Mairead McGuinness Reacts to Boris Johnson’s Election

Irish MEP and Vice-President of the European Parliament, Mairead McGuinness reacts to the news that Boris Johnson will become the next Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

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MAIREAD MCGUINNESS, VICE-PRESIDENT OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT: I think it’s welcome that there is a new leader in the United Kingdom who talks about energy and all of these strong words, which makes the people feel good. I think leaders need to do that. I think when you come then to the Brussels issues, I think the incoming president of the commission, for a Von der Leyen, is very clear there are challenges ahead of us. So, today is a day, really, to wish the new leader of the United Kingdom, the prime minister, Boris Johnson, well because he has a lot on his shoulders. But I think it’s over time we’ll see what can happen in terms of the relationship between the European Union and the United Kingdom and on the difficult issue of Brexit. I think it’s quite interesting, the language is very sharp and very clear. But on the other hand, sometimes the clearest of language is the most opaque because this idea of getting Brexit done suggests that once and for all, finito, we can do it on a day and move onwards. But, in fact, we all know that that is not the case. That with a withdrawal agreement that is acceptable, we can move on to the implementation and we can get to the new relationship. With a no deal Brexit, which is do or die scenario, if you like, in that case, there will still be issues to deal with after there is a departure with no deal. And I hope I’m making sense. So, this is a complicated process. We just have the new leader elected in the United Kingdom, and we have to wait and see what will happen when, I suppose, there are files read and issues to be dealt with both domestic, which are quite, you know, serious, international issues like Iran, and clearly, the relationship with the European Union. But, you know, here at the European Parliament, we’ve been getting on with our work but people are talking about needing to have a good relationship with the prime minister, whoever it is. And I think it’s — one of the key points, and I need to stress this, is that regardless of whose name is over the door and there is a change now from Theresa May to Boris Johnson, the facts and the issues remain the same. The approaches might be different, but we have to still deal with the —


MCGUINNESS: — (INAUDIBLE) that the Prime Minister Theresa May in all good faith, she worked with us on those and indeed, she had to turn corners when she realized that her commitments, for example, to Northern Ireland, to the Good Friday [13:20:00] Agreement could not be dealt with if she kept to her very lines that she announced at the Tory Party —

AMANPOUR: Right. And I wonder whether you think that —

MCGUINNESS: The deal on the table reflects her concerns.

AMANPOUR: I wonder if you think, and I’m going to play a little bit of Boris Johnson’s sort of explanation and reach out to the E.U. and to his own party, obviously, whether he may have boxed himself in, as well. So, let’s play this for a moment.


JOHNSON: We’re going to get Brexit done on October 31st, we are going to take advantage of all the opportunities that it will bring in a new spirit of “can do” and we are once against going to believe in ourselves and what we could achieve. And like slumbering giant, we are going to rise and ping off the guy ropes of self-doubt and negativity.

About This Episode EXPAND

Christiane Amanpour and Michael Fallon discuss Boris Johnson winning his party’s vote to become the next British Prime Minister. Mairead McGuinness joins the program to react to Johnson’s election. Amanpour speaks to Pat Toomey about his criticisms of President Trump. Alicia Menendez interviews Claire Stapleton and Meredith Whittaker, organizers of the Google Walk Out for Real Change.