Action Plan for Brexit


  1. Send Article 50 letter explaining we are leaving using our own constitutional arrangements as per previous Article, which will be an Act of Parliament.
  1. Offer talks on trade and tariffs if they wish to change anything, saying we are happy to offer them no change to current arrangements. In other words we stay in the Single Market as now, without the freedom of movement and the contributions. The advantage we have is when it comes to trading we are happy with the status quo, so they are the ones with a problem if they wish to change it.  This reverses the presumption of many commentators that the UK needs to negotiate with the rest of the EU, and is the supplicant. By definition we cannot negotiate with them over taking back control. You are not taking back control of your laws, money and borders if you need to negotiate this with other EU countries. By offering to keep all rules, laws and trade arrangements relevant to trade and investment we have no need to negotiate, unless they wish to impose new barriers on us. So we make them the generous offer of no change so they can continue to sell us so much more than we sell them, and see if they can reach agreement on barriers amongst themselves which we would then need to talk to them about. Were they to be able to agree tariffs or other barriers they need to  be WTO compliant, and it would allow us to impose tariffs on things like food and cars where they sell more to us. They are very keen to avoid tariffs.
  1. Cancel EU contributions and incorporate the money in UK budgets, providing 0.6% GDP boost through the extra spending and tax cuts amounting to the £10bn net a year we currently send to the EU and do not get back.
  1. Announce that as from the specified date any EU citizen coming to the UK to work is welcome to do so until we have left the EU, but will  need to apply for a work permit on our departure under the rules then applying worldwide on a non-discriminatory basis.
  1. Develop and take work permit system for EU migrants to Parliament for approval.  The scheme would be based on allowing high level migration (qualifications and or pay rates) but controlling worldwide numbers of lower paid employees. It would allow for seasonal labour and labour where there was a shortage or skills gap the UK could not easily plug in the short term.  The Irish border would operate as today, but any continental EU migrant using that border would need a work permit to get a job.
  1. Work out new fishing arrangements and discuss with other North Sea  neighbours both within and outside the EU
  1. Launch Repeal Bill for 1972 Act with confirmation of EU laws as UK laws into Parliament.  The aim should be a short and straightforward Bill that takes back control of our laws in the first clause, and guarantees all current EU law in the second clause as good UK law, pending any subsequent decisions to repeal or amend items not required to meet our trade obligations with the rest of the EU. This would include early passage of new migration controls, and the cancellation of EU contributions.
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  1. Lifelogic
    Posted September 3, 2016 at 5:21 am | Permalink

    Indeed. So why all this damaging dithering? When will we finally get some action from Theresa’s government?

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted September 3, 2016 at 7:33 am | Permalink

      Maybe we will get it as a Christmas present, but probably not.

      “Given the constitutional importance of the case the Court is also making arrangements for a “leapfrog” appeal to be heard by the Supreme Court in December 2016 ahead of the Government’s projected timetable for triggering Article 50 TEU at the start of 2017.”

      • Ronald Olden
        Posted September 4, 2016 at 3:16 am | Permalink

        Given its importance it’s quite right that this is examined by the Supreme Court. But it appears to me that the Court is sure to uphold the right of the Government to invoke Article 50 without going to Parliament.

        Parliament has already voted on this Treaty. The Government routinely operates the terms of the Treaty without going back to Parliament. Furthermore there is a commitment in the 2015 Tory manifesto which obliges the Government to abide by the Referendum result.

        If anyone is dissatisfied with the Government’s intentions they can bring a Vote of No Confidence in the Government in the House of Commons before Article 50 is invoked..

    • Mike Stallard
      Posted September 3, 2016 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

      Please do tell me if you intend to break other treaty obligations apart from the Treaty of Lisbon.
      Oh and while you are about it, please do explain how you intend to cope with the various types of trade agreement with the EU and indeed the rest of the world once we are out on our own? Preferential Trade Agreement? TFEU? PSA? Or shall we go the whole hog and opt for a CTA? And how long do you think that is going to take?
      Oh – I haven’t mentioned the Technical barriers to trade yet.
      And then there is the MRA and above all international regulatory cooperation without which trade is virtually impossible.

      Answers on the back of the (forbidden) fag packet, please.

      • Frank salmon
        Posted September 3, 2016 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

        Mike. You sound like some captain Mannering arguing that it is impossible to do anything without the public sector, or in this case, without the EU. All things are possible when we bury shiftless bureaucrats and their ilk. Read Patrik Minford on the subject, and prove you’ve learnt from him by writing 50 times ‘I must not disparage the efforts of others, nor be condescending about their knowledge without first learning from my intellectual superiors first.’

      • Mark B
        Posted September 3, 2016 at 6:15 pm | Permalink


        Our kind host is part of the Legislature and not the Government. The Government shall take legal advice on this and other matters relating to the UK’s exit from the EU. I have every faith that the ‘right advice’ shall be given, and that, an Article 50 notification shall be forthcoming, minus any legal and other annoying barriers, and that all that you have mentioned shall be addressed in the proper manner.

        Our kind host is expressing his view on his blog / diary and I am happy to read and comment as he allows. In short, I do not take this matter too seriously as it is in other (read above) hands.

      • Jones
        Posted September 3, 2016 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

        You don’t need to put a couple of oh’s and do’s in just to underline your smugness!

      • Mark Watson
        Posted September 3, 2016 at 9:54 pm | Permalink

        And are these your own thoughts or the thoughts of Richard North?

      • Ronald Olden
        Posted September 4, 2016 at 3:04 am | Permalink

        Leaving the EU does not break any Treaty obligation. Article 50 0f the Lisbon Treaty provides for countries to leave the EU.

      • Ronald Olden
        Posted September 4, 2016 at 3:06 am | Permalink

        We will ‘cope with’ the various trade agreements the way every other country in the world manages to.

    • sm
      Posted September 3, 2016 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

      I do wish you would stop referring to the Prime Minister of this country by her first name. It is rude, dismissive and sexist – would you do this if we had a male PM?

      • stred
        Posted September 3, 2016 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

        sm. Dave asked to be called by his first name. Perhaps Mrs May should ask to be called Terri or something more informal, as she comes over as a bit cold.

      • Mark B
        Posted September 3, 2016 at 6:17 pm | Permalink


        His blog / diary, his rules. If you do not like it, go elsewhere.

        Sorry, but I defend freedom of speech and expression.

        • hefner
          Posted September 3, 2016 at 10:04 pm | Permalink

          Mark B,
          As far as I have been able to check (over the last ten weeks), Mr Redwood has not edicted rules as to how to address the Prime Minister. He himself uses Mrs May, Theresa May, or the Prime Minister to refer to the PM.
          If “freedom of speech and expression” is to be told to “go elsewhere” when one’s comment does not fit your expectations, I would think you have got a rather restricted definition for your “freedom of speech and expression”.

      • max
        Posted September 3, 2016 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

        wot – like using the name Boris ?

      • Lifelogic
        Posted September 4, 2016 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

        “It is rude, dismissive and sexist”. Why any more than calling her May?

        We have Boris, call me Dave, Maggie why on earth is it sexist? Surely it would be sexist to only call men by their first name and not women?

        The real reason is that Theresa and Boris are fairly rare names so it is clear who you mean. Whereas we tend to have Gove not Michael and Redwood rather than John.

        I do not dismiss her at all (even if she is a geography graduate). Indeed hope very much she rises to the large job she had to do. The early indications are alas that she is a bit of an interventionist, high tax, lefty (as Cameron and Osborne were) and a rather a sit on the fence ditherer and (a hopefully ex) remainer but we shall see very soon.

    • John Byrne
      Posted September 3, 2016 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

      Because they are arguing and do not know what to do.
      They seem to be in the process of souring relationships between the UK and most of the more wealthy nations in Europe — and, of course, with China.

      Perhaps the best thing is to pray that they regain their senses.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted September 4, 2016 at 9:40 am | Permalink

        Having decided to get off a train which is obviously a wrong train going in a completely wrong direction, there is now discussion about which would be the best train to catch instead. But there is also uncertainty about whether we will be allowed on some of the possible alternative trains, and there is no way of finding out other than to ask. However it seems that we cannot inquire about any trains, or the validity of our tickets for various services, until we have decided on just one train we would like to take. Apparently it would be folly to rush into that kind of conversation before we knew exactly what reply we wanted, even though we might not get it.

  2. David Price
    Posted September 3, 2016 at 6:02 am | Permalink

    Nice to see someone has their head screwed on – point 2 is the key. Since the EU benefits most from our trade they need will to negotiate to our satisfaction and not the other way round.

    I would add to your list early cancellation of the EAW.

    • bigneil
      Posted September 3, 2016 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

      I would add something be done VERY quickly regarding the Human Rights act, which appears to only benefit foreign criminals and terror supporters, allowing them to stay here on our taxes and be a danger to us. Why is it that nothing is done about OUR rights – after all, why should we pay criminals of the worst kind, and terrorists claiming “persecution” to stay here – then visit their home country for holidays – the very country they claimed they dare not go back to, fearing for their life. Disgusting that the govt allows this to carry on.

      • Ronald Olden
        Posted September 4, 2016 at 3:25 am | Permalink

        The Human Rights Act is UK legislation. Abolishing it would require a majority if the House of Commons to vote for abolition as well as the House of Lords.

        The chances of it being abolished are Nil. Many Eurosceptics (including me) who voted in the Referendum to leave the EU are strongly in favour of the Human Rights Act.

        You might be surprised if you heard the names of some of the MPs who are as well. I believe they call themselves ‘Runnymede Conservatives’.

    • Mike Stallard
      Posted September 3, 2016 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

      The original EEA/EFTA agreement allowed for a special arrangement to be made over immigration.
      Do keep up at the back!

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted September 3, 2016 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

        Well, for Lichtenstein. Luckily during the referendum campaign nobody on the Leave side suggested that we could be like Lichtenstein, that might have brought even more ridicule on their heads than the suggestion that we could be like Albania. But merriment aside the real point here is that Lichtenstein asked for a special right to limit immigration from the start, whereas we did not, we went into the EEA having accepted free movement of persons right from the start when we joined the EEC in 1973. I find it rather difficult to imagine that other EU countries, especially the Eastern Europeans, would look kindly on a proposal that they should let us stay in the EEA as now except with total control over our immigration policy, which is what we really need. Nor do I think they would take kindly to the idea that we should be allowed to install permanent and stringent safeguard measures on immigration under Article 112 in the EEA Agreement:

        “Such safeguard measures shall be restricted with regard to their scope and duration to what is strictly necessary in order to remedy the situation.”

        Bear in mind that while we are in the EEA as a separate sovereign party to the agreement that is however on the understanding that we are presently one of the EU member states, and although only limited and simple treaty changes might be needed they would have to be agreed and ratified by all of the EEA member states, each of which would have a veto.

      • David Price
        Posted September 5, 2016 at 8:22 am | Permalink

        The EU is not the higher authority but at most an equivalent sovereign entity in some matters so as a sovereign country we should not have to negotiate a special arrangement on such matters as immigration. Quite simply we should decide who may travel, work and settle here.

        I agree with Big Neil that this means the HRA which restricts how we can deal with undesirables must be addressed as must the EAW which effectively places EA law above our own.

        The referendum has made clear that the majority of people in this country require our government to put our interests first. That also means we should not even have to play by EU rules as some “experts” demand.

    • rose
      Posted September 3, 2016 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

      What would we do about the thousands of foreign criminals we at present deport under the EAW? On the whole I am with you.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted September 3, 2016 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

        The EAW request for extradition comes from the foreign country, it is not an order initiated by the UK authorities. So I suppose as far as foreign citizens are concerned we could just carry on as now and respond to EAW requests from their home countries when they come. But not for UK citizens.

        • rose
          Posted September 4, 2016 at 10:33 am | Permalink

          I hope you are right. I had feared that we would end up with even more criminals than usual because even more would flee here to escape the EAW.

          • rose
            Posted September 4, 2016 at 10:34 am | Permalink

            PS I know we will be supposed to be in charge of our borders.

      • John Byrne
        Posted September 3, 2016 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

        I expect the EAW is one of the goodies that dreamers believe we can keep, such as the pre-Brexit trade with EU nations (inc. financial services) etc, without freedom of movement of labour.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted September 4, 2016 at 9:46 am | Permalink

          It’s certainly a major benefit of being in the EU that I, or any other of Theresa May’s innocent constituents, can be bundled off to rot in some foreign gaol for months, and I expect she will want to keep it.

      • David Price
        Posted September 5, 2016 at 8:28 am | Permalink

        My concern is how the EAW facilitates the application of foreign laws and processes to our citizens and it’s role in transferring authority and responsibility away from our government. Prior to EAW we placed a much greater burden of proof on the requesting country and a citizen was not liable for an action in this country which other country’s laws prohibited.

  3. Lifelogic
    Posted September 3, 2016 at 6:03 am | Permalink

    It seems Mrs May is still dithering on Hinckley Point C too, why? As with HS2 the project is so clearly bonkers and hopelessly uneconomic. The case for cancellation of these absurd projects is totally overwhelming so why the dithering? It does not inspire much confidence in her leadership abilities. We do not want yet another lying, spin doctor type with a duff compass, endless PC drivel and daft hug a husky photo ops or in hard hats, fancy dress and the likes.

    We want sensible, decisive decisions based on real science, engineering and economics, all taken as soon as possible and implemented efficiently. The above two decisions are very clear indeed, as is Heathwick ( we need it). Just get on with taking then now and stop the pointless dithering. Each day you dither tips another few £ million of other people’s money down the drain and kills jobs and harms rather economy.

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted September 3, 2016 at 7:23 am | Permalink

      I think she’s probably reeling from the realisation of how much of a pushover Cameron was across the piece. I’d still give her time, say until Christmas, to get her act together. After that it will indeed be open season. She took the job, when others actually on the right side of history were spurned, so she has to make something if it.

    • Ian Wragg
      Posted September 3, 2016 at 7:57 am | Permalink

      In todays paper a treasury spokesman says we cannot afford to finance these large infrastructure projects. I sincerely hope the Hinckley Point contract is cancelled but find it difficult to believe as we can afford £16 billion on foreign aid annually and Hinckley Point is over 10 years or more.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted September 3, 2016 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

        The best foreign aid is probably just free trade with them.

        • Frank salmon
          Posted September 3, 2016 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

          Excellent point

          • Ronald Olden
            Posted September 4, 2016 at 3:27 am | Permalink


      • Lifelogic
        Posted September 3, 2016 at 7:14 pm | Permalink

        Well the UK are financing Hinkley C anyway, in effect, with the electricity purchase guarantee. What is the difference?

        Anyway Hinkley C is clearly the wrong nuclear project at this time. Especially with gas and oil so cheap.

        • stred
          Posted September 4, 2016 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

          Re Hinkley. We do not have to use Treasury money to finance big projects like this. We can copy the Finns as with their latest project, having run into big problems, delays and claims with their EPR Hinkley type disaster. They order a different reactor, available on cheap credit from the supplier- in this case the Russian atomic power company- and then get bids for the other parts such as the generation and controls. Rolls Royce are being used as they had to sort out problems with the other nuke and the Russians are happy to use them.

          The consortium is government initiated and backed and can borrow cheaply through bonds. The price per kWh is about half Hinkley as negotiated by DECC. There are Japanese American designed, Korean and Russian reactors tested working and being built for and by other countries, such as China, at a lower cost.

          re World Nuclear Assn.

  4. Ronald Olden
    Posted September 3, 2016 at 6:14 am | Permalink

    We do not have to invoke Article 50. We can pass a simple law in the UK stating that the Lisbon Treaty is over as far as the UK is concerned and that ECJ jurisdiction here has ceased. We then tell the EU that we will abide strictly by the EU’s Rules except for Freedom of Movement and the Budget contribution and if necessary enshrine the rules that we want to keep in UK Law.

    There’s nothing to stop us also telling the EU that we are willing to voluntarily accept the ECJ as arbitrator in disputes which arise as to interpretation of the Single Market Rules as enshrined in UK law. Owing to the fact that the UK will not have invoked Article 50 and (from the EUs point of view) not left the EU, it will be illegal for any country in the EU to breach any of the terms of the existing Single Market agreement with the UK. They would have to change the Treaty to exclude the UK but that would require unanimity and in some cases referenda. If the UK is seen to be playing fair, (we can afford to be generous), would they bother? Some countries such as Ireland might even Veto such a change. I can’t see an change getting through referenda in countries which value their association with us.

    We can then proceed to agree any other changes we require, based upon deals which promote mutual self interest. And if something arises which is vital to our interests we just legislate unilaterally.

    The UK is in an exceptionally strong position here, not just because we are a big player relative to the rest, but because we have an existing Treaty which is enforceable in the courts of every other member state. The Channel Islands and the Isle if Man, neither of which are EU members also have Free Trade agreements with the EU deriving from the time of the original Treaty of Accession. But they both have independent Free Trade arrangements with the UK. The UK also has big powerful friends in the World who want us in the Single Market.

    The UK has all the cards in this venture and there’s little the EU can do about it. How many battalions does Brussels have? And whose going to kick up a fuss?

    As regards Freedom of movement, when the ‘Freedom to Claim Benefits’ disappears a lot of this will solve itself. It might turn out well that we only need to restrict access from the Eastern EU members and let everyone else come and go as they please.

    If we do all this right, it might all be easier and more harmonious than we think.

    • Faruk Ateş
      Posted September 3, 2016 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

      If you pass a law unratifying the Lisbon Treaty, the EU will cut off your access to the single market. If you simply stop paying your contributions, the EU will cut off your access to the single market. If you do any of these things without first replacing all of your inherited EU laws, you will invoke a chaos situation of partial lawlessness in the UK, and the EU will have no incentive to help you out—except at great cost to you.

      The arrogance (and idiocy) of thinking that you can just break the rules you agreed to as a nation and have no repercussions from that is why you’re into this mess.

      Reply. We are not breaking the rules. We are exercising our right under the Treaty to leave!

      • Ronald Olden
        Posted September 4, 2016 at 3:30 am | Permalink

        The EU does not have the power to ‘cut off access to the single market’. The Single Market is enforceable in each and every member state through it’s courts.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted September 4, 2016 at 9:51 am | Permalink

        What about their access to our domestic market? You make it sound like the Japanese threatening to cut off the water supply to Singapore in 1942.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted September 3, 2016 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

      “Owing to the fact that the UK will not have invoked Article 50 and (from the EUs point of view) not left the EU …”

      I don’t see how the EU could ignore the fact that we had left! Would our ministers still be invited to the EU meetings, would we still elect MEPs, would one of the EU Commissioners still be a Briton?

      • Ronald Olden
        Posted September 4, 2016 at 3:37 am | Permalink

        Our ministers do not have to be ‘invited’ to EU meetings. They are legally entitled to attend. Whether they would go or not if we are playing no further active part in the EU is another matter.

        On the other hand they might do so and veto everything that comes up until we get the deal we need. That’s what De Gaulle effectively did in the 1960’s and he ended up getting everything he denanded.

    • Will Ross
      Posted September 6, 2016 at 10:48 am | Permalink

      Interesting, but not what we voted for. We voted to leave.

  5. Ex-expat Colin
    Posted September 3, 2016 at 6:27 am | Permalink

    Hopefully the 20+ countries and wayward regions can keep their heads as regards trade etc. Some will suddenly learn a lot I suspect. The Commission itself likely has an awkward agenda. The current German Govt?

    When is France going to stop the Calais threat to us and itself?

    • DaveM
      Posted September 3, 2016 at 9:29 am | Permalink

      Quite. What on earth are the French playing at? The govt has a duty to protect its citizens, and many of those going through Calais are from the UK. Mrs May should tell the French govt – which seems prepared to bend over and take whatever their “enemies” want to throw at them – that we’ll sort Calais out ourselves if they’re too weak and impotent to do it themselves.

  6. Nig l
    Posted September 3, 2016 at 6:37 am | Permalink

    This is not the first time you you have offered the government similar advice. I sense some frustration on your part. Why if it is this easy is it not happening and why is David Davis so quiet, it is not like him. Has he been nobbled/gagged?

    • Danton
      Posted September 3, 2016 at 9:58 am | Permalink

      It could be because point 2 is completely unrealistic and unworkable. Unrealistic to the point that it’s a bit depressing that something so lacking in connection with the real world is considered a serious suggestion.

      Single market membership is just not happening without freedom of movement in generel terms and some compliance with the rules and regulation of the single market. Adjust your view to take that into account if you want to be taken seriously.

      • JohnF
        Posted September 3, 2016 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

        It could be because point 2 is completely unrealistic and unworkable. Unrealistic to the point that it’s a bit depressing that something so lacking in connection with the real world is considered a serious suggestion.

        Which bit is completely “unrealistic and unworkable”. John Redwood has suggested we offer the status quo regarding trade and effectively put the ball back in the EU’s court.

        I agree with this. Let them decide among themselves how they want to play it. The UK outside the EU will be the EU’s biggest export market – ahead of the US and China.

        I’m fairly relaxed about the trade in goods . I would, though, be interested on what the current thinking is in the City. I did get the impression that they were starting to feel a bit happier about things.

      • Ronald Olden
        Posted September 4, 2016 at 3:38 am | Permalink

        Anything is possible.

    • mikebravo
      Posted September 3, 2016 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

      Perhaps it is not so easy and Redwood is talking through his hat.

  7. Mick
    Posted September 3, 2016 at 6:38 am | Permalink

    Get Mrs May to carry out number one of your plan, NOW before the pro euro loving BBC /sky/channel 4/ lab/Libs /greens/SNP/ news rags start building up a head of steam to find a way to get us to stay in the dreaded eu, I’m just one of the 17.5 million who voted to LEAVE so get on with it

    • Mike Stallard
      Posted September 3, 2016 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

      Look at it like this:
      The EU is a cancer which is slowly killing off the patient – that is us. In the Eurozone the cancer is now terminal.
      Along comes Mr Redwood with a penknife and starts chopping away. Easy peasy! Cut cut cut.
      Then what? Oh dear whoops!

      • Frank salmon
        Posted September 3, 2016 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

        No, along come 17 million people who can think for themselves…..
        The cancer analogy is crass. The EU and especially the eurozone is critically ill. Thank god we will leave….. The voters were prepared to take the possible downturn, the backbiting and the lefty hatred that comes with Brexit but guess what? We’re having a mini boom……

      • Mark B
        Posted September 3, 2016 at 6:51 pm | Permalink


        As I keep saying, the problem with both our kind host and others, is that they frame the EU debate in a narrow context of just trade. They forget, or do not want to admit / know, that the EU is in fact our government. To admit to the people that for nearly 50 years the people they have been voting for, and promises on manifestos, have been totally worthless as the power lay with the Commission in Brussels. Period.

        • Ronald Olden
          Posted September 4, 2016 at 3:41 am | Permalink

          I don’t think JR or any of the rest of us were under any illusion that the EU has been our government fot the past 50 years. But now we’ve voted it out and that what’s going to happen.

  8. Denis Cooper
    Posted September 3, 2016 at 6:40 am | Permalink

    Dear Theresa

    Thank you for your letter in which you informed me that the UK intends to withdraw from the Union in accordance with an Act passed by the UK Parliament.

    I am aware that this Act has not yet been passed, and I have reports that there could be difficulty and delay in its enactment and possibly it will never be passed.

    I would therefore suggest that rather than initiating the withdrawal process laid down in Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union immediately we should put matters on hold until such time as the necessary Act has been passed.

    I hope that this will not cause your government too much inconvenience, but I am sure you will understand that as President of the European Council I must also consider the interests of the governments of the other Member States.

    I wish to be quite sure that we will not have the situation where the European Council has accepted your notice and started the process but then your Parliament refuses to pass the Act, which you say is necessary under the UK national constitution.

    Hopefully we will have an opportunity to discuss this further at the forthcoming meeting of the European Council, and I look forward to meeting with you then.

    With my warmest regards


  9. Denis Cooper
    Posted September 3, 2016 at 6:55 am | Permalink

    Dear Theresa

    Thank you for your recent letter in which you propose the initiation of negotiations for the withdrawal of the UK from the Union.

    It is with regret that I must remind you that under Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union, which the UK accepted inter alia when it ratified the Lisbon Treaty, it is not possible to commence such negotiations until the European Council has received a valid notification that the UK intends to withdraw from the Union.

    As I understand that it is a requirement of the UK national constitution that any such notification must be approved by the UK Parliament through an Act, and therefore I could not accept any such notification until the necessary Act has been passed.

    I welcomed our previous discussion of this matter at the last meeting of the European Council and would be pleased to pursue it further at the next meeting.

    With my warmest regards


    PS – Congratulations on the recent victory of the English team in the European League, perhaps one day my own country will achieve similar success!

    • Mark B
      Posted September 3, 2016 at 6:54 pm | Permalink


      Sorry to be pedantic, but Donald Tusk would never refer to his own country. He would say; “The country I know best.” Such is their denial and loathing of the nation state.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted September 4, 2016 at 7:21 am | Permalink

        Thank you, an excellent point.

    • Ronald Olden
      Posted September 4, 2016 at 3:57 am | Permalink

      Dear Donald

      I’m sorry to disabuse you of your misapprehensions. Although we might choose to go down that route, no Act of Parliament is required in the UK to effect departure from the EU.

      Her Majesty’s Government can invoke Article 50 any time it wishes. The Treaty is already law in the UK. Furthermore my party has an electoral mandate to observe the outcome if the Referendum.

      The British people did not vote to commence ‘negotiations’ with you as to terms of leaving. They voted to leave. Full stop. What do you think this is? Greece?

      You might also like to note that when Article 50 is invoked there is no provision in the Treaty for either the EU or the UK to change its mind. Article 50 is a one way street. As someone (I forget her name) used to say, there is ‘No Turning Back’

      Love Theresa.
      P.S. Wales reached the Semi Finals od the Euros. Wales is part if the UK.

  10. Ian Wragg
    Posted September 3, 2016 at 7:01 am | Permalink

    Yesterday I read that Tory chairman Andrew Tyrie says to maintain access to the single market we must be prepared to accept some free movement and paying billions towards EU infrastructure projects.
    Are these people willfully stupid or do they think we are.
    These people think we are a defeated nation leaving with our tail between our legs when the exact opposite is true.

    • Mark B
      Posted September 3, 2016 at 8:11 am | Permalink

      We would have to accept Free Movement of people as it is one of the Four Freedoms of the EEA. As to paying billions into the EU budget, I think the gentleman is showing a profound level of ignorance.

      Read: “How it works” and below that there is a fact sheet you can download.

      Norway gave grants to EU countries of €1.79 billion (2009-2014). That is not much more than the single bill the UK government was told to pay for the temerity of being successful.

      • Ian Wragg
        Posted September 3, 2016 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

        Norway doesn’t have an 80 billion deficit and the payment is voluntary by the pro EU politicians.

        • Mark B
          Posted September 3, 2016 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

          No. But they have more control than they would like to admit. Remember, those pro-EU Norwegian politicians have an agenda and do not want the UK to leave the EU. If we did, that would be the end of their dream.

      • Ronald Olden
        Posted September 4, 2016 at 4:01 am | Permalink

        The Isle of Man and the Channel Islands are in the Single Market in goods and they are not obliged to observe Freedom of Movement. Any country or Trading bloc can agree and deal they like with one another.

    • turboterrier
      Posted September 3, 2016 at 8:17 am | Permalink

      @ Ian Wragg

      Are these people willfully stupid

      Sadly for us, YES

      How the hell does their constituents tolerate them.

    • zorro
      Posted September 3, 2016 at 9:29 am | Permalink

      They are just mind conditioned and defeatist.


      • Mike Stallard
        Posted September 3, 2016 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

        Let me ask you this:
        Are you a man of your word? Do you care if your credit rating is refused at the bank? Are you shunned wherever you go as a bare faced liar who cannot be trusted?
        That is what happens to nations when they deliberately break Treaties, a storm out of trade arrangements and abuse their partners.
        Getting out of the EU is going to take skill.
        It is not just bull at a gate stuff.
        And there is a peaceful way invoking the law and the very same Treaties if only people would listen.

        • Lindsay McDougall
          Posted September 7, 2016 at 1:46 am | Permalink

          Mike, you are diametrically wrong. What can be done quickly and using bull at a gate methods is the constitutional and primary economic stuff:
          – End our net cash contribution within two years
          – Restore the supremacy of the UK parliament and courts
          – Control immigration
          – Take back our fisheries
          – Leave the CAP

          Existing laws inherited from the EU prior to leaving will remain in place until such time as parliament chooses to repeal or amend them.

          On trade, we state that we are a free trading nation and will remain so unless the EU imposes unacceptably high barriers (tariff and non-tariff) on our exports of goods and services. We will decide what is unacceptable.

          There are two things that you need to grasp. One is that if we don’t impose tariffs on imports from EU, we will in due course become a strong tiger economy. The second is the point that Nigel Farage makes, that even if the EU imposes tariffs at WTO levels (the worst case) we will still be better off because of the end of our net cash contributions.

          As for breaking treaties, we’ve always done it when they no longer serve our interests. If you want it done legally, we just repal our Acts of Accession to the EU treaties.

    • A different Simon
      Posted September 3, 2016 at 9:59 am | Permalink

      Tyrie came across as an extremely unimpressive MP .

      It says a lot about the Conservative Party that the powers that be would chose someone so devoid of talent .

      It would be better for the Conservative Party and the country if he’d move on to some shoddy non-executive directorships with companies at the scraggy end of the AIM market .

    • forthurst
      Posted September 3, 2016 at 10:34 am | Permalink

      Tyrie is a Remainer. Remainers have now regrouped and are fighting a rearguard action to keep us under the thumb of the Brussels regime by stealth. Their prospectus involves remaining in the EEA so they can continue to pay tribute to the Brussels regime and maintain open borders.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted September 4, 2016 at 10:06 am | Permalink

        I may be wrong but my sense is that Tyrie is at heart still a Remainer, and while he makes efforts to be even-handed he does not quite succeed.

    • Antisthenes
      Posted September 3, 2016 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

      Boris I believe is saying the same. What is it with these people how can they not work it out that we do not have to be in the single market to trade freely with the EU to our mutual advantage. Then perhaps neither is committed to the idea that Brexit means Brexit. I have my suspicion that Boris was only a leaver to further his career and never ever thought that it would actually happen.

      • Keith Hamilton
        Posted September 5, 2016 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

        I agree! Neither he nor Michael Gove seemed to be happy that they had won. I personally do not think either side had enough information to make a proper judgement on the pros and coms of leaving or remaining. I felt that the referendum should have been advisory until the terms of leaving were known and the country knew what it was voting on. The way it was however put to the electorate must now be adhered otherwise future referendum will be meaningless and BREXIT must mean BREXIT.

      • ScepticCH
        Posted September 6, 2016 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

        Leaving aside the “they need us more than we need them” would you care to spell out exactly how we get unrestricted access to the single EU market without being a member of the EU or accepting conditions, (like the free movement of labour” which are unacceptable to most of the leavers.

    • S. Ian
      Posted September 4, 2016 at 8:22 pm | Permalink

      Andrew Tyrie is the very able Chairman of the Treasury Committee, whose forensic grilling of campaigners on both sides ahead of the referendum earned him praise, even in the New York Times. His cross examination of Mr Johnson is well worth tracking down.

      Patrick McLoughlin is the Chairman of the Conservative Party.

      Or is this another example of the ‘magic realism’ approach to facts so prevalent in the Brexit campaign.

  11. Martin Conboy
    Posted September 3, 2016 at 7:02 am | Permalink

    Hear hear hear! Exactly so; let’s get on with it. First class plan of action.

    • turboterrier
      Posted September 3, 2016 at 8:19 am | Permalink

      @ Martin Conboy

      Total agreement with you comment

  12. Denis Cooper
    Posted September 3, 2016 at 7:04 am | Permalink

    Dear Theresa

    I was disturbed to hear that the UK government is proposing to withhold its promised contributions to the Union budget while the UK is still a Member State.

    I feel sure that this must be a misunderstanding, because as you no doubt realise such action would place the UK in gross breach of its Treaty obligations.

    I look forward to receiving your reassurance that these reports are ill-founded.

    With my continued regards


    • turboterrier
      Posted September 3, 2016 at 8:26 am | Permalink

      @ Denis Cooper

      You left off the post script.

      If you proceed with this gross breach of your obligations you will be expelled with immediate effect even thou we are desperate for your continued contributions.

      If only we could be that lucky?

    • The Active Citizen
      Posted September 3, 2016 at 8:43 am | Permalink

      Dear Jean-Claude

      Thank you for your letter. I trust your health is withstanding the pressure of all the unfortunate comments in the European press about the precariousness of your own position.

      On the day of the United Kingdom’s Referendum result your reaction was “This is not an amicable divorce”. Your formal statement went on to say “We now expect the United Kingdom government to give effect to this decision of the British people as soon as possible, however painful that process may be.”

      I am pleased to tell you that we are happy to accommodate your apparent desire for a ‘quickie divorce’.

      Given that there is no obligation in the Treaties for a formal notice period on the part of the departing State, we intend to give effect to the departure of the United Kingdom from the European Union on 31 December 2016.

      The Article 218 referred to in Article 50 confirms that ‘The European Parliament and the Council may, in an urgent situation, agree upon a time-limit for consent.’ It goes on to say that ‘In the absence of an opinion [from the European Parliament] within that time-limit, the Council may act.’

      In full understanding of your desire for us to give effect to the Referendum decision as soon as possible, I feel sure you will agree that the suggested time period of seventeen weeks from today will allow the Council time to consent. In the same way as with the Council’s dealings with the European Parliament, we shall take silence to indicate consent.

      I am, as you will appreciate, giving you informal notice of our intended actions in advance of issuing the formal Article 50 notice following the High Court case here in the UK next month.

      I do so in a spirit of goodwill and can assure you that the United Kingdom Government will continue to discuss the many issues arising between us in a friendly and cooperative manner. However, for the avoidance of doubt, we shall stop subsidising your organisation from the end of this year and shall cease to be a Member State from that date.

      With regard to trade, it is currently our intention not to impose tarifs on goods and services from EU countries into the United Kingdom, despite the ever-growing trade imbalance. We intend to keep all rules, laws and trade arrangements relevant to trade and investment unless and until we decide otherwise, in which case we will naturally have discussions with you.

      We offer this because we have no desire to impact further the economic and unemployment difficulties being experienced by so many citizens of the EU. Please be so good as to confirm that the European Union accepts this generous offer.

      Yours ever,
      P.S. I’m copying this letter to the European Council, the Five Presidents, and any other EU Presidents I can think of.

      • graham1946
        Posted September 3, 2016 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

        If only. Unfortunately we have no politicians with the necessary courage to issue such a letter. Mrs May certainly shows no sign of any inclination so to do, she just spouts some meaningless drivel about Brexit meaning Brexit with no timetable in sight, except maybe ‘early next year’ which is also pretty meaningless.

        I fully expect and predict that we will still be paying for at least 2 years beyond whenever Mrs. May decides to invoke Article 50 with the consequent loss of the thick end of 30 billion pounds, whilst the NHS goes bust, we can’t afford to finance our own new power stations, our infrastucture falls to pieces. Still we can content ourselves with the knowledge that our hard earned is being put to use in foreign lands for the benefit of foreigners.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted September 4, 2016 at 10:17 am | Permalink

          I expect that we will be paying in for five or more years with respect to the commitments we have already made and must honour, and in perpetuity with respect to fresh commitments we will voluntarily make for various mutually beneficial collaborative ventures; likewise I expect that in twenty years’ time we may still be revising and repealing the odd law that was foisted on us when we were in the EU, and we will voluntarily adopt many other EU laws in the meantime.

          But neither of those things matter much; we will decide whether it is worth participating in some EU scheme and paying a contribution towards the costs, and we will decide whether it would be beneficial to adopt some EU law into our domestic law.

      • Tdavies
        Posted September 3, 2016 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

        Thank you for your letter. I am happy to respond in the same spirit. As of 1st January 2017, the Common Fisheries Policy will cease to apply and we ask that all British vessels cease fishing in EU fisheries.

        Likewise, all landing rights under the Open Skies agreement will no longer be valid, so British airplanes will have to renegotiate all landing rights and commercial routes within the EU. We should be able to commence negotiations by the second half of 2017.

        We will be setting up customs posts on the Channel Tunnel terminal and all EU ports. As you are not setting tariffs, we will reciprocate, but since there will be, as of 1st January 2017, no mutual recognition agreements between the UK and the EU, all British goods will be inspected for compliance with EU standards. The expenses of inspection and storage will be borne by the shippers. Unfortunately, we have limited staff available for inspection until new staff can be recruited, so there may be significant delays while these arrangements are put in place. We will, of course be happy to consider mutual recognition agreements and would expect to be able to commence initial discussions as soon as possible, to minimise the disruption to international trade. Our current estimate is that we should be able to set out the framework for initial discussions by early 2019.

        It also appears that all UK citizens will lose their right of free movement within the EU, so we will be advising them to return to the UK in order to apply for visas as appropriate. Again, there may be delays while these issues are sorted out.

        Other issues, such as the payment of EU staff pensions, extradition treaties to replace current arrangements, current educational exchange programmes will, unfortunately, require more time to resolve. In the meantime, all current arrangements will cease.

        I have the honour to remain your most obedient servant,


      • Denis Cooper
        Posted September 3, 2016 at 5:32 pm | Permalink
  13. Antisthenes
    Posted September 3, 2016 at 7:11 am | Permalink

    Considerable merit in your plan and as you say it transfer the onus away from the the UK to Brussels on designing what the new relationship visa vie the EU and UK will look like. I have always believed that the UK held the best cards and your idea is the best use of them. One problem that the UK is going to come up against that may cost it dear and reduce the budget benefits accrued by stopping our contribution are future liabilities.

    As we all know Brussels has been profligate in the use of money(what government is not. Although Brussels is the grand daddy of them all.) especially in the area of salaries, pensions and privileges for the employees of the EU and will have committed to funding of future projects. Brussels is going to want the UK to guarantee some of the future pension and perks liabilities and some of the costs of future funding already approved or buy them out (akin to something Scotland would have been saddled with if they had chosen independence from the UK). The bill will be considerable Brussels will see to that and so in the short term much of our repatriated contributions will go toward paying that.

  14. Denis Cooper
    Posted September 3, 2016 at 7:26 am | Permalink

    Dear Theresa

    I have welcomed our discussions at the last seven meetings of the European Council on the question of whether the UK intends to leave the Union.

    However I now feel that to have due regard to the interests of the other Member States and of the Union as a whole I must press your government to come to a decision.

    We have of course agreed that the UK or any other Member State is completely free to withdraw from the Union by the procedure laid down in Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union, but that does require that the Member State decides to take that step and formally notifies the European Council of its intention.

    As under the national constitution of the UK any such notification will not be valid unless it has been approved by an Act of the UK Parliament, and as your Parliament is refusing to pass that Act, it is no longer clear to me and the other members of the Council that the UK really does plan to withdraw from the Union.

    Clearly this is a very unsatisfactory situation which is creating uncertainty and damaging the interests of the Union, and while I regret having to do so I must insist that you come to a decision within the next month.

    With my warm regards


  15. Glenn Vaughan
    Posted September 3, 2016 at 7:26 am | Permalink


    To whom have you circulated your “action plan”? The Prime Minister? David Davis and his secret, silent departmental army? Liam Fox? Boris Johnson?

    Anyone who can actually implement it?

  16. oldtimer
    Posted September 3, 2016 at 7:27 am | Permalink

    This looks sensible and to the point to me.

  17. Iain Gill
    Posted September 3, 2016 at 7:38 am | Permalink

    Re “high level migration (qualifications and or pay rates)” no not at all. If the skill is already in oversupply we should not be issuing work visas! Doesn’t matter what the pay rate or skill level is. Otherwise you will just get what we have now with foreign IT workers being imported in mass numbers to undercut local workers. They certainly are used to undercut locals and drive wages down, even if they are not the lowest paid workers in the country.
    You also need to make it worthwhile to hire and train Brits rather than use foreigners.
    You also need to think carefully about the tourist visa route. Especially for countries like Germany which are handing out passports and nationality to anyone who turns up at Ms Merkels invitation. I would be seriously considering treating those born in Europe differently to those dished out passports like confetti after coming in from elsewhere. We also need to be careful with the nationals of the ex Soviet countries now in the EU, a lot of these nationals will flood in on tourist visas and work in the black economy if we are not careful. And so on.
    We need to explicitly exclude ourselves from and agreements between the EU and the rest of the world. We can do our own deals. And our deals on work visas with countries like India need to be a lot more protective of the British workforce.

  18. David Cockburn
    Posted September 3, 2016 at 7:48 am | Permalink

    Sounds like a Plan. Let’s do it.

  19. agricola
    Posted September 3, 2016 at 7:49 am | Permalink

    Is there a subtle difference between being in the Single Market and being a tariff free trader with the EU. Is the Single Market a legal entity that has privileges and obligations. If it is I want none of it. The EU should be just another customer whose rules we comply with just as we would if they were China, Japan, or Australia. This point needs absolute clarification before we begin believing we wish to be part of it.

    Your point 4 only scratches the surface. We need to clarify the freedom of the 2,000,000 EU citizens already in the UK whether they are working or retired because a sensible attitude to them and their medical needs will affect the 2.000,000 UK citizens who work or are retired in the EU with similar medical needs. Reciprocal medical arrangements such as we already have, paid for by the citizens country, are an essential component in any agreement.

    Does point 6. entail reversion to normal 200 mile maritime borders where these are possible, within which we police and make our own fishing laws. For the sake of harmony the change to our own fishing laws should allow time for continental fishermen to evolve a suitable business plan. As with our borders we need to invest in the policing element. A potential training experience for junior naval officers.

    All in all, not a bad plan.

    • agricola
      Posted September 3, 2016 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

      The Single market requires the free movement from one EU member to another of Goods, People, Services, and Capital. If we leave the EU, we are not a member of the EU so we cannot be a member of the Single Market. We can only interact with the EU in the above four areas on whatever terms are agreed. This has been emphasised to Mrs May by our Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson. If we have voted to Leave the EU then there is no question of us being part of the Single Market

      • ian wragg
        Posted September 3, 2016 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

        and we certainly don’t want to be part of the single market. we want the same access as the other 160 odd countries that aren’t in the EU.

  20. agricola
    Posted September 3, 2016 at 7:51 am | Permalink

    Is there a subtle difference between being in the Single Market and being a tariff free trader with the EU. Is the Single Market a legal entity that has privileges and obligations. If it is I want none of it. The EU should be just another customer whose rules we comply with just as we would if they were China, Japan, or Australia. This point needs absolute clarification before we begin believing we wish to be part of it.

    Your point 4 only scratches the surface. We need to clarify the freedom of the 2,000,000 EU citizens already in the UK whether they are working or retired because a sensible attitude to them and their medical needs will affect the 2.000,000 UK citizens who work or are retired in the EU with similar medical needs. Reciprocal medical arrangements such as we already have, paid for by the citizens country, are an essential component in any agreement.

    Does point 6. entail reversion to normal 200 mile maritime borders where these are possible, within which we police and make our own fishing laws. For the sake of harmony the change to our own fishing laws should allow time for continental fishermen to evolve a suitable business plan. As with our borders we need to invest in the policing element. A potential training experience for junior naval officers.

    All in all, not a bad plan.

    PS your system is throwing a wobbler talking of duplicate posts while failing to show the first post posted awaiting moderation.

  21. Mark B
    Posted September 3, 2016 at 7:52 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    And if they say; “No !” What then ?

    • sm
      Posted September 3, 2016 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

      Then we say: “Sorry, the cheque is NOT in the post this month, next month……”

    • mikebravo
      Posted September 3, 2016 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

      You will not get a sensible answer to that in cuckoo land.

      • Mark B
        Posted September 3, 2016 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

        Correct ! See above.

  22. fedupsoutherner
    Posted September 3, 2016 at 7:52 am | Permalink

    Great list John and something that should be done now rather than later. Also repeal the Climate Change Act.

    I see the G20 summit is about to start with the USA and China ratifying the Paris agreement on Climate Change. (Yawn). I hope we don’t go all luvvy duvvy and go down the same route damaging job prospects and the economy at the same time.

  23. Graham Wood
    Posted September 3, 2016 at 8:27 am | Permalink

    Dear Jean-Claude
    Thank you for your note and of course I understand your concern.
    However, I am not sure whether you realise the full implications of the historic vote to leave the EU by the British people, exercising their sovereign democratic right of self governance.
    The vote was not only a de facto rejection of EU membership but also by implication a rejection of all the EU treaties formally entered into by British governments, including the Lisbon Treaty. The latter was never agreed by the British electorate, and post referendum they would never sanction a return to the status quo.

    I agree that this time of confusion and uncertainty should be brought to a swift close for our mutual benefit, and therefore I am instructing our Foreign Secretary to personally pass on to the Commission next week the UK Government’s confirmation that we have ceased membership and that further contributions to the EU budget will cease forthwith. (You will understand that this accords fully with Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty as formal notification which the Commission has requested)

    I enclose for your interest details of a 7 point plan drawn up by a senior UK MP Mr John Redwood, and will be happy for informal discussion of any of these with the Commission when convenient for you.,
    I trust this will reassure you of our intentions and I look forward to your confirmation that trade talks to our mutual benefit can take place at the earliest possible moment.

    Your sincerely

    Theresa May. UK Prime Minister .

  24. Kevin
    Posted September 3, 2016 at 8:45 am | Permalink

    JR writes: “amounting to the £10bn net a year we currently send to the EU and do not get back (emphasis mine).

    I would just like to clarify one thing here: if I lend my neighbour £5 and he gives me a gift voucher for W.H. Smith’s with a nominal value of five pounds, has he given me my money back?

    If we are looking at the same figures, the money we send and do not get back as a rebate (which actually is “getting your money back”) is closer to £14.5 billion.

    (As an aside, I would like to add that, from the point of view of control, even a tax rebate is still not the same as a reduction in tax.)

    • JohnF
      Posted September 3, 2016 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

      If we are looking at the same figures, the money we send and do not get back as a rebate (which actually is “getting your money back”) is closer to £14.5 billion.

      Yes – but the government are committed to continue funding projects which are currently receiving EU funding.

  25. Roy Twing
    Posted September 3, 2016 at 8:45 am | Permalink

    Point 2 – ‘ we are happy to offer them no change to current arrangements’ yet you immediately follow this assertion with ‘we stay in the Single Market as now, without the freedom of movement and the contributions’. That’s a (significant) change to current arrangements isn’t it John.

    It’s easy to see why you’ve been on the back benches for the last 20 years.

    Reply Yes of course its a significant change. The issue is simple. What barriers if any can the other 27 agree on and will they impose them against our wishes? If so, we can retaliate

    • turboterrier
      Posted September 3, 2016 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

      @ Roy Twing

      It’s easy to see why you’ve been on the back benches for the last 20 years.

      And it shows, when you think of what passes as senior ministers and what they have dropped onto the electorate during that time. That is the trouble when you think outside the box and take your brain into work and don’t leave it on the door of the chamber like most of the members. One bill above all others proves that, Climate Change Act and the disastrous effect it has had on this country

    Posted September 3, 2016 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    This is the best post I have ever seen from our host.

    David Davies need look no further for his Road Map to freedom. Why is John not a leading member of the Brexit team ?

    It makes perfect sense to offer the status quo because it will force the EU onto the back foot. It will ensure that it will be Juncker and Co in Brussels and the leading politicians of the 27 who will have the difficult task of explaining to their industrial base and the many millions of employees (who are also voters) why they want to place their lively hoods at risk by demanding tariff barriers with one of their biggest customers.

    Their response will be fascinating.

  27. Jane
    Posted September 3, 2016 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    Hahaha! This is a joke, right?
    O dear…With politicians of this calibre defining Brexit, the UK is stuffed…

    • mikebravo
      Posted September 3, 2016 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

      I’m afraid he may be serious!

    • libertarian
      Posted September 3, 2016 at 3:56 pm | Permalink


      Thanks, anything to actually contribute? Oh sorry you’re a Remainer you dont have any ideas or knowledge of business you’re just stuck in the past clinging to project fear .

  28. Bob Irving
    Posted September 3, 2016 at 9:05 am | Permalink

    A question related to point 2.

    We can initially agree on the status quo, and say the EU agreed. What happens when we start changing some of our laws (e.g. for businesses not dealing with the EU, or making in this country items to new UK regulations rather than EU ones which would put EU business in UK at a disadvantage)? Could that mean the EU may cry foul and the need to renegotiate?

  29. Malcolm Lidierth
    Posted September 3, 2016 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    It looks likely that taking back control of migration would result in only minor changes to net-EU migration in the short-term: we have an economic dependency on that migration which provides an overall economic gain for UK PLC.

    In the first instance, dialogue will be required to take back control. Not least because what little control we have will be reduced to zero as soon as Article 50 is activated and the UK is excluded from discussions. Brussels and Frankfurt will be motivated, as always, by narrow self-interest. France and Germany also, but with areas of mutual benefit. There is more scope for mutual benefit for UK PLC and the smaller and newer EU member states: in the short-term migration produces circulation of cash as wages are sent home: allowing poorer EU member states some freedom from the Brussels-Berlin-Frankfurt stranglehold they are presently in. That could only be of long-term benefit: providing an opportunity for growth that is presently stifled by the EU both in the UK and in those trading partners’ economies.

    Filling the skills gap is not a short-term project for the UK. A long-term policy that poaches exclusively highly skilled workers from European trading partners is unlikely to be attractive to them unless balanced by inclusion of the lower skilled. But, lower skilled migrants tend to be young: a positive for the UK with its ageing population, and a negative for trading partners with the same problem. However, cash flow to those countries would eventually produce economic growth and the medium to long-term opportunity for migrant workers in the UK to return to their home countries – an ambition of some, if not all.

    A shift is in any case is occurring in work patterns. Many high skilled workers will not need to relocate to the UK to ‘work here’. Much high-tech work, more as Industrie 4.0 takes off, can be done by workers who remain and live in their home countries. This is the market-driven and acceptable face of Junkers otherwise politically-motivated borderless EU.

    Migration policies will be a key element in the success of post-Brexit UK PLC. Free from the EU, the UK will have the opportunity to adapt those policies quickly in response to changing global market demands. We’ll need global migration for global problems but the large skills pool available in Europe should be drawn upon: it would help our European trading partners to free themselves, at least partially from the constraints imposed by the EU, and to benefit indirectly from UK PLC’s post-Brexit global reach. Those policies could provide them with an opportunity for economic growth presently denied them in the EU while they could remain part of it.

    We’ll need friends within the EU in the negotiations ahead. We won’t find those in Brussels or Frankfurt and they may be few in number in Berlin and Paris. Let’s not lose them elsewhere in the EU by pandering to the xenophobes at home: the official Leave campaign made clear in the referendum debates that control of migration would not necessarily equate to substantial reduction. There’s nothing new or radical here. It’s how Britain has worked with Europe for millennia.

    The real problem is not migration but mis-management of it. Let’s earmark some of the cash the UK earns through migration to support infrastructure investment, e.g. in housing, schools and health, to support those migration levels to the benefit of citizens and migrants alike. The added economic stimulus this would provide would be more effective and less distorting than the QE presently being employed by the BoE.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted September 3, 2016 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

      “There is no evidence of any significant economic benefit to the UK population from current levels of immigration”

      Nevertheless, this is something which can be debated once we have control.

  30. Bert Young
    Posted September 3, 2016 at 9:29 am | Permalink

    The Action Plan makes a great deal of sense . Hopefully David Davis will read it and agree . Bureaucracy – whether its from the EU or from our Civil Service , can create havoc and hamper our withdrawal .

    Many attempts are being made to prevent Brexit by individuals , organisations and ex Politicians . The media – particularly the BBC , love this ; they don’t seem to understand that the basic democracy of this country has spoken and demands that it is honoured and obeyed .

    Alternative views in an intelligent and respected society are bound to exist and should always be taken into any judgement , but , there are times when a line has to be drawn and a full stop put to the bickerings .

  31. Martin Chainani
    Posted September 3, 2016 at 9:39 am | Permalink

    Deluded fool we thinks we can have our cake and eat it! That’s not how life works

    • libertarian
      Posted September 3, 2016 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

      Martin Chainani

      Yes they are deluded , thats why we voted to leave. Those of us with significant businesses actually do know how to trade and do business internationally , we do know what a strong negotiating point is and we are well aware how much better off we’d be if we actually left the so called but laughable single market altogether

      Tell you what why dont you tell us how life works ?

    Posted September 3, 2016 at 9:44 am | Permalink

    The Irish border would still be a problem. Our world is awash with people who care not for work permits/visas/passports/permissions/privacy /respect for other people’s countries, belongings and laws.
    Proper punishment for those entering our land without permission is necessary…. a bit more than “They are being questioned by Home office officials”

  33. Jay
    Posted September 3, 2016 at 10:08 am | Permalink

    So we are “…offering to keep all rules, laws and trade arrangements”. That will disappoint anyone who voted Leave on the basis of EU laws being foisted on the UK. In the EU at least we had a say in those laws, under these proposals we won’t.

    In other words John Redwood is advocating giving up even more sovereignty to the EU than we already have done.

  34. Kenneth
    Posted September 3, 2016 at 10:08 am | Permalink

    Mr Redwood, your plan is practical and straightforward.

    Quite apart from some MPs’ objections, we need to ensure the civil service do not turn a straightforward process into War & Peace.

  35. Al
    Posted September 3, 2016 at 10:10 am | Permalink

    ROFL! You never really did run a bank, did you? Going by this pile of nonsense, I very much doubt you were up to the job. ‘Cancel EU contributions’? Seriously?

  36. Mike Scott
    Posted September 3, 2016 at 10:20 am | Permalink

    8. City firms’ competitors sue EU member states for allowing them access to the EU market, and obviously win, since there is no longer any legal basis for such access. The access is removed, and we lose our major export industry. 2 million UK citizens living in the EU lose their right to reside and to receive subsidised health care. Many of them return placing a heavy strain on housing and public services. The Good Friday Agreenment collapses due to the UK’s unilateral abrogation of clauses requiring the UK and Ireland to work together in EU institutions and the IRA resumes terrorist activity in Northern Ireland and the UK mainland. Spain insists on dual sovereignty over Gibraltar as the price for agreeing to undo any of the above.

  37. ian
    Posted September 3, 2016 at 10:24 am | Permalink

    The only people who do not understand that we have already left the eu are the government, parliament, establishment and bankers, the eu and the rest of the world already know this by the vote of the people on the 23th of june 2016, they are just waiting for a letter of conformation of that fact which should be sent before 1st of jan 2017.

    Like i keep saying, there is nothing to negotiate till you have left that because we are a sovereign country, we can do as we like.

  38. Antisthenes
    Posted September 3, 2016 at 10:30 am | Permalink

    How we leave the EU is being determined by what we believe about many things.

    1) Protectionism or free trade
    2) Statism or decentralised limited government
    3) Crony capitalism where capitalism is centrally controlled by the state (fascism) or free market capitalism
    4) Open borders and free movement or limited movement and protected borders
    5) Imperialism or Non expansionism and non intervention in the affairs of other states
    6) Liberalism of the progressive kind or liberalism of the classical kind (authority of the state and vested interests or the the right of individuals to make their own decisions, have freedom of speech, choice and expression and have their legal rights protected.

    The EU practices the former in everyone of those items on the list all of which are an aberration or should be to any decent rational person except no 4. No 4 however is the main reason that most voted to leave but it is understandably why. No 4 should be desired and should be strived for but it has to be obtained in a practical and controlled manner.

    Merkel did us a favour when she opened the flood gates to immigrants from all over the world and not keep it limited to within the EU. As without that the UK would never have voted to leave the EU as the other 5 real reasons for leaving would never have stirred the enough people of Britain to vote leave . So unfortunately when we do leave those 5 items will just carry on as before except instead of it being both Westminster and Brussels doing them it will be just Westminster. At least being there every 5 years we can determine which bunch of politicians are allowed to do it. The Conservative ones at least do have a go at curtailing the former in favour of the latter but not enough.

    Which of the former or the latter is favoured on the list determines the perception that a person has on what Brexit should mean. As it is multi choice it will ensure a multitude of different visions. The one most exercising the minds of people apart from no 4 is no 1. Convince enough that the latter of no 1 can be achieved without the former of no 4 and your easy leave solution can be implemented. After which it will be time to educate the population into wanting the latter in all of them and gradually accepting the former in no 4 (the only thing the EU is right on in principle).

  39. Kenneth
    Posted September 3, 2016 at 10:57 am | Permalink

    A few thoughts:

    1) Why do so many in the Brexit camp assume the end of free movement is a fait accompli or must happen? The referendum result gave no direct mandate for this. I am one of millions in the UK who like free movement, and have taken advantage of it myself more than once (and I don’t mean to go on holiday, as some like to conflate this topic with). I also love the diversity brought to the UK by the French, the Poles, the Portuguese and the Slovaks living here in our communities. I don’t want people from our neighbouring countries to be subject to the same immigration regime as those from the rest of the world, and as a Brit I don’t want to be subject to that kind of immigration regime in our neighbouring countries either.

    2) This ‘plan’ makes no mention of the devolved administrations. That is quite a frightening omission. Should they have any say in the design or implementation of the plan? What about the repatriation of powers which are not reserved to Westminster but which are also currently not intra vires for the devolved legislatures by virtue of being EU competences – won’t the consent of those legislatures for a change in their powers be either legally or politically necessary?

    3) How will single market law be (a) kept up-to-date, and (b) enforced? On the latter point, it might be worth remembering that the EFTA Court observes the case law of the CJEU – which is of course important for the homogeneous application of the rules of the single market.

    4) Finally, are you not being a bit disingenuous in suggesting that the machinery of government required to produce single market legislation carries no cost? The machinery of government which creates UK or Scottish or Welsh or Northern Irish legislation is not free, so why shouldn’t we have to pay something towards the development of single market legislation which we still intend to use? The UK is not some exceptional case, that can strut around the world stage like a spoilt child expecting other countries to do as we tell them. We should behave in a civilised manner, much as a private individual in their group of friends would.

    • backofanenvelope
      Posted September 3, 2016 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

      Your first paragraph Kenneth makes a point I have made before. All the discussion is about EU migrants. My concern is the non-EU migrants. Many of whom will never fit in with us. They could be stopped from settling here without any changes in our relationship with the EU. Why won’t the ruling classes do this?

      • rose
        Posted September 3, 2016 at 10:50 pm | Permalink

        They can’t because so many of them now have EU passports. Not just from France, Spain, Italy, Greece, and Germany, but also from Holland,, Denmark, Sweden, and Finland. Only the Eastern Europeans are still guaranteed to be European.

      • graham1946
        Posted September 4, 2016 at 10:49 am | Permalink

        ‘My concern is the non EU migrants. Many of whom will never fit in with us’

        If we maintain freedom of movement, what happens about the million or more non EU immigrants invited in from Africa and goodness knows where else by Mrs. Merkel, when Germany issues them all with E U passports as they will after 5 years of residency? Will they all fit in with us?

        At least with controls as at present on those from outside the EU we do nominally have some say over who comes here. The fact that the government makes a hash of it is no reason to support unlimited free movement from the EU which will let in the world and his wife by the back door. We need control of immigration from everywhere and the government needs to utilise it effectively. Besides, we are full up. We can’t cope as it is. We have taken more immigration over the last 10 years than any of the others. We’ve done our bit and need a bit of respite.

  40. stred
    Posted September 3, 2016 at 10:59 am | Permalink

    Anyone who thinks the civil service or pro-EU establishment will expedite Brexit should watch the current Parliament Channel programme ‘The long Goodbye’. The ex- head of the FO, an expert and a professor give endless reasons for delay and grudgingly concede that in the end, the decision will have to be respected- though when the dim plebs finally realise what the awful deal is, after years of negotiation,then perhaps they will need a chance to reverse the decision.

    The programme was made by the BBC and naturally the producer is female and the list of staff is so long it is difficult to imagine how so many people could have been involved in interviewing three people. Pure undemocratic arrogant propaganda by people who wish for international government by the elite.

    Posted September 3, 2016 at 11:01 am | Permalink

    It seems no-one throughout decades has seen a problem with persons from the Irish Republic entering the UK to live and work.

    Given the numbers, in political terms, there is no problem whatsoever. But on more than one or two occasions citizens of the Republic and those allowed to live and work in the Republic from overseas have come to the UK, borrowed money, got items on credit and then returned to the Emerald Isle without paying. Of course on individual cases—the vast majority are individual cases,- it is unprofitable and impractical for a finance company or those acting for creditors to discover the whereabouts which can change daily of such persons let alone take legal action.

    Millions of pounds have been siphoned away from the UK by such persons. Multi-millions if not billions have been stolen by similar cases of migrants to the UK ..going back to “somewhere in Europe” or “somewhere in Asia” or re-emigrating to Australia, Canada or the USA.

    In this regard, it would be wise of any government to talk with finance companies and other interested parties about the guarantees, legislations, multi-jurisdictions of practical debt recovery and indeed the granting of loans and credit facilities to people based in the UK.

    To bleed money from our country by migrants quite understandably sending money to support extended families overseas and to bleed money every time such migrants temporarily return to their homelands or permanently return is one thing. But to finance in effect the whole world via our financial system with non-return money is quite another kettle of fish.
    We have afforded such foreign “aid” for far too long. This needs to be discussed and agreed upon much more than in mere principle prior to formal Brexit.

    Landlords charge a bond to tenants before allowing them a rented property: a bond from a migrant seems sensible even if the bond amount is subtracted piecemeal from their salaries and benefits on a weekly basis. This bond could have a sugar-coat in that it could be returned on a migrant leaving the country or otherwise, with interest and/or a bonus.

  42. Luke
    Posted September 3, 2016 at 11:02 am | Permalink

    “By offering to keep all rules, laws and trade arrangements relevant to trade and investment…” That just doesn’t work, as you know well.

    There are thousands of EU regulations. Which ones are “relevant to trade and investment”? Who decides? Us or the EU?

    There are are hundreds of UK statutory instruments implementing EU directives. Which ones are “relevant to trade and investment?” Who decides?

    There are (at a guess) hundreds of EU directives currently binding on the UK govt, but not incorporated in UK law. Which ones are “relevant to trade and investment?” Who decides?

    What annoys me is that you know this.

  43. Rodolfo Batticuore
    Posted September 3, 2016 at 11:14 am | Permalink

    So funny Mr Redwood. Tails do not wag dogs.

    Yes, in dollar terms the EU sells more to Britain than it buys. It percentage terms however, UK represents less than 6% of REU exports, whereas it buys over 40% of the UK exports. Luxembourg buys more than India, for example.

    You people have made a lot of money passporting financial services into the EU, while protecting the City by having special opt outs for quite some time. Most Banking services are not in the City because of the excellence of your (w)bankers; rather they have the lightest regulatory framework that still permits operating in a market of over 500 million consumers, the richest in the world. The amount of money that this has pulled into the UK, as a result of the unfair special opt outs, dwarfs the contributions the UK makes to the EU.

    When your demonstrably incompetent government finally figures out what it wants (and the reason it is dragging its heels as that it knows how bad this could go), you will find that the EU, as a matter of self preservation, will not allow you to have a one sided deal. Worst case it loses 6% of its market. You lose 40%, not to mention the whole point of the UK economy (an anchor for selling into the EU) as seen by most foreigners.

    World history is replete with centuries of examples of foreigners being ripped off for the sin of not being born Englishmen… this even applies to the Welsh and Scots, let alone the Commonwealth. The world has moved on, and the UK will find that in a global economy no-one is interested in affording special treatment for the privilege of helping the UK.

    • Tom William
      Posted September 3, 2016 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

      Surely the point is which countries make up the 6% of the EU trade which comes to the UK? Is Germany likely to stop selling cars to its biggest market or France to stop selling agricultural products to the UK?

      Business is business and most businessmen, of most nationalities, would say you are talking rubbish. Like it or not, the language of banking is English and the British legal system is respected rather more than most other countries.

    • ian wragg
      Posted September 3, 2016 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

      using the percentage terms is a straw man, the majority of the trade deficit is with France and Germany. We currently run about a £80 billion deficit with the EU and I’m sure they woulod want that to continue.
      Tell me how many Mercedes, BMW, Citroen etc etc jobs rely on the British consumers.
      Even stupid Merkel is making conciliatory noises.

    • imdbwiki
      Posted September 4, 2016 at 11:52 am | Permalink

      Wag the Dog. Yes good 1997 black comedy re power of spin doctors, elections, wars.

  44. Peter Thomas de Cruz
    Posted September 3, 2016 at 11:14 am | Permalink

    There is no mention of the rights of UK citizens to live and work in the EU in your plan. There are at least 1.2 million British people living and working in the EU if I am correct. Given that visa arrangements are reciprocal, is the plan for these people to return to the UK?

    My architectural practice works in the EU and I am allowed to practise as an architect in the EU under Directive 2005/EC/36, recognition of professional qualifications. What would be the plan for service industry businesses like mine? Would we simply lose the ability to practise in the EU or is it proposed that this loss will be replaced with other markets where my professional qualifications will be automatically recognised (currently there are none outside the EU except Hong Kong). If so, given that most countries are very protective of their home markets, where do you envisage?

    My son works in media and is looking to work in Berlin. My daughter is just about to graduate with a fashion degree and is planning to work in Milan. My nephew has a place at a Dutch university next year under Erasmus and expecting to pay EU fees. My son has a Belgian girlfriend and my other nephew has a Dutch one. How will my family’s rights to live and work in the EU be affected by your plan? Would my son and nephew be able to live with their EU girlfriends or would their girlfriends have to leave the country and apply for a work visa (assuming they don’t want to get married)? If British people lose the right to live and work in the EU, under your plan, what countries will open up to British citizens to allow them live and work visa free to replace the loss of the EU?

    Reply I have recommended all those here from the EU already can keep tgeir rights. ew work permit regime for the future limiting low pay jobs and peopke lacking qualifications. This to be reciprocal.

    • Peter Thomas de Cruz
      Posted September 3, 2016 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

      So am I right in thinking that you advocate continued free movement for all EU citizens to the UK and UK citizens to the EU with the exception unskilled people or those with low qualifications? Are you saying that there would be no cap on EU citizens coming to the UK, provides they are above a certain skill level?

      My wife is Swedish and her father has passed away. Her brother lives in along away away in Thailand and her mother lives alone in Sweden. It was always the plan that if she became infirm she would come and see out her days with my wife and I in the UK, just like my mother from Dorset might. I am sure you would agree that family support is important, both for moral reasons and also because it reduces reliance on the state. In your plan would my mother-in-law require a visa? Would her coming to live with us be subject to the capacity of a government immigration quota or would she be able to come whenever she wants? There are millions of British people living here with EU spouses who have taken it for granted that their spouses’ family can come and go freely whenever they want, just like Brits in the EU with local spouses have taken for granted that family from the UK can move the other way. If you spend any time on short flights to and from Europeans cities, as I do with my business, you will see the extent to which the British and other Europeans are integrated. British people with connections to EU countries through family take freedom of movement for granted in the way that Scots and English take freedom of movement for granted between Scotland and England. Would you envisage barriers being erected to prevent free movement of the families of British people who are EU citizens? My family, for example, would end up being split across an external EU border, not least because 3 of my children have British passports and 2 have Swedish passports. How would leaving the EU be a benefit to me and the millions of mixed UK/EU families and what would your plan put in place to prevent a ‘Berlin Wall’ being erected between UK/EU families?

    • Anonymous
      Posted September 5, 2016 at 12:16 am | Permalink

      We’ll have them back if the worst comes to the worst.

      We know they’re worth it.

    Posted September 3, 2016 at 11:18 am | Permalink

    No. 6: Fishing

    Our fishing boat skippers are not suddenly going to start borrowing money to order the building of new boats and recruiting crews ( the crews would need training and refresher training anyway, now, thanks to the EU ). Also, the French have political uncertainties ( Right and Left in dealing with the possible bankruptcy and unemployment resulting from the renegotiations of fishing rights. ). Easing French political reorganisation may help us with other bilateral negotiations. In short, both sides have and need time…in this regard.

    • Chris S
      Posted September 3, 2016 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

      I have proposed previously here that now we have Brexit, the Government should commission the construction of a new fishing fleet, built in British yards and lease the boats on favourable terms to British seafarers who will give an undertaking to employ British crews including a percentage of apprentices.

      We will be free to impose these conditions once we have left the EU.

  46. Anonymous
    Posted September 3, 2016 at 11:21 am | Permalink

    Thanks JR.

    I’ll keep the link to send to those tiresome people who say “whaddabout the plan ???”

    • Ldippy
      Posted September 5, 2016 at 12:59 am | Permalink

      This isn’t a plan, it is a fantasy. Redwood is a back-bencher who command little respect in his own party, let alone parliament or the country. Any fool can trot out a wish-list such as this.

      This ‘plan’ has more holes in it that a colander.

  47. Dung
    Posted September 3, 2016 at 11:25 am | Permalink

    Theresa May is quite probably making lots of decisions but is just not talking about it; a decision was certainly made to scrap a unique warship recently, fighting mythical climate change is going ahead, a decision seems to have been communicated to the Chinese about a Hinkley Point decision this month. This policy of not talking to us is the complete opposite of Cameron but just as annoying.

  48. mickc
    Posted September 3, 2016 at 11:28 am | Permalink

    Looks a very sound plan of action!

    Regrettably there is no chance whatsoever of it being implemented.

  49. Andrew Evans
    Posted September 3, 2016 at 11:41 am | Permalink

    You are delusional.
    They will just tell us to get stuffed.
    Whereupon we will lose single market access.
    Tariffs will be imposed.
    Passporting will not happen.
    Millions of jobs will be put at risk.

    Great advice John.

    • ian wragg
      Posted September 3, 2016 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

      Millions of jobs will be put at risk, probably at Mercedes, BMW etc etc.

      • Andrew Evans
        Posted September 4, 2016 at 7:32 am | Permalink

        Lol. I think Mercedes will survive a 20% drop in UK car sales.
        More delusion from another little Englander.

  50. Glyn Davies
    Posted September 3, 2016 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    You missed the steop where you put your fingers in your ears an go “la,la,la”.

  51. Xeelee
    Posted September 3, 2016 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

    Dear Mr Redwood,

    On item 2 above, you appear to suggest that the UK will, unilaterally, declare itself not bound by its treaty obligations under the EU Treaties, as regards to (at least) free movement of labour and contributions to the EU budget. But on the other hand, you state that the UK will remain a member of the EU Single Market (the goods, services and capital parts). This obviously means that you expect the other 27 Member States to uphold their treaty obligations towards the UK, while the UK reserves the right to renege on its obligations towards the other 27.

    I do not understand how this could be defended as a legal matter. Perhaps you would care to elaborate on this point in further postings.

    Reply We have a treaty right to renounce the treaty and they have a trade need to avoid tariffs.What dont you understand about this?

    • Xeelee
      Posted September 3, 2016 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

      I certainly agree that the UK has the right to exit the EU under Article 50 TEU, leading (in due time) to the complete cessation of the rights and obligations under the EU Treaties with respect to the UK. I cannot agree, however, that the UK has a legal right to unilaterally renounce certain rights and obligations in treaties it has solemnly concluded, while expecting the other parties to the treaties to uphold their obligations. Nor can I imagine that any other EU Member State would be willing to countenance such behavior from the UK without taking retaliatory action.

      Reply Its in their interest not to impose tariffs!

  52. Alan Bell
    Posted September 3, 2016 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

    That isn’t how it works. When the treaties don’t apply to us we can’t just say “lets just carry on” because Europe must give most favored nation status to WTO partners where there isn’t a bilateral treaty. That means they must treat us like countries such as China and apply the same external tariffs to us. If they don’t then we are being more favored than China and the tariffs they apply to Chinese goods suddenly become illegal. If you want a bilateral trade agreement with the EU on the same terms we have now then you have to negotiate to get such a thing. Yes, your opening position can be “we suggest the same as we have now, but without contributing to the budget or having freedom of movement” but that will not be the closing position.
    You don’t appear to have addressed the questions of the border with Ireland or how to avoid any deal being vetoed by Spain who wishes to not establish a precedent for catalonian separatists, want their flag on Gibraltar, and access to all our fisheries and to not pay for the healthcare of our elderly expats. If our intrepid negotiators get close to a deal but fall out with Spain towards the end and we drop to WTO with no schedules then ships will not dock and the stores will empty. It will be considerably more disruptive than the Hanjin bankruptcy that is currently playing out. Yes we have a trade deficit, that means we are not self-sufficient and it is not a sign of strength.
    If you could expand on your plan and maybe get a grown-up to check it for you that would be much appreciated.

    Reply You miss the main point. We are not seeking any changes to the trade arrangements. They will need unanimity to propse changes!

    • Alan Bell
      Posted September 3, 2016 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

      Your reply is spectacularly factually wrong. We will be exiting from the treaties and being out of scope of the preferable trading arrangements that the tighter integration provided. I expect there will be a reality check at some point. Do you not have some advisors who can explain how the WTO works and what a regional free trade area is and how the Most Favored Nation principal works? If we can exit the EU and remain in EFTA then we would get roughly the free trade you want, but that comes with contributions and free movement (Norway model) if we exit EFTA we get MNF tariffs. If we decide to do discriminatory tariffs then nobody likes us and we essentially impose economic sanctions upon ourselves.

    Posted September 3, 2016 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

    There is a particular difficulty or migrants from smaller EU-nation states, I believe one would be Lithuania. It does not allow dual nationality. Its citizens may very well wish to stay here in the UK for the rest of their lives. But historically, let’s be honest, Lithuania along with other Baltic and southern European states are not stable. Their citizens here fear effectively being locked out, at some historical stage beyond their power to change, of their countries of origin..access to parents, cousins and other relations etc.
    Some understanding needs to be reached enabling Lithuanians and others to become British without fear from inevitable political developments in their original homelands.

    • Anonymous
      Posted September 3, 2016 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

      CH – Please don’t mistake this comment for bigotry, it is a simple statement of fact which I cannot put as delicately as I’d like to:

      They can go back now if it’s too big an issue for them. Matters of national importance must not be influenced by such things and I can think of no other nation that would bend over backwards in this way.

  54. Denis Cooper
    Posted September 3, 2016 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

    “‘World in despair over Brexit’: Thousands march for Europe in protests across UK”

    It takes all sorts.

  55. newmania
    Posted September 3, 2016 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

    Why oh why does Mr Redwood not go to Norway or Switzerland and tell them that had they written an offer as drafted by him they could have remained in the single market whilst ignoring all the political; framework that created it and makes it possible .It’s so simple !!!
    You would think this sort of fantasy would be confined to the outer reaches of the insane but I heard QT on Radio 4 just now and heard at least two of the speakers making precisely the same farcical and mendacious claim
    The stau8s quo is that in the EU you have full access, out you have nothing . That where we start. On the occasions when we are present and our fate is not simply decided by the members ,as is their right, we will have to negotiate with the European Council commission and Parliament and any agreement will require the agreement of all 27 member states .
    We will also have to re-join the WTO on our own behalf and whilst we might hope to re sign the many trade deals as before this is not a done deal and many may well take advantage of our weakness to force us into renegotiation
    The EU certainly will with Frankfurt and Paris gagging to take over as the regional hub for financial services . As this dependent on pass porting which it would appear is almost given up already , we are facing a long walk off a short pier .Pity about all the jobs and the decimation of the Southeast economy( the only tax exporting region ) but never mind eh what’s the destruction of a country if we can rid ourselves of the Poles .

    This is the fundamental lie and let it never be forgotten that this claim was made and who made it.

    • Edward2
      Posted September 3, 2016 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

      Strange how many nations currently trade happily with Europe without agreeing to freedom of movement nor being in the single market.

    • Anonymous
      Posted September 4, 2016 at 9:44 am | Permalink

      Neither Frankfurt nor Paris is trusted like London. God knows why, but there you have it.

      If you keep slapping around vast swathes of our population with uncontrolled immigration there will be consequences and in Brexit we have it.

      Your position (Newmania) is that the feelings and will of the majority of the old and working class should be ignored. You almost seem to suggest that they should be disinfranchised – either because they are ‘too old’ or ‘too uneducated’.

      Thank you for proof for all to see that the lofty elite does actually exist and is not a figment of our paranoid imaginations – it’s not paranoia if they really are out to get us and you confirm it.

      And whom do you cite in support of your claim that the EU is best over the collective wisdom of our elderly ? The Pokomon Go generation ?

      Please calm down the hysteria and be rational, man. Then people might actually start listening to you.

  56. Anonymous
    Posted September 3, 2016 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

    I see the Remain brigade are out marching. “The 48% can’t be ignored !”


    Can we please dispense with the falsehood that the EU is a force for unity. It has our country dangerously divided.

    It has families and friends divided.

    It has even individuals divided “My heart says Out – my mind says In”

    On this national division (and the unhappiness on both sides) only an utter fool can conclude that the EU has been a good thing.

    From the aggressive and insulting tone of Newmania and the passively aggressive tone of PvL I now understand how countries are driven to civil war.

  57. Dioclese
    Posted September 3, 2016 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

    We need to invoke article 50 BEFORE anything goes to the High Court. That should save a packet in legal costs and pre-empt any case brought.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted September 3, 2016 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

      ? Too late. More important now, the government should be prepared to invoke it instantanously after the UK Supreme Court says that it can, before the bad losers
      have any chance to appeal to the EU’s Court of Justice.

  58. DaveM
    Posted September 3, 2016 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

    Good plan Mr R, but sooner rather than later. People don’t start swimming until you push them into the pool.

  59. Bryan Harris
    Posted September 3, 2016 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

    John – Won’t there be a slight issue with using an Act of Parliament to get out?

    Already the remainers are pushing to delay all BREXIT proceedings, and we have to ask ourselves if the Tories would get a majority to pass this bill.

    Item 6 – we should not allow EU countries any special priveleges – they’ve done enough to ruin the fishing stock.

    Item 7 – The second clause should have a date ascribed, so that if EU laws haven’t been absorbed into UK law by a given date then they expire…… Or failing that implement item 8


  60. brian fisher
    Posted September 3, 2016 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

    Unfortunately this is wishful thinking. Once we declare article 50 we have little or no power to influence what they do to us. In any case Germany and France will not agree to this because if it is attractive to leave the EU then it could encourage others. The EU is still one of the largest trading blocks in the world and imposing tariffs will have more impact on the UK than tit for tat tariffs to EU members.

    • ian wragg
      Posted September 3, 2016 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

      What a defeatist, this is not terms of surrender but getting back our sovereignty. We have an 80 billion pound deficit with the EU, why on earth would they wish to impose tariffs on us.

      • Alan Bell
        Posted September 3, 2016 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

        Because they have to impose the standard external tariffs on us if they want to maintain tariffs on any other country. This is how the WTO works. Every WTO trading partner is equally favored – they get the deal that the most favored nation gets. There are exceptions to this, where there are regional free trade blocks encouraging tighter economic integration. We voted to leave one, so if we leave it we will no longer be within it. Therefore we will be external to it, and get the tariffs and quotas that go along with that. We can’t be given special treatment or every other trading partner of the EU will get the same special treatment. They might not *want* to impose tariffs on us, but they might not want to drop tariffs on (considerably larger) trade with the USA, Russia and China.
        It isn’t about being defeatist, it is having a grounding in reality. We can seek a deal that involves tighter integration, like being an EFTA member, but that comes with obligations. If we don’t want that we *cannot* have this moon on a stick deal.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted September 4, 2016 at 10:41 am | Permalink

          But if they don’t want to impose tariffs on our exports to them, and suffer the same tariffs on their exports to us, then that is easily sorted through a preferential trade agreement. Otherwise trade between us and them would tend to decrease, to their net disadvantage, while the trade between us and the rest of the world would tend to increase, with the tariffs for that global trade being the same as apply now under the EU’s common external tariff.

          • Alan Bell
            Posted September 4, 2016 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

            gosh, OK, so the plan is to join the GSP (the EU PTA for developing nations). Well OK, bold plan, ensure we have a third world economy then apply for special tariff treatment extended to third world countries. That could work. What I really want is someone to express a plausibly legal plan. This, believe it or not is the closest to plausible I have seen. It only depends on convincing the commission that they should treat us like most of the countries in sub-Saharan Africa. As you will know the PTA isn’t reciprocal so we just need to work out if we are giving them a PTA too (I am not entirely clear if you *can* do reciprocal PTAs, they are mainly aid substitutes for developing economies

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted September 3, 2016 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

        Maybe it’s Stockholm Syndrome.

  61. SimonF
    Posted September 3, 2016 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

    Where’s the bit about maintaining those constitutional rights I was born with along with 64m other Brits.

  62. Dung
    Posted September 3, 2016 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

    John Redwood and Theresa May can say anything they like (free speech and all that) it is then up to the EU to respond, as John has attempted to explain to certain people on this blog.

  63. Don Dutta
    Posted September 3, 2016 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

    As a top level plan it sounds great! Pls share it with the Brexit Team. This should be the Strategic Architecture that supports our strategy for leaving the EU?

  64. ian
    Posted September 3, 2016 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

    Bond action failed again this week, i have been looking at a letter that the new chancellor sent to the labour chancellor in 2008 stating that he is fiddling the figures on pension liability of the country, to cut a long story short the then labour chancellor cut the liability in half so the numbers would look right in the book, it ended with the new con party chancellor saying that as of 2008 every man, woman, and child in the country owes 43,000 pounds each on pension liability and that was 8 years ago, it most likely gone up by now so i was wondering if the new chancellor was going to put this right and tell the people the real number and liability they owe going forward or would the number be so great now that if he done that he would have to tell the people that all pension promise by elected parties since 1950 are all null and void and can not be paid or would it be better to just to file for bankruptcy.

    Will the new con party government be making more promises that parliament can not keep with hundreds of thousands of oversea people coming hear every year and will all be needing a pension on top of the birth rate going up above 800,000 a year now or will the new chancellor try to improve on the death rate that the last chancellor left in 2014 of nearly 600,000 a year which is up nearly 100,000 from 2013, i can see that you i mean your party is now banning fat people and smokers from hospitals for treatment with more to come, if you get the death rate up to 1 million a year your party should be ok , if your party can keep it quit, that the best thing about have a bad health service, it keep the pension liability down, so no i do not see your party improving the health service because you cannot afford to do it looking at these numbers.

    Nods as good as a wink,

  65. Frank salmon
    Posted September 3, 2016 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

    Common sense should prevail. Let’s stop the pussyfooting and leave, become an independent nation and ask the countries we trade with whether they are happy with current arrangements on trade or whether they will want to tear that up for a new deal with reciprocal tariffs. Britain is almost unique in being able to leave the EU and benefit should there be retaliation. The EU will wish to punish us, but surely it has done enough of that over the last 40 years.
    Why should the WTO create another layer of impossibility surrounding exit?

  66. Hugh Gentry
    Posted September 3, 2016 at 11:36 pm | Permalink

    Do you remember the cod wars? EU member states are not going to want to play nicely with post-Brexit Britain because they are competitors, not our mates. As we saw with Greece, they are precious about treason and will do their best to make an example of Britain, at a time when Britain’s pro-austerity government has only succeeded in double the national debt. Going our into the world begging for trade is about the worst position we could be in. To think we had a sweet deal with the biggest market in the world, not members of the euro or Schengen and we threw it all away for the hope of sovereignty and border controls neither which we can eat, nor mean very much in the grand scheme of things.

  67. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted September 4, 2016 at 1:28 am | Permalink

    Your list is a good one.

    1. Put a strict 2 year time limit on leaving (preferably sooner).

    2/3. When we cease payments to the EC, there will be some tariffs imposed on us. We should import tariff free from the EU countries, on the clear understanding that the EU’s tariffs and non-tariff barriers on our exporters will be reasonably small. We alone shall be the judges of what is reasonable. We need to warn the EC and France in particular that we will retaliate with a vengeance against excessive non-tariff barriers.

    4/5. Immigration to be zero for 20 years, to offset the excess that has occured since 1997. Admission to be on the basis of one year work permits, renewable annually. This policy to apply to all countries, not just EU ones. The aims, as always, are integration and an end to ghetto-isation. There must be solid evidence that the population of Greater London is integrating, intermarrying and dispersing.

    6. Be sure to have the gun-boats ready.

    7. We will need to repeal all of our Acts of Accession to EU treaties.

  68. graham1946
    Posted September 4, 2016 at 10:58 am | Permalink

    My word, John, you really have drawn in the Remainers with this one. Never seen anything like it on this blog and most of their content proves why they lost the vote. They can’t visualise life other than being ruled by Brussels and it seems none of them are willing to accept the result and keep fighting the lost war. It’s like the Japanese soldier who was found in the jungle 20 years after WW2 ended, still defending Japan, except he had no better knowledge.
    You still have a fight on you hands to get Brexit effected which proves what we have been saying here since the referendum – get on with it- delay is no benefit and merely encourages the Remain deluded.

  69. S. Ian
    Posted September 4, 2016 at 11:00 am | Permalink

    ……no change to current arrangements. In other words we stay in the Single Market as now, without the freedom of movement and the contributions.

    The fact you still seem to think that other EU countries might possibly be open to such an arrangement only confirms my perceptions that at least 80% of the Brexit Case is based on wishful thinking (not to mention an inflated sense of self-importance).

    I live in the Netherlands, one of the more Anglophile EU countries. A possible increase in EU contributions as a result of Brexit is already generating hostile reactions across the political board. Do you really think even a Dutch government would let the UK keep the goodies without freedom of movement or contributions? Forget it.

  70. Andrew Chapman
    Posted September 4, 2016 at 11:30 am | Permalink

    By ‘keep all laws’, does John Redwood mean that we should also abide by all past decisions of the CJEU concerning trade and investment? Cassis de Dijon on mutual recognition, for example, which the Swiss announced that they would abide by unilaterally – without the gesture being reciprocated.

    Also, does JR mean that we should also keep all future laws for trade and investment? It would be a sort of EEA-EFTA-minus-lite, I suppose? Abide by the single market acquis, except for free movement of people, and have zero influence on making these laws, which we then have to abide by, and which would certainly not be made with our national interests in mind.

    I don’t think the EU would like this sort of shadowing of the single market, but without being subject to the supervision of the Commission, and jurisdiction of the CJEU. Free-floating, benefiting from free trade but not subject to the disciplines that the Member States have to abide by.

    Personally, I think we should leave the single market and aim for an FTA. I also think the EU would prefer to have an agreement with well defined terms, and mechanisms for dispute resolution etc.


  71. Andrew Chapman
    Posted September 4, 2016 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

    How would we go about ‘keep[ing] all laws … relevant to trade and investment’, as John Redwood suggests, if we were no longer a Member State? Taking, more or less at random, the Toy Safety Directive as an example, Article 1 says: ‘Subject-matter. This Directive lays down rules on the safety of toys and on their free movement in the Community’.

    We wouldn’t be in the Community any more, so all the provisions relevant to the second half of this, on the free movement of toys in the community, would not apply in the UK. We could hardly propose that all these Directives are amended to add ‘and the UK’ to the end of Article 1.

    What would all the references to ‘the Community market’ mean? Would the UK be included? Article 22 stipulates ‘Member States shall notify the Commission… of bodies authorised to carry out third-party conformity assessment tasks…’. Would we continue to notify the Commission? But we would not be a Member State. And a hundred other instances where the provisions and stipulations of the legislation would no longer make sense, so far as I can see.

    Perhaps we would say ‘well, we will carry on acting as if the legislation was still effective’. But what happens if there is a dispute? What Court would hear it? How could they reach a decision if the relevant clause referred to ‘Member States’, for example?


  72. Mark L'Estrange
    Posted September 4, 2016 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

    I think the German’s will jump at the chance for us to put 14% on their cars in exchange for all our EU financial services. That’s a massive financial gain with a small net loss in car sales to one country. UK BMW buyers might be a bit miffed at the Govt though for the extra tax on their purchase though … just sayin.

  73. Gary
    Posted September 4, 2016 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

    I do wonder if any of this ‘article 50’, negotiation etc., is actually required. We now have proof that Edward Heath lied when he took us into the EEC as he had full knowledge of what the ultimate aim of the then EEC was, I.e. To morph into the EU to become a European Super State. Had he been honest with the electorate at the time I doubt we would have stayed in in 1975. My point is, surely our entry to the EEC was therefore illegal/unlawful as it was based on a lie and the treaty signed under false pretences, so was not ‘legally’ signed at all! Surely that makes the whole thing null and void or am I missing something?

  74. Sam Stoner
    Posted September 6, 2016 at 10:16 am | Permalink

    So the UK violates its international treaty obligations, invites the EU-27 to continue complying with theirs in so far as that benefits the UK, and yet this is presented as “no change to the current arrangements”.

    Delusion upon delusion. When will you people realise, you can carry on til you are blue (sic) in the face talking about the UK wants, you will get none of it unless other States agree. And to enjoying the benefits of the EU while ignoring the burdens, they will NEVER agree

    Reply The Treaty gives us the right to leave!

    • Sam
      Posted September 6, 2016 at 7:14 pm | Permalink

      It does not give a right to leave unilaterally. The Art 50 procedures must be followed. Otherwise you are advocating a Putin-style disregard for obligations freely undertaken, and a UK whose word is no longer its bond

  75. alan riley
    Posted September 6, 2016 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

    I really do not think what Mr Redwood proposes is a credible hard Brexit strategy. We cannot just stand off from the EU and expect to continue to trade on the same terms. If we do not take upon the burdens and benefit of the single market, the EU will take counter-measures against us. It is a route to conflict with our nearest neighbours and the countries to whom we sell 45% of our exports. Although there is a deficit in goods with the EU, we represent only at most 8% of their trade, whereas our trade with them represent as said above 45% of our exports. The balance of the advantage is with the EU. The EU institutions also have to take counter-measures if they were not to do so the whole legal structure and of the single market would be undermined. This really is not a way forward. Hard Brexit is possible (see the link to my paper below). However, it will take some time to deliver. I suggest in my paper it would be around 5 years to negotiate an exit and trade agreement with the EU. We would also have to restructure our industry and our agricultural sector. This is a huge task but ultimately doable. If we were to Brexit in the way Mr Redwood suggests I fear that the immediate shock to the economy (take for instance the running of our supply chains across the single market) would impose significant long term damage.

    Reply Which countries want to impose tariffs? The average under WTO allows perfectly good trade but woukd cause problems for some EU agricultural exports to us

    • alan riley
      Posted September 7, 2016 at 7:32 am | Permalink

      This principally is not about tariffs. Let me give you two major examples:

      1. Supply Chains: Because of the single market programme, and the lifting of all non-tariff barriers in the late 1980s and early 1990s, European industries re-structured themselves so production and logistics moved from being solely national, to becoming regional or European. This was reinforced by a wave of mergers (assisted by the EU Merger Regulation). As a consequence a large part of British industry relies on European supply chains. If we are outside the EU, (in fact even in the EEA) and particularly on the other side of the EU Common Customs Tariff (CCT) then British industry will face double tariff and double clearing problems i.e for parts moving along its supply chain it will face UK tariffs and entry clearing processes on the way in, and then EU tariffs (and higher tariffs still because of rule of origin provisions) and clearing processes back into the EU. The costs plus disruption to just in time supply chains would threaten a significant part of our manufacturing base. This I understand one of the concerns raised by the Japanese Government.

      2. Services: Around 45% of all our global exports are services. The WTO is substantially a goods treaty. Hence, the WTO does not provide us with an effective trading platform to sell services globally. This raises two problems for us. First, if we move to a WTO platform, the EU would still have significant access to our markets for goods but we would have far less access to their market for services. Second, our current services platform is a EU platform, through the EU services provisions and EU FTA agreements. These are very difficult to replicate. It is relatively easy to obtain a FTA in goods. However, FTAs in services, because they reach deep into national markets, require agreements on standards and some concept of mutual recognition take a long time to negotiate. Hence it is likely to take us at least 7-10 years to negotiate such agreements (look at for instance the recent Japanese/Australian and Chinese/Australian FTAs).

      Also i think the agricultural problems would be faced far more in the UK rather than the EU. First, currently 60% of our agricultural exports go to the EU. This would largely cease at the end of our EU Membership as tariffs on most agricultural products in the CCT are very high. We would also have to negotiate our WTO agricultural schedules and subsidies schedule with the 160 plus nations in the WTO. It is likely that in order to agree these schedules, and as the WTO operates by consensus, that we would have to open up our agricultural markets to foreign competition and significantly cut the level of production subsidies.

  • About John Redwood

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

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