EU Referendum Leaflet

My contribution to Monday’s debate on the EU Referendum Leaflet:

John Redwood (Wokingham) (Con): The Government document is a disgrace. It is morally wrong, it is financially wrong and I think that it will backfire on them politically, which is the only good news in this otherwise rather sad debate. We should not need to do this. Any British democratic Government should understand that we want to have fair elections and referendums, and that we have a long tradition of not taking taxpayers’ money to spend in promotion of party political purposes or other political purposes during an election or referendum. In my experience, no Government have ever taken taxpayers’ money close to an election to propagandise for party policies. Nor should this Government be taking money from the many taxpayers who wish to leave the European Union in order to spend it on propaganda to try to thwart their wishes.

I was proud to stand in the general election on a platform of offering people a free choice and a free vote, after all these years when we have had no right to such a thing, and it is a great pity that it is being sullied by taking money from taxpayers and spending it in the distorting way that others have already mentioned.

I know that many other colleagues wish to speak, so I will concentrate on just two matters. This leaflet is extremely misleading and part of a very misleading campaign that is based on fear and misinformation about our relationship with the EU and what the EU is doing to us. The two claims in the leaflet that I wish to highlight go together in some ways. The leaflet says that we now have “a special status” and that often we can get our own way as a result of that special status. So I thought I would look at three crucial areas and ask, “Do we have a special status and are we getting our way?” Those areas are our right to choose our own taxes; our right to control our own borders; and our right to decide what benefits to give to which people who live in our community. All previous Governments who have negotiated treaties have always solemnly promised Parliament that we still had complete control over what taxes we raised, complete control over what benefits we chose to spend our money on and complete control over our borders. I am afraid, however, that none of those things is true.

Let us take part of the negotiation—this special status. We were told that, as a result of the negotiation, changes would be made to the VAT system. It is clearly the settled will of this Parliament that the tampon tax should be abolished, and it is clearly illegal under European law to do so. It is also clear that last summer our European Union Commission took our Government to court and successfully prosecuted them for daring to set the VAT rate on green products—insulation, all sorts of boiler controls and other things that promote the green agenda—at 5% instead of at the full VAT rate, and of course the Commission successfully won that court case. So our Government are now under a legal requirement of the European Court of Justice to put our VAT up to 20%, although of course they have not done so before the referendum because it would be embarrassing and tedious for them to do so.

We were then told that this new special status means that that is going to change, so that we will not have to put up our VAT on green products and we will be able to get rid of the VAT on tampons. So I looked at the document that the EU has now issued following the negotiation to see whether that is indeed the case.
The first thing to note is that the consultation that the EU is holding on VAT reform is mainly about centralising and taking more powers to Brussels over VAT, not giving more powers to member states. The second thing to note is that the document makes absolutely no reference whatever to the EU-UK agreement, or to the special status that we asked for and we were told we had got on VAT. The third thing is that, in the talismanic last couple of paragraphs about whether it might be possible to offer more freedom to member states to choose their own rates of VAT, no mention is made of the rates that we wish to remove or keep low and no guarantee is offered that there will be any legislation forthcoming. Again, the document says that it is terribly important not to have tax competition within the single market and very important to have a central policy that has political support.

One has to read that document to understand that there is absolutely no agreement on special status and no agreement at all that the UK can choose its own VAT rates. That is a broken promise. Also, we are told by the Treasury that we will lose a series of court cases on corporation tax again in this Parliament. We lost many such cases in the last Parliament and it cost £7 billion of revenue, which the British Parliament wished to raise on corporations but had to give back, and the Treasury forecast is that we will lose another £7 billion in this Parliament in losing court cases in the ECJ.

The Treasury has never suggested that this new special status will prevent that. Therefore, it is quite obvious that we cannot raise taxes from companies where we want to and we cannot cut taxes on consumers where we want to, and that we have no “special status”.

If one then asks, “Is there a special status on borders?”, the answer is, “No, of course, there isn’t.” We are governed by the freedom-of-movement provisions and that means we have to allow in anyone who can get a job or who is seeking work under the provisions of the freedom-of-movement clauses. The Government, who made a solemn promise to the electors to reduce the number of migrants coming into the country—so that we can catch up with the need for more school places, more GP surgeries, more hospital capacity, more roads and more houses for people—are unable to fulfil that pledge in any way, and the Treasury has now admitted that that pledge is for the birds over the five years of this Parliament and all the way out to 2030. Goodness knows why the Treasury thought it could forecast to 2030, because it cannot even forecast for this year, let alone to 2030.

Mrs Anne Main (St Albans) (Con): My right hon. Friend has just made a fantastic point about the lack of transparency. Does he share my concern? An independent report states that 3.5 million people are expected to come in by that time—it will probably be considerably more than that—but there is no indication to the British people where they are going to go, and it is calculated that a quarter of a million acres of extra developed land will be required to provide the housing for those people coming in.

John Redwood: My hon. Friend is right—there is absolutely no proper provision for the very large number of people that the Treasury now admits are likely to come in. That is one of the few Treasury forecasts that I might believe. It is quite obvious that it could not forecast its own public spending, its own interest rates or anything in the recent Office for Budget Responsibility and Treasury documents. It had to make another revision again in the March Budget—it revised the forecast made in November—because it had found it difficult to grasp how the world might change between November and March. So there is this inability to forecast the economic numbers, but for once I think the Treasury may be honest in forecasting a substantial increase in migration. I suspect that the Treasury’s estimate is an underestimate because it has been constantly underestimating these figures in recent years, and it proves that we have no control over our borders and no “special status” whatsoever.

The third area is benefits. The Prime Minister made a great deal about benefits in the renegotiation; it was one of the few areas where he really pushed quite hard to get reform in the way that Britain wanted. I think both major parties campaigning in the last election wanted, for example, to no longer have to pay child benefit to children who are not resident in our country, but apparently that is something that we cannot negotiate. There is no “special status” to allow us to decide that child benefit should go to children living in our country rather than to children living elsewhere. There is some kind of fudge whereby we could pay the benefit at the level that applies in that country, which means in some cases that we will have to pay a higher level of benefit, although in other cases it means we will pay a lower level of benefit. So there is absolutely no control there.

Again, both major parties wanted amendments so that people coming here to work under the freedom-of-movement provisions would not automatically get the full range of benefits until they had been here for a bit and made some kind of contribution. We were not able to get a guarantee on that, either. There is some sort of four-year clause as a temporary expedient, but the benefits have to be phased in over the four years and the negotiating aim was not met.

On the big three things, therefore, which all independent democratic countries control through their Parliaments and Governments, Britain is unable to exert control: we cannot decide what taxes to impose; we cannot decide what benefits to spend our money on; and we cannot control our own borders. So I have to submit that the Government are completely misrepresenting the position when they say that they have negotiated a “special status”. They are completely wrong when they say that shows we can get our own way. They could not even get their own way on a very limited number of negotiating objectives at a point when they were threatening withdrawal and a referendum, so how will they ever get their way at all once the referendum is out of the way if, by any chance, the British people have not seen
through this and voted to stay?

Sammy Wilson (East Antrim) (DUP): Does the right hon. Gentleman find it strange that, although the Government claim to have special status on some issues—and he has proved they have not gained such status—they refer time and again to things that we have opted out of? They make a case for joining Europe, but they boast that through our special status, “We opt out of this, we opt out of the euro, we opt out of border controls—we opt out of a whole range of things”. The Government are actually making a case for staying clear of the European project.

John Redwood: I agree. I always liken it to someone joining a football club and then announcing truculently that they have no wish to play football or watch football, getting cross when they go to club functions and people talk about football, and wanting to reduce the club subscription because, as they do not join in the football, they think they are overpaying. That is what the Government are doing to Europe.

They do not want to join the single currency or Schengen, or the quota system for refugees. They do not like political union being talked about, although that is the EU’s main purpose, and they think that the club subscription is too large. They are right about one thing: the club subscription is far too large for us because we do not believe in practically any of the club’s purposes. Most of us would draw the conclusion, however, that the simplest thing to do would be to leave the club and spend the subscription on things we do like.


  1. Lifelogic
    May 11, 2016

    Excellent contribution. Let us hope it will backfire. But you can still get 13/5 odds on a Brexit. Perhaps the voters will actually be conned yet again but surely not? The EU will walk all over the UK if they vote remain. There will be no escape until the who EU finaly breaks up probably violently.

    1. Lifelogic
      May 11, 2016

      Interesting to hear “Baroness Scotland” this morning saying something like, every £1 stolen in corruption is £1 less to spend on “women and children”. Typically sexist of the woman, does she think all men are so strong that they never need any help at all?

      Or perhaps that women are such inferior creatures that they always need more help perhaps she could explain which?

      Needless to say she had no sensible answer as to why we give so much overseas aid to these “fantastically corrupt” regimes.

    2. Hope
      May 11, 2016

      Some of your MP colleagues are discrediting the case to leave by saying Cameron should stay as PM! Boris this morning says the same thing, people will infer that Cameron is talking sense and is supported for all his apocalyptic warnings! A really bad move to give this traitor any form of credence it undermines your case.

      What they should be highlighting is that if all the dire warnings R correct and supported by high profile figures why there we’re not used as a bargaining chip in his negotiations wh I you have just shown to be utter useless. However your blog will not get the TV coverage that Boris has got today supporting Cameron! They will infer Boris has no real strong views for leaving.
      On another note good to see the taxpayers shafted for £23 million to pay family members of MPs. The sheer greed and the corruption of selection is breathtaking. None of you seem to remember the promises of 2009 by all party leaders. Still I am sure it is all in the rotten rules policed by MPs or their friends.

      Reply I do not employ family members.

      1. Antisthenes
        May 11, 2016

        It must be galling for you Mr Redwood to see other MPs milking the expenses system for all it’s worth. As I know you are scrupulous about your parliamentary expenses. In today’s world being honest no longer has the kudos attached to it as it once had. So perhaps making a person contemplate “why bother”. Pointing to another attribute long gone of setting an example for others to follow. As they do not and scoff at such acts.

        Europe’s environmentalists aught to take note and their saying that the EU and UK taking the lead in the charge for green energy will make others follow is just plain costly hogwash.

      2. Lifelogic
        May 11, 2016

        Indeed The UK government is perhaps not fantastically corrupt but hardly clean. Consultancies for politicians are so often little more than cash for laws that benefit the company paying – just look at the fake green crap industry for a good example.

        Philip Haynes

        1. stred
          May 11, 2016

          Despite the late Prof MacKay saying that there is no point in wind turbines if we have to build nukes for back up, and we have to build CCGs in the meantime, the offshore wind industry is increasing.

          One of the biggest, Forewind, is going in the middle of the North Sea, will be built by a foreign consortium and their chairman was Lord Deben, who resigned when he became chairman of the Committee on Climate Change. He was replaced by Charles Hendry, ex- Tory MP and DECC minister. etc ed

      3. Hope
        May 11, 2016

        No, but hundred and twenty do! This is additional household income, with IPSA recognizing that family employees get paid more and more likely to get pay rises! A further 20 employing family. Utter disgrace. There is no justification for having 640 MPs or 850 Lords when the majority of laws, directives and regulation comes from Brussels! A rotten institution that has not undergone the change we we promised. Unsurprisingly one tax avoiding Cameron has not kept his word. Squeeze every penny of tax from the middle classes and make sure his greedy friends home and in the EU are given their share. Today we read he acknowledged that overseas aid is going to corrupt governments! Why does he not stop it? Humanitarian aid only.

      4. Ken Moore
        May 11, 2016

        Indeed we had Mr Gove telling us ‘we are lucky to have Mr Cameron’.

        It’s hard to run a campaign that draws the conclusion the PM is systematically lying to the British people… whilst simultaneously signalling our great fortune to have Cameron as PM.

        1. Lifelogic
          May 11, 2016

          Indeed, or that the incompetent IHT ratter Osborne is “an excellent chancellor” – when he is clearly dire.

    3. Lifelogic
      May 11, 2016

      Excellent performance by Boris just now on the Today Radio 4, and this despite the absurdly moronic line of questioning and the endless interruption of nearly every answer Boris gave, by the interviewer.

      It was not even as if he was failing to answer the questions asked so why the endless interruption? I assume just more of the BBC’s remain agenda.

      1. Lifelogic
        May 11, 2016

        What BBC interviewers seem totally unable to get their heads round is that some immigration can indeed be good for the economy and some (mainly low paid immigration) is clearly a huge net liability in the main.

        Is this really that hard to grasp for these BBC lovies? Outside the EU we can take the good, and prevent the net liability migration we can have the best of both worlds. It is not all or nothing. We do not take all comers from outside the EU and we should not take all coming from inside. We want sensible democratic controls based on taking the best from anywhere but not everyone regardless.

        Interesting to hear about how the vulnerable elderly are just dumped back at home from hospitals – without any proper discharge arrangements. Pushed from pillar to post until they die so as to push the cost onto other sections of the state sector. It gets worse by the day.

        1. Hope
          May 11, 2016

          Tomorrow is rumored to be the day the govt will bury a lot of bad news and try to cover it up on Friday by making an announcement so the mass immigration scandal is forgotten by the public.

        2. fedupsoutherner
          May 11, 2016

          Agree with Lifelogic on immigration. Four of the most successful countries in the world have selective immigration policies. You cannot just walk into and live in Australia, New Zealand, Canada or the USA (unfortunately) as they select who they want and who they don’t in a rigorous system. This is what the UK needs to do. It doesn’t mean an end to immigration, just more carefully chosen.

      2. Denis Cooper
        May 11, 2016

        You might like to put:

        “REVEALED: Just THREE PERCENT Of The BBC’s EU Topic Guests Are Eurosceptic”

        into google and see what comes up!

    4. peter davies
      May 11, 2016

      I have a copy of the Government EU propaganda booklet in front of me (translated into Welsh) and I must say if I knew nothing about the EU and politics I would almost be inclined to swallow this as gospel because even though its full of tripe it is very well presented.

      As it happens the fact is I know it is full of misinformation but sadly too many people are too lazy to check out facts and I fear will vote in based on this. lets just hope people see through this and question a few of the assertions.

      I am almost tempted to put red correction marks through it and post it back.

      1. Anonymous
        May 11, 2016

        Peter – Do you think there would be grounds for a re-run of the referendum because of this flawed document ? Say, some ‘facts’ are easily disproved ?

        1. Peter Davies
          May 13, 2016

          I’m not a constitutional lawyer but the problem as I see it is that it is written in a way with plenty of wriggle room.

          Its in a similar league to the Dodge Dossier before Iraq

      2. M Davis
        May 11, 2016

        I cut off the Welsh language sides of the leaflet and went through it, by telling Mr Cameron exactly what I thought of his statements, without using inapproriate language, of course. I posted it to him at 10 Downing Street with a 2nd class stamp on, as well as my name and address. I don’t expect a reply but, you never know!

        Incidentally, a great debate on the EU Referendum Leaflet, stemming from the very well supported Petition:

        1. M Davis
          May 11, 2016

          P. S. – I did mention that Mr Cameron & Co. should read John Redwood’s’ Blog Diary!

          1. M Davis
            May 11, 2016

            P. P. S. The Debate is quite long and I have only now got to your main contribution, JR. I applaud you, thank you!

        2. Richard Towers
          May 16, 2016

          I inserted comments in every page and sent it back to Downing Street, minus the stamp.

    5. Pete Stroud
      May 11, 2016

      I agree, the EU could eventually break up in a violent manner: but how long will this take? Probably many years. However, the union will suffer numerous problems as its people suffer the worsening conditions in lead in to the breakup. No doubt a major contributing factor will be the attempt to forge the political union, essential to the single currency.

      If the vote goes the wrong way, and the UK remains in the union, there is no way it can avoid the damaging side effects of the instability in the declining Euro sector. We will be extremely lucky if damage to our population is restricted to economic factors, and does not include national security issues. Far better we vote to leave.

    6. getahead
      May 11, 2016

      Our main problem by far is that Cameron has the BBC our main media outlet.
      I understand also that the BBC receives money from the EU. The BBC has therefore continually stacked the odds against Brexit.
      I read yesterday that UKIP will not be allowed to take part in a BBC sponsored debate to be held two days before the referendum. Without UKIP and Nigel Farage this referendum would never be taking place.
      The BBC is a public utility. It should be sold to the private sector.

  2. The Active Citizen
    May 11, 2016

    Splendid contribution to the debate on Monday JR.

    Your site is the ‘go-to’ site for informative and stimulating commentary each morning.’s news page is the go-to site for quick bullet-pointed news items.
    R4’s Today programme is the go-to speakfest for the Guardianistas – or normal people in need of some hollow laughs.
    And Vote Leave’s site is… er… well…

    1. Know-dice
      May 11, 2016

      ” Vote Leave’s site is… er… well…”

      Absolutely… their front page is much too “corporate” not enough information right there, you have to go hunting…

      And the first thing they want is for you to sign up, er NOooo…
      Then Facebook NOooo…

      That’s if people can find it in the first place…

      1. stred
        May 11, 2016

        Agree completely. The site is clueless. Starting with an appeal to sign up is a put off. Passwords are another. I just changed my ferry booking to another because of a website requiring sign ins and new passwords etc.Who wants to give their email when they know it will be sold and increase spam.

        Can’t they realise that they are selling something, not looking for club members. Facts4eu is instantly accessible to undecided voters and amusing. Unfortunately, it does not google well. UKIP were quick to put Boris’s speech on Utube. Perhaps they could help put Fact4eu on the net more effectively and get their many kippers to email it around.

        1. Denis Cooper
          May 12, 2016

          It wouldn’t cost much to get somebody to optimise it.

  3. eeyore
    May 11, 2016

    Thank you so much, Mr Redwood. Eloquent, formidable, detailed and true. You speak for millions. Were Leave speakers heard with respect and understanding? Was the debate well attended? Did it proceed to a vote?

    Reply There were many good Leave speeches, no single backbench speech for the government and the government lost the vote.

    1. Bob
      May 11, 2016

      “the government lost the vote”

      does this mean that Mr Cameron will apologise and resign in disgrace?

    2. Know-dice
      May 11, 2016

      Reply to reply:

      Does that mean they are just consigned to the “Naughty Step” or something with more teeth?

      1. APL
        May 12, 2016

        How about, individual members of the Cabinet personally liable* and surcharged to recoup the cost of the propaganda lie sheet?

        *It goes with out saying, it shouldn’t be an allowable expense item.

  4. bigneil
    May 11, 2016

    I can’t send a comment in words that express my disgust at what was on that leaflet. John wouldn’t and couldn’t, post it on his site.

    1. Timaction
      May 11, 2016

      I posted it back Free-post to Tory HQ London!!

  5. Margaret
    May 11, 2016

    We have had time to see the game now . The push to stay in will spoil GB, make us poor , lose our identity completely , lose control and then when we all realise that it was the wrong thing to do , the call will be ..Well it was a democratic vote… The bull I have been experiencing since 1984 ( Orwellian you might say) will eventually spread throughout . If I am to be alive then .. all I will be able to say is that they wouldn’t believe me.

  6. bratwurst
    May 11, 2016

    “The second thing to note is that the document makes absolutely no reference whatever to the EU-UK agreement”
    There is no EU-UK agreement. To quote Alexander Graf Lambsdorff, vice-President of the European Parliament who addresses the issue of whether Mr Cameron’s supposed treaty is binding on the European Union:

    “Who counts as the ‘the European Union’ here? Member state leaders have met within the framework of the European Council, but their agreement is in no way a document of the European Union, but a text of hybrid character, which is unspecified and not legally binding”.

    He then goes on to say: “At the moment, the whole thing is nothing more than a deal that has been hammered out down the local bazaar”.

    1. Denis Cooper
      May 11, 2016

      The EU Parliament has stopped work on visa free travel for Turks:

      The EU Commission says:

      “We have an agreement with the Turkish government, we have the word of the Turkish government, and we will continue to work with them”

      but it is not down to the Commission alone to decide that:

      “If it is not rubber stamped by MEPs and by EU states by the end of next month, then Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan has promised to stop taking back migrants from Greece.”

  7. Antisthenes
    May 11, 2016

    Anyone who listened to your speech or read about it afterwards cannot be in any doubt what UK membership of the EU entails . A rational and logical person can only draw one conclusion that being a member is far from being in our best interests. There is not one redeeming feature apart from trade by being a member and even that is arguably not one either.

    I speculate that your speech will not be widely reported and the many points you raised will not be used by the media because they refreshingly contain indisputable facts. Facts do not sell papers not salacious or sensationalist enough. Hacks prefer unprovable opinions as they can be attacked and counter attacked much more exciting. They know what you have said here will not be challenged as your opponents do not wish to lose the argument. Instead they will sidestep what you have said so that it does not become news worthy.

    Hopefully I am wrong and your words will be carried far and wide and by doing so actually bring light to a subject that up now has been shrouded in murky deceit and untruths. Exposing the myth of David Cameron’s non deal which despite his claims gains the UK nothing and does not reform the EU one jot. Showing how the EU operates, it’s powers; anti-democratic for sure and its ultimate aims; total domination politically and economically of all it’s members.

    1. stred
      May 11, 2016

      If JR’s speech was on the Parliament Channel, perhaps some kippers would kindly do as they did for Boris and put it on Utube. Or perhaps Leave could if they wake up.

      1. Denis Cooper
        May 11, 2016
  8. Old Albion
    May 11, 2016

    Once again you have got it spot-on. But will these thoughts ever reach the public domain.

    Reply I’ve put them in the public domain! Please send them on to your contacts in anyway possible.

    1. fedupsoutherner
      May 11, 2016

      I always send your blogs to all my friends and family John. Hopefully they send on too.

  9. Anonymous
    May 11, 2016

    On the football analogy: I think the Government DO actually want to watch football, play football and pay the full price.

    It’s the people that don’t want this.

    If they vote Remain in the referendum then this will be seen as a full mandate for football and football is what they’re going to get whether they wanted it or not.

    1. Denis Cooper
      May 11, 2016

      It’s odd, because in the real world they say they love football for the sake of getting votes, yet sometimes they forget which team they passionately support, but in terms of JR’s analogy they say they don’t like football while secretly loving it …

  10. Cheshire Girl
    May 11, 2016

    I was sorry to miss this important contribution to the debate, but I could not determine from the Parliament website that this debate was taking place. I signed the petition some time ago and put the date in my diary, but there was a debate taking place about immigration on the same day, so I assumed I had made a mistake as to the date of the debate about the leaflet. A good contribution from you, John, if I may say so.

    OT, there is an article on the Daily Telegraph this morning that ISIL has used the refugees going into Europe to plan attacks on the UK. Well, there’s a surprise! As if we didn’t suspect that it was the case. We are being taken for fools, and many of us have had enough of it.

  11. Tedgo
    May 11, 2016

    Talking about VAT if we left the EU we could revert back to having in effect a sales tax. The only businesses that need to charge VAT are those that sell directly to the public, every other business need not get involved.

    I call the present system VAT thrashing, that is all the needless payments to and from the Revenue and Customs.

    Currently you have to pay VAT to the Revenue even if your customer has not paid you. You can also end up having to pay your suppliers and their VAT before you have been paid. This can seriously affect cash flow and is often the reason businesses take on overdrafts and loans.

    But it is so unnecessary, if your customer is VAT registered you would invoice them with no VAT and likewise your suppliers would do the same. If you were in doubt about your customers VAT status you would charge VAT on the invoice. This would be simple to operate, in computer terms, requiring a flag on the customers details data base.

    This simple measure would do much to improve bushiness cash flow, but of course cannot be implemented with our present EU status.

    1. Lifelogic
      May 11, 2016

      Indeed the absurd complexity and administration of VAT costs a fortune. On top of the now 20% tax itself.

  12. turbo terrier
    May 11, 2016


  13. Ian Wragg
    May 11, 2016

    And the government carries on burnishing its EU credentials. The first 100 Ajax tanks for the British Army are to be built in Spain using Swedish steel.
    You couldn’t make it up.

    1. brian
      May 11, 2016

      In order that the British army receives some of these tanks in 2017 the first 100 will be built in Spain. Subsequent deliveries will be made in Wales.

  14. Brian Tomkinson
    May 11, 2016

    An excellent contribution which we here have come to expect. However, most people have no idea that this debate took place let alone knowledge of such contributions.

  15. Bert Young
    May 11, 2016

    Well done John ; your speech successfully called Cameron a “liar”. More of this should be done to expose what a failure Cameron is and why he will go down in history as the worst Prime Minister ever . He has waffled and bamboozled his way through all of his , so called , negotiations and then had the audacity to say to the public that his “successes” resulted in a position we would all want to accept ; what nonsense !. His self-assured ego has no bounds .

    Those of us who study things more carefully and are usually longer in the tooth , have never been taken in by rhetoric , it has always been the case that those who make the most noise can never be trusted . The time has come not only for us to get out of the EU mess but to rid ourselves of Cameron and his likes ; the public have the right for honest and decent people to represent them . This referendum campaign has revealed the Conservative Party in disarray ; the grass roots want change to restore it to a decent trustworthy organisation .

    1. stred
      May 11, 2016

      The Politics programme had a Dutch shrink on yesterday analysing the personalities of Leavers and Stayers. He thought the young were more likely to vote Stay because they are more open to ideas and well travelled than the long in the tooth. This seemed surprising because the longer you live, the more you have travelled in most cases.

      Mind you he only looked about 30, so he had not had much opportunity to change his ideas.

      1. Anonymous
        May 11, 2016

        Yes. We have experience of the Dutch telling us they know best.

        1. Denis Cooper
          May 12, 2016


          Some reckon “if you can’t beat them, join them”, which is why the Dutch are allowing the Germans to take over their army. No doubt others will also join them. Meanwhile I read:

          “Germany will expand its military the first time since the Cold War to help cope with Russia, the migrant crisis and terrorism threats, defence minister Ursula von der Leyen said on Tuesday. By 2023, some 14,300 personnel will be added to the 178,000-strong military, which is already Europe’s second biggest.”

          But another reason may be the European Working Time Directive limiting the hours that German soldiers can fight, it stands to reason that an army will need more troops to compensate for that.

          “German soldiers were forced to leave a four-week Nato military exercise in Norway after 12 days after using up all their overtime.”

          It’s a pity that law wasn’t in force in 1940, the Norwegians might have had more of a chance.

    2. Timaction
      May 11, 2016

      Too many Tory’s are Europhile. The number of Europhiles in Westminster simply do not reflect public opinion, with an archaic voting model that prohibits other popular patriotic parties from office!

  16. Roy Grainger
    May 11, 2016

    I see today’s scare story from a member of the Bank of England MPC is that Brexit would immediately cause the pound to collapse and force up inflation and interest rates would go to 3.5%. What is interesting is that they are implying this would be a bad thing despite the fact their own main target is to have inflation at 2%, a target they have dismally failed to meet for years – why complain about something that would help them meet their own main objective ?

  17. John Bracewell
    May 11, 2016

    As usual, excellent thoughts about the waste of money on this pamphlet and its contents especially crushing the idea of ‘the UK’s special status’. I have read the majority of the Hansard account of the debate and was struck by the number of speakers who used the word ‘ashamed’ that the government had used taxpayers’ money on propaganda which is not even accurate and certainly goes against the idea of fairness in conducting this referendum.
    I am also ashamed of the media, it is to be expected from the BBC but I can find, as yet, no report about the debate in any media outlet despite the large number of signatures the petition attracted.

  18. Chris
    May 11, 2016

    With regard to funding of the Remain campaign and apparently dubious practices, it is worth reading Breitbart London this morning about the £14 million donors:

    “…A list of ‘big business’ donors‎ to Britain Stronger in Europe reveals the advocacy group has already raised double the level of spending permitted in the final ten weeks of the referendum campaign.

    On Wednesday the Electoral Commission — the independent body charged with keeping an eye on referendum campaign spending — is due to publish an initial list of donors from both sides of the debate covering the period between 1 February and 21 April this year. However, Sky News has already obtained a list of those donating to Britain Stronger in Europe (BSE).

    The list reveals that BSE has already raised over twice the £7 million level of permitted spending for the final ten weeks before the referendum on 23 June, which is though to be more than double the sum the ‘Leave’ camp has managed. Both sides continue to raise funds as some expenses, like certain staffing costs, are excluded from the permitted limit….”

  19. stred
    May 11, 2016

    This can’t be right. The Evening Standard had an In or Out page (9) on Monday. The answer on ‘control of our tax system’ says -But we have a veto over EU tax law, so we’re in control. The highly respected OECD says leaving would be like a tax, taking money out of every person’s pocket.

    So know we know. Can you find out who wrote that and call the Trade Descriptions Dept, as mentioned by Boris in his brilliant speech.

    1. Bob
      May 11, 2016

      @stred The media were also enlisted in 1975 to promote a false prospectus and persuade the electorate to vote to remain in the EEC referendum.

      And the PM complains about corruption in Nigeria.

  20. Denis Cooper
    May 11, 2016

    Off-topic, in the Telegraph today a Col S C H Ashworth, previously of Nato Intelligence Division, starts his letter with:

    “Expansionist policies by the EU have led to interference within sovereign states. Allowing accession for the Baltic states overturned the agreement that the West would not expand into former Soviet republics. EU destabilisation of the legitimate, albeit flawed, government of Ukraine led to the current crisis there.”

    But draws the conclusion:

    “It is imperative that Britain remains in the EU – if only to constrain its dangerous expansionist ambitions … ”

    I could possibly go along with this reasoning if I believed that once we had voted to stay in the EU we might have a government which actually wanted to do that, but throughout the entire half century history of our involvement with the EEC/EC/EU project we have had UK governments which have really wanted to do the opposite, favouring both its widening and its deepening, and only constrained by domestic political considerations.

    To put it bluntly, while we are in the EU we will never be able to trust our government to oppose its imperial and federal ambitions, unless they are kept under constant close watch and we are always prepared to raise enough opposition to stop them selling us out.

    1. stred
      May 11, 2016

      Eural McCameron is unlikely to do much constraining colonel. Best vote Brexit and get rid of him. Come to think about it his bro Barrack the Nobel Peace chappie was employing the lady who was using bad language about the EU because they weren’t expanding fast enough.

    May 11, 2016

    Putting out publicity /propaganda in the mental box of that normally reserved for vital and even emergency information such as “gas leaks” advising not to use appliances is a grave error. ……………………………………when, 35% will automatically ignore the Gas Leak Warning for they do not believe it; and, 35% will believe it is a “matter of opinion” there is a Gas Leak and they in fact are decidedly of that opinion. But most dangerous perhaps: the remaining 30% ignoring the “Gas Leak Warning” as just the Authority wasting money on nonsense “whatever it says”

  22. brian
    May 11, 2016

    Remain’s leaflet was very weak and I doubt it had any effect on voters generally. No need to get excited about it.

  23. Atlas
    May 11, 2016


    Can the Remain campaign explain how the EU can control entry into itself – yet somehow the UK will not be able so to do? I suspect not !

  24. John E
    May 11, 2016

    Perhaps you could ask how many leaflets were posted straight back to 10 Downing Street as mine was? I thought it worth the price of a stamp to make the point.

  25. Original Richard
    May 11, 2016

    The Government’s Referendum Leaflet made no mention of Mr. Cameron’s view that Brexit could lead to another war in Europe.

    You would have thought that this would be the most important reason for remaining if it were true.

  26. Mitchel
    May 11, 2016

    I see the President of Colombia has joined the list of anti-Brexiteers;I’m sure many on the liberal wing of Remain would be horrified by the prospect of a disruption to trade with his country!

    May 11, 2016

    Long-standing Party allegiances may disintegrate up to and after 23rd June . Such psychological disruption occurred in and after the Scottish Referendum.
    This could be good for the UK’s internal democracy. But Majority Representative Democracy as seen in Greece, Venezuela, Chile, Northern Ireland, depending on ones standpoint, can have destabilising unforeseen consequences.

    There are small countries,like Scotland, in the EU who are being told by the EU Commission to implement demographic measures on pain of a minimum 250,000 Euro fine per individual transgression which in total would equal their healthcare budgets.

    If those countries, historically having undergone Communist revolutions, followed by Soviet invasion revolutions, then End of Communism revolutions then Joining the EU revolutions, and demographic revolutions due to mobility of labour…all within 75 years..when the UK’s last revolution, and the only one, was more than 400 years ago in the Civil War then you must realise the EU Commissariat is gambling blindfold to historical and political stability-possibilities. I nearly typed: “They are playing “Russian Roulette” but that would be much too much of a temptation. Well no.

    Of course those countries have very fragile bodies-politic. The EU, actually could and appears well on its way, by its gross interference in these matters to starting violent internal confrontations.
    Our native UK Remaindians seem remarkably oblivious-ignorant in the extreme, of European history and bread-and-butter European nation-state politics. Handing out their leaflets is spitting into the wind coming from Eastern and Southern Europe.

  28. lojolondon
    May 11, 2016

    Excellent contribution, John. Now if only we had a proper broadcasting agency, which would broadcast the news honestly and with integrity. Unfortunately your words will never be covered, while the BiasedBBC is covering Alan Johnson and other Europhiles repeatedly online, on TV and on every radio station.

  29. Denis Cooper
    May 11, 2016

    Off-topic again, I know Ambrose Evans-Pritchard can be a bit of a scaremonger at times but from his article today:

    it really doesn’t look like the other EU countries will be in any fit state to administer that vicious “punishment beating” promised by the Red Prince Stephen:

    Of course they will have an honourable way out, as during the withdrawal negotiations both sides will still be bound by Article 8(1) in their Treaty on European Union:

    “The Union shall develop a special relationship with neighbouring countries, aiming to establish an area of prosperity and good neighbourliness, founded on the values of the Union and characterised by close and peaceful relations based on cooperation.”

    As well as by other treaty provisions on the promotion of free and fair trade.

    1. stred
      May 11, 2016

      The DT also has an article on the difference by a factor of 2.3 in ONS immigration counting and NI cards, along with GP registrations which are 4 million higher than the ONS population estimate. This may be explained by PPs hanging on to ghost patients who have left the country. I receive appointments for ex tenants who left 20 years ago. However the method of counting by airport surveys is shown to be highly dubious in this article.

      AsJohnathan Portes says, EU citizens may come for a few months, find a job and stay for longer, without being counted. My Polish tenants go back and forth to see relations but work here and use housing, the NHS, schools and everything else. I like them and hope they stay. The difference between the figure is not as the headline suggests a million but 2,234,022- 990,000 or 1.24 million.

      But even this may not count dependents. The householder may bring a housewife and children. Some may arrive as tourists and not declare their earnings, especially if earned through crime, horizontal sex working or just odd jobbing. But they all need the above services and those with NI cards can claim HB, tax credits, and other benefits.

      No wonder, according to David Laws, the last thing the Home Office wants is a proper US style passport count. If this hits the fan just before the referendum, the campaign of misinformation will have to step up a gear.

  30. oldtimer
    May 11, 2016

    What is there to prevent the EU raising VAT rates in the future and imposing them on the UK – as well as other countries? What is there to prevent the EU insisting on VAT on currently exempt items such as food, books and childrens’ clothing? And if not now, will that change post implementation of the Five Presidents’ Report?

  31. Beecee
    May 11, 2016

    As usual the BBC version of ‘balance’ is to start with a Leave story – such as the Battle Bus – then finish with the Remain counter – Gordon Brown, thus keeping the Remain camp uppermost in the viewers minds.

    They have done this for years to maintain ‘balance’ whilst keeping their agenda to the fore.

  32. Dennis
    May 11, 2016

    The EU Leave/Boris battle bus has made a big mistake with the comment on the bus side.

    That the £350 million/week could be spent on the NHS is ammunition for the Remainers obviously. So no continued spending from that on farming, science etc.?

    How could such an obvious stupid error have been made? The Remainers must be jumping with joy.

  33. Dennis
    May 11, 2016

    Also Boris is no good as a presenter for Brexit. He never listens to others asking his views, just over talks. How he managed to be the mayor of London for so long is a mystery – perhaps no one ever appeared to discuss anything with him as it would be a waste of time.

  34. Pete Stroud
    May 11, 2016

    An excellent contribution Mr Redwood. Thank you.

  35. agricola
    May 11, 2016

    I would ask, is there no mechanism for holding the perpetrators of this financial fraud, upon established election/referendum practice, to account. I do not mean standing up in Parliament and complaining, I mean legal means by which they can be indicted and made to pay for their sins.

    I equate belonging to the EU with being asked to join the masonic movement, with whom incidentally I have no quibble. On declining the invitation I politely pointed out that though I might be happy joining a cricket club, I would be most unhappy to find that I was expected to play rugby.

    Apart from identity and sovereignty which will be lost if we remain in the EU, in practical terms it forces us to play catchup. In the last year 630,000 immigrants came into the UK, most of whom increased the burden on the NHS, Education, Housing, Transport, and Social Services. The 300,000 who migrated were largely retired self sufficient, or the talented well educated looking for a better future in other parts of the World. So what happens year on year is that the UK reduces it’s ability to pay for all the services above by 300,000 high wealth individuals and takes in 330,000 people dependant on the above services. It is a ride to hell in a hand cart. I have just returned to the UK for a visit. Much of it I dearly still love, however I find traffic levels and the state of our roads appalling, and when you take into account what I have said above there is no chance of it improving. I have not been in contact with the other aspects under severe pressure so I refrain from comment.

    In terms of the bias in broadcasting media, I conclude that among all I have heard, the Daily Politics and Sunday Politics are the only ones trying to tread a middle path by being questioning of all. The rest are abysmal, but then in terms of the BBC they have taken the EU shilling.

    May 11, 2016

    Mayor Khan of London:
    He is now on today’s CNN on a lengthy interview advising Americans against voting for Mr Trump who he accuses of the usual things. This appears to be a daily occurrence for the new Mayor.
    Nothing about London for 3 days running just Mr Trump and America.
    Do the the people who voted for Mr Khan or anyone know his agenda even in the Labour ranks? It’s becoming clear: tune in to the next anti-American pro-trade broadcast from London

    1. John E
      May 11, 2016

      Not so. I think you are seeing what you want to see. He announced the bus “hopper” fare yesterday and has withdrawn an objection to the development of London City airport. And that’s just from my memory of browsing the news without doing any research.

  37. Denis Cooper
    May 11, 2016

    Excellent speech.

  38. Denis Cooper
    May 11, 2016

    I laughed out loud at this from Liam Fox:

    “Since my hon. Friend mentions the content of the leaflet, does he find it strange that there is no mention in it of the existential risk of war and genocide? Does he think that is because a) the Government had not recognised that the risk existed, b) they recognised it but were unwilling to contemplate it, or c) it is a complete fabrication?”

  39. Denis Cooper
    May 11, 2016

    Basically that weasel Lidington had nothing much to say in defence of the government beyond 85% of people wanting more information from the government to help them to make an informed decision, and so this is the “information” that the Government has chosen to give them. Curious though that the leaflet omitted any mention of the possibility of war and genocide if we vote to leave the EU, and I wonder whether the Scots etc will be getting a new edition highlighting this now that it has belatedly occurred to the Government.

  40. David Price
    May 12, 2016

    A very good piece, it should be prominent on the Vote.Leave site along with much of your other material.

  41. Lindsay McDougall
    May 14, 2016

    Well done. Always say it in parliament – especially if the PM or Chancellor is present.

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