tv Brexitcast BBC News September 29, 2019 12:30am-1:01am BST
this is bbc news, the headlines: tear gas and water cannon have been used by police in hong kong in violent clashes with thousands of protesters who gathered to mark the fifth anniversary of a pro—democracy campaign known as the umbrella movement. riot police dispersed protesters after activists threw petrol bombs and damaged government offices. afghanistan's incumbent president, ashraf ghani, has appealed to taliban militants to respect the people's choice in saturday's general election and end the war. the country's election commission extended voting by two hours, but turnout appears to have been low. several people died in taliban attacks on polling stations. reports in the us media say the white house has imposed unusual levels of secrecy on transcripts of some of president donald trump's calls with foreign leaders. they come as an impeachment investigation into president trump over his administration's dealing with ukraine is gathering pace in congress.
now on bbc news: brexitcast. obviously the biggest thing that happened this week was what happened in the house of commons last night, everyone‘s reactions to other things that have happened this week in politics and i watched it on my tablet, tiny, grainy, hundreds of miles away and even that was quite emotional. and today the boiling sense of anger carrying on over there. it's a horror show, you couldn't look away, didn't want to watch but you couldn't look away and it hardly ever ever ever seen mps angry. welcome to this week's brexit cost. —— brexitcast.
chris at westminster, law at westminster, adam at westminster. cutie over you should be, and brussels having watched all the parliamentary drama yesterday on my kitchen floor with my cat.” replaced it with a cat. there is similar. about last night. you obviously edging appears, was a lie? i was obviously edging appears, was a lie? iwas in obviously edging appears, was a lie? i was in the press gallery from the beginning of the statement because i wa nted beginning of the statement because i wanted to see it, given everything that's happened, borisjohnson having to be summoned back, foster got shot hisjourney having to be summoned back, foster got shot his journey to new york when he was speaking at the un, humiliated into being coming back to
parliament to face the wrath of mps after the supreme court found the government drug law. it wasn'tjust a standard appearance. parliament was meant to be sitting. this is euphoric parliament. so he got to his feet in the mood was already from the moment it began it was going to be a bruising session the labourmps, going to be a bruising session the labour mps, some were shouting, you should be injail, you missed that the queen, by the end of the planned statement borisjohnson the queen, by the end of the planned statement boris johnson had conservative mps that are right behind them, he would go to them and rip them up but then this happened. we stand here mr speaker under the shield of our departed friend, with many of us in this place subject to
death threats and abuse every single day. they often quote as words, surrender, betrayal, traitor. ifor one am sick of it. we must moderate oui’ one am sick of it. we must moderate our language and it has to come from the prime minister first. i've never heard such humbug and all my life. the prime minister first. i've never heard such humbug and all my lifelj bumped into him today in the left and the mps speaking there, and she isn't boiling with anger. in padding on the shoulder checking she was all right and the element of the 1922 committee, there was conservative mps padding into a room to meet the prime minster and we did the classical of standing outside,
holding a glass after the war. there was cheers as he went in but speaking to mps afterwards, quite a lot of those tears came from the european research group of brexit are mps and there were other mps further back in the room when sharing and asking pretty probing questions, not least about this whole business of if the premise to can come back with the deal. he's going to need help, isn't he, getting it through? he's going to have to reach out and read is behaving like last night given the response it provoked, leave that kind of strategy? is the whole problem that he used word humbug?” think that's what change the mood. that's on top of the career and a persona as a politician were boris johnson enjoys provoking and goading and enjoys the controversy and a political strategy from this which we have been talking about which is about saying brexit years on one side everyone else on the other and that old—fashioned thing of divide and conquer. the moment where he
said humbug is appearing to dismiss the very real concerns in particular female mps about their own safety this climate. absolute track that is jawdropping. teresa may try to give everything on a level, she tried to give a party together and what they did was create a pressure cooker and he's the one taking the lid offered in this conflict has to play out in order to move on. ifell echoes being dragged on this wave of emotion at the same time the way that the prime minister relentlessly going and relentlessly goading, and
ripping his own side into it, there was, it felt to me that there was an artificiality about to do a certain extent. wasn't this also as well as the divide and rule you mentioned that we are familiar with from him before wasn't there also an attempt to say it's humiliating to have to come back to this parliament. yeah. and go on the offensive, he absolutely did. certainly. i mean, it's attack is the best form of defence for this version of downing street, no question about that. and it is also the case, though, that, you know, westminster is often very, very brutal. mmm. and i think until that sort of humbug moment, it was like, oh, wow, this is a pretty punchy session! but it was really after that that... i mean, one minister said to me today, look, actually, it feels like people have lost their mind. and they said people have been broken by this issue. erm, so... and i also have to say, on the tory side of things, there's a lot also of anger and suggestion that, actually,
there's real double standards here. another mp said to me today, look, everyone's a hypocrite... mmm. ..because the same mps, a lot of them are attacking, accusing boris johnson of all sorts of things — of being a tyrant, of being a dictator, of being a liar — have been doing that for a long time. so, look, you know, it's not... it's not straightforward, but i think for a lot of people — even some people in his own government — borisjohnson did cross the line last night. so, let's see what borisjohnson's had to say about it today. mmm. i totally deplore any threats to anybody, particularly female mps, and a lot of work is being done to stop that and to give people the security that they need. 0k. but i do think it's important that in the house of commons, i should be able to talk about the surrender bill and the surrender act in the way that i did. people question that language too. well, do you really? because i think that's an important point. i think that what that act would do is take away of the government and the power of this country to decide how long it would remain
in the eu and give that power to the eu... 0k. ..and that's really quite an extraordinary thing. they're really digging in, aren't they, on the surrender bill stuff? that language that they used to describe the act that's meant to prevent a no—deal brexit. why do they call it the surrender act, in what way is it surrendering? well, their argument is it's surrendering away the capacity to negotiate, is the gist of it. because if it's still delayed, then the incentive... there's no incentive then for the eu to budge. and also, the other thing about this is, we know who's in charge in downing street — lots of people who were on vote leave. for them, i have to say, for them — and this is controversial and people hate this idea — but for them, when people are saying, "well, isn't it terrible, the surrender bill? isn't it awful?", people go, "what's the surrender bill?" "oh, well, the bill that mps imposed on the government." "0h, right." and they think, actually, this means cut—through. it's exactly like the 350 million claim during the nhs. people said it was misleading, they're being misleading with the statistics... but it sticks. ..but it got people talking. and that cuts through the noise.
and, katya, just picking up on the point you were making about the sort of mood here, some of the language from those in and around downing street today after that meeting that borisjohnson had with his mps, just very striking about how they think that a crunch point has been reached. so, yes, there are tensions, but their view that the previous government put those tensions off. so, a quick quote here from a senior government source. "this building..." — talking about parliament — "..is taking a wrecking ball to democratic politics, it's very big potatoes. a lot of people in here don't want to face the fundamentals of their environment. the last government encouraged people to avoid facing reality but, in the end, reality cannot be fooled. we're trying to get the country out of a hole, after the last government drove us into a cul—de—sac." which is a bit of a mixed metaphor, but it's not a mixed message, is it? it's very obvious what they are trying to say — that this moment had to come, at some stage. well, that's right. there are so many things that are being picked on up from those, more watching from the outside. you know, one thing that's being noted here in brussels is also just the fact that it's being dubbed by the government a surrender bill, which is reminiscent of words
from the brexit party. you know, nigel farage saying, you know, only a country that had been vanquished or beaten in war would accept something like this, you know, and so on — which makes the eu think about upcoming general election and borisjohnson possibly working with the brexit party. and a lot of calculations are going on behind—the—scenes here. borisjohnson has picked this strategy. there is no sign of number 10 pulling back from it and they believe, as you were suggesting, chris, this is like a fight that kind of has to play out in order to be able to move on. but i also think... i don't know how many mps really see how much, when people watch and hear this stuff, theyjust think, actually, the lot of you, what are you doing? mmm. and how much of a division it's drawn between different parties. yeah. right. because this, you know, this parliament is exhausted and broken and, of course, there's a political dispute over when to have an election. but this parliament is not working now. nothing is happening. they can't do anything. well, we've got an amazing insight
into what it's actually like in those corridors that i don't roam any more, thanks to somebody‘s camera phone. so, this is, we're about to listen to... so, this is karl turner... who's a labour mp. labourmpfor... hull. hull east, i think, is it? but anyway, here he is, karl turner, confronting dominic cummings. and i guess when we're talking about government strategy, brexitcasters, dominic cummings is absolutely central. the chief of staff, de facto, for the prime minister, who is someone whose name is sort of spat out by his detractors and is revered by plenty of brexiteers — i think is probably a potted summary of where he is biographically. anyway, here is said moment today. i mean, who would have thought a couple of years ago, we would be in a situation where a very senior downing street
operative is being upbraided... mmm. ..by a labour mp because he had death threats overnight... mmm. ..and the answer would be, "well, just get brexit done, then"? we have come a very long way down a very surprising path, that's very worrying for some people. but equally, wasn't it convenient that karl turner's office were there with their camera phones to film it, and then were very happy to make it available for everyone else to see? so, he wanted to make his point not in private to dominic cummings, but to the whole world. well, we're in that era now. yeah. and what about from outside parliament, if we take a step from outside parliament and the general public. and as far as i can tell,
from sort of vox—pops, and family and friends at home or whatever, people are divided about how they feel about language used by the prime minister, or how opposition mps are behaving. because it's one thing what they all think about each other, but how is this playing out in the greater public? could this be affecting the result of a general election, if it is held soon, do you think? yeah, certainly. we've just heard from the political cabinet this afternoon a briefing that actually, you know, they believe that the tory party can, you know, win in this way. and that they've done very well with their fundraising in september, we're just hearing, their most successful fundraising month ever. but this is the gamble. it's a massive gamble, is that, can you key into what's very real frustration with this whole mess, byjust being the person who says, i'm going to get it done? i don't care how it plays, i'm just going to get it done. i don't care what it takes, i'm just going to get it done.
but also in terms of how you might respond to this, downing street still wants to get a deal. but from some of the conversations i've had — and, katya, you'll have been having them all week, right? — when they look at this, you wouldn't blame them if they thought... it might be a bit difficult getting that through. it might be a bit tricky getting that through, and are they better to wait for a general election? yeah. let's talk about labour, i know you feel that it is just there, like it is ancient history, but it was just two days ago, but there is a party, having its disagreements in public. i was in the labour hall for about three hours and watching that debate, a party conference in brighton on monday afternoon, i think it was, about brexit. two and a half hours. it flew by.
it isa very open conference and there is a party having its disagreements in public. which might occasionally be unedifying for someone looking in, but it is definitely open and not all party conferences are as open as that. into the mix of course, they were not just talking about brexit, someone would pop up and talk about saudi arabia. i thought the curious thing, laura, about it, and i know that you were there as well, was that you had a of people probably, and i am guessing, probably 90—95% of whom voted remain in the referendum and probably a similar proportion would vote remain if there was another one, but having a really important and fundamental disagreement about party strategy and at what point the party is overtly for remain. they were very, very angry and very lively and also in a way that last night did in the commons, kind of turned into a loyalty test. yeah. you know, the leadership was very worried that they were going to be forced to remove immediately to backing and campaigning for staying in the eu right now.
they really didn't want to do that. the big union backers don't want... well, unite doesn't want that, and their strategy for stopping the policy being approved was basically to turn it into a loyalty test forjeremy corbyn. you could tell that straightaway, because even me, not steeped in what is going on in labour at the moment, because i live in another country, as soon as... listen to me, chris! of course i do. as soon as you had the people proposing composite 13, which is the name for the motion. lucky for some. yes. and that was the one about, we should go into the next election and there should be a referendum and we should unequivocally campaign for remain. there was a fairly large cheer, because of course, loads of people there support remain. then people came on to propose composite 14. we will negotiate a deal and i will be on the table for a referendum and we will have a remain option too and we will decide later which one
we support. the clap that back got was enormous, because their payoff for making the pitch was, if you do not support this, you do not love jeremy corbyn. you could tell from the first four minutes of the debate, this is the way it was going, because that hall was full ofjeremy corbyn supporters. we spent the entire afternoon predicting when we would get the result of the so—called card vote. i even looked up the rules to see when a card vote was triggered. in the end it went something like this, didn't it, a show of hands. a bit of a moment. chaos. all those in favour of composite 13, thank you, and all those against. cheering. sorry, i thought it was one way and, jenny said something else, so that was lost. it was in my view, it was carried. it was lost. i know. sorry, sorry, sorry. listen, i'm getting... it was lost. sorry, sorry. and of course jenny
who she is referring to there isjen formby, the secretary of the labour party, sat next to her and then appeared to tell her what the result was, which was different from the one that she witnessed with her own eyes. and some people were saying, hang on a minute, if we had, firstly, how on earth do you work out exactly how many hands were up and secondly, you could vote a different way, away from the peer pressure of yourjeremy corbyn—loving neighbour, if you can cast your vote in private. well, earlier on, i sat in someone's seat in an earlier debate and did a show of hands and thought, what if i put my hands up? they need a slightly better voting system here. and then it was a discussion the next day about, oh, it should be moved to electronic voting at labour conferences? bring it into the 20th century. there was a lot of angst and stuff behind the scenes as well about it being packed and also about unison and delegates not turning up and unison was the union that said they would back the pro—remain, very co ntroversially, because although it went through and jeremy corbyn got the backing, it is worth noting that they had a pretty tricky
conference to start with. a row about trying to get rid of tom watson and it is a big deal for one of the big unions, the biggest union right now, actually, unison, to have broken with the leadership on that. so that is not a happy camp either, the tories of course will have their conference next week, it will be a bit strange, because parliament will still be sitting, but they will also have their own kind of rigmarole in manchester. good news for train ticket sellers. very good news. someone in the cabinet said to me today, it is a nightmare, i will have to spend £170 in the morning to get there and then £170 to get back and then another £170. i think ministers and people... grant shapps is the first transport secretary to have a plane. get that! goodness me.
that is quite something. i wonder what else he has got. he has got a segway. i think he would have mentioned it because he likes talking about novel transport. i have a suspicion he would have heard. now that mps are back and they are sitting, what are they planning to do exactly? they have got the benn act and the law that the prime minister has to act foran extension if there is no deal agreed before mid—october. do they do another one? i asked the party leader exactly this yesterday, what was the plan and there was this guffaw of laughter followed by, when the ball lands, we will kick it. in which accent? that would rather give it away. adam and katya, what do you think people on the other side of the channel are making of all of this palaver? all of this anger. i had about 50 coffees in brussels this morning, alljittery like this, it doesn't mean that i have any information, as does katya, so,
what do you make of it? the feeling here and across the capital really is, there is no way, like, no way, that a deal is going to get done by mid—october. so, you know the eu is already thinking, they have said that time is ticking and so on, if you are looking at the mid—octobersummit, there is not much time left for negotiations, because before summits, before leavers sit down together, there is a whole load of preparatory meetings, at a lower political level before that and the leaders would want to see the text of an agreed new brexit deal between the eu in the uk before that. they could then present that to their parliament, many of them, before they would come here to brussels and say to borisjohnson, yes, we have actually done it and for so many reasons, nobody thinks that is going to happen. so people here are talking about extension, what might happen, whether borisjohnson will ask for one. if he won't ask for one, if they get two different requests, one from borisjohnson saying i am not asking for one and one from the courts saying, we are demanding, it is our law that we are asking for one and what they might do. that is sort of the background chatter in the eu is how they will get around that extension,
sort of quandary and i think, what is paining them at the moment is they really wanted to keep out of the domestic mess and where they are going to find themselves possibly sandwiched between parliament and the prime minister, over the subject of an extension at the summit. adam, the way the uk government... but as the clock goes down and after the fiasco last night, they are very well aware the chance is that it will probably be going down, but there is still this very strong belief that basically it is a political choice now for the eu, whereas do they say an election is coming, so let's wait? or do they say, actually, borisjohnson might have a better chance, probably theoretically has a better chance than theresa may of getting a deal through? it is worth having a pop? do they see it like that? well, i was talking to someone over my many coffees this morning, about that, and they said,
there is such a hunger to do a deal, or there was such a hunger to do a deal that maybe the impossible would have become possible a couple of weeks ago. one of the clues about whether that would have happened, papers that the uk is putting on the table in these very secret technical talks in brussels over the last few weeks. have you seen more of them? yes, but the problem is, for the eu, the papers have not come up to scratch. they think they are, frankly, quite rubbish. that is the technical term for it. they are a bit pants. and the uk is pursuing this sort of thing and the eu says this sort of thing is acceptable and they are not getting closer together. if they had been getting closer together and then maybe borisjohnson pulled a rabbit out of a hat at the tory conference, that sealed the deal, then maybe we would be looking at a new deal. but the fact that those papers and the technical work that the eu has been finding is disappointing, plus what happened in parliament and that is why you get people
telling katya that the chances of a deal now are zero. and i know it sounds boring to say that the homework the uk turned up with wasn't good enough, that is how they feel. let's really not get into the technical details any more, because we are running out of time. but someone told me this morning that there had also been outrage because in the non—paper papers, one of the suggestions was that the eu would have to change some of their roles in order for it to work, so it is notjust, we don't like your rules, and they would like to have a pick—and—choosey kind of style, a thing for the all ireland zone, sorry the sps, but it is also that they would actually require changing the rules, so it is not looking good, is it? it isn't really, is it? no way, no way, is what i remember from you, katya. one thing to remember for the diary is, we are focused on the prime minister's timetable and also now, the law, which says there has to be a deal by that mid—october eu leader summit, but the eu sees this differently. its timetable is up to the 315t of october, because that is the legal date where the uk will be leaving the eu unless there is another extension, so even if there is a drama
at the summit and quite a few people here i am talking to predict a kind of drama at the summit, that doesn't mean it is all over. it means that there might still be residual possible maybe, maybe, maybes, up until the 315t. and there is another thing that has been starting to do the rounds today in brussels, this idea that this is actually going to take us a lot longer. now of course they knew that the trade talks, remember when we used to talk about them? the trade talks, the free trade agreement, that we would end up with a closer partnership. at the end of april, 2019? that that would take a couple of years and people said maybe even five or six years. ivan rogers said ten. now it is looking at how divided parliament is and looking at the tone of what's going on in britain and thinking, britain is going to be going through this for way, way longer and actually, rather than thinking on the eu side, how do we manage a no—deal brexit, it's like how do we manage the uk that is going through this, perhaps for another ten or 15 years as their nearest neighbour? yeah, probably there will be
an election quite soon, so maybe it might not be like that. maybe it will. never mind your spss. let's talk about the brexit monster. oh, yeah, this is our old friend. what? the brexit muppet from the netherlands. the giant... the prime minister of the netherlands? no. if you were listening or watching, the prime minister of the netherlands, we do not think you are a muppet. he is always very friendly and always comes to talk to the bbc and he is always very friendly and always comes to talk to the bbc cameras, so i will not have that kind of language. anyway, the dutch have this brexit muppet. he had that award. he did, didn't he? i never have. the dutch have the brexit muppet who is this big furry blue guy, about seven and a half feet tall. an actual guy? well, it could be a gal, but it is a person in a costume, i think. sorry to spoil the illusion. can we have a look? are the monsters copying us, because he has got a podcast? yeah, well, so it started out, this was just an advertising campaign to get dutch citizens to get ready for brexit, now it has gone out of control.
this brexit muppet has published a glossy book which became available today. what? featuring multiple photos of him or her in strange positions, like interrupting a fruit picking, manufacturing line. there will be a brexit muppet kama sutra. .. not only that, there is now a brexit muppet podcast, i believe, in this brochure. there is a picture of him with some headphones on. what is his voice like? i don't know. does he speak dutch? does he speak dutch or does he speak, i don't know, esperanto? then one of my dutch contacts said, oh, and we have got a computer game for him as well and i thought, wow, then i did the computer game. it is basically a check list in dutch for importers and exporters about how to get the goods ready, with pictures of this brexit monster, like, loading boxes, filling in a form and i am sure... i was expecting, like, mario kart, donkey kong, yeah, yeah... no, sorry. sorry, netherlands. you see these videos for airlines,
where they try to make it fun, but not that much fun. so ijust think... does it have a name? i don't think so, there is lots of speculation about who is in the costume. there is something scary about brexit monster. do you speak dutch? i don't, no. but this is your area of expertise, it is part of your patch. thanks everyone. we will see you next week. that was a lot to chew over and we have also chewed over some of it already in our emergency podcast which we have done throughout the week, which you can get on bbc sounds, if you want to get even more of the details behind this stuff, you can listen to us talking about it on them. for forever, yes, there will be many more. i did say it was going to take 15 years, didn't i? you did, yeah. i just said bye—bye to try and shut you up, really. bye! see you next week. brexitcast. from the bbc.
this is bbc news. i'm reged ahmad. our top stories: marking five years since the umbrella protests — hong kong's democracy movement takes to the streets for another night of clashes with police. five years ago the umbrella movement began on this spot, they gained no political concession. that's why these people say theirfar more militant tactics are justified. votes are being counted in afghanistan after an election marked by low turnout and attacks on polling centres. special secrecy for president trump's conversations with foreign leaders, leads to questions about his international dealings. and christian coleman, is the fastest man of the year —