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tv   HAR Dtalk  BBC News  March 27, 2019 12:30am-1:01am GMT

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i'm babita sharma in london. the headlines: after voting to take control of the process from the government. they're set to stage british mps put forward a ballot on wednesday alternative plans for brexit, on which options they would accept. as speculation grows meanwhile, there are signs about whether theresa may can continue as prime minister. theresa may's deal is winning over some critics, despite questions about her future. we report on the islamic state syria's kurds have families that want to return called for the creation to europe, but have been told of an international tribunal, to try thousands of suspected members of the islamic state group. they are not welcome. i'm rico hizon in singapore. also on newsday: claims of a whitewash ofjustice after us prosecutors drop and this story is trending at bbc.com. all charges against us actor a theme park in indonesia has jussie smollett for allegedly covered the bare chests on two staging a racist and mermaid statues, 15 years after they were put in place. homophobic attack. a spokesperson for the ancol dreamland injakarta says they now want to respect eastern values. i've been truthful and consistent on every single level since day one. i would not be my mother's son if i was capable of one drop of what i have been accused of. and the power behind the pyramids. mourn all those stories and the bbc news website. stay with us, i will be back with more. —— more on all of those stories.
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now on bbc news, hardtalk. welcome to hardtalk, i am stephen sackur. it is hard to remember a time when britain wasn't consumed by brexit agony. and still it's impossible to say how and when the pain will stop. mps are currently trying to find a brexit consensus, in defiance of the wishes of the prime minister. her own deal remains short of a parliamentary majority, though she clings to the hope it will eventually prevail before time runs out. my my guest ‘s former conservative minister and longest serving mp, ken clarke. how close to breaking point is britain's political system 7
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ken clarke, welcome to hardtalk. glad to be here. you have the rather wonderful title of father of the house, the longest serving mp. you have seen a lot in your time but have seen a lot in your time but have you ever seen westminster as the bible, as hysterical and is utterly unproductive as it is today? —— febrile. no, i will give you my shorter stands in the programme. i did ask that all the time, the calla ha n did ask that all the time, the callahan minority government was more straightforward. this is a shambles, it is a complete shambles in the house is gone mad. we are beginning to make, i think the last few days have seen progress back towards grown—up, sensible politics, i think. it would be very entertaining if it was not also
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serious at the moment, which isjust a completely shambolic crisis. use the word shambles and of course, i think people watching from the outside are utterly confused about precisely what is going on right now but you just put your name to an effort by mps to quote unquote, take control away from the government and organise of exit strategy for themselves, outside of government. doesn't that simply add the sense of shambles? no. you are getting a particular description of it. actually, what i have put my name to, what i have voted for and been pressing for a very long time, was putting on the agenda for a day what i call indicative votes, an opportunity for the house of commons to debate properly and express a preference for a way forward to what donna towards what really matters, which is the ultimate destination, what are we actually aiming to see asa what are we actually aiming to see as a long—term arrangement with the rest of europe? and we finally managed to get a day where we can see where consensus lies, where
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consensus might emerge, where a majority is available, once we got that... but let me stop you right there, it is like a rubik ‘s cube. there are so many options involving possibly customs union, possibly a norway style model, possibly a revocation of article 50 and are cancelling of brexit altogether. so many different options, that you suggest to me that it can all be sorted by mps in one day, that they can all find common ground. one or two days, that is the aim, to try to put in the process of solving the rubik's cube, to put in the process of solving the rubik ‘s cube, to actually serve eventually identifying the one or two possible approaches government could negotiate with a serious chance of getting parliamentary approval. it should have been done two years ago, if it had been done two years ago, if it had been done two years ago, it would be obvious what the government had authority to negotiate and what it did not have authority to negotiate. we would not
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have done so much damage to the reputation of politics and our parliamentary system as we have. but after two years frankly of fantasy politics, with people wishing to things they simply can't have, isn't this going to see mps again just wishing the things they can't have? because it is almost certain, is it not, that whatever you choose to coalesce around, mrs may will not accept? well, she can't do that. she is not actually said that in quite the terms as has been reported either, she has reserved the right to reject what is undeliverable and all that kind of thing. yes, well, the point i have got is, this is mrs may, i cannot commit the government to delivering the outcome of any vote held by this house. and the words you have left out are her explanation of the fact that if something is undeliverable, she could not deliver it. that has been repeated by some of her colleagues with wild excitement surrounding it. parliament, governments can only
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pursue policies if they have the approval of parliament for those policies. now, it is quite right, if parliament votes to something silly, there is nothing she can do. parliament, i think, there is nothing she can do. parliament, ithink, will vote there is nothing she can do. parliament, i think, will vote for something more attractive to a european union partners. i think if we vote for, no doubt you're going to go into it, broadly soft exit, then eu leaders will quite easily agree to a long extension of article 50, in order to negotiate that conclusion with the withdrawal agreement being left on the table for the time being, until it is needed later on to conclude the whole thing. you are a democrat and you know that by 52% to 48%, people voted to leave the european union and you also know that the two main parties in the last election run on ma nifestoes parties in the last election run on manifestoes which guaranteed to deliver a brexit, and you are, according to all of those who support the notion of a heart of
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exit are simply trying to undermine any meaningful departure from the opinion. i hope they did not also that because it is nonsense, have compromised more than most people have. it was 52, 48 the result, the trouble is with the voter lever did not address any of the questions, nobody expected leave to win, nobody explained what leave meant. most of the people who voted leave, like quite a lot of the campaigners, and quite a lot of the campaigners, and quite different ideas of what it meant. but that is why i advisedly then mentioned the election, which is what we had since then, and theresa may made it quite clear that her redlines included no membership of the customs union, no single market, no backstop. all of these things that you made would like to see. dementia about the manifesto is staffed. you do not believe in the
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importance of manifestoes? that kind of commitment to this is what you get if you vote for me is yellow people never see the manifesto, it isa people never see the manifesto, it is a press release put out late in the campaign. i have never seen the ma nifesto, the campaign. i have never seen the manifesto, it was a document that emerged we were halfway through the campaign. it has never been discussed in cabinet, no—one sent me a copy. it was a very good policy and it was about social care, about 48 hours later, that was the only feature of the manifesto. the labour ma nifesto feature of the manifesto. the labour manifesto came right up towards the end when all the candidates had been out campaigning, subsiding the ma nifesto out campaigning, subsiding the manifesto is just nonsense. out campaigning, subsiding the manifesto isjust nonsense. it is interesting to hear your view on how democracy works. it works on the members of parliament exercising their splendid principles and policies, giving theirjudgement in the national interest, and then quite rightly, they arejudged by their constituents on what they deliver. that is our parliamentary democracy work. so let usjust wargame this and walk through how you think it might work. see you sit
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with mps, over the next 48 hours, you're hoping to coalesce around something that can command a clear majority in the house of commons, you clearly think it will be something like some call it common market 2.0, it will involve membership of the customs union. yeah, but that would be my first preference, which is a big preference. i would never have thought in my life i would have voted for withdrawal, i have said yes, we're leaving the eu and i wish to stay in the single market and customs union, so something like that i think will emerge. all right, so that i think will emerge. all right, so let's park that and assume that over the next 24 hours, something like that might emerge from the various deliberations and votes of the members of the house of commons. hang on. that is therefore the basis on which the british are then going to try to negotiate that conclusion of the european union. well, only though if the executive arm of government, that is the government led by theresa may, agrees to take that forward as policy. now, theresa
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may clearly will not do that. that forward as policy. now, theresa may clearly will not do thatlj may clearly will not do that.|j agree may clearly will not do that.” agree with your first point, the executives got to agree to carry it forward and they are not in a position to refuse. they have to step down if they are not prepared to proceed with the approval of parliament. to quote the solicitor general the other day, he said we are now facing a major constitutional crisis and this is the nub of the constitutional crisis, because you and your supporters... he was talking about this marvellous argument they had that it was quite long for the house of commons to take control of its own timetable. i know robert very well, strictly speaking, legally, he was about the solicitor general, but that was a good tries. what we have not talked about because we have talked about outcomes, but what we have not talked about is a key change to the process because if in the effort to coalesce around this common objective, mps actually the
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best thing to do is to put this back to the people and have a second referendum, there are a lot of people in the house of commons who think that is the inevitable outcome because of the mess we're in. are you one of them? know, but that is what may emerge. i am giving you my best bet, it is followed by the fact that my personal hope is we go for the soft exit, that will begin to reconcile the 52% with the 48%, begin to get the political system back to normal, but there will be people hoping over the next two or three days to get the second referendum and i personally do not see what the second referendum would solve. i mean it is quite clear that it is not going to be bound by the first referendum, these broadbrush opinion polls on hugely complex subjects with a 52, 40 8% result, i meani subjects with a 52, 40 8% result, i mean i do not change my life on that basis. —— 48%. i may find myself in the 90, it is possible you may get a
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second referendum. just a fully this through, we do not know what mps are going to decide, we then do not know how the government is going to respond to it. it seems to me that your word of shambles may continue for many days are complete uncertainty and yet there is one thing that is quite certain, the european union won't negotiate anymore, they say that he was on the table, take it or leave it and they save you do not, with an approval theresa may's deal, then on april 12, you will leave the european union unless you give us a very good reason why you should not, and i am beginning to think that... reason why you should not, and i am beginning to think that. .. the eu are waiting to negotiate with us, they are hoping to negotiate with us. they are hoping to negotiate with us. they quite rightly won't renegotiate the terms of the withdrawal deal, which is this little preparatory agreement on citizens's right, the money and ireland, which i support. i voted for it, quite harmless. the right wing of my party invented all these frank theories that it was a wicked
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continental plot to trap us in their fiendish ways, which is a lot of nonsense. it is, the irish backstop isa nonsense. it is, the irish backstop is a temporary thing, which will probably never be bought in and is obviously temporary if it is, and there's nothing wrong with the irish backstop anyway. and so what they wa nt backstop anyway. and so what they want us to do is move to these serious negotiations on the long—term arrangements, and i think the house of commons may well do that, it will be a couple of years at least a negotiation. forgive me, ijust wonder at least a negotiation. forgive me, i just wonder whether you are reading europe in the right way. let me quote you emmanuel macron, came away from the last summit and he said this, in the case of an you negative vote on theresa may's deal, will be going to no deal, he said. we all know that. it is absolutely essential to be clear because it is a matter of good functioning of the eu. we cannot have what i would call an excessive new extension. perfectly reasonable position for him to take up before one of the councils. what the last council
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agreed was if teresa's deals rejected again, i do not think it is likely to be brought back before the house of commons, but if it is rejected again, then we go back before me, with an arrangement which we suggest what would they do, she could go back and sue for an extension and say let us start on an outline of where we're going and of course, eventually, you have to expect the withdrawal agreement and see where you're going, i cannot see how anyone maintains the slightest direction to the little agreement, which is quite harmless. you say you asa which is quite harmless. you say you as a conservative mp do not think that theresa may will bring the deal back to be voted on the other time because you think she get votes. you think she should resign, supposes the real question? no, i do not think she should resign. not because she is actually handling things magnificently and she is under a very great deal of pressure, people
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are very critical of her on all sides but you don't resolve chaos by adding to the chaos. if she resigns in this stage... if she resigns at this stage and causes a tory leadership election, we will have at least six weeks of bloodletting in the conservative party and suddenly everybody is distracted while we fight this out, presumably the europeans awaiting me well for us to get this particular latest fit over. with no—one emerging likely to be able to be neither party or tackle the problem. there is no bloodletting now, but what if she says for example, i will leave once this deal has been voted to as a means to get the vote, to just get the deal over the line? well, that could happen. it seems to me to be the darkest possible reason for these people who previously were standing on the highest possible principles constitutional integrity of the united kingdom and beating off the wicked continental fit, that
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it is acceptable as long as they've got rid of theresa may as prime minister, which they tried in a coup about three months ago and could not get enough votes to achieve. if they wa nt to get enough votes to achieve. if they want to behave like that, at least it will get us through without a no deal exit and it will get us through eventually to negotiation starting. then the conservative party is got to find somebody capable of keeping the party together and negotiating a deal which can carry a majority in parliament. follow at least it might make it clear to a future leader that the para meters clear to a future leader that the parameters are what they need to be. given the complete fragmentation, inside the tory party, who is the person who could united, keep it together? i don't have the first
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idea which is why theresa may should not make this bullish offer to get her deal through. she might want to give it up. ifeel very her deal through. she might want to give it up. i feel very sorry for her. she is not always handled it well. i think she is doomed to continue to be leader and the conservative party is doomed to accept that she should continue to lead. we won'tjoin in if we start naming people and commenting on individuals. i'm not asking you... my individuals. i'm not asking you... my answer to your question is i can't think of a solitary one of them who would be... i'm not sure any of them would hold the party together at all. not after a leadership election and i can't see one who would be better placed than theresa may to deliver the negotiations which follow. while you don't seem prepared to indulge in names, can you don't seem prepared to indulge in names, can you think of some possible leader, somebody who would like to be your leader, after
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theresa may, you would not be able to bea theresa may, you would not be able to be a member of that party? of course i can. borisjohnson? you can give me names... i probably wouldn't leave the party because i am a mainstream conservative, mayan thai political adult lifetime i've been in the party but i mainstream conservative and some of these people are not. ijust stay conservative and some of these people are not. i just stay sitting on the benches, they can send me the whip if they want to let me know what is going on and asked me to support them but some of them would be leadership candidates, but would not be leading me thank you very much. i was ashamed of your party and the weights behaved in recent times? not ashamed. i'm baffled. both parties are in a similar mess. both parties are in a similar mess. both parties are in a similar mess. both parties are in danger of going extinct —— extinct. the old parties have died off in france and other
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western democracy where they have similar problems. do you think the conservative party faces the threat of extinction today? not surviving in its present form. the threat of a permanent split is quite clear. i think the conservative party will go through. if you don't mention the word europe, the conservative party is reasonably cohesive on everything else as a centre—right party. but you go into this leadership election, these are dangerous months to come and under the wrong leader, because something attic faction or other managed to get one of their candidates ta ken over, other managed to get one of their candidates taken over, the risk is worse. you ask me, if some person that i regarded is not really my kind of conservative took over. personally, i parked myself in the party, unless they turn around and burst it and got rid of me anywhere which would simplify things but i
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would not regard myself as bound by the whip of being led by some of the people who think they are going to become leader. that's why don't think they will. don't forget, the first thing the drg did was try a coup against her. they ran it rather incompetently and they failed. the rules mean they can't do it again in 12 months. fascinating your view of what is happening in the tory party. perhaps more important picture, what is happening to our political culture generally. is there a wider, more dangerous disconnect than you've ever seen more dangerous disconnect than you've ever seen before between the political class, if i can put it that way, and the public, the voters, people who elect these people but feel at the moment so utterly let down by them. yes. also, i would go even further, it's happening with every western democracy, something fundamentally dangerous is happening. trump,
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brexit, yellow jackets, anarchist government in italy, i could go on. there is a disconnect between what was a fairly settled political order, traditional postwar democratic liberal constitutions, and sections of the general public. the pace of change, the fact that the economy benefits the young, the educated, enterprising, forceful. happening to live in the right cities. there is a great bulk of the population who feel left behind. a lot of these things, from trump, to the five star movement, to brexit, that section of the population who dislike the elite feel left behind. their living standards are stagnant. their living standards are stagnant. the old blue—collarjobs are gone or if they are shia tories, the world is changing too quickly, people talk
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foreign—language is on the bus in my generation of politicians, i am a vetera n generation of politicians, i am a veteran and survivor of the political establishment, we never found a way of tackling them, angered and enraged. it's interesting what you say because i can't think of a more consummate inside of them can clark, former chancellor of the exchequer, served for tory prime ministers, wanted to lead the party, in parliament decades and decades. being brutal about it, you are part of the problem, you have to take your share of the blame. i will try to take credit as well but it's a mea culpa, i was blind to the danger growing as i think most of my contemporaries were. i assumed that the 1990s, the great normality, the emerging economies were entering the system, we had a rules —based global order and in britain, we had growth with low inflation, the economy was marching on. you thought capitalism works for everybody. free markets
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with a social conscience to work. you thought so, but clearly not. we neglected and failed and nobody knows how to do it now. how to include those people who are not going to be able to take leading roles, whose living standards have stagnated or sometimes fallen, those towns, those communities, those regions. 0ld industrial areas. that's where the protesters coming from, the trump vote is very similar to the protest votes we get here. let's end by bringing it back to brexit. george freeman, another tory colleague of yours, said this recently, i've never known the country so divided and angry and in
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such a dangerous state, i think we are such a dangerous state, i think we a re close such a dangerous state, i think we are close to civil unrest and with had death threats to mps, people who run petitions trying to get the relocation of article 50. there is a toxic atmosphere in this country. how worried and dangerous do you feel? there was a toxic atmosphere of anger. the political system is held in contempt. i don't think you not imminent. the otherjackets took me by surprise in france. let's stop getting too excited and go back to a reassuring node because we've made progress. that's why we need to get people around a soft brexit. we are leaving the political union, great pity. just staying in the common market, but not breaking trading laws. sta rt market, but not breaking trading laws. start bringing the 52% back with the 48%, allow the parties to shuffle back rather guiltily to being parties. reassure the public that we are grown—up people who will govern in the best interest and
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reach compromise, stop polarising and moving to extremes as we've been doing. that will satisfy the things that george freeman, i agree with him, he is quite right, it's a nasty atmosphere at the moment. can clark, we will get you back to reflect on whether your hopes have been fulfilled but so far, thank you for being on hardtalk. thank you. hello there. don't expect any major changes in our weather over the next few days. there is more dry weather to come, some spells of sunshine and patchy cloud as well. 0ne subtle difference, it's going to turn a little milder milder for a time at least. high pressure then sitting to the south of the british isles. the winds allowing cloud to feed in over the top of that area of high pressure so we will continue
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to bring areas of cloud from the north—west towards the south of the uk through the first part of wednesday. best of the clear spells as we start off across southern and western parts of england and wales, that's where we have the lowest of the temperatures. a touch of across parts of the west country. south—east wales, the south—west of england. further north, not as chilly because there is more cloud. through the day, we continue to bring these areas of cloud south—eastwards. a mixture of patchy cloud and sunshine for many. the best of the sunshine across wales in the south—west. equally the cloud across the far north and north—west of scotland. equally the cloud across the far north and far north—west of scotland. temperatures generally 11—14 degrees, may be 15 in aberdeen if we get some sunshine and shelter to the east of high ground. as we move through wednesday night and into thursday are not not as much cloud potentially by this stage but that could allow some mist and fog to form. again, some pockets of frost, temperatures widely holding up
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between 3 and 6 degrees. thursday, once again dominated by high pressure sitting just to the south of the british isles. the winds around high pressure moving in a clockwise direction so introducing something of a south or south—westerly flow about the most of us as we move towards the end of the week which will the temperatures a little bit. those day, areas of low cloud and some mist and fog patches as well. we should get to see some spells of sunshine. away perhaps in the far north—west of scotland, where there will be more cloud and breeze. temperatures 15, 16, we could get up to 17 degrees. similar temperatures could be achieved on friday, particularly the eastern parts of england and scotland. further north and west, for northern ireland and scotland, thickening cloud. outbreaks of rain creeping in. a frontal system approaching, and that is going to change the weather a little bit as we head into the weekend. as we move through friday and saturday, that front will slowly
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painstakingly slowly slide south—eastwards, taking cloud and rain with it but are behind, the winds round to northerly. things are looking a little bit cooler for the weekend and into next week, those temperatures are expected to drop further — we may even see some wintry showers.
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