tv Brexitcast BBC News September 22, 2019 12:30am-1:01am BST
the democratic presidential frontrunner, joe biden, has accused donald trump of an overwhelming abuse of power. if follows reports that the president tried to put pressure on ukraine to investigate him and his son. mr trump insisted his talks with foreign leaders were "always appropriate." saudi arabia has vowed to take appropriate action once the investigation into last week's attack on its oil installations is complete. the saudi foreign minister has insisted that iranian weapons were used, and has rejected the claim by houthi rebels in yemen that they carried out the attack. and commemorations have been held to mark the 75th anniversary of the largest airborne assault in history. the battle or arnhem in world war ii saw around 35,000 allied soldiers land by parachute and gliders behind enemy lines.
now on bbc news, it's time for the latest edition of brexitcast, in its second week on tv. here's chris, adam, laura and katya's latest edition of their long—running podcast. so laura, given that nothing is happening in politics whatsoever... yeah, it's been a quiet week. ..and audiobooks are all the rage. 0h! you've probably not heard about this, but there's this book that's come out this week. honestly, he should hire a better pr team, shouldn't he, the former prime minister? no, i hadn't heard about that. downloading mills and boon over here. we've got half—an—hour, so we can get through 730 pages. go on then. it is three years since the referendum on britain's membership of the european union. more than, now. yeah, that's true. even the first sentence isn't right. not a day has passed that i haven't my decision to hold that vote, and the consequences of doing so. me too. yeah, you and me both, dave. anyway, given that you may have just heard one or two things about this book — i mean, blimey, he's even been on this morning, hasn't he? oh, no — on the sofa. i think maybe we can manage a few of the things
we will talk about. let's this week make brexitcast the only political programme in the universe that is not going to talk about it. 0r programme, full stop. let's do it. welcome to brexitcast. brexitcast, from the bbc. no—one‘s got a bleep clue what brexit is. brexit is, uh... i haven't quite understood the full extent of this. we are particularly reliant on the dover—calais crossing. i met borisjohnson once. the doubters, the doomsters, the gloomsters, they are going to get it wrong again. remainers and leavers — that's going to end well. brussels, which i can only describe as a dog's brexit. so it's only us two here this week. chris at westminster. laura at westminster. katya on her lonesome in brussels. aww. .. yeah, i'm — i could sing it foryou, but i won't talk to you about it at the beginning. adam, on a greek island. what? not doing a serious piece.
can you bring me back some spa na kopita, please? if i don't eat it on the plane. i would love to say i'm doing a piece of investigative journalism. but dino, known to our viewers and listeners, the person who sits in that little booth behind laura, pushing the buttons, is getting married, and it's his stag do tonight. it's just like mamma mia. this might be the last time we ever see you or hear you, adam. so before we wave goodbye, paint us a brief picture. how many have you had to drink? hardly any, because i've been preparing myself for this brief appearance on brexitcast. with a little bit of distance from brussels and london, observing the brexit process, i am so confused. will there be a deal, won't there? are there papers being tabled by the uk, aren't there? was boris johnson humiliated in luxembourg or not? has jean—claude juncker shown a bit of willingness to get a deal or not? i am so confused, because it seems
like all of those things might be true and not true at the same time. that's because, adam, we live in the new universe of alternative truths. you could argue all of the above. last night it looked like — just before i got on the plane at 3:00am this morning, on a very early flight, it looked like the french president and the finnish prime minister had set a new deadline, saying if there's nothing by the end of september, it's all over. and, literally four hours later, there were some written proposals on the table. so that massive drama had just sort of died out after about four hours. that's what i mean. so where do we start? we have to talk about, as you say, your little adventure, both of your adventures, to luxembourg, adam, and all things mr bettel.
and then where on earth are we with all the talks and stuff being put forward, and all of that? mrjuncker meeting boris johnson at the beginning of the week, and has been talking on the telly today, and then all the business down the road in the courts. and can we turn to page a7, tab 73? chris, calm down. not yet, not yet. a little bit later. i was thinking of you, adam, because i was wondering if you have been watching the supreme court this week. maybe you have downloaded some of it to watch. actually, if you run out of things to talk about at dino's stag do, you can talk about the supreme court. but they had binders much bigger than your binders. but in fancy language, they‘ re called bundles, so it's not even that clear. so first off, earlier in the week, me and adam were both in luxembourg. there was podiumgate, which some of you e—mailed me very directly and very correctly to say it should have been lecterngate, because it was technically a lectern and not a podium. anyway, so it was a silly
journalistic nickname. but, as we chatted about at the beginning of the week, and if you didn't listen to the podcast, there was a real moment. xavier bettel and borisjohnson had had talks, protesters screaming at the gates. borisjohnson chose not to take part in the press conference, and xavier bettel took part anyway, even gesturing to the empty lectern, not podium, alongside him. and i think it's fair to say this hacked a lot of people off. but you caught up with him this week, didn't you? yes, so you left luxembourg and i came to luxembourg to speak exclusively to mr bettel, and say to him, what were you thinking when you did that — when you decided to hold a press conference gesturing at an empty lectern, where borisjohnson should have been standing and where the union flag was? and it wasn't just a press conference where he sort of blandly answered questions about the meeting
that they had had, which he told me was actually very friendly. he went on a rant about frustrations with the brexit process. now, i mean, in content, what he said was nothing that he hasn't said before — concern about the safety of eu citizens, frustration amongst eu leaders that they feel they're always painted as the villain in the brexit process, whereas they never wanted brexit in the first place. and they say they have tried to reach a compromise deal, and understand all of the prime ministers they have had to deal with in the uk since the story began, and so on, and so on. but, as you say, it was that choice to stand there where the two prime ministers should have been standing. now, he said he never intended to humiliate, and he never intended to put a trap for boris johnson. can i raise a sceptical
journalistic eyebrow at that? the extraordinary thing about that was it was off—the—scale undiplomatic. i cannot imagine a british prime minister in any context, of either party or any party, whoever was turning up here, given that you have invited them, then doing that. let's see how he explained it, because i know you asked him that. let's hear how he explained it. we have this situation where i thought he should go, and we should speak to the people and tell them to have respect to prime ministerjohnson, and this was really my goal. when i see that people say that i wanted to blame, i wanted to humiliate, i have to say this is really not what we wanted. well, it may not be what he wanted, but the thing is, ijust said to him, he has been an eu leader around the table for six years. this is a very experienced politician, and i said to him, you must have known how that would come across. and, to be fair, it's notjust eyebrows that shot through the roof
in parts of the united kingdom, although there are many people who said well done, mr bettel for saying how we feel. and frankly, the emotions that he expressed, the frustration he felt, is nothing new in the eu. i hear it all the time in off—the—record briefings with eu diplomats and politicians. but it was that decision to go out there. and that has been criticised, behind closed doors, not in front of lecterns, in eu circles as well. so, even though he expressed a commonly held frustration, the way he did it did not go down well in many areas of the eu. i've got to ask you about my favourite bit of telly — nerdy telly, but it was my favourite bit of telly this week. mr bettel turning estate agent. perhaps you need a pad in luxembourg. i am going to do a thing that estate agents don't necessarily do, and show you how small it is, not how extensive it is. i'm not sure how long we will have you with us before you're off
to the ouzo, but the explanation they gave us on monday, it already feels like 100 years ago — they didn't have a big enough room for the journalists. and i have been in those rooms a few times. i've seen the giant artworks mr bettel has. and it's smaller than my living room, the tiny flat, which you're welcome to all come around, along with journalists from the international press. if it was any other country, other than tiny luxembourg, you would think maybe this is planned. but it wouldn't happen with angela merkel, because guess what — she's got a massive room for massive press conferences with hundreds of journalists. i do think this is one of those ones where — can i say this word? cock—up, not conspiracy.
i am with you — misjudged, not undiplomatic. and it has not had much impact on the process. it's good sport. i found myself looking at, during the night, the size of luxembourg — the size of dorset, and about the population of glasgow. it's the population of leeds, isn't it? i am sure we'll be corrected. this is the key thing, isn't it? i've been off work for a couple of days, and like adam, you have a little bit of detachment. and ifind myself thinking, well, hang on a minute — and i simplify to make the point. one side is saying we're suggesting all sorts of stuff, and the other side says we haven't seen anything. and you think, hang on a minute. how can they both be right? what's going on? this is how the uk sees it, and i've been talking to people in government this week,
saying there's all this diplomatic floundering and frippery going on. what is happening behind closed doors? so the uk has been discussing for several weeks all sorts of ideas with various member states and people in the eu commission — what's been described to me as a menu of options that is full of starters, appetisers, main courses, puddings, that they think the eu could pick from to say this is the broad basis of something which is worth talking about. and they've been trying by releasing some of these non—papers. we will ask you for an explanation in a second of the technical definition of a non—paper, just to try and get the process going. there's quite a lot of exasperation — is exasperation fair? some elements of the government machine in the uk are exasperated that they have been trying to have these conversations. i have seen david frost, the eu negotiator, his red binder on the plane with my own eyes. they have been talking about things, and they feel that what needs to happen, what they hope to be on the way, is a kind of big
political show of from leo varadkar or from angela merkel or from emmanuel macron, to say, all right, we're actually going to talk properly now. and it's a political choice to try, and i think there's been frustration on the uk side. but they haven't been blameless, but there is a frustration that up until now they have sort of been banging their head against a brick wall. the sense is some of the bricks have become a bit loose. and what has been really surprising on brexitcast over the last couple of years is how often, when we have been having these conversations, the interpretation when it is seen and read in london of the same thing can be interpreted very differently where you are. laura was talking about the david frost red binders that you can see on the plane, and yet sometimes the language coming out of brussels has sounded like — what red binders? there aren't any. so i think there's the show and the theatre, and then there's
stuff happening behind the scenes. and frankly, it's notjust on the eu side saying we have seen nothing at all. it's a bit like a toddler who is hiding behind its own hands and saying you can't see me. you know, there's been... with chocolate all over their face. so there's been an exchange of views. so it's not fair, really, when the eu says we have seen nothing. there has been some false briefing on their side suggesting that borisjohnson had no idea how to solve the checks problem in ireland. all sorts of messy stuff on this side — as there's been false briefing on the uk's side, from the eu perspective, as well. ithink, you know, if there is so much noise going on which is contradicted by either side, does this mean we will never get a deal? and i would argue, not necessarily, because what do you do before you're about to compromise? you make a lot of noise. you stand strong, you flex your muscles, because if you're going to get a deal between the eu and the uk under borisjohnson,
there is going to have to be compromise on either side, probably both sides. so they have to flex their muscles before they do it. and a really senior figure in the government this week said, as ever, it's about finding a win for everyone. so everyone who has been up on their high horse is going to have to find a way of climbing down from the saddle. but i still think it's less likely that there is a deal than likely. but there is a feeling now that there is maybe going to be a push to try. adam, i know you have to go to the taverna and you have to take the mick out of dino. of course i don't approve of any kind of stag do pranks. you are the only person in the world who can give us a really clear definition of a non—paper. it does sound even worse than "the dog ate my homework" as a kind of — what? come off it. what is it, technically? i managed to feel very smug today because everyone was saying
"non—paper — what is this word we have to grapple with?" it's old—school in brussels. non—paper is when you're in a negotiation or discussion and you want to put some ideas on the table but you don't want to commit to it as your negotiating position. you can publish a non—paper. so it's a bit like a green paper, actually, in westminster, just to make the jargon even worse. and i have to say, though, the non—papers that the uk put forward sound like they're non—new compared to what they have already been saying verbally. then we get onto a note verbale. that's another thing. in a french accent: un note verbal! i like the idea of that. adam, just promise me at the stag do you'll talk about other things as well. laughter. your non—paper banter at 1am could be quite something. amazing. the great news is though, there is a debriefing for diplomats from the 27 working
on brexit on friday in brussels, so not very long to go and of course the commission will brief out the contents of those non—papers and whether they're non—impressed or impressed. yes... so we don't have long to wait to find out what's in them. until you get your sticky paws on those non—paper pieces of paper and also before we even... unless i'm handcuffed to a lamp post! that's very true. unless, and we should say, on all of this... nothing but a non—paper... laughter. we have to say kalinikta to you now, adam, to go on your merry way. 0h, what's that mean? it means good night. or we could say kalispera which is good evening. kalispera. or you could say poly byra which would be lots of beers. you could choose any of the above, whatever you choose. i'm going to say poly byra. bye, adam. give our love. so just before we move... enjoy your discussion about the supreme court, bye. no one has ever said that to me before, ever in my life. this is brexit, it's full of firsts. can i slip one thought in there, just a tiny one... quickly, quickly. which is when you use the word exasperation on the uk side of the eu stance, let me assure you that it is shared on this side
as regards to the uk. oh, yeah. but we will be discussing this for many weeks to come. i've got to ask you both about jean—claude juncker of the european commission, because obviously he was a big noise earlier in the week when borisjohnson did his trip to luxembourg, and he's back on the telly tonight. so, jean—claude juncker has said to one of our colleagues in the westminster lobby sophy ridge of sky news, tonight, that he thinks there will be a deal and that he is not that fussed about keeping the backstop as it is as long as it can be replaced with a workable alternative. i paraphrase. but i think although other senior figures in the eu have said this kind of thing before, at this moment, with this timing, with what we were talking about, about the deep—freeze starting to thaw a bit, it's interesting and it's certainly warmer language than after his first meeting with borisjohnson on monday. they've had another phone call since then and i think, may well be
over—interpreted, as ever, but it does seems to be a bit of that mood music getting a bit cheerier, and leo varadkar, the taoiseach, also said today on the record, and he of course, as we always talk about on the news, he's the linchpin and he said the rhetoric‘s been tempered, the mood music is really good, there's still a big gap there but everyone wants to get this done. katya, i guess the question is, the timing is crucial, but how different is this from jean—claude juncker from things he's said before? frankly, not really. i think that the difference is, on the eu side, they see borisjohnson cornered in all sorts of of directions and that makes them think that this is not a man who feels he can get away with pursuing a no—deal brexit any more. he has to actively, really truly pursue a deal because that is the best
option for him right now. that's how it's seen here. and that gives room for hope on the eu side. the idea of the eu being open to replacing the backstop and not being emotionally attached... i thin he said erotically attached tonight, but anyway... 0ooooh! you could, yeah, erotically attached to the backstop? we can discuss that later, but it actually is inside the withdrawal agreement. it's nothing new, inside the withdrawal agreement it says that the backstop is the third option. in the absence of a trade deal between the two sides that would make alternative arrangements or a backstop necessary, these are the kind of conditions that you've got there. it is in the withdrawal agreement that you can replace the backstop with something else. yes, i know, but this is... this is actually not new and i think this is the eu gameplaying by saying, look, we're open, but they've said this all along. as soon as borisjohnson said he wants to bin the backstop, they said, bring it on. you bin the backstop but you have to come to us with a workable legally operable alternative. i'm ranting now, i know. but that's why these non—papers don't do it for the eu.
wow... because they want all the technical detail. both sides playing games... so i don't see this as an advance, myself. but the mood music is...you know, everyone's looking for a way forward. leo varadkar talking to the dup. politically, he cannot get away with weakening the backstop in any way but what he can say is he's working together with the dup because he's always said he totally understands the unionists in northern ireland and he wants to work with them and so on and so forth. so, i think there's movement. so what might change this in a really big way is the verdict of the supreme court when it comes. if you haven't been following the case, if you've had better things to do than watch the supreme court bundles, what's at root here is the scottish court decided that borisjohnson had acted against the law and had misled the queen by suspending parliament in order to have a queen's speech to outline his domestic programme and everybody suspected it was because he wanted to close down debate on brexit, but a court in london basically said, oh, it's none of our business.
so the supreme court has had this week argument after argument after argument on both sides and they have to come up with a verdict, probably early next week. now, it could not be more contentious. and yet you have the courts intervening and being very conscious that what they are doing is so political potentially. that's right, massive high drama. let's just have a listen to what was the most dramatic clip of the week which was by one of the advocates, the scottish advocate, would be a qc in england, but an advocate in scotland, aidan 0'neill, who was the advocate who won the case in the session in edinburgh, making this very highly—charged accusation about how borisjohnson had behaved in his finalflourish to the justices. we've got here the mother of parliaments being shut down by the father of lies.
rather than allowing lies to triumph, listen to the angels of your better nature. imagine. oof, that was quite a bit of rhetoric. i mean, it's kind of like summing up to a jury. it's like, the jury here are 11 of the most seniorjudges in the land but in terms of what actually might happens, this is one massive... we're going to go away over the weekend and we're going to find out, they say at the beginning of next week? yes. but the interesting thing, because let's be honest, i think for a lot of us who are normally in the business of covering politics... that's bad enough laughs. watching the live footage from the court. and it's still a novelty, isn't it, in the uk, seeing cameras in courts? i think the supreme court's been around for about ten years now, but seeing cameras in a courtroom is still quite something. trying to unpick it and understand it, but the essence of it... it's the new box set. yeah, exactly. bbc pa rliament‘s been usurped by supreme court. yeah, supreme court tv! no! is the range of things that the court could come back
and say and then the consequence of that in terms of whether parliament finds itself reconvened and also crucially where it leaves, politically, the prime minister. genuinely, by coincidence... 0r whether you could prorogue parliament a second time? i mean, that's already being discussed, isn't it. genuinely, just by coincidence, i have a little ready reckoner. 0h, do you? in my notes! based on a conversations i've been having this week about the different things that might happen. so, option a, the court may conclude it is non—judiciable. that is this week's equivalent of stymying. exactly, they might conclude, none of our business, thanks very much. that's that then, we are where we are and that's that. but it seems from the line of questioning it is unlikely they will go there. very stupid to speculate about supreme court justices but everyone's doing it so why shouldn't we? from the line of questioning, it seems unlikely they would go there because are they setting a precedent then that some prime minister in future might say, "i'm going to shut down
parliament for ten years" and the court said on the record and created legal precedent, oh, nothing to do with us! so option number two then comes in where they might say, actually, it is a legal concern... but then there's two avenues. right. so in theory it's a legal concern but we aren't convinced that this government and this prime minister has actually done anything terribly wrong. they don't believe something has been proven. conclusion would be the same as the other option which is things stay as they are. correct. so it wouldn't have any practical effect. then you get into the realms of if they say, well yes, it is our business and this government did do something very wrong and we are ordering them to recall parliament which then gets really complicated because if you are going to have the queen's speech earlier, there's not enough time to get the golden carriage ordered for the queen to come down whitehall and all the security arrangements and everything to be put in place. and then the final properly politically nuclear option is that the court says, yes, it is our business and the prime minister's a liar. and then i think we'd be into howls for resignation, we'd be into a sudden...
but that would be a massive political intervention from a kind of institution of the state that is usually very reluctant to be seen to be getting into politics. correct and i think that would be a constitutional crisis, to be honest. today, of course, there was all the talk about a possibly politicised queen as well. i know we don't have time to go into cameron and the queen, but you know, these are big questions. i know, i was anticipating that if we ran out of things to say, i've got the book here. laughing. picked it up at the crack of dawn this morning. had vague hopes that i'd finish the whole thing. ‘cause we always run out of things to say, don't we? we're not at all talkative. 300 and something pages long. going to start reading on page one. are you? well, we could do that for the rest of the night. so what are the big things we need to think about before next week? quickly, what are the big events happening? lots more talk‘s being stepped up here. so, all i'm going to say is borisjohnson‘s going to new york for the un general assembly and there he will see varadkar,
merkel and macron. so next week, big bananas. and the labour conference, we'll be at the labour conference and we'll definitely talk a lot about the eu policies, been loads of that this week but we don't have time to go into it now. and the lib dems, blimey! what are you doing? justjust picking out a random sentence. tightrope to walk — you could put that on any page of a political biography, couldn't you ? laughter. bye — bye! talk to you next week! adios. hello. we've got something of a change in weather type as we had through the next couple of days. the weather has been pretty warm and dry across much of the country across recent days. sunday brings some showers or longer spells of rain and things will start to feel cooler and more typically autumnal. now through the day we've got some heavy showers
working their way largely northwards and eastwards across much of the uk, followed by sunny spells for the south—west later on. only northern and eastern scotland should avoid the rain for and eastern scotland should avoid the rainfora and eastern scotland should avoid the rain for a good part of the day. 18- 23 the rain for a good part of the day. 18— 23 degrees, quite a bit cooler thanit 18— 23 degrees, quite a bit cooler than it has been recently. into sunday night, and we will eventually lose the rain from much of the uk, just lingering across northern scotland. a clearer start to monday morning, but some mist and fog patches around, and temperatures overnight down to ii— 13 degrees. through the day on monday, we start ona dry through the day on monday, we start on a dry note, but later in the day there will be more kulwin, unrein moving in from the south—west. this is the remnants of x hurricane humberto. a cooler and more u nsettled humberto. a cooler and more unsettled them over the next couple of days. bye—bye.
welcome to bbc news. i'm reged ahmad. our top stories: the row between donald trump and presidential hopefuljoe biden deepens, after reports the president pressured ukraine to investigate him and his son. i know trump deserves to be investigated. he is violating every basic norm of a president. saudi arabia warns iran it will respond with "necessary measures" to last week's attacks on its oil installations. tour operator thomas cook prepares for talks with key players