29/03/2017 Points West


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Welcome to a BBC Points West Brexit special with


Our main story tonight - what next for us


In Bridgwater, where they voted overwhelmingly


for Out, it's what they've been waiting for.


I am in the Leave capital of the Sakhr Al-Makhadhi, where people


voted in their droves for Brexit and are today feeling pretty pleased. --


capital of the West. from a Bristol lawyer who knows


Brussels inside out. Her hopes for the future -


Claire Blackman talks to us, the day after her campaign


to free her husband paid off. There were numerous times where we


thought this day might never come. It's been a real roller-coaster of a


journey. And fears that Bristol


could lose its new arena The UK and the West are officially


on the road to leaving This was the moment when the Prime


Minister made history - and started the clock on two years


of negotiations. A few minutes ago in Brussels the


United Kingdom's permanent representative to the EU handed a


letter to the president of the European Council on my behalf


confirming the government's decision to invoke Article 50 of the treaty


on European Union. Over the next half hour,


we'll be looking at what that announcement means for us


here in the West. But first, a reminder


of how we got here - nine months ago, on the 23rd of June


last year, 13 of our 19 council areas, shown


here in blue, voted Out. Overall the referendum in our region


was actually much closer than that suggests,


with 49.3% of people wanting to stay in the EU,


and 50.7% wanting to leave. Nowhere was that clearer


than between some parts Across the city of Bristol, fewer


than 40% of people wanted Brexit. In the Sedgemoor area of Somerset,


that figure was more than 60%. Our political editor,


Paul Barltrop, is in Bridgwater And, Paul, this is the day


the majority there Yes, people here have been waiting


for this paper a very long time. After the big vote in Bridgwater


last June a lot of people thought it would happen straightaway but of


course it didn't. The complexities of extricating ourselves from a 28


nation trading bloc and rewriting all of those rules I think are far


beyond most of us but there has been some frustration over the last nine


months, the government has had to go through the courts and through


Parliament to get the process started. Today that finally


happened, prompting markedly different reactions in different


parts of the West. In Bridgwater only one flag


mattered. Wind of change was blowing through the Somerset town. Its


population is a bit older than average and delivered a decisive


vote last June. Upon the ship that works the best interests... The


official start to Brexit filled screens in a local pub. I didn't


meet anybody who wanted to remain in the EU.


Theresa May is announcing Article 50. What do you think about that? I


am glad. I am looking forward to seeing what actually happens and how


things move and within the country. I am quite happy we are leaving. I


don't think it will make a great deal of difference, especially to


older people like us perhaps. It is the right way to go now. Time will


tell of course who was right or wrong but it is a big day in our


history, yes. Official predictions that it will cost Britain billions


are doubted. This pub chain actually backed Brexit. The announcement in


Parliament put where he smiles and to the faces of locals who


campaigned for Leave. -- wary smiles. Maybe halfway there. I do


think we finally there until it is finally sorted. It will be a long


time because I don't think anybody realised how much we were in tangled


in the EU. By contrast, many in Bristol believe we heading into


troubled waters. The city is home to two universities and people have


come here from dozens of countries. On a harbour ferry we met one the


city's find remainders. The argument coming from the Leavers is


topsy-turvy. They accuse us of peddling fear when they are peddling


fear about immigration and the idea that other people are controlling


us. It is nonsense, and that is putting it politely. Further


skipper, who voted to stay in, it is time to move on. It is a fate, Lee


now, we have to get on with it whether we like it or not. --


datacom plea. Now the city of Bristol and the country must chart a


new course. Now the government will get on with


negotiating and what sort of deal they come up with will be put to MPs


before the end of next year or the start of 2019. We won't get a final


say on it ourselves that it will be pushed onto the political agenda,


especially by opponents of Brexit, just as four years ago Ukip made


their big breakthrough in the West talking a lot about Europe. Now


parties like the Lib Dems are determined to talk a lot about


Brexit when people go to the polls on May the 4th.


Well, for many EU citizens living here in the West, today was one


Nothing will change immediately, but they say they're still worried


about what rights they'll have - and whether they'll be able to stay.


Laura Jones has been finding out more.


Hometime - and a chance to relax and unwind together


For six-year-old twins Russell and Rex and little


another Wednesday afternoon - but for mum Phaeny, this historic


Phaeny is Greek, her husband is British


and they met whilst working in Germany.


Her three children were born in the UK - but as of today,


A lot of people think that if you are married to a British national


you are safe, and you are not. It doesn't make a difference. When you


sit down to apply for permanent residence it is you and the Home


Office. This family exists like many others because of free movement and


it is not just a paragraph in a treaty, it is actually a real thing


that changes people's lives, and it is a good thing and a progressive


think and it is where progressive societies move to wards.


Phaeny isn't the only one who's scared.


Across the UK there are more than three million other EU nationals


who've made their lives in this country - and who never really


There are more than a million British people living in Europe.


Amongst them, John Shaw from north Somerset,


who has been campaigning hard for a fair deal for expats.


Earlier he spelt out his concerns. My concerns have always been about


our loss of rights. We have to and spurred pension rights from the UK.


Also health care, we live in France, Spain and Germany as we have health


care provided by the country in which we live. -- we have


transferred pension rights. Back here, other groups


are working hard too. This woman from Germany is one of


the founders of the Bristol-based organisation The 3 Million. People


will be left hanging, they haven't got the right documentation to prove


that they are able to remain in the country. They will not be able to


rent flats or start jobs. It is a puzzling time for this family. All


they can do is watch and wait and hope for the best.


Let's get the view from Westminster on what's happened today.


The North East Somerset MP, Jacob Rees-Mogg, joins us.


Well, you've seen your Brexit deal come true -


It is a day I have been looking forward to. It begins the two-year


process of extricating the UK from the EU and implement the result of


the referendum on the 23rd of June last year so it is a welcome day.


Looking back, and I don't want to re-fight the campaign, but only ten


minutes ago -- months ago we had a government minister warning


agricultural workers that voting for the EU would be a leap into the dark


and warning that 60,000 agriculture livelihoods in this part of the


world would be at risk. What has changed? The project fear was


nonsense. The former Chancellor of the Exchequer said there would be a


punishment budget within days of the vote to leave. They were just trying


to frighten us to get us to do what the establishment wanted and the


British people show that they wouldn't be bullied. The government


campaign was really pretty disappointing. Why should we believe


the government now but not what they were saying ten months ago when so


much is at stake? People should always make there own judgments,


consider the arguments and come to their own conclusions, which they


did ten months ago. For me there are huge economic and democratic


opportunities of leaving and we should grasp them and run with them.


The electorate at large will have to think which arguments are right and


make decisions in future elections. from the West Country go to the EU,


and farmers could face 45% But if they do, we import ?800


million worth of beef from the Republic of Ireland and those


imports would face an identical tariff, so that would he replaced by


home produced beef. If the EU wants to play that game we win because we


are only 55% self-sufficient in terms of agricultural produce. The


Prime Minister said that businesses here would be


subject to EU rules that we have no part in shaping. That is not


correct. She said that all EU laws will come into UK domestic law on


the day we leave and it will then be up to us to determine whether we'd


keep them or not. She said that when we sell into the European Union we


will have to follow EU laws, just as when we sell into China we have to


Folau Chinese laws, but we don't make EU or Chinese laws and we sell


to them very successfully. Our biggest trading partner is the


United States. What will change is that the EU will no longer make laws


affecting British business. Thanks for coming on, I hope it is not too


damp for you. A great pleasure. No, it is still dry, thank you.


We'll have more on the reaction to the start of Brexit later


and there's plenty more still to come too, including...


Bristol councillors could face tough choices over plans for an arena.


It is set to be the warmest day of 2017 so far somewhere in the UK. How


will our region fair? I will have the answers at the end of your


programme. The wife of a former


Somerset Royal Marine convicted of shooting dead a wounded Taliban


fighter has told us he has always Alexander Blackman will be freed


from prison within weeks, after his murder conviction


was reduced to manslaughter. Today his wife Claire has


spoken to Clinton Rogers - she says they wondered if this day


would ever come. The whole four and a half year


journey has been a bit We have had some wins along


the way but more let-downs and disappointments and those


were the days when we really When you spoke to your husband


after the judgment, how was he? He is a man of few words and I think


it took most of the day Obviously in prison he has had time


to reflect on that day. He has always wished he could turn


the clock back and act differently Absolutely, he has always


regretted his actions and he has How hard do you think it


will be to adjust for both of you to what will be a normal


life, or as normal I listen to people who advise me


that there will be a readjustment period and I am sure that is true,


but I suppose over many other couples we have the advantage


of readjusting from every tour he has been on, albeit this


is a considerably longer tour, but neither of us


are worrying about it. We are very much


looking forward to it. He is coming out largely


because of what you have done, and I have heard the title


lioness applied to you - does that sit comfortably


on your shoulders? I haven't really had


the chance to think about it. People ask me often why and how


I have done what I have done and I don't really have a good


answer, other than he is my husband, he is a good man and somebody needed


to fight to get the justice that he received yesterday, and if


that has to be me then so be it. A 50-year-old man from Wiltshire has


been arrested after a baby boy The three-month-old


is currently being cared for at Bristol Children's Hospital,


after first being admitted to the Great Western Hospital


in Swindon on Saturday. The man's been released


on bail, and police A police search has continued today


on the North Somerset coast, after a skull was found by a member


of the public. Officers say it was discovered


at Redcliffe Bay near Portishead. The skull will now be tested


to determine its age - but the police say it isn't unusual


for such discoveries to be Two Somerset councils have moved


a step closer to merging, by submitting their plans


to the government. Taunton Deane and West


Somerset already share services but say they now want


become a single It's now up to the Secretary


of State for Local Government, Sajid Javid, to decide whether


the merger should go ahead. Plans for an arena in Bristol


could be scaled down, or even scrapped altogether,


if it ends up costing The opening date for


the venue has already been pushed back to 2020 -


and the original Now councillors could be


asked to consider if more changes are needed, or if it


should go ahead at all. When the diggers moved in it seemed


a sure sign that Bristol's long-talked-about arena


was finally under way. But after ten years of talks


the smooth start wasn't The company given the contract


to build the project has gone. Now Bristol Council need


to hire someone else. But before they do that they could


ask for a review into costs and then I have seen examples where a report


like this has been used as the way that a council gathers the evidence


when it wants At the same time, it can quite often


be a genuine exercise to make sure that they are getting


value for money. I think the most likely outcome


is probably that they will come back, recommit to the project,


but show that they have saved a few million here


or there by adopting some 12,000 seats, ?92.5 million to build


it, and open in 2020. But if they review the budget -


or if the new contractor says it's not enough money for the job -


then they could reduce seat numbers or overall scale,


up the budget or delay it further. It's now three years


since the council approved the arena budget, and at least 14


years since the project It's once again looking


a little uncertain. Now let's go back to our main news


this evening, on the day when the Prime Minister,


Theresa May, ended the wait and It means that in two years'


time the UK will be out of the European Union -


and that in the meantime, there'll be feverish


negotiations between the two. Joining us now from Brussels


is Alastair Sutton, Thank you for joining us. You have


been immersed in the world of EU law in Brussels, do you get a sense of


the mood ahead of the negotiations? The first thing I would say is that


there is a sense of relief that after nine months of the letter has


been delivered. It means the EU can consider the letter but also get on


with other business and start to prepare itself, because amongst the


27 member states there is a lot of preparation to do in readiness for


the opening of negotiations. The letter from the Prime Minister,


perhaps we shouldn't have expected this, but it merely sets out some


core principles, so there is a great deal of work could be done in coming


weeks to get a basis for negotiation, but the sense of relief


is palpable, a great sense of regret that the UK is leaving at a time


when there has never been a greater threat to European security, both on


the military side from the East, the immigration coming from the Middle


East and so on, there has never been a greater time when British help


would be needed, and we have walked away a bit from our friends and


allies, which is disappointing for a long time. You are Bristol lad, your


dad drove a tractor and you are now a hotshot lawyer, you have


negotiated trade deals, so do you think this will be straightforward


or very difficult? This is unprecedented in many ways. The UK


is the first state to leave the EU and also we will be negotiating a


free trade area agreement, as the Prime Minister said. Most free trade


area agreements are to reduce barriers and this is an


extraordinary situation where we will be putting barriers back,


negotiating divergence rather than convergence. One thing that I don't


think has sunk in in the UK is that 30 years ago we were in the business


of reducing the costs of trade with Europe and the Prime Minister is


putting those costs back. It will be a very complex process and we have


the French and German elections coming, complicating things on the


European side, but it will be a challenge on both sides. There is


goodwill here to reach an accommodation. Whether it can be


done in two years is extremely doubtful. On the European side the


thing first of all is to clear the decks, do the divorce and then move


on to the new agreement. The question of a transitional agreement


becomes very important and controversial. You lawyers could get


a move on if you wanted to. It is not just lawyers, it is political


will. Now the letter has been delivered the EU have a number of


other priorities to get on with. First and foremost is they recognise


that the EU needs reforming. It is a pity that the UK can't be inside to


do that. That will be number one, the reform process. Number Ten is to


make sure the European economy gets more solid than it has been,


particularly the eurozone. Then we have negotiations with the Middle


East, Russia and the United States. There will be some busy lawyers in


coming days. Just like with Brexit, when it is


up, it is up. Our time! I thought that was a new slogan you


had invented. They often say politics


is like theatre. Well, that couldn't be more true


of a new play all about the EU referendum which is heading


for the West. Called My Country: A Work


In Progress, it's been put together by the National Theatre,


and includes the views of 12 people from Gloucester,


who helped shape the characters. Here's our Gloucestershire


reporter, Steve Knibbs. Joe, Joe, we're leaving,


we're leaving! The views on both sides


of the EU debate. Brendon, a former care worker,


voted to leave, for many reasons including border control and too


much money being spent in Brussels. And now those quotes


are part of the script - not a natural theatre goer, he says


the play surprised him. I thought we would sit


there through an entire satire... rubbish, and it turned


out to be really funny. Bloody thrashed you at


the rugby, last week, boy. So whether you voted for or against,


they are all spoken for, and it made everybody talk about it,


like, "I didn't think about leaving for that reason," or,


"That's a good reason why he would have chosen to leave,


but what would we have done," We have lived this life where we've


seen many, many changes. Brendon's views and those elsewhere


in Gloucester helped create the character The South West -


and gave the Gloucester interviewer an insight


into what was behind the vote. Different perspectives


about where they were coming from, the conditions they were living in,


what their personal histories were, and I felt that maybe the country


hadn't listened enough to what people were thinking and it


did seem to me that this vote had become a protest vote because people


felt they weren't being heard. And you just see the country


going down, you see the cities going down,


the housing going down... So what's the strength of putting


these views on stage? Well, the director says it's a rare


chance to represent everyone - and then allow the debate


to carry on. There's a lot of engagement in it,


it's pretty entertainment, and audiences, yeah,


sometimes they come out in quite argumentative form,


but I think it gives My Country: A Work In Progress


comes to the Guildhall in Gloucester on the


8th and 9th of May. I didn't vote for Nigel Farage,


I voted to leave the EU. Let's go up to the roof and find


Sara Thornton, who is looking springlike. Will the weather follow


suit? Your new catchphrase works for me,


because when brollies are up they are up. I can show you the cloud we


have had through much of the region today. The rain has really been out


towards the West. Yesterday I showed you at least West split that we are


in the middle of. The rain which has been out to the west will push


towards us this evening and overnight. The weather but is moving


eastwards. That is just for a time before the southerly wind pushes it


back. It means we have rain across the evening through the evening and


certainly for the rest of the forecast as well. It is patchy and


fragmented and by tomorrow morning a lot of it will have cleared. Just a


few showers for your breakfast commute. Temperatures staying up in


double figures. Let's go day by day. Tomorrow is the nicest day of the


week. Towards Friday, still quite pleasant but a bit cooler. Sharp


April showers on Saturday. Tomorrow, as I said earlier, it could be the


warmest day of 2017 so far, 20 degrees somewhere in the UK. For us,


with the wind coming through and the sunshine in the afternoon, it won't


be sunny all day that we will do well with beta bridges, 16 or 17 or


18 degrees. Friday is a bit cooler, we have a week cold front that moves


away and it turns into a lovely afternoon. Temperatures have come


down by 45 degrees in some spots. It would be quite a smile. Tomorrow


will feel quite pleasant for you I think. Into the weekend, low


pressure for the first half and then high pressure building in for the


second half. It is certainly a weekend of two halves. I mentioned


April showers, it is the first day of April on Saturday but with hail


and thunder mixed in and some sunshine. For my money,


and thunder mixed in and some sunshine. For my money, tomorrow is


the day to beat. I am convinced, thank you. Now a


quick Brexit break for you. Actually, no it isn't!


I expect you'll want to become a schoolmaster?


That's what most of the gentlemen does that get sent down for


indecent behaviour. Evelyn Waugh's classic novel.


Have you ever been in love, Mr Pennyfeather? No, not yet.


The fire escape is very dangerous and never to be used,


MasterChef is back, to find the country's best home chef.


The MasterChef kitchen is alive once more. Come on, let's go!


That's one of the hardest things I've ever had to do in my life.


This could be the start of something truly amazing.


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