14/03/2018 Newsnight


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14/03/2018

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


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Mr Speaker, there is no

alternative conclusion

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other than that

the Russian state was culpable

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for the attempted murder of

Mr Skripal and his daughter.

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Relations between Britain and Russia

are put into a deep freeze.

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Russia responds by saying -

we are used to cold weather.

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Rarely does Britain find itself

at the centre of such a major

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diplomatic struggle.

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We'll hear from the

Security Minister.

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And did Jeremy Corbyn judge it

right in his response?

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Some of his own MPs don't think so.

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The Shadow Security Minister

will explain Labour's position.

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Brexit Secretary David Davis

has been travelling

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the continent today -

and seeming to make Brexit

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concessions to the Europeans,

exclusively to Nick Watt.

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I'm not bothered too much about the

question of whether it's Christmas

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2020 all Easter 2021.

So if it means

Christmas 2020, you'd go for that?

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I'd go for that.

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Also tonight, we're

with Stephen Hawking's

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famous collaborator,

the mathematician

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Sir Roger Penrose.

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And Angela Merkel has

been sworn in for her

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fourth term in office -

but Germany now has to contemplate

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political life without her.

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Gabriel Gatehouse

is in the Rhineland.

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Hello.

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The British response came today -

ten days after Sergei Skripal,

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his daughter and Detective Sergeant

Nick Bailey were so badly poisoned

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by Novichok nerve agent.

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23 Russian diplomats are to be

expelled, there's a vow to freeze

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Russian assets that pose a threat

here, a suspension of high level

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contacts, and a downgrading

of Britain's attendance

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at the World Cup.

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Britain has had some international

support this evening -

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the US ambassador to the UN,

Nikki Haley, said it was

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the Russians that did it.

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The French have been

mildly more circumspect.

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But the Russians themselves?

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They said it's absolutely

unacceptable and unworthy

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of the British to seek to aggravate

relations in pursuit

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of "unseemly political ends".

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At the UN tonight, they demanded

material proof of the allegedly

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found Russian trace.

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Lots to talk about -

let's hear from Mark Urban first,

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on the British approach.

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So the spy expulsions are on.

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Nearly two dozen regarded

as intelligence operatives under

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diplomatic cover have been told

to pack their bags and be out

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within a week.

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This is only one of a number

of measures the British

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government is taking,

many of them likely not to be

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announced publicly and many

of them likely to be

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what President Eisenhower used

to call quiet military measures

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that your adversary would see

and understand, but the public

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wouldn't necessarily see.

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Along with the decision to expel

23 Russian diplomats,

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there will be more checks on private

flights, customs and freight.

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There will be asset freezes

for Russians who've

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threatened UK nationals.

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British officials will

boycott the World Cup.

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High-level contacts

such as a planned visit

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by the Russian Foreign Minister

will be suspended,

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and there will be new laws

against hostile state activity.

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A long list, but maybe

a little short on specifics.

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And underlying a tentative approach

is some tentative language.

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The Government is hesitant to pin

this unequivocally on Russia.

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They have treated the use

of a military grade nerve agent

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in Europe with sarcasm,

contempt and defiance.

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So, Mr Speaker, there is no

alternative conclusion other

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than that the Russian state

was culpable for

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the attempted murder of Mr Skripal

and his daughter.

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And even in its letter yesterday

to the international

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chemical weapons body, the OPCW,

the UK has said of the Novichok

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agents: "Russia has previously

produced this agent

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and would still be

capable of doing so".

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It does not say that

the origin

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of the Salisbury

Novichok can be proven.

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I think the dilemma probably

is that there is very strong

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circumstantial evidence.

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The Russians were given the chance

to respond and reacted dismissively.

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But there is no suspect,

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and therefore there wasn't

a criminal level of proof yet.

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But the Government has been under

great pressure to come forward

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with an initial set of measures.

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They have now done that,

and this is the first stage

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of what will, I guess,

now develop into a more general

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discussion at the Security Council

in Nato and the EU about what is

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behind it and how countries should

now regard Russia in terms of,

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are they a responsible

and serious member f the

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international community?

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So the Government has not yet been

able to tie Russian-made Novichok

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by its molecular fingerprint

to the Salisbury poisoning -

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not publicly, anyway.

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Its decision to involve the OPCW

watchdog in analysing samples

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from the incident will

take the crisis onto an

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international plane.

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I think that is both a

confidence-building measure,

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and also plays to one of our great

strengths in the West, right?

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Our great contrasting

strengths to the Russians

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are transparency, allies

and international institutions.

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Russians on the panel?

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Well, that would be

the OPCW's choice.

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My sense is that the Russians ought

to be present to see

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what is happening, but that neither

the Russians nor the British

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should be on the panel.

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The Government's tentative language

may reflect that they still haven't

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identified the precise origin

of the nerve agent,

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and they don't seem to have any

suspects in planting it.

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But it may also be part

of a strategy to leave some

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ambiguity to let the Russians

find an off-ramp.

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In the coming days, though,

the language is likely to firm up.

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Today's spy expulsion could be

the start of a long path of crisis,

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move and countermove.

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And all the while, the lives of two

desperately ill people in Salisbury

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hang in the balance.

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Earlier today, I spoke to

the security minister, Ben Wallace.

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I began by asking him what measures

the Government had announced

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following Moscow's refusal

to co-operate in the case.

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We've taken a step today

that we think is proportionate,

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and sends a message to the Russians

that this is not acceptable,

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and that things need to change,

but also that downgrades

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operationally their ability

of intelligence officers in London

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to prosecute espionage against us,

both economically and

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in the security space,

and at the same time we've talked

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about progressing this

through starting the process

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of internationalising the response,

and that's why the Prime Minister

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talked about a UN...

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A discussion at the UN

Security Council, and she has spoken

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to world leaders such

as Donald Trump and

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President Macron as well.

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And one of the areas that has been

much talked about are financial

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measures to sanction probably named

individuals who we suspect

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are Putin cronies and friends,

and have significant

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assets in London.

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Should we be embarrassed, really,

that there are these people

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in London, that we have allowed

ourselves to get into the position

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where bad people have

felt London is a place,

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a comfortable place,

to park money and do business?

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I think we should all collectively,

in the body politics, have to take

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responsibility for that.

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That, you know, we have allowed

the City of London's reputation

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as a centre for world finance to be

exploited by some pretty nasty

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individuals, who have used illicit

money flows from around the world

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to come here, either

to harbour it or to clean

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it, or to just move it

around, or invest it.

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Let's be clear.

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If you are a foreign

oligarch or kleptocrat

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bringing money to London,

the party is over.

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That London industry

is now going to close.

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That is what we want the message

to be, and we are going to do steps

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to take the money off

you if we can't get

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you as well, and only

last week, Evan, Britain

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went up in the rankings

of least corrupt countries.

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We are now eighth in the world.

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I would like to see that go higher.

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It does say, by the way,

the Chemical Weapons Convention,

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it does back up one Russian point

on all of this - it is article nine,

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paragraph two, for all it matters.

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Where a complaint is made,

the country against whom it's made

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has ten days to respond.

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Should we have given

them the ten days?

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Should we have stuck to the form

of the letter of the law,

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just so no one can mock us

or laugh at us on the basis

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that we haven't stuck to that?

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I think we've already

gone a long way.

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We took our time and we've done

a thorough job, and that is...

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And the reason for that is,

you know, consequences flow from it.

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I wanted the public to realise

that we are not cooking this up.

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It's not some dodgy dossier.

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This is a genuine appraisal

of the facts, the motives,

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the responses of Russia,

and have taken the view

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that we are certain the evidence

points to Russia deploying this.

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You know, you say we could have

given them ten days.

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I think within minutes out

of the trap, they said,

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"We are not responding

to British demands."

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So I think once they said that,

I think it's pretty certain

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that we can be in a space that

Russia's denials - which are pretty

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legendary in Litvinenko -

are going to remain,

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and we are not going to tolerate it.

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Removing 23 intelligence

officers from London is...

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I think actually some of the public

will be wondering why

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we didn't remove them before.

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Why didn't you do it before,

given everything we've known

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about Russia and Crimea

and Litvinenko and other

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assassinations and all

sorts of things?

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I think because when you decide

to assert yourself,

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there's a cost for that.

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There could be reprisals.

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Could we contain the threat

they were posing and all that?

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That would have been

an operational decision at time.

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The Allies have given some

encouragement, haven't they?

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The French, the Germans,

even President Trump has given

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some encouragement -

"We are on your side, Britain,

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we hear what's happened."

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Do you fear that that's as far

as they're going to go?

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No, no, I don't.

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This is the time that

a government earns its money.

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Ministers will be out

talking to ambassadors.

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Leaders will be ringing leaders,

and we will be developing

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and helping design a response that

deters Russia, and also downgrades

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their operational ability.

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Let's remember, Russia doesn't just

spy on Britain, it spies

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on lots of our friends and allies.

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It prosecutes cyber crime

against our allies.

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We've already named,

helped identify and name,

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an number of cyber attacks

by Russia on European allies

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and other countries, so we...

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You know, they're not stupid.

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They know what's going on,

and I think I'm optimistic

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we are going to get a good response.

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Well, here with me now to discuss

the international reaction

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to all this is Nina Schick.

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She's from the think

tank Rasmussen Global

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and joins me now from Brussels.

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A very good evening to you. Nina,

you heard what the security minister

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said. He is optimistic there will be

more than rhetoric in support of the

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UK. Is that your expectation,

particularly from the Europeans?

The

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first thing to point out is that

this attack on the UK is an attack

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on all Western European democracies.

I work at Rasmussen Global, and

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Rasmussen was the former general

secretary of Nato. We believe there

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should be a strong Western response

to this, because this is just the

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latest in Russia's hybrid war

against the West. Theresa May has

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done all she can do domestically,

but to send Russia a tough message,

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she needs to get a coalition behind

her. Ironically, Theresa May has

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more records via the EU right now

than perhaps via the US or Nato, and

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what she can hope for is... She will

be raising it at the European

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Council summit on Friday, and what

she will be hoping for is to ask the

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EU to extend sanctions which are

already in place since 2014's

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invasion of Ukraine on Russia. That

will be difficult because some

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members of the EU are dragging their

feet on that. But because of the

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nature of this attack, a very

serious one, she will have a lot of

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sympathetic leaders listening to her

in the EU. We have already seen as

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very strong response from European

leaders.

It's interesting you say

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that. The French were slightly

circumspect. They say they want firm

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proof. Last time, after Litvinenko,

the British ambassador to Moscow at

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the time said he was talking to EU

leaders at that time about getting

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support, this is Tony Brenton, and

he said they were pretty hopeless

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and nowhere to be seen.

Absolutely,

it isn't going to be easy. Further

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complicated by the fact that the UK

is out of the EU. There are many

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Baltic states who will be

sympathetic to the UK's position,

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because of their own experiences

with Russia. The best we can hope

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for is an extension of those

sanctions which were due to be

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extended in June for a period of 12

months rather than six, but still

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that is doing something that is the

most effective body of sanctions on

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Russia right now. Long-term, to

address the question of Russian

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meddling in the western

transatlantic alliance, there has to

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be a more robust effort across the

transatlantic, with the EDS, -- with

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the US, the EU and Britain. The UK

faces a very difficult challenge

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because it's two traditional pillars

of foreign security, one being

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Europe and one being the US, are

tenuous at the moment.

Thank you

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very much indeed.

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Now - after the Prime

Minister's statement today,

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Jeremy Corbyn gave a response.

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This has turned into quite

a big issue: many

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- including Labour MPs -

felt it was too easy

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on the Russians, and

too harsh on the UK.

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Here's a taste.

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The attack in Salisbury

was an appalling act of violence.

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How has she responded to the Russian

government's request for a sample

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of the agent used in the Salisbury

attack to run its own tests?

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Has high resolution trace analysis

been run on a sample of the nerve

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agent, and has that revealed any

evidence as to the location

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of its production or the identity

of its perpetrators?

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Now, a subsequent press briefing

in defence of Jeremy Corbyn

0:15:360:15:38

by his spokesman Seamus Milne seemed

to compound things.

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He's reported to have

said: "There is a history

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between WMDs and intelligence

which is problematic

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to put it mildly -

drawing comparison to the flawed

0:15:450:15:53

intelligence in the run

up to the Iraq war".

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Well,

I'm joined by Nick Thomas-Symonds,

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Labour's shadow security minister.

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Do you think there is any comparison

to be drawn between the flawed

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intelligence in the run-up to Iraq

and we have here?

No. I don't think

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it's about flawed intelligence. We

have great confidence in the work of

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the security services. It is

obviously a distinction between the

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interpretations politicians make of

the intelligence and the

0:16:200:16:22

intelligence itself.

But this isn't

an intelligence case, it is a

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forensic laboratory result that

found a chemical weapon which the

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world knows was developed in the

soviet Union by the Russians. So it

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was a stupid comparison, would you

say?

I am not going to accept that

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interpretation. We need to shift

from what may or may not have been

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said to the actual position. There

has been a very serious incident on

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British soil. The evidence points

towards Russia and there are two

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possible explanation is that the

Prime Minister gave, either that

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Russia was primarily and

deliberately responsible, or it is

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negligently responsible in the sense

that it lost control of its nerve

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agent. That is the way the evidence

is pointing. And given the failure

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to respond from the Russians this

week, the measures the Prime

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Minister has proposed are

proportionate.

I was trying to get

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you to be harsh on Seamus Milne, but

you don't want to do that. Do you

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agree at least that his briefing was

a distraction from the message that

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the Labour Party is trying to put

out?

Evan, in terms of the

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relationship between what the press

say whether things are taken out of

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context.

Michael I don't think he

was taken out of context. I have

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your transcript of it with the

comparison to WMD, which seems

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strange. There was no WMD and there

obviously is a toxic poison.

There

0:17:490:17:55

is obviously an issue as to how

politicians interpret intelligence,

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but my point is that we have a very

serious situation and in these

0:17:590:18:06

circumstances, we are looking at the

evidence, backing the work that has

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been done on the ground, whether it

is the Army, the security services

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or the police. Detective Sergeant

Nick Bailey is of course ill and we

0:18:140:18:17

are the king of him and Mr Skripal,

his daughter and others who have

0:18:170:18:21

been affected by this and we condemn

the actions taken.

In terms of who

0:18:210:18:26

you think did it, the Russians is

your most likely culprit?

The

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evidence is certainly pointing in

that direction. We see this from the

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point that has been made by the

spokesperson for the French

0:18:390:18:42

government in recent days. We want

to build the widest possible

0:18:420:18:46

international coalition to be able

to tackle this issue and to seek to

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ensure, as Jeremy Corbyn said

clearly in the Commons today, that

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we do not want this kind of incident

happening on British soil again. To

0:18:540:18:58

do that, the better the standard of

proof we can have is surely better

0:18:580:19:01

in building an international

coalition.

Jeremy Corbyn didn't

0:19:010:19:06

condemn the Russians for the

chemical weapon use on British soil

0:19:060:19:11

today. Did he not condemn them

because he thought it was too soon

0:19:110:19:15

to condemn them, because he doesn't

think it is them, or just because he

0:19:150:19:20

had other things to say?

Firstly, I

don't accept that interpretation of

0:19:200:19:26

Jeremy. I was sat on the common

spent as I heard it. He quoted the

0:19:260:19:30

Prime Minister verbatim on the two

explanations, and afterwards made

0:19:300:19:35

clear that we should have a decisive

and proportional response based on

0:19:350:19:38

the evidence.

No one would argue

with that.

That is a reasonable

0:19:380:19:44

position for the Leader of the

Opposition to take.

But in a funny

0:19:440:19:48

way, in order to have the license to

make those points, a lot of the

0:19:480:19:51

public will want to know that he

feels the same kind of outrage over

0:19:510:19:56

this happening on our soil that a

lot of other people think, and he

0:19:560:20:00

didn't express that outrage. He

said, we must speak out against the

0:20:000:20:03

abuse of human rights by the Putin

government and their supporters, but

0:20:030:20:07

he didn't seem to show the anger at

what we think the Russians have done

0:20:070:20:11

in Salisbury. I wonder whether in

retrospect, that was the wrong way

0:20:110:20:16

to go.

I don't accept that. What he

said as a matter of interpretation

0:20:160:20:21

for the listener. At the start of

the speech, he made clear his

0:20:210:20:24

abhorrent that the use of a nerve

agent like this on a civilian

0:20:240:20:28

population in the way that it has

been. Towards the end of the speech,

0:20:280:20:34

he also set out his abhorrent is

from Russia's human rights record,

0:20:340:20:38

which we unequivocally condemn.

Thanks.

0:20:380:20:43

If it sometimes feels

as if the Brexit negotiation

0:20:430:20:45

is Britain making one concession

after another, it seems we've

0:20:450:20:47

made another one today.

0:20:470:20:49

We'd wanted a transition

or implementation phase of around

0:20:490:20:51

two years; the EU had said 21 months

- not a big difference,

0:20:510:20:54

but Brexit secretary David Davis has

told Newsnight today that he's

0:20:540:21:01

willing to yield to the EU view -

although he's also extracted

0:21:010:21:04

an agreement that a special

committee will be established

0:21:040:21:07

to guarantee a "duty of good

faith" by both sides

0:21:070:21:09

during that transition.

0:21:090:21:10

David Davis was talking

to our political editor Nick Watt

0:21:100:21:12

while on a trip to Prague

and Copenhagen today.

0:21:120:21:15

Nick hitched a ride.

0:21:150:21:23

In the air, on the road and yes,

into another European chancellery.

0:21:230:21:28

For months, David Davis has embarked

on an odyssey around our

0:21:280:21:31

neighbouring continent to build

support for his vision of Brexit.

0:21:310:21:39

It's Wednesday, so that must mean a

morning RAF plane to shuttle the

0:21:400:21:46

Brexit Secretary to two EU capitals

encompassing what was once dubbed

0:21:460:21:50

old and new Europe. First up is

Copenhagen.

So you are used to

0:21:500:22:01

exercising real power?

David Davis

is now settling in for the first

0:22:010:22:09

meeting of the day with an

Samuelsen, the Danish Foreign

0:22:090:22:12

Minister. He will be hoping for a

reasonably friendly reception.

0:22:120:22:16

Denmark is traditionally on the more

Eurosceptic side in the EU, rather

0:22:160:22:20

than the Federalist side. And of

course, Denmark joined the EEC on

0:22:200:22:24

the same day as the UK in 1973.

We

talked about some of the issues

0:22:240:22:30

where we agree and somewhere they

are not so sure, what we do about

0:22:300:22:33

product standards, what we do about

customs. They were interested in

0:22:330:22:38

Northern Ireland and all that sort

of thing. And that is part for the

0:22:380:22:41

course. This is probably country

number 17 or 18 of this tour, and

0:22:410:22:48

that is what we are getting

everywhere. What is it exactly we

0:22:480:22:51

are going to do?

0:22:510:22:56

are going to do?

Said it has been

David Davis' life for the last few

0:22:580:23:02

months, spurning the chance of a

comfy pad in Brussels, he has been

0:23:020:23:06

touring EU capitals to try and find

a chink in the surprisingly united

0:23:060:23:12

EU front on Brexit. Britain believes

that the final Brexit deal will be

0:23:120:23:16

done in the last hours and minutes

of the Brexit negotiations, and

0:23:160:23:20

while it will be done in Brussels,

at that point the UK will need

0:23:200:23:25

allies and friends amongst EU

leaders who will ultimately call the

0:23:250:23:30

shots.

0:23:300:23:39

We have now swapped the 1970s

functionalism of Copenhagen for the

0:23:430:23:48

early baroque splendour of the Czech

Foreign Ministry. The Czech

0:23:480:23:52

Republic's membership of the EU

realise their dream of David Davis'

0:23:520:23:56

great heroine, Margaret Thatcher,

spread the EU East and diluted

0:23:560:24:00

federalism. He is now meeting the

Czech Foreign Minister, no doubt

0:24:000:24:05

hoping for a reward.

The role of

Great Britain is far as foreign

0:24:050:24:11

security is concerned is crucial for

Europe. As I said to your minister,

0:24:110:24:16

by Brexit, the British Channel is

not wide.

So here we are in Prague,

0:24:160:24:21

not in Brussels. Your friend Michel

Barnier has been complaining that

0:24:210:24:25

you are not in Brussels. Are you

going to answer his call and turn up

0:24:250:24:31

there?

On all of these, we started

discussions with the commission and

0:24:310:24:33

kicked things off in Downing Street

about four weeks ago. We talked

0:24:330:24:37

through it all. Since then, my team

have been working flat out,

0:24:370:24:43

principally in Brussels, and they

have continued through this weekend

0:24:430:24:46

and I shall join them on Sunday and

we will have another meeting with

0:24:460:24:48

him on Monday. But that is just one

strand. It is the council that make

0:24:480:24:55

the decision on what our future

partnership will be. The council is

0:24:550:24:58

made up of the member states. I will

be talking to them all and listening

0:24:580:25:02

to their concerns, explaining what

we have in mind, what we aim to do,

0:25:020:25:09

understanding their interests and

concerns so that we can incorporate

0:25:090:25:11

them and make sure we get the right

decision next week.

One of the big

0:25:110:25:16

crunch issues on the implementation

period is that the EU says it should

0:25:160:25:19

end of the end of December 2020. The

UK says it should be two years,

0:25:190:25:24

which would be March 2021. Are you

going to compromise on that?

More

0:25:240:25:31

important that that is that we get

the implementation period agreed in

0:25:310:25:38

March. It will not be legally signed

until the autumn, but agreed in

0:25:380:25:42

March. That is more important to me

than a few months either way. I am

0:25:420:25:46

not bothered too much of the

question of whether it is Christmas

0:25:460:25:49

2020 or Easter 2021.

So if it means

Chris was 2020, you could live with

0:25:490:25:55

that?

I would live with that. We are

still in the middle of negotiation,

0:25:550:26:01

but frankly, I would not delay the

decision in order to get a month or

0:26:010:26:08

two more.

So on the implementation

period, can you reassure some of

0:26:080:26:12

your colleagues at Westminster who

are concerned that the UK will just

0:26:120:26:15

be a -- will not just be a vassal

state? Will the UK be able to stick

0:26:150:26:20

up for itself?

We want to have in

place a joint committee which will

0:26:200:26:24

oversee any issues like this that

come up, and a duty of good faith on

0:26:240:26:29

both sides, so neither side is

disadvantaged. We will not fall

0:26:290:26:38

under Mr Rees Mogg's interesting

definition of our position!

For now,

0:26:380:26:42

this European odyssey is winding

down as David Davis turned his

0:26:420:26:47

attention back to Brussels.

0:26:470:26:53

Nick Watt and David Davis on the

European tour.

0:26:540:26:55

"We are just an advanced breed

of monkeys on a minor planet

0:26:550:26:58

of a very average star.

0:26:580:26:59

But we can understand the universe.

0:26:590:27:01

That makes us something

very special."

0:27:010:27:02

So said Stephen Hawking,

who died in the early

0:27:020:27:04

hours of this morning.

0:27:040:27:07

He certainly understood

the universe better than anyone.

0:27:070:27:10

An undisputed national treasure,

internationally admired,

0:27:100:27:14

he was not just a great physicist,

he was a man who could frame

0:27:140:27:17

the most brilliant and pithiest

of quotes - a quality perhaps born

0:27:170:27:20

of the necessity to be

economical with words.

0:27:200:27:22

We'll talk to his great

scientific collaborator,

0:27:220:27:24

Sir Roger Penrose, in a moment.

0:27:240:27:27

But first, we thought we'd

get our technology editor

0:27:270:27:29

David Grossman to explain

the physics for which Stephen

0:27:290:27:32

Hawking will be remembered.

0:27:320:27:33

ALL:

Oh!

0:27:330:27:34

Stephen Hawking!

0:27:340:27:35

The world's smartest man!

0:27:350:27:36

Stephen Hawking's place in popular

culture is unrivalled.

0:27:360:27:43

Oh!

0:27:430:27:44

I think you are being pedantic.

0:27:440:27:46

Astounding.

0:27:460:27:49

To think the Lord created

all this in just seven days!

0:27:490:27:52

Incorrect.

0:27:520:27:53

It took 13.8 billion years.

0:27:530:27:56

Like Einstein, on whose birthday

he died, he came to epitomise

0:27:560:28:00

the public's idea of a scientist.

0:28:000:28:02

But how did the scientist

Stephen Hawking measure up

0:28:020:28:04

to the popular icon?

0:28:040:28:06

How far did he push forward

the boundaries of human knowledge?

0:28:060:28:12

Where should we place him

in the pantheon of great scientists?

0:28:120:28:16

If you look, for example, at one

measure, winners of Nobel prizes,

0:28:160:28:20

Hawking doesn't feature.

0:28:200:28:24

It's very hard to rank

scientists and put them one

0:28:240:28:26

after the other in a list,

but he would certainly number

0:28:260:28:31

amongst the very top

scientists that we've seen

0:28:310:28:32

in the last few decades.

0:28:320:28:34

I think it's particularly

hard if you're a pure

0:28:340:28:36

theoretical physicist,

which is what Stephen Hawking was,

0:28:360:28:41

where you are working right

at the forefront of what we know,

0:28:410:28:44

on ideas that are going to be very

hard to test for the foreseeable

0:28:440:28:49

future, and I think there's

a danger, when you choose to do

0:28:490:28:53

that, that it's much harder

for people to actually identify,

0:28:530:28:56

yes, there's a particular

prediction that we can test

0:28:560:28:58

right now, and check

that your ideas are correct.

0:28:580:29:03

Stephen Hawking's most significant

work was on the black holes.

0:29:030:29:09

He suggested that since

they collapse matter

0:29:090:29:12

into an infinitely dense point,

a singularity, they act

0:29:120:29:14

like a big bang in reverse,

and therefore may hold clues

0:29:140:29:17

to the origins of the universe.

0:29:170:29:21

And he also proved that one

of the previously accepted defining

0:29:210:29:23

characteristics of a black hole may

in fact be false.

0:29:230:29:26

I discovered that black holes

are not that black after all.

0:29:260:29:30

They give off what has been

called Hawking radiation.

0:29:300:29:35

Because of this emission,

black holes will lose mass

0:29:350:29:37

and eventually evaporate completely.

0:29:370:29:42

Hawking's theories were fiercely

contested among his peers.

0:29:420:29:47

I think at first there is always

resistance to new ideas,

0:29:470:29:50

and these were really new.

0:29:500:29:54

In fact, even the very first time

Stephen Hawking wrote about some

0:29:540:29:58

of his ideas about black holes,

he called the paper

0:29:580:30:00

Black Hole Explosions?,

with a question mark at the end,

0:30:000:30:03

suggesting that even he was a little

bit concerned about

0:30:030:30:05

the really radical

ideas he was coming up with.

0:30:050:30:11

No one can accuse Stephen Hawking

of not being ambitious.

0:30:110:30:15

In trying to unify the seemingly

contradictory theories

0:30:150:30:18

of physics into one,

unified, grand theory,

0:30:180:30:20

he was working at the very edges

of human understanding.

0:30:200:30:25

The fact that he did so in a way

that excited and inspired those

0:30:250:30:29

who know nothing about physics

is a measure of an

0:30:290:30:31

extraordinary mind.

0:30:310:30:38

David Grossman there.

0:30:380:30:39

Joining me now in the studio

is Sir Roger Penrose.

0:30:390:30:42

He worked with Stephen Hawking

for over 40 years, co-authoring

0:30:420:30:50

the bestselling book "The Nature

of Space and Time".

0:30:520:30:54

Back in 1988 he and Hawking won

the Wolf Prize for their work

0:30:540:30:57

in "greatly enlarging our

understanding of the origin

0:30:570:30:59

and possible fate of the universe".

0:30:590:31:02

Good evening to you. So your main

collaboration was around 1970. How

0:31:020:31:09

different were things at that time

in his condition and his ability to

0:31:090:31:13

work?

He was a lot more able, and he

could talk. When I first met him I

0:31:130:31:19

didn't notice anything wrong at all.

It was very early stages. And I

0:31:190:31:24

could see gradually over the years

getting successively worse. But the

0:31:240:31:28

work we did together was largely

before that. The paper we roped

0:31:280:31:34

together in the royals fight on the

singularity question was something

0:31:340:31:42

which he had difficulty in speaking,

at that time. Most of the

0:31:420:31:48

collaboration, curiously enough, was

done over the telephone. There was

0:31:480:31:51

only one meeting when he came to

where I was working.

I interviewed

0:31:510:31:56

him once. I had no idea how much

harder it was to communicate than

0:31:560:32:00

had been let on by the media. When

it was broadcast at the interview,

0:32:000:32:05

it was a fluent interview, I asked

the question and there came an

0:32:050:32:11

answer. But the answers took a long

time to prepare.

Yes. And the

0:32:110:32:17

curious thing, when I conversed with

him when he could talk, I could get

0:32:170:32:21

on quite well as long as it was an

science or mathematics. Then there

0:32:210:32:25

was the odd point when he would say

something I couldn't understand at

0:32:250:32:29

all. It was either a joke or an

invitation to dinner. It was quite

0:32:290:32:37

curious than... That the scientific

communication was much easier.

You

0:32:370:32:42

collaborated for ages, but then you

drifted apart.

We did. The main

0:32:420:32:46

difference was to do with quantum

mechanics. Although there was a

0:32:460:32:51

slight moment, to do with his

discoveries about the black hole if

0:32:510:32:55

evaporation and all that, and the

implications of that, and the

0:32:550:32:59

questions of whether black holes

actually swallow information, which

0:32:590:33:02

is what he said originally, and I

agree with. But later on, he came to

0:33:020:33:10

the conclusion that because of the

general principles of quantum

0:33:100:33:15

mechanics, it can't swallow

information. So he went over to a

0:33:150:33:19

different camp.

He went over to the

other side! The early Stephen

0:33:190:33:24

Hawking with your collaborator.

We

still got on very well.

Help us out

0:33:240:33:30

on how great a physicist he was, and

how he will be remembered by

0:33:300:33:35

physicists. We know that the public

are very taken with the man and the

0:33:350:33:40

story.

We have to separate the

remarkable fact of what he did with

0:33:400:33:44

the physical condition he had. It is

astounding, no doubt about that. You

0:33:440:33:49

cannot compare him with Einstein,

who created theories which

0:33:490:33:55

encompassed huge areas of physics,

which were different to theories

0:33:550:33:59

that existed before. He didn't do

that. He worked within theories that

0:33:590:34:04

were accepted at the time, and then

he combined work with general

0:34:040:34:09

activity on quantum mechanics with

the one major thing that nobody

0:34:090:34:15

disputes was due to him, which was

this black hole evaporation.

You

0:34:150:34:20

told me earlier that you did see him

a couple of months ago at a lecture.

0:34:200:34:25

I did indeed.

Thank you so much for

coming in.

Thank you.

0:34:250:34:31

The German general election seems

like an age ago now,

0:34:310:34:33

it was back on the 24th

September last year.

0:34:330:34:35

And today, almost six months later,

Angela Merkel was sworn in for her

0:34:350:34:38

fourth term as Chancellor.

0:34:380:34:40

It was the obvious outcome

of that election, but boy,

0:34:400:34:42

it took a long time coming.

0:34:420:34:43

The German President,

Frank-Walter Steinmeier,

0:34:430:34:45

formally appointed Merkel's

new Cabinet and said

0:34:450:34:46

"It is good that the time

of uncertainty is over,

0:34:460:34:49

"these are testing

years for democracy".

0:34:490:34:50

He was talking about

the world in general -

0:34:500:34:52

and we know what he means.

0:34:520:34:54

But it's certainly been a testing

few months for Germany,

0:34:540:34:56

as it has confronted the idea that

Merkel may not be forever.

0:34:560:34:59

Gabriel Gatehouse has been

to a small town in south west

0:34:590:35:02

Germany to test the mood there.

0:35:020:35:03

Here's his report.

0:35:030:35:10

Welcome to Hassloch -

the most average town in Germany.

0:35:150:35:21

In fact, this little place,

population 21,400, is so ordinary

0:35:210:35:25

that market researchers use it

to test out products.

0:35:250:35:33

But are they buying their new

coalition government?

0:35:380:35:41

In terms of democratics

and political leanings,

0:35:410:35:45

Hassloch is a mirror

of Germany as a whole,

0:35:450:35:48

and under the surface,

all is not well.

0:35:480:35:55

Hassloch's main attraction

is its holiday park,

0:36:020:36:04

closed now for the winter.

0:36:040:36:09

During the warmer months, residents

have free access to the rides.

0:36:090:36:12

It's something that brings

the townsfolk together.

0:36:120:36:17

They collect their passes

from Rosa Tischenko at the citizens'

0:36:170:36:20

office, who's worked

here for nearly two decades.

0:36:200:36:28

In truth, no one in Hassloch seemed

particularly excited

0:36:490:36:53

by Angela Merkel's reannointment

as Chancellor this morning.

0:36:530:37:01

She's got her fourth term thanks

to another coalition deal

0:37:010:37:03

between her Conservatives

and the centre-left SPD.

0:37:030:37:09

Angela Merkel's new coalition

promises a new dynamism,

0:37:090:37:12

a new cohesion for Germany.

0:37:120:37:15

In reality, though, these

are the same two parties that have

0:37:150:37:18

run this country for eight out

of the past 12 years,

0:37:180:37:21

and now Germans can look

forward to four more years

0:37:210:37:24

of the same old faces.

0:37:240:37:28

The SPD initially resisted another

coalition, but the pull of Merkel

0:37:280:37:31

and the logic of Germany's consensus

politics led inexorably

0:37:310:37:35

back to the status quo.

0:37:350:37:43

As in the rest of Germany,

so in Hassloch, at the last

0:38:070:38:09

election, the two main traditional

parties won their smallest share

0:38:090:38:12

of the vote since the war,

losing out to the right

0:38:120:38:15

wing, nationalist AfD.

0:38:150:38:19

It's the development

of the refugees in Germany.

0:38:190:38:22

That's the main reason?

0:38:220:38:24

It's the main reason, I think,

and you have to find these answers.

0:38:240:38:30

Did Angela Merkel mishandle

the refugee crisis?

0:38:300:38:33

I don't think...

0:38:330:38:35

From the human side,

she has to do this.

0:38:350:38:42

You don't see many refugees

on the streets of Hassloch,

0:38:420:38:45

but it's not hard to find people

who are worried about them.

0:38:450:38:53

We were invited into the home

of a local policeman.

0:38:530:38:56

He once voted CDU, but the refugee

crisis prompted him to join the AfD.

0:38:560:39:02

His book shelf, at first

glance, looks alarming.

0:39:020:39:06

Oh, bloody hell!

0:39:060:39:08

I thought this was

banned in Germany.

0:39:080:39:10

No.

0:39:100:39:12

This only commentary.

0:39:120:39:13

It turns out to be the legally

sanctioned, academically annotated

0:39:130:39:17

version of Mein Kampf.

0:39:170:39:19

The policeman says he has no time

for Nazis, but he's also lost

0:39:190:39:22

patience with mainstream politics.

0:39:220:39:30

A few streets away,

but on the opposite end

0:39:410:39:43

of the political spectrum,

we meet a local pastor.

0:39:430:39:46

In his spare time, he fixes

old bicycles to give

0:39:460:39:49

away to refugees who,

he says, are welcome in Germany.

0:39:490:39:54

But on one subject he and

the policeman agree.

0:39:540:39:57

Under Merkel, politics is stagnated.

0:39:570:40:00

Yes, because it's the same,

the same people.

0:40:000:40:03

The same people?

0:40:030:40:04

The same people.

0:40:040:40:06

It's Merkel, it's SPD,

and I have no hope that

0:40:060:40:08

anything changes with her.

0:40:080:40:12

Germany has to wait

for a new government after her.

0:40:120:40:20

Like Manchester United!

0:40:200:40:22

But in Hassloch that an average

town, political differences are very

0:40:220:40:25

much alive and kicking.

0:40:250:40:27

In the evening, Peter

the policeman invites us

0:40:270:40:29

to his local football club.

0:40:290:40:31

Hello.

0:40:310:40:31

How are you?

0:40:310:40:35

We go!

0:40:350:40:36

What's going on?

0:40:360:40:38

It's not a friend of AfD.

0:40:380:40:39

Oh, OK.

0:40:390:40:41

You want not to remain?

0:40:410:40:43

You make decision...

0:40:430:40:46

We go.

0:40:500:40:51

We go in.

0:40:510:40:53

All right.

0:40:530:40:54

Thank you very much.

0:40:540:40:56

Some political

disagreement, I think.

0:40:560:41:04

In this time we have problem.

0:41:040:41:06

Right.

0:41:060:41:07

In the club.

0:41:070:41:09

Because 50% want not AfD.

0:41:090:41:13

Right.

0:41:130:41:14

And the other want AfD.

0:41:140:41:16

I see.

0:41:160:41:17

So are you losing friends?

0:41:170:41:18

Yes, maybe.

0:41:180:41:19

And this is you here, is it?

0:41:190:41:21

Yes.

0:41:210:41:22

Looking at your phone?

0:41:220:41:23

Looking at the wrong place?

0:41:230:41:25

Peter split with Merkel

over the refugee crisis,

0:41:250:41:27

but his views on this subject

are in fact less radical

0:41:270:41:29

than you might expect.

0:41:290:41:36

Right, so you think you should let

in people from Syria,

0:41:430:41:44

from Iraq, from Afghanistan?

0:41:440:41:46

Yes.

0:41:460:41:47

You should?

0:41:470:41:50

The issue of refugees has become

a totemic dividing line.

0:41:530:41:58

To many Germans, yet another

coalition government feels

0:41:580:42:00

like going round in circles.

0:42:000:42:03

And here's the paradox.

0:42:030:42:05

The more the mainstream

cultivates consensus,

0:42:050:42:13

the more society seems polarised.

0:42:130:42:20

That's all we have

time for - good night.

0:42:200:42:28