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tv   BBC News at Five  BBC News  March 29, 2017 5:00pm-6:01pm BST

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today at 5 — we're at westminster on the day the united kingdom started the process of leaving the european union. britain's ambassador in brussels handed over the letter to the president of the european council at lunchtime today. the letter had been signed by theresa may last night in the cabinet room at number ten downing street. and the prime minister went to parliament today to inform mps that nine months after the referendum — the formal process was underway. britain is leaving the european union. we are going to make our own decisions and our own laws. we are going to take control of the things that matter most to us. in brussels — the eu negotiating team said it was ready for talks to begin — but they sounded a note of sadness and regret. there is no reason to pretend this isa there is no reason to pretend this is a happy day, neither in brussels or in london.
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it's a day that marks the biggest change in britain's relationship with its european neighbours in nearly half a century. i'm pleased that brexit‘s happening cos i think it'll be good for our country to get back to have our own rules and regulations. we'll have control of our borders again. the government's embarking on a journey and it has no idea where it's going, it doesn't know what it's doing and anyhow it's not in control of negotiations from now on. we'll be reporting from westminster and beyond — on the day people also remembered the terror attack which took place a week ago. many people converged on westminster bridge — to remember those who lost their lives — and those injured when the attack took place last wednesday afternoon. it's 5 o'clock. we're live at westminster on the day the united kingdom formally serviced
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notice that it will leave the european union. it signifies the biggest change in britain's relationship with its european neighbours for nearly half a century. a letter signed by theresa may was handed to the president of the european council donald tusk at lunchtime. the letter activates article 50 of the treaty of lisbon — marking the formal start of two years of negotiation. the prime minister told mps she wanted a smooth and orderly brexit — with as little disruption as possible — which would see britain become fairer and stronger. the chief eu negotiator michel barnier said that today was the first day in a very long and difficult road. let's look at some of the key points of theresa may's historic letter. she said: we want to remain committed partners and allies to our friends across the continent. she talks of a new deep and special partnership with a strong european union, taking in both economic and security cooperation. the emphasis on security
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has been underlined — some viewing it as a potential threat to the eu. she says people and businesses in the uk would benefit from implementation periods to adjust in a smooth and orderly way. and she says the task before us is momentous — but it should not be beyond us. we'll be discussing the letter — and what it says about the uk's likely negotiating strategy — and we'll have reaction here at westminster and beyond. we start with our political correspondent carole walker. this was the moment the uk really began its departure from the european union. the british ambassador to the eu, sir tim barrow, handed the president of the european council, donald tusk, the letter signed by the prime minister. it was the formal notification triggering the start of brexit negotiations. minutes later, the prime minister confirmed the significance of the moment.
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the article 50 process is now underway and in accordance with the wishes of the british people, the united kingdom is leaving the european union. this is an historic moment, from which there can be no turning back. britain is leaving the european union. we are going to make our own decisions and our own laws. we are going to take control of the things that matter most to us. she spoke of her fierce determination to get a deal that works for everyone, but acknowledged the consequences of brexit. we know that we will lose influence over the rules that affect the european economy. we know that uk companies that trade with the eu will have to align with rules agreed by institutions of which we are no longer a part, just as we do in other overseas markets, and we accept that. however, we approach these talks constructively, respectfully, and in a spirit of sincere cooperation. in her letter, theresa may says
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she wants a deep and special partnership with the eu outside the single market, but with a bold and ambitious free trade agreement. she wants to continue co—operation on security, a deal on transition periods to avoid a cliff—edge for businesses and investors and she wants an early agreement on the rights of eu citizens in the uk and british citizens in eu states. already it's clearjust how hard it is going to be for the prime minister to fulfil her ambition of bringing the country together. there are stark divisions in her party, in parliament, and across the country. people have very different views on what they want and expect from a brexit deal. the snp dismissed the prime minister's talk of unity. on this issue, it is not a united kingdom and the prime minister needs to respect, respect, the differences across the nations
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of the united kingdom. if she does not, if she remains intransigent, and if she denies scotland a choice on our future, she will make scottish independence inevitable. the vote, having been taken, the decision having been given to people of the united kingdom, that we should now respect that vote and get on with the job of delivering for everybody across the whole of the united kingdom. the labour leader warned her not to listen to hard—line tory ideologs. the direction the prime minister is threatening to take this country in is both reckless and damaging and labour will not give this government a free hand to use brexit to attack rights, protections and cut services or create a tax dodgers paradise. and some conservatives urged her not to walk away without a deal. does she not agree with me it is time to start talking facts and sense to the british people rather than rhetoric and ideology and in particular,
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rejecting the idea that no deal and a reliance on wto rules would somehow be ok? theresa may said she would work hard to reach a comprehensive trade deal. her predecessor said she was doing an excellentjob. her predecessor said she was doing an excellent job. we were in the eu and now i hope we may be out of the eu but in it in terms of cooperating over security and common interests and reaching a good deal. so, we have the prime minister's objectives in writing. now, the work begins to get an agreement which is acceptable across the eu, and across the uk. in brussels — as we heard — donald tusk the president of the european council conveyed a farewell message to the uk — saying ‘we already miss you, thank you and goodbye.‘. he said this was not a happy day for the european union — orfor britain, in his view.
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he confirmed he would set out his draft negotiating guidelines on friday — ahead of an extraordinary summit of the remaining 27 member states. then the serious talking can begin — as our correspondent richard galpin reports. the uk permanent representative to the european union said tim barrow setting off this morning on a mission that will make history. he is personally delivering a letter from theresa may formally notifying the eu that the uk incense leaving after 44 years as a member. for the man who received the letter, the president of the european council donald tusk, this was a moment of profound disappointment. there is no reason to pretend that this is a happy day, neither in brussels nor in london. after almost —— after
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all, most europeans including almost half the british voters wished that we would stay together and not drift apart. our goal is clear. to minimise the cost for the eu citizens, businesses and member states. it was back in 1973 that the ukjoined what states. it was back in 1973 that the uk joined what was then called the european economic community. the prime minister at the time ted heath pledging to expand it further. the european communities far from creating barriers, have served to extend east west trade, britain i hope you will agree, has much to contribute to this process and as members of the community we shall be better able to do so. but over the following decades the relationship became increasingly rocky. as the eu
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move towards much greater integration. last weekend with the uk already clearly on its way out, the remaining 27 member states met in rome to pledge their allegiance to the eu. a sign of unity in the crisis sparked by brexit. and this afternoon the eu prozac most powerful leader made clear that brexit negotiations will not be as theresa may had wanted. a divorce and any future relationship with the eu will not be discussed in parallel. we know there are type commitments between the uk and the eu in the negotiations it must first be clarified how we go about dismantling these commitments. and also about how we deal with the many rights and duties tied up with membership up until now. it is only if we have sorted that out that we
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can next and i hope soon, talk about oui’ can next and i hope soon, talk about our future relationship. and that could lead to an early row between brussels and london. even more serious could be the eu demand that the uk should pay around £50 billion as part of its divorce settlement. well in a moment we would be speaking with former conservative cabinet ministerjohn whittingdale. 0ur chief political correspondent vicki young is in the central lobby of the houses of parliament. that letter from theresa may, that letterfrom theresa may, can you take us through it and what stood out for you. well there were no huge surprises but it does show the huge task that the uk has ahead of it. with theresa may breaking down into various areas what needs to be decided as the uk extract
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itself after as we heard, more than 40 itself after as we heard, more than a0 yea rs of itself after as we heard, more than a0 years of this incredibly close economic cooperation. and picking up on what we just heard about there, the whole idea of what is decided during the talks. actually they will have to have talks about what is in the talks before even starting and there is a big dispute right at the beginning of this. in the letter she says we believe it is necessary to agree the terms of our future partnership alongside those of our withdrawal from the eu. partnership alongside those of our withdrawalfrom the eu. that partnership alongside those of our withdrawal from the eu. that is what the eu have just withdrawal from the eu. that is what the eu havejust said withdrawal from the eu. that is what the eu have just said they will not agree to. so she feels strongly, you cannot just agree to. so she feels strongly, you cannotjust decide how much money the uk owes the eu, if any, you cannot just the uk owes the eu, if any, you cannotjust decide what happens to eu citizens, you have to think also not just about the divorce but think about the future relationship and do that in parallel. already that seems to bea that in parallel. already that seems to be a big moment of contention. then if you turn to the idea of no deal at all, much has been said about this, theresa may saying
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before that no deal was better than a bad deal. interestingly she did not repeat that today, she says that would not be the ideal situation having no deal but then goes on to say in security terms, a failure to reach agreement would mean our cooperation in the fight against crime and terrorism would be weakened. she says the uk and the eu would of course cope with no deal but she says it is not what they're working towards, think clearly they do want this. interestingly the reaction from the eu has been quite negative, saying linking the idea of a trade deal with security is a threat. downing street totally deny that and say it is not about that, that and say it is not about that, that we will stay in nato and still cooperate, but that cooperation on security will not be as close. so they're using the web threat in this particular circumstance and yet we have heard others described the letter as being constructive in its tone. how do we square those things? i think the rest of it is, if you look at it, the language she uses,
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talking about a shared interests we have had with the eu and will continue to have. and several times, five times i think she talks about a deep and special partnership. the point they're making and the point the government will make is that the uk is not like any other third country that the eu might deal with. because we have been so closely involved for more than a0 years, so we've had the same approach, we have the same regulations, we have had this entwining of so many aspects of oui’ this entwining of so many aspects of our life. but that would make it in fa ct our life. but that would make it in fact easier to have this very close relationship as we go on whether it is some kind of bespoke deal with details of course which will need to be thrashed out. and finally for the moment, so much focus in the referendum campaign last year and the talk afterwards about freedom of movement and levels of migration and immigration, what did the letter tell us about that aspect. specifically it was not mentioned,
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it was mentioned in terms of the fa ct it was mentioned in terms of the fact that theresa may has laid out before that the uk is going to leave the single market. the reason for thatis the single market. the reason for that is because you cannot stay in the single market and not accept freedom of movement. and she believes very much, her interpretation of that referendum result is that people voted to end freedom of movement because of levels of immigration. of course the interesting thing about this, just a couple of days ago the brexit secretary david davis when asked about that had a different emphasis and said it is all about controlling the borders. and actually made the point that we may need immigration, we will meet immigration still in the workforce and it could go up or die, but the principle for him and others is that we can control it. i think the point of all this is if this is going to have to be a compromise, a compromise with the eu and also a compromise for some of the people sitting on the backbenches who many would think we canjust go backbenches who many would think we can just go out without a deal and
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will be perfectly 0k. can just go out without a deal and will be perfectly ok. but the problem with the compromise of course is you end up in a situation where no one is happy. thank you very much. joining me isjohn whittingdale — the former conservative cabinet minister and someone who advocated britain's exit from the eu. what does today signify. it is the beginning of what will be a long process but also a day on which the government has carried out the wishes of the british people and is expressed in the referendum last june. expressed in the referendum last june. the tone of the letter today, seen here by many as constructive andindeed seen here by many as constructive and indeed the contrast with some of the statements from the prime minister in the past six months, others in brussels see it in a different way. how did you read it. of course it is constructive because we wa nt of course it is constructive because we want to have as amicable departure as possible. it is important that we try to reach an agreement allowing our businesses still to trade in europe, allowing us still to trade in europe, allowing us still to cooperate on things like
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security policy, foreign policy. and it is in everyone's interest that that be achieved. people in europe will suffer, companies in europe will suffer, companies in europe will suffer, companies in europe will suffer as much as british business if we cannot reach agreement. the prime minister made that clear. and also stated we hope we can remain very close partners with the other countries in europe but outside the eu. are some leaders in brussels correct to think this endless coupling of security with trade for example, within the context of a broader agreement, is akin toa context of a broader agreement, is akin to a threat. i do not think it isa akin to a threat. i do not think it is a threat at all, both are important. cooperation in security matters is incredibly important, we have seen the reasons why in the last few weeks. and that must be a priority. but there are many other issues and achieving open access to markets in europe and allowing european firms to trade in the uk as well is also in our economic interest. these are all big questions which we now have to sit down and resolve. reading between
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the lines, there is a suggestion at the lines, there is a suggestion at the very least that if this deal does not come into shape in the way that suits the uk, cooperation on security might not be at optimum level. i think people are trying to read too much into this. these are all big issues that need to be resolved as part of the negotiation but we're not in the business of making threats. we want to get an agreement and i'm hopeful that will be one. i think everyone recognises if there was to be no agreement that the uk would do well but it would be better for everyone if we can reach a sensible new arrangement. there is precious little in the letter to do with immigration, which clearly was one of the big issues in the referendum campaign. and if we believe all the surveys is still think that exercises many people. was that not as clear as it has been in the past, why did the prime minister —— do the prime minister not go out of her way to underline
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that issue. one of the reasons we are leaving is to take back control so we are leaving is to take back control so we determine our own immigration policy for the immigration policy will no longer be a metal —— a matter for discussion with the eu but a matter for the matter for discussion with the eu but a matterfor the british government to decide. we know the government intends to publish proposals quite soon to set out how they see a new immigration policy working but that will not be part of the negotiations, it is now a matter for the british government. but surely they will have an interest in who is allowed to come here to work, the whole freedom of movement issue, it will be part of the negotiating process in terms of people's rights as to where they can live or stay. the prime minister made it clear freedom of movement was one of the reasons why the uk cannot stay in the single market. she has been explicit that immigration policy will in future be a matter for the british government is to determine for us to decide who will make a contribution, what skills we need, and at the same time get control to
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say we can bring down overall levels. those are the priorities for the british government and we look forward to seeing how they will be determined. but now it is a matter for the uk determined. but now it is a matter forthe uk and determined. but now it is a matter for the uk and not for the eu. the prime ministers said no deal was better than a bad deal, no mention of anything like that today. does that still holds? we want a deal, i very much hope we will get a deal and the prime minister has made it clear that not getting a deal is going to be damaging, notjust for this country but for europe as well. it is in everyone's interests that we now achieve a deal. it is not going to be easy, there's a lot of ha rd going to be easy, there's a lot of hard negotiation ahead. but at the end of the day no one wins if we do not reach an agreement. michel barnier, the chief negotiator, said todayit barnier, the chief negotiator, said today it is the best of what is likely to be a long and difficult road. is he being realistic or overly gloomy. i think there are a lot of questions to settle. i sit on
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the brexit select committee, we have heard about a lot of issues to be resolved. but because it is in everyone's interest to resolve it i'm confident that it can be done. ayew ha p py i'm confident that it can be done. ayew happy customer i campaigned for the uk to lead and today the government is carrying out the will of the people so yes but i'm also realistic that this is the beginning of the process. in a moment we can speak to former deputy prime minister lord heseltine. butjust to underline the implications of today, significant for every part of the united kingdom. so let's take the temperature from edinburgh, cardiff and the border between northern ireland and the irish republic. nicola sturgeon said she wishes the prime minister well in negotiations ahead but she says the triggering of article 50 represents a leap in the
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dark by theresa may. this afternoon the scottish government received a formal response to its paper of options for the brexit process, ways it bought scotland could stay as pa rt it bought scotland could stay as part of the single market as the rest of the uk leaves. the brexit secretary david davis has said the uk government believes that to be unworkable. 0f uk government believes that to be unworkable. of course yesterday first minister received a mandate from the scottish parliament to seek authorisation to hold a second referendum on scottish independence. she argues brexit would mean a profound and a significant change for scotland and says people here must be given the right to vote on their future before the must be given the right to vote on theirfuture before the uk must be given the right to vote on their future before the uk leaves their future before the uk leaves the eu. theresa may has said now is not the time and in fact that message is hardening. it sounds like thatis message is hardening. it sounds like that is extending into the future and perhaps as late as 2021 would be the point at which they might consider a second independence referendum. today the prime minister
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said now is the time for the nation to pull together. she said the expectation is that the devolved administrations will see a significant increase in their powers asa significant increase in their powers as a result of brexit. 0f significant increase in their powers as a result of brexit. of course expectation is quite vague word, there is a lot of room for manoeuvre andi there is a lot of room for manoeuvre and i think it is entirely possible that the scottish government is sceptical about what is on offer. wales voted to leave the eu and there was recognition of that this morning. by the first minister ca rwyn morning. by the first minister carwynjones when morning. by the first minister carwyn jones when he morning. by the first minister carwynjones when he said he would be working with the uk government to deliver the best deal for wales. by this afternoon cracks had begun to appearand this afternoon cracks had begun to appear and you got a sense of frustration from carwyn jones, appear and you got a sense of frustration from carwynjones, he said it was regrettable, deeply regrettable in fact, that the welsh government was not allowed to contribute to the article 50 letter. he said the devolved administrations
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had been shown a lack of respect. he had been shown a lack of respect. he had already voiced his concerns about the future of economic and farming subsidies here in the parliament yesterday. he told assembly members there would be no guarantees about those after 2020. at the moment some of the poorest parts of wales are sharing £2 billion of aid. the leader of the welsh conservatives dismissed that as scaremongering and theresa may has said she will take this specific interests of the nations into account. i'm standing as one of 260 crossings between northern ireland and the republic of this bridge is the only land border with another eu country. many might see this as a dividing line but many just many might see this as a dividing line but manyjust crossed the border on a daily basis, sometimes even to access services like health care. and of course cross—border trade passes along this road every day and that is important. that is
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partly why the british and irish governments made a point of saying they're not going to allow these overnights to change was that in some ways the european parliament went further today, saying they could not be a hard border between northern ireland and the republic. and both the eu and theresa may in her letter made the point again of saying nothing could be allowed to threaten the peace process going forward. of course brexit has been divisive at stormont, and the power—sharing government has collapsed. it did not collapse because of brexit but nonetheless it poses the potential of fuelling political differences. irish republicans have been listening closely to the debate in scotland, the push for independence referendum and they are now calling for a border poll, a referendum on irish unity. thank you very much. a quick
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reminder of what brexit will mean to eve ryo ne a cross reminder of what brexit will mean to everyone across the uk, we have a special bbc programme on the triggering of article 50 and you can put questions to the panel of experts. we will do our best to focus those questions and answer them with experts. i am joined now by the former conservative deputy prime minister lord heseltine. what does today signify? i think the biggest loss of sovereignty and power for this country in my peacetime lifetime. can theresa may do anything in the negotiations which will lead you to modify that assessment? it is difficult to see how. because we have broken the links to influence in europe. for
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ourselves, the british self—interest and also we've lost the ability to speakfor and also we've lost the ability to speak for commonwealth interests. and transatlantic interests. that was always part of our strategy, to bea was always part of our strategy, to be a voice for our friends in the outside world as well as fighting for british interests in our biggest marketplace. we have that. yet the prime minister in this letter today repeatedly talks about a deep and special partnership. 0nce repeatedly talks about a deep and special partnership. once we are out of the eu. she wants to sustain a deep and special partnership she says. is that a meaningful thing question it is the kind of thing, the kind of platitude that speech writers put in to try to ameliorate the message. the hard message is very different. what deal are you prepared to give us in europe is the question and we will get an answer quite soon. it is not going to be as telling the europeans but the europeans telling us. that is the nature of the changed relationship.
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where do you think the main political difficulty will be for theresa may when these negotiations happen, we know that they will be complex but politically here at westminster, she has a constituency here to think about, where will the main difficulties be? here to think about, where will the main difficulties be ?|j here to think about, where will the main difficulties be? i think facing up main difficulties be? i think facing up to the fact that the deal that will be on offer is less good than what we have now. from the european point of view, it is important to look at both sides of these arguments, they cannot afford to set up arguments, they cannot afford to set upa signal arguments, they cannot afford to set up a signal that if you leave you are better off. 0therwise up a signal that if you leave you are better off. otherwise it would give incentives to people like marine le pen to take france out. we know we're not going to get a deal but is as good as what we have. we do not yet know the nature of the deal but we will find out and find out the hard way. do you take the view some dude that the tone of the letter today is notably more
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constructive and conciliatory than some had thought. and indeed has a contrast with perhaps some of the own messages from the prime minister in the past six months. well i like the speech she made just before the referendum arguing logically and positively that the uk self—interest was interwoven with europe. i agree with that speech. but she has changed her mind. as for the letter today, it would have been drafted for her by people trying to put the best slant on it. it will not have any influence in europe. they will sit and say, what suits as in europe, they will not consider british self—interest any more. maybe that is the reason why there are references to security in the letter, some people have seen that not as a threat but implied wake—up call saying if you want british corporation of security maybe you should give us a good deal. corporation of security maybe you
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should give us a good dealm corporation of security maybe you should give us a good deal. if when i first heard that, i thought there must be some mistake. standing where we are, in the shadow parliament where a policeman was mown down the other day and in france and belgium, have had atrocities, is a former home secretary seriously saying to the europeans we are prepared to endanger your security and our own as part of a negotiating tactic? i can't believe it, but the prime minister, the former home secretary, wouldn't dream of doing that? minister, the former home secretary, wouldn't dream of doing that7m isn't in the letter but mentions of security are. that is why i say i can't believe she intended this threat to exist. when you look at the wider scope of these negotiations, your view is clear and regret is clear, but when you look at the wider scope, we are where we are, the political reality is as it is, can you imagine coming to a stage where we get a deal which is a free—trade deal with the european union and lots of the rather
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threatening perspectives that you and others have outlined would not materialise? there is no conceivable way we will get a free—trade deal with europe. that isn't part of the negotiation, the deal we will get. it isa negotiation, the deal we will get. it is a sort of slogan, all of the self—interest of the european industrial commercial world will be weighed in the balance against hours and compromises may be on offer but the one thing there will not be is free—trade. the one thing there will not be is free-trade. just a while ago, we we re free-trade. just a while ago, we were talking tojohn whittingdale andi were talking tojohn whittingdale and i asked him if he was happy today and he said he was realistic but, yes, he was happy that the will of the people, the british voters, is actually being enacted. how would you describe your emotions today? time and again i have seen labour government is elected with a mandate andi government is elected with a mandate and i have been in the front trench of the conservative opposition, first to resist and then to change. i take exactly the same view with
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the electorate. a8% of the people who voted voted to remain. they feel voiceless, they feel betrayed and they keep saying to me, what about they keep saying to me, what about the £350 million a week that the health service? that is what the people were offered by the brexit team. where has the money gone? there is no conceivable way that is going to happen. that was the lie upon which millions of people were asked to vote. it is going to be an interesting two years to say the least ahead of us. that, we can agree on. lord heseltine, the former costs deputy prime minister —— observed deputy prime minister with his analysis, now that article 50 has been activated by the prime minister. more from westminster, but time for a look at the weather. it isa a look at the weather. it is a cloudy day for us today, some rain around this evening as well, northern and western parts of the uk in particular, some heavy rainfora the uk in particular, some heavy rain for a while moving northwards across scotland and later in the
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night, heavy bursts in the south—west, not far from the south—east of england and heading into the midlands but really mild night for the time of the year, 11 or 12 across many parts. rainford tomorrow which will increasingly become confined to irish sea areas and pushing up into southern scotland, away wales and into north—west england. clearer and brighter skies and sunshine coming in across many parts of england and wales. warm air from the new continent will live temperatures to possibly 22 degrees, making it the warmest day of the year so far making it the warmest day of the yearso farand making it the warmest day of the year so far and even under the cloud, temperatures are pretty good. that weather front is very weak, and behind it, a bit more sunshine around, slightly fresher air coming in across the uk but in the sunshine, it will feel very pleasant. welcome back to westminster, 5:35pm, on the day that article 50 of the treaty of lisbon has been activated by the prime minister. she sent that letter to the president of the
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european council, it was delivered at lunchtime today and it starts up to two years of intensive negotiations leading to britain's exit from the european union. we have already discussed some of this with michael housing time and —— michael heseltine and john whittingdale and we will now till to gina miller, who brought and won the case against the government on the question of parliamentary approval and that was, of course, a hugely turbulent and controversial case to bring and i'm delighted to say she is with me now. what does today mean to you? it means the case i fought for, the legal requirement of actually going through the process, the legal process, starts today but it is just the firing of the gun, we have quite a long way to go and i would like to make sure there is that legal process followed all the way through. your focus all along was on parliamentary sovereignty and parliamentary approval. given what has happen in the last few months and the way things turned out at
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westminster, can i ask you a blunt question, was it worth it? it was worth it from the point of view that it did and said that precedent, that the government and executive could sign executive orders and bypass parliament, so that was absolutely fundamental but at the same time, i have a sense of sadness that having put the mps right back in the centre of the debate where they rightly should be, they didn't necessarily exercise their duties, in my view. well, the end result was, of course, not the end result that you sort, which was that they would have the power in their own hands, or at least ta ke power in their own hands, or at least take the power, to be able to block things. it is a very different position. it was not taking power to block things, it was to have a debate. so all of the things we are now talking about, what are the options on the table, what does wto mean, what does hard brexit mean? all of the things we are discussing, the practical side of this negotiated exit should be the things —— have been the things the
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parliamentary and were talking about. but being able to approve or not approve is part of the parliamentary process. absolutely and it will be part of that process going forward and that is what my case was about, ensuring that mps we re case was about, ensuring that mps were right at the centre of this. but does the kind of boat that is promised at the end of this process for you fulfil all of the conditions you were setting out and answer all the concerns you had about the lack of parliamentary scrutiny —— the kind of vote? no, it definitely does not because even if it is no deal or wto, once individual rights are taken away wto, once individual rights are ta ken away and wto, once individual rights are taken away and diminished, it is up to parliament and an act of parliament to do that. so at the moment, a boat between a hard brexit all are no deal, or a bad deal, to my mind, is not a meaningful vote in parliament. let's look at oversight and approval because as we see this process happening, we will have the
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great repeal bill coming in, in effect taking over vast chunks of current european legislation. there is talk of using ancientjudah statutes, which could well see, according to critics, a lot of power go from parliament to government, to the executive. what are you prepared to do or thinking of doing in that process ? to do or thinking of doing in that process? i'm to do or thinking of doing in that r to do or thinking of doing in that process? i'm very worried about this because i think the brexit process could actually diminish parliamentary sovereignty, which was the thing believers were banging on the thing believers were banging on the table about, so that idea of bypassing parliament a something i absolutely will be keeping an eye on, as will my legal team. the judgment in my case was very clear, only parliament can take away rights. keeping an eye on is a very polite phrase, you are prepared to intervene? i am prepared to uphold thejudgment in intervene? i am prepared to uphold the judgment in my case and take the government back to court if they do not abide by parliamentary sovereignty. gina miller, thank you for coming in on a very busy day. quite a lot of reaction here at
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westminster, people with very different views. john whittingdale earlier underlining the fact that for him today, it was really validating that boat that happened lastjune. and for michael heseltine and gina miller, a day where they express their grave concerns —— that vote. what about the view in brussels, because that is where a lot of negotiations will happen. ben brown is their monitoring events. let'sjoin him there. thank you, the first reaction really came from donald tusk, the president of the european council who was given the letter at lunchtime today by theresa may, informing him that britain leave the european union officially, the letter of notification as it is called an donald tusk said after that, "we miss you already and that he couldn't pretend it was a happy day." we also heard from jean—claude juncker, and this is what he had to
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say at the news that article 50 has finally been triggered. the response to the letter will be published by the end of april, we will have the european council on the 29th of april and before that, i am trying to be as silent as possible. but your personal thoughts? speaking i am sad. i am deeply sad. are you happy to the reference of security in the letter, the equation between a deal, and economic bill and a security deal? the two have to be taken into consideration. jean—claude juncker, the eu commission president. we won't get the full outline of the eu negotiating position until friday, thatis negotiating position until friday, that is when we think donald tusk, the european council president, will publish details about what the position will be very broadly. let's talk to dan johnson, position will be very broadly. let's talk to danjohnson, my colleague from the bbc, and you were following the british ambassador to the eu this morning as he came in to
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deliver that letter from the prime minister, 1:20pm local time, 12:20pm british time. yes, a strange day for a lot of people, some mixed emotions and strange feelings but a very unusual day for the ambassador, sir tim barrow, very smartly dressed, neatly trimmed beard and he came out of his residence this morning and into his officialjaguar, sped off into his officialjaguar, sped off into town with nothing in his hand, so we into town with nothing in his hand, so we thought, where is the letter? he went into his office and let that building with the briefcase and thought he must have the letter. we waited for him at the european council, where donald tusk is based, the man he had to physically and the letter to and when he walked in for what was supposed to be a routine meeting of the ambassadors getting together, the rest of the ambassadors were wondering what on earth was the interest, the meetings don't usually generate that level of interest, but there was a real buzz about the place and the moment it happened, a couple of hours after he
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had gone in, carrying the briefcase and not saying nothing, we didn't see the handover —— not saying anything. we have seen the photographs showing the letter being handed to donald tusk but the media was held back, no film crews are leading and no journalists for the moment. it is something the british government are quite sensitive about. a lot of people who call the european project their lives, their work, this is something that has been very hurtful and that sentiment of sorrow has come through in state m e nts of sorrow has come through in statements from european politicians today. indeed, thank you very much, danjohnson. today. indeed, thank you very much, dan johnson. speaking about today. indeed, thank you very much, danjohnson. speaking about the reaction of european politicians. we have heard from german chancellor angela merkel, a key figure in what negotiations will follow in the next couple of years and she said the remaining 27 countries will take a fair approach to the brexit negotiations and hopes that britain and the eu can remain close partners. also heard from the dutch foreign minister saying he doesn't wa nt foreign minister saying he doesn't want a fighting divorce between
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britain and the eu, but he does want a divorce where the bills are paid. ben brown, thanks very much, with the latest in brussels. so just to underline, the letter starting britain's exit from the eu has been delivered, but what happens now? theresa may says there is no turning back from the triggering of article 50, but could the uk still change its mind perhaps and reversed that decision? is it possible? chris morris has been investigating. 0ur reality check question, can we change our mind about article 50? well, guess what, it's complicated and that's because article 50 of the lisbon treaty was written with a deliberate lack of clarity, it doesn't say whether it can be revoked once it has been triggered, so revoked once it has been triggered, so both legally and politically, opinion is split. downing street has suggested the question is irrelevant, it's got no plans to try and reverse this decision, so the debate is purely theoretical, but it is hard to find a minister being
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definitive about article 50. the justice secretary liz truss has said my understanding is that it's a revoca ble, my understanding is that it's a revocable, while the brexit secretary david davis has said is it irrevocable? i don't know. but the president of the european council, donald tusk, appears to be a little bit more certain. when asked if the uk could unilaterally withdraw its article 50 notification during the next two years, he said formerly, legally, yes. lord coe, the former british ambassador to the eu, who helped draft article 50, agrees. you can change your mind while the processes going on, he said. some people might be a little bit annoyed by that, they might try to extract a political price, but legally, they couldn't insist that you leave. that's the problem, the politics mightjust become way to complicated but who might have the final legal say on what could yet become a critical question? well, in the recent supreme court case on article 50, both sides assumed that it was
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not a ball. the courtjudgment concluded that we are content to proceed on that basis, without expressing any view of our own. article 50, don't forget, is a piece of european law so the ultimate arbiter on this issue is the european court of justice. arbiter on this issue is the european court ofjustice. there is a case in dublin at the moment that is seeking to refer this question to the european court to get a definitive answer. 0ne the european court to get a definitive answer. one other point worth remembering, everyone is talking about a two—year period for negotiation on article 50 and then we leave. but if all 28 eu countries agreed, the uk and all the rest, that two—year period could be extended. no one is advocating that, but it remains a possibility. that was chris morris going through some of the options. the entrepreneur richard tice is co—chair of leave means leave and is here with me now. and professor ted malloch — an expert on business and governance
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and the man widely expected to be appointed as the next us ambassador to the european union. we shall see, gentlemen. good to have you both with us. can we start on this letter? notjust the content, but the tone, richard? speak the tone is very constructive and positive and warm, as you'd expect. we are still going to remain europeans are far, so that is very good news. it is slightly disappointing, some of the responses coming out of the european union, but ina coming out of the european union, but in a sense, maybe that is to be expected, they are positioning themselves, but at the end of the day, we did have a mature, sensible negotiation and work out quite quickly, are we going to reach a deal or not? and if not, the government needs to be absolutely clear, as the prime minister said in january, no deal is better than a bad deal. in business, we all know that, common—sense, in which case we revert to wto, which is also fine. what is the american view on that?
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it was a very short, sweet letter, didn't say anything that surprised any others. the yanks are with you, so any others. the yanks are with you, so that is good news. i think it is a great favour great britain, and it is great britain after all and a day celebrate, triggering something that has long been anticipated. people have been working on this, i was with bill cash for over 30 years and it is something that has come to fruition, so we will see how it works. many of us are of the opinion that it could be a constructive outcome and we are hopeful, but we also know the europeans has said we would like to kick you in the shins and we are going to be rather punitive. if that's the case, it will be a clean and sharp brexit. they certainly won't say that today. iam asking they certainly won't say that today. i am asking you about security now, this is an important element. several times in the letter, the prime minister mentions the importance of cooperating on security. some have seen that as possibly some sort of threat to get a good outcome. how do you see that
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and why did she emphasise that so much? the uk has many assets when it comes to security. it has certainly beena firm comes to security. it has certainly been a firm supporter of europe, whether through nato and other offices and what happened here the other day is another indication that one has to look at european security through the lens of a very wide lens, so britain is rather important and it shouldn't be discounted when it comes to security. lord heseltine earlier was very forthright on this and said it was extremely unwise to try and couple security issues with an outcome on trade and other things as part of this negotiating process. what do you say? well, he would say that. it is just a gentle what do you say? well, he would say that. it isjust a gentle reminder from the prime minister how much we had to offer and the fact that we will still be european partners, we just won't be part of a brussels—based protectionist trade block. we can still work together, frankly for the global good, in so many areas. she quite rightly says
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we can do a trade deal together or we can do a trade deal together or we can do a trade deal together or we can go on our own and there are all sorts of other assets we have two of them. where is the balance of power here? this has been the debate all along and today, we had monsieur papier saying we are ready, a picture of his team looking like they meant business, but there is a serious point, do they hold most of the cards? i think at the end of the day, when you go into a negotiation, either side thinks they may have the upper hand on this or that. the thing the european union still don't believe, and this is the key difference with david cameron's negotiation last year, the key difference is actually the prime minister and her government are quite prepared to say, sorry, that deal is not good enough, we are working away —— walking away. and when that reality hits, and it will hit, there will be bumps in the road, it will be a huge shock to the european union and there will be another round of negotiations. third, there must surely be one
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element where you disagree with the prime minister, where she say she wa nts to prime minister, where she say she wants to see a strong european union, that is categorically not your view, you would like to see it disappear. not disappear altogether, perhaps. the question is what the eu will look like even while you negotiating with it. there are elections in other european countries, there are changes. we had a strategy paper, out from the eu itself that five different scenarios. i think we are dealing with a moving target, in effect, so we don't know which eu it will be. i do think that it is quite possible that britain holds most of the cards. and that its trade with the continent will be important, it will be viewed that way, and if i were doing strategy, which of course i'm not, for this site, doing strategy, which of course i'm not, forthis site, i doing strategy, which of course i'm not, for this site, i would suggest investing as much time and as much effort in looking at its global partners in the future as it is investing in the eu negotiations. gentlemen, i suspect we will be back on this very platform several times
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in the next couple of years. thank you for talking to us. talking to us here at westminster. well, it is nine months since the uk voted to leave the eu. we have two reports now from places where people voted for different outcomes. fiona trott has been in the north of england in sunderland, county durham and leeds — but we start with our correspondent jon kay in bristol. the ss great britain, built by brunel, but where is great britain heading now? 0ut. but here in bristol almost two thirds of voters wanted to stay in the eu. 0n the river taxi, many thought it was a bleak day. the government is embarking on a journey and has no idea where it is going, it has no idea what it is doing and is not in control of negotiations from now on. the brexitjourney may now be underway, but among remainers we found a sense that all is not lost. so it is going to happen? i do not believe it is, i believe the narrative will change and people will have their voices
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heard eventually. but they were heard in the referendum? a very mild squeak. it was so close. it was almost 50—50. people may change their minds at the end of the day and then article 50 could be revoked. you're notjust clinging on? it is not a case of clinging on but campaigning on the things you believe are important. traders have sailed into bristol docks for centuries from all over the world. this boat builder has seen orders increase since the referendum due to the fall in the pound. we do not need immigration to come in and take work away from the unskilled. and forjohn the boss this is a good day for the uk. the main reason i am pro—brexit was sovereignty and the second reason, i want to open us up to the rest of the world. back on the ferry and mike the skipper says it is time for both sides to back the government as it steers its way through the negotiations.
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the thing is it is now a fait accompli and we've got to get on with it. whether we like it or not. but in this pro remain city many are nervous today. and expect the next couple of years at least to be tough. welcome to the largest brewery in leeds. the team here produces 70,000 pints a week. business began ten years ago and the idea of brexit made them nervous. but not any more. the boss believes article 50 will make things clearer. it is going to be in some ways quite nice for negotiations to begin so that businesses and ordinary people across the country will actually have some idea of what the vote to leave the eu is actually going to look like. high on the hills in teesdale the spry family are more concerned. farmers like them rely on eu
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subsidies and because of brexit, the government has promised to match the money up until 2020. but what about the following years? if we get support from the government then we will still be farming here but if not, you know, we will not be able to be a farm, the business will not stack up and john will have to go to work elsewhere. working elsewhere is not an option these men even want to consider. they came to county durham from poland and they have made it their home. we are just thinking, do not take me home, please. i've been here for five years. it is my country. here in sunderland this is the day most voters have been waiting for and the reasons why are clear. i'm pleased brexit is happening. i think it will be good for our country to have our own rules and regulations. we will have control of the borders
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again and i knowa lot of people want that. outside the winter gardens in sunderland, a protest by remain voters. the numbers are small. that is because 61% of people here voted to leave. the majority are not demonstrating, they're celebrating. so where do we stand today at westminster and what is the sum of the reactions today and indeed, what our colleagues in the press make of it. there are lot of views and intense debate going on. i am joined now by rowena mason, deputy political editor at the guardian and david wooding, political editor at the sun on sunday. rowena, first of all, there has been lots of talk about the tone of this letter today. our people over doing that or did the tone struck a contrast with what has gone before?
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i think when theresa may gave her statement to the house of commons, she seemed to take quite a conciliatory tone. there was lots of stuff about the strong and deep relationship with europe but in the letter itself, there is a lot of debate about whether the specific paragraph which mentions what will happen if we have no deal, theresa may says that we might not have security cooperation with the rest of europe, whether that constitutes a threat and a lot of people are saying it is. tim farren was one of the first out of the blocks to say so, yvette cooper as well. people will read it in different ways and the government have been slightly rowing back, amber rudd trying to blame down that idea. there were ten or ii blame down that idea. there were ten or 11 references to security in these five or six pages. what surprised me was the length of the letter, we expected it to be "well pulling out of the european union, here is article 50, take for
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brexit." and we got six or seven pages. for a prime brexit." and we got six or seven pages. fora prime ministerwho keeps her cards close to her chest and has told us all along she will not give away her negotiating angle, she gave away quite a lot in that letter. like rowena says, the business about security but also wanting to negotiate both the terms of the departure and also the terms of the departure and also the terms of what we do after we have left. so there is quite a lot to pick away at. did you see the security element as akin to a threat? it was probably more of a chip 0re veiled threat. it is clear that the big hand the european union having of this is trade, it is the single market, which wasn't even mentioned in the letter. the single market is their big hand and what have we got? we have got security, our second to non—intelligence services, and that isa non—intelligence services, and that is a big bargaining chip. one of the risks is we need that security cooperation as well. it should be one of the priorities for us. would
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we be cutting off our noses to spite our faces if we say you will lose our faces if we say you will lose our valuable security information?‘ quick thought on what readers can read tomorrow. i know yours is on sunday, but what readers can expect tomorrow, i am sunday, but what readers can expect tomorrow, iam interested in sunday, but what readers can expect tomorrow, i am interested in the kind of take, your broad take on what has happened today?|j kind of take, your broad take on what has happened today? i think there will be a lot of focus on this security issue, particularly as there is a bit of confusion coming from the government, and whether we are threatening europe on that issue. and then the other focus i guess will be the reaction from europe and one of the first things that we heard was a quick snap from a news agency saying that angela merkel was putting down herfoot about the timing of the eu talks and saying the divorce settlement, the process of that, has to be out of the way before we start trade talks. i think it is an historic day so the big picture will be the historic day, but also the battle lines have been drawn, we have got the first hint about what the negotiations
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will be about and what they will ce ntre will be about and what they will centre on. good to talk to virgo and we look forward to reading. thank you forjoining us on what has been a very busy day and a significant day because it is the day that theresa may, having signed the letter in number ten last night, has sent that letter to donald tusk, the president of the european council and the process of britain's withdrawal from the european and the process of britain's withdrawalfrom the european union is now under way. there will be two yea rs of is now under way. there will be two years of talks ahead of us to try to reach some kind of deal at the end of that, by the spring of 2019. the bbc news at six is coming up but from westminster, it's goodbye. tonight at six, history in the making — theresa may calls time on britain's four decades
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inside the european union. hand delivered — the official letter to the eu that puts lastjune's referendum vote into practice. theresa may told mps there's no going back, it's a turning point in the uk's story. britain is leaving the european union. we are going to make our own decisions and our own laws. we are going to take control of the things that matter most to us. the president of the eu council says his priority is to defend the remaining members. brexit has made us, the community of 27, more determined and more united than before.
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