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tv   Newsnight  BBC News  September 22, 2017 11:15pm-11:46pm BST

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when an undercover bbc panorama investigation exposed brook house as a place where drug use and self harm were common and there was bullying and abuse by some staff. that's a summary of the news. now it's newsnight, with evan davis. for passengers waiting to leave the eu, we apologise that the planned 2019 brexit service has been delayed. britain will now depart europe in 2021. that's not a bad summary of theresa may's speech today. we are heading for a two—year transition on european terms. as for the long term big picture, it was a little short on detail. the uk and the eu, side by side, delivering prosperity and opportunity for all our people. we'll ask an irish mep and a british brexiteer over who should be more cheerful at the prime minister's words. also tonight, uber is not proper, according
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to the authorities in london. not fit to have its licence renewed. is it the voting power of black cabbies that did it, or genuine concerns about safety and integrity? meanwhile, the biggest eu country is about to have a big election. i am in berlin where we will have reaction to theresa may's speech and where of course they are facing a general election on sunday which is expected to bring a far right party into the german parliament for the first time since the war. hello. the press and half the government went to florence today, which was meant to provide a pleasing backdrop against which the prime minister could set out the latest on brexit. sadly, they'd booked one of the dullest—looking rooms in the entire city for the prime minister's speech. so, what about the contents?
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could that live up to expectations? well, on britain's long term goals from brexit, not much there. there's been a lot of talk about canada vs switzerland or norway as models for our new relationship. the pm said neither was right. she wants something in—between. could that be canada plus, or switzerland minus. who knows? they're still arguing about that in the cabinet. but the real action today was on the shorter term where the uk position has really changed. we are officially now accepting we have a two—year transition. it'll be more or less the same as staying in, free movement will persist and we'll pay tens of billions of euros over to the eu during it. so, that's where we are, folks. full brexit in 2021. that's if the uk gets its way though. the europeans have some views too. let's start by hearing from our political editor, nick watt, in florence. nick, we have been waiting for this for days, weeks, what do you make of it?
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this was a speech for european voices and notjust because the british prime minister travelled to the birthplace of the renaissance to show how much britain owes europe for its civilisation. downing street is confident this speech will shift the dial in the talk. the two big movements you are talking about, firstly on the 2—year transition, brussels says this amounts to the first formal request from the uk it want such a transition but also the second big thing is the future relationship after that transition. the prime minister did flesh out some details. she is saying no to the norway option. that would have involved us abiding by european rules. significantly, she said no to the canada option and the concern is that would be too restrictive on trade. here is my report on theresa may's day trip to florence. in the finest traditions
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of the nobility‘s grand tour of yore, theresa mayjourneyed to the birthplace of the renaissance to pay homage to european civilisation. this was no leisurely aristocratic tour. the prime minister had political business to transact as she stretched out a hand to our european partners. though the manner was hardly a deity reaching out from on high, in fact, it all had the feel of a prime minister blinking first. as we meet here today, in this city of creativity and rebirth, let us open our minds to the possible, to a new era of cooperation and partnership between the united kingdom and the european union, and to a stronger, fairer, more prosperous future for us all. in the square outside this florentine landmark, tourists have been enjoying
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the late summer sunshine. inside the ancient basilica, the atmosphere was rather different, as theresa may embarked on a rescue mission for the brexit negotiations. the uk has blinked first by offering a series of concessions. the prime minister has strengthened her offer on rights for eu citizens, pledged to honour the uk's budget commitments until the end of 2020 and offered to abide closely by eu rules during a transition period of around two years. clearly people, businesses and public services should only have to plan for one set of changes in the relationship between the uk and the eu. so during the limitation period, access to one another‘s market ——implementation period, access to one another‘s market should continue on current terms, and britain should also continue
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to take part in existing security measures. downing street insists that today does not mark a climb—down, but they do believe that the prime minister has provided enough to break the logjam in the talks. number 10 hopes that the eu will also adopt a more flexible approach when the talks reach the serious business of discussing a future trade deal. 0ne senior number 10 aide told me that downing street regards the prime minister's description of the uk's future partnership with the eu as her most significant intervention today. they hope the eu will understand that the prime minister is saying she wants to remain close to the eu, but she does understand that, once we leave, we will lose privileges. this aide told me, we understand we can't have our cake and eat it. the prime minister rejected the idea of following the example of norway, which is still bound by eu rules, and canada, on the grounds that it faces too many restrictions on its trade with the eu. let us not seek merely to adopt a model already enjoyed
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by other countries. instead, let us be creative as well as practical in designing an ambitious economic partnership which respects the freedoms and principles of the eu and the wishes of the british people. reporter: when can you sign trade deals? so, we have a very happy boris johnson, who's just appeared after a happy philip hammond. they've been at odds over the preparations for this speech. at the moment there is a cabinet truce. the big question is, once the prime minister starts looking at the uk's relationship with the eu after the transition period, will that truce continue? the speech was given a guarded welcome in florence. i think that the symbolism of theresa may delivering this speech today was trying to show her will, that she leaves the eu but she doesn't want to turn her back to europe. we also want to keep a very good friendship with uk in the future, and the fact that she has chosen
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italy means that after all, that also our contribution to european history is something very considerable. the distrust and recriminations that have characterised the brexit talks have been worthy of the fables penned by florence's famous son, niccolo machiavelli. on her day trip, theresa may sought to open a new chapter by showing she is no schemer. well, you heard in my film from the italian minister of european affairs who said this was welcome. that summarised the views in brussels which gave theresa may's speech a guarded welcome. michel barnier praised the speech for its constructive period —— spirit and its willingness to move forward. but he did say if you want to have a transition period,
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that will mean the rules of membership minus the vote. michel barnier will once again be facing david davis, the brexit secretary, across the table in brussels for another round of talks. 0ne uk officials said those talks have been a bit like root canal treatment. i think they will be hoping it is a bit of a gentler visit to the dentist. thank you very much indeed. 0ne bit of financial news, moody's has downgraded british debt. mairead mcguinness is the first vice president of the european parliament, a member of the centre right epp group. she joins us from dublin. a very good evening to you. what was your reaction to the speech? i think it was so well flagged that none of us were surprised. there was a lot of detail in it. my own prime minister
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cautiously welcomed the speech and i do as well. as others are saying, we still have some detail to go through. it appears to me that the government of the united kingdom has looked at the practical realities and it was impossible to say we could leave at the end of march 2019 and therefore it is only reasonable that you have this transition period that the european parliament voted for a three—year period and no more and now we are seeing the uk looking for a two year period. i think that makes sense because there are so many details to discuss. in effect that we're not leaving until 2021, is that how you characterise it? it is more nuanced than that. the prime minister has said that britain will leave the european union at 2019. they'll be no seats at the council. there will be a two year period when we will need to have an ongoing and the same trading relationship as there is today. 0n the long—term side,
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what you heard today was not norway and not canada. do you feel britain is in the right place as it tries to stake out something that is between those two options? i am not even sure it is something between those two options. i read in the speech when the prime minister spoke about building a bridge from where we are today in relationship to where we want to be. as i read the detail, it seems to me in that bridge it would be a u—turn somewhere. very clearly the prime minister outlined the close relationship that exists today and wanting to have a very close relationship in the future. it seems to me that suggests it is not staying in europe, though that would make sense from what she says, but having the same arrangement as if you are part of the european union. clearly there are difficulties around it. when you ask what country choice
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to take, there isn't one for that when you ask about her vision and ambition it may not sit with what the european union can negotiate for that there there is a worrying line about the border constituency with northern ireland. i welcome the commitment to the no hard border. i worry when the uk says we will leave the customs union and single market. that puts brits into an invisible border. i hope there will be a political realisation that to honour the peace process in northern ireland and deliver on the commitments we have all signed up to, we will have a continuation of membership of the customs union. many people have said that. isn't this where the eu position is unreasonable? you want the border resolved before you are talking about the new trade relationship. it does not make sense to think about that piece of the border
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without knowing the arrangements for the rest of the border between britain and the eu. that is one of those areas where the eu sequence is unreasonable, isn't it? i don't agree. the uk agreed to the eu sequencing. when you are talking about northern ireland and the island of ireland it is not about trade, it is about protecting a fragile peace process. i am old enough to remember what life was like around the border when we had the troubles, many people are. we don't want our children to ever see that again. i'm not suggesting that will happen but there is a psychological worry on the border. i was there this afternoon. it is much deeper than suggesting this could be settled in a trading relationship. it must be settled in the first phase. we must see progress. thank you.
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well, the prime minister was addressing herself to the europeans, but probably her most keen listeners were here in the uk. jacob rees—mogg is the conservatvie mp, who serves as the conscience of the brexit campaigners — one of many. good evening. this is a pretty remarkable retreat by the british, having been saying maybe no transition at all, we are staying in the eu for another two years, to all intents and purposes. i think if you are kind you would say that the prime minister has made a generous offer and has now put it to the europeans to respond. if you were unkind, you would say there has been a series of concessions while the european union has made not a single concession. this morning, chris grayling said on radio 4, we've been very clear, freedom of movement ends in 2019. he said that this morning, he had read the speech and he said that this morning. in the speech, the prime minister says during the implementation period, people will continue to be able to come and live and work in the uk.
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in what way is that not free movement? well, i have three concerns about the speech. the first is free movement, which ought to end at the end of march 2019, and i think it's a question about the home office's competence, actually, because it hasn't done very well in dealing with illegal immigrant is so far. and the question for the home office is can it be ready in time to do thejob properly, and i think it ought to be and that is a challenge for the home secretary. the other area i am concerned about is that we should be promising money before we know the other side of the deal.
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they want money, we want to trade, and for us to be guaranteeing money, which the speech practically does so early on, concerns me considerably. and the third point that concerns me is that it hasn't been made clear whether in this implementation period we will still be subject to the european court ofjustice. to my mind, that is an absolutely red line. if after march 2019 we are still subject to the ec], we have not left the european union, and that will be undermining the vote we had injune 2016. the european union is absolutely clear that we are still under the european court ofjustice in the implementation period, there is not a doubt about that, so you can't accept what the prime minister has set out today? the prime minister didn't make that clear in her speech, but it is a point that needs to be clarified. if we do not come out of the jurisdiction of the ec], we have not left the european union, and that would be a denial of the vote, the biggest vote in british history, that we had injune 2013, so that is a key question that i hope journalists will be asking the prime minister and parliamentarians
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when the house of commons is back after conference season. what would you do if it seems like the prime minister, as everybody else is interpreting it, that we do have the ec], we do make the payment and we do have free movement for two more years, what can you do to stop it? well, i can't do anything to stop it, i am one of 650 members of parliament, but there will be a considerable dissatisfaction in the country if we are not outside the ecj's jurisdiction on the date of leaving, and that is crucially important. we have had a huge democratic vote, this needs to be implemented on the government needs to be sure that it can do the administrative job of getting us ready for day one. the other thing the prime minister did today which was a concession was she effectively abandon talk of if you give us a bad deal, we will be a kind of singapore, offshore europe, deregulation. she said we are keen on high levels of regulation just like the rest of europe. does that upset you? that is a separate question. she did reiterate the point that no deal is better than a bad deal, and that is important. what happens once we have properly
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left about future economic policy will be determined by our normal democratic processes, and there are many people in the conservative party who would prefer a more thatcherite approach to economics. if that's what the country votes for, that is what it will get, but with parliament as it is currently made up, that is not a realistic distinction anyway. there are votes in the house of commons, and so the prime minister is rejecting reality in saying that. do you ever think that the brexiteers, with a harder line view of what this negotiation should be like, no money, no ecj, no free movement, you have led proper path which she doesn't feel is deliverable, this is why after six months... she could have done the six months ago, nothing has changed except she has just given into the reality that the europeans are not going to let us have our cake and eat it. i dispute that. i think the risk of delay as we miss out on the opportunities brexit coming to the country sooner. i was so impressed by borisjohnson‘s argument a week or so ago which set out the positive argument for brexit about how with free trade we can be more prosperous, that we can cut the cost
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of living forever body in society, but in food, clothing and footwear most, which affects the poorest in society most, we can improve their standard of living and boost wages once we are outside the containment of the european union. this is very exciting, and delaying it... theresa may has heard all those arguments, and yet today she has basically said, i'm sorry, i have to make this transitional plan. it is not going to work to have this cliff edge. i don't think there is any necessity for a cliff edge. i think if the government could be ready on day one if it read the excellent articles by charles elphick and ensured that the governmental systems were prepared. i think this is a real challenge our civil servants to make sure that they can get the work done to make sure government departments are ready, so customs and excise, the home office, they are ready. that is the essence of it, that is not a cliff edge. jacob rees—mogg, thanks a lot.
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thank you very much. well, if brexit has divided the nation, a new frontier opened up today in the national argument: uber. the mobile cab app has basically transformed transport, especially in london. since 2010, the number of taxis or minicabs for hire in the capital has gone up by 70%. prices have come down and a culture of impulse cab hire has taken off. but it's not been good for london's traditional black cabs. now transport for london says uber is not fit to run the service and wants to remove uber‘s licence at the end of the month. the mayor keeps saying that, despite brexit, london is open to the world. so is this... a) a genuine attack on uber, which has after all been a controversial company? b) a shameless attempt to court favour with the black cab drivers? 0r c) a turning point in national direction, away from global corporations, and the brutal competition fired up by technology? our technology editor, david grossman, reports. uber became decidedly less elevated today.
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maybe not quite unter, but definitely down. the gloss really does seem to be coming off the gig economy as we realise that cheap doesn't necessarily mean low cost. it's about consumers waking up to what really funds their cheap meals that are being delivered to them by say deliveroo riders, or what is suddenly the magic formula that allows them to get a taxi cab home every night when they couldn't before. is it really the innovation, or is it the fact that the driver isn't being paid that well, or that this company in particular is getting away with not observing laws that everybody else has to? it's been a huge blow for a company that a couple of years ago looked on the brink of world domination, achieved as much as anything else by ruthless political campaigning. uber was always the most politically plugged in of all the high—tech companies, particularly here in the uk. they were extremely well connected.
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it meant they had the inside track, the year ministers when they needed a regulatory tweak here or there. uber‘s founder made no bones about what he was doing. we didn't realise it, but we're in this political campaign, and the candidate is uber. and the opponent is an asshole named taxi. 0k. and he's not a very nice character. people don't like what he does. but he's so woven into the political fabric and machinery that lots of people owe him favours, and he keeps paying, so the political machinery likes him. he hired former google executive rachel whetstone to head worldwide communications. she is married to steve hilton, david cameron's former director of strategy. the families are very close friends. in the uk, uber hired alex belardinelli as head of communications. he spent a decade working for ed balls, so he helped square relations with the labour party.
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but then david cameron was replaced by theresa may, and jeremy corbyn took over labour. suddenly the high—level contacts were gone. we can see a change in the mood in terms of how these gig economy companies, not just uber, are being approached on all fronts. so theresa may has made it a manifesto point to tackle the gig economy. that was not the case with the cameron government. and we have seen obviously with the rise ofjeremy corbyn a real emphasis on the focus on employee rights and the elimination of zero hours contracts. having acted politically for so long, uber now insist they're the victims of a political stitch—up. so, this was a surprise, and i think the decision of the mayor and tfl clearly under extreme pressure from a small number of individuals and groups that want to protect the status quo and reduce consumer
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choice and competition. although passengers seem to love the cheap fares, supporting the gig economy is becoming politically toxic. that was david grossman. it has certainly had people arguing today. for some, transport for london and the labour mayor sadiq kahn are attacking the modern world, as well as the immigrant drivers who make up the uber fleet, as well as london consumers. for others, like nigel farage, who welcomed the news, this is about putting global capitalism back under control. let's talk to steve mcnamara, the general secretary of the licensed taxi drivers' association. what is the price difference between uber and black cabs? have you done any work on what the average is? we have done lots of work. during the day, they are about 20% cheaper than us, but at night for longerjourneys it can be 50%. for airport journeys, it looks like it is half the price, really. it depends where you are, but they are awful lot cheaper, but there are reasons for that. it has a predatory pricing model, it has been set up to force people out of business.
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it is completely on economic. it has remained below the black cabs for a very long time, predatory pricing tends to be temporary and then you put them up. that is because they haven't put us out of business. what they have done is putting 75% of the existing minicab company is in london out of business. but there are many more drivers than there were. and all earning the minimum wage. buffer consumers that is good news? cheap t—shirts made in china for a pound by children are good for consumers but that doesn't mean they are morally right. you don't go to supermarkets to buy vegetables in case you put the greengrocer‘s out of business? i try to shop locally if i can. and is that the society you want everybody to be in? no supermarkets, no shirts from china... that is not what i am saying. what are you saying? london has been in tested by a $70 billion company that had absolute control in downing street. the previous mayor, borisjohnson, was so concerned about the level of attacks and stuffing uber vehicles, he looked at bringing in regulation.
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he was kowtowed by 0sborne and cameron, even though all the powers have been devolved to him. they brought as much cheaper cabs and thousands of jobs. thousands of jobs? uber recently were taken to court by their drivers arguing strenuously that they were not employees. now you are saying they are losing jobs, that is not the case. what is your message to the 25,000 london drivers who currently work, contract, because there is this congregated issue, to uber. do you hope they stay in the business? my message is simple.
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0nce uber disappears from the streets of london, we will see a re—emergence of small local minicab firms that we had before... 0rfewer drivers? the total capacity of drivers available? i think it will stay roughly the same. we will have a small number of companies working locally, paying tax in the uk, something uber deliberately don't do. did drivers pay tax on their tips? any three black cab drivers in london pay more tax than eight $70 billion american company. many people particularly women say they actually think uber is safer because the journey is tracked, you know who the driver is. that is different to getting a black cab where there is no logging of the transaction and people have no idea what is happening. and cheap available cabs, licence cabs, are much better than no carbs or unlicensed cabs.
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perception is often not reality, as we know. the perception that it is safer is not maintained by the statistics. the simple fact is that it recent f0|a showed that the number of sexual assaults in uber is running at 32 per year according to the met police. they have criticised uber for trying to not report sexual assaults. it reported them to tfl but not the police. the police specifically said that uber were deliberately not doing it, trying to protect their reputation. i don't think they have a reputation, but what they have got they will try to hang onto. steve mcnamara, thank for coming in. well, if it was not for all the other news today, my guess is that this whole programme would have been about sunday's election in germany. they don't come along very often, and even though angela merkel always wins them, they are still very important for the direction of europe.
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0ur diplomatic editor mark urban is in berlin for us. it's a measure of the power and influence that germany holds in europe today that everyone is looking to sunday's election. whether it's brexiteers hoping angela merkel will get talks going in brussels, remainers that she'll find a way to keep britain in, president macron hoping to re—start the continent's franco—german motor — or a host of other leaders — everyone will be watching berlin. we know polls are dangerous these days, but what everyone expects is that angela merkel will be re—elected for a fourth term as leader. it's a remarkable record — not least when you remember that back in 2016 when one million
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refugees had arrived here in one year, many predicted her demise. but while she survived that crisis, it has to a large extent defined this election. there's one figure who towers over this election, and one issue that dominates how people see her. on wednesday, she went to hamburg, one of germany's trading powerhouses, for an election rally at the city's historic fish market. and even among her supporters, we found that issue, the refugee crisis, looms large. no one has ever done something like that before, so of course she made some mistakes. i understand why people are concerned. but yeah, i think you just have to make the most of it. inside, there was a band to rouse the faithful, and why not? angela merkel is heading for a fourth term, and has weathered

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