My speech to the Commons during Wednesday’s Brexit debate

Some colleagues have already said that it must be our duty now to try to knit our nation together, to put the heat and fury of the referendum campaign behind us and to see how together we can build a prosperous and successful future for the United Kingdom as the country leaves the European Union. I think that that will be easier than the tone of this debate so far would give people to believe, because I have great confidence in the British people. I have spent a lot of time talking to remain voters, both before and after the referendum, as well as obviously encouraging the leave voters, whose cause I helped to champion.

The good news is that the remain voters are not, on the whole, passionate advocates of the European ideal and the European project, and that is why we will be able to put this together. According to polling, around 10% of all voters in Britain really believe in the whole European project—a perfectly noble vision of integration, political union, monetary union, a borderless society and so forth—but they are a very small minority in our country. I am afraid that we cannot easily build a bridge to those who want to be part of a united Europe, because it was clearly the view of both sides in the referendum that Britain did not want to be part of the single currency, the political union, a borderless Europe and so forth.

However, this does mean that an awful lot of the remain voters—the overwhelming majority, in fact—voted remain not to join the full project but because they had genuine fears that when we came out of the union, we would leave the single market. They felt that that could be damaging to trade, investment and business prospects. It is on that narrow point that the House of Commons has to concentrate its activities over the next few months, because it is on that central issue that our discussions with our European partners need to concentrate.

I am conscious that the business community has one aim above all others, which is to reduce or eliminate uncertainty. Having been in business myself, I know that business is about managing uncertainties all the time, but it is of course good if we can get the politicians to make their contribution to lowering uncertainty rather than increasing it. It is important that we all work together to try to reduce the uncertainty and shorten the time in which that uncertainty exists.

I am also conscious that we can lower uncertainty in two ways. As we approach the negotiations, we must first show that we are going to go at a lively pace, because the longer they drag on, the more uncertainty will develop, the more obstacles and confusions will arise, and the longer will be the delays that can hurt. So we need pace. The second thing we can do to reduce the uncertainty is to say that we need only to discuss a limited number of things. We can narrow the framework of the negotiation. There are many consultants and advisers out there saying, “We must scope and chart every aspect of all our relationships with other European countries, be they technically single market or EU or wider. We must put them all on the table, then throw them up in the air and discuss which ones should change and how stable they are going to be.” That would be a disastrous way to proceed. It would take too long, and it would offer too many hostages to fortune.

The Government are right to say that in order to have a successful negotiation that lowers the scope for danger and downside, we need to take those discussions at a pace and ensure that we do not say too much in advance about any possible weaknesses in our negotiating position. We should not open up issues for negotiation that do not need to be negotiated, and we should take on board only those issues that are a genuine worry to those on the other negotiating side and that need to be taken seriously because they have some powers over them.

The United Kingdom has voted to take back control. That was what Vote Leave was all about. That was the slogan throughout the campaign, and when asked to define it more, the leave side said that we were voting to take back control of laws, money and borders. So we know what cannot be negotiated away. We also know that the main area of uncertainty is how we are going to trade with the single market when we cannot technically be part of it because it includes freedom of movement and wide-ranging law codes over things that go well beyond the conduct of trade and commerce. It is not a segregated, integrated whole within the European Union; it is a central part of it and part of a very big consolidated treaty.

Jonathan Edwards (Plaid Cymru) (Carmarthen East and Dinefwr): The Secretary of State said something very interesting earlier when he said that he hoped to negotiate a better economic deal than membership of the single market. As a prominent Brexiteer, can the right hon. Gentleman explain how that will be possible?

John Redwood: I do not recall the Secretary of State saying that at all. He was saying that we could have a better relationship than simply relying on World Trade Organisation rules. I have good news, however. If we were to have to fall back on WTO rules, this country would be able to trade perfectly successfully with the rest of the EU and would be free to have much better trade deals with the rest of the world, which we have been impeded from having all the time we have been in the EU.

Should there have to be tariffs, there would be many more tariffs collected on European imports into Britain, so we would have a lot of money to spend. We could give that money back to British people, so they would not actually be worse off as a result of the tariffs. Whereas, if we went the other way, the tariffs would be a great embarrassment to our European partners. I am very optimistic about our European partners. I think that they will want tariff-free trade. I do not see Germany or France queueing up to impose tariffs on us, so I hope that we will be able to get through this quite quickly and reassure them that we do not want to put tariffs on their trade either.

Mr Bernard Jenkin (Con) Harwich and North Essex: Is it not also incumbent on the Government to be mindful that article 50 was not put into the Lisbon treaty to make it less complicated to leave the European Union? If we try to include too many things under article 50 that stray into mixed competences, we will finish up with an agreement that requires unanimity? That would lead to a far more protracted negotiation than if we try to keep things simple. In fact, it would be an advantage to business if we could complete this in a much shorter period than the two years specified under the article 50 process.

John Redwood: Indeed. This is not a prediction, because I know that a lot of people have lots of good and bad reasons to want to delay and make this more complicated, but it would be quite possible to negotiate the trade issue very quickly.

We have two models available. My preferred model would be to carry on trading tariff free without new barriers, as we are at the moment. That is the most sensible model to adopt, and I think it makes even more sense for our partners, who are much more successful at selling to us than we are to them. I have not yet heard them say that they want to impose barriers. Then there is the WTO most-favoured-nation model, which would also be fine. If one wishes to have a successful, quick and strong negotiation, one should not want anything. We do not want anything from our former partners. We want them to get on and develop their political union in the way that they want, in which we have been impeding them, and we want to be free to run our own affairs in an orderly and friendly way.

We want to have even more trade with our European partners. We want more investment agreements, more research collaborations, more student exchanges and more of all the other good things we have. Those things are not at risk, and there will be an enormous amount of good will from a more united United Kingdom. [Interruption.] Opposition Members want to split us up by saying that everything has to go wrong. If they want us to negotiate successfully, they should show confidence and optimism—let us show that we can do this and be good friends with our European partners.

Helen Goodman (Bishop Auckland) (Lab): The right hon. Gentleman is absolutely right: we have a mutual interest with other European countries in continuing research projects and university collaborations. However, those things are part of the EU budget, so if we are going to do them, he will have to get off his high horse about not making any contributions to the EU budget.

John Redwood: We will behave like all other independent countries of the EU and have lots of collaborations with them. We will have agreements on those collaborations as the need arises. The important thing is that we will have taken back control.

I urge the Labour party to understand that I and people like me are passionately in favour of parliamentary democracy. That is why we waged the long campaign that we had. I have every confidence that Parliament will rise to this occasion. Today is a good example of that. The Opposition had time and allotted it to this crucial subject.

They could have tabled a motion about the position they would like us to strike in the negotiations, but they are not yet ready to do so. I understand that, but it was in their power to do so. They could have tabled a motion to try to veto an article 50 letter, had they wanted to, but they were very wise not to do so because many of their constituents would have seen it as an attempt to thwart the will of the people in the vote. There is nothing stopping this great Parliament from doing those things.

I am pleased that the Secretary of State has already made two statements and given evidence to two Select Committee investigations. He was here in person today to answer the Opposition debate. We do not always get the courtesy of having the Secretary of State before us in an Opposition day debate. That augurs well for there being more scrutiny.

I am pleased that the main way we will leave the European Union is by repealing the European Communities Act 1972, because that means that the central process will be a long constitutional Bill—not long in length or wordage, I hope, but in terms of proceedings, as I am sure SNP Members will want to cavil over every “and” and comma, and they have every right to do so, up to a point. Parliament will consider that legislation and vote accordingly. That is exactly as it should be. It will be a great celebration of our parliamentary democracy, which the majority voted to strengthen, that we do it by parliamentary means.

The right hon. Member for Doncaster North (Edward Miliband), the former leader of the Labour party, correctly said that all the European law will at that point become British law—that is the irony of it—but we will do that for the purposes of continuity. Thereafter, we in this House will be able to judge whether it is wise or necessary to repeal or amend any part of that legislation. If it would have a direct bearing on our trade with the European Union, it would not be a good idea to do that without knowing that the EU was happy or that it would not react unreasonably. For example, when selling into a market, one needs to meet the product requirements, and things like product standards will be part of that continuation of the legislation.

The only thing about the single market that is really worthwhile—it is mainly very bureaucratic, expensive and pretty anti-enterprise—is that it provides common product specifications and standards, so that if a washing machine is saleable in France, it is also saleable in Greece. The great news is that when we are out of the EU, that will still be true. It is an advantage for an American exporter into the EU, just as it is for a UK exporter into the EU. When we are in a similar position to America—a friendly independent country trading with the EU from the outside—we will get the full benefit of that.

Let us bring the country together. Let us show that we can be more prosperous and more successful. Let us show that our trade is not at risk. Let us be confident in our negotiation. Let us not use this place to make all manner of problems that will give those who want to wreck our negotiation good comfort, support or extra research. Let us show how everything we do can create more jobs, more trade and more investment.


  1. Mark B
    October 14, 2016

    . . . . remain voters are not, on the whole, passionate advocates of the European ideal . . .

    And that is what is at the heart of it all – passion. But that passion has to be tempered with informed knowledge.

    What is really irritating me is, the fact that everyone seems to want to re-interpret the question on the ballot paper to mean something else. What we voted on was to either remain or leave the EU.

    At the heart of this project, is the commitment to EVER CLOSER UNION. It is this single commitment by all members that drives the project ever forward. The people of the UK, knowingly or not, have renounced that commitment. What they have not been asked, or have the opportunity to be asked, is the issues that Vote Leave raised. Remember, we were voting as a single nation (UK) on a single issue, not a manifesto by a campaign group of Conservatives. Many people may have had other reasons for voting in or out, but those were not what was asked.

    For politicians of all sides to try and re-interpret the result to mean something else is wrong. STOP IT !!!!

    The Single Market / EEA is NOT the EU, but it managed by it. Those who oppose the EEA tend to do so because they lack any understanding of it. Like all things in life, it is a compromise and, on this issue, I believe it is one worth paying.

    1. James Munroe
      October 14, 2016

      In the EEA, what ability would the UK have, to take back control of our borders and to control EU immigration, without the use of some form of temporary opt-out?

    October 14, 2016

    The questions by Remainers and the answers they receive are repetitive. Silly questions in many cases, as you pointed out JR in your recent BBC interview with Kirsty Wark linked below—

    BBC Question Time last night was frustrating too. Most eloquent complaints from the Labour Party and the SNP are time-wasting. Annoying also because their eloquence shows intelligence that necessarily would invalidate from their own perspective the position they publicly espouse. So, they are playing to an increasingly empty gallery.
    As you remark in the second paragraph :
    “The good news is that the remain voters are not, on the whole, passionate advocates of the European ideal and the European project ”
    The Remainer MPs appear unaware that quite a number of remainer voters in their constituencies could very well have become Brexiteers after realising on the 24th June that their world had not suddenly ended after all.
    A Project Fear campaign would have even less success now. So, remainer MPs particularly in marginal constituencies, may face voter fire on both flanks and lose their seats. It is to be hoped they have not spent too much money recently buying in bulk ensuring certain products are missing more quickly from supermarket shelves.They are desperate. You can hear it in the tone of their voices and see it in the over-compensating exaggerated smiles. Shock and Awe.

    1. Anonymous
      October 14, 2016

      Mrs May’s ‘Hard Brexit’ speech resulted in a 17% swing to the Tories. So much for ‘Regrexit.’

      I believe a re-run of the referendum would deliver a more resounding vote for Leave but now it seems that it was all just a polling exercise, according to Remain.

  3. fedupsoutherner
    October 14, 2016

    I’ve just read this through quickly and haven’t had time to take it all in John but I must say what an inspiring statement you have made here. I just hope they listen to you. Why, for goodness sake, are you not in the cabinet? Clarification is what is needed and that is precisely what you give everyone. We need more people like yourself. It makes sense to get on with the process and not keep delaying for more and more discussion and whatever process you take, it will never be good enough for the SNP so we can all expect much handwringing and troublemaking from them. I just hope a few more in parliament can be more sensible.

  4. Duyfken
    October 14, 2016

    Were the Remainers to have their way, were there to be a second referendum and the previous result was (surprisingly) reversed, what then? The Government then would be obliged to advise the EU that it was all just a mistake and we really do want to stay as one of their members.

    The consequence of course would be ruinous in that this would be taken as a complete surrender to the will of the EU executive and to their federal aspirations. It would follow that the UK would be given no choice and be obliged eventually to join the eurozone, and in all other ways comply with EU directives. The UK, as the weak prodigal son, would also have lost its position as an effective voice influencing EU affairs. The rest of the EU members would rightly regard the UK as flaky and unreliable; they would treat with us accordingly.

    It would be much, much worse a situation than would have been the case had no referendum been held in the first place.

    No matter how desirable some may think it is to remain in the EU, it is demonstrably impossible to do so. For good or ill, the die is cast, and there is no way back—nor should there be.

    1. Mark
      October 15, 2016

      I think that is we were to have a second referendum the EU would have to make clear the terms on which we would remain. In order to be attractive, they would have to offer a substantial improvement on the terms negotiated by Cameron that we already turned down – and they would have to be properly guaranteed by full treaty amendment, not a vague promise. If they threaten us with worse terms for staying, then clearly we should go, because they do not really want us for anything other than our budget contributions. We are right to leave the abusive relationship, as others may come to agree before long for themselves.

  5. Caterpillar
    October 14, 2016

    And we now know following Mr Tusk’s comments that the process can be very quick – a or b. There is no room or need to negotiate, the EU’s position is clear so work now has to be fully focussed on the WTO-MFN route and all that that entails (and the consequences for Northern Ireland).

    1. Leslie Singleton
      October 14, 2016

      Dear Caterpillar–Probably not quite so simple as that because these EU Turkeys, sorry Presidents, don’t speak for as much or as many as they think they do. I reckon there is every chance reality will intervene (perhaps another country’s referendum, perhaps a strike in Germany, who knows) and Tusk will find he can develop some flexibility after all.

      1. Caterpillar
        October 14, 2016

        Dear Leslie,

        I think your point is well made, but if the German or French leaders don’t immediately disagree with Mr Tusk then he has effectively offered the opportunity to move forward with speed and clarity. This should be grasped by UK. Reality may well intervene but many years of uncertainty waiting for such reality will not help businesses or Govt plan.

  6. Roy Grainger
    October 14, 2016

    One interesting question is who we are actually negotiating with. One the one hand some recommend delaying A50 till after the German and French elections implying the leaders of those two countries are the most important, on the other hand Juncker has appointed Barnier as the negotiator, and today we also have Donald Tusk starting to negotiate. I hope our negotiators are smart enough to quickly start playing all these EU negotiators off against each other.

    1. Denis Cooper
      October 14, 2016

      The Council of Ministers will appoint the negotiator(s) and provide directions. Not Juncker, not Tusk, not the EU Parliament.

  7. agricola
    October 14, 2016

    A good and balanced contribution.

    Helen Goodman (Lab) seems not to have understood where the EU budget comes from. The UK, in not contributing to it in future, can use some of that money to continue research projects and collaboration. Where has this partisan lady been to lack such understanding.

  8. Bob
    October 14, 2016

    Very good Mr Redwood.
    You do realise though that the £4bn p.a. UK based taxpayer funded Common Purpose propaganda broadcasting machine is working against you every minute of the day, associating Brexit with anything negative, like the possibility of a small increase in the price of savoury spreads, or the increase in reported “hate crimes” (even though there has been no corresponding increase in arrests or prosecutions).

    etc ed

  9. Antisthenes
    October 14, 2016

    We forget that the bulk of the people of the UK do not wish to be part of the EU’s proposed political and economic union. Your 10% figure that do is remarkable at pointing out how few do. Meaning that dedicated remainers do not have the strength they believe they have to force a Brexit based on their narrow beliefs. You are right that the only thing that occupies most is the single market so that membership of the EU is therefore not essential. Trade with the EU is perfectly feasible outside and even under the worst conditions would not be onerous.

    Your speech was a lesson in how to dispel myths, misconceptions and to create a straight path through a boggy landscape set with traps by rogues and doomsayers. Set out in your speech was the way of how Brexit should be processed and what the objective should be. Simple in execution that cannot but ensure the realisation of that objective. Rational and sensible so is sure to fall on many deaf ears. Not many do rational and sensible that would go against their need to feel self important, undermine their ability to control the agenda and restrain them from imposing their own ideological vision.

    Hopefully the negotiating team do not have deaf ears and will adopt your plan because it appears to me that in doing so their task will be made all the more easy by doing so. Even so there is going to be a mountain of objections and barriers to overcome placed by the mean spirited and the misguided. It is something of a David and Goliath battle. Where the large hostile Philistine forces of the EU and remainers are ranged against the too few front line troops of the leavers. David (Davies) must again prevail otherwise our dash for freedom will be over never to be repeated with all that entails.

  10. Ex-expat Colin
    October 14, 2016

    27 countries…some hopes of pace there I think. Any common sense amongst them that might ease the process? What I see by the behaviour of the heavily lefty MEP rabble in Brussels our efforts are likely blighted from the get go. Hope I am completely wrong.

    I hope that a lot of people get to read the latest accounts of the EU and the error of the accounts. Thats apart from the huge waste of money – default condition!

    Annual reports concerning the financial year 2015:

  11. alan jutson
    October 14, 2016

    Well said John, shame so many Mp’s are still clueless and need to be told/given the facts and a sensible way to proceed.

  12. Hope
    October 14, 2016

    Tusk reported in the papers today saying the UK may change its mind over Brexit when it realises how hard it will be. This is why the scaremongering continues. The govt needs to serve article 50 now and instruct Whitehall that any deviance from its stance or undermining by civil servants will be challenged forcefully.

    1. Hope
      October 14, 2016

      Shultz making similar remarks. This could all stop be serving the notice. No need to start negotiations until ready. It will also bring the certainty these baffoons keep on about.

  13. Prigger
    October 14, 2016

    Several Labour MPs haven’t a wish to “knit our nation together”. Their raison d’être’ is the creation of division, angst, and a successless society. Then like tawdry knights-errant they ride to the rescue with other people’s money.

    What optimist would vote Labour? Which aspirational-Anybody would contemplate working hard rising and rising to the top of the ladder when a Labour Party tax-collector is perched there waiting to smack him on the bonce and thwack him on the nose in the name of Fairness?

    The Brexit vote in rock-solid Labour Party heartlands has scared their Party. As far as most of them can remember it’s the first time their electorates have not done as they’re told, living as they have, a laborious life of perpetual sulk and successlessness. Instead, they voted to love their Country , willing it and simultaneously themselves to loftier heights causing great jealousy and pique in Labour Party ranks. Labour really is, the Pique Party.

  14. Christopher Hudson
    October 14, 2016

    Has Theresa May installed the three Brexiteers in order to shore up her political position or has she put them there because she believes that they’re the three best qualified to lead negotiations and deliver the best result?

  15. Lifelogic
    October 14, 2016

    Well done, keep up the good work.

    I would have added to your last paragraph: Let us have cheap energy, abandon green crap subsidies, get fracking, have a bonfire or all the damaging red tap, cancel the white elephant vanity projects, cancel the workers and customers on company boards nonsense, keep the IHT promise that Osborne disgracefully ratted on, relax planning, build some roads, simplify and cut taxes, cut the size of the (largely parasitic) state sector, sort out the sick joke that is the NHS and go for some real growth.

    This would strengthen the pound for sure.

  16. Christopher Hudson
    October 14, 2016

    These negotiations will be a marathon not a sprint. In twelve months time we’ll see who’s been working.

  17. oldtimer
    October 14, 2016

    Thank you for posting your speech. You make excellent points.

    It is an unfortunate fact that there are some who, it appears, are seeking to overturn the referendum result, either through the current court case or bogging the issue down in parliamentary procedure. It is one thing to conduct due and proper scrutiny. It is quite another to seek to overturn the referendum result. That is playing with fire.

    As you point out, the issue the UK voted on was very clear – as I reminded myself yesterday by reading the leaflet circulated to every household before the vote by the Electoral Commission. Also both Mr Cameron and Mr Osborne were explicit during the campaign in their public pronouncements that a vote to “Leave the European Union” was a vote to leave the Single Market (Guido Fawkes recently posted clips of them saying so). Yet some MPs and commentators appear not to have woken up to this fact of life or have conveniently forgotten it or are deliberately lying about it.

    The referendum poll was remarkable because many people were persuaded to come and out and vote who had not previously voted in parliamentary or local elections. They were persuaded that this time their vote did count as much as anyone else`s vote because it was unencumbered by the distortions caused by unequal sized constituencies and FPTP voting. If the courts or Parliament were to overturn the referendum result then I believe that this country enters uncharted and extremely dangerous territory – a world where votes no longer matter.

  18. Iain Gill
    October 14, 2016

    Good but you could have pointed out that the mood of the country is very much demanding some proper immigration controls and quickly, skills already in oversupply should not be flooding in no matter where in the skills spectrum they are. The political and journalistic bubble fighting the people on this are wrong, and the people will prevail one way or another, it would be preferable for the peoples wishes to be dealt with quickly and sensibly.

  19. Sam Stoner
    October 14, 2016

    You really don’t get the tariff thing do you? If the UK offers tariff free access to the EU, it is legally required under WTO law to offer that to every other WTO member. Maybe you want that (though you might want to chat with our farmers about it). And if the EU wants to offer tariff free access to the UK, it is legally required under WTO law to offer that to every other WTO member. You might want to chat with French farmers about how likely that is.
    The only exception under WTO law would be to negotiate an EU/ UK FTA – well, get negotiating. Ten years minimum.

    Of course you’re wrong on the washing machines too, because you overlook the need for conformity assessment – which could be negotiated, but again, ten years minimum

    As ever, your prescriptions are completely ignorant of the law and the politics

    Reply The tariff free continuation of today’s trading would be filed as an FTA!

    1. Sam
      October 14, 2016

      Well there you go again, mr unilateral. Filing is invalid unless both sides agree. The EU certainly will not

    2. Denis Cooper
      October 14, 2016

      “The only exception under WTO law would be to negotiate an EU/ UK FTA – well, get negotiating. Ten years minimum.”

      Why should it take ten years minimum to negotiate a trade agreement which simply put the present zero-tariff trade arrangements on a different legal footing?

  20. Alan
    October 14, 2016

    Interesting that Mr Redwood acknowledges the benefits of the Single Market in setting standards. He could also have mentioned the benefit of the euro to our exporters, since it allows common pricing to all the Eurozone, and avoids the need to deal with numerous exchange rates and have numerous foreign currency bank accounts. The common legal system provided by the European Court of Justice also helps. The Schengen area is good for avoiding numerous passport controls and delays at borders.

    Of course it would be even better if we had a say in setting the rules, standards, and procedures. But even without that, and even without being in the Single Market, we will benefit from the EU.

    Reply We did have a say in setting the standards and the so called single market is now said to be complete, so what is the problem?

    1. Mark
      October 15, 2016

      Industries have long tended to use pricing in a particular currency and left the issue of local currency hedging to the importer, while hedging operations in countries with non-core currencies. Many chemicals were sold around most of the world in DM, and now are sold in euros simply because of the history that Germany was originally in the forefront of that industry. Oil and many other commodities are transacted globally in dollars, although sterling still has a role in a few markets (mainly some metals). Local marketing subsidiaries will set local prices in the light of import costs and competition: usually a multinational will have a treasury operation that sweeps up spare cash from its subsidiaries daily and bank it in its principal currency of operation.

  21. ChrisS
    October 14, 2016

    Hearing Tusk’s speech yesterday left me wondering whether they are really going to be so stupid as to damage their own economies as much as they are ours. If you believe his prophecies of doom, that is.

    He was right in one thing only : there is no Brexit other than a hard Brexit.

    They are not going to allow us to remain full members of their Single Market without Budget Contributions, FOM and subjugation under the European Court. We voted very decisively to break free of all three so that is not an option. However that does not prevent them making any other kind of Free Trade deal with us, if they see sense, that is.

    I hope that the British people are resilient and determined enough to dismiss Tusk’s suggestion that, if we are faced with a poor deal, we will buckle under their bullying pressure and reluctantly to stay in the EU.

    If they are so determined to do us down having voted to leave, one can only imagine what they will do to us if we cave. Having defeated Napoleon and Hitler, it’s unthinkable that we could be beaten into submission by the likes of Juncker and Tusk.

    Our Country would be a laughing stock around the World and we would not be taken seriously in any World Forum, and certainly not in Brussels.

    In short, we would never recover from the humiliation.

    1. Anonymous
      October 14, 2016

      “Having defeated Napoleon and Hitler, it’s unthinkable that we could be beaten into submission by the likes of Juncker and Tusk.”

      That was a long while ago and we are very different people now.

    2. Denis Cooper
      October 14, 2016

      At least Schulz has realised that they have a lot to lose:

      “Martin Schulz: Brexit risks ‘mutual humiliation’ of UK and EU”

      1. Mark
        October 15, 2016

        Best keep his man Verhofstadt away from the negotiations then!

  22. JooslsB
    October 14, 2016

    As long as Scotland is treated more favourably than England in this so called union, there is no chance of ‘knitting the nation together’ Scotland chose in 2014 to be part of the ‘United Kingdom’ yet every time something doesn’t go their way, the EU referendum being the latest example, they throw their toys out of the pram.
    No doubt, as England has no one to speak on it’s behalf, what Scotland wants, Scotland will get, especially if our self serving MPs are given a vote on Brexit

  23. Antisthenes
    October 14, 2016

    The Mises organisation believe trade treaties are an encumbrance to free trade not a facilitator of it. Treaties are just a mechanism to further protectionism as they set out what rules, regulations and terms that trade can occur. It favours those who are most able at working within those parameters than those who can produce the best goods and services. An example is the single market of the EU. It favours Germany above everyone else as it aids them to build on an already successful trade economy at the expense of others who are bound to that single market by treaty. A treaty that was largely written based on German and French standards. The French ones which are now seen to be not robust enough or as favourable to them as they appeared.

    This tells us that actually the advantage of not being a member of the EU is further enhanced by not being a member of the single market either. That we should be out of the single market and opt instead for unilateral free trade. Unilateral is a term I would normally use with some trepidation like in “unilateral disarmament” but sometimes it has it’s place as it can and does encourage others to follow suit. The Mises organisation does come up with excellent reasons as why that approach works. Too many and extensive to go into here but I would postulate that if we we were to ditch both the EU, the single market and adopt unilateral free trade we will be even more successful in become a global player again.

  24. Norman
    October 14, 2016

    After a day when the jackals were out in force, and every ‘knavish trick’ was on display (and more to come, no doubt) how reassuring and refreshing to read this speech – a much needed breath of fresh air. So good to see a sovereign Parliamentary democracy given due place, too, in a charitable and fair-minded way. This is what Brexit is about, and all our people need to value, above all else.

  25. Leslie Singleton
    October 14, 2016

    All this talk. We voted Leave not Partly Leave. How can there be conversation about whether the so-called Single Market is part of the EU? Of course it is. And how can the likes of Milliband and Clegg, of all people, be allowed to talk out of both sides of their mouths at once? As to what people voted for I doubt one in 10 had even heard of Article 50 never mind understood it and more power to them.

  26. Denis Cooper
    October 14, 2016

    “According to polling, around 10% of all voters in Britain really believe in the whole European project – a perfectly noble vision of integration, political union, monetary union, a borderless society and so forth – but they are a very small minority in our country.”

    That is perfectly true, opinion polls have shown that only a small minority of the British people are in favour of going all the way with the project to a single European government, and 10% may be on the generous side. Likewise opinion polls have also shown that only a small minority support unlimited immigration, or even support immigration any higher than it is now. It is not unreasonable to suppose that there is a lot of overlap between those two minority groups, and probably also a fair degree of overlap between those extremists and those who vote for the extremist LibDem party.

    I’m quite sure that Cameron was aware of this, which is why he attempted to achieve reforms which ostensibly at least could slow or halt or partially reverse integration of Britain into the EU and would allow the UK government to reduce immigration from the rest of the EU. Any such attempts were bound to run up against the intransigence of the leading continental politicians, and the main question was whether he would be able to fool enough people back home into believing that he had been successful.

    However while her previous and present party leaders seem to have understood this, the……. Woman of Broxtowe has never been prepared to accept the evidence of the opinion polls and still refuses to accept it now, hence her contradiction at Column 369:

    “Anna Soubry: … I do not agree with my right hon. Friend the Member for Wokingham (John Redwood) when he said that they were rejecting the European Union. Absolute nonsense! They were positively voting for our membership of the European Union, and that included membership of the single market and free movement of workers.”

    Out of the 48% who voted to stay in the EU it’s hard to judge just how many were indeed “positively” voting for EU membership, and how many voted Remain mainly out of fear of the predicted dire consequences of leaving. We know that about 44% of Remain voters want to see immigration reduced, which will be about 21% of all voters on top of almost all of the 52% who voted Leave, and we also know that only about a fifth of voters are content with the current EU arrangements for free movement of persons.

    If Cameron had decided to recommend that we should leave the EU, which he had said he did not rule out, and rather than starting up Project Fear he had told the truth, that there could be some economic cost to doing that but if so it would be small and manageable, then my guess is that the referendum result might have been 75% Leave 25% Remain.

    1. Denis Cooper
      October 14, 2016

      Well, JR, does she not come across to you as being a bit …….?

      1. stred
        October 14, 2016

        …….in need of a re-boot?

        1. A different Simon
          October 14, 2016

          No , just the boot .

          Whilst we are at it , Andrew Mitchell MP seems to think British Forces should be prepared to shoot down Russian planes .

          Is this chinless toff trying (along with the EU , Nato and US) to start WWIII ?

          I gave Mitchell the benefit of the doubt re the cycle incident but isn’t it funny how these sort of things always happen to the same people ?

          Sick of the arrogance and sense of entitlement .

          Another candidate for the Order of The Boot ?

  27. Bert Young
    October 14, 2016

    A fine speech John . Opposition seems to be based on wanting to agree every detail of our negotiating position , this is nonsense – there would not be the time and it would be foolish to disclose where we stand . That foolish woman in Scotland is determined to make Brexit an Independence issue again ; she does not listen to the outcome of how the Scots voted , she seems to think she can ignore democracy and simply have it her way .

    We must make it clear to the Scots that they are not in any position to stand it alone – even if their misguided leader thinks so . The Union decided to ” Leave ” and our democracy survives . When March comes the air will be a lot cleaner .

  28. A different Simon
    October 14, 2016

    Quote : “around 10% of all voters in Britain really believe in the whole European project—a perfectly noble vision of integration, political union, monetary union, a borderless society and so forth”

    The Leavers understood what they were voting for ; self determination .

    From your figures , it would appear that only 10%/48% i.e. approx 1 in 5 Remainers really understood they were voting for a “Supranational/World Govt” model vs “Nation State” model .

    From my discussions with Remainers , I think a fair few of the other 4 out of 5 Remainers had economics as their only criterion .

    They thought we could carry on for a few more years with the current arrangements before having to make the Brexit decision .

    That would be a very dangerous game . In the words of Michelle Shocked ; “The Secret of a long life is knowing when it’s time to go” .

    Is it only the political class who believe in the whole European project or does it really have majority support from ordinary Frenchman , Germans , Italians and Poles ?

  29. stred
    October 14, 2016

    Mr Grieve of the Remain please side was on LBC a couple of days ago while commuting, or trying to, and gave his lawyers opinion on just how complicated and time consuming the negotiations will be. It reminded me why I avoid lawyers like the plague and how they conjure up all sorts of nonsensical details to spin out the very high time charges. It would not surprise me if the first judgement went against the Leave side, followed by several appeals, resulting in huge expense and delay until we had forgotten the result of the referendum. Of course the answer would be for the Commons to put them in their proper place, but that would not be possible because so many MPs are lawyers or Remainers. I do not use the term Remainiacs, as to do so may be a hate crime as defined by operational guidance for the plods, sorry the police,and JR’s blog may be reported by a third party for unfriendliness.

  30. Denis Cooper
    October 14, 2016

    Off-topic, it’s quite amusing that while inside the court counsel solemnly assures the judges that his client is only interested in ensuring that all proper constitutional requirements are fulfilled, and is certainly not trying to block our exit from the EU, supporters outside the court are holding up EU flags and a placard saying “Article 50 is a suicide note”:

    “UK’s Brexit vote had no constitutional substance, court hears”

    I suppose one could ask about the constitutional substance of the letters patent which ennobled the lead counsel, and the writ of summons which enabled him to take his seat in the House of Lords, not to mention the letters patent which had permitted him to put “QC” after his name; and indeed one might even ask about the constitutional substance of the 2015 general election when the successful candidates could have been left kicking their heels indefinitely while waiting for the writ summoning Parliament, rather than being there spending hours debating the European Union Referendum Bill 2015 which later became an Act by virtue of Royal Assent; all matters of those surviving Royal Prerogative powers which his client has dismissed as being “antiquated”.

    1. stred
      October 14, 2016

      ‘It was an advisory referendum, no more than that’, David Pannic told the court! His fees must be worth it if he can come up with stuff like this. Let’s hope his opposite number comes in with a copy of the referendum advisory leaflet sent out by the government at taxpayers expense and the referendum act passed by MPs by a large majority. We can bet the lawyers will be split down the middle though.

      One of the businesses paying for Mr Pannic is the boss of Pimlico Plumbers, interviewed by Andrew Neil. JR and other Brexiters had better be careful when phoning for someone to fix the toilet.

  31. Colin Hart
    October 14, 2016

    A small practical point: once we have left, what is the likely effect on British ports? At the moment they do well as global entrepots handling (and clearing for customs) goods destined for onward shipment to the continent. How do we ensure that continues?

    1. Sam
      October 14, 2016

      By staying in the EU

  32. BeeCee
    October 14, 2016


    May I suggest that you rephrase it into words of one syllable and send it to the Shadow Foreign Secretary?

  33. Brigham
    October 14, 2016

    The speech by Tusk strikes me as desperation. It is operation fear, but I think that the fear is inside Europe. The European experiment is coming to an ignominious end, and the cash cow is dying.

  34. Ed Mahony
    October 14, 2016

    I’m betting Theresa May really is going for hard Brexit but doesn’t expect to get it. That the only way to get rid of hard euro-scepticism is for the economy to tumble or decline over years (as a result of the advice and actions of Mrs May’s closest hard euro-sceptic advisers, with Japanese, Chinese and American investors, traders in general, and the pound reacting negatively to hard Brexit). Thus exposing the overall flawed position of the hard Brexit position (and the shambolic way the referendum was set up by Mr Cameron, with no clear directive what it was really about and the clear implications of that).
    And when the economy does tumble (with all the other unintended consequences of Brexit), she will then have expunged the Tory party and the country of hard euro-scepticism.
    I hope hard Brexit works (but i’m unconvinced – and by ‘works’, I mean economic prosperity for the UK and without destabilising the EU in general, including peace, security and prosperity, and the world economy in general), and if it doesn’t (with all the serious results that may follow), there will be a call for a new referendum. I only hope that she then goes on to try and reform the EU (not just get concessions for the UK), in particular over immigration.
    In the end, hard Brexit might prove as costly to this country as some Labour governments we’ve had in the past.

    Reply There is no such thing as Hard Brexit. We either leave or stay, and we decided to leave. Many countries who are not members of the EU do well economically and trade a lot with the EU.

    1. Anonymous
      October 14, 2016

      Reply to reply – I think Ed puts it very well.

    2. fedupsoutherner
      October 14, 2016

      @your reply. Yes, Brexit is Brexit and nothing else is Brexit. If we stay in the single market we have to let the EU dictate immigration and will have to pay a contribution for this. We don’t want this. We want out. How many times do we all, including yourself John, have to say this.

      Nicola Sturgeon is a joke. She goes on about independence for Scotland and then wants to be dictated to by the EU. She doesn’t understand though that people in the UK want independence from the EU. Same difference as Scottish independence except we don’t want anyone else dictating terms to us.

      1. Ed Mahony
        October 14, 2016

        As a strong British unionist, i think Brexit has only undermined the union (another unintended consequence of Brexit), not just rankling the Scots, but also the border in N. Ireland, and Gibraltar, and which might in turn give the Argentinians more pluck over the Falkland Islands. The unintended consequences of Brexit just go on.
        (Meanwhile, the Americans and others see Brexit as destabilising the geopolitics of Europe, when they want a strong and prosperous Europe for all sorts of reasons affecting international geopolitics in general).

        1. rose
          October 15, 2016

          Gibraltar is at risk while we are in the EU as Spain can take us to the ECJ in a stitch up. Ireland will want to co-operate with us as they did when we both opted out of Schengen. I can imagine them wanting to come out too now they are a net contributor and being bossed about on their tax arrangements. The SNP will use any excuse to fan the flames of Anglophobia, but they may have peaked now. We are getting on well with Argentina at the moment, better than we have for years.

          1. Ed Mahony
            October 16, 2016

            ‘Gibraltar is at risk while we are in the EU as Spain can take us to the ECJ in a stitch up’ – I’m sorry, but realistically that is not going to happen
            1) There isn’t the will in the EU to get involved in a dispute between the UK and Spain over this (not forgetting the role the UK has played over the years in being a military presence in this part of the world, especially during WW2).
            2) There would be strong international reaction to this since just across the water from Gibraltar in Morocco is Spanish Morocco (or Ceuta). Spain can’t realistically demand Gibraltar when it still holds on to Ceuta and the Moroccans want it back.

            If you don’t believe me, just speak to Gibraltarians themselves. They feel much safer inside the EU than outside as can be seen in their overwhelming support for Remain in the Referendum.

            The unintended consequences of Brexit are many.

      2. Brigham
        October 15, 2016

        If (Sturgeon ed) wants a new referendum to get Scotland away from the rest of the UK, she should have it in England. Everyone I know wants to get rid of the whinging Scots. See how she does without the Barnett formula.

        1. Ed Mahony
          October 15, 2016

          We are all stronger united as a country than split up, not forgetting the history and so much we have in common. Let’s please support the United Kingdom and not let is be undermined by some people in Scotland or England for the matter.

  35. DaveK
    October 14, 2016

    John would I be correct regarding the following comment?

    I believe the Lisbon Treaty comes into force with effect from 31st March 2017 and that one of the changes refers to the negotiations of leaving the EU. The change is from unanimity to QMV (55%/15 countries majority decision). Would this not lower the barriers to agreement and avoid the possibility of just one “difficult” country having the ability to veto the deal in a fit of pique? Therefore submitting the Article 50 letter at the end of March would be the obvious move to make.

    1. Denis Cooper
      October 14, 2016

      This is not correct. It has always been the case that during the Article 50 procedure the other member states will agree their common negotiating position by QMV.

      1. DaveK
        October 15, 2016

        Thanks Dennis, that means we don’t have to wait till then to activate Article 50.

  36. Yorkie
    October 14, 2016

    Last paragraph: “Let us bring the country together. ”
    The last time that was said the rebel leader of the Scots was bribed with “Lands in York-Shire. I’m agin it. How about Lands in Dogger Bank and a Parker Pen

  37. Atlas
    October 14, 2016

    I as a ‘Leaver’ was attracted to the idea that we could make goods to our own standards – not necessarily those of the EU – and sell them to ourselves and others around the world. The EU does not have divine insight into the best standards or indeed the best way of making something.

    1. Brigham
      October 15, 2016

      The EU appears not to have any insight at all, when you see what it has done.

  38. Lindsay McDougall
    October 14, 2016

    All of this is very wise. However, you must not underestimate the number, power and sheer malevolence of those wishing to reverse the referendum result or divert us into the EEA.

    Unfortunately, these include several pro-European Conservative MPs. Kenneth Clarke, Claire Shepherd and Anna Soubry come to mind. There will have to be a cleansing of the Augean stables before we are done.

    We need to rebalance parliament in favour of Leave, to align itself with the electorate. In the Commons the ratio in favour of Remain is 3:1 and elections are the way to rebalance things. UKIP has a role.

    The House of Lords, currently 6:1 in favour of Remain, needs rougher treatment. The appointment of 500 Eurosceptic peers is needed.

    As for international institutions like the IMF, just stop donating to them until they return to the purposes they were created for, which do not include propaganda.

  39. am
    October 14, 2016

    Not enough was said and you missed an opportunity that the eu elite are saying the UK has to be taught a lesson so that no one else will want to leave. The Eu is a system of tyranny and the people must be kept down. This, for may be good reasons, at the moment, is not being confronted by the UK government. But what a reflection of the eu that they must hammer the UK as a warning to their own people not to want to leave.

    Reply I agree, but I am trying to build bridges to the Remain voters!

    1. Denis Cooper
      October 14, 2016

      I’ve just been reading an article explaining the arithmetic of how they could hammer us “pour encourager les autres”, if they chose to ignore various provisions of the EU treaties and inflict significant harm upon themselves at the same time.

      The essence of the argument being that if trade between the UK and the other EU countries completely ceased then for us the loss of exports would be equivalent to 9.7% of our GDP while for them it would be only 2.8% of their GDP.

      There’s a small flaw in the calculations because we know that a certain fraction of our exports to the EU are actually just on their way to other parts of the world, and we could in principle send them direct rather than via Rotterdam, but I think the much bigger flaw is the assumption that all other trade would be unaffected.

      If such a trade blockade meant that 9.7% of our production could no longer go to the other EU countries then in theory it would be available to go to the rest of the world in competition with their exports. It may not be possible to predict how successful that new competition would be, but it seems unlikely that it would not take some market share from them and also depress the prices they could obtain for the share they retained. This would especially be so if the pound dropped further as the UK economy was damaged by their trade blockade. Simultaneously the 2.8% of their production which they had previously sold to their good customers on the offshore island would instead be looking for other homes around the world, once again tending to depress their prices.

      I don’t say that the net effects would be equally damaging for them and for us, let alone more damaging for them than for us, but I suspect it would be a lot closer to an equality of damage than the simple arithmetic suggests, and then the question would be whether the eurozone and the EU could withstand it.

      I refer to “their trade blockade” because of course it would be entirely theirs, like a repeat of Napoleon’s Continental System; we would be happy to continue trading as now, just without the unnecessary political elements.

  40. Richard Butler
    October 14, 2016

    There’s a problem though, Mrs May will surely want to show she assembled and won a good deal, in accordance with her narrative on the best deal for trade in goods and services, so although I’d be happy to walk today with WTO, I’m not sure Mrs May will think this is good enough, in the same way Cameron always felt he had to come away with something.

    I hope she’s brave and just goes for tariff free as is or WTO and let the EU grovel for our fishing rights, military enterprise etc

  41. Anna
    October 14, 2016

    An excellent, vibrant, positive contributionm Dr Redwood.

    I was one of the reluctant Remainers who was unimpressed by the EU project but feared the economic consequences of withdrawal. I am more confident now and wish I had voted Leave.

    One thing that troubles me, however, is that the EU Commissioners would not really welcome a smooth and amicable separation. Juncker and others have growled about punishing Britain ‘to deter others from leaving.’ There is widespread disaffection with the EU throughout member states and an easy exit for the UK might encourage others to withdraw with disastrous consequences for the the powers that be in Brussels. They might well indulge in negotiation by fatigue, drawing out matters until increasing uncertainty really does undermine our economy.

    1. Mark
      October 15, 2016

      I note that the EU is rather fond of punishing its members: it fines them, it takes over their governments, it ostracises them and denies them a vote if it doesn’t like their government, it robs their banks, it sends in large numbers of unwanted migrants. I wonder how long it will take others to conclude that it is better to leave an abusive relationship and join us outside the EU. The smaller it becomes, the weaker its ability to sulk and be petulant.

  42. Newmania
    October 14, 2016

    Anyone who has watched the contempt with which this country is being treated ,will immediately detect that Redwood is preparing to excuse the fact that we shall be dealing with our largest market on the same terms as Belize or the Congo. Great job
    Britain is not part of the single currency, the political union or a borderless Europe anyway so the fact nobody wanted that is irrelevant. Of course the remain vote worried about fanatics grabbing the reins on the back of lies and anti-immigrant feeling. Look at how right we were. That was not all it was though and actually I`m not sure I agree that the economy was the main problem( it was for me )
    Many people also do not like the inward looking bigoted anti immigrant appeals made by the Brexit side, the reduction of our status
    Vote leave was about finding out what we already knew .Lots of people hate immigration and very few people understand economics . The words concerned the EU and as the vote was won with a pack of lies the words are all you have if you really think you had a manifesto you need therapy for psychotic delusional syndrome ( or something ).

    1. Edward2
      October 14, 2016

      Belize and the Congo!
      You are funny

    2. Brigham
      October 15, 2016

      The contempt is from the rabble that are trying to reverse the will of the people. What a bunch. I thought Farren was going to have a seizure in the Commons. There were lies on both sides, but the clincher was how the EU has behaved throughout its time.

    3. Oggy
      October 15, 2016

      Oh here we go again – we were all lied to. You really are misinformed if not arrogant and ignorant of the facts. Do you work in Brussells by any chance ?

    4. rose
      October 15, 2016

      You continually project your own hatreds on to other people. Opposition to out of control mass immigration into a tiny overcrowded overbuilt island is not hatred of immigrants. It is a responsible reaction to an extreme policy, a policy which is going to land us in ecological and social disaster.

  43. Brexitedout
    October 14, 2016

    This is quite possibly wrong, but piecing together what is being said, it seems the mystical ‘single market’ of such importance must be the EEA. This is often advertised as the anteroom for EU membership. It is true that a country like Norway seems permanently stuck there. Even so, it hardly seems appropriate for a country leaving the EU to seek arrangements typically considered to be a prelude to joining the EU. At the risk of missing something, surely the UK must inevitably be a part of EFTA, short of an actual trade war (heaven forbid).

  44. Foodie
    October 14, 2016

    Mr Carney of the BoE looks forward to food price increases and a whole boatload of bad news for the UK ( of course due to Brexit )

    It is difficult to know on what he bases his conclusions. We are just weeks away from a US Presidential Election. A win for Trump is said to lead to a massive fall in American stocks and the dollar. A win for Clinton to a momentary surge in stocks and the dollar . But followed almost immediately by a fall in financial stocks because of her proposed bank-legislation and extravagant spending and then a big fall in stock prices/dollar. There is also not unreasonable talk of Clinton being impeached if she should make it to the White House due to continually surfacing hard evidence of certain events which her campaign blames on Mr Putin actively interfering in the US Election ( which is as likely as Darth Vader becoming Secretary of State ,Darth Vader is actually allowed to be placed on the Presidential ballot paper in some states, even though he’s dead, and unreal, and, I saw him killed by his son Luke Skywalker anyway. But I digress.)

    All results would point to the Pound rising against the dollar. The US economy has stalled, more or less, according to Yellen of the Fed. Then of course there are the German and French elections and an Italy which is on the verge of going broke.
    So where is Mr Carney looking for the basis on which he makes predictions? He even made a big mistake about the Russian economy at the height of sanctions. Today Russia’s credit rating has been upgraded to “stable” by Fitch ratings. Also her growth prospects are increased. Mr Carney’s prediction was that Russia would sink like a stone and never resurface. He smiled about it. One should not underestimate Russia or the UK for that matter. Etc ed

    October 14, 2016

    If Mr M Carney’s reported public comments concerning what our Prime Minister Mrs May can and cannot do, in his opinion, are correctly reported then he should not remain for a day longer in his position.

    1. Chris
      October 15, 2016

      I would agree and feel that he needs to be replaced swiftly. Mervyn King seems to be the man with the necessary skills, talent and foresight.

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