tv BBC News at Six BBC News March 29, 2017 6:00pm-6:31pm BST
tonight at six, history in the making — theresa may calls time on britain's four decades 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. theresa may says she'll negotiate as one uk — we'll be getting the reaction from around the country. and we're in dover — where 60% of voters opted to leave the eu.
also on tonight's programme, it's a week since the terror attack on westminster bridge. thousands gathered in a show of unity, remembering the dead and the injured. we'll have more reaction and opinion to the historic events as the prime minister triggers britain's exit from europe. we'll hearfrom politicians and members of the public. good evening and welcome to the bbc news at six. a hand delivered, six page letter — with that theresa may has made history. she's written to the president of the european council, formally announcing britain's intention to leave the eu — a process that will see the end
of four decades of membership that have shaped so much in our daily lives. the prime minister said britain would be able to make its own decisions but continue to have a deep and special relationship with the eu. for the european union, the president of the council said this was not a happy day for either brussels or london — but he added, his goal now was to defend the interests of the remaining 27 members of the eu. for our first report tonight, here's our political editor laura kuenssberg. some moments make us. some moments make us. this is one. the minute in westminster, belfast, edinburgh and cardiff that the united kingdom formally changed course. the article 50 process is now underway and in accordance with the wishes of the british people, 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. probably our last ambassador to the european union handing over the letter at 12:25pm. the document that says we are on our way out. theresa may's signature on oui’ way out. theresa may's signature on our departure. herjob now, to make it work. this, her hope. a country that goes out into the world to build relationships with old friends and new allies alike. and that is why i have set out a clear and ambitious plan for negotiations ahead. it is a plan for a new, deep and special partnership between britain and the european union. her decisions about how mean we are out of the single market to control immigration. as european leaders have said many times, we cannot cherry pick and remained members of the single market without accepting the single market without accepting the four freedoms that are indivisible. we respect that decision. a friendlier tone to the continent, an ambition to bring this
country together. mr speaker, when i sit around the negotiating table in the months ahead i will represent every person in the united kingdom, young and old, rich and poor, town and country and all the villages and ha mlets and country and all the villages and hamlets in between. and yes, those eu nationals that have made this country their home. and it is my fierce determination to get the right dealfor this fierce determination to get the right deal for this country. in perhaps the most important that she'll ever penned, the prime minister spoke of her hope to give reassurance quickly to the millions of eu citizens who live here and brits abroad. we should always put oui’ brits abroad. we should always put our citizens first, we should aim to strike an early agreement about their rights. but no guarantees. the prime minister wants a free trade deal with the eu of greater scope and ambition than any before. a bold hope seen as naive by some to try to protect firms who do business around the confident from rules and barriers. no overt threat to walk away but a serious warning. a
failure to reach agreement would mean oui’ failure to reach agreement would mean our co—operation in the fight against crime and terrorism would be weakened. we must work hard to avoid that outcome. her message, the eu needs us. she want also to agree the terms of our future partnership alongside those of our withdrawal from the eu, to work out how we leave at the same time as sorting out the future. labour aren't the only one sceptical she can deliver. if the prime minister can deliver a deal that meets our tests that will be fine, we will back her. more than ever britain needs a government that will deliver for the whole country, not just the few. and that will deliver for the whole country, notjust the few. and that is the ultimate test of the brexit deal that the prime minister must now secure. the clock is ticking now. memories of today will be so different. a public party for some. even though that's not actually the foreign secretary. almost awake for
others. that's the sense in the home of the eu. there's no reason to pretend that this is a happy day, neither in brussels nor in london. somehow was coming back from brussels will bypass this place and flow to hollywood, cardiff and storm on. for remainers here and in the scottish government those promises don't go far enough. the prime minister still can't answer basic questions about what brexit will mean for businesses, the economy generally and for the type of society we live in. this six simple pages will do much to determine our place in the world in the future. the letter is less abrasive intent to the rest of the eu than when to reason they started as prime minister. but she still had to persuade her party she really was committed to leaving. now the clamour of the referenda misconduct, the tone is politely plaque to call. —— practical. the message of the letter, get real. you need us and we
need you. remember we bring a lot to the table when it comes to policing, security and intelligence services. it wasn't firing a shot but she was just making a reminder, remember what is at stake here. it is exciting but i don't underestimate the scale of the task that lies ahead in the next two years. what has happened today is the biggest stimulation of british power and sovereignty in my lifetime. stimulation of british power and sovereignty in my lifetime! stimulation of british power and sovereignty in my lifetime. a letter which is really about kicking off a trade negotiation had six mentions of trade and 11 mentions of security. it struck me as a reckless series of threats. not that he ever needs a reason to be pictured with a pint, today ukip were celebrating. over the moon, happy. today, for me, after 25 years of campaigning, the impossible dream came true, i'm very pleased. and look who popped up later. what matters now is that we have a successful negotiation and try to maintain a close relationship between britain and the european
union. in a rare interview inside number ten the prime minister promised, despite all the challenges, our relationship with the rest of the continent will be just as good. what we are both looking for is that comprehensive free trade agreement which gives that ability to trade freely into the european single market and for them to trade with us. it will be a different relationship but i think it will have the same benefits in terms of that free access to trade. an assertion that will take a lot to prove. one her counterparts in europe struggle to believe. number ten's time for preparation is up, now time to try to persuade. as we've heard the president of the european council said he would not pretend it was a happy day but said the remaining eu members are united and are determined to protect their interests during, what he called the ‘difficult negotiations' ahead. let's go to our europe editor katya adler who is in brussels now. the eu has now received a letter
from london and it wants a bit of time to digestives contents. we'll be hearing more about the eu political guidelines for negotiations on friday. in the meantime the eu is trying to take the enormity of today. it has been a long road for the uk since the referendum but the eu has been anxiously holding its breath as well with many believing it will never come to today, the day that article 50 is triggered. the man with the burning letter in his briefcase. morning. big day, ambassador? he arrived without much fanfare and the european council building this morning, but... this isn'tjust an historic day for the uk. for the eu it is a momentus and never to be forgotten kick in the teeth. visibly unhappy, this was the recipient of britain's letter starting the brexit process. so here it is, six pages. donald tusk, the man
who represents all eu member states here in brussels. there is nothing to win in this process, and i'm talking about both sides. this is about damage control. so, the letter has been delivered. what now? well, the european commission is the lead negotiator for the eu when it comes to brexit. frans timmermans is the commission's vice president. but how can negotiations even start, i wondered, with both sides at loggerheads? the uk wants divorce talks and talks of a new trade deal in parallel. the commission says no. divorce comes first. that's all part of how we negotiate. but how do you square the circle? everyone starts with his own interest and tries to formulate his own interest in the best possible way, that's what we all do. so what's the problem in having parallel talks? talking about trade at the same time as divorce, for example? the position of the eu will be determined on the basis of a careful analysis of theresa may's letter.
there can be no future settlement if we're not very clear on how the divorce settlement is going to be. to make two years of complex negotiations even thornier, the uk isn't talking just to the european commission. the real power behind the throne lies in the eu capitals, berlin, paris, rome and 2a others. they will take any big political decisions for the eu when it comes to brexit and a future trade deal. they don't and won't always agree with one another. and the article 50 time frame is very, very tight. just before everyone heads into the lions den, there were conciliatory noises all round in europe today. look at the front page of this german newspaper. and then this from germany's powerful europhile prime minister. translation: we, the european union, will conduct fair and constructive talks.
i hope that the british government will approach the negotiations in the same spirit. chancellor merkel also stressed the importance of deciding the fate of eu citizens living in the uk and british citizens in the eu asap. brussels and london agree. thankfulfor one issue, at least, to unite around. katya adler, bbc news, brussels. in her statement to mps today theresa may said she'd negotiate for the whole of the uk, taking into account the interests of the nations and regions. well, let's see how her words have gone down. in a moment we'll be talking to chris buckler who's in county tyrone and sian lloyd in cardiff but first to our scotland editor sarah smith in edinburgh. scotland's first minister today said she does wish to reason a success with upcoming negotiations because a good uk deal is in scotland's
interests, but she is not optimistic about that. she described the process as a leap in the dark. the scottish government have not been terribly impressed with the promise ofa terribly impressed with the promise of a significant increase in powers for the scottish parliament theresa may mention today because they said they haven't had any commitment on what powers might come to holyrood after brexit. of course nicola sturgeon is busy writing a letter of her own at the moment, one she will send to the prime minister making a formal request for a scottish referendum, what she already knows the answer. theresa may will say there can be no discussions about another referendum until this brexit deal is done and scottish voters have had a chance to see how it is working. i'm standing at one of the 260 crossing points between northern ireland and the republic of ireland and this bridge will become part of the uk's only land border with an eu country. this river might be seen as a dividing line but it's not treated like that by people who live here,
they cross for work, for access to health care and other services, and for trade. that's why the british and irish government have been so strong in saying they want these roads to remain open. if anything european parliament went further to date saying that they would not acce pt date saying that they would not accept a hard border on the island of ireland. theresa may has been clear that they don't want anything that will threaten the peace process here. in reality brexit has already been divisive. at storm onto the power—sharing government has collapsed. that was not caused by theissue, collapsed. that was not caused by the issue, however brexit does have the issue, however brexit does have the potential to fuel political differences. irish republican army been listening closely to the push foran been listening closely to the push for an independence referendum been listening closely to the push foran independence referendum in scotland. they point out that just as in scotland, the majority of people in northern ireland voted to stay inside the european union, and they are calling for a border poll, an independence referendum, a referendum really on irish unity.
wales voted to leave the european union. there was a recognition of that this morning when carwynjones said he would be working with the uk government to get the best deal for wales. by this afternoon, the cracks had begun to appear and you sensed his frustration when he said he it was regrettable the welsh government had not been able to contribute to the article 50 letter and the devolved administrations had been treated with a lack of respect. he'd already voiced his concerns about economic subsidies. he wasn't sure what would be happening after 2020, he said. there were no guarantees. add the moment, some of the poorest parts of wales share £2 billion of grantaid. the parts of wales share £2 billion of grant aid. the leaders of the welsh conservatives said that is scaremongering and theresa may has said the specific interests of the nations will be taken into account. sian, chris and sarah, thank you.
the clock started ticking from the moment the letter was delivered to brussels this morning and the parties will have two years to conclude negotiations on britain's exit from the eu. so, what happens next? on friday the european council will make the next move by setting out its proposals for the negotiations to come. a month later, at an eu summit, the remaining twenty seven countries are expected to debate and then agree on those proposals. the talking will then start but big decisions may have to wait till after the french and german elections held in may and september. the negotiations should finish by october next year when the uk and eu parliaments will both vote on the final deal. that's the plan but we are in uncharted territory. 0ur political editor laura kuenssberg is at westminster ultimately, what have we learnt
about what the next two years might look like? the tone of these important six pages tell us a couple of important things. first of all, the prime ministerfeels of important things. first of all, the prime minister feels the need to persuade the rest of the eu we are not out to harm them, we're not out there to do them damage, that we still share what she called european values. that tells us she is aware how difficult this may be and there we re how difficult this may be and there were hints between the lines, too, she may be ready to compromise, that she may be ready to compromise, that she is up for some form of give and ta ke she is up for some form of give and take in different areas but it is also absolutely plain she isn't going tojust play also absolutely plain she isn't going to just play nice. the letter featured prominently the issue of security. that has been something that has been mentioned before but quietly. she is willing to make that pa rt quietly. she is willing to make that part of the negotiation. her supporters would say it's common sense because this has to be a deal in the round but it is controversial in some quarters and it has raised some eyebrows here and around the
eu. her close confidence always a of the prime minister she is fearless in the pursuit of what she wants to achieve but, my goodness, she will need to be. just an early glimpse of the first responses from the rest of the first responses from the rest of the eu, they give a taste of the kind of resistance she may well face in the next couple of years. all right, thank you. pe referendum was one of the biggest boats in eu history. 33.5 people took part, revealing the divide about the relationship in europe. how do people feel now? our home editor has been to dover where more than 60% of people voted to leave. the ancient town of dover reminds us of our closeness to mainland europe, but also our distance. in the town hall, festooned with relics of britain's complex relationship with the lands across the channel, we have assembled eight townspeople.
four leavers and four remainers. i'm a bit worried. nervous and put on edge. i am excited. i'm really excited. i need something to change. we briefed our article 50 jury on what the negotiations are going to involve. what i am proposing cannot mean membership of the single market. we do need to take back control of our borders. losing our single trade deal as part of it, it has to happen. what about the trade stuff, are you worried that economically, we could take a hit? or do you think we will be fine? i think in the beginning we may well take a nosedive. but it's something we will recover from. if we take a nosedive, who actually suffers? you know? it is families. if we end up as billy—no—mates... yes. we are going to be, the country is going to stagnate economically. and why should they trade with us?
i don't think it will ever come out to be billy—no—mates because this country is too well loved all over the world. it is too well loved. so i think we will come out on top. ijust hope that this brexit thing does not affect many people, divides people. so you're worried we somehow create division when we disentangle ourselves from the european union? a bit worried. yes, that worries me too. my son is 24 and it terrifies me, he and his generation might be in a situation that we end up in a war. really? yeah. i think it's up to us as people that voted out, making you feel more comfortable. that everything is going to be all right. let's imagine we get to the two—year point, we haven't got a deal. john, what do you think should happen? walk away. you would walk away? yes. walk away. why? do it on our own.
put our arms out to the rest of the world. it will take more than two years, more than five years. look how long they talk about it. we have just got to go in and show them that we do mean business. we're not going to bow down to them. so how does ourjury feel about triggering article 50? we gave them emoji paddles. happy, unhappy, or worried and confused. please vote now. four happy, three worried, one unhappy. 0urjury and indeed britain is deeply divided on its reaction to the triggering of article 50 and similar arguments will be played out in the months of detailed talks ahead. mark easton, bbc news, dover. in other news — a minute's silence has been held this afternoon on westminster bridge to mark the moment khalid masood began his terror attack last week. four people were killed, including a police officer. the inquests into their deaths were opened earlier today.
daniela relph reports. their anguish and theiranguish and pain their anguish and pain so obvious. their anguish and pain so obvious. the family of the american victim, kurt cochran, came to westminster to remember. they mourned his loss together at the place where he was hit and thrown from the bridge. kurt cochran was the first to be hit when the vehicle careered onto the pavement. teacher aysha frade also died, she had two children. leslie rhodes was also killed on the bridge, he was 75 years old. the final victim was pc keith palmer. he died despite the desperate efforts to save him. earlier, at exactly 2:40pm, the moment the attack began a week ago, the familyjoined others on the bridge whose lives had changed last wednesday. they
included this man fromm romania who suffered a broken foot. his girlfriend was thrown from the bridge and she remains in a stable but critical condition in hospital. doctors, nurses and ambulance crews we re doctors, nurses and ambulance crews were also in westminster, with schoolchildren and representatives of different faith groups. they stopped in silence and solidarity. the memories of last week will have been particularly war for the metropolitan police officers. a group who had lost a one of their rent. they recalled the sacrifice of pc keith palmer. this afternoon is about remembering the victims of last week's events. our thoughts and prayers go out to everyone who was affected by the events last week. prayers go out to everyone who was affected by the events last weekm was a moment of calm after the chaos here of exactly one week ago. it was
also a united front against the horror and violence of the attack. today, inquests opened into the deaths of three of those killed. it was also announced there would be two separate reviews of security following the westminster attack. but this afternoon was about an act of remembrance, a chance for londoners to stand together. a private funeral for the singer george michael has taken place in north london. his publicist said it was a small ceremony, attended by family and close friends. the singer's family thanked his "fa ns across the world "for their many messages of love and support". george michael was found dead at his oxfordshire home on christmas day last year. returning to our main story. britain's exit from the eu. let's sum up where we britain's exit from the eu. let's sum up where we are britain's exit from the eu. let's sum up where we are at the end of today. through this whole debate,
the economy has been a key issue. were there any clues today what we might see on that front? this is often fashioned as a titanic struggle between the politics of brexit, sovereignty, taking back control, less immigration and the economic self brexit, the freest possible trading relationship with the eu. today, to an extent at least, the economics won out. theresa may talked about ensuring prosperity. she spoke about the need foran prosperity. she spoke about the need for an ambitious free trade deal. wasn't it interesting philip hammond was sitting right next theresa may as she spoke in the house of commons? he is the man, the chancellor in charge of the uk economy. there wasn't any talk of no deal being better. walking away from a deal would be better than a bad deal. no talk of that. so quite a lot of conciliation. there is a big
sense behind this in number ten, although recent polling has revealed that, for the public, brexit and the economy have lea pt that, for the public, brexit and the economy have leapt to the top of their concerns. theresa may knows that disruption to the relationship of our biggest trading partner, the eu, is and economic risk and a political risk for heart. and back to katya adler in brussels. let me turn this on its head. what affect will brexit have on the eu? well, many in the uk celebrate brexit is a chance for a brand—new start but there are no upside for the eu. it loses an influential member, a powerful economy, one of only two military powers in europe and a key contributor to the eu budget. while eu leaders defiantly say brexit brings you closer together, it actually puts pressure on an already weakened eu whose members fall out over funding, over
the euro and migration so how will they keep a united front on each country has different priorities when it comes to brexit? poland is more likely to want to appease the uk. it wants to safeguard the rights of its citizens living in britain, whereas germany what's politics before practicalities and it wants to ensure the integrity of the single market and the eu as a whole. there is anyone a ray of light to the eu. when it comes to the negotiations, it believes it has the upper hand. far less under time pressure than the uk to get a deal. and andrew neil will interview the prime minister theresa may on brexit — what next? the andrew neil interviews. that's in half an hour here on bbc one. time for a look at the weather. here's jon hammond. there is some warm weather on the way. today it has been cloudy, not much sunshine. we had some rain in
pembrokeshire and it would continue to be wet at times mainly across the north and west with heavier rain running northwards across scotland. later in the night, some bursts of rain in the south—west, heading into the midlands and the south—east. but a really mild night night, 11—12 fairly typical with a lot of cloud. this rain in the midlands pushes away then we have brighter skies with sunshine hedging up into the south. the wetter weather is restricted to areas around the irish sea. northern scotland should be warmer than it has been, especially in the north—east, thanks to the wind changing direction. southern scotla nd wind changing direction. southern scotland is still wet, with rain across the north—west of england, not far away from northern ireland. for most of england and wales, we get brighter weather, much warmer weather coming up from the south with temperatures as high as 22! heading into friday, the main focus
of the rain is with the low pressure, taking it away from northern ireland and up into scotland. that weather front is weeks so there isn't much rain in the uk. some fresh air following weeks so there isn't much rain in the uk. some fresh airfollowing in behind, and it'll feel pleasant in the sunshine. the weekend, a weekend of two halves. saturday will have some sunshine at showers as well. the wind is slow—moving so slow—moving showers. then the showers move away and a julie bob start to sunday, a dry and brighter day with sunshine around, quite pleasa nt day with sunshine around, quite pleasant again before we get the wind and rain ie the end of the day. a reminder of our main story. the letter has been delivered to brussels marking the start of britain's departure from the european union after 44 years of membership. that's all from the bbc