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tv   Newsnight  BBC News  March 2, 2018 11:15pm-11:45pm GMT

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no! some of these ideas depend on technology. robust systems to ensure trust and confidence as well as goodwill. as frictionless a border as possible. if this is cherry picking, then every trade arrangement is cherry picking. are we there yet? theresa may is seeking a new path through the brexit blizzard. we dedicate tonight's programme to asking if she is on the right track. good evening. a few hard facts. a bit of soft fudge. and a warning to everyone they would have to compromise. theresa may was speaking today to her own sceptics as much as she was speaking to the naysayers of europe. if everyone or no—one ends up happy, then perhaps herjob is done. the tone today was markedly different from a year ago. then, she promised us the same benefits in terms of free access to trade. today, she warned starkly that life after the single market would be different.
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less sunlit upland, more hard graft. the cake has not so much been eaten, as ground up into crumbs. and now we're just trying to squeeze them back together into something that resembles an offering. as for the ireland question, theresa may suggested the border would be as frictionless as possible. we'll explore what that means later. the pm offered herself today as a pragmatist putting options on the table. will europe's negotiators bite? here's our political editor, nick watt. august, thoughtful, though at times perhaps a little intimidating. peering down at theresa may were grand figures from the ancient world, a reminder if one were needed that the stakes are high. today, theresa may set out her vision for the uk's future relationship with the eu at the mansion house in the city of london. criticised for indulging brexit supporters, the prime minister issued a warning that they may not be entirely happy.
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i want to be straight with people because the reality is that we all need to face up to some hard facts. we are leaving the single market. in certain ways our access to each other‘s markets will be less than it is now. how could the eu structure of rights and obligations be sustained if the uk or any country were allowed to enjoy all the benefits without all of the obligations? applause so a warm reception for theresa may from the city elite who just sat through a speech which did mark a marked change in tone from the prime minister. for months she's tiptoed around brexit supporters are gently suggesting there will be challenges they'll need to accept over brexit. but today she set out what she described as a series of hard facts they will have to accept as she negotiates
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britain's exit from the eu. those hard facts about brexit are... european law will still have an effect in the uk. leaving the single market will have an impact on the economy. no take it or leave it approach on the irish border. and making binding commitments to remain in step with the eu in some areas. david davis, can i ask you going to have to use all your renowned skills asa diplomat to sell these hard facts to your fellow brexiteers? i don't think so. the simple fact is, go ask boris, ask the other brexiteers in cabinet if you like. what the centre of this is is parliament will always have a say. today the rules come down through the european parliament, doesn't really have a proper say, this time i'll have a say, and they will exercise that say in the knowledge and the consequent
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is one way or another. will it give us access or not. that is what every country will do, that's what will deliver the best outcome for britain in the long run. lest any brexit supporter fear that today marks betrayal, the prime minister warned the eu that it, too, needs to hard fa cts . herfundamental vision for brexit remains unchanged. out of the single market and customs union. no direct say for the european court ofjustice over the uk. these are balanced by a call for the uk to forge the deepest possible partnership with the eu, possibly including associate membership of some of its regulatory bodies. brexit supporters gave the speech a guarded welcome. anne—marie trevelyan, if you were prime minister is this the speech he would have given? it was a very pragmatic speech. i'm not sure i would have given it, i'm not in that position,
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i had to plough through these incredibly complex sort of departmental de—radicalise to see where we sit and what it looks like. it was a very pragmatic speech talking to our european partners. remain supporters were unimpressed. what strikes me as we are almost two years on from the european referendum on the prime minister is still trying to hammer out the details about what leaving the european union means. what struck me today was the focus wasn't on negotiations with the commission, wasn't on getting the best deal or protecting public services, it was trying to hold that fragile coalition together in the conservative party, which is being led around by the hard right. sparse, that has been the eu complaint until now, about britain's vision for its future relationship with brussels. today, theresa may fill that space. well, we did ask the government for a minister to evangelise for theresa may's speech, but nobody was available. brussels was rather more forthcoming — vice president of the european parliament mairead macguinnes
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joins me now. thanks very much for your time this evening, mairead macguinnes. this was quite conciliatory, did you find it a reasonable pitch that you could work with? well, i think i'm glad the speech was made. it's a lengthy speech that needs to be studied but it had many audiences and i think that is perhaps the most interesting point of this. much of it i think towards the conservative party. i'm glad there is some reality dawning in the brexiteers and indeed within the cabinet. as to what leaving the single market and customs union actually means. i think it needs further analysis but on balance i'm happy the speech is made. there are many areas i remain very concerned about. i do worry that the united kingdom wants to jump ahead of further negotiations of where they are at. of course we need to know what framework of relationship we will have, but i'm also concerned we haven't agreed a withdrawal text at this stage. nor a transition period.
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we now have this speech. i've always been minded to say that while speeches are important particularly in terms of the political climate the united kingdom, they are not negotiating documents. they don't match what we have at eu level. we will need a document. i want to get out of the specifics of the speech, she talked in detail about the northern ireland border, wanting to make it as frictionless as possible with technology and goodwill. does it ring the right chord for you? well, i don't see much strange really. i do welcome the acknowledgement there will be no hard border, ithink that was very important. i regret it's necessary that this has to be said but i would add concerned this is notjust a transactional issue on the border. we're not dealing with a normal border if you like, this is a border that has history and geography
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and politics behind it. there is a peace agreement that is international. i would be concerned about the idea we can have small firms, trade as they are today... that misses the point why we in the republic of ireland, this is shared by our eu partners, are so concerned there will not be a difference to the relationship we have today. what is wrong with it? i would like theresa may to think little more deeply, to think more deeply about the consequences. our shared membership of the european union has facilitated a situation where even the nationalist community can accept they are part of the united kingdom because they're free, we are all within the same space, single market customs union. even with what is in the speech today, for somebody like me who travels through northern ireland all the time, there could be an impact because of checks that may happen
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along the way. i'm trying to move beyond the idea this isjust an infrastructure or lack of issue. it's about the psychological issue. let me take you on. we don't have long. some of the other things she was talking about, the associate membership. of some of the eu agencies. is it something the european parliament, that the eu, would welcome? i think that is being pushed by industry in the united kingdom and i'm very glad to see for the first time very concrete realities again dawning in the united kingdom, that leading —— leaving regulatory agencies will impact on business in the united kingdom and patients. while there are people like norway part of many of our agencies and are valued. if the united kingdom wants that there is a price to be paid and the prime minister has acknowledged that. and there is value to be gained from that as well. i would hope on those issues
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we could make progress but it would be part of an overall package. and remember that the red lines are still very heavily red, leaving the single market and customs union. there is then a sense, adding laid out those red lines, of saying, on the other hand we like what the eu has created in a whole range of issues. as i read this it's a bit like saying, look, we want to be part of the european union but don't want to be called part of the european union. on that note we'll leave it. let's hope it move things forward and if it does i welcome that. thank you, appreciate your time, sorry to squeeze you. joining me now, cmmitted conservative brexiteer, john redwood. it feels like we're saying we want to be part of the eu but don't wa nt to call it the eu, it's everything but in name. i don't think she is understood the speech and i think the speech was primarily aimed at the european union. the prime minister rightly ended by saying, let's get on with it, a message to the european union.
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one of the problems is this ridiculous idea that you have to negotiate something called a withdrawal agreement first before you can go on to discuss your future partnership. let me bring you onto the vision in this speech. this was a very different vision, to become associate member of agencies, to carry on paying into those parts we want to belong. having to have a relationship with the ec]. the need for compromise. does that work for you? i don't think it's new at all, it was there in the lancaster house speech and the original ideas the brexiteers had. not the idea we'd be associated with all the different bodies of agencies, medicine, chemistry, aviation. during the referendum campaign we often said something like erasmus, which is a programme for students that goes beyond the eu anyway, is the kind of thing which, if they were sensible terms for doing it, why wouldn't we carry on? regulatory agency, a sort of exchange programme. i'm asking whether you find that contradictory to what you felt you were getting.
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not at all. it would have to be very clear that it doesn't put us under the control of the eu and if there is any payment, it's a proportionate payment to the cost, it would save us money setting up our own body because the other option is to set up our own body to do exactly the same thing. we would need to evaluate one against the other. very third order issue. you're trying to make problems where there aren't problems. the problem the eu now has is that every time the uk government puts forward something decent, often very generous, they throw it back in our face. they have no serious interest, it seems, in negotiating free trade agreement or a wide—ranging economic partnership. the british people are getting mighty fed up with this. why would we want to be at all generous over their so—called withdrawal agreement if there is absolutely nothing forthcoming. i hope for the sake of the country and the prime minister
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they read the speech again, realise it was asking them to engage seriously now to have a comprehensive agreement. they think she's got her head in the sand. there is no way the british parliament, the people will sign up to their withdrawal agreement, that dreadful draft they sent us, without there being something really good on the end of it. you say there is no way, you think there is still a no deal option on the table. a lot of people thought she was moving towards compromise, she was saying, it's going to be tough. it wasn't the speech she made a year ago in march when she said, we'll have that continued... the eu is moving very strongly to no deal. as you just heard it's very representative of eu responses, everything the prime minister has generously put forward or has positively put forward is too little or they don't agree. you think no deal is most likely. if they change their attitude of course we end up with no deal.
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you wouldn't mind that. i've always thought no deal gives me four of the five things as a brexiteer i want, we don't pay them any money, we can spend it all on our priorities, we can have our own trade policy and do our own trade deals. is she wasting her time? do you not want to hear all the advantages? i understand... we can make our own laws and control our own borders. i've heard the argument before. would we like free trade agreement? yes, and it is mightily in their interest as well. a deal that is better than no deal is of course possible. but if the eu is not prepared at any point to say, yes, we want a free trade deal, then these talks are going to be very difficult. do you think theresa may's red lines have gone now? when she talks about the need for compromise and hard facts and choices, do you think those red lines have been eroded now and it's up to the eu to start moving towards us? i think the prime minister has been extremely friendly and generous and positive towards the eu and she wants now some response and the country, the country needs a response from them. otherwise there won't be a deal.
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i don't think she has eroded the key red lines, she's made very clear, as the eu used to be very clear, you can't stay in the customs union and single market if you are leaving the eu. she's made it very clear we want oui’ own independent trade policy which you can't have in the or a customs union. i don't think a customs union exists. all the things mr corbyn wants are clearly non—negotiable and the eu will say no. john redwood thank you very much indeed for coming in. of course the speech theresa may made this afternoon had an eye on her european audience, reminding those we're leaving that its also in europe's best interest to keep relations as smooth and as close as possible. is that how europe sees it? the first tweeted responses from eu negotiators suggested not — and as mark urban explains, the response is unlikely to be unified. i am afraid that the uk position today is based on pure illusion. it looks like the cake fillers of a still life.
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—— cake philosophy is still alive. the warning was clear enough — don't try to cherry pick. yet that is exactly what theresa may did today. why? because many in whitehall don't quite believe the eu's rhetoric, thinking it's a negotiating stance, and that some countries want to put business ahead of dogma. those closest have the most integrated economies with the uk, but for the moment, france and ireland in particular, are taking a tough line on brexit issues. further afield, the v4 or visegrad group — poland, hungary, the czech republic and slovakia — are critical of the commission and favour a softer line on brexit. some of the scandinavians also favour a conciliatory approach, but who to lead this block of moderates when germany in particular argues that the eu's rules must be defended vigorously? quite a lot of member states to a greater or lesser extent would like a broader relationship, a deeper relationship involving more economic activity, more trade investment between the eu
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and the uk. however the british should not in my view get too excited about these nuances around the 27, because although a lot of governments as i said would like a broader relationship than that which barnier seems to be pushing for, the french and germans and the commission are very powerful, very dominant. so what are the chances of a champion emerging, to challenge the germans, in the interests of keeping trade with the uk sweet? probably quite slim. why indeed should any country want to organise others in the uk's interests? but if there is one possible pragmatist in chief, it's dutch prime minister mark rutte, who has today questioned the federalist ambitions of some in europe. the european union is not many my view an unstoppable train, the european union is not in my view an unstoppable train, speeding towards federalism.
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brexit shows that eu is not an irreversible certainty. in many member states, political parties at the centre, the centre—left, the centre—right, parties with a long—standing european tradition are under pressure. the european commission tonight praised theresa may for at least making clear she wanted a free trade agreement, rather than a version of single market membership. now, the work will begin on seeing just how ambitious they can be about that trade deal. with me in the studio the finest brexit panel you can imagine — iain dale, nina schick, paul mason and suzanne evans — to chew over the stuff we haven't yet tackled. brexit, remainers right and left. very nice of you to come to over and chew up the stuff we haven't tackled. i will give the first panelist the response, who tells me tonight, they do not feel compromised by what has been offered today? i don't feel compromised by it. took a pause, but go on.
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i only paused because when i watched the speech, i am going to be honest i found it difficult to follow. it was very complex, very detailed, lots more than any of her other speeches and it's a speech you have to read a couple of times before you get it. and i think when you have, the irish government, michel barnier, jacob rees—mogg and chuka umunna finding something positive out of it, she has probably done something right. you fit yourself in the frame of mind that says yes she has ticked the right boxes? i am not a dogmatist. i have believed in any negotiation there has to be cop promises, i have believed in any negotiation there has to be compromises, today she has said yes, we won't be able to get all we want, up to now it has been we will be able to get everything we want. it will be the same. are you there nina? this is the most interesting thing, is that reality is hitting the government in the face really
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hard, if you look at theresa may's first speech at conservative party conference in 2016, the famous citizens of nowhere speech then lancaster house and florence, when she asked for a transition at lancaster house she said the uk would be leaving the customs union and the single market. today she admitted for the first time, this is something i have been saying since 2016, there have to be trade off, there have to be compromise, the magical dream... you were glad she said that? yes, the eu will welcome that, nonetheless, there are still problems, the most fundamental issue in my view is that the issue of the irish border has not been resome evidence. ——been resolved. we have seen the massive kickback in this country to the draft withdrawal agreement. that the eu laid out, because they suggested that the fall back option for northern ireland, which has to be under pinned in law, because the eu is an international treaty organisation, under pinned by a rule book, would be that northern ireland remains in the customs union or the single market.
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of course the uk said that is not possible, i completely understand why theresa may said that,
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