David Miliband: Now that Boris Johnson has won a majority in the House of Commons, what's going to happen to Brexit?
If only Brexit could get done in 60 seconds? Because the result of the general election obviously means that Britain will leave the European Union, but it does nothing to clarify our future relations with the European Union. The Johnson victory is undoubtedly a very strong one, and he will try and interpret it as a victory for himself and for the Conservative Party and the attraction that they offer to Labour voters.
My take is that the Labour campaign, the Labour personalities, the Labour programme proved literally repellent to millions of voters. And so, the prime minister is probably wise to be thinking that the votes could be on loan. But all of that depends on how and whether the Labour Party can muster a sensible reaction to this huge defeat. Brexit will be with us for at least another year and many of us fear that the pledges that the Prime Minister has made about how he's going to resolve Brexit will prove to be fantastical. That is for another day. And that is for the current, the new government to see through. One has to say, as a Brit, good luck to them, even if one fears that there is trouble ahead.
Lord William Hague: What does the election result now mean for Brexit?
Well, it means it won't happen in 60 seconds, but it will happen in 49 days. Brexit is now certain and it's going to happen on the 31st of January. That's the first time we can say that with complete confidence. But then next thing it means is that although that huge decision has now been made, hundreds of more decisions are now going to come forward. What is the right trade policy and regulatory policy of the United Kingdom on a whole range of industrial and commercial sectors, its future trade relations with Europe and the rest of the world? Boris Johnson, with his landslide victory, is going to be in the strongest political position in Britain for now of any prime minister since Tony Blair. He's going to have the power to decide all of these things. But with that power, of course, comes a huge responsibility, that it's never going to be anybody else's fault again.
William Hague: What is my prediction for the election?
Well, I think that conservatives will definitely have a bigger lead in votes over the Labour Party than at the last election, two years ago. Now that should give them a majority in the House of Commons. But then there will be tactical voting between Labour and Liberal voters against the Conservatives. And there are many undecided people at the last minute. So, I would go for a small conservative majority, maybe around 20 seats, which is also what some of the most sophisticated pollsters have said.
David Miliband: Who do you predict will win the UK elections?
I'm very careful about predictions, especially about the future, as someone famously said. The polls are pretty clear that this has been a dismal campaign, an unpopularity contest in all sorts of ways in which the lesser of two evils is perceived by the voters to be a conservative vote. So, the polls are giving a range of possibilities from a hung parliament right through to a large conservative majority. Obviously, I don't know who's going to win. My tour around the country last week gave me a real sense, a yearning really, for a better choice, for better choices, for more fronting up by the parties, because both parties have done a job of avoiding some of the hardest choices. And so, I predict that whoever wins, there are some very difficult choices ahead. And the sooner that politics is about what you're asking for as well as what you're offering. As Tawney said, after Labour lost the 1931 election, "we offered too much and asked too little." The sooner politics is about shared endeavor, the better for the country.
What happens next, now that the Democrats unveiled two articles of impeachment against Trump?
Well, the Democrats vote almost unanimously, in all likelihood, to impeach Trump with no Republicans on board. And then he's acquitted by the Senate. Probably do get higher turnout from the Dems in 2020 because they're so angry about Trump with the failed impeachment.
Having said that, if you look at swing states, which is what matters, impeachment is considerably less popular than those national numbers that the cable news stations keep putting out there. So, on balance, I'm not sure impeachment is helping the Dems one bit. But from a process perspective, it does actually matter.
Will there be political consequences to the Russian sports ban?
Well, yeah, I mean, you know, four years of can't compete in any sports. And you know, panem et circenses, bread and circuses. You really want to be able to give the people things to cheer for. You're talking about no Olympics as a Russian, for the Russian flag. No World Cup for the Russians who hosted it last time around. On balance, this hurts Putin, whose approval has been deteriorating over the course of the last year. That will continue to have happen.
Finally, will US-Saudi relations change in the aftermath of the Florida naval base shooting?
Answer is no.
David Miliband: The question this week is whether the terrorist attacks last Friday will affect the outcome?
The short answer to that, I think, is no. I think the vast majority of British people will be thinking above all about their sympathy for the victims of the attack. Two people were killed and the extraordinary life stories that have been told about them really would make you cry for the loss that's been suffered by their family and frankly, been suffered by the whole country. I think that's to be uppermost in people's minds rather than the political facts or the political consequences.
Lord William Hague: How much difference has last week's terrorist attack made to the British general election?
I would say, of course, something like this shouldn't affect the general election. It's very important that democracy isn't affected by something like that. It has affected the debate in the election because it's made it about security. Boris Johnson has learnt the lessons of the last election where the opposition parties lambasted Theresa May when there were terrorist attacks and she didn't really defend herself. So, he's got his retaliation in first this time, saying that we have to have tougher security policies. So ,there has been debate about it in the last few days. But speaking to voters here in London today, I don't see that it is changing the election. That remains about Brexit, the health service, housing, the economy and so on. So we're not many days, just a week from the election now. I don't think it has changed the course of that election.
Lord William Hague:
What is the main difference between the manifestos, Conservative and Labour?
Obviously, a big difference is Brexit. The Conservatives say Brexit will happen on 31st of January. The Labour Party say, well, we'll have another referendum on Brexit, although we're not sure which side Jeremy Corbyn is gonna be on. But the big difference is on economics, the biggest we've ever seen between the two main parties.
The Conservative Manifesto is what I would call a pretty centrist manifesto on tax and spending. The Labour Manifesto is the biggest commitment to tax and spending we've ever seen from any political party, ever, fighting an election in Britain, 83 billion pounds a year extra. I think it's the most misleading, the most irresponsible document ever put before the people of Britain in a general election.
The question this week is what are we to make of the two manifestos?
Obviously, they are chalk and cheese. They could not be more different in ideological content. But I want to draw attention to some other differences. The Tories aims to reassure. Labour tried to inspire. The Tories trying to narrow the policy agenda. Labour tried to broaden it. The Tories tried to avoid a repetition of last time. Labour tried to achieve a repetition of what they perceive to be the success of last 2017 manifesto, even though they lost the election. I think a week after the manifestos were published, hardly anyone's talking about them.
The great thing about last night's general election debate was that the great British public rumbled at the weakest positions of all the parties. Boris Johnson, they laughed when he said that his fidelity to the truth could know no bounds, and Jeremy Corbyn, when he tried to say he had a clear policy on Brexit.
I think that the consequence of the debate will be to leave both sides relieved. Johnson didn't get knocked out and Corbyn came across, according to the polls, as more likable. The truth is that the plates haven't yet shifted. Neither is fully trusted, to put it mildly. Neither party is engendering great enthusiasm, and the election has not yet crystallized around a question. I'm not sure if it ever will. Because in the end, a general election is not the right way to resolve the Brexit issue. There's too much else going on. But at the moment, the Conservatives are in the lead. But it's not over.
Lord William Hague:
The question is how did the first election debate go between Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn?
Well, it went. It happened. Both of them will be relieved about it, that they didn't do anything wrong. But is it an event that will have changed the course of this election so far, in which the conservatives have solidified their lead with the voters moving from the Brexit Party to them? So it seems. Will it have done that? Probably not. It isn't a game changer in the election. And so now the next question is going to be, as the party manifestos come out over the next week, is there something in those that changes the course of the election? Last time, there was for the Conservatives, they blew up their own campaign with their manifesto. Everybody on the Conservative side will be hoping that doesn't happen again.
William Hague: What's my prediction for the outcome of the election?
Well, we know we can't predict elections, of course, from my last few years in Britain or America. And this election could be like the last British election where the Labor Party really close the gap in the last three weeks. We've got four weeks to go. But on the whole, I think it probably won't be like that. That's because people do want to now resolve the Brexit situation. Most people in the country do. I think the conservatives will run a much better campaign than last time and they have done so far. Jeremy Corbyn isn't the novelty that he was at the last election, and people have decided they don't like him. And the Brexit party has pulled out half its candidates and that helps the conservatives more than Labour. So, at this point, I would predict a small conservative majority. And that would mean Brexit happens, 31st of January, 2020.
David Miliband: A month out from the British general election, how do you predict the outcome?
I think there are three things that I am hearing and seeing and thinking about the election result. The first is that many more voters than at any time I can remember feel at best, uninspired, and at worst, homeless in this election. The second is that the message in the polls and the message at the doorsteps is pretty clear that the range of results that people can expect is between a hung parliament and a Tory majority. I think that neither party is yet achieved a breakthrough moment that is going to shatter that but there's still four or five weeks to go with the campaign and there are the head to head debates between the two party leaders that leave a lot open. The final thing I'm most confident of is that the result of this election will not be to get Brexit, quote unquote, done, even in the event of a Tory majority. The claim that Brexit will be done by January 31st is belied by the enormous amount of work that remains to be done. Even if the withdrawal agreement with the prime minister as negotiated is taken through.