08/06/2016 Newsnight


What do we know about how the country will vote? What went on at BHS? The human trafficker who may be falsely accused. With Emily Maitlis.

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Tonight - as the voter registration deadline is extended, we ask


what we know about the demographics of how the country will vote.


We speak to the polling expert prepared to put himself on the line


and call it with two weeks to go - and to Labour's Harriet Harman.


And we're in Cardiff conducting our own extremely


Well, I'm just wondering whether I could offer


I've not voted in bureaucrats in Brussels.


He basically said, "It's my business, I can do what I want."


I'm going to come down there and kill you.


The commons select committee hears allegations of death threats


and serial lying from the men who've been at the top of BHS.


We talk to the pensions minister Ros Altman.


Does she understand what went wrong?


An Eritraen man is extradited to Italy on allegations


It's the first arrest of its kind in the migration crisis,


but tonight suggestions surface they may have the wrong man.


Everybody is saying this is my friend, my childhood friend.


He's just a refugee from a camp in Sudan in 2015.


Around this time last night - just an hour before the deadline -


the crashing of the website for voter registration sent those


wishing to sign up for the EU referendum poll into something


Popular wisdom believes late registration favours the Remain camp


- with those for Brexit long energised and already signed up.


Impossible to prove of course - before the 23rd of June -


but when the deadline was extended until tomorrow night,


it led to voices from the Leave camp warning it was on the 'cusp


This referendum is a moment when every


the safe seats of a general election do not exist -


and tonight, we're exploring what that means for the campaigns.


First to our Political Editor, Nick Watt.


Egg dramatic developments since the website crashed last night and we


reported it on Newsnight. The government realised they had to grab


hold of this one quickly, so we will see the introduction in Parliament


of emergency secondary legislation, allowing for what you were talking


about, the extension of the deadline to tomorrow night. The Leave


campaign were initially suspicious, thinking it might be a ruse by the


government to increase the size of the electorate to the advantage of


the Remain campaign. The official vote Leave campaign had been


operating on the basis of a low turnout. Aware of the danger of


appearing like conspiracy theorists, they have come out and say they


wholly were open this. And they have made a virtue of it saying, if you


want to get turkey out the European Union, even more people can vote


leave. We have a defection, we haven't had a defection in politics


for some time. Doctor Sara Woollaston, the independent minded


conservative MPs Totnes has announced that she is moving from


vote Leave to Remain. She is unamused by the vote Leave campaign


that Britain spends ?350 million a week to the European Union, the net


figure is a third of that. The second reason is she says there


would be a penalty on the NHS if we left because it would hit the


economy and of course she is a GP. And looking back at this extension


to the deadline, we don't know, but is there a sense that this would


genuinely favour one side over another? What is your gut feeling?


The government says it is acting entirely selflessly, and doing this


to promote democracy, transparency and openness, but there is no doubt


the smiles were on the Remain ministers today, because as you say


they believe that if you get a higher turnout, then you are more


likely to have voters who don't wake up every day thinking about the EU,


they think of bread and butter, therefore they hope they are more


likely to vote for Remain. It is interesting Remain have been


nervous, this is why I am spending time in the north-west of England


because there is a fear that in some of those natural Labour heartlands


whilst we are focusing on the blue on blue showing within the


Conservative Party, we are perhaps missing out on a more dangerous


story for the Remain site, the inability of the Labour Party, the


bread elite to get out the red grassroots. Thank you.


We will hear from a senior Labour politician in a moment.


But first let's get into the question of what the campaigns


do know about who to target with our Policy Editor Chris Cook.


Lots of elements of this campaign are ageless. Doorknocking,


gladhanding, battle buses. But a referendum is not a general


election. On June the 23rd, the whole nation will be one


constituency. So how are the two campaigns choosing where to fight? I


think this referendum has been more about globalisation than persuasion.


Both campaigns have been focusing heavily on their core areas. This


map shows the distribution of marginal seats that were really


fought over at the 2015 general election. Scotland has loads of


marginal seats. If you look down the east coast of England there are not


many. In London there are a few here and there. The referendum is going


to be very different. Each side will be going to areas where they think


they are strongest and trying to get out the vote in this biggest


numbers. So where are those numbers? Starting with the Leave campaign,


most Eurosceptic areas according to one poll. The East of England, the


area so neglected at the last election, is essential to the


referendum. The Remain, London and Scotland in particular are


absolutely critical if they are going to win. There is a literature


on getting out the vote that was effectively used by President Obama


and his teenager in the election which basically suggests that the


tighter your operation is, the more you contact voters on the day, you


can give yourself another one, two, three points by pushing voters out


of their armchairs into the polling stations. This is rather tough for


the main parties who are fighting in a lot of areas they have neglected


for a long time. This isn't like a general election where the focus is


on a handful of marginal seats. In lots of places, areas that aren't


used to full pelt campaigning at a general election have got huge areas


of activities going on. In some of our best areas, every household in


that parliamentary constituency has been visited more than once. That


probably didn't happen in a general election. You could be forgiven for


finding it hard to follow this campaign. It does not help at the


polls are not trusted. Academics were wrong last year, most of the


forecasts were wrong ahead of the general election. The polls have not


convinced most people that they have got this one nailed down. There are


significant variations between phone polls and online polls, and we all


mode the story of the expert who didn't see Jeremy Corbyn coming.


Before that didn't see a Conservative majority government


coming. And then possibly didn't see President Trump coming. So a lot of


people got a lot of things wrong. Elections are getting more complex


to follow anyway as campaigns get ever less national. Campaigners can


now quietly tailor ads to recipients online and in the posts with greater


sophistication. And it's seriously tough to get any sense of a campaign


where you don't even know what arguments are being put to your


neighbours. Chris Kirk, there. In the moment we will speak to Labour's


former deputy leader Harriet Harman. First, Lord Hayward,


a Tory psephologist who was on John Major's team


in the 1992 election and predicted Tell us what you feel will happen


this time round? As far as I'm concerned the polls are


overestimated how close it will be. As far as I can see there are more


people deviating towards Leave. If you take any particular demographic,


let's say bankers, who should be overwhelmingly in favour, my


conversations and say actually the banking industry, Surrey, which will


should be rock-solid Remain, they are not as solid as people think.


Then you've got Labour areas, they are not as solid as people would


expect. But these are just conversations, and you are at odds


with a lot of other pollsters. And I've been at odds on previous


occasions. I started with the polls and what they are predicting. And


then gone out, discussed it with other people, listened over months


to what people were saying and said, how often am I speaking to somebody


who is actually deviating from what should be the polling Norm? Do you


see yourself as a Leave supporter? I am a Remain supporter. So in saying


Leave are doing better than the polls suggest I am arguing against


my own position. So where are the gaps? Who isn't showing up? You've


talked about the banking community. I think it is pretty general. There


are problems you are going to go on to talk about, the Labour


supporters, the professional community in general. And I think


the campaign has been male dominated. There's been very poor


messaging, we would expect women to be much more solidly Remain because


they genuinely generally vote according to pocketbook issues. Your


assumption is a male dominated campaign tells what, more women to


go with the male voices? And saying there is no messaging being received


by large parts of the community. Whether it is the standard


traditional Labour voter or the female voter, the professional


photo, they are not receiving the message on economic issues. You will


forgive our viewers if there is a lot of scepticism about any pollster


at this point in proceedings telling them what will happen. I have a


history of telling pollsters they are wrong and on this occasion I


think they are wrong. The tendency is more towards Leave at the moment.


It can be turned around for Remain. If the turnout is high and based on


different messaging from where we are at the moment, the result may be


different. One has to remember that within the next few days 20% of the


population will have already voted. Could be as high as 18%. Harriet


Harman, do you accept that the traditional Labour voter does not


look like a Remainer or a Leaver? We have a unified position within the


Labour Party. For people who vote Labour and support baby and share


the principles, it is not much help to them to see Michael Gove slugging


it out with David Cameron, because actually they are not interested.


And their point of view is not what motivates them. And I think the


problem has been that there are Labour arguments for staying in that


our voters haven't been able to hear us putting across. Your voters, 45%


of Labour voters said in a poll at the end of last month they were not


sure of your party's position. That's not surprising bearing in


mind the airwaves have been absolutely dominated by the argument


within the Tory party. You think SNP supporters, Lib Dem supporters or


green supporters would say that? Presumably you would know your


party's position if you were an actual supporter or voter? If you


look at Loughborough University research, it shows not only is it am


elated by men but it is dominated by Tory men, and that is the fact of


the debate so far. Therefore what we need is more ability for women to


hear specific arguments that we certainly want to put forward about


why it is important to stay in. And for people to hear Labour arguments


because we have different arguments. For example on the health service,


we think there are problems with the health service. You can't just say


the Tories are too loud. People will turn round and say Labour has been


nonexistent. We are saying the huge volcanic bust up in the Tory party


is, not surprisingly, grabbing media attention. But if we want balance in


this debate in order to help people make up their mind so that they make


the sort of decision that they really want to make, the balance


needs to not just be between Leave and Remain, it leads to also be


between men and women and also between Labour and Tory. Our


supporters are entitled to hear why we as Labour people are urging them


to vote in. So for example on the health service point, Leave are


saying you've got to leave if you care about the health service. We


are saying actually we think the government are doing things


completely wrong, so we don't agree with David Cameron on what he is


doing the health service, but we say blame the government, not the EU.


That point could have been made very clearly by Jeremy Corbyn if he


wanted to share a Platt with David Cameron. We have been making these


points, but it is difficult to get them through. When I was acting


leader, I set up the Labour in campaign as a separate campaign,


because I felt we needed to get our message across separately. Was it a


missed opportunity? For Jeremy Corbyn to sound alongside David


Cameron and say, we are sharing a platform because it is bigger than


party politics. As Leader of the Labour Party, he wants to put


forward Labour's arguments. I have appeared at some things with David


Cameron, not because I agree with him, but because I want people to


see that Labour is four in. It is important that we have separate


arguments, because we have our own points of view. For example, at


work, we think that the EU guaranteeing maternity pay and


holiday leave, it is important that the EU does that, because we do not


trust future Tory governments to not decide to repeal all of those. We


have just seen Nick, who is in Salford and other areas, safe Labour


seats for ages. You think these places have been ignored, or have


been left off the chart? If nearly half your voters in a poll just two


weeks ago don't know your party's position, that is catastrophic. It


is for us to do make sure they know what our position is and why, and


that they haven't been ignored. This is a different proposition. Normally


it is vote for this person in this party in this area. But we've got


Labour values and principles about why we want to stay in, and we need


to get that across to our voters, and it is to all of us in the Labour


Party to get that idea across. Thank you for coming in.


Well, we know there's a divide between young and old when it comes


to the suggested voting patterns of the EU.


Katie Razzall took the referendum road to South Wales this week -


to look at the generational divide that appears to be emergeng there.


Pettigrew Bakeries in Cardiff caters to all tastes.


Mixing the traditional with the modern, there's so much


But when it comes to the referendum, the choice is down to in or out.


So, for Newsnight's visit, we requested a twist on some


of the bakery's most popular products.


I'm just wondering whether I could offer


Well, well, I feel democracy, really.


I've not voted in bureaucrats in Brussels who I don't even know.


One reason for the generational divide in this referendum may be


that many young voters, like this 26-year-old artisan baker,


see their identity as bound up with Europe.


I've always classed myself as European, so it would be nice


to still go to France and think that we are one


I can't work out which one of them is lying.


I can't work out which one of them's planned for the future.


Whether it's in the Welsh valleys or further afield,


received wisdom in this referendum is that the young are in favour


In the Swansea Valley, we gathered three generations


of the same family, who appeared to some up those divisions.


I'm going to vote to stay in, because I see myself having


a better future in the EU, with the jobs.


I've never had any doubt at all.


I didn't want to go in in the first place.


I know that the Remain campaign had a campaign during this referendum


which was "Persuade your granny onto your side".


I love my youngest granddaughter very much,


I've had no doubt right from the start.


We are being taken over, and we are being told what to do


I see myself having a better future in Europe, like if you look


at things like workers' rights, immigration and free movement


as well, because you look at the way things are now,


it might be that I have to move into Europe to work myself one day,


and it's going to be a pain if I'll have to apply for a visa with every


So I think, for me and my future, it's better to stay in.


And it's my generation that has to deal with the fallout if we go.


I think of you all the time, Charlotte.


Do you know how you're going to vote?


I'm hoping that somebody's going to say something and I'm


It's me that's got to pick up the pieces eventually.


No offence to you guys, but, like.


It's going to be me and my children that have to clean up that


Because we're not part of the EU any more, so we will just be


on the island by ourselves drowning, saying, help us, and the EU's


going to go, no, you're not our problem any more.


Are most of your friends of your age group, do you talk about it?


The ones that are voting are voting to remain.


A lot of young people aren't interested in things


The young could keep the UK in the EU, but only if they


These Cardiff students are keenly political.


Their University Challenge - to get others to follow their lead.


I'm Beth Button, President of NUS Wales, and I'm going to be voting


I am a second year philosophy and politics student,


I'm a third year history student, and I'll be voting to remain.


I'm studying Spanish and Italian, and I'm going to vote Leave.


I'm a fourth year law student at Cardiff University,


and I'll be voting to leave the European Union.


I have a very positive case for staying in the EU.


I think, for young people particularly, there's jobs out


there, there's opportunities for travel, education


We have a lot of power because we are part of the EU.


If were not part of the EU any more, there's no guarantee that we will


The referendum isn't about putting rockets on Dover and propelling us


We are always going to be part of Europe.


And of course, we're going to be stronger in Europe.


It's the European Union that makes decisions and trade deals on our


There is a large democratic deficit at the moment within the EU


and the European institutions, and I think if we left


there would be a lot more opportunity for young people,


if Britain was a more sovereign nation.


I think it's really funny when you use the term,


I'm pretty sure there's a lot of Welsh and angry Scottish people


as well who would say that the UK isn't democratic enough.


This guy said to me, this older man, literally said to me,


you younger generation need to just realise that


you don't have the knowledge and the experience to know what's


You need to let the older people make the decision for you.


And that, for me, really stung, because I thought, actually,


we not only have a right to vote and have a voice in this referendum,


Back in the Swansea Valley, it's too late to change


But would Charlotte and her Remain - supporting husband have more


luck in their local, a traditional mining pub,


where many, but not all, disagree with them?


HE SPEAKS WELSH. Does that mean leave or remain?


I think Cameron, when he did his so-called deal with the EU,


gained nothing whatsoever, and if we vote to remain now,


When we ruled ourselves, we were all using outside toilets.


Now, it's so bloody good, everyone wants to come here.


Could Yarrick and Charlotte persuade the older punters?


As for the people that are coming in, we simply can't afford


But is it not true that the ones that come here to work actually


contribute more into the system


Why do you think it is that your views don't chime


I think it's because I care about different things


They are focusing on immigration, you know, politics, that sort


of thing, our own sovereignty and so on.


I care about our scientific institutions, farming


There aren't enough pints that I could buy them!


Their minds are made up.


So, you know, I think it's just an age thing.


They come from a small, Welsh mining village,


They are not ready to change their minds, which is fine.


Everyone's entitled to their opinion.


Families and the generations disagreeing on the right


This referendum has got them talking.


Ocassionally the serene quiet of a select committee hearing gets


Today - as the BHS family saga unravelled before MPs -


BHS chief executive Darren Topp and his financial lieutenant


Michael Hitchcock called Dominic Chappell- the man


who bought BHS for a pound - a "Premier League liar"


Topp claimed Chappell threatened to kill him when he'd


Mr Chappell denied this - and the claim he owned a gun -


but - pantomime aside - what did we learn today


Here's our Business Editor, Helen Thomas.


In life, BHS's understated styles captured the British


Instead, a tawdry and increasingly lurid slanging match.


At issue: who is to blame for the failure of a story high


street name and the loss of 11,000 jobs.


Lawyers, accountants, advisers, trustees and regulators.


They've all been questioned on what went wrong.


Today was the latest stage of the postmortem.


Dominic Chappell, the man who bought BHS from billionaire retailer


Sir Philip Green for just ?1. It collapsed barely a year later.


MPs were presented with two competing visions of


In one version of reality he was a total liability.


A compulsive liar who didn't understand BHS, and who shouldn't


In the other version, his own, he was a hard-working businessman


whose attempts to turn round BHS were blocked.


Both versions raised questions for Sir Philip Green.


He'll have his turn in Westminster next week.


A trio of BHS managers laid out the case against Mr Chappell.


And if it doesn't smell right invariably it is not right.


Over ?1.5 million Dominic Chappell took out of the company.


If I take out all the expletives he basically said, "Do not


"I've had enough of you telling me what to do over


"It's my business, I can do what I want."


"And if you kick off about it I'm going to come down


So why did a businessman as experienced as Philip Green sell


And why did respected advisers like Grant Thornton and Olswang


One explanation had been that Dominic Chappell had shown he had


But it was suggested today he'd got that money from investors,


not to pump into BHS but instead to higher property off


What we learnt today was that the ?35 million had been earmarked


to acquire another property, not part of the BHS group,


but part of Sir Philip's broader empire, we understand.


And that was the sole purpose of the ?35 million.


So it does put the seller in an intriguing situation


where they were looking for credibility on ?35 million


to bolster the credibility of the buyer of BHS.


But that ?35 million was actually intended to acquire a property


which is not part of the BHS group, but was presumably known


In Dominic Chappell's version, Sir Philip Green should


Do you think he is a successful businessman?


He's been very successful at raising large amounts of money out


of companies by taking huge dividends out of them, yes.


There were shops there that had no heating.


There were shops there that had no air handling.


There were shops there where the staff, bless them,


who loved and adored BHS, came in at weekends to paint,


to replace lights, because no one had given that company any money


And another disagreement over pensions.


Mr Chappell said the stand-off between Sir Philip Green


and the pension regulator hurt his attempts


He has spent the last however many years doing deals and it is a quite


You can't simply go to the pension regulator and say,


I will put ?50 million into this pension scheme,


It just doesn't work like that and it shouldn't work like that.


A defiant Dominic Chappell said today pushed thereby


You should expect Sir Philip Green to vigorously contest much


Indeed BHS's last Chief Executive Darren top told me that he disagreed


with Mr Chappell's assertion that Sir Philip had tipped the business


Mr Topp said that decision was taken unanimously at a BHS board


Mr Topp said business had simply run out of money.


Raising funds against its property had fallen short.


An MP said today that they were getting closer to the truth


One thing seems clear, no one looks set to emerge untainted.


Simon Walker - from the Institute of Directors - joins me now.


Along with Ros Altman the pensions minister. Welcome, both. When you


see this kind of squalid soap opera unfolding, it must make you wince?


It is completely an excusable and absolutely outrageous. What worries


me is that it makes people think that's what petition business is


like. And British business is about hard-working people who have often


mortgaged their houses in order to get companies going. This is as far


from the world of normal businesses in this country as can be. So what


went wrong? Where did the regulations fail here? Everything


failed at every stage. I don't think Sir Philip was the only villain but


as someone said, selling that company to a twice bankrupt racing


driver with no retail experience was the equivalent of giving your keys


to your car to a five-year-old and then saying, you crashed it. It is


completely wrong to have done that. But your report rightly asks, where


were the advisers? One of the most important law firms in the City of


London was standing by them. Rand Thornton, a well-known accountancy


deal was there. Lord Grabban QC is the chairman of Arcadia and seems to


have been extremely relaxed about the sale of BHS. He wasn't even on


the subcommittee, he learned about it five days later. The pension


regulator said she learned about it in the newspaper sometime later.


Everything went wrong. It is a scar on the face of British business, its


damages everyone. If you believe, as I do, that capitalism is worthwhile


and works in the interest of ordinary people, you have a


particular responsibility to say how appalling this is. Dominic Chappell


knew something was going wrong, and he brought the government and you


personally into that meeting by saying he asked to meet you? He did


ask to meet me and I did not think it was appropriate for him to try to


meet the Minister, to go round the back door and bypass the pensions


regulator. Why would it be the back door, if he was worried about the


way the business was being handled, he could see things were not right,


is that not responsible thing to do, contact the pensions minister? Not


at all. The appropriate thing to do is go the pensions regulator and


work out any issues that you have if you've got a problem with your


pension scheme. Don't try and come to the Minister. Do you think the


pensions regulator is the right body to deal with these issues after


everything we have heard over the past few weeks? I do actually, and I


would like to reassure the members of the BHS pension scheme and the


workers who worked so royally, that their pensions are protected by the


pension protection fund. Why did the pensions regulator say that they'd


heard it through a newspaper report when we know that actually Philip


Green had got in touch with them before he'd corrected the head of


the pensions regulator and why, for example, was Philip Green not


allowed to put money into the pension fund to try to increase the


amount that was there? Again I think it is important for business owners


to understand that a pension fund and its liabilities are real


liabilities, and they have lives attached. And there are appropriate


ways to deal with the pension scheme. Because what they should be


doing is going to the pensions regulator and saying, if you have a


big deficit, how am I going to be able to sort this out? How will I be


able to look after my pension, as there are established processes that


the pensions regulator will sit down with any business and say, if you


want to deal with your pension fund and you have a problem, let's sit


round the table and talk about it. It was said that it was not taken


seriously by the pensions regulator when they offered to go in and sort


it out. That is not the case as far as I am aware. And the impression


here has been that the business doesn't understand the


responsibility that they actually have under pensions law for the


pension scheme, and the pension promises they have made to their


members. The business should be going to the pensions regulator. The


pensions regulator will ask for lots of information. If the business does


not supply that information, the regulator cannot do anything. How do


you see Philip Green at the end of all of this? He was appointed a tsar


at the end of 2010. Efficiency tsar. We will have to wait for these


investigations to run. You think he will be in the clear? I cannot


prejudge anything. But I want to reassure people that we have a


pension protection fund. EU law requires us to protect pensions,


whereas previously British law did not. HBOS took eight years and have


not reported fully on what led to the fall of that bank. We cannot


wait until 2025 to work out where the regulators, lawyers, accountants


let us down. So what needs to happen? We need the select committee


to give some findings and come to the truth, otherwise it will damage


the reputation of business as a whole, and we need to know the


answers quickly. The regulators will report back by the end of the year.


An Eritrean man suspected of running a huge human trafficking network


that sent thousands of migrants to Europe has been extradited


from Sudan to Italy - in the first operation of its kind


to bring an African people smuggler to justice for his role


However tonight, suggestions are starting to emerge


that the joint operation - which was based on intercepting


telephone calls - may actually have got the wrong man.


This is meant to be Mered Medhanie as he arrives in Italy to face


An alleged top people smuggler who styled


He was arrested in Khartoum in a joint


operation by British, Italian and Sudanese authorities


Medhanie and his gang are a significant organised


They have been involved with the movement of thousands of


So we would consider this to be a major


disruption of an organised crime group.


But tonight there are growing reports that they picked up the


wrong man and instead of notorious people trafficker, Mered Medhanie,


they have arrested an ordinary Eritreans refugee who happens to


That's according to one prominent Eritrean


rights activist who was actually interviewed the real Mered Medhanie


I don't believe they have the right person.


The person that they have is a 28-year-old refugee


who happens to have the same first name as him.


I have spoken to his sister, spoken to his friends, I


have received over 400 testimonies from people who know the person


Everybody is saying this is my friend, my childhood friend.


He is just a refugee in a camp in Sudan in 2015.


We spoke to two friends of another Medhanie,


Italian authorities, though, who earlier in the day


gave a press conference, still say they have the right


person, and the National Crime Agency here has said it's too early


So what do we know about the man who the police were actually after?


We've been told the real Medhanie was living in Khartoum,


but he had previously reportedly been living in Tripoli,


The smuggling route he allegedly operated goes from Eritrea,


through Ethiopia and Sudan to Libya, where packed boats head off


to the Italian islands of Lampedusa and Sicily.


In one telephone conversation intercepted by authorities,


Medhanie boasts that in the first half of 2014:


Medhanie had teams working in Italy too,


He reportedly charged up to 5000 euros for the whole journey.


One of the smuggling operations British authorities linked


to Medhanie's group ended in disaster three years ago.


Over 300 people drowned off the coast of Lampedusa.


But the search to bring those responsible for the deaths,


And for many others might not be over yet.


We leave you this scene filmed during the flash floods


in Woodcote Road, Wallington in South East London,


following the recent spell of hot weather.


Today's storms have faded away now, a dry start for tomorrow. Early mist


and fog in the West, low cloud in the East burning off more slowly.


Sunny spells widely by the afternoon, warm day


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