tv Dateline London BBC News March 30, 2019 11:30am-12:01pm GMT
this is bbc news. the headlines at 12: the prime minister and her cabinet look for ways to bring may's eu withdrawal agreement back to the commons for a fourth time after it was defeated by 58 votes yesterday. i think what we have to do is to make sure that we deliver on the will of the people at the referendum. we have to keep trying. hello and welcome to dateline london. i'm carrie gracie. that's what people voted for and i'm quite sure that's what the prime today, one topic — brexit on borrowed time. minister continues to be determined to deliver. the bbc understands the pilot what happens next? and who decides? of the plane which crashed westminster? with footballer emiliano sala brussels? on board was not qualified theresa may? to fly at night. a new british prime minister? eurostar says passengers using st pancras in london should british voters? expect numerous cancellations and severe delays after my guests today are a trespasser spent the night tim montgomerie of the website conservative home, political on a roof near the tracks. commentator steve richards, stefanie bolzen of german thousands of palestinian protesters have gathered newspaper die welt, on the boundary between gaza and israel to mark a year since weekly demonstrations began. and portugese writer eunice goes. welcome to you all. the prime minister staked so much on her brexit deal, she lost twice, then she staked her leadership and lost again.
some joked that theresa may couldn't even manage to fall on her own sword successfully. but with all our futures hanging in the balance, no british citizen or resident has much to laugh about this weekend. so what next? is theresa may's deal dead now? it is hard to know that it is dead, although itjohn bercow, the speaker, might have an opinion on that. it is perfectly possible he could rule out parliament even discussing it again. he was relu cta nt to discussing it again. he was reluctant to have a third vote, so a fourth, he might veto it. what is likely, and it is a dangerous game to make predictions at the moment, parliament will probably vote for a customs union on monday and i think if that is tied to her deal, potentially, in the middle of next week, if a vote goes ahead, i can see a parliamentary majority for it.
a parliamentary majority for a customs union, not for her deal? you have to have some sort of withdrawal agreement and then the customs union is about the future relationship with the european union. i can see once the labour party, which has a lwa ys once the labour party, which has always supported a customs union, has got a parliamentary majority for a customs union, they could then pack the withdrawal agreement. whether that is something the prime minister would then even allowed to be voted on is a different question. steve, do you think that is realistic? we saw eight options, for indicative votes last week. the customs union was one of them. will it get across in the week ahead?m could well do. it was very tight, that vote for a customs union, and i know number ten think that is highly likely, that parliament will vote for a customs union next week, but the reason why this saga is so unpredictable is that highly and
usually in british politics, there are so many moving usually in british politics, there are so many moving parts and no one is fully in control. we are used to an era that if you knew what number ten was doing, you could probably tell what was going to happen next because normally in britain prime ministers are powerful. theresa may isn't, the house of commons has some power but not total power, because she might reject their customs union vote, the european union are a player and we will talk about that later, the opposition party has real power, so no one is later, the opposition party has real power, so no one is fully in control. what about the rest of the cabinet? we have seen trust breaking down but is there still some coherent power in cabinet? not over this because they are divided. for example, most of them are highly critical of theresa may but they haven't been able to get their act together to tell her to go at a particular moment because they are split. if the subsequent negotiation
is overa split. if the subsequent negotiation is over a customs union, i can't see quite who is the instrument for that because it has to be the prime minister, but theresa may is so inflexible, i can't see her having that negotiation coming back, saying, i have got a customs union, so saying, i have got a customs union, so it is very hard to see quite what happens in the next few days beyond a sense that, i know this is a cliche, they will be seismic. eunice? i agree, and i'm not so sure that if her agreement is put forward toa that if her agreement is put forward to a vote in the house of commons that they will be a majority for it because even if there is a movement within the labour party to support the withdrawal agreement, having secured a the withdrawal agreement, having secured a customs the withdrawal agreement, having secured a customs union, the labour party is also extremely divided about brexit and this is the story of the last weeks or last year, that party discipline has completely broken down across the two main
parties and everyone else, in particular or the snp, the parties and everyone else, in particular orthe snp, the dup, they know that they can have a role in either making their withdrawal agreement approved or to create a completely different situation, so i think we are in uncharted territory. no one knows. who knows what is going to happen within the next week? but i think there has to be a way forward from friday onwards if britain is going to leave without a deal. 0r britain is going to leave without a deal. or if there is going to be an extension, a prolonged extension, with britain participating in the european parliament elections. stefanie, a firm prediction? no, it is very difficult. but from a european perspective, they have been watching this very closely now for yea rs watching this very closely now for years and there are many moving parts, but there are also moving parts, but there are also moving parts in europe. just dealing with
westminster, we have heard europe a say on friday, the commission said that no deal exit is now a likely scenario. do you think that is their real view? it is their real view but also michel barnier said on friday that the european union could live with a customs union, so there is a certain influencing in the back. the customs union was always something that the european side so as positive and easier to solve down the northern irish problem than the deal is now on the table. the big advantage of the customs union is that it does solve a lot of the northern ireland problem. the problem for a lot of the conservatives is that they believe a big positive was the ability to negotiate trade deals with other pa rt of negotiate trade deals with other part of the world. we had donald trump's advisor saying that britain should not worry, the us is ready to
ride as cavalry to the rescue with a trade deal. you can argue about that but if we are part of a customs union, we can't have that kind of trade deal, so do not underestimate the resistance of large numbers of conservative mps. so one of the things people have been saying in the last few weeks is that the international trade secretary has struggled to make progress on trade negotiations for after brexit so that utopian future of our free trade deals looks less rosy, even to people inside the conservative party. | people inside the conservative party. i think that is a criticism that some people are making but it isa very that some people are making but it is a very hard to progress in negotiations with other parts of the world if they don't know whether we are going to be part of the single market, part of a kind of customs union, so we can only really see the opportunities once the deal is settled. no one is going to commit much political capital in any part
of the world until they know what out of the world until they know what our future with the eu is going to be. eunice? we havejust heard over the past 24 hours how conservative mps are going to be briefed next week on what a customs union is, and this is the real problem, the real tragedy of brexit. brexit is being defended and negotiated by people who know very little about international trade, who know very little about internationaltrade, how the european union works as well. very few people in active members of the government, and this is a failing rule 101, the number one rule of politics, which is know your adversary well, know your enemy. that is the only way to negotiate, what are their strengths and weaknesses, and the british government hasn't been able to score one point out of the european union.
they are going to do it with the re st of they are going to do it with the rest of the world, i think people might have that illusion, but it is an illusion. it was interesting this week when they debated those so—called indicative votes because watching that debate compared with the others was like entering a different world. you can disagree with some of the exchanges that took place but at least they were exploring a range of options in quite a grown—up way. they could not agree with any of them. they did not vote for one of them. but the debate was quite nuanced, intelligent, they we re was quite nuanced, intelligent, they were open disagreements, but why this was happening days before the uk was supposed to be leaving the european union is crazy. water under the bridge, we are where we are, eunice says we need to think about oui’ eunice says we need to think about our adversary, whatever we are going to call them, coming back to you,
stefanie, where does this stand? the europeans have said a summit on the 10th of april. the leave date legally is the 12th of april. is there enough time to get a deal in place? what was interesting at the european council last week was that they had to change the agenda. they sat down, there was no script on the table, and they really worked out what is important to them and one thing that came out was the european election. that is going to take place between the 23rd of may and the 26th of may, and they have categorically said the united kingdom, until the 12th of april, when they have to trigger the system to participate, has to tell them, so this is really crucial because they saw the risk that the functioning of the european institution is really at risk if they have still a wobbly situation with the united kingdom. what are you here in brussels is, if
by the 10th of april the united kingdom still doesn't know what it once, there is nothing that convinces the eu 27, there probably wouldn't be a no deal on the table, they can still say they can go on until the 27th of may, because they will know they are not going to participate then, and to me that makes sense. so it is definitely a no deal exit if that happens, but i know deal with a month to prepare?” find it surprising that people say the europeans will blink and they can't allow a no deal. there is a danger that the narrative will be, by nigel farage and others, that no deal was caused by the europeans, but i think we have now got to a point where, if that happens, it happens. that was clearly the mood in brussels last week. is that the mood you are picking up as well, that it mood you are picking up as well, thatitis mood you are picking up as well, that it is going to be painfulfor ever and ever, we would rather have short—term pain now?
ever and ever, we would rather have short-term pain now? absolutely, and the french president is really showing to be quite impatient with the brexit process and if there is going to be a one—year extension to britain, if it is going to be more of the same than what happened over the last three years, what is the point of that? the european union faces incredible problems. there are very important european elections, out of which you are going to have a new commission, a new president of the council. a new budget needs to be negotiated, brexit has been absorbing a lot of time of eu business. people are literally fed up business. people are literally fed up andl business. people are literally fed up and i think a lot of european are thinking this is going to be bad, britain leaving without a deal, but this is a band we can live with. we cannot let this issue continue to dominate european politics for years to come. and, tim, do you agree with
that, and if it is true, that is well understood inside westminster? interestingly, today was the day we we re interestingly, today was the day we were supposed to have left the european union, and i was at a party la st european union, and i was at a party last night run by nigel farage's supporters. it was not much of a party, the mood was subdued, but there are still quite high hopes in that circle that no deal will happen. not because they expect theresa may to deliver aid for britain but because they think an exasperated european leader is soon going to say, and there has to be an absolute consensus among eu leaders, we have had enough of this. we have got a month to prepare for no deal and you are out. and in the nigel farage camp, is that the analysis in the conservative party? that is why a lot of the hardline group of tory brexiteers in parliament, that is why they have kept voting down the
deal. i don't think they have faith that theresa may will ultimately vote for no deal, theyjust hope president macron, who came reasonably close to that position at the last summit but was overruled by angela merkel, but every eu leader has to agree to a long timetable and it's personally —— perfectly possible for domestic, concern about the european union's integrity, that one eu leader might say, enough is enough, you have had your chances to have a deal. i think if that were to happen, there is quite a high chance parliament would revoke article 50. on the record you have heard quite seniorfigures say there on the record you have heard quite senior figures say there is no circumstances they would revoke article 50 unless it looks like we are crashing out with no deal. they can't openly advocate for it because they are too scared to. but i think in those circumstances, that might happen. are you saying, we get to the 11th of april and parliament
revokes article 50, having not debated it previously? it will be clear by then that no deal is happening. it might be clear before thenif happening. it might be clear before then if we haven't got a deal or europe has said no. then i do think it isa europe has said no. then i do think it is a possibility. then you are potentially thrown into britain participating in european elections, and the angerat participating in european elections, and the anger at that decision amongst brexiteers is absolutely explosive. it will make the mood we saw in parliament square yesterday looked like a picnic and you see the potentially the beginnings of the realignment of british politics, because of the conservatives and the labour party have failed to honour one of the largest votes in british history, you get a brexit party and this new change uk party, which has emerged, doing incredibly well in those european elections. we always use the word crisis and unprecedented, but these really are extraordinary times. the european
elections will be exactly that if they are held in britain, remain against brexit. so in a way it is a second referendum in its own right? it will be like a protest vote because they will be no instrument at the end of it for remain meps and brexit meps to change anything. i think the turnout will be high. but it won't be the same turn up we had with the european referendum in 2016. we are talking about 35% or 40%. it would be a massively highly charged campaign. and yet that thought will be concentrating hq for both major parties, steve.” thought will be concentrating hq for both major parties, steve. i think both major parties, steve. i think both major parties will dread them but clearly, because we are now at the point where labour are in effect calling for a longer extension because they want a different negotiation to take place, that they
are working on the assumption that the european elections will happen and they will be a nightmare for the two big parties because equivocation over this issue won't get very far in those elections. it will be a remain versus out european election in the uk. let's turn to the question of leadership because we haven't really addressed this head on yet. theresa may said last week that she would put her leadership on the line and yet she didn't get the vote through. does that mean she has to go anyway for days she not have to go anyway for days she not have to go anyway for days she not have to go anyway? stefanie, what is your view? what is obvious is that the party wa nts view? what is obvious is that the party wants her to go but the big question is, how is she going to go? this very much depends on the next hours and days. it depends what happens next in parliament, will she put out another vote ? happens next in parliament, will she put out another vote? the consensus
is clear she is going to be gone by the 22nd of may, but how this will all play out, from the inside... from the inside, what do you think? her pledge was that she would go if the withdrawal agreement was passed, but if you are the prime minister and you basically announce to the world and your party that you are ready to go, you have not really got the credibility or authority anymore, so the credibility or authority anymore, so the problem is, ithat events are leading to a general election. but the problem for the conservative party is, they don't wa nt conservative party is, they don't want to go into that general election with theresa may as leader. there needs to be a contest to replace her, that contest takes time, and do the conservative party have time to have an election quickly to avoid european elections and choose a leader? i don't think they do have an opportunity to have a general election with a new leader
quickly enough sol a general election with a new leader quickly enough so i don't think you can rule out the possibility of theresa may are leading the tories into another general election, which is quite a thought for those tories who remember how bad the last election went. if it is a general election went. if it is a general election led by theresa may, good luck to the conservative party, really. on what manifesto? she promised as a prime minister to deliver brexit, we haven't yet delivered brexit. she was a prime minister who promised to heal the burning injustices in britain. she hasn't done anything about it because she has been busy not delivering brexit. what kind of results will be conservative party or obtain after a general election? what is for sure is, if there is an extension of article 50 and britain will remain in the european union for another year, and this is a
hypothesis, if the conservative party will have even another leader, the fact remains that way this particular parliament that we are having, the problems remain the same, the arithmetic will be the same. same, the arithmetic will be the same. whoever is in charge, whoever will be prime minister in britain, will be prime minister in britain, will have to deal with that arithmetic, so the only options are really, are we going to move the red lines and so then it is possible to negotiate a different deal with the european union or we are dealing with a new parliament but we do not know, because it is so fickle, public opinion is so volatile, that it is very likely the new election will result in another hung parliament. steve, you have been making these programmes. can theresa may move these red lines?” making these programmes. can theresa may move these red lines? i have been making programmes for bbc sound around the world. great programmes.
everyone i spoke to told me, don't feel sorry for her, she wanted this job and she will try to stay there for as long as she can. she doesn't ache to leave, however much of the pressure. in terms of whether she can move the red lines, ifind it hard, the other thing anybody —— everybody said to me, the inflexibility, pathologically inflexible. i can't imagine her negotiating a new deal. she clings to her deal as she has always clung to her deal as she has always clung to policies when she was in the home office and everywhere else. but one of the fascinating things about this moment, this parliament clearly cannot continue for much longer. a government can't govern, forget about brexit, it can't get most of its legislation through, and i can't see how there is an early election for the reasons tim outlined. would she really lead them into the election? if that happens, i think
labour party would win. what would be the brexit policy in the ma nifesto ? be the brexit policy in the manifesto? while i can't see this parliament lasting much longer, i can't see how there is an early election. this is the fascination of british politics. and the question we haven't tackled yet, who is the most yes, as borisjohnson was talking about, to lead these tribes out of egypt? the early favourites, according to the bookies, are boris johnson and the michael gove, the two people who looted the leave campaign. ithink two people who looted the leave campaign. i think we need, two people who looted the leave campaign. ithink we need, speaking asa campaign. ithink we need, speaking as a conservative, i think part of the mistake that happened last time when theresa may was chosen, it was a very fast coronation. the tory party thought she was at the moses of that moment and it turned out that when the general election came, she wasn't up to campaigning. what the conservative party needs to avoid, if it didn't have this pressing timetable, is a proper
contest where we test all the candidates. i think if it we had that testing process, both the big negatives of michael gove and boris johnson would stop them becoming leader. the tories really need a candidate who can unify them and unify the nation afterwards. it is not clear to me, although i am open to be persuaded otherwise, that boris or michael gove can do that, and so you are looking at a candidate like jeremy hunt or candied —— sajid javid, candidate like jeremy hunt or candied —— sajidjavid, although they are remain as, potentially coming through and winning this contest. with a little bit of detachment from this, do you look at this and feel this is the failure of an entire political class in the uk or is ita an entire political class in the uk or is it a similar kind of set of challenges but more attenuated than we see elsewhere in europe? challenges but more attenuated than we see elsewhere in europe7m challenges but more attenuated than we see elsewhere in europe? it is a very special situation, simply because of the referendum in 2016 which has split the country. we
don't even know what is going to happen tomorrow. i think the symptoms of this crisis we see them everywhere in europe. we see them in france, we see them in my country in germany with the rise of the anti—eu and anti—immigrant party, we see this everywhere. people are disenfranchised, i think you say, with the political class. so it is a zeitgeist thing, not a plague on the houses of westminster? yes, but one thing this has done clearly, and some say this is what the european commission always hoped for, it has shown what not to do and not put this divisive question to a nation. do you want to stay or do you not wa nt to do you want to stay or do you not want to stay in the european union. what everyone has now understood is that leaving the european union is very difficult. eunice, do you feel this is a failure of the political class or just a this is a failure of the political class orjust a set of very difficult challenges?” class orjust a set of very
difficult challenges? i think it is a combination of both. we have a similar crisis in europe but europe has been a virus in british politics for a very, very long time. reddish exceptionalism has led and informed the positions of a generation, several generations of british politicians. to a certain extent, leaving the european union was bound to happen if it was not in 2016 it would be some time later. steve, inevitable? what is inevitable? this painful trauma? absolutely right, britain's politics has never been at ease with the european union. it has been tumultuous at every point by a labour government or a tory government. however, it wasn't inevitable. when david cameron held the referendum, europe is an issue for vote rs the referendum, europe is an issue for voters was way down the list, he
called it for other reasons. i don't think it was inevitable. that's it for dateline london for this week. we're back next week at the same time. goodbye. hello. the one certainty at the moment is that we will have a colder week ahead. the change taking place as this cold front edges are southwards, opening the door to chilly air to begin with before we see another burst of cold air later into scotland and northern ireland and into the afternoon, spreading across northern ireland. yorkshire southwards will be dry and sunny throughout and after the morning fog
on the west and it should be a bright afternoon. big temperature contrasts from north to south, 18 or 19 in the southeast corner, one or two isolated showers, but sunshine in scotland this afternoon after a cloudy morning, but it will feel chilly, but it will feel a bit cold in the wind and the sun, a northwesterly breeze developing. getting close to gale—force across orkney and shetland, there could be snow flurries. the weather front leaves northern england this evening, spreads into north wales, the midlands and east anglia, to the south of it, some mist and fog, temperatures largely holding up for many, but scotland, northern ireland and the north of england, thrust into tomorrow morning which is the start of british summer time. the clocks go forward one hour tonight, which means an hour less in bed. into sunday, if you're up early, a lot of dry weather to enjoy, particularly in the northern half of the uk, where high pressure is building.
a weather front at this stage spreads its way with a thickening cloud to the southern counties, may be the odd shower here and there, but for many it will be a bright afternoon, the best of the sunshine throughout scotland and northern ireland, blue skies through much of the day, winds lighter than today. further south, more of a breeze, more of a cloud and it's going to feel distinctly cooler compared to today, 11 celsius at best. still up to the teams across parts of southwest england and the channel islands but a little less sunshine so it won't feel as warm. into the new week, a widespread frost. a chilly start to monday, monday largely dry, but throughout the weekend, april showers again, sleet and snow, maybe the odd rumble of thunder, but temperatures low for the time of year.