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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carriage felt 30 feet before landing on top of a children's ride. As
Now on BBC News we can bring As you some of the highlights
of a special edition of Question Time
After a referendum that revealed a deeply divided country
and has the main political parties falling apart,
We are in Birmingham this evening, a city that was almost evenly
divided between Leave and Remain, and our audience here
Our panel, as always on Question Time, haven't seen any
Now we have, on the side of Leave, the Conservative Justice
Minister Dominic Raab, the deputy leader of Ukip,
Paul Nuttall, and the parish priest and Guardian
On the side of Remain, the Conservative Business
Minister Anna Soubry, the SNP MP and former First Minister
of Scotland, Alex Salmond, and Labour's Shadow International
And just a word - if you want to use Facebook
or Twitter during the programme to comment on what you
Our hashtag, #bbcqt, text 83981 and you can push
the red button to see what others are saying.
Right, let's get stuck in with their very first question,
and it comes from Chris Abbott, please.
After decades of ignoring the working class, how does it feel
Anna Soubry, how does it feel to be
If I may say, I feel that, you know, that's the sort
of language now that we've got to get away from.
We've got to move forward, we've got to come together.
I can assure you that my roots, as somebody brought up
in North Nottinghamshire, and I like to think I still very
much keep in touch, not only with my constituents but,
you know, with where I came from and everything else,
and I think this debate and this whole referendum has not
I have witnessed language on the streets, which is where I've
been, in the East Midlands, which is where I'm from,
and I have heard words used and language used,
you know, "Immigrants, get all these immigrants out."
I have not witnessed that since I was a student
here in Birmingham back in the mid-70s.
And I am worried about the state of our nation.
proud to have as part and parcel of our fundamental values,
to a large extent has been put aside by too many people.
So now we all need to come back together, we need to rebuild
communities, we need to move on, and we have to put, if I may say,
hope over hatred, and we have to stop preying on prejudice,
Now we've got to come together and get on with the decision...
But my guess is by ignoring the punch on the nose - decades
decades of ignoring the working class - there was a clear division,
wasn't there, in the result of this referendum?
One half of the country, the more prosperous,
And on the other hand, there were people who seemed
to feel, according to everything they said, disaffected,
left out - in the countryside and in some of the poorer cities.
Yes, but it has to be said a lot of people who voted Leave,
and they came from all classes in our society and backgrounds,
and many people who voted Leave voted for reasons I don't agree
with and which were completely honourable, but unfortunately
I think a lot of people also voted Leave for reasons which I am
The immigration thing, and that was wrong.
What were you actually getting at, Chris?
I think what has been exposed by this referendum is the deep
divisions within the country, and Labour strongholds like Walsall,
my hometown, have voted to leave, and all over the country
they have chosen the same idea, to leave.
Now, really, in the past that would never have happened,
so there is massive disconnect I believe, between the parties
and their electorate, to not be able to sort
I was a vicar in Blakemore for a little while so I know
And many people there feel left behind by globalisation,
feel that they haven't been listened to, attended to, and I understand
I think some of that anger has been misdirected, some of that anger has
been exploited by the far right in absolutely disgraceful ways,
and that has to be said, but that anger is...
Who do you mean by the far right, Ukip?
Yeah, I do think that, I think that that Ukip
poster was absolutely disgraceful, and...
It soiled an important argument we were having,
There is a legitimate anger in places where people have been
They have been ignored by London, and now they're being sneered at for
And I just want to say one thing - there are not 17.4 million
And that is absolutely important to say.
Do you want to respond to what he said about Ukip?
Well, look, Ukip certainly isn't a far right party.
We have campaigned against the European Union
since our inception, and I just think this
really was the people versus the establishment.
It was ordinary working class people against the Brussels elite,
against the big banks, against big business,
against Project Fear, and I just want to know
where the Chancellor is at the moment, because he seems
to have disappeared - altogether.
Now, Giles spoke about the sneering now because people were angry.
A Guardian columnist yesterday wrote that we've got Brexit
because of northern crappy towns, places like Preston,
in my constituency, people like Wigan and Blackburn
and Burnley, and I have had enough of this London-centric Metropolitan
and Burnley, and I have had enough of this London-centric metropolitan
snobbery which has infested this country for far too long...
I can exclusively reveal that the Chancellor has been
kidnapped, but nobody is going to pay the ransom,
and that's why you haven't seen him...
In reality, let's face it.
There was the Project Fear on the economy led by
the Prime Minister and the Chancellor, but there was also
the other Project Fear, and that's the one on immigration,
which was at the heart of the Out campaign,
and the consequences, given that the Out campaign won,
the consequences for society of that Project Fear, I think are very deep,
and therefore the first thing that politicians should be doing,
not worrying about the dislocation of their own parties,
but they should be worrying about the dislocation that may
Now I am not a signed up member of the British establishment -
And I am extremely proud that the one political leader
who wasn't turned over by the electorate on Thursday
was Nicola Sturgeon, who got a resounding vote to remain,
in Scotland, in Europe, last Thursday, but I do recognise
that the political establishment who have been rejected
by their electorate better start facing it and better start
reconnecting, and how you do that, how you offer people, though,
reconnecting, and how you do that, how you offer people hope,
because there is only one antidote to fear,
whether it is fear of the economy or fear of immigration,
and that is to offer people hope and a way forward.
OK, let's hear from some members of our audience.
wet and on and, just like me, the majority of young people voted two
remains I just want to know from you what you think the golden
opportunities are for students know that they have left European Union?
-- I am a law student here at the University of Birmingham and, just
like me. APPLAUSE
Can I add a rider to that? Are you a line at the high proportion of young
people who really upset by this were the vote went because a larger
proportion of them voted to remain? I am concerned to make sure all of
the 40% including the young generation are carried with us. I
have to say I think the EU has been disastrous for the young generation
given the levels of youth unemployment in the EU, and
particularly in the Eurozone, rising to 50%. But I think we do need to do
more to spell out the positive vision to carry your generation, but
actually the whole country... But what opportunities are there? What
opportunities do you think will come from Brexit? M's there will be job
opportunities, higher wages... ? You? I am sorry. I would love to
have answered your question but David has moved on -- there will be
job opportunities. What do you say to this 19-year-old who voted to
leave? This is not to be condescending or denigrate but I
think a lot of my generation were naive in this referendum. Speaking
to my peers, many felt they could get change in the EU. I am afraid
all the empirical evidence, David Cameron's renegotiation, and actual
structure of the EU should we were not going to get that.
APPLAUSE Yes, then I will come to... As I
said, you know, we are where we are. We have had a referendum. People
have spoken, they have voted for us to leave the EU and now we must come
together and we must negotiate under half of everybody the best deal. The
other thing I think does need to be said is this. For decades, not
weeks, and I have always believed we were better off in the EU. But for
decades politicians from both the main parties had frankly said the EU
was the route of most of our troubles, and had also, let's be
honest about it, nobody had really made a positive case for immigration
into our country. And if there is anything that comes out of this...
APPLAUSE And I can give you this absolute
promise, whatever my future may remain upbeat, I will not stand any
longer and make the positive case for migration and immigration in our
country. It has delivered for decades to the benefit of our
nation, both economically and socially...
APPLAUSE Are you saying the positive case
wasn't made? Yes, it has been a real feeling of our us as politicians.
Why did David Cameron not make the positive case? I am speaking about,
if I dare say, myself. I put my hands up. I have always been liberal
on immigration. I have always said these things. They have not always
found a voice and people have not always listen, and now as a society
let's debate immigration. Let's let that positive boys sing out about
the positive benefits of people who come here to work -- the positive
voice thing out. I will be positive about immigration. Immigration is
exceptionally positive when it is controlled, and that is what we have
now. We are going to take back control of our own borders and
therefore the people who will make those decisions will be the people
we elect to... That is the right way to do it. Listen, whilst we are in
the European Union we don't have to sign up to the freedom of movement
of people. We can be like Australia and take that control back. The man
in the green shirt... Can I just see how upset I am with the Remain side
of the argument because you only consider the EU migrants in this
country. Us non-EU migrants, we have been discriminated against hugely by
the UK immigration system because there are high numbers coming in
from the EU and all of the opportunities, all the chances, all
the jobs, they are going to EU nationals and non-EU nationals have
no rights whatsoever in this country.
APPLAUSE I understand that argument, sir, and
I heard that argument, but I put it to you. If you really think that the
right of the Conservative Party and Ukip want to have your Eastern
European migrants so they can have more commonwealth migrants, you have
not been paying attention. APPLAUSE
Of the question -- on the question of lies and misrepresentation, which
somebody raised, you know, some of the promises made by the Leave
people unravelled within hours. Dominick is no telling us we want to
take our time. Lots of people thought we would come out of Europe
today. We never said that. We never said it. Controlling immigration.
You just want to rerun the debate. For words, not backwards. It is
important to show how the promises people voted on have unravelled in
hours. You spoke on immigration. Hours after the vote, we will not
bring down numbers of migrants. Ask those -- as for those millions of
pounds the Leave people said would be spent on the NHS...
APPLAUSE No Nigel Farage is saying, we never
meant to say that -- no Nigel Farage. Their story is unravelling!
You would like the referendum fought again? No, I said right at the
beginning, David, it is an important vote and I respected. I had nothing
to do with Vote Leave. I would have not have joined them and campaign
for them. It was Vote Leave who have that slogan on the side of the boss,
not Nigel Farage, so stop scaremongering. I am sick of it. If
you want to win an election, stop the sanctimony, because we are sick
and tired of it. There was an interview on this morning with Nigel
Farage and the presenter challenged him over the money to be spent on
the NHS. That was Vote Leave, it was not Nigel Farage. He has nothing to
do with Vote Leave. You ever had the ?350 million, we are all agreed it
was a light? -- but whoever had it. We are all agreed it was alive. I
will take a question from Margaret then give time for general questions
at the end -- it was a lie. Has Armageddon arrived for our political
parties instead? After it was promised to come by Remain.
APPLAUSE When they went on air I think, Diane
Abbott, Jeremy Corbyn had lost ten members of the Shadow Cabinet. You
will not know this but while we have been on air, he has also lost the
Shadow Attorney General. So from Labour's point of view, the party
does seem to be unravelling under the pressure of this referendum, and
people seem very unhappy with what Jeremy Corbyn did. I will come to
the Tory party in a moment. On the question of Armageddon I actually
think the project -- Project Fear stuff was exaggerated and in the end
did not convince people and that is why the Leave people won. On the
question of Jeremy Corbyn, it is a funny thing. I think the clear
lessons of this vote after the EU, it is that people all over the
country do not want politics as usual. If there is any party leader
who stands for not politics as usual, it is Jeremy Corbyn. The
truth is... APPLAUSE
The truth is the Labour MPs who have been running around in circles today
have been planning this for months. And I believe, because they have
never accepted the result of last summer's leadership contest. It is
because they did not accept he played a proper part in the
referendum campaign... No, they have been speaking about this for months.
It is a relevant holy run the campaign? They have used this but
they have been speaking about it for months, -- Italy's irrelevant how he
ran the campaign. We should be talking about people, going after
people, reconstructing relationships with their base. We should not be
running around playing Westminster games. Alex Salmond. I think the
lady had a great question. Nicola Sturgeon looks fine at the present
moment, but... Well, she does. Let's not use the SNP as an answer to
every question. And it you do not like to talk about it, but never
mind. The Prime Minister has gone, 11 members of the Shadow Cabinet
have gone, Jeremy Corbyn might be going. David, I am just glad you're
still here. You are the fixture... LAUGHTER
APPLAUSE I hate to tell you that I am not
part of the Constitution. Anna Soubry? The leaving of Kyle
Turner is very significant. He is no playwright or troublemaker. He is
very far into the left of the Labour Party and it is significant that he
has gone -- he is no Blairite. Obviously Diane does not want to
speak about the meltdown in the Labour Party. We can't speak about
my party, yes, but we need a good strong opposition. OK, let's speak
about your party. Do you want Boris as your leader? I am not friends
with Boris at the moment. It is not a question of friendship. There is a
good question that having led this he should jolly well get on and make
the best of what he has brought us two, but I want a leader who can be
a proper world player, who is a grown-up reader with the credibility
and also has had seen your experience in national Government --
drawn up leader. Anyone in mind? I actually have an open mind.
Genuinely, I see what I think. I think there are some very good
people coming forward, and they have... It is the qualities... I am
a Jeremy Corbyn fan and I think probably the Blairites are making
their move there because the Chilcott report is coming out, what
is it, next month? APPLAUSE
And they can't come out after that. But to be serious, the problem is
for the Labour Party, and I have no happiness seeing this, it is much
deeper, this referendum has revealed how out of touch so many in the
Labour Party are with their base, and that is extremely worrying I
think because the people who may be beneficiaries of that are the far
right, and that worries me enormously.
APPLAUSE By my watch we have just over five
minutes to go. We have heard a lot of arguments. There is one
particular thing I would like to raise because 3 million people who
voted to remain have now asked for another vote and the petition. I
would like to hear from people who voted Remain and feel somehow things
went wrong for for them and their discontent with the answer. You,
sir? Yes, I think the British public not only bought it for Brexit but it
was also a no-confidence vote in this Government, so we should have a
General Election. APPLAUSE
Did you vote Remain? From you. If we did have a General Election and the
winning side explicitly campaign not to invoke Article 50, is a second
referendum a realistic possibility? That is what I am clinging to.
General Election then a second referendum after negotiations? Does
anybody think that is possible? There is a petition up at the
moment, isn't there? 3 million people. And 30,000 signed up from
the Vatican City which it has 8 million people living there! Think
it is only 400,000 people who have signed the petition and are eligible
to vote in this country. Back to the question on the fragmentation of
politics. And literally feel the Westminster jigsaw has been thrown
on the floor and they will really have to put this back together. I do
not think in the long term the Labour Party can survive in its
current form. If Corbyn gets the signatories he will go back on that
ballot paper and he will be re-elected and in the end people
like Chuka Umunna and Tristram Hunt will have to make a decision and I
can see a gang of four moments down the line again. Speaking about new
political parties, has Ukip done its bit and can be now retire?
APPLAUSE Absolutely not! Giles, there is a
fragmentation, as he said, particularly between the Labour
Party and working class seat and that is where Ukip had the biggest
vote for Brexit... M's open house. You with the spectacles on? -- open
house. With the request for another referendum, and let's entertain this
just for a moment, what happens if people still vote Leave in the
second one, do we just keep having referendums after referendum?
APPLAUSE I voted Remain and it has left me
feeling quite upset about leaving the EU but also with a deep mistrust
of politicians on both sides of the campaign. I heard a lot of rhetoric
about, we are going to build hope and bring people together, but what
are you actually going to do? What is it that worries you? It worries
me that there are a lot of people in society who are no marginalised --
no marginalised and another part of this country, which left a lot of
people on the Remain said no feeling they are not connected to society so
I am wondering what to do about that. What do you think? I think
there needs to be a real engagement with politics. I am quite strongly
Labour and think Corbyn is a really good leader and think a lot of
people spend time trying to undermine him because he does
something different to the usual politicians. You at the back. Do you
think it was irresponsible of David Cameron not to negotiate a scenario
for a Brexit when he went to negotiate the exit times? You mean
he should have done that to things at the same time -- exit terms. I
think it is something that has gone wrong. The problem has been you
cannot say to people, after decades of telling them the EU is not good,
in four months, to say to people, actually, not only is it rather
good, but positively go out and vote for it. That has been a problem in
politics. Do you want to... Were you listening? I was focusing on the
question about the political class being broken. I do not see... Or
trust in the political class. If that is true, and I hope it is not
and I hope it is salvageable, but I do not see how the answer can be to
ignore the outcome of a referendum were we got the biggest democratic
mandate for change in recent history, certainly in my lifetime. I
think the answer has to be to respect that verdict but make sure
and try to find some stronger unity of purpose as we go forward in the
manner we conduct that exit negotiation. OK, very quickly. With
4% of the world scientists and 16% of the world's most highly cited
scientific papers, those rely on all that EU funding. How do you expect
of a leading role in the world economy if you cannot fund research?
APPLAUSE The funding of research. He is
right, but we lost. We have to move on. It is all to play for. I am
sorry. We have come to the end of our hour those of my thanks to our
panel and for all of you came here to Birmingham this evening. Good
evening. -- from Question Time, good