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tv   HAR Dtalk  BBC News  September 3, 2019 2:30am-3:01am BST

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this is bbc news, the headlines: borisjohnson has insisted there are no circumstances that would make him delay brexit on october 31. rebel conservative and opposition mps are preparing to try to force an extension. ever vote goes against him, he has hinted at a snap general election. -- if the hinted at a snap general election. —— if the vote. hurricane dorian has claimed at least five lives in the bahamas — with thirteen thousand homes destroyed or damaged. the monster storm continues to batter the islands with surging seawaters and ferocious winds — as it creeps towards the us coast. hopes are fading that any more survivors will be found after a scuba diving boat caught fire and sank off the coast of southern california with more than 30 people on board.
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eight bodies have been recovered or located on the sea bed. now on bbc news, hardtalk. welcome to hardtalk, i'm stephen sackur. for more than three years, british politics has been convulsed by brexit. we've seen endless parliamentary arguments with no resolution. this week, that may change. prime minister boris johnson's determination to be out of the eu come what may on october the 31st, and his decision to suspend parliament for more than a month starting next week means opponents of a no—deal brexit have just days to thwart him. my guest is conservative mp and ardent brexiteer peter bone. is brexit about to break his party and britain's democratic reputation?
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our are shipped peter bone, welcome to hardtalk. you've been a parliamentarian for, what, 1a years or so. do you accept that parliament must be the alternate arbiter of how britain makes an exit from the european union? no. i mean, under normal circumstances i think parliament must decide. it's sovereign. but according to... but we live in a representative democracy. indeed, but parliament decided to delegate that decision
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to the british people in a referendum, massive majority for that, and now we have to implement what the british people decided. in constitutional terms, it was an advisory referendum. it was a consultation with the people. it didn't have the force of law. well, that technically and legally is right, but, infact, everybody knew it was binding. what i said isjust plain right. but the courts then decided... you will recall the prime minister said, "what is decided is what i will implement." of course he then resigned a day after the referendum, but that's another issue. we established the referendum didn't give legal authority... no, but everybody knew that decision would be respected. let me just think this through with you. we also know the leave campaign did not tell the british people directly that brexit would be in the form of a no—deal brexit, and quite the contrary, leaders of the leave campaign made it quite clear they believed that brexit would be a smooth and orderly transition. so there is no mandate for a no—deal brexit. well, i think you're wrong on two grounds —
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first of all, the ballot paper said leave or remain, there was nothing about a deal at all, and all this discussion about a deal is post—brexit. everyone knows... first of all, i ask you — what do you mean by a no—deal? as far as i'm concerned, it was the greatest democratic thing that i've been involved in probably for many, many years, and the result was people were saying to me, "we want to end free movement of people. we want to make our own laws in our own countries judged by our own judges, and we want to stop giving the eu billions and billions of pounds each year." that's what they wanted. what you call a no—deal delivers exactly that. no—deal is actually... what you're referring to, is about the trading relationship with the eu, nothing more than that. let's not trade, sort of, impressions, let's deal in facts. i specifically looked at what michael gove, one of the absolutely key leaders
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of the leave campaign, said in the run—up. this is before the vote injune, 2016, this is a couple of months before in a keynote address. he said, "after we leave, we will remain in the european free trade zone. remaining in it is a simple course, it's in everyone‘s interest. the day after we leave, we hold all the cards, we can choose the path we want and there will be no turbulence nor drama." well, of course, that message does not match anything now being proposed in terms of a no—deal brexit. yes, well what michael gove said, i think everyone assumed the european union would agree to. the fact they sell £100 billion more goods to us than we do to them, it seemed that we would have a free trade agreement that would benefit both the eu and united kingdom. that was the prospectus that the leave campaign used, and it was obviously a false prospectus.
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nobody challenged it. everyone thought that's what would happen. let's talk then about your, at the beginning of this, recognition that ultimately we live in a representative parliamentary democracy. you now sit as a member of the conservative party led by boris johnson, the prime minister who hasjust prorogued and declared that parliament will be suspended for more than a month, starting next week, therefore precluding parliamentary debate at what everybody agrees is the most important, most difficult time facing britain in political terms since world war ii. i don't know where i start with my disagreement to all that. you've probably noticed we've been discussing brexit for more than three years now, in great detail. another three weeks or four weeks of me talking about brexit and another three orfour weeks of keir starmer talking about brexit isn't going to change a single person's opinion. the british people have already voted. prorogation was essential. we're in the second longest
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parliament since the civil war. we need to reset the parliamentary clock. we need to have a queen's speech where this new government puts forward its proposals. we need to start the clock for the 20 opposition days, the 35 back bench business days and the 13 private members days. these things are essential to a parliamentary democracy. it is restoring parliamentary democracy, not what you're saying. mr bone, you don't, i'm sure, take the british public for fools, and it's transparently obvious, is it not, that the prorogation of british parliament was specifically to avoid weeks and weeks of extremely difficult and potentially dangerous debate for borisjohnson and his intent to get britain out of europe, the european union, by october the 31st. it was a political device. that's just wrong if you look at it. prorogation loses about four parliamentary days. we always have a recess in the second half of september and the first week of october for the party conference week. now, you will recall that it was a conservative
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government that implemented this in 2010, or pehaps you should say a coalition government. while labour was in power, they were quite happy that parliament shut down in the middle ofjuly and didn't start again until the middle of october. how does that tie in with our parliamentary history? but even members of this government... in private moments, ben wallace, who didn't know he was being recorded at the time, said as far as they are concerned, prorogation, the suspension of parliament was to prevent mps from blocking borisjohnson‘s brexit plan and eventually every leader has to try, "and we found ourselves," said ben wallace when he didn't know he was being recorded, "with no majority and in a coalition and that is something we had to do to drive brexit through." ben is wrong in the sense we had to have a new queen's speech. not only do we have to have it, i've been calling for it, but not only have i been calling for it, leading labour mps have been
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calling for it and we're doing exactly what the labour party have called for. the shadow leader of the house has called for this on at least three occassions. what matters is the leader of the house. he runs the house of commons and he, when he heard about borisjohnson‘s device, the prorogation, suspension of parliament, firstly he wasn't consulted and secondly he responded with rage, saying, "it was blindingly obvious the purpose of prorogation was to stop parliament debating brexit and performing its duty in terms of shaping the course for the country." i would agree with the speaker if the prime minister tried to prorogue parliament passed the 31st of october, and i would've been the first person to have called that out. what's happening now is we have a queen's speech i think on the 14th of october. that is when the opposition can
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scrutinise the government. more importantly, it can table amendments to the queen's speech. they could move an amendment to the queen's speech requiring us not to leave on the 31st of october. they have got a mechanism because of this where they can actually legitimately do it. it is just wrong to say that they can't do it. you know that many on your own side... indeed people in the cabinet today when they looked at the possibility of prorogation over the summer said it would be tantamount to, to quote sajid javid, "trasjhing democracy". to quote matt hancock, another cabinet minister, "the end of the conservative party". you have changed your tune because you can use this to railroad brexit through a parliament that doesn't want no—deal. no, no. they were absolutely right in what they were saying, and they were responding to the question — if the prime minister prorogued parliament past the 31st of october to get a no—deal brexit, they would've been absolutely right. i would've been absolutely right. and by the way, the prime minister said he wasn't going to do that and he hasn't done it.
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this is a normal process that happens every year, or should happen every year. let's talk about the prime minister and his credibility. he says he doesn't want a no—deal brexit and is working very hard to avoid it by getting a new deal with the european union. he met angela merkel, chancellor of germany, emmanuel macron, president of france, nine and eight days ago respectively. since then, there has been no sign from boris johnson and his government of new proposals on the key question of what to do about the border between northern ireland and ireland. what on earth is going on? well, i think there will be a deal done and i think it will be put to parliament and i think it will be done after the 14th of october. there are private discussions going on all the time between representatives of the eu and the british government. if i had to bet 10p at the moment,
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i'd bet we will have an agreement before the 31st of october. the chief negotiator for the eu, michel barnier, said yesterday no new proposals from the uk. he said the backstop, this is the thing we've always come back to, the eu determination to avoid a hard border between northern ireland and the republic of ireland and safeguard, as they see it, the integrity of their single market. it‘ s shorthand — it's known as the irish backstop. and barnier said the backstop is the maximum amount of flexibility that the eu can and will offer to a non—member state. and in a negotiation he's saying that now. we'll see what he says... for goodness‘ sake, it is september. at some point you're going to have to accepted that in brussels the mindset isn't one of playing games, this is realfor them. they are not prepared to give you your cake and let you eat it too. i think that they will have an agreement. i accept that if you take them at their word now, we could say, "fine, negotiations off, we'll all prepare for a no—deal."
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who's going to build the infrastructure on the northern ireland borderfor... to stop this sort of free movement? who's going to do it? the british government isn't going to do it, the irish government isn't going to do it and neither is the eu. there won't be a hard border in northern ireland. you point to anyone who says that's going to happen. i don't know if you've been listening to the eu but they say they will do anything on the irish border to safeguard the single market. name a single european union politician who says they're going to build a hard border on the border with northern ireland. they will take whatever measures are necessary. they won't! there is not going to be a hard border. interestingly, from your point of view, borisjohnson insists there's alternative that can be made, technological solutions to this border problem. i don't know if you know, but this very day, a leak has emerged from a government report summarising the work of working group on this vexed border question, suggesting there are serious, major
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problems with all of the proposals put forward by boris johnson and members of the government. these technological solutions that he talks about simply aren't there. other people say they are there and they actually... but this is a government report. other people who do this for a living say that's already happened. i was in business and are used to export all over the world and it didn't matter where i was exporting, to the eu or non—eu, my goods would get there on time. when a working group is set up by the government to look at these alternative arrangements and when it concludes there are problems, you just ignore them, do you? the reputation of the government exports hasn't been very good. you just follow your gut instinct? there's many experts who actually do this for a living who say this works. i am prepared to accept that. you're just crossing your fingers and hoping for the best on the basis
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of absolutely no evidence. you go back to the point, who is going to build this hard border? you talk about it as if it's going to happen. it's not going to happen. we're talking about something that's not going to happen. get it i'm not sure you've been listening to what eu leaders have been saying, get it aders have been saying, or the irish government, but we'll leave that for now. let's think about what's going to happen over the next few days. this changes hour by hour, and i believe you and other conservative mps are going to boris johnson later when you leave this studio. as we speak, there are at least 15 to 20 conservative mps, including very senior recently formally cabinet ministers, who are determined to do what it takes to thwart borisjohnson if he seeks a no—deal brexit. your party is falling apart. well, that represents, what, less than 10% of the parliamentary party.
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as the government has a majority of at best at one, that's rather a lot. when you talk about the conservative party, we've just had a major election contest of which two—thirds of the members chose to support boris johnson. he's trying to implement what the british people voted for in a referendum. i think it's a bit rich if conservative mps then don't support boris johnson. you did fail to mention there that included in this group who are determined to thwart a no—deal brexit, philip hammond, who until a few weeks ago was chancellor of the exchequer, who thought a no—deal brexit would wreck the british economy. 0n philip hammond, he was chancellor, one of the most senior officers of state, and he is now trying to block the government, put an alternative government in power. that's not how a former chancellor of the exchequer should behave. it's disgraceful. he says, and i'm quoting him from twitter just a very short time ago, "i intend and want to honour our 2017 manifesto which promised a smooth and orderly exit and a deep and special partnership with the eu, not an undemocratic no—deal." he will know that manifesto said
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no—deal is better than a bad deal, and he supported that. why isn't he continuing to support the government? because there is no deal that parliament can agree. the answerfor him is he knows what damage it would do to the british economy. he stood on a manifesto saying that, he didn't say at the time we have to have a deal. he was chancellor on that manifesto and now he's not supporting it. should philip hammond and david gauke, a much respected formerjustice secretary, former secretary of state for development rory stewart, should these people be expelled from the conservative party in effect if they vote with opposition parties to thwart a no—deal brexit over the coming days? well, if they vote effectively to put an alternative government in power, which i believe is the likely proposal... well, to be honest, i think what they're proposing at the moment is a very simple piece of legislation if they can take
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control of the house of commons. that's where i'm going — if you take control of the house of commons you're effectively putting an alternative government in power. you're putting jeremy corbyn, the snp and the lib dems in power against your own government. no conservative can do that. they are quite entitled to vote that way and if their men of principle and want to do that, that's fine, but then they can't continue as a conservative. that's clear. when david gauke says he believes borisjohnson is seeking a purge to fundamentally change the conservative party, to get all of those out of the party who still believe no—deal would be disastrous for britain, you're agreeing in a sense, you're saying a purge is now necessary. it's not a purge. if you can't agree with the fundamental principle of the conservative party and the government, then by nature you can't be a conservative. let me just stop you for a moment.
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there are members of the cabinet who consistently voted against theresa may's deal, the most fundamental plank of her premiership. they weren't purged or expelled from the party. no, i would absolutely defend the right of individual members of parliament to vote against legislation, but the decision here is you're trying to put an alternative government in power and initiate legislation. that's a huge difference. will defeat for the prime minister and his government this week in the house of commons trigger a general election in your view? well, it won't automatically trigger a general election because we have fixed. there's a procedure and there's a fixed—term parliaments act, which means if was a regard is this, as he seems to, a fundamental issue of confidence
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in him and his government, he could then seek from the house of commons permission to call an early election, but he would need a two—thirds majority. exactly, and the fixed—term parliaments act, which i supported, was in fact to stop governments choosing the time they go to the polls. but as jeremy corbyn and the liberal democrats and the snp have always been calling for a general election, if that's what the prime minister says to clear this mess up, we need to decide this once and for all and i would expect parliament would agree with him. whether that would happen first of all would depend on whether he loses the vote on tuesday. do you think he will? no, i don't actually. the last time no—deal came up it sneaks through by one vote, partly because a conservative had gone home or something. i don't think the numbers are there, but let's see. let's just talk big picture about this situation, and it changes hour by hour, what it means for both the tory party and british democracy. the tory party is going to end up as a party of zealots, a brexit party. 17.4 million zealots, how can you suggest that? we are representing what the british people voted for. the point about the tory party has been it's always been very broad church. in the future it won't be,
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it will be a true blue brexit party. it will be over very broad church. i've survived in the conservative party with ken clarke for a very long time and it will carry on being so. the point you've made is if you believe ken clarke votes alongside opposition parties to thwart a no—deal brexit, he will no longer be in the conservative party. this is crucial moment for your party. if he votes to establish an alternative government then yes, anyone who does that, other than the conservative government, can't by definition be a conservative mp and they will lose the whip. if it's talking about hs2 or how you deal with social care, there would be broad opinions
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within the conservative party. that's the party, but the country and british democracy. we had the extraordinary moment yesterday when a senior member of the government, michael gove, couldn't commit to the idea that if the house of commons, then the house of lords, approves a measure to block a no—deal brexit on october the 31st, ie if it passes all of its stages in the westminster parliament, he wouldn't commit that the government would then go to the queen and seek royal assent to turn that into law. what does that say about the state of british democracy, in particular the commitment of boris johnson's government to that democracy? it's an interesting fact and it's of course happened in the past. normally private members‘ bills... some private members‘ bills have gone through all the stages in the house of commons and exactly what you talk about has happened. i think tony blair did it once and i think harold wilson did it twice.
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of course it‘s always the case that the only people who can legislate other than the government, introduced legislation, was private members on private members fridays. i understand where michael gove was coming from but in reality that would never happen. what would happen if somehow there is an alternative government and we have prime minister letwin whatever temporarily in charge of the brexit negotiations, the prime minister would ask parliament for a general election , i have no doubt. and the country would decide, would you want a brexit or wouldn‘t you ? a couple of questions before we end about what might happen in british politics from this day forward. is the conservative party seeking to do a deal with the brexit party in this election, which we know is coming. it might not come before october the 31st, but soon
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after if not before. is the conservative party seeking to be the brexit party and to remove officially titled brexit party from the little seen? they‘re certainly not seeking to do a deal, i‘m sure of that, but i worked with nigel farage and richard pires, john longworth... do you regard them as political allies? in the sense they want the same thing as conservative members. to leave the eu. the conservative party as brexit party. if borisjohnson went to the country and said, look, i want a mandate to come out with no—deal on the 31st of october, they would support us and if they don‘t do that, they will probably oppose us but that‘s what democracy is about. sorry, given your relationships with these people, have you put out feelers for a deal? absolutely not, i‘m saying i worked with them. you would expect them not to stand? i expect from what they have said publicly, if boris johnson was proposing a no—deal brexit they would support us. i think we‘re getting a bit ahead. let‘s see if we can win the vote. if we can‘t win the vote, let‘s see if there is a majority
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in the general action. my guess, and you‘re right, would the there would be a general election sooner rather than later, and i think that‘s a good thing because i do think we need to establish a conservative government with a majority. we have to end there, but i do thank you very much indeed for being on hardtalk. peter bone, thank you. thank you. hello. there‘s a trend to something cooler for all of us in the week ahead. still not much rain across parts of east and south—east england and barely a cloud in the sky in sevenoaks on monday afternoon.
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for others, we‘ve had more cloud and outbreaks of rain, some of which has been heavy, especially in scotland, northern ireland and parts of northern england. more rain in the forecast on tuesday. but in the early hours of tuesday, more rain confined to southern scotland, northern england, quite light and patchy but some mist and fog developing along western coasts. we start tuesday with some spells of sunshine for central, southern and eastern england. also for the northern isles and channel islands, which will hang on to that sunshine in the afternoon. cloud building north and west, bringing rain into northern ireland, northern and western scotland. likely to be heavy in places. maybe a bit patchier in southern scotland, northern england and parts of wales and dry in central, southern and eastern england with temperatures up to 22 celsius, just 111—15 where we had the cloud and rain in scotland. eastwards on tuesday evening and this rain sliding south and east along england and wales, some of which could be heavy. clearer skies developing behind
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and a fairly mild start for most with temperatures in double figures. we‘ve still got this band of rain to deal with first thing on wednesday morning, soon pulling away from east anglia and south—east england. sunshine developing behind. notice how the isobars start to squeeze themselves together. a much windier day on wednesday, particularly for northern and western coasts. the rain out of the way for east anglia and south—east england with sunshine behind. showers soon developing, though, in northern ireland, scotland and northern england, merging to give a longer spell of rain in places, and some showers pushing down to wales and south—west england. much windier day with gales developing in the western isles. add the strength of the wind to temperatures ofjust 12 celsius, really a chilly day in parts of scotland, with temperatures getting up to 20 or 21. further south and east, it will feel cooler given the strength of the wind. now, all these fronts start to pull away eastwards as we go into thursday.
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the isobars becoming a bit further spaced apart, so the winds will fall lighter. still showers and longer spells of rain to deal with, particularly for northern and western scotland. a few may filter into the far north of england. for northern ireland, england and wales, thursday will be a day of sunny spells and variable amounts of cloud. fairly brisk breeze, not as windy as wednesday, a cooler feel. continuing into friday and the weekend. temperatures not much higher than 18, 19 celsius. some outbreaks of rain at times the further north and west you are, but drier further south and east. for the latest on hurricane dorian, all the details on our website.
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welcome to bbc news. i‘m mike embley. our top stories: borisjohnson claims there are nocircumstances that would make him delay brexit — but is the uk on course for a snap election? hurricane dorian claims at least five lives in the bahamas — and causes widespread damage. the prime minister calls it an "historic tragedy". the devastation is unprecedented and extensive. many homes, businesses, and other buildings have been completely or partially destroyed. 0fficials warn relatives to prepare for the worst — as a dive boat catches fire and sinks off the california coast.
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there were 35 people on board — eight bodies have been found.


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