tv British Prime Minister Theresa May Discusses Brexit Plan CSPAN May 6, 2019 6:57pm-7:34pm EDT
next steps for brexit. the european council gave the united kingdom until the end of october for its plan on leaving the eu, after parliament had not been able to agree on a way forward. the prime minister is still in negotiations with the opposition labor party on securing a deal. this portion of the hearing is half an hour. >> good afternoon. it has been reported the government has canceled the no deal brexit contracts, is that the case and how much will it cost? >> if i can come onto the contracts, i wonder if it will be helpful before i do that to set the scene, as you are interested in where we are on negotiations and what we are doing and -- we have quite a lot of questions -- it may be that setting the scene could answer those questions. ok? because if i update, obviously it is our policy to leave the european union as soon as
possible and i regret the fact it has not been possible, i tried three times to do it and we have not built a majority in the house. and everybody knows the house has also rejected no deal and other actions, including the people's vote, and by the legislation that was passed in -- it compelled us to seek an extension. and as you know, i saw that extension for the 30th of june but the council, after deliberations, gave it until the 31st of october. so we can leave at any point up until that time. and we will leave at the end of the month in which parliament ratifies the withdrawal agreement. it is important, because i want that to happen before the october deadline. and once that is reached, members should look to pass legislation and i assume this is practically possible. we have been making efforts to build on that consensus. we have talked about workers parliamenthe role of
we have worked on the agreement itself, which the house chose not to do, but the right thing for us to do is reach out to the opposition. >> there are differences on issues, but on the withdrawal agreement there is common ground and we know that we need to end this uncertainty and do it as soon as possible and i hope that a deal can be done. we have approached this with an open mind, but if we are not able to do that then we will bring votes to the house to see what it can support.
and we stand ready to abide by that decision if the opposition is willing to do so. obviously, i am sure there will be a lot of technical questions, but i think the choice before the house remains the choice that has always been before the house in relation to this issue, which is we can form a majority to ratify and leave the deal. we can leave with no deal. we can go back to the people and ask them to vote again, or have no brexit. the only acceptable is to form a majority to ratify the withdrawal agreement. meanwhile, we will continue to work and do everything we can to do that, because that is what is right in the national interest. what we will do is continue preparations. part of the issue is preparations for no deal, which i was asked about in relation to the ferry contract. in light of the extension i just referenced, we are reviewing the contingency planning taking place in relation to no deal and we have decided to terminate the
contracts with the fairies and the fds. the contracts were a vital --tingency measure so that could enter the u.k. in the event of disruption in a new deal scenario, but they did include early termination fees to make sure that we would have to not pay the full contract cost in the capacity -- if the capacity was no longer needed. >> cancel the contracts? they estimated it would be about 6 million quick, can you confirm that figure? that, i think if we are talking about the question of cost, the point i made is an important one, which is the combined termination costs with the operators is substantially lower than recent estimates of termination costs.
it is also lower than keeping the contracts on. i'm sure everyone would agree that we have to have decisions that are best. i understand that. does that mean that the government has now accepted that there won't be a no deal brexit? in other words, if you have accepted that, i can see why you canceled the contracts, or might you have to stand them up again if we get to the 31st of october without an agreement? what is the government's policy? >> we want to leave the european union with a deal and that is what we will continue to work for, but of course it is not entirely in the hands of the government as to what happens with that. parliament has to ratify an agreement that enables us to leave with a deal. so far parliament has not been , able to do that. they've also not been willing to accept no deal. but the extension and decision at the end of that will be to get to that 31st of october date
without a deal ratified and therefore without us having left the european union i hope we , don't come to that position, it would not simply be the ,ecision for the government because obviously at that were point, there to be a request for a further extension, that would be in the hands of the european union as well. >> you referred to the talks of the opposition. if they cannot meet an agreement, you will put a number of options to the house. will this include an option for a customs union? >> we would want this to be a process with which we have discussed. with the official opposition. one they were willing to support. we would discuss with them the options that would be put before the house. >> in the customs union? one would've thought they would have been happy to see that put to a vote. would it include a customs union?
p.m. may: one of the discussions we have been having, and i've said this publicly as well, is the whole question about customs arrangements. various terms are used in relation to customs. sometimes people use different terms to mean the same thing. what i think would be important when we come to that process is that anything that is put before the house, and customs union has been put before the house, previously rejected by the house , i would hope we would be able to get an agreement with the opposition. it is a process that everybody can stand behind. >> could it include a second referendum? p.m. may: that is a question of a different order. that is not a question of the substance of the deal that would be required to ratify the withdrawal agreement, that is about process. in relation to an issue. as we know, there are differences in opinion to a second referendum. and neither we as the party in government or the official opposition have a policy of a
second referendum in all circumstances. >> -- says it is a perfectly coherent proposition. do you agree? p.m. may: it has been put by members of the house and elsewhere. my view about a second referendum is that we should get on with delivering the first referendum. that is what people wanted to do. that is what people expect us to do. that is what the government at the time of the referendum said we would do. >> can i turn secondly to the uk's plans in negotiating objections -- objectives for phase two if a deal is a grade, can you confirm who will lead those from the u.k. side, the secretary of state with the european union? p.m. may: we would have a different arrangement for the negotiations. i think most likely it would be led by the secretary of state. but if i can just explain, obviously the next stage of negotiations, phase two, includes a wide range of issues.
and of course, it would be necessary to include a wide range of issues. it would be necessary to look at the matters involved. there are security aspects. obviously, making sure that those who are experts and well-versed in those are part of the negotiations, that will be important. >> what would be the role of you or your successor? how would that be handled with the secretary of state? p.m. may: the secretary of state would operate accordingly as to the policies set by the government. there would be a role for the cabinet. >> is the government ready for the negotiations? the secretary of state announced a month ago that the government was setting up an expert advisory group with technical experts in trade and customs. has that been established? p.m. may: there is various work being done, some announcements
have been made in relation to the work we will do all looking, for example, at alternative arrangements to the backstop. we would want to extend the input we had on these matters. in the second phase of negotiations, that is widely referenced not just experts on trade and government, but a greater interaction with government and trade unions. and with a better society. >> it took the government over a year and a half to figure out what to ask for in the negotiations. i am trying to establish if the government is ready to face these negotiations if we get to that point. you have announced you want to set up a group of technical experts in trading customs has , it been established? >> it did not take us over a decide whatalf to the government would ask for in negotiations. i set out the guidelines in early 2017. we then obviously fleshed that
out in the letter triggering article 50. we then went through, we had discussions on the withdrawal agreement and that arrangements with the european union. you will see a great deal in their from the government's point of view. also to ensure we have a situation going into the second phase of negotiations. that meet the requirements for the united kingdom. as we go forward, obviously the whole question of whether those objectives should be and we have seen the amendment that was put down, parliament having a greater role in that, that whole issue is one that is for further discussion. >> are you concerned at that time is being lost, because with each month of extension of article 50, that is a month off the transition period? -- iwould have preferred would have preferred to have
left on the 29th of march. if they had voted the way i did we would no longer be a member of the european union. >> ok, thank you. we will talk about no deal preparation. >> prime minister, good afternoon. the question is whether the civil service is to for leaving without a deal. and you have confirmed that that is still the default legal position, but what is the policy of the government, because as a matter of fact of international law, the moment at which the 20 know the march deadline for the was extended, was when you accepted the extension offered to you at that european council on the tory first of march, that is correct, isn't it? >> the first extension? yeah. >> you accepted the extension, that is when article 50 was extended. >> yes.
>> and it was not win parliament subsequently passed the s.i. changing the exit date? >> the changing of the exit date was necessary to insure u.k. domestic line was in-line with international law. >> so cannot be used to compel the government to legislate or tell ministers how to perform their statutory function. so whatever the political pressures may have been on you on the 29th of march, you are under anly binding
obligation to accept the extension will, or you? -- the extension, were you? p.m. may: the government thought it was right at that time to accept the extension, it was a limited extension, and that we have done with the expectation or the intent of trying to ensure that in that first base of time we were able to ensure we could the with a deal. because i indicated earlier it is the government's position that the best option for the united kingdom is to leave with a deal. summit,he subsequent you made the same choice without legal obligation upon you to do so. >> there was a legal obligation. p.m. may: because the house of commons had passed legislation that require government to ask for an extension. >> require the government to seek an extension, but not to accept any terms offered, and that is what you did. p.m. may: i accepted -- there was a discussion among the eu council and i did accept the
terms. there was a crucial element that we assisted on, or made clear that we wanted to see, and that was -- should it go beyond the period of such a that we'd asked for. the facts that the house of commons actually, your first question referenced emotion of the house of commons, this was not just a motion, this was an act of parliament passed requiring the government to seek an extension and set parameters for the extension. >> but you were obliged to seek an extension, but actually were not obliged to accept an extension. p.m. may: i think of one is obliged to seek an extension, the expedition is that you will accept that extension. let makes my because the implication of your question is this, we said that we were going to ask for an extension until the 30th of june, the has confirmed that. an extension and
the european council came back with an extension for the 30th of june, your application is i should have said, sorry, we do not want to do that any longer. that is not one -- not how it behaves. >> if you dig advice from the attorney general, you are not under obligation to accept any extension. you are supposed to seek an offer for extension, not accept it.but under what conditions would you be prepared to set aside the pressures you are under in order to deliver the referendum results and exercise your legal right to refuse a further extension under article 50, and if necessary to believe without a deal? p.m. may: i want us to leave the european union, i've been working to leave the european union, i have voted consistently in parliament for us to leave. had everybody in parliament voted the same way we would no longer be a member of the european union. you take that to me that are not going to contemplate
leaving the european union of your own choice without a withdrawal agreement? p.m. may: i'm making a very simple point, which is that -- i know, and i am answering your question away in which i choose to enter it. -- the way in which i choose to answer it. the point is simple, i stand by the references i made in the past that no deal is a bad deal, i have a good deal. when i first made that reference, i was talking in the abstract at lancaster house, and we now are no longer talking in the abstract, we are talking about a negotiated deal, hard-fought, which has -- which i believe is a good deal for the united kingdom. that is why i say it remains the government's position we will continue to work to leave with a deal. >> so if the house of commons declines to approve a withdrawal agreement, and declines to approve leaving without a deal,
your choice will be remain in the european union and definitely? -- indefinitely? p.m. may: i do not believe we should be remaining indefinitely, i believe that - choosing to leave without a deal, we will stake in the world we? p.m. may: we will only stay if article 50 is revoked. i have been clear that i believe it is the best option for the united kingdom to leave with a deal. that is what we are continuing to work for. >> one final question. why haven't you helped the house of commons by publishing the withdrawal agreement bill? p.m. may: we are, we will publish the bill when we have completed the work we are doing on the withdrawal agreement bill. >> it is not going to change, what is going to change in the bill, the withdrawal agreement has been the same since you agreed on it at the end of last year? p.m. may: we have already seen a number of things that have
changed that need to be reflected in the bill, from the withdrawal agreement signed in november, the issues that have been agreed, further issues that have been agreed on with the european union, and other commitments the government has given, for example i mentioned one in relation to the amendment from lisa nandi, commitments also that we have given -- i['ve given in the house of commons on workers rights. it is not the case that the bill that will be presented today, that it will be the same, there have been changes, including in negotiations with the european union. inthat about producing a -- roduce a bill that is amended, or introduced amendments -- wouldn't tell the house of commons for you to publish the withdrawal agreement now? p.m. may: i think it would be health and for the house of commons -- i think it would be helpful way have all the issues changed since november of last
year. and when we are confident -- or when we are able to enable the house to have proper consideration of that bill. >> continuing the theme of provisions and coming onto william cash. >> thank you. you just said i want to leave that european union, why don't you get on with it and bring the commencement order for starts, that would not be a better way to begin? why have a claim to carried out the referendum vote in leaving our manifesto win the withdrawal agreement legally requires citizens, businesses and workers to obey the laws made by the majority vote of the other 27 member states, going on for years without our involvement, giving the u.k. courts the right to override united kingdom axle parliament, undermining northern ireland, and thereby undermines our national interest? again today you say, what you
are doing in the individual agreement is international interest, it most obviously is not. p.m. may: you said at the beginning that i said as i have that i wanted to leave the european union and you thought i should begin -- and if i should get on with it. i have been trying, i have voted three times to ratify the withdrawal agreement so we can leave the european union. and i repeat that had the first vote gone through we could have been out already. accept thei do not description you have given as the position that the united kingdom will be in following -- on the basis of the withdrawal agreement and the future, proposed future relationship we are negotiating, will also take place with the european union. and i could go through the specific issues, but it is not the case. it is very clear that is not the case that we will see the continued -- of the european
court of justice here in the united kingdom. >> prime minister, when i called on you to resign the other day in the house, you said that the withdrawal agreement was a good deal for the united kingdom, but how can it be so when it deliberately undermines the -- of 1972 and i mentioned already there is no commencement. this shackles us to all eu treaties and laws. your 108 promises not to extend the time have been overridden by what many regard as an unlawful statute interest. and you gave instructions to conservative mps to defeat my amendment in the kuiper bill that would've stopped our taking part in european elections. so we passed the european union withdrawal act, and you know perfectly well, we agree about this if nothing else, that i put
in an enormous amount of time and effort as we all did in getting that withdrawal on the 26th of june 2018. so that would've taken us out of the you, not this -- out of the european union. and why have you gone back on the repeal of 1972 act? p.m. may: i would hope that we would also now agree on both wanting to leave the european union. >> in the proper way. p.m. may: it wanted to make sure we can bring that about. we have the exchange about the 1972 act on the floor of the house. it is of course, the european withdrawal -- the act has already been passed and it does reveal the 1972 act and does it at the point of it. but what we have negotiated within the withdrawal agreement is the implementation, the periodion period, for a of time up until september 2020. na during that time -- and
during that time we will continue to operate very much as we do today. we would not be a member, but we would operate as we do today and it would be necessary to reach reduce certain elements. >> we will have laws passed upon us by 27 other member states, without our involvement, taken behind closed doors without a transcript. that is not anything less than castrating the united kingdom. p.m. may: first of all, that is -- if you look at the timetables that have taken place in relation to directives from the european union, actually i think with your experience and you're screwed me i am sure that you know that this is not the case, that you get a lot of laws passed by the european union within the period of what will be 12 months -- >> what about the seizures -- p.m. may: what we're talking about is the implementation
period, we are not talking about the future relationship with the european union. we are talking about a transition period that enables people to have a smooth exit at the point of which we leave, that gives businesses an absolute certainty about the basis on which they will be operating at that point in time, and gives them the time to prepare for the -- time to prepare for the future relationship that would obviously be negotiated during that time. >> i do not agree. [laughter] p.m. may: we know, we know. we know. >> prime minister, the european influence committee has recommended on 61 occasions that the government reverses its proposal to go from a negative procedure to -- and the government has accepted this and i think it shows that when a committee of the house -- will want something to be changed and the government will be moving to change it.
in your view now, as far as you are concerned, following the cooper bill, is it your view that it is impossible for us to leave without a deal? p.m. may: um, what i think is that parliament will act to make insist that the u.k. government is not willing to leave without a deal. as i said, leaving without a deal is not entirely in the hands of the u.k. government, because the issue of extension through article 50 rests with the whole of the european union. and sitting around that table. >> but the fact that the bill that was passed, i did not support, but the bill was passed and it actually said the deal has to be done. our view is -- your view is that you have to as prime minister, and any future prime minister
would have to ensure an appeal to satisfy the house of commons. p.m. may: the house of commons has expressed its view. as it happens, that view is that it wants to leave with a deal and it is the same view as of the government has. we believe that this would be the best, this deal is the best deal for the united kingdom. >> you have said in the past that leaving with no deal is better than leaving without a deal. you believe the deal you negotiated and came to an agreement with after two years of hard negotiations is a deal that would see the best interest of the united kingdom as a whole. and let me say something followed through by business and industry as well. i would pressure you to publication of the withdrawal agreement bill, because it is not uncommon for governments to make amendments during the passage of a bill, so i think the fact that one could make, and then we would need to
add these amendments, is not a good reason to publish it. so this should help parliament, because the frustration is not only across the house of commons, but i also think across the country, it is exactly where we are going and what is the direction of travel. that is something causing a lot of concern from people i speak to, be they business owners or individuals. i think one of the things i will ask you to consider fairly quickly, hopefully we won't know the outcome soon, they do seem to have been going on almost as long as the, original discussions but i realize that is a fight exaggeration. hopefully we will know in -- by exaggeration. hopefully, we will know in the next week or so. >> premise are coming mentioned workers in your earlier statement. there has been some
publications. do either that they could detect and enhance workers rights? p.m. may: i think it is important that we ha within our legislationve the commitment we have given -- in terms of workers rights. and as you will know, actually, this government, this country has workers in many areas, workers' rights above those provided by the european union legislation. obviously committed issue with workers' rights is one that has been raised with us by members across the house, particularly by the official opposition. and it is one of the issues we look at to see whether -- how we can ensure the commitments given by the government on workers' rights can be clear for the future. >> i think that we are doing much better now. there are ways to look at it,
section one, it only applies the relevant bills. section two talks about which areas of legislation. so it would decide what is relevant, parliament or the government? p.m. may: this is -- well, one of the issues we are trying to s sufficientere i capability for parliament to look at these issues. and the -- the question on whether there is change in the european union, the government making obviously a statement as to whether or not we believe that is an enhancement or not, parliament then having the opportunity to give an opinion on that, i think that is important, but again that balance between government and parliament, right, that will be one of the issues debated when we come to the withdrawal agreement. hatmy understanding is t only commits the government to
make statements on new bills, but it does not say it has to make a statement on whether it will move workers' rights or intentions, so it is wishy-washy. p.m. may: i think that the -- the intent is that the government should be or would be making clear to parliament whether it in its view, any decisions taken in the european union related to workers' righ ts, were an enhancement, or the interaction was in relation to that, but i'm happy to look at the specific points you have raised about the language within the cause. -- clause. >> i think that no parliament is able to abide successors. and it looks as though there were not be legal protections, it is just consultations and reports, so i am concerned that we could go further if we tighten up the language. p.m. may: we are looking at what
it would be appropriate to put in legislation on this issue. so once again i am happy to take those points. >> thank you. announcer: tonight on "the communicators," we check about the challenges facing telecom companies with a david heimbach and matthew polk of america's committee cases association. when we think of other issues in washington, such as open internet or net neutrality, that debate is very important to smaller companies because it has a dramatic impact on the ability of our members to obtain financing to be what to provide more broadband in smaller communities. >> it is becoming more difficult for an operator of our size to compete effectively in the video business, given the ever increasing content cost. announcer: watch tonight at 8:00 p.m. on c-span2.
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