EU Special Highlights Question Time


EU Special Highlights

Highlights from the special editon of Question Time held to discuss the implications of the UK's vote to leave the European Union.


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Transcript


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carriage felt 30 feet before landing on top of a children's ride. As

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Now on BBC News we can bring As you some of the highlights

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of a special edition of Question Time

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After a referendum that revealed a deeply divided country

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and has the main political parties falling apart,

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We are in Birmingham this evening, a city that was almost evenly

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divided between Leave and Remain, and our audience here

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Our panel, as always on Question Time, haven't seen any

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Now we have, on the side of Leave, the Conservative Justice

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Minister Dominic Raab, the deputy leader of Ukip,

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Paul Nuttall, and the parish priest and Guardian

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On the side of Remain, the Conservative Business

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Minister Anna Soubry, the SNP MP and former First Minister

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of Scotland, Alex Salmond, and Labour's Shadow International

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And just a word - if you want to use Facebook

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or Twitter during the programme to comment on what you

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Our hashtag, #bbcqt, text 83981 and you can push

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the red button to see what others are saying.

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Right, let's get stuck in with their very first question,

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and it comes from Chris Abbott, please.

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After decades of ignoring the working class, how does it feel

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Anna Soubry, how does it feel to be

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If I may say, I feel that, you know, that's the sort

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of language now that we've got to get away from.

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We've got to move forward, we've got to come together.

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I can assure you that my roots, as somebody brought up

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in North Nottinghamshire, and I like to think I still very

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much keep in touch, not only with my constituents but,

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you know, with where I came from and everything else,

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and I think this debate and this whole referendum has not

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I have witnessed language on the streets, which is where I've

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been, in the East Midlands, which is where I'm from,

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and I have heard words used and language used,

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you know, "Immigrants, get all these immigrants out."

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I have not witnessed that since I was a student

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here in Birmingham back in the mid-70s.

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And I am worried about the state of our nation.

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proud to have as part and parcel of our fundamental values,

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to a large extent has been put aside by too many people.

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So now we all need to come back together, we need to rebuild

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communities, we need to move on, and we have to put, if I may say,

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hope over hatred, and we have to stop preying on prejudice,

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Now we've got to come together and get on with the decision...

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But my guess is by ignoring the punch on the nose - decades

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decades of ignoring the working class - there was a clear division,

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wasn't there, in the result of this referendum?

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One half of the country, the more prosperous,

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And on the other hand, there were people who seemed

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to feel, according to everything they said, disaffected,

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left out - in the countryside and in some of the poorer cities.

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Yes, but it has to be said a lot of people who voted Leave,

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and they came from all classes in our society and backgrounds,

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and many people who voted Leave voted for reasons I don't agree

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with and which were completely honourable, but unfortunately

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I think a lot of people also voted Leave for reasons which I am

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The immigration thing, and that was wrong.

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What were you actually getting at, Chris?

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I think what has been exposed by this referendum is the deep

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divisions within the country, and Labour strongholds like Walsall,

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my hometown, have voted to leave, and all over the country

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they have chosen the same idea, to leave.

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Now, really, in the past that would never have happened,

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so there is massive disconnect I believe, between the parties

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and their electorate, to not be able to sort

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I was a vicar in Blakemore for a little while so I know

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And many people there feel left behind by globalisation,

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feel that they haven't been listened to, attended to, and I understand

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I think some of that anger has been misdirected, some of that anger has

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been exploited by the far right in absolutely disgraceful ways,

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and that has to be said, but that anger is...

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Who do you mean by the far right, Ukip?

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Yeah, I do think that, I think that that Ukip

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poster was absolutely disgraceful, and...

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It soiled an important argument we were having,

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There is a legitimate anger in places where people have been

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They have been ignored by London, and now they're being sneered at for

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And I just want to say one thing - there are not 17.4 million

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And that is absolutely important to say.

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Do you want to respond to what he said about Ukip?

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Well, look, Ukip certainly isn't a far right party.

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We have campaigned against the European Union

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since our inception, and I just think this

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really was the people versus the establishment.

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It was ordinary working class people against the Brussels elite,

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against the big banks, against big business,

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against Project Fear, and I just want to know

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where the Chancellor is at the moment, because he seems

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to have disappeared - altogether.

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Now, Giles spoke about the sneering now because people were angry.

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A Guardian columnist yesterday wrote that we've got Brexit

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because of northern crappy towns, places like Preston,

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in my constituency, people like Wigan and Blackburn

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and Burnley, and I have had enough of this London-centric Metropolitan

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and Burnley, and I have had enough of this London-centric metropolitan

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snobbery which has infested this country for far too long...

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I can exclusively reveal that the Chancellor has been

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kidnapped, but nobody is going to pay the ransom,

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and that's why you haven't seen him...

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In reality, let's face it.

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There was the Project Fear on the economy led by

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the Prime Minister and the Chancellor, but there was also

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the other Project Fear, and that's the one on immigration,

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which was at the heart of the Out campaign,

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and the consequences, given that the Out campaign won,

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the consequences for society of that Project Fear, I think are very deep,

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and therefore the first thing that politicians should be doing,

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not worrying about the dislocation of their own parties,

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but they should be worrying about the dislocation that may

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Now I am not a signed up member of the British establishment -

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And I am extremely proud that the one political leader

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who wasn't turned over by the electorate on Thursday

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was Nicola Sturgeon, who got a resounding vote to remain,

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in Scotland, in Europe, last Thursday, but I do recognise

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that the political establishment who have been rejected

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by their electorate better start facing it and better start

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reconnecting, and how you do that, how you offer people, though,

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reconnecting, and how you do that, how you offer people hope,

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because there is only one antidote to fear,

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whether it is fear of the economy or fear of immigration,

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and that is to offer people hope and a way forward.

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OK, let's hear from some members of our audience.

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wet and on and, just like me, the majority of young people voted two

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remains I just want to know from you what you think the golden

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opportunities are for students know that they have left European Union?

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-- I am a law student here at the University of Birmingham and, just

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like me. APPLAUSE

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Can I add a rider to that? Are you a line at the high proportion of young

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people who really upset by this were the vote went because a larger

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proportion of them voted to remain? I am concerned to make sure all of

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the 40% including the young generation are carried with us. I

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have to say I think the EU has been disastrous for the young generation

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given the levels of youth unemployment in the EU, and

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particularly in the Eurozone, rising to 50%. But I think we do need to do

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more to spell out the positive vision to carry your generation, but

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actually the whole country... But what opportunities are there? What

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opportunities do you think will come from Brexit? M's there will be job

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opportunities, higher wages... ? You? I am sorry. I would love to

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have answered your question but David has moved on -- there will be

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job opportunities. What do you say to this 19-year-old who voted to

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leave? This is not to be condescending or denigrate but I

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think a lot of my generation were naive in this referendum. Speaking

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to my peers, many felt they could get change in the EU. I am afraid

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all the empirical evidence, David Cameron's renegotiation, and actual

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structure of the EU should we were not going to get that.

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APPLAUSE Yes, then I will come to... As I

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said, you know, we are where we are. We have had a referendum. People

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have spoken, they have voted for us to leave the EU and now we must come

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together and we must negotiate under half of everybody the best deal. The

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other thing I think does need to be said is this. For decades, not

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weeks, and I have always believed we were better off in the EU. But for

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decades politicians from both the main parties had frankly said the EU

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was the route of most of our troubles, and had also, let's be

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honest about it, nobody had really made a positive case for immigration

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into our country. And if there is anything that comes out of this...

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APPLAUSE And I can give you this absolute

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promise, whatever my future may remain upbeat, I will not stand any

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longer and make the positive case for migration and immigration in our

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country. It has delivered for decades to the benefit of our

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nation, both economically and socially...

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APPLAUSE Are you saying the positive case

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wasn't made? Yes, it has been a real feeling of our us as politicians.

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Why did David Cameron not make the positive case? I am speaking about,

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if I dare say, myself. I put my hands up. I have always been liberal

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on immigration. I have always said these things. They have not always

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found a voice and people have not always listen, and now as a society

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let's debate immigration. Let's let that positive boys sing out about

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the positive benefits of people who come here to work -- the positive

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voice thing out. I will be positive about immigration. Immigration is

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exceptionally positive when it is controlled, and that is what we have

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now. We are going to take back control of our own borders and

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therefore the people who will make those decisions will be the people

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we elect to... That is the right way to do it. Listen, whilst we are in

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the European Union we don't have to sign up to the freedom of movement

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of people. We can be like Australia and take that control back. The man

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in the green shirt... Can I just see how upset I am with the Remain side

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of the argument because you only consider the EU migrants in this

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country. Us non-EU migrants, we have been discriminated against hugely by

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the UK immigration system because there are high numbers coming in

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from the EU and all of the opportunities, all the chances, all

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the jobs, they are going to EU nationals and non-EU nationals have

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no rights whatsoever in this country.

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APPLAUSE I understand that argument, sir, and

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I heard that argument, but I put it to you. If you really think that the

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right of the Conservative Party and Ukip want to have your Eastern

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European migrants so they can have more commonwealth migrants, you have

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not been paying attention. APPLAUSE

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Of the question -- on the question of lies and misrepresentation, which

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somebody raised, you know, some of the promises made by the Leave

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people unravelled within hours. Dominick is no telling us we want to

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take our time. Lots of people thought we would come out of Europe

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today. We never said that. We never said it. Controlling immigration.

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You just want to rerun the debate. For words, not backwards. It is

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important to show how the promises people voted on have unravelled in

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hours. You spoke on immigration. Hours after the vote, we will not

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bring down numbers of migrants. Ask those -- as for those millions of

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pounds the Leave people said would be spent on the NHS...

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APPLAUSE No Nigel Farage is saying, we never

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meant to say that -- no Nigel Farage. Their story is unravelling!

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You would like the referendum fought again? No, I said right at the

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beginning, David, it is an important vote and I respected. I had nothing

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to do with Vote Leave. I would have not have joined them and campaign

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for them. It was Vote Leave who have that slogan on the side of the boss,

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not Nigel Farage, so stop scaremongering. I am sick of it. If

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you want to win an election, stop the sanctimony, because we are sick

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and tired of it. There was an interview on this morning with Nigel

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Farage and the presenter challenged him over the money to be spent on

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the NHS. That was Vote Leave, it was not Nigel Farage. He has nothing to

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do with Vote Leave. You ever had the ?350 million, we are all agreed it

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was a light? -- but whoever had it. We are all agreed it was alive. I

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will take a question from Margaret then give time for general questions

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at the end -- it was a lie. Has Armageddon arrived for our political

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parties instead? After it was promised to come by Remain.

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APPLAUSE When they went on air I think, Diane

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Abbott, Jeremy Corbyn had lost ten members of the Shadow Cabinet. You

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will not know this but while we have been on air, he has also lost the

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Shadow Attorney General. So from Labour's point of view, the party

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does seem to be unravelling under the pressure of this referendum, and

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people seem very unhappy with what Jeremy Corbyn did. I will come to

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the Tory party in a moment. On the question of Armageddon I actually

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think the project -- Project Fear stuff was exaggerated and in the end

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did not convince people and that is why the Leave people won. On the

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question of Jeremy Corbyn, it is a funny thing. I think the clear

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lessons of this vote after the EU, it is that people all over the

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country do not want politics as usual. If there is any party leader

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who stands for not politics as usual, it is Jeremy Corbyn. The

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truth is... APPLAUSE

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The truth is the Labour MPs who have been running around in circles today

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have been planning this for months. And I believe, because they have

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never accepted the result of last summer's leadership contest. It is

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because they did not accept he played a proper part in the

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referendum campaign... No, they have been speaking about this for months.

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It is a relevant holy run the campaign? They have used this but

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they have been speaking about it for months, -- Italy's irrelevant how he

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ran the campaign. We should be talking about people, going after

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people, reconstructing relationships with their base. We should not be

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running around playing Westminster games. Alex Salmond. I think the

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lady had a great question. Nicola Sturgeon looks fine at the present

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moment, but... Well, she does. Let's not use the SNP as an answer to

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every question. And it you do not like to talk about it, but never

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mind. The Prime Minister has gone, 11 members of the Shadow Cabinet

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have gone, Jeremy Corbyn might be going. David, I am just glad you're

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still here. You are the fixture... LAUGHTER

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APPLAUSE I hate to tell you that I am not

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part of the Constitution. Anna Soubry? The leaving of Kyle

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Turner is very significant. He is no playwright or troublemaker. He is

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very far into the left of the Labour Party and it is significant that he

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has gone -- he is no Blairite. Obviously Diane does not want to

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speak about the meltdown in the Labour Party. We can't speak about

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my party, yes, but we need a good strong opposition. OK, let's speak

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about your party. Do you want Boris as your leader? I am not friends

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with Boris at the moment. It is not a question of friendship. There is a

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good question that having led this he should jolly well get on and make

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the best of what he has brought us two, but I want a leader who can be

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a proper world player, who is a grown-up reader with the credibility

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and also has had seen your experience in national Government --

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drawn up leader. Anyone in mind? I actually have an open mind.

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Genuinely, I see what I think. I think there are some very good

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people coming forward, and they have... It is the qualities... I am

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a Jeremy Corbyn fan and I think probably the Blairites are making

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their move there because the Chilcott report is coming out, what

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is it, next month? APPLAUSE

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And they can't come out after that. But to be serious, the problem is

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for the Labour Party, and I have no happiness seeing this, it is much

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deeper, this referendum has revealed how out of touch so many in the

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Labour Party are with their base, and that is extremely worrying I

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think because the people who may be beneficiaries of that are the far

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right, and that worries me enormously.

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APPLAUSE By my watch we have just over five

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minutes to go. We have heard a lot of arguments. There is one

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particular thing I would like to raise because 3 million people who

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voted to remain have now asked for another vote and the petition. I

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would like to hear from people who voted Remain and feel somehow things

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went wrong for for them and their discontent with the answer. You,

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sir? Yes, I think the British public not only bought it for Brexit but it

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was also a no-confidence vote in this Government, so we should have a

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General Election. APPLAUSE

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Did you vote Remain? From you. If we did have a General Election and the

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winning side explicitly campaign not to invoke Article 50, is a second

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referendum a realistic possibility? That is what I am clinging to.

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General Election then a second referendum after negotiations? Does

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anybody think that is possible? There is a petition up at the

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moment, isn't there? 3 million people. And 30,000 signed up from

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the Vatican City which it has 8 million people living there! Think

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it is only 400,000 people who have signed the petition and are eligible

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to vote in this country. Back to the question on the fragmentation of

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politics. And literally feel the Westminster jigsaw has been thrown

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on the floor and they will really have to put this back together. I do

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not think in the long term the Labour Party can survive in its

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current form. If Corbyn gets the signatories he will go back on that

:21:47.:21:50.

ballot paper and he will be re-elected and in the end people

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like Chuka Umunna and Tristram Hunt will have to make a decision and I

:21:54.:21:56.

can see a gang of four moments down the line again. Speaking about new

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political parties, has Ukip done its bit and can be now retire?

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APPLAUSE Absolutely not! Giles, there is a

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fragmentation, as he said, particularly between the Labour

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Party and working class seat and that is where Ukip had the biggest

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vote for Brexit... M's open house. You with the spectacles on? -- open

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house. With the request for another referendum, and let's entertain this

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just for a moment, what happens if people still vote Leave in the

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second one, do we just keep having referendums after referendum?

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APPLAUSE I voted Remain and it has left me

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feeling quite upset about leaving the EU but also with a deep mistrust

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of politicians on both sides of the campaign. I heard a lot of rhetoric

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about, we are going to build hope and bring people together, but what

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are you actually going to do? What is it that worries you? It worries

:23:05.:23:09.

me that there are a lot of people in society who are no marginalised --

:23:10.:23:14.

no marginalised and another part of this country, which left a lot of

:23:15.:23:19.

people on the Remain said no feeling they are not connected to society so

:23:20.:23:22.

I am wondering what to do about that. What do you think? I think

:23:23.:23:26.

there needs to be a real engagement with politics. I am quite strongly

:23:27.:23:30.

Labour and think Corbyn is a really good leader and think a lot of

:23:31.:23:32.

people spend time trying to undermine him because he does

:23:33.:23:36.

something different to the usual politicians. You at the back. Do you

:23:37.:23:41.

think it was irresponsible of David Cameron not to negotiate a scenario

:23:42.:23:48.

for a Brexit when he went to negotiate the exit times? You mean

:23:49.:23:55.

he should have done that to things at the same time -- exit terms. I

:23:56.:23:59.

think it is something that has gone wrong. The problem has been you

:24:00.:24:03.

cannot say to people, after decades of telling them the EU is not good,

:24:04.:24:10.

in four months, to say to people, actually, not only is it rather

:24:11.:24:13.

good, but positively go out and vote for it. That has been a problem in

:24:14.:24:21.

politics. Do you want to... Were you listening? I was focusing on the

:24:22.:24:26.

question about the political class being broken. I do not see... Or

:24:27.:24:31.

trust in the political class. If that is true, and I hope it is not

:24:32.:24:34.

and I hope it is salvageable, but I do not see how the answer can be to

:24:35.:24:38.

ignore the outcome of a referendum were we got the biggest democratic

:24:39.:24:41.

mandate for change in recent history, certainly in my lifetime. I

:24:42.:24:45.

think the answer has to be to respect that verdict but make sure

:24:46.:24:48.

and try to find some stronger unity of purpose as we go forward in the

:24:49.:24:53.

manner we conduct that exit negotiation. OK, very quickly. With

:24:54.:25:01.

4% of the world scientists and 16% of the world's most highly cited

:25:02.:25:09.

scientific papers, those rely on all that EU funding. How do you expect

:25:10.:25:12.

of a leading role in the world economy if you cannot fund research?

:25:13.:25:19.

APPLAUSE The funding of research. He is

:25:20.:25:25.

right, but we lost. We have to move on. It is all to play for. I am

:25:26.:25:38.

sorry. We have come to the end of our hour those of my thanks to our

:25:39.:25:41.

panel and for all of you came here to Birmingham this evening. Good

:25:42.:25:48.

evening. -- from Question Time, good

:25:49.:25:49.

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