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tv   BBC Ask This  BBC News  March 29, 2017 8:30pm-9:01pm BST

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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. britain's ambassador in brussels handed over the letter to the president of the european council at lunchtime today. so, here it is. six pages... donald tusk said he missed the uk already, and promised to defend the remaining 27 member states in the negotiations. there is no reason to pretend this is a happy day. neither in brussels nor in london. in other news, a week on from the terror attack in westminster, a vigil has been held to remember the victims. hello, and welcome to an ask this brexit special. theresa may has finally fired the starting gun on the process of britain leaving the eu. we've been a member
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for more than a0 years, and although the prime minister famously said "brexit means brexit", and "no deal is better than a bad deal", we still don't really know what life outside the eu will look like. what will our trade relationship be with our closest neigbours? and what's the future for eu citizens living and working here? we'll try and answer some of your questions about britain's exit from the eu. with me is our economics editor, kamal ahmed. oliver illott, senior researcher at the thinktank the institute for government, which works to make whitehall more effective. and the uk immigration lawyer natasha chell, partner at laura devine solicitors in london. it would be great if we could rehearse all of this, wouldn't it?! let's make a start. we will try to look at all of the different aspects if we can. the first question, oliver, we will start with you. what will happen if there is no deal at
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the end of two years? if we can't agree terms with the other 27 members? well, if there is no deal at the end of two years, then we are out, that is the process we have started today. we have started the countdown timer. and if there is no deal by marge 2019 —— march 2019, the way it is drafted in the eu treaties that our connection to europe simply ceases to apply. that is problematic because the connections support things that we are used to doing here in the uk, and it is a scenario that both sides are trying to avoid. all sorts of work will go on to put legislation in place, assuming there is a deal, but working it —— a bit blind because you don't know what that deal is going to look like. there is a lot of work to be done to secure rights of european national is currently in the uk at the moment. that seems to be a priority for the government. notjust that seems to be a priority for the government. not just european nationals here but also for british
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to dozens in europe. oliver, for a lot of people, leaving the eu is the end of many, many years of campaigning, it is what some people have wa nted campaigning, it is what some people have wanted for a very long time. but, once on the outside of the eu if we don't really like it very much everything, hold on, we would have been better thinking, will we be able to rejoin and what with that process by like? technically, yes. the eu has a very well—established process forjoining, they call that access. there is nothing in the rules around joining that prohibits you from so if you have already been a member. technically we could rejoin. i think probably politically that would be a difficult sell. at the moment, the uk has a bespoke relationship with europe and we pay a lot of less in as contributions, we aren't members of the euro. if we we re we aren't members of the euro. if we were to rejoin there is a question mark about whether we would join on exactly the same terms. politically it feels like we're a long way from that. wouldn't we be in courage to
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join the euro, if it still exists?|j think join the euro, if it still exists?” think the lesson in europe is the rule is laid down and there are other rules as they are interpreted. we are probably talking many years into the future and it is probably not fair to say at this stage exactly what an accession process for the uk would look like. we don't know what is going to happen in two yea rs, know what is going to happen in two years, never mind longer than that. come, how is the rest of the eu going to be affected by brexit, donald tusk said it is not a reason to rejoice. there is the political shock to this long—term project that was built in the ruins of the second world war to end conflict in europe and to support economic growth and, toa and to support economic growth and, to a large extent, it has been successful in that. i think there has been an economic shock, there is a feeling of economic shock across europe. businesses are worried, britain is the second largest economy in the european union and
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was an important player in the european union. we were quite reform minded, ithink european union. we were quite reform minded, i think a lot of countries like germany and sweden and poland liked the fact that britain was in the european union, a little bit sceptical of the european union, not the same sort of gung ho, pro—federalist approach of france for example. i think that balance was quite important to the european union. i think the fact is that the eu feels that it has been negatively affected by britain saying it wants to leave. but what it has done on the contrary side to that is it has sort of giving the eu that notion of, we need to pull together now. and we will deal with britain as the eu 27, the other 27 nations. and it has given them that sort of burning platform idea, this is a real existential threat to europe therefore we must pull together. most of the polling has suggested that since britain now stitt was leaving the european union, actually
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pro—european sentiment has slightly gone up pro—european sentiment has slightly gone up across pro—european sentiment has slightly gone up across europe —— since britain announced. although there is the political and economic shock, to some parts of the eu this could be quite a good sort of gelling factor against further moves towards division. how will the rest of the eu cope, then, with a 38% drop in its income when we stop contributing, as many of those who wa nted contributing, as many of those who wanted to leave said that we would be spending all of this money which we could spend at home. and of course, usually come in new countries that come into the eu are net beneficiaries, aren't they? britain is a net contributor to the european union, and certainly the countries like germany, the biggest contributor to the european union's budget, that net contribution from britain was very, very important and i'm sure will be one of the big negotiating areas over the next two years. what does britain continue to
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pay into the european union for access to the single market, for access to the single market, for access to the customs union? and for access to the customs union? and for access to the customs union? and for access to some of the regulatory bodies that written might want to retain and maintain operation with —— that britain might. that will be one of the big debates. the issue is that britain is a net contributor, an important part of the european union budget. and i think germany in particular will be pushing to ensure that there is some kind of deal with britain, but as part of that deal there is some form of contribution from britain into the european union, although if there isn't, frankly, germany will be paying more. this probably is too oliver and, this was said to us via text. —— and come all. we should start making trade deals with commonwealth countries, if the eu don't like it, what are they going to do, expel us?
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we are going anyway?” what are they going to do, expel us? we are going anyway? i think there are probably a few things holding the uk back. the first thing is, if you are about to launch into the process of doing lots of deals around the world, you want people to think you are the kind of person who sticks to the deals on contracts you have already signed. breaching our arrangements with the eu by running around the world doing trade deals doesn't send the best signal to those people we are trying to do the deals with. it is also reflecting on the fact that many of these countries, you know, brazil, china, india, these fast—growing economies, there is a reason why not many people have trade deals with them already and it is because it is very difficult to get trade deals with these people. you can think a lot of time and resources into that and not get very far. the uk has —— the eu has been negotiating with brazilfor over 20 years now. talks have been going on with india over and over again and you don't get anywhere. finally i think the latter consideration for the uk on this is, at the moment, it has access to over
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50 european free trade deals. it won't keep that access automatically, so where it is focusing its time and resources is in carrying over the deals that it does have and then it can turn its attention to the new deals. theresa may made it very clear today that we aren't law—abiding country and the regulations and rules of being a memberof the eu regulations and rules of being a member of the eu is that you can't “ we are a member of the eu is that you can't —— we are a law abiding country. i agree about the complexity of doing those deals in any case. but i think it is absolutely right that if we we re it is absolutely right that if we were to try to go beyond what i'm sure to informal behind—the—scenes talks with many nations about the types of trading relationships we could have with them, to do anything formally add to launch that type of aggressive position at a time when we are, it sounds like to me today from the letter being quite consolatory, i think would be very negative message to the rest of europe and the rest of europe would
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react very robust least by garissa another text message. a lot of things are anonymous, people seem to not want to tell us who we are! everybody says the eu will slap a 10% tariff on our goods going into europe, so why don't we just slept 10% going back the other way? and as we don't import more than we export, why does it cost them more than as? it isa why does it cost them more than as? it is a bit tit—for—tat? why does it cost them more than as? it is a bit tit-for-tat? neither side want a tariff war, i don't think that would be seeing as being good for the economy of the uk or the economy of the rest of europe. although, yes, we do import more than we export as a proportion, britain's weight in europe is far lower than europe's's weight in britain. although on the actual number, yes, that is correct. on the actual quantity, the proportion, britain is less important to europe than europe is to britain in terms of the imports and exports. i don't
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think either side of this debate over the next two years once this notion of a battle of a sense of conflict —— wants this notion. whether it is over tariff barriers or nontariff barriers, rules and regulations. both sides want to start on a good footing. if we were to approach it like this text question came in, i think that would sooi'i question came in, i think that would soon disperse and that would be a real problem for both sides. just to jump real problem for both sides. just to jump in, i think there is a technical point to be made about how parrots work in the world. there are rules that have been set out that we have all signed up to about how ta riffs have all signed up to about how tariffs work precisely deliver this kind of trade war. the world trade organisation says that if you have a 10% tariff on cars like the eu does come eu charged that 10% tariff on ca i’s come eu charged that 10% tariff on cars from all over the world — from india it is 10%, from russia it is &, you treat everybody the same. if there is no deal between the uk and
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there is no deal between the uk and the eu, we're not going to find an eu slapping 100% tariff on cars because it is not allowed to. equally if there is no deal, it could not put a tariff on us because it would be treating people the same. if there is no deal, the 10% tariff on cars is where the eu is false to go, it is not a question of starting a trade war. liam campbell, who was not afraid to tell us his name on twitter, sent us a question — the prime minister said there will be no scottish referendum until the scots know what the brexit deal will be. why was that kind of thinking not applied to the eu referendum, in other words, we think we want to leave, but we will make our real decision when we know what the terms of the deal would be and then we can pull back from it if we don't like it? we are all -- not a country with a rule book with referendums. different referendums are set out in different ways. if you want to know why we went into the referendum in the way that we did, you will have
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two as david cameron and that mps empowerment. we went into the eu referendum and voted without knowing what the new relationship would be. the parallel vote in scotland is voting to leave the uk without knowing what your relationship with the uk is going to be. that i think is the parallel that we would draw. in this referendum, david cameron did have a deal of sorts. of course you remember him rushing around european capitals saying, i'm going to get some kind of good deal to offer the british public. there was some notion of limits on benefits for eu migrants coming here. something around red tape. it was relatively limited. something around red tape! it was limited and not very convincing, frankly. there was a deal of sorts that was put to the british public before the referendum. it was a deal on what kind of britain would remain in the european union, rather than what kind of deal would we have if we
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said we were going to leave. exactly as oliver says, the fact is that scotland wouldn't know the deal precisely would beat with the uk if it voted to leave the uk. another question to do with scotland. if the uk has to pay this exit bill of 60 billion euros to the eu, if scotland we re billion euros to the eu, if scotland were then to leave the union, with the uk, would westminster, the rest of what remains of the uk, be able to claim some of that money back from scotland ? to claim some of that money back from scotland? if scotland votes to leave the united kingdom there would be exactly the same debate about what might be described as the divorce bill. there are huge liabilities, shared between the four, you know, constituent parts of the united kingdom, scotland, england, northern ireland and wales, on things like the operation of government, pension liabilities, regulations. all of the same issues that were now all talking about in detail about the european union and
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britain's relationship with europe would be exactly what would be similarto would be exactly what would be similar to the ones that would be involved in any debate between scotland and the rest of the united kingdom if scotland decides to leave. so there would be a debate about the divorce bill. i doubt the re st of about the divorce bill. i doubt the rest of the uk would try and claw back money that had already been paid to scotland. but certainly the fa ct paid to scotland. but certainly the fact that the uk contributes support to scotland under the barnett formula would become part of the debate about scotland's exit. that was another thing that those who said the union should stay together, scotla nd said the union should stay together, scotland couldn't afford to sit outside the uk. what would scotland's economic position by? that is hugely disputed, it depends to an expense on the price of oil, thatis to an expense on the price of oil, that is a huge part of scotland's economy and gdp. scotland's deficit is substantially higher than the uk's overall deficit. some people
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suggest that scotland's economy is weaker in productivity and performance terms than the whole of the uk economy. but scotland is a highly educated, small nation with resources. it has a pretty developed financial services sector based around edinburgh and aberdeen and dundee. it has good industry, good manufacturing. it has oil. so there is nothing to say economically that scotland couldn't exist as an independent country. but unwinding itself from the rest of the uk would clearly be a very compensated exercise. let us move on, thank you for now, and look at some of the immigration issue that clearly bound up immigration issue that clearly bound up in these deals with natasha chell, an immigration lawyer. quite a few questions of a similar sort coming to us in various forms, e—mailand coming to us in various forms, e—mail and text. what will happen to eu nationals living and working and studying in the uk? will we need a visa to travel? will people be kicked out? first of our like to just reassure european national that
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nothing has changed. they have the right to remain in the uk, exercised their treaty rights, which include working, studying here, and many other rights under eu law. and that will remain the same until we leave. those rights, however, once we leave, they will no longer apply. law in the uk. so those eu nationals will have to seek permission under the uk immigration act, like other currently non—eu nationals have to seek permission to remain here. whether or not the government may seek to carve out something more favourable within the immigration rules for eu nationals remains to be seen. rules for eu nationals remains to be seen. and i think much of that shall depend on the negotiations with the other member states. because, let's not forget, we have over 3 million european nationals in the uk, but we have nearly over! million british
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citizens who are living in europe. so it is important for us to secure their position. so any reciprocal favourable agreement that we can reach, the government would no doubt seek to get that. will any of it depend on your marital status or for example the length of time you have been here? msas, my husband is italian, he has lived here for 11 yea rs, italian, he has lived here for 11 years, what is his status, living and working here, paying taxes and owning property and married to a british woman? —— emma says. owning property and married to a british woman? -- emma says. they acquire permanent residency after five years. they don't need to apply to the home office, they did acquire it under eu law and saudis of their family members. —— they do not need to acquire it. —— so do some of theirfamily members. if to acquire it. —— so do some of their family members. if they have acquired permanent residence one would hope they would have something similar, maybe in the form of indefinitely to remain under the
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current uk immigration rules apply to them and they may be in secure position. but how this is all going to work out to be seen. having said that, by government's very keen to provide some clarity as soon as is a reassure those european national is what is going to happen in the lead up what is going to happen in the lead up to brexit —— as soon as possible. sheldon is asking a question going on the other direction. he says, i have a property in france and want to continue to stay there as and when and eventually to live there permanently. will i be able to do this? again, very similarly, for british citizens they will continue to have the freedom to live and reside in europe until the uk leaves the eu. we would hope there would be some reciprocal agreements between the uk and the eu, and one would hope it will be favourable. yes, it does remain to be seen. in that scenario they would need to comply with the domestic legislation in
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that country when we leave. don't we have any other immigration regulations which are our own, which are not necessarily pertinentjust to eu nationals that might be releva nt after we to eu nationals that might be relevant after we leave to everybody? yes, we do. under the uk immigration act of 1971 we have immigration rules which enable migrants to come to the uk to work, to study, to set up businesses. and yes, of course, eu nationals after we leave the eu, you would think could therefore apply and be subject to those rules. absolutely that could certainly be the case but it would be quite onerous for them. because the uk economy relies so heavily on eu nationals, one would hope that there would be some carve out within immigration rules to provide a more favourable route for those nationals. another anonymous e—mail... what those nationals. another anonymous e—mail. .. what happens, those nationals. another anonymous e—mail... what happens, oliver, if
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there is no qualified majority on there is no qualified majority on the exit conditions in two time? code those in the eu, —— in two yea rs' code those in the eu, —— in two years' time? code they stop us going? the short answer is, no. we have triggered article 50, and the way that article 50 is drafted says you have got two years to get an agreement, and if you don't, you're just out. the treaties of the eu is in police is to apply to you. the only way of getting around that at the moment —— cease to apply to you. if the uk and the other 27 want to keep talks rolling, there is a question mark about whether the uk can question mark about whether the uk ca n reverse question mark about whether the uk can reverse the process but we don't know the answer to that yet. there is no scope, i think, for the eu 27 to hold us in the eu against our will. when all of this was being discussed before the vote happened last year, there were lots of voices
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saying, well, article 50 is a very sort of vague thing, it's so short and nobody has tested it before. i mean, how clear is article 50 about what it means and what you can and can't do with it? it is not as clear as some of us would like it to be at the moment. it is very short. the most contentious bit and the bit that the uk is probably focusing on most is that article 50 really sets the terms for your divorce. it sets the terms for your divorce. it sets the terms for your divorce. it sets the terms under which the uk leaves. and then it says, paying regard to whatever your future relationship is going to be. so the focus of article 50 is really on the divorce. what the uk is more interested in talking about is what the new relationship is going to be, that is included in article 50 but it is not the focus. the challenge for theresa may, which she clearly has set her ambition on, is trying to get the future relationship into the divorce talks and have them at the same time. we talked about it being in line with the constitutional relationships of the constitutional relationships of the country that wanted to leave.
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that is why we went through the supreme court about the role of parliament. is it clear, the role of parliament now? most of the questions about pa rliament‘s involvement have been settled. parliament voted to give the government the right to regard to go 50 and they will have a vote at the end of this process, although we have only got two years to negotiate the deal. if the deal is rushed to parliament very late in this process , parliament very late in this process, parliament might have a ta ke process, parliament might have a take it or leave it type option. the wild card in terms of how much involvement parliament is going to haveis involvement parliament is going to have is how at access they are going to have to do is talk as they go on. david davis, the brexit secretary, has said he wants mps to have the same has said he wants mps to have the sa m e love has said he wants mps to have the same love love access to the talks as members of the european parliament. —— he wants mps to have the same access to talks. if that is what is replicated in this situation, that has the wild card in terms of what role in bees might end up terms of what role in bees might end up playing. the tasha, what is going to happen, says an anonymous person via e—mail, to any cases that are
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going through the european court of justice, which looks after anything to do with eu law and regulation? for example, cases against the uk from to dearing to eu rules? there are some cases which may arise after negotiations have been saddled. those cases will need to be considered on the legislation which was applied at the time. with regards to the decision that has been challenged. if at that point that case is challenging an eu part of legislation then they will have two apply that in considering whether or not it is right or not. what will happen after we leave, then? if we have taken a lot of eu regulations in under the great repeal bill, but we are not part of the eu any longer, should we have to be under the jurisdiction of the european court of justice be under the jurisdiction of the european court ofjustice or should we need another supra national european court ofjustice or should we need another supranational body which will, which we will refer
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cases to that become difficult? the key question is, what the future relationship about in terms of regulation. we have copied across the eu regulations as they are at the eu regulations as they are at the moment, but that doesn't mean that if brussels passes new regulations in the future they will end up in our statute book. that is the key question for the easy day. if it is going to be the case that new regulations made in brussels are going to apply in the uk, then you can see a role for the ecj, or another of these courts to have a role in interpreting these things. but if we are going to strike a trade deal whether uk is going to have more independence in terms of setting its own regulation then you mightfind setting its own regulation then you might find something else, something slightly lighter touch, is established. kamal, from a journalist does not point of view, how hopeful are you that we will find out what is going on in this negotiations? there has been a signal that there will be a bit more transparency than initially thought. michel barnier, who is going to lead
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the negotiations for the european commission, has said that he wants to see a relatively transparent process. there could be some announcements from the eu about how they want to actually approach the trade deal. and i think in the letter today there was some signal about certainty, dealing with issues like immigration, dealing with issues about regulation of business relationships with the european union, which means that there could be some issues of substance sorted and announced before the end of the process. i think the consolatory tone of the letter today does include some notion of greater transparency then maybe we thought. thank you for all of you. oliver illott from the institute for government. immigration lawyer natasha chell. and kamal ahmed, thank you very much. and thank you to you if you sent us some questions, anonymous or otherwise, to bbcaskthis. good evening. there is some very
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warm weather on the way for some of us warm weather on the way for some of us tomorrow. the warmer, sunnier skies are actually a cross iberia, moving across this day and france. we need the sunshine to get the higher temperatures. today we have had a lot of cloud, and today we have had some rain around. very little rain across the south is, it is wetter further north and west. heavy rain pushing its way northwards across scotland for a while. we could see another pulse of rain in the south—west, threatening bizarre beast of england, running further north towards the midlands. throughout, a lot cloud —— threatening the south—east of england. a little bit chilly across northern passes of —— parts of scotland. there may be a bit of early sunshine. the result were going to see some rain from northern ireland, mostly crosby the eastern half of the country. a lot of wet
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weather through the irish sea, running into cumbria. an area offering across the south—west of england running through oxfordshire, midlands, towards the wash. the rain will not last too long and already there is sunshine breaking through in the south—east. the rain runs its way northwards across wales on the north—west of into scotland, and most of the wet weather will be out in the rsc. for england and wales it will brighten in the south—east, sunshine coming through and some real warmth. —— out in the irish sea. north and west, temperatures will not be quite so high but good for the time of year. rain on friday, focused on that area of low pressure going up to scotland. this front is weak, little rain in the south—east. behind it we have cooler, fresh air but a good deal of sunshine. temperatures could be 15-17 sunshine. temperatures could be 15—17 and it will feel quite pleasant. the weekend is a weekend of two halves. on friday there will
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be some sunshine —— on saturday. it will be pleasant enough when the sun is out but there will be showers developing, slow—moving and eventually on the heavy side. then we find these showers get pushed the wa ke we find these showers get pushed the wake —— pushed away on saturday night, a dome of high pressure keeping away the weather fronts. it will turn chilly on saturday night. but it looks like it will be a dry day for most of us on sunday, with sunshine around, light winds, temperatures of 30—16 , feeling quite pleasant for the time of year. hello, i'm ros atkins, this is outside source. brexit has begun. this is an historic moment from which there can be no turning back. britain is leaving the european union. formal notice came in the form of this letter — and now, two years of tough negotiations begin. both sides are ready. it will be a different relationship, but i think it can have the same benefits in terms of that free access to trade.
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our goal is clear. to minimise the cost for the eu citizens, businesses and member states. we'll bring you reaction from westminster, brussels, berlin, paris and malta. we will be live

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