Good Europeans want an early Brexit

As I expected, the rhetoric on the continent is changing. Yesterday the President of the European  Parliament challenged the pre vote rhetoric of the Commission by saying ” The UK should not be treated as a deserter but as a family member who is still loved but has decided to go in another direction”. The EU leaders are urging Mrs May to speed up the UK’s plans for exit, and saying they want to get on with it.

I agree with them. It is in the EU’s interest to sort this out quickly, and definitely in the UK’s interests.  It need not be a difficult negotiation. We have no wish to negotiate over our borders, our money or our laws with 27 other countries. We just need to take back control. They want to integrate their economies and political systems more, to sort out their banking troubles and tackle slow growth in the Eurozone.

There remains one prime outstanding issue. Will the rest of the EU want to carry on exporting to us tariff free, or do they wish to go over to the relatively low average tariffs under WTO rules? The UK will be quite happy not to impose new tariffs, and to continue to accept the rules and regulations over products and services for our trade with the rest of the EU, so we are not seeking any changes to all that despite being in substantial deficit with them.

There is a good case for early exit, early legislation on borders, and early cancellation of our subscription to spend at home. Any changes the other states want to their trade arrangements with us could be debated after we have retaken control of all these other important matters. The UK could live with MFN status as the USA and China do in their very successful trade with the EU, though of course  we think it is in their interest even more than in ours if we continue with current tariff free arrangements.

The EU naturally  would like us to carry on paying money in and accepting free movement. Once they realise this is not on offer, they then have a simple decision to make. How many barriers do they want to trade, up to WTO permitted levels. The sooner they decide that the sooner we can decide whether to accept their proposals or simply walk away. We do not want the Foreign Office telling us the negotiation is difficult, will take time, and requires us to give in over free movement.

Long delay is costly. At £10bn a year net contribution (probably rising)  that would amount to a massive £38bn over the balance of this Parliament which we could spend to good effect at home. Delay in placing sensible controls and a fair system of work permits globally could also lead to substantial additional UK costs to provide the level of housing, transport, health care and education we would want to offer to recently arrived workers on low incomes.

A successful negotiation should be a simple and quick one concentrating on the only area where the EU has a role in future policy, over trade terms.


  1. Richard1
    July 14, 2016

    Are you able to tell us, in this public forum, whether you think that this approach has any support amongst the new government, eg from Mrs May, David Davis & Boris Johnson eg?

    Reply I find these new Ministers approachable and wanting to get on with defining the best path to Brexit quickly.

  2. Lifelogic
    July 14, 2016


    At least the disaster that was Osborne has gone. Ardent remainer Hammond would certainly not be my choice but anyone is better than Osborne. Will he now finally keep the Tories IHT promise or will he continue to rat on it like Osborne. He should really abolish IHT completely to show a sensible direction of travel.

    Then he need to undo all the endless tax complexity, the pension and tenant muggings, the absurd stamp duty levels and other Osborne insanities.

    1. Lifelogic
      July 14, 2016

      Taxes should be simple, low and fiscally neutral. Taxes on turnover and wealth taxes like IHT are hugely damaging. So basically he needs to undo almost everything the economically illiterate Osborne has done. He needs to abolish HS2 and rethink Hinckley and cheap reliable energy. Also get on with the new runways, 2 more at least at Heathwick. .

      1. anon
        July 16, 2016

        Salaries are taxed Gross. VAT is on turnover.
        hat is special about rental income?

        We have a collective problem with debt.

        Why is any debt interest allowed as a tax deduction. It seems to unduly favor those who take excess leverage and encourage risk to the point it creates counterparty risk for society at large.

        I would tax favor equity rather than debt.

    2. Lifelogic
      July 14, 2016

      Having a new Chancellor who clearly thought that remaining in the sclerotic, socialist, anti democratic, anti business, expensive greencrap energy, anti democratic EU, with all its Euro problems and top down command economy approach to everything was good for the UK economy is rather worrying. How can you trust his judgement on anything else?

      I am already tired of Mrs May’s bossy, slow and tiresome delivery of meaningless, vacuous, politics platitudes. We all want a better and more successful country that benefits all but she need to say how she is going to achieve this. Workers and customers on company boards is about as good an ideal as having Osborne as Chancellor and fake EU skeptic Cameron was.

      She reminds me of a bossy, dim, primary shool teacher who used to tell us off all the time with this bossy one word every 5 seconds and zero content approach.

      Reply That is unfair and harsh. Give her a chance to define the detailed policies – her job is to set out the general vision. Great start in abolishing DECC and banishing the austerity word.

  3. Mick
    July 14, 2016

    What Fantastic news with Mrs May appointing Mr Davis Mr Johnson Mr Fox as the top three to get us out of the dreaded eu, I wish Mrs May all the best in her new role as PM,
    This country needs a woman’s touch as my wife keeps telling me, I’m sure she will be true to her word if given the chance and make Britain Great Again

  4. Caterpillar
    July 14, 2016

    “A fair system of work permits” I think most wil agree with this, though each will have a different definition of fair. My own view currently remains that some free movement of labour with EU if workers have a position that is a multiple of minimum wage and that EU offers the same for UK workers (so the 48% who feel they have missed out can still seek EU positions if they wish).

    Mr Davis has previously written about lower taxes, but I would not wish arbitrariness to influence Mr Hammond and the Cabinet here. With full control on UK taxes I would like the Government to look at tax structure, not simply tax as a proportion of GDP. I think that the Treasury should take a very close look at something like a Bradford X type of tax (and how one could transition to it), progressively taxing on expenditure (roughly wages less saving) for individuals and on cash-flow less investment for companies may help towards Mrs May’s objectives of considering all in the UK.

  5. Jerry
    July 14, 2016

    “, or do they wish to go over to the relatively low average tariffs under WTO rules?”

    Indeed that is the outstanding issue, but not for the EU27, perhaps they do not care, after all just as we have the RotW to trade with under WTO rules so do the EU27, the real question is if the UK wish to carry on buying from the EU member countries.

    “The UK will be quite happy not to impose new tariffs, and to continue to accept the rules and regulations over products and services for our trade with the rest of the EU, so we are not seeking any changes to all that despite being in substantial deficit with them.”

    Of course we will, the last thing we need is for our costs to increase or for consumers to face a limited choice of goods etc. – stop making it sound as though the UK buys from the EU27 out of some kind of charitable duty, we buy their goods because we stopped making the stuff ourselves!

    The problems lies with what the EU will want in exchange, and we all know what the price will be, yes those same ‘Four Freedoms’ that we have voted to leave. If control of our boarders is the most important issue of Brexit then we need to be prepared to revert to WTO rules, but I just hope the politicos are ready for the fall out from it – do we still make things like fridges in this country?!

  6. Antisthenes
    July 14, 2016

    Calculating on the back of an envelope has made me come round to the conclusion that the EU putting tariffs on UK goods and services would hurt them nearly three times more than it would the UK. Simply calculating the current value of the pound versus the euro and other currencies and the difference between what we export and import from the EU would appear to support that view. So tariff free with of course the stipulation that UK goods and service meet EU standards and regulation (mostly draconian and unnecessary) can be the only sensible agreement.

    As for speed of exit that is going to be stalled by Germany and France because of their next years elections despite any faux clamour by them to get on with it. Euro-sceptics in both those countries are tying their governments hands especially Merkel’s. She cannot seen to be soft on Brexit or on bail outs(Italian banks are just about to fail). Free movement especially from Eastern Europe to to Western Europe particularly the UK(remittances from UK back to the East will no longer prop up German industries) and her invitation to immigrants to settle in the EU(strain on infrastructures causing resentment) coupled with pushing for political and monetary union(Germans will stop it once they realise they have got to pay for it and in fact their children are already deeply in debt to it) is going to see the demise of the EU without the UK. Probably would have done had the UK remained in. Leaving has probably accelerated the process but at least the UK will be less impacted by the fall out from it.

    Reply If they do go against their own interests and we end up with WTO tariffs we will have a lot of extra money to spend from the levy on all those EU imports, which means we could cut taxes on individuals and businesses more, making the UK an even better magnet for investment and talent.

  7. Richard1
    July 14, 2016

    Notable moments from yesterday were the sour-faced, chippy, petulance of the Scottish separatists in Parliament led by the self-righteous (ex-BBC) Angus Robertson, in refusing to give David Cameron a send-off; also the Continuing shenanigans in the Labour Party. Mrs May has become PM because she commands a majority in the House of Commons. The Leader of the Labour Party is in his post, and may remain there, due to acclamation of a mob, not due to any parliamentary support. Is Labour in favour of parliamentary democracy or not? That should be the question in their leadership election. I note that the new candidate Owen Smith, a virulent leftist it seems, is also a product of the BBC. The BBC must be packed full of radical leftists. Some sort of reform in the interest of balance must be in the public interest.

  8. bigneil
    July 14, 2016

    I want to see how she performs on immigration. On a certain paper’s website there is the immigrant who has already been allowed to stay once, after committing a crime against a woman. Now tried something again. And we see our taxes keeping him here in comfort. Mrs May – show us what you are made of. Just deport him. He’s had his chance. He should not be a burden or a threat to us any longer. GET THIS COUNTRY BACK.

    1. Anonymous
      July 15, 2016

      We are a generous people but our hospitality has been repeatedly abused and now we are famed as a soft touch.

      People are sick of it and this is the reason why so many voted to leave the EU, despite Project Fear.

      (Had it not been for Project Fear a lot more poeple would have voted to leave.)

      If Mrs May says she wants social equality then the average Briton has an awfully long way to fall if she does not get a grip on our borders right away.

  9. Mark B
    July 14, 2016

    Good morning.

    Our kind host talks about trade and WTO rules etc. But what of our world leading financial services industry ? To access the EU financial services, we need ‘financial services passporting’. Without it, the UK economy will be damaged.

    I know our kind host does not like links to other sites and that this can delay posting, so I will put links to others site in a post below this one. But it would be good for people to be made aware of this and, I would be very interested to hear our kind hosts views on this important area of the UK economy and how it can continue without ‘passporting’ rights into the EU ?

    Reply I wrote Pass the port on this very issue

    1. Jerry
      July 15, 2016

      @Mark B; Actually, if the UK was to loose this ‘passport’, post Brexit, the UK being forced to have less reliance on financial services will be far from damaging – other than to those working in the magic money sector, shock-horror, some might actually (metaphorically) have to done overalls and get their hands messy, like their forebears used to.

    2. Mark B
      July 15, 2016

      Thanks. Will read it later today.

  10. bratwurst
    July 14, 2016

    Interesting Treasury Committee Meeting yesterday. Looks like at least some people are waking up to the fact that WTO / CETA are not options, most likely will be EFTA/EEA (hopefully as an interim position) with UK still paying full contributions and accepting 4 freedoms (although Article 112 can come in to play). Will not be a quick exit, Article 50 is the only route and from outset we should negotiate for a 54-5 year period, not 2. There will be no rush to invoke Article 50.
    Let’s see what happens!

    1. Jerry
      July 15, 2016

      @bratwurst; Politically I suspect that is not acceptable, the EFTA/EEA route (even with possible opt-outs etc, just look at the hot water the Swiss got into) as it will leave the UK in a worse position than we are in now.

  11. Nig l
    July 14, 2016

    Agree totally and as one of the doubters of Theresa may need to apologise for that. Her appointment of David Davis in particular and Boris have given a very clear indication that she is totally committed to getting us out with the best possible Ts and Cs . I still think not giving the Party a vote was a mistake but we must move on.

    Getting the contribution stopped must be a priority. It must give the EC a real headache. Who is going to pick up the tab and will all the poorer ex Eastern bloc countries continue to be given the free handouts to update their infrastructure? No more will I be annoyed by all those signs telling me that this or that project has been funded with European money when our part of it could be better spent here! I wonder where that leaves Turkey?

    Well done Theresa a good start, I hope David Davis seeks your views or even asks you to join His ‘committe’. Your input based on both your parliamentary and commercial experience would be invaluable.

  12. oldtimer
    July 14, 2016

    You have summed it up very clearly. The parallel appointments of David Davis to complete Brexit and Dr Liam Fox to seek international trade deals makes sense and should help concentrate minds within the EU. It would be unfortunate for the EU to revert to WTO tariffs on UK-EU trade if, at the same time, the UK makes progress on free trade deals with other economies.

  13. JoeSoap
    July 14, 2016

    Some of the right people in place, at least.
    I can’t see the Foreign and Home Secretaries getting along like a house on fire, but perhaps they don’t have to. Rudd seems to be the joker in the pack here, but perhaps we have all misjudged her. I live in hope.

    1. Roy Grainger
      July 15, 2016

      I think probably we need to remember that one of May’s objectives will be to attract disaffected moderate Labour support with an eye on 2020.

  14. Ian Wragg
    July 14, 2016

    Hopefully Europe will drive Brexit
    Unlike Hammond there is no need for protracted negotiations.
    The 3 main items are not available for negotiation and this should be made clear at the start.
    No freedom of movement
    No contribution
    No ECJ.
    Things like fishing may take time but we want what’s ours.
    17 million voters are watching.
    Nothing has ever been voted for so decisively.
    If it is challenged all elections and referenda of the last 100 years are invalid and all future votes will be subject to challenge.

  15. agricola
    July 14, 2016

    You are spot on with your contribution today, and I believe the professional politicians responsible for the 27 remaining EU countries already realise where their interests lie. I do not see Angela Merkel allowing anyone to throw a tissey fit. The Commission is a bureaucratic construct with no responsibility to the citizens of the EU or that is the way they have always acted, so their parochial interests would not concern me.

    With Boris in charge I do not anticipate the FO causing any unnecessary problems, or if they do they know where the door is.

    You omit the unfettered rights of EU citizens residing or working in the UK and UK citizens residing and working in the EU to have an unrestricted right to do so. Additionally you overlook the medical care of the above resident citizens or travelling public to continue with the unfettered service currently available. For residents it is a comprehensive service while for tourists it is more of an emergency service. It is of course paid for by the country of nationality of the patient.

    There is also the question of when we re-establish our maritime borders while honouring current fishing agreements for a period that allows those in this industry to adjust, say five years. This would be commercially fair.

    Theresa May has made some shrewd choices of people to carry us through this period of readjustment. I rather hope that those in charge of negotiating Brexit have the wisdom to make use of your talents, even though it might put an end your diary sounding board.

  16. Vicky George
    July 14, 2016

    Well said Mr. Redwood and almost every Brexiteer if not all want exactly the same thing. Thank you.

  17. David in England
    July 14, 2016

    I do hope that you are communicating this useful advice to David Davis. Indeed I hope that he will rope you into his Brexit team.

    1. Roy Grainger
      July 15, 2016

      From reading several political diaries and autobiographies David Davies comes across as a bit vain, bullying, arrogant and with a high opinion of his own capabilities. A good choice to go up against the EU elite with those same qualities.

  18. Horatio McSherry
    July 14, 2016


    Save for the majestically wet Hammond, it’s a good start to Mrs. May’s Cabinet, and one which already has the left and BBC apoplectic. For that alone it was worth us voting to leave the EU.

    It’s our job now, in any way we can, to support those involved with forging new trade deals and relationships around the world – and those untangling us from the EU – and to keep them on the path to the better, more prosperous, independent country we Leavers envisaged.

    I hope that you, John, are heartily involved in some way.

  19. Lifelogic
    July 14, 2016

    Risks have ” begun to crystallise” says Carney. What about the huge opportunities and the huge reductions in Euro bail out costs and all the other EU insanities?

    Carney needs to be fired. We have enough misplaced doom and gloom from the dire BBC without Carney joining in. Is it in his job description to run the country down? His record is dreadful anyway.

  20. ChrisS
    July 14, 2016

    Beautifully concise and a clear way forward.

    The Remainers have been fixated on the Single Market which clouds their judgement on what is possible. Left to them, we would face a rerun of CMD’s renegotiation – failing to even demand a satisfactory deal. Instead, it would appear that FOM is definitely off the table and, one hopes, budget contributions are as well. They should be, as these were the two principle issues we votes against. As soon as we concede any ground on these two areas we will be sucked right back in.

    By starting from the position of proposing a tariff free deal but being happy to accept WTO terms if they won’t play ball, we remove the threat the EU thinks it has over us.

    Can there be any doubt that the German car industry and French farmers will be putting immense pressure on their governments to continue tariff free trade ?
    We could easily see convoys of tractors parading up and down the Champs-Élysées.

    We will need to hold firm to ensure that Financial Services Passporting is tied into the deal over tariffs.

    After the apointments of yesterday, I can’t help feeling hugely more confident that an exciting and prosperous future awaits us.

    I would feel even more confident if our host received a call from Number 10 today.

  21. Christopher Hudson
    July 14, 2016

    Is David Davis up to speed, he comes across as a bit dusty, mild mannered, don-ish

  22. Denis Cooper
    July 14, 2016


    “France to present ‘Europe of defence’ initative”

  23. Christopher Hudson
    July 14, 2016

    Cameron wiped the floor with him 6 years ago

    1. Lifelogic
      July 15, 2016

      Only in superficial spin terms.

  24. Glenn Vaughan
    July 14, 2016

    An excellent statement of intent from our new Prime Minister yesterday and thank God we were spared any quotations from St Francis of Assisi.

    It got better when we learned George Osborne had been sacked so the rumour I’d heard about him being offered the job of feeding Larry the cat proved to be untrue. The appointments of David Davis, Liam Fox and Boris Johnson are also demonstrations of serious intent to exit the EU and establish revised trading relationships globally.

    Those wishing Mrs May an ill wind thus wish the UK an ill wind and they should be ashamed of themselves!

  25. rjkbe
    July 14, 2016

    Excellent analysis. We want free trade and good co-operation with EU countries, but that’s all. If they don’t want free trade then that would seem illogical but, as John says, we can just fall back onto WTO rates. Perhaps someone can explain what it is that is going to be so difficult to negotiate.

    Just heard Hammond on R4 still talking the economy down. So far, he’s not looking like a particularly good choice as Chancellor.

  26. Newmania
    July 14, 2016

    Last year’s net contribution was £8bn and as you have just changed magically, and may I say with quite appalling cynicisms from a fiscal tyrant into a mad keen Keysnian to cover the grim impact of Brexit talking about additional monies is load of nonsense . In fact we will be taking on up to £375bn of additional lending all of which will be paid back by the hated young on whom have inflicted the prospect of living with this swivel eyed monomaniacal scheme. Quite how you can continue to be some triumphal defeats me
    That is massive sum
    1% or so of additional govt spending is not
    As the only growth achieved by this country was due to inward migration your inference that we would go into turbo with the drawbridge up is , …well let’s say counter intuitive .
    You have it the wrong way around, the EUs free trade is a product of its political dimension without wish common standards could not be agreed are enforced , look how useless the WTO is .
    You seem to be imagining other universe in which a political unit happened upon a Free trade area.
    Outside the mental world of the Europhobic, we hold no cards. We cannot conduct a trade war which we would in any case lose but we can face unremitting attack on the City and any goods requiring compliance ( ie just about every growing industry we have), all of which would be best advised to locate across the channel and go through the process once

    .I could go on .

    The reason you want this done quickly is that you know full well most Brexit votes were those of a mob that could as easily turn the other way with one major set back

    Reply I opposed cuts to disability benefits and tax credits. I advocated lower tax rates before Brexit. Why do you have to lie about my views when they have been both clear and consistent on this site?

  27. Graham
    July 14, 2016

    JR will you have a direct input into our negotiations- if not why?

  28. Mike Wilson
    July 14, 2016

    It’s a shame you haven’t been invited to be part of this, Mr. Redwood. Maybe you have? Theresa May is your constituency neighbour so you must know her well?

    Why is Philip Hammond wittering on about the Single Market today?

    Based on what you have written today, and previously, the initial ‘This is the relationship we want’ document could be one sheet of A4 paper. And it would be up to them to answer it.

    The only issue that bothers me is the residency rights of ex-pats in the EU and of people that have moved here. I must admit to having a hankering to retire to France – even if only for a few years – I’d like to know if this is now never going to be possible. If it is, c’est la vie. But for people who have already made the move, they need to know what the future holds. For many of them, given UK property prices, moving back would probably not be a possibility.

    Reply Yes, I know Theresa reasonably well. No I was not offered any job by her.

  29. acorn
    July 14, 2016

    I think you are misunderstanding Most Favoured Nation status (MFN)?

    “Why ‘most-favoured’? This sounds like a contradiction. It suggests special treatment, but in the WTO it actually means non-discrimination — treating virtually everyone equally. This is what happens. Each member treats all the other members equally as “most-favoured” trading partners. If a country improves the benefits that it gives to one trading partner, it has to give the same “best” treatment to all the other WTO members so that they all remain “most-favoured”. (Understanding the WTO Basics: Principles of the trading system.)

    This site has an obsession with “free trade agreements” (FTA) being a vital part of Brexit survival, they are not! FTAs are a consequence of globalist corporate capitalism. They are designed to reduce the operating costs of large transnational corporations and increase there profit margins. Very large FTA like TTP and TTIP Trade Agreements, have been described as a “Dystopian Future in which Corporations Rather Than Elected Governments Call the Shots”. Not my idea of regaining our Sovereignty!

    Anyway, as the UK is a major importer of stuff, including a lot of the EU’s unemployment, we have the whip-hand. As a consequence the UK is exporting a lot of Pounds Sterling, which all those foreigners are “saving” in various Pound Sterling denominated assets. As long as those foreigners keep wanting to save in our currency, we can keep buying and very much enjoying them BMWs.

    I mentioned before the Singapore option. Basically the UK gets rid of all import tariffs and duties etc, for WTO members and applies a bit of VAT to pay for Border Force and Customs people.

  30. a-tracy
    July 14, 2016

    Guardian “EU officials have stressed that the next British commissioner cannot expect a post as influential as the one Hill has given up. The Brussels beltway joke is that the British commissioner should be put in charge of multilingualism – a job created in 2007 for Romania when it joined the EU halfway through the European commission. Finding a job is a delicate balancing act: it must be not so trivial as to be seen as an insult, but not so big as to impinge on Brexit talks and inflame MEPs.”

    Why can’t we expect an influential post, do we get a rebate if we have no influence on anything at all? I’m sorry but the EU can’t play games whilst we’re still the second biggest nation paying in. When you run a company and a senior person resigns you can’t just remove them or demote them, there are rules and regulations to obey or you pay them off. Demote us and pay us off if you don’t want to work with us.

    While we’re at it, I wonder if the NW region could be represented by someone like Osborne a big name for a true northern powerhouse, he would have more swag than Sturgeon after all he would speak for a region 20% bigger than Scotland and the same size population as London.

  31. Anthony Makara
    July 14, 2016

    There was a time when a Halfway House solution might have been possible. However the EU has become so ideological that it will not budge an inch on issues like Free Movement and Regulation. So we must now unsubscribe from the whole package including the Single Market. We don’t need it, we can develop our UK Internal Market and strike One-to-One trade deals with other economies outside of the Eurozone. We should particularly look to develop trade with Hard Currency economies so that we are not undercut by Wage and Currency differentials. Already close to 15% of our exports go to the United States and we should look to build on that. Our old friends in the Commonwealth should be part of our plans too. The fact is we do not need the EU or the single market just as we didn’t need it in the 50s and 60s. Our relative decline in the 1970s can be put down to the quick-fix 1967 Devaluation, the quick-fix floating of Sterling which began in 1972 and the Oil Price shock of 1973 when the cost of energy quadrupled and set in motion the inflation and catch-up pay demands that were to plague us for a decade. The UK did decline in the 1970s but that was due to self inflicted and external pressures and we are in a much stronger position today to get back to the economic success that we saw in the 50s and early 60s. So we need to ‘get on with it’ set Brexit in motion asap and rebuild Britain.

  32. Denis Cooper
    July 14, 2016

    With events moving so rapidly and generally in a good direction, much better than one might have feared, and crucially without any of it involving further authorisation from Parliament since the referendum, I’m feeling more confident that the courts will find it very difficult to accept that Parliament now has the right to block Brexit.

    Is a judge in a British court going to unleash chaos on the country by saying that all the non-parliamentary actions since June 23rd, including the change of Prime Minister and Cabinet and the creation of a new ministry specifically to arrange our exit from the EU, with an additional Secretary of State appointed for that stated purpose, are still open to challenge and must be reversed unless they are approved by Parliament?

    Since 1972 our judges have struggled to reconcile the political reality of our entrapment in a eurofederalist project with our national constitutional traditions, indeed in 2001 one junior judge badly failed that test and had to be corrected by the High Court as described in paragraph 121 here:

    Now I think it will work the other way; the Queen has appointed a new Prime Minister knowing that she has unequivocally stated her intention to take us out of the EU, that new political reality will work with rather than against the grain of our constitution, and the task of our judges will now be made a lot easier.

    I think Andrea Leadsom deserves our gratitude for standing aside and allowing Theresa May to take over as Prime Minister this week, rather than having that change deferred to September so allowing the diehards in the Remain camp another two months in which to work to frustrate the will of the people as expressed on June 23rd.

  33. Brian Tomkinson
    July 14, 2016

    Today I received this response to a petition I signed entitled: ” Repeal the 1972 European Communities Act immediately on EU Referendum OUT vote.”

    The rules for exit are set out in Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union. As the Prime Minister said on 27 June, this is the only legal way that has been set out to leave the EU.

    The rules for exit are set out in Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union. The Government set out the process for Article 50 in the policy paper, ‘The process for withdrawing from the European Union’, published on 29 February 2016. Paragraph 3.2 in the paper states that:

    The UK’s membership of the EU is established by the EU Treaties, and Article 50 is the process set out in the Treaties for Member States to follow when leaving. It is the only lawful way to withdraw from the EU. It would be a breach of international and EU law to withdraw unilaterally from the EU (for example, by simply repealing the domestic legislation that gives the EU law effect in the UK). Such a breach would create a hostile environment in which to negotiate either a new relationship with the remaining EU Member States, or new trade agreements with non-EU countries.

    The House of Lords EU Committee report on ‘The process of withdrawing from the European Union’ of 4 May has also said that “If a Member State decides to withdraw from the EU, the process described in Article 50 is the only way of doing so consistent with EU and international law.”

    The Prime Minister said on 27 June in his statement to the House of Commons on the referendum that “the only legal way that has been set out to leave the EU is by triggering Article 50”.

    The Prime Minister has been clear that the decision to trigger Article 50 and start the formal and legal process of leaving the EU will be for the next British Prime Minister and the next Cabinet.

    Foreign and Commonwealth Office

    Any comments?

  34. Mockbeggar
    July 14, 2016

    Talking of cancelling our subscription to the EU, it would be reassuring of Mrs May to confirm that all subsidies currently (kindly) donated by the EU to e.g. farmers, scientific institutes and projects, companies etc. in the UK will be replaced in full by her Government for a fixed period of, say, two years and continue thereafter at whatever level is appropriate for each. This will calm alarmist fears from these bodies and enable them to plan ahead.

    1. Roy Grainger
      July 15, 2016

      I see Leadsom will have to deliver the happy news to the farmers. Can’t see her lasting more than a few days when they get started.

  35. Kenneth
    July 14, 2016

    Seems to me we will see the prospect of two groups battling it out:

    Boris Johnson and David Davies and the eu member states (good Europeans)


    The eu commission and our Foreign Office (bad Europeans)

  36. graham1946
    July 14, 2016

    ‘We do not want the F.O. telling us negotiation is difficult etc’.

    That’s probably exactly what we will get. If Civil Servants are involved, they have no concept of urgency and the longer they can string things out the better they will like it, flying back and forth, empire building, champagne dinners and all the rest.

    David Davis being in charge of Brexit is a good move, though I wonder if he will be allowed to do the job, or will he be like Frank Field and be fired when he comes up with something May and Hammond don’t like? Hammond explained on radio this morning that his six years negotiation is because all 27 other governments will have to ratify it. What’s that got to do with us? We just want agreement, early withdrawal and then they can take all the time they like to ratify. Who is going to not ratify anyway? Will the small countries be allowed to destroy any agreement and put Germany’s trade with us at risk? I doubt it. Merkel will issue the order and that will be it, just like Greece and Italy.

  37. Adam
    July 14, 2016

    “The UK should not be treated as a deserter but as a family member who is still loved but decided to go in another direction”

    This is good.

    IF….ONLY….they had real leadership in this organisation and it wasn’t a basket case, the EU might actually work.

    1. Chris S
      July 15, 2016

      No, it could never be made to work !

      When there were ten sovereign member countries and it was just a trading bloc, that was OK and probably a good thing and, yes, that could even have meant good for us.

      However the collective opinions of 27 countries can never bring decisions that are any more than the lowest common denominator. You can see this in the EU/US trade deal which has so far taken seven years to negotiate and is now foundering.

      Then there is the Euro which is now at the very heart of the edifice.

      Everything that happens in Brussels is now based on increasingly desperate moves to keep it afloat. Everyone can see that attempts to keep the Euro alive will ultimately prove fruitless, yet, like the Cameron government and Brexit, they are in denial that it could ever fail and have no plan B.

      We will be so much better off out of it !!!!

      1. Chris S
        July 15, 2016

        I would love to be a fly on the wall in a certain room in Edinburgh this morning.

        Best if the two of them are alone in the room so that our new leader can tell Sturgeon a few home truths :

        1. The EU has told you you have to leave with us and then ask to rejoin.
        2. The Spanish are going to veto your application anyway.
        3. Even if they don’t you, are going to have to join the Euro and to do that
        you will have to reduce your deficit by £10bn to be less than 3% of GDP

        4. While all that’s going on – for several years – you will need your own currency and will have to live without the £15bn English taxpayers are currently paying out to subsidise a lifestyle you can’t afford.

        Tell me, Ms Sturgeon, do you really think you could win a referendum in these circumstances ?

        No, I don’t think so either !

        So stop postering and get used to the idea of being part of an independent UK.

    July 14, 2016

    All EU nation leaders have individual electorates. It would not do for them to sound weak. The UK leaving will be portrayed as an attack by contending internal parties.

    Behind the scenes, smaller nations will wish continuing good trade relations with the UK.
    Poland and the UK share wartime DNA. Ireland and the UK can fight like cat and dog but enjoy swapping stuff for all that.

  39. Christopher Lee
    July 14, 2016

    Very informative and well written article by John Redwood. I totally agree with his sentiments.

  40. Denis Cooper
    July 14, 2016

    This is doin’ my ‘ed in.

    We have a new government which is gearing up to take us out of the EU, no backsliding, while in Parliament there are still majorities in both Houses who would prefer us to stay in the EU including diehards who will do anything they can to keep us in the EU.

    So what can citizens who want to leave the EU do to help get us out?

    Why, sign a petition started back in March which says:

    “We need call upon our MPs to repeal the 1972 European Communities Act immediately should the EU Referendum result in a Leave majority vote, thus making membership of the EU null and void, without any further interference from the government or the EU.”

  41. Kenneth Nickson
    July 14, 2016

    Fisheries is one area where there will be a conflict of interests. I hardly thing that the EU will give up OUR fishing waters easily.

    1. Mark
      July 15, 2016

      The Law of the Sea is clear, and grants exclusive economic rights for 200 miles or a median line if closer. There are supposedly some other agreements dating back before the UK joined the EEC, but I have not been able to find the actual agreements to see what effect they might have.

      I see nothing wrong should we choose to sell fishing rights to foreign trawlers, but perhaps like North Sea oil, we might require them to land the catch in the UK. Then exports would clearly benefit the British balance of payments.

    July 14, 2016

    JR: I wonder if you’ll be offered a role in what looks like a possible new combined Business and Energy Department. It seems something to interest you.

  43. Narrow shoulders
    July 14, 2016

    We have an £85 billion trading deficit with the EU; £226 billion imported v £147 billion exported in 2014.

    That is a lot of additional duty to be raised by the treasury if we do not have a tariff free agreement in place.

    Inform the EU that in future we will use the revenues from these duties to provide support for UK exporters into the EU in the whole amount of duties levied by the EU (net effect for exporters nil with that balance of duty on £85 billion still to be collected by the treasury).

    This frees our exporters of the newly imposed tariffs but also makes goods manufactured in the UK more competitive as duties on exports from the EU will come into effect.

    The EU will have to cope with our goods in their countries retaining their pre-tariff prices but EU goods sold in the UK going up in price and becoming uncompetitive.

    EU countries can not retaliate by supporting their own exporters as EU rules do not allow this. We have been freed from such rules.

    The deficit enjoyed by the EU plus this little conundrum may force their negotiating hand.

  44. treacle
    July 14, 2016

    I wish you were on the Brexit team, Mr Redwood. I am sitting at home reading your blog while listening to Radio 4. Your blog tells me, very succinctly, how easy and straightforward Brexit will be, while Radio 4 is telling me, repeatedly, that it will be impossible.

  45. margaret
    July 14, 2016

    Indeed. Why spend more money than we haver to when the decision has already been taken . £38 Billion is a lot more to salt out of us and would be useful to them . One thing confuses me though . In an earlier article you were saying that we give the money to them in order to get it back and be used in specific places. In that scenario we would be no better off anyway as we are already getting the money back.

    Reply There is additional money which we give them and get back which I have not included in these sums

  46. REPay
    July 14, 2016

    I hope you have the ear of David Davis! I heard on the BBC that “hundreds of lawyers will need to be drafted in by the Government” to cope with any transition and also, that Chancellor Merkel told the Bundestag that nothing could happen until the government triggers Article 50 and that being out of the EU must be different to being in the EU.

    The answer to the last question is that we will not have the “benefit” of access to becoming a member of the single currency and having laws formulated centrally, that we wish to unburden the Commission from making laws for us. This we accept. I do hope that David Davis, Boris et al understand how to turn the arguments for the supposed benefits of the EU to make a case for the UK that looks reasonable!

    1. ken moore
      July 15, 2016

      David Davis is the bully boy whip that forced through the hated maastricht treaty……its a bit like putting a shark in charge of a swimming pool…

  47. Mark
    July 14, 2016

    I note that Mr Carney took your advice and did not lower interest rates. The pound responded by moving up almost two cents afterwards, showing that his plan would only have pushed it lower in confirmation of the message of doom that the Bank has been proposing. Since the chief government architect of such messages has been consigned back to Cheshire, perhaps we can hope for a change of tune at the Bank, even aided by a change in who runs it.

  48. Auror
    July 14, 2016

    It is hard to argue against a quick negotiation. It would be nice, and I think that an EEA based settlement is likely to yield the fastest exit.

    Those who are still arguing for some sort of ‘hard Brexit’ may want to pay attention to a certain Treasury select committee meeting ( /edd13153-7ed7-48b3-9643-472e6be0462e) held recently. I’m sorry JR, but when you finally have serious discussions, such as the aforementioned hearing, it must finally become clear that the WTO or CETA option is complete and utter toast. Its more than toast, its rapidly dissipating smoke drifting into the stratosphere. Time to knuckle down and get a good EEA based settlement for the country.

    Reply MOst countries trade well and happily with the EU under WTO rules!

  49. Hans Christian ivers
    July 14, 2016

    John Redwood you are getting confused again. The Eu has grown more than us in the past 12 months.
    We need time to get the right deal.
    It will take time and we need to get it right. Your net figures are still way out. But real facts has never been your strength

    Reply My figures are accurate and yours are non existent

    1. Chris S
      July 15, 2016

      What a wonderful put down !!!!

    2. Colin Hart
      July 15, 2016

      Any relation to Hans Christian Andersen – that other purveyor of fairy stories?

  50. Mark
    July 14, 2016

    Fortunately, the negotiation is out of the hands of the FCO with the decision to have all embassies in the EU report to David Davis – a vitally necessary step. It will be an early job to ensure that the staff at those posts are broadly sympathetic to the cause of a good Brexit deal, starting with UKREP Brussels itself. The best deal will be secured by marginalising the role of the EU Commission, and instead seeking agreement with countries who have rather more to gain from free trade (including access to Britain’s world class financial services without having to pay Danegeld to Brussels for the privilege).

    We would be very lucky if the EU turns out to be in a real hurry for deal, since if that is their priority, we can dictate the terms entirely. Apart from the side show of the Commission wanting to run the negotiation as a means of further establishing its power reach, I see little real demand within Europe to sacrifice an even handed outcome for the sake of losing our budget contributions at the earliest opportunity.

  51. william
    July 14, 2016

    ‘Those who delay are punished by life’. Mikhail Gorbachev to Eric Honecker, 6 months before he fled East Germany for the delights of South America.

  52. David Dean
    July 14, 2016

    To John Redwood
    A useful and incisive article.
    We must be careful our own civil servants don’t try to ‘gold plate ‘ the exit issues and drag us into deep mire by hiring teams of lawyers who unnecessarily lock horns with their EU opposite numbers for the long-haul ( and empire build and escalate costs along the way)
    As a farmer now retired I remember various edicts from Brussels re-shaping the CAP.
    DEFRA issued a thick tome of rules they’d created from an EU directive, whereas French farmers received an A4 sheet detailing the same item.
    I prefer your style.
    David Dean
    Retired Livestock Farmer & now occasional Volunteer in Africa & Active Brexiteer

  53. acorn
    July 14, 2016

    I think we now know how much it cost to get Mrs Leadsom out of the Tory leadership contest, the award of Secretary of State for Environment. That’s OK, she can’t do much damage there.

    But, it is very smart of Mrs May, to set up three prominent Brexiteers, to be the first to go over the top, out of the trenches, to face the EU machine guns. What we used to call “canon fodder”. When they get cut down, Mrs May will come back with Plan B. That will be an offer Conservative “blue rinse” voters, will not be able to ignore. Most likely, “Brexit Very Lite”. Hypocrisy Rules OK.

    Sadly, Mrs May has appointed an Oxford PPE neo-liberal, to be Chancellor. This is not good news for the bottom 50% of the UK population. So, don’t expect the UK economy to do any better than it did under Osborne.

    Can I recommend to all our new amateur “executives” to read:- (Google the following),
    No 7, July 2016 – Worldwide Fiscal Crisis: Fact or Fiction?

    1. Anonymous
      July 15, 2016

      I haven’t seen a ‘blue rinse’ hair style for at least 30 years.

      The last blue hair I saw was on a 20-year-old barmaid in gothic dress.

      1. acorn
        July 15, 2016

        I bet you haven’t seen a Black Swan either!

  54. getahead
    July 14, 2016

    The dreadful delayer, Phillip Hammond, has been moved to the Exchequer.
    Whilst I would have preferred to have him removed from the cabinet altogether, at least he should not be involved directly to hold up the negotiations.

  55. S Matthews
    July 14, 2016


    Could you clarify the position with the WTO?

    The reason I ask is the interview with Roberto Azevêdo

    Key part being

    But in an interview with the Financial Times, Roberto Azevêdo signalled this would not be straightforward. He said a British exit from the EU would lead to unprecedented negotiations between the UK and the Geneva-based institution’s 161 other members.

    Britain joined the WTO under the auspices of the EU and its terms of membership have been shaped by two decades of negotiations led by Brussels. If Britain voted to leave the EU it would not be allowed to simply “cut and paste” those terms, Mr Azevêdo said.

    Britain would have to strike a deal on everything from the thousands of tariff lines covering its entire trade portfolio to quotas on agricultural exports, subsidies to British farmers and the access to other markets that banks and other UK services companies now enjoy.

    “Pretty much all of the UK’s trade [with the world] would somehow have to be negotiated,” he said.


    1. Know-dice
      July 15, 2016

      May the question should be “is the WTO a relevant organisation, that actually has a useful function” or just another empire building pseudo-quango that we can all do without?

    2. Denis Cooper
      July 15, 2016

      I take it you mean this:

      “WTO warns on tortuous Brexit trade talks”

      There is no need to read further than the date of the article, May 25th, to know that its contents should be taken with a bucketload of salt.

      That was then, when there was an internationally concerted effort to frighten the British people into voting to Remain in the EU, but this is now when it has been decided that the UK will Leave the EU and it is in everybody’s interest to find ways around problems rather than stress and exaggerate them.

  56. stred
    July 14, 2016

    I was trying to remember the name of the principle that says that a manager rarely want a subordinate who is more competent than themselves. The Peter principle is that managers rise to a level of their incompetence. The Civil Service and minister sometimes follows these.

    Ministers like who understand what works and younger ones qualified in IT or from the military are rarely recruited, unless by mistake. That puts out some of the best. We can all think of names. Some have businesses and are highly capable.

    The selection by Mrs May though is much better than hoped. It is alost as if the Remoaners had their plant and the Leavers had theirs.

    It is delightful to see that she has cleared out the H.Jackson Soc / Nottingers.

    1. stred
      July 15, 2016

      Oops,Delete ‘alost’ typo. I am using the tiny laptop.

  57. stred
    July 14, 2016

    DECC abolished but Geg Clarke is ex shadow Decc and is ex SDLP and likes Polly Toynbee. Seems intelligent though so re-education possible.

  58. Jumeirah
    July 14, 2016

    Off point. According to some of the Press here the German Foreign Minister has said that the appointment of Boris is a joke and the French Foreign Minister has called him a liar.
    Whatever these two BOZOZ think of him privately they should remember that Boris is NOW a Minister in Her Majesty’s Government and PROTOCOL should be observed and must prevail. The Ambassadors to the court of St. James of both these Countries should be summonsed and a message passed by them to their respective bosses to behave themselves from now on.

    1. stred
      July 15, 2016

      The £350m a week cock up will be used by the opposition for ever.

    2. Excalibur
      July 15, 2016

      Yes. I was particularly irritated by the footage showing the Foreign Secretary having to search for his Ministerial car. All very amusing to the press yobs. Why didn’t the driver of his car ensure he was shown to his car once he emerged from his home ?

  59. Willy Wireworm
    July 15, 2016

    Dr Redwood: all fine and dandy but you’ve omitted to mention the other key issue of the status of UK nationals in the EU and EU nationals in the UK. Do you think we should make a unilateral commitment to the latter or use them to bargain with? If Brits want to retire to Spain in the future, how is that to be disentangled from free movement? Aren’t the Eastern Europeans in particular going to press for continued free movement in return for UK nationals’ rights? I can foresee a stalemate. As you imply, a trade stalemate would not be the end of the world. But this one could be, for some people.

    Reply I have always said we do not bargain over free movement. We confirm all legally here can stay and move swiftly to impose controls on future arrivals.

  60. G
    July 15, 2016

    John Redwood has the clearest thinking by far. I would be interested to hear his views of David Davis.

    It seems that speedy solutions are required and there are some who seem determined to drag it out.

    Can anyone give a rough estimate of tariffs that would result from WHO rules? How would that figure compare with our current £10 billion trade fee? Substantially less I would bet.

    In which case a perfect solution. Is there any way to get this done in much LESS than two years?

  61. Gareth Warren
    July 15, 2016

    I cannot fault any of this, it is refreshing to hear the ideas for change communicated simply rather than cluttering them up to make the job appear more important, you would never have gone far in the civil service I fear.

    One thing that is also important though are the fisheries, I suggest we treat this as the EU treated us, there negotiations with the EU waited until we were members before the deal to share our waters out was placed before us.

    This time we can whistle the same merry tune they did while talking about our trade deals, and on the day we leave the EU get full control of our coastal waters back. I suggest with out much shrunk fishing fleet we can afford to do what the scientists have been pleading for us to do for many years, that is rest many areas so that fish stocks can recover.

    Then as our fishing fleet grows again we can gently increase the fishing allowed, with the possibility to sell permits to overseas fishermen if there are excess supplies with the provision that they are landed in the UK port or similar process to ensure compliance with catch sizes.

  62. Jumeirah
    July 15, 2016

    Yes absolutely right. Why indeed was the Ministerial car not directly outside the Minister’s house and in full view when the Minister left his house! Get a grip you people – the world is watching!
    (These seemingly little things are of huge importance)

    Reply They are of little importance. The media like to play up the trivial. This site follows a different policy by concentrating on the big picture and the things which make a difference to many people’s lives. David Miliband’s problem was not that he once carried a banana but that he backed the EU so fully. William Hague’s problem was not that he once wore a baseball hat, but that he pretended to be Eurosceptic but was never Eurosceptic when it mattered.

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