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The Global Brief with Bianca Nobilo

Boris Johnson Survives Confidence Vote In Parliament; Ukraine: Situation Changing "Every Hour" In Severodonetsk; U.S., South Korea Match North, Missile For Missile. Aired 5-5:30p ET

Aired June 06, 2022 - 17:00:00   ET



ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

BIANCA NOBILO, CNN HOST: Hello and welcome. I'm Bianca Nobilo, live from Downing Street, and this is THE GLOBAL BRIEF.

Surviving the confidence of his party. Boris Johnson is safe in his role as British prime minister for at least another year -- unless his MPs attempts

something behind the scenes, which is possible -- after winning a vote of no confidence by Tory MPs.

Two hundred and eleven conservative lawmakers voted in favor of Mr. Johnson, and there is now a party on Downing Street, fortuitously. Though

sizable, 148 voted against the prime minister. Just 32 more votes would have seen him ousted.

As things stands, he's safe from other challenges for the next 12 months. This is the moment that the results were announced.


GRAHAM BRADY, CHAIRMAN, 1922 COMMITTEE: Good evening. I cannot report as returning officer the 359 ballots were cast. No spoiled ballots. That the

vote, in favor of having confidence in Boris Johnson's lead was 211 votes. The vote against, was 148 votes.

And therefore, I can announce that the parliamentary party does have confidence.



NOBILO: Big cheers. Now, this showdown was months in the making. The prime minister's reputation has been badly damaged over recent weeks owing to the

party-gate scandal, and it's fallout. On top of that, there's no cost of living crisis in the UK, following the economic repercussions of Russia's

invasion of Ukraine.

This was the mood just last week, Boris Johnson getting booed at the queen's platinum jubilee, marring a celebration that was otherwise free of

politics. But things really took a turn when the head of the influential 1922 Committee, which represents conservative MPs on back benches,

announced earlier today that it leaves 54 lawmakers, 50 percent of the conservative party had formally called for a confidence vote in the prime

minister. It gave Johnson our scramble for support for tonight's big vote.

But the rapidity of the vote probably worked in his favor, as his own MPs have been backed in their constituencies celebrating the jubilee with their

constituents and barely had time once they reached parliament to have chats with colleagues, are potentially plot against the PM.

Now, Max Foster is with me.

MAX FOSTER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Pardon? There's a ghetto blaster --

NOBILO: It's pretty loud. Yeah, there's been some music all day, but it full of shows.

FOSTER: It's what they sometimes do to (INAUDIBLE) the local news bulletins at 10:00.

NOBILO: Exactly.

FOSTER: It's the best time to disrupt.

NOBILO: And it does sort of encapsulate the mood here, because we just heard from the prime minister who sounded positively giddy at this result.

But let's be honest, it's hardly a victory in the longer term.

FOSTER: It's not. And what we shouldn't do is focus too much on the fact that he survived because a huge amount, you know, well over 100 members of

his own parliamentary party have voted against him. And it shows a massive divide in the party, and it carries on more wounded than he was before.

And the context here, I think, is Theresa May who had a similar experience, had a better result than Boris did today. She only lasted a few months.

But just on the public comment, there's a huge frustration in the UK, you can see it on social that the public don't get a say on that. It speaks to

the leaders they feel in society right now that a few people in parliament get to decide who their prime minister I think. There'd be a lot of


NOBILO: Evidently.

And let's pick up on that comparison you made between the last prime minister, Theresa, May and Boris Johnson. Very different characters when

you consider Theresa May said the naughtiest thing she ever did in her life was run through a field of wheat. This prime minister slightly different

story on that.

But they're very different politicians in the sense that Theresa May was someone who nobody questioned her integrity. And she wasn't courting

scandals throughout her career.

Boris Johnson is quite the opposite, so do you think is likely to be able to stagger on and potentially rebuild his authority, unlike May?

FOSTER: Well, I think the issue here is he's obviously got a clear, massive problem in his parliamentary party. There's that problem in the

public. So, how he's going to convince everyone?

And I think the comparison with Theresa May is that she was -- she's usually respectable of the parliament. She was steeped in parliamentary

politics. She always did the right thing in her mind, as parliament would see it.

And the accusation of Boris, that's what a lot of MPs are saying, is that that he's running it like a medieval court. And he's going to continue, I

mean, you were talking about his body language in that video.


He is doing what he always does, he saying let's move on, it's dealt it, and he's not going to go anywhere unless he has to. So, as you know,

there's nothing on the system really to force them out. He has to go based on morality and --

NOBILO: Now, actually, we have some of the comments from Boris Johnson that he made inside Downing Street that Max Foster is talking about. Let's

take a listen.


BORIS JOHNSON, BRITSH PRIME MINISTER: A very good result for politics and for the country. Just -- I do. In this sense, it's convincing result,

decisive result and what it means, is as a government, we can move on and focus on the things that really matter to people.


NOBILO: Now, Max, how much damage you think Boris Johnson remaining as leader is doing to the conservative party's electoral fortunes when we look

ahead to the bi-elections that are coming up, but also the longer term, the next general election?

FOSTER: It's going to a big test, isn't it? But the reality is there isn't other contender right now in the party. Before the cabinet came out in his

support, Jeremy Hunt, former cabinet member, isn't a fan of Boris Johnson, and the way that they're painting it, against Boris is that there is

remainers who are against Boris. So, they're trying to blame it all on that and say, we won the Brexit vote, we're in power. So, ignore all of that.

I think, you know, his credibility is damage on the world stage. He's a weaker leader, and he will now have to make compromises to get the support

of his party in parliament. It's damaging for his government, but it's also damaging for the country. We'll see how long he can last. As you were

saying, he's protected now for a year.

NOBILO: Technically, although they could fiddle with those rules, all the cabinet could compel them to step down.

Just one last question to you, Max, do you think the prime minister inadvertently, by surviving this confidence vote, of them perhaps indirect

consequences, will be that the leadership campaigns to be the next prime minister will really ramp up, and they'll start be coalescing around

certain groups, they might recognize, you may have survived tonight, this isn't a sustainable political situation.

FOSTER: It's so delicate, isn't it? Jeremy Hunt who clearly is launching some sort of alternative leadership battle, is being criticized by huge

amount of people in his party as being too opportunistic and he's getting the timing right.

So, the other front runners, obviously, Liz Truss, the foreign secretary, in the next door, and the chancellery, they are the front runners, but

they're also going to come out that's for sure they're going to have enough support and you've seen how the cabinet all came out for Boris Johnson


I mean, never underestimate Boris Johnson. That's what we learned in this situation, isn't? So, let's see if we can muster enough support behind the

scenes, but it's a hell of a challenge.

NOBILO: I suppose that is one moral of the rather Janus-faced story of today. Max Foster, thank you so much for joining us.

FOSTER: Thank you, Bianca.

NOBILO: And now, with means conservative MP, Peter Bone.

Thank you so much for joining the program, sir.

What's your reaction to the events of tonight? Does the prime minister have your support?

PETER BONE, BRITISH CONSERVATIVE MP: Oh, he has my support and clearly has the support of the parliamentary party. He won a huge majority tonight. And

I'm pleased that we had this election, I'm pleased that it's dealt with.

Now, Boris can continue to lead us, and lead us into the next general election and hopefully to victory. The people who should remove prime

minister and parties from government are the electorate. Not a handle of dissident, back bench MPs.

NOBILO: You are a seasoned politician and a very experienced man. Do you genuinely, hands on heart, viewed tonight as a victory for this prime


BONE: Well, yes. I mean, if we look back to the last time there was an election for a leader, when the MPs had to vote to support, for the

membership to decide. Boris only got 51 percent of the vote. He then got two thirds of members supporting him, he went on to win a massive majority.

So he's far more popular out in the country then he is within a small part of the parliamentary party. And the fact that he's got more MPs percentage

wide, voting for him tonight than he had before, clearly shows that he's getting better for him.

NOBILO: One of the remarks made about the agitation and discontent towards Boris Johnson, that precipitated this vote of confidence, is the fact that

it was broad and disparate. It came from different wings of the party, unlike against Theresa May, which she faced a vote of non confidence. It's

quite clearly about Brexit.

So, what can the prime minister do now to try and regain the trust, a very different MPs, with different priorities, and different reasons for wanting

him to get rid of him?


BONE: Well, you're right that Boris gets votes from all parts of the United Kingdom. In England, he didn't get them from the northeast, the

northwest, from the midlands, from the south, and from the southwest. No other conservative politician -- well, since Ms. Thatcher has been able to

do that. When it goes would be people in parts of England who disagree with certain policies.

But the point is he has to produce the policies that appeal to most people in the United Kingdom. And from that side, if he's been in parliament, he

fixed the broken parliament when he came in. He got Brexit done. He got first vaccination in Western Europe, that's gone to billions of people,

save countless lies.

He had the furlough scheme protecting families during the pandemic, had the boosters scheme to stop a second wave of the pandemic. Now, he's dealing

with illegal migration from across the channel. And the big issue for him now, is the cost of living.

But, of course, we have this dreadful war in Europe, and the prime minister by most people's account, is leading European n response to the Russian

invasion of Ukraine.

NOBILO: The prime minister amended the ministerial code about a week and a half ago to remove references to resigning if you break it, also removing

references to honesty, transparency, and accountability. Do you think Boris Johnson has done damage to British democracy and to public trust in MPs?

BONE: No. I think you're wrong about the ministerial code. If, for instance, you lied to parliament, you have to resign. I think what the

difference, alterations the code are to do with the fact that if someone makes a minor breach, he can be dealt with in another way. It wouldn't have

to resign.

But if you lied to parliament, or do something seriously wrong, then you'd have to go. So, I think talk about that has been red herring.

NOBILO: So, do you think the prime minister has done any damage to public trust? Because I've been speaking to members of your own party today, and

in all the days leading up to this, and many have told me privately and some have admitted publicly, that they believe Boris Johnson has,

especially through party gate, but also through many other aspects of his leadership, and his attempts at more presidential style, do you not agree?

BONE: Well, I haven't noticed presidential style. In fact, I guess as prime minister has come to parliament to make statements and answer questions

more than any other prime minister I can remember.

And knocking on doors, which is what you should do as a member of parliament, and talk to your voters, when I knock on doors, we will bring

up lots of issues. They don't bring up the so-called party-gate, which is very much a Westminster bubble.

Yes, they're worried about the cost of living. They're worried about energy prices. They're worried about the war. They're worried about illegal

migration, but those issues we got to deal with. The party-gate thing was, I'm afraid, very much a Westminster village story.

NOBILO: Well, Jesse Norman, who is a conservative MP, he wrote a letter that was published this morning, was the one that referred specifically

today to Boris Johnson trying to import presidential elements into his leadership. And I think party-gate definitely has had wider cut


Peter Bone, we really appreciate you joining us this evening. Thanks so much.

BONE: Thank you.

NOBILO: And we'll have much more on Boris Johnson later. But next, the war in Ukraine. We'll tell you how the critical battle for the city of

Severodonetsk, is reportedly changing hour by hour. That's coming up next.



NOBILO: Hello and welcome back. This is THE GLOBAL BRIEF, live from Downing Street. It's barely an hour after the British Prime Minister Boris

Johnson won a confidence vote of his leadership. We will continue exploring that will mean ahead.

But, first, I want to turn to Ukraine. Johnson himself speaking to Ukraine's President Zelenskyy Monday morning, pledging to join the U.S. in

sending a long-range rocket systems to the war-torn country. Ukraine hopes that those weapons could turn the tide of the war that they may come too

late for the battle over Luhansk.

Street fighting is raging and the last major city still on the Ukrainian control in that region. Ukraine says that the situation in Severodonetsk is

changing every hour after they reported some success in pushing Russian forces back over the weekend.

President Zelenskyy says Severodonetsk and nearby Lysychansk are also now dead cities after relentless bombardments. And Mr. Zelenskyy visited the

front lines in that area this past weekend.

CNN's Matthew Chance is following developments tonight from Kryvyi Rih in Ukraine.

Matthew, can you give us the latest? Because it does appear, and we are hearing that things are changing hour by hour. So, what do you know?

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, in terms of that struggle for control of Severodonetsk, it's difficult to get accurate

information, because, you know, basically it's been so violent and the fighting has been so ferocious that it's been very hard for anyone to get

an independent eye on it.

But, you know, look, by all accounts it is a fierce battle, the control of the streets of that city, as you rightly said. It's the last city still

under the control of Ukrainian governments. Although that control is questionable at this point, given Russian forces have been plowing

resources, military resources into seizing that sitting. So that they could declare that political win, I think, so they can say that they have

achieved part of their objective, which is to control the whole of Donbas, the Luhansk region, and this is the last remaining city.

And so, it would give the Russians a big political win, but the military cost of achieving it's going to be high. There are lots of people, we don't

have the exact figures, but many, many casualties on both sides. And what the Ukrainian strategy is they say it's to make it as hard as possible for

the Russians to declare that political victory, to bleed them as much as possible, and, of course, to divert their military -- from elsewhere in the


To some extent, they've been successful and not, but very few people, including the members of Ukrainian government that is speaking out on this

believe that the Ukrainian military can ultimately hold on to the cities. So, it now seems it's lost to Russia completely. It's not just a question

of when not if.

NOBILO: Matthew Chance in Ukraine for us, thank you.

Russian forces have handed over some of the bodies of fallen Ukrainian soldiers who fought during the bloody two-month siege of the port city of


CNN's Ben Wedeman speaks to the workers in Kyiv with the grim task of identifying them.


And a warning, some of the images you are about to see maybe disturbing.


BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): And so, it begins on a sunny summer morning, the grimmest of tasks.

Workers at Kyiv central morgue examine the content of 160 dirty, putrid body bags, containing the badly decomposed remains of soldiers killed

during the two-month siege at the port city of Mariupol and in the city's sprawling Azovstal steel plant where Ukrainian forces made their last


Ukraine and Russia have conducted an exchange of bodies as part of the agreement that ended the siege.

Forensic examiner Liliya Philipchuck has been on the job for three years. Since the war began, she's had little rest.

We also examined the bodies from Bucha and Irpin, she says, referring to Kyiv's suburbs where retreating Russian forces are accused of committing

atrocities against civilians.

Olena Tolkatchova is also helping. She's affiliated with the Azov Brigade which fought in Mariupol. The brigade is a nationalist militia that was

integrated into Ukraine's armed forces.

The morgue is already full of bodies from Kyiv, from Bucha, from Irpin, she says. So we have to put them in a refrigerator truck.

Morgue workers search the ripped and ragged clothing for documents and tag and bag the personal items. This is just the start of a long process.

Some of these bodies have no identification, so their DNA will have to be sampled. And it may take a month, maybe more, to find out who they were.

And only then will their loved ones know their fate -- finality for the living and the dead will have to wait.

Ben Wedeman, CNN, Kyiv.


NOBILO: The U.S. and South Korea are watching North Korea missile launches for -- watching launching missiles. The launches came after the North fired

eight missiles into the sea, a move that Japan's defense minister called unprecedented. And now, the International Atomic Energy Agency says that it

has new indications that the North maybe prepping for an even bigger provocation.

CNN's Paula Hancocks is in Seoul.


PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is about as close as you can get to the meaning of the term tit-for-tat on Sunday morning. North Korea fired

eight short range ballistic missiles off the east coast of North Korea into the water and in the early hours of Monday morning, the U.S. and South

Korea also fired eight surface to surface missiles again, directing them into the waters of the east coast.

Now what was interesting about the Sunday launches from North Korea and would cost the Japanese defense minister to call it unprecedented, was that

these were eight missiles, but also according to the South Koreans fired from four separate locations, all within 40 minutes of each other. So what

we've heard from the joint chiefs of staff here in Seoul today is the show of force as they call it is to show North Korea that even if they do fire

with missiles from multiple locations, the U.S. and South Korea have the ability and readiness to immediately strike with precision.

Certainly, this is of concern to those in the region. Now, whether it makes any difference to Kim Jong-un's calculations, when he sees this show of

force is unlikely. He is very much in a period of testing missiles, testing his weapons capabilities at this point. And despite overtures from many

sides, it is showing absolutely no interest in negotiation or any kind of engagement.

Now also what we have heard today from this Monday from the IAEA, the International Atomic Energy Agency, is that they have with they called

observed indications that one of the entrances of the underground tunnel where previous underground nuclear tests have taken place appears to have

been reopened. They say that it is possible for a preparation for nuclear tests. That would be in keeping with what we have heard from both U.S. and

South Korean intelligence and military agency saying that they believe that the preparations are pretty much done by North Korea, in preparation for a

potential seven other nuclear tests, which experts say would mean now that it's really a political decision.

As to whether or not to go ahead with that, Kim Jong Un having to make that decision when or if he wants to do that seventh test. The IAEA saying that

it would be a cause for serious concern.

Paula Hancocks, CNN, Seoul.


NOBILO: Let's take a look at the other key stories making international impacts today.


The U.N. nuclear watchdog agencies say that Iran is a few weeks away from having a significant quantity of enriched uranium. The IAEA says that

doesn't mean that Iran will have a nuclear bomb, but the development makes it imperative to engage with Iran to resolve this issue.

The U.S. Health Department is expecting to receive 36,000 new monkeypox vaccine doses to add to its strategic. There are 25 confirmed monkeypox

cases so far in the United States. According to the World Health Organization, about 38 countries have reported new outbreaks of the viral


Let's return now to our breaking news. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has survived a confidence vote by his own party. Two hundred and eleven

conservative lawmakers voted in favor of the Johnson, but 148 voted against him. That's less support than when Theresa May faced a confidence vote in


But the prime minister says that he is happy with how the votes turned out.


JOHNSON: A very good result for politics and for the country. It just -- I do. Just in this -- I think it's a convincing result, a decisive result and

what it means is that as a government, we can move on and focus on the stuff I think that really matters.

NOBILO: Boris Johnson generally looked happy there, buoyant, and I keep an eye on him, and that's about as energetic of a delivery of a statement that

I've seen for many months. But tonight is really not a victory for a sitting prime minister, after all a vote of confidence, however decisively

it's one draining as a politician of authority and a political power.

It remains to be seen whether or not Boris Johnson continues to be a politician who consistently defies expectations -- like its predecessor

Theresa May, a few months on from this victory, or so-called, he's able to stagger on and not able to affect any of this policy and his agenda. The

key event to watching next will be the bi-elections on the 23rd of June. If Johnson loses one or both those seats, he's definitely going to be facing

more pressure from his party and they might be looking at a more imaginative ways to depose him.

Thank you for watching the special edition of THE GLOBAL BRIEF. I'm Bianca Nobilo live outside Downing Street. Goodbye. I'll see you soon.