The UK does not have to pay a single Euro to exit the EU – and is making a very generous and friendly Brexit offer to the EU

I am glad the Lords have confirmed what I have long argued that the UK has no legal obligations under the EU Treaties to pay any one off exit payment or any continuing contributions after departure.

They missed out the even more important point  – UK Ministers have no legal power to make any one off or continuing payments after leaving. The payments would not be authorised. The legal base of the Treaty  supports our regular contributions but not the payments the EU have in mind.

The EU may well think it a good idea to ease the problems they have on our departure by charging us a huge sum for daring to leave. The answer is a simple and polite No to that request.

The EU needs to concentrate on making  sure it still has tariff free access to our market, which they also need. The good news is we are happy to offer them that. The bad news is they do not seem to be able to agree anything amongst themselves about how to respo0nd to Brexit. The EU Commission also seems to think it should try and threaten and bully us, when the sensible approach is to be helpful and courteous, as we are towards them.

 

The UK is offering them tariff free trade and the full rights of EU citizens to stay and work in our country. That’s a great and generous offer.  Why can’t they simply do the same civilised thing? Why don’t they take seriously their legal obligations under their own Treaty to have good relations with a neighbouring state  with a flourishing trade?

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115 Comments

  1. Ian Wragg
    Posted March 4, 2017 at 8:54 am | Permalink

    You ask why can’t the EU do the same.
    Simples. Perfidious Albion has dared to expose the true trajectory of the Soviet inspired EU. Run by failed socialist and communists politicians.
    With the southern states bankrupt and only 5 of 28 funding the project is there any wonder we voted out.
    The EU is in a state of terminal decline and one wonders why our stupid political class are so enamoured by it all.
    Maybe when history is written we may find out who was pulling the strings.

    • Mitchel
      Posted March 4, 2017 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

      “…one wonders why our stupid political class are so enamoured by it all.”

      because they are at least as Soviet inspired as the Europeans- the enormous bureaucracy we are supporting-all those extravagantly titled and lavishly renumerated chinovniks.Once out of the EU (and perhaps certain other transnational bodies that mandate the big state),we can begin to tackle the problem within.

      • John Marchant
        Posted March 5, 2017 at 11:27 am | Permalink

        Two words, Vested Interests.

        Its always about vested interests and many of these are not entirly clear. I mean you can see the vested interests of people like Blair, Kinnock and Mandelson, its a clear as day. Its however the others that are not so clear.

        The one i really cant fathom but maybe its my two words, is the Unions and indeed Labour in general. Corbyn has been pretty much anti EU all his political life until he becomes leader of the Labour party. The Labour party were the original anti EU party, they were meant to represent the working class and especially the low skilled, low income workers.

        • Mark B
          Posted March 6, 2017 at 9:53 am | Permalink

          Socialism via the backdoor.

          • Mitchel
            Posted March 6, 2017 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

            I’m not sure it is socialism;it strikes me more as a form of feudalism.We may have lost the empire but we didn’t lose the imperial class-they’ve created new “colonies” within to be administered -and I’m not referring to immigration.

    • Peter Wood
      Posted March 4, 2017 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

      Without wishing to jump into conspiracy theories, but I support your contention that there may be greater interests behind the scheme, to make us mere folk pay more for less and accept a central power. We know who the Piper is/are, who are the paymasters..?

    • Mark B
      Posted March 5, 2017 at 7:28 am | Permalink

      ” . . . one wonders why our stupid political class are so enamoured by it all.”

      Vested interests and the fact that they can ‘offshore’ responsibility to someone else , ie “Not me guv’ !” mentality. That someone else outside who cannot be held accountable in anyway.

      Clever really.

    • eeyore
      Posted March 5, 2017 at 7:32 am | Permalink

      There is a significant post on the topic of Britain’s leaving payment from Alastair Meeks on http://politicalbetting.com/ which seems to me worth careful study.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted March 6, 2017 at 11:05 am | Permalink

        It’s like those who rejoice at any news that our weapons are defective.

  2. agricola
    Posted March 4, 2017 at 9:02 am | Permalink

    Absolutely correct, the manufacturers seem obsessed with miniaturisation to the exclusion of function. Unlike you I am retired so two calls a week is about the limit. WhatsApp is quite useful, as is the ability to get the level of weather forecasting I need. The camera is adequate as a notebook, but useless outdoors as are all cameras without a viewfinder. I still keep my trusty Nikon.

    I have a similar device to a phone , marginally larger ,but twice as thick called a Naviter IGC. It is used for navigating in the air. It contains worldwide aviation maps and airspace restrictions. It is suction cup fixed in the cockpit, has a continuous use battery life of ten hours, and I can read the detail in the strong sunlight we get at 10,000 feet in Spain. I put it’s readability down to it’s battery capacity.

    My conclusion is that vast improvements in phones could be made if we were not obsessed with miniaturisation. My phone and case weigh 206 grams . The Naviter weighs 367. The extra weight would be no problem in the car and on the person could be carried in a belt pouch or shoulder holster. When the heralded capacitor technology becomes a reality the situation may improve.

    • libertarian
      Posted March 4, 2017 at 9:54 am | Permalink

      agricola

      Maybe its not the phone but the fact you need specsavers! You’ve posted this on the wrong thread

      • Lifelogic
        Posted March 5, 2017 at 7:21 pm | Permalink

        Nearly everyone over about 45 needs specsavers and many before that.

    • agricola
      Posted March 4, 2017 at 11:08 am | Permalink

      This should really be with the smart phone article, for which I am probably to blame.

    • miami.mode
      Posted March 4, 2017 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

      ……..called a Naviter IGC. It is used for navigating in the air………

      agricola

      It looks as though you also need one for navigating our host’s website!

  3. BCL
    Posted March 4, 2017 at 9:15 am | Permalink

    I do not believe the EU is serious about asking us to pay anything (anymore than we are about the EU buying our share of EU assets back from us when we leave). I think it is all posturing for the press and public. The problem is that while we speak with one voice and one set of interests, they speak with 27 and have 27 different national interests. Their negotiators must represent Greek Olive growers, French wine producers, German car manufacturers and Polish steel makers amongst thousands of other interest groups. We will be negotiating only for ourselves. Is it any wonder the EU is terrible at negotiating trade deals and takes years to do it?

    • Simon
      Posted March 4, 2017 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

      That doesn’t matter. We just go to WTO terms as stated by Mrs May and John Redwood. It is all so simple.

  4. Alan
    Posted March 4, 2017 at 9:15 am | Permalink

    Less than a year ago we were being assured by the Leave campaign that there was no danger of us failing to get full access to the single market. Now the Brexiters are accepting that getting only WTO access is likely.

    Already our imports from the EU are costing us about £90 billion more than they did before the referendum campaign began because of the devaluation of our currency. That will probably seem minor compared to the amount of trade we will lose after we have left the single market.

    The government is about to give notice that the UK will leave the EU, but it has no clear plan for what we are going to do. It does have wishful thinking.

    And now the suggestion is that we repudiate undertakings that we made whilst a member of the EU.

    Our manner of leaving the EU seems likely to be damaging to our reputation.

    Reply I have always said WTO MFN is fine and we may end up with that. I also strongly believe tariff free is massively in the rest of the EU’s interests, so political and economic logic points to them wanting it, though their ability to agree anything amongst themselves seems very limited.

    • Anonymous
      Posted March 4, 2017 at 9:50 am | Permalink

      I don’t recall any Leaver telling us ‘full’ access to the SM. I recall them saying that we’d still have access, which is true.

      The unaccounted costs of full membership are too high and this is why people voted Leave.

      • John Marchant
        Posted March 5, 2017 at 11:37 am | Permalink

        Agreed, it was quite clear to anyone with a care to look that leaving the EU meant leaving the single market and customs union, after all if we dont whats the point of leaving.

        Never underestimate the EU’s ability to cut its nose off to spite its face. Yes they would like to have a deal with us, however it seems to be more important to them to make sure Britain fails and is seen to fail, so they can stand up in Brussels and say “there we told you so, leaving is not an option”

        The EU loves to big itself up, yes it is a big market and important one but no more so than any other market.

        Lets just see what happens when they finally get their superstate and all EU countries are paying the same corporation tax, VAT and income tax, then all these companies that located to Ireland, Luxemburg and such will be looking to relocate again to a country near the EU but not in it, it has already happened for at least one company in Luxemburg and i expect others will follow.

        The UK has a golden opportunity now and we need to have the government and people to seize this opportunity. Believe me my French wife wishes her country had a similar opportunity but she does not think it will happen, she also used to work for the EU.

    • James Matthews
      Posted March 4, 2017 at 10:15 am | Permalink

      The government (at taxpayers expense) advised ever household in the country that we would no longer be members of the single market. Senior members of both the remain and leave campaigns repeatedly said the same thing on television (the Daily Politics has clips thereof). No one who paid any attention could be in any doubt.

      The Remainders are starting to sound like those motorists who whinge about being caught by speed cameras because they “didn’t see them”, despite the large and recurrent warning notices and the cameras painted yellow to enhance visibility. Anyone who really didn’t know has no one to blame but themselves.

      • Richard
        Posted March 5, 2017 at 6:20 am | Permalink

        Both Mr Farage and Mr Banks spoke explictly about how splendid it would be to follow the Norway model. Norway is in the single market.
        Mr Johnson said time and time again that we would have our cake and eat it, and that of course we would keep the same access to the single market we have now.
        Mr Hannan said explicitly that “Absolutely nobody is talking about threatening our place in the Single Market” – do google it

        Some Leavers, including Mr Redwood, were honest about the enormity of the rupture that will likely follow Brexit. Most were not honest at all, and most promised an easy path to full membership of the single market, a la Norway, even after Brexit. So please do not add to the untruths by claiming that leaving the EU equates to leaving the single market. It does not, and many Leave campaigners openly embraced the single market

        Reply Bill Cash, Bernard Jenkin and I wrote about how of course we would be leaving the single market when we left the EU. The Remain campaign also made this very clear.

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted March 4, 2017 at 10:16 am | Permalink

      Amusing how some people think that because they personally do not know what the governments plan is then they must have no plan. Naive.

      • John Marchant
        Posted March 5, 2017 at 11:41 am | Permalink

        They have a plan its just they are not as stupid as Cameron and know you play your cards close to your chest.

        When anoucements are made its not for our ears alone but more importantly the ears of the EU, like the one from tthe Lords yesterday about a divorce settlement.

    • ian wragg
      Posted March 4, 2017 at 10:19 am | Permalink

      Alan, the whole world and their dog has access to the single market. Only difference is 160 of them don’t have to pay a tax of 7% or accept free movement and the ECJ ruling them.
      If we have something competitive to sell then trade will carry on. People will carry on with their lives regardless.
      project fear is dead, it’s been seen for the sham it really was.
      Embrace the freedom of having the shackles removed from this dying entity.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted March 4, 2017 at 10:41 am | Permalink

      As usual with supporters of the EU, you refer only to “the amount of trade we will lose after we have left the single market” without recognising that the trade is two-way, we run a chronic and massive deficit and they would lose far more than us. For as long as I can remember there has always been this deliberatively deceptive one-sided emphasis on the supposed benefits for our exporters with complete silence about the benefits for their exporters. Only this week the CBI has been calling for a good trade deal and doing the usual trick of saying “Supposing you are a small cosmetics firm in Stockport and you export to France” without considering the reverse case. It is simply dishonest.

      And what do the economic benefits of the EU Single Market actually amount to? By which I do not mean any increase in the volume of the two-way trade, just shifting stuff around from place to place, but any consequent enhancement of prosperity for the population? A mere 2% added to the collective GDP of the EU member states, according to the EU Commission itself, and for us maybe half that average.

      • a-tracy
        Posted March 5, 2017 at 9:48 am | Permalink

        I agree just how many Citroen and Peugeot French vehicles are sold into the UK I know people that are already looking now for alternative vehicles for the future, with cars manufacturers I’ve never heard of being raised as alternative suppliers with attractive hybrid vehicles. politicians needs to remember business people look further into the future than the end of March and two years hence.

        British exporters must be looking to expand their markets and there must be some boost into our sales and marketing departments as a whole Country.

      • John Marchant
        Posted March 5, 2017 at 11:53 am | Permalink

        Trade is important and as usual the figures are displayed for a pre determined agenda depending on who your audience is.

        49%-51% sounds so much closer than 1.20 Million more voted Leave than Remain. Always make the facts fit the agenda.

        People should actually look into how many UK companies actually export to the world and then the EU, its allot less than you think. But saying 50 % of our export trade is with the EU sounds so much more scary, yes its 50% of our exports but not 50% of all the goods and services we produce as a whole in the UK.

        The UK is the EU’s biggest single tradeing nation by 16%, the next closest is the USA with 15%, now consider the economy,size and trade that these two places do and then you realise how important the UK is to the EU. They know this and some think that its good to try and play chicken with us.

        I personally think the UK should invoke Art 50 and then do nothing, no negotiations, no talks just let the 2 years wind down. Firstly that will sharpen minds in some EU countries governments, namely Germany, France, Italy and Spain, secondly, secondly it will give them time to lobby their EU representatives that a deal is needed and soon.

        The EU is first going to stall us with their so called Brexit Divorce Deal and refuse to talk about anyhting else until that is settled. Which is why as soon as they mention it we should present a divorce settlement of our own and then walk away.

        I realistic trade deal is going to take far longer than 2 years anyway, which suits the EU as we keep paying. It took 3 years to agree the deal with Greenland when she left and that was mostly about fish. CETA took 7 years and is still not sure, TTIP, well thats a dead duck now of the foreseeable future.

    • Graham Wood
      Posted March 4, 2017 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

      “And now the suggestion is that we repudiate undertakings that we made whilst a member of the EU.”
      To what “undertakings” do you refer?

      I am not aware that we gave the EU any hint that the UK would give ex gratia payment of British taxpayers money to the corrupt EU after we leave, or in addition to the £Billions we already give under existing treaties.
      Where is any stipulation for such extra payments in Lisbon, or any other treaty?
      This sounds more like political extortion to me than a serious proposition.

      On the contrary the EU should seriously consider the reverse and make payments to the British Treasury for its gross mis-handling of its budgets year upon year to which we are net contributors. Its called accountability.
      Much of that budget is habitually unaccounted for, and to add insult to injury it is still the case that EU accounts have still not been passed by their own auditors for about 20 years!
      How is it therefore that you have not grasped Mr Redwood’s important point, namely “UK Ministers have no legal power to make any one off or continuing payments after leaving.” ?

      If the EU was a business concern it would have been declared bankrupt and in receivership many years ago!

      • John Marchant
        Posted March 5, 2017 at 11:57 am | Permalink

        I always like to use the EU’s own analogy for this. If you have a gym membership you have to keep up with the payments.

        If you are a member of a gym and decide to leave you dont keep paying for Gym equipment they may or may not buy in 5 years time.

    • David Price
      Posted March 4, 2017 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

      No-one promised full access to the internal market if by that you mean tariff free, the soft vs hard brexit was a fiction put about by remainers.

      Why should we expect any less access to the EU market than other non-EU nations?

      BTW, there was never a clear plan offered in the first, common market, referendum that gave any indication of what was actually to come.

    • Simon
      Posted March 4, 2017 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

      It’s curious John. The qualification you are now adding – that it is very difficult to do any deal with the EU – is only now appearing and to my knowledge for the first time. Have you not been saying for years that leaving the EU was very simple ?

      Reply Yes, leaving is easy and I just want to leave. They may well then seek a free trade agreement, but there has always been as I have said the chance they prefer self harm and cannot agree.

    • getahead
      Posted March 4, 2017 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

      Alan, it’s not about trade.

    • Alan
      Posted March 4, 2017 at 8:39 pm | Permalink

      I feel sure I an remember posts that said that German car makers would insist on being able to export to us and that this would ensure that we had tariff free access to the EU. I can also remember other Leave campaigners dismissing fears of being outside the single market saying “it just won’t happen”.

      I know none of this matters now: the referendum vote has been lost. It’s just I dislike the re-writing of history and the construction of false scenarios. Look at the way the financial crisis is blamed on the euro, or on Gordon Brown over-spending. Look at how Mr Blair is believed to have lied over the weapons of mass destruction. Now we are seeing a scenario being constructed that says that the Leave campaign did not lie. It did: there are photographs of a bus that prove it.

      • zorro
        Posted March 4, 2017 at 9:14 pm | Permalink

        The fat lady hasn’t sung yet….

        zorro

      • zorro
        Posted March 4, 2017 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

        We have gone over the bus saga many times and there was no direct link between the total funding and the NHS. The point is that the government could if it wanted spend the money how it chose and that might be the NHS.

        zorro

      • Anonymous
        Posted March 5, 2017 at 10:07 am | Permalink

        The Battle Bus claim was stupid and did not sway me. Nor did ‘tariff free’ access to the SM.

        Why ?

        Because ‘tariff free’ is the biggest lie of the lot.

        Access to the SM, in fact, comes with incalculable economic, political, democratic and social costs in the form of loss of sovereignty and border control.

        It is most certainly not ‘free’.

        • John Marchant
          Posted March 5, 2017 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

          Exactly, the Single Market is a protectionist ponzy scheme to make it hard for other countries to access the EU market place. Try looking at what Africa and Asia thinks about the Single Market.

          Try importing goods from outside the EU into the EU, even goods that the EU does not produce, the costs are ridiculas now. The SM is all about protectionsim just the same as CAP is as well.

      • Qubus
        Posted March 5, 2017 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

        It ‘s about time that this particular fox was finally shot. The amount quoted on the side of the bus was correct in that it was the GROSS amount paid to the EU per annum divided by 52, thus giving the GROSS amount paid per week. That should have been explained. End of story.

      • libertarian
        Posted March 5, 2017 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

        Alan,

        I voted specifically to leave the so called SINGLE market because it isn’t one.

        You really shouldn’t be allowed to vote if you can’t read slogans on the side of a bus properly. If you are that swayed by bus advertising you must spend a fortune on stuff you dont want

    • Jeremy Howes
      Posted March 5, 2017 at 1:29 am | Permalink

      I do not recall the Remain campaign outlining what our future would be in the EU should we stay. The EU Army was described as ‘Dangerous fantasy’.
      The EU is a political experiment that has taken 40+ years to fail.

  5. Mark Cannon
    Posted March 4, 2017 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    Well said! It was entertaining to here a LimDem peer being interviewed on the Today programme (just after 7 o’clock news). She explained that we did not have to pay a cent, let alone a Euro. The interviewer found himself suggesting that the UK had a strong bargaining position. Not the usual Today line!

  6. alan jutson
    Posted March 4, 2017 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    The EU asking us to Pay huge sums to leave is just posturing and should be politely treated with the contempt it deserves.

    If they do try to insist on any payment we should simply say no, and if that does not work then get up, walk out, and wait for them to ask us to return to the table.

    Failure by them to ask us to return means that after 2 years we will be out under WTO rules.

    What are they going to do try to fine us.!!!

    Let us face facts, it will be a German led negotiation team, as they have the most to lose on their side.

    • John Marchant
      Posted March 5, 2017 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

      Funnily enough it is not, Barnier, Verhofstadt and others not German at all. Yes it did upset the Germans quite a bit. Check some of the German english language press, Die Welt for one.

  7. Richard1
    Posted March 4, 2017 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    The issue is a red herring. It’s clear the UK must pay contributions up until the moment of leaving. Presumably we will wish to stay in some EU-led cooperation mechanisms like the European Medicines Agency, Europol, Horizon 20-20 etc, so it’s reasonable to pay something for that. And presumably the UK will have to fund the redundancy and pension liabilities of UK employees sent to EU. Without revealing its negotiating hand the government could and should spell out what the walk away option – WTO rules – would look like and why it would be fine, whilst making clear that continuing present trade arrangements etc is the preferred option. Why Mrs May is expending political capital on the absurd issue of not guaranteeing EU citizens rights in the U.K. Is a mystery, since it’s quite clear they will get them, deal or no deal.

    • Mark
      Posted March 4, 2017 at 10:51 pm | Permalink

      EU pensions are the responsibility of the employing organisation, regardless of nationality of the pensioner. While we remain a member, some of our contributions go towards paying pensions in payment and the element of staff salaries that is deducted as a pension contribution. We have provided a joint and several guarantee to the pension funds, which would be called were the EU to go bankrupt. I now understand that even that guarantee falls away once we leave.

    • Know-Dice
      Posted March 5, 2017 at 8:02 am | Permalink

      And presumably the UK will have to fund the redundancy and pension liabilities of UK employees sent to EU.

      Not sure about that, Juncker clearly said that anyone working for the EU institutions “leave their national hat at the door”, therefore the EU is fully responsible for any redundancy and pension provision.

  8. Stephen Berry
    Posted March 4, 2017 at 10:10 am | Permalink

    As I have said before, if we are looking purely at our economic relationship with the states that comprise the EU then it would be best to end all cooperation with Brussels – including sending them money. There would be no negotiations over trade. Free trade should simply be allowed by the UK, even if the EU were foolish enough to restrict it on their side. But then, as the EU imposed tariffs, ministers who were confident in their knowledge of economics would have to explain this to a questioning public. So instead, the government has decided to negotiate a free trade deal with the EU. How does this stack up?

    It is important to distinguish between the Commission and the member states here. The Commission above all, wants to keep the EU show on the road. Britain is the ungrateful country which, despite rebates and the rest, has done the most over the past year to undermine the EU. She must be punished. And the continuing existence of the Euro shows that the Commission is willing to inflict economic damage to maintain their project. On the other hand, the Commission does want money to replace the UK contribution which was substantial. Generous wages and pensions in Brussels should remain generous!

    As John points out, the member states themselves want to continue trading with us and eastern European states will want to guarantee access to our labour markets and know that the UK will defend them against the big bad bear. Also, they will want transitional arrangements on things like fishing. The member states must be encouraged to put pressure on the Commission.

    Yes, the UK does have a pretty good hand and there will be a deal if we want one. But the UK government has to remember that we are negotiating first of all with the Commission, not the individual states. It will definitely want some dosh.

  9. Leslie Singleton
    Posted March 4, 2017 at 10:10 am | Permalink

    Dear John–I cannot grasp what all the talk one has to listen to about leaving Golf Clubs and the like is supposed to show. If the Clubhouse needs a new roof and I resign I would not have to pay towards the cost, over and above, that is, my subs to date of resignation (which of course the Club has been accumulating in a Roof Replacement Fund)–according to the Rules. In any event, given that the remaining EU reckons we shall be worse off when we leave (meaning become normal again) maybe they should be making an Exit payment to us to compensate. So I agree completely and the sooner our Government makes that clear the better.

  10. Original Richard
    Posted March 4, 2017 at 10:19 am | Permalink

    Yes, excellent news that the Lords have confirmed that we have no legal obligation to make any exit payment or payments after exit, although it was dreadful that they negligently voted for UK citizens living in the EU to become pawns in the subsequent leaving negotiations.

    The EU, by insisting that the UK had to settle their proposed exit bill before going on to discuss other matters, such as a trade deal, meant that the UK obviously had no option but to refuse completely any such payment as to have done so at the start of the exit negotiations would have enormously disadvantaged the UK’s negotiating position.

    The government needs to press home the fact that a trading deficit of £100bn/year with the EU under the current EU free trade (single market) deal means a move to WTO terms is highly likely to be beneficial to us.

  11. eeyore
    Posted March 4, 2017 at 10:21 am | Permalink

    What a negotiating hand we have! And what a nightmare for the EU!

    I wonder when it will dawn on them that if Britain can get out for nothing, any country can, and the last one in inherits all the debts.

    Don’t they read their own treaties?

    • William Long
      Posted March 5, 2017 at 9:07 am | Permalink

      Probably not, and neither had Kenneth Clark when he was urging us so hard to support signature of the Mastricht Treaty!

  12. James Neill
    Posted March 4, 2017 at 10:35 am | Permalink

    I believe the EU is deadly serious in it’s intentions but we will have to wait until the negotiations start in earnest after the article 50 is activated- so it is fanciful to be speculating about how things will proceed before that happens. It would be better to spend our remaining time before March 2019 in trying to shore up our own UK- with Scotland and now Northern Ireland threatening a break away. If anyone thinks that the Irish, after one hundred years of a British border, are now going to allow the EU draw another EU border across the island of Ireland then they have another think coming. I suggest that Scotland is also on the warpath. We English have voted in large numbers to ‘take back control’ and so the Scots also want to take back control- we shouldn’t be surprised – and all courtesy of Brexit

    • stred
      Posted March 5, 2017 at 8:25 am | Permalink

      All those EU subsidies gone and now Scotland and Northern Ireland gone too. Oh joy!
      And we can go abroad to an English speaking country to do business in the EU without travelling costs. Bring it on.

      • James Matthews
        Posted March 5, 2017 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

        “We” English, from a strangely Irish perspective, but no matter. “Oh Joy” is the only possible English response (the diminishing portion of the population who still think of themselves as British may differ). Three financial burdens and one major political problem removed at the same time.

        Brexit is the gift that keeps on giving.

    • John Marchant
      Posted March 5, 2017 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

      Thats up to Scotland and Northern Ireland and as many have said in these places that a small minority cannot dicate to 86% (England) of the UK what to do. If they choose to leave then so be it, if thats the cost then i can live with that.

      Devolution is always independence by stealth, something else to blame Blair for.

  13. James Matthews
    Posted March 4, 2017 at 10:50 am | Permalink

    I find it hard to recall the last time a UK Government gave a simple and polite no to anyone, but hope springs eternal.

  14. Denis Cooper
    Posted March 4, 2017 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    It’s all over the media this morning, but we read it here first!

    That is, apart from reading the evidence from witnesses some time ago.

    I repeat my earlier suggestion that the UK government should unequivocally deny any legal liability, but offer to negotiate some financial settlement as a token of its goodwill towards the peoples of the other EU countries. After all, they, the taxpayers in those countries, will have to make up whatever we decline to pay if we do leave without an agreement.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted March 5, 2017 at 5:14 am | Permalink

      Dear Denis–Don’t agree–You try and soften what you are saying by referring to the “peoples” rather than the God-forsaken EU per se but I don’t buy it–We the British have problems of our own and if the “peoples” aren’t so happy maybe that will encourage them to bring forward the end of the EU, which in any event should reduce its Budget. If the EU want to play hardball with the negotiation I don’t understand why it’s apparently so obvious we do not announce that if they cannot start becoming more reasonable we shall start charging tariffs on their trade with us as would be a normal enough thing to do. Allowing the trade imbalance just to carry on as now without doing something about it is potty. Things have got to get worse before they get better. There always was going to be a hill to climb to get to the other side.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted March 6, 2017 at 11:15 am | Permalink

        One can have goodwill towards the people of a country notwithstanding the actions of their government, undertaken either unilaterally or in combination with others as through the EU. And one can contrive to go over the head of the government in expressing that goodwill towards the people.

        • Leslie Singleton
          Posted March 6, 2017 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

          Dear Denis–Maybe–But what has that to do with gratuitously giving them shedloads of our money when we need it ourselves?

  15. Denis Cooper
    Posted March 4, 2017 at 11:10 am | Permalink

    I’m particularly interested in the passage in the report where the legal adviser delves into the origins of Article 50 TEU. Starting on page 61 here:

    https://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld201617/ldselect/ldeucom/125/125.pdf

    “21. The second option is stark: if no agreement is reached within two years, the effect is exactly the same as if a withdrawal agreement had been agreed and entered into force: the EU “Treaties shall cease to apply to the State in question” (Article 50(3) TEU). The second option allows, therefore, for the most disorderly of withdrawals. The travaux préparatoires explain that the two-year cut-off was inserted to ensure that the right of a Member State
    to withdraw from the EU was unilateral, rather than dependent on the conclusion of a withdrawal agreement. Indeed, the drafters of Article 50 foresaw the two-year period being extended:

    “The Praesidium considers that, since many hold that the right of withdrawal exists even in the absence of an explicit provision to that effect, withdrawal of a Member State from the Union cannot be made conditional upon the conclusion of a withdrawal agreement. Hence the provision that withdrawal will take effect in any event two years after notification. However, in order to encourage a withdrawal agreement between the Union and the State which is withdrawing, Article I-57 [now I-60] provides for the possibility of extending this period by common accord between the European Council and the Member State concerned.”

    That has always been my interpretation of that part of Article, that a country cannot be kept in the EU against its will for longer than two years after it has served the notice that it intends to leave; not the “ticking clock” interpretation now favoured by Remainers and some others, that a period of just two years is specified to enable the EU to put pressure on the withdrawing country to agree to an unfavourable last-minute agreement.

    • Mark
      Posted March 4, 2017 at 10:57 pm | Permalink

      Further, the EU still remains obligated to negotiate and conclude the exit agreement even after we have left: there is no abandoning the negotiation just because the guillotine falls – the remaining members are still bound by Article 50 to pursue it.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted March 5, 2017 at 11:38 am | Permalink

        I think it would then switch to Article 8 on the neighbourhood policy.

        • Mark
          Posted March 6, 2017 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

          I think Article 8 applies to the entire negotiation – it is clearly part of the framework for our future relations with the EU. A “punishment bill” is incompatible with Article 8 whenever it is presented as part of exit negotiations.

  16. Ex-expat Colin
    Posted March 4, 2017 at 11:28 am | Permalink

    Its the ongoing payments that is the real concern…and of course Westminster has not mentioned anything about that. Just irrelevant amendments from both the SNP and HoL at Art 50.

    You just need a worded Captcha. Imaging is a problem where parts of an image are unexpectedly valid.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted March 5, 2017 at 5:18 am | Permalink

      Dear Colin–Are some of John’s posters robots–Is that the problem? Who?? A pox on the High Tech.

  17. agricola
    Posted March 4, 2017 at 11:30 am | Permalink

    The EU is a political entity with no dependence on an electorate. nobody can call it to account. Short of the gulags it is so like the old USSR.
    I agree that no alimony should be paid. Where our departure may cause hardship, the EU fishing industry for instance, I think we should offer five year transition concessions, but order the fishery protection ships now so that the process can be policed. The plus side would be a great command training facility for the Royal Navy.

  18. LordBlagger
    Posted March 4, 2017 at 11:38 am | Permalink

    The EU countries and the UK are bound to use the WTO jargon.

    That means tariffs have to ratchet down. You can’t increase them without the agreement of the other side.

    The UK should just say no.


    The Bound tariff rate is the most-favored-nation tariff rate resulting from negotiations under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and incorporated as an integral component of a country’s schedule of concessions or commitments to other World Trade Organization members. If a country raises a tariff to a higher level than its bound rate, those adversely affected can seek remedy through the dispute settlement process and may obtain the right to retaliate against an equivalent value of the offending country’s exports or the right to receive compensation, usually in the form of reduced tariffs on other products they export to the offending country

    The EU hasn’t worked out the consequences.

    The UK and all EU countries are now stuck with no tariffs and no barriers.

    Neither side is leaving the WTO and its a parallel system. There’s no connection between leaving the EU and the deals agreed under the WTO.

    So the UK can’t introduce tariffs against the EU even if you wanted it.

    Reply. Not so. If we leave without registeribg a free trade agreement with EU tariffs are imposed at same levels as we currently have for non EU

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted March 5, 2017 at 8:57 am | Permalink

      Which current tariffs are the EU’s Common External Tariff.

  19. Duncan
    Posted March 4, 2017 at 11:46 am | Permalink

    When will Nigel Farage be given the credit he deserves? Without his energy, ideals, patriotism and his fortitude our nation, the UK, would not be on the verge of regaining our independence and sovereign status.

    I have no doubt, in time, he will be seen as a true hero of our nation and the one politician who saved our country from political and legal obliteration

    • Mark B
      Posted March 5, 2017 at 8:42 am | Permalink

      Nigel Farage has done more than most to raise this issue and keep it in the public eye and conciseness more than any other. But he has not been the only one at work and, while he indeed has made most of the headlines, it has been others behind the scenes that have done the most work.

      A true team effort.

  20. acorn
    Posted March 4, 2017 at 11:47 am | Permalink

    The bit that needs explaining is, for instance, if Brexit UK offers tariff free trade to the EU bloc, then under WTO terms we would have to offer the same terms to other WTO member nations.

    Say, no import tariff on French steel for our submarines and like wise, no tariff on Chinese Japanese Indian and US steel. Those between them would wipe out UK domestic steel production, without the protection of an import tariff. Likewise with machinery; agri-food products etc etc.

    From the UK households position, “tit for tat” import tariffs put up prices in the shops, purchasing power goes down. Along with votes for the politicians who caused the high prices and more expensive family foreign holidays!

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted March 5, 2017 at 8:53 am | Permalink

      If that was correct then any country which has already concluded a preferential trade agreement with the EU will be offering the same terms to all other WTO members … which is clearly not true.

  21. formula57
    Posted March 4, 2017 at 11:56 am | Permalink

    As you say, “The EU Commission also seems to think it should try and threaten and bully us…” so it is long overdue that the British government regards it as a hostile power and acts accordingly.

    Let us recall in that context Stalin’s question about the Pope – “How many divisions has he got?”.

  22. Mark
    Posted March 4, 2017 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

    The Barnier/Juncker negotiating position and pretence of EU unity has collapsed with this exposure in the Lords report. They now need to go back to the drawing board and establish negotiating guidelines properly in accordance with Article 50 by agreement in the EU Council. The real weakness of their negotiating position is starting to be revealed: perhaps next will come the realisation that they are treaty bound to reach an agreement, and that they will only have two years to persuade us to stay if they can agree on a generous enough offer.

    What has also been exposed is the fake news suggesting that this exit bill had a legal foundation, with organisations as supposedly reputable as the FT, the Economist and the BBC all failing to do what you and I have done – read through the Treaties for evidence.

  23. Antisthenes
    Posted March 4, 2017 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

    We see how difficult it is for the UK to speak with one voice. The lords and commons in disagreement, politicians and political parties and remain vested interest doing their best to force their vision of Brexit on the government. So how will the EU ever be able to bring a common front to the negotiation table. They have the UK’s problem multiplied by 29; 27 member states, EU parliament and Brussels all wanting a say and input in the negotiations. Coupled with that it only takes one of them to dissent to negate any agreement reached. It appears likely that the EU will be unable to start the negotiation with any semblance of unity. By necessity the negotiations will therefore be protracted. The negotiators will be constantly referring issues back for approval which given the numbers needed for that approval will at best take considerable time or even never be given.

    We are well aware of this deficiency already as anything the EU does from making treaties and managing crises always takes an inordinate amount of time and often results in it being deferred. This of course favours the EU and UK remainers as it ties the UK to EU membership for possibly many more years than two. How to overcome this unacceptable situation must be given priority over the negotiations. If we are to effect Brexit within the two years as the alternative is many more years of membership and maybe never leaving.

  24. forthurst
    Posted March 4, 2017 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

    The HoL needs to stop negotiating our withdrawal from the EU by Amendment; treaty negotiation is a Royal Prerogative function and its a pity that the HoL which is crammed full of ‘experts’ does not have anyone with an understanding of Constitional law.

  25. ian
    Posted March 4, 2017 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

    There nothing stopping uk from leaving the eu in next three weeks, all you hear about talks is BS, they will be talking forever more after they have left anyway, it better to leave now and let the eu decide want it want to do about tariff, people, fishing and so on, it just a game of buff, my stick bigger than your stick, anything that is agreed with the eu in talks now may not last a year anyway so want is the point, things change as you go along, that the whole idea of a free world, the ability to change your mind.

  26. Denis Cooper
    Posted March 4, 2017 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

    I read here:

    http://brexitcentral.com/european-commission-fund-pro-eu-information-centres-britain/

    “European Commission to fund more pro-EU ‘information’ centres in Britain”

    I remember the effectiveness of German propaganda in undermining the Czech President Vaclav Klaus back in the autumn of 2009, and so I hope that our government is quietly gearing up to counter hostile propaganda not just in the UK but around the world.

    It is crazy that Theresa May is now being blamed for blocking an early deal on the rights of EU citizens when she tried her best but her efforts were negated by Angela Merkel, who it seems is more interested in the money which might be extorted from the UK than looking after the interests of German citizens resident in the UK.

  27. rose
    Posted March 4, 2017 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

    Vindicated again.

    Now can the Lords please tell us our fishing grounds belong to us and only us?

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted March 5, 2017 at 5:30 am | Permalink

      Dear Rose–Obviously–How could it begin to be otherwise, except apparently our Government somehow manages to see it differently. I am a reasonable sort of chap and I can see the benefits of a transition period: I suggest one month: it’s not difficult, viz a short transition would mean British fisherman getting their fishing back sooner rather than later–also to the clear benefit of the fish.

  28. Biopsy
    Posted March 4, 2017 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

    Guy Verhofstadt is interesting. He popped up on our TV as someone in the EU. The more you read of his ideas: the more you read of persons’ideas closely associated with him: the more you feel getting out of the EU may be too late.

  29. Bob
    Posted March 4, 2017 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

    The EU would collapse without the UK contributions.
    I guess that they will be reclassified as part of the DfID budget.
    The Commission will have to start being nice and show some respect to Priti Patel.

  30. Juliet
    Posted March 4, 2017 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

    John,

    You have been saying this forever and finally it sunken. Although, full rights of EU citizens to stay and work in our country should come with conditions and differentiate between people of economic value and economic burden, the latter needs to meet criteria of financially independent of any assistance of benefits

  31. It's fine by us
    Posted March 4, 2017 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

    We should impose a “fine” on the EU if it has not negotiated a comprehensive settlement with us two years to the day after Article 50 is delivered. Time is money. Our trade deals cannot wait for the EU to okay buying our stuff.

  32. fedupsoutherner
    Posted March 4, 2017 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

    Their attitude might just be because they know they are in the sh-t up to their necks. They dont’ want to admit it but will probably have to have a rethink in time. If on the other hand they continue to throw their dummies out of the cot then I for one will rejoice when we have finally left this club full of spoilt children. I hope the media report the Lords findings but I doubt it. It will be too much like good news for them.

  33. Newmania
    Posted March 4, 2017 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

    Well done Brexit ! So we might not, in addition to rendering ourselves a poor weak bigoted international laughing stock, have to throw most of our annual deficit in the sea. Would anyone care to join me ina jig of joy ?

    • zorro
      Posted March 4, 2017 at 9:31 pm | Permalink

      International laughing stock?…. What are you on? I have just been speaking to some French nationals who are very exercised about the state of politics in their nation, and quite rightly so!

      zorro

  34. Atlas
    Posted March 4, 2017 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

    … I can just see the EU luvvies throwing their toys out of the pram in response to the Lords’ opinion …

  35. Nig l
    Posted March 4, 2017 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

    One of the reasons I voted to leave is that, being lucky enough to travel regularly across Europe I was constantly seeing large signs saying that this road project or that restoration project etc was part funded by one of the EC funds and on the basis we were one of the largest contributors and increasing in line with our economic growth, I considered we had plenty of needs in the UK which is where it should be spent, rather than on socialist wealth distribution scheme.

    However, as an example, one of the funds, is budgeted to 2020 as agreed by all member states and I suspect other budgets are similar, so please tell me how we can just pull our funding until those budgets/projects run off? These obviously have ‘matched’ or similar funding from the individual countries or organisations so if we pull our contribution are we just expecting the remaining EC countries just to click their fingers and magic up umpteen billions extra or allow the projects to fall in unfinished through lack of cash flow?

    Just to say we can instantly turn off the tap without as a minimum any reputational risk, seems to me naive or disingenuous but I am not an expert.

    What does seem sensible given the vast sums involved, is that we make it clear almost from day one, what our red line is on the funding question so that the remaining countries can grasp the nettle of either reworking their budgets or wrangling extra contributions from the members.

    All the time we ‘prevaricate’ is less time for them to grasp the funding nettle.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted March 5, 2017 at 8:43 am | Permalink

      One of our red lines should be that we admit no legal liability to pay anything.

      So if they want that putative €60 billion or whatever they will need to get us to agree to an ex-gratia settlement; and another of our red lines should be that first of all there must be a withdrawal agreement on other matters such as trade.

      That way if they mess us about, as they might be tempted to do, and we end up leaving without an agreement, then they will forfeit the €60 billion or whatever.

    • Mark B
      Posted March 5, 2017 at 9:01 am | Permalink

      “. . . socialist wealth distribution scheme”

    • Andy
      Posted March 5, 2017 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

      To answer your question read the wording of Article 50. It clearly says that after 2 years the ‘treaties cease to apply’, therefore any agreements to fund this, that or the other cease to have any meaning because the treaty under which they were made has ceased to apply. But the EU can’t have it all ways. If they are demanding continued payments for projects agreed then they must buy out the assets. In the last accounts the EU had 153 Billion of assets and as the UK has been a net contributor for every year of its membership save one, so if they are divided up by net contributions the UK would be entitled to vastly more than 20 billion.

  36. Bert Young
    Posted March 4, 2017 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

    The EU will find it very hard to financially survive without our contribution and the threat of wanting to impose a huge exit penalty simply shows its frustration . The imbalance of our overall trade with the EU ought to indicate to them how foolish it would be to play hard ; we have been conciliatory in all that we have said and done so far – they ought to play their role in a similar fashion .

    Without us the EU will find it difficult to continue the way it has ; it is questionable that it will be able to come to some sort of arrangement that will be acceptable to all the 27 . There is considerable dissent in its ranks and the elections due to take place will bring to the surface the huge cracks that exist .

  37. Jack
    Posted March 4, 2017 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

    The budget deficit is too small. Tariff-free trade doesn’t matter when the economy is being strangled by austerity.

    If you want to get the great mass of people behind Brexit, cut payroll taxes and increase spending in such a way that will get the deficit up to at least 12% of GDP. That should have us seeing close to Chinese levels of GDP growth (roughly between 6 and 9% annually).

    In fact instead of Chinese levels we could now refer to Ireland, which grew its real GDP by 28.4% in 2015 and currently growing at around 7% thanks to a weak Euro boosting exports significantly; and the resultant effect being massive industrial production growth etc. They also have a stable population meaning more per capita growth and huge increases in output per hour (productivity).

    The budget deficit is far too small. <– That is the key!

    • a-tracy
      Posted March 5, 2017 at 10:01 am | Permalink

      Aren’t Ireland growing by cheating the EU corporate tax rules that’s what I understood from to news so nowerdays I could be misinformed and not paying their 2% of GDP into NATO defence spending? If they’re doing so well we should ask them to pay us back for our loan faster so that we can recover and grow quicker.

      • Mark B
        Posted March 5, 2017 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

        The Rep. of Ireland are not members of NATO.

        The Corporate Tax rules of the EU do indeed favour both Ireland and Luxembourg. The current EU Commission President was most active in encouraging tax adatages when he was PM of the latter.

        • a-tracy
          Posted March 6, 2017 at 9:50 am | Permalink

          Why aren’t the Rep of Ireland in Nato? Who provides their defence? What defence force do they belong to?

          Reply They are neutral

  38. Dennis
    Posted March 4, 2017 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

    You have previously written about the UK having no obligations to pay an exit fee but you have never mentioned those undertakings that we made whilst a member of the EU. These aren’t exit fees – what about them?

    Reply Once out we owe nothing unless we sign up to something

    • Richard
      Posted March 5, 2017 at 6:28 am | Permalink

      The reply is incorrect. Once out, the UK still is obliged to meet the liabilities accrued before it left. Determining the exact scale of those liabilities is of course difficult because the EU does not allocate costs and benefits to each individual State, but rather operates collectively. But as a matter of law the UK’s departure from the EU does not bring to an end its liabilities. Someone who leaves a golf club at the beginning of 2018 still has to pay subs for 2017

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted March 5, 2017 at 11:49 am | Permalink

        As a matter of law it does, according to the preponderance of the expert legal evidence given to the Lords committee and endorsed by the legal adviser to the committee, page 62 of the report here:

        https://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld201617/ldselect/ldeucom/125/125.pdf

        “22. The expression the “Treaties shall cease to apply to the State in question” in Article 50(3) TEU is unqualified by any condition about ongoing liabilities
        under EU law, no doubt because this is exactly what the withdrawal agreement is intended to cover. The meaning of the words are clear: the
        foundation of the whole edifice of EU law – the acquis communautaire – is
        abruptly removed for the State in question. Given that the EU Treaties are
        at the pinnacle of the hierarchy of EU norms, once they cease to have effect,
        the legal base for every aspect of the UK’s membership of the EU comes to
        an end. This will include all of its legal obligations under the Own Resources
        Decision, the Multiannual Financial Framework, and the Annual Budget. It
        will also include the supremacy of EU law over UK law, and the jurisdiction
        of the CJEU over the UK.

        23. It follows that, under EU law, Article 50 TEU allows the UK to leave the
        EU without being liable for outstanding financial obligations under the EU
        budget, unless a withdrawal agreement is concluded which resolves this
        issue. (This advice does not address the political consequences of the UK
        withdrawing from the EU without settling outstanding payments to the EU
        budget and related financial instruments.)”

      • Andy
        Posted March 5, 2017 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

        You obviously don’t belong to a Gold Club ! You pay the subs in advance, not in arrears.

        And you are talking about ‘liabilities’. Per the EU accounts the EU has assets of 153 billion. As one of the main contributor nations for over 40 years we are owed a large chunk of that. The EU will, of course, cough up.

    • graham1946
      Posted March 5, 2017 at 11:00 am | Permalink

      This is something I raised some time ago. JR says we owe nothing unless we sign up to something.

      I am more worried about things we may have signed up to in the past, possibly in secret, like Brown tried to do with Lisbon. Will there be an avalanche of skeletons falling out of the cupboard or are you certain you know everything that has been done?

  39. ChrisS
    Posted March 4, 2017 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

    “Why can’t they simply do the same civilised thing?”

    “Why don’t they take seriously their legal obligations under their own Treaty to have good relations with a neighbouring state with a flourishing trade?”

    The answers to these questions are two of the main reasons we voted to leave.

    Those at the head of the EU : the Commission, Parliament and Council, have become so arrogant and developed such a closeted and misguided view of the value of their organisation that they simply cannot understand why anyone would want to leave.

    That’s why they offered Cameron nothing because they just couldn’t believe we would do it. When we did vote to do leave, their only response has been to attempt to inflict pain and suffering on us.

    They still think we are stupid ( as do most of our own elitist Remainers ) but by flourishing outside the EU we will prove them all wrong.

    Unlike the Remainers, our negotiators need to stand their ground and hold firm. We might have to walk away from the negotiations without a deal in order to finally bring them back to the table with sensible proposals. If so, we will face a stream of abuse from an army of weak-kneed Remainers led by Clegg, Blair and Major.

    They must be ignored and we will eventually come up with a deal we can live with.

    • Andy
      Posted March 5, 2017 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

      Totally agree.

  40. Richard
    Posted March 4, 2017 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

    “Helpful and courteous”? Mr Johnson has referred to punishment beatings in the manner of a WW2 film. The arrogance and stupidity of such remarks awaits your condemnation, Mr Redwood.

    • zorro
      Posted March 4, 2017 at 9:28 pm | Permalink

      Those comments were in reply to the stupidity of you know who….. and should be taken in that manner.

      zorro

    • rose
      Posted March 4, 2017 at 9:53 pm | Permalink

      Boris was responding in a mild and polite manner to this (and to other remarks from EU members):

      “There must be a threat, there must be a risk, there must be a price, otherwise we will be in negotiations that will not end well and, inevitably, will have economic and human consequences,” the French president said.

      There was nothing arrogant or stupid in what Boris said or how he said it. There are too many humourless people nowadays who only want people to speak in PC cliches and euphemisms.

    • Den Perrin
      Posted March 5, 2017 at 1:34 am | Permalink

      We need a few more Mr Johnsons! 🙂

  41. English Pensioner
    Posted March 4, 2017 at 10:00 pm | Permalink

    As my mum would have said, “The EU seems determined to cut of its nose to spite its face!”. Every suggestion that the various officials makes seems to be likely to do far more harm to them than it would to us. I thought that our politicians and officials had no idea how to negotiate, but it seems that those in the EU have even less.

  42. A cunning plan
    Posted March 4, 2017 at 11:18 pm | Permalink

    Our media reports that opponents of Marine Le Pen in the French elections have cited Russian State media for bending the minds of the French voter. Russian dark-influence and their cunning plan is dastardly hidden under the name “Sputnik News”

  43. Den Perrin
    Posted March 5, 2017 at 1:32 am | Permalink

    Yes indeed, why can’t the EU be civilised like us John? Somehow we appear to be more civilised, which means better thinkers – based on a higher level of confidence. Perhaps Nicola Sturgeon would also need a healthy and civilised English confidence-injection?

  44. Denis Cooper
    Posted March 5, 2017 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

    This has quickly provoked a rather satisfactory reaction from some people who seem not to have read and understood their own treaties:

    https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/mar/04/european-leaders-warn-uk-must-honour-financial-obligations

    “UK warned it must ‘honour all financial obligations’ to EU”

    The fact is that if they choose to mess us about and contrive to prevent any withdrawal agreement being concluded before we leave then under their own EU law the UK will no longer have any financial obligations to honour.

    Of course that newspaper is on their side, not ours.

  45. Yossarion
    Posted March 5, 2017 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

    If they insist, our stance should be that we will only pay on production of full reconciled accounts for the last thirty years.

  46. anon
    Posted March 8, 2017 at 12:15 am | Permalink

    Present a take it or leave it “agreement” with a deadline-non negotiable. Not months or years.

    Then if no agreement is forthcoming pass an act to unilaterally repudiate the waiting time period, and any other legal impediments and exit immediately and start making deals worldwide.

    To be fair:
    We could then calculate our share of assets net that off the remaining liabilities and offer them it in spirit of co-operation (signed legal agreement). We can then insist they respect in a mutual manner UK citizens in the EU otherwise we will pull the offer and consider any and all other protective options.

    Hardball is easy- when you have little to lose.

  • 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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