between saudi arabia and iran is fuelling the political crisis in lebanon. the american secretary of state has warned other countries against using the country for proxy conflicts, following a crisis triggered by the resignation of its prime minister. one of the latest figures in american entertainment to be accused of sexual misconduct, the comedian louis ck, has admitted that several allegations made against him are true. five women had accused him of various acts of indecency. in a statement, louis ck expressed remorse for his actions. the european union's chief brexit negotiator has said the uk has two it looks like a new transit as a trade deal is moving forward without the usa, canada has dropped its actions at a trade conference being held in vietnam. now on bbc news, it's time for hardtalk. welcome to hardtalk.
i'm stephen sackur. authority is a priceless commodity in politics. it's not easily measured, but when the prime minister loses it, governing becomes a perilous task. so it may be in britain today, the prime minister theresa may has jettisoned two cabinet ministers in a week, her own tea m cabinet ministers in a week, her own team is divided over brexit, and seems unsure about its core message. my seems unsure about its core message. my guest today is the staunch brexit here jacob rees—mogg. can the tories get out of the whole hour in? i mean, we have a minister, priti patel who resigned, fairly asked to resign after the most extraordinary dramatic gaffe in which she appeared to go completely freelance, diplomatically speaking, in a visit to israel. well, i can probably match your embarrassing resignation with embarrassing resignation is going back over decades. the best of these, of course, was peter mandelson, who resigned twice, over breaches of the ministerial code,
essentially from the same government. this happens to governments with big majorities and governments with small majorities. it happens over breaches of the ministerial code, and it happens over sex scandals. this happens in government, and it does indicate the weakness or strength of the government. that is indicated by other factors. it certainly does signal that this prime minister is seeing her authority draining away. i mean, priti patel, to continue with her case, surely would not have felt able to undertake the sort of diplomatic freelancing she did were it not for this lack of authority at the centre of government. i think you are seeing cause and effects where they don't actually exist. if you go back to the — now, the lord mandelson affair. i would prefer to stick with current events, if you don't mind. it's quite important because you need to get a perspective as to whether this resignation is something exceptionally unusual, or the sort of thing which happens to all governments. bear in mind, when lord mandelson first resigned, it was because he had accepted a loan from someone in another ministry, and had not declared, in breach of ministerial codes.
and this was embarrassing to tony blair at the time. but it was unimportant in the grand scheme of the blair government. we can fill... yes, this is ancient history, but i would rather continue discussing what is happening in your government today. it is not mine, it is her majesty's. nice of her to give it to me. the key to this is is there something unusual about the problems this government is facing, and do they come, as you propose, from weakness, or are these things that happens to governments notjust of recent decades, but over centuries. if you want to go back to the stonehouse affair... i would prefer to focus on whether this government can continue. we know that grant shapps, a significant backbench tory mp, these days, called for theresa may to go, and asked for others to join in a campaign to topple her. he got a significant number of mps to back him, but not enough. hold on a moment.
i don't think we found out who any of these cabinet ministers... well, we take his word of the support that he got. no, i think that when names up bandied about, it's useful to know what those names — whose those names belong to. it's easy to see there is a lot of support. i also think there is something — and you said it flatteringly about me, as well — but something about being influential and a backbencher that's marginally innacurate. if you are influential, you aren't a backbencher. let's get back to borisjohnson, the foreign secretary. he misleadingly suggested that a british citizen who is currently being detained in prison in iran, arrested last year, he suggested that she was in iran training journalists. now, that's not true, she was there on holiday. now, borisjohnson surely has to go, for something that has notjust exacerbated a humanitarian crisis for that particular family, but also a terrible diplomatic gaffe. borisjohnson was giving evidence
over an extended period to the foreign affairs select committee. he made a mistake. he misspoke, to use a modern turn of phrase. there are times you can't afford to mispeak. well, he has clarified it both with the house of commons, and he has spoken to the iranian foreign minister, to make the position clear. i don't think you can expect ministers to resign every time they mispeak. you need to have continuity in government, and you need to recognise that ministers will make mistakes, and the question is the level of seriousness. and i don't think this meets the test of that kind of seriousness. well, your perspective is clearly different to that of her family. they are appalled by what has happened, not least because iranian state media, today, has said that mrjohnson‘s words were proof that she was there for reasons which were not those presented by the british government. i have obviously seen those reports.
they've come out recently in relation to what the iranian government is doing. and it is difficult that the iranian government is using a mistake by the foreign minister to advance its own political agenda. but the greatest fault of this is the iranian government for unfairly and unjustly detaining somebody, preventing herfrom seeing her own children, her child, and family, and doing this on the bogus pretext of spying. we've got to look at where the realfault is rather than in the misspeaking. the former tory mp, matthew parris, whose column you probably read in the times newspaper... oh, it's a brilliant column, and always readable. ..yes, and he's concluded that both in professional and personal life, borisjohnson‘s proved himself unfit for high office. um, in spite of the fact his column is an extremely readable one it doesn't make it infallible. of course it doesn't make it infallible, but... i don't agree with it.
mr parris has long been critical of borisjohnson. he has never been one of his leading admirers. newspaper columns, which my father used to write for many, many years, have to ensure that they have something interesting to say day after day, and to meet the deadline for the next day's news. they are not holy writ. michael fallon had to resign because of allegations of sexual impropriety. we've seen priti patel resign. on each occasion, theresa may has chosen a simple one—for—one in—out swap. is it not time for a bigger and more thorough going cabinet reshuffle, to put some new energy and new blood into this government, which, frankly, to many people, looks like it is flailing. well, i think mrs may is in the happy position of having an embarassment of riches. she has a wonderful and able cabinet and has many people in the conservative party who came in in 2015 and 2017... my question is if it is time for a bigger reshuffle? um, not necessarily.
i think we've got is a good quality cabinet. we have stable and serious individuals in it that are doing important work. uh, i don't think — as it happens, i think that a big reshuffle is very often a greater sign of weakness than in strength. and i know you don't like me going over history, but harold macmillan‘s night of the long knives... it was the beginning of the end. it was a sign that control was being lost. "greater love has no man than someone who lays down his friends for his political life" was what i think jeremy thorpe said about the night of the long knives under macmillan. and i think a big reshuffle can make it look unstable. i think there is a lot of ability in the government. do you have pause to think about how the government looks when viewed, for example, from europe? because this is — the issue of the age is the brexit negotiations, if you like. so it rather matters how perceptions are now of the british government
in europe, across the european capitals. what do you think they're like? well, i think there's what they want to say and what they think of it. if you think that theresa may's got 10% more in the election then mrs merkel got in hers, theresa may has a government, mrs merkel doesn't. look at the spanish government. would you rather be the prime minister of the uk or of spain at the moment? look at italy, the chaos there. let me give you a different perspective... compared to continental governments, this government, her majesty's government is really pretty strong and stable. peter ricketts, who was, until recently, the top civil servant at the foreign office, said that "if you are in a european capital, that the british government looks chaotic, confused, and drifting, when there are big issues around brexit — no clear line about the future relationship with the eu and a whole series of other crises as well." "britain is simply not a real player right now." i think this is absurdly overstated. there is a clear idea for brexit,
and that was enunciated by the prime minister in her lancaster house speech and in her florence speech. there are parts of those that i'm not enthusiastic about, but it's a very clear... we have to talk about that in a moment. but it is a very clear manifesto of what she is looking for. she has been generous in her offers to the european union. and the government she leads is stronger than many, but not all, but many continental governments. especially germany. the german government is very weak at the moment, because it hasn't even formed or agreed its coalition, and there is the extraordinary rise of the far—right at its recent elections. well, you talk of european weakness. the one point that think that is clear is that the eu 27 — that is, those members without us — are absolutely united when it comes to brexit negotiations. there will be no evolution of the talks to the next phase, that is to talk about trade and the transitional arrangements, until — and this came out at a meeting of the 27 eu
ambassadors specifically talking about brexit — no move to that until they are happy with the cash that is going to be promised by britain to cover the costs of our departure. the counter to that is that the multinational financial framework is insolvent if we leave without a deal. that's what they are facing. you think hardball will work? yes. they need — they are desperate for £20 billion between march 2019 and the end of 2020. the multi—annual financial framework... so you are saying great, no deal, walk away without even paying the £20 billion? i am saying is in their interest to make a deal. their current budget is insolvent without a contribution. this is a really powerful card. and of course they say they want the money upfront. because once we have paid the money, they don't have to give us very much. so this is when you are saying. and we discuss whether or not it is right to call you influential, but you, jacob rees—mogg,
saying that theresa may should not, maybe even must not, go beyond the 20 billion euros she has promised to the eu as financial settlement? 20 billion is generous. our position is so strong. because either germany, the netherlands, and one of two others had to pay more, all poland, hungary, and one of two others get less. not only do some countries get less in the long—term, but they get less in april 2019. suddenly expenditure needs to stop or more money needs to be raised. somebody‘s bluff will be called. it will either be europe, because as you said, they cannot afford to not get the 20 billion, or it will be theresa may's government, who are going to find that there will be a crashing out brexit, a no—deal brexit, because the european union would give ground on giving more than 20 billion. a wto brexit is a very good brexit for the united kingdom. it frees us from the anti—competitive protectionist customs union that makes prices for british consumers higher and basically protects inefficient
continental european industries. a wto exit saves us a vast amoun tof money. it means we get a long way to meeting a commitment that was... the wto brexit you are talking about is a fantasy. do you know, actually, how many countries the uk trades with at the moment on wto rules? 57% of our trade... 2a countries! ..but 57% of our trade is not with eu countries. but most of our most important trading partners in the eu bloc. if we have to renegotiate... no, you misstate the deals. most of those deals are joint competent steels that we have agreed to individually as well. most of those deals, the counter parties have indicated that they are happy to continue. well, clearly, you're not reading the same things i'm reading. well, i'm really the details. because all sorts of experts
on trade and legal issues say that the idea we can simply revert to wto rules and expect our trading relatoinships to be as good as they have been inside the eu is pure fantasy. it's really straightforward. i was speaking to the singaporean high commissioner for example earlier this week. singapore is immediately ready to nevate the deal between the eu and the member states of the eu, because it is a multi—party agreement, to the uk once we leave. those transferrals are extremely straightforward. and with the united states, we have no trade deal at all, which is our biggest partner individual trading partner. it gets forgotten. i guees it depends who you talk to. you sound so very sanguine. it does really depend who you talk to. i don't suppose recently you have talked to caroline fairbairn, the head of the cbi. she says her members are deeply alarmed. 60% of companies expect they must have contingency plans for a crashing out no—deal brexit
by the end of next march unless there's a breakthrough before then. you have to remember, the cbi gets money from the eu. it is the eu—funded cbi, and they don't like being reminded about that. and their... what about individual chief executives of companies? what about didier laroy of toyota? well... he says "a few months ago the uk government said we would be certain to have a deal without trade tax." "they say that no more." "we won't close the plant tomorrow morning," he says, "but if we have to decide some future investment, of course, the key point is going to be the competitiveness of this plant in the future." you raised the cbi. so, let's deal with the cbi, because they wanted us to join the exchange rate mechanism, they were wrong.
they wanted us to join the euro, they were wrong. the cbi's record of giving advice to the british people is hopeless. their predecessor body, just to make the record more historic, was in favour of appeasement. if i may say so... the cbi is the most consistently wrong body in the country. and it's not a... in the end, it is the sum of its parts, isn't it, and they are listening to what their members are saying, the businesses of britain, including, and i havejust given you this quote is from toyota, who were hopeful there would be a deal that would guarantee there wouldn't be tariffs on their manufacturing on cars across europe, including in britain. now, they no longer have the confidence to stay in britain and they say investment decisions will have to be made accordingly. imported and re—exported in the process of manufacturing. toyota will know this is the case, this is simply how it works. why do you think they are worried? i mean, do you think they are? why is it, if people are so worried about investing, that in 2016, the uk received its largest ever fdi and a high share of all eu fdi coming into the united kingdom? why was it a record year in 2016? i think you should watch
what businesses are doing and how much they are investing, not what its pr machines are saying. you don't agree with the key points of theresa may's position that she outlined in florence on how she wants brexit negotiations to go. she is saying she wants a two—year transition, and during that transition, we will accept all of the rules of the european union, including the european court ofjustice, including the principle of freedom of movement, while we negotiate the long—term deal. you regard that as unacceptable, right? i think that's a mistake, i think it's a political mistake. is it a dealbreakerfor you? the european court ofjustice should not have any involvement the day after we have left. we have not left the eu if the ecg are involved and we still have freedom of movement. is it a dealbreak for you? could you imagine voting against that deal? let me finish. if those two things apply it is not a transition, it is remaining in the eu for an extra two years. and i think that would not meet the conditions of the vote we had in june last year. that is an interesting characterisation. so i am therefore asking you, would that be a dealbreaker and would you as a tory mp vote against that deal?
well, the ecg, from my point of view, is a dealbreaker. we must not remain under the jurisdiction of the ecj. so, if you and those like—minded colleagues vote against that deal... because that's the deal theresa may wants, she has already outlined it. if that is what she wants she will win a vote on that in the house of commons regardless of what i do. well, you don't know what the labour party will do. they will not vote down a deal that includes the ecg for an interim period, i can be pretty confident of that, though, of course, i can't state it authoritatively. in a sense, it's interesting to talk about where the tory party is today. we have just had this very day, nick boles, a close confidante of david cameron and minister in the cameron parliament, he says the tory party, to deliver a new message to the british public, has to end all talk of austerity. austerity is over as far as he's concerned. now, you are an mp who has consistently supported, for example, all of the cuts
to the welfare budget, the benefit system, do you feel the tories need to develop a message that says austerity is over? i think nick boles is one of the most important thinkers in the conservative party and always worth listening to. his fundamental point is that the deficit as a percentage of gdp was over 20% in 2010 and now is under 3%, and under 3% does not require emergency measures. having said that, we still need to live within our means. and it is a question of where the money ought to be spent, how the money ought to be spent, and where the priorities are. but i agree with his fundamental point that most of the work of austerity has already been done. and i would add this. as for welfare changes, most of my support was because i think they will deliver welfare better. universal credit is not a money—saving scheme, it is there to help people get back into work and to look at them as individuals rather than to categorise them as welfare dependant, to let them live the life they ought to lead. it is not the saving
that is money important, it is the transformation of welfare that is important. your voice matters. you are very conservative on a number of issues. you are an observant catholic. on abortion, for example, you have been honest and clear that you regard abortion as immoral. it is against your belief, and you will always campaign to curtail it wherever you can. against the wishes, it is clear, according to the poles, of a big majority of the british people. there are a variety of polls, as you know, there always are. i think the key point here is where do you think life begins? if you think it begins at conception, then you have to protect it, you have a duty to protect it. and even when a woman wants an abortion after rape, you say that is wrong? i think if a life has been created, taking that life does not put right the grave wrong that has already taken place. we can argue about polls, but roughly 70% of british people
do not agree with you that abortion is wrong, and they believe that women who want abortions should be able to have abortions. the current laws is up to 2a weeks into the pregnancy. my question is this, if you are ambitious to play a role, perhaps not leader, but an influential role, is it possible to hold the thoughts you do on gay marriage and abortion, that is, out of touch with the majority of the country, is it possible to play a leadership role with your views? umm, well, i think this doesn't actually matter. that myjob is to represent the people of north east somerset and to set out to the people of north east somerset, what i believe and they can decide whether to vote for me or not. they may decide they are more interested in my views on brexit than abortion, that my views on brexit will have a more immediate effect than my views on abortion and other moral issues.
though, the abortion one, and indeed, the euthanasia one, are the most important of my views. but political life is about standing up for what you believe in and not trying to climb the greasy pole. that is a secondary and significantly less important issue. well, i don't think anybody would doubt that we want leaders who are honest about their beliefs, but then there is a question about whether certain beliefs make it very difficult to be a credible leader of a nation like britain. i am just thinking of tim farron, the former leader of the liberal democrats, who quit the job saying because he is a devout christian and does not believe in gay marriage, for example, he said he found himself completely torn between living as a faithful christian and serving as a political leader. he found it impossible. well, i'm not putting myself forward as a political leader, as you know.
i think the broader issue, though, is that we live in a country with people being entitled to religious beliefs and we have freedom of religion in this country. and, inevitably, people will not always agree with everything that i think, or even you think. no doubt, many people don't agree with what mrs may thinks and believes. and yet a leader has to emerge over most of the issues, and most of the issues that lead to a day—to—day effect, they have confidence in the judgement of the leader. and i think it would be an absurd country if religious belief precluded people from... do you feel you are in tune or out of tune with your own country? it depends on what subject. there are some things i find i am in very close agreement with what the majority of my fellow countrymen think, and there are others issues where i am not so closely in touch. if you take the sun and the daily mail as the great barometers of british opinion, then i am probably pretty in touch. we have to end it there. jacob ress—mogg, thank you so much. thank you. it was a great pleasure. hello.
we are having to look into the atlantic for some elements of this weekend's weather for some parts of the british isles. what was tropical storm rina won't be giving us gale force winds, but it will import some really warm and moist tropical air, which will manifest themselves on the start of saturday as a lot of cloud and rain for the southern half of the british isles. a much fresher aspect to the weather as we head into scotland. wintry showers across high ground.
at least there's sunshine to speak of and that persists into the afternoon. some of the showers turning wintry, down to about 300 metres or so. snow will lie on high ground of scotland, but at least there will be sunshine to speak of. northern ireland — a cloudy afternoon. a bit of brightness perhaps and brightening skies coming from the north of england, especially down the eastern side, but generally speaking as you come back through the midlands towards the south of wales and into the southern counties of england it may be one of those afternoons where the rain sticks around for the greater part of the day, so that's going to be a nuisance in cardiff, but at least there's going to be brighter skies for the visit of samoa to murrayfield. the thicker cloud thickens even further in southern counties of england and wales for a time through the night. just pepping up the rainfall. further north the skies remain clearfor some. a dotting of showers still perhaps and again wintry across high ground. once that set of fronts in the south
pulls into the near continent, notice that the air flows down those isobars from the north to the south. never a warm direction. all of us will experience that marked change in the feel of the day on sunday, remembrance sunday of course. yes, a scattering of showers around the exposed shores, fully exposed to the northerly wind. but down the spine of the country there could be a good deal of sunshine, but it will do nothing for the temperatures. seven, eight, nine degrees for many. next week starts cold and frosty, then it gets a little bit milder in the middle of the week and there will be some rain around. so there's a frosty start for the greater part of england and wales, the eastern part of scotland too, but here the first signs of that change into something milder as we bring the fronts into parts of scotland and eventually into northern ireland. from monday into tuesday, no more the northerly, the isobars are cranked into a westerly, and that's why the weather will become milder.
welcome to bbc news, broadcasting to viewers in north america and around the globe. i'm duncan golestani. our top stories: power games in lebanon. politicians warn iran and saudi arabia against waging proxy war for control of the country. american tv comedian louis ck admits claims of sexual misconduct against him are true. it looks like a new transpacific trade deal is moving forward without the usa. canada drops its objections. and supermodel naomi campbell tells the bbc that current allegations about sexual abuse in the fashion industry are "just the beginning".