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Interview With Finnish President Sauli Niinisto; Boris Johnson Resigns; Interview With Former British Parliament Member Alistair Burt; Interview Institute for Government Resident Historian Catherine Haddon; Interview with Historian and Columbia University Professor of History Simon Schama. Aired 1-2p ET
Aired July 07, 2022 - 13:00 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.
BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: I want you to know how sad I am to be giving up the best job in the world.
AMANPOUR (voice-over): And yet is this a resignation without a departure date? Boris Johnson finally bites the bullet, but vows to stay on as
caretaker leader. We look at the British prime minister's tenure and the utter chaos and dysfunction in his wake.
Then: reaction from Finnish President Sauli Niinisto, who just met with Johnson. And we get the latest on Finland's bid to join NATO.
Plus, perspective from historian Simon Schama and constitutional expert Catherine Haddon, as Britain looks towards a future without Boris Johnson.
AMANPOUR: Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.
In the end, it took nearly 60 government resignations, more personal scandals than we can count, and a painful amount of drama and dysfunction.
But the moment finally came today when British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced he would step down, except he wants to stay on until his
successor is chosen, which could be months from now.
Here's part of his resignation with no outdate speech.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHNSON: To that new leader, I say -- whoever he or she may be, I say I will give you as much support as I can.
And to you, the British public, I know that there will be many people who are relieved, and perhaps quite a few will also be disappointed. And I want
you to know how sad I am to be giving up the best job in the world. But them's the breaks.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So you saw him gesturing to the people who were booing at the end of Downing Street there.
He painted his legacy, though, in terms of getting Brexit done, the COVID vaccine rollout, and Britain's support for Ukraine. But Johnson's nearly
three years in office will no doubt be remembered by the tsunami of self- inflicted crises, actually breaking the law over Partygate and his many attempts to cling to power.
The prime minister's position became untenable this morning, as even some of the ministers had appointed just hours earlier also quit. In the words
of the British historian Anthony Seldon, in 300 years and 55 prime ministers, no premiership has ever gone down in flames like this one.
So joining me now from Bedfordshire to discuss his spectacular downfall is Alistair Burt. He was a Conservative member of Parliament. And he served
under Boris Johnson at the Foreign Office.
Alistair Burt, welcome back to our program.
We have talked many times over many of the Johnson crises and over the years he's been in office. What do you think was the final straw that broke
the camel's back?
ALISTAIR BURT, FORMER BRITISH PARLIAMENT MEMBER: We have, indeed, Christiane.
And thank you very much for asking me on again.
I think the final straw came over the weekend, when it became obvious that ministers were being asked to give an explanation of the events surrounding
the appointment of a deputy chief whip who had been caught with a serious indiscretion last week in London, but had been appointed by the prime
minister, it would seem unwisely.
And ministers were asked to give an explanation of how this has happened, which turned out, frankly, just to be not true. And, as their explanations
got more and more seeming ridiculous, ultimately to be contradicted by a very rare intervention by Boris Johnson's former senior permanent secretary
at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, which clearly refuted what Number 10 was saying, I think ministers took the view that they had been out
having to follow a line on too many occasions which had turned out ultimately to be untrue.
Their integrity was being affected. And in the words of the health secretary who resigned, enough was enough.
AMANPOUR: Alistair Burt, you just mentioned how this all came to light. And I noted that you actually also were a minister when Boris Johnson was
Was there any of this in the atmosphere when you were there?It's the senior civil servant from the Foreign Ministry who's divulged this.
BURT: Well, let's be clear. There are scales of difficulty and problems with Boris Johnson.
That Boris Johnson had a particular political style which is quite different in a U.K. context is well-known. And as in classic Shakespearian
tragedy, the things which make you a hero are also potentially the things that can bring you down.
Boris Johnson's attitude to life into politics was a much more relaxed interpretation of what he had to do in office than many other politicians
would have given you. So, while he was foreign secretary, his charisma, his personality, the determination to be to be funny, to make people laugh, to
be liked was very strong.
And there are some places where it was inappropriate. And he was ticked off for making a speech about Libya, for example, where he'd used an
unfortunate expression which related to some of the tragedies of deaths in Libya at a party conference. It was a carelessness about his attitude.
And, ultimately, I think that was the undoing. It was a carelessness. It was a lack of attention to detail. And it was a feeling that he could get
away with things that other people couldn't get away with, because he always had.
And that sense of getting away with things was what made him rather popular with people on the street who perhaps didn't like all the stuffy, dry
politicians, and rather liked this different character. And they were right to like it, but it has professional flaws.
If you're not good on detail, if you think your version can stand any scrutiny because, really, that's what matters and nobody will burrow into
it too much and it will all be forgotten tomorrow, sooner or later, you will find yourself in a position when that is no longer true.
AMANPOUR: So, given all that you have just said, what did you make of his speech? Because, honestly, it was quite incredible to hear that speech.
There was just simply no apparent self-reflection or self-recognition of what actually had caused this. I mean, he pretty much blamed everybody and
talked about the herd, which were his own herd, people who he had appointed. And he said them's are the brakes, as if it's like some kind of
act of God that this happened.
BURT: Yes, I think you have characterized it very well. It's not unusual and it's not unfair for a prime minister who's leaving to set out at this
very early stage the things which he or she believes they got right.
And he can point to the vaccine rollout in relation to COVID, what's been done in Ukraine and things like that. But you're right. Listening to it,
the main thing that was missing was any sense of recognition of what had happened to him that had some responsibility in himself.
And I suspect over the next couple of weeks, as people do their analysis, this will come out again and again. Whatever happened, it was never his
responsibility. It was never his fault. It was always -- it was some other extraneous cause that could be blamed.
And if it got too close to home, there was dissembling and a rapid moving on. And that was there in the speech. I'm sure he will reflect and give a
more considered approach at some other stage and talk about it.
BURT: But, for me, the glaring fault was that there was no sense that he had done anything wrong.
And, ultimately, that was one of the things which counted very much against him amongst my former colleagues.
AMANPOUR: Well, you're a very generous person to say you're sure that some more reflection will come down the line.
I wonder also about the fact of reflecting on how long he's going to stay in office. He clearly said, I'm going, but not going, or not yet.
And here is his -- that part of the speech, and we will talk about it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHNSON: It is clearly now the will of the parliamentary Conservative Party that there should be a new leader of that party and therefore a new
And I have agreed with Sir Graham Brady, the chairman of our backbench M.P.s, that the process of choosing that new leader should begin now. And
the timetable will be announced next week. And I have today appointed a Cabinet to serve, as I will until a new leader is in place.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Alistair Burt, you know that that's caused a whole storm on social media within the party and within analysts.
And no less a former prime minister, a Tory prime minister, Sir John Major, has written to Brady specifically saying, the man that Boris Johnson
quotes, that this cannot stand, he has to leave now for the good of the country and potentially for the good of the party.
So what comes next, in your view? Does he stay? Can he?
BURT: I think it will be very difficult for him to stay.
I entirely agree with John Major's assessment and that of many other experts who've written today. And it may be some self-protection of Boris
Johnson accepting that he's got to go, but clinging on to some aspects of power and feeling that he's in charge for the next two or three months
overseeing the process.
I don't believe that's where the Conservative Party wants to be. I don't believe that's what Parliament will accept. He has not lost his role
because of some policy dispute and come off second best in a contest over that. He's lost it because colleagues have lost their faith in his ability
to tell the truth and in his integrity.
And that's what they have said in their messages and in their notes of resignation and then their speeches. Now, it seems to me not credible that,
in that position, he could then command any authority, because, if he's caretaker prime minister, he's still prime minister. He would still have to
take life-or-death decisions.
He would still be the person who would have to make the ultimate decision in relation to any sort of hostile action taken against the United Kingdom.
He's the person who would have to tell the people of Britain what to do in a difficult circumstances if they were called upon to make further
He doesn't have the credibility to do that. And I think it's a misjudgment on his part. What I would expect to happen is, there will be further
reflection in the civil service and amongst parliamentary M.P.s and his Cabinet, and they will say, you can't do this. We need an interim prime
minister, one who is not going to stand for leadership, to oversee this. Thank you, Boris, for your offer, but it's just not going to work and not
going to be credible.
AMANPOUR: Well, this new Cabinet who he touted and it appears that he's busy appointing has released a letter basically saying that Johnson will
not make any major policy or fiscal changes before he goes.
So, that addresses some of what you have said, but, still, people do not want, apparently, his own party and the public, by the way -- seven in 10
British adults don't want him where he is. His popularity has sunk within his own party, and he's losing local elections.
BURT: It's not good enough to say, I will stay in place, but I won't make any major decisions.
BURT: As you know better than many others in your journalistic field, it's the 4:00 in the morning phone call.
BURT: He's still the person who would get that if something happened. And then where is his authority? You can't say, as prime minister, I will do 50
percent of the job, but I won't do the difficult stuff.
That can't be done. You're either prime minister or you're not. And my sense is that, much as this will be attractive to him and a way of
deflecting some of the pain of losing the job and knowing somewhere inside you that you have been responsible for this -- and that must be a terrible
feeling -- the deflection of it in this way I don't think will work.
And those around him and the British Constitution, as reflected in senior civil servants, who have a very important role to play, somebody somewhere
has got to say, Prime Minister, this doesn't work. Ultimately, if the Cabinet decide not to serve him and say, we will just not sit around your
Cabinet table, then, as we saw last night, ultimately, that will decide it.
I think they have got to be very clear that's got to happen. I don't think the public of Britain will wear this. And I don't think his opponents in
Parliament, the Labor Party and other opponents, they won't let the Conservative Party get away with this.
They will hammer away at this day after day. I simply cannot see it being a workable arrangement.
AMANPOUR: And just to mention the Labor Party, a quick snap poll has been done, which shows that Keir Starmer would beat every single one of those
who's been mooted as the next potential party leader in an election if it was held now, except for Rishi Sunak, the chancellor who, along with Sajid
Javid, precipitated this latest exodus.
Can I ask you about foreign policy, obviously? President Biden has issued a statement reiterating America's close cooperation and friendship with
Britain. We have heard from the former Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier that they hope that there would be a more constructive post-Boris Johnson
relationship with the next U.K. premier, even if it's a Conservative premier, who believes in Brexit.
We have also heard from Volodymyr Zelenskyy. And I say that because Boris Johnson clung to his support for Ukraine as one of the reasons to stay in
power. This is what Zelenskyy said.
We don't actually have that sound bite right now, but basically what he did was call him a good friend, say that he was saddened personally to see
Boris Johnson go, but to reiterate that he felt the support from Britain will continue.
So, just tell us how that works on the international stage, the foreign policy.
BURT: It will be barely changed.
And President Zelenskyy is right to have counted Boris Johnson as a friend. But if you note his statement, while thanking him, he recognizes that it's
the state-to-state relationship that's important. And the work that's been done by Ben Wallace, the defense secretary, who almost certainly will be
one of the candidates to go forward, and others makes it very clear that that relationship will go on without Boris Johnson.
And as far as the other relationships are concerned, the United States again, we can be absolutely certain that the relationship and friendship
between the two countries will be just as solid no matter who is there, certainly on the part of the United Kingdom.
And as far as the European situation is concerned, that's more delicate. The Conservative Party will be thinking very carefully who they want to
lead. It's almost certain that the next leader of the Conservative Party will have endorsed Brexit in one way or another, even if they did not
necessarily vote for it in the first place.
But it's absolutely certain that that's where the country wants someone to be, but someone who is more ready to cut a deal, wants to see a future with
the European Union when the job of leaving has been done, it's not threatened by a good relationship and a good working relationship, not
threatened by concessions, that will be welcome to the European Union.
It's a question of whether, in the debate in the Conservative Party, that view will hold sway, when there are others in the Conservative Party who
still want the hardest attitude being displayed towards the European Union. That will be one of the cutting-edge issues that we will see in the debates
as to who's to become the next leader.
AMANPOUR: So interesting.
Alistair Burt, thank you so much for joining us.
And let's go now to Downing Street for more from correspondent Nic Robertson.
Nic, we talked about and you just heard Alistair Burt say it's pretty much untenable for him to hang on for these three months or however many before
there's a leadership conference and contest. Are you hearing and picking up any more on that?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: No, I think the points you raised there about what came out of that very, very short Cabinet
session gets to exactly that, that Number 10 is still trying to frame this as Boris Johnson, a safe pair of hands, no change to policies, no change to
direction of the government, no significant shift.
Everything that there's been mandated by the public is what he will try to deliver on. So the message coming from that Cabinet meeting really frames
it around, leave Boris Johnson in office for longer as caretaker prime minister.
I was also struck, in the Cabinet readout, which, again, gets to the -- sort of the Boris Johnson, the person, the character and the nature of how
10 Downing Street is trying to frame the situation at the moment, saying that there were tributes paid to Boris Johnson by Cabinet members for
everything that he's achieved, that the high points of his career were mentioned, all of that seems sort of out of context from what you would
normally hear from a Cabinet session.
But I think one of the other pieces of information to drop in the last half-an-hour or so, that Dominic Raab, the deputy prime minister, has said
that he is not interested in running for the leadership of the Conservative Party.
That's interesting, because it clears the way potentially for him to become caretaker prime minister. By what mechanism isn't quite clear, but that's
an indication that he is setting himself aside and to be a potential save a pair of hands to take over from Boris Johnson.
So you were talking about the legacy and how these Cabinet members were burnishing it. Let us give Boris Johnson a few seconds to tout his own
legacy. And let's play this part of his resignation speech.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHNSON: The reason I have fought so hard in the last few days to continue to deliver that mandate in person was not just because I wanted to do so,
but because I felt it was my job, my duty, my obligation to you to continue to do what we promised in 2019.
And, of course, I'm immensely proud of the achievements of this government, from getting Brexit done, to settling our relations with the continent for
over half-a-century, reclaiming the power for this country to make its own laws in Parliament, getting us all through the pandemic, delivering the
fastest vaccine rollout in Europe, the fastest exit from lockdown, and, in the last few months, leading the West in standing up to Putin's aggression
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So, Nic, there's a lot in there.
But what really matters to the British people is this terrible cost of living crisis that's going on around the world as well. And let's just read
what "The Economist" has said. Britain now has the highest inflation rate in the G7. And it's hit a 40-year high. And the GDP growth in the decade
leading up to the global financial crisis is really bad here in Britain. It's the slowest growth of the G7 in -- predicted for 2023.
So what really is his legacy?
ROBERTSON: Well, part of it, of course, is going to be Brexit. That's what he would point to. And there will be economists who point to the figures
that you have just spoken about that and say, yes, let's compare the U.K. now to where France is, where Germany is, where Italy is, all members of
the G7 there, whose economies are not doing as badly or projected to do as badly as the U.K.
And those economists may well make the point that were Britain still within the European Union, it wouldn't be suffering in this way. So there will be
for Boris Johnson this legacy of delivering for the hard-liners in his party Brexit. There will be for the rest of the country a legacy perhaps of
a poorer and weaker economy.
And the chances of that being course-corrected by a new prime minister seem unlikely, partly because he's taken the party so far to the right. He sort
of dipped into the hard-line right of the party, the real hard-line pro- Brexiteers, to win, to become prime minister.
And it certainly seems, listening to some of those who are putting their names in the ring to become prime minister again, they would do the same
thing. They would reach to the right of the party for support. So, when we hear from the Irish taoiseach today, Micheal Martin saying he hopes that
the U.K. is -- will deal with the Northern Ireland Protocols in a softer way, that seems unlikely.
ROBERTSON: So speaking to the economy going forward, currently, the U.K. is on a trajectory for a trade war, potential trade war with the European
That would be another way the economy would suffer if a prime minister picks up and runs where Boris Johnson leaves off.
AMANPOUR: Right, right, right. It's all so serious.
Nic Robertson, thank you so much.
And, of course, what he was referring to as well is that Good Friday Agreement, which the United States does not want to see interfered with.
And that's all wrapped up in Boris Johnson's flouting of the Northern Ireland Protocol.
But reaction to his pending departure is trickling in. The European Union's former chief Brexit negotiator, as I said, tweeted that it marks the start
of a more constructive relationship between the E.U. and the U.K. And, again, we mentioned the Irish prime minister, who called on the post-Boris
government to pull back from unilateral action which threatens Northern Ireland's U.S.-backed Good Friday peace accord.
Now, the Kremlin spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, simply said: Mr. Johnson doesn't like us very much. We don't like him either.
Until recently, the Finnish president, Sauli Niinisto, was the Western leader with perhaps the closest relationship with President Putin. But that
changed when Putin declared unprovoked war on Ukraine. And now that Finland is poised to join NATO, relations are set to become even frostier.
I started by asking President Niinisto what he made of Johnson's stormy exit.
AMANPOUR: President Sauli Niinisto, welcome back to our program.
SAULI NIINISTO, PRESIDENT OF FINLAND: Thank you very much.
AMANPOUR: Look, you have joined us, it just so happens, on a politically tempestuous day here in the U.K., and for one of your fellow European --
well, used to be European leaders.
Boris Johnson has had to resign. Can I just ask you, from a continental point of view and I guess a NATO point of view, what you -- what's your
reaction to the resignation of the British prime minister?
NIINISTO: I'm a bit confused.
I guess it's news for everybody, but, on the other hand, taking notice to the fact that U.K. is a very, very old democracy. Things go further also
after Prime Minister Johnson. So, I am not specifically worried about, for example, how our relations are developing.
AMANPOUR: And, of course, Boris Johnson has said over and again that he has led the Western defense of Ukraine and stood up for President Zelenskyy
and Ukrainians' rights under this unprovoked Russian war.
This is what President Zelenskyy said about Boris Johnson in an interview with CNN today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): What Johnson was doing for Ukraine, he was a true friend of Ukraine. He totally
supported Ukraine. And the U.K., it's on the right side of history.
I'm sure the policy towards Ukraine of the U.K. will not be changing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: What is your reaction?
NIINISTO: Well, I do agree with President Zelenskyy that neither I believe that U.K. policy will somehow be changed.
But, yes, as prime minister, Johnson has done a good job when supporting Ukraine. He has been very supportive with us also, with our NATO
AMANPOUR: Can I ask you, in light of your NATO application and that you are now going to essentially join the defense of Ukraine, what do you make,
what is your assessment of the Russian gains in the Donbass? And is there a point that you see any negotiations can take place?
NIINISTO: At the moment, it seems that we have to face the situation further.
It seems that Russia is doing some progress in the Donbass area. And, in a way, this is a very difficult situation, because it's very obvious that
Zelenskyy, Ukraine, they won't give up. They will fight. And on the other hand, it is very difficult to get Russians out of the area they are already
So I think that all the possibilities of trying to find some kind of solution, we have to rely now on President Zelenskyy's opinion. He's the
one to decide when negotiations should start.
But, on the other hand, let's not forget that he has been active. For example, when I discussed with him several times, he has always been
advocating for a face-to-face meeting with President Putin. And he has sometimes asked me to deliver this wish also to President Putin, as I did
it last time on March, when the invasion had already begun.
But, unfortunately, it seems that this kind of face-to-face doesn't fit to President Putin.
AMANPOUR: Why did Putin tell you he would not meet with Zelenskyy.
And you have been known a little bit as a -- as the Russia whisperer, so to speak, the Putin whisperer. You have had a lot of talks with him over the
years. But I noticed you say you have not spoken to him since March, shortly after the beginning of this war.
Have your relations with him got cold? Do you not talk anymore?
NIINISTO: No, I actually had my last discussion with him just some six weeks ago.
I wanted to give him the clear information that now we are going to leave our application to NATO. I did it because I just don't want to sneak away
around the corner. And his comment was very clear: You're making a mistake.
Well, I don't agree with that.
AMANPOUR: So, talk us through it, then, because you also said that his response was calm. But we have also heard the Kremlin spokesperson say: We
will have to reevaluate our security needs in light of Finland and Sweden joining NATO.
What do you think they will do, if anything?
NIINISTO: First of all, I want to point out that we, in Finland, we are maximizing our security. That is not the way from anybody. It is not a zero
game, zero sum game, the security. If we increase our security, it is surely positive for us, but it is not away from anybody.
So, what they are now saying is that they are following what Finland actually is doing and what kind of military equipment or troops are located
in Finland, and they will give a clear response, and I could imagine it's double the response. But so far, we have not seen any move to any
AMANPOUR: What do you think -- well, I'm going to ask you as president of Finland, both you and Sweden have very sophisticated, highly trained and
well-integrated militaries and you've had sort of workings with other international militaries, even when you are not members of NATO. What do
you think you bring to the table in Ukraine, and generally, as a new member of NATO?
NIINISTO: Yes. Actually, we have been working with NATO, with the U.S., with the U.K. a long period, also, militarily. And I would say that our
ability to cooperate also in that sector is vital. What we bring first to Ukraine, both Sweden and Finland, we are giving aid, not only human -- for
human institutions, but also military aid.
In Finland, we have now made just our seventh package of aid, which consists of -- also from military equipment. Then, to NATO, I quote a bit a
very famous phrase by saying that, in Finland, we do not ask only what NATO can do for us, but also what we can do for NATO and what we can do with
bringing proportionately, if you take notice to our size, a very, very efficient army with us.
And I just want to remind you that we feel we have never forgotten history, we have all the time, during all those decades after World War II, also
taking care very profoundly of our security. We have encryption (ph), we have, for example, the largest artillery in Europe. Everything like that.
AMANPOUR: Of course, you were paraphrasing John F. Kennedy's famous comment during his inauguration. And I just want to ask you, do you -- did
you ever think in your lifetime, and certainly as president of your nation, that you would witness your historically neutral country where public
opinion was not in favor of joining NATO until just recently, did you ever think you'd witnessed this monumental shift?
NIINISTO: Not this rapidly. There was no doubt that we are developing towards that direction all the time. But maybe I was expecting more than
that as a member of the European Union, and noticing that there is an ongoing discussion between NATO and European Union on defense and security
So, my estimation was that through that process, little by little, we actually became a member of NATO too, or that European Union and NATO are
so close to each other that there is no difference anymore in the securities and defense issues. That is what I was thinking. But what's
happened now, I said that, well, Russians have to ask themselves why this happened. And there were all the reasons to change the history.
AMANPOUR: And particularly, as you pointed out, I mean, Russia has shown that it was willing to unprovoked invade a neighbor, Ukraine. And let's not
forget that you have an 850-plus-mile border with Russia, i.e., you are also a neighbor and that concentrated the minds of your people and your
population. I guess they suddenly realize, wow, one day, in might indeed happen to us.
NIINISTO: Yes, actually the first moment was when Putin said that it's end of NATO enlargement. Because, so far, we had been thinking and saying to
others that from our own will, we -- and Sweden, we are military unaligned and that it could even stabilize the Baltic Sea area.
But after Russia said that no more enlargement, we cannot anymore say that, well, this is our own will top. No, everybody would say or, at least, think
that, well, you can't do anything else. So, that was, in a way, a wake up. Then, when we notice that Russia is willing to attack a neighbor, a
sovereign country, and trying to invade it, so that was not a very good example for another neighbor.
And that also surely had a lot of impact on people's mind. And at the end, I have to say that it was ordinary Finnish people who changed the history
by changing their minds simultaneously surely as politicians, they are also human beings, they changed their minds for the same reasons.
AMANPOUR: And are you convinced that your path to actually joining is going to be smooth? We saw obstacles that Turkey through up in your way.
You know, how difficult was it to get Turkey? And I know you were in the room, and the Swedish prime minister was in the room, and the NATO
secretary general, along with the Turkish president. Are you sure and convinced that you didn't have to sell out on any of your values to get
Turkish approval to lift its veto?
NIINISTO: No. I am absolutely sure because, actually, what we have promised, there are two elements. One is legislation on terrorism, the
criminal legislation. And we have just renewed our legislation, but we were, yes -- we could well sign the paper where it is said that, if
according to NATO standards there are needs to further develop legislation, we can very well do it as a NATO member, surely, we will follow NATO
And the other element is dealing with deportations. And there we promised to follow the European convention on that. It's -- we have followed it so
far. It's not difficult to follow in the future too. So, these are the main promises that Finland have made.
AMANPOUR: So, in other words, you do not agree to follow Turkey's desires in terms of that but E.U. and NATO regulations. In the meantime, there is a
period of time before you actually are full-fledged members. Do you fear any kind of gray zone time period where you might be in danger from Russia?
And have you've been giving guarantees that in this gray zone waiting period, you will have your security guaranteed by other NATO nations?
NIINISTO: Yes. I want to get back to Turkey and their opinion of it. Yes, they got through their message that they have severe terroristic threat and
they got their message through other NATO -- all NATO countries. Then, to this intermediate time.
In the very beginning, we are thinking that it might be possible that we face some challenges even threats, so far, nothing has happened. And if we
can count on what Russians are saying that they will kill a response whatever extra is happening in Finland, I mean, new troops or armament
around the borderline that they will give then their response. So, if that is reliable, there are talks, I don't see any major danger here, because it
is not -- our idea is to maximize Finnish security, which is not away from anybody.
AMANPOUR: Sauli Niinisto, president of Finland, thank you very much for joining us.
NIINISTO: Thank you so very much. Thank you.
AMANPOUR: And the Ukrainian flag flies again above Snake Island in the Black Sea, a week after Russian forces withdrew. The island, of course,
became a symbol of Ukrainian resistance since defying a Russian warship in the early days of the invasion.
Now, again, Boris Johnson's support of Ukraine has been warmly welcomed there, but that will continue no matter who is prime minister. His term is
one of the shortest in British history since 1900. And the question of whether he has the legitimacy to stay on as caretaker prime minister
I'm joined by historian Simon Schama and Catherine Haddon of the Institute for Government, Think Tank.
Both of you, welcome to the program.
Catherine, since you are here in the U.K. and dealing with and being asking about the process by which a new, you know, prime minister will be selected
and what's going on, can I first start by asking you, can he hang on? Is there a process whereby the government should and can speed this up?
CATHERINE HADDON, RESIDENT HISTORIAN, INTERVIEW INSTITUTE FOR GOVERNMENT: There is a way for them to speed this up. The rules that surround how a new
conservative leader is selected are known really only to the people who are in charge of those rules. And a new team of them are being elected on
Monday, and they can basically change the rules to how they want it to be. So, they can expedite the process.
One reason why they might want to do so is that they -- parliament rises on the 21st of July, and if they haven't finished the process of MPs deciding
who they want and who they might want to put to the wider conservative party, then we might have to wait until the autumn. So, there is a real
emphasis for them on trying to make sure that this process is much quicker, and that may mean that they need to change the rules.
AMANPOUR: Simon Schama, you are in the United States. And obviously, you follow all of this really closely. I just want to ask you from the
historian's perspective is, you heard what Anthony Selden said, that not in 300 years and 55 prime ministers has such a spectacular fall happened. Just
flush that out for us, historically, how does it sit with you, this?
SIMON SCHAMA, HISTORIAN AND PROFESSOR OF HISTORY, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY: Well, no, it has been a unique carnival, really. You know, the temptation
is to kind of troll through the history books to find a kind of nifty comparison. But I think he's quite right, really -- you will really be
defeated on this occasion.
What you can say is that they've been outsized very sort of brilliantly colored personality, prime ministers before. You think of Lord Palmerston
who had a notoriously unsavory private life or Lloyd George (INAUDIBLE) and so one. But it's is very difficult to actually think of a moment where the
government itself fell into a sinkhole, where actually you had two real dangers yesterday, which we seen not entirely out of.
One was that the government is simply, you know, ceased to function properly at a time of a cascade of several different crises with others
really around the corner. And the other, really, was slightly more generally sinister that Catherine thinks this is the case as well, where
Boris Johnson, towards the end of the day, yesterday, started to talk about having a direct mandate from the 14 million people who voted from him, we
seem to be edging towards a much more presidential system.
It's undoubtedly true that he's, you know, pungent personality was a major factor in the Tories landslide victory of 2019, but really voters in the
United Kingdom vote for a party, it's not a presidential system. It's a parliamentary representational system. And the sense in which he might
simply lean on this kind of charismatic approach in order, perhaps, to call a snap election or just to really grit his teeth and constantly reconstruct
a cabinet in the government which seem to be crumbling before our eyes, that was generally dangerous, I think.
AMANPOUR: So, let's put that to you, Catherine, do you agree with that? And is there any way that his view of his mandate, which is very
presidential and not parliamentary, because that is all about the party, might be -- you know, might be something that takes hold?
HADDON: Yes. I think there definitely was a feeling last night of utter shock, really, when despite his own cabinets -- a cabinet only constructed
over that previous 24 hours with some new appointment would still -- you know, he was still rejecting their view that he needed to step down. And
there was a lot of questioning of how far would he take this.
I think the thing to remember is, I mean, Boris Johnson wants himself to be remembered as the people's prime minister and many people will talk about
the idea of populism. Was he a very populist prime minister willing to push to the edge? I think, actually what he was, was the pandemonium prime
minister and he lived as chaos. And throughout his premiership, when we saw that most in the last 48 hours, we've seen a chaotic approach to handling
of crises, a chaotic approach to policymaking and a chaotic approach to the structures of government.
His own number 10 was frequently in chaos. And that kind of pandemonium that he brought is actually one of the things that brought him down in the
end because his party, the whole country are so tired of it. They want sensible government. They want a quieter government. They want a government
that just gets on with things and isn't always in the, you know, front of the media.
And, I mean, Johnson himself seemed frustrated with it. He kept saying, I just want to get on and deliver. I'm tired of all this noises. Also, it's
extraordinary that he was the one so often responsible for creating it.
AMANPOUR: And you mentioned the word populism. And so, I want to ask -- yes, let me just ask the question and then, you can continue, Simon.
The whole idea of populism, right, I had an e-mail shortly before we went on air to say that Boris's fall shows the gradual dissolution of the
populist enterprise that we had from Brexit, which he started. And then, it went on to America with Trump. Trump is gone, Boris is gone. And there are
many European countries which had populist governments which no longer do. I mean, there are obviously outliers which still do.
What do you make of that, Simon? It is this a moment where the idea of populism is on the decline?
SCHAMA: No, I wish, Christiane, I really do. But I think that is a little complacent. Viktor Orban shows not only no sign of going anywhere at all.
Putin, in his way, eminently, you know, there isn't the comparison with the kind of thriving robust Russian democracy to compare Putin's populist
appeal. But the combination of militant nationalist aggression and the demonization of any opposition is somehow traces to the people, which is
the stock and trade of populist rhetoric.
No, I don't think it is going away at all. And you are absolutely right, both of you, particularly you, Christiane, to say this as a transatlantic
phenomenon. And this is why, I tell you why. For better or worse, one of the things that's corrupting democracy and making it very difficult to
govern democratically is that government is kind of dull and populist campaigning, which Boris Johnson was supremely good, he was as good as a
rhetorical campaigner as he was crap of actually presiding over a government.
While politics becomes more and more branch of entertainment, the temptation to act as a disruptor, Steve Bannon's favorite word, to actually
make a kind of explosive splash at the expense of thinking at all how you govern in an age of multiplying cascading crisis, pandemic crisis, economic
crisis, foreign policy and military crisis, migration crisis, climate crisis, all these things together need a kind of substantive calm, planned,
careful, strategic working through these very complicated issues.
But what gets the headlines, what gets, you know, the gut swirling and the hatred, the glee of hatred pouring out is the opposite. Is the opposite.
It's kind of vaporous gut-wrenching, adrenaline driven pumping populism. And its days are most certainly not numbered.
What Britain faces now, of course, are a series of all these, you know, hard-core problems and the issue for a caretaker government is that can it
afford to leave, you know, the kind of charismatic populist-in-chief in charge or will the fact he is still going to be in Downing Street just make
the sinkhole more and more impossible to escape when you should be doing day-to-day careful prudent governing.
AMANPOUR: So, Catherine, that is really legitimate question because many have said that one of the crises is because of the base. You know, the base
is made up, his cabinet, his government. And that in order to have the kind of governance that clearly was so lacking under Boris Johnson, not just
campaign and the adrenaline driven populism that Simon lays out, you need to have a big tent party.
Do you think that there's any hope that this will happen? Because all of the people around Boris Johnson, in fact, all the people who have been
mentioned, I think, as potential replacements, they're all hard-line Brexiters who were chosen, except for maybe one or two, who were chosen
precisely for their Brexit ideology and not for their experience in running anything or governing anything.
HADDON: Yes. I think -- I mean, there's quite a lot of people who have been in government for a period of time now who have been talked about as
potential candidates. And I mean, the language around Brexit has moved on pretty much anyone who's been in Boris Johnson's government over the last
few years is by their very nature a Brexiteer. And is the Brexiter of the kind that, you know, close to the deal that Boris Johnson got? But that
said, they are all recognizing that there are problems in there.
I think, actually, that's going to be part of it, but it's going to be other issues that are going to split the conservative party further, and
that's things like free markets, it's about, you know, low tax, you know, limited spending of government versus dealing with the cost of living,
dealing with rising energy prices, inflation. You know, what is the right economic response? We're already seeing the signs of that with both Rishi
Sunak's departure letter and then, the sort of suggestions coming in from the new chancellor, Nadhim Zahawi. So, there's going to be a lot of debates
going about all sort of aspect of policy.
And I do think that's a problem I've been saying for weeks, you know, everyone is sort of saying, oh, is there a Tory civil war if Boris Johnson
goes? I said, it's going to happen anyway because you are seeing the split. We were seeing it inside government with the chancellor and prime minister
often at odds. That's often what happens. You are seeing it with backbenches pushing against the prime minister saying, he's done the wrong
decision on this, on that. And all of them having very different views on what he should do to fix it. And that is not going to change.
The only thing at the moment that is binding the conservative party together, and this is a favor that Boris Johnson perhaps has done for them
in the last 48 hours, is that so many of them want him gone and want something that is different to that. The fact that even, you know, Priti
Patel, numerous current cabinet ministers coming out and say, loyalists, people -- you know, Johnson got his people who are backbenchers who
supported him for years, coming out and saying, enough is enough, that kind of crisis is the thing that binds a political party together. That kind of
existential crisis. And that is the thing that might bring them to get back together over policy, because there are clearly big differences in that
tent about what they want conservative party to be in the future.
AMANPOUR: They look like. Yes.
And, Simon, finally, to you, you know, you're sitting in the United States. We've seen the former president of the United States challenge and try to
subvert American democracy. We saw militants at his behest storm the center of American democracy, the capital and we've been treated to, you know,
these unbelievable hearings detailing all of this.
None of that happened here. You know, people have called Boris Johnson, you know, the British Trump. Just try to, if you, can compare the -- contrast
and compare, as they would have said, on a school essay.
SCHAMA: Well, a very good question, Christiane. I think one good thing, one of possible a number of good things that's come out of the debacle,
seeing the end of the Boris Johnson prime ministership is that truth has actually prevailed.
You know, the point, it may be that his cabinet and his government, really, some of them felt more uneasy with him, some of them felt upset about the
chaos when the country needed anything but chaos. But the fact is, it was when retired member of the civil service came out and said last week that
the brief which ministers have been sent out to defend was based on a flat- out lie. When that combined with panic about electoral survival, then essentially, the truth prevailed.
SCHAMA: The difficulty -- so the difficulty on this side of the Atlantic is that we are living politically in a world of belief rather than factual
truth. And belief, passion, feeling is political dynamite. And there, you know, really, there's a lot to still feel worried about on our American
side of the pond.
AMANPOUR: Yes. It's an amazing situation. And thank you both for your incredible insight. Simon Schama and Catherine Haddon, thank you for being
And finally, tonight, chaos of a very different kind as a sea of red and white descended on Pamplona in Spain for the first running of the bulls
since the pandemic. While six people were injured at least no one was gored on opening day.
The question here in the U.K. is whether the bull, aka Rafael Nadal will still romp on Wimbledon center court. He talked of an abdominal injury
after his win against the American Taylor Fritz last night and everybody hopes the Spanish champion will play Friday's semifinal as he's chasing the
In the women's game, history has been made, Tunisia's Ons Jabeur has become the first Arab player to reach the Grand Slam final.
And that is it for now, if you ever missed our show, you can find the latest episode shortly after it airs on our podcast. On your screen right
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Thank you for watching and goodbye from London.