Rory
Stewart and I interviewed Tony in our podcast last week, and I said to him, don't you think this is an indication of the failure of the main parties
that you're even having to --
CAMPBELL: -- feel that you do this? And I sometimes feel that -- I sort of feel that -- he's 69, I'm 65, I sort of wish that we could just disappear
off the stage. And I'm sure lots of Tories do as well. But the reason I think we feel we can't is because I think politics isn't such a mess.
And that does go for the opposition parties as well. And I think what Tony's trying to do is actually to say, ultimately it is about the
development of the new ideas. It is about policy. I was the guy who was accused of sort of turning the whole thing into a presentational blah. It
is always about ideas in policy. You need to be able to present them well and to be able to communicate.
And I think that was what Tony was trying to do. He's not saying whether to come over, come back, and run the country or even try to do that. But I
think it's an ideas hub, I think it's a great idea. And look, Tony is still somebody who can command space. He can make the weather. He can get people
to debate these things. And I think it's silly if people don't understand that somebody like him is still got a contribution to make to the debate.
AMANPOUR: Stand by a bit because I want to ask you about some foreign policy stuff with regard to Ukraine. And we've got Lord Malloch-Brown back.
So, I want to ask you, you've talked to us about Ukraine. About the, you know, the fallout from this terrible war. But what about the commonwealth
meeting in Rwanda? That also was a massive, at least part of it, a big scandal really because Boris Johnson flew there in the midst of this very
unpopular policy, or maybe it's not that unpopular. But it was criticized by human rights armed people of sending asylum seekers to Rwanda.
And you, I know you've dealt with refugee and other issues, Lord Malloch- Brown. What do you make of that and where that issue is going in this country?
MALLOCH-BROWN: Well, look, out in Open Society Foundations, which I am now head, we were appalled at this sort of breach of refugees' rights to shift
them off like this. And I say that despite knowing Rwanda very well as actually a country which has a much more successful development than many
of its counterparts in Africa and, you know, the expectation that many of these asylum seekers might actually have, you know, had a reasonable life.
But it's not what they were seeking and it's not -- doesn't comport with Britain's responsibilities under international law. And, you know, it's a
classic sort of Johnson wedge issue. I -- it's not that I think he really thought he was ever going to be able to ship that many asylum seekers
there. But it was played great with his base. It was what Alastair has just been talking about, the sort of tokenism and red flag-ness of policies
which roar up the base, but which don't solve the problem they're meant to be addressing.
And that's been three years of this man's rule which is, you know, he'll do symbolic stuff, but he won't do stuff that solves problems. And, you know,
Britain has got such a stacked-up set now of issues that needs to address, at home and abroad.
And, you know, I just think across both sides of the aisle in the British parliament and across the British public at large. There is just anxiety
for, sort of, new more, sort of, serious leadership that he'll get kind of stuck into real problems.
And I -- just a word on the abroad bit of it, I mean -- you know, while leaders have respected the fact that he's been a cheerleader on Ukraine
and, you know, I think really respected that. They see him as a sort of, one, you know, one horse pony. He's got no other foreign policy. He's got
no development policy. He sort of tries to be as close to the United States as he can in a sort of somewhat craven away. But he's not really a partner
to them and they don't think of him as a partner. He can't help on development issues or the wider agenda anymore because he's so cut his
So, you know, I think -- you know, he's a little bit of, sort of, a circus figure abroad as he is at home at this point.
AMANPOUR: Thank you so much for joining us tonight, Lord Malloch Brown.
Alastair, on that issue, on the refugee issue. Because that's a really big betrayal of the international law regarding refugees and their legitimate
CAMPBELL: Well, he had no compunction about breaking the law, the domestic law. And we've already seen that he's capable of breaking international law
in relation to Northern Ireland Protocol. And I think Mark is right.
The Rwanda policy wasn't about resolving the problem. It was about exploiting the problem. It was about getting ridiculous newspapers like the
"Mail" and the "Express" and the "Telegraph" going, yes, yes, yes. Let's send them all back to Africa. Like all refugees came from Africa.
And it's just this -- is this horrible putrid appeal to the lowest common denominator in a base. And look, I've been reading -- read recently, the
book by Moises Naim, the Venezuelan guy, "The Revenge of Power". And his subtitle is, "How the Autocrats Are Reshaping Politics" and he talks about
the three Ps. Populism, polarization, and post-truth. Johnson is a populist, polarizing, post-truth leader. And that's why I think it's
wonderful if he gets --
AMANPOUR: Like Trump.
CAMPBELL: Exactly like Trump. Exactly like Bolsonaro. There are several -- there are plenty of them around the world. I mean, Moises Naim's book is
brilliant at explaining. He actually traces it back to Berlusconi. But there are plenty of them and they've been winning. They've got to start
AMANPOUR: Can I ask you a very important point? And this goes to the heart of trying to protect democracy and our values and this is the war in
Ukraine. Russia's unprovoked war in Ukraine. All the Western leaders talk about it as not just about Ukraine, which it is, but about the greater
protection of democracy and the rules-based order, an international law writ large.
So, you were in government when Tony Blair joined Bill Clinton and -- I don't even -- it wasn't really a U.N. mandate. But 19 countries in Kosovo
to try to protect them from the ravages of Serbia. Do you see parallels between that and what's happening in Ukraine right now? And do you think,
despite all the PR, that actually the West is doing enough to help Ukraine win?
CAMPBELL: The short answer is, no. The short answer is, yes, I do see parallels. And no, I don't see that. And what's more, I think that Putin --
and I think this happened, we've talked about this before. I think this happened around Syria and the Red Line of chemical weapons used that was
crossed, and then nothing really happened. I think he sensed Western weakness. He exploited Western weakness. And he's been exploiting it ever
Now, I completely understand why Joe Biden is sitting there thinking, Ukraine's a bit bigger than Kosovo. And he's thinking, Russia is a bit --
maybe a bit stronger than Serbia. And we really don't want to start a third world war. I get that. But at the same time, I think there is a bit of --
and to be fair to Joe Biden, I don't think he has nearly enough credit for the leadership he's shown in relation to Ukraine.
Johnson parade is putting this coalition together. Biden is, you know, really putting his money where his mouth is on this. And I don't think he
has enough credit for that. But at the same time, I don't think the Ukrainians are sitting there thinking-- they think, they're all talking a
good game, but are they actually helping us to win --
AMANPOUR: And we can see Russia consolidating its position in the East.
CAMPBELL: And the thing is -- and I'll tell you, we've talked about this before, Christiane. The -- I felt for some time now the dividing line has
been coming across the world and that dividing line is actually between democracy and dictatorship. And that dictatorships at the moment, I think,
still think, that they think they're winning. And they think that we're weak and they're strong and they can get away with a lot more because
Now, I don't want -- I'm not suggesting we become dictatorships. I am suggesting, and this is the theory of Moises Naim's book, that there are an
awful lot of leaders around the world who are trying to subvert their democracies to suit themselves and their own interests. And the guy who is
hopefully being kicked out of office here quite soon is definitely among them.
AMANPOUR: Really fascinating. And it's such a huge big picture the way you all paint this. It's not just a local political crisis.
AMANPOUR: Alastair Campbell --
CAMPBELL: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: -- thank you very much indeed.
And next, we're going to get some perspective on this moment in British politics with the eminent historian Margaret MacMillan. She's an emeritus
professor at Oxford University. And she's a professor of history at the University of Toronto.
Welcome back to our program, Professor MacMillan.
MARGARET MACMILLAN, HISTORIAN AND AUTHOR, PROFESSOR EMERITUS, OXFORD UNIVERSITY: Pleasure to be back. Thank you.
AMANPOUR: So, I want to follow up on what Alastair Campbell was just saying. And I want to play first a soundbite of Boris Johnson using the
Ukraine war as a reason for staying where he is. Let's just play this soundbite.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: The country's going through tough times. And I think that we have the biggest, you know, you're making a
point about duty, right?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
JOHNSON: And I look at the issues that this country faces. I look at the pressures of people are under, and the need for government to focus on
their priorities, which is what we are doing. I look at the biggest war in Europe for 80 years. And I can, for the life of me, see how it is
responsible just to walk away from that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So that was a big, big, big basket. But he also put in there the idea that he would be required to stay to help maintain, you know, the
progress of the Ukrainian defense. In your view, how does that sit?
MACMILLAN: Terribly. I think it may not have made sense even earlier on, but I don't think it makes sense now. And is -- the point about a strong
democracy, which Britain remains, is that individual leaders can come and go, but the country will still go on.
And for Boris Johnson to say that he is the only one who can do what Britain needs, it seems to me, is hubris. And I think it's now -- he's now
meeting the fate of those who have hubris. It's all coming undone. He's not irreplaceable. And in fact, more and more people are thinking, the sooner
he's replaced the better.
AMANPOUR: Before we just dive down a little bit more historically on that with you, I just want to follow up on what Alastair was saying and what
we've been talking about recently.
Despite their promises. Despite the billions. Despite, you know, the support for Zelenskyy and the Ukrainians, Russia is doing what Russia does.
And it's plotting along and playing the long game and consolidating as we speak in the Donbas. And it may very well end up with that Eastern part
totally under its control.
Historically, since you've covered all of this and you've talked so much about, you know, the politics and the art of war. Where do you think we are
right now in this moment?
MACMILLAN: I find it very hard to say because we're right in the middle of it. And we don't know what the Ukrainian forces are planning. We don't know
-- we know that they're counterattacking along -- in the South. And we, I think, cannot foresee what's going to happen in the winter.
I think if Ukrainian forces can hang on until the late fall and winter and regroup during the winter, it may be a very different story in the spring.
What is clear is that Russia's damaged itself and damaged its capacity to fight.
There's a report in the press today that the Russian authorities are now offering convicts money to go and fight in Ukraine. Not offering them any
training. Just sent -- go in, if you get killed, we'll give your family the equivalent of $60,000. That, seems to me, a desperate power which is
recognizing that its armed power is running out.
AMANPOUR: That's the typical cannon fodder doctrine, I guess. So, let's get back to the matter at hand here in the UK. In the big picture, it is
about democracy, rule of law, and following the rules of the game. And we've just been speaking throughout the hour as to why Boris Johnson finds
himself in this position. For having flouted all those rules of the political game. Having even flouted the law. Where does that fit
historically in, you know, in British history and prime ministers?
MACMILLAN: I'm finding it hard to think of another parallel. I mean, Britain has had some pretty bad prime ministers like any other country has.
But I think what has been the case, certainly, since the end of the 18th century, is that there has been often unspoken understanding about how you
behave and when you leave office.
Peter Hennessy, the great historian, and who, himself, was involved in politics put it very well. And he said, you know, we've somehow got by on a
decent chap theory. That decent chaps won't do certain things. And if they are caught out, they're not decent chaps and they leave office.
And I think what's been different about Boris Johnson, and there've been politicians before who tried to get away with it, is that he's not only
broken those unspoken understandings but he has got away with it. You know, I kept on thinking, a year ago or even longer go when Dominic Cummings made
that completely illegal trip up to the North during the COVID lockdown that this would be the thing that brought the government down and it hasn't.
But I think what's happened, like pressure building up behind a dam, is that suddenly a lot of people are saying enough is enough. And those in the
country who supported him and said, good old Boris, he's so amusing, he's so funny, are no longer finding it very amusing.
AMANPOUR: Nor do many people around the world. Although some still do. What does this do to Britain's place in the world?
MACMILLAN: Well, I'm wondering about that. Look, I'm Canadian and I spent a part of my year in Canada. And what Canadian friends say to me is, what
has happened to Britain? You know, and we've always looked to Britain. We know that British governments, like any governments, make mistakes. But
we've always looked to Britain as a very solid democracy. A country that when it gets into trouble, it has the capacity to right itself.
And I think there's a feeling that Britain has become frivolous in its approach to the world. That it hasn't been serious. That it can't be
You know, that the fact that the British seem prepared -- has been prepared to overthrow the Northern Ireland Protocol unilaterally really says
something about the way Britain is regarded around the world. If you don't keep your word, where are you?
AMANPOUR: And of course, just for our American viewers, and they all know because, you know, we've talked about it on this program, that in broad is
a part of the Brexit deal that threatens the Good Friday Agreement that the United States and Britain helped broker with all sides in Northern Ireland.
So, when you look at this, and we were talking about populism and, you know, nationalism, and illiberal democracies, and some of our guests before
you said that you know, Boris Johnson fits all of those. Ticks all of those boxes. What do you think that does, in this moment, where across the world,
certainly the United States, is trying to lead a proper campaign, marshal the forces to protect democracies against autocracies and illiberal
MACMILLAN: I think at the moment, Christiane, it can play out either way. I mean, one of the things that has surprised me, pleasantly, is the way in
which the west, which of course is no longer a geographical turn that something that encompasses Japan, Australia, the Americas, Europe -- much
of Europe. The West has rallied. Has recognized that it has core values that it wants to defend. And it's rallied in support of Ukraine. And has, I
think, understood that it does actually have something worth defending.
What is worrying, of course, are the divisions in the West and those in the West themselves who will play on those divisions. I mean, every society has
divisions. But it's when they become toxic and when you stop listening to people who disagree with you, or when you assume that those who disagree
with you are somehow traitorous. That's dangerous. And we have seen that. I mean, that's the danger of that sort of populism that anyone who's not part
of your world is not part of the people and is, therefore, an enemy and can be treated like an enemy. And I think that's dangerous.
But I think we're going through a lot of soul-searching in the West at the moment. And I like to think that it will actually prove beneficial, that we
will understand that our societies work because we respect the rule of law. We respect the democratic norms. We expect to have a free press. That we
expect to have elections that are fairly carried out. And that we can deal with each other in a tolerant and respectful way.
And so, let's hope that out of this, both what's happening internally in Western countries, but also what's happening in Ukraine, is that we come to
a better understanding of what we value and why we value it.
AMANPOUR: You know, Boris Johnson may not be, you know, very long for the office. Who knows? We don't know. But we've certainly seen this sort of
strongman appeal, whether it's Johnson, whether it's Trump, whether it's Bolsonaro, or Xi, or Putin. These people have been remarkably successful in
their own countries but also in, you know, getting their message around the world. Look at us. We can do this. There just does seem to be a very
dangerous moment of too many people liking what the strongmen offer them.
MACMILLAN: What strongmen -- and it is mostly men interestingly enough, offer a very clear solution. You know you want to know what your problem
is? I'll tell you. You want to know who's been causing problems for you? It's those elites. And of course, a lot of the strongmen come from elites
themselves but they manage somehow to portray themselves as defending the ordinary person and speaking out for ordinary people. And they're very good
at finding enemies. You know, they rally people around. We got enemies. We need to deal with them.
And so, I think that is very dangerous, indeed. What I'd like to think is that perhaps we're becoming a little bit inured to some of their claims.
Because they haven't been terribly successful when they're in government. Donald Trump claimed he was going to do a great deal for the forgotten
people of the United States, and did very little indeed. In fact, he was a very incompetent president.
And so, I do think that possibly some of this radical populism will run its course because, on the whole, the populist don't provide very good
AMANPOUR: It's really fascinating. We've been able to talk about so much around this political crisis gripping this country right now. Margaret
MacMillan, thank you very much for joining us.
And finally, tonight, Bob Dylan always seemed to have the right words and the right tune for the right moment. And now there is a record of note. It
is going to be auctioned off. The only copy of a newly-recorded version of "Blowing In The Wind". 60 years after the original was released, this
single is a collaboration with T Bone Burnett and it features a live band.
It's expected to be going, going, gone for over $1 million tomorrow. The song will not be made available to the public. So instead, we leave you
with the performance of the original from 1963. And it is the kind of bomb that perhaps we need at this moment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BOB DYLAN, SINGER: How many roads must a man walk down, before you call him a man?
Yes, and how many seas must a white dove sail, before she sleeps in the sand? Yes, and how many times must the cannonballs fly, before they're
The answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind. The answer is blowing --
(END VIDEO CLIP)