tv BBC News at Ten BBC News November 20, 2019 10:00pm-10:31pm GMT
tonight at ten, prince andrew steps down from royal duties because of the intense controversy over his links with a convicted sex offender. the prince, who's 59, acknowledged this evening that thejeffrey epstein scandal had become a "major disruption" to the royal family. it follows his widely—criticised interview with bbc newsnight last week, when he said his friendship with epstein was not a matter of regret. do you regret the whole friendship with epstein? um... now? still not. we'll have the latest from buckingham palace on how this decision was made, and the more contrite tone from the prince this evening. more from nick in a moment as we report on the wider implications of
the prince's decision. also on the programme tonight. on the campaign trail on teesside, borisjohnson holds out the prospect of major changes to national insurance. and in london, the lib dems publish their manifesto, pledging to stop brexit if they're elected. at the impeachment inquiry in washington, a us diplomat says he followed donald trump's orders to put pressure on ukraine to investigate a political rival. and the special one is on the move again. this time it's to spurs, where he's signed a four—year deal. and coming up on sportsday on bbc news, it's a winning start for great britain in the revamped davis cup, beating the netherlands 2—1 in their opening group game. good evening. prince andrew, who's been
engulfed in controversy because of his links with the convicted sex offenderjeffrey epstein, has announced he will not undertake any royal duties "for the foreseeable future". the prince, who's 59, acknowledged that the epstein scandal had become a "major disruption" to the royal family, following his widely—criticised interview with bbc newsnight last week. he said he deeply sympathised with epstein‘s victims, and that he unequivocally regretted what he called his "ill—judged association" with the man who took his own life in prison in august this year. our royal correspondent nicholas witchell has the story. driving himself into buckingham palace yesterday, the only sighting of prince andrew since the newsnight interview was broadcast. hostility towards him has shown no sign of listening. "poison prince" and "pariah prints" listening. "poison prince" and " pariah prints" were just listening. "poison prince" and "pariah prints" were just too much of the newspaper headlines this morning. at the same time, sponsors
of his various initiatives and charities have continued to distance themselves from him. all this in response to a notably misjudged interview in which he failed to find either the right tone all the right words to respond to his association with jeffrey epstein. tonight, words to respond to his association withjeffrey epstein. tonight, he and buckingham palace accepted that his position had become unsustainable. in a statement, prince andrew said, "i have asked her majesty if i may step back from public duties for the foreseeable future and she has given her permission". he went on, "i continue to unequivocally regret my ill judged association withjeffrey epstein. i deeply sympathise with eve ryo ne epstein. i deeply sympathise with everyone who has been affected. i can only hope that in time they will be able to rebuild their lives". and finally and significantly, "of course, iam finally and significantly, "of course, i am willing to help any appropriate law enforcement agency with their investigations if required". the tone was notably
contrite, something of a contrast to saturday night's broadcast. any sense now of guilt, regret or shame about any of your behaviour in your friendship with epstein? as far as mr epstein is concerned, it was the wrong decision to go and see him in 2010. do i regret the fact that, that he has quite obviously conducted himself in a manner unbecoming? yes. unbecoming? he was a sex offender. yes, i'm sorry, i'm being polite was not for the queen, fulfilling royal duties tonight on this, her 72nd wedding anniversary, it must be both upsetting and unwelcome. andrew has always enjoyed her particular support but by this morning, it will have become evident that his position was untenable. thus, for the first time, one of her own immediate family has been forced by public opinion to step back. i've never seen by public opinion to step back. i've never seen such by public opinion to step back. i've never seen such a by public opinion to step back. i've never seen such a reaction to a royal interview. i mean, there
haven't been that many royal interviews but the reaction was just so interviews but the reaction was just so condemnatory and he came across so so condemnatory and he came across so badly. not once did he express regret for those, or sympathy for the victims of epstein's behaviour. buckingham palace will be hoping that andrew's statement and his withdrawal from public duties will stem the criticism. they will be hoping, too, that the eksteen allegations have now run their full course. “— allegations have now run their full course. —— eksteen allegations. and nick is at buckingham palace. when we think about the magnitude of this decision for the palace, what light can you shed on the way the decision came about?|j light can you shed on the way the decision came about? i think the palace has undoubtedly been taken aback by the sheer intensity of the negative reaction. they have been behind the curve, really for the past two days, discussions began yesterday involving andrew, the queen, the prince of wales, who has beenin queen, the prince of wales, who has
been in new zealand, and senior officials, a decision finally taken today, unprecedented, of course. now what does it mean in practical terms? andrew, i'm told, is not resigning any of his patron edges but if charities want to find a new patron, i am told that will be fully understood. he will not be carrying out any public engagements but he will still attend what are called royal family events, such as trooping the colour or remembrance sunday. he is, of course, the honorary colonel of the grenadier guards. but by the time those events ta ke guards. but by the time those events take place, it is hoped, injune or november next year, that this will all have blown over. in your report, you underlined again that the tone of today's statement was far more contrite than the remarks made in the bbc newsnight interview. then we have this interesting phrase today that he will be stepping down for the foreseeable future. what do you understand by that? yes, the change of tone is the most striking thing, i think, the regret and the cooperation with the us authorities. the foreseeable future, i don't think they know. i think it depends
on what emerges from those investigations in the united states that he says, "of course, i will cooperate with", and it depends what emerges in this country from various media organisations. i know that the bbc panorama programme has a programme going to air in a few weeks' time, for example. the final note on his funding, he does not receive any public funding, his money comes privately from the queen. thank you, nicholas witchell, our royal correspondence at buckingham palace with the latest. election news now. borisjohnson has proposed major changes to national insurance, which could amount to a multi—billion—pound tax cut if the conservatives win the election. the current threshold applies national insurance contributions when someone earns at least £8,628 a year. mrjohnson says he would raise the threshold to £9,500, which would mean a tax saving of around £85 a year for every worker. and mrjohnson claimed the threshold might eventually rise to £12,500, which would mean a tax saving of more than £450
a year. our deputy political editorjohn pienaar looks at the implications of the plans and how realistic they are. borisjohnson has a big job in this election, win round the hard hat vote, the working class support he needs on polling day. out campaigning today, promising lower taxes wasn't enough. you said low tax. do you mean low tax for people like you or low tax for people like us? i mean low tax for people, for the working people. we are going to be cutting national insurance up to 12,000. a taste, then, of tax cuts for all, including lower earners, but the £12,500 starting rate for national insurance would be phased in over years. there would be an immediate increase to £9,500, worth £85 a year, say, from next april. if the conservatives were to raise the national insurance threshold this far, it would not leave them with much space at all, really, for additional spending increases or tax cuts elsewhere.
they have said they want to balance the current budget. this would use up all of the headroom they have got. borisjohnson's tax promise echoed a pledge made during his party leadership campaign. his opponents, as you would expect, were not impressed. borisjohnson is throwing around spending pledges and tax cuts like confetti. but he's not telling you how he's going to pay for it. and given that his proposals for brexit will undermine our economy and reduce growth, these pledges are completely unbelievable. well, it is a regressive tax. yes, of course some people will benefit from this but the very well—off will benefit even more than those people on low incomes. labour says the tory tax promise fails to make up for what it calls ten cruel years of cuts. let's not get over the top on this particular policy. and after ten years of austerity, if this is all the government have got to offer, they are falling way short of what they need to do. the giveaways keep coming.
mrjohnson has also promised more tax cuts for higher earners as well, recently. the signs are that will have to wait. either way, so far, this election has been about ending austerity and pleasing voters. worrying about how to pay for those promises? that comes later. the pm has been good at grabbing attention, but attention and trust aren't the same thing. borisjohnson wants and needs both. john pienaar, bbc news. our economics editor faisal islam is here. i think it's fair to say this policy emerged in a slightly unusual way today, not in a formal campaign way initially. what do you make of the figures and the claims they are making? as it was explained, an enterprising member of the public managed to extract it from the prime minister, that would have been an incredibly radical policy, levelling up incredibly radical policy, levelling up the rate at which workers start to pay national insurance with the income tax level, it would cost
billions, nearly £10 billion and would have been a hefty tax cut for millions and millions of workers. what has transpired as to what will actually be in the manifesto tomorrow is more modest than that. it has been described to me as a down payment, as you explain, an increase of just down payment, as you explain, an increase ofjust under £1000 in the threshold to £9,500 which means a tax cut from now of about £100, but actually, taking into account the inflation would have lifted the threshold a bit anyway, it is £85, costs about £2 billion. it is a big ambition from the prime minister, no timeframe being put on the £12,500 number but actually what is going to be in the manifesto tomorrow is a pretty modest £2 billion tax cut. we will talk to again later but for now, thanks a lot. with just over three weeks to polling day, the liberal democrat leader jo swinson has launched her party's ma nifesto. there's a promise to stop brexit and to build what they call a new future for the uk inside the european union. the party claims that staying in the eu will give a £50 billion boost to spend on public services.
and on climate change, they're setting a target of generating 80% of our electricity from renewable sources by 2030. our political editor laura kuenssberg has more details. the voice of remain, jo swinson! how she wants to make a big entrance onto the national stage. why she believes the lib dems matter. we are the only party that can win a significant number of seats from the conservatives and deprive them a majority. applause but while the nightclub's different enough to the other parties, can stopping brexit at all costs really appeal? the manifesto calls brexit a national humiliation. is that a way to describe what was a democratic decision? i do believe it has become a national embarrassment for our country. when, you know, you speak to people in other countries looking at us, and they look at us with puzzlement. but what message do you think that sends to a leave voter, who mightjust have heard you say that? very candidly, you are seeking
to overturn what was a narrow, but clear, decision, taken by the majority of voters in this country. so, i recognise that the vote in 2016 had that result. the people who want brexit don't agree on what brexit looks like, and what that leads me to be concerned about is, i don't think there is a majority in this country for any specific form of brexit. and that is why i think it is very worrying to embark on a path that the government's analysis says will make us poorer, if we don't even have confidence that that is what a majority of the population actually want. a few weeks ago, you said you were a candidate to be prime minister. do you say now that's still really the case? i'm the liberal democrat candidate to be prime minister. not a single vote has been cast in this election, people still do have a genuine choice. i recognise that that is a big step to take from where the polls look like they are right now. i'm not going be deterred from my vision for our country. can you level with people now
and admit that it is extremely unlikely, unless something very odd happens in this campaign? it's certainly possible. and, you know, politics is about, you know, trying to achieve change. if there's no majority, you could have an extremely influential role on the morning of friday the 13th of december. now, at the moment, as things stand, would you countenance working in any way with a government led byjeremy corbyn, yes or no? we're not putting jeremy corbyn into number 10 with liberal democrat votes, nor will we put borisjohnson into number 10 with liberal democrat votes. it is one thing to say liberal democrat mps would not vote for a government programme of borisjohnson orjeremy corbyn. would you actually block either jeremy corbyn or borisjohnson from forming a government? yeah, i do not want to see either of them form a government. that's not my question. but what i'm saying to you, laura, is that i think we should be more imaginative about what happens. you have mps in those two main parties who do not necessarily themselves agree with their own party leadership.
what, are you suggesting there could be some kind of government of national unity the morning after, if there's no majority? i mean, you know, i don't rule that out as an option. wow, you're doing times tables! beyond brexit, it's an ambitious and expensive manifesto. an extra 10 billion a year for schools in england, thousands of extra teachers, a stretching target on cutting emissions, and a special tax to be spent on health and care for the elderly. the lib dems are still controversial. now, you can't be sure that these numbers will add up. there is wide agreement that our economy will be bigger if we remain in the european union, and we have taken a cautious end of those estimates to calculate our remain bonus, and we are being honest about the need to raise more money through taxation. whether that's on corporation tax, putting that up to 20%, or whether that's a penny on income tax for the nhs, to fund our spending promises too. a few weeks ago, it felt the lib dems could be heading for a much bigger platform.
her role, though, may ultimately be not about what she would do — instead, who she would choose. laura kuenssberg, bbc news, london. among the pledges outlined by the lib dems today were a promise of free childcare for children of working parents from nine months old. there are plans to recruit 20,000 more teachers and they're promising to make significant improvements to mental health services. our chief political correspondent vicki young reports from cornwall — where the lib dems are trying to win seats from the conservatives. there's an election on but there's still plenty of time for seasonal celebrations. tonight, the streets of truro were lit up by hundreds of handcrafted lanterns. this was the only part of cornwall that voted to remain in the eu. but what will be on the minds of the volunteers behind this event when they go to the polls? i think there's more to the country than just brexit.
i think a lot of things need to be considered. education — i'm a teacher, or an ex—teacher — but also, the lack of funding in education and the nhs. for me, brexit is important. i feel it's very sad that we are turning our back on europe. so the liberal democrats saying that they would stop brexit if they could or at least have another referendum, does that appeal to you? yes, that appeals to me. the liberal democrats are confident of making progress in cornwall and the rest of the south—west, but they do face a tough challenge in many areas. there was a time when every seat in cornwall had a liberal democrat mp. today, they are all conservative, plus labour has performed far better in recent general elections, which means the lib dems need a spectacular turnaround if they are to gain seats like truro back again. this brewery is proud of its cornish ale and sells it to pubs all over the country. the business is doing well but the owner's worried about the economy slowing down after yea rs of uncertainty over brexit. so how is the lib dems' pro—eu message going down here? i voted for remain, for the very
reason that i wanted stability. now i am not so sure because ijust think we need to get out. upstairs in the office, most think this election will be dominated by brexit. the lib dems have got a very clear message on brexit. do you know what that message is and is it something that appeals to you? yes, they will revoke article 50. i get that, they need a usp and that is their usp. whether people believe it, i think it's too little, too late, for them. i don't want another referendum. i think that's totally wrong. we voted once. that's the way we should go. i think that we would be better off remaining. they have a very strong message on that, the liberal democrats. they do but i don't know how much i trust them. but they are... and i don't know how much power they have got to be able to make that change. the lib dems' election strategy depends on voters choosing them in order to register anger over brexit, something that might not work in leave areas in the south—west.
vicki young, bbc news, truro. so how would the liberal democrats pay for the pledges they're making? our economics editor faisal islam is back with us to look at the figures. the liberal democrats have set out fairly significant plans to change spending and taxation over the next parliament. uniquely, they're aiming to tax more than they spend day—to—day — tighter than both labour and the conservatives. that message underlies all these numbers and is one reason why, for example, the lib dems will be the only major party promising a 1p rise in income tax, including the basic rate, raising £8 billion a year. there's over £15 billion business tax rises on corporation and capital gains tax. now, this one's interesting. £5 billion extra from air passenger duty, but the party plans to make it cheaper for most holiday makers, meaning massive rises of hundreds of pounds per flight for some frequent fliers. the lib dems once again say
£1.5 billion can be raised from legalising and taxing cannabis. but here's something you don't often see. almost all these revenue increases are connected in the manifesto with specific spending rises. that last tax on cannabis goes to the police. the air passenger rise is connected to funding the fight against climate change. business taxes on extending childcare and free school, childcare and free school meals, and the income tax hike is for the funding pressures on health and social care. the message being that prudence has a purpose. the lib dems think the public want honesty about the inevitable costs of funding pressures from, say, an ageing society. the biggest source of extra revenue is from stopping brexit, the "remain bonus". that's tax revenues arising from a prediction of a larger economy. that's £50 billion over five years that goes to 20,000 extra teachers and welfare support. but how would such ring—fencing work?
fewer teachers from a smaller remain bonus? less police support if cannabis revenues fall short? it couldn't actually be earmarked as the lib dems have said. as well as this sort of day—to—day spending, the lib dems will invest much more, £130 billion in big green projects such as rail electrification, and also further education colleges. less than labour, more than the conservatives. it's a manifesto that retains some of the tough austerity message at a time when others are parking that concern, it's a bet that the public prefers hard truths to easy promises. huw. faisal islam, our economics editor, thank you. the electoral commission is urging parties to campaign responsibly, after twitter accused the conservatives of misleading the public. they were responding to a move by the conservative media team, during last night's televised debate, to change the name of their twitter account to that of a fact checking service. twitter said it would take "decisive corrective action" if a similar
stunt was attempted again. a senior us diplomat has told the impeachment inquiry into donald trump that he was following the president's orders when he urged ukraine to investigate mr trump's political rival, joe biden. gordon sondland, the us ambassador to the eu, said it was "abundantly clear" that us military aid was withheld from ukraine to try to make the investigation go ahead. that claim is central to the impeachment case against mr trump that he misused his public office for personal political gain, but today the president again denied any such link. impeachment — the start of the process to remove a president from office — must first be approved in the lower house of congress — the house of representatives. a two—thirds majority is then required in the senate, to remove the president. our north america editor jon sopel reports. the day a simmering pot boiler
became a blockbuster drama, with this unlikely character as the leading man. gordon sondland, a wealthy hotelier, was made ambassador to the european union on the strength of a $1 million donation to donald trump's inauguration committee. now he'd come under oath to eviscerate the president's account of his dealings with ukraine. i was acting in good faith. as a presidential appointee, i followed the directions of the president. we worked with mr giuliani because the president directed us to do so. we had no desire to set any conditions. set any conditions on the ukrainians. the president has denied repeatedly there was a quid pro quo, or as democrats now call it, bribery. in other words, unless the ukrainians delivered what donald trump demanded, vital military aid and a white house meeting would be withheld. was there a quid pro quo? as i testified previously
with regard to the requested white house call and the white house meeting, the answer is yes. and according to sondland, everyone was in on the plan — the president, the vice president, secretary of state, chief of staff. they all knew what was going on. everyone was in the loop. it was no secret. everyone was informed via e—mail on july 19th, days before the presidential call. but one important source of comfort for the white house — sondland said he never heard directly from the president conditioning aid on an enquiry into the bidens, and that's been seized on by the president, who had his script lines carefully prepared. ready? you have the cameras rolling? i want nothing! that's what i want from ukraine. that's what i said. i want nothing! i said it twice. gordon sondland was faced with a binary choice in his evidence today.
tie himself to donald trump, be vague about the decisions made and hope forfuture protection. or he could throw the president and his personal emissary, rudy giuliani, under the bus and take the vice president and secretary of state with them. he chose option two. it's hard to believe he will be eu ambassador for much longer. jon sopel, bbc news, washington. iran's president, hassan rouhani, has claimed victory following a deadly crackdown by security forces on protests over petrol price rises. amnesty international says it has received credible reports that at least 106 people have been killed since the protests erupted on friday, but it's believed the death toll could be far higher. effo rts efforts to form a coalition government in israel have collapsed again two months after the most recent general election. prime
minister benjamin netanyahu's main challenger benny gantz said he had been unable to form an administration by the deadline just past. speaking at a news conference, benny gantz accused mr dirt on yahoo and his allies of following personal interest over country. —— mr netanyahu. the uk and china are engaged in a diplomatic dispute tonight, following claims by a former worker at the uk consulate in hong kong that he was tortured by the chinese secret police. simon cheng was detained for 15 days during a business trip to mainland china in august. in the first broadcast interview since his release, mr cheng has told the bbc that his interrogators accused him of orchestrating hong kong's political unrest on behalf of the uk government. mr cheng has been speaking to our china correspondent john sudworth. the chinese authorities have long claimed that the crisis in hong kong, still raging this week, is being driven by foreign meddling. now, simon cheng says he has seen first—hand how much they want to prove it.
so your hands are cuffed and they hang you on something? held in this detention centre for 15 days, he says he was accused of inciting hong kong's unrest on behalf of the british government. the uk's hong kong consulate, where he worked as a trade and investment officer, is now at the centre of an escalating diplomatic row.
we are outraged by the disgraceful mistreatment that mr cheng faced when he was in detention in mainland china. i summoned the chinese ambassador to see me and we have made clear not only that this is outrageous and disgraceful behaviour, but also that we expect the chinese authorities to review and to hold to account those responsible. china's reaction was equally forthright. translation: the chinese ambassador will summon the british side to express our anger. we hope the uk will stop interfering in china's affairs or it will eventually harm british interests. simon cheng was detained after an event at this chinese conference centre, just over the borderfrom hong kong, and he claims he saw other hong kongers in custody.
for a protest movement that began with concerns about china's legal system, such claims will cause deep alarm. china may have been looking for proof that the uk is somehow inciting these protests. but the irony is, of course, simon cheng's account of his treatment in chinese custody is itself a kind of incitement, proof for these mask clad protesters, preparing for battle, that their freedoms are being eroded under chinese rule. simon cheng has had to resign. the uk views his exposure to chinese state security as too much of a risk. and he is living in fear. he told me his interrogators said if he spoke out, they would find him. john sudworth, bbc news, beijing.
jose mourinho has been named as the new spurs manager, a matter of hours after last night's sacking of mauricio pochettino. mr mourinho, the former boss of chelsea and manchester united, praised the quality of spurs' squad and their "world class" stadium, as our sports editor dan roan reports. he brings trophies, but often trouble too. for almost a year, jose mourinho has been on the sidelines, but now, in a move that surprised many, one of football's most divisive figures is back. tottenham hotspur today unveiling the portuguese coach as their new manager. mourinho's appointment came less than 12 hours after the sacking of mauricio pochettino. in his five and a half years at the club, the hugely popular