Can May Govern? Newsnight

Can May Govern?

Emily Maitlis presents a special programme from Westminster with live guests, discussing the aftershocks from Thursday's election.

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Politics has never looked more lowly job. Tonight as her top aides quit,


the PM seems more isolated than ever.


Ferociously loyal and always in step, Fiona Hill and Nick Timothy


What's protecting Theresa May right now is not the loyalty,


the respect or even the fear of her party.


It's the fact that they can't see anyone obvious with


Nor can they see an obvious process to find that person that doesn't


risk plunging the party and the government into


There were frustrations in the party.


It was about whether or not all of us felt included in her project.


Is Europe laughing at us or as confused as we are?


Mark Urban speaks to Angela Merkel's right-hand man.


We should go into the details as soon as possible.


And do we have to define a new direction for Britain now?


We speak to Nigel Farage, Simon Schama and Kerry Ann Mendoza.


Good evening and Welcome to Westminster.


Do not be fooled by the gentle breeze of a summer weekend.


Today saw no calm, no respite in the pace of change


and power-shifting that gives this place its identity.


Senior Conservatives began the day calling for the resignation


of Theresa May's joint chiefs of staff.


By the afternoon, they got what they wanted.


Nick Timothy and Fiona Hill were known for their unwavering loyalty.


The PM was accused of relying on them too heavily,


closing her eyes to a more collegiate, consensual


Yet these chiefs of staff were at the very heart of government.


They knew how to shield her from the hostile parts of the job


They were not just moral support, they were, Nick Clegg told us,


instrumental to practically every decision she took.


I asked her not to bring the special advisers


with her into the meetings that I used to have with her because I


found it all rather disruptive, but I did find that,


as a result, I could never get a decision out of her


in the meetings because she'd have to go back and I assume test her


ideas and test my suggestions with people around her.


Nick Timothy offered reason for his resignation by letter,


nodding to the high number of Conservative votes on Thursday,


but accepting his part too in the disaster that was the social


care policy, admitting he should have offered


a cap as well as a floor for the cost of it.


She was known to rub many in Number 10 up the wrong way.


Her erratic behaviour became the stuff of hushed legend.


Insiders will tell you of the time she spat at the Chancellor Philip


Hammond or the sweary texts she wrote to elected ministers.


The party's former Director of Communications didn't


Katie Perrier accused them both of creating a dysfunctional


and toxic atmosphere in Downing Street.


We were going into an 8.30 meeting every morning at Theresa May's


office and the atmosphere would be great if the Chief of Staff were not


there and terrible if the chief of Staff were there.


And so we would be able to speak freely if they weren't around


and if they were around, you don't speak.


But it was senior Tories who demanded their heads.


They wouldn't have gone if they hadn't intended


They were meant to be the sacrifice, the front-line casualties


protecting their general from further arrows but,


whatever the objective, their departure leaves Theresa May


A bleeding swimmer in shark-infested waters when the boat sails


For a day or two certainly, it gives her breathing space.


But Jeremy Corbyn is still waiting in the wings.


Our political editor Nick Watt is here.


Talk today of a DUP Alliance or coalition. Howard that work-out?


Gavin Williamson has been in Northern Ireland today meeting


Arlene Foster, the leader of the DUP and other DUP leaders and I am tell


down looking at the full range of possibilities from just an informal


and are taking all the way through to a fault coalition agreement and I


am told what the DUP are looking at is securing welfare benefits, so


keep the pension triple lock and preserve universal benefits such as


the winter fuel allowance for pensioners. It allows the DUP to say


when just acting in the interests of Northern Ireland but are acting in


the interests of the whole of the UK. And then it would allow the


Tories to remove parts of their manifesto that became so toxic with


pensioners. I spoke to one senior source quoting Lynton Crosby, the


man who ran the Conservative campaign in the final stages, who


would allow the Tories to remove the barnacles from the boat. It sounds


like she's preparing to stay but wasn't always that way? It's a


feverish atmosphere at the moment and there is uncertainty among


Cabinet ministers over the long-term future of the Prime Minister and I


am told in this rather feeble atmosphere, serious consideration


was given in the early hours of Friday morning as to whether the


Prime Minister should resign. I am told by the time of her counting in


Maidenhead, and she was in trouble, the Prime Minister was completely


devastated. There was even talk of resignation speech was drafted in


the early hours of Friday morning, the idea was the primaries to would


make a statement later won on Friday. As I understand it, what


happened was amid the uncertainty over the result, senior Tory figures


said that they should look at how to respond to all outcomes of the


election but it's the duty of any Prime Minister to respond to all


those various outcomes and remember, for a brief period, there was even


talk Jeremy Corbyn might be the largest party but it soon became


clear that Theresa May would lead the largest party and, at that


point, it was her duty as she later said on Friday, two former


Government. Which is why we are looking towards a reshuffle this


evening. Yes, we were expecting a full reshuffle earlier on today. As


I understand it, it has been described as the last blast


reshuffle. Basically reappointing the mainly existing cabinet and the


phrase they are saying, alas top last reshuffle until the leadership


of the Conservative Party is sorted out. That means either Theresa May


does continue when she has a full deal with the DUP or there is a


contest. Nick, thanks very much. In politics, as President FD


Roosevelt once remarked, If it happens, you can


bet it was planned. To suggest the country knew it


would elect a minority Conservative government backed up,


potentially, by the DUP But perhaps the electorate knew


what it was doing when it refused to wholly embrace either Theresa May


or Jeremy Corbyn in their whole Many accepted beliefs turned


out to be plain wrong. We, as a country,


particularly perhaps the young, are learning we have more


of a voice than we believed. So what does this election suggest


about a new direction for Britain now, and does that mean the last


one was wrong, or our appetite This is the first full day


of minority government Britain. The rising sun, however,


provided little warmth to Theresa May - nor much


illumination of her path forward. What's protecting Theresa May right


now is not the loyalty, the respect, It's the fact that they can't


see anyone obvious with whom to replace her,


nor can they see an obvious process to find that person that doesn't


risk plunging the government In the words of the poet


Hilare Belloc, they are only holding onto nurse for fear


of finding something worse. There may be little public activity,


but in WhatsApp chat groups and in private discreet telephone


conversations, Conservative MP are venting their anger


about what happened to their party Ed Vaizey was


close to David Cameron, He believes Theresa May must now


change both her approach and her policies if she's


to hold the party together. She will, I think, have to make sure


that she takes us all with her. That it becomes a very inclusive


government that reaches out And I hope as well that she will


have read the tea leaves in terms And the message that I got loud


and clear is that voters have We can't any more talk about no deal


being better than a bad deal. The view that the nature of Brexit


will have to change is supported by the fact that the Conservatives'


new partners, the ten MPs of the DUP, want the UK to stay


in the customs union, and want a frictionless border


in Northern Ireland. So is this the end of what critics


call a hard Brexit? We've got to remember that


Labour lost this election. You know, when given the choice


as to who should lead the country through the Brexit negotiations,


people, by a majority on the popular And they did that in the


full knowledge of the plan that she's laid out,


set out in her Lancaster House speech, which sets out


that we want to guarantee the rights of EU citizens as quickly


as possible, but that we want to be a global nation determining


our own trade policy. That we want to have our


supremacy over our courts. And I think that those,


amongst other issues, are the clear objectives of Brexit,


and that really is what In the '70s, a minority


Labour administration. Lord Armstrong was principal


private secretary to the then 1974 does demonstrate that


when you have a government which has not got a firm overall majority,


then the great uncertainty that prevails spreads


over a lots of things. Certainly over the


Brexit negotiations. But over the matters


of policy as well. It will affect all the


social welfare legislation, which the Conservatives


announced that they wanted. It will affect great


many things, I think. All this, and in just nine days'


time the government will present a Queen's Speech to parliament,


and Brexit negotiations with the rest of Europe


are scheduled to start. Theresa May's weakness in her party,


and in Parliament, make these Lord Barker - Greg Barker


is a former minster under Can she survive this? That remains


to be seen. It'll be the mood of the Parliamentary party when they come


together that will really judge that about I dictate that there is


certainly no appetite in the party for an immediate leadership contest.


So I think we'll have to see what the Commons has to say when they


meet. How does she stay in place when there is so much anger in


Conservative homes, two thirds of MPs saying she should go? There is


no trust left, is there? There is clearly not going to be another


election with Theresa May at the head. We discovered that she's a


competent minister. Potentially a tough negotiator but a terrible


campaigner. So I think the Parliamentary party, if this


potential agreement with the DUP sticks, and there would be a general


election for several years potentially five years, it gives


Theresa May sometime for the Parliamentary party and the wider


party to work out what they actually want to replace her. You are in the


Lords, not an MP. There will be many who were very, very worried about


their seats and lost them. In your opinion, should she go now for


watches done? I think, as I said, there's no way we wanted to leaders


into another election. The question of timing now was critical. This is


unlike David Cameron's position after the Brexit about because we


are right on the edge of serious negotiations. We learn from David


Cameron, people wished he had not 's gone so quickly. I'm certainly one


of them. I don't think the Tory party will make the mistakes of


pushing out the leader. That suggests Brexit the gauche Asians


will be on track. Do you believe that to be the case, though? It is


chicken and egg, isn't it? If the leader is not in place, the Brexit


negotiations will be pushed back. If Theresa May can come and confidence


of the party in the Commons, then I think it will be on track. Would you


like to be on track? We need to know what is the Brexit negotiation


aiming to achieve? I'm very much agreeing with what Ed Vaizey said in


your piece there that we need to think again about what the Brexit we


are going to be pushing for looks like and certainly I think hard


Brexit has had its day and need a greater consensus, not just within


the party, but Theresa May needs to play a national role and forge a


greater consensus across the House of Commons on what Brexit should


look like. That is the role of. If she could transcend parties, and try


to bring people together... It hard Brexit has had its day, presumably


she would not be the right person to see it through. Are there not other


people you can see taking on the helm who perhaps understand this new


mood of the country better than she clearly did? I think in the long


term, that's right. It's not if, but when. Who? We need someone who can


campaign, is articulate, more animated than Theresa May, but also


has the values that will capture the imagination of younger voters as


well as our traditional base. That is quite a tall order for them the


only person I can see who might fit that bill would be Amber Rudd, but


use only been in the Cabinet a couple of years. You would rule out


Boris Johnson, David Davis, people who align along the Brexit, hard


Brexit line? What we do know is that you've got


to be able to go to the electric with more than one message. The idea


that you can have a single issue election whenever it comes is for


the birds. In electing a Tory leader, we've got to have someone


that can speak to the whole Conservative agenda, and that agenda


needs a massive reboot. We need to look to the success of Ruth Davidson


in Scotland and embrace her positive, outward looking optimistic


style of politics. I'm just hearing from Nick Watt that the DUP may


align itself with the Conservative Party in a confidence and supply


arrangement. Would that suit you? That would be ideal. So you would


not mind, and there would be many people, Conservative voters and


wider, who say the DUP represents everything that Theresa May meant


when she talks about Nasty Party. They are certainly not our allies of


choice. Personally I would prefer to do a deal with the Lib Dems. We have


a strong and stable coalition for five years with the Lib Dems. But


that is not on the cards. What is the alternative? It would be given


the keys to Jeremy Corbyn. We are looking at the party that is


homophobic, but doesn't believe in climate change, but talks about


creationism. I abhor all of those things. That could drag the party


backwards. If it's just confidence supply, which basically means that


they backed us on the big vote when it counts, they're not going to get


their hands on... The anti austerity vote? Well, on the budget, and the


Queen's speech. Then going to get their hands on the levers of power


in any meaningful way. But the alternative is to let Jeremy Corbyn


in. And his in Hamas, the provisional IRA... The idea that you


could have somebody who calls Hamas their friend. Their agenda for LB GT


writes is truly horrific. Nobody is talking about an allegiance. Thank


you very much. The best seats of the house in


this extraordinary election Our friends on the continent watched


on as the country tried to tear itself apart over


a Brexit referendum. Only to go back to the ballot box


and tell the leader who promised them a "strong and stable" Brexit


deal they didn't really want one. Certainly it may be the best


deterrent Merkel could ever imagine to more countries demanding


their own exit from the EU. Mark Urban has been speaking


to Angel Merkel's closest government He began by asking him


whether Brexit negotiations It depends on the UK's decision,


of course, largely, What we know so far is that the UK


has triggered Article 50, and that means a delay of two years


will be available to negotiate transitional


periods, citizens' rights. And we hope that all this can


be done in due time. But we have never interfered


with domestic political We have allowed for sufficient


time to decide when to We have allowed for a reshuffle


last year in August. And certainly we have understood


that the UK is in a situation where some things have


to be considered. And therefore we will respect widely


andas good as we can the decisions What would happen if the UK tried


to change its mind about the whole thing and tried to withdraw


the Article 50 declaration? This is a trap and I've avoided


these types of traps now Because the question whether Article


50 application has to be changed or not is something


to be decided in the UK. Theresa May has explained


Brexit means Brexit. This is the official position


of the British government, and this is understood


and accepted by Europe. To what extent do you think


attitudes across Europe Over the last two months


we have seen a considerable We have seen it in Germany,


where Angela Merkel has the support of a growing number of citizens


and is leading the polls. Younger people are more interested


in politics than ever We have a more vivid


political debate. It's of course awfully difficult,


but it presents also a chance. It presents a chance for reflection


about the challenges And this is something we want to do


together with the United Kingdom, either inside or outside


the European Union. To discuss this extraordinary


few days, we're joined by the Historian Simon Schama,


the fomrer Ukip leader Nigel Farage, and the Canary's editor-in-chief,


Kerry-Anne Mendoza. Lucky to have you all here. Nigel,


you brought your party, you brought this country to a place where Brexit


became possible. Do you still believe that Brexit you envisioned


will go ahead? Brexit will go ahead, I'm certain of that. 85% of people


voted for pro-Brexit parties. One of the reason Corbyn managed to hoover


up the Ukip wrote, he made it clear that Labour supports Brexit. Having


said that, do I think now today that we're going to get the kind of


Brexit but most of the voters thought they were going to get? I


think that is imperilled. I suspect what we will see is a government


that will struggle to get things through the Commons. I think they're


probably headed towards a Norway type situation, two and a half years


down the road. That would be OK with you? Norway is better than where we


are now, but it is certainly not where I want to finish up. Is it


enough to get you back into Ukip in a meaningful way? I'm not sure of


the moment at this right now. But you are considering... Paul Nuttall


said he would happily swap your LBC Radio show for the leadership, and


he is gone now. So, yes, there is a vacancy! Yes, I am thinking about


it. But it's not top of my bucket list. For me, getting the referendum


are helping to win it, I thought I was done. But I do think we will see


its backsliding. Did you hear 85% backing for Brexit? That was Nigel


Farage's point, that Labour and the Conservatives were backing Brexit.


Is that how you read the vote on Thursday night? Know. I think


Theresa May and people like Nigel Farage work very hard to make this


election about Brexit. What this election was really about four


people was hope versus fear. That was about what kind of country do we


want to live in. Do we want to live in a country which is cool, lacks


compassion, lets us get to a situation where nurses are dependent


on food banks? Or do we want to be a compassionate country at home and


abroad? That was the message that won the day. It was a message that


we would invest in each other, in our NHS, in our education system.


Theresa May fringe at about Brexit. It was a wholly unnecessary election


because there was nothing in the Commons and Lords that was going to


stop publishing Brexit and through. Simon, last time we asked after the


Brexit Bogut by where a quantity of left behind people that have been


ignored and we had to take them seriously. Who do you think be left


behind people now, when you see this vote and the way gone? Well, I think


it's not a question of who has been ignored, but what has been ignored.


What has been ignored as the debate between high Brexit and soft Brexit.


I agree with Kerry that bread-and-butter issues, the basic


civil decencies of life, became extremely important and they were


brilliantly pushed to the foreground by the Labour campaign. First of


all, I must say the headline in the Daily Mail tomorrow, I am sure there


are going to change the Mail on Sunday, to "Farage OK with Norway".


I'm not OK with that. I said, it's better than where we are, but it's


not what we voted for. The positive thing about Brexit was that we were


voting to engage with the rest of the world and you can't do that if


you're stuck inside the customs union. There was a customs union


which meant more freedom to people in terms of immigration, then in


your terms and back where we started, are we? Isn't still a good


enough reason to leave the EU? If we finish up at the end of this process


with the free movement of people and without the ability peek at our own


global deals, frankly we're not that much further forward. -- ability to


cut our own global deals. This is part of the reason that Ukip were


wiped out of this election, the hope versus fear issue. For years that we


have had Nigel Farage walking around like a pound and punish a promising


people but problems they had with -- Nigel Farage walking around


promising people but the problems that they had, but now the only


answer is to scapegoat the most marginalised, vulnerable


communities. No, no, no. At the Conservative campaign failed to


address that? I think you're being too binary about this. There are


very important issues about what they call a social decency of life,


and then the issues with Britain intends the sovereign state. They've


come together precisely because the Labour Party manifesto did make a


difference. Jeremy Corbyn said and the Labour Party said that the kind


of Brexit to which we are hurtling is not the one endorsed by the


Labour Party. I'm saying that those who are worried about Theresa May's


endless mantra, Brexit is Brexit, are exactly those worried about what


is our fate going to be? What is social care to be like? What is the


future for us in terms of the issues of our daily life if we simply


mechanically moved towards a hard Brexit? Jeremy Corbyn did also make


clear that leaving the European Union would mean the ending of


freedom of movement. You know, he did say these things. People who


voted Labour, they were voting for this. There will be lots of reading


the tea leaves of what the Labour Party meant about Brexit in a place


where they needed votes. When you look to the future now, do you


think... UK's share of the vote is 2%. Does that sound like a rejection


of nasty Britain, or a Brexit but didn't like the language of


intolerance? In the last general election, 13% of the country voted


for a pro-Brexit party. This time it was 85%. That is the effect that


Ukip has had. The day before the election was called, three separate


opinion polls showed... You don't mind carrying on as a part of the


other party, is that what you were saying? That up to 70% of the


country wanted us to get on with Brexit. As far as Ukip is concerned,


if we don't get the Brexit we want, we will be backing Brexit with a big


way. The future of Theresa May, for the young people this has been a


rejection of tabloid headlines, anti-media. What is your take on


where Theresa May lies now? Theresa May has to go. She's done. She's


done politically, she has no vision for this country but has compelled


anybody. You've got a Labour Party that is reinvigorated, and more


importantly a labour movement which is reinvigorated. It's engaging the


young, the old, the day, the straight, the black, white, and


brown, and all the colours in between. All of what Ukip but


uncomfortable with? I think that's Theresa May in the end will go.


Corbyn looked comfortable in his own skin. There was energy from the


moment he launched the manifesto. I said, wow. Theresa May had none of


the. This'll be a seminal moment in our history, as we said Brexit was.


Where do you think this will take us? We want someone who actually


does embody a sense of the national interest. It comes out of Theresa


May's mouth of a robotic mantra. You cannot possibly have someone as


incompetent, spectacularly incompetent as Theresa May has


proven herself going forward to the negotiations for Brexit. You might


as well pick someone at random out of the Yellow Pages. They would be


better than her! Do you think... The other problem is, she doesn't


believe it. So you all agreeing for all areas of the spectrum that


Theresa May has got to go? Doesn't this just show you how fickle the UK


imagination all electorate is? When she went to the polls in April, she


thought she was going to come back with a massive majority. The British


electorate, God bless it, Sastre her out. She got found out, and her


managers got found out, and politics, the machine, got found


out. She has been an invisible PM since she came to office. She has


been issuing legislation through decree when the British public got


to see her face to face, they didn't like it and went another way. Thank


you all very much indeed, that's all we have time for this evening.


We're back on Monday at our usual time.


MUSIC: Power by Kanye West


# No one man should have all that power... #


There's nothing more Machiavellian...


I am disgusted at the way this has been presented.


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