27/02/2018 Newsnight


27/02/2018

We have a Brexit plan; the EU has already rejected it. Plus the British man who died building Qatar's World Cup stadium, legalising skunk, and snow.


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Transcript


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Theresa May has a plan for Brexit.

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On Friday she's going to spell it

out for us in a big speech...

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Her problem is that the EU have

killed it off already.

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TRANSLATION:

It is an illusion

to imagine that we are going

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to accept cherry picking.

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We are responsible for maintaining

the integrity of the single market.

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There's also trouble ahead

over the Irish border.

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And whether we meant it when we said

there wouldn't be one.

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We'll get the Irish perspective.

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And hear how the Brexiteers

want to deal with the problems.

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Also tonight: the tragic

death of Zac Cox...

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A British man working

on the construction

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of a new stadium in Qatar.

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I find this probably

the most traumatic piece of

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information that we've got.

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You can see this is where

Zac apparently landed.

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So you can see his safety

harness which has been cut.

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You can see the ropes.

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You can see his shoe

and you can see the dent in the

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structure which is

probably where he fell.

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A new study says

street cannabis is getting

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dangerously strong.

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When he

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-- when you use skunk you are five

times more likely to develop

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psychosis compared with somebody who

does not use it.

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Does that make it more

or less sensible to legalise

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the weaker forms of the drug.

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And this...

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LAUGHTER.

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John Sweeney gets

full on snow madness.

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Hello.

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Let's be clear.

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The EU is not making it

easy for Theresa May.

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Michel Barnier made clear today that

Brussels will hold clear

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to its own goals rather than bend

to help the Prime Minister.

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It now feels as if this is the week

that the fudge could hit the fan -

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to use a phrase of one

Brexit expert.

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So let's look at why this

is all becoming so difficult.

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Last December, with a lot

of fanfare, we signed a Joint Report

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with the EU on the terms

of our divorce.

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Tomorrow, the EU publishes

its suggested legal version of that,

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hardening up some of the unresolved

ambiguity of the December version.

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Notably on the issue

of the Irish border.

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So that's headache number one.

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Complicated by the position

of Boris Johnson.

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More on that later.

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But then, headache number two

relates to our long term trading

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relationship with the EU.

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At a press conference today,

Michel Barnier was clear

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that the carefully constructed

cabinet compromise

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on that is a non-starter.

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Here's Nick Watt.

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An exasperated minister has

an arresting analogy

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for the Brexit negotiations.

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They are now like the iconic scene

in the spaghetti western, The Good,

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The Bad, And The Ugly.

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Who will shoot first?

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This minister asked me.

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As if on cue, one of the characters

in the real-life stand-off popped up

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to make clear that the EU is now

spoiling for a fight.

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Michel Barnier was dismissive

of Britain's plans for its future

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trading relationship with the EU,

which Theresa May will outline

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in a major speech on Friday.

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TRANSLATION:

It is an illusion

to imagine that we are going

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to accept cherry picking.

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We are responsible for maintaining

the integrity of the single market.

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The UK knows the rules that

underpins the integrity

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because they worked with us

to create them for 43 years.

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Tomorrow the European Commission

will publish its full legal text

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of the UK's withdrawal treaty.

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Amid frustration in Brussels

that the UK is not rising

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to the challenge, the EU is planning

to tighten its demands

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on the Irish border.

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This busy thoroughfare is the latest

source of irritation in the EU.

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After Boris Johnson appeared

to liken the change in road signs

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between two London boroughs

to the Northern Ireland border.

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The Foreign Secretary said

the success of cameras in collecting

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the congestion charge shows how

the dilemma of the Northern Ireland

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border after Brexit can be resolved

with a little imagination.

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Ireland's's governing

party is unimpressed.

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I suppose I was a little surprised,

but I'm never shocked

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by what Boris Johnson says,

so I'm taking it with

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a slight grain of salt.

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But it's much more serious

than that, because I represent

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a constituency that borders

with Northern Ireland,

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and we know very well the downside

if things go wrong with Brexit.

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So I would hope Boris Johnson

would have a better understanding

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that we are not talking about two

boroughs in the United Kingdom,

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or in London, we're talking

about two sovereign nations.

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Downing Street is for once relaxed

about the Foreign Secretary.

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Sources say he was simply making

a general call for original thinking

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and isn't suggesting that cameras

should be placed along

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the Irish border.

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The Government's plans involve no

infrastructure along the border

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and simply call for digital

innovation to track goods.

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This is not the 19th century

where we have moustachioed customs

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officers wearing caps

with epaulettes peering

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into your barracks.

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Almost all customs clearance is done

electronically and in advance.

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That process is becoming easier

as technology advances.

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There is something going

on with some of our negotiating

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partners in Brussels,

not so much in the 27 capitals,

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where, you know, if you asked them

the time of day they say no cherry

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picking, you can't have

your cake and eat it.

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The UK Government has come out

with a series of friendly

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and imaginative ways to maintain

the closest possible cooperation.

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And this has been our position

right from the beginning,

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right from Theresa May's Lancaster

house speech saying she wanted

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the UK to be the EU's best

friend and closest ally.

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The Brexit stand-off

is now underway.

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Who, if anyone, will be riding

off into the sunset?

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Nick's here now and so is our

business editor Helen Thomas.

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The other story today was Liam Fox

spelling out his vision. And also

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trying to counter the claims of his

former secretary who said giving up

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the EU for future trade deals is

like giving up a three course meal

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with the promise of a packet of

crisps. Take us through that

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particular argument.

Let's take a

look at the big picture.

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The EU is a big chunk -

44% - of exports.

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But it has been getting smaller.

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Over the last decade.

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The Liam Fox view of the world

is that 90% of economic growth over

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the next decade is forecast to come

from places outside the EU.

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So that's where we should focus.

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But there is good evidence that

countries trade more with places

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that are big and rich

and close to them.

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Which is why the EU is important.

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Let's take the government numbers -

from that Brexit analysis leaked

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to Buzzfeed last month.

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Here's the three-course meal.

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This looked at how much lower UK

growth might be over

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15 years after Brexit.

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So it was 2% lower

in the softest Brexit

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scenario, where we remain

in the European Economic Area.

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5% with a free trade

agreement with the EU.

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-- 5% lower with a free trade

agreement with the EU.

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And then 8% in a hard, WTO scenario.

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Now the crisps.

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They are the deals.

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So that same analysis -

assumed that a trade deal

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with the US would add 0.2% to GDP

in the long term.

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Trade deals with everyone

else - China, India,

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Australia, Southeast Asia -

would add 0.1% to 0.4% in total.

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They are the small bites.

OK. They

are small numbers. How much weight

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should be put on them?

They look

strangely small.

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But when we were

talking about TTIP -

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or a deal between the EU and US -

it was estimated that it

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could boost UK GDP by 0.14% -

0.35% over a decade.

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And actually the EU's analysis

of its own trade deals -

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comes up with similarly small

benefits to GDP.

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The caveat is that it is hard to

model the benefits of the deal,

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particularly when it comes to

removing nontariff barriers, which

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is most of the benefits. Liam Fox

was asked about this. He said he

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didn't recognise that choice. We

want a deal with the EU, we are

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pursuing deals elsewhere, and we are

rolling over EU deals into UK law.

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He wants his meal, his crisps, it

may a burger on the side, whatever

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it may be.

Thank you. Boris Johnson

has had quite a day. There has been

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a leak, a letter about the Irish

border to Theresa May, tell us about

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it.

The front page of the Daily

Telegraph. It says Boris raises the

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prospect of a hard border in

Ireland. This is off the back of a

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letter leaked by Boris Johnson to

the PM to Sky News in which he

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raises that very prospect. He isn't

saying that he wants that to happen,

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but he is saying that if it does

happen we shouldn't worry because in

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that scenario 95% plus of goods

would cross that border on

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unchecked. Why is he saying this? He

is saying this because he fears that

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in seeking a 100% guarantee of no

hard border, the Prime Minister is

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in danger of paying too high a

price. At that price could raise

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questions about the ultimate UK

endgame, which is this ambitious,

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managed both urgent from the EU. Now

the -- number ten has said there

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will be no hard border along the

island border. -- managed divergence

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from the EU.

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The Tory MP Bernard Jenkin

is with me - but first let's

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speak to Neale Richmond,

he's the Irish government

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spokesman on EU affairs.

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The legal agreement, I'm confused

about this legal agreement we are

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going to get tomorrow, because it

seems to say that in the absence of

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any other solution Northern Ireland

has to align itself on everything

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with the EU. Is that what you

understand the legal agreement is?

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This draft legal text is the legal

manifest -- manifestation between EU

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and the British negotiating team. We

resolve all issues as close as

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possible. We want to be working

together. The second option is

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awaiting the data from the British

Government. We've been waiting quite

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some time for that. The third option

is the backstop, which is something

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nobody wants, that will ensure the

entire island of Ireland maintains

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that Customs alignment to make sure

there is no return to a border.

That

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is the backstop, sorry to interrupt,

can you tell me, in that backstop

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world, which is the only one being

written into the first draft of

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this, in that Wyatt Russell single

market customs union border go

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exactly? -- in that backstop. You

have obviously thought about the

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backstop, you are happy with it,

where does your border, the EU

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border with the UK, the non-single

market customs union, where does it

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go?

We are not happy with the

backstop. We accept it.

Where does

0:12:340:12:42

the border go? Please answer.

It is

a bit simplistic to put it like

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that. It means there was no border

on the island of Ireland. It means

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Northern Ireland is in full

alignment with the European Union.

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Where does the market border go?

When a ship arrives at the north of

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Ireland with goods. Is there a

border? Is there no EU border?

It

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would be a matter for the UK to

implement that throughout the

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entire...

We can then send

everything we have got, sorry to be

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aggressive, if you are imposing no

board anywhere, what is going to

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stop UK...

I'm not proposing

anything. This is a draft agreement.

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Where does the border go? You are

not able to tell me.

I never once

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said there was no border. I said

there was no border on the island of

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Ireland.

Where is it?

Between the

remainder of the UK with the EU.

You

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will put EU customs posts in

Northern Ireland to stop... At

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Belfast Airport to stop people

flying, goods flying from Britain to

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Northern Ireland? There will be EU

customs post in Belfast stopping

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stuff coming from Britain into

Belfast? Is that your proposal?

No.

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But you just said.

Let me finish.

The agreement from both British and

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European sides in December, and this

isn't just a European decision, this

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is a draft based on the political

agreement in December. It refers to

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a joint EU UK customs union.

Wait

there. What is your solution?

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You are seeing de-escalation from

the Irish Republic government. They

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do not want to threaten a hard

water. I will say what Theresa May

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will not say but I know that she

thinks. We are not having a hard

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water in Northern Ireland under any

circumstances. If the EU wants a

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hard border and put things up at the

border then that is their problem.

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But this country has signed an

agreement that says if we do not

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agree a border we will line. That is

the agreement that we signed.

The

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word alignment is not regulatory

alignment, it is highly ambiguous

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and a rather fudged agreement.

Full

alignment, with the rules of the

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customs union.

It is a somewhat

fudged agreement.

You're just trying

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to backslide from something you

signed up to.

It does not refer to

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regulatory alignment.

The rules of

the internal market and Customs

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union.

In trade agreements alignment

and regulatory alignment are

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different things.

You're just trying

to backslide on an agreement.

I am

0:15:520:16:01

clear there is going to be no hard

border in Northern Ireland. I'm also

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clear worst-case scenario, unless

the EU is so stupid they do not want

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a trade agreement at all, we will at

least have some Canada or Canada

0:16:110:16:16

plus agreement. Michel Barnier has

said that. In which case, and as

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Bertie Ahern has said and and Kenny

used to say, that we do not need a

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hard border in Northern Ireland. And

here is a paper published by the

0:16:280:16:33

European Parliament and drafted by

the Secretary

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the Secretary General of the world

customs Organisation saying you do

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not need a hard border. You can use

technology and risk based policing.

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Are you running out completely any

kind of technological solution to

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the issue that the British want to

divert from the single market and

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Customs union regulations and that

means some kind of checks at the

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border?

What Wiggo one is the

agreement in December made by both

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the European negotiating side and

British Government. We're staying

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true to that agreement that will be

no return to a border on the island

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of Ireland. People talk about

electronic options but we have seen

0:17:170:17:24

no detail. Brexit happens in 13

months. Reassuring speeches and

0:17:240:17:28

soothing noises are no use at this

stage unless we see substantive

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detail which we have not seen. There

is no real solution. By maintaining

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there is no border on the island of

Ireland.

Effectively you are saying

0:17:400:17:46

the UK must have a border, an

internal border and you're going to

0:17:460:17:53

police that on the side.

We're not

going to police it, it will be the

0:17:530:17:59

UK and the EU together. This is what

was agreed. An agreement between the

0:17:590:18:05

government and the European

Commission.

Thank you very much.

0:18:050:18:09

Very quickly yesterday we saw those

the that Parliament will put us in a

0:18:090:18:17

customs union anyway. Do you think

that Theresa May can remain as Prime

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Minister with Parliament instructed

her to put us in a customs union and

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then lead Britain into a customs

union?

I do not think Parliament

0:18:250:18:30

will vote for a customs union but if

it did it would be pretty

0:18:300:18:35

existential for her administration

and her authority. So for that

0:18:350:18:38

reason I do not think many of my

colleagues would support the

0:18:380:18:40

opposition on this and I also expect

rather more Labour MPs will be

0:18:400:18:47

voting as we saw from people like

Frank Field at the weekend, rather

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more Labour MPs supporting the

government. Because if we stay in

0:18:510:18:55

the customs union were not

delivering the referendum result.

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I'm so sorry, we have already

overrun.

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As one of the Gulf States,

one of the richest countries

0:19:050:19:08

in the world, and the host

of the 2022 World Cup,

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you will not be surprised to hear

that Qatar has imported hundreds

0:19:110:19:13

of thousands of workers

to build its facilities.

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You will also not be surprised

to hear that many deaths have

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occured on the construction sites -

although the precise

0:19:200:19:22

numbers are disputed -

and that Qatar has been much

0:19:220:19:24

criticised for the treatment

of its migrant labour.

0:19:240:19:28

But you may not have heard

about the case of Zac Cox,

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a British man who died just over

a year ago, while working on roof

0:19:310:19:34

walkways on the Khalifa Stadium.

0:19:340:19:36

He fell 40 metres, after his safety

line failed to hold him.

0:19:360:19:41

It's a tragedy, compounded

by the difficulty of his relatives

0:19:410:19:43

to get a full official account

of what happened.

0:19:430:19:46

Today, a coroner in Brighton ruled

Mr Cox had been working in

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a 'downright dangerous' environment.

0:19:490:19:52

His family, friends and colleagues

do not want to let the issue drop.

0:19:520:19:56

Katie Razzall has been

speaking to them.

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He was very, very kind.

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He brought as much joy

as he could to those around him.

0:20:090:20:12

A thoughtful man.

0:20:120:20:17

Zac Cox died in Qatar

in January 2017.

0:20:170:20:20

A rope access technician,

Zac had been involved in renovating

0:20:200:20:24

one of the World Cup 2022 stadiums

when he fell 40 metres to his death.

0:20:240:20:32

This is the Doha the

authorities want you to see.

0:20:340:20:38

The Khalifa Stadium was the first

World Cup venue to be finished

0:20:380:20:41

and is already hosting events.

0:20:410:20:43

But behind the scenes

the picture is less clear.

0:20:430:20:47

Figures have been claimed

and disputed about how many

0:20:470:20:50

construction workers have died

building World Cup

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projects in Qatar.

0:20:520:20:56

Zac died after equipment failed

high up in the stadium.

0:20:560:20:59

This is information that we've

gained from various sources

0:20:590:21:01

from Zac's colleagues.

0:21:010:21:03

Zac Cox's family agreed to give

Newsnight their first

0:21:030:21:06

television interview.

0:21:060:21:07

A full 13 months after his death.

0:21:070:21:10

They had kept quiet,

they say, as Qatari

0:21:100:21:16

processes ran their course.

0:21:160:21:20

But are left feeling frustrated.

0:21:200:21:21

It is deeply distressing.

0:21:210:21:22

You know, you have lost a loved one,

a very, very dear friend.

0:21:220:21:25

And no one has been

held responsible.

0:21:250:21:27

There's no sense that anyone

will held accountable and we have no

0:21:270:21:30

confidence that lessons will be

learned and other families won't be

0:21:300:21:32

put in this horrific situation.

0:21:320:21:34

Here is Zac and you can see how this

is one element of the catwalk.

0:21:340:21:37

Mr Cox had been working in a team

of three, installing catwalks that

0:21:370:21:41

were to hold lighting and other

equipment near the roof

0:21:410:21:43

of the stadium.

0:21:430:21:44

I find this probably

the most traumatic piece

0:21:440:21:46

of information that we've got.

0:21:460:21:49

You can see this is where

Zac apparently landed.

0:21:490:21:52

So you can see his safety

harness which has been cut.

0:21:520:21:55

You can see the ropes.

0:21:550:21:56

You can see his shoe.

0:21:560:21:58

And you can see the dent

in the structure which is

0:21:580:22:01

probably where he fell.

0:22:010:22:08

From the beginning of the lever

hoist failing to Zac hitting

0:22:110:22:15

the ground was about three

and a half seconds, I think.

0:22:150:22:18

It was, it was a big fall.

0:22:180:22:21

I was working parallel

to Zac and his team.

0:22:210:22:25

On another set of catwalks.

0:22:250:22:32

All of a sudden we heard a large

bang and looked over to see

0:22:320:22:35

the chain running through the block

of the lever hoist.

0:22:350:22:42

And the catwalk

started falling away.

0:22:420:22:46

Zac's close friend and colleague

John Johnson saw what happened.

0:22:460:22:51

He says one of the bits of equipment

called a lever hoist that the teams

0:22:510:22:54

were using to hold up the catwalks

until they could be

0:22:540:22:57

permanently fixed, failed.

0:22:570:23:00

Zac was standing on the catwalk that

lever hoist was supposed to support.

0:23:000:23:08

Zac got pulled towards

the slings that were holding

0:23:090:23:11

the lever hoist up.

0:23:110:23:12

And the weight of the catwalk was

entirely on Zac then, on his line.

0:23:120:23:15

Which then failed and the catwalk

swung away leaving Zac

0:23:150:23:18

to fall to the ground.

0:23:180:23:24

And how far did he fall?

0:23:240:23:26

I believe it was 39 metres.

0:23:260:23:31

The falling lever hoist rigging had

caught Zac's safety rope.

0:23:310:23:34

Unable to bear the added weight

of the catwalk, the rope snapped.

0:23:340:23:42

Another colleague, Graham Vantz,

who had been standing near Zac Cox

0:23:440:23:47

on the adjacent catwalk,

and who had watched him fall,

0:23:470:23:49

was arrested that day.

0:23:490:23:50

He was released, but prevented

from leaving Qatar for 11 months.

0:23:500:23:53

Wrongly blamed for the death.

0:23:530:23:54

He was eventually exonerated.

0:23:540:23:56

Throughout that time the family

didn't want to speak publicly

0:23:560:23:59

for fear of harming his case.

0:23:590:24:05

For a year the family said

they have been kept almost

0:24:050:24:08

completely in the dark.

0:24:080:24:09

Recently they got hold

of the internal investigation

0:24:090:24:11

report, carried out immediately

after Zac Cox's death by the stadium

0:24:110:24:14

contractors and overseen

by the Supreme Committee,

0:24:140:24:16

the Qatari body responsible for

delivering World Cup infrastructure.

0:24:160:24:24

Despite promises of cooperation

they said this document

0:24:250:24:27

was never given to them

through official channels.

0:24:270:24:29

It was undertaken by

the companies involved

0:24:290:24:30

and by the Supreme Committee

but we have never been given

0:24:300:24:33

that document formally.

0:24:330:24:34

It's the clearest account

of what happened to Zac and why.

0:24:340:24:37

And the fact it's been there,

and nothing is happening to it,

0:24:370:24:40

and no one is going to read it,

and it's not going to lead

0:24:400:24:43

to any other sequence of events

where people are actually held

0:24:430:24:46

to account, is deeply distressing.

0:24:460:24:47

The report revealed what they'd

suspected, that there were issues

0:24:470:24:49

with some of the equipment

the teams were using.

0:24:490:24:52

One of the key things in this report

was the page that talks very clearly

0:24:520:24:55

about the equipment being used

and the fact that it

0:24:550:24:59

was in poor condition.

0:24:590:25:02

It had no third-party

certification available.

0:25:020:25:08

But yet it was labelled

up and provided to Zac

0:25:080:25:10

and his colleagues to use

in their work.

0:25:100:25:13

Under normal circumstances,

that equipment should have

0:25:130:25:15

been put in the bin.

0:25:150:25:17

Without the relevant

and appropriate certification.

0:25:170:25:21

But yet it was used for a team

of people who were working 40 metres

0:25:210:25:24

up above ground level.

0:25:240:25:26

In my opinion that's

beyond devastating.

0:25:260:25:30

The investigation report

says the subcontractor

0:25:300:25:32

Pfeifer accepted equipment

from another subcontractor,

0:25:320:25:36

Eversendai.

0:25:360:25:37

But that equipment was in poor

condition and didn't

0:25:370:25:40

have the correct certification.

0:25:400:25:42

This is denied by Pfeifer

and the main contractors,

0:25:420:25:45

Midmac Sixco, who say far

from being substandard,

0:25:450:25:47

the equipment was fit for use.

0:25:470:25:51

According to John Johnson the teams

had run out of lever hoists,

0:25:510:25:54

so some were borrowed.

0:25:540:25:55

There were parts missing.

0:25:550:25:56

They were rusty.

0:25:560:25:59

We knew that this stuff wasn't

suitable for use in such a project.

0:25:590:26:04

And why did you think

it was being used, why was it

0:26:040:26:07

there if it shouldn't have been?

0:26:070:26:09

I believed we were using it

because we had run out

0:26:090:26:12

of our own equipment, which was...

0:26:120:26:15

The equipment from Pfeifer

was second to none and

0:26:150:26:17

the best in the world.

0:26:170:26:21

We had no problems using it.

0:26:210:26:24

We had used it in other

projects before.

0:26:240:26:26

No problems.

0:26:260:26:27

But we ran out.

0:26:270:26:29

I believe that batch

of lever hoists we borrowed,

0:26:290:26:31

should never have been on site.

0:26:310:26:37

Zac lived on the south

coast in Brighton.

0:26:370:26:40

Born in Johannesburg,

he'd married a Briton.

0:26:400:26:46

Today, family members arrived

at Brighton's Coroner's Court

0:26:460:26:48

for the conclusion of the inquest

into Zac's death.

0:26:480:26:55

We heard details of his

fall and how he likely

0:26:550:26:58

died instantaneously.

0:26:580:26:59

But much of the evidence

concerned the contents

0:26:590:27:01

of the investigation report,

detailing the poor condition

0:27:010:27:03

of the lever hoists given

to the teams after Christmas 2016.

0:27:030:27:05

John Johnson, who also lives

in Brighton, described how he shored

0:27:050:27:08

up the lever hoists he used

with ratchet straps because he was

0:27:080:27:11

so worried about their state.

0:27:110:27:14

The coroner was clear

with the family, that liability

0:27:140:27:17

didn't come into her remit.

0:27:170:27:19

Her job, she said, was to find

out how Zac Cox died,

0:27:190:27:22

not who was responsible.

0:27:220:27:24

Especially, she added,

as the people and companies involved

0:27:240:27:28

in renovating the stadium weren't

in court to answer

0:27:280:27:30

for their actions.

0:27:300:27:32

But this afternoon in her summing

up she was damning.

0:27:320:27:36

She said, the system

after Christmas was chaotic,

0:27:360:27:38

unprofessional, unthinking,

and downright dangerous.

0:27:380:27:42

She concluded, I find many men,

many managers should have known

0:27:420:27:45

they were effectively

asking their workers

0:27:450:27:48

to rely on lethal or

potentially lethal equipment.

0:27:480:27:54

We are calling for a full

independent enquiry of the evidence.

0:27:540:28:00

Until a full investigation has been

carried out by an impartial party,

0:28:000:28:04

I think there are still unknowns.

0:28:040:28:07

But Newsnight has been told

that the criminal proceedings

0:28:070:28:10

in Qatar finished last November.

0:28:100:28:14

Which leaves the family

with little confidence anyone

0:28:140:28:16

will ever be held to account.

0:28:160:28:21

Katie Razall there.

0:28:210:28:24

In a statement Qatar's Supreme

Committee for Delivery and Legacy

0:28:240:28:30

said several systemic failures

and human errors had contributed

0:28:300:28:33

to the incident and that four

members of staff had been removed

0:28:330:28:35

and banned from working

on further projects.

0:28:350:28:41

A spokesman said the Supreme

Committee had been assured

0:28:410:28:43

that the contractors would keep

in touch with Mr Cox's

0:28:430:28:45

family and apologised

for failing to do so itself.

0:28:450:28:47

It said workers' welfare

was its main concern.

0:28:470:28:51

The building contractor Pfeifer,

in a joint statement

0:28:510:28:54

with Midmac Sixco, denied any

equipment was substandard and said

0:28:540:28:57

the firms had kept in close contact

at all times with the family

0:28:570:29:00

and British embassy.

0:29:000:29:05

There have always been arguments

about whether cannabis

0:29:050:29:07

should be decriminalised,

but there was a time

0:29:070:29:13

when the drug was legitimately

seen as at the light end

0:29:130:29:15

of the illicit drug spectrum.

0:29:150:29:16

However, things have

changed: a new study from

0:29:160:29:18

King's College London's Institute

of Psychiatry, Psychology &

0:29:180:29:20

Neuroscience being published

tomorrow, suggests that the weaker

0:29:200:29:22

forms of cannabis have almost been

driven out of the market,

0:29:220:29:26

which is now overwhelmingly

dominated by the more dangerous,

0:29:260:29:30

psychosis-inducing forms.

0:29:300:29:32

It's a new form of Gresham's law -

bad drugs drive out the good.

0:29:320:29:37

Weed, marijuana, skunk, grass.

0:29:370:29:42

There are many ways to talk

about cannabis but with each

0:29:420:29:45

word, the exact potency

of the product can change.

0:29:450:29:48

When it comes to smoking cannabis,

there are two crucial ingredients.

0:29:480:29:52

Tetrahydrocannabinol or THC,

is what gets people high.

0:29:520:29:56

But large doses of THC can also

induce temporary psychotic symptoms.

0:29:560:30:01

The other substance

is cannabidiol, or CBD.

0:30:010:30:05

It offsets some of the

negative effects of THC.

0:30:050:30:13

Now hash traditionally has

equal levels of the two.

0:30:150:30:17

Grass has low levels of both.

0:30:170:30:18

Whereas skunk has lots of THC

and virtually no CBD.

0:30:180:30:25

Tomorrow's the study

from King's College concludes that

0:30:250:30:27

it's skunk that forms an increasing

portion of the cannabis

0:30:270:30:29

available on our streets.

0:30:290:30:30

In 2005 only half the product

was high potency skunk.

0:30:300:30:33

By 2008 it was 85%.

0:30:330:30:35

And in 2016 it had hit 94%.

0:30:350:30:41

The findings are important

because having a market

0:30:410:30:43

which is dominated by high potency

cannabis like skunk means

0:30:430:30:45

that the cannabis users

are at significant risk

0:30:450:30:47

of developing psychosis.

0:30:470:30:51

Because it is known that when you do

use skunk your risk of developing

0:30:510:30:54

psychosis can be pushed up to five

times greater compared

0:30:540:30:57

to people that never use.

0:30:570:31:05

Also links between TH key and

addiction. Skunk is more addictive,

0:31:060:31:14

an added bonus for dealers. This all

bears on the legalisation debate.

0:31:140:31:18

There's a lesson from the

prohibition era.

When people want

0:31:180:31:23

something they generally get it.

Potent drugs are liked by dealers as

0:31:230:31:30

volumes sold can be smaller and

easier to disguise. That is why

0:31:300:31:34

whiskey was more popular in their

probation speakeasies in America

0:31:340:31:38

than beer. Cannabis once legalise it

could stop the slide towards more

0:31:380:31:46

potent versions?

0:31:460:31:47

Well, others say legalising

drugs that can result

0:31:470:31:48

in psychosis can never be right.

0:31:480:31:50

Making a highly addictive drug more

accessible will only

0:31:500:31:52

create more problems.

0:31:520:31:55

The one thing both sides

agree on is that cannabis

0:31:550:31:58

is getting stronger.

0:31:580:32:01

The stuff puffed by hippies in

the 60s had about 1% of THC in it.

0:32:010:32:04

Today's THC levels are now

over 14% on average,

0:32:040:32:06

as skunk's prevalence rises.

0:32:060:32:14

We should mention that three

of the five authors of the new study

0:32:160:32:18

do work for GW Pharmaceuticals,

a company developing

0:32:180:32:20

cannibinoid medicines.

0:32:200:32:22

I'm joined by Lord Monson -

he's a hereditary peer whose son

0:32:220:32:25

Rupert Green took his own life last

year after suffering

0:32:250:32:27

psychosis the family believe

was brought on by skunk.

0:32:270:32:31

In Toronto is Bill Blair.

0:32:310:32:34

He's a former chief of the city's

police and now an MP and drugs czar

0:32:340:32:38

to Canada's prime minister

Justin Trudeau - together

0:32:380:32:40

they are pushing through

the legalisation of cannabis.

0:32:400:32:42

And also with me is Marjorie Wallace

from the mental health charity Sane.

0:32:420:32:47

Good evening. Nick, take us through

Rupert's experience, how quickly did

0:32:470:32:56

he go from ordinary life to

psychosis?

Shore. He called me in

0:32:560:33:05

August, about a year and a half ago

come he said he hadn't been doing

0:33:050:33:08

very well in his studies. He

explained to me over the telephone

0:33:080:33:12

there was a reason for that, which

was that his flatmates had been

0:33:120:33:17

spying on him and said that had

unnerved him. He came to see me. We

0:33:170:33:21

discussed it. I said the likelihood

of his flatmates being so unpleasant

0:33:210:33:30

and bad minded towards him... It was

just the remotest possibility.

0:33:300:33:35

Possibly he was being a little bit

paranoid. Then he turned round and

0:33:350:33:39

said come if you say that to me

again I'm going to punch you.

Then

0:33:390:33:43

you realised something was wrong.

Yes. -- and said, if you say that.

0:33:430:33:50

He hadn't shown signs of anything

like this before?

No. But I haven't

0:33:500:33:55

seen him for six months. His mother

called me and said that he had gone

0:33:550:34:01

home and that he wasn't, doesn't

seem well, and he was diagnosed by

0:34:010:34:06

some doctors. They said that he had

drug induced psychosis. Quite what

0:34:060:34:13

that meant to us, we didn't know.

They said it will be fine, he just

0:34:130:34:18

needs to take his pills and he will

be all right. They didn't really

0:34:180:34:21

explain to us how dangerous the

psychosis could be. He went back to

0:34:210:34:29

university. This behaviour was... He

was quite aggressive over the

0:34:290:34:38

telephone. Then we had a chat and he

said that he intended to kill

0:34:380:34:44

himself. Then intervention followed.

And he was... He was taken to

0:34:440:34:51

hospital. Three weeks later he was

released and they said just fine, go

0:34:510:34:56

back home carry on taking the pills.

We expected him to slowly get

0:34:560:35:02

better. But it just wasn't the case.

And he had more and more, sort of

0:35:020:35:10

come he was supposed to be taking

the pills but we couldn't make him

0:35:100:35:15

because of human rights.

We know how

this tragically ended. Marjorie, you

0:35:150:35:21

see a lot of people with bad mental

health. Are you linking all of...

0:35:210:35:27

How often are you linking it to

skunk?

Sadly much too often. Your

0:35:270:35:35

experience, we see it we played that

day out. Dozens of families. And

0:35:350:35:43

through the charity hundreds. It's

the same link between young people,

0:35:430:35:48

usually young people, they are

starting out in life, they have

0:35:480:35:52

promise, their lives ahead, then

they start taking cannabis. And the

0:35:520:35:56

stronger forms of skunk have much

higher psychoactive THC content.

0:35:560:36:03

Then starts the downward spiral.

You

both agree on how dangerous this can

0:36:030:36:09

be. Let me bring in Bill Blair. You

were a police officer for many

0:36:090:36:15

years. An undercover narcotics

officer. Now leading the process by

0:36:150:36:19

which Canada will legalise cannabis.

What is this thinking? How much is

0:36:190:36:25

this strengthening of the street

cannabis motivating that?

What

0:36:250:36:31

motivates us, currently in Canada we

have the highest rates of cannabis

0:36:310:36:33

use among our young people of any

developed country in the world. The

0:36:330:36:39

cannabis they are using is entirely

sourced from criminal organisations.

0:36:390:36:44

We believe that it's necessary to

lift the prohibition through

0:36:440:36:49

legalisation in order to enable us a

comprehensive system of strict

0:36:490:36:55

regulation for its production and

distribution. So we can do a better

0:36:550:36:58

job of keeping it out of the hands

of our kids. The risk factor is we

0:36:580:37:04

are finding among our young people

that the earlier they begin to use

0:37:040:37:07

it more frequently they do. And the

higher potency of what they use has

0:37:070:37:12

much higher health risks and social

risks for our young people. We

0:37:120:37:17

believe we can be far more effective

in regulating this substance if we

0:37:170:37:21

lift the prohibition. I want to be

clear. Our approach is entirely

0:37:210:37:26

predicated on a public health model.

It is based on the best scientific

0:37:260:37:30

and health advice that we could

obtain from public health officials

0:37:300:37:32

in order to ensure we could do a

better job of it.

Did you think

0:37:320:37:39

about the idea of just legalising

the weaker forms to encourage people

0:37:390:37:42

not to be taking the illegal really

strong psychosis inducing stuff?

One

0:37:420:37:49

of the things we can do... Since

2013 we had a strictly regulated

0:37:490:37:55

production of medicated cannabis in

Canada. The processes are regularly

0:37:550:38:01

tested. There was a strict level of

accountability. We never potency,

0:38:010:38:08

the purity, and the provenance of

the cannabis available for

0:38:080:38:12

consumption among adults. We can

provide our adult consumers with far

0:38:120:38:17

more accurate information so they

can make healthier choices, safer

0:38:170:38:21

choices and socially responsible

choices.

Thanks very much for that.

0:38:210:38:26

Marjorie, do you think that the

powerful stuff which is around, so

0:38:260:38:32

prevalent, would strengthen the case

were legalising at least some

0:38:320:38:35

cannabis, the weaker form?

We know

that some people would take

0:38:350:38:45

cannabis, whatever strength. And

they are likely to develop

0:38:450:38:49

schizophrenia and later depression

and anxiety. We don't know who is

0:38:490:38:53

vulnerable. It might be ten to 20%

of people. We don't know. We haven't

0:38:530:39:00

done enough research. It's too early

to dilate the message is that it is

0:39:000:39:04

dangerous. It may be utopian in the

end to be able to provide the higher

0:39:040:39:10

forms like skunk -- divide the

higher forms like skunk from the

0:39:100:39:16

lower ones. At the moment it is too

dangerous to gamble with young

0:39:160:39:20

minds. Over the 25 years of the

helpline, I've seen so many

0:39:200:39:25

tragedies, so many people destroyed

by that taking of what seems

0:39:250:39:32

harmless as a relaxant.

Do you think

that the strengthening of the street

0:39:320:39:37

products changes the argument around

legalisation?

I do. This report that

0:39:370:39:44

has come out has demonstrated what I

have been saying from anecdotal

0:39:440:39:47

evidence. Over the last year. That

the greater the amount of THC the

0:39:470:39:55

greater the damage that can be

bought on vulnerable minds. And

0:39:550:40:00

remember, it's the very young

people, the people with developing

0:40:000:40:04

brains below the age of 22, they are

the most vulnerable. If you are over

0:40:040:40:11

25, for instance, and you have a

psychotic fit from your cannabis

0:40:110:40:15

habit you can get over it. Many

people under 22 cannot. They are

0:40:150:40:22

marked for life. And it is those

people I would seek to protect.

I

0:40:220:40:28

just want to go back to Bill Blair.

What is the evidence? Lots of places

0:40:280:40:33

have legalise the stuff. We have

Washington State, Colorado in the

0:40:330:40:37

US, have you looked at the evidence?

Are they getting better outcomes in

0:40:370:40:42

those places?

They are beginning to.

Simply managing regulation or

0:40:420:40:48

prohibition alone is insufficient.

We must make significant investments

0:40:480:40:53

in public education. Particularly

directed towards young people so

0:40:530:41:00

they know the health risks. One of

the things the evidence tells us is

0:41:000:41:03

that many young people are unaware

of the very significant health risks

0:41:030:41:05

of cannabis use. And the risk it

poses to the developing brain. We

0:41:050:41:13

maintain a prohibition for young

people under the age of majority. An

0:41:130:41:19

absolute prohibition in their legal

purchase or possession of this drug.

0:41:190:41:26

Marjorie, you would agree very much

with the education message?

0:41:260:41:29

Definitely with the education. But

if you dilate the message too much

0:41:290:41:33

then I think the parents, the

teachers, all of us trying to

0:41:330:41:37

educate cannot do so. -- dilutes the

message. That is why we cannot

0:41:370:41:45

decriminalise it immediately.

We

need to leave there. Thank you very

0:41:450:41:49

much.

0:41:490:41:49

That's all we have time for tonight.

0:41:490:41:51

We did promise we'd send

John Sweeney out into the snow -

0:41:510:41:54

I'm very sorry to say that items

earlier in the programme overran

0:41:540:41:57

and we don't have time

to bring you that report.

0:41:570:41:59

Maybe we'll convince him to brave

the elements again tomorrow.

0:41:590:42:01

Kirsty will be here then.

0:42:010:42:03

Goodnight.

0:42:030:42:09

In-depth investigation and analysis of the stories behind the day's headlines with Evan Davis.

We have a Brexit plan; the EU has already rejected it. Plus the British man who died building Qatar's World Cup stadium, legalising skunk, and snow.


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