Mrs May’s speech goes down well

The Prime Minister’s Brexit speech was well crafted and delivered. Many Remain voters like the vision that the UK will have strong and positive relationships with the EU once we have left. They like the vision of the UK leading the cause of free trade worldwide, and offering continuing free trade to our former partners. The Commission may still want to find some way of harming the UK at the expense of the EU member states themselves, but the member states are likely on reflection to want to avoid tariffs on their exports and to resist new obstacles in the way of selling into the UK.

One of the most important features of the government position is it narrows the areas for disagreement. By saying we do not want to be in the single market we avoid that planned row over what level of budget contribution and what elements of free movement we need to retain to keep us in the single market. I never thought it would be possible to be in the single market and not  be in the EU, and agree with Mrs Merkel on that matter. The UK government has spared the EU that argument.

It means the discussions to leave will be on narrow issues of when the liabilities stop and when we lose the use of the assets. We can move rapidly on from the question of departure to discuss the more important questions of what future trading arrangements we will  enjoy and what collaborations and joint programmes we mutually wish to continue.

The EU is under a clear legal obligation from its own Treaty to be friendly and positive in its relations with neighbouring countries. I am sure many of the member states, if not the Commission, will want to obey the Treaty law, as we have always been told we have to do. It is more likely they will because it is commonsense to get on well with the neighbours. It is imperative to get on well with the customers, and the UK is a mighty big customer.

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  1. Peter VAN LEEUWEN
    Posted January 19, 2017 at 6:21 am | Permalink

    I’ve only heard snippets of this speech afterwards, but what surprised me is that she emphasized doing this for the future generations.
    These future generations voted 3 to 1 to stay in the EU. Unlike some old Brexiteers, they will still live when in a decade or two the UK may have to have its humble pie and eat it it.
    Surprise surprise that my brief, soft spoken observation yesterday didn’t make it past hte moderator.

    • ian wragg
      Posted January 19, 2017 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

      Evidence please, many of the younger generation (30 – 40) around here voted Leave.

      • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
        Posted January 19, 2017 at 10:30 pm | Permalink

        @ian wragg: I don’t know it it is still available online, but the Economist had a continuous poll of polls which interactively could be split in various ways, one of them being based on age. The 3 to 1 (=75% for remain) I have seen in more places. Anyway, that is all history now, the overall result was different.

        • a-tracy
          Posted January 20, 2017 at 8:44 am | Permalink

          Teenagers that voted leave won’t admit to it to their peers because of the slamming they got on social media if they didn’t go with the group think. That’s what is happening here and in America you just hold your tongue because the liberal, lovely people are so collectively bullying.

        • Hope
          Posted January 20, 2017 at 8:45 am | Permalink

          PvL, go an agitate elsewhere. The Uk is not your concern. We voted to leave, go and irritate in your own country or on the French and German websites. Change is coming. You are writing drivel for a lost cause. celebrate the new president and new beginning of r the world and world order.

        • Anonymous
          Posted January 20, 2017 at 10:22 am | Permalink

          The division of polls does not seem to matter when votes go the EU’s way.

        • Edward2
          Posted January 20, 2017 at 11:06 am | Permalink

          The Economist poll of polls isn’t the referendum.
          Nearly 35 million secretly voted in that.
          Of all ages and social groups.
          The Economist poll was a few thousand.

          And most polls got the result wrong.

        • longinus
          Posted January 20, 2017 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

          Polls meant nothing.

    • alan jutson
      Posted January 19, 2017 at 5:47 pm | Permalink


      Usually with age comes experience and wisdom, please do not worry yourself about us.

      I think we will be just fine, and our children and grandchildren will thank us in years to come, mark my words.

      • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
        Posted January 19, 2017 at 10:35 pm | Permalink

        @alan jutson: I really don’t worry about you. Why should I, all I would worry about (but don’t as yet) would be any economic losses for the Dutch economy. I do expect though (rightly or wrongly, time will tell) that in a few decades the now younger generation will want a different and closer relationship with the rest of Europe.

        • Hope
          Posted January 20, 2017 at 8:45 am | Permalink

          If true stop writing on this site and go promote your views in your own country where it might make a difference.

        • alan jutson
          Posted January 20, 2017 at 9:03 am | Permalink

          Peter I agree, but will the majority of those younger people live in Africa and the middle east ?

        • geaham1946
          Posted January 20, 2017 at 11:01 am | Permalink


          We are not leaving Europe, just the EU.

          We also want strong close ties with Europe, but in trade, science etc, we just don’t want to be ruled by Europe and told who we may or may not trade with world wide, as well as the ‘straight banana’ kind of stuff. Had we been offered meaningful things in Cameron’s ‘negotiation’ Brexit probably would not have happened. Instead you just took the mickey, convinced that we would never leave.We can pass enough nonsense laws of our own – we have plenty of idiotic politicians here and after all, when it comes to bureaucracy we taught the world.

          Your problem will be replacing our subscription money, a billion a month plus import taxes remitted to Brussels, Foreign Aid and god knows how much else we are not told about. I fear the EU may not last much longer. Why would anyone want to be in a club that has to threaten people who want out? If its that good people will want to stay, and not just fro the free handouts like the majority of the members do at the moment. Our history is of independence, not dictatorship like the majority of Europe.

    • James Matthews
      Posted January 19, 2017 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

      Humble Pie? Ahh, the wish being father to the thought. For someone who really has no need to involve themselves in Britain’s future one way or the other PVL you really do protest far too much – and your malice is seeping out. Some might think you are frit. There doesn’t seem to be any other rational basis for your disproportionate concern.

      • APL
        Posted January 19, 2017 at 9:54 pm | Permalink

        James Matthews: ” Some might think you are frit. ”

        No, just tedious.

      • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
        Posted January 19, 2017 at 10:39 pm | Permalink

        @James Matthews: I’m not overly concerned but, as you probably know, a divorce involves two sides. The damage that may be caused by Brexit could be some concern to me, although even that, I wouldn’t want to exaggerate. There is also a humorous side about it: after global Japan, global Singapore, global Zimbabwe, we’ll now get global Britain (almost 1% of the world population).

        • Hope
          Posted January 20, 2017 at 8:46 am | Permalink

          You are concerned, this is your last attempt to stop us from leaving. go away and help your own country. we decided to leave, now leave us alone.

        • James Matthews
          Posted January 20, 2017 at 10:03 am | Permalink

          You are hugely over-concerned PVL. Your routine sneering at British insignificance (while you spend so much of you life arguing about a decision taken by Britain, for Britain) merely confirms this.

          This is not a divorce. There never was a marriage. The other common analogy “leaving a club” is perhaps more apt, but leaving a club is usually accomplished simply by cancelling your subscription.

          No, what we are doing is opting out of a political project which is not in our interests. If you think it is in Dutch interests to belong to it, fine, that is up to you. We have no plans to interfere, you must sort that out with your compatriots. You should extend to us the same courtesy (but you clearly can’t manage that).

    • Graham
      Posted January 19, 2017 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

      I’m sure the children of the past might have liked a say during WW2 when decisions were made to save Europe (again) – but that’s life

      Don’t worry I’m sure your EU pension will be safe!!!

    • DaveM
      Posted January 19, 2017 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

      PvL: “These future generations voted 3 to 1 to stay in the EU.”

      Utter speculation. My kids are 18 and 21 and they – and most of their friends – voted to leave.

      Even if it was true, having kids of that age I know that their perspective on life is fairly one dimensional, especially when it comes to politics.

      In all honesty, a Remain vote would have made no difference to my life personally, but I don’t want my grandchildren and their children to grow up in a federal European superstate ruled by bureaucrats and weak politicians on behalf of giant corporations who conduct social engineering in order to destroy and erode traditional communities so that there is no organised resistance to their dictatorial rule.

      And I have to say that you – and one or two others on this site – seem to forget that I (hopefully) still have half of my life left so am – with your permission – entitled to have a say on the type of country I live in.

      I have, after all, paid taxes and asked for nothing since the age of 18, as did my parents and their parents (who, like me, fought in wars for my generation and the next). When the 17 and 18 year-old snowflakes and crybabies have contributed 28 years worth of taxes and realise that the whole world hasn’t been handed to them by Brussels but by their parents and grandparents, then they can decide and judge whether we made the right decision on their behalf.

      Of course, I don’t refer to all 17, 18, 19 year olds as snowflakes; I work with lots of people of that age and know many others, and the majority are looking forward to the bright years ahead. The UK has never eaten humble pie, Peter, and there’s enough steel in our kids to make sure it never does. We’re leaving, and the sooner the better so we can start building our kids’ future country. I bet your younger generation are looking forward to the future living in Amsterdam and Rotterdam, two of the finest cities in Germany.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted January 19, 2017 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

      Dear Mr VL–Where precisely is The Netherlands BTW and, as ever, what has it got to do with us? Seriously I do have some sympathy with you, given its (their? – Is it, or are they, singular or plural?) fragmentary history (Spanish, Austrian, United Provinces etc, about which I know little and am happy to know less) and the hard-to-visualise border, no Jutland for you, which (lack of a decent) border must on its own lean you towards some sort of combined Continent just so you can ditch it. Pity about the EU combined structure you have chosen so far being such a complete failure and, worse, its total inability to evolve, which latter is very serious indeed for you. God Bless Nigel Farage. “More of the same”, your solution one gathers, hardly cuts it. One thinks Carthago delenda est, if I’ve got that right.

    • Bob
      Posted January 19, 2017 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

      @PvL (aka Lord Haw Haw)
      You should a thought for the lost generation of the southern Eurozone.
      UK is doing fine thanks to our floating currency, and I fully expect you to be applying for a UK work permit when the EU finally collapses under it’s own weight.

      I’m sure you would fit right in at the BBC.

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted January 19, 2017 at 7:33 pm | Permalink


      And they might just end up thanking us for our vote. The UK is going to flourish outside of the EU and hopefully leave you standing. We can become a global nation at last without the ties of 27 other countries holding us back. That is vision and I am please Mrs May is encouraging it. I for one can’t wait to shed the shackles of Europe.

    • libertarian
      Posted January 19, 2017 at 7:38 pm | Permalink


      Well you can explain to 54% of EU young people that they are unemployed for the sake of some old, white , failed men who want to build an empire on the back of the misery of 25 countries. Recent polls by the way tend to indicate a rather large proportion of the Netherlands wanting out too.

      All the bluster coming from the EU and its apparatchiks has suddenly run full pelt into the brick wall of reality !!! You are in the doo-doo in the biggest way possible. You have lost your second biggest financial paymaster, your share of trade is plummeting & the people who ACTUALLY run the EU ( German Car makers) have realised that their politicians are about to throw them to the wolves by trying to punish the UK. You’ve got to laugh or else you’d cry.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted January 20, 2017 at 9:13 am | Permalink

        Here’s some more bluster:

        “UK ‘will be bottom of Brussels trade queue’, warns EU trade chief”

        She has warned that “Britain will start at 18th place down the list of countries trying to negotiate a trade deal with the EU”, because “We are negotiating 15-16 trade deals at the moment so we are busy”.

        She’s from a country with 0.1% of the world population.

        • libertarian
          Posted January 23, 2017 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

          This entirely sums up why the EU is such a huge failure and doomed to collapse. Theres no realisation that trade is a to way street that benefits both sides, theres no thought about the effect on their own side if they fail to do this, theres just 1) a desire to control, top down, 2) to bully brow beat and punish ( standard left wing traits as we’ve witnessed in spades since the election of Trump) those who challenge their thinking.

          They EU is doomed

    • getahead
      Posted January 19, 2017 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

      Future generations are yet to be born. If you mean younger people, history shows that they tend to move away from left wing radicalism as they older.

      • getahead
        Posted January 19, 2017 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

        grow older

    • Beecee
      Posted January 19, 2017 at 10:17 pm | Permalink

      Dear PVL you really must learn on which side your bread is buttered!

      You are clearly happy living under a dictatorship!

      Do not expect us to save your sorry ass next time!

    • Anonymous
      Posted January 20, 2017 at 2:21 am | Permalink

      Peter – I don’t think many made it past the moderator yesterday. Obviously a busy time.

  2. Mick
    Posted January 19, 2017 at 6:39 am | Permalink

    It was a very good speech let’s hope Mrs May follows up with action, but I was sick to the back teeth of BBC/ Sky / ITV giving endless hours of airtime to the likes of Tim what’s his name you know the one In charge of the liberals not the lib/dems because they are not democratic by any stretch of the imagination and all the other ” I respect the will of the people vote” give me a break all there after is stopping Mrs May from taking us out of the dreaded eu, well I’ve news for them WE ARE LEAVING or don’t you get it, go live in Europe if you don’t want to live in a democratic country

  3. Newmania
    Posted January 19, 2017 at 7:13 am | Permalink

    Idiots meet real world
    Real world, these are idiots
    I can see you are going to get on very badly

    Toyota have made it clear have no intention of staying in the worst place in Europe from which to export to Europe . HSBC will be moving their European operations to the new capital of European Finance ,and a devastating blow for UBS staff who , after a dreadful few years will now face a 1 in 3 chance of losing their jobs .
    This is just the start and in some ways not so serious. The long term effect of isolation is far worse. No new capitalised project could afford to set up in London if it wished to work I Europe, no new car manufacture would chose this benighted land of protectionists and buffoons
    In Europe they have made it quite clear that we will not get our cake and eat it ( for the umpteenth time ) and we will not be able to take out the advantages of the EU without paying our share or making the political sacrifices . This is as bad as it gets, Cameron could have done this deal in five minutes and yet you sit around bragging

    • ian wragg
      Posted January 19, 2017 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

      HSBC have spent the past 5 years saying they would move to Hong Kong, now they are threatening to move 10% of staff to Paris.
      UBS may move some staff……………..
      Toyota just starting on another model as with Honda being the worldwide plant for Civics, new model in March.
      You talk absolute B.ll.cks.

      • Newmania
        Posted January 19, 2017 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

        UBS have plans in place to move a third of their staff for now . They are Swiss Bank what do you think they are doing here ?
        Investment decisions on new car plants run over years buy no-one wants to be in the worst place in Europe to export to Europe
        You just don`t understand do you . Thats fine but I do so why do I have to share your fate ,.

        • alan jutson
          Posted January 20, 2017 at 9:09 am | Permalink


          You do not have to share our fate, as a member of the EU (until we leave) you are free to go to live and work in any one of 27 other Countries.

          Wonder which one you will choose ?

        • libertarian
          Posted January 20, 2017 at 2:12 pm | Permalink


          So you do understand about banking do you, well lets check that shall we. You tell me why a Swiss Bank is based in the City of London, because I know and you dont. You tell me why many other bank CEO’s have said the same yet NOT done it. I know why, you dont. Please explain what a non EU bank gains from not being in the UK , please explain why everybank has always had an operation in every European country but bases their centre and infrastructure here. First you tell me how and why you think you understand then I’ll post the actual facts.



          Oh and stop crying you’ll short your keyboard out and mummy wont buy you another one.

    • Graham
      Posted January 19, 2017 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

      What a bore you are!!

      Not even anything useful to say

    • Juliet
      Posted January 19, 2017 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

      Newmania, you really need to get clued up on the banking and finance industry: job cuts, moves is part and parcel of the cost reduction and efficiency measures readying for the next wave of digital automation, fintech and AI. Banks are not moving because of Brexit. Global Banks are changing their business models to do more with less

      Are you not in the least curious as to why HSBC UBS Goldman Sach all said they will each move 1000 of their top people?

    • libertarian
      Posted January 19, 2017 at 7:46 pm | Permalink


      Dear or dear boy you get more desperate by the day.

      The FACT is that City of London job vacancies ROSE by 8% last month . HSBC is all bluster they are predominantly a UK retail bank , why would they move anywhere else?

      UBS are recruiting in LONDON its on their website read it

      FT headline “Toyota stands behind car production in the UK despite Brexit
      Carmaker summons ‘fighting spirit’ to protect Derbyshire and Deeside plants”

      As for calling people with vastly more wisdom and experience than you idiots , you are everything that the majority of people despise about the snowflake tendency

      Provide evidence of your business experience of STFU !!!

    • Caterpillar
      Posted January 19, 2017 at 8:27 pm | Permalink

      “Irrespective of Brexit, London will remain a global financial center, and the revenue impact of Brexit on financial services will be made good in two to three years’ time,” – Gulliver CEO HSBC in the Bloomberg interview.

      Newmania, it is a worthwhile interview to watch on Bloomberg.

  4. alan jutson
    Posted January 19, 2017 at 8:02 am | Permalink

    Clearly Mrs May seems to have learnt a lot from Mr Cameron’s mistakes, and the phrase no deal is better than a bad deal was worthy of such inclusion.

    A well thought out speech which was very positive.

    I only hope we do not have too much opposition thrown up by our own remainer Mp’s (LibDem and SNP in particular) who still do not appear to get it all, as the constant moaning and opposition to anything which will give us our independence back, tends to give the EU food for their negotiation team to chew on.

    Let us hope the media in general now “get it” and get behind it.

    • alan jutson
      Posted January 19, 2017 at 8:05 am | Permalink

      I have no idea if you were working in the background on this John, but thank you anyway for your constant feeding to us the clarity of your thoughts and ideas.

  5. MickN
    Posted January 19, 2017 at 8:02 am | Permalink

    I don’t know if you saw this or not but after the Prime Minister’s speech the pound rose three cents against the dollar. The BBCs take on this was that it was because Parliament will get a vote on the final deal and therefore in their “minds” this could mean that we will not get a Brexit after all. This good news was what had caused the biggest daily gain in years. Why do I have to pay a tax to get this crap delivered on a daily basis?

  6. Ian Wragg
    Posted January 19, 2017 at 8:20 am | Permalink

    It has been interesting to read on line continental European papers. Mrs May has shot the fox by declaring that we will leave the single market and customs union.
    This cuts negotiations to the bone and should enable a speedy Brexit.
    The is some incredulity amongst the European political class that their bluff has been called.
    Even more so for wee Kranky who can now lose her second referendum.
    9 out of 10 for May.

  7. Caterpillar
    Posted January 19, 2017 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    Some might argue that the EU has previous on short-sighted treatment of non-EU countries. The world (and Malta) can expect millions of economic migrants that want to move to ‘a 21st Century economy’ quicker than the continued African (high inequality) development might be able to achieve. How much the EU’s agricultural policies have contributed to this might be debated but I do hope that Dr Fox / DIT and the UK take a better approach to (at least some of) Africa than the EU’s policies have.

  8. zorro
    Posted January 19, 2017 at 8:48 am | Permalink

    Indeed, I tried to comment yesterday to say that T May’s speech was good and will be better when/if implemented. I also hear that the Maltese PM states that we should not have the same priviliged trade access that EU members have, and I agree with him….. So, we should agree to be at a disadvantage by undertaking free trade/services access with the EU and not benefit as they do from free movement within the Schengen area, nor pay budget contributions, nor be members of the internal market, and, of course, do without the beneficient leadership of the EU commission….. I know it will be hard for us all, but you particularly to no longer feel the warm embrace pf Brussels, but hopefully that will show them they have privileged access ?…..


    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted January 19, 2017 at 7:36 pm | Permalink


      Quite agree with your negotiating terms!!!

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted January 20, 2017 at 9:44 am | Permalink

      That’s the privileged reciprocal trade access with 27 countries which apparently comes with 12,651 barriers to trade with the 160-odd who are not so privileged, protectionist barriers which we may or may not want to retain:

      “The EU’s Common External Tariff comprises 12,651 different taxes and quotas imposed on goods from the rest of the world. This is what the Customs Union amounts to, a protectionist barrier to free trade with the 162 countries outside the EU. Don’t fall for the hype that it reduces trade barriers.”

    • Douglas Shaw
      Posted January 21, 2017 at 8:10 pm | Permalink

      by the EU’s own logic, being inside the SM is better than being outside the SM, so us voting to leave is its own supposed punishment.

      So, that having been quickly dealt with, what do we want to negotiate in good faith with the EU that benefits both parties?

  9. David Price
    Posted January 19, 2017 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    I agree, it was quite encouraging, a clear and positive statement with some clever positioning reflecting a degree of thought and planning that was absent from Cameron’s negotiations. It will be interesting to see if the EU parties accept the position and focus on enabling a swift and mutually beneficial outcome.

    We will also see just how in tune with the national interest some of our politicians and institutions really are.

  10. Denis Cooper
    Posted January 19, 2017 at 8:58 am | Permalink

    The EU is also under treaty obligations to promote trade around the world, rather than do the reverse by unnecessarily reinstating barriers which have been abolished.

    In the EU treaties, the relevant passages are in Article 8 TEU, Article 3(5) TEU, Article 21(2)(e) TEU, the preamble to the TFEU, Article 32 TFEU and Article 206 TFEU here:

    Moreover in October 2015 the EU ratified a WTO initiative to further facilitate trade, not to create arbitrary obstacles to trade where they do not exist, and as signatories of the UN Charter the EU member states are bound by its rules prohibiting the misuse of economic sanctions for political ends.

    I don’t expect any of this to count for much with the EU leaders, but the world should be made aware of their utter hypocrisy and unreliability.

    • getahead
      Posted January 19, 2017 at 8:26 pm | Permalink

      Well said Denis.

  11. Lifelogic
    Posted January 19, 2017 at 9:08 am | Permalink

    Indeed but we need far more from her in terms of a sense of direction.

    What about the European Court of Human Rights, what about cheap energy, the absurdly high and complex tax levels, the bonfire of red tape, fishing, migration, the culling of much of the bloated and fairly useless state sector and all the other business friendly measures desperately needed? What is she waiting for?

  12. Lifelogic
    Posted January 19, 2017 at 9:14 am | Permalink

    Talking of absurd tax regimes I see a picture of a Geoorge Osborne (with his usual smirky grin) standing next to the Clooney couple in Davos. I assume he is there to give a talk on how not to structure at tax regime, how to rat on IHT, how to control wages by law, mug landlords, run dysfunctional banking, destroy pensions, run a daft rigged energy policy and damage an economy hugely.

    Still perhaps while there he can learn how well an economy can work where the state is more like 30% of GDP, inheritance tax is at trivial rates (often none at all in many cases), other taxes at fairly sensible levels, they run a sound currency.

    Even bigger state interventionists like Osborne are the problem not the solution. Hammond and May seem to be using the same broken compass so far alas.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted January 19, 2017 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

      Ever bigger state…..

  13. Deborah
    Posted January 19, 2017 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    Its especially important to get on with the neighbour who acts as your security guard

  14. JoosB
    Posted January 19, 2017 at 9:18 am | Permalink

    But there are many MPs, probably the majority. who can’t countenance leaving the single market. Giving them the final vote and even worse the House of Lords could mean just that, we leave the EU but not the single market. For a start, the SNP and Lib Dums will vote against any deal. Sadly I can see hard Brexit being watered down to a meaningless soft Brexit.

    As I said yesterday, I find it unbelievable that May had the audacity to stress how much she wants the devolved governments involved in the Brexit talks, saying she wants ‘their voices to be heard and their interests taken account of, even inviting the Welsh Government to produce a paper alongside the one the Scots Government have produced whilst once again completely failing to mention England once. Who will make sure the voices of England are heard and their interests taken account of? No-one as usual, that’s who, certainly not May who says she wants a Brexit deal for the whole of the UK. So Brexit talks will consist of UK MPs putting the interests of the UK on the table, Sturgeon insisting Scotland’s remain vote is respected & Jones banging the drum for Wales and what’s best for them. I’m surprised May hasn’t invited Gibraltar to take part, everyone except England it seems.

    How much longer John are you and your colleagues with English constituencies going to put up with this insult to the people of England?

    • Graham
      Posted January 19, 2017 at 6:09 pm | Permalink


      4 million disenfranchised UKIP voters at the last election are testament to that.

    • Original Richard
      Posted January 19, 2017 at 10:13 pm | Permalink

      “For a start, the SNP and Lib Dums will vote against any deal. Sadly I can see hard Brexit being watered down to a meaningless soft Brexit.”

      Once Article 50 is triggered the UK is leaving the EU in 2 years.

      So Parliament will be asked to vote on whether to accept Mrs. May’s negotiated deal or the fall-back WTO terms.

  15. Denis Cooper
    Posted January 19, 2017 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    There’s a paper at the top of the list of references here:

    about the Law of Economic Sanctions, and that refers to UN resolutions with passages such as:

    “No State may use or encourage the use of economic, political or other types or measures to coerce another State in order to obtain from it the subordination of the exercise of its sovereign rights or to secure from it advantages of any kind.”

    So we have the EU which claims to support the principles of the UN Charter casually threatening illegitimate economic sanctions against the UK primarily because it insists on taking back control of its immigration policy.

    Of course there’s nothing can be done to enforce the UN rule, but it should still be pointed out that the EU is flouting it.

    • Mark B
      Posted January 19, 2017 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

      And what of Russia ? It has economic sanctions imposed upon it by the EU.

  16. Mark B
    Posted January 19, 2017 at 9:25 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    I never thought it would be possible to be in the single market and not be in the EU

    Not so ! We can be members of the Single Market / EEA and not the EU, as you well know !

    We are plotting a course that will harm the UK and the EU, and the EU would be within its treaty obligations because it will the UK that will be doing the harm – ie Self harm !

    Having a range of options is a far better bet that some fudge which we are going for. This government, and especially PM, certainly on past form and this, does not inspire much confidence.

    • ian wragg
      Posted January 19, 2017 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

      Brussels is talking of closing EFTA/EEA routes and making members either full or associate.
      This will probably happen during negotiations and we will be offered associate membership.
      Read the 5 Presidents report.

      • Mark B
        Posted January 19, 2017 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

        Associate membership is even worse !!!

        All the hassle and none of the say.

      • Andy
        Posted January 20, 2017 at 9:02 pm | Permalink

        We should revitalise EFTA as an alternative to the EU.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted January 19, 2017 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

      The EU deliberately erecting unnecessary barriers to existing trade would hardly be consistent with its commitment to the WTO initiative to facilitate trade!

  17. turboterrier
    Posted January 19, 2017 at 9:30 am | Permalink

    Didn’t she do well!!

    Cannot get plainer than that but, as there is always a but, I have doubts that the remainer’s in both houses will plan for one almighty ambush at the very end of the negotiations to try and get their way over the will of the people.

    Get Article 50 activated and call a general election and get a mandate from the people to finish what has been started. If UKIP take labour seats so what, at least they will be 100% behind the PM. Too many politicians like Soubry, Farren, Clegg fully supported by the 56 from north of the border are not doing this country any favours in presenting a united front. If the PM gives into Scotland it will mean we will have to erect border controls as they will fly in and just drive down the M74. Ireland is different in that it is an island and as such still will have to go through some form of check at the ports and airfields should illegals try to use that route.

    When the PM has a mandate agreed with the people then address the situation with the HoL. The whole house needs a complete reorganisation and restructuring, yes we need a second chamber but one that has a more balanced membership with real experience of what we call out here real life.

  18. Prigger
    Posted January 19, 2017 at 9:53 am | Permalink

    A pretty speech. If pretty speeches on leaving the EU were eating apples we’d all have projectile-diarrhoea by now

    • Mark B
      Posted January 19, 2017 at 6:42 pm | Permalink


      Remember CMD’s speech where he was going to take back powers ?

      Same here I think.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted January 19, 2017 at 9:21 pm | Permalink

      Fine words butter no parsnips. She has a very monotonous, patronising & tedious delivery too. Still it is the first sign she is actually starting to go vaguely in the right direction, at long last.

  19. rose
    Posted January 19, 2017 at 9:58 am | Permalink

    One thing you don’t mention is their crude demand for money on our departure – after 44 years of being a net contributor and getting very little out. I hope the Davis team will make it clear we pay nothing on departure. We are leaving behind huge capital assets, all over the Continent, as well as in the two seats of EU government, and we are the ones who should be asking for money if they persist in their unsuitable metaphor of “divorce”.

    • MickN
      Posted January 19, 2017 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

      I think that is only fair and look forward to them presenting HM Government with a current set of audited accounts to back up their claim.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted January 19, 2017 at 9:25 pm | Permalink

      Indeed nor should we pick up any of the EU pension liabilities, for the Kinocks, Brittons, Pattons and the likes. If they choose not to pay them so be it they do not deserve the pensions anyway.

  20. oldtimer
    Posted January 19, 2017 at 10:03 am | Permalink

    The statement was about as clear as it could be. This is welcome. The principal uncertainties that remain for businesses are those sectors subject to the high level tariffs (such as automotive and agricultural products) or significant regulation. The on the ball importers, especially in these sectors will, no doubt, be actively exploring their options in those countries keen to do free trade deals with the UK once it is out of the EU. It should also be a wake up call to those UK businesses who only export to the EU or do not export at all.

    What I find odd is the reaction of those who still cannot come to terms with the referendum result. Some politicians and media commentators seem unable to grasp the implications or the meaning of simple words like “access” to the Single Market. Either that or they hope that their listeners are too stupid to do so.

  21. ChrisS
    Posted January 19, 2017 at 10:05 am | Permalink

    I was extremely impressed and pleased with Mrs May and her speech.

    It is often overlooked by critics just how difficult and demanding it is to stand up and give a speech of such historical importance when one knows that the whole of the Western World is watching and will be analysing every single word.

    Even her staunchest critics cannot fail to have been impressed with her performance.

    Moving on to the consequences, I fear that we are in for a rough ride.

    Peter Lilley has told the Brexit Select Committee that Merkel and one other leader (almost certainly Hollande) would not even be generous enough to sanction an immediate agreement on residents rights which would have given assurance to almost 3m citizens of the 27 living in the UK and half that number of Brits living in the rest of the EU.

    I believe that Merkel, Hollande and Brussels are so frightened of contagion that they will screw over their own industry in a forlorn attempt to avoid other countries leaving. That would be yet another mistake : it will not work.

    I am not of the same opinion as Mrs May. I do not want the EU to succeed.
    I would far rather see the damaging political posturing end and it revert to what it should always have been : a free trading market, nothing more. We are long past the point where European citizens would ever sanction a war on their soil so there is really nothing to be frightened of.

    However, I agree with President Trump :the EU has become a vehicle that primarily benefits Germany and that country is getting stronger while former great countries like France and Italy are getting poorer by the day, thanks largely to the Euro.

    Of course, Merkel knows this only too well and is doing everything she can to continue the corrupt system, even to the extent of sacrificing the economic welfare of smaller countries on the alter of German wealth and influence.

    She has helped successive Greek Governments turn that country into a third world economy and her policies, with the collusion of Brussels, have condemned millions of Europe’s young people to a life without work.

    History points to that being the eventual outcome. No Empire has survived for long in Historical terms and this one will not be an exception.

    • Original Richard
      Posted January 19, 2017 at 10:34 pm | Permalink

      “We are long past the point where European citizens would ever sanction a war on their soil so there is really nothing to be frightened of.”

      I am sorry to say that I do not share your optimism should the EU continue with the Euro, mass illegal immigration from the ME and Africa and expansion to include not only all the remaining eastern European countries but also the “stan” countries that are not even considered to be European (Mr. Cameron’s “Atlantic to the Urals” Kazakhstan speech July 2013).

      • ChrisS
        Posted January 21, 2017 at 11:00 am | Permalink

        I stick by my view that voters will never support another war between any of the 27 countries that, as currently constituted, will remain in the EU after Brexit.

        Furthermore, I don’t think voters will tolerate any further expansion which several countries would have to put to their citizens in referenda which Juncker and Co could not ignore.

        Then there are the governments of the former Eastern Bloc countries who will certainly not agree to admit prospective member countries with a different cultural and/or religious background.

  22. Bert Young
    Posted January 19, 2017 at 10:21 am | Permalink

    I was heartened by Theresa’s speech ; she needed to show a leadership stance and it certainly did that . The reports from other EU countries are somewhat mixed ; each has its own form of priority about how our Brexit will affect them . There is no doubt that the pressure that will exist on Germany to release its reserves will increase – already Brussels is questioning how it will cope without our contributions . From now on we must stick to our plan and not give in to the sort of pleas that will emerge .

  23. James Matthews
    Posted January 19, 2017 at 10:21 am | Permalink

    On Radio 4 this morning a French MEP talked, amongst other things, of negotiating a payment to be paid on leaving the EU. Elsewhere, a figure of £60 Billion has been mentioned.

    I find it very hard to believe that or past budgetary contributions have not more than paid for anything we have received from the EU. However, perhaps there is some substance to this point. If Scotland voted for independence there would clearly be questions of ownership of assets and responsibility for debts to be addressed, so in theory that might also apply to leaving the EU (though a 40 year Union should produce fewer than one that has lasted three centuries).

    So my question is, does anyone have a clue as to what the EU thinks we should pay for and how they arrive at £60 billion?

    For the avoidance of doubt this is not a rhetorical question. I am genuinely seeking information.

    • SM
      Posted January 19, 2017 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

      I have a suggestion as to what Mrs May could give Brussels as the price to leave the EU:


      • MickN
        Posted January 20, 2017 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

        Thanks SM ! Now I’ve got to mop all that coffee off of my keyboard!

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted January 19, 2017 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

      Apart from anything else, the EU thinks we should pay our normal share towards EU payments which we have already agreed should be made in the future. No doubt there will be a lot of argument about how much we should contribute but clearly having agreed to them we are honour bound to accept the cost of those commitments.

      • James Matthews
        Posted January 20, 2017 at 10:20 am | Permalink

        Thank you Denis. I am not sure what commitments you have in mind so probably need further enlightenment, but it does seem to me that if we have agreed to fund something (theoretically) for the benefit of the whole of the EU and then cease to be a member, so that there is no prospect of our obtaining any benefit from it, that is not a commitment we can reasonably aske to honour.

        It would be helpful to know exactly what these alleged commitments are. Meanwhile, is the EU going to return to us our contributions towards the costs of infrastructure we will no longer use? I’m guessing not.

        • James Matthews
          Posted January 20, 2017 at 10:22 am | Permalink

          “be asked” to honour.

    • miami.mode
      Posted January 19, 2017 at 11:20 pm | Permalink

      JM. As far as I know the EU is not allowed to run any sort of deficit and as a consequence they often have to seek more cash at the end of the financial year by fair means or foul.

      When we leave there will obviously be a liability on EU pensions and perhaps liabilities on schemes already scheduled but £60 billion sounds fanciful. Any competent accountant should be able to calculate a precise figure after being given details of all the projects involved.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted January 20, 2017 at 10:19 am | Permalink

        There’s no reason why an itemised account should not be made public.

        However I think it’s important to be clear that we would be handing over this money, and more, even if we had decided to stay in the EU. This is not money we must pay because we are leaving the EU, but because we joined it in the first place and agreed to accept the financial commitments.

  24. Elliot Kane
    Posted January 19, 2017 at 10:30 am | Permalink

    I liked May’s speech lot. It was pretty much exactly what I hoped for when I voted Leave (I’d also hoped for a really quick break, but in retrospect, untangling that many years of entanglement with a single blow, like some vast Gordian Knot, may have been rather naieve).

    If she can deliver all of that smoothly, she’ll go down in history as one of our greatest PMs, IMO.

  25. Ed Mahony
    Posted January 19, 2017 at 10:30 am | Permalink

    As a reluctant Remainer, i think Mrs May is doing a good job.
    I would say there was close to a flick-of-a-coin difference between a lot of Remainers and Leavers (I could easily have voted leave, and a lot of Leavers i know could easily have voted Remain).
    Whatever the future of this country, the country has to be UNITED and not divided and squabbling (not just because it’s unpleasant but also because it undermines whatever political future we go down). I think Mrs May has done a good job in keeping people united whilst addressing the major concerns of most Leavers (and to a degree, of most Remainers as well).

    • Newmania
      Posted January 19, 2017 at 8:22 pm | Permalink

      You are deluding yourself the endless and frankly pathetic repetitions of now everyone shut up and join in” is only making everyone angrier. We have had the hardest worst most dangerous Brexit possible and if anyone was wondering which way to go they ought to be dam, sure by now.
      The log jam is Corbyn and the collapse of the two Party fptp system . When that is freed up you will see just how much fury there is among ordinary moderate voters that we have been betrayed by UKIP in Blue and their BNP chums

      • Ed Mahony
        Posted January 20, 2017 at 10:17 am | Permalink

        I accept there are strong arguments to remain (i voted remain and probably would still vote remain – but i think the really important thing isn’t to remain or to leave but to reform the EU for the benefit of the EU and above all for the benefit of the UK).
        However, 52% voted to leave. Fact.
        And i never said people should ‘shut up.’ The opposite. I’ve actually said we should challenge our leadership over Brexit, where appropriate, so that we get the best outcome for this country.

  26. John B
    Posted January 19, 2017 at 10:30 am | Permalink

    I’m not a May fan – she’s no Margaret Thatcher – but I was impressed with her speech on Tuesday and also most of the bits I heard this morning from Davos.

    As you say John, the EU charter requires the EU to have friendly and positive relations with its neighbours (Article 8?) but it seems a number of its cheerleaders don’t seem to have read that. The furore from the usual suspects over Boris’s comments about punishment beatings is ludicrous but to be expected – and I didn’t hear him mention concentration camp guards, only WW2 movies. The furore should have been over the comments by Hollande’s aide and the Maltese pm.

    I am, however, slightly bemused by their idea that we can’t expect to have the benefits of the EU if we’re not in the club and that we must be made worse off when we’re out. Can someone explain what the benefits are that we will be losing, and how we can be worse off by not paying billions in membership fees? I do get that we may lose a small number of jobs (HSBC, UBS etc) and we may lose some sales into the EU, but imho this will be overwhelmingly outweighed by greater exports elsewhere.

  27. Know-dice
    Posted January 19, 2017 at 10:36 am | Permalink

    Yes, excellent speech and right strategy.

    A good follow-on debate by David Davis too 🙂

    Somebody really needs to have a word with Anna Soubry !!! may be she believes that is clever to try and undermine your own party – It’s not !!!

    Also the veiled threat from the Maltese MEP in the European Parliament, shows exactly why our Prime Minister is right… EU member states please understand that any bad deal you give the UK will be worse for you…

    Then there is the Scottish First Minister:

    Dear Nicola, Scotland does 75% of it’s trade with the rest of the UK, not only that, you (Scotland) get at least £7 Billion more in the block grant due to the Barnett formula than the rest of the UK.

    You also have a racist policy with respect to tuition costs for English students compared with those from other EU countries.

    Please concentrate on doing the best for the Scottish people which seems to not be your current policy…

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted January 19, 2017 at 7:45 pm | Permalink


      Please concentrate on doing the best for the Scottish people which seems to not be your current policy

      You have to understand that doing the best for Scottish people is not really on her agenda. The thing that comes top is Scottish Independence and nothing else matters even if Scotland goes under. If Brexit wasn’t the cause of her moaning then rest assured, something else would be. Just read letters from the public in many of the newspapers and you will see they are just as fed up with the SNP as many of the English are. We just want rid of her.

  28. Roy Grainger
    Posted January 19, 2017 at 10:43 am | Permalink

    Let’s see. It is possible Mrs May is simply negotiating, in the same way the EU are, by setting out an extreme opening position which she is prepared to negotiate away from (the Trump approach). In her speech she still left room for UK to continue contributing to the EU budget at some level and for us to remain in some form of the customs union.

    The most interesting hostage to fortune is her pledge to have the deal voted on in both the Lords and Commons. Of course the Lords are unlikely to approve it given the disproportionate number of LibDems there unless (as I have seen commented) the vote will be on whether to approve the deal or leave the EU with no deal. Even then being voted down in the Lords will provoke a political crisis.

  29. alte fritz
    Posted January 19, 2017 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    Yes, it was good. No need to get into knots about a single market if everyone is sensible and does not seek to inflcit punishment beatings. As for customs, is it impossible for the EU and UK to work out a deal on tariffs? Other sovereign institutions seem to manage it.

  30. BucksFizz
    Posted January 19, 2017 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    Mrs May’s speech is six months behind time, delivered in the wrong place. The proper time and date was 24th June 2016.: the proper place is the House of Commons. Members of the Press Corp on the whole are not MPs and only members of the public on their days off.
    Bizarre for Mrs May to sidestep democracy. She is behaving like a Juncker with a six-month hangover

    • SM
      Posted January 19, 2017 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

      Sorry to see you have forgotten that Mrs May was not Prime Minister on 24 June, and that you are unaware that while Mrs May was making her speech to the public, the Chancellor was saying the same thing to the House of Commons.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted January 19, 2017 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

      A Labour MP raised a point of order about this and the Speaker replied “there has been a developing phenomenon in recent decades whereby, under successive Governments, important statements have sometimes been made outside the House that we would have welcomed being made first inside the House … “, but he was pragmatic about it and had made sure that David Davis would appear in the House to answer questions after Theresa May had given her speech.

      I’m trying to remember where Mrs Thatcher gave her famous Bruges speech, I don’t think that was in the House of Commons …

    • Caterpillar
      Posted January 19, 2017 at 9:11 pm | Permalink

      Yes, it should have been made by Cameron on that day in the HoC, and the UK should have been prepared. Cameron wasn’t prepared nor perepared to act – it is shocking to think he can be paid for memoirs, speeches etc., or that he might be considered employment (hopefully the NATO rumour isn’t true).

      We are where we are though, PM May has made the speech and the UK is becoming prepared.

  31. Antisthenes
    Posted January 19, 2017 at 10:58 am | Permalink

    The money markets reacted well to the speech yet another indicator that remainers doom saying is just speculative nonsense and also points to their intellectual paucity on matters relating to Brexit. T May’s speech also indicates she and her Brexit ministers have a grip on realities and have correctly assessed the objectives of Brexit and how best to achieve them. The speech cannot be viewed other than it clears the Brexit path of all the clutter and noise of competing opinions and voices. Brexit means Brexit has won the day and now that the reasons why have been given the fact that was ever doubted or challenged appears to be very misguided.

    Brussels must be alarmed as their Maginot line against Brexit must appear to them now to be built on the wrong premise. Any feeling of superior strength they may have thought they posses has been dissipated by T May’s ultimatum of no deal rather than a bad deal. They can only counter with threats of tariffs, restitution and being uncooperative. Not that effective in view of the fact to carry them out it will mostly hurt them more than it will hurt us.

  32. Peter Wood
    Posted January 19, 2017 at 10:59 am | Permalink

    Good Morning,
    Mr. Redwood, your simple positive approach does you credit. However, as we have learned this morning the head of the Commission intends to make it ” very, very difficult” for the UK to.., well, do anything!
    Therefore may I optimistically suggest a circumventing strategy; first send, in our notice to quit; second, cease all payments to the EU with immediate effect on the date of quitting, and send in our terms for a new trade compact; and say that if they think we owe them anything, we will be please to consider their requests at a convenient time at the Foreign Office in London.

    • Newmania
      Posted January 19, 2017 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

      Or why not hide in matrons room …..god help us with this gene pool

      • Peter Wood
        Posted January 20, 2017 at 1:30 am | Permalink

        Newmania, (no name- Pathetic..)
        The gene pool is alive and well, no thanks to you. You appear to be of the Cameron school of negotiation so will you kindly decamp and offer your services to the EU so that we can more easily obtain the ‘best deal for the UK’.

  33. Ian Wragg
    Posted January 19, 2017 at 11:05 am | Permalink

    O/T We are running at almost maximum on the grip with coal, nuclear and gas operating in the red line area.
    Wind is providing 2.4%.
    Great to. And the tidal barrier will generate 48mw, less than half percent.
    When will this lunacy stop.

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted January 19, 2017 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

      Ian Wragg

      If we had Trump as prime minister I dare say it would all stop very soon. At least he has a grip on energy.

    • Beecee
      Posted January 19, 2017 at 10:30 pm | Permalink

      And another 34 windmills proposed for the Thanet wind farm at huge cost to the energy user.

      Earlier this week with the temperature below freezing and not a breath of wind – no prizes for guessing how much this blot on the offshore landscape was contributing to those who could afford the electricity to keep warm!

      What is wrong with our Government who still thinks this sort of green rubbish is the solution?

  34. Chris
    Posted January 19, 2017 at 11:07 am | Permalink

    Can I recommend Brexit Central newsletter from Jonathan Isaby. There are some excellent contributions, and the one from Austin Mitchell this morning is one of those. He spells out what exactly is wrong about the EU and how Labour should go back to its roots and start representing workers again. He makes quite clear the problems that waves of mass immigration have brought as well as highlighting how the EU taxation laws have enabled multinationals to pay tax in any country in the EU where the conditions are most favourable: quote from AM article entitled:
    “Labour needs to give up its infantile Euro-enthusiasm and return to its roots standing up for the workers”
    ….And the single market’s insistence on the free movement of capital allows multinationals and British companies to dodge their obligations to this country and benefit from a race to the tax bottom, which Ireland and Luxembourg are winning to our great cost. They then have the cheek to accuse us of aiming to outbid those EU tax fiddlers if we leave.

    That same freedom which we impose more effectively than anyone else allows large numbers of British firms to be taken over by foreigners in the EU’s freest takeover market. Our railways are now run by nationalised European competitors making big profits here to keep their own domestic fares down while pushing ours to ridiculous highs. Their national champions take over our markets but ours such as GEC, ICI, Leyland and Courtaulds are dismantled and sold off. And we’re not allowed to aid or help British firms to fight back….”

    • Chris
      Posted January 19, 2017 at 11:08 am | Permalink

      Just an additional quote from the Austin Mitchell article about the EU (on Brexit Central):
      Austin Mitchell gives many more examples of the disadvantages, such as:
      “..That same freedom which we impose more effectively than anyone else allows large numbers of British firms to be taken over by foreigners in the EU’s freest takeover market. Our railways are now run by nationalised European competitors making big profits here to keep their own domestic fares down while pushing ours to ridiculous highs. Their national champions take over our markets but ours such as GEC, ICI, Leyland and Courtaulds are dismantled and sold off. And we’re not allowed to aid or help British firms to fight back.

      Because its basis was a dirty deal to help German industry and French agriculture, we are not only prevented from buying food from the cheaper producers we used to trade with – thus increasing our costs – but we’re required to drag French agricultural protectionism into every trade deal the EU negotiates for us. This makes it more difficult and time consuming to get any….”

      • The Prangwizard
        Posted January 20, 2017 at 10:03 am | Permalink

        Mr Redwood says the EU considers the UK as ‘treasure island’. This is not limited to the EU. We have been the same for the rest of the world with all our business and fixed assets with a ‘for sale’ board hanging over them. This selfish and shortsighted dash for cash has been extremely destructive for our national interest and sovereignty.

        Let’s hope and pray that Mrs May’s industrial strategy will stop and reverse this damaging policy and practise. City spivs have done more than enough asset stripping, with government encouragement, over the last 30 years.

        Taking back control will be a hollow phrase unless this is included.

    • Michael Wood
      Posted January 19, 2017 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

      I, also, thought Austin Mitchell’s article was excellent and to the point.

  35. Lifelogic
    Posted January 19, 2017 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    Can Theresa really carry this through with the tiny majority Cameron “achieved”, (and that only thanks to dire Milliband and the threat of the even more dire Stugeron). Plus the obstacle of the lefty Lords.

    A commons vote at the end of the two year period of negotiation will be rather close to a general election after all.

    Surely we need a snap election to get a proper commons majority and clear out the Ken Clark types. Hopefully this is the only reason May keeps pretending to be such a lefty interventionist dope so much of the time.

    Excellent piece by Allister Heath today in the Telegraph. The EU has nothing to say like the dinosaurs it can neither act nor evolve.

  36. MikeP
    Posted January 19, 2017 at 11:09 am | Permalink

    Yes it was heart-warming to hear the speech and noteworthy that it could well have been crafted from the joint recent output from yourself, David Davies and Daniel Hannan. My how she’s moved her position in recent months. However I continue to be amazed and disappointed that media luvvies still cling on to the “free trade” bandwagon believing we’ll be destitute without it. We do so much trade with the USA and Commonwealth, without FTAs, that it beggars belief that supposedly intelligent commentators fail to realise that trade happens because of market forces (supply and demand, customers and suppliers) more than through Government intervention.

    On our re-negotiation, we should emphasise the point you make about WTO tariffs. We’ve had a trade deficit with the EU for many years so it’s time to rein back our magnanimity and re-balance our imports/exports in favour of ourselves and the English-speaking world which one would imagine would be easier for our exporters than say former Soviet states in the EU. We should already be re-kindling the “I’m Buying British” mindset, not to the exclusion of importers, but just to recognise and act upon the present imbalance that favours the EU27. While we shouldn’t fixate on FTAs the exception is with the EU where our opening gambit should be to request that continuing free trade – or WTO tariffs costing us £5bn, their choice – should begin from March 2019 at the end of the two-year Article 50 process. Why shilly-shally around for any longer if we have a trade deficit with these guys? Transitional trading arrangements after then should be on this basis as a lever to agree an FTA as soon as the EU27 can get their act together, they will be unlikely to get the Walloons on board in 2 years, let alone the rest.

  37. forthurst
    Posted January 19, 2017 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    So we will start to prepare to leave after the two year period of negotiation is over: “From that point onwards, we believe a phased process of implementation, in which both Britain and the EU institutions and member states prepare for the new arrangements that will exist between us…”

    Firstly, why does the negotiation have to take two years and second, if we already know we are leaving the Single Market and the formal customs union, is there no preparation that can usefully be achieved before the end of negotiations, and third, will not this period be a happy stamping ground for remaniac civil servants both here and abroad?

  38. a-tracy
    Posted January 19, 2017 at 11:21 am | Permalink

    We are borrowing billions of pounds to trade with and stay in the EU and we have been making a proper mess of things for half a century, living above our means on the UK’s credit card. Brown telling us we were booming when that was the ideal time to get our house in order he was spendthrift.

    John, you say “We can move rapidly on from the question of departure to discuss the more important questions of what future trading arrangements we will enjoy”… but it is important that we use the term that we will mutually benefit from because the EU will now be able to move forward to their federation without us and achieve their goals that we’ve slowed down because we didn’t want to join their currency, army, and federation project in full.

    We’re not trying to have our cake and eat it BUT also we will not be talked down to as if we are some puny little Country that doesn’t and hasn’t been consistently paying our way and borrowing tonnes of money to do so.

    • Newmania
      Posted January 19, 2017 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

      The National debt is over 80% of GDP , payments ot the EU are … well about 0.5% of GDP last year. Ok I can`t be bothered ot look it up exactly but at least I am not like a child who can only count one, two, three, big, enormous .

      • Graham
        Posted January 19, 2017 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

        But you are like a child though

      • ian wragg
        Posted January 19, 2017 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

        That’s 0.5% which could be used to fund social care at home.
        Its the same with renewable energy. Every project costs each house the price of a pint of milk. There are thousands of subsidised projects all costing us a pint of milk each.
        I could do a lot with £10 billion.

        • hefner
          Posted January 20, 2017 at 9:47 am | Permalink

          You could do a lot with £10bn. So do I. But that is not the question, doh. What can the UK government do with £10bn?
          Despite most of what is said day after day after day on this blog, there has not been one drop more of a democratic potion since 23 June. Unfortunately I do not expect any in the years to come.
          There are a bunch of wide-eyed dreamers (to be polite) on this blog who vent their “thoughts” here, but frankly speaking, I do not think it will make one bit of difference.

      • Caterpillar
        Posted January 19, 2017 at 9:51 pm | Permalink


        Yes denominator picking is a fun way to produce whatever story one wants. Ballparking as you have done: 0.5% of GDP or 10% of NHS budget or about 25% of the costs of servicing national debt or about a quarter of an HS2 every year…

      • Q
        Posted January 20, 2017 at 1:58 am | Permalink

        The idea is you pay foreign countries good money if you owe them something. We do not owe EU nations anything at all. So, lets have the 0.5% of our GDP as you calculate it returned to us.
        #Incidentally Newmania, you can send me 0.5% of your income if you wish. I’ll give you a bit back maybe at a time which suits me and tell you how to spend it. How’s that? Is in a bargain? I’ve got some friends who also wish to do you a good turn . In fact they are in a queue…a long one.

      • Know-Dice
        Posted January 20, 2017 at 8:35 am | Permalink

        It may only be 0.5% of GDP, but ask Surrey County Council what they could do with an extra £125 million or Buckinghamshire County Council could keep their libraries open with an extra £1 million or could social care of our elderly be eased with an extra billion or so.

        Look after the pennies and the pounds look after themselves…

      • a-tracy
        Posted January 20, 2017 at 8:59 am | Permalink

        0.5% (by your reckoning) over the years compounded would have reduced our gross national debt from 80% to about 65% still an horrendous figure. Then there’s all the money we have to borrow to bail out the others like Ireland. We also recently found out the pension pots of all the commissioners and staff and other hangers on haven’t been provided for in the past and we’re on the hook for this oversight!

  39. Bob
    Posted January 19, 2017 at 11:23 am | Permalink

    Strangely the news media are happy to criticise our foreign secretary for his references to old war movies, but seem reluctanct to criticise the outgoing French Prime Minister for his thinly veiled threat to make life difficult for Brits after Brexit.

    It seems that the UK which saved Europe from the Nazis and has contributed so much to the EU is to be considered a pariah, while Turkey will continue to have free access to the markets while receiving large cash bonuses and visa free travel.

    At the very least, the BBC have a duty to provide some balance in their reporting, but they continue to seek out anyone who can be relied upon to make one sided anti Brexit remarks.

    Why are the establisment scared of the BBC? Is it because the corporation has a track record of digging dirt on their opponents?

  40. David
    Posted January 19, 2017 at 11:38 am | Permalink

    “The EU is under a clear legal obligation from its own Treaty to be friendly and positive in its relations with neighbouring countries.”
    I am not sure that helped the Ukraine

  41. Doug Powell
    Posted January 19, 2017 at 11:38 am | Permalink

    I agree that the Prime Minister’s speech was well crafted and delivered. It was so well crafted that the omission of a statement regarding the future of our fishing industry post EU has set alarm bells ringing!

    Is it intended that access to the UK’s fishing grounds is to be used as a backhander for a contrived single market deal? Will our fishermen continue to be cheated as they have been since Ted Heath’s great betrayal?

    The Prime Minister spoke of having a desire to unite the Home Nations. Selling out the fishermen will certainly do that, but in hostility to the government, rather than having goodwill toward it – especially in Scotland.

  42. Treacle
    Posted January 19, 2017 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

    According to the Times, the Maltese Prime Minister is saying that we will have to agree to pay the EU £60 billion before trade talks with the EU can even start; and even then, he says, trade talks will be very difficult (and, he implies, they will string them out forever). What arguments can we use to avoid paying such a huge exit fee?

    • Know-Dice
      Posted January 20, 2017 at 8:30 am | Permalink

      Just offset them against our portion of already paid for EU assets.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted January 20, 2017 at 10:39 am | Permalink

      Provided the sums are correct we would be paying this “exit fee”, and more, even if we did not exit. It’s more a fee for having been in the EU than a fee for leaving it.

  43. Anonymous
    Posted January 19, 2017 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

    The Dutch leader says we will pay a hefty price and our economy will tank.

    He’d better hope not. If EU politicians are worried about the Italian economy tanking then they ought to be petrified about ours.

    The problem is that the so called Tariff Free Zone is not tariff free at all. It comes at incalculable cost and least of all in money. Those in Davos might consider that it impoverishes African farmers too.

    Any unreasonable penalties to leave the EU must be ignored. It changed beyond its trade description without our consent.

    • Qubus
      Posted January 19, 2017 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

      What would the EU do if we simply refused to pay them the money they demanded?

  44. LondonBob
    Posted January 19, 2017 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

    Free trade with those on a similar development level as us, sure, not with those where wages are rock bottom. India no, US yes.

  45. BOF
    Posted January 19, 2017 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

    Very positive in content and tone. But no mention of EU migration and until there is resolution on this issue, migration will continue from low employment EU countries. If there is no co-operation from the EU on this issue then the UK Government will have to take the lead and give dates and certainty on the migration issue. A cut off date is now a matter of urgency to prevent a pre agreement surge.

    Brits living in European countries are already protected by international law and if there are threats from the EU then it will reflect very badly on the EU.

  46. turboterrier
    Posted January 19, 2017 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

    The only thing that the EU is interested in is the money we give them.

    As seen in the DE today
    European Commission’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, is reported to be working on the basis the UK would pay a fee of £42-£50 billion for its outstanding liabilities.

    The PM will have a fight on her hands but hopefully she will get the full support of the parliament to if this situation arises, play real hard ball or just repeal the 1972 bill and walk away.

    • alan jutson
      Posted January 19, 2017 at 5:28 pm | Permalink


      “…oustanding liabilities…”

      How about all of the EU buildings, office equipment, vehicles, computer systems etc, we have helped finance for the last 40 years, are they going to pay us for our share of ownership, it cuts both ways.

      • turboterrier
        Posted January 19, 2017 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

        @ alan Jutson

        Spot on with that one

  47. MickN
    Posted January 19, 2017 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

    O/T I see in the news today that the President of Gambia lost a vote but is refusing to stand down and accept what the democratic majority voted for. I can’t help thinking how lucky they are to only have one. We have 16 million of them.

  48. bigneil
    Posted January 19, 2017 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

    All we can hope for is that she is not the same as her predecessor – – lies and more lies while selling us down the river.

  49. Russell Verbeek
    Posted January 19, 2017 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

    If we can truly open up to African agriculture we could well experience substantial reductions in food prices. This would be welcome news for everyone but most especially for the poorest in Britain. Such a price reduction would have the same effect as a wage increase. Should lower immigration truly lead to higher wages then it will be yet another reason why working class communitieswere wise to ignore the ‘expert’ advice they were given.

    • Newmania
      Posted January 19, 2017 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

      Yup and destroy British Farming creating a wilderness . Great plan , but sadly that may well be part of the cost of Free Trade

      • Frankish
        Posted January 20, 2017 at 1:49 am | Permalink

        Quite alot of the “wilderness” was Common Land before the war. It was never returned to the people. Farmers can give it back now if they wish. They got it for absolutely nothing so we will give them a similar fair-trade price and a one-way ticket to Black-plastic bag country over the Channel

      • Anonymous
        Posted January 20, 2017 at 2:36 am | Permalink

        You mean…. subsidised land-owner British farming ??? Lying fallow. Subsidised using our money via the EU ?

        • Anonymous
          Posted January 20, 2017 at 2:44 am | Permalink

          Fear not. We’re not leaving the EU. Certainly not the way Brexiteers want to.

    • Bob
      Posted January 19, 2017 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

      @Russell Verbeek

      “If we can truly open up to African agriculture we could well experience substantial reductions in food prices.”

      And the employment created in Africa would help them to shed their dependence on foreign aid.

    • margaret
      Posted January 20, 2017 at 11:14 am | Permalink

      Hurrah Russell , well done ; There is a big world out there. Just think of the good we could do in Africa as well as trading . Let them take off their blinkered rose coloured glasses and see opportunities for improving Africa’s lot, never mind .. keep the peasants starving. Lets reassess GM crops . Lets work together.

  50. Rattler
    Posted January 19, 2017 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

    Someone tell Mrs May we’ve already had the referendum. A good speech she never made. No point twirling her football rattle to a now completely empty field of battle. Theresa-come-lately!

    • Anonymous
      Posted January 20, 2017 at 2:40 am | Permalink

      In truth, Rattler I thought we had declared No Deal on 23rd June and many people expected us to be out on 24th June. (Including – it seems – David Dimbleby who declared ‘we have left the EU’ on reporting the result.)

      The deal was attempted by David Cameron but failed miserably. So No Deal is what the people voted for but now it seems not.

      Like me Peter Hitchens is sceptical about Mrs May who – incidentally – delivered record levels of what the EU wanted whilst telling the people things they wanted to hear. We have been here before.

  51. May: Solid as a rock
    Posted January 19, 2017 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

    Is it a competition between world Prime Ministers of who can do the least? Mrs May should get the gold medal if she keeps herself as usual firmly anchored to the ground with twenty-yard long London-bridge retaining bolts well and truly screwed into the bedrock beneath.

  52. Andy Lestocq
    Posted January 19, 2017 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

    At Davos the Germans are issuing warnings about this country being a possible tax haven.All of a sudden the cracks in the EU are appearing and dealing with us has become a lot harder. We , are baring our teeth and they are not dealing with a supine , blowhard whose chief interest was internal party politics and not the good of this country.
    May and Hammond took their time , ignoring the strident calls for “clarity” until now
    Boris is doing a sterling job of irritating some selfimportant who have not realised that we have turned a corner

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted January 19, 2017 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

      Schaeuble mentioned a 2015 OECD/G20 agreement and implied that it was about tax competition as well as tax evasion and avoidance, which is not the case.

      It has since been worked up into this “Multilateral Convention to Implement Tax Treaty Related Measures to Prevent Base Erosion and Profit Shifting”:

      and no doubt the UK representative will be able to attend the ceremony in Paris this June and sign it with a clear conscience, because as explained here:

      “The Multilateral Convention to Implement Tax Treaty Related Measures to Prevent Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (the Convention) is one of the outcomes of the OECD/G20 Project to tackle Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (the “BEPS Project”) i.e. tax planning strategies that exploit gaps and mismatches in tax rules to artificially shift profits to low or no-tax locations where there is little or no economic activity, resulting in little or no overall corporate tax being paid.”

      Nothing to do with the UK deciding to reduce taxes on businesses which are genuinely making most of their profits through their activity in the UK.

  53. Exterminate
    Posted January 19, 2017 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

    Unwittingly, Mr May’s chauffeur had an understandably defective EU-made sat nav. Instead of taking her to the World Economic Forum in Davos, she instead found herself delivering a mightily powerful speech to the World Davros Convention where a hugely numbered and very appreciative LibDem audience were taking their annual themed break dressed up as daleks.

  54. Freeborn John
    Posted January 19, 2017 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

    It does seem likely that the EU will insist on talking about divorce terms first, and only after that the future trading relationship. All signs are that they want to the divorce terms to include mugging us for a £50bn charge (that no other member state seems to have to pay) for liabilities accrued in the 2013-2020 EU budget period. Assuming that the UK will not pay this, I believe we will be a court dispute with the EU and nothing much will happen during the two year Article 50 period and will trading under WTO terms from April 2019. Even if the UK pays up and moves on to discuss trade the EU seem to believe it is in their interest to delay any trade agreement until the last minute in order to put the UK under maximum pressure as business starts to worry about the ‘cliff edge’. That is the only explanation for the EU’s “no negotiation until Article 50” mantra. I do believe it would be better for the UK government to set very low expectations for any comprehensive trade agreement with the EU such that markets price in the high likelihood of WTO MFN trade. Should any agreement arise it would then be sign as a bonus and this will minimise EU leverage in last minute negotiations. It would also be wise for the UK to suspend talks early when hit with the £50bn charge and take the EU to court in order to demonstrate we are serious about the acceptability of the WTO option. Anything else is planning for failure.

  55. REPay
    Posted January 19, 2017 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

    We heard, during the campaign, a lot of comment on non-trade issues such as cooperation on science, space and education, and how it would damage us to leave the EU. At some point, could you please address these topics and how, if at all, UK involvement is likely to continue?

  56. Atlas
    Posted January 19, 2017 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

    Indeed, a good speech.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted January 19, 2017 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

      She finally said of the the right things, but far far more is needed. What about fishing, immigration policy, energy, tax rates, the sense of direction, the bonfire of red tape, the size of the state, the ECHR…… Just get on with it. Trump make Theresa May look like a half asleep tortoise with no sense of direction, and he is not even in office yet

      • Chris
        Posted January 19, 2017 at 9:15 pm | Permalink

        I agree that she looks dozy, and lacking a sense of urgency. She does not seem to realise what she can actually do. It would seem that she is in the hands of “handlers” who dictate what she can and can’t do, and who write her speeches. Still too much concern with image and PC. Please, Theresa May, get some confidence, some vim, and act. Words alone are not good enough. Trump has actually set an incredibly good example already on “action”. He means business, and “no messing”. We have had enough of polite, image conscious politicians who are afraid of upsetting this group or that. We want someone with true conviction, boldness and courage, and someone prepared to take radical action and swiftly to solve the problems that confront us. No more pushing into the long grass or Sir Humphrey “solutions”.

  57. rose
    Posted January 19, 2017 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

    “Italian Finance Minister Pier Carlo Padoan told the panel that Britain’s departure from the European Union and Trump posed a challenge to policy makers.

    “They have a vision, we don’t have a vision in Europe, not a vision which is comparable in terms of powerful message,” he said. “Sorry to be pessimistic, but that is the case.”

    From Davos.

  58. turboterrier
    Posted January 19, 2017 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

    Now we know why we have to get out and free as soon as possible.

    Joseph Stiglitz. renowned economist and professor was speaking at the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos. Mr Stiglitz said in a meeting titled ‘Fixing Europe’s Disunion’ the Euro was not created against a backdrop of institutions which could support it. And as a result, he said, it is failing.

    House of cards or domino effect springs to mind.

  59. turboterrier
    Posted January 19, 2017 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

    Jamie Dimon CEO of J.P. Morgan the boss of one of Wall Street’s biggest banks on Bloomberg:

    EUROPE is close to falling apart because political leaders are not fixing the problems that caused Britain to vote out of the European Union (EU) has warned.

    Wonderful news bring it on, if any other members follow the UK lead then it will be the end of the experiment.

    He is reported to be having a meeting with the PM very shortly, I think she might get some confidence from the way this man is thinking.

  60. Iain Gill
    Posted January 19, 2017 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

    Not really.

    Everyone I have had to listen to is disgusted that free movement of people from Europe is going to be allowed to continue for at least another 4 years from the sounds of it. Not at all what people voted for.

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted January 19, 2017 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

      Iain Gill

      Well if what you say about free movement of people for the next 4 years is to believed then the UK will be done for regarding housing, jobs, the welfare state and the NHS. You are right. This is not what we voted for.

  61. leavewon
    Posted January 19, 2017 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

    Westmonster new site very sparse. Here is better and also Zerohedge.
    Didnt realise Trumps grandparents were Bavarian (C4OD )
    They portrayed his dad as bad for making a mint out of government grants.

  62. SimonM
    Posted January 19, 2017 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

    When I went through a “Divorce” we sorted out outstanding liabilities and also shared out the joint assets. The EEC population is c. 500Mn & UK c. 60Mn. On that basis should we be getting 12% of the EEC assets??

  63. Anna
    Posted January 19, 2017 at 6:49 pm | Permalink


    Please do not delude yourself that the millions who voted Remain did so through any positive feelings for the EU. Most people, myself included, were reluctant remainers and voted to stay in the EU because we succumbed to project fear and the threats of ‘punishment’ from Mr Juncker. In all the many discussions I had – and the debate was lively – not one person I know voted yes other than reluctantly. I The voluble minority attempting to subvert the democratic vote are making a noise totally disproportionate to their support. Polls indicate that more people regret voting Remain than regret voting Leave. I certainly regret my Remain vote, and have been enlightened and cheered by the positive and constructive approach to Brexit as expressed by JR and other contributors here.

  64. Doug Powell
    Posted January 19, 2017 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

    Just 2 comments on the reaction to the Prime Minister’s speech.

    First, several prominent members of the EU, including the president, have decreed that any deal with the UK must be INFERIOR to what we have now. That being so, I suggest we avoid 2 years of pointless wrangling and move directly to the WTO option! – Call their bluff now, rather than in 2 years’ time.
    Second, there are reports that the EU will demand €60 billion (£52 billion) to offset the gap in their finances caused by our departure, before they will even sit down to begin trade negotiations! I suggest to the Prime Minister that she turns to the Good Book for a suitable response, and: “Bids them go forth and ……..….”

  65. Juliet
    Posted January 19, 2017 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

    Mrs May is definitely taking the lead when it comes to addressing the world on what work and doesn’t work.
    She is the ‘boss lady’ when it comes to setting the tone.

    Mrs May taken the naysayers by surprise with wake up call

  66. ChrisS
    Posted January 19, 2017 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

    I cannot see how recent action and statements from Merkel, Hollande and especially Verhofstadt can possibly be reconciled with their obligations under Article 8.1 of The Treaty of The European Union which states :

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

  67. stred
    Posted January 20, 2017 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

    Facts4EU > is reporting that the EU is planning to abolish rebates, raising the UK contribution by £4.7bn pa. Meanwhile, we are issuing 800k+NI cards pa and my East European contacts inform me that there are noticably more EU workers on the tube who talk about working for agents and sharing overcrowded houses.

    When a partner retires from a partnership it is normal for him or her to be paid out for goodwill. The EU partnership seems determined to delay our leaving and screw as much as possible from us before we eventually escape. Meanwhile our civil service seems determined to accept every EU dictat telling us we may not start negotiations with other countries for arrangement immediately after leaving.

    It seems Mrs May will carefully do whatever Sir Humphrey tells her and as slowly as possible. She will cost us dear and continue to allow mass migration with perhaps millions more requiring housing, health and transport.

    But she does read a good speech and puts over a pleasant image.

  68. Vabadus
    Posted January 20, 2017 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

    I am interested in what the possible consequences of unilateral free trade, as proposed by Dr Redwood, would be for non-financial sectors.

    An acquaintance of mine who works in engineering says:

    Free traders who think we can choose to just abide by WTO rules and be a north Atlantic Singapore either don’t realise or don’t care that we are still a country which makes things and grows things and we need to be signed up to the same or similar standards as our main trading partners.

    Fools like Redwood don’t understand anything beyond making money from the financial services sector. The rest of us can just get screwed, apparently.

    Dr Richard North, a prolific researcher and author of ‘Flexcit’, has reacted to the Prime Minister’s speech with utter dismay (in fact, he uses much stronger language).

    What can unilateral free trade offer the country, not just the City? And are there any bloggers who regularly challenge North? It is somewhat disconcerting to see that both he and Dan Hannan, two of the most consummate brains all matters EU-related, have favoured Efta membership (I should also point out to those unfamiliar with North that he believes most Leavers have failed to understand this option properly and that it would not leave us dictated to and voiceless, nor would it mean we cannot unilaterally halt freedom of movement).

    Reply I have not advocated unilateral free trade. WTO rukes would allow us to put large tariffs on EU agricultural produce

  • 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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