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tv   Beyond 100 Days  BBC News  March 21, 2019 7:00pm-8:01pm GMT

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hello, i'm ros atkins, ‘ election election time, then we parliamentary election time, then we would have to contest in those this is outside source. parliamentary elections. so maybe the brexit story has switched from that could be it... just westminster to brussels. speculation. i don't know. theresa may went there today to ask thank you, dia chakravarty. it is the eu for an extension to brexit. the eu says there will be strings eight o'clock here in brussels. this is bbc news. here in brussels, we attached. such an extension should be conditional on a vote next week, are covering the european summit. not of commons. we have done our best. here in you we heard it would be the 22nd of may, that has been taken out of the conclusions, still waiting to hear brussels, the 27 eu leaders have just taken a break. they will resume detail. shortly, in which brexit will very eu leaders say they will agree to theresa may's request to delay much be on the menu for dinner. the uk's exit from the bloc. we're here for the next couple but what date will they choose? such of hours to take you through it all, an extension should be conditional ona an extension should be conditional on a vote next week in the house of
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commons. we have done our best. we are waiting for press conferences from jean—claude juncker and donald tusk, we also hear theresa may will make a statement in brussels this evening. we will bring you all the details lie. -- all —— all the details live. welcome back to brussels, it is a brexit date so it is filled with confusion. theresa may requested a short extension until 30th ofjune. we heard that had been approved and indeed it still may be approved, but the date of the extension, the cut—off date, is now very much in doubt. earlier, we were told it was the 22nd, now we are hearing that it
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may be the seventh. there is concern among the eu institutions that if the uncertainty carries on all the way up to the european elections, thenit way up to the european elections, then it will impact the european elections. they don't know what the role of the uk will play in that so there are differing opinions within there are differing opinions within the room as to how long this extension shall be. we will bring you news of what is being discussed in the room as soon as we get it, but we can tell you that this afternoon theresa may spoke to the other 27 leaders for much longer than we anticipated, 90 minutes. there was, we are told, a question and answer session in that room. they asked her plenty of questions, we are told, about what happens next week if the deal is voted down for a third time. here is ourfirst report from our political editor, laura kuenssberg.
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this could have been her last lap of this red carpet, a final summit before next week's planned goodbye. instead theresa may is here to ask for a pause, a little longer to untangle the mess. this delay is a matter of personal regret to me but a short extension would give parliament the time to make a final choice that delivers on the result of the referendum. what matters is that we recognise that brexit is the decision of the british people, we need to deliver on that, we are nearly three years on from the original vote. it sounds so simple, what the prime minister is asking for, just a little but more time, but it's anything but. she is struggling with disbelief here and frustration and resentment all around at home. but it's the eu's call, not hers. a short delay if mps say yes to the deal might be fine. rely on that? not yet. presidentjuncker, what will you say to theresa may tonight? do you expect her... are you theresa may, no? do you expect her... we can discuss and agree an extension, if it is a technical
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extension in case of a yes vote on the agreement we negotiated during two years, in case of no vote or no, directly, it will guide everybody to a no deal, for sure. the speaker of the house of commons telling us he doesn't want a new vote, jean—claude juncker saying he doesn't want a new deal, so the normal door to get out of this situation is nearly gone, so we are more in the fire exit, looking to find a solution. it's her problem and mistake that we are where we are, it's because too many people have so far played party politics on this issue and my hope is that of course the uk parliament next week will do the sensible thing and vote yes. there's still huge resistance to the deal that's been voted down twice — from those who want another referendum, pulling a stunt in brussels today, and some of the support that was there for
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the deal now slipping away at home. i think there's a number of us who moved our position last week to vote for the deal who are now saying everything is back on the table, the situation has changed, the prime minister has asked for a delay. many of us do not want a delay, we want to keep our word to the british people. there's some outrage too, though, after the prime minister pointed the finger at parliament last night, upsetting the place she needs onside. all of you are doing your best. this should not be and i'm sure will not prove to be a matter of any controversy whatsoever. there is no escape from the controversy, though. brexit is of the greatest importance, and the greatest source of division. the labour leader in brussels too, a shadow negotiation of a sort. we're therefore looking for alternatives and building a majority in parliament that can agree
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on a future constructive economic relationship with the european union. we have been discussing how this could come about and trying to reach out here. easier than it sounds. after nearly three years of this, the prime minister finally perhaps looks like she's among friends but the scale of the political challenge is a clear and urgent foe. laura kuenssberg, our political editor reporting. it is a frenzy of activity down there on the reporters floor this evening, rumours swirling, flying around, they are studying the draft conclusions, maybe they have been redrafted since they were first published. let's speak to our europe editor, katya adler. what are they talking about down there? before the eu leaders started talking, we got these draft conclusions. that is before they started talking, so now they are
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thinking what we want to do with this extension request, to avoid a no—deal brexit, and that is paramount in those eu leaders minds and don't forget all 27 of them need to come to a unanimous conclusion and all 27 of them will want to have their say in there. these are people, leaders of countries, they think each one of them has a lot of important things to say, and that is why we are beginning to get leaks. all the journalists are doing is chasing any from a member state, saying what is going on, we are all madly texting our contacts. adam fleming is down there, and tony connko fleming is down there, and tony connolly we have on a lot from our te, they think the 22nd has been taken out of that. i have been hearing that from my sources too. right, you are my third sauce! they are discussing it, so there are different opinions in there. we are hearing the 22nd of may date was in
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the draft conclusions as the short extension, she has asked until the 30th ofjune, the draft conclusion said it has to be until the 22nd of may at the latest because european parliamentary elections begin on 23rd. now we are hearing about a date earlier in may, potentially. potentially the seventh. potentially, but at the moment these are... that seems a bit of an odd date. to be honest, for the uk the important date is the 12th of april, because legally and practically by that time the uk would have to decide if it were going to stay in the eu that it would have to take pa rt the eu that it would have to take part in your men —— european parliamentary elections. so the 7th of may, i don't know. the other possibility is that the eu says, you know, forget this, we are not going to have another emergency summit next week, we will say now that we will offer theresa may a longer extension which she can shorten if she is ready to do it straightaway,
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fantastic, and if not there is scope in there to go longer. of course this could be very problematic for the prime minister back at home, where there is already so much division, and in the meantime i am also hearing that when she spoke to eu leaders earlier this afternoon, and then they had a chance to ask her questions, she was then asked to leave the room for these discussions to now take place about extensions and so on, that she didn't perform particularly well, i'm hearing from some sources close to the talks, and that she brought nothing new to the table. so that is leaving the eu leaders with the information they already had and now they are trying to sort it out amongst themselves.” suppose she has nothing new to tell them because negotiations presumably will go on with the democratic unionist party in northern ireland through the weekend, and with all those who have opposed the deal so far... she needs to persuade them, if she wants to have a short extension, that she really has a realistic possibility of getting this negotiated brexit deal through
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parliament next week, despitejohn bercow‘s ruling that she can't bring this deal again unless something substantial has changed, and despite all the divisions in parliament, they will not grant her the short extension, they say, unless that brexit deal is passed. so they were looking to hear from brexit deal is passed. so they were looking to hearfrom her as brexit deal is passed. so they were looking to hear from her as to why she could be sure now that this time the deal would go through. but presumably they will go to the extension because they will also know there is another debate going on within the house of commons about the other plans that might be put forward , the other plans that might be put forward, the indicative votes that might be held next week, so they will want to create the space for that, won't they? there is space but without confirmation, so the noises we are hearing at the moment, and we don't know if this will all change, was they would say you can have a short extension, date to be confirmed, until when. if short extension, date to be confirmed, untilwhen. if this brexit deal is passed by parliament next week. so there is still an if. they could leave the summit saying it is yours if the deal is passed, and that is not the eu being churlish in this case, if you think they have been at other times, this
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is practical, because a short extension would only give theresa may a few weeks, and what evidence has the eu seen that what mps could not unite around in two years they can suddenly unite around in just a few weeks. and so that is why they we re few weeks. and so that is why they were looking to her today, does she have some new information, new intelligence to impart to say why they should believe it should get through next week. just in short, then, you can see from their point of view, they are saying we are not going to give you more time just to talk among yourselves. if there is a concrete plan that emerges next week, for which you more time to discuss within the house of commons, then perhaps we need to talk on thursday about a longer extension? yes, and at the moment they are still sticking to this line that that longer distension would only come for something politically significant. that could be a general election or a second referendum —— that longer extension. i would election or a second referendum —— that longer extension. iwould put some caution on that, that is what we will hear today, all that is what
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we will hear today, all that is what we have been hearing up until now. i wonder, come the 28th of march, if that deal hasn't passed in the house of commons, and we are facing the possibility of a no—deal brexit, will those leaders stand firm and say we want to see evidence of a general election or will theyjust granta general election or will theyjust grant a longer extension to avoid the no—deal brexit? grant a longer extension to avoid the no-deal brexit? because politically you don't want to be asking for another general election, do you? do they want to face their citizens and say we allowed a no—deal brexit to happen and european businesses on the one side, on the other can they demand of a sovereign nation you must hold a general election? it is a very tricky situation. it is one thing to say that in theory, on the 28th of march is that really what we are going to hear? this is of course all massive speculation, we could call it squeaky bum time, where things can change hour by hour, so it really is speculation at the moment. but indications up until now are that whereas the european commission
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and the council who were so close to the workings of the eu are saying we need to be careful of the european elections and we need to be worried about eu law, in that room are eu leaders that are further away in the european capitals and they are worried about a no—deal brexit and thatis worried about a no—deal brexit and that is what they are thinking about. but they won't avoid a no deal at any price. fascinating, we will let you go and talk to more of your sources, let us know if you get a date. i'll come right back. what to make of that, we will speak to chris mason in westminster. they didn't think much of her performance, chris, but as i said to katya, that is probably because she has nothing to tell them. that is the brutal reality really, because the brutal reality really, because the argument continues here at westminster, and while there is a real focus here obviously from mps taking a look across the channel at what is happening where you are, there is also a real now intensity of focus on what happens next week, because we know that mps here at westminster have to make some very,
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very big decisions next week come what may, because either we are going to be in a situation where there is a no—deal brexit a week tomorrow, or parliament will be asked to change the law, to delay, to push back the day of brexit currently set down in law for 11 o'clock at night a week tomorrow. that looks like there will be an opportunity on monday for parliament to kick around potential alternative solutions to see if there is a majority for anything else, plus we are expecting although it is not confirmed that there will be a third attempt by the government to get its so—called meaningful vote through, to turn the eu withdrawal agreement into eventually british law. so there is huge moments coming next week, and a huge sense of anger, provoked partially by the address the prime minister gave in downing street last night, pitting as it was seen herand the street last night, pitting as it was seen her and the public against members of parliament, but then also that collective sense that we were talking about a little earlier for mps, that this is it. that after
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months and months, years and years of discussions about brexit, with the prospect of being able to delay things and kick the can down the road, but whilst that can still happen, absolutely a decision has to happen, absolutely a decision has to happen now. just sparing a thought for the prime minister here, probably the only one in the country right now at the moment, but she has been into this room right now, the briefing that they weren't particularly impressed with what they heard here, she is getting it back home at westminster. you do start to wonderjust how much longer she can sustain this. yes, it isa longer she can sustain this. yes, it is a colossally difficult task, it was was likely to be in any prime minister in any circumstance sitting oi'i minister in any circumstance sitting on any kind of majority to deliver brexit, because you had a binary referendum that by definition divided, and any interpretation of the result was going to anger some people. i think it was probably magnified by the fact that theresa
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may coming from a romaine background, albeit a relatively quiet one, felt the need early on in the process to emphasise her brexit credentials, and in so doing setting down some red lines that have been quite hard for her to meet. and on top of that, obviously, the parliamentary arithmetic. sitting on a majority but not a big one that she inherited from the previous prime minister david cameron, not thinking that that would be enough of these crucial weeks immediately prior to brexit, and so going away to try to bolster that and actually reversing. yes, a huge intensity of pressure on the prime minister and a huge amount of chat now here about, regardless of what happens in the coming weeks and months, how long she will be on the job. and when you speak to people, the consensus, although it has not been a very good time for consensus opinion at westminster, which has often been swe pt westminster, which has often been swept away very quickly, but the broad consensus seems to be that whatever happens, it would not be a surprise if theresa may is gone as
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prime minister by the summer. 0k, chris mason, thank you very much. her detractors of course would say it is very much those red lines she refused to take off the table that has brought her to the very difficult position she finds herself in. as dual as eu leaders arrived they were all talking from the same table donald tusk gave to us yesterday afternoon, saying that the eu doesn't want to see no deal but will only grant an extension if the uk parliament agrees to back the current withdrawal agreement. here are some of the comments as they arrived. we have to consider the interest of all sides, including those of the british, and so the discussion today with the british prime minister is of course very important, because she can tell us how she see things from her perspective, and then we, in turn, will formulate our
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judgment. i won't grant a delay of the european elections if you don't have european elections on your own country. it is very important to know what the british parliament once. in the last months it was easy for the british parliament to say what they do not want but now it is time to decide. we have always said any extension has to have a purpose so we any extension has to have a purpose so we will see how that discussion goes. we all have the same interest, to avoid a heart brexit, a no deal scenario, sol to avoid a heart brexit, a no deal scenario, so i hope there will be a majority in the parliament next week, and! majority in the parliament next week, and i hope we can support theresa may on that. what happens if mrs may's vote on monday or tuesday goes against? then we will have a second meeting of the european council next week. yes, i think that second meeting next week is already pencilled in and perhaps there is an expectation it will take place on thursday. some more reaction to what we have been hearing in the course of the last hour, patti smith from the irish
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times, welcome to you, and jennifer rankin who writes for the guardian. jennifer, let me start with you, lots of speculation about what is in the draft conclusion, we said it was only a draft, the dates change all the times. it was only a draft but going into this meeting the expectation was that the eu would be proposing an extension until the 22nd of may, so one day before the european elections, that was really at the behest of the european commission, which said this is by far the most legally secure way to have an extension, because otherwise you risk having the uk in the eu but not taking part in those elections, and they fear it could raise all sorts of legal problems down the line. there is another view, though, that will be fine, at least manageable until the 30th ofjune before the new european parliament takes office. so we are having that debate, i expect right now eu leaders will be having that debate in the room next to us and we should find out in the next few hours where they fall on those two dates. an
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anxious time paddy in westminster andi anxious time paddy in westminster and i would imagine in dublin as well. we heard from the taoiseach as he came into the building saying let's just all take a step back and give the uk some space here. yes, the message from the irish, certainly from the germans, the dutch as well, is that they really wa nt to dutch as well, is that they really want to do everything they can to be of assistance, without interfering with the withdrawal agreement or the associated agreements. importa ntly with the withdrawal agreement or the associated agreements. importantly i think the leaders did give a confirmation of the strasberg agreement, the assurances that were given to britain. mrs may will be able to go to the commons and say my deal is somewhat different from what i voted on before, i have these assurances now written down and endorsed by the european union, and so endorsed by the european union, and so that has been done. my suspicion is that there will be an agreement on the 22nd. what you need is of course is the democratic union
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party. if they came across it would help some of the way, maybe not all the way, because there are some conservatives who are reversing the decision they took in the second vote. but is there any inference at the moment that the dup and arlene foster might come across? we just hear hints, and no more. and they are to do with the administration of the markets, after the backstop comes into force, and whether there will be the northern ireland executive could insist that any regulatory movement was also followed by london, as well as belfast, so that's quite possible, and there is a line in the declaration tonight, which alludes to the possibility that mrs may is going to say to the commons make some unilateral declaration attached to her other comments about the withdrawal agreement, the leader say go ahead, that's fine by us as long
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as it doesn't interfere with the content as it doesn't interfere with the co nte nt of as it doesn't interfere with the content of the withdrawal agreement, and there is no suggestion that any of the agreements that they are proposing with the dup would interfere with the withdrawal agreement. the onus is very much on the house of commons next weekend very much on labour mps as well, jeremy corbyn was here today, meeting with michelle barnier, the secretary general of the commission as well, do you think there is a decision upon the labour party about what they do for the good of the country? i think there is a decision oi'i country? i think there is a decision on all mp5 whether to back this deal or not because the stakes are massive and the eu has made it clear there won't be a longer extension unless there is a good reason for it. they haven't fully spelt out what that may be but in order to gaina longer what that may be but in order to gain a longer extension of nine months or a year or even longer, the uk would need to hold a general election or hold a second referendum or at least a new coalition find a
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different form of brexit. many in the labour party would be hoping it isa the labour party would be hoping it is a way for their customs union plan to win support but it relies on some very complicated choreography and it is not clear what will happen. that seems to be the focus of the house of commons that they are focusing on alternative deals to theresa may's deal, other ways forward , theresa may's deal, other ways forward, rather than engaging with the deal and saying what can we do with the political declaration, which is not legally binding, there is something to play for with the political declaration. it is a good point, because with the political declaration in the uk could go in several directions. it could be on that path to a free trade canada style agreement or on the path to something much closer, remaining in a european customs union. so really the options are there but i suppose from the point of view of labour they want to make sure the government would be committed to that before offering support for the withdrawal agreement. saying maybe
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we could have more involvement in that political declaration and see the withdrawal agreement through but then there was the prime minister's statement, and she seemed to have walked away from that. if they did come, paddy, to an alternative decision, would there be a space created here within the european council for that to be incorporated in the political declaration, and would there be enough time with a short—term extension? would there be enough time with a short-term extension? eu leaders mr tusk and mr barnier have said that the political declaration is not fixed and they are quite willing to look at amending it and they would bea look at amending it and they would be a lot of enthusiasm to do that. now, to do that would certainly require a short time extension, so it would require mrs may coming back on tuesday and saying to the leaders, look, i need two more months to do a deal along these lines, but they would certainly be a welcome for it, and a clear sense
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that there is potential there. 0k, paddy smith, jennifer rankin from the guardian, thank you very much indeed. so sensitive were some of these details around the draft conclusions today that normally details that are e—mailed or wired to the various delegations from all over europe, they were actually posted in envelopes and handed to the delegations as they arrived here in brussels. nobody wants to give away what the european council is thinking. they don't want to take any of the focus of that deal in westminster. all the pressure is focused that way still to try and get theresa may's deal through. but she doesn't appear to have the numbers within the conservative party so let's now, we let's now, can speak now to sam gyimah, conservative mp. what they want here in brussels is for theresa may's deal to be passed but from where you are setting that is just not but from where you are setting that isjust not going but from where you are setting that is just not going to happen. but from where you are setting that
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isjust not going to happenm but from where you are setting that isjust not going to happen. it is unlikely to pass because it is the same deal that has been rejected heavily twice. and i can understand why the eu would want the deal passed and all of us would rather not be where we are. but, in some ways, the negotiations that are taking place over the extension are a foretaste of what is to come if theresa may's deal were to pass, which is that whatever we want could be vetoed by one of 27 other countries, and whatever we want would come at a price of what they want, and that is because we hand over the leveraged to them and we leave not having settled any of the big issues. there is a lot of focus, sam, you will know, on how parliament might try and wrestle back control of this process next week, and a lot of focus on the plan i know you support, which is this common market two proposal. do you think you have the numbers for an alternative way? well, actually i haven't come out saying i support
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the common market proposal, but what i have said is that we do need indicative votes on the other brexit options, and that feeling that there is -- options, and that feeling that there is —— that feeling that there is still a majority for them and we should look at letting the people back into the process via a second referendum. let's see where we are with the indicative votes. i know there is the norway models, there is a customs union and a couple of other models that some colleagues are talking about, but what we lack at the moment is any kind of process that could lead to an outcome around which there is consensus, and i think that is what we need to establish in the first place. do you feel, it certainly feels listening to theresa may today, who didn't reject or counter the argument that she was preparing for no deal if they didn't approve her deal, do you think we would move from no brexit
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to no deal in the last 2a, 48 hours? to no deal in the last 24, 48 hours? the issue is theresa may is trying to squeeze two different parts of the house of commons, trying to squeeze the heart brexit is by saying no brexit and trying to squeeze anyone who wants to stop brexit or another referendum to say no deal. the difficulty is you can't have two conversations at the same time in public with two different constituencies, as a result of which neither constituency really trusts where downing street is coming from. but no deal is very much alive on the table, it is after all the default option in law, and for it not to be that way, if her deal doesn't pass, they would have to be an alternative plan, as you have been discussing and we would have to change the default date via legislation. so it is very much alive and well and certainly if you area alive and well and certainly if you are a member of the european research group you are probably sitting tight with no desire to vote
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for theresa may's deal at the moment. thank you very much. that is the point many people have been making today, that with the comments from the prime minister last night she has not really given people an incentive to vote for her deal. labour mps have been walking away, brexiteers can sniff no deal at the end of the road and of course remain, now some of them, like sam gmac, looking at second referendum, some looking at common market too. we will shortly get a reaction about all these options on the table —— sam gyimah, and where the european council will go next but before we do that, let me recap for you where we are at the moment here in brussels. we are waiting for the d raft brussels. we are waiting for the draft conclusions, it is half past eight here in brussels, we are hearing that the date that was set down in the draft conclusions, the 22nd of may, has been taken out during the discussions and now we are waiting to find out what date might have been inserted. we have
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been hearing from various eu leaders today on what they will propose to theresa may. 0ne today on what they will propose to theresa may. one of them, all eyes of course on the french president emmanuel macron, who has taken a much harder line with the uk, he is. i'm not here to command any of the political system. i'm just here to say we do respect the vote of the british people. we do respect what the prime minister and the parliament are making, but we have to be clear. we can agree on an extension if this is a technical extension in the case of a yes vote on the agreement we negotiated during two years. in the case of a no vote or a no directly, it will guide everybody to a no dealfor sure. this is it. i have no other...no other comment at this stage. i'm joined now by philippe lamberts,
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the belgian mep and member of the influential brexit steering group in the european parliament. good evening. good evening. a lot of talk about what emmanuel macron was saying as he went into the building. some saying, if you don't pass this deal it will be no deal. i don't think that is what he was actually saying. i think he was saying, you must come up with a concrete proposal. exactly concrete proposal. exa ctly a nd concrete proposal. exactly and that makes perfect sense. if the deal cannot be accepted sense. if the deal cannot be a cce pted by sense. if the deal cannot be accepted by westminster, then the default option is no deal unless at long last westminster can come up with a positive majority for something that is what we still expect. at the moment what we are seeing is one negative majority after the other, and these negative majorities unite people who vote against something for opposite reasons. at some point in time you need people to unite against a positive solution. it can be remain or it can be a second referendum or it can be accepting the deal or whatever but it has to be a positive majority and we have yet to see
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this. and it has to be before friday. u nless and it has to be before friday. unless there is a prolonging, and extension... with the extension be granted if there was no decision? ifi there was no decision? if i were donald tusk i would say this... if you don't accept their withdrawal agreement and you have no plan, we will give you a very short extension, basically a month to come back with a plan. and then on the basis of that plan, we will then decide how long an extension you possibly need. but you need to formulate the plan behind which there is a majority of westminster, otherwise we are wasting our time. that is interesting because that is news to me. you say that could be a short extension come what may and you give the house of commons a month to have a discussion again among the mps, and then if they don't come up with a deal, at the end of that month, it would be no deal. that will be the logical conclusion. i think it is not for the eu to pull the plug right now. it is not up to
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us the plug right now. it is not up to us to pull the plug. it is for the british politicians to make up their minds, and if they cannot, frankly, i think the only legitimate option will be to ask the people and say, guys, will be to ask the people and say, guys, we have negotiated brexit and you asked us to do it and we did and thatis you asked us to do it and we did and that is the only deal we can have, and if you don't like it, we will stay, that is a binary choice you haveif stay, that is a binary choice you have if politicians can't make it because they have invested too much capital into delusional objectives, then ask the people. that is the logical thing to do but what place has logic in the current political debate in the uk? i don't know. the elephant in the room of course is the european elections. from your standpoint as a member of the european parliament, where is the cut—off date for the uk to take part in the elections? is it the 12th of april, when the uk normally puts forward meps? 0r april, when the uk normally puts forward meps? or could it be past that point? could some legal fix be found? well, my only bottom line is that if
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the uk is still a member of the european union on the 23rd of may it has legally to organise european elections, so there is back planning that must be done in order to allow this to happen. this is why you would expect the uk would make up its mind before. but quite frankly u nless its mind before. but quite frankly unless the uk has firmly decided to leave, and we are not at that point, well, then it has to organise elections. it says on the draft conclusion i have seen that the uk side indicated that presumably they indicated this afternoon in the room, they will not ta ke afternoon in the room, they will not take part in the european elections. so in take part in the european elections. soina take part in the european elections. so in a way the cut—off date has to be the european parliamentary elections? you are correct. there is no long extension if we don't... that is again the sovereign decision of the british government. theresa may was not forced to say that and i have seen her backpedalling on money prior declarations so you know she said, 29th of march as the end date and it will be gone and no
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discussion but now she pleads for the 30th of june. discussion but now she pleads for the 30th ofjune. you know, she once said we don't have any financial obligations towards the eu, and then recognised, well, we do. the uk does. she can say everything she wa nts does. she can say everything she wants but the fact is that indeed if nothing happens now, we have no—deal brexit at the end of next week. that isa brexit at the end of next week. that is a fact of life unless an extension is granted. my hunch is that the heads of state and government are going to grant an extension but i guess a short while indeed. 0k, philippe, what you are spelling out, we have had diplomacy abound from all the eu leaders saying they understand theresa may's decision, you are saying there is little faith left in her. absolutely, how track record in handling brexit seems from the eu 27's perspective quite disturbing. i sense there is also the same sense in westminster. after the speech she
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gave yesterday night, she does not... she is a bit inept at making friends. politics and democracy is about also relationships, and she seems to be devoid of the qualities you need to build trust, and trust is what we need in these moments. good to talk to you, philippe lamberts. thank you for your thoughts. that is quite interesting, isn't it? philippe lamberts says maybe there could be an extension for the house of commons to get its act together and decide what it wa nts to act together and decide what it wants to do, even if there is no vote on this deal next week. we will see whether that view was shared by the 27 other leaders. the eu chief negotiator michel barnier spoke on his way into the summit — he was asked about an extension to the uk's departure date. a short extension of the departure of the uk, chosen by the uk, and such an extension should be conditional on our political vote next week in the house of commons.
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we have done our best. we have done our best. now the solution is in london. michel barnier is very much calling the shots here in europe. michel barnier leading the negotiation on the commission site and emmanuel macron was very forthright in his views on the position of the uk at the moment and it is fair to say the uk has never been in a weaker position here in brussels. i'm joined now by french political commentator agnes poirer. she has committed lots of times on the situation with brexit in the uk. what did you make of the position of the uk and france at the moment? i think it is the same position everywhere else in europe, really. we concentrate on the bad cop and good cop, angela merkel and emmanuel macron but i don't think micron says
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anything differently than the other 26 leaders —— emmanuel macron. everybody is suffering, it looks like. to add to what your previous guest was saying, i think there is a feeling that if theresa may's deal is rejected a third time, next week, in london, the only way the eu could actually grant an extension shorter or perhaps longer is if something major or you could call it perhaps dramatic happens next week, which would take different forms like theresa may's resignation, the house of commons actually taking back control, a motion of no confidence, government basically —— a new government, if this happens it would
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lead the way for the eu to actually again out of goodwill and doing its best as michel barnier said, opening a longer extension... because what is so obvious to everyone is that the uk is going through a major crisis, a political crisis, the kind of which we have not seen for decades. and it makes us all suffer. there is no schadenfreude at all. we might love to get it off our chest but we are all suffering and we also need to talk about other things. there is the upcoming european elections and of course britain must talk about what really matters for the british in britain, so i think thatis the british in britain, so i think that is the only... 0n those european elections, of course there are some ill winds blowing across europe at the moment,
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the populist parties if you want to call them that are resurgent all across europe, would european leaders like emmanuel macron want to sanction the uk walking away without any deal, with all the economic costs that would involve, just a few weeks before the european elections? well, i don't think anyone wants to punish the uk. but we need to get out of that terrible mess. and not only britain, it is really a common enterprise and you have to have some feeling for michel barnier when he repeatedly said, we have done our best. also jean—claude juncker earlier today said, i never knew i had so much patience. i think it is a feeling that we can all share.
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thank you for your thoughts. to remind you if you arejoining us, people joining remind you if you arejoining us, peoplejoining us all remind you if you arejoining us, people joining us all this time, we are waiting for the press conferences are waiting for the press co nfe re nces very are waiting for the press conferences very much delayed, we expected them around 7pm but there is drafting and redrafting of conclusions going on and lots of european leaders want their say on what happens next. so we are still waiting for those press conferences and we will bring you the details as we get them. but let's check on... the leader of the labour party, jeremy corbyn is also in brussels today, where he held what he described as "very constructive discussions" with the eu's chief negotiator michel barnier and european commission secretary general martin selmayr. mr corbyn said he had constructive discussions with them and this is what he said outside the commission building earlier. 0ur priority is to ensure that no deal is off the table and that there is not the chaos of a disorderly movement next friday. that is our priority. how long a time do you need? we had discussions this morning with
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michel barnier and others and we will be taking our proposals... we will be taking our proposals... we will take our proposals to the british parliament next week to ensure there is no disorderly exit next friday because i think that is the priority. jeremy corbyn who had a 20 minute conversation with theresa may last night on the phone. he said afterwards she is still not moving from her red lines. you wonder what they discussed for 20 minutes, both of them embedded in their respective positions. ahead of coming to this summit — theresa may made a statement to the british people — she put the blame on the uk parliament for not passing the withdrawal agreement that she negotiated with the eu. let's have a listen to opposition mps and her own who hit back against that statement. it's a bit rich, to be honest, her trying to blame us now when actually we have been doing all the right things in reaching out and trying to compromise. instead of saying, look, i'm the prime minister and the buck stops here, she said, the buck stops over
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there and don't blame me, i'm not responsible. we have a representative parliamentary democracy and members of parliament cannot simply be asked to forfeit their judgment, of parliament cannot simply be asked to forfeit theirjudgment, and their judgment has been actually pretty clear that her deal is flawed. dominic grieve who said stern words for the prime minister in the last few days. i should say that not everybody gets into the building here. security as you would expect ata summit here. security as you would expect at a summit is always very tight and there are certain politicians who get in like philippe lamberts on the brexit steering group, and also those leaders of political blocs within the european parliament. that is why on these occasions we always hear from is why on these occasions we always hearfrom nigel for raj, leader of the brexit party, because he circulates around the journalists earlier i spoke to nigel farage, leader of the brexit party and former leader of the uk independence party, and i asked him how he thinks the next week might play out. she's been told, go back to the house of commons and get agreement for...
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and let's stop calling it a deal — it's a treaty. it's a new, legally binding, international treaty and that's why it won't pass in the house of commons next week. it's actually, in many ways, worse than the current eu membership. and then we possibly get to the binary choice in the house of commons, which kind of becomes either we stay or we leave. it kind of becomes, do we revoke article 50? do we leave with no deal? i think the prospects of us living with no deal next week have got markedly higher in the last two or three days, and one of the reasons is that now over two thirds of conservative voters want to leave next friday with no deal. it could be mrs may's only way of saving the conservative party. so that's how i see parliament. now, i've been told as a european parliament group leader to prepare for a summit next thursday night. i mean, literally the eve of us leaving, and if there was going to be an extension granted, it would happen then and not, in my view, tonight. and that would be a two—year extension, or as elmar brok is talking about, the senior german politician, an unlimited extension. but of course, faced with no deal or you going back to the european parliament,
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they'd probably have you back. well, ithink, look, that's where we are now, isn't it? i mean, one of two things will happen — either we're leaving next friday or we're fighting the european elections. so you haven't packed up your desk just yet? no, i haven't, and in fact i'm getting ready and planning for the european elections, but again, you see, mrs may has to calculate... you know, if i did that huge psychological damage to david cameron and the conservatives back in 2014, what could i do in 2019? well, let me tell you, i'd do a lot more and i'd get a lot more votes than i got last time, and it could fatally split the conservative party. because people might not know, we had gerard batten on the stage last week, he's preparing. you don't talk, i know. you and ukip have gone different ways. yeah. do you have candidates in every constituency ready to go, if we were fighting a european election? oh, yes, oh, yes. i mean, look, you know, already the private polling is putting the brexit party above the conservatives, and we haven't even launched the party yet. so you see, this is the dynamic that people aren't seeing. mrs may does not want to destroy the party that she's been
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in for nearly the whole of her life. the european election would do the tories huge damage. her own voters and members are moving towards a no—deal brexit. if she can't get these people to do what she wants, a no—deal brexit becomes... and don't forget this — the legislation is still in place for us to leave next friday. that only alters if the government of the day puts in place a new statutory instrument. so the chances of us leaving our greater than anyone realises. nigel farage with me earlier. a reminder if we do go to european parliamentary elections, if that was an option, remember ukip finished top of the pile last time with 24 meps. that has been put through concertina a little since ukip is following up with itself since 2014
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but nigel farage says he is good to go and gerard batten says he is good to go and it would be a concern in the european parliament that a sizeable ukip style block with the brexit party would be returned if and when those elections were held. but what about preparations? if there was no deal... we have heard rumours over the course of last week that maybe next week the uk government will press the button on 0peration yellowhammer, the preparations that would go on within all government departments and that a p pa re ntly all government departments and that apparently is already in the planning within the defence department, the mod. earlier i spoke to our defence correspondent jonathan beale, who gave us some details of the planning. we already know there is under the codename 0peration yellowhammer plans what to do under a no deal, there are different departments helping with planning in case there is a no deal. there are military staff assigned. we also know 3500 troops are on standby, there have been call—up papers to army reserves
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to make up 10% of that number. we have got today more of the detail of what the military is doing. they have a separate code word, 0peration redfold, for their planning, which includes setting up an operations room and the optics don't look that great, i suppose, if you are a member of the public. it is in a nuclear bunker, deep in the bowels of the mod with big blast doors and a labyrinth of corridors that exist. they use it for crisis management throughout the year, so they have an operation unit that will be manned to deal with a no—deal brexit if that happens. essentially, the mod is stepping up a gear. so some of the rumours floating around was that 0peration yellowhammer, the umbrella term for this emergency planning, that would be triggered on monday. do we get a sense that this all begins next week? i don't think you get
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a sense this begins, because there has to be confirmation there is a no deal in the sense that all these pieces come into play as soon as that is known, but you have the planning going on, and i think what this tells you is that the planning is stepping up a gear, that they are preparing for what could happen, and they are going to have a crisis room, a situation room, if you like, down in the mod, in that bunker to coordinate all the efforts. we don't even know really what troops would exactly do, those 3,500, whether they would be driving fuel tanks or what exactly. as i said, there are people from the armed forces helping them plan. but certainly this is stepping up a gear but it is not actually at the moment in operation. 0ur defence correspondent reporting
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earlier. similar preparations within the foreign & commonwealth office at the moment and the foreign minister was pictured on his twitterfeed amid all the preparations ongoing, lots of preparation to ensure that expatriates abroad get all the support they need in the event of a no—deal brexit. well, as things stand... as things stand — the uk is leave the european union on the 29th march — but what are the options is the uk is facing? that is set down in law so they must be more statutes to replace that date. the prime minister wants to bring her withdrawal agreement back to the commons next week if the speaker allows it. if that deal is finally approved by mps, it's likely that there would be a short extension to the brexit process to put it into effect. if that deal is rejected, the default position is that the uk would leave the eu at 11pm on the 29th of march without a formal agreement. the house of commons could try to stop that by holding
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votes on other options, to force the prime minister to accept a new policy. there is likely to be an emergency eu summit in the days before the 29th of march. the uk could ask for a further extension, probably a longer one, to work out a new way forward, and if that happened, a range of possibilities would emerge, including a general election, a new referendum, or attempts to agree a different deal setting up a closer relationship with the eu. this if that was rejected, the uk would be on course to leave the european union without a deal, although there is also an option of revoking article 50 — in other words, cancelling the current brexit process. hopefully that gives you a brief idea of what is going on next week. all eyes in brussels on the house of
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commons. i'm joined now by our reality check correspondent, chris morris. just hearing the 27 leaders are taking a short break and then they will discuss brexit through dinner. that was not the plan. it was not. i had a text a while ago saying this could just be getting started and it is a useful reminder that no matter how much preparation is done at an ambassadorial level, ministerial level, an official level, with a subject as big as this you must get the leaders in a room together, and i don't do that every week. so when they do and when you are up against a deadline such as that presented by brexit, sometimes it takes a little while to get through something. i think what we're seeing at the moment though, is the date going to change? 22nd of may, the 7th of may... at the moment we are talking about dates before the european election in terms of the european election in terms of the potential length of an extension to the article 50 period. i don't think there is going to be an offer
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as such suggested by theresa may, a three month extension to the 30th of june... the key thing is as we have said before, what is the alternative? will be actually articulate any suggestion of a much longer period, if the uk was prepared to take part in those elections? something the prime minister, of course, has firmly ruled out at the moment. i wager we will not hear much about that at these press conferences tonight because all the pressure is focused on next week and this vote. they are trying to back the prime minister to get this deal through, but interestingly through the last hour, philippe lamberts from the steering committee at the european parliament slightly let the cat out of the bag. i don't know whether he shares the opinion but even if it goes down next week, he says they will give you a month for the house of commons and at the end of the month it is either no deal or you tell us what the long—term plan is. it is one opinion. i think...
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quite a senior opinion. quite a senior opinion. quite a senior opinion. quite a senior opinion but he is not one of the leaders of the 27 member states and they are the people who will make those decisions. i think you are correct that what is being said this evening is very much aimed at perhaps a forlorn hope that somehow the numbers will change in the house of commons and a third meaningful vote next week, if it gets accepted by the speaker, another layer of complexity will pass. if it does not, the key question is, where did those leaders stand ina question is, where did those leaders stand in a weak‘s time? will they be back here in this building meeting again in emergency session to decide how do we deal with the fact that one of the largest member states in the union is on the verge of leaving with no deal at all, something nobody wants? that is a key question and at the moment they are saying, yes, it is this nothing. but there are yes, it is this nothing. but there a re clearly yes, it is this nothing. but there are clearly discussions behind the scenes and sometimes in public about the fact that a longer extension could be offered. it may not be
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something theresa may feels she can carry forward but again amidst the uncertainty we have to wait and see what transpires in the house of commons next week, if there is another attempt by backbench mps... if there is another attempt by backbench mps to essentially take control of the agenda from the government, so parliament is in the driving seat, this is uncharted territory. we have never been here before so i would caution listening to anyone saying, this is properly going to happen. nobody really knows that it going to happen. nobody really knows thatitis going to happen. nobody really knows that it is extraordinary times but there is an lot at stake. we are talking about the relationships that the uk has developed with its nearest neighbours over more than 40 yea rs, nearest neighbours over more than 40 years, complex economic and political relationships which could be threatened very quickly. thank you very much. in the last ten minutes we have heard from donald tusk‘s spokesman that there is a short break in the leaders' brexit discussion at the meeting will continue over a working dinner and
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we hear there is no donald tusk and jean—claude juncker press conference for the moment but will bring it to you when we get it in the course of the next hours. outside sources up next. good evening. it's been a predominantly dry but cloudy day for most of us. relatively mild but the sunshine really does help at this time of year. here we had sunshine in shetland, so we are in the cooler air here at the moment. but nevertheless it has been beautifully sunny. but in the north—east of england and the east midlands, and parts of east anglia, where we did have some sunshine, north—east wales, temperatures leapt up into the high teens again. now, that sunshine and those clear skies are fading through this evening as the rain returns northwards to the northern isles and north—west of scotland. the winds are strengthening and cloud acting as a blanket and will stop the temperature is falling much, probably nine or 10 celsius our overnight lows. any holes those clouds will fill in with low cloud and misty, murky weather. in fact, by morning, it looks quite windy across the north and west of scotland, so a pretty miserable commute here with the wind and rain combined. lots of spray and standing water and hill fog as well. through the day things deteriorate and through the morning
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for northern ireland and much of scotland is that rain trundle southwards to reach the north and west of england by the afternoon. behind that brighter skies follow certainly with just a few showers but it is cooler air. temperatures will probably fall through the day across the north—west of scotland, seven or eight celsius. and northern ireland still to the south of it it is still rather cloudy, but mostly dry. and indeed, by the time that weather front reaches southern parts of the uk, there will be very little rain left on it. it's running into the high pressure, which squeezes out that moisture. so by the time we get a saturday morning we are left with just a legacy of cloud, really, so it could be a little bit disappointingly cloudy first thing saturday in southern areas, but elsewhere behind the weather front yes, it is cooler air, but it is bright with some sunshine. just patchy fair weather cloud. just a few showers for the north but notice the temperatures, three or four celsius lower than they have been. of course, through the night they will drop to frost levels under those clear skies. the wind still quite strong towards the north. driving in weather systems and showers from time to time.
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so again sunday is looking a little bit wintry over the hills of scotland, and still quite windy. that is worth note. the wind will be strong in the north for much of the weekend. and also northern ireland and northern england will catch more showers on sunday. probably a wash out but in the south we should be enjoying more sunshine by that stage, that weather system having cleared away. temperatures are down but it will feel pleasant in the strengthening march sunshine, despite those chilly nights and cold starts and there will be sunshine for most of us. bye— bye.
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