What does the convoluted EU renegotiation prose mean?

The EU has not agreed to the UK’s request to cease paying Child Benefit to children of migrants to the UK who do not live in our country. Instead the EU proposes an amendment to Regulation 883/2004 (one of the regulations that prevent us having the welfare system we want). This would give member states an option “with regard to the exportation (sic) of Child Benefit to a member state other than where the worker resides, an option to index such benefits to the standard of living in the member state where the child resides”

This is not clear. Does it mean we would have to pay 80% of our Child Benefit to a country whose living standards were 80% of ours? Does it mean we would have to pay more child benefit than we get to Luxembourg where average earnings are higher than in the UK? Some think it means we could pay the level of Child Benefit received in the host country where the child is living. In that case we would have large savings on Child Benefit in most of the eastern members of the EU, but would be paying more for migrants from Germany or Denmark.

What is clear is we will not be allowed to simply discontinue paying Child Benefit to non UK resident children.

Nor has the EU agreed a simple ban on benefits to newly arrived migrants for the first four years after their arrival. Not only is there the elaborate process of the emergency brake, but also the requirement that over the first four years of any migrants stay we would gradually increase payments to them so that by the four year mark they are already at full benefit levels.

When it comes to protecting the UK from EU controls on the Euro and financial institutions, again there is legal complexity and lack of clarity. The government wanted an assurance that the Uk will continue to regulate and control the City, and keep away from Euro area controls and regulations. Instead the text includes the following important qualification:

“without prejudice to Union mechanisms of macro-prudential oversight for the prevention and mitigation of systemic financial risks in the Union and to the existing powers of the Union institutions to take action that is necessary to respond to threats to financial stability”.

So the main problem remains. What authority will the UK preserve over its important financial sector, and how much will the rules and controls comes from the EU?

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146 Comments

  1. Leslie Singleton
    Posted February 4, 2016 at 6:23 am | Permalink

    Pathetic to listen to Cameron telling us how difficult it’s all been, what a great job he thinks he’s done, how he reckons nobody’s done anything so heroic ever, and how nobody thought he could get anything at all blah blah but all that is irrelevant even to any small extent it might be true. All that matters is what exactly has been achieved and the answer to that is very little indeed and even that little is in considerable danger of being overruled absent Treaty change. It’s not even a matter of trust (precious little of that in any event) because the ECJ or whoever could and probably would simply opine that the Law as they see it (a joke in itself) overides all the political baloney.

  2. Antisthenes
    Posted February 4, 2016 at 6:23 am | Permalink

    Omnishambles is the word that springs to mind when considering the draft proposals for the UK new relationship with the EU. It is totally unworkable and that are the bits that can actually be put into effect most of it cannot and never will be. No doubt the whole idea of the exercise was to change nothing but to give the impression that it changes a lot.

    How can David Cameron keep a straight face when he assures us that he has secured a good deal for the UK. Even our lazy unintelligent hacks conclude that the whole thing is a sham judging by the headlines in many of the newspapers. If they can see through this great charade perhaps the public at large will also. Only do not count on it.

    • oldtimer
      Posted February 4, 2016 at 9:38 am | Permalink

      Dodgy dossier might be a suitable alternative description.

      The reference (last paragraph but one in JR’s post) to “macro-prudential oversight” appears to open the door to the kind of intervention and control foreshadowed in the Five Presidents’ Report.

  3. CHRISTOPHER HOUSTON
    Posted February 4, 2016 at 6:24 am | Permalink

    Mr Cameron importantly said in Parliament that some European nation leaders will accept the agreement as Mr Tusk is in favour of it. Well if that is the case, so much for democracy in those countries.

    EU bullying of Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and other small nations certainly works. Coupled with sweet over-the-top “military” funding from the USA.But for how long? Similar interconnected bullying by the EU of Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria in regard to oil and energy supplies from Russia works. Again for how long?

    Mr. Cameron also spoke of the WTO safeguarding against what could be iffy manipulations within the EU to the detriment of the UK. Oh really? There are one or two nations such as China who would take issue with the effectiveness of that organisation. Of course the WTO has a time scope equal to the Chilcot report on certain matters.

    Euroland cannot make once-and-for-all declarations of what it will and won’t do. Its constituent parts are unstable and as far as LAW is concerned, there’s more than one way to skin a cat. 27 nations versus the UK in any dispute….well that’s one helluva lot of legal paperwork translated and re-translated and interpreted in all the languages of the EU.
    Mr Cameron’s renegotiation is empty rhetoric.

    Absolutely nothing to solve the immigration problem. Some EU nations only require asylum seekers to be resident 3 years before they can apply for EU citizenship. In just 2 years from now many of them and their relatives including children will be eligible to enter the UK. And how does the Home Office prove that any of those children who go back to their countries of origin , long-term to visit their relatives, are not in fact resident for Child Benefit purposes here in the UK?

    I’m not at all sure why the SNP and other small parties are so insistent on the Referendum being delayed to later than June 2016. If their electorates can’t figure out local issues from the Referendum then they should never have been given a school leaving certificate.

  4. Lifelogic
    Posted February 4, 2016 at 6:24 am | Permalink

    It is clearly an absurd and unworkable botch, like most things that come out of the EU. It provides nothing of any real value to the UK. It will make no real difference to the UK’s ability to control immigration. The department responsible for child benefit will probably not even be able to cope with such a complex system, given the appalling record of government administration and IT systems. Doubtless there will be endless legal actions to clarify and rewrite what it means. This whole renegotiation is just a sick joke from Cameron.

    Hopefully the UK will overwhelmingly vote leave and we will be rid of Cameron and pension/landlord thief Osborne too as an extra bonus. But where are the sound replacements? It seem that two thirds of the Tory party are pro EU, tax borrow and waste, greencrap, LibDims just like Cameron & Osborne.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted February 4, 2016 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

      It seem the UK tax payer will even have to pay some people’s children rather more than UK child benefit. Also the red card arrangement is more likely to work against the interests of the UK than for them. How can anyone say this is a good deal and they would even go in on this basis!

      A complete an utter joke from Cameron. Send him and Osborne away to enjoy their ill deserved gold plated pensions. Then get someone in who will run selective immigration, undo the pension mugging, cut the bloated state, stop the bonkers attacks on tenants and landlords end the endless other damaging tax increases Osborne is endlessly pushing. Get us out of the EU and get some cheap energy so we stop exporting jobs.

      Find a real Conservative for a change. Are they any out there?

    • Horatio
      Posted February 4, 2016 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

      Lifelogic, absolutely agreed. The key point of course, is that CMD could have achieved massive wins for his theatre. However none of this will be written into treaties. Members of the EU parliament will still be able to veto all reforms post-referendum. Cmd couldve returned with whatever he liked; without treaty change it all counts for nought.

      Sitting MPs should be very aware that most of the people who actually bother to vote for them in general elections, are eurosceptic. Short term favour at the hands of CMD or prospective advancement under Osborne should be balanced by the very real danger to their jobs of deselection or abandonment. For if we do not vote out, there will be little point in voting tory or labour.

      Although, the MSM (I saw on C4 news yesterday a farmer bark unchallanged about losing EU funding) and the BBC are pro EU to the hilt, i sense that those putsude the westminster bubble are underestimated; as evidenced by the Farage v Clegg debate. The problem of course being that whereas Clegg was a zealot, Cameron is a fabulous liar and PR man.

      Excellent speech by Richard Drax MP yesterday.

    • Richard1
      Posted February 4, 2016 at 9:23 pm | Permalink

      One of the risks of voting to leave is exactly that Cameron – who is clearly a vote winner who consistently polls ahead of the Conservative Party – will be forced out. If Labour are still led by Corbyn at the next election it may not matter who takes over from Cameron. But If Corbyn is kicked out and a more plausible candidate replaces him, we may find ourselves with a Milibandesque left wing Labour govt in 2020.

      Difficult choices…

      • scottspeig
        Posted February 5, 2016 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

        One challenge at a time. Milibandesque left wing Labour govt in 2020 is well worth it if we free ourselves from the EU.

    • Ken Moore
      Posted February 4, 2016 at 10:24 pm | Permalink

      Cameron is attempting to lie the British people…just like they have been lied to for the last 40 years.

      The Werner report commissioned by the European economic area EEA in 1970 laid out the agenda very clearly for anyone in any doubt.
      It set out how power was to be centralised by systematically stripping members of their economic and political power. What amazes me is how weak the opposition to this outrageous plan has been!.

      The British civil service have been aware of the risk posed by the EU for decades but have chosen to ignore it.

      We are talking about political and economic slavery – I for one want no part of this. Who is going to speak up forcefully and loudly for Britain?…all I hear is low key grumblings….when is David Cameron going to get the verbal thrashing he so richly deserves ?

      http://aei.pitt.edu/1002/1/monetary_werner_final.pdf

      Page 8,
      ‘To ensure the cohesion of economic and monetary union, transfers of responsibility from the national to the Community plane will be essential’.
      There the horrible truth is laid bare.

      And they sold us this stitch up on the basis of it being a Common Market!…this coming referendum will be our only chance to right this injustice and start repairing the damage.

  5. Dame Rita Webb
    Posted February 4, 2016 at 6:24 am | Permalink

    You would not need any clarification from Brussels if you simply abolished non contributory benefits. You would also probably see the queue at Calais dry up too. Remember when it used to be no NI stamp no handout?. Why are you continuing the something for nothing culture? Is this a socialist government or something?

    • JoolsB
      Posted February 4, 2016 at 8:44 am | Permalink

      Indeed. Socialist Osborne even bottled it when it came to reforming tax credits, the biggest disincentive ever to work longer hours than you need to. Can these migrants also claim child tax credits for their offspring that don’t live here John?
      Oh for a Conservative Government with a Conservative PM and Chancellor when we need one.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted February 4, 2016 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

        Indeed I think so.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted February 4, 2016 at 9:34 am | Permalink

      The queue at Calais would not dry up very much just as a result of changes to benefit rules. Most of these people want to work, but most would not earn enough to pay for all the costs of services they will demand, schools, health, roads, defence, police, housing, social services, language assistance ……

    • Frank Salmon
      Posted February 4, 2016 at 10:43 am | Permalink

      Spot on. I remember when I got unemployment benefit in the 1980s – because I had worked and paid tax. Thatcher scrapped this in favour of the current system. Why don’t we change the system?

      • Richard1
        Posted February 4, 2016 at 9:25 pm | Permalink

        With 3m unemployed she presumably had no choice. Thatcher was salvaging Britain from near Soviet style collapse.

  6. The Active Citizen
    Posted February 4, 2016 at 6:48 am | Permalink

    * 4-year ban on EU migrants receiving in-work benefits – Failed.
    * Total ban on paying Child Benefit for children living in other EU countries – Failed.
    * 4-year ban on paying Housing Benefit to EU migrants – Failed (the PM forgot to even include this Manifesto pledge.)
    * Veto on Eurozone countries passing legislation damaging to UK – Failed.
    * A legally-binding agreement – Failed.

    I continue to fail to understand why the Leave campaigns (and most MPs) aren’t employing simple messges like the ones above.

    Now we discover from a leaked text of a new speech that Martin Schulz (President of the European Parliament) will give, that his parliament will scupper the meagre points on which the PM thinks he already has agreement.

    Mr Schulz is expected to say it is not “legally possible” for Mr Juncker to “prejudge the outcome of a legislative process”, adding that MEPs will “examine” whether the plan breaches the EU principles of non-discrimination. Mr Schulz will also protest against a deal that gives Britain a specific exemption from tighter integration, saying that “ever closer Union remains a central principle of the Treaties, which cannot be subject to reinterpretation”, the draft text says. ” (DT, 04/01)

    As if the rest of the PM’s false claims weren’t bad enough, it seems that his assertion that the agreement will be ‘legally-binding’ has already unravelled. Schulz seems certain that the European Parliament will not give assent.

    And the final news, on the essential matter of Eurozone countries not being able to pass legislation which could damage non-Euro countries, is that President Hollande last night said a strong “Non” to this.

    The PM’s weak demands were bad enough. No-one could argue that they represented the ‘fundamental change’ which we were promised. But to fail to win even those…?

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted February 4, 2016 at 10:29 am | Permalink

      Some of those supporting this “deal” are citing the Danish and Irish precedents for getting people to vote on the promise of changes to be made later, but they don’t mention the Czech precedent where in October 2009 the EU leaders promised a protocol to get Vaclav Klaus to sign off the Lisbon Treaty, the draft is in Annex 1 here:

      http://www.consilium.europa.eu/uedocs/cms_data/docs/pressdata/en/ec/110889.pdf

      but that promised protocol never materialised mainly because in May 2013 it was scuppered by the EU Parliament:

      http://www.europa-union.de/dachverband/news/european-parliament-rejects-czech-opt-out-on-charter-of-fundamental-rights/

      “With a vote of 574 to 82, MEPs for the first time used their right not to support an amendment of the EU treaties.”

    • Timaction
      Posted February 4, 2016 at 11:16 am | Permalink

      Lets be frank. Quisling Cameron and his sidekick Gideon didn’t even try. It was always going to be a farce and has proven more of a farce than any of us could have predicted. Hopeless and utterly pointless.
      Migration control. Fail.
      Benefit control. Fail.
      EU contributions. Fail.
      Ever closer Union. Fail.
      Reduced regulation. Fail.
      The Tory leader is an utter failure and should be removed.
      You can’t have a Europhile renegotiating with the EU. It’s like Turkeys voting for Christmas!

      • Mitchel
        Posted February 4, 2016 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

        @Timaction….and consistent with pretty much else they were tasked to do:-

        Deficit elimination.Fail
        Human rights reform.Fail
        Legal Aid reform.Fail

        All in just a few months too.

      • alan jutson
        Posted February 4, 2016 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

        Timeaction

        Agreed.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted February 4, 2016 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

        Indeed, I had extremely low expectation of the man. Yet has achieved even less worse than even I expected.

        How can he possible recommend “remain” with this pathetic deal. This deal is no real improvement at all. Some aspects are even worse.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted February 4, 2016 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

          I meant to say:

          Indeed, I (understandably given Cameron’s record) had extremely low expectations of the man. Yet he has managed to achieve even less than I anticipated.

          How can he possible recommend “remain” with this pathetic deal? His long grass “renegotiation” is no real improvement at all. Some aspects are actually worse for the UK.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted February 4, 2016 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

      Indeed totally pathetic.

  7. Lifelogic
    Posted February 4, 2016 at 7:05 am | Permalink

    Cameron yesterday claimed that he wants to put “beyond doubt” that sovereignty lies with Westminster. Yet another, no if no buts, cast iron lie from this endlessly deceitful man. With this fake non renegotiation and the rushed and clearly biased playing field, referendum he is trying hard to do the complete opposite. He clearly knows this. His renegotiation does nothing to achieve any return of sovereignty, indeed it virtually ensures it will never be returned until the EU disaster finally falls to pieces, probably violently.

    He is trying to kill such little democracy as remains in the UK dead. Let us hope the people will not be fooled again by the self interested, totally dishonest, anti democratic establishment led by the appalling Cameron.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted February 4, 2016 at 7:21 am | Permalink

      What does the convoluted EU renegotiation prose mean?

      It means vote leave, and escape from this totally unworkable, anti-democratic, job destroying nonsense before it is too late.

      Even if you want to remain in the EU a far better deal will be offered anyway, After a leave vote a real renegotiation will follow. There is no reason for anyone at all to vote “remain” unless they hate the UK, despise democracy and want to damage its economy – as Cameron types clearly do.

      • getahead
        Posted February 4, 2016 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

        You keep mentioning the probability of being offered a better deal if we vote no Lifelogic. But I don’t want a better deal, nor the offer of one.
        I just want shot of it.

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted February 4, 2016 at 8:26 am | Permalink

      All this debacle over the EU would make a great episode for Yes, Minister.

      • Mitchel
        Posted February 4, 2016 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

        Except that it’s not funny.I long for the day when we have a patriotic leader who can say of our EU treaties that they are,as Pope Innocent X said of the Peace of Westphalia:-

        Null,void,invalid,iniquitous,unjust,damnable,reprobate,inane,empty of meaning and effect for all time.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted February 4, 2016 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

        Events in the Commons this afternoon would be worthy of Blackadder.

        Motion on the sovereignty of Parliament debated, motion pressed, shouts of “Aye” and shouts of “No”, Speaker calls division, then a few minutes later laughing MPs return to chamber, Speaker says something about members being locked in a room and there being no tellers, and that either there’s a proper division or there’s no division at all.

        I suppose that means my prediction of January 30th that if there was a division only 52 MPs would vote in favour of the sovereignty of their own Parliament, not including the two tellers, is rendered null and void.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted February 5, 2016 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

          So what happened, JR, how did this fiasco come about?

  8. CHRISTOPHER HOUSTON
    Posted February 4, 2016 at 7:07 am | Permalink

    Has Mr. Cameron thought through the possible future behaviour now of UK resident young males and females from places such as Latvia? The ones who have children living in their home countries. The ones looked after by a spouse or grandparents? It will be in their economic interest to bring their children to the UK immediately. To register them,as living here. How does Mr Cameron propose, in practice, to deal with the influx? To deny their right to be with their children? Some could have been born here anyway.
    He pointed out in his time in Parliament yesterday that there are over 2000 unaccompanied children in the South-east of England. That Social Services have a “big problem” there.
    With all kinds of fake documentation floating around concerning parentage and even legitimate documentation paid by bribery of officials abroad, even in the EU nations, one wonders how Mr Cameron believes many more children will be accommodated in this country. His playing with Child Benefits and in-work benefits in that they could be effective in reducing immigration could very well trigger the opposite reaction and outcome with children brought into this country to live with “their relations”. And when their “parents” abuse or desert them, who will pay? Mr Tusk? The Cameron Fund for Child Dumping?
    Mr Cameron says his re-negotiations are not complete. Yes, and when the Department of Social Services puts a thinking cap on…which it will need to borrow…perhaps it can source one online from somewhere or other…he may find his re-negotiations right back on the drawing board with a yellow sticker affixed titled “Things To Do and Have a Big Think About”

  9. CHRISTOPHER HOUSTON
    Posted February 4, 2016 at 7:30 am | Permalink

    Mr Cameron believes it will be workable for Child Benefit to be paid indexed to the standard of living where the child resides. But NOT including present day migrants. Only migrants of the future. Well present day migrants if they have an additional child will make sure that child is born here. Born in our hospitals, accommodated here at least for a certain time. So too for future migrants. They will ensure their families start …here…
    I doubt, though I may underestimate Mr. Cameron’s free time, he has walked into migrants living accommodations. I have. It does not make me an expert of course. But I have seen a number of “one room” accommodations with rather too yellow flames ( carbon monoxide? ) of gas fire heating, broken electrical fittings, condensation, damp, bad-landlord decorated and furnitured. Passable perhaps for long-houred young and intelligent shift workers who can make do with a bed and rudimentary shared bathroom and cooking facilities. But no place for a baby . Young parents live on hope. They make do hoping for better. Mr Cameron, unknown to them, does not do better. The baby will be trapped. Possibly feature on a Social Worker’s tick sheet, if it’s born lucky.

  10. Mike Stallard
    Posted February 4, 2016 at 7:38 am | Permalink

    Do you know what? I feel really sorry for David Cameron. He has risked everything to stay with “the colleagues” in Europe, and now he is in difficulties they callously put the boot in.
    Mr Cameron ought to have seen this coming: they are on the path towards greater union and the Eurozone for everyone and they have said this repeatedly (as if anyone had been listening!) Brexit is right at the bottom of their to-do list.
    They have simply strung him up.
    I personally do not want to be in a group of people like that.
    Does anyone?

    • alan jutson
      Posted February 4, 2016 at 8:17 am | Permalink

      Mike

      Do not feel sorry for Cameron.

      He is an intelligent man.

      The simple fact is he is frightened to be in real control on his own, hence the reason he always needs someone, something, to hide behind.

      First it was Clegg, then the EU, and now silencing fellow cabinet members to avoid conflict/ argument.

      He may be good at delivery, but he is useless at negotiation, and choice of employees.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted February 4, 2016 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

        Indeed useless at negotiation, useless at choice of employees/MP/staff – also useless at choosing the direction of travel.

        Another broken compass like John Major.

        • Ken Moore
          Posted February 5, 2016 at 12:16 am | Permalink

          I don’t agree Cameron is useless at negotiations – he signalled from the off he wanted practically nothing and just wanted to create the pretence of a disagreement. A cosy chat with Mr Juncker in which it would be agreed how a ‘row’ would be stage managed is not a negotiation. It is an act of breathtaking political arrogance.

          His deal presentation was what he considered sufficient to fool enough people to tip the balance in his favour.

          What is clear is Cameron is a very good showman who’s sole aim is to secure his position at the Lobster supper tables of Brussels.

          • turbo terrier
            Posted February 5, 2016 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

            Second that 100%

      • Ken Moore
        Posted February 4, 2016 at 10:40 pm | Permalink

        No sympathy here for Cameron or any of the other treacherous Europhiles.
        Major, Clarke, Heseltine, Heath et al. knew that you cannot ‘pool sovereignty’ …you either have it or you don’t.

        Cameron must know about the Werner report which has been in circulation since 1970. It advocates economic and political slavery of member states to an Eu states that exists to grow bigger and more powerful.

        http://aei.pitt.edu/1002/1/monetary_werner_final.pdf

    • Paul H
      Posted February 4, 2016 at 9:24 am | Permalink

      It seems that they do. Stephen Kinnock recently pointed out in colourful terms that there was unlikely to be a soft Brexit, with the EU inflicting a “punishment beating” to discourage others. Whisper it softly, but he is almost certainly right even if there was collateral damage to the EU’s workers – which would matter little to the EU elite in their ivory towers and gilded carriages, of course.

      Yet bizarrely Mr. Kinnock wants the UK to stay in. Cowards, the lot of them.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted February 4, 2016 at 9:50 am | Permalink

      How can anyone feel sorry for Cameron with his constant deceits of conservative voters, his cast iron, no if no buts, pretending to be an EUskeptic, long grass “fake renegotiation”, his green crap lunacy and “I am low tax conservative at heart complete lie” – This combined with his constant do “one thing while saying the complete opposite”. Surely he is the very architect of all his own problems.

      He suffers from not being a Tory, he is a dreadful anti-democratic, Libdim to his very core. Why on earth was he ever in the Tory party, let alone leading it?

    • Dame Rita Webb
      Posted February 4, 2016 at 10:04 am | Permalink

      Why are you feeling sorry for a chancer like Dave? If Labour came up with a decent leader, like the late John Smith, he would have never made it into No 10 let alone win another election. After having got away with “gay marriage”, he will be so cocksure to think he will get the British people onside to signing up to this load of rubbish.

    • DaveM
      Posted February 4, 2016 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

      I’m not sure I feel sorry for him, because he clearly has vested (personal) interests. I am more confused as to why he doesn’t realise the opportunity he has to become a “great” PM.

      Wouldn’t it be far simpler just to say:

      “OK, the referendum is going to be on this date. I will now concentrate on fixing the numerous problems we have in the UK, because that was what I was elected to do. You lot work out a plan for if we stay in, you lot sort out a plan for if we leave. Go.”

      We don’t really have a PM at the minute, we have an ambassador for the Remain campaign. He wasn’t elected into that role. Could someone have a word?

      • turbo terrier
        Posted February 5, 2016 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

        If the party hd any bottle they would show him his P45

    • A.Sedgwick
      Posted February 4, 2016 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

      Cameron deserves everything he gets – history will show him in a very bad light. If Remain wins – disaster for this country down to his forfeiting our soveriegnty. If Leave wins how could he come up with and agree to such crap and expect to fool the British.

      Hopefully the various Leave factions will get themselves sorted ideally under the leadership of Leave MPs, who will take the gloves off Cameron in particular.

    • Mitchel
      Posted February 4, 2016 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

      He has risked nothing.He’s stepping down before the next election….and his staunch defence of this anti-democratic organ of globalisation will stand him in good stead with the international bodies,multinational companies,investment banks etc he might seek work from in the future.

    • getahead
      Posted February 4, 2016 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

      Mike,
      “I personally do not want to be in a group of people like that.
      Does anyone?”
      The answer is yes. London bankers, the CBI and the big business corporations. These are the people Cameron is representing.

  11. Cheshire Girl
    Posted February 4, 2016 at 7:42 am | Permalink

    To me, its astonishing that we are forced by the EU to pay Child Benefit to children who do not live here. Also to have to pay Benefits to migrants for the first four years, albeit at a reduced rate.
    I believe it has been made so complicated to hoodwink us that our Government is really doing something about our concerns, when that is not the case at all. I think we should not fall for it for one moment!

    • Lifelogic
      Posted February 4, 2016 at 9:51 am | Permalink

      Which fools ever agree to treaty to use UK taxpayers money to pay child benefit to children who are not even in the UK?

    • Mike Stallard
      Posted February 4, 2016 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

      I have had the privilege of teaching several young Polish Mums.
      They are all now safely back in Poland and, I am reliably informed, drawing their child benefit.

      • Richard1
        Posted February 4, 2016 at 9:29 pm | Permalink

        My contact with Polish immigrants to the UK has been 100% positive. My concern about leaving the EU is that we would lose some of the valuable immigrants we have. I’d like to have reassurance from the leave campaign that all the hugely valuable Polish builders, Romanian Uber drivers, East European waiters etc would be welcome to stay. Unfortunately there isn’t a coherent Leave campaign so we really don’t know.

        Reply. Yes of course people currently here are welcome to stay.We will change the rules for the future.

        • Ken Moore
          Posted February 4, 2016 at 11:14 pm | Permalink

          Unfortunately there isn’t a coherent Leave campaign so we really don’t know.

          I don’t recall John Redwood and Nigel Farage sharing a platform on the EU debate. I sincerely hope this isn’t because of personal differences.

          Reply The issue is not the mechanics of the campaign. I hAve set out clearly the position have others. Nor is the issue a need of one leader. A referendum does not need a leader. How would Mr Farage and I appearing together make any difference. There has been no common platform agreed so far, though in the past we did Any Questions on the same panel, so job done.

          • Ken Moore
            Posted February 5, 2016 at 12:06 am | Permalink

            Thank you for your reply.

            I can see much synergy between yours and Mr Farage’s style of debate that is badly needed to put fire into the campaign. The campaign needs to have the broadest possible appeal and sing from the same hymn sheet.

            Irrational as it is a died in the wool Labour voter won’t listen to a Conservative Mp under any circumstances..but Mr Farage could cut through.

            It would send a powerful message that the referendum is more important than party politics and personalities.

            The out campaign to have a chance, needs to be united – there cannot be a situation where there are two tandem campaigns. The IN side have practically nothing to hang their hat on – the OUT side must not give them the oxygen of shifting the debate to the shortcomings of their own campaign.

            I agree the campaign should have no official leader who would naturally have a veto – for example Mr Carswell would demand that immigration be played down when it is uppermost in voters minds. A foolish strategy.

    • Timaction
      Posted February 4, 2016 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

      To show how disingenuous our intrepid leader is please read Mr Hannan’s article here:
      http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/politics/6902029/MP-Daniel-Hannan-says-David-Cameron-benefits-fight-isnt-real.html

      He could stop benefits tomorrow, he just doesn’t want to.

    • Know-Dice
      Posted February 4, 2016 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

      If we were out of the EU we could freely do what we want when we want to.

      This issue with Child Benefit and the four year thing (why fours years in any case – who came up with that!!!) could be solved by making UK nationals wait fours years and contributing before receiving benefits. Then the EU problem would go away, but why should we have to discriminate against UK citizens in order to get around an EU diktat…too many benefits in the first place, too widely spread.

  12. matthu
    Posted February 4, 2016 at 7:44 am | Permalink

    The best that Cameron can advise his MPs is to ignore their local grassroots, put their careers first and their pensions will look after themselves.

    Can anyone be proud to belong to a party led by Cameron and those smarming around him?

    Obviously, yes.

    • Chris
      Posted February 4, 2016 at 11:33 am | Permalink

      I think that this remark by David Cameron about ignoring constituency association views is unacceptable and demonstrates an overriding arrogance. Where, however, is the outcry from Conservative MPs? What a weak bunch and how unprincipled, it seems to me.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted February 4, 2016 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

        Indeed but it is typical of the man.

        Looking a recent history the public and Tory voters in particular have a far better record of sound decisions than government and the establishment. Listening to voters we would have avoided the EU, all the green crap, the ERM, the EURO, CAP, the common fishing policy, the Millennium Dome, the counterproductive wars, the uncontrolled immigration, hip packs, endlessly higher taxes, the EC of Human Rights, the no deterrent at all criminal justice system ……… the list is almost endless.

    • Timaction
      Posted February 4, 2016 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

      I’m afraid the majority of the Westminster political class put themselves and party before our people and it’s Nation!

  13. Martyn G
    Posted February 4, 2016 at 7:46 am | Permalink

    “What authority will the UK preserve over its important financial sector, and how much will the rules and controls comes from the EU”? I suggest the answers to your 2-part question, John, is NONE and ALL.

    • Paul H
      Posted February 4, 2016 at 9:16 am | Permalink

      I think all of these types of questions are rapidly becoming rhetorical!

  14. CHRISTOPHER HOUSTON
    Posted February 4, 2016 at 8:03 am | Permalink

    So suddenly it will be economically advantageous for a migrant with children to bring them all to live in the UK rather than leave them in the home country looked after by perhaps a spouse or grandmother who would not have the finances so to do. Also to have all future kids born and live in the UK. Well done Mr Cameron. He reminds me of Don Quixote, except for the horse.

    • agricola
      Posted February 4, 2016 at 8:36 am | Permalink

      He lacks the moral imperative of Don Quixote while retaining the blind incompetence. I equate the parliamentary party with Rocinante and marvel at their willingness to keep him astride for so long. He should not take Sancho Panza or the electorate for complete fools.

    • Paul H
      Posted February 4, 2016 at 9:15 am | Permalink

      But presumably that would have applied in spades if sending child money home was completely banned? Although it is one that irritates me greatly, I have always thought the particular issue of child benefit going abroad a minor sideshow distracting from the fundamental issues around benefit systems arising from our EU “citizenship”.

  15. Denis Cooper
    Posted February 4, 2016 at 8:16 am | Permalink

    That REGULATION (EC) No 883/2004 OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 29 April 2004 is here:

    http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2004:166:0001:0123:en:PDF

    and it runs to 123 pages, of which the last 22 are Annexes going through different benefits available in the different member states, only fifteen at that time, which were relevant to the provisions of the regulations.

    So I expect that if there is nothing in it about the UK paying child benefit for the offspring of EU migrant workers even if said offspring are not resident in the UK – I don’t find anything about that on a quick search – then no doubt there would be scope for slipping a few words in somewhere.

    Of course while there may be a simple technical solution of that kind readily available the amendment of the regulation would then have to be approved by its originators, and there have already been rumblings that the EU Parliament may resist some of the legal changes that Tusk has proposed:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/eu/12139088/EU-deal-Strasbourg-parliament-ready-to-torpedo-Britains-emergency-brake.html

    “Downing Street officials will be warned that MEPs could ‘rip to shreds’ Britain’s emergency brake on migrants’ benefits – after a referendum has taken place.”

    I do immediately note two things:

    Firstly, on page 1, that the legal base permitting the passage of this regulation was the then Article 308 TEC, now Article 352 TFEU, the notorious “we will do as we damn well please” clause, the abuse of which has been repeatedly condemned by the independent Labour peer Lord Stoddard.

    That now starts:

    “1. If action by the Union should prove necessary, within the framework of the policies defined in the Treaties, to attain one of the objectives set out in the Treaties, and the Treaties have not provided the necessary powers, the Council, acting unanimously on a proposal from the Commission and after obtaining the consent of the European Parliament, shall adopt the appropriate measures.”

    And secondly, on page 101, the usual statement that:

    “This Regulation shall be binding in its entirety and directly applicable in all Member States.”

    In other words, it automatically became law throughout the whole of the EU without the national authorities of those member states having to lift a finger to give it legal force in their respective territories; like most EU regulations it may not have gone anywhere near to our Parliament for approval or implementation, not even by a statutory instrument being nodded through at the end of a long and tiring day.

  16. alan jutson
    Posted February 4, 2016 at 8:19 am | Permalink

    The fact is John, unless I am mistaken.

    This new agreement only includes IN WORK BENEFITS, all other Benefits remain unchanged.

    Thus its still a free for all if people do not work.

  17. me
    Posted February 4, 2016 at 8:19 am | Permalink

    These people are destroying our country, it’s time to up the ante John.

  18. fedupsoutherner
    Posted February 4, 2016 at 8:24 am | Permalink

    I see today that we have managed to cough up another £1.1b for the refugee crisis. It’s amazing how these funds can be found in the ether but nothing for the homeless and other critical areas needing more money in this country. Where is this all going to end? It won’t be long before the EU want us to cough up more too.

    • Chris
      Posted February 4, 2016 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

      Why is no-one calling Cameron to account for all these sums he suddenly finds, while at the same time ignoring the desperate plight of individuals at home, as well as the overwhelmed infrastructure?

  19. Horatio McSherry
    Posted February 4, 2016 at 8:24 am | Permalink

    John,

    As ever, to the point, and to the nub.

    My concern is that while Cameron’s non-deal is clear for all us with an interest in politics – in fact it’s clearer than even the most sceptical person even thought it would be – the people who are going to swing this election just aren’t aware of the intricacies and will get no assistance from much of their main sources of news.

    I’ve watched the main news channels (mainly just to increase my blood pressure) and their aversion to asking even the most basic probing questions is almost criminal. People who have their weddings in Hello face more brutal cross examination than the main news channels are dishing out. In fact the BBC’s initial tactic seems to be: ‘So, David Cameron’s deal: is it what he expected? In Brussels is [insert random Eurosceptic’s name]. The “Out” campaign is a real shambles, isn’t it?’

  20. Know-Dice
    Posted February 4, 2016 at 8:32 am | Permalink

    Interesting interview with Ken Clarke last night.

    He says that we can’t have Parliamentary sovereignty over the EU just like we can’t have it over NATO or the UN…

    I guess if NATO or the UN started to interfere with UK internal affairs we would pretty soon do something about it.

    Come on Ken…wakeup and smell the coffee…

    • Mitchel
      Posted February 4, 2016 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

      @Know Dice.The UN and its many organs frequently interfere in UK internal affairs.

    • Richard1
      Posted February 4, 2016 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

      Of course Ken Clarke is right in this. If a sovereign country signs a treaty and undertakes international obligations – such as mutual defence under NATO – parliamentary sovereignty is gone for that issue. The question at issue with the EU is whether we need all the sacrifice of sovereignty in so many areas under the EU treaties in order to enjoy the benefits of the EUropean free trade area and single market.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted February 5, 2016 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

        No, he’s wrong.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted February 4, 2016 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

      One of the Old Deceivers.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted February 4, 2016 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

      Ken Clark has been wrong on nearly everything all his life. The EU, the ERM, the EURO, the counterproductive wars, the no deterrent criminal justice system, the bloated state sector, high taxes and many, many other things.

      He is 75 I do not think he will change much now.

  21. Old Albion
    Posted February 4, 2016 at 8:32 am | Permalink

    A pathetic farce as I and many others predicted. Vote ‘leave’

  22. JJE
    Posted February 4, 2016 at 8:34 am | Permalink

    The renegotiation failed as it was always going to. The EU is incapable of agreeing any changes. It is stuck, unable to move forwards and unwilling to move back, just waiting for someone to pull out the support that means the whole edifice tumbles down.

    So let’s treat the renegotiation nonsense as the political sleight of hand it always was and focus instead on the real issues.

  23. Denis Cooper
    Posted February 4, 2016 at 8:38 am | Permalink

    I find here:

    http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201516/cmagenda/ob160204.htm

    that today’s debate on Parliamentary sovereignty will start at some time after 10.30 and run through to no later than 17.00, and the motion will be:

    “That this House believes in the importance of Parliamentary sovereignty; and calls for the Government’s EU renegotiations to encompass Parliament’s ability, by itself, to stop any unwanted legislation, taxes or regulation.”

  24. The Active Citizen
    Posted February 4, 2016 at 8:45 am | Permalink

    Your article above is once again excellent JR, and asks important questions in an easily-understood way. I’d like to add an afterthought.

    The UK is hit by an extra EU bill of a third of a billion Euros yesterday

    In addition to the continued costs of benefits for EU migrants to the UK, and the unknown costs of the damage to the UK economy as a result of imposed Eurozone actions in the coming years, there is another new cost issue. It was slipped through under the wire by the EU yesterday, whilst we were all focused on Mr Cameron and his ‘deal’.

    Many readers will know of Frau Merkel’s sudden visit to Ankara last year, when in a desperate bid to mitigate the disastrous effects of her ‘all welcome here’ policy, she agreed with President Erdogan that the EU would pay/bribe Turkey €3 billion euros, in return for Turkey slowing the flow of refugees into the EU.

    (Note that this was not an agreement instigated by any democratically-elected EU body, nor by the EU Commission.)

    What readers may not know is that Italy then refused to agree to Frau Merkel’s deal. Well, you can now all relax. On Tuesday Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi unblocked the deal so that the funds can flow, and the EU agreed everything yesterday. (This was in return for the EU waiving a whole load of financial restrictions on Italy’s economy.)

    The UK’s direct contribution will be €328 million euros, according to the European Commission. The Commission is kindly providing €1 billion of the total €3 billion euros from its ‘own money’. In other words, our bill will in fact be higher because we also fund the EU Commission, so we’ll pay a proportion of the Commission’s contribution. Let’s say our final total will be nearly half a billion Euros, give or take.

    It gets better. President Erdogan has already said that the EU’s €3 billion is not enough and he’ll want more.

    I mention this because the next time a pro-EU campaigner says that we’re not in Schengen and that their decisions don’t cost us anything, you may wish to tell them of this enforced extra payment to the EU as a result of Frau Merkel’s immigration policy and the EU’s desperation to save the Schengen agreement.

    Coming back to JR’s point about the PM’s supposed Eurozone protections for our economy, one can only wonder how much we’ll have to pay for the EU’s decisions in the next 3-4 years on their financial and political union, despite the fact that the PM tells us we won’t be a part of that and will therefore not be liable….

    Of course, if we vote to leave then we won’t have to worry.

    • Mitchel
      Posted February 4, 2016 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

      If we vote to leave….not much will change as we will still be lumbered with the same political class that believes in global government,demolition of borders and wealth transfers.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted February 4, 2016 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

      As I have pointed out, the UK has an opt-out not just from the EU’s common asylum and immigration policy but from all financial costs thereof, apart from any increase in the Commission’s purely administrative costs. That is unless the UK agrees to take a share of the costs, which I presume is what has happened.

      Article 5 of Protocol (No 21) here:

      http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX:12012M/TXT

      “A Member State which is not bound by a measure adopted pursuant to Title V of Part Three of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union shall bear no financial consequences of that measure other than administrative costs entailed for the institutions, unless all members of the Council, acting unanimously after consulting the European Parliament, decide otherwise.”

  25. Ian wragg
    Posted February 4, 2016 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    Never before has the phrase. …I knew he was lying because his lips were moving
    … been more appropriate than when listening to Call me Dave.
    He asked for nothing and got even less. Some negotiator.
    This has got to be a boost for the leave campaign as even the MSM have at last twigged on to the con.
    Where is Peter van Leuwen when we need him. His endorsement would add another 10 points to leave.

    • DaveM
      Posted February 4, 2016 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

      Quite. Even the BBC have got an unbiased report today, and for the first time mentions that “…..some members of his own cabinet…….have been prevented from speaking out in favour of a British exit.”

  26. agricola
    Posted February 4, 2016 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    Apart from the paucity of content and a complete ignoring of the critical issues, this farcical re-negotiation has produced not clarity, but a basis for debate that is open to varying interpretation.

    Your penultimate paragraph is pure Sir Humphrey. By the time you get to the end of it you have forgotten what it is about. My interpretation is that in the world of finance you cannot do anything which does not sui the EU or Euro Zone.

    My advice to the out campaign in Parliament is to keep the maximum pressure on Cameron and make it continuous. This way the electorate will increasingly realise what a fake process he is involved in. Keep him running scared. Force him to debate with Nigel Farage, Daniel Hannan, Jacob Rees-Mogg, yourself and others the sanity of remaining in the EU. The first signs of his weakness are becoming apparent in that the Telegraph reports him telling MPs to ignore the wishes of their constituency parties. He has obviously caught the EU contagion of pushing aside democracy when it suits him.

  27. Lesley
    Posted February 4, 2016 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    What’s the betting that these reforms are accompanyied by a decrease in ‘our’ rebate.
    I want to vote for leaving, but can anyone tell us how we might be affected as British pensioners living in the EU?

  28. Beecee
    Posted February 4, 2016 at 8:59 am | Permalink

    The Brexit organisation is in disarray with split campaigns, infighting, and without a big name at the helm.

    Meanwhile the majority of the cabinet, including most outers, are seemingly supporting the PM out of misguided loyalty or fear of demotion. As, it, appears are the majority of the Tory backbenchers.

    Number 10 has its propaganda troops out in force, at tax payer expense, to cause fear and alarm amongst the electorate if the EU status quo is not maintained.

    Game set and match to Mr Cameron!

    • Lifelogic
      Posted February 4, 2016 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

      The match has not even really started yet. I do not think the public will be conned by this dreadful man and the BBC types this time, if they are perhaps they deserve the anti-democratic EU disaster they will get.

    • waiterb
      Posted February 4, 2016 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

      David Davies has joined the leave group.

  29. Denis Cooper
    Posted February 4, 2016 at 9:07 am | Permalink

    This Telegraph article by Matthew Holehouse yesterday evening:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/eu/12139088/EU-deal-Strasbourg-parliament-ready-to-torpedo-Britains-emergency-brake.html

    should set the alarm bells ringing loudly, maybe loudly enough to be heard by those who assume that if Cameron can get something agreed with his fellow EU leaders then that is the end of it, those are the concrete proposals on which they can base their decision on how to vote in the referendum.

    Yes, it is true that each of the EU leaders now being schmoozed by Cameron would have a strong influence over how the MEPs affiliated to their governing party or parties would vote on the proposals when they were presented to the EU Parliament, but that would not necessarily secure a majority to get them through.

    And, guess what, because Cameron had rushed on to the referendum and got us to vote on the mere promise of changes at some indeterminate point in the future, rather than on the basis of changes which had already been negotiated and agreed and signed, if we had voted to stay in the EU then those changes might or might not be
    put in place afterwards as he had promised.

    Maybe we should ask him for a “cast-iron guarantee” that he would be able to deliver, and would deliver, exactly what he promised before we voted.

  30. Nigel
    Posted February 4, 2016 at 9:09 am | Permalink

    The most disappointing aspect of yesterday’s reporting was to see Nigel Farage having to talk about the split in the main “leave” campaigns.

    Until the leave lobby gets its act together and pulls together, we remain very much at risk of having this whole mess dumped upon us.

    JR: Please knock some heads together!

    • Richard1
      Posted February 4, 2016 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

      UKIP remains a joke as we see from the antics among the leave groups

    • Anonymous
      Posted February 4, 2016 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

      We are not voting to elect a party or a leader in this referendum.

      Why have the Outs been duped into thinking that they have to make up a side ? (A team ?)

      In fact far better to have lots of disparate groups reaching their conclusion that we need to get out of the EU.

      Sceptics should be saying “Remember. You’re not electing a party here. Why are you bothered about us forming a party for goodness sakes ?”

      Whether a group has its act together or not is an irrelevance. In fact a well organised group is a sign of corruption and an intent to manipulate.

      We are not trying to elect a government here. We are trying to free the one that we have !

      Another issue is that to vote In is a wasted opportunity even if you love the EU. An Out result will not be final (you can be sure of that !) but it will result in your country being in a stronger negotiating position afterwards.

      But please. Everyone stop this silly idea that this is about team A playing team B. The utter lie that there needs to be two competing teams with a captain each is part of the In’s strategy.

      One more time. We are NOT electing for office here. There doesn’t need to be ANY Out organisation at all.

    • Jim
      Posted February 4, 2016 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

      Why does the Leave lobby have to get its heads together ?

      We’re not electing a government here. Why does the Leave lobby need to form one group ?

      Surely to have lots of different groups saying the same thing of their own, natural and free will is better than the falsity and corruption of the Stay lobby.

  31. Shieldsman
    Posted February 4, 2016 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    I was amazed to read a letter in the DT yesterday from a group calling themselves Conservatives for Reform in Europe and signed by Sir Nicholas Soames plus 14 others.
    There is no point in repeating it all here, only the points which are not true and not on offer from Donald Tusk.
    “to exempt Britain from ever-closer union, to return power to national parliaments, to cut red tape and to apply an immediate brake to benefit payments for EU migrants”.
    “These reforms are substantial and would redefine our relationship with Europe. The Prime Minister said he would negotiate a better deal for Britain and he is succeeding. We urge fellow Conservatives to support the campaign for Britain to remain in a REFORMED EU”.

    There we go again those two words REFORMED EU. What I wanted to read were the three words ‘RETURN OF SOVEREIGNTY’.

    They seem to believe that Mr Cameron has miraculously reformed the Lisbon Treaty Rules of our membership of the European Union, and are be backing Britain stronger in Europe.

    Britain stronger in Europe have produced a paper ‘Hypocrisy of Leave campaigners’:
    Today a new deal between the UK and the European Union has been outlined by the Prime Minister, which will be discussed by European leaders at the European Council later this month.

    In fact it changes little or nothing, the red card is unlikely to ever work in our favour. It is not a veto on future EU directives.

    Listing the reforms the Leave campaigners have sought over the years only highlights the failure of the negotiations to address the very real differences. The major sticking points are the inability to control EU migration (a Benefit brake is only temporary and a disincentive for a few) and Sovereignty.

    The Leave campaigners unlike Mr Cameron have taken the pragmatic view that the changes they want are unobtainable by negotiation, but obtainable by leaving the EU,

    BSE have offered no real evidence (that cannot be contradicted) the supposed benefits we gain from being in Europe – trade,jobs, low prices, investment will be lost by withdrawing.

    They go on to draw attention to Business for Britain (now Vote.Leave) in the Isabel Oakeshott article of 1st June 2015: Eurosceptics need to wake up if they want us to leave the EU. There is no mention of a two-tier Europe in the current negotiations, but Business for Britain was prepared to stay in on better terms and recently Elliott flew the kite that a NO vote was the preliminary to a better offer and a futher referendum!!!

    With a past history of saying they want to stay in a ‘REFORMED EU’, is vote.leave a suitable organisation to receive the official designation to represent the leave campaigners.

  32. hefner
    Posted February 4, 2016 at 9:33 am | Permalink

    How many of us are presently writing on this blog from a sunnier country, Brussels/Strasbourg and/or a “Treasure Island”? Isn’t it sad to see Good Old Nigel leading the Out effort from wherever in South West France?

    • Edward2
      Posted February 5, 2016 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

      Why should writing a post from another EU nation or from even further afar make the opinions less valid?
      And are you not confusing Europe, which we all like, with the EU which is a very different thing?
      I don’t think its “sad” to Mr Farage working from France at all.
      Yesterday he seemed to be stuck in another of our regular road closures in the UK.

  33. Bill
    Posted February 4, 2016 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    The EU wording is worse than I thought.

    I am reminded of Wormtongue in Lord of the Rings who ties King Theoden of Rohan up in knots. The ancient king has lost his vision and is crippled by the subtle lies whispered into his ear…

  34. A different Simon
    Posted February 4, 2016 at 9:52 am | Permalink

    Ultimately child benefit is small in the grand scheme of things .

    More to the point , the population is far too high for the area of land of the U.K.

    Most of our food has to be imported and if there is a transition to renewable energy in the long term most of that will have to be imported .

    Then there is the lump of labour hypothesis which has been shown to be true .

    Given the advance of automation and computerisation , there is less need for people in the workplace .

    The practical lesson is clear – a country must only admit the migrants it needs because once they are in they become that countries responsibility .

    That responsibility will carry on for generations and generations and they will not thank us .

  35. Atlas
    Posted February 4, 2016 at 10:15 am | Permalink

    John asks “What does the convoluted EU renegotiation prose mean?”

    Judging by claims made by previous PMs about safeguards – not a lot.

    Fine rhetoric in the Commons Chamber usually fails at the first hurdle.

  36. Bert Young
    Posted February 4, 2016 at 10:44 am | Permalink

    I watched the whole of PMQs and the subsequent statement and questions on the referendum . My judgement is that Cameron very clearly won the occasion . If the referendum result follows the Commons yesterday , we are going to remain “In”.

    This is a horrifying situation and I question where and how the leadership of the “Leaves” can now win the day . There were only 3 reasonably challenging questions put to Cameron and , sadly , they – like all the others put , were more than adequately put down .

    If the public are to be presented with a vibrant and objective presentation of the real threats of staying “In” , a coherent, co-ordinated and respected campaign is vital . At the moment I don’t see where this is going to come from .

    Cameron may well return from the Summit in a couple of weeks time with further armament to his case , if this happens and some of the remaining “doubts” are removed , we are sunk !.

    The smugly smiling Boris is clearly a “loser”. Theresa is “gone” . Liam Fox was neutralised. The articulate and wily Rees Mogg without presence . Farage as direct as ever but without “trust”. Who can the leader now be to dynamically pick up the pieces and win the public over ?.

  37. Antisthenes
    Posted February 4, 2016 at 10:50 am | Permalink

    Apparently David Cameron is touting the proposals as being legally binding which they are not and can be overturned or discarded at any time. There are no safeguards for the UK in them and the reality is that they do not contain much of substance so are pointless anyway.

    At one time I was prepared to accept that the UK should remain in the EU if the reforms on offer repatriated considerable power back to the UK parliament. However the more I delved into the matter of our relationship with the EU the more I realised that the EU serves no purpose. None that I can discern and from all the rhetoric from all interested parties none that they could either. Even pro EU membership people talk about everything other than purpose.

    We know the EU does many things most of them badly but we do not need the EU to do them. Interstate trade and cooperation can quite easily be achieved between national governments with the aid of secretariats or agencies. Most already exist NATO, Interpol, WTO, ECHR and the like. For of trade and cooperation circumstances peculiar to Europe then a few specialist agencies could be added. None with the power to decide policies and practices only to facilitate putting into action those that European nations have agreed upon amongst themselves.

    • Graham Wood
      Posted February 4, 2016 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

      Antisthenes. “Apparently David Cameron is touting the proposals as being legally binding which they are not ”

      I agree. In this respect may I draw your attention to the same point and amplified on the EU Referendum blog today with comment by Dr R North.
      Some very important points emerge.
      Briefly, Mr Cameron’s claim that these proposals are legally enforceable is ludicrous.
      1 How can some 28 heads of member states constitute an intergovernmental forum which has power to make binding agreements?
      2. As the proposals are still in draft form how can they be binding unless/until ratified by all 28 member states through their parliaments (a long process which incidentally would take us well into 2017 territory for a referendum)?
      3. How can these proposals, even if eventually agreed, be legally binding until incorporated into treaty change – again requiring agreement by all 28 states?
      4. How can depositing the document (of the proposals) with the UN be binding on EU member states and/or justiciable in international law?

      Would any constitutional lawyer be prepared to defend such claims? Is this just another “load of flannel” on the part of Mr Cameron? He should definitely be challenged as to his claims here – presumably given to give a gloss of “legality” in order to avoid the longer necessary process of treaty change which these proposals will require.
      For example two of the EU’s “pillars” of ‘free movement and ever closer union cannot be excluded from future treaty change – otherwise these proposals will simply be struck down by the ECJ in due course as in many cases in the past. .

      If Dr North’s charges against Mr Cameron are correct, and I believe they are, then the latter has misled the House of Commons.
      JR. What is your response to that please?

      One of the more egregious claims is that the Tusk proposal is a “legally binding document”, a claim repeated by the Prime Minister yesterday (column 927) in what amounted as clear a lie as has ever been uttered from the lips of a British Prime Minister. He told the House:
      Finally, let me be absolutely clear about the legal status of these changes that are now on offer. People said we would never get something that was legally binding—but this plan, if agreed, will be exactly that. These changes will be binding in international law, and will be deposited at the UN. They cannot be changed without the unanimous agreement of every EU country—and that includes Britain. So when I said I wanted change that is legally binding and irreversible, that is what I have got. And, in key areas, treaty change is envisaged in these documents.

      Reply The document both heralds E U regulation, a legislative act, and future treaty change. It just does not go far enough in my view.

      • Graham Wood
        Posted February 4, 2016 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

        Just to clarify my last post above: The sentence beginning:
        “One of the most egregious….” are those of Dr. North.

        The sentence beginning: Finally, let me be absolutely clear….” is the quotation from Mr Cameron’s statement in the H of C.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted February 4, 2016 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

      Oh, but the Decision will be lodged with the UN.

      As if that made the slightest difference.

      It is just a load of old flannel, and not even new flannel because it has already been used on the Irish before their second referendum on the Lisbon Treaty.

      http://www.irishtimes.com/news/cowen-rules-out-third-referendum-if-treaty-is-rejected-1.748242

      “In a final appeal for a Yes vote, Mr Cowen said the EU had listened to the concerns underlying last year’s treaty rejection and the guarantees received
      as a result were “comprehensive” and “watertight”.

      These guarantees would be lodged with the United Nations … “

  38. Roy Grainger
    Posted February 4, 2016 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    So you’ve had your instructions John, ignore the views of your constituency association and grassroots members !

  39. bigneil
    Posted February 4, 2016 at 11:02 am | Permalink

    Slightly to one side of the topic.

    As we are a country that is undergoing cuts to council services, police and other important things that make our society – along with being told we are £1.6tr in debt – -where does Cameron suddenly get the £1.2bn he’s handing over to help Syria? What has happened to the £xxxxxxx amount that was handed over to Turkey to stop the flow? Whose pockets has THAT gone in, because clearly nothing has been done.

    And – is it true that nobody has been blamed for the farce of Kid’s Company? £3m given a week before it shut. Big names protecting other big names? Ah well, suppose the truth will come out one day.

    • Ian wragg
      Posted February 4, 2016 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

      Stop asking silly questions. You know there’s a magic money tree for all things foreign. After all it’s the right thing to do.

  40. oldtimer
    Posted February 4, 2016 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    Your headline asks “What does the convoluted EU negotiation prose mean?”

    I think the answer is to be found at the end of the first paragraph of Mr Tusk’s letter: “The line I did not cross, however, were the principles on which the European project is founded.”

    This means that ever closer union, in all its manifestations, remains the watchword and the objective. This means that the Commision will only offer the minimum necessary to keep the UK on board as the second biggest contributor to its coffers – presumably in time becoming the biggest if you believe that the UK economy will in time be bigger than Germany’s. This means that it will keep open the possibility that the UK will eventually succumb in all respects to this objective, including the euro and all the centralising measures envisaged in the Five President’s Report.

    That, it seems to me, is the real issue to be determined by the referendum vote. Mr Cameron’s, as yet incomplete, negotiations are, as he himself put it the other day, simply “a device to dock the UK in the EU”.

  41. CHRISTOPHER HOUSTON
    Posted February 4, 2016 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    Off topic:
    BBC Parliament TV today 4th Feb 2016 ” Environment Food and Rural Affairs.
    Labour and SNP rota system for dumb questions.

    A question from a Labour MP to Ms Truss ( Environment Food and Rural Affairs Secretary ) asked what the government was doing to ban plastic beads from cosmetics to avoid sea pollution by same; also, how plastics could be reduced from going into landfill.

    Ms Truss replied that the bead question was being considered and that plastic bags had been reduced by government in their use in supermarkets by a very large per cent due to government regulation.

    The Labour Party MP’s question although worthy showed signs it was not fully researched and formulated. The fact is plastics are not being recycled in some part because of the reduction in oil price. It is cheaper for companies, now, to buy virgin plastic than recycled plastic. Local Authorities by design and their typical can’t be bothered attitude to everything but their own central government grants and council-tax, now put more plastic and other recyclables in landfill whilst people continue to sort out waste into umpteen coloured wheelie bins.

    The point: The Labour Party…I’ve seen this particularly of the MP for Wakefield Ms Creagh and the MP for Don Valley Ms Flint ask questions of a type which one feels have been written out on a rota system for them, poorly or incompletely researched, merely so they can stand up in Parliament and grandstand. Their Local papers then do a short article/feature on them saying MP Ms So-and-So fights/struggles/calls for/attacks the government on so-and-so. Well it makes for good cheer-leading and vote-catching but they do waste Parliamentary time regularly and do nothing at all for their constituents by such daft questions.
    Similarly the SNP. Always they raise the inappropriate question on the slightest pretext of what if the UK Referendum results in a Leave vote …when Scotland votes otherwise. Almost every day they are told in numerous ways that the UK is just one indivisible electorate due to the Scottish independence NO vote and as a matter of Law because the UK joined the EU as one entity and must leave as one entity.

    The Speaker has repeated to the whole House that “There is nothing wrong with repetition. Repetition of questions are most welcome.” Well I believe there IS something wrong with time wasting/money wasting/grandstanding repetition by the SNP and the Labour Party. Certainly in Labour Regional, Constituency, Branch and at all levels such behaviour by elected and non-elected members is not tolerated under any circumstances. It is a pity Parliament lacks such good administrative and thrifty rules.

  42. Paul
    Posted February 4, 2016 at 11:18 am | Permalink

    Thanks Mr Redwood, watching with interest and hope for the correct result from Melbourne. I am an Australian citizen, not a British expat. Please Britain, come back to the Commonwealth and reclaim your independence

  43. Dan H.
    Posted February 4, 2016 at 11:30 am | Permalink

    One way to put the brake on paying benefits to non-resident children of migrants is to simply demand proof that the children exist and are the children of the migrant workers in question. To do this, the father, mother and children must turn up at a UK benefits office so that DNA can be taken. This claim will then be processed through the Non-Resident Child Benefits Office, which shall consist (for the time being, until the design, planning and procurement process for the computer system is completed) of an entirely paper system staffed by just one rather lazy man in Swansea.

    Of course, once completed this must then be endorsed by the DNA checking service in Dundee, and the final paperwork needs to be submitted for audit to the Audit Office somewhere in Northern Ireland. All of this is subject to a time limit system, so that if the paperwork goes over-time, it is discarded and the whole application process must start all over again; the migrant needs to get his wife and children over to a UK Benefits Office so that DNA can be taken, and paternity and maternity ascertained…

    A rigorous re-checking system would also be in place, using a similarly tortuous bureaucratic process.

    With a bit of intelligently applied French bureaucracy like this, several civil servants may be gainfully employed and no migrants paid any benefits at all, though several airlines would be enriched by the shuttling to and fro of foreign kids. If one were to add in bureaucracy from the Borders Agency forbidding the entry of children who might become a burden on the UK State, the entire process could take on Kafka-esque properties, and deter claimants permanently.

  44. Chris
    Posted February 4, 2016 at 11:38 am | Permalink

    It is highly significant, I believe, that Richard North on his blog can state openly that Cameron has misled the House of Commons on his claims. North knows the EU legislation and structure backwards and he wouldn’t make this claim if there were any doubt:
    “..The Prime Minister, in making his claims, it guilty of the most grievous sin of all – misleading the House. There is no half measure here. the claim that Tusk’s “settlement” is legally binding simply isn’t true…”

    See the full article for his arguments.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted February 4, 2016 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

      And see my comment above, about this flannel not even being new flannel.

      • Chris
        Posted February 4, 2016 at 11:08 pm | Permalink

        Thanks, Denis. Presumably, Mr Redwood, has seen the advice in an open letter by Andrew Duff to Cameron about the so called legally binding nature of Cameron’s claims (Duff being the architect apparently of the Protocol of Frankfurt, the probably basis for the new EU treaty?). Cameron is on very shaky ground, I fear, but he does not seem to care. Does he assume enough people will just believe him?

  45. They Work for Us?
    Posted February 4, 2016 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

    Cameron’s comments to ignore the Conservative grassroots MPs and ignore the views of their Constituencies should be a resigning matter.
    We do need tough right of recall and a clear statement that MPs are there to represent the wishes of their constituents (their employer) and not those of the party. Local Conservative Associations should seek to deselect MPs if necessary and if Central Office claims they do not have that power then the local Association should refuse to provide any support to the imposed candidate be it financial or physical (leafleting, campaigning etc) even putting up a local independent candidate if necessary. The grassroots need to take back control of the party.
    We can only conclude that there is a jolly little private club of the great and the good that run the country for themselves and not for the rest of us. Job insecurity would concentrate minds.

  46. Paul Cohen
    Posted February 4, 2016 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

    Listening to Mr Cameron responding to professional commentators should be enlightening – but it is not! He ignores the questions and instead simply gives prepared all purpose statements. He is doing damage to the stature of the Country by his pleadings to the EU, who show scant real concern or interest. Obviously no poker player, he shows his hand in advance – a perculiar strategy!

    His credibility is now very low since the “no iffs, no buts” episode, together with the “we will not pay” the surprise EU demand of 1.4 billion demand for being successful, when he promptly caved in.

    If he now announced that despite his efforts he was unable to secure any meaningful agreement with regard the main issues he sought, and was therefore recommending a withdrawal from the EU he would go somewhere to restoring his position.

    The problems are pilng up for the EU, from the Greece crisis which has yet to break, the overweening burocracy, 1mmigration, provocations with Russia etc,etc.

    Why wait around for the car crash? We will be needed when this happens to clear up the mess.

  47. William Long
    Posted February 4, 2016 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

    It is becoming clearer by the minute that Mr Cameron goes to the same tailor as the Emperor in the childrens’ story and I took some heart from a glance through the papers on the news stand this morning from which it seemed clear that the press of all colours was reaching the same conclusion. But can it really be true, as the Daily Telegraph tells us, that Boris Johnson is willing to be taken in by the promise of what can only be a spurious Bill of Rights?

    • Horatio McSherry
      Posted February 4, 2016 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

      It made me laugh last night when the BBC and Sky both told me Teresa May was a Eurosceptic; and, Eurosceptics (all of them!…apparently) were hoping she would lead the out campaign into the referendum.

      Not sure what they’re taking but it appears to be very strong.

  48. A different Simon
    Posted February 4, 2016 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

    This renegotiation has really showed up the Conservative parties supposed EU scepticism for the fantasy it always was .

    Mrs May is clearly on the side of the IN campaign yet as recently as October 2015 , newspapers were suggesting that Mrs May should lead the OUT campaign !

    This despite of her waving through of the EU arrest warrant without public debate in parliament .

    Osborne and May are just as duplicitous as Cameron . If they came out and admitted they were madly in love with the EU people might have some respect for them .

    The irony is that come general election time , despite all the betrayals of Britain we are about to witness , tribal Conservative voters will be voting for more of the same .

    • stred
      Posted February 5, 2016 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

      Also, this is the potential Leave leader who runs the Ministry which tells police to tell illegal immigrants caught on the road to report to the immigration office instead of arresting them. While those who are put into hotels near Heathrow are then transported to hotels in the North by stretched limo. But she does dress nicely and speaks as persuasively as Eural. Pass the bucket.

  49. Tad Davison
    Posted February 4, 2016 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

    There’s a simple and easy solution to all of this mess, fudging, huge expense, ambiguity and a lack of democratic accountability – and that is for the UK to get to hell out of the EU altogether, but then we already know that – or do we?

    Whilst watching the House of Commons debate yesterday, I played a little game called ‘Spot the Tory Toady’ – those people who were either sitting on the fence, or had an eye on their career prospects. But Labour, the SNP, and the Lib Dems, don’t seem even to want to debate the finer points of UK’s membership. For the bulk of those members, the issue appears to be settled. They might say the EU isn’t perfect, but don’t tell us how they’d fix it, or give us their vision of how it should look after reform. Maybe it’s time the public made their political representatives take the blinkers off and get back to reality. They are there to do the bidding of their constituents, and I am hard-pressed to find very many ordinary people who are pro-EU in any form.

    I am left to wonder how anyone with a logical mind could ever have anything other than solid scepticism for an alien political construct that does not benefit the UK, is so wasteful and unmanageable, and is rapidly heading towards the rocks, but then, these are the same people of poor judgement who when in office, caused such financial mayhem with their tax, borrow, and spend policies – and the history is all there for everyone to see should anyone doubt that fact!

    The Daily politics is presently reminding us that Labour used to have plenty of Eurosceptics. Delor’s speech to the TUC, and Margaret Thatcher’s Bruges speech were said to have been the turning point, and thereafter, Labour became solidly pro-EU. Perhaps if enough people take them on, they might think again.

    I’m sure as hell up for it, and anyone who loves the UK should do the same.

    Tad Davison

    Cambridge

  50. Maureen Turner
    Posted February 4, 2016 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

    Why are we paying child benefit to children in Romania and Bulgaria in the first place just because a parent has decided to work in the UK? If he has the drive to come to this country to better his family’s standard of living back home then surely the calculation should be on his own living costs in the UK and whether the he can send back sufficient funds to ensure his family’s wellbeing. Oh, I forgot the EU doesn’t think along these lines and anyway it’s all written down in some treaty or other that all must be equal regardless of any contribution paid by the UK taxpayer who never considered this was the intended use.

    This latest immensely complicated nonsense will prove a nightmare for the DWP as it juggles with the disparity of living costs between countries and from what I have read will even have to take account of any inflation in each of the recipient nations. No doubt lots of ads. going into the Press as Mr. Ian Duncan-Smith’s department will be required to employ extra staff. Yet another cost of our membership.

    The EU certainly know how to give with one hand only to take away more with every attempt by the PM to get something back by re-jigging the terms of his concessions. Seemingly the next two weeks will see more of this water treading stuff which caused Andrew Neil to dryly remark on his Daily Politics show. Don’t be surprised if we come away with even less than we are being offered at the moment.

  51. Julian
    Posted February 4, 2016 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

    I’m at a loss to understand why David Cameron thinks that this benefits renegotiation is so important – its seems peripheral to the main issues of immigration numbers and the other main beefs we have with the EU.

  52. Bob
    Posted February 4, 2016 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

    According to the R4 Toady program reporting on PM’s QT in Parliament yesterday, most ~MPs are satisfied with the “reforms” Mr Cameron has negotiated, apart from a couple of malcontents on his own benches.

  53. Elliot Kane
    Posted February 4, 2016 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

    The entire ‘renegotiation’ is nonsense, with not one part of it being legally binding, and far too much of it requiring ridiculous levels of added bureaucracy to no real gain.

    Phasing in benefits over a period just means more paperwork, which means more bureaucrats, which could very well end up costing even more than paying out benefits from the start – and all with a net effect on EU migration of somewhere around zero.

    Anyone might be forgiven for thinking that the entire purpose of David Cameron’s ‘renegotiation’ was to hoodwink the British public into thinking the EU might actually change, while at the same time genuinely altering nothing of any consequence whatsoever… All smoke and mirrors, no substance.

    I was expecting very little from any EU negotiation, but this is nothing at all. The fact that David Cameron is trying to sell it as major shift in our favour says a great deal about him, but none of it good.

  54. behindthefrogs
    Posted February 4, 2016 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

    I find it of huge concern that this blog concentrates on the instances where the result of Cameron’s negotiations appear to fall short of what was hoped and yet make no mention of any area where he achieved what he wanted.

    Reply I didn’t see one of those. WHy don’t you tell us if you did find one

  55. Original Richard
    Posted February 4, 2016 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

    Not paying child benefit to those children not living in the UK could lead to increased immigration as the whole family moves to the UK.

    And what about the NHS ? Are we going to be treating for free every single EU citizen who comes to the UK ?

    The UK voters at the forthcoming referendum need to bear in mind that the EU intends to expand to include Turkey (also Conservative Party policy, population 75m), Albania, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Bosnia, Kosovo and the Ukraine. Plus, according to Mr. Cameron’s speech in Kazakhstan 01/07/2013, all the countries of Eastern Europe as far as the Urals.

    We need to have complete control over our borders or else immigration will not only continue at its very high rate but will increase substantially as these new countries join the EU. Plus of course there wll also be substantial migration into the UK of African and Middle Eastern migrants that Germany have invited and continue to invite into the EU.

    And where will all these migrants be living ?
    England is already the most densely populated major country in the EU.

    How will all this immigration be paid for ?
    The only reason the UK economy appears to be healthy is because we are continually spending more than we are earning.

    The UK voters need to be told that we cannot have both open borders to the EU and any sort of welfare system with a “free” NHS.

    At the forthcoming referendum the UK voters will be deciding who governs the UK and what sort of country they want the UK to be.

  56. Anonymous
    Posted February 4, 2016 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

    In-work top-ups is nothing less than a taxpayer subsidy of immigration.

    A country can never be successful if it has to share every bit of its success with EU citizens. As far as the average Briton is concerned their good sense and choices are met with a hoard of people coming to share the fruits and so any advantage is lost.

    If being unable to afford a decent life in many of our cities is success then I’d rather not have it.

    Our country is better off by what it does not have in common with the EU. It is outside of the Eurozone. Its success is ruined by burgeoning welfarism which is increasing the national debt and depressing wages.

    In the EU a country will be punished for daring to stand out as an economic success.

    What is to be expected of a socialist construct ? It is complete with the lies, double-think and the deliberately tricky prose too !

  57. ChrisS
    Posted February 4, 2016 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

    I thought I would share with fellow bloggers an email I sent today to one of my MEP’s, Ashley Fox, in response to his latest email newsletter. Ashley is leader of the Conservative group in the European Parliament and even he is decidedly luke warm about Cameron’s deal :

    http://www.ashleyfoxmep.com/images/February_2016_Web_Version.pdf

    “Hello Ashley

    Once again, I thank you for your newsletter which, I note, is at best no more than luke warm towards the outcome of our own Great Leader’s ”Renegotiation”.

    Reading your newsletter a few points spring immediately to mind :

    We should not have to be asking Brussels whether our Weymouth fishermen can continue to fish, whether with a trawler of rod and line.
    On a National level, let alone an International one, this is a trivial matter, although a deadly serious one for the small number of people concerned.
    If ever there was a matter that should have been dealt with under Subsidiarity, this is one of them !
    Yet orders have come down from the Juncker Bunker and yet again we have to fight a rearguard action against them.
    Yes, there is reference to Subsidiarity in the Tusk “offer” but we all know it will amount to nothing. They have no intention whatsoever of relaxing their grip on Nation States.

    If we are outside the EU, fishing policy would be a national matter within the 12 mile limit inshore and the 200 mile limit in the open sea. If we vote to leave we can certainly start to plan for an enlarged UK fishing fleet and use a small part of the £10bn net saving to pay for it !

    As for the European Army :

    Various EU proposals have been put on ice for the duration of the British referendum campaign to avoid embarrassing the Great Leader. One of them is the proposed European Army.

    By hook or by crook, Brussels has been scheming for more than half a century to take over more and more areas of policy from Nation States and have been busy creating ever more EU-wide Institutions.
    Invariably they have been successful, often by using Human Rights legislation and the European Court to expand their influence way beyond what was envisaged by successive treaties. This is certainly not going to end in a couple of week’s time because a second British PM walks down a set of aircraft steps from Germany waving a worthless piece of paper.

    Even you seem to have either fallen for the con that we have to “wait and see” the final deal or are cynically using that ploy to deflect a small proportion of criticism for the next two weeks. Which is it ?
    Everybody knows that the final deal is unlikely to be quite as “good” as the Tusk document after the other 27 countries have had their say.

    The whole renegotiation has proved to be exactly what a great many of us predicted : nothing more than smoke and mirrors, a PR job led by a former professional PR man. Harold Wilson would have been proud.

    It sounds to me that you are going to be campaigning for a Yes but with very little enthusiasm !

    Best Regards

    Chris”

  58. a-tracy
    Posted February 4, 2016 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

    So if your husband currently works in a minimum wage job in Germany and the wife with three children stays in the UK say in the NE, he can claim German level child benefits and send them home to the UK? What are these benefit levels, we should advertise this and export some of our workers who can’t get jobs in the UK high unemployment regions. Its just not going to happen is it. So I don’t think we need to worry about German and Denmark exporting their low paid to us.

  59. a-tracy
    Posted February 4, 2016 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

    Do you have a figure for how much child benefit is currently being sent outside of the UK?
    Do we know how much is sent from Germany to the UK?
    Do we know how much is sent from France to the UK?
    Or is this just one of those checks and balances that no-one keeps account of because there is just the UK paying up.
    Do our job centres now advertise jobs in Europe to our unemployed? They should. We should look at skilled people that are out of work and open up Europe to them.

  60. Sean
    Posted February 4, 2016 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

    It surly must be time to out Cameron, maybe we need a leadership change now.

  61. turbo terrier
    Posted February 4, 2016 at 7:07 pm | Permalink

    Pathetic, one cannot make the excuses for what has not been discussed.

    So many seemingly supporting this fiasco one can only assume that heads are where the sun doesn’t shine.

    It is not rocket science to see and uderstand the erosion over the years of our rights and sovereignty bought about our membership to this disasterous club.

    sadly a lot of this mess if not all of it falls at the feet of our PM

  62. Anthony Makara
    Posted February 4, 2016 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

    John, if the PM loses the referendum he will have to step down. However, whoever his successor he/she cannot be from the IN camp and must be a Eurosceptic. Equally the new cabinet would have to reflect the change in direction and the Europhiles would be out of the running for cabinet jobs. I wonder what your opinion is on this? How do you see a post referendum government developing?

  63. bluedog
    Posted February 4, 2016 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

    One thing is certain, Dr JR. Even if Leave is not the outcome of the referendum, the anti-EU resistance must continue until Leave is the result.

    The non-binding agreement ‘won’ by Cameron is evidence of terrible corruption at the heart of British governance. No nation will indefinitely tolerate lies and a corrupt, self-serving elite, as the failure of Communism proves.

    Because the UK Leave programme is localised it is relatively easy for the EU to defeat the insurgency by deploying unlimited borrowed money and overwhelming mis-information. A compliant elite with loyalty to the EU, as is the case in the UK, is a critical element in defeating a local insurgency. An anti-EU education campaign at a grass roots level is essential to counter this advantage held by the EU. Allegations of corruption at the highest level may be needed to sway the electorate, and of course, proving a negative is extremely difficult for the Europhiles to do. An additional policy is to foster links with anti-EU movements in other the leading nations so that ultimately, EU collapse is instantaneous and total.

    Clearly this is not the issue at hand, but one needs to plan ahead as a precaution.

  64. Mark Johnston
    Posted February 4, 2016 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

    John, not impressed with the EU turncoats in your party! Those who previously claimed to be “Eurosceptic” and have now changed their minds not for the need of the country but for what appears to be their own future careers in politics.

    Yes, I also include neighbouring MP Theresa May in that statement! Even after today’s news that we cannot deport foreign criminals if they have children shows what is wrong with the EU.. Yet as Home Secretary she now supports staying in with more madness like this likely to follow in the future. Will she live to regret staying in? Most probably but it will possibly be too late by then.

    What about Philip Hammond? William Hague? (The man who led the “save the pound campaign” in 2001) Jeremy Hunt? All claimed to “Eurosceptics” now seem to think the EU is an organisation worth staying in. It appears that some senior figures have been “bought off” by Mr Cameron for future favours yet unknown. However it has been reported in more the one news source that this is the case. How is this right?

    Mr Cameron is not being “neutral” nor “transparent” on this issue for which he has broken yet another promise, and is clearly determined to get a “remain in” vote at any cost – even if that means breaking yet more promises. As result I no longer believe he is fit to run this country, his “EU demands” were pathetic at best and yet he continues to lie about how great they are when anyone with an ounce of common sense realise they are being lied to. Is it any wonder that people are becoming ever so disillusioned with Politicians when they are continually being lied to and fobbed off with untruths? (Present company excluded!)

  65. Ian B
    Posted February 4, 2016 at 10:09 pm | Permalink

    “without prejudice to Union mechanisms of macro-prudential oversight for the prevention and mitigation of systemic financial risks in the Union and to the existing powers of the Union institutions to take action that is necessary to respond to threats to financial stability”.

    Worthy of a Sir Humphrey monologue from Yes, Minister.

    • ChrisS
      Posted February 5, 2016 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

      I said exactly this in a post to the previous item.

      Absolutely right. The wording has clearly been carefully framed to enable Brussels and the European Court to enact any legislation they like against the city of London under the pretext of taking action that is “necessary to respond to threats to financial stability”

      There won’t be a think we can do about it and that will apply whether we are in or out !

  66. petermartin2001
    Posted February 5, 2016 at 12:29 am | Permalink

    John,

    All this is rather irrelevant. We can all have our opinions on whether we should be in the EU but these are very unlikely to be influenced at all by the issue of child benefit.

    Any legal migrant to the UK should have the same tax obligations as everyone else and in return they should receive the same social benefits as everyone else. Whether they come from inside the EU or outside is neither here nor there.

    • Edward2
      Posted February 5, 2016 at 8:41 am | Permalink

      It would be fair if social welfare benefits, housing benefits, pension benefits and minimum wage levels were the same throughout the EU.
      But they are not.
      In the poorest nations of the 27 they are a fraction of the UK.
      You cannot have a welfare system designed like the UK and also have open borders with counties who have a much less generous systems.

    • a-tracy
      Posted February 5, 2016 at 9:09 am | Permalink

      In work benefits available from part-time work would be considered low to pay for a British standard of living and rent. However, this amount is often more than the NMW in several EU countries I’m curious about the figures, just how many people are taking advantage of this, surely it’s just a check on the Benefits agency records as they must check the children actually exist and know they don’t reside in the UK. I’d also then like to know how many UK parents take advantage of it in a regional breakdown.

    • stred
      Posted February 5, 2016 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

      Many other EU countries do not pay benefits until contributions have been made for some time. Tax credits and Housing Benefit are not paid in some other countries and neither is free healthcare. It would be interesting to know whether any other countries pay these benefits immediately and if so what they are worth. HB + Tax credits can raise equivalent earnings for a low income parent to more than that of a childless couple with more than double average income. Tinkering with Child benefit is going to do nothing to stop the UK being the top benefit and medical treatment destination for the EU, or the rest of the World.

    • petermartin2001
      Posted February 5, 2016 at 9:24 pm | Permalink

      I agree we should be out. But just as we wouldn’t deprive an immigrant from India their child benefit, on the grounds that there is no comparable system there, we also shouldn’t do that to anyone else who might have come here from the EU.

      The danger is that the LEAVE campaign gets a bad reputation for small minded penny pinching and generally anti immigrant sentiment when there is no evidence at all that immigrants want to come to the UK for any other reason than to find a job which they can’t find at home.

      So, let’s concentrate on the more noble motivations of wanting to re-establish our own democracy and not wanting to be a part of the economic disaster that is the EU and Eurozone at present.

  67. Margaret
    Posted February 5, 2016 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

    The same thing is being said over and over again in different ways in a far too protracted way by most of the commenters. Every little bit of chit chat about who said this or that detracts from the purpose; out means out. Whilst some may need to write extended bits of valueless prose every day , I think most get the point; we would be better off out.

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    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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