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tv   BBC News  BBC News  November 14, 2018 6:50pm-7:01pm GMT

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out that the don't think we can rule out that the cabinet will have backed, i think a lot of this is because it is a conjugated document and a lot of them will be wanted to hear the legal advice from the attorney general, the government's most senior lawyer. he is in the cabinet and they will be asking him for his interpretation of what is written down in this legally binding document. so there will be a lot of that going on the cabinet minister i spoke to before they went in said that we would be expecting theresa may to go around the room, pointed to everybody in getting them to say what they want, so everyone has their say and everyone puts forward what it is they are concerned about, and they will be asking for her reassurance. we know what her message will be, we heard her say at earlier during prime minister's questions saying that you need to look at this in a national interest, not in your interests, not exactly what you wanted, this was never going to be the perfect deal, it was a lwa ys going to be the perfect deal, it was always going to be a compromise so look at it in the national interest, so she has compromised, but this is the best deal she think she can get, and now it is up to them to decide whether they can back up, and of
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course whether it goes to a vote in the house of commons. it is a bit of a best deal in the best of all possible worlds sort of deal, nobody is prepared to say it is necessarily a good deal at this stage. vicki, cani a good deal at this stage. vicki, can ijust a good deal at this stage. vicki, can i just ask you, what a good deal at this stage. vicki, can ijust ask you, what is your understanding on a timeframe at the moment? is this open—ended, this cabinet meeting, or have you been given any indication as to when it might logically come to a wrap—up and we might hear something? well, we we re and we might hear something? well, we were told initially it would be about five o'clock, so that clearly hasn't happened. we simply don't know. the idea was that it would be wrapped up so that there could be then some talks with brussels and that these documents could be put out, even talk of a press conference here, and that is not going to happen, although we still do expect the prime minister to come out and give some kind of statement once that cabinet meeting is finished, and then tomorrow she will go to the house of commons, where she will make a statement and take questions from mps, presumably again for
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several hours, and then we have to see whether sufficient progress has been made. that is what this is about, it is not about the final deal, as we know, this is about does the eu think enough progress has been made to go to that emergency summit towards the end of november which we put on a crucial vote here to the house of commons at the beginning of december. so as we feel that time towards the end of that cabinet meeting, how many of those ministers around the table in the room, word of a situation they are in the moment, going off and making a cup of coffee, probably, how many of them would you categorise as genuine possibles for saying, i am out? i think there was a lot of concern amongst those in downing street looking at a couple of cabinet ministers, particularly penny morduant, she is the international development secretary, and she has long been a eurosceptic. there were reports that she won cabinet meeting said she thought mps
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should have a free vote, that means they don't have to vote along with their government, their party, and that would be a pretty incredible state of affairs. i'm sure it's one that theresa may would not agree to, but if penny morduant is saying things like that, there are also esther mcvey, the work and pensions secretary, and again, a eurosceptic who has a cabinet voiced concerns about the direction she thought this was all going in, and the other thing that has been happening is all sorts of rumours about the triggering of a leadership contest. we have heard this for months, probably years. the mechanism is that 48 conservative mps would have to put a letter in to one of the conservative party grandees, and once that happens, it triggers a no—confidence vote in the prime minister, and which all conservative mps would take part in. if we she we re mps would take part in. if we she were to win that, she is safe for a year, they can't challenge again, but if she were to lose, then a
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leadership contest would be challenged. up until now, various mps said they had or had put in these letters, but yesterday jacob rees—mogg, a leading brexiteer, he said that up until now he is very much felt it is not about the person, it is about the polity, and he's hoping to persuade theresa may to change her policy, but last night he said he was beginning to think that if she didn't change it, those two things become very much intertwined, they are indivisible in the end, the policy and the person is the same thing, and he would have to think about whether he went forward to trying to trigger that contest. if he were to say that, then i think that grouping of mps in parliament would potentially have the numbers to do that. it's not there yet, but certainly there are mutterings, and i think that would partly because, having urged cabinet members, eurosceptic cabinet members in there, to walk away from the steel rather than back it, they might feel that that isn't happening and so they have to take things into their own hands. the rumour mill
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seems quite rife. i notice that theresa may has now become the fifth shortest prime ministerial tenure in british history, so she is improving her position all the time, and another year would bring her further up another year would bring her further up the ranks to safety. but it is interesting, because people are already, we have heard from our collea g u es already, we have heard from our colleagues the bbc political editor, laura kuenssberg, saying that that move towards trying to get a vote of confidence as early as tomorrow is growing, if anything, confidence as early as tomorrow is growing, ifanything, among confidence as early as tomorrow is growing, if anything, among the brexiteers. yes, and i think that is the case. there is a word of caution here that we have heard this before, that they are close to getting the right number of letters, 48. of course, it is a secret process, so there is only one person who knows that, that is the man who receives those letters, but he does it in confidence that he doesn't tend to tell people about it, so it is people trying to work out how many
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are in there, but if that group of mps, the brexit supporting mps, feel thatis mps, the brexit supporting mps, feel that is the only way they can change this policy, that they might decide to go down the road, but they could not be assured of winning that confidence vote. vicki, thank you very much indeed. we have had a word suggesting that theresa may may indeed emerge in the course of the next few minutes, and we will keep across that for you. we are all watching on, and i imagine all the eu ambassadors back in their homes are watching on feverishly, and keen to know more. ros atkins is in brussels for us. it is watch and wait, ros? it is, and yes, those ambassadors spent three hours at each other's company, they were givena each other's company, they were given a briefing that they weren't given a briefing that they weren't given the whole 500 pages of the d raft given the whole 500 pages of the draft agreement, but they have as you say now gone home. i have been waiting here by the european commission, and katya adler hasjust joined me, she is the bbc's europe editor. what are you hearing? not
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everyone's gone home. there are quite a few people in the building behind us watching and waiting to see if theresa may makes some kind of statement tonight after her cabinet meeting. because brussels is waiting for that, we have not yet heard of calls from michel barnier, the eu's chief brexit negotiator, and considering that a draft brexit document has now at least been shared with the uk cabinet, we would have thought we would have heard from him by now. but this is also being choreographed with london, so we are watching and waiting. in the meantime, all the heads of state and heads of government across the eu member states want to get their hands on those 500 pages. they have their concerns as well, it is not just the uk. sojust their concerns as well, it is not just the uk. so just take that on a little bit, even quite senior positions in the respective governments in the european union may not know every last detail about what the backstop will be? they do not know every last detail. in fact we heard from the french government today, they said there will be no brexit deal until the have had a
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chance to look at this document improper detail, and that is 500 pages, so that is not going to happen in the blink of an eye. and why are they doing that when they gave the mandate of michel barnier? it's because they don't trust him 150%. and why? because what we have seen here is quite a last—minute change in order to get to this point where we have a draft technical agreement, so it is on the technical not political level at this moment, the eu had to make a big concession, really, and that is when it comes to that backstop over ireland, that guarantee that there will be no hard border on the island of ireland, whatever the future relationship is between the eu and the uk. that now includes a customs arrangement between the uk and the eu, so that projects towards the future. that is not something the eu governments are planned for, and now they are worrying that it has been so hastily put together that somehow they could give uk businesses a competitive advantage over eu wants, and that is why they will look at the tiny, tiny
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print. so to understand how those worries play out, we are very concentrated today on westminster and how theresa may sells her plan to cabinet in time and to parliament, too. we are keeping a close eye on downing street, we will carry on talking about the brussels thing side of things. let's go back to you in the studio. i was itching to you in the studio. i was itching to hear the question, but we are going back over to downing street for a few moments. we are waiting, we've been told we should be prepared for a statement from theresa may shortly, and in that case we can expect her to emerge from number 10 to deliver it. those deliberations with the cabinet having going onjust shy deliberations with the cabinet having going on just shy of five hours now, and least we await some idea as to whether this draft agreement is to their... well, i was going to say liking, but that's not the right word. is acceptable to
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them or not. we have got beyond 100 days coming up in a moment, and we will keep the story going for you here on bbc news. you're watching beyond one hundred days. the british prime minister is chairing the most important meeting of her premiership — as she seeks the support of senior ministers for her brexit plan. whether they'll get on board with it is anyone's guess at this stage — the meetings been going on for five hours so far. if — and when— she gets the support of her ministers — then the prime minister has to present that draft text to parliament for it to be voted on — an even bigger hurdle. this is the scene live in downing street — where the prime minister is due to make a statement, whenever it is that that cabinet meeting finally breaks up. meanwhile, it's also a waiting game for eu ambassadors in brussels who want to see the draft deal — but won't be able to until theresa may gives the green light. also on the programme... power play in the white house — first lady melania trump wants one of her husband's security


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