The Foreign Affairs Committee gets it wrong – Parliament should just enable the letter to be sent

Parliament will have every opportunity to debate the progress of the Brexit negotiations over our future relationship with the EU. Right now Parliament needs to show resolve to get on and send the letter under Article 50. It is annoying many on the continent that the UK has delayed this process.  The government is right to want a simple unamended Act of Parliament to allow the letter to go, to show that Parliament is united behind the democratic wishes of the public as expressed in the referendum. That is the way to increase the chances of a better deal for our future relationship. If Parliament seeks to bind the government it will be seen as a weakness by the rest of the EU  in the talks that follow.

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81 Comments

  1. alan jutson
    Posted March 12, 2017 at 7:37 am | Permalink

    John, absolutely agree.

    We simply must have the ability and mindset to walk away, if we do not get a sensible trading settlement.

    We have already had a prime example of trying to negotiate with the EU without appearing to be really serious, when Cameron’s Fiasco of an attempt resulted in us being offered absolutely diddly squat, because they did not believe his heart was in those negotiations.

    We should start from the position that we are leaving without a deal, then negotiate hard for some trade arrangements which are sensible for both sides.
    At no stage or circumstances whatsoever should we be offering or except that any sort of payment is to be made, outside of what is absolutely our legal responsibility.

    • alan jutson
      Posted March 12, 2017 at 10:01 am | Permalink

      oops accept not except

    • Bob
      Posted March 13, 2017 at 9:38 am | Permalink

      @Alan Jutson

      “At no stage or circumstances whatsoever should we be offering or accept that any sort of payment is to be made”

      I think we could accept a large annual payment from the EU in lieu of the trade deficit. It may prevent Mr Hammond from having to make further raids on the productive sector to support public services for the enlarged population.

      A tip to all readers:
      if captcha asks to select squares that contain street signs, it means the signboard only, not the signpost. I am not a robot.

  2. acorn
    Posted March 12, 2017 at 7:46 am | Permalink

    “If Parliament seeks to bind the government it will be seen as a weakness by the rest of the EU in the talks that follow.”

    Frankly, if Parliament did bind the government to anything, it will be seen out here, by the voters, as a bloody miracle!

    • acorn
      Posted March 12, 2017 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

      I think it is now time for the Brexiters to put their money where their mouth is. And, not just the £350 million a week on the the big red “leave” bus. (A Neoplan Starliner, – German; import will be subject to a 13% tariff outside the EU.)

      We must move to a fully Brexiter populated Cabinet now. “Leave” won the simplistic binary vote on this complex and complicated change to the UK (unwritten) Constitution.

      Leave, should now be given the whole stage to explain and implement their detailed plan for a Post Brexit UK economy. And; naturally, take 100% responsibility for the outcome. Brexiters ducking-out and leaving it to “the government of the day”, makes them look “frit”, as Maggie would say.

      BTW. The US Constitution, provides that an amendment may be proposed either by the Congress with a two-thirds majority vote in both the House of Representatives and the Senate or by a constitutional convention called for by two-thirds of the State legislatures.

      • Budgie
        Posted March 12, 2017 at 11:11 pm | Permalink

        1. £350 million per week is a severe underestimate of what it costs the UK to belong to the EU.
        2. After we leave, import duty levels will be decided by the UK government, not the EU. So the imported coach could have any tariff from 0% upwards provided we treat all MFNs equally.
        3. Neither side complained about the Referendum conditions before the vote, so have zero right to complain about it after.
        4. The UK Constitution is written; just not in one document.
        5. “Detailed plans” are so USSR (and EU). Out of the EU we will regain control of our destiny. That means we will change what we do as circumstances require, rather than planning tractor tariffs 10 years ahead.
        6. We are not the USA. And soon we won’t be the EU either. Thank God.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted March 13, 2017 at 9:44 am | Permalink

        If the Prime Minister invites me to join the Cabinet I will of course accept …

      • APL
        Posted March 14, 2017 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

        acorn: “on this complex and complicated change to the UK (unwritten) Constitution.”

        This is not a complicated change, this is the opportunity to normalise and erase a constitutional aberration ( abomination, even ) that has lasted 43 years.

    • Posted March 13, 2017 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

      You are expecting Jon Redwood to understand all the facts on the EU which he does not and considering how much he does involve himself in debates, it is amazing he is even able to distinguish one subject from the next

  3. Lifelogic
    Posted March 12, 2017 at 7:55 am | Permalink

    Indeed, it would virtually ensure a far worse deal from the EU. Everyday of delay costs millions in EU fees and further costs to the economy from the damaging uncertainty. Just do it, the letter should have gone on June 24th as promised by Cameron.

    The negotiation with the rest of Europe will go on for every more anyway, as they always have done. It will be a continuous ongoing process but we have the better cards.

    Set an agenda of getting out quickly, lower taxes, far less red tape and cheap energy, instead of all this lefty dithering. The anti-democratic, sclerotic, central control loving, anti freedom, socialist EU is falling apart anyway.

    The contrast between Trump, with his tax cutting, red tape cutting and energy price cutting agenda and the dithering snail going mainly in the wrong direction from May & Hammond is massive.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 12, 2017 at 10:18 am | Permalink

      Ministers still defending this NI ratting and the totally indefensible socialist budget this morning. Worse still defending it on the idiot grounds that they were not ratting because the “later” government bill did not include self employed NI.

      They really do think the public are idiotic and cannot read the manifesto don’t they?

      Just no Conservative Vision, as Simon Heffer points out today.

  4. alte fritz
    Posted March 12, 2017 at 7:57 am | Permalink

    Two issues are conflated by the Remoaners. One is the capacity of the executive, as determined by the Supreme Court. The other is the capacity of the executive once authorised by Parliament. No one has yet put forward a convincing legal argument that Parliament should “have the final say” on the terms on which a treaty is abrogated.

    So the question is one to be determined by the executive balancing all relevant considerations. As a matter of common sense, the answer is obvious.

  5. bigneil
    Posted March 12, 2017 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    Totally O/T

    An article has said a judge has awarded a foreign criminal, who shouldn’t even be here, £4o,000. All because he was too long in jail. Please tell us this absolute utter madness will stop soon. How much has he cost us in all the crime he has committed? Every single penny of that £40k should be took off him as payment back to his victims.
    I have never been in court or even arrested – can someone put me in jail for a year and a half and then give me £40k – it would make my life a lot easier.

    UK judges – -the foreign criminals friend. No wonder they are so eager to get here.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 12, 2017 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

      Whar is the average number of crimes committed by someone before they get sent to jail? I suspect well over 50. Shoplifting under £100 is even not acted upon in some areas by the police.

    • APL
      Posted March 14, 2017 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

      Bigneil: “Please tell us this absolute utter madness will stop soon. ”

      Whatever happened to the legal principle that you should not be able to benefit from an illegal act? Being in the country illegally is one such act, and consequently the offender should accrue no further windfall.

  6. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted March 12, 2017 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    The sad fact is that most MPs didn’t want UK to leave EU and many are still determined to thwart the will of the people as expressed in the referendum. I’m sick of hearing them telling us how they respect the result and then doing and saying all they can to try and maintain the status quo. Most of them seem to have greater loyalty to EU than UK e.g. more concern for EU citizens living here than UK people living in EU.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 12, 2017 at 10:26 am | Permalink

      Most MPs did not want to even ask the public at all and kept signing treaties for over 40 years without consent. Wrongly thinking it was their democracy to give away (or sell) just as they wished. It was not it was the people’s and they want it back.

    • zorro
      Posted March 12, 2017 at 11:04 am | Permalink

      Agree x 10….. They do not seem to understand the irony in their efforts to undermine the clearly expressed will of the British people to leave the political structure of the EU whilst maintaining productive, friendly relations with key European countries. They would rather frighten us with illusory ‘cliff edges’. A sad state of affairs!

      zorro

    • Jerry
      Posted March 12, 2017 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

      @Brian Tomkinson; ” I’m sick of hearing them telling us how they respect the result and then doing and saying all they can to try and maintain the status quo.”

      Yes 52% of those who voted at the referendum chose to leave, but no one was asked to vote on what sort of relationship we should have post the referendum with the EU and/or the RotW. There were at least 28 campaign groups [1] who all placed 28 different visions of Brexit before the electorate in the immediate months, weeks and days prior to polling day, from the hardest to the softest, yet there was only that simple binary choice -to Leave or Remain- on the ballot paper. Want to claim a majority for any single Brexit road map then you will first have to hold that second referendum – the only other, democratic, course of action is to allow MPs and Lords to have their say within the accepted due process…

      Thus the biggest problems are being caused by those hard-line Brexiteers, they seem to be justifying their beliefs by claiming that it is others who are the ones being undemocratic, or more simply that “there is no alternative” -when clearly even those who campaigned for Brexit believe there is, even amongst the political right.

      [1] and 19 different groups wanting to Remain

      • zorro
        Posted March 12, 2017 at 10:17 pm | Permalink

        Specious arguments Jerry and you know it! The main points about Brexit were made crystal clear by all Brexit groups and even Cameron/Osborne ? – Leave EU/Leave Single Market. To say that there were 28 different views is beyond the pale…..

        zorro

        • Jerry
          Posted March 13, 2017 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

          @zorro; Sorry but you are simply wrong, the fact that there was 28 different groups means that there was 28 different views, or are you seriously suggesting that (for example) the “Conservatives for Britain” group had the same manifesto as the “Socialist Party, England & Wales” group and that supporters of either would be happy to seem the others vision of what Brexit means become reality?!

          @Budgie; No one is disputing the fact that the country voted to leave, what is being disputed is how we leave.

      • Budgie
        Posted March 13, 2017 at 12:14 am | Permalink

        Jerry, The Referendum was provided by Parliament, as a binary choice about whether we remained in the EU or left it. The voting conditions were not disputed before the vote, so there is no right to dispute them after.

        We chose to leave the EU (as explained by both Leave and Remain sides), so we will not be remaining in any part of the EU. That means we are out of the CAP, the CFP, the EEA, etc, – all of it. In that way sovereignty is restored to the people, who loan it to our elected representatives in Parliament from time to time.

        Under those set conditions, each Parliament will decide the UK’s particular diplomatic, defence or trade arrangements for the day. However the arrangements must not be set in stone, will vary over time, and will depend upon which party is elected, because: “No Parliament may bind its successor”.

      • BCL
        Posted March 13, 2017 at 9:10 am | Permalink

        While I accept that the future outside the EU is uncertain and so no-one knew with certainty what a vote to leave would ultimately mean, I think the contrary is also true. It is suggested by remoaners that staying in was in some way the safe bet because we knew what we were going to get. I don’t think that’s true. Most of those who voted to join the Common Market certainly didn’t know they were voting eventually to be part of The United States of Europe although I suspect some of the politicians at the time did. The prospect of the Euro, ever closer union, the European Army, and membership for Turkey will all change the EU and those are only things we know about now. I think there’s great uncertainty in both scenarios. At least when we are out we’ll have greater control of our own destiny.

    • Paddy
      Posted March 12, 2017 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

      I don’t call these audiophiles Remoaners – I call them traitors.

      • Jerry
        Posted March 12, 2017 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

        @Paddy; “Remoaners – I call them traitors.”

        See by own reply to Mr Tomkinson for my rational. Brexiteers who now wish to curtail the democratic due process might more legitimately be called ‘traitors’, their continued bleating suggests that it is they who wish to enact some sort of ‘Coup d’état’, abandoning all political democratic due process because they are scared that they might loose ground.

        • Budgie
          Posted March 13, 2017 at 11:44 am | Permalink

          Jerry, Perhaps you need to define your slogans so that we can make sense of your proposals.

          The reality is we voted, in the Referendum provided by Parliament (with all its attached conditions, as agreed by both sides), to leave the EU. The vote was not about the UK only partially leaving the EU.

          Every leave voter I know, including myself, are only concerned that there should be no backsliding – that neither Parliament, nor the courts should make us stay in part of the EU. We expect to be as independent from the EU as India, Brazil, or the USA.

          As for particular trade, security, etc, deals we trust Parliament and the government to do their best for the UK, given that we will be outside the EU completely.

  7. Denis Cooper
    Posted March 12, 2017 at 9:19 am | Permalink

    I’m reading the screaming headline front page article in the Mail on Sunday, which unlike its weekday sister newspaper has been strongly opposed to Brexit:

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4304860/Twin-bombshells-threaten-Theresa-s-formal-Brexit-plan.html

    and comparing what it says there with the actual report from the Commons Foreign Affairs Select Committee, which oddly enough was published today, on a Sunday:

    https://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/foreign-affairs-committee/news-parliament-2015/article-50-report-publication-16-17/

    and while there are many similarities in the words used their tones are quite different.

    I don’t see either actually calling for Theresa May to hold back from serving the Article 50 notice, and nor should she. And nor should she tolerate either of the Lords amendments to the Bill to give her further parliamentary authorisation to serve the notice – the first because it would send the EU the message that if they refuse to agree to any deal that she proposes then she will just cave in and make unilateral concessions, and the second because it would effectively give the predominantly pro-EU unelected legislators-for-life in the Lords a veto over Brexit, which the EU would also no doubt seek to exploit.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted March 12, 2017 at 11:42 am | Permalink

      Martin Howe QC on the second amendment:

      http://brexitcentral.com/meaningful-vote-amendment-abuse-lords-powers-legislative-garbage/

      “Regardless of its defects as a piece of statute law, the presence of this amendment in the Act would gravely damage the UK’s chances of getting an acceptable deal in its negotiations with the EU. The EU27 will perceive it is saying that if they offer a rotten deal to the UK, then the British government will not be allowed to walk away without the approval of the House of Lords. The EU27 will believe (despite the flaws in the actual drafting discussed above) that the UK government will be forced to offer better terms.

      So this amendment is clearly and unambiguously damaging to the national interest of the UK. Its only rational purpose is to make the negotiations on withdrawal terms fail so badly that, in the deluded perceptions of its proponents, the country might then change its collective mind and agree to stay inside the EU.

      This amendment is an abuse of the constitutional powers of the House of Lords. It is not revising or improving inadequately scrutinised legislation passed by the Commons, but rather adding clauses designed to frustrate the will of the Commons and of the people themselves. It seeks to damage the UK’s national interest in reaching a good Brexit deal with the EU in order to further a partisan desire to reverse the country’s decision to leave.”

  8. Graham
    Posted March 12, 2017 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    The amount of commercial nous in the HoC is clear for all to see when worldly issues arise. It’s appalling that they can’t see the weakness of their own arguments.

  9. Denis Cooper
    Posted March 12, 2017 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    On the substance of the report, without having read it all I am puzzled because I read that David Davis has in fact instructed his civil servants to start preparing contingency plans in case the negotiations end with no proper agreement – it is inconceivable that there would be no agreement at all – and because there are at least two years before those contingency plans might have to be put into effect.

    There are a number of legal devices available to avoid any so-called “cliff edge”:

    1. The two year period mentioned in Article 50 is a guideline for negotiations, rather than a deadline, unless either side prefers to treat it a deadline in the hope of gaining advantage from the so-called “ticking clock” scenario. As mentioned on page 61 here:

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

    “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 … ”

    2. It is commonplace for a treaty to include transitional provisions.

    3. It is also commonplace for all or parts of a treaty to be applied on a provisional basis before it is has been fully ratified and come into legal force. Provided all the parties agree the period of provisional application can extend to many years.

    4. It is also not unknown for the parties to a treaty to later agree to a temporary derogation from some part of it where implementation has proved slower than expected.

    • ian wragg
      Posted March 12, 2017 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

      Denis, the Sunday Mail which for some unknown reason is rabidly pro remain every week has an article by someone from the remainiacs camp trashing Brexit.
      I assume the editor is different to the DM and cannot grasp that they are the wrong side of the argument.
      I no longer read the articles in the SM because they are so far out of kilter, if it wasn’t for my wife doing the puzzles I would stop buying it.

      • hefner
        Posted March 12, 2017 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

        Sorry, Ian, but if after so many months of blogging you still do not know that the MoS and DM have different editorial and writing teams with different views …

      • zorro
        Posted March 12, 2017 at 10:24 pm | Permalink

        You need to wean her off them quickly ?. You country’s future depends on it ?

        zorro

  10. Kenneth
    Posted March 12, 2017 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    Leaving the eu was binary choice with no shades of grey. What comes afterwards is a matter for debate, with 1000 different ideas.

    The Remain camp did a very good job in its attempts to conflate these two processes.

    I believe the government is right in every sense, logic, technical and moral, to apply the binary referendum vote to the binary notice to leave.

    There is no logic and no room for amendments in a binary choice.

    • Posted March 14, 2017 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

      Yes but what is or should be the process for making the thousand and one choices that now arise? A principled choice to leave and the mandate it accords was not also handing the executive a carte blanche to reorder the country as they see fit.

  11. fedupsoutherner
    Posted March 12, 2017 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    Listening to Andrew Marr in the background it would see that most of our politicians are seeking a way to thwart the governments actions regarding Brexit and therefore the will of the people. It would make a change to hear the majority of politicians actually putting our interests first. Also the debacle over the budget isn’t helping the Conservative party either. What a mess. All the dithering around is not helping the cause. Mrs May and Hammond need to get behind the people and do something useful and maybe in political terms, radical. Stop squeezing money from the poorer in society and tackle a few issues concerning the rich and powerful. May could very well blow her chances of staying in power unless she starts to act in a more sensitive way to the majority of Conservative voters.

  12. Denis Cooper
    Posted March 12, 2017 at 10:06 am | Permalink

    “Parliament will have every opportunity to debate the progress of the Brexit negotiations over our future relationship with the EU.”

    That’s if Parliament wishes to do so … but I don’t recall extensive debates of the progress of the negotiations for any of the five major amending treaties since we joined the EEC.

    Maybe I failed to pay proper attention and missed those parliamentary debates during the negotiation of new EU treaties, but my recollection is that those treaties were negotiated and signed by the government and then simply dumped down on Parliament for its approval without any possibility of it changing as much as a comma.

    Who in Parliament is going to follow the negotiations in detail and initiate debates on their progress, identifying the developing aspects which are satisfactory and also those which are unacceptable and which the government should be told are unacceptable?

    First of all, who in Parliament could be trusted with confidential information on how the negotiations are proceeding and on the government’s strategy and tactics? The plain fact is that a majority of parliamentarians are and will remain on the EU’s side, not ours.

  13. Posted March 12, 2017 at 10:09 am | Permalink

    The PM would have been in a far better position to get the Bill through in simple form if her exit plan made any sense. It doesn’t. Most people think it will be a disaster – hence the Remainers are holding out for second votes / refs with a view to withdrawing Art 50 if it seems too difficult further down the track. Not one of the people closely involved in Brexit from the PM downwards makes any sense at all, and most seem blissfully impervious to the facts. This is simply not good governance. The Lords would be right to block it entirely. They have no duty to permit the UK to commit political and economic suicide.

    And before anyone criticises me as a starter for 10 please explain to us all how the HMRC is going to reprogramme its computer system in time ? If you can’t do that then don’t bother flaming me.

    • Know-Dice
      Posted March 12, 2017 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

      Not sure why you think HMRC will need to reprogram its computers on Leave Day +1?

      All EU laws will become UK laws until repealed or changed at some stage in the future – That is what the “Great Repeal” bill is all about.

      • Posted March 14, 2017 at 10:32 am | Permalink

        How on earth does changing or adopting any law entitle us to trade with the EU when we are no longer a member of it ? And if we did trade what use is law or regulations designed for EU members when we are in fact then a “third country” ? In order to export from outside the Eu into an EU nation state requires us to comply with the customs procedures developed for that situation. And that means computer programming on a huge scale and it also needs vastly increased customs facilities, infrastructure, staff, and budgets in the countries receiving our goods. In the case of France that is not only goods inbound but also goods transiting to other EU destinations. The Great Repeal Act is a complete nonsense. The PM already admits maybe 7 or possibly 11 primary pieces of legislation will be required. And that is only the start. It needs practical real life arrangements as well.

  14. Roy Grainger
    Posted March 12, 2017 at 10:12 am | Permalink

    At one point Hammond justified the NI broken promise by saying it was needed because of Brexit – the punishment budget we were promised – I assume he will continue to try to thwart it. And John … you told us confidently the Lords would pass the bill unammended …

  15. James Matthews
    Posted March 12, 2017 at 10:13 am | Permalink

    “If Parliament seeks to bind the government it will be seen as a weakness by the rest of the EU in the talks that follow.”

    Which is exactly why those that want to do it want to do it. They want to stop Brexit, or, failing that, ensure that the deal is one which gives the UK the worst of both worlds.

    It really should be clear to the EU from the outset that, if necessary, the UK can and will walk. Nothing should be allowed to call that into question.

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted March 12, 2017 at 10:48 pm | Permalink

      Hear, hear, James.

  16. Mr General Committee
    Posted March 12, 2017 at 10:27 am | Permalink

    The Foreign Affairs Committee who collectively got it wrong. Perhaps their electorates are in agreement with them. We’ll see.

    Member Party Constituency
    Crispin Blunt (Chair)Conservative Reigate
    John Baron Conservative Basildon and Billericay
    Ann Clwyd Labour Cynon Valley
    Mike Gapes Labour (Co-op) Ilford South
    Stephen Gethins Scottish National Party North East Fife
    Mr Mark Hendrick Labour (Co-op) Preston
    Adam Holloway Conservative Gravesham
    Daniel Kawczynski Conservative Shrewsbury and Atcham
    Ian Murray Labour Edinburgh South
    Andrew Rosindell Conservative Romford
    Nadhim Zahawi Conservative Stratford-on-Avon

  17. a-tracy
    Posted March 12, 2017 at 10:36 am | Permalink

    I don’t understand why the CBI just now on Peston said we should guarantee all EU citizens full rights in the U.K. Without any reciprocal agreement being reached with the EU, this can be guaranteed on those ‘quid pro quo terms’ from the first day after A50 notification, why won’t that promise suffice? Wouldn’t that be a more sensible offer the U.K. Government must look out for the interests of British citizens that have chosen to emigrate to the EU with the same level of assurance.

    • Mark B
      Posted March 12, 2017 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

      The CBI represents a small proportion of UK business, is very pro-EU and said businesses benefit from cheap labour.

      • a-tracy
        Posted March 14, 2017 at 10:14 am | Permalink

        Polly Toynbee in the Guardian today writes “The German parliament is just passing a five-year ban on all benefits for non-German EU citizens”. This is what the people in the UK asked for and were told NO!

        Our social security benefits and schooling costs are rising enormously, especially for lone and one low-income parent’s children because of the pupil premium. The devil over immigration arrangements maybe in the details as Heffer wrote at the weekend.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted March 12, 2017 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

      Dear a-tracy–A promise?–You mean like in the Manifesto?–Like it or No, the Government isn’t trusted. They weren’t trusted before and they certainly aren’t trusted now. What I don’t get is why we cannot have a Law putting in place reciprocal rights which provides that it only comes in to force, ipso facto, immediately the EU agrees. Or would this need 11 ever so important Judges to bless it first?

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted March 12, 2017 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

        Postscript–Or by Cameron and his immediate trigger? Or by Osborne and IHT?

      • a-tracy
        Posted March 14, 2017 at 9:06 am | Permalink

        Good point Leslie.

  18. Juliet
    Posted March 12, 2017 at 10:43 am | Permalink

    Article 50 should have been invoked day after the referendum had Cameron kept to his word. MPs do no represent british citizens if they believe that EU citizens should be put first.

  19. Bert Young
    Posted March 12, 2017 at 10:44 am | Permalink

    Couldn’t agree more John . The Lords is a defunct body and no longer has a place in our democracy . The best thing is for Theresa to send the letter as it stands . Whatever the Lords thinks is no longer relevant . It is the HoC that represents the people not an un-elected body of has beens .

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted March 12, 2017 at 11:54 pm | Permalink

      Dear Bert–Not just ‘has beens’–A good few, especially those courtesy of Blair and Cameron, had never been much in the first place. Not at all funny what has been done to the House of Lords. Hardly believable really.

  20. Peter Wood
    Posted March 12, 2017 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    Good Morning,

    Your comments are blindingly obvious to both sides of the argument; and therefore those that seek to amend the article 50 notice Bill must be considered hostile to the UK leaving the EU. This matter should be handled with the utmost urgency and enforcement by the whips.

    NO FURTHER DELAY PLEASE!

  21. Antisthenes
    Posted March 12, 2017 at 11:41 am | Permalink

    One concern appears to be that parliament must have a vote on a no deal. A very possible result. I fail to see the logic in that request as under article 5o rules if after 2 years there is no deal then the best that can be achieved is an extension and no doubt UK negotiators will ask for it anyway. Which may or may not be granted and may also result in no deal and so the UK leaves. A UK parliamentary vote cannot change that it is not omnipotent. Also it is not logical or sensible to attach any conditions to the act to trigger article 50. Brexit negotiators need to be in a strong position when negotiating as it is obvious what will be the outcome if not(ask David Cameron). Parliament will remain sovereign throughout the negotiations they already have the power to ensure that. So they do not need to tie the governments hands at this stage and if they do will only do so to cause mischief.

  22. Lifelogic
    Posted March 12, 2017 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    Why on earth has Theresa May asked:- MATTHEW TAYLOR TO LEAD INDEPENDENT REVIEW OF EMPLOYMENT PRACTICES IN THE MODERN ECONOMY.

    He sounds distinctly unimpressive whenever I have heard him on the radio on any topic (he was on the Sunday Politics just now).

    I assume it is because like May he is clearly an interventionist, big state socialist at heart, rather like herself.

  23. They Work for Us?
    Posted March 12, 2017 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

    I very much fear that most MPs oppose Brexit for two reasons they foolishly believe in a one world, brotherhood of man Socislist leaning state and/ or a determination not to allow matters to be decided by the electorate, the great unwashed because it reduces the power and influence of those MPs. The only valid excuse for their opposition to Brexit is if their own constituents overwhelmingly voted to stay.
    We are fortunate to have JR as a champion, would that he were in a very senior position in govt to put things right.

  24. Andy
    Posted March 12, 2017 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

    There was nothing to amend in the Bill. And the Lords amendments are so badly drafted as to be complete nonsense. Who on earth wrote them.

  25. Brigham
    Posted March 12, 2017 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

    I am hoping that, even if it is only some of them, the talkers down of our country, once article 50 has been signed, will start to realise the harm they are doing, and get behind the negotiations. The ones that don’t agree just traitors.

  26. Nig l
    Posted March 12, 2017 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

    A couple of problems with your post. Firstly some of your colleagues do not care what the voters said. They come from a long line of Members believing they know better than we do and secondly it is in their interests for us to get a poor deal so they can then say ‘I told you so’ thus hoping that public pressure will demand a second referendum, that they would hope to win. It looks as if HMG is moving to cave in to the Scots. So they will have track record.

  27. Chris
    Posted March 12, 2017 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

    Fully support you, Mr Redwood.

    I also fervently wish that you could be Chancellor, Brexit will not succeed if a Chancellor is not utterly dedicated to effecting the will of the people, as defined in the Referendum. It is not a role for a liberal left individual, who supports the globalism doctrine of the EU.

  28. Mark B
    Posted March 12, 2017 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

    I am not overly concerned by the delay. so long as the government uses the time wisely.

    What I am more concerned about it the day after we leave the EU. It seems to me that, our government cannot be trusted to sign us up to all manner of things once out and, slowly resubmit us back into the EU via the backdoor.

  29. Denis Cooper
    Posted March 12, 2017 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

    Having now read through the report there seems to be very little new in it.

    I got round to watching the BBC’s Brexit programme and there was little new in that either, apart from a complete reversal of the previous europhile position that the impact of the EU on how we are governed is very minor …. suddenly it turns out that the EU controls so much of what goes on in our country that it will be extremely difficult to disentangle …

    As I have said before there are complex problems to solve but where there is a political will there is almost invariably a legal way, and if there is not then a blind eye can be turned to an intractable legal defect if that is convenient to all concerned.

    I’ve mentioned various brazen EU illegalities in the past; to recall just one, it is a fact that under the EU treaties the EU Parliament was unlawfully constituted for a whole year, and technically all its acts during that interlude could have been deemed null and void, and yet nobody made any fuss at all about that, a blind eye was turned.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted March 12, 2017 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

      Sorry, I meant two whole years. The EU Parliament was unlawfully constituted for two whole years, from December 1st 2009 to November 31st 2011.

  30. zorro
    Posted March 12, 2017 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

    John,

    Have you read this Treasury report? Some more people who are wrong again….. Another conveniently leaked report.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/brexit-treasury-fears-leaked-document-article-50-theresa-may-eu-referendum-exclusive-a7624706.html

    We’ve discussed a lot of these subjects in the report before, but the same old canards are still being churned out…. To name a few…

    1. Consumers would no longer benefit from the end to mobile phone roaming charges – Is that why some providers have agreements with 42 international countries to use inclusive call/data/text allowances…. EU has 28 at the moment…..
    2. WTO regime would mean “new taxes on British trade” – conveniently forgets reciprocity if needs be, and our ability to QUICKLY negotiate trade deals as opposed to years and years a la EU style….tariffs and duties in the 53 countries with which the EU has free trade agreements. 3. It “would take years” to strike trade deals and be difficult to replicate the current terms – Note to Treasury, we are not the EU
    4. “The UK would have less access to the [EU] single market than Pakistan, Rwanda or Yemen.” – How can the Treasury expect anyone to swallow this nonsense?

    Having said that, I am amazed that The Independent quoted SEVERAL pro Brexit sources to argue against this treasury report…..

    zorro

    • John Barleycorn
      Posted March 12, 2017 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

      As far as I understand, there is no concept of reciprocity within the WTO. Under WTO rules, we have to apply the same tariffs to all countries we do not have a trade agreement with. This is what leads to points 2 and 4 in the list above. Remember that the WTO is largely an EU invention!

      https://www.wto.org/english/thewto_e/whatis_e/tif_e/fact2_e.htm

      The UK will be able to negotiate agreements faster than the EU can, but it will still take several months and probably years unless we are prepared to accept bad deals.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted March 13, 2017 at 9:53 am | Permalink

        It’s not widely known that the EU’s WTO schedules are technically invalid.

        http://www.ictsd.org/opinion/nothing-simple-about-uk-regaining-wto-status-post-brexit

        “Now comes the surprise. We don’t know what most of the EU’s current commitments in the WTO are. The UK would be negotiating a share of key quantities that are unknown.

        The only confirmed commitments on tariffs, quotas, and farm subsidies are from before 2004 when the EU had 15 member states. The EU has expanded three times since then, but in 12 years it has been unable to agree with the WTO membership on revised commitments.”

        But nobody is sufficiently bothered about that to bring trade to a halt.

      • hefner
        Posted March 15, 2017 at 9:49 am | Permalink

        “the WTO is largely an EU invention!”
        Wasn’t it created in 1995 by 128 countries after the failure of the GATT discussions?
        JB, please provide reference(s) for your assertion.

  31. rose
    Posted March 12, 2017 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

    Talking of foreign affairs, isn’t it just typical of certain EU countries that they demonise Trump for wanting to decide, in line with an Obama statute, who comes into the US, and then the very next month, they bar the ministers of a NATO ally from coming into theirs?

    Their excuse is that they are trying to influence the referendum in Turkey, but in doing what they are doing, the result is more likely to be the opposite from what they want.

    In the case of Holland, their excuse is that they are trying to influence the result of their own election. But again, they are being counterproductive.

    We allowed the anti British Macron to campaign here, even though the very same day he tried to entice British business, banking, and arts to France. Would we have the guts to be consistent if the Turkish government wanted to address its people here?

    • hefner
      Posted March 14, 2017 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

      The only difference in case you have not noticed is that Macron did not address French expats three days before a UK election.

  32. Refugees Freedom
    Posted March 12, 2017 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

    It remains a puzzle why the liberated people of Mosul are now leaving in droves as refugees?

    • hefner
      Posted March 14, 2017 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

      Have you by any chance seen any pictures of how the districts of Mosul in which the recent fights happened look like?

      • APL
        Posted March 17, 2017 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

        Hefner: “any pictures of how the districts of Mosul in which the recent fights happened look like?”

        You can be sure it’s much better in Mosil ( or come to that Tripoli ) after their liberation than Aleppo.

        Russian bombs are much less considerate than the compassionate Western sort.

  33. Spring
    Posted March 12, 2017 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

    Strength renewed.
    Yes, just let’s leave.

  34. tony
    Posted March 12, 2017 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

    We’re every bit a member of the European Union as we were nine months ago and the conservative party has shown its contempt for the electorate in that respect. It will be judged by the full recovery of our seas, Instituting the law of Magna Carta and protecting the rights of the people of these lands from arbitrary arrest by bringing an end to the European Arrest Warrant, a flagrant illegal violation of our Constitutional law. At the heart of this lies the Franco- German quisling empire which must be brought to an end and British funding of it ceasing quickly and that money put to good use in establishing Britain’s empirical role in the Christian European continent.

  35. Anonymous
    Posted March 12, 2017 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

    If Brexit fails I think we are now in a position where we can blame Remainers entirely for spoiling it.

    The referendum result meant Hard Brexit. We did not vote for anything less. Cameron tried to make a deal – the EU rejected it.

  36. ian
    Posted March 12, 2017 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

    The letter for leaving the eu will go ahead how ever long it takes and will not be stopped, the establishment with their court cases and propaganda have failed to stop it and the lords will do no better, as for talk with eu, that is for there benefit not yours, the uk course is already set with or with out talks, you get same thing in the lords and parliament after the letter is sent of talk of court cases and of cos the propaganda of fear of what might happen.

    The uk will prosper outside of the eu but that does not mean that the people will, that depends on the establishment, BoE, companies and the treasury and who is in power to listen to what they want, how the taxes are to be shared out and who are going pay the most taxes, the people or businesses, do you give businesses a free ride or do you give the people a free ride, what side will they come down on that’s the question and will you have a say in it apart from the usual blue and red team doing it for you, my money on businesses to win with big cuts in taxes for them and for you, what ever left over.

  37. margaret
    Posted March 12, 2017 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

    I am not so sure about being seen as a weakness. They would know what we are doing and how a reaction could be posited on a certain position . They can analyse everything in just the same way we can. The only real weakness V strength is in terms of money and trade , it’s continuance and our potential new relationships which they want to hog themselves.

  38. Androcles
    Posted March 12, 2017 at 8:26 pm | Permalink

    I thought that referendums were meant to resolve constitutional issues – who makes the law, how they are elected etc. Regardless of the financial implications the British people have decided they want the laws that govern them made at Westminster by politicians they can remove at the ballot box if they so desire. Whatever the outcome of the negotiations the likes of Tim Farron cannot call for another referendum on a matter of economic policy.

  39. J.White
    Posted March 12, 2017 at 9:15 pm | Permalink

    I was disgusted with the House of Lords, they have made it very plain they don’t care about the public only that they continue to get their large pensions etc from the EU. They again especially Lord Heseltine said we did not know what we voted for. I have news for them we were very well aware what we were voting for and many of us did our homework and read everything about the origins etc of the EU. I would also like to point out that the people will not accept that Parliament votes at the end of the two years that we stay in the EU that is not acceptable on any level.
    I sincerely hope that Labour will not vote against the Government tomorrow on the Lords amendments when they passed it once to do so would be going against the public and against democracy. The Labour Party have shown themselves to be completely ignoring their core voters yet again about immigration and the single market. It’s time they stopped belittling the country and get behind Brexit and make this country great again. Ignore the will of the people and tie Mrs Mays hands in negotiations will have lasting repercussions from their core voters. As for the Liberals they should delete Democrats from their title as they obviously no nothing about democracy! We voted out last June it’s time to get on with it we are all fed up of this waiting and wrangling.

  40. fedupsoutherner
    Posted March 12, 2017 at 10:53 pm | Permalink

    If a deal takes too long or longer than two years then it may not be a Conservative government in charge anymore. As they say, a day is a long time in politics.

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, He graduated from Magdalen College Oxford, has a DPhil and is a fellow of All Souls College. A businessman by background, he has been a director of NM Rothschild merchant bank and chairman of a quoted industrial PLC.

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