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Brexit Vote Leaves British Politics in Disarray; U.S. Republican Party in Midst of Identity Crisis; Imagine a World. Aired 2-2:30p ET
Aired June 30, 2016 - 14:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN HOST (voice-over): Tonight: after the Brexit, Borexit, as the favorite to be the next British prime minister
dramatically drops out of the race.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BORIS JOHNSON, FORMER MAYOR OF LONDON: You who have waited faithfully for the punchline of this speech, that having consulted colleagues and in
view of the circumstances in Parliament, I have concluded that person cannot be me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR (voice-over): Was Boris Johnson's fellow Vote Leave campaigner, Michael Gove, to blame?
Plus: a political world turned upside down.
Does the vote to leave the E.U. start to signal good news or bad news for Donald Trump?
AMANPOUR: Good evening, everyone, and welcome to the program. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.
If you were a major Western democracy trying to calm hurricane force political winds generated by leaving the E.U., trying to stabilize a shaky
economy, would you really want do it like this?
After coming under fire for hiding out since the Brexit result, the Leave Brexiteer, Boris ,Johnson suddenly dropped out of the race to be
Britain's next prime minister. He did so at a news conference that was meant to launch his bid, hours after his co-campaigner, Michael Gove, who
was meant to become his campaign manager, decided to stand in the election himself.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL GOVE, BRITISH JUSTICE SECRETARY: I've realized in the last few days that Boris isn't capable of building that team and providing that
And so I came reluctantly but firmly to the conclusion that, as someone who had argued from the beginning that we should leave the European
Union and as someone who wanted to ensure that a bold, positive vision for our future was implemented, that I had to stand for the leadership of the
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR (voice-over): But is Gove up to the job?
Right now, the odds-on favorite is the home secretary, Theresa May, after she offered a steady pair of hands to guide an orderly U.K. retreat
from the E.U.
THERESA MAY, BRITISH HOME SECRETARY: Brexit means Brexit. The campaign was fought. The vote was held. Turnout was high. And the public
gave their verdict. There must be no attempts to remain inside the E.U., no attempts to rejoin it through the back door and no second referendum.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: On the other side of the aisle, the opposition has been imploding. After refusing to bow to an overwhelming no-confidence vote,
the Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, appeared at an event to review charges of anti-Semitism in his party and his standing promptly went from bad to
worse, when he appeared to equate the state of Israel with the Islamic State.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEREMY CORBYN, LEADER, U.K. LABOUR PARTY: Our Jewish friends are no more responsible for the actions of Israel or the Netanyahu government than
our Muslim friends are for those various self-styled Islamic threats (INAUDIBLE) --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So much for keep calm and carry on. It is a time of unprecedented turbulence.
Can things get any more wacky here in the land of the stoic stiff upper lip?
Well, joining me now from Westminster is the Conservative MP and Theresa May supporter, Chris Philp.
And in the studio here, Alastair Campbell, right-hand man and political aide to the former Labour prime minister, Tony Blair.
Welcome, both of you, to the program.
Mr. Philp, can I ask you first, were you stunned at this sudden shock no-show by Boris Johnson in the race and by Gove putting in his oar?
CHRIS PHILP, CONSERVATIVE MP, Yes, I was absolutely astonished. I was actually sitting in Theresa May's campaign launch this morning when news of
Michael Gove's extraordinary change of heart came through.
And I was then sitting in the House of Commons Tea Room with some colleagues, watching Boris' speech. And a short time later when he
announced he was dropping out, we were absolutely astonished.
But the reason I chose Theresa May a few days ago is because she offers the stability, the calm, the authority to take our country through
this very difficult time. I think her speech this morning was incredibly statesman-like. And I think the events of today, both in the Conservative
Party with Boris and Michael and also in the Labour Party show just how important it is to have somebody with Theresa May's calm authority, with
their hand on the tiller at what is a very turbulent time for our country.
AMANPOUR: I know kind of what you are going to answer to my next question. But I want to ask you anyway because Michael Gove, who, as you
know, as we all know, was going to be backing Boris and who, even just a few days before the referendum, said the following, "I don't think I have
that exceptional level of ability required for the job" -- he was talking about being prime minister and explaining why he wasn't throwing his hat in
Can he threaten Theresa May now that he is in the ring?
PHILP: Well, I have a huge amount of time and respect for Michael Gove. He is a very capable minister. Indeed, I like him and respect him
personally. So I'm certainly not going to criticize him.
But I think, as I say, I thought about this and I made my choice. And I stand by it. I think Theresa May is the person with the experience, with
the track record, with the authority, with the calm, with the judgment and with the consistency that our country needs at this critical time.
So I'm absolutely clear she is the right person to be prime minister of this country in very, very difficult circumstances.
AMANPOUR: And before I turn to Alastair Campbell for comment on this -- and she said no turning back from Brexit -- is that something that she's
Or a lot of people want to have a second referendum and stay in the E.U. single market and have all the good stuff.
PHILP: Well, look, I think there is no question at the moment of any second referendum. The public have spoken more than by a margin of over 1
million. They said they wanted to come out of the European Union.
And Theresa May, today -- and the generality of Conservative and Labour MPs are accepting that result. And we are getting on with the
business of working out how to leave the European Union.
But on the point of single market access, I think it is important to retain single market access for services as well as for goods. And we need
now to our negotiating power as the world's fifth largest economy with an 80-billion pound trade deficit in goods with Europe to negotiate that deal.
Now I know no other country has succeeded in negotiating that deal before. But we are the world's fifth largest economy. And we're going to
have to roll our sleeves up and negotiate that deal and most particularly as I'm a London MP and it's really important we get that single market
access. And Theresa May made that point today.
AMANPOUR: Stand by a second, Mr. Philp, while I just talk to Alastair Campbell.
You have been in politics for a long, long time.
Have you ever seen anything like what we have seen today and over the last week?
Your own party, by the way, is imploding.
ALASTAIR CAMPBELL, FORMER AIDE TO PRIME MINISTER TONY BLAIR: Well, I have never seen a situation where both of the main parties are in a
leadership convulsion. The only -- in terms of sort of shocks that keep coming, I suppose the only thing I can compare it to is when I was -- back
when I was a journalist, which was Black Wednesday, when we crashed out the exchange rate mechanism.
But I think that the real significance of what's going on is that the Labour -- the Conservative Party now, ironically having just had a
referendum where they said it was all about us, the people, having control of the people who made the big decisions, the next prime minister is being
now chosen by the Conservative Party membership, a shrinking, aging group of people.
And I think that -- and I mean, I think even (INAUDIBLE) day and I said I didn't think Boris Johnson would be prime minister because he went
overnight from being a lovable rogue to a hate figure for lots and lots of young people.
He's finished. I think Michael Gove actually now inherits that status as a bit of a hate figure for young people. So Theresa May, the thing she
has to be very careful of, I think, is the conventional wisdom coming now that she's the obvious person to take over.
She is the obvious person to take over. But I think that I -- the one thing I was -- I understand why she said what she said today. But I
actually don't believe that Brexit is when rather than --
AMANPOUR: And Theresa May was a Remainer, let's --
CAMPBELL: She was a Remainer, I think, in name only probably. I think she probably wasn't that convinced that we should. But I think she's
in a -- she's well placed now. But the reality is, the British public, who, as Chris Philp said, rightly says, by a million voted to come out.
But I think they did vote largely on a false prospectus.
There were a lot of myths and lies peddled by Michael Gove and Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage. And I think now, as the next prime minister,
leads a process of the negotiations to unravel this mess for us to come out of the European Union.
Once the British people are confronted with what that actually means to their jobs, their living standards, they are only seeing the beginning
right now. So I think -- I think at some stage Parliament will definitely want to take another look. And the public may as well.
AMANPOUR: And what about your own party?
It's not even putting up a loyal opposition. I mean, it's in shreds right now. And no confidence vote of massive proportions against your
leader, who is refusing to step down.
Where is this going to end?
And not to mention the faux pas he did at the Jewish event earlier today.
CAMPBELL: For the entire time I argued against Jeremy Corbyn becoming leader, but once he became leader, I just kept out of it.
Since the referendum vote and the hoving interview of a possible general election --
CAMPBELL: -- it's become blatantly clear to everyone what has been clear to some of us for some time: he cannot do the job. People -- those
who elected him say, well, you can't just get rid of him because he has been elected to be the leader.
But, yes, he has been elected to be the leader and he can't lead. So therefore, he has to go. And at a time when the Conservative Party is
imploding -- but they will get a new leader and they will sort themselves out -- we cannot have a situation where the country has no leadership. And
I promise you, you have got some headlines there --
AMANPOUR: Yes, and we're going to put them up.
CAMPBELL: -- we are becoming an international joke.
AMANPOUR: Well, let's put this up. We have got two newspaper headlines or magazine, news magazine headlines.
"The Spectator," which supported Out is now saying, "Don't Panic." And "The Economist," which supported remaining in , is saying, "Anarchy in
Hopefully we will be able to put that up.
There it is it, right there.
Chris Philp, it is slightly anarchic, what's going on right now.
Do you -- do you -- how long is it going to take for things to sort of settle down and the rudder to really sort of balance this ship at the
PHILP: Well, the vote was a bit of a shock. But we're in the process of electing a new prime minister. That'll be done in eight weeks' time. I
can tell you there won't be a general election. The Conservatives probably discussed that. There will not be a general election.
We have elected a majority Conservative government for a full five- year term. And we're going to serve that. We are going to make sure the economy stays stable. We're going to make sure we negotiate our exit from
the E.U. in an organized and stable way.
We're going to make sure we maintain the single market access and the critical financial passports. So if there are people running city firms
listening today, what I say to them is don't panic. Don't take any precipitous action. We will make sure London continues to be Europe's
So of course, there is turbulence. Of course, there is uncertainty. But we are going to work through that and we're going to make sure this
country emerges stronger and, in particular, London continues to be the world's financial capital.
CAMPBELL: Chris, how can it be that a campaign that was won on the idea that people were fed up with being controlled by people that they
didn't elect, allegedly, these unelected bureaucrats in Brussels, we're now going to have a tiny proportion of the population choose the most important
position in the country, who is then going to lead negotiations on the most important decision we have ever taken?
PHILP: Well, because, Alastair, this country -- we have a parliamentary system, not a presidential system. When I ran for election
in Croydon South, David Cameron's name was not on the ballot paper. His name was not on the ballot paper anywhere except Whitney, his own
CAMPBELL: That's why we shouldn't have referenda --
PHILP: -- let's hang on. Hang on. And we elect MPs, we elect a Parliament. We have got a five-year Parliament act now. We will serve the
full term. And we'll get on -- and the last thing, by the way, the country needs is the instability and uncertainty that a general election would
And by the way, Alastair, with respect, the last thing the Labour Party needs is a general election because the Labour Party's in a
catastrophic mess. And while it suits me as a Conservative to have that -- to have the Labour Party in a mess, actually for democracy, I do wish you
guys would get on with it and put somebody sensible in charge --
AMANPOUR: And so do you, no doubt.
CAMPBELL: We can definitely agree on that.
AMANPOUR: You can agree to agree on that.
Gentlemen, thank you both very much.
Chris Philp from there, outside Westminster; Alastair Campbell, thanks for joining me in the studio.
And coming up next, we cross the pond for the equally or even more choppy waters of U.S. politics. I speak to the former Mitt Romney
strategist, Stuart Stevens. His new novel about a presidential campaign finds fiction much less strange than fact in this turbulent election year.
That's after this.
AMANPOUR: Welcome back to the program.
Britain's political parties are in disarray.
So what will Brexit mean for presidential elections across the pond?
The U.S. Republican Party is in the midst of an identity crisis of epic proportions, with controversial outsider Donald Trump now poised to
formally accept his party's nomination at next month's convention.
Only the party establishment is none too happy about that. Stuart Stevens is a top Republican operative. He served as chief adviser to the
former GOP presidential nominee, Mitt Romney. And he's just written a novel loosely based on the current election, called "The Innocent Have
Nothing to Fear," And he is joining me now from New York.
AMANPOUR: Welcome back to the program, Mr. Stevens.
STUART STEVENS, 2012 ROMNEY STRATEGIST: It's great to be here. Thanks very much.
AMANPOUR: Before I get to your book, did you ever think that you would see this kind of politics in the land of calm and common sense, the
kind of politics you are seeing in the U.S.?
STEVENS: No. When I wrote this book, I posited it after an economic crash because I felt that that's what would be necessary, some traumatic
event to propel the characters, one of which is very anti-immigration and wants to rewrite the new Bill of Rights forward.
As it turns out, we didn't need a crisis. We actually ended up with that with Donald Trump.
AMANPOUR: What do you think, in the immediate aftermath of Brexit, you know, a lot of people are divided over whether this helps a candidate
like Donald Trump or hurts.
What do you think?
STEVENS: I honestly don't think it's going to matter much one way or the other. One-third of the public of the United States can't name the
vice president of the United States unaided. So I just don't think it's going to be a big issue.
I mean, three weeks ago when Donald Trump was asked about it, he didn't know what it was. So I don't think it will.
You know, it's Donald Trump's style to -- there's a saying in Texas, when you are bird hunting, shoot at everything, take credit for anything
And that's very much Donald Trump's style.
AMANPOUR: So how does -- how did Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton factor into your narrative for the novel?
I mean, are your characters in the book as outlandish as the real ones or as outsized as the real ones?
STEVENS: Well, you know, the honest truth is I started this book before the Romney campaign. And I put it aside to write this book about my
father and growing up in the South and came back to it.
I finished it over a year ago. So I wasn't really looking specifically at Donald Trump because I was still in the camp then that
Donald Trump wouldn't win the nomination.
I was wrong. But the sort of plates of our party and of the political process that are coming apart now -- you have seen this move and shake and
these forces at work before. It just turns out that the events escalated, so someone like Donald Trump was able to emerge as a very unlikely
AMANPOUR: Well, let's talk about your former candidate Mitt Romney. He has been the only major senior member of the Republican Party to stand
firm and to say, no, I don't support Donald Trump.
And he is not going to the convention. And that's fairly unconventional for a former nominee of the party.
And frankly, we can't find many people of high stature who seem to be prepared to go to the convention. And there seems to be some unraveling of
the proceedings there.
How do you expect the convention itself to play out?
And what signal will that give to the Republican Party?
STEVENS: Listen, I think there's talk of a delegate revolt. There's ways that could work. I don't see that happening unless there was some
catastrophic meltdown of Donald Trump or if Donald Trump just decided, hey, this isn't fun anymore; I'm losing. I want to get out, both of which I
think are very unlikely.
I think there will be two conventions. There'll be the convention outside the convention hall and the convention inside the convention hall.
And the question is going to be, what happens when these two intersect?
Inside the convention hall, I think it will be very boring. It will be a big Trump-fest. You know, Trump has put on a lot of events. He used
to do this Miss USA pageant. He will probably put together a good show. I don't think you're going to have very prominent people speak at it.
I'm not sure that really matters one way or the other. Usually, that's more for self-promotion of them.
STEVENS: And then you're going to have the outside. Yesterday, this group of so-called neo-Nazis announced that they were coming to Cleveland
to defend delegates, which like, oh, boy.
AMANPOUR: Yes, that's going to be worrying.
STEVENS: Yes. It's a toxic mix. I suspect Cleveland Police is very competent. There's a lot of models to study for this. They're going to
have demonstration areas that'll be far away from where the convention are. I suspect that the whole thing's going to be pretty boring, if I just had
to play the averages.
AMANPOUR: All right. Well, we'll find out because I'm meant to be headed there for that Cleveland convention. We'll definitely find out.
But you tweeted something yesterday in response to one of the demographers who was saying there's an 80 percent chance that Hillary
Clinton will win. You said something about, what, flying the -- taking the risk.
Would you get into a plane with a 20 percent chance of crashing?
AMANPOUR: Are you voting for Hillary?
STEVENS: You know, I'm not going to vote for Hillary and I'm not going to vote for Donald Trump. I fall into that large group of Americans
who would really like another choice.
And it doesn't look like we're really going to have much of another choice. And that's unfortunate. But to vote is to actively affirm
someone. And I'm going to choose not to do that and support a lot of Republicans who are running down ballot.
AMANPOUR: A quick question on the actual substance because the Brexit has shown -- and obviously in the United States -- that populism is
responding to something. These very populist outsider insurgent campaigns, people are turned off -- or enough -- by their economic situation, even by
What do politicians on your side, on the other side, on every side have to do to address the real issues that people care about these days?
STEVENS: Well, you know, it's a fascinating question. I think we're at a time when a large number of people who are economically stressed feel
that there are these large forces at work in their lives that they have no control or impact of.
At other times in American history when we have seen moments like this, it's resulted in great religious revivals, which happened in the late
1800s. You know, the demographics of a Bernie Sanders crowd and a Donald Trump crowd are similar in that there's very few people there who don't
feel economically stressed.
Their response of the two candidates is very different. Trump is really what I would call a grievance monger. He's someone that says to
you, you know, you haven't been -- you have sort of been cheated, whatever it is you feel like in your life that hasn't gone right, I'm going to
settle the score.
It's a very unusual position for a nominee to be in. And I think that that's one of the problems that he is having, building a vote closer to 50
percent. There's just a limited number of people who want to feel that way.
AMANPOUR: Right. And there's a really serious question to be asked about the hierarchy in your party. I mentioned obviously that Mitt Romney
has stayed constant and consistent in not wanting to support Donald Trump.
But so many others feel so uncomfortable about what he brings to the table on practically every issue. And yet, they are de facto supporting
him, even if many don't turn up at the convention.
The party is supporting him, is that right?
And how will that affect your party after the fact?
STEVENS: I think it's a very personal decision.
You know, in this process, I have tried not to criticize others who disagree with me. I have a lot of friends and wonderful people who are
supporting Donald Trump.
It's a mess. And it's a terrible situation. There's this human instinct to support your tribe. You want to -- you -- we -- you grow up in
politics, a lot about winning and losing and you want to win, not lose.
But Donald Trump and the Republican Party, to my thinking, have very little in common. I just don't know what areas that Donald Trump is
running on that represents, certainly, the best of the Republican Party.
And I think a lot of this is going to be sorted out in November. If Donald Trump wins, he will have successfully have taken over the Republican
Party. There won't be a Republican Party anymore as much as there will be a Trump party.
If he loses, which the odds are that we are headed that way, I think it's going to be fascinating to see how the Republican Party reassembles
itself. And I really don't know how that will go.
AMANPOUR: It's really interesting to see and hugely consequential. Stuart Stevens, thank you so much. Your new novel, "The Innocent Have
Nothing to Fear."
STEVENS: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: Thanks a lot for being with us tonight.
AMANPOUR: And lurching from crisis to crisis makes you just want to rip off all the layers and breathe easy. After a break, we imagine doing
just that --
AMANPOUR: -- in Belorussia. We will explain -- next.
AMANPOUR: And finally tonight, imagine a world going rogue and baring all.
In Belarus, an accidental plea by president-for-life Alexander Lukashenko to undress and work until you sweat. It was a slip of the
tongue too good to pass up by people enjoying a good joke at his expense.
Suddenly, employees were stripping down to work. The naked truth of this is that, in Russian, the words "undress" and "develop" sound pretty
similar. So when Lukashenko said it, everyone ran with this rare chance to publically laugh at their autocratic leader.
Harmless humor can send a strong message. And we're all smiling, too, as hundreds of Belarusians post photos of working in the buff, sharing the
#GetUndressedAndGoToWork. The bare cheek of it.
And that's it for our program tonight. Remember, you can always listen to our podcasts, see us online at amanpour.com and follow me on
Facebook and Twitter. Thanks for watching and goodbye from London.