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tv   BBC News  BBC News  March 11, 2019 11:00pm-11:30pm GMT

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may mm fin,“ place. you saw theresa may along with a chunk junker, place. you saw theresa may along with a chunkjunker, the president of the european commission, who is now addressing, has not been addressing that meeting of generals. the headlines: the prime minister is in strasbourg tonight — theresa may says she has secured a deal. she's been holding talks with the eu hoping to secure some last—minute assurances on the brexit deal, which would be put to the vote in the house of commons tomorrow. today we have secured legal changes. now we must come together to go with this backed brexit deal and deal with the instruction of the british people. the head of the european commission, jean—claude juncker said that the eu had made every effort to be clear about the withdrawal agreement and insisted that the backstop would never be
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used ‘as a trap‘ in politics, sometimes you get a second chance. this is what we do with the second chance that comes because there will be no third chance. welcome to bbc news. the prime minister is in strasbourg tonight — theresa may says she has secured a deal. she's been holding talks with the eu hoping to secure some last—minute assurances on the brexit deal, which would be put to the vote in the house of commons tomorrow. a few minutes ago she spoke at a joint news conference with the head of the european commission, jean—claude juncker. last november, after two years of ha rdfoug ht last november, after two years of hardfought negotiations, last november, after two years of ha rdfought negotiations, i last november, after two years of hardfought negotiations, i agreed brexit deal with the eu that i
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passionately believe delivers on the decision taken by the british people to leave the european union. over the last four months, i have made the last four months, i have made the case for that deal in westminster and across the uk. i stand by what the deal achieves for my country. it means we get regain control of our laws binding the jurisdiction of the european court ofjustice in the uk, regain control ofjustice in the uk, regain control of our borders by ending free movement, regain control of our money by handing vast annual payments to the eu. the end of the common agricultural policy and the common agricultural policy and the common fisheries policy for british farmers and fishermen, and independent trade policy, and the deal sets us on course for a good future relationship with our friends and allies in the eu. a close economic partnership that is good for business, ongoing security corporation to keep our people is safe. the deal on as the referendum result is good for both the uk and
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the eu. but there was a clear concern in parliament over one issue in particular, the northern ireland backstop. having been sean ‘s policy to guarantee that there will never bea to guarantee that there will never be a hard border in northern ireland is absolutely right. —— insurer must. it honours the uk's solid commitment in the belfast good friday agreement but if we ever had to use that insurance policy, it can't become a permanent arrangement and it is not the template for our future relationship. the deal that mps future relationship. the deal that m ps voted future relationship. the deal that mps voted on injanuary was not strong enough in making that clear and legally binding changes were needed to set that right. today, we have agreed them. first, a joint instrument with comparable legal weight to the withdrawal agreement will guarantee that the eu can't act with the intent of applying the backstop indefinitely. if they do, it can be challenged through arbitration but if found to be in
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breach, the uk can suspend the backstop. thejoint breach, the uk can suspend the backstop. the joint instrument also gives a legal commitment that whatever replaces the backstop does not need to replicate it. and it in trench is in legally binding form the commitments made in the exchange of letters with presidents tusk and juncker in january. of letters with presidents tusk and juncker injanuary. secondly, a joint statement in relation to the political declaration outlining a number of commitments to enhance and expedite the process in negotiating and bringing into force the future relationship and making a legal commitment that the uk and eu will begin work immediately to replace the backstop with alternative arrangements by the end of december 2020. there will be a specific negotiating track on alternative arrangements from the very start of the next phase of negotiations. it will consider facilitation is the next phase of negotiations. it will considerfacilitation is in technology both those currently ready and emerging. and the uk's position will be informed by the
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three domestic groups announced last week for technical experts, mps and business and trade unions. third, alongside thejoint business and trade unions. third, alongside the joint instrument on the withdrawal agreement, the united kingdom government will make a unilateral declaration that if the backstop comes into use and discussions on our future relationship breakdown, so that there is no prospect of subsequent agreement, it is the position of the united kingdom that there would be nothing to prevent the uk instigating measures that would ultimately despite the backstop. unilateral declarations are commonly used by state alongside the rear —— the ratification of treaties. the attorney general set out the meaning of thejoint attorney general set out the meaning of the joint instrument and unilateral declaration to parliament. tomorrow, the house of commons will debate improved deal that these legal changes have created. i will speak in more detail about them when i open that debate. mps were clear that legal changes we re mps were clear that legal changes were needed to the backstop. today
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were needed to the backstop. today we have secured legal changes. now is the time to come together, to back this improved brexit deal and to deliver on the instruction of the british people. the head of the european commission, jean—claude juncker said that the eu had made every effort to be clear about the withdrawal agreement and insisted that the backstop would never be used ‘as a trap‘ you have spent time and commitment to clarify or explain what the withdrawal agreement use and what it is not. we left no stone unturned. our mind has always been open, our work always creative and our hand has always been outstretched. it is in this spirit that today the prime minister and i have agreed on a joint legally binding instrument for
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the withdrawal agreement. this instrument provides meaningful clarifications and legal guarantees on the nature of the backstop. the backstop is an insurance policy, nothing more, nothing less. the intention is not correct to be used ina intention is not correct to be used in a negative way and if it were ever to be used, it would never be a threat. if either side were to act, there would be a legal way for the other party to accept. the instrument which sets out this has legal force by fully respecting the guidelines of the european court's guidelines, as the european court has unanimously agreed, comp limiting the withdrawal agreement without reopening it. that was jean—claude juncker speaking in strasbourg. we will bring you some reaction. the first
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reaction is to give you an idea of the contrasting views that remain in the contrasting views that remain in the conservative party. the first is from sirmike the conservative party. the first is from sir mike penning, an mp was close to iain duncan smith, a former government minister, who voted against the withdrawal agreement in january. one of the massive number of mps inflicted that defeat on theresa may and city can now support it, he can now vote for the deal. on the other hand, steve baker, a sort of unofficial clip for the european research group, what you might call the hardest of the hard brexit supporters, those opposed to the withdrawal agreement. he told the world tonight on radio 4 this evening the government has had to put a very good gloss on something that falls short of what was expected. that gives you an idea of the cross wins the conservatives will face. then before we go back to strasbourg, we will talk to adam fleming, tell you about the emotion
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that will be on the house —— the motion that will be on the house of commons order paper. it lists all the previous agreements, elements that were published and says this house approves the purposes of the european union withdrawal act, the following documents laid before the house on monday, the negotiated withdrawal agreement, the framework for the future relationship, both of those in existence. the new bid is the legally binding joint instrument and here is the key phrase which mps will want to interpret. it reduces the risk that the uk could be deliberately held in the northern ireland backstop indefinitely, and i say reduces. they want to know whether the attorney general is satisfied it's a legally binding commitment. the other element is there is a unilateral declaration by there is a unilateral declaration by the uk also going to be part of the debate tomorrow which sets out the sovereign action a uk government would take to provide assured is the backstop would only be applied temporarily. it's an attempt by
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theresa may to say, you can trust us evenif theresa may to say, you can trust us even if you don't trust in brussels. all of that is in the motion to be debated tomorrow. mps will be looking over the detail. the dup has issued a statement saying, we note the latest statement from the prime minister, these publications need analysis, we will take appropriate action is scrutinising the text. jacob rees—mogg, the most prominent of the european research group, he has said he will be waiting to see what the dup has before informing his ownjudgement. the leader of what the dup has before informing his own judgement. the leader of the labor party has said the prime minister ‘s negotiation in his judgement has failed and the announcements this evening do not amount to the changes that parliament requires theresa may to achieve. she will argue quite to the contrary and we can expect very lively exchanges in the house of commons when she rises tomorrow to begin that debate. let's go to
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strasbourg and to adam fleming. adam, you said, is a thumbs up or thumbs down? we will know that tomorrow. the funds in all sorts of different places depending on what mps and most are scratching their heads. what for you was key thing? well, i suppose the slight thing that made that press conference disappointing is that we both knew what was going to be on the table and what they were going to agree, quite heavily trailed through the day. that joint quite heavily trailed through the day. thatjoint interpretive instrument about not needing to abuse the backstop was certainly that being everyone's hopes on how ha rd that being everyone's hopes on how hard both sides will work in the transition period to make sure the backstop is never needed. that addendum to the political declaration about the future relationship which will have that bit in there, a separate track in the negotiations during the
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transition period to find alternative arrangements to the backstop and have those finalised by december 2020 cu could go into the alternative arrangements rather than the backstop. ——so you could. then the backstop. ——so you could. then the eu interpreting its interpretation. i have not seen that yet. i was having a quick look at thejoint documents yet. i was having a quick look at the joint documents agreed to buy the joint documents agreed to buy the uk and eu. asked a question on the uk and eu. asked a question on the question was, by minister, have you got a unilateral exit mechanism and a time—limited backstop? the reason was, those other two possible solutions she gave multiple times at the despatch box in the house of commons and from first reading and first listening, that is not what the uk has caught. they lots of legally binding language and stuff written on paper which is important, and the lawyers will make hay with it but if you are reading them in comparing into what the prime minister said, it doesn't sound like a time minute or unilateral
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mechanism. it's sort of a time limit and sort of a unilateral exit mechanism. will that work to convince mps in the attorney general? the question i put to jean—claude juncker was, does this change the agreement? it doesn't. i'm sure you found it as revealing as we did sitting here, the body language between the two of them. they sort of acknowledged each other but it really wasn't warm and there we re but it really wasn't warm and there were suggestions, the obvious one is there is a joint statement and a joint interpretive agreement but there is also a separate uk interpretation which has not been endorsed by the european union in anyway. the uk government is presenting it unilaterally. those are the sort of problems that some mps will pick apart, the ones who are not desperate to find a way to bow to this. we have to assume the
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unilateral documents the uk has published, wallets unilateral, it comes from one side only, only exists because the eu has given it its tacit approval. —— while it is. the eu was forced to say, it is contradictory, then that document is dead and finished. i imagine there must have been some conversations between the two sides to ensure that his legitimate and ok. you talk about the chemistry between jean—claude juncker and theresa may. the issue they have is they are such different characters. jean—claude juncker, quite garrulous, ill—disciplined some might say, theresa may, mrs procedure and precision. i think that two of them don't quite see eye to eye. we got to remember, there are two teams of negotiators. the attorney general,
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ollie robbins, barnier and others, they've been cooking up this text to wea ken they've been cooking up this text to weaken weeks. don't think this was all put on a series of post—it notes. a lot of thought has gone into the dash into this. it's interesting jean—claude juncker said we need to have a second and theresa may said, there was stuff that wasn't clear the first time around. but they've done, they listen to concerns of people everywhere and put it in a document and if you look in the small print, you will see stuff about working and environmental standards going forward. that was a concern of labour mps. they tried to capture all the concerns around parliament and put them into these quite impenetrable documents. our impenetrable documents. our impenetrable documents. our impenetrable documents but what matters is whether attorney general geoffrey cox has changed his mind about the indefinite nature of the backstop and now it is up to how
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many mps vote for the deal. adam fleming in strasbourg, thank you. our political correspondent chris mason is in westminster. i was very struck, the government has published the motion for debate tomorrow, and looking at paragraph three there is this phrase i mentioned to adam which i would like to mention to you. a legally binding joint instrument, quote, which reduces the risk the uk could be deliberately held in the northern ireland backstop indefinitely, unquote. that doesn't sound like a cast—iron assurance oi’ doesn't sound like a cast—iron assurance or a cast—iron agreement, does it? itjust sounds like reducing the risk. the word is reduced, isn't it, it isn't removed. and that will matter a lot, i suspect. as adam says, this is now, for all of the detail, for all of the verbiage around all of this, this is now a numbers game. how many
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people can this persuade here in westminster? and let's be absolutely brutal about it. it could be tremendously successful in persuading an awful lot of people and still fail, because this is a hung parliament. the prime minister doesn't have a majority to call her own on so many matters relating to brexit. she has to persuade northern ireland's democratic unionist party who propped her up in westminster and lots of conservative mps as well. tonight, plenty of them, including those influential and rather noisy brexiteers we have heard a lot of, people like steve bacon, former brexit minister, jacob rees—mogg and others, they are saying let's give this a serious look. and we should be fair to them because as things stand, all they have heard is a statement from david livingstone, cabinet office minister, and a press conference betweenjean—claude minister, and a press conference between jean—claude juncker and the eu commission. documents have only just appeared online, and the documents are a little on the heavy
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side, especially at 11:20pm at night —— david lidington. so crucially both sides will wait for the legal interpretation of the attorney general, jeffrey cox, and also the legal opinion that the european research group of conservative comic brexit enthusiasts are seeking themselves to try and establish whether or not legally, in the view of mrcox, and whether or not legally, in the view of mr cox, and the lawyers, there has actually been a substantial change here. chris mason at westminster, thank you very much. a little earlier, the cabinet office minister david lidington told mps that legally binding changes that strengthen and improve the withdrawal agreement and political declaration have been secured. he said the documents provide confirmation that the eu cannot trap the uk in the backstop indefinitely, and he confirmed that the house will vote on what he described as an improved deal.
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talks could break down if the eu thinks the uk is deliberately prevaricating in order to get a better deal. all of this is happening in the detail of these documents. david lidington said the documents. david lidington said the documents provide confirmation they cannot trap the uk in the backstop indefinitely. the prime minister and my right honourable friend the secretary of state for exiting the air you have secured legally binding changes that strengthen and improve the withdrawal agreement and political declaration. the house spoke clearly on 29 january when it voted in favour of honouring the decision of the british people and leaving the european union with a deal that works for the uk, and the primary issue of concern, then, was the northern ireland backstop. this house said it needed legally binding changes, and today, that is what the prime minister and the secretary of
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state have achieved. tonight, we will be laying two new documents in the house. ajoint legally binding instrument on the withdrawal agreement and protocol on northern ireland, and ajoint agreement and protocol on northern ireland, and a joint statement to supplement the political declaration. the first provides confirmation that the you cannot try to trap the uk in the backstop indefinitely, and that doing so would be an explicit breach of the legally binding commitments that both sides have agreed. if, contrary to all expectations, the air you we re to all expectations, the air you were to act with that intention, the united kingdom could use this a cce pta nce united kingdom could use this acceptance of what could constitute an explicit breach is the basis for an explicit breach is the basis for a formal dispute through independent arbitration that such a breach had occurred. ultimately suspending the protocol if the eu continued to breach its obligations. on top of
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this, thejoint breach its obligations. on top of this, the joint instrument also reflects the united kingdom's and the european union's commitment to work to replace the backstop with alternative arrangements by december 2020, setting out explicitly that these arrangements do not need to replicate the provisions of the backstop in any respect. by including this commitment in the joint instrument, this provision on alternative arrangements will be legally binding. and i hope also that that legally binding commitment that that legally binding commitment that the alternative arrangements do not need to replicate the backstop in any respect will go some way to reassure honourable members that the backstop does not predetermine what our future relationship with the european union should be. thejoint instrument also puts the commitments set out by presidentsjuncker and
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tuskin set out by presidentsjuncker and tusk in january onto set out by presidentsjuncker and tusk injanuary onto a legally binding footing, stressing the need for negotiations on the future relationship to be taken forward urgently, and confirming the assurances we made to the people of northern ireland, for example providing a united kingdom lock on any new eu laws being added to the backstop. the second document is a joint statement supplementing the political declaration, which outlines a number of commitments by the united kingdom and the european union to enhance and expedite the process of negotiating and bringing into force the future relationship, for example it makes reference to the possibility of provisional application of such a future agreement, and it sets out in detail how the specific negotiating track on alternative arrangements will operate.
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that is the deputy prime minister, defector cabinet minister, david lidington. the labor party has said it is not satisfied with what theresa may has achieved. the opposition leader, jeremy corbyn, says parliament must reject mrs may's deal tomorrow because she hasn't achieved what he claims she promised to. before jeremy hasn't achieved what he claims she promised to. beforejeremy corbyn issued that statement following from theresa may's meeting in strasberg, mr lidington was challenged by labour's exit spokesman. mr speaker, i don't complain for not having advance notice of the minister's statement, i am not sure he has got advance notice of it. but what an absurd situation the prime minister has got herself into. having lost the meaningful vote on 15 january by a historic majority, on 29 january, the prime minister stood there and told this house that
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she would seek legally binding changes to the backstop. her precise words, mr speaker, were this. standing there, what i am talking about is not a further exchange of letters but a significant and legally binding change to the withdrawal agreement... to the withdrawal agreement... to the withdrawal agreement... to the withdrawal agreement. let's see what document is put on this table tomorrow. she... i didn't hear the words come from the dispatch box. the withdrawal agreement is being changed. she said it will involve reopening the withdrawal agreement. she said i believe i can secure such a change in advance of our departure from the eu. she then voted for an amendment by the memberfor from the eu. she then voted for an amendment by the member for sale western altrincham which called for the backstop to be replaced with alternative arrangements. it sounds as if none of that has happened, nor is likely to happen. turning the joint letter from president tusk and
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presidentjuncker of 14 and january into an interpretation tool, a legal interpretation tool that may be, adds nothing. and the statement that there is no duty to replicate what is in the backstop is here in this letter of 14 january. it is is in the backstop is here in this letter of ilijanuary. it is not is in the backstop is here in this letter of 14 january. it is not new. that is not today. that is in the letter. if all that is happening is to turn this letter into an interpretation tool for legal purposes, i remind the house... i remind the house what the prime minister said on 14 january about this letter. she said... she said that she had been advised that this letter, quote, her quote, would have legal force in international law.
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letter, quote, her quote, would have legalforce in international law. so to stand here to today and say this isa to stand here to today and say this is a significant change when she is repeating what she said on 14 january is not going to take anyone very far. stay with us, because after the weather we will be taking an in—depth look at the papers with our reviewers, the former pensions minister ros altmann, and the broadcaster mihir bose. that is coming up just after 11:30pm. now it's time for the weather, with chris fawkes. hello there. we are looking at a stormy spell of weather over the next couple of days, really. the strong winds, heavy rain brought to you i storm gareth. and we're at severe gales moving in during tuesday. i mentioned storm gareth, here it is on the satellite picture. there is a developing area of low pressure that's continuing to edge closer to our shores, and it's got some very tightly spaced isobars. of course it is the closeness together of the isobars that determines how
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strongly the wind blows. and these isobars get very pinched together across the north—west of the uk. that is why we are going to see so many strongest winds from this storm system. several tuesday's weather we have a band of rain moving its way eastwards a cross have a band of rain moving its way eastwards across england and wales, this having some squally winds mixed in with it. sunshine follows, but as the sunshine goes out, the template is go down. it is one of those cold fronts. further north and west plenty of blustery showers in scotla nd plenty of blustery showers in scotland and northern ireland with blizzards setting in place in scotland. chilly through the afternoon. low temperatures and factor in the strength of the winds and it will feel pretty cold. as we had three tuesday afternoon the winds will really start to ramp up and across northern ireland exposed coasts could have gusts up to 80 mph. from there, the strongest winds through tuesday night into wednesday put eastwards. many areas seeing gusts in the range of 50—60 mph. these winds are strong enough to bring down some trees, tree branches and a bit of debris out on the roads. so is the —— there is the
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risk of some transport disruption, ferries are likely to be cancelled or delayed and there will be speed restrictions on some of temperatures as well. transport disruption of possibility, there is also the risk of having some power cuts as well. so that is all storm gareth. the weather doesn't settle down from there. as we look at thursday's picture, a band of rain sinking its way slowly southwards across the uk. then we will see some sunshine coming out. temperatures will be a little bit higher, 10— 13 celsius for many of us but still perhaps feeling a little bit cool in those brisk winds, especially in the north—west of the country where there will be plenty of showers as well. thursday night and into friday well. thursday night and into friday we get clear skies for a time so it could turn right chilly before the cloud thickens up from the west and we get another band framework in. that is going to be bringing some heavy rain especially into north—west england, where there is the risk of seeing some localised
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surface water flooding issues bubbling up especially into parts of cumbria. it does turn a bit milder in the south, temperatures 12— 1a degrees, scotland and northern ireland getting back into the cold air. temperatures single figures with a chilly wind. at the start of the weekend, no really great changes. an unsettled start to things without breaks of rain, maybe a bit of hills know they across the higher parts of the pennines. further north—west, blustery showers, and spells of sunshine, and quite a contrast you will notice in temperatures. ten to 11 degrees in the south, so temperatures dropping quite a bit. they are still quite chilly further north. for the second half of the weekend, on into next week, we will see further dips in the jetstream, areas of low pressure coming our way the jetstream, areas of low pressure coming ourway and the jetstream, areas of low pressure coming our way and there could be transient ridges moving across the south of the country. but generally are strong, mobile jetstream and that will steer areas of low pressure our way. so showers and longer spells of rain in outlook, often quite windy as well. could be a drier interlude in the south, but it looked looks to be pretty short lived. more wet and windy weather at times. that is your weather.
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